Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: July 26, 2010


Oliver Stone’s Take on History

Oliver Stone has long been known to have an…unorthodox view of history.  But in an Interview for the Times of London, he may have gone a bit too far.  Sadly, the original link is behind the Times’ firewall, but Stone, who’s working on a 10-part historical documentary for Showtime called “Secret History of America”, was a gold mine of quotes. It seems his documentary has a…refreshingly different interpretation of history.

For instance, why do Americans think about the Holocaust so much?

The Jewish domination of the media. There’s a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has fucked up United States foreign policy for years.

Hmm.  Well, what about Herr Hitler, modern history’s bad guy?

“Hitler is an easy scapegoat throughout history and it’s been used cheaply.”
“We can’t judge people as only ‘bad’ or ‘good.’ ”
“[Hitler] is the product of a series of actions. It’s cause and effect. People in America don’t know the connection between WWI and WWII.”
“Hitler was a Frankenstein, (but) there was also a Dr Frankenstein.”
“German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support.”
“He’s the product of a series of actions. It’s cause and effect … People in America don’t know the connection between World War I and World War II.”
“We’re going to educate our minds and liberalize them and broaden them. We want to move beyond opinions … Go into the funding of the Nazi party. How many American corporations were involved, from GM through IBM. Hitler is just a man who could have easily been assassinated.”
“Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30 [million killed].”

And, of course, we can’t leave out the Big Mustache, the Man of Steel himself, Josef Stalin:

Stalin has a complete other story. Not to paint him as a hero, but to tell a more factual representation. He fought the German war machine more than any person.

I think the best comment about this comes not from a political pundit, but from Tyler Durden:

It would be like if someone made a documentary about pandas, and it claimed that pandas invented movable type, were immortal, and could shoot fireballs from their paws. It’s that level of wrong.


Dale’s Observations For 2010-07-26

RT @dmataconis: ObamaCare Doesn’t Justify Secession http://bit.ly/afyqNx | Given the tone of that article, one wonders what would. #

RT @dmataconis: Re: Political Discourse? http://bit.ly/9IdNtR | Was the 'net causing riots, demonstrations, and domestic terrorism in '68? #

RT @MelissaTweets @La_Shawn: Re: Oliver Stone, Hitler: http://bit.ly/bpEtfG | How do these people even pretend to moral seriousness? #

RT @MelissaTweets @La_Shawn: Re: Oliver Stone, Hitler: http://bit.ly/bpEtfG | If only we knew more about the CONTEXT of Nazism. And Stalin. #

RT @ewerickson: The reviews at Amazon.com for uranium are priceless. http://is.gd/dK2ce | Those reviews are hilarious. #

Geithner defends allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. This is the same policy mix that extended the Great Depression. http://bit.ly/aM346a #

New home sales increased 23.6% to an annual rate of 330,000..
the second lowest on record since 1963. http://bit.ly/aFuuUe #RecoverySummer #


Talking the deficit talk, but – as usual – not walking the walk

Democrats and President Obama have been talking the talk about deficit reduction – yesirree. Why to hear them talk about what has to be done, you’d think they were the second coming of the Republican caucus.

But when it comes to walking the walk? Not so much:

A new White House forecast predicts that the federal budget deficit, which hit a record $1.4 trillion last year, will exceed that figure this year and again in 2011.

The $1.47 trillion budget gap predicted for 2010 — when 41 cents of every dollar spent by the federal government would be borrowed — represents a slight improvement over the administration’s February forecast. The estimated gap for next year, $1.42 trillion, is larger than what was predicted in February, primarily because of a drop in expected tax receipts from capital gains.

So here the government is in one of the biggest fiscal holes it has ever dug for itself, and the answer the Democrats come up with is “let’s dig it deeper and call it ‘fighting the deficit’”.

How else do you explain budgets like the one offered by the Obama administration and especially in light of Tim Geithner’s pronouncement yesterday (see below) that it was time for the private sector to start investing?   Forty one cents of every dollar spent under this budget from President Obama will be borrowed.

