Sunday, August 14, 2011

Young Americans: Luckiest Generation in History

To demonstrate how free market capitalism generates increased prosperity over time for average (or even low-income) Americans, economist W. Michael Cox of the Dallas Federal Reserve has compared the purchases at different points in time from the income earned by high school graduates or entering college freshmen working at a full-time, minimum-wage summer job (ignoring taxes). Here's a summary of his article "Capitalism's Many Benefits Create 'Luckiest Generation,'" which appeared in Investor's Business Daily in October 2000.  Several years ago, I presented an updated comparison of the purchases from summer jobs in 1949 and 2009 in this CD post. Here's another update:

In 1952, the minimum wage was $0.75 per hour (equivalent to $6.39 in today's dollars), and a full-time summer job at 40 hours per week for 12 weeks would have generated $360 in total summer earnings (ignoring taxes). Using retail prices from a 1952 Sears Christmas Catalog, I found that a teenager then would have only been able to purchase the following 3 items with his or her entire pre-tax summer earnings of $360 working at the minimum wage (with $15 borrowed from the parents to cover the full $375 cost):


Items Purchased in 1952 with Summer Wages @ $0.75 hour
Royal Deluxe Portable Typewriter$120
Silvertone Portable Phonograph$65
Silvertone 17-inch TV$190
Total$375

Now compare that to the items in the table below that could be purchased by a teenager or college student this year with his or her summer earnings of $3,480 (ignoring taxes) at the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour:

Items Purchased in 2011 with Summer Wages @ $7.25 hour
Dell Inspiron Laptop$450
Apple iPod Touch$210
Apple iPhone 4G$200
Garmin GPS$100
Canon 14.1 Megapixel Digital Camera$120
HP Officejet Wireless Printer$100
Westinghouse 32 inch LCD HDTV$330
Sharp 3D Wi-Fi Ready Blu-Ray Player$200
Samsung 5.1-Channel Blu-ray Home Theater System$260
Sonicare Rechargable Power Toothbrush$110
Sony PlayStation 3$400
Sony Clock Radio with Apple iPhone and iPod Dock$40
TiVo Premiere HD DVR - 45 hours$149
XM OnyX Sirius XM Satellite Radio Tuner $47
De'Longhi EC702 Espresso Machine$150
Kindle$114
Apple iPad$500
Total$3,480

According to Cox: "Add it all up. When it comes to their economic prospects, today’s young Americans are the Luckiest Generation in history—at least until their children grow up and forge an even luckier one. And even if real wages are flat, the explosion of new products over time at lower and lower prices translates into a rising standard of living for all income groups, even minimum wage workers." 

MP: Teenagers today can afford products today like laptop or notebook computers, Kindles, digital cameras, GPS systems, iPads, iPhones, and iPods that even a billionaire couldn't have purchased 20 years ago.  The comparison above illustrates that we've made a lot of economic progress over the last 60 years since 1952 that has increased our national prosperity - and that's happened in spite of ten recessions, the stagflation of the 1970s with 18.5% mortgage rates and a 20% prime rate, the S&L crisis with almost 3,000 bank failures, several major stock market corrections, the Great Recession, etc. 

Even though the economy is still struggling to recover from the 2008-2009 recession, and we've had sub-par economic growth and sluggish job creation this year, economic progress and a rising standard of living will continue to move forward.  The economic challenges of the past haven't stopped innovation and prosperity in the long run, and the current challenges might slow progress in the short run, but won't in the long run.  Just like today's teenagers are infinitely more abundant than their counterparts in 1952 and can afford items not available to billionaires of past eras, the teenagers 60 years from now in 2070 will be infinitely more abundant than today's teens and will be able to afford products that today's billionaires can't even imagine, much less afford.  

115 Comments:

At 8/14/2011 11:10 PM, Blogger Jim Ulvog said...

That is a great comparison. Even with our extremely difficult economic times, can you think of a better time to be alive?

 
At 8/15/2011 12:44 AM, Blogger Sean said...

I agree... but I think you're a little too apt to give credit to "the free market" that belongs to a technological infrastructure partially built by societies that weren't that free.

 
At 8/15/2011 1:55 AM, Blogger Solo said...

I get what your saying, but your tongue in cheek over weighting electronic goodies.

How about a comparison over a more diverse list? A comparable car, the cost to travel a mile, a month's rent at a studio apartment, the average utility bill, a year of undergraduate education, a coronary bypass, meal at a restaurant etc.

 
At 8/15/2011 2:15 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Solo, do you believe the quantity and quality of those goods per capita are higher or lower today?

 
At 8/15/2011 3:17 AM, Blogger Innovation rules said...

In high school, I worked 20-30 hours a week and bought a car.

Later, I worked full-time in the summer and part-time during school, and paid for university without going into debt.

I imagine a modestly industrious teenager could still buy a used car. University? Not a chance.

 
At 8/15/2011 5:28 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

not sure I saw inflation calculated

isn't a 1952 dollar equivalent to about $8.27 in today's dollars?

8.27 * 375 = 3262.......

 
At 8/15/2011 5:43 AM, Blogger geoih said...

I think this is a better illustration of how legislating productivity (i.e., the minimum wage) doesn't help anybody. Sure, a kid working for minimum wage would be doing very well compared to the same minimum wage earning kid in the '50's, but the unemployment rate for those kids today is astronomical.

What good does it do to say that making minimum wage allows a kid to buy all of this wonderful technology, if the odds of having a job are miniscule? What good is a well paying job that you never get?

Perhaps next you could talk about how great it is for starving Somalis to live in a world where Americans have such abundance that they put their food into their cars so thay can drive to the mall.

 
At 8/15/2011 6:43 AM, Blogger gasminder said...

I agree with your basic point. But the examples chosen are mostly created in a foreign country using essentially slave labor. In addition the second list contains a very large proportion of items which are sold at a discount because the major profit is in their later content cost (which your hypothetical teenager cannot afford because she has spent all her summer earnings).

I was able to earn enough to buy transportation, food, lodging and a university degree without debt (in the early 1980's) I doubt very much the same is true today.

 
At 8/15/2011 6:53 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"But the examples chosen are mostly created in a foreign country using essentially slave labor"...

LMAO! 'slave labor'?!?!

Where is this alledged slave labor happening?

 
At 8/15/2011 6:56 AM, Blogger T J Sawyer said...

I'd like to see the comparison for a car and a pack of cigarettes per day! I think Mark Perry must have run with the nerds when he was in high school.

And, o yes, the problem is that today's teenager can't find a summer job.

 
At 8/15/2011 7:48 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

I added a link to the BLS Inflation Calculator webpage, which shows that $0.75 in 1952 is equal $6.39 today.

 
At 8/15/2011 7:57 AM, Blogger Frankie said...

I would like to see more essential goods (food for example) than consumer electronics. Other than that, this was a decent article.

 
At 8/15/2011 8:19 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Over time life got a lot better in feudal societies and slave societies. Is this an argument for slavery? Russians could have made a similar comparison contrasting 1950 to 1980 proving the wonders of Communism. Take China from 1970 to today. Amazing improvement. I guess all their state intervention is a dream come true. This is just a terrible argument for so called free market capitalism.

 
At 8/15/2011 8:22 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Noam Chomsky takes a questioner to task for making this same argument via Youtube.

 
At 8/15/2011 8:29 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

I agree... but I think you're a little too apt to give credit to "the free market" that belongs to a technological infrastructure partially built by societies that weren't that free.

Nonsense. Planned societies do not create Kindles and iPads. They would be lucky to produce enough food or to ensure that the toothbrush bristles made match the handles that were produced.

 
At 8/15/2011 8:45 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

I imagine a modestly industrious teenager could still buy a used car. University? Not a chance.

I think that another comparison is more appropriate. In the past a student could work in the summer and pay for his university education. That is not possible today.

Mark and the people he cites play a nice game by looking at high tech products and point out that they are very cheap in comparison to the past. By doing so, and by ignoring how inflation has reduced purchasing power in other areas they paint a false picture that makes us look far more prosperous than we really are.

My twelve-year old son always points to a cultural reference when we discuss these issues. He quotes Johnny Cash, who sings:

Harry Truman was our president
A coke an burger cost you thirty cents
I was still in love with Mavis Brown
On the night Hank Williams came to town.

"I Love Lucy" debuted on TV
That was one big event we didn't see
'Cause no one stayed at home for miles around
It was the night Hank Williams came to town.


Going to our search engine we find that I Love Lucy had its first broadcast on October 15, 1951. At $0.75 per hour a teenager could sit down at a diner and purchase two burgers and Cokes with his hour of labour. I doubt that a teenager can do that today unless he goes to a fast food joint.

Of course, in 1951/1952 teenagers could find jobs because the cost of hiring them was much lower. There were many jobs available and those that wanted to work could use them to buy the things that they needed and to finance an education that would provide them with future employment.

 
At 8/15/2011 9:01 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

in 1952, such a young american shared in a national surplus.

now he/she shares in a vast national debt.

just the cash debt is about $47k/person.

add in unfunded liabilities (which granted can be changed if we can summon the political will) and that number is more like $230k.

there can be little question that most kinds of technology products get cheaper.

but in 1952, bread was 12c a loaf.

hamburger meat was 29c a pound

onions were 3c a pound.

if we take the BLS at its word, we can apply an 8.5 ratio to these and get

$1.02 for bread, $2.46 for burger meat, and 25c for onions.

keep in mind that to keep quality equivalent, we'd need to compare these to organic products today. you cannot just say "well look at campbells soup". the input quality has changed.

i don't know where you shop, but these items cost more where i live.

sure, you might be able to get cheaper hamburger if you buy the stuff full of steroids, antibiotics, and hormones, but if the BLS is going to use quality adjustments, they need to work both ways.

current products without such things carry a premium, so saying that you do not care is irrelevant. the market cares.

sirloin steak was 55c a pound in 1952.

if you can find organic sirloin for under $4.70 a pound, i'd love to know where you shop.

even online, it looks to be 2-3X that.

$3 a pound coffee is not easy to find either.

kellogs shredded wheat was 18c.

think you can buy it now for $1.53?

not in a full sized box.

the average cost of a new house in 1952 was $9050.

that would be $76,925 in today's dollars, only 28% of today's price, even after the crash.

the average cost of rent was $80/mo, $680 in today's dollars.

that's not going to get you far in most markets and is well below the national average (50% lower).

you would not even be able to live in most cities at all.

a average car cost $1700.

that's $14450 in today's dollars.

that's not even half the average car price today.

we can argue quality differences, but they only really matter if the old sort of car is still available, and they are not.

it's easy to pick technology products and say "wow, life is better" but it's much less clear when you look at other items.

 
At 8/15/2011 9:20 AM, Blogger A Conservative Teacher said...

Yeah, if they can get a job- back in the 1950's, if you wanted a job you had one, today 51% of all of those from ages 16 to 24 are unemployed.

Minimum wage laws, like union laws, pay more to those who already have jobs, but limit the number of people who can have jobs. In the end, our economy suffers.

You should retitle your post 'The Luckiest Few'

 
At 8/15/2011 9:22 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"I would like to see more essential goods (food for example)" -- Frankie

Dr. Perry has covered food costs in previous posts:

As Share of Income, Americans Have the Cheapest Food in History and Cheapest Food on the Planet

Spending on Food Reaches A New Historical Low

The "Time Cost" of Food Has Fallen Since 2008

 
At 8/15/2011 9:51 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

As Share of Income, Americans Have the Cheapest Food in History and Cheapest Food on the Planet.

With all due respect to Dr. Perry's BLS numbers, I think that I would rather trust Johnny Cash's observations. As the man pointed out, in October 1951, "A coke an burger cost you thirty cents." Sorry but that is not more expensive than today when we use the minimum wage as our basis of comparison, which was what this thread was about.

