Monday, August 27, 2007

This is what makes my heart heavy

Four weeks ago, the lesser of my two PCs blew a power supply (and possibly more) during the night. There was a lightning storm, and I wonder if that's what caused a small scorch on one outlet of that computer's surge protector. The computer no longer would turn on, and borrowing the power supply from the other computer yielded iffy results: the motherboard was getting power, but it wasn't POSTing, and the CPU fan spun only sporadically. Rather than spend money on an outdated computer, I decided it was time for a new system and bought a Dell. Wonderful machine, but Dell's been having supply problems. The first delay, I was told, was caused by supply problems with my video card. The second was because of high demand for LCD screens, for laptop screens and LCD monitors, and I had ordered a 22" widescreen.

Vista seems ok so far, but it requires incredibly hardware to look pretty. I've turned most of the effects off. My favorite Microsoft OS is still Windows 2000, which required a lot of HD space but ran smoothly. XP and Vista feel so bloated, particularly with dialogue boxes and applying new configurations. When they work for several seconds to pull up dialogue boxes that 2000 pulled up quickly, you wonder what else isn't running efficiently.

But I now have a big gripe with Vista and XP, which apparently "lost" a lot of files. I had networked the new Dell with its working predecessor and copied most of my files over, using Explorer on the new PC to browse folders on the old system, select files and folders, indicate a copy, then paste onto the new machine. However, Explorer had problems with the files in one particular folder, telling me it couldn't access them. The folder was shared, and oddly enough, the two subdirectories copied over just fine. So I told Explorer to skip the first several troubled files, checked the box to do the same for the rest of the conflicts, and figured I'd get back to things later. This Saturday, I checked out the old computer and discovered, to my horror, that in that folder on my old computer, the only files remaining were the two subdirectories and their contents! In other words, of that folder on my old computer, the only remains of the folder were what had copied over to my new PC. All the files in the main directory were gone. I have no idea what happened, except that Vista went nuts and somehow had XP on the old machine delete all files in the directory. If anyone's heard of something like this, please let me know.

A couple of recovery utilities (Pandora and Undelete Plus) recovered some of the lost files, but only some. I'd rebooted the computer a few times as part of changing network settings, and whenever I restarted Mozilla, SessionSaver would refresh the cache as part of restoring all my saved windows. So, a lot of my lost files were impossible to restore, because the disk space was already overwritten. Tonight I plugged in the hard drive from my defunct computer, but I can't find the duplicate of that folder. I had made CD backups some time ago, but now I can't find them. Yes, it's ultimately my fault alone for not having readily accessible backups, and I'm the first to preach about making backups often, but it's nonetheless upsetting. These were the high-res originals of pictures I had taken over the last couple of years, especially Central Park and the last two company holiday parties.

Anyway, it's been a busy weekend. Don't worry, Tutton, I haven't forgotten about you. Your e-mail is still sitting untouched in my inbox, and sometime tomorrow (i.e. later today, because of the late hours I keep) I'll get around to reading it. But don't be a coward, Kraut-Wannabe: feel free to continue the "discussion" in comments. You know I'll post your e-mails regardless.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tutton, the wannabe Kraut, still can't read

He e-mailed me the following:
I did not see your "enlightened" response to my e-mail to Don Luskin when it first came out. But let me now express my appreciation to you for articulating the ueber Kapitolistischer opinion that it is indeed, not only acceptible, but good, to have children working in coal mines and other dangerous manufacturing scenarios.
Tutton had better stick to the German that he likes to speak, because he certainly can't understand English. What part of "I make no value judgment either way" does he not understand? Good lord. A child could read what I wrote before and then reiterated, and nowhere did I say it was "good." Nor did I say it was "bad," either, because it's not the role of real economics to make value judgments.

That being said, my challenge still stands: let Tutton defend his beliefs, when his way of "protecting the children" would have condemned my father to starvation.
Man, I could not have asked for a better response. But, you were mistaken in saying that I am a "Liberal". I was cured of that disease a long time ago. I am a Nationalist. But, Gott sei' dank', I am not a Socialist.
So he claims, but like a good liberal, he wants government intervention. Mussolini was a fascist, but having been a "socialist" once upon a time, he could still sincerely argue for the necessity of state intervention into the economy.