Of course, Obama has told us that the goal is to balance the federal budget by 2015.  That’s what he’s said – and for what its worth, that’s certainly a worthy goal.  But you have to do more than try to talk it down.   The action taken have to reflect that goal.  And this budget doesn’t.   Nor, really, do his future ones.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget reviewed this year’s presidential budget proposal and the deficit reduction plan and this may come as a surprise to you, but it is all smoke and mirrors.

The budget proposes $3.8 trillion in spending and receipts of $2.6 trillion, resulting in a deficit of $1.3 trillion – or 8.3 percent of GDP. This is higher than the 7.4 percent deficit projected from the Administration’s proposals in its August Mid-Session Review (MSR) and significantly higher than the 6.0 percent deficit projected under their “current law” (BEA) baseline. It is a decrease from the 9.9 percent deficit in FY 2009, and the projected 10.6 percent deficit in FY 2010.

Over the ten year window from 2011 through 2020, deficits are estimated to total $8.5 trillion – or 4.5 percent of GDP. This is significantly higher the $5.5 trillion (2.8 percent of GDP) deficit projected under “current law” which assumes expiring policies would end as planned.

Or under the “current law”, deficit stays at 6% of GDP (still too much) but under the “deficit reduction/balanced budget” plan of the administration, it balloons up to 8.3% GDP (way freakin’ too much).

So we’re being sold a load of unicorns with this totally misleading nonsense being spouted by Obama and Democrats.  Their budgets do only one thing for deficits (and the debt) – they add to them.   And, if followed, by 2020, here is what the debt will be:

Under OMB’s new estimate of the President’s budget, the debt held by the public would grow continuously as a share of the economy, passing 60 percent this year, 70 percent in 2012, and 77 percent in 2020.

Now someone, anyone – tell me how this plan of theirs reduces the important number in all of this – the debt?  Obviously it doesn’t.  They’re talking about spending less borrowed money than they have previously, that’s all.  And when you are spending trillions in deficits, dropping it down to 900 billion in deficit spending is “deficit reduction”.

Don’t let them sell you the bill of goods they’ve prepared here. 

Cut spending, cut it now and do what is necessary to reduce the debt.

~McQ

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Geithner makes unsubstantiated claim in an attempt to establish a meme

W

hat do you do if you’re a politician and you promised that if you did something good results would be assured. And then you did it and, in fact, things got worse?

Well that’s the situation the administration faces. It claimed that the "stimulus" was a bit like a FedEx package – something that absolutely, positively had to be done or we would be facing horrific unemployment – over 8%. So the Democratic Congress (alone) jammed through a pure pork package of almost a trillion dollars and sure enough unemployment which was below 8% at the time, eventually shot to 10% (and has now receded to 9.5% "officially").

Faced with that, what the administration has decided to do is run Tim Turbo Tax Geithner, the Secretary of Treasury, out there and pretend like the “stimulus” worked.  No, seriously, that’s their plan – damn the facts, go out and essentially say they’ve got the economy in good enough shape that they can now step back and let the private sectors take over:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the economy has now recovered sufficiently for government to begin to make way for private business investment.

Mr. Geithner’s comments on Sunday, which echo previous sentiments expressed by President Barack Obama, reflect a turning point in the government response to the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, a period marked by deep federal intervention in the financial, housing, auto and other industries.

“We need to make that transition now to a recovery led by private investment,” Mr. Geithner said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Now that takes some stones.  To pretend that government intervention has done much of anything requires Hillary Clinton’s “willing suspension of disbelief”.  The GDP is limping along in the 1 to 2% growth area, debt has shot through the roof, unemployment remains stubbornly high (and higher than when government “stimulated” the economy) and legislation passed by this administration – and its legislative agenda – has businesses sitting on the sidelines with a pile of money and refusing to participate because of the unsettled business climate.

