Tag: despot

Castro’s hipster apologists

Friday, 19 December, 2014 0 Comments

In the Daily Beast, Michael Moynihan names and shames them: “Here is Matt Bradley, Middle East correspondent for the Wall Street Journal: ‘I really hope I can make it to Cuba before McDonald’s, Starbucks, etc.’ And progressive radio host Matt Binder: ‘Booking my Cuba vacation now before there’s a Starbucks, a McDonald’s, and a bank on every block.’ BBC producer Jeane McCallum: ‘May be time for a return to Cuba before McDonalds moves in.’ And Jonathan Eley of the Financial Times: ‘Cuba: visit now before McDonalds, KFC, Starbucks et al move in. It’s a unique place.'”

That’s just a sample. How predictably predictable they are.


RT is not TV. It is Russia today.

Monday, 3 March, 2014 0 Comments

Early in his presidency, the ex-KGB agent Vladimir Putin took control of Russian television, forcing out the media magnates Boris Berezovsky and Vladimir Gusinsky, taking over their channels and creating a climate of fear and sycophancy in which his actions are always praised and never criticized. He is now attempting to do the same in a global fashion with a propaganda platform called RT, the abbreviation of Russia Today.

“Our team of young news professionals has made RT the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark,” declares the Russia Today YouTube arm. Adding, “RT news covers the major issues of our time for viewers wishing to question more.” But “more” what? Well, RT specializes in presenting “truther” interpretations of the 9/11 terror attacks and it even ran a lengthy exploration called “911 reasons why 9/11 was (probably) an inside job”. Today, it is broadcasting bare-faced lies such as “675,000 Ukrainians pour into Russia as ‘humanitarian crisis’ looms” and “Tea, sandwiches, music, photos with self-defense forces mark peaceful Sunday in Simferopol.”

Having achieved absolute power within Russia, Putin has negated all hopes of making it a civil society, and he seems determined to reduce his neighbours to the same grim level. With the help of RT, he also wants to convince the world that every country is just as awful as Russia today.


Hugo Chávez left a legacy of ruin and hatred

Wednesday, 6 March, 2013 2 Comments

The Venezuelan despot, Hugo Chávez, spent much of his time stoking class hatred and abusing his control of the judiciary to persecute and jail his political opponents. He seized millions of hectares of farmland and hundreds of businesses, with little or no compensation. The result was that Venezuela became an even more oil-dependent economy, which instead of the “endogenous development” promised by the so-called Bolivarian Revolution, increasingly relied on imports of the most basic foodstuffs that were once produced domestically. Meanwhile, Chávez, his clan and his corrupt cronies, the Boligarchs, amassed huge fortunes. Without a hint of irony in his tribute, President Michael D Higgins of Ireland said: “President Chavez achieved a great deal during his term in office, particularly in the area of social development and poverty reduction.” Oliver Stone and Sean Penn were said to be equally grief stricken.

Hugo Chávez lavished praise and aid on ideological allies such as Bashar al-Assad, Robert Mugabe and Muammar Gaddafi. The dead despot’s generosity was worth billions each year to the Castro tyranny in Cuba and was vital in helping its economy recover from the depression that followed the collapse of its last patron, the Soviet Union. Subsidies to the autocratic government of Daniel Ortega are estimated to be worth around eight percent of Nicaragua’s GDP. The best obituary for the man’s wretched misrule is provided by Bloomberg: “Chavez the Popular Autocrat Leaves a Legacy of Ruin.”