Is Tutton a wannabe Calvinist, also, that he unnecessarily brings God into the equation? God had nothing to do with his political choice, and the boss upstairs is probably tired of people giving him thanks for such silly things. God, devils and people may have influence, but ultimately a man makes his own choices about what to believe.
Since you say you do not understand German,
In economics, it's called "opportunity cost." Right now I'm learning a bit of Tagalog, when six months ago I did want to learn German and visit Heidelberg someday (part of my father's family came from there in the mid-19th century).
let me explain what I said. Nationalist is one thing. Socialist is another. National Socialist is NAZI.
Does anyone not chuckle how he claims the two are different, then cites the example where the two came together? Nationalists come in all wavelengths of the political spectrum, but whether "socalist" or "fascist," their common denominator is allegiance to the state.

It's no wonder Tutton likes to throw German around. With that, his self-professed nationalism, and his hatred of being called "liberal," he'd have fit right in in 1930s Munich.
Wacht auf! (Wake up.) Never again, lover. Do you understand? Ask your grandmother. Your grandfather left for a reason. Children weeding the garden is one thing. Little children pulling carts through tunnels that grown men cannot fit through, for 20 hours a day, in the mines, is a different thing -- ganz verschiedene, Phillipenischer. Ask the old ones.
And I'd like Tutton to point out anytime that children were doing such things. The sheer logic escapes him: a cart won't fit much at all if it must fit in a tunnel smaller than a grown man. A mine owner wasn't going to hire children when he needed the strength of grown men.

Notice how Tutton makes assumptions about me, which is a common liberal trait. None of my grandparents are alive, and my paternal ones were born here in the United States. They never "left" anywhere. My paternal grandmother was French and has been dead for decades (you can imagine when she was born, since my father was born in 1918 as the youngest of three). My paternal grandfather was German, but he abandoned the family, and I have no idea what happened to him.

But as I've said about father, he spent his childhood selling apples on the streets of Schenectady during the Depression. If he didn't count as an "old one," nobody does.
I would wish you peace, but you have no strength, and you clearly have no children,
I'd wish him peace, but strength of intellect and an ounce of brain before anything else. And if he has any kinder, I feel pity for them.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Are liberals like Joseph Tutton always so weak-minded?

My friend and blogfather Don Luskin forwarded me an e-mail from some Tutton guy whose e-mails to me kept getting bounced. I couldn't have remembered for the life of me who this Tutton guy is, but he e-mailed Don a while back, and Don and I separately countered his China-bashing.
My Dear Mr. Luskin:

I hate to ask a favor, but I will -- would you please forward this to Eidelblogger. Sending to his address listed on his web site has given me a Postmaster message that it is permantly disabled. The address I sent it to was

Since he gave me the extreme insult of calling me a "liberal", for God's sake, I thought I must respond. I sent a copy to you, but Postmaster said it wasn't delivered to him. So, if you can, send it to is new address, if you have it. And, if you can't find an address for the loser, I would ask you to think about posting this reply on your site, so he might read it.

Peace (through strength), Joseph Tutton
Ah, my fault there. When I redid some colors for my blog a while back, I created an image file with "eidelblog" rather than "eidelbus" as I should have. Seriously, are liberals like Tutton really that clueless that they think I did that deliberately, so I couldn't be e-mailed? The simple truth of the matter is, and I say this almost with a blush, I didn't notice my mistake until now. Even when my friend jk said his e-mail to me bounced, I thought he had mistyped the address. I use an image file, not text, and it's not "mailto:" hyperlinked, to prevent spam.

And if all else fails, which jk figured, leave a comment so I can initiate an e-mail conversation. I require registration for comments, however. which helps cut down on spamIt's mainly because of spammers, but also anonymous NYPD cowards who were inundating me with the most vulgar things you ever read.

On a side note, I never did register, and I figured I had better in case someone decides to start impersonating me. Curiously enough, Google says that "eidelblog" is unavailable, and a message just now got bounced back. So the ID isn't in use, but it can't be used for a new account: it truly is disabled. That's a nice touch for which I'll give Google a lot of credit, preventing a certain ID from being registered on Gmail because it's presumably the same as an existing ID on Blogger.