 
At 8/15/2011 9:51 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"I agree... but I think you're a little too apt to give credit to "the free market" that belongs to a technological infrastructure partially built by societies that weren't that free." -- Sean

Really? Which countries, that aren't free, built the "technological infrastructure"?

 
At 8/15/2011 9:54 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Spending on food as a share of disposable income in 1952 was 21%, today that share is about 9.5%.

 
At 8/15/2011 10:02 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Spending on food as a share of disposable income in 1952 was 21%, today that share is about 9.5%.

Hours worked today are much higher. In 1952 a family usually had the woman at home raising kids as the man worked his 40 hours to finance their lifestyle. As I pointed out above, using your own numbers we find that a kid could sit down at a diner and purchase a Coke and burger for himself and a date with one hour of minimum wage earnings. Do you really want to argue that we can do better than that today? I know that kids used to finance their university education by working in the summer and using the proceeds to cover the tuition. Do you really think that they can do the same today?

Let me note that I do not object to the general claim that you are making. I simply point out that someone is not looking at all of the factors.

 
At 8/15/2011 10:16 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"I guess all their state intervention is a dream come true. This is just a terrible argument for so called free market capitalism"...

LOL! It seems to me you're confusing capitalism with mercantilism...

 
At 8/15/2011 10:24 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

mark-

that's more a statement about income growth than price stability.

it's also a massively apples to oranges comparison.

in 1952 all food was organic. today, only a small portion is.

the number you cite is not comparing like to like.

you consistently cite quality improvements in products, but you have to look at degradation as well.

if you compared food costs then to the costs now of equivalent food, your whole argument would fall apart.

if you're going to use quality adjustments, you have to use them both ways.

 
At 8/15/2011 10:33 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

also:

i agree with vangel.

you have to take hours worked into account.

i used your own math on constant dollars and your own wage levels.

sirloin was 55c.

55/75 = .73 hrs to buy a pound.

today you would pay $12 for an equivalent.

12/8.50 = 1.4 hours.

twice the work for the same steak.

this holds across all the examples i gave.

we have more buying power because we work A LOT more.

you can call that lucky, but i'm not so sure that's true.

are we really happier working 3750 hours per household year than we were working 1900?

i think you are really fudging by using household data there.

smaller households with more workers skew the numbers badly.

 
At 8/15/2011 11:08 AM, Blogger Regan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8/15/2011 11:10 AM, Blogger Regan said...

Whoops!

After listening to Jon's link I have to wonder--does anyone still take Chomsky seriously?

 
At 8/15/2011 11:16 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8/15/2011 11:20 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Over time life got a lot better in feudal societies and slave societies. Russians could have made a similar comparison contrasting 1950 to 1980 proving the wonders of Communism. Noam Chomsky takes a questioner to task for making this same argument ..." -- Jon

All Chomsky's answer does is reveal what an ignorant, narcissistic, left-wing hack he is. The conditions of slavery did not materially improve from the 18th to the mid 19th century. The Soviet Union, which left-wing scum like Chomsky supported, was not a "second world" nation. At the time of it's fall it the Soviet Union had a GDP roughly equivalent to Portugal's and nearly all of that was related to military spending. It was always rich in natural resources but under the communists lacked the infrastructure and technological capability to exploit those resources effectively. Many times, the bulk of Soviet harvests would rot in the field because they lacked the logistical capability to bring the food to market. Workers worked for months without compensation and were either shot or imprisoned if they failed to report for work. The environmental degradation and rampant social disorders are voluminous and documented.

He then claims that the Cuba's economy, like the Soviets, achieved significant economic growth - another lie.

Pre-Castro Cuba:

Here's a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) report on Cuba circa 1957: "One feature of the Cuban social structure is a large middle class," it starts. "Cuban workers are more unionized (proportional to the population) than U.S. workers. The average wage for an 8-hour day in Cuba in 1957 is higher than for workers in Belgium, Denmark, France and Germany. Cuban labor receives 66.6 per cent of gross national income. In the U.S. the figure is 70 per cent, in Switzerland 64 per cent. 44 per cent of Cubans are covered by social legislation, a higher percentage than in the U.S."

In 1958 Cuba had a higher per-capita income than Austria and Japan. Cuban industrial workers had the eighth-highest wages in the world. In the 1950s Cuban stevedores earned more per hour than their counterparts in New Orleans and San Francisco. Cuba had established an eight-hour workday in 1933 – five years before FDR's New Dealers got around to it. Add to this a one-month paid vacation. The much-lauded (by liberals) social democracies of Western Europe didn't manage this till 30 years later.

Cuban women got three months of paid maternity leave. I repeat, this was in the 1930s. Cuba, a country 71 percent white in 1957, was completely desegregated 30 years before Rosa Parks was dragged off that Birmingham bus and handcuffed. In 1958 Cuba had more female college graduates per capita than the U.S.

Pre Castro Cuba, 1930's

Pre-Castro Cuba, 1950's

Cuba today:

Pic

Pic

Pic

Pic

Pic

Pic

Pic

Pic

If you believe any of that Chomsky says, you are either too stupid or too far gone to be reached.

 
At 8/15/2011 11:36 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Life is tough in Cuba. But that's what happens when you are subjected to decades of terror. I summarized some of the facts at my own blog here. Not that you have to go to my blog for it. It's widely known and discussed. Massive biological warfare, frequent bombings including hotels, civilian airliners, students murdered for teaching the illiterate to read, and on and on it goes.

And why? Chomsky references the reasons revealed in the declassified record. Fear that they would be successful and therefore a model for others. So major warfare is perpetuated against them by the most powerful nation on earth, including both violence and economic warfare, and you look at them like they are a failure because of their poverty.

Take any country and punish them like the US punishes Cuba and how would they fare? They had to slaughter their entire pig population due to swine flu that was introduced. Their sugar crops are sprayed by terrorists protected in Miami. Add to that an embargo that not only blocks trade with the most powerful economic power in the world, but in fact punishes other nations that would dare trade with them, and you look at what they have accomplished economically and you have to be extremely impressed. Decent medical services, decent education.

Contrast this with nations that have been subjected to US domination, like Haiti. Despite the ongoing US terrorist war Cuba still looks like a paradise as compared to Haiti, where democracy is blocked and the US favored candidate is imposed. Cubans know they must continue to resist because the alternative is even worse.

 
At 8/15/2011 12:44 PM, Blogger arbitrage789 said...

The flip side is that young people today will have to wait until they're 80 years old before they'll be eligible for SS or Medicare.

 
At 8/15/2011 12:47 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

You can't expect too much from the boy at Investor's Business Daily; they are just catamites for plutocrats.

They cherry-picked the start year. The federal minimum wage today is $7.25 an hour, vs more than $10 an hour in the 1960s, adjusted for inflation.

 
At 8/15/2011 1:04 PM, Blogger Regan said...

@ Jon

"...and you look at them like they are a failure because of their poverty."

No. Nobody thinks that they are a failure because of their poverty. They are poor because their system failed them. Big difference.

 
At 8/15/2011 1:06 PM, Blogger mjpking said...

"....... I think Mark Perry must have run with the nerds when he was in
high school." - T J Sawyer

Not true.

Please don't equate 'prosperity' with all the gadgets, gizmos and techno-
commodities that have become the necessity of many.

As others have pointed out, the 'ability/options' for a teen to earn the
needed dollars to cover post-secondary tuition have all but disappeared.

"The result of education is prosperity." - Mencius 432 B.C.

 
At 8/15/2011 1:12 PM, Blogger Jon said...

No. Nobody thinks that they are a failure because of their poverty. They are poor because their system failed them. Big difference.

That's what I said. He thinks their poverty is evidence that their system is a failure. But isn't it rather proof that terrorism and economic warfare work in depressing a small country?

 
At 8/15/2011 2:19 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Fear that they would be successful and therefore a model for others. So major warfare is perpetuated against them by the most powerful nation on earth ..." -- Jon

You're fucking nuts. Name a communist country that was successful and a model for others. If the U.S. had ever decided to wage "major warfare" against Cuba, Castro's regime would fall overnight. It is a testament to our incredible forbearance that we have not taken them down despite having more than enough justification:

The agents and officers were haggard and red-eyed –but seriously wired. Like hawks on a perch they’d been watching the plot unfold, sweating bullets the whole time. It was nearing time to swoop down on Fidel Castro and Che Guevara’s agents, busy with a terror plot that would have made Bin Laden drool decades later. ...

Castro’s agents had targeted Macy’s, Gimbels, Bloomingdales, and Manhattan’s Grand Central Station with a dozen incendiary devices and 500 kilos of TNT. The holocaust was set for detonation the following week, on the day after Thanksgiving.

Big Peace

The FBI estimated that from 25 to 50 others may have been involved in the plot. As they questioned and dug up further documents, the target list expanded to include Manhattans' main bus terminal, several refineries on the New Jersey Shore and the Statue of Liberty.

Had those detonators gone off the day after Thanksgiving in 1962, 9/11 might be remembered as the second deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

Canadian Free Press

Did that story make your stupid blog?

How about the role Castro and Che played in attempting to secure Soviet missiles in order to target the U.S.?
“If the missiles had remained in Cuba we would have fired them at the heart of the U.S.” -- Che Guevara to Sam Russell of The London Daily Worker, Nov. 1962

“We reject any peaceful approach! Violence is inevitable! To establish Socialism rivers of blood must flow! The victory of socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims.” -- Che Guevara

"... an embargo that not only blocks trade with the most powerful economic power in the world, but in fact punishes other nations that would dare trade with them" -- Jon

There is no embargo, moron:

... these “restrictions” stipulate one thing primarily: that Cuba’s Stalinist regime pay cash for U.S. imports. That’s basically all the “embargo” amounts to nowadays, along with a “travel ban” with more loopholes than actual “bans.” Last year, for instance, amidst a “vindictive” U.S. “embargo” of Cuba, 400,000 people visited Cuba from the U.S. In 1957 when Cuba was touted as “a U.S. tourist playground!” 278,000 Americans visited Cuba.

Big Peace

A Bailout for Castro Too?

"Contrast this with nations that have been subjected to US domination, like Haiti. Despite the ongoing US terrorist war Cuba still looks like a paradise as compared to Haiti, where democracy is blocked and the US favored candidate is imposed."

U.S. domination of Haiti? Ongoing terrorist war with Cuba? Democracy blocked? If there were any real "social justice" in the world, filth, like you and Noam Chomsky, would be stripped of your citizenship and exchanged with people longing for freedom in countries like Cuba, North Korea, Myanmar and Venezuela. Post that on your fucking blog comrade!

 
At 8/15/2011 3:00 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

gasminder, you're dead wrong about content subsidizing the price of the electronics:

"Apple executives have said that iTunes is roughly a 'break-even' operation.

'The music itself is a vehicle to allow them to sell more iPods and iPhones, which is where they make real money,' Mr. Bajarin said."

Apple's margins are very fat off of the hardware itself, which is why they sell the content at breakeven for themselves. As for "slave labor," you should be happy that they will soon be replaced by robots and won't have jobs, yay! :)

Che, Jon is obviously nuts. I wonder why he and Noam don't just move to Cuba if they think it's such a paradise. Oh wait, that would mean Noam couldn't own million-dollar homes, pull in more than anyone else in his department at MIT, and make millions peddling his idiotic books. All he is is the leftist version of the religious preacher preying on the dumb with a manifestly stupid ideology.

 
At 8/15/2011 3:33 PM, Blogger Jon said...

I notice something about your sources, Che. All written by the same guy. Humberto Fontova. Born in Havana into a family that supported the Batista dictatorship and then fled in exile. He has a real problem with academia and scholarship and espouses a "revisionist" view of history. This is your source.

Your critique is a lot like your source. I'm "fucking nuts" a "moron," should be stripped of my citizenship and also "stupid."

I on the other hand make arguments based on the declassified US documentary record. My responses are not filled with profanities.

