More on the New York Times spoof

Posted on November 12th, 2008 by bile
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Follow up to New York Times a little more to the left this morning: Yes Men release special socialistic edition

November 12, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
writers@nytimes-se.com
917-202-5479
718-208-0684
415-533-3961

“SPECIAL” NEW YORK TIMES BLANKETS CITIES WITH MESSAGE OF HOPE AND CHANGE
Thousands of volunteers behind elaborate operation

Hundreds of independent writers, artists, and activists are claiming credit for an elaborate project, 6 months in the making, in which 1.2 million copies of a “special edition” of the New York Times were distributed in cities across the U.S. by thousands of volunteers.

The papers, dated July 4th of next year, were headlined with long-awaited news: “IRAQ WAR ENDS”. The edition, which bears the same look and feel as the real deal, includes stories describing what the future could hold: national health care, the abolition of corporate lobbying, a maximum wage for CEOs, etc. There was also a spoof site, at http://www.nytimes-se.com/.

“Is this true?  I wish it were true!” said one reader. “It can be true, if we demand it.”

“We wanted to experience what it would look like, and feel like, to read headlines we really want to read. It’s about what’s possible, if we think big and act collectively,” said Steve Lambert, one of the project’s organizers and an editor of the paper.

“This election was a massive referendum on change. There’s a lot of hope in the air, but there’s a lot of uncertainty too. It’s up to all of us now to make these headlines come true,” said Beka Economopoulos, one of the project’s organizers.

“It doesn’t stop here. We gave Obama a mandate, but he’ll need mandate after mandate after mandate to do what we elected him to do. He’ll need a lot of support, and yes, a lot of pressure,” said Andy Bichlbaum, another project organizer and editor of the paper.

The people behind the project are involved in a diverse range of groups, including The Yes Men, the Anti-Advertising Agency, CODEPINK, United for Peace and Justice, Not An Alternative, May First/People Link, Improv Everywhere, Evil Twin, and Cultures of Resistance.

In response to the spoof, the New York Times said only, “We are looking into it.”  Alex S. Jones, former Times reporter who is an authority on the history of the paper, says: “I would say if you’ve got one, hold on to it. It will probably be a collector’s item.”

Think big and act collectively? I’d like to name some others who did that to great success. Hitler and the National Socialist Party, Lenin and later Stalin and the Russian Communist Party, Mao and the Chinese Communist Party, Castro and the Cuban Communists… I’ll stop my predictable list of state socialists who thought big and murdered millions in the name of “collectivism.”

“Massive referendum on change”? “We gave Obama a mandate”? Define massive. To me it means more then 52.7% of the votes. A lot more actually. Upwards of 65 or 70 percent at least. And who is we? Those who voted for him? That’s 66,354,771 people. Or 30.5% of the voting population. Is that really a mandate? Is that a massive referendum. Is it okay for 30.5% of the voting population to control the other 69.5%?

I wasn’t much of a fan of those groups mentioned who are involved in this project. This solidifies my dislike of them.

Chavez calls Bush a bigger socialist than himself

Posted on October 16th, 2008 by bile
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http://www.lewrockwell.com/…

Venezuela’s socialist president, Hugo Chavez, knows a fellow leftist when he sees one:

Chavez, who calls capitalism an evil and ex-Cuban leader Fidel Castro his mentor, ridiculed Bush for his plan for the federal government to take equity in American banks despite the U.S. right-wing’s criticism of Venezuelan nationalizations.”Bush is to the left of me now,” Chavez told an audience of international intellectuals debating the benefits of socialism. “Comrade Bush announced he will buy shares in private banks.”

It’s pretty hard to argue with ol’ Hugo’s observations. (Link via Drudge.)

I don’t know that he’s left of Chavez… but he’s trying.

Raul Castro on Cuba’s new brand of communism

Posted on July 14th, 2008 by bile
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http://ap.google.com/…

President Raul Castro warned Cubans on Friday to prepare for a “realistic” brand of communism that is economically viable and does away with excessive state subsidies designed to promote equality on the island.

Addressing Cuba’s parliament in its first session since lawmakers selected him to succeed his older brother Fidel in February, Raul Castro announced no major reforms, but suggested that global economic turbulence could lead to further belt-tightening on the island.

“Socialism means social justice and equality, but equality of rights, of opportunities, not of income,” the 77-year-old president said in a speech that was taped and later aired on national television. “Equality is not egalitarianism.”

That sentiment marks a break with his brother, who spent decades saying Cuba was building an egalitarian society. But the new president nevertheless ended by proclaiming he had “learned everything” from Fidel, drawing a standing ovation.

