Saturday at the State-Worshipping NY Times

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Saturday is supposed to be a day of rest, but the New York Times is hard on the job of promoting the total state. First, there is a front-page article on the plight of refugees from Zimbabwe, and it is well-written and interesting, and very, very sad. However, we should not forget that the Times was an early supporter of the man who is the source of this misery, Robert Mugabe. Furthermore, Mugabe’s policies pretty much square with the state economic control that the Times endorses every day in both its news and editorial sections.

That the tragedy in Zimbabwe is an extreme example of what happens when the state confiscates private property, sets price controls, and prints money without end does not negate the fact that the Times for years has endorsed state seizure of private property, price controls, and fiat money. Indeed, one would think that the editors there would recognize the folly of those things endorsed by the Times, but we are speaking of the Newspaper of Walter Duranty, Jayson Blair, Judith Miller, and Duff Wilson (of Duke lacrosse fame).

However, as they say on the late-night commercials, “Wait! There’s more!”The top editorial excoriates Gov. David Paterson for choosing Kirsten Gillibrand as Hillary Clinton’s U.S. Senate replacement. Why? In the Times‘ own words:

What is the most disappointing about Ms. Gillibrand’s record is her extreme opposition to reasonable gun control laws. Her opposition to new efforts to trace illegal guns and support for rolling back gun control laws in the District of Columbia go well beyond her declared support for hunters’ rights. She earned a top rating and vigorous campaign support from the National Rifle Association. Her jarring views on guns could cost her a bitter Democratic primary fight next year for re-election if gun-control advocates like Representative Carolyn McCarthy of Long Island challenge her on this issue.

I’m not sure what “unreasonable” gun control might be. However, the editors do hope that her views will “evolve” to fit those of the anti-private gun Senator Charles Schumer:

On Friday, Ms. Gillibrand seemed ready to hear arguments against her views on guns. She vowed to help push Ms. McCarthy’s latest bill to speed background checks on those who buy guns at gun shows. She should also agree to Senator Charles Schumer’s offer to escort her on a listening tour of New York’s urban neighborhoods where guns are not used for hunting the Thanksgiving turkey. Senator Schumer said he was confident that once she saw the problem, her views on this grave issue would “evolve.”

Read that, “Unless you are lockstep with Schumer, we will kneecap you in the upcoming election.” No doubt, she will be horrified. Who knows? Maybe they can have a REAL DRIVE-BY SHOOTING DURING HER VISIT!

And what is a Saturday at the Times without a column from the man with the angry visage, Bob Herbert? Today, we read more about the Greatness of Our Maximum Leader Obama:

…I’ve seen charismatic politicians and pretty families come and go like sunrises and sunsets over the years. There was something more that was making people go ga-ga over Obama. Something deeper.

We’ve been watching that something this week, and it’s called leadership. Mr. Obama has been feeding the almost desperate hunger in this country for mature leadership, for someone who is not reckless and clownish, shortsighted and self-absorbed.

However you feel about his policies, and there are people grumbling on the right and on the left, Mr. Obama has signaled loudly and clearly that the era of irresponsible behavior in public office is over.

No more crazy wars. No more torture, and no more throwing people in prison without even the semblance of due process. No more napping while critical problems like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, global warming, and economic inequality in the United States grow steadily worse.

“We remain a young nation,” Mr. Obama said in his Inaugural Address, “but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.”

On Wednesday, his first full day in office, the president took steps to make the federal government more transparent, signaling immediately that the country would move away from the toxic levels of secrecy that marked the Bush years.

“Transparency and rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,” he said. It was a commitment to responsible behavior, and a challenge to the public to hold the Obama administration accountable. It reminded me of the wonderful line written into a federal appeals court ruling in 2002 by Judge Damon Keith:

“Democracies die behind closed doors.”

This has been the Obama way, to set a responsible example and then to call on others to follow his mature lead. In Iowa, after his victory in the Democratic caucuses a year ago, he promised to be “a president who will be honest about the choices and challenges we face, who will listen to you and learn from you, even when we disagree, who won’t just tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to know.”

In a cynical age, the inclination is to dismiss this stuff as so much political rhetoric. But Mr. Obama carries himself in a way that suggests he means what he says, which gives him great credibility when he urges Americans to work hard and make sacrifices, not just for themselves and their families but for the common good — and when he tells black audiences that young men need to hitch up their trousers and behave themselves, and that families need to turn off the TV so the kids can do their homework.

Or when he says of the many serious challenges facing the nation, as he did in his Inaugural Address: “They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.”

The bond is growing between the nation and its new young leader.

Indeed, that “bond” already was there with Obama and the press. I’m so glad that the Times is on the job, giving us advice on how we should live and think. I don’t know how I could live without it.

9:56 am on January 24, 2009