Let the reader decide which of us is nuts.

 
At 8/15/2011 3:44 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Sprewell, your claims about Chomsky may or may not be true, but I'm not going to accept them because some guy on a blog asserts them. The blog you link to provides no sources, so there's no way to evaluate the claims. I'd be interested to know just as a curiosity.

This is how argumentation works. If you want to make an argument based on controversial facts you need to supply sources to justify your claims. So I linked to my blog when I described terrorism perpetuated against Cuba, but if you go to my blog you'll find my source, which you can look into. I go to "Patriotic Thunder" and it's just some guy saying Chomsky's home is worth $1.8 million. No sources. No nothing. That's not at all helpful. If I go to my blog and say his home is worth $200K is that supposed to be persuasive?

Source your claims or don't make them. That alone is enough to silence the majority of right wingers.

 
At 8/15/2011 4:03 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Jon.. you're on the edge of becoming an f'ing moron in this group....

when you challenge folks to provide credible sources.. those are challenges that cannot be tolerated.

:-)

 
At 8/15/2011 4:05 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Jon, that's pretty funny, you talking about sources, when you repeatedly make unsubstantiated claims about "students murdered for teaching." What's your great source for this info? Your blog, which doesn't link anywhere else to substantiate this claim. Also hilarious is how you try to blame the US simply because the CIA formerly had some connection to some Cuban crazies, yet in no way ordered any attacks. Why do you need me to substantiate the claims on Chomsky when they have already been made and sourced for you? Oh, that's right, because facts and data don't matter to you, they're just there to be ignored so you can repeatedly make the same dumb arguments over and over again. Don't let me and the facts get in the way of your religion of big government.

 
At 8/15/2011 5:33 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Did you just go out and Google a source on the value of Chomsky's home and find my blog? Did you notice that it contradicts the claim you offered? Your reference says he lived in a $1.8 million home. Chad's source is that he lives in a $850K home and has a vacation home valued in excess of $1.2 million. So we can see that your source isn't good. Should we discount the other unsourced claims from your site? This is the value of checking sources. Try it before you post next time.

My source on murdering students for teaching is cited at my blog. Keith Bolender. You can look him up, check his book if you like.

Like I say at my blog, the CIA had direct involvement in some of the terrorism, and in other cases we are dealing with anti-Castro elements in Cuba that reside in Miami. They are essentially provided safe haven by our government in the same way OBL is alleged to have been provided safe haven by the Taliban. In the Taliban's case though they did offer to hand OBL over to a neutral party for a fair trial. Our government doesn't do the same for terrorists in Miami like Orlando Bosch.

 
At 8/15/2011 7:00 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Humberto Fontova. Born in Havana into a family that supported the Batista dictatorship and then fled in exile. He has a real problem with academia and scholarship and espouses a "revisionist" view of history. This is your source."

What evidence is there that Fontova's family supported Batista? Some anonymous author over at Wikipedia? If you look further down the same Wikipedia page you'll see that his critics are extremely short on any evidence that Mr. Fontova plays fast and loose with the truth, unlike Noam Chomsky. Where is your evidence that Humberto Fontova has lied? Do you think that he made up the story about Castro's terrorist plot and the FBI response out of whole cloth?

As for espousing a "revisionist" view of history, before the hard left took over the academe there would have been absolutely nothing controversial about what Fontova has written. I guess that when you've effectively black listed anyone who might challenge your own historical revisions and cleansed the curriculum of any opposing points of view, then you can claim that anyone who disagrees is now the "revisionist". Maybe you should read up on Gramsci.

I use words like "nuts", "moron," and "stupid" because they apply when dealing with useful idiots, like you, who argue in support of the remnants of an evil ideology that has killed 5 times as many people as the Nazis. In my mind you are no better.

It's a funny thing about "Americans" like you, some left-wing asshole establishes a "workers paradise" 90 miles of the coast of Florida on semi-tropical island. It's everything that you and your heroes say the world should be, we leave the door wide open, and still you will not leave. Meanwhile, the leader of this "paradise" is shooting and drowning men, women and children who are so desperate to flee that they are taking to the high seas on shipping pallets to come here, and this never gives you pause to reconsider. Like I said, you are a moron.

 
At 8/15/2011 7:16 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8/15/2011 7:17 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The Chomsky defenders--and there seem to be a surprisingly large number of them--seem to form a kind of cult. Arguing with them seems to be a lot like trying to teach Plato's Republic to a pig: it wastes your time, and it annoys the pig."


Brad DeLong has written a short post on your hero Noam Chomsky covering his writing a preface for a book by Robert Faurisson, a Nazi sympathizer and Holocaust denier. And his denial of the Khmer Rouge Holocaust, among other lowlights.

 
At 8/15/2011 7:20 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Kevin Sites visits a Cambodian death chamber:

"By the sheer number of photographs now displayed at the former prison known as S-21, it is clear the Khmer Rouge was very good at two things: killing people and documenting the lives of its victims."

"Here, in what is now a museum called Tuol Sleng (“poisonous hill” in English), the faces of the Cambodian genocide are much more than memories."

"Visitors walking through the hallways of this former high school turned prison must confront the pain, uncertainty and fear of thousands of victims looking back at them from the black and white photographs taken by prison guards."

Suggestion to an enterprising documentary-maker: walk Noam Chomsky (who once claimed that “the deaths in Cambodia were not the result of systematic slaughter and starvation organized by the state”) through that prison. Keep the camera on his face.

-- Tim Blair

 
At 8/15/2011 7:30 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

How fitting that Noam Chomsky would waste little time denouncing the killing of Osama bin Laden as the "political assassination" of an "unarmed victim" whose complicity in 9/11 remains, in the professor's mind, very much in doubt. ...

"Among the most capable of those from your side who speak on this topic [the war in Iraq] and on the manufacturing of public opinion is Noam Chomsky, who spoke sober words of advice prior to the war," said bin Laden in 2007. He was singing the professor's praises again last year, saying "Noam Chomsky was correct when he compared the U.S. policies to those of the mafia." ...

Mr. Chomsky could not furnish bin Laden with a theology, but he did provide an intellectual architecture for his hatred of the United States. That Mr. Chomsky speaks from the highest tower of American academe, that he is so widely feted as the great mind of his generation, that his every utterance finds a publisher and an audience, could only have sustained bin Laden in the conceit that his thinking was on a high plane. Maybe it would have been different if Mr. Chomsky had been dismissed decades ago for what he is: a two-nickel crank.

Now bin Laden is dead. Yet wherever one goes in the Arab world, one finds bookstores well-stocked with Chomsky, offering another generation the same paranoid notions of American policy that mesh so neatly with an already paranoid political culture.

WSJ

 
At 8/15/2011 7:43 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

The Top 200 Chomsky Lies

 
At 8/15/2011 7:57 PM, Blogger Jon said...

I took a very close look at DeLong's response to Chomsky. I assumed he was right. A very respectable source. I had no particular love for Chomsky. Assumed he made an error that he wouldn't admit to. But I dug a bit and discovered something interesting. DeLong's claims rely on gross distortions and out of context citations. So I wrote up what I found. A pathetic display from DeLong.

Did the same for Bogdanor. His lies don't really pass the laugh test.

The Faurisson affair is kind of baffling to me. Chomsky had the temerity to say that the state should not have the authority to determine historical truth. Kind of basic stuff in my world. If you support free speech that means you support it when you hear views you find abhorrent and absurd, like Faurisson's views. Stalin supported free speech provided he agreed with the speech. The real test is if he supports it when he disagrees with the speech, which he doesn't. So here Chomsky disagrees vehemently with the speech Faurisson offers, figures he's a hack, but says jailing him is wrong. That this is even controversial is just plain sad.

Not that any of this really matters. I don't care if Chomsky is wrong. Suppose he is. Deal with the arguments offered. If you have to distract to other so called errors from 35 years ago I think that says all we need to know here.

 
At 8/15/2011 11:23 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The alleged Hitlerite gas chambers and the alleged genocide of the Jews form one and the same historical lie" -- Robert Faurisson, French anti-Semite who was fired by the University of Lyon for his hate-filled screeds.

“I see no anti-Semitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even denial of the holocaust. Nor would there be anti-Semitic implications, per se, in the claim that the holocaust (whether one believes it took place or not) is being exploited, viciously so, by apologists for Israeli repression and violence.” -- Noam Chomsky

"Chomsky had the temerity to say that the state should not have the authority to determine historical truth." -- Jon

This, of course, is just another bullshit argument since "historical truth" must be consistent with the facts. Speaking of facts, we are still waiting for yours with regard to Humberto Fontova.

"I think that says all we need to know here." -- Jon

All that we needed to know about you was said long ago.

 
At 8/16/2011 10:47 AM, Blogger Jon said...

I mean seriously, Che. Who cares? Suppose Chomsky thinks a person could conceivably deny the existence of gas chambers because maybe they are eccentric or maybe they are unreasonable, not because they are anti-Semitic. Who cares? Chomsky is not an anti-Semite. Chomsky is not a Holocaust denyer. He says leave this pathetic weirdo alone and let him say whatever weirdo crap he wants to say. Apparently Faurisson was beaten savagely by Jewish terrorists. That's a real outrage, even if Faurisson is a Nazi. At least in my world. Not your world though I assume.

Wikipedia says Fontova comes from a family that backed the Batista dictatorship and then fled following the revolution. Wikipedia is a good first order approximation and in fact is quite credible. You admit the guy is a historical revisionist and objects to academia. It's not my job to prove that your source is credible. You've got 4 different articles, all from the same historical revisionist. Sorry, that's not persuasive.

You say "historical truth" must be consistent with the facts. That's a tautology. The question is, who determines what the "historical truths" are. Should a person be permitted to express views that contradict orthodoxy? Like, oh, I don't know, Humberto Fontova? Or should the state punish those that utter unpermissible views? I know you're ready to strip me of my citizenship for expressing views you disagree with. You're basically a Stalinist. All for free speech until it is speech he didn't prefer. Meaning you don't support free speech at all.

 
At 8/16/2011 11:10 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Like I say at my blog, the CIA had direct involvement in some of the terrorism, and in other cases we are dealing with anti-Castro elements in Cuba that reside in Miami. They are essentially provided safe haven by our government in the same way OBL is alleged to have been provided safe haven by the Taliban. In the Taliban's case though they did offer to hand OBL over to a neutral party for a fair trial. Our government doesn't do the same for terrorists in Miami like Orlando Bosch.

We have to love this. Statists on the right attacking statists on the left for crimes committed by the state and vice versa. Your both right; your opponents are supporters of totalitarianism and inherently evil. If they weren't they would be libertarians or anarchists.

 
At 8/16/2011 1:20 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"He says leave this pathetic weirdo alone and let him say whatever weirdo crap he wants to say." -- Jon

No, he agreed to write an intro to his book. Would it have been acceptable for him to have written an intro to Mien Kampf using the same logic?

"You've got 4 different articles, all from the same historical revisionist. Sorry, that's not persuasive." -- Jon

And all of yours have come from perhaps the greatest revisionist of them all. Please, it's getting deep.

"You say "historical truth" must be consistent with the facts. That's a tautology. The question is, who determines what the "historical truths" are." -- Jon

Let's see, when someone claims that the Holocaust never happened, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary (including the testimony of living victims and perpetrators), and he makes this claim in order to diminish the moral authority of it's victims, he is not "determining a historical truth". He's expressing hatred and bigotry. Yes, he has every right to speak, but when you cast your lot with him we have every right to judge you as we would judge him. Further, facts, and the "truths" that people derive from them may be two completely different things - as almost always the case with Chomsky.

