November 30, 2005

Voting with Our Feet, Part 5: Willisms Looks at State Migration Patterns

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:43 pm

The Willisms post is awesome (as usual). Thank goodness he looked at all state taxes and population moves, so I didn’t have to (and never would have gotten around to it anyway).

Go there already. It’s not too tough to guess where the migration is to, and from, and why.

Previous “vote with our feet” posts:
- Part 1: What Thanksgiving Is Partially About
- Part 2: It’s the Taxes, Stupid
- Part 3: Walking Away from Academic Excellence
- Part 4: Leaving Cincinnati (and Other Ohio Cities)

Fact-Based Historical Revision (Historian to Revise China’s Deaths from Mao Upward)

In late October, I expressed outrage when The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof turned a book review of “Mao: The Unknown Story” into an exercise in excuse-making for China’s late butcher, Chairman Mao:

….. Mao emerges from these pages as another Hitler or Stalin.

In that regard, I have reservations about the book’s judgments, for my own sense is that Mao, however monstrous, also brought useful changes to China.

….. I agree that Mao was a catastrophic ruler in many, many respects, and this book captures that side better than anything ever written. But Mao’s legacy is not all bad. Land reform in China, like the land reform in Japan and Taiwan, helped lay the groundwork for prosperity today. The emancipation of women and end of child marriages moved China from one of the worst places in the world to be a girl to one where women have more equality than in, say, Japan or Korea. Indeed, Mao’s entire assault on the old economic and social structure made it easier for China to emerge as the world’s new economic dragon.

Kristof also spent an inordinate amount of time quibbling, and attempting to minimize, the death toll attributable to Mao.

At Freedoms Peace, Professor R.J. Rummel blasts Kristof’s casualty-count quibbling to smithereens (HT Althouse via No Speed Bumps), and decides that the Mao deathcount estimates need to be revised–upward (bolds are mine):

I believed that Mao’s policies were responsible for the famine (Great Famine of 1958-1961–Ed.), but he was misled about it, and finally when he found out, he stopped it and changed his policies. Therefore, I argued, this was not a democide. Others, however, have so counted it, but I thought this was a sloppy application of the concepts of mass murder, genocide, or politicide (virtually no one used the concept of democide). They were right and I was wrong.

From the biography of Mao, which I trust (for those who might question it, look at the hundreds of interviews Chang and Halliday conducted with communist cadre and former high officials, and the extensive bibliography) I can now say that yes, Mao’s policies caused the famine. He knew about it from the beginning. He didn’t care! Literally. And he tried to take more food from the people to pay for his lust for international power, but was overruled by a meeting of 7,000 top Communist Party members.

So, the famine was intentional. What was its human cost? I had estimated that 27,000,000 Chinese starved to death or died from associated diseases. Others estimated the toll to be as high as 40,000,000. Chang and Halliday put it at 38,000,000, and given their sources, I will accept that.

….. The total for the communist democide before and after Mao took over the mainland is thus ….. 77,000,000 murdered (during his entire reign–Ed.). This is now in line with the 65 million toll estimated for China in the Black Book of Communism, and Chang and Halliday’s estimate of “well over 70 million.”

This exceeds the 61,911,000 murdered by the Soviet Union 1917-1987, with Hitler far behind at 20,946,000 wiped out 1933-1945.

1950s and 1960s radicals who lionized Mao owe the world abject apologies. Few have been forthcoming. “Mao wasn’t so bad” revisionists like Kristof need to take the blinders off.

Passage of the Day: Lieberman on the Iraq War

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:35 pm

These excerpts are brought to you only because the networks and the rest of the WORMs (Worn-Out Reactionary Media) have oh-so-predictably virtually ignored Lieberman’s Tuesday piece (may require registration), and because some day when the rancor disappears, this may be seen as a case study in how to revitalize a devastated economy:

….. the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood–unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.

