October 17, 2009

Dunn with Mao

Filed under: Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:06 pm

It was bad enough almost exactly four years ago when supposedly respectable columnist Nick Kristof of the New York Times sought to essentially excuse the over 70 million dead bodies mass murderer Mao Tse-tung left in his wake during his brutal reign over Communist China:

I agree that Mao was a catastrophic ruler in many, many respects …. 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.

…. Mao’s ruthlessness was a catastrophe at the time …. and yet there’s more to the story: Mao also helped lay the groundwork for the rebirth and rise of China after five centuries of slumber.

Y’know, the dead millions were just collateral damage, eggs broken to make omelets.

The corpses of the 50 million “missing girls,” victims of the country’s current one-child policy, would surely dispute whether they have “more equality than in Japan or Korea.”

Bad as Kristof’s willful blindness is, it’s much worse to have someone supposedly respectable in an important position inside the Obama White House who doesn’t just makes excuses for Mao, but considers him a kind of role model and a “favorite philosopher”:

The third lesson and tip actually come from two of my favorite political philosophers: Mao Tse-tung and Mother Teresa. Not often coupled with each other. In 1947, when Mao Tse-tung was being challenged within his own party on his plan to basically take China over, the Nationalist Chinese helped the cities, they had