Chomsky's knows that more and more people are becoming aware of the left's depravity. So, his rhetorical device is to acknowledge the evil of the Soviets, Khmer Rouge, etc. and then to immediately insist that the U.S., or the West in general is just as bad or worse. Sure the Khmer Rouge were terrible, but only because they were driven to it by the western imperialism. Sure Osama Bin Laden is a terrorist, but he's nothing compared to terrorist states like the U.S. and Israel. This gives useful idiots, like you, an out. You can claim that Chomsky doesn't support the evil of the Khmer Rouge or the Soviets, he's just pointing out the more egregious acts of the West. Wake up.

"I know you're ready to strip me of my citizenship for expressing views you disagree with. You're basically a Stalinist." -- Jon

That is not what I said. I said that if the were any real "social justice" in the world, people like you and Chomsky would have to live under the systems that you advocate for, and others, who are being victimized by those systems, would be able to live here. It's easy for leftists, like you, to push your bullshit world view while ensconced in the freest, wealthiest country in human history. You are like a spoiled child who is never required to suffer the consequences of his actions.

By the way, nice touch, calling me a "Stalinist". "Stalinist", "fascist" you leftists are always trying to associate others with your evil. Amazing.

 
At 8/16/2011 1:22 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"We have to love this. Statists on the right attacking statists on the left for crimes committed by the state and vice versa." -- Vange

Save your breath, moron. You'll need it to blow up your girlfriend.

 
At 8/16/2011 1:38 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Jon, actually, I was looking for a good public posting of the Chomsky info from the source, the book Do as I say (Not as I do) that you are no doubt familiar with, when I found that surprise, surprise, someone had already posted the relevant section for you. My claim was that he owned "million-dollar homes," which is perfectly consistent with what Chad pasted on your blog. The first link I posted has a different number, but so what? We're going to quibble now about whether he has one house worth 2 million or two houses worth 2 million? The result is the same. I knew that the first link had a different number, but linked it because it had a nice summary with all the Chomsky info in one place. You of course have nothing, so you are reduced to thumb-twiddling arguments about which house is worth what. I see, so now my sources need sources, funny coming from a guy who has no sources on Chomsky. XD You should try bringing some actual data to the discussion yourself, rather than crying because one guy might have combined the values into one house. Oh wait, that would mean doing what you keep asking others to do, supplying actual sourced data, which you obviously can't so you keep changing the subject.

You have nothing about the CIA being directly involved in Cuban terrorism, the only thing you repeat is a rumor that the CIA spread rumors that Cuban children would be taken away from their parents. Then you make vague accusations that the CIA was involved in "some" other activities, which of course you don't bother tying them to. Hilarious how you try to start your own rumor mill of lies, with the lies amplifying at each step. The reason you're nuts is that even if we were to grant that all these fabrications happened, they are nowhere near the scale necessary to damage an economy to the rubble that Cuba is today. The only reason Cuban can be what it is today is because of the patently idiotic Communist doctrine that Castro and his ilk follow. The fact that you cling to a fig leaf of lies while ignoring how Cuba has been destroyed by your favored ideology is what marks you as a loony.

 
At 8/16/2011 2:29 PM, Blogger Jon said...

No, he agreed to write an intro to his book.

He did not. He was asked to write a commentary on Faurisson. He wrote an essay entitled Some Elementary Comments on the Rights of Freedom of Expression. He said there you go, do whatever you want with it. It ended up being included in Faurisson's book. Chomsky would request that it be removed. He would later say this was his one regret.

And all of yours have come from perhaps the greatest revisionist of them all.

I have not actually cited Chomsky for any claims that are regarded as controversial here. My source on Cuba is Bolender. I also referred to the US declassified record. I provided a youtube link to a discussion involving Chomsky that I thought might be interesting to some people here. It's not intended to be proof of any of my claims.

He's expressing hatred and bigotry. Yes, he has every right to speak, but when you cast your lot with him we have every right to judge you as we would judge him.

If you don't support free speech when it involves views you find abhorrent then you don't support free speech at all. Chomsky spoke out against the silencing of a man that spoke unpopular things. If you don't join him in objecting to what was done to Faurisson then you don't support free speech.

This claim you make regarding me living in suffering countries is rather inane in my view. Why would I want to live in the richest country in the world? Why wouldn't I rather live in a country that is getting bombed routinely by the US? Why wouldn't I rather live in a country that has an embargo placed on it so that you can't get basic stuff? Is that really hard to understand?

Suppose my Dad was a mob boss and I objected to his murders. You'd silence my criticism. "How can you object when you enjoy the rewards? We should put the goons on you and beat you up, make you pay protection money. I suppose you'd like that a lot better, eh?" Well no. I like the lavish lifestyle and the cushy life I have. I don't want to be beaten up by the mob. But at the same time, what's wrong with asking my Dad to stop hurting others?

 
At 8/16/2011 3:14 PM, Blogger Mannerheim said...

In 1952 a guy with a high school diploma could support a family of 5 on just his income. Today he'd have to go deep in debt to go to college, take his chances in a crappy job market, somehow find a wife in the post-feminist urban meat market dating scene, and save for years to afford a down payment on an overpriced house in a safe suburb with decent schools. Then he gets to start saving for Junior's college fund, but luckily his wife will be working too, though as a result they'll have to pay for day care, restaurant meals, cleaning services, and a part-time nanny, not to mention being in a higher combined tax bracket. Then he gets to see his retirement savings vanish in a Wall Street-induced meltdown, watch his taxes get jacked up to pay for Baby Boomer social security (and so government employees can get their pensions at 52 years old), and even see the cash in his wallet lose its value as the Fed monetizes the national debt. But when his job finally gets offshored and he loses his health insurance, I'm sure his iPad will be a great consolation to him.

 
At 8/16/2011 3:15 PM, Blogger David said...

Everything purchased in 1952 was made in America, so it benefitted society in many ways, so industrial jobs awaited students.

Everything purchased in 2011 was made overseas, so, at the very least, it did not help the domestic economy.

That said, we now are able to purchase more than even kings could dream about 60 years ago, thanks to Moore's Law.

 
At 8/16/2011 4:59 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"My source on Cuba is Bolender." - Jon

Ah, yes, Keith Bolender. A Toronto Star reporter and Chomsky acolyte. In fact, Chomsky wrote the introduction to his book, Voices From The Other Side . You know, the side where people are actually denied free speech. Bolender went to Cuba to take dictation from Castro cronies under the watchful eye of the state police and wrote an "oral history" of supposed terrorist acts committed by Cuban refugees in exile in Miami. Yeah, quite a source.

 
At 8/16/2011 8:07 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Here's a basic fact. Put a country under siege and they'll curb civil liberties. Do you really want free speech for Cubans? Call on America to call off the terrorist campaign. Serve justice to terrorists in Miami. Instead of arresting Cubans that infiltrate terrorist cells, actually break up the terrorist cells.

Instead you are outraged that Castro has done precisely what every other nation does when they are subjected to violence. Obama is dropping bombs on Al Alwaki, a US citizen, all the time, killing people in the region but missing Al Alwaki so far, because he expressed the opinion that our government should be resisted violently. Are you outraged about that curbing of free speech? Of course not. Castro is obligated to permit such speech. But when your government prevents it you love it. And that's why it's easy to see through your so called outrage against Castro. The real crime is not his curbing of speech, which is done by US puppet regimes all over the world and you never notice. His real crime is independence.

 
At 8/16/2011 8:14 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Here's a basic fact. Put a country under siege and they'll curb civil liberties.

Cuba can't use that as an excuse. When your ideology requires that you control the population to serve your political goals you have to curb civil liberties.

Do you really want free speech for Cubans? Call on America to call off the terrorist campaign. Serve justice to terrorists in Miami. Instead of arresting Cubans that infiltrate terrorist cells, actually break up the terrorist cells.

What does the one have to do with the other? Castro has the ability to allow Cubans their natural rights. But he can't do that without losing control over them. Instead of condemning him apologists like you blame the idiot Americans.

 
At 8/17/2011 8:32 AM, Blogger The Anti-Gnostic said...

we now are able to purchase more than even kings could dream about 60 years ago

Pithy, and absolutely irrelevant.

Yoofs can steal, uh, excuse me, young people can buy iPods.

Charlemagne didn't have an iPod.

Young people today are wealthier than Charlemagne!

 
At 8/17/2011 11:13 AM, Blogger Jon said...

VangeIV, the real test for your concern regarding civil liberties is what do you do when your side suppresses them. I think that's a fair test. The Soviets monitored US behavior and quenching of liberties and sometimes what they said was true, but we were right to ask them about their own behavior. Did they criticize their own government when they likewise restricted free speech? They did not, which is why we dismissed what they said with contempt. They didn't really care about freedom of expression. They cared about serving state power by criticizing the US.

So let's apply the same test to ourselves. What was our government's reaction when they were displeased with the coverage from Al Jazeera? They just bombed them. Our government routinely murdered people by the thousands because democratically they would have or did elect a government we didn't prefer. Our government installed Pinochet and he built concentration camps for leftists. That's depriving people of their liberties, but done by our side. Do you criticize that?

In El Salvador US trained death squads would hack newspaper editors to death with machetes, bomb and ransack opposition newspaper offices. That kind of thing is barely noticed. What matters is that Castro won't allow demonstrations financed by the CIA, which actively seeks to overthrow his government violently. Why shouldn't I conclude that you are no different from the Commissars in the Soviet Union?

 
At 8/17/2011 2:20 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

VangeIV, the real test for your concern regarding civil liberties is what do you do when your side suppresses them. I think that's a fair test.

I agree.

The Soviets monitored US behavior and quenching of liberties and sometimes what they said was true, but we were right to ask them about their own behavior. Did they criticize their own government when they likewise restricted free speech?

Of course principled people criticized their own government. That is why the libertarian movement was as strong as it was and why it included many from the Old Right and the New Left.

They did not, which is why we dismissed what they said with contempt. They didn't really care about freedom of expression. They cared about serving state power by criticizing the US.

Who is 'they?' As I said, there is a huge amount of evidence of protest when the US government suppressed civil liberties. While there was a minor amount of protest in Cuba or the USSR, those that were courageous enough to speak found themselves in prisons, concentration camps or unmarked graves.

So let's apply the same test to ourselves. What was our government's reaction when they were displeased with the coverage from Al Jazeera? They just bombed them. Our government routinely murdered people by the thousands because democratically they would have or did elect a government we didn't prefer. Our government installed Pinochet and he built concentration camps for leftists. That's depriving people of their liberties, but done by our side. Do you criticize that?

I don't know about you but I did criticize any actions that killed innocent people or deprived them of their liberties. Unlike the Right Wing idiots that you argue with I actually believe in freedom and individual rights. But just because there are idiots that does not make your anti-liberty views correct. The way I see it, you on the Left are the opposite side of the same totalitarian coin and oppose individual liberty just as the Right does.

Take a look at this one minute quiz and see where you stand.

http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz

Based on your defense of Cuba I imagine that you will be on the Left while your opponents are on the Right. While you may be an advocate for social freedom and your opponents are advocates for economic freedom both of you would restrict the freedoms in which your opponent believes. The only true advocates for liberty are those that argue for all individual rights, not just the ones that you like. And on that front both the Left and Right fail miserably.

In El Salvador US trained death squads would hack newspaper editors to death with machetes, bomb and ransack opposition newspaper offices. That kind of thing is barely noticed. What matters is that Castro won't allow demonstrations financed by the CIA, which actively seeks to overthrow his government violently. Why shouldn't I conclude that you are no different from the Commissars in the Soviet Union?

The CIA was guilty of many crimes as were the Soviets. But that does not excuse your defense of Castro's tyranny.

 
At 8/17/2011 3:00 PM, Blogger Jon said...

OK, maybe I was lumping you in with Che. Good to see you care about the atrocities committed by our side.

I took your test and came out barely inside the left/liberal side and close to liberterian.