Well, here's the e-mail that Ranting Liberal Tutton wanted to send me. I think he's been breathing too many coal mine fumes, don't you think?
Meiner Lieber Eidelblogger:

"I make no value judgment either way..."

I did not see your "enlightened" response to my e-mail to Don Luskin when it first came out. But let me now express my appreciation to you for articulating the ueber Kapitolistischer
Is he trying to impress me or something, throwing in German words just because I call myself "Eidelblogger"? I don't speak more than a few words of German, if you can call that speaking. My father may have been half-German, but he was raised by his French mother and aunt and thus learned a bit of their ancestral tongue.

Tutton really presumes too much. I used to call myself "The Eidelblogger" simply as an English neologism, until Jack Yoest referred to me as "Der Eidelblogger." I liked the sound of it and changed my blog's masthead as appropriate.
opinion that it is indeed, not only acceptible, but good, to have children working in coal mines and other dangerous manufacturing scenarios. Man, I could not have asked for a better response.
In fact, I never said any such thing, and I wonder if it's Tutton's rabid paranoia at being called a "liberal" that prompted him to put words into my mouth.

What I originally said was here, and I've also blogged about child labor. I was perfect correct, not to mention truthful, in saying I make no value judgments either way. What I do observe is that some societies are so poor that adults alone cannot produce sufficient economic output to feed the family, so there is no choice but to have children participate. Throughout human history, it's been everything from herding sheep to farm chores to digging. In some developing countries today, it's making clothes and semiconductors. Nobody wants to see children, because it's the ideal that they can go to school and grow up happy, but no matter how much Tutton sticks his head in the sand, we can't avoid the reality that certain poor societies just can't afford to have only adults working. When two parents can't grow enough crops by themselves, or tend enough animals by themselves, to support several children. Poorer families already tend to be larger, and consider that more children in the Third World are reaching adulthood thanks to vaccinations and sanitation.

My father, not even a teenager, could work to support his family during the Great Depression. How will Tutton explain that his beliefs applied in the 1930s would have condemned my father to literal starvation? It's just another way that modern liberalism insists on saving you from saving yourself, even if it kills you.

It wasn't government that stopped child labor. No matter what people want government to do, government cannot make people produce more than they are already capable, no more than it can decree water to be less wet. The reason, the only reason, that the United States and developed countries don't have child labor is that we don't need it, thanks to technology. Parents in the United States generally can earn enough to feed their families. Parents in Zimbabwe generally cannot, and if a child has an opportunity to work somewhere to earn money so the family can afford to eat, the logical choice is not to send the child to school.
But, you were mistaken in saying that I am a "Liberal". I was cured of that disease a long time ago. I am a Nationalist. But, Gott sei' dank', I am not a Socialist.
Is he capitalizing words, thinking he's speaking German? Regardless, one can be a nationalist (big or small N) and still a liberal. Larouchers are liberal, but they're as "nationalist" as any classic fascist. On the other end of the political spectrum, one can be a nationalist and still a socialist, just like Lenin and all his successors.

Liberals believe in government control of the economy, but maybe Tutton really isn't. I'm starting to wonder, especially with all the German words he's throwing around and now his self-professed "nationalist" ideology, if he's a modern Nazi a la Pat Buchanan.
What is your excuse for wanting children in the mines? Whose kinder, sag' mir?
Once more, I never said I wanted children in the mines. In an ideal world, not even adults would have to work in such dangerous places.
In Tennessee, as well as Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, und alles, the whites from Scotland and Germany, Czech und Poland worked along side the black Schwarzeneggers in the god-awful hells of the coal mines of Appalachia. East Tennessee fought for the Union of this Country. Not for any goddamned union organization. If you had any idea of how many people died for indiv idual freedom, you would be slower to accuse someone of being a "liberal" because they oppose slave labor in China. But thanks for expressing the slave-owner mentality so well. N'mie wieder, liebchen. Versteche'?
Talk about your non sequiturs! Two different ethnic groups worked together, half of Tennessee aligned with the North during the Civil War instead of fighting for unions, people died for what they mistakenly thought was "individual freedom" (the Civil War was not fought over freedom, but over the federal government's authority), and ergo, Tutton says, I'm like a slave owner because I recognize some societies are really poor and need children to pitch in.

