Fake News and Vietnam

Posted: February 13, 2018 by chrisharper in culture
Tags: ,

During a visit last year to Vietnam, I made the trek to Khe Sanh, one of the key battles during the Tet Offensive, which happed  50 years ago.

For most of the journey, I bristled at the Vietnamese guide and propagandist, who maintained Tet was a major victory for the Communist forces. I finally had enough and offered some facts to the other tourists on the bus.

Simply put, the coverage of the 1968 North Vietnamese attack is a startling example of how the U.S. media got it wrong. The media presented Tet as a major loss for the Americans when it actually was a massive defeat for North Vietnam.

The North Vietnamese government launched the offensive during Tet, the celebration of the Vietnamese New Year. The attacks began on January 30 on targets in Saigon and other Vietnamese cities, and ended a little more than a month later when Marines crushed the last pockets of resistance in the northern city of Hue.

As The Washington Post’s Saigon bureau chief Peter Braestrup documented in his book The Big Story, reporters systematically used Tet to turn the reality of a U.S. victory into an image of American and South Vietnamese defeat.

For example, journalists reported that that Vietcong had overrun five floors of the U.S. embassy when the VC never got inside the building. Newsweek’s coverage of the siege of Khe Sanh showed 18 photos out of a total of 29 of dead or wounded Marines or Marines huddling under cover, never mentioning that the Marines inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy.

That campaign of misrepresentation culminated in Walter Cronkite’s half-hour TV special on February 27, 1968, when he told his viewers that Tet had proved that America was “mired in a stalemate.”

Here are some important facts that got lost in the journalistic shuffle. The North Vietnamese Army lost 20 percent of its forces in the South and suffered 33,000 men killed in action for no military gain.

As The New Republic put it recently: “The American public knew none of this, however. The misrepresentation by America’s most respected newsman and most trusted media outlets of what had actually happened during Tet stunned the American public and the body politic. Popular support for the war took a heavy hit, as the war’s critics now grabbed center stage….

“After Tet, American media had assumed a new mission for itself: to shape the nation’s politics by crafting a single coherent narrative, even if it meant omitting certain relevant facts and promoting other false or misleading ones. standing — just as they had convinced them a year earlier that America’s major victory was actually a major defeat.”

Sound familiar?

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By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — Cottonwood Books in Baton Rouge is a small, independent bookseller that has figured out how to survive against the big chain stores and the internet, both of which nibble away at their sales.  This article in the LSU Daily Reveille focuses on how the bookshop is thriving and I am envious.

I always wanted a shop just like  J. Michael Kinny’s place in Natchitoches, Louisiana: The Book Merchant.  It was on Front Street and had a large display window facing the street which looked out on Cane River. The deep window was always filled with attractive displays of books, a sprinkling of antique items, and a fluffy cat sleeping in the sun.  Sadly, the shop closed in 2012. It broke my heart.

The shop was exactly like the one I always dreamed I would have; there were inviting comfortable couches and chairs throughout, attractive displays of books on fine oak tables, warm lamps pooling light onto the gleaming hardwood floors, local art on the walls, and two cats.  J. Michael was always friendly and hospitable; I never went into the shop that he didn’t have a recommendation for me of some local author or book of local interest.

And that’s how Cottonwood Books is surviving – they have a niche.  Their niche is first-editions and hard to find books.  They, too, have a knowledgeable proprietor to help and engage you. It’s working: they’ve been open over 30 years.

In Shreveport we don’t have any independent booksellers that I am aware of.  We do have D&B Russell on King Highway which offers unique used books and they have a great Louisiana section.  Their little corner in King’s Ransom Antique Mall is always inviting with chairs to sit in and stacks of intriguing books. It’s very quiet and I’ve found some real treasures in there.

The struggle for indie booksellers is real: there is the obvious problem of the internet making books instantly accessible but booksellers also have to deal with rising rent costs and the rising costs to retain employees.  But perhaps there is hope for them.  Discount chains like Barnes & Noble are now struggling to remain relevant against even cheaper prices on Amazon. In our local Barnes & Noble I see as many Funko Pop toys and Legos as I do books.