It's not that I am interested in defending Castro. What I'm interested in doing is ending repression. If we really care about ending repression in Cuba we have to look at how we are contributing to it. There's little point in looking at how Castro contributes to it because we can't really control him and we are not responsible for him. We are responsible for our actions and the actions of those we can control.

Clamping down on free speech is an inevitable consequence of waging a terrorist war. Criticizing Castro for doing that is like criticizing a cat for chasing a mouse. That's what a cat will naturally do. If you want free speech for Cubans you can either do something effective or something ineffective. Ineffective is complaining about Castro. Effective is considering how our actions influence the situation.

So while the CIA's terrorism does not excuse Castro it is the primary terrorism we should be talking about, because it is ours. Supposing my son was a bully, what would you think if all I did was complain about the neighbor child? That's not good parenting. I should look at my child first and with extra scrutiny. This would even be true if my son was less of a bully than the neighbor boy.

And what if someone said that the fact that I focus on my son's mistakes was proof that I hate my son. Not that you did this, but this is what I hear. That is nonsense. This is just basic moral reasoning. We are responsible for OUR actions. We are not responsible for Castro or Ahmadinejad. We should look inward first.

 
At 8/17/2011 8:00 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Unlike the Right Wing idiots that you argue with I actually believe in freedom and individual rights ... The way I see it, you on the Left are the opposite side of the same totalitarian coin and oppose individual liberty just as the Right does." -- Vange

Yes, only you, Vange, are perfect. It's time to lower your meds.

"While you may be an advocate for social freedom and your opponents are advocates for economic freedom both of you would restrict the freedoms in which your opponent believes." -- Vange

Tell us, enlightened one, what are these "social freedoms" that we evil, idiot right-wingers have denied you, and that leftists like Jon and his hero Castro embrace?

"The CIA was guilty of many crimes as were the Soviets." -- Vange

Ah, but not you, perfect Vange, because you have never had to fight for or defend your freedom. You have never answered the call of those who long for the freedoms that you take for granted. No, being concerned with true justice, you have chosen the much more difficult path and offered your enlightened criticism of those who have, at great personal risk, answered that call. You are so special.

 
At 8/17/2011 10:53 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8/17/2011 11:18 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The CIA was guilty of many crimes as were the Soviets." -- Vange

"... while the CIA's terrorism does not excuse Castro it is the primary terrorism we should be talking about, because it is ours." -- Jon

I'm curious, in the morally equivalent world that the two of you inhabit, were the OSS, MI6 and the French and Polish resistance also guilty of "crimes" and "terrorism" against the Nazis? Was theirs the "primary terrorism" that we should have been concerned about because it was ours? The Communists have killed far more people than the Nazis, and they are still killing. Do victims of communism count in the same way as victims of fascism?

 
At 8/18/2011 4:00 AM, Blogger leo said...

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At 8/18/2011 7:11 AM, Blogger Jon said...

"Moral equivalence" is a propaganda phrase intended to prevent us from evaluating our own foreign policy decisions. It's totally vacuous.

So take the cases you cite. There's no moral equivalence between efforts to repel an invading military, as the Polish resistance did, and attacking civilians in a country because a popular movement brought about an end to dictatorship in installed a government we don't prefer. How are these equivalent? It makes no sense.

 
At 8/18/2011 11:40 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"... attacking civilians in a country because a popular movement brought about an end to dictatorship in installed a government we don't prefer."

No country in the history of the world has ever made the effort the we have made to avoid civilian casualties - ever!

"Popular movement"? Were the Bolsheviks a "popular movement"? Was Allende's attempt to overthrow Chilean democracy a "popular movement"? Which "popular movement" - that wasn't inspired by the KGB - was it that we were supposed to have thwarted?

By the way, I can see from your comments that you know as little about Allenede / Pinochet and Chile as you do about Castro and Cuba.

 
At 8/18/2011 12:14 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

It's not that I am interested in defending Castro. What I'm interested in doing is ending repression. If we really care about ending repression in Cuba we have to look at how we are contributing to it.

The Libertarian answer would be that Castro is the one doing the repression, not the US. But Libertarians would also stop the boycott and sanctions nonsense and trade with Cuba because that would be the fasted way to end the repression that the Right seems to want to claim that it cares about.

Clamping down on free speech is an inevitable consequence of waging a terrorist war. Criticizing Castro for doing that is like criticizing a cat for chasing a mouse....

No. Castro is a tyrant. End of story. He cares about his movement and his power, not the Cuban people. If he did care about them he would not have killed as many as he did and would not have condemned them to poverty by pushing a failed economic system.

So while the CIA's terrorism does not excuse Castro it is the primary terrorism we should be talking about, because it is ours....

As I said, while the CIA has been guilty of meddling and has been little more than a terrorist group in some cases, you can't blame the Cuban repression on those incompetent idiots.

You really need to stop with the socialism worship and making excuses for dictators.

 
At 8/18/2011 12:21 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Tell us, enlightened one, what are these "social freedoms" that we evil, idiot right-wingers have denied you, and that leftists like Jon and his hero Castro embrace?

It was the CIA who overthrew governments in many nations and trampled on the liberties of their citizens by funding and supporting tyrants. And I do not defend Castro or his pals. I am just as much against his crimes than I am against those of your pals.

Ah, but not you, perfect Vange, because you have never had to fight for or defend your freedom.

I defend my freedom all the time. I actually sent my Prime Minister a copy of Lady Sale's journey arguing that the Afghan adventure would end badly even as I praised his refusal to invade Iraq on false pretenses. I have always spoken and written against government meddling in all spheres by arguing in favour of individual liberty.

You have never answered the call of those who long for the freedoms that you take for granted.

Who do you know that has fought for your freedom again? Not the mercenaries who fought Bush's and Obama's wars. When was the last time an army of any kind invaded your nation again?

No, being concerned with true justice, you have chosen the much more difficult path and offered your enlightened criticism of those who have, at great personal risk, answered that call. You are so special.

LOL. You have defended the slaughter of innocents and the loss of freedom for your citizens because you were too scared of a few hundred idiots hiding in caves in Afghanistan. Some courage that took.

 
At 8/18/2011 12:24 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I'm curios, in the morally equivalent world that the two of you inhabit, were the OSS, MI6 and the French and Polish resistance also guilty of "crimes" and "terrorism" against the Nazis?

The CIA overthrew legitimate governments in foreign nations. That puts them in a similar position to the Nazis than those that argue for individual liberty.

 
At 8/18/2011 12:25 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

So take the cases you cite. There's no moral equivalence between efforts to repel an invading military, as the Polish resistance did, and attacking civilians in a country because a popular movement brought about an end to dictatorship in installed a government we don't prefer. How are these equivalent? It makes no sense.

It makes no sense to you because you are not on the Right. But let me point out that your defense of Castro makes no sense either.

 
At 8/18/2011 12:33 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

No country in the history of the world has ever made the effort the we have made to avoid civilian casualties - ever!

Really?

I mean really?

And Really?

 
At 8/18/2011 2:36 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

The sanctions against Iraq were UN sanctions supported by your government as well. Which country was leading the enforcement effort for the "no fly zone" over Iraq during this time to prevent Saddam from ethnically cleansing both the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs? What's more, those "mercenaries" put and end to the sanctions regime, imposed by the international community, resulting in the saving of millions of Iraqi lives.

In Afghanistan, the ability for foreign medical aid agencies to access the population following the fall of the Taliban has led to the saving on tens of thousands of lives:

"Close to 90,000 children who would have died before age 5 in Afghanistan during Taliban rule will stay alive this year because of advances in medical care in the country, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday. ...

The under-5 child mortality rate in Afghanistan has declined from an estimated 257 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2001 to about 191 per 1,000 in 2006, the Ministry of Public Health said, relying on a new study by Johns Hopkins University. -- AP


The Japanese actually did invade my country attacking and killing my countrymen. As for dropping the bomb, the best casualty estimates for a land invasion of mainland Japan were well over 1 million dead and millions more wounded. Dropping the bomb probably saved almost a million lives.

I'm not going to invest the time to read your last link to the Indian Wars, it looks like revisionist crap. Suffice it to say that the Indians routinely waged wars of elimination against each other before and after we got here. The Iroquois wiped the Neutrals off the face of the Earth and tried to do same with the Huron until they were stopped by the French. During most of the colonial period the Indians gave as good as they got.

Nice try.

 
At 8/18/2011 3:27 PM, Blogger Jon said...

VangeIV, what I have offered is an effort to understand the causes for Castro's curbing of free speech. That's the first step necessary towards remedying the problem. To pretend this is a "defense" of Castro is like saying a doctor is defending the AIDS virus because he recognizes that sharing needles causes it to spread. No, I'm not a big fan of the AIDS virus. But the causes of it's proliferation should be considered.

There can be multiple causes, but one of the major ones is the ongoing US terrorist war. You can pretend that this is irrelevant if you like but it represents universal experience. Happens every time. Despite that you just say "No, that's not it, it's socialism." If confident assertions count as evidence I guess you win, but I'm going to go with history and experience over your confident assertions.

 
At 8/18/2011 8:34 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The sanctions against Iraq were UN sanctions supported by your government as well. Which country was leading the enforcement effort for the "no fly zone" over Iraq during this time to prevent Saddam from ethnically cleansing both the Kurds and the Marsh Arabs? What's more, those "mercenaries" put and end to the sanctions regime, imposed by the international community, resulting in the saving of millions of Iraqi lives.

There would have been no sanctions without a push by the US. Those sanctions killed 500,000 children and did not save any lives.

The Japanese actually did invade my country attacking and killing my countrymen. As for dropping the bomb, the best casualty estimates for a land invasion of mainland Japan were well over 1 million dead and millions more wounded. Dropping the bomb probably saved almost a million lives.

There was no Japanese invasion of the US. The Japanese attacked the Pacific fleet at Pearl. It was a targeted attack against a military target. The dropping of the bomb on Nagasaki was not. It led to the deaths of innocent civilians, ironically in Japan's most Christian city.

 
At 8/18/2011 8:36 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

VangeIV, what I have offered is an effort to understand the causes for Castro's curbing of free speech.

You ignored the obvious reason. Castro is an ideologue who believes in a very anti-human ideology that requires that the population be repressed. He could not survive without that repression because people would turn against him and his thugs if given the chance to.

 
At 8/19/2011 9:22 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"There would have been no sanctions without a push by the US." -- Vange

"There was no Japanese invasion of the US. The Japanese attacked the Pacific fleet at Pearl. It was a targeted attack against a military target." -- Vange

These two statements expose both your irrational hatred of the U.S. and your historical illiteracy. The sanctions regime was put in place by unanimous consent of the UN Security Counsel as a result of Saddam throwing UN inspectors out of Iraq in violation of a treaty he signed at the end of the first Gulf War. Those inspectors were in the process of revealing and dismantling his WMD programs. Saddam surrendered to a large multinational coalition that included many Arab nations, like Syria, Jordan and Egypt. There was absolutely no need for the U.S. to "push" the sanctions regime.

As for Japan, they invaded the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, sovereign territory of the U.S., with the intension of controlling northwest shipping and possibly establishing an air base from which to bomb the U.S. mainland.

I guess that to an ignorant, leftist hack like you, there can be no evil in the world unless the U.S. is in some way responsible.

 
At 8/19/2011 10:24 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

I am a voice in favour of individual liberty, not a Leftist. On the other hand, you are a pro-state totalitarian who is not all that different than the pro-state totalitarian on the Left.

 
At 8/19/2011 10:29 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

These two statements expose both your irrational hatred of the U.S. and your historical illiteracy.

Nonsense. The US used to be the greatest nation ever when it was based on the principle of individual freedom at home and responsibility and it minded its own business abroad. It is fools who searched for enemies abroad and tolerated a loss of individual liberty at home who hate the US and are historical illiterates.