Tutton has a warped notion of "individual freedom," which he tacitly defines as what meets the limits of his acceptance. True "individual freedom" is my right to transact peacefully with another willing party, harming no others, no matter what Tutton or others say. This is whether I'm running an energy company that ships coal from Tennessee to Tallahassee, or buying goods that were made in a factory in Shanghai. Don has always been right to emphasize that we can't defend the ideals of liberty by pointing out that they're more economically efficient: our defense must be on the grounds that they are the moral choice.

Liberals would say that "moral" is to have laws preventing children from working. No, that's fantasy. "Moral" is not preventing children from picking up a shovel or scythe to help feed their families.


Monday, August 13, 2007

The latest reason to disregard the AP's "economic" news

"U.S. Homeowner Woes Felt Around World" laments the headline. With phrases like "The latest crisis in financial markets," "fears that Americans are failing to keep up with their mortgage payments" and "a glut of foreclosed homes," you'd think it was the end of the world. After all, we have sources like the prescient "Gabriella Savarini, a 69-year-old shopkeeper in Rome"! Never mind that she's telling us the obvious ("problems on the stock exchange have consequences for the economy of America and of the world"), the fact that the Associated Press quotes her means we must regard her opinion as gospel, right?

Let's go through some of the ludicrous doomsaying in the article:
"The sharp falls in global stock markets obviously affect consumer wealth, which again could dampen spending," said Howard Archer, chief British and European economist at Global Insight.
How can a top economist at any reputable company be so confused about saving and spending? If this is an example of their usual "insight," then Archer and his employer had better stick to providing raw data, instead of analyzing it (let alone making predictions!). The "sharp falls" will have minimal effect on the portfolios of those who meant to save their stock investments. On the other hand, the drops will, as we'll see below, (properly) penalize those who think they can time the market with short-term investments.
The most immediate effect for the half of all American households who own mutual funds and other individual investors worldwide is a decline in the value of their investments, which may or may not be short-lived.
This will require a trifle lengthy debunking, as I'll have to get into numbers. Thankfully, people like Paul Krugman and the AP's "economic writers" (particularly the perma-bear hacks Martin Crutsinger and Jeanine Aversa) are a great indicator of the economy. When they're predicting gloom while there's a Republican in the White House, things are actually going great.

Stock markets across the world have been dipping lately, but as far as the American exchanges, let's look at the facts. As I noted back on April 5th,
Year-to-date, the DJIA has gained only 0.8%. But if you had bought a Dow Jones Industrial Average index fund on February 28th, the day after it closed at 12216.2402, then your purchase as of April 5th's close would have already gained 2.8% (the DJIA closed at 12560.8301). If you had bought on March 6th, the day after the market "tumbled" to 12050.4102, then your purchase as of April 5th's close would have gained 4.2%.
As I explained in that post, I refer to "the day after" because when you buy a index fund, the Net Asset Value is calculated from the underlying securities' prices from the day before. So on February 28th, you're buying at prices determined at the close of February 27 (the day of the first big dip).

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 12216.2402 on the close of February 27th, and at 13239.54 on the close of this last Friday, August 10th. So if you had bought into a simple DJIA index fund on February 28th, then excluding fees and taxes, you'd now be up almost 8.4%. If you had bought into the index fund on March 6th, the day after the DJIA closed at 12050.4102, you'd now be up almost 9.9%. (For simplification purposes, when I talk about funds' gains, I'm not counting dividends you may receive.)

Let's look at the S&P 500: 1399.04 at the close of February 27th, 1374.12 at the close of March 5th, 1453.64 at the close of August 10th. So the gain since February 27th is still 3.9%, and the gain since March 5th is 5.8%. For the NASDAQ, the numbers are 2407.8601 at the close of February 27th, 2340.6799 at the close of March 5th, and 2544.8899 at the close of August 10th. The gain since February 27th is 5.7%, and the gain since March 5th is 8.7%.

