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By Olivia Pierson
First published on Insight@theBFD 9/10/2020
No one could argue with any semblance of honesty that Stalin was not a brutal dictator who considered murder, famine and torture good statecraft. His communist regime was responsible for more civilian deaths during peacetime, than Hitler’s Nazis were during a time of war.
Stalin managed to cover up the Holodomor genocide-famine from the world, but only with the help of Western journalists, most notably Walter Duranty, who wrote for the New York Times while installed in a luxurious apartment in Moscow. Duranty won a Pulitzer prize in 1932 for his interviews with Stalin, and his regular dispatches to the NYT set the narrative for a long cover-up of the horrific famine in the Western media.
The famine took the lives of between 6-10 million Ukrainians who were starved by design through the collectivised farming model which heavily punished farmers for missing impossibly high grain quotas. Every edible item in the possession of peasant farmers was confiscated by Soviet troops, as the peasants slowly starved to death. Peasants were murdered or sent to prison for eating the very crops they had grown, it was deemed to be state property. Stalin particularly had it in for the kulaks, the well-to-do Ukrainian farmers who had previously cultivated the bread-basket of Europe, but were opposed to Stalin’s collectivised farming model. Stalin wiped them out, and with them, the rest of ordinary Ukrainian peasantry.
Duranty sent back reports to the Times denying the famine by resorting to euphemisms such as “food shortages” instead of the word famine, and “widespread mortality due to diseases from malnutrition” instead of the phrase people starving to death. The headline of one of Duranty’s dispatches read: “Russians Hungry, But Not Starving.”
As depicted in the recent film Mr. Jones, Welsh freelance journalist, Gareth Jones, traveled to Russia after working as a clerk for British Prime Minister, Lloyd George. Jones came face-to-face with victims of the famine when he alighted from his train 40 miles out from his destination in Ukraine. Jones walked from village to village only to find the people starving in harsh winter conditions, along with what was left of their farm animals.
Jones and Duranty knew each other. In fact, Jones was “handled” by Duranty during his time in Moscow. Those who knew Duranty personally also knew about his penchant for opium-fuelled, full-nude, pederasty parties of Romanesque proportions, and this may well have been what the NKVD (KGB precursor) had over him in the form of blackmail. Duranty, the only Western journalist allowed to interview Stalin twice, wrote interviews that were favourable to the regime and the dictator himself.
After Jones wrote about what he saw in the Ukraine, Duranty smeared him in a printed rebuttal as a liar. Jones replied in a Letter to the Editor of the New York Times to answer Duranty’s rebuttal, writing amongst other things that “the peasants said emphatically that the famine was worse than 1921 and that fellow-villagers had died, or were dying.”
Here, Jones makes reference to the hellish Russian famine of 1921, the Povolzhye famine. After WWI, U.S. President Herbert Hoover offered Lenin aid to assist victims of starvation in 1919 in exchange for allowing Americans control over the railroad system in Russia to impartially deliver food to the masses. Lenin declined. The famine hit its peak between 1921-1922 killing an estimated 5 million throughout the Volga and Ural river regions, with the peasants resorting to cannibalism.
Another well-known British journalist of the time moved to Russia in 1932 to see for himself how Stalin’s fabled Utopia was faring: Malcolm Muggeridge.
Very much a man of the Left, Muggeridge too wrote favourable articles about the regime as a correspondent for the Manchester Guardian. But unlike Duranty, upon hearing the rumours of people starving to death in a mass genocide, he bucked-off his handlers and travelled to Ukraine. He was repulsed by what he found: mass executions; whole villages starving; all grain and crops confiscated; peasants resorting to cannibalism.
Muggeridge smuggled out his exposé of the famine to be published in Britain. Both Muggeridge’s and Jones’ reporting corroborated each others’ versions, which caused a contentious international debate about the Soviet experiment. Soviet officials continued to deny the famine while journalists, including Duranty, denounced Muggeridge and Jones to be libellous, sensationalist liars.
Muggeridge wrote that Duranty was “the greatest liar of any journalist I have met in fifty years of journalism.”
Duranty continued to enjoy the fame and honours that his status as an award-winning foreign correspondent brought him. Jones was kidnapped and murdered in Mongolia by the Japanese in 1935 (his death occurred in shady circumstances that many believe had everything to do with the NKVD) and Muggeridge was widely discredited as a journalistic crank who couldn’t find work for many years after.
Multiple times Ukrainian-American organisations have petitioned the Pulitzer Board to revoke Duranty’s prize and have the NYT return the award. These requests have been officially denied and in a 2003 statement, the Pulitzer board declared that they have found “no clear and convincing evidence of deliberate deception” on Duranty’s part.