The sanctions regime was put in place by unanimous consent of the UN Security Counsel as a result of Saddam throwing UN inspectors out of Iraq in violation of a treaty he signed at the end of the first Gulf War. Those inspectors were in the process of revealing and dismantling his WMD programs. Saddam surrendered to a large multinational coalition that included many Arab nations, like Syria, Jordan and Egypt. There was absolutely no need for the U.S. to "push" the sanctions regime.

The sanctions were pushed by the US and aided by US PR propaganda efforts that spread lies about babies dying in incubators, rapes that never took place, etc. The fact is that the US could have stopped actions that led to the deaths of 500K children. Not only did it fail to do so, its Secretary of State was cheering on those actions.

As for Japan, they invaded the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, sovereign territory of the U.S., with the intension of controlling northwest shipping and possibly establishing an air base from which to bomb the U.S. mainland.

Wow. The Japanese invaded two islands whose natives were conquered by the Russians and were later sold to the US. That certainly justifies vaporizing tens of thousands of innocent civilians and the destruction of Japan's most Christian city.

But aren't you forgetting that your won country invaded Hawaii, the Philippines, Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and many other places that had much bigger populations and where your soldiers killed innocent civilians in large numbers? Would those invasions justify the dropping of atomic bombs on the US as your logic suggests?

Sorry but no sane individual who believes in individual liberty would make the type of argument that you are making. No matter how you try to spin the story and no matter which narrative you create, you can't justify the killing of tens of thousands of innocent people. From where I stand there is little difference between you and those on the left that you oppose. Both of your sides are anti-liberty and pro-state.

 
At 8/19/2011 10:29 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

These two statements expose both your irrational hatred of the U.S. and your historical illiteracy.

Nonsense. The US used to be the greatest nation ever when it was based on the principle of individual freedom at home and responsibility and it minded its own business abroad. It is fools who searched for enemies abroad and tolerated a loss of individual liberty at home who hate the US and are historical illiterates.

The sanctions regime was put in place by unanimous consent of the UN Security Counsel as a result of Saddam throwing UN inspectors out of Iraq in violation of a treaty he signed at the end of the first Gulf War. Those inspectors were in the process of revealing and dismantling his WMD programs. Saddam surrendered to a large multinational coalition that included many Arab nations, like Syria, Jordan and Egypt. There was absolutely no need for the U.S. to "push" the sanctions regime.

The sanctions were pushed by the US and aided by US PR propaganda efforts that spread lies about babies dying in incubators, rapes that never took place, etc. The fact is that the US could have stopped actions that led to the deaths of 500K children. Not only did it fail to do so, its Secretary of State was cheering on those actions.

As for Japan, they invaded the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, sovereign territory of the U.S., with the intension of controlling northwest shipping and possibly establishing an air base from which to bomb the U.S. mainland.

Wow. The Japanese invaded two islands whose natives were conquered by the Russians and were later sold to the US. That certainly justifies vaporizing tens of thousands of innocent civilians and the destruction of Japan's most Christian city.

But aren't you forgetting that your won country invaded Hawaii, the Philippines, Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and many other places that had much bigger populations and where your soldiers killed innocent civilians in large numbers? Would those invasions justify the dropping of atomic bombs on the US as your logic suggests?

Sorry but no sane individual who believes in individual liberty would make the type of argument that you are making. No matter how you try to spin the story and no matter which narrative you create, you can't justify the killing of tens of thousands of innocent people. From where I stand there is little difference between you and those on the left that you oppose. Both of your sides are anti-liberty and pro-state.

 
At 8/19/2011 10:50 AM, Blogger Jon said...

VangeIV, do you believe that subjecting a nation to violence tends to cause them to repress civil liberties or no?

 
At 8/19/2011 11:31 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

VangeIV, do you believe that subjecting a nation to violence tends to cause them to repress civil liberties or no?

It can for a while. But your excuse that it is all the CIA's fault is not credible. Castro oppresses his people because without the monopoly on force they would throw him out. The game is all about him and his ideology, not the Cuban people. So stop making excuses and call a spade a spade. As I said, the way I see it the anti-liberty advocates on the Left and Right are the opposite side of the same authoritarian coin.

 
At 8/19/2011 12:48 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8/19/2011 12:50 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 8/19/2011 12:53 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"On the other hand, you are a pro-state totalitarian who is not all that different than the pro-state totalitarian on the Left." -- Vange

Yes, I'm pro-state when that state is founded on, and promotes, individual liberty, as the U.S. is. I support the American revolution, which was the only true "people's revolution", and I have nothing but contempt for counter-revolutionary scum, like you.

"The fact is that the US could have stopped actions that led to the deaths of 500K children ..." -- Vange

So, your position boils down to the U.S. pushed for the sanctions, but even if they didn't they could have stopped them. The U.S. is evil for imposing it's will, or it's evil because it refuses to stop others from imposing their will. Either way, the U.S. is evil. And you wonder why leftists, like you, are treated with derision.

"Wow. The Japanese invaded two islands ..." -- Vange

So, that's a yes, you admit that you do not know your ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to U.S. history.

I'd love to discuss Mexico, the Philippines, Cuba and the rest, but it turns out that you know little or nothing about history - other than what you've read by Chomsky or Zinn. Back to your bong, loser.

 
At 8/19/2011 1:08 PM, Blogger Jon said...

The revolution which brought Castro to power relied almost entirely on indigenous support. He was extremely popular and to my knowledge is still quite popular. The same was true in Vietnam. The reason the US started bombing South Vietnam in 1962 is because the CIA knew that if given the choice the people would install a socialist government.

You just keep saying that the people would throw out Castro if they were permitted their civil liberties, but you offer no evidence. It might be true, but what reasons can you offer? Meanwhile you want to pretend that violence originating in the US plays no role or a minimal role. But Iraqi activists claimed that US violence undermined their democratic activities and gave Saddam the excuses he needed to crack down. Iranian dissidents say the same. Afghan resistance movements said the same. I have the history that shows this plays a major role. You continue with confident assertions to the contrary.

 
At 8/19/2011 3:28 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The revolution which brought Castro to power relied almost entirely on indigenous support ... He was extremely popular and to my knowledge is still quite popular. You just keep saying that the people would throw out Castro if they were permitted their civil liberties, but you offer no evidence." -- Jon

Castro lied about his intentions during the Cuban revolution. He claimed over and over again that he was fighting for freedom and democracy. This deception coupled with Batista's brutality attracted many Cubans, including the middle class and members of the Cuban military, to his cause. It was only after he had taken power that this ruse was exposed. And, of course, the American left bought his bullshit - hook line and sinker:

"This is not a Communist Revolution in any sense of the term. Fidel Castro is not only not a Communist, he is decidedly anti-Communist.” (Herbert Matthews, New York Times, July 1959)

“It would be a great mistake even to intimate that Castro’s Cuba has any real prospect of becoming a Soviet satellite.” (Walter Lippmann, Washington Post July, 1959)

“Castro is honest, and an honest government is something unique in Cuba. Castro is not himself even remotely a Communist.” (Newsweek, April 1959)

“We can thank our lucky stars Castro is no Communist" (Look Magazine, March 1959.)

I know, I know those guys were "real journalists" unlike Humberto Fontova.

Once he had secured power his true intentions became clear.

If, as you argue, the Cuban communists are so popular, why don't they hold elections? Why do they need secret police to arrest, imprison and torture political dissidents? Why not allow freedom of the press and assembly? Why not allow Cubans to travel freely, both inside and outside their own country? Because it's all bullshit, and only a fool is unable to see that.

"The reason the US started bombing South Vietnam in 1962 is because the CIA knew that if given the choice the people would install a socialist government." -- Jon

I'm assuming that you are referring to the "Palace Bombing" that was carried out by two dissident South Vietnamese Air Force pilots. There is absolutely no evidence that that was a CIA plot. The two in question bombed the palace in protest over the Diem government's refusal to confront the Viet Cong. The Viet Cong and their communist masters in the north were not popular in South Vietnam. In fact, upon assuming command of U.S. forces in Viet Nam, Gen. Creighton Abrams convinced the South Vietnamese government to arm the citizenry as the first line of defense against the communists. The newly armed South Vietnamese citizenry destroyed the communist forces fighting in the Vietnamese countryside.

"Iraqi activists claimed that US violence undermined their democratic activities and gave Saddam the excuses he needed to crack down. Iranian dissidents say the same. Afghan resistance movements said the same." -- Jon

Complete bullshit. Saddam was one of the most sadistic tyrants in modern history and needed no excuses to victimize his own people. The Iranian dissidents that just recently took to the streets were calling out for U.S. support only to have our leftist president turn away. The Afghan resistance - the Northern Alliance - had been nearly wiped out. Their leader, Ahmad Shah Massoud, who was pro-American, had been assassinated by Al Qaeda. They cheered U.S. involvement after 9/11.

 
At 8/19/2011 4:33 PM, Blogger Jon said...

There can be many reasons for why Castro doesn't permit freedoms, but the ones I've talked about are the first ones we should be concerned with. Other defects within Cuba are for Cubans to deal with. We should get off their backs and let them fix their own problems. That's what they want. I frankly barely care if Castro "lied" as you say in overthrowing Batista or whatever. That's not my concern. My concern is the behavior of the US.

As far as the bombings in Vietnam in 1962, I'm talking about the US Air Force. See here and here. This was partly to drive the indigenous people into concentration camps, the so called "strategic hamlets." Barricaded and with barb wire fences for their own protection.

The communists had overwhelming support in the south. That's why the vast majority of bombs during the war were dropped on the south. The so called "Viet Cong". This was a war against the south, constantly trying to impose a US puppet dictator. The whole thing is so irrational from a propaganda perspective that Americans don't even know when the Air Force started bombing, because people have this notion that this was a defense of the south. In fact it was a war against the south.

You say democratic activists from Iraq offer "complete bullshit." Apparently they don't really know the effects on them of US violence. I say they know better than you.

No, not the Northern Alliance. Give me a break. Those were the US backed goons. Worse than the Taliban. They are not democratic forces in Afghanistan. They are the worst of the worst in terms of violence and Islamic radicalism.

 
At 8/19/2011 5:10 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

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At 8/19/2011 5:11 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

You are too far gone to talk to. Everything that you've written, "The communists had overwhelming support in the south ... this notion that this was a defense of the south. In fact it was a war against the south." is demonstrably false. When the North did finally achieve control of the south, they murdered close to a million people and sent nearly three million more to "reeducation camps". Add to that the millions that fled on make shift boats and your "overwhelming support" argument, like your Castro is popular argument, is revealed to be nothing more than left-wing nonsense. Why are people always desperately trying to flee your model societies?

Of course, the only villain that you can see in all of this is the U.S.. The U.S. isn't perfect. No society has ever been perfect. But during the period following WWII, the U.S. has played the key role of ushering in the greatest expansion of liberty in human history. Your obsession with U.S. shortcomings and your corresponding blind spot for actual tyranny suggests that you lack the ability to differentiate between good and evil.

 
At 8/19/2011 5:18 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yes, I'm pro-state when that state is founded on, and promotes, individual liberty, as the U.S. is.

Really? Is your idea of a state the promotes individual liberty one that can put you in jail for installing a toilet tank that holds more than the amount of water the government allows, or for having a shower head that allows too high a flow rate? Or one that can put you in jail and violates the principle of habeas corpus? Or one that regulates which dietary supplements you can take and sends police to arrest farmers who are selling unpasteurized milk?

If the current US is your idea of a free country you have very low standards.

I support the American revolution, which was the only true "people's revolution", and have nothing but contempt for counter-revolutionary scum, like you.

What do the principles of the American Revolution have to do with the modern United States? The current government in the Land of the Slave takes more than 50% of an honest man's income in the form of property and income taxes, licensing fees, tariffs, sales taxes, etc. Do you really think that is what Jefferson was hoping for when he wrote the Declaration?

The U.S. is evil for imposing it's will, or it's evil because it refuses to stop others from imposing their will.

