Monday, April 12, 2004

Dear Richard,

In your article "Franken on Donahue" you write "But Lofton smacks Franken back nothing that "For openers, Mikhail Gorbachev, the author of perestroika, was a communist!" and says that the June 11,1990, issue of Time magazine quotes Gorbachev as saying, " I am a communist, a convinced communist ." But, ignoring Gorbachev's self-proclaimed communism, Franken seems to be arguing that when the Soviet Union was communist there were no serious shortage"

You miss the point which Franken spells out in his book. The point is Chancellor was not making excuses for Communism but Bernie was arguing in his book that Chancellor was. Bernie wrote, "his absurd observation that the problem in the old Soviet Union wasn't communism, but shortages"

The point Franken made was that on August 21, 1991 is wasn't the old Soviet Union under communism any more. By that time big changes over several years had already taken place. It wasn't the old Soviet Union any more. Changes were underway since 1985. By February 7, 1990 the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party had even agreed to give up its monopoly of power. As Franken explains in his book on p30, "Chancellor was saying that Gorbachev couldn't use communism as an excuse because, by that point, he had completely dismantled communism in the Soviet Union."

Bernie tried to make Chancellor appear to be an apologist for communism when the fact is the old communist system was really over at that point. Do you understand?

Tom Murphy

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