Since succeeding his brother, Raul Castro has authorized Cubans to legally purchase computers, stay in luxury hotels and obtain cell phones in their own names. His government has raised some salaries and done away with wage limits, allowing state workers to earn more for better performance.

Cuba’s rubber-stamp parliament convenes for only for a few hours twice a year and rumors were rampant that Friday’s session would see an easing of restrictions on travel abroad or a strengthening of wages by increasing the value of the peso, worth about 21-1 against the U.S. dollar.

The government controls well over 90 percent of the economy and the average salary is just 408 pesos per month, US$19.50, though most Cubans get free housing, health care, education and ration cards that cover basic food needs.

Castro said that in “the matter of salaries, we’d all like to go faster, but it’s necessary for us to act with realism.”

“The situation could even get worse,” he said of the global economy. “We will continue to do what’s within our reach so that a series of adversities have less effect on our people, but some impact is inevitable in certain products and sectors.”

Economy Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez said this week that skyrocketing global food and oil prices would cause “inevitable adjustments and restrictions” for Cuba’s economy.

Castro said he supported a proposal to gradually push back the retirement age five years, to 65 for men and 60 for women. The move, which parliament plans to vote on in December, is part of an effort to soften the blow of a disproportionately elderly work force.

Castro acknowledged shortages that plague Cubans, but said “we have to be conscious that each increase in salary that is approved or price that is subsidized adhere to economic reality.”

He also shot back at U.S. officials who have dismissed the small changes he has overseen in Cuba as meaningless.

“Faced with the measures adopted lately in our country, some official in the United States comes out immediately, from a spokesman to the president, to brand them ‘insufficient’ or ‘cosmetic,’” Castro said. “Although no one here asked their opinion, I reiterate that we will never make any decision, not even the smallest one, as a result of pressure or blackmail.”

For the fourth straight parliamentary session, Raul Castro sat next to an empty chair set aside for his ailing brother.

The elder Castro, who turns 82 next month, has not been seen in public since undergoing emergency intestinal surgery in July 2006.

Interesting indeed.

Police State Venezuela

Posted on June 5th, 2008 by bile
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http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/…

Many people expected that after his painful electoral defeat in the constitutional referendum last year, Hugo Chávez was going to stop his systematic assault against democracy and civil liberties in Venezuela.

Last week, he decreed a new intelligence law (no need for a National Assembly here) that basically turns Venezuela into a police state. The new law requires that people:

“… comply with requests to assist the agencies, secret police or community activist groups loyal to Mr. Chávez. Refusal can result in prison terms of two to four years for most people and four to six years for government employees.”

The law also stipulates that the police agencies can conduct surveillance activities on the population, like wiretapping, without a warrant. Furthermore, the authorities can deny access to evidence to defendant lawyers under the grounds of “national security.”

It’s interesting how people sympathetic to Chávez around the world, but particularly in Latin America, call fascist to anyone who criticizes their beloved leader. They fail to recognize that many of his policies, especially laws like this one, have fascism written all over them.

As one socialist dictator falls this one rises.

Cuba Gone Wild-er

Posted on March 28th, 2008 by bosco
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Mariela Castro has introduced a new bill to mandate positive rights for homosexual and transgender persons.  Among the rights are domestic partnerships, ID cards with the gender of your choosing and state provided sexual reassignment surgery.  The article covers some history of the persecution of gay people in Cuba and talks about the current state of the gay community.  We’ll see how this legislation does in the national assembly.

Raul Castro has lifted restrictions on cellular phone ownership.  He gives the impression that he’s hoping to help bolster the nations telecom infrastructure.  The article also mentions some changes in “buying” options for farmers.

I’ll be interested to see if the US continues to wage war with Cuba or if they change their policy in the face of Cuba’s current flux.

Fidel Castro resigns as Cuba’s president

Posted on February 19th, 2008 by bile
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http://www.star-telegram.com/news/story/480841.html 

An ailing, 81-year-old Fidel Castro resigned as Cuba’s president Tuesday after nearly a half-century in power, saying he will not accept a new term when parliament meets Sunday.

The end of Castro’s rule – the longest in the world for a head of government – frees his 76-year-old brother Raul to implement reforms he has hinted at since taking over as acting president when Fidel Castro fell ill in July 2006. President Bush said he hopes the resignation signals the beginning of a democratic transition.

“My wishes have always been to discharge my duties to my last breath,” Castro wrote in a letter published Tuesday in the online edition of the Communist Party daily Granma. But, he wrote, “it would be a betrayal to my conscience to accept a responsibility requiring more mobility and dedication than I am physically able to offer.”

This should be interesting. How Raul, if selected, will run the country. What kind of reforms will he push through if any? Will the USA make any attempt to open up our sanctions?