In her 1990 book about Duranty, titled Stalin’s Apologist, author S.J Taylor wrote that Duranty visited Ukraine himself in the autumn of 1933, then gave a confidential spoken report to the British Embassy where he admitted that, “The Ukraine had been bled white and that as many as 10 million may have died of starvation.”
So he knew, but continued to act as a shill journalist covering-up for Stalin’s evil.
In 2017 the New York Times published an article (one of many) alleging that Russian intelligence had ties to the Trump campaign during the 2016 election and transition. The Washington Post also published daily stories without let-up, during the aggressive Mueller special counsel investigation which lasted for two-and-a-half years and turned up “no evidence.”
Now-shamed FBI officials regularly leaked false information to friendly news outlets which turned the false narrative into a witch-hunt of epic proportions. It was all fake – and some of the very same people who helped to concoct the conspiracy have admitted just how fake it all was, such as counterespionage FBI official, Peter Strzok, whose type-written notes were declassified by the FBI in July 2020.
Strzok wrote of the said NYT's article, which asserted that, “phone records and intercepted calls” showed Trump campaign officials had contact with members of the Russian intelligence services:
“This statement is misleading and inaccurate as written… We have not seen evidence of any individuals affiliated with the Trump team in contact with [Russian Intelligence Officials]. . . We are unaware of any Trump advisors engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials.”
The basis for the entire Russia investigation was completely bogus – and the NYT took a special interest in keeping it highly ginned-up. But instead of their editorial board now having the integrity to publish a retraction of false facts, this year they gleefully accepted three Pulitzer prizes for journalism and the Washington Post took away one. Their partisan and biased reporting of a now-debunked conspiracy theory devoid of any facts will disappear down the giant memory hole.
The writers of that NYT's article: Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo are all Pulitzer awardees, Schmidt and Mazzetti both winning theirs in 2018 for their “coverage” of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax.
When shabby little liars posing as elite journalists win prestigious awards for their scurrilous writings, as the Times now exhibits quite a pattern of enabling, from Duranty to Schmidt and Mazzetti, then one has to ask the world what exactly a Pulitzer prize is worth, if anything?
If you enjoyed this article, please buy my book "Western Values Defended: A Primer”
By Olivia Pierson
First published on Insight@theBFD 2/10/2020
Trump argued vigorously in the first debate between himself and presidential hopeful Joe Biden, in fact, it was clear that the president was the only person who showed up for an actual debate.
Chris Wallace was meant to be there to moderate the debate but spent most of his time trying to moderate the president. Wallace deemed Trump’s interruptions to be far more egregious than Biden’s.
The world media has written the debate off as a “total disaster” and a “national embarrassment.” What they expected to witness in the current, divisive cultural climate is anybody’s guess, but when one candidate exhibits the enfeebling symptoms of dementia and the other is known for his aggressive, combative style, it was always going to be a rough night for Joe.
As a moderator, Wallace failed spectacularly. He played nurse-maiden to Biden’s obvious fragility while simultaneously trying to keep Trump’s gladiatorial style in check, which didn’t work. This came off as heavily biased in Biden’s favour and totally skewed the debate. In essence, it forced Trump to have to debate two people, instead of just one – and no self-respecting alpha male is going to take that partisan carry-on from a beta male referee. Instead, Trump dominated both men to re-balance the show toward some semblance of equity.
A debate is meant to be a battle of ideas. Witty interjections, verbal slams and wordy jousts are properly part of that picture. Telling your opponent to “Shut-up man,” as Biden did, is not.
But the bar had been set so low for Biden in deference to his frail condition that Oscar the Grouch would’ve made a more worthy opponent if allowed out of his trash-can. Wallace kept rescuing him – and that was unconscionable. Biden is competing to become nothing less than the leader of the Free World – if he’s not up to it, and he clearly isn’t, then Wallace owes the viewers the chance to let that be made obvious in debate, not handle Biden with kid-gloves and openly compete with the president on the Democrats’ behalf.
A classic case in point was Wallace’s very loaded question to Trump about his administration directing federal agencies to end “racial sensitivity training.”
The actual directive is to end the pernicious curriculums in government institutions which teach Critical Race Theory – and those who don’t agree with the theory are always slammed as blatant “racists” for the crime of their dissent.
Trump embarked on his answer to Wallace’s question and declared that Critical Race Theory is a “radical revolution taking place in our military, in our schools and all over the place.” Wallace then interrupted Trump in the middle of his answer, demanding to know “What is radical about racial sensitivity training, sir?” (As if he doesn’t know.) Trump continued with his answer and included this point, “We have to go back to our core values. They were teaching people that our country is a horrible place, a racist place and they were teaching people to hate our country.”