Perhaps a renaissance for indie books is on the horizon.  Betsy Burton of The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake thinks so:

In fact, Burton said independent bookstores are experiencing a renaissance as large chains such as Barnes and Noble struggle against Amazon’s cheap prices and instant gratification. “People actually like to go browse and turn the pages,” Burton said. So, as the chains flounder (with ones such as Borders going under), those who prefer “being able to physically shop” are coming to the independent stores.

She’s not the only one seeing a revival:

But then the saga of the independent bookstore underwent a major plot twist: The customers came back. Between 2009 and 2015, independent booksellers across America grew by an astounding 35 percent, from 1,651 stores to 2,227, ABA figures show. And the upsurge shows no sign of slowing.

There is truth in this.  I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to utilizing Amazon, but there are some books I want to be able to hold in my hand, to smell the ink, the age, to feel the paper…I want to be able to flip through them and I want to be able to look at them on my shelf.  I want to save them and to treasure them.  I have first editions of Lyle Saxon’s books which are one of the first things I’d grab if my house caught on fire. I have an antique, 8-volume, leather bound set of Samuel Pepy’s diary.  I have a tiny red book of Evangeline inscribe on the inside by a Confederate soldier to his lady love, Elizabeth. There’s nothing on Amazon like that.

These are volumes that make one’s heart skip and causes the spirit to soar.

There is no greater joy to me than to be able to spend hours browsing shelves like those in J. Michael Kinny’s shop, getting lost in the books of local history and genealogy.  There are Holy Grail books out there somewhere that I must find: I’d love to find a first edition of Caroline Dormon’s Wildflowers of Louisiana.  At D & B Russell’s shop one time I found a book by Harnett Kane inscribed to Cammie Henry, Jr.  Fate!  I grabbed it and did not let go.

And yes, I’m speaking of second-hand books here, but if an indie is to survive I think they have to find a niche as Cottonwood has done and offer secondhand books, first-editions, local writers, something.  If, as an indie, all you offer is current bestsellers, you will die.

I really miss the independent bookshops.  I’m not sure if I could ever pull it off but if all the stars line up someday maybe I’ll just do it.  I’d try to locate it near a craft brewery so you can buy a book and go have a beer and read it. That way you can support two local businesses (and who wouldn’t want to be next to a craft beer place?!)  I’ll hang twinkly lights like Meg Ryan did in You’ve Got Mail;  I’ll design inviting window displays and I’ll have some shop cats.  There will be local art for sale and maybe homemade baked treats.  A few very unique antiques.  Overstuffed couches and warm rugs on the floors. You will come shop there and you’ll find something that makes your heart skip a beat.

It will be fabulous!

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25.

the last post I got up at the other site before the GoDaddy Suspension liked to this piece concerning a German who had put together a charity working with refugees who had a big change of heart.

I dealt with their official matters, I got them apartments, furniture, cell phones, computers, clothing, courses, jobs, scholarships and spent countless free hours of my private time on individual cases. However, at some point I noticed that these people play with me an unclean game, that is, they use on me taqqiya. I was lied to by these people, which disappointed me a lot. I myself, was constantly warned against this Muslim misleading strategy, by people from Arab countries and Kurds who did not only flee from war zones, but had to flee Muslims; however, I did not want to listen to them. And suddenly, it turned out that those people who dealt with everything who ate with me, drank, danced, laughed, did not pray, did not go to the mosque, did not observe Ramadan, mocked religion and deeply religious people, they, all while eating my food and sitting in my garden, they don’t talk about me other than “a stupid German whore”

She also discovered that when Pam Geller an Robert Spencer talk about the Taqqiya they weren’t kidding.