So what's the lesson, that the DJIA is better? Not necessarily. The first secret to successful investing is to diversify: index funds in each of the three (plus others like the Russell 2000) are a desirable, and even then, they are only a portion of a successful portfolio. Buy into some tech funds, but don't ignore other vehicles like emerging market funds, health care mutual funds, and energy SPDRs.

But, naysayers may argue, what about those who buy at the top of a bull market? After all, the DJIA closed at 14000.4102 on July 19th, the same day that the S&P 500 closed at 1553.08 and the NASDAQ closed at 2720.04. The losses since then, respectively, have been 5.4%, 6.4% and 6.4%. Well, the second secret is that no matter how well or poorly the markets are doing, think long-term. Wait a few years and see how the averages do, considering U.S. stock markets have a consistent historical upward trend. Individual investors should never expect to get consistent short-term gains, but they can have every confidence in the long-term gains of properly diversified holdings.
The distress in the markets makes it harder and more expensive for businesses and consumers to get loans and cash, Archer said. If companies cannot get loans, they cannot expand and may have to cut expenses, typically through layoffs.
This is a common logical fallacy: make a questionable statement, and make it seem valid by immediately making a generalized statement that is only generally true. In this case, the current "distress" in the markets does not necessarily make it harder for "businesses and consumers to get loans and cash," whether any particular entity or on average. Such a blanket statement is simply not true, for the very reason that if you are competitive, then by definition, you'll get a loan at competitive rates. So it's more accurate to say, "The current dip in the markets, which some economists and financial analysts explain is a natural correction from recent highs, could further tighten the easy credit of the last several years. If so, it will be harder for less competitive businesses and consumers to ride the coattails of the successful when seeking to borrow."
America faced a crisis similar to the current mortgage fiasco when hundreds of savings and loan companies went belly-up in the 1980s. Back then, the fallout did not spread dramatically to foreign shores because the U.S. government stepped in to bail out the banks and repay depositors.
So is the reporter shilling for Hillary Clinton or John Edwards, that he implies the federal government will need to bail out all these defaulting mortgages? Is he even serious in making the comparison to the S&L scandal? The two situations are completely different. The S&L crisis was borne of government, first because the federal government insured S&L loans (creating the moral hazard of encouraging S&Ls to make bad loans, knowing they couldn't lose if the loans weren't repaid), and second because of certain government officials' participation in the fraud that exacerbated the collapse. What's happening today with mortgages is typically that stupid people get in over their heads by borrowing money they latter cannot afford to repay, allowing smart investors to buy foreclosed properties. Finally, the doomsaying about "foreign shores" didn't apply then or now: foreigners weren't heavily invested in S&Ls compared to other things, and the same applies today. Foreigners love our stocks more than investing in S&Ls or buying mortgage-backed securities, and they especially love U.S. Treasury securities and our real estate.
A steep sell-off in global markets on Thursday and Friday was triggered by distress signals from France's biggest bank, BNP Paribas, which had to freeze billions of dollars in assets in three mutual funds because of the falling value of securities linked to high-risk mortgages taken out by U.S. borrowers.
Incorrect. They were hedge funds that dealt with asset-backed securities, which are different from a mutual fund. Hedge funds are all about investing in very high-risk securities, and with the fact that they require heavy initial investments (US $100K is not uncommon), would-be investors know what they're getting into.