The government of the US was evil because it let 500,000 children die. End of story. No man of principle who believes in individual liberty would argue otherwise.

So, that's a yes, you do not know your ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to U.S. history.

I know my history, thank you. I just forgot about the two little islands in Alaska that the Japanese invaded after they were conquered by Russia and sold to the US. But if invasion justifies being bombed with nukes don't you have a lot to worry about? After all, no nation has invaded as many countries as the United states in the past 200 years.

I'd love to discuss Mexico, the Philippines, Cuba and the rest, but it turns out that you know little or nothing about history - other than what you've read by Chomsky or Zinn. Back to your bong, loser.

No, you would not like to discuss the previous invasions. As I said, if invasion was justification for having nukes dropped on your head you have something to worry about.

But as I have argued, no sane person who defended individual liberty could justify such a crime.

 
At 8/19/2011 5:39 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

I was born a decade after the murderous Ba’ath Party grabbed power in Baghdad in the sinister coup of July 1968. To us, the war brought an end to that 35-year-long nightmare and the beginning of an era of freedom, thanks to our friends in the coalition.

For me and many Iraqis, it was certainly worth it. Life is better today than it was before 2003. That is even though we were on the receiving end of this war in all its phases, from initial invasion through the bloody sectarian violence and terror that paralysed the country for years. Despite the high price in blood, today is brighter than yesterday. Above all, we have hope - something we did not have under Saddam’s dictatorship - that tomorrow will be even brighter.

-- Omar Fadhil Al-Nidawi, Iraqi activist

The Australian

 
At 8/19/2011 6:01 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Really? Is your idea of a state the promotes individual liberty one that can put you in jail for installing a toilet tank that holds more than the amount of water the government allows ... blah, bablah, bablah -- Vange

I do not have to support any of those things to support the U.S., and I do not. In fact, if you've read my posts you know that I do not. Just more of your diversion.

The current government in the Land of the Slave takes more than 50% of an honest man's income in the form of property and income taxes, licensing fees, tariffs, sales taxes, etc. Do you really think that is what Jefferson was hoping for when he wrote the Declaration? -- Vange

No, I do not.

The government of the US was evil because it let 500,000 children die. End of story. -- Vange

The US government did not let 500,000 children die. The sanctions provided for adequate food and medicine to provide for their needs. Saddam Hussein let 500,000 children die. See, you can't get past your hatred of the U.S..

... no nation has invaded as many countries as the United states in the past 200 years. -- Vange

You seem to have forgotten about the British, the French, the Germans, the Japanese, the Spanish and, of course, your heroes the Soviets.

 
At 8/19/2011 6:02 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

was born a decade after the murderous Ba’ath Party grabbed power in Baghdad in the sinister coup of July 1968. To us, the war brought an end to that 35-year-long nightmare and the beginning of an era of freedom, thanks to our friends in the coalition...

What is the point? The US supported the 1963 coup that threw out the Qassim government, which the CIA believed to be communist. Without that coup the later coup that brought Saddam to power would not have been possible. The Ba'ath party worked with the US in the 1970s to oppose the Iranian Revolution and received weapons that were used during the Iran/Iraq war through the US and its proxies.

 
At 8/19/2011 6:24 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

The US supported the 1963 coup that threw out the Qassim government, which the CIA believed to be communist ... The Ba'ath party worked with the US in the 1970s to oppose the Iranian Revolution and received weapons that were used during the Iran/Iraq war through the US and its proxies. -- Vange

It's obvious that you have a problem with the bigger picture. The choice in Iraq in 1963 was not between the Ba'athists and a Jeffersonian democracy, it was between a Soviet bastard and a Ba'athist bastard. If the Soviets had taken control of the region they would have been in a position to hold the world's oil supply hostage. I know that that is of little concern to a moralizing gas bag like you, but leaving the economies of the free world captive of the Soviets wasn't an option. Unfortunately Canada wasn't up to the task. Canadians did, however, after enjoying the result, show up to lecture us on our evil ways. Thanks for that.

 
At 8/19/2011 6:25 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I do not have to support any of those things to support the U.S., and I do not. In fact, if you've read my posts you know that I do not. Just more of your diversion.

But you are not supporting Americans, who are against the wars that your government is waging. You are supporting the government which is waging the wars that make the US less safe. And while you argue that you support liberty you support a government that limits that liberty. Sorry but you are not very convincing.

The US government did not let 500,000 children die. The sanctions provided for adequate food and medicine to provide for their needs. Saddam Hussein let 500,000 children die. See, you can't get past your hatred of the U.S..

That is not true. In the absence of sanctions the medicine and food would have gotten to the people who needed it. Limiting trade made it easier for Saddam to control more of the economy than he could have had free trade been permitted to bring goods to the Shiites and Kurds.

You can spin and make up stories but that can not change the facts or hide the words of your Secretary of State that were easy to interpret for all those who paid attention.

You seem to have forgotten about the British, the French, the Germans, the Japanese, the Spanish and, of course, your heroes the Soviets.

Not at all. Their actions pale by comparison to those of the US which invaded more countries and stationed more troops at more bases than any of countries that you listed.

And I have never claimed that the Soviets were heroes. They are the opposite side of the totalitarian coin that you find yourself on.

 
At 8/19/2011 9:19 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"But you are not supporting Americans, who are against the wars that your government is waging." -- Vange

You need to learn how to differentiate between Americans and the left-wing, dictator loving scum that you hang out with:

Despite its contentious history, most American voters appear to have made a positive judgment about the country's efforts in Iraq. Almost six in 10 (58 percent) voters think, overall, the United States "did the right thing" by going to war, according to the latest Fox News poll. ... An even larger share of voters (71 percent) expresses some level of agreement with the view that the Iraqi people are better off today because of the U.S.-led action, while 19 percent disagree. ... When the scope is widened to broader security concerns, about six in 10 voters (58 percent) agree the action made the United States and the world safer. ... If Iraq is considered a success, who deserves the credit? Voters are pretty clear, as a 54-percent majority names former President George W. Bush as the person who should be acknowledged as most responsible for the success in Iraq.

FOXNews

"That is not true. In the absence of sanctions the medicine and food would have gotten to the people who needed it. the words of your Secretary of State that were easy to interpret for all those who paid attention." -- Vange

Saddam was in complete control of who received food and medicine. He deliberately withheld these things from his people in order to generate opposition to the sanctions. He knew that week-minded, useful idiots would start to blame others - the U.S. or the U.N. - for his crimes. Looks like in your case he was right. As for Ms. Albright, she was expressing what was the consensus of world opinion before we liberated Iraq, which was that the threat Saddam posed was great enough to justify continuing the sanctions.

"Their actions pale by comparison to those of the US which invaded more countries and stationed more troops at more bases than any of countries that you listed." -- Vange

So, the actions of the U.S. pale in comparison to the Nazis, the Japanese and the Soviets? You see, this is where you start to sound like a moral degenerate. You know, or should know, that our troops based overseas are there at the request of the host nations. In fact, many of those nations voluntarily pay some or all of our basing costs. Can you be so lost as to believe that U.S. troops stationed in Germany, Spain, Italy are the same as the Nazi occupation or the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe?

If the U.S. were really as evil as you maintain, then why haven't our actions resulted in an outcome that is anything like that which resulted from fascist or communist aggression? Where are the captive nations? The concentration camps? The mass graves? Why didn't we just take Iraq's oil? Or, for that matter, anything else around the world that we needed or wanted? Why do we continue to tolerate sniveling little douche bags like you? Why not throw all of your asses into those concentration camps you go on and on about? You do not deserve the life that thousands of better men have died to give you. Your freedom is an accident of birth and not the result of you having done anything to deserve it.

 
At 8/20/2011 8:10 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Leave it to Fox News to figure out a way to skew a poll. Their question is:

Overall, do you think the United States did the right thing or the wrong thing going to war in Iraq, removing Saddam Hussein from power and helping the Iraqis establish a new government?

Here's a modified phrasing that would produce opposite results.

Overall, do you think the United States did the right thing or the wrong thing going to war in Iraq without UN approval, leading to the death of thousands of Americans, the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, all at an expected overall cost of $3 trillion?

So let's look at some of the less cartoonish polls.

(From January 2003) Would you support the invasion of Iraq without UN authorization but with the support of one or two major allies? Oppose 52 to 39%

(From January 2011) Do you favor or oppose the US war in Iraq: Oppose 66 to 33%.

(From August 2010) Do you think the result of the war with Iraq was worth the loss of American lives and other costs of attacking Iraq, or not? Not worth it 72 to 20%.

It's similar in Afghanistan.

And for good measure:

Should US companies be allowed to trade with Cuba? Yes 62 to 26%.

Regarding sanctions in Iraq, seriously, get a clue.

US troops are present at the request of host nations. Is that why the Prime Minister of Japan resigned, since he was elected on a pledge to get the troops out of Japan but Obama told him no? Do you think the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was legitimate because the Afghan government requested troops?

 
At 8/20/2011 10:54 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

It's obvious that you have a problem with the bigger picture. The choice in Iraq in 1963 was not between the Ba'athists and a Jeffersonian democracy, it was between a Soviet bastard and a Ba'athist bastard.

It is obvious that you have a big problem with delusion. The Soviets were incapable of challenging the United States or taking over the world. Their command economy was no match for a relatively unhampered free market oriented system that could provide goods and a high standard of living for its citizens.

Advocates of the free market knew that a command economy was not viable. That argument was settled in the 1920s when it was shown that in the absence of a price signal coming from the free market system a planned economy had no way to make viable economic calculations. Instead of winding down the Military-Industrial Complex the insiders who ran the US government kept feeding it taxpayer revenues and looked for conflicts to justify the large expenditures.

If the Soviets had taken control of the region they would have been in a position to hold the world's oil supply hostage.

Really? In the 1950s the oil industry was dominated by the Americans and the US was the world's largest producer. There was no way for the Soviets to step in and fill the void just as there was no way for the Soviets to control an Arab world that was mostly hostile to it.

People like you have far too much confidence in the ability of a group of men and women to rule over a population that does not agree with its goals. You underestimate the ability of individuals and the desire for self determination. (Which is why you are in such trouble when it comes to foreign policy.)

I know that that is of little concern to a moralizing gas bag like you, but leaving the economies of the free world captive of the Soviets wasn't an option. Unfortunately Canada wasn't up to the task. Canadians did, however, after enjoying the result, show up to lecture us on our evil ways. Thanks for that.

Cowards always fear an imagined enemy and doubt the ability of their society to hold together when forced with an external crisis. When you are gripped by fear it is far too easy to give up the liberties and principles that made that country great in the first place. That only happens because you do not really agree with those liberties and principles.

 
At 8/20/2011 11:15 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

You need to learn how to differentiate between Americans and the left-wing, dictator loving scum that you hang out with:....

Fox News cheered on the idiotic wars proposed by Bush and will say whatever it needs to in order to justify its errors. But the neocon narratives no longer resonate with the public and it no longer supports the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. I find it ironic that after helping Iran gain control of much of Iraq and its oil fields Fox and the neocons are now proposing yet another war, this time on Iran. I guess that they don't really care about the unsustainable debt bubble, high taxes, and the collapsing USD and the interests of the warfare state are of higher priority than the interest of the individuals.

And for the record, the highest contributions from the US military men and women go to Ron Paul, who has wanted to bring the troops home. I guess that the men and women who do the fighting have a different opinion than the chicken-hawks who speak out for the interests of the Military-Industrial Complex.

Saddam was in complete control of who received food and medicine....

First of all, thanks to the command and control system put into place by the sanctions a great deal of essential food and medicine that was required could not be delivered when needed. Children died. There is no way for you and your neocon friends to spin this into anything but what it is; a crime against humanity.