However, running this meme allows the administration to step back from its failure by calling it a success and passing the blame, now, to the private side.  This can have a two-fold effect for them if they can successfully run this bluff.  

For one, they can claim the private sector is to blame for continued weakness.  That’s very useful to them.  Why?   Because it sets up what they really want – a second stimulus and more government control. 

“There’s going to be a good case for the government preserving some type of guarantee to make sure people have the ability to borrow to finance a house even in a very damaging recession,” he said on “Meet the Press.”

He said the administration would begin developing such a program very soon. “We’re going to take a careful look at a set of reforms that are going to be good for the country going forward and don’t leave us vulnerable to this kind of crisis in the future,” Mr. Geithner said.

And it provides something this administration desperately wants and needs: a scapegoat.

Of course, with midterms coming soon, this may end up being an attempt that is too little and too late.  But frankly I don’t think it will take.  It is far too cynical an attempt to sell something that already smells terribly rotten.  Just as the majority saw through the attempt by Obama to claim that the “stimulus” didn’t have a gram of pork in it (as stated earlier, it was pure pork), they’ll see through this attempt to sell “the economy is better and it’s because of the “stimulus”” that Geithner is attempting here.

This, as usual, is more about political posturing and meme creation than it is about reality.  And with this administration, that’s something people have already come to recognize and dismiss.

~McQ

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John Kerry "swift boats" himself

You may have figured out by now that I think we pay much too much to government in taxes and that I’m usually all in favor of anyone who figures out how to dodge them legally.

However, there are exceptions to that rule, and all politicians are one of them. If they’re going to make tax law, pass tax law and stick it to all of the "little people", then they should strictly abide by those laws at all levels and not seek to dodge taxes. Especially if they’re the type who have never met a tax they didn’t like.

Call it part of the price they must pay – literally and figuratively – for that power.

John Kerry, or as Jules Critenden calls him, Thurston Howell III (from Gilligan’s Island) has apparently decided that taxes are strictly for the little people and, by the way, job opportunities aren’t his responsibility.

Mr. Howell, er Kerry (who, it is rumored, once served in Vietnam), recently purchased a luxury yacht. The Senator from Massachusetts, however, won’t be docking the yacht there. Instead Rhode Island is his port of choice:

News that Kerry was docking the 76-foot custom-built sloop in Newport, R.I., was first reported in the Herald Friday. Sources told the Herald the yacht cost $7 million, meaning Kerry would owe the state more than $500,000 in excise and sales taxes.

Tsk, tsk – is that a good example to set, sir?  And that’s not all that’s rankled the good folks of Massachusetts (who, by the way, with Romneycare, have the highest insurance premiums in the US).  The yacht was foreign made, while ship builders in Massachusetts claim that it could have just as easily been built there:

With the nation enduring a nasty economy, painful joblessness and extreme belt-tightening, word of the luxury yacht’s foreign construction – as Americans yearn for work – could create a political tempest for Kerry.

“The message is, ‘The American boat builders aren’t good enough, and the Massachusetts people aren’t good enough to maintain it.’ It’s just a bad message all around,” said Connecticut boater Steve Potter, who docks in Charlestown.

Mr. Kerry’s reaction?  Why the great and powerful Oz works in mysterious ways:

When asked to respond to criticism of Kerry’s decision not to buy American, his state director, Drew O’Brien, said: “When it comes to creating and preserving jobs and economic opportunity in Massachusetts, no one has worked harder in Washington than John Kerry. Sen. Kerry is using smarts, clout and good old-fashioned hard work to make the Massachusetts economy grow and prosper.”

Yeah, it’s really hopping, isn’t it?  With an unemployment rate over 9%, I guess that’s good enough that the additional jobs "created and preserved” by having the yacht built in his  home state just didn’t qualify as “smarts”.

Great example set there, Mr. Kerry.  If this is an example of the “smarts” you employ, everyone should be on their knees thanking the deity of their choice for the fact that you lost the presidential election and didn’t get anywhere near the Oval Office.

~McQ

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