Biden made a noise indicating that he was about to interrupt, so Wallace gave him the floor. Biden said, “Nobody’s doing that – he’s the racist!” Smouldering, Trump muttered, “You don’t know…” and Wallace then barked at Trump, “Let him finish.”
Unbelievable. Wallace should’ve pulled Biden up on the fact that his comment was a cheap, disgusting, racial slur against the president – exactly the sort of filthy smear that has come to typify Critical Race Theory.
In that one segment of questioning alone, Trump had to give an answer to a dishonestly framed question, then be interrupted by Wallace who starts to debate him, before being smeared as a racist by Biden – and to top it off, the president had to tolerate Wallace demanding that he remain quiet so his opponent could keep smearing him as a racist. Somehow in Wallace’s mind, this all passed as good moderation. It wasn’t. It was heavily biased nonsense which happened throughout the entire evening.
Early in the debate, not able to cope with Trump’s interruptions over the question of would Democrats pack the court (which Biden refused to answer and Wallace didn’t press him on), Biden blurted out “Will you shut-up man,” then whined that “this was so unpresidential.”
Biden went on to call Trump “a clown”, “a racist”, “the worst president in the history of the country,” etc… and at no point did Wallace even attempt to chide Biden for this appalling conduct, yet he constantly rebuked the president for interrupting the Fragile One.
Since May of this year, the terrorist group ANTIFA, along with Black Lives Matter, have burned buildings, police precincts, churches, cars and businesses while physically beating and even killing not only Trump supporters, but also cops and anyone else who happens to get in their way.
Democrat leadership has failed to be vocal in condemning this violence, insisting on their support of “peaceful protests” which they know full well were anything but peaceful.
Understanding all this, Wallace pointed out to the president that he was critical of Biden for not condemning ANTIFA and other left-wing extremist groups, then asked him, “Are you willing to condemn white supremacist and militia groups and say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in these cities as we saw in Kenosha and Portland?”
Trump answered, “Sure I’m willing to do that, but almost everything I see is from the left-wing, not the right-wing…” Wallace interrupted him mid-sentence and began to debate him, again, saying “If you’re willing to do it, then do it sir.” Trump paused, asking for a specific group’s name, so Proud Boys was mentioned. Trump then said, “Sure, Proud Boys, stand back and stand by! But I tell you what, someone has to do something about the Left because this is not a right-wing problem.”
Biden interrupted, with Wallace’s sanction, and said, “ANTIFA is an idea not an organisation.” Trump mocked, “You gotta be kidding! When you’re hit in the head with a bat that is not an idea!” Biden continued bleating about what the FBI Director called ANTIFA before Wallace interrupted them both saying, “Gentlemen, we’re done sirs, moving on to the next topic.”
That was all the time that Wallace allowed for a problem as monumental as the shocking, current mob-violence rampaging through American cities where thousands of people have had their businesses smashed to pieces after barely surviving Covid lockdowns. It is a problem that is going to get much worse after the November election, no matter who wins.
Frankly, if the police can’t do their job for fear of retributions in this cop-hating climate, if the National Guard is not called in by Democrat governors, if the military refuses to participate in putting down mob-violence on the left, then armed citizens and groups like Proud Boys may be the only way that innocent citizens can actually be protected. The second amendment still holds. These violent left-wing groups have been wheeling out guillotines at their “peaceful” protests. That should make everybody shudder.
Much more needed to be robustly debated on this topic, but neither Biden, nor Wallace, were up for it.
Trump won that debate, no contest. It was a debate between three men: a passionate and verbally combative president, Oscar the Grouch with dementia and a moderator who was far too biased and out of his depth to moderate a boisterous debate during a time when the most powerful country on Earth is threatening to unravel.
If you enjoyed this article, please buy my book "Western Values Defended: A Primer”
By Olivia Pierson
First published on Insight@theBFD 24/09/2020
I’ve become aware of an issue in New Zealand that makes my blood boil.
That issue is how poorly women who have just given birth are cared for in the New Zealand health system.
It has become a fight just to give new mothers the minimum legal right of 48 hours of maternity care. Too many women are pressured to give birth then move on, often without the confidence of being able to properly breastfeed their baby and without feeling well enough to go home, both physically or mentally.
Sometimes women are traumatised by a difficult birth and lack of quality care but are sent home anyway to go it alone with overwhelming feelings of anxiety and inadequacy. That’s a recipe for chronic post-natal depression in itself.
Little wonder then, that New Zealand’s maternity suicide rate is shocking: five times higher than the United Kingdom’s, with far too many of those women being Maori. I’ve read horror stories which have become far too common, where new mothers who are in labour themselves are the ones helping other women in labour because the hospital staff are too busy to attend them.