….. There are many more cars on the streets, satellite television dishes on the roofs, and literally millions more cell phones in Iraqi hands than before. All of that says the Iraqi economy is growing. And Sunni candidates are actively campaigning for seats in the National Assembly. People are working their way toward a functioning society and economy in the midst of a very brutal, inhumane, sustained terrorist war against the civilian population and the Iraqi and American military there to protect it.

It is a war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists, Iraqi Islamic extremists or al Qaeda foreign fighters who know their wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern.

….. Israel has been the only genuine democracy in the region, but it is now getting some welcome company from the Iraqis and Palestinians who are in the midst of robust national legislative election campaigns, the Lebanese who have risen up in proud self-determination after the Hariri assassination to eject their Syrian occupiers (the Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hezbollah militias should be next), and the Kuwaitis, Egyptians and Saudis who have taken steps to open up their governments more broadly to their people. In my meeting with the thoughtful prime minister of Iraq, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, he declared with justifiable pride that his country now has the most open, democratic political system in the Arab world. He is right.

….. None of these remarkable changes would have happened without the coalition forces led by the U.S. And, I am convinced, almost all of the progress in Iraq and throughout the Middle East will be lost if those forces are withdrawn faster than the Iraqi military is capable of securing the country.

….. I am disappointed by Democrats who are more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq almost three years ago, and by Republicans who are more worried about whether the war will bring them down in next November’s elections, than they are concerned about how we continue the progress in Iraq in the months and years ahead.

Here is an ironic finding I brought back from Iraq. While U.S. public opinion polls show serious declines in support for the war and increasing pessimism about how it will end, polls conducted by Iraqis for Iraqi universities show increasing optimism. Two-thirds say they are better off than they were under Saddam, and a resounding 82% are confident their lives in Iraq will be better a year from now than they are today. What a colossal mistake it would be for America’s bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory.


UPDATE, Dec. 1: Media Research Center noticed that Brit Hume of Fox commented on the lack of interest in Lieberman’s column and news conference:

On the November 30 Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, during the “Grapevine” segment, Hume relayed:
“Connecticut Democrat Joe Lieberman, who just returned from Iraq, defended U.S. efforts there in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal and in a subsequent news conference on Capitol Hill, saying the military has a quote, ‘a good plan’ for victory in Iraq, and that progress is quote, ‘visible and practical’ and he warned that such progress could be turned back by a premature withdrawal. But the major media that played up Democratic Representative John Murtha’s call for withdrawing U.S. troops largely ignored Lieberman’s remarks. Neither ABC or CBS mentioned the Senator in their nightly newscasts while NBC aired a short soundbite. And the Washington Post, New York Times and USA Today, for example, ran not a word.”

UPDATE 2, Dec. 3: Here’s another Lieberman statement I expect will be ignored by the WORMs (Worn-Out Reactionary Media, known to most as The Mainstream Media):

Following up on his Wall Street Journal article Tuesday defending the Iraq war, Sen. Joseph Lieberman is reminding Bush administration critics that it’s wrong to claim that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. attacked in 2003.

“The so-called Duelfer Report, which a lot of people read to say there were no weapons of mass destruction – concluded that Saddam continued to have very low level of chemical and biological programs,” Lieberman told ABC Radio host Sean Hannity on Wednesday.

“[Saddam] was trying to break out of the U.N. sanctions by going back into rapid redevelopment of chemical and biological and probably nuclear [weapons],” Lieberman said, calling the Iraqi dictator “a ticking time bomb.”

“I have no regrets” that the U.S. toppled Saddam, the former vice presidential candidate explained. “I think we can finish our job there, and as part of it – really transform the Arab-Islamic world.”

Lieberman said that his fellow Democrats haven’t taken kindly to his decision to buck his party on Iraq.

“There’s been some grumbling,” he told Hannity. “In Connecticut there’s a ‘Dump Joe’ web site that has cropped up.”

But Lieberman added, “I’ve been here long enough where, at this stage in my career, I’m going to do what I think is right.”