Second, the sanctions gave Saddam a way to punish the Kurds, which George Bush abandoned, and the Shiites. Kurdish and Shiite children died because of the sanctions. As usual, apologists like you have a hard time understanding that when you meddle in markets and trade you create all kinds of difficulties that can lead to more poverty, misery, and death. Like the Socialists, you National Socialists still favour a state controlled economy and the reduction of individual freedom. As I argued above, you are the opposite side of the same authoritarian coin.

So, the actions of the U.S. pale in comparison to the Nazis, the Japanese and the Soviets?

When it comes to the number of invasions they do. The Soviets certainly killed more but the, 'you must support us because we killed less innocent people,' line of argument is something you might want to reconsider. Even now, long after the Soviet threat is over, the US has troops in more than 100 countries abroad and spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined.

You see, this is where you start to sound like a moral degenerate.

Let me be clear. I oppose the loss of liberty and the killing of innocents. End of story. You make excuses for the loss of liberty and the murder of innocents. In a moral world that makes you the degenerate.

 
At 8/20/2011 11:44 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"So let's look at some of the less cartoonish polls." -- Jon

Less cartoonish polls? Man, you really are naive.

The polls that you view as less cartoonish were conducted by polling firms with a documentable history of partisan distortion. Here are just a few samples:

The bias and corruption hidden in the middle

AP's latest junk poll

A peek under the hood of the NYT/CBS poll

WaPo/ABC 14 point partisan gap

Poll dramatically increases Dem sample size

WaPo skewed sample

NYT/CBS junk poll

NYT/CBS have their thumb on the scale again

Your sources show that Republicans favored the war and viewed the outcome as beneficial by about 70 to 30. The more conservative the subject, the more favorable the response. So, where do the American people stand based on a partisan scale:

Conservatives outnumber Moderates and Liberals - Gallup

Conservatives outnumber Liberals in all 50 states

GOP lead on party affiliation largest in years

So, at a time when more Americans self-indentify as "conservative", by a wide margin, media polls are oversampling Democrats dramatically. Don't talk to me about cartoonish polls.

Continued ...

 
At 8/20/2011 11:48 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Continued ...

Documents obtained after the liberation revealed Saddam's strategy for attacking American interests and undermining the UN Security Council, as follows:

"Work to commit some nations like France, China, Russia and Japan to economical agreements that make the implementation of the smart sanctions to have negative effect to the interests of these nations." -- LINK

He teamed up with the UN to exploit the "Oil for Food" program, putting many UN representatives on his payroll including Kofi Anan:

The oil-for-food program, established in 1996 with Iraq's economy crippled by sanctions, allowed Saddam to sell oil in exchange for humanitarian goods meant for his people ... But Volcker's inquiry showed that Saddam sold oil to foreign countries in hopes of getting their support for lifting sanctions, and enriched himself by $1.8 billion through a kickback scheme. Companies and politicians essentially paid him for the right to do business, circumventing the U.N. program. -- AP

With the release Wednesday of Paul Volcker's fourth report on Oil for Food, we have the clearest account yet of what this quote-unquote scandal is really about. Oil for Food is not about some isolated incidents of perceived or actual wrongdoing during the course of a seven-year effort to maintain sanctions on Iraq, monitor its oil flows and feed its people. Oil for Food is a story about what the U.N. is. And our conclusion from reading the 847-page report is that the U.N. is Oil for Food ... the program itself was designed by members of the U.N. Security Council following protracted negotiations with the government of Saddam Hussein. It was the Security Council, for example, that approved Saddam's right to choose the companies, contractors and middlemen with whom Iraq would do business, and through which the entire program was corrupted. The Security Council also ran its own supervisory "661 Committee," named after the 1990 Security Council resolution that imposed sanctions on Iraq following its invasion of Kuwait. The result of this bifurcated structure was that real responsibility for overseeing Oil for Food fell between two stools--and into the lap of Mr. Sevan and his staff. Mr. Volcker's previous reports tell us that Mr. Sevan was in the pay of the Iraqi government ...even now we are told that "at least" Oil for Food fed the Iraqi people when they were on the edge of starvation, and this is accounted a U.N. success. That is false. Oil for Food offered a lifeline of cash and influence to a regime that was starving its people. The program did not corrupt the U.N. so much as exploit its essential nature. -- WSJ

China, Russia, France - whose largest oil firm Total had signed an extortionary agreement to develop Iraqi oil fields once the sanctions were lifted - all were working for Saddam and desperately trying to stop the liberation of the Iraqi people in order to keep the graft flowing.

Continued ...

 
At 8/20/2011 11:48 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Continued ...

Speaking of Russia, the Russians were deeply involved with Saddam. Russian intelligence agents worked hand in hand with Saddam's intelligence units and his Secret Police. After 9/11and before the liberation, Putin provided intelligence to the U.S. about Saddam's plans to attack American targets:

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that after the 9/11 attacks Moscow warned Washington that Saddam Hussein was planning attacks on the US. He said Russia's secret service had information on more than one occasion that Iraq was preparing acts of terror in the US and its facilities worldwide. -- BBC

This story was deliberately downplayed by the U.S. media which reported it in the back pages of their newspapers and never reported it on network television. Gee, I wonder why?

If the American people had adequate knowledge of the UN's corruption and the Russian warning, the polls wouldn't even be close.

 
At 8/20/2011 11:55 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"When it comes to the number of invasions they do. The Soviets certainly killed more but ... blah, blah,blah" -- Vange

Go away, you degenerate gasbag.

 
At 8/20/2011 12:13 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

If the U.S. were really as evil as you maintain, then why haven't our actions resulted in an outcome that is anything like that which resulted from fascist or communist aggression?

The Shah used murder and torture to control the Iranian population. He managed to wipe out the middle class and make Iran a fertile soil for the growth of radical Islam. The Ba'ath party murdered Kurds and Shiites in order to keep control. The Saudi rulers could not control their population without the US.

In Asia the US supported a murderous South Vietnamese regime that used force and terror to control its population and by bombing Laos and Cambodia ensured that Pol Pot's murderous regime could come to power and commit atrocities that rivaled those of the Nazis.

The Soviet threat was used as an excuse for the support of very questionable rulers who were little more than opportunistic, power-hungry, maniacs. The American government supported them because it decided that 'practical' concerns were more important than principles or morality. That said, while I am at it let us note the American government's professed admiration and support for Mussolini and Stalin during the 1930s and 1940s.

And let us not forget that Wilson's entry into WW I was the catalyst that made the rise of Stalin and Hitler possible. Had Wilson done as the Founding Fathers advised and he promised to during the election there would have been no USSR or Nazi Germany to worry about.

 
At 8/20/2011 7:59 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Go away, you degenerate gasbag.

You try to justify dropping an atomic bomb on innocent civilians and claim that others are degenerates? You ignore the polls and claim that Americans support the nocon crimes against humanity and call others degenerates? You show that when it comes to respecting liberty you are no better than the murderous Left and you call others degenerates? Look in the mirror.

 
At 8/21/2011 7:08 AM, Blogger Jon said...

What a strange response, Che. I provide the polls showing that the American people do not and did not support these wars using Gallup, CNN/Opinion Research Corp, and Newsweek/PSRA. Your answer is that in other polls on other topics AP, Washington Post, and CBS were biased. What does one have to do with the other?

The so called Oil for Food scandal is another one of those delusions you've fallen for. I've got the sources here. Yeah, Saddam sold an extra $1.8 billion worth of oil that was over and above what was permitted by the sanctions regime. Notice that if he hadn't broken sanction rules that only means Iraq as a whole would have less. Blocking him from selling this oil wouldn't have saved a single child from starvation.

Saddam sold this oil with the full knowledge of everyone involved, but it wasn't a problem because these were mostly sales to US allies. Nobody cared. It was a paltry amount. The largest beneficiary of the $1.8 billion was the Kuwaiti military, overcompensated to the tune of $419 million. Saddam and his associates took $50 million, most of which was used to run his government, though it was partly used on luxury items for himself. See Hans von Spoenek's book I referred you to earlier. Pretty minor compared to the $12 billion stolen from Iraq. Look at the pallets of cash. That's a lot of stolen loot. But I suppose you've never heard about that. Saddam took $50 million. You know all about that.

 
At 8/21/2011 7:10 AM, Blogger Jon said...

“The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”

George Orwell

 
At 11/14/2011 7:27 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>> I imagine a modestly industrious teenager could still buy a used car. University? Not a chance.

I'd actually dispute that, quite readily:

Cost of Attendance, University of Florida

Undergrad On/Off Campus
$19,830
Undergrad Living at Home
$12,510

That includes nearly 2k for the frankly unnecessary "Personal / Health Insurance" and another 5k for "Housing". I believe you can live a heck of a lot cheaper than 5k/year if you look for cheap quarters and share them with roommates. I would be surprised if one could not get that down to about 3k or so per year. That brings the whole thing down to within range of minwage.

And that's the cost for a fairly prestigious public University.

Tuition and fees at Palm Beach Community College are about half those of UF, so adjust your price for a two-year degree (which can help getting a much better job while completing your four year degree) accordingly.

In other words, despite the fact that the cost of a college education has gone up considerably, I'd suggest that what's gone up even more significantly is the personal expectations of the lifestyle of the average college student. All too many of them expect to be able to afford to party and live the high life at the same time as they're eking out a living and attending college. The nights spent in bars, and the spring vacations in Cozumel, those are the reallyexpensive parts of the modern college educational experience.

 
At 11/14/2011 8:04 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

1) It's funny how many of the naysayers here complain about comparing apples and oranges, then go on to compare apples and oranges.

2) 1950 was an interesting time. It was the very beginning of national and international food shipments that made the idea of "spring vegetables" obsolete. Prior to that time the availability of fresh vegetables depended an awful lot on what time of year it was.

3) Diets were very bland and boring, and food options a fraction of what we now consider almost inarguably "standard". We now have far, far more options in terms of international food choices than we had as little as 50 years ago. All around you is a host of food options, unless you live in a small town -- Greek, Country, BBQ, Thai, Japanese, French, you name it, you can probably find a restaurant serving it within reasonable driving distance.

4) "Organic"...? Jeez, you're an idiot. While certainly some foods, notably tomatoes, are much less flavorful than they were in the past, if you think canned anything is as good as frozen or fresh almost anything you're clueless. And as far as things being so "cheap" now compared to then, get Real. There's a reason people often had their own gardens and spent time growing their own foods -- hardly a low-time activity. You had spare time, but you did not have spare money for luxuries like "fresh food".

5) Sizes often have to be taken into account, which, of course, people like Johnny Cash don't notice. "A Coke" back then was SIX OUNCES to the bottle. Now a small fountain drink is like 12. A large is 32 oz, and only costs very little more.
(Source for below)
------- Kellogg's Corn Flakes:
[1951] 8 oz, 13 cents ($.74 in 2011$)
[1994] 24 oz, $2.19 (3x .74=2.22)
(I cite the older date because current prices are distorted by that wonderful thing we call Ethanol subsidies)
------- Coke:
[1949] 5 cents ($.46, 2011 dollars), 6oz bottle
[2005] $1.09/2 liter bottle
(and the price of sodas throughout is massively affected by the overpricing of sugar due to massive sugar tariffs for the last 50+ years)

6) "I doubt that a teenager can do that today unless he goes to a fast food joint."
So how is that different from back when? You really imagine that the quality level of the random diner was actually better than today's fast food? Sure, there were places that were good, and if you were in a specfic area, you knew those diners, but
a) Those meats were certainly much fattier than current meats, which counterbalances much of the complaint about "organic" crap. People ate much less healthy food in the past, as demonstrated by modern life expectancy studies even if you exclude technological assistance.
b) If you did NOT have a good diner nearby, your options were notably more limited. A drugstore diner or two. There was a reason the colloquial term for these was "Greasy Spoon". They were neither particularly cleanly nor particularly high quality.
=====

Q.E.D. -- Apples and Oranges

 

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