The undermining of trust is programmed here. Muslims can deceive and lie to an infidel, it is not ethically blameworthy if this tactic will bring some profit that will help him and the Ummah. He doesn’t have to be ashamed of it. In order to extract benefits from the unbeliever, they can pretend friendship or love as long as they don’t feel it in their hearts. Thanks to the existence of taqqiya Muslims are free from any responsibility towards the unbeliever – this is my warning for women who deal with them! But also especially for our politicians who enter into agreements with Islamic unions – no oath, even in the name of Allah, matters because of taqqiya, because Allah has dispensed his faithful from oaths towards unbelievers. The only condition: the lying one must deeply believe in the Koran and Allah. Taqqiya allows a Muslim to act as if he were not a Muslim. He can say and do everything as long as it is used to, for example, gain the trust of a person. Or of a country. Now think about what religious ideology we are dealing with!

Taqqiya, I think, comes from Shiism, but it is also used (even if it is denied) by Sunnis and even allows eating haram (impure) dishes or pretending to be an atheist

It took years for her to reach this point, but no about of denial keeps Islam from being what it is.

Insty linked to it today. here’s my original link, now broken to my old post.

 

Let’s hope by this time tomorrow it’s up again and you can read it.

By John Ruberry

“Big Daddy! Now what makes him so big? His big heart? His big belly? Or his big money?” Brick Pollitt in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.

Two weeks ago at the regular Da Tech Guy site I analyzed the collapse of Chris Kennedy’s gubernatorial campaign in Illinois. In that piece I all but predicted that a member of another wealthy and powerful family, JB Pritzker, would be the Democratic nominee in the autumn general election.

But then came Rod Blagojevich.

The primary election takes place on March 20. On the Republican side, incumbent Bruce Rauner is being challenged by state legislator Jeanne Ives. I’m backing her.

Pritzker has gathered most of the key Democratic endorsements, including those from organized labor, not because of his big heart or even his big belly, as Brick Pollitt quipped in Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, but because of his big money. The Pritzkers have been a consistent and copious source of campaign contributions for Democrats. That big money has blinded Big Labor, as the Pritzkers have a checkered history with unions. Pritzker’s campaign is mostly self-funded.

JB is falling in the polls, although his plummet is not a complete collapse as it has been with Kennedy. A month ago Rauner, who at the time viewed Ives as nothing more than an annoying fly at his picnic, ran ads online and on television with FBI wiretap audio of Pritzker and Blagojevich discussing possible public office appointments for the billionaire after Barack Obama’s election to the presidency. A month later Blago was arrested. You know the rest of the story.

After a January Democratic candidates forum, a We Ask America poll showed that Pritzker’s two dozen point lead over his next rival that he enjoyed in October had been slashed in half. And in second place was Biss, a state senator who is the hero of the progressive crowd. In the latest poll, conducted by Victory Research on Monday and Tuesday–that’s important–calls the Dem race a “dead heat” between Biss and Pritzker.

There are several minor candidates running in the Democratic primary as well.

On that Monday the Chicago Tribune released additional Prizker-Blago wiretaps where Pritzker disparages several black politicians and jokes about the possibility of Blagoejevich appointing Obama’s controversial minister, Jeremiah Wright, to replace the then-president-elect in the US Senate. Pritzker, quoting Wright, even says “God d*mn America” during the recorded telephone conversation, which is something that could end up in another anti-Pritzker ad. As for the latest poll, the impact of Ptitzker’s comments hadn’t completely been digested.

Pritzker is now on an apology tour with the African American community.

Rauner, who the National Review calls “the worst Republican governor in America,” clearly has his own problems, chief among them are that none of his 44 Turnaround Agenda items have been enacted. The onetime businessman also signed into law sanctuary state and public-funding-for-abortion bills that have riled conservatives.

Ives is receiving flak for mocking Rauner’s failures in an ad where, among other things, a man wearing a dress tells Rauner, “Thank you for signing legislation that lets me use the girls’ bathroom,” As I noted on my own blog last week, while I don’t like the tone of the ad, her piece is factual and it may still prove to be effective, as the biggest howls against it come from Illinoisans who have no intention of ever voting for a Republican candidate for governor and GOP party hacks who have been bought off by Rauner’s big money.

There are two “Big Daddy” candidate for governor in the Land of Lincoln.

But the general election could result in being Biss against Ives, which would be something along the lines of a Donald Trump-Bernie Sanders matchup for president.

If that happens I will have a bounty of material to blog about this year.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.