Whoa: 3Q05 GDP Growth Revised Sharply Upward

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 10:49 am

….. to 4.3% (from 3.8%).

The quarter of Katrina.


UPDATE: NY Times can’t catch a break (too bad, so sad)–This is the day they decided to tell us (before the news of the revision) the economy “appears” to be booming.

UPDATE 2: Ace further dissects, and has a Top 10 expected NY Times economic headlines list.

UPDATE 3: Kudlow says the Administration needs to trumpet the economy more. I’d rather they stick with the current rout of War critics for the time being and let a good Christmas shopping season take second place. The delayed truth on the economy may help the Administration more than any proactive attempt to shout about it. Maybe save it for the State of the Union speech.

UPDATE 4: Wow–Even after the GDP revision is released, The NY Times sticks with “appears to be booming.”

UPDATE 5: The setup for a strong fourth quarter looks pretty good (“Fed Beige Book: Economic Activity Increased Through Mid-Nov.”)

Nov. 30 Outside the Beltway Jammer.

Bizzy’s AM Coffee Biz-Econ Links (113005): A Shift in WORM Economic Spin?

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 8:03 am

This may be remembered as the week, and by extension the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, when the fortified dam built by the WORMs (Worn-Out Reactionary Media, known by most as The [supposedly] Mainstream Media) to downplay the years of good economic finally burst, and the general public finally began to understand that the economy has been clicking along nicely for some time.

The good news has been plentiful in the past week, and how odd–much of it was “unexpected”:

  • Consumer confidence went way up, from 85.2 to 98.9; “expected” was 90.
  • New home sales surged“The 13 percent increase from September was the largest percentage gain in more than 12 years. Analysts said the unexpected surge was probably influenced by fence-sitters rushing to buy homes before mortgage rates climb higher.”
  • Durable goods orders were up a “larger than expected” (there’s that word again) 3.4%.
  • Despite naysayers who “expected” $4 a gallon gas by the end of the year, retail gas prices have plummeted, falling to a national average of $2.154 (near bottom at link; may require registration) for the week ended November 28. Prices at many Ohio stations are below $1.90.
  • Just before Thanksgiving, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ hit 4-1/2 year highs.

The good news is so “bad” (that really means “good”) that The New York Times began a new spin in its Wednesday edition:

By most measures, the economy appears to be doing just fine. No, scratch that, it appears to be booming.

But as always with the United States economy, it is not quite that simple.

So now the strategy is to grudgingly acknowledge that the economy “appears” to be booming, and then to look for the first (probably false) signs of a crack. The rest of The Times article is nothing but a litany of “yeah buts” and “what ifs.” Zheesh–The press tried the same exercise in 1985 and 1986 during the Reagan Boom. After a mild hiccup, the economy kept chugging along until 1990. In 1986, The Washington Post infamously said we were in a “slump”–I could handle a “slump” like that (select 1985 and 1990 as the beginning and ending years) on a permanent basis.

A couple more years of strong economic growth and the WORMs will have to go to Plan C (again, straight out of the 1980s), where they’ll chide us for how materialistic we all are (remember “Decade of Greed”?), tell us how money really isn’t everything, and will look around for someone, anyone who is “being left behind.” But that one’s still down the road a bit.

UPDATE: Opinipundit: “More Hoover economy……NOT!”

UPDATE 2: Also see “Whoa: 3Q05 GDP Growth Revised”

Positivity: 7 Year-old Girl Saves Dad Pinned under Car

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:06 am

Remarkable how she must have stayed calm during this incident:

(11/25/05 – ELY, NV) – A Nevada man tells the Ely Times his seven-year-old daughter saved his life.

A car Matt Jacoby was working on this week rolled off its blocks and pinned him underneath. His daughter, Shelby, followed his instructions and dragged the 17-pound jack into place. But she couldn’t pump it. So she sat on it.

Shelby Jacoby pumped enough with her legs to lift the car and free her father, who was having trouble breathing. The father was treated at a nearby hospital and released.