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Grinch didn't steal Xmas, and other good int'l news

“Nattering nabobs of negativism,” is probably the most enduring of the many alliterative announcements of Spiro Agnew, vice president in the Nixon administration until forced to resign because of corruption. This particular phrase, penned by Nixon speechwriter William Safire, derogatively denigrated diligent reporters for placing bad news above good.

Why, Agnew asked rhetorically, did the malicious media not put priority on the positive? He denounced “pusillanimous pussyfooters” allegedly allergic to America.

Inspired by the positive points of the spirit of Spiro “Good News” Agnew, below is a list of encouraging developments that definitely deserve more prominent dissemination and sustained reflection.

First, democracy is becoming the accepted way of life for the world's population overall, not just the privileged few. As recently as three decades ago, the people of Latin America lived almost uniformly in various degrees of authoritarian regime. Today, Castro's Cuba is literally the only remaining dictatorship in the Americas.

Even autocratic Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has to face the voters, and has lost on occasion. Once tiny Costa Rica was a beacon of freedom south of our border. Now that light spreads throughout the Americas.

Likewise, reasonably honest and genuinely contested elections are spreading in Africa, Southeast Asia, the former Soviet Union and — on the local level — in China. In global context, the dramatic Arab Spring therefore is the latest manifestation of a worldwide drive toward fair representative government.

Second, market economics likewise is spreading, as alternative ways of producing wealth and prosperity are discredited. Deng Xiaoping's declaration of “People's Socialism” for China in 1992 has become a benchmark event for not only that nation but the Asia region as a whole, and beyond.

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