One heartbreaking incident in Rotorua in 2018, saw a young mother give birth to her still-born baby with no medical staff in attendance, only her own traumatised mother at her side. The baby had been dead inside her for a week, which is why she had been sent to the hospital. Staff were aware that this was the case but left her alone anyway as they just couldn’t spare anyone to help her, or so they said.
Not exactly The Red Tent.
On the upside, there now exists quite a powerful campaign to address this problem – and rather than being a government initiative, it’s a private charity called Mothers Matter and is founded by Chloe Wright, CEO of the Wright Family Foundation.
In what can only be described as a highly ambitious project with a massive dose of heart, Chloe Wright’s foundation has already built four new, beautiful birthing units around the country, where mums can give birth in a high quality, well-resourced and staffed environment – and get the post-natal care and attention they desperately need before going home. Chloe has even made sure that their partners/husbands can stay in the facility too if they wish to be part of that golden window of parental bonding which happens in the first 48 hours of an infant’s new life.
Funded by the foundation, these birthing units are free of charge. So far, there is one in Mangere, one in Tauranga, one in Palmerston North (the management of which was taken over by the MidCentral DHB in April of this year) and one in Lower Hutt. The Tauranga unit receives some local DHB funding, but Auckland and Lower Hutt receive none.
Chloe was hoping that the government Budget of 2020 would allocate some much-needed funding through the DHB to the Nga Hau Mangere unit, saying:
“The centre is free for birthing women but only seven of the 20 suites are being utilised as the Foundation continues to fund the centre independently. To date, the DHB refuses to engage. It’s a ‘no brainer’, but clearly a ‘no heart’ approach to the women and families of South Auckland.”
After the birth, the main goal of the birthing units is to see “all of our mums to return home feeling confident and empowered in their ability to look after their baby.” If mums struggle with breastfeeding after they have returned home, the staff can offer advice over the telephone or link up mums with support services to help.
I commend Chloe Wright for her heart, passion and drive to address this important problem in New Zealand. What could be more essential to early human flourishing than mums bonding with their new babies in a calm, supportive and safe environment?
In becoming aware of this problem which Chloe is magnificently addressing, I realise how drastically times have changed in this country from when I had my three children between 1988 -1994 and now.
My first baby was born in Papakura Obstetric Unit. I stayed there in cozy comfort for five nights while Cyclone Bola was ravaging the North Island. I could not have asked for a better midwife and received impeccable care, not going home until I felt super confident I could do everything on my own. I was 18, so probably needed it (though would never have admitted that at the time). Still a cruise by nature to this day, that baby daughter slept 7-9 hours most nights from the time we returned home from the hospital. I had to wake her for feeding time. I was lucky, but the carers at the maternity unit sent me home a very relaxed, new mother.
My second baby was born at home, with the same excellent midwife who delivered my first, as well as having a doctor present, who just stayed well out of the way. I’ll never forget how happy and contented I felt going to bed that night with my husband beside me and our new baby son right next to us, all safe and snuffly in his bassinet (his nose was squashed). Our midwife swung by every day for the next week to check in on us all, and then intermittently after that.
My third baby was born in Middlemore, as she was in foetal distress throughout my labour with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. Middlemore was ghastly: noisy, sterile and busy, but I was transferred out first thing in the morning to Pukekohe Maternity Unit, where I stayed for a whole week as baby was such a fussy little feeder. The midwives and nurses there gave me the absolute gold standard in maternity care, feeding me like a queen, looking after bubs while I got extra sleep and wanting me to leave only when my daughter could feed without causing a Shakespearean drama. (Funny that she works in theatre.)
Even then, I remember my mother-in-law remarking that we “modern mothers” all left hospital far too early compared to “her day.” She felt that we should all be properly convalescing after a birth for at least two weeks in order to heal up.
After each birth, the saintly ladies from the church we attended dropped meals off to us for another week and provided an endless stream of motherly advice and companionship.
In direct contrast to the excellent care I received, there are so many mothers out there who do not get anything like that sort of care in hospital, who are often horribly sore and bruised from stitches, cracked/bleeding nipples and god-knows-what else, but are bravely soldiering on without even the lifeline of a caring community, or sadly even a partner. My heart breaks for them. I honestly don’t know how they do it, but I understand how depressed and lonely many must feel given their isolation and the importance of the task ahead of them.
To be fighting for 48 hours of quality maternity care in a First World country, as Mothers Matter are doing so vigorously, seems like a very small ask from our healthcare system. What the heck happened to make this so damn hard?
If you would like to sign the petition that Mothers Matter has going and consider making a donation, you can find them here.
If you enjoyed this article, please buy my book "Western Values Defended: A Primer”
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