In any case, BNP Paribas only temporarily suspended redemption of three funds, whose aggregate value is about $2 billion (compare that to the, what, $10 trillion today in mutual funds?). Now, the mainstream news would you have think the worst, that BNP was having troubles like American Home Mortgage (which recently collapsed into bankruptcy because it cannot repay loans). But the reality is that BNP didn't have any loan troubles, but that with the latest market volatility, it simply had trouble valuing the funds' underlying securities. Doesn't it make sense that if you don't know how much something is worth, you can't trade it?
Global interdependency isn't a recent phenomenon: The Wall Street stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression affected the entire world, and helped create the conditions for the rise of fascism in Europe.
Stock markets were only one portion of the Depression, and in fact, the events of October 1929 was merely a symptom, not a cause. (Click here for my blog entries involving it, they're all worth a read.) Simply, the Depression was triggered by the Federal Reserve suddenly cutting the money supply by a third in the late 1920s, then exacerbated by the Hawley-Smoot Tariff (protectionism that hurt all nations that tried to retaliate against each other), and further by tax hikes that strangled any attempts to invest in business growth (as compared to "public works" that wasted money hiring people to dig holes and fill them back up, or build bridges nobody needed at that cost).
But with faster communications and real-time trading, market jitters in New York race around the world almost instantly today.
And this is undesirable? Information should spread as quickly as possible, because markets work most efficiently that way.
More Americans are failing to keep up with their home mortgage payments, and there are concerns that this could ripple around the globe because much of the debt from mortgages has been packaged into securities sold to pension funds, banks and other investors who were hungry for high returns on investments.
This would be a problem if most or at least significantly more Americans were having trouble, but that's not true.
The same mortgage securities in the U.S. that are crumbling in value are a part of bigger holdings that banks from Japan to Germany bought into because of low U.S. interest rates and a good returns.
They're part of overall portfolios, but not a major component at all. Remember that word "diversified"?
Meanwhile, the ability of banks to convert assets to cash quickly was in doubt because some were unable to track how much money they poured into now worthless securities backed by sub-prime U.S. mortgages, or loans made to high credit-risk individuals.
The attempt is to lump all sub-prime mortgages together, and make it seem like they're all in trouble. They're not. But, the liberal media always needs to create some sort of economic Armageddon, at least when a Republican is in the White House.

The rest of the article is historically accurate, but with the same Chicken Little tone. UBS lost $125 million, and Bear Stearns closed two funds that had been worth $20 billion. Yet the companies are still solvent, aren't they? We shouldn't be surprised that they are. Financial giants and their high-risk investors are prepared for such losses: hedge funds' inherently high risks keep them from being no more than a small portion of, you guessed it, a properly diversified portfolio.

Toward the end, it's explained how central banks are intervening, as they've occasionally done in the past, increasing the supply of loanable funds by injecting money into financial markets. Actually, this is the last thing we want: if credit is too easy to come by, why do we want it to continue?

Sleep well tonight: unless you put your 401K into a single individual stock, and barring the Democrats screwing up our economy, things will be fine.


Friday, August 03, 2007

If it's such a good idea, why isn't Diageo doing it already?

The latest proposed bullshit regulation isn't from the FDA, but the Treasury Department: labels on all alcoholic beverages that detail the alcoholic content, serving sizes and nutritional information.

Consumers are not coerced into buying a product and therefore accept all risks voluntarily, so why must government force the manufacturers to reveal everything? If I'm not certain what's inside something, such as sugar or fat content, then I simply don't buy it. Furthermore, most beverages already include a lot of the information. So why is Diageo pushing for this ruling? Isn't it already free to put such information on its own bottles already, setting a new standard by example?

But there's a good reason that an entrenched company will want to increase government powers over the products: the new regulations force competitors to spend more money. Standard Oil successfully lobbied for hefty fire insurance requirements (and supposedly burned down buildings to have an excuse for such regulations), which made it impossible for would-be competitors to enter the market. In this case, the increased cost is just slightly per bottle, but it's a not insignificant cost after millions of bottles and packages. Diageo's executives are probably counting on not spending as much as their main competitors will, under the new and quite unnecessary requirement.

Scott Thomas Beauchamp is a liar

When it comes to explaining how the military works, especially the command structure and equipment, I find McQ of QandO unparalleled. Don't miss his latest takedown of that lying ass, Scott Thomas, who unsurprisingly snookered The New Republic with implausible tales of American military behaving badly. The things Thomas claimed just wouldn't happen without a lot of repercussion to whoever was stupid enough to insult an IED-disfigured civilian contractor, wear a child's skull as a "yarmulke" (is anyone goddamn stupid enough to believe that?!), or maneuver a Bradley just to run over a dog. The CO would get in as much trouble, if not more, for not remedying the situation and disciplining the soldier.

There are only two possibilities: Thomas is telling the truth, or he is lying. If he is telling the truth, then he needs to be court-martialed for his conduct unbecoming a member of the U.S. Army. If he is lying, then he likewise needs to be court-martialed for...his conduct unbecoming a member of the U.S. Army. The same should have happened to John Kerry after his testimony before the Senate committee in 1971: either be court-martialed for his part in the war crimes he claimed they did, or be court-martialed for lying.

Chavez' apologists

When reading tripe about Chavez congratulating Sean Penn, I checked a link to an earlier article by a Chavez apologist. I presume it was in the op-ed section, but these days, a lot of op-eds masquerade as genuine news.

From the very title, it's a complete lie. "Chávez is no enemy of free speech"? Certainly he isn't, in the same way that Robert Mugabe is bettering the lives of Zimbabwe's poor and the oppressed, and the same way that Mao propelled China forward (disregarding the little bit about 70 million people starving to death).

Tito Hugo's apologist blathers:
But after Chávez was elected president in 1998, RCTV shifted to another endeavor: ousting a democratically elected leader from office. Controlled by members of the country's fabulously wealthy oligarchy, including RCTV chief Marcel Granier, it saw Chávez and his "Bolivarian Revolution" on behalf of Venezuela's majority poor as a threat.

RCTV's most infamous effort to topple Chávez came during the April 11, 2002, coup attempt against him. For two days before the putsch, RCTV preempted regular programming and ran wall-to-wall coverage of a general strike aimed at ousting Chávez. A stream of commentators spewed vitriolic attacks against him – while permitting no response from the government.

Then RCTV ran ads encouraging people to attend a march on April 11 aimed at toppling Chávez and broadcast blanket coverage of the event. When the march ended in violence, RCTV and Globovisión ran manipulated video blaming Chávez supporters for scores of deaths and injuries.
This is a textbook example of whitewashing a tyrant's bloodstained record, and shifting the blame to those resisting the tyranny. Point out that the government is democratically elected, meaning a majority vote to seize the property of the minority -- check. Accuse the critics of being rich, evil capitalists who are bent on oppressing the poor -- check. Accuse the critics of showing only "their side" -- check.

Free speech means being able to say what you want, with your own bias if you want, and not having to worry about being "fair" and "objective" about your opponents. I wonder if this damn fool really believes his tripe. "Radio, TV, and newspapers remain uncensored and unthreatened by the government"? If TV truly remains uncensored and unthreatened, then why must RCTV now broadcast only by cable and satellite? If RCTV were truly free, not only would Chavez have had no problem renewing its license, RCTV or any other television station would need no license to broadcast. A license is permission from the government to do something you had the natural right to do in the first place. If all media outlets are indeed free to say what they want, then why is Chavez systematically shutting down all publications and broadcasts that criticize him? Foreigners now can be expelled for criticizing Chavez's government, and it's a shame native Venezuelans couldn't simply do the same to get Chavez to pay for their plane ride to America.
Would a network that aided and abetted a coup against the government be allowed to operate in the United States? The US government probably would have shut down RCTV within five minutes after a failed coup attempt – and thrown its owners in jail. Chávez's government allowed it to continue operating for five years and then declined to renew its 20-year license to use the public airwaves. It can still broadcast on cable or via satellite dish.
Here again we see what an idiot this propagandist is. Legally speaking, "aiding and abetting" is a matter of providing material support, not merely media coverage. In the United States, our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech would in fact protect a media organization that was merely sympathetic to the coup -- and that's what RCTV was, merely sympathetic, not directly supportive.

"Most Venezuelan media are still controlled by the old oligarchy and are staunchly anti-Chávez." Like Maid Marian in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," they give the government no excuse to take their property. Thus they dare be no more than silently against Chavez, lest they suffer the same fate as RCTV.

Of course, RCTV is accused of "sedition" because it "supported" the failed coup. Sedition a threat only to the power of government, nothing else, and it's been a convenient excuse throughout history for tyrants to crush their opposition. It's important to remember that freedom of thought is most dangerous to the state, and that is precisely why Chavez wants to silence his opponents. It's worth quoting Jefferson again:
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons. And why subject it to coercion? To produce uniformity. But is uniformity of opinion desireable? No more than of face and stature. Introduce the bed of Procrustes then, and as there is danger that the large men may beat the small, make us all of a size, by lopping the former and stretching the latter.
But as with all tyrants, Chavez wants to make everyone but him uniform: uniformly impoverished, uniformly weak, and uniformly uninformed, so that he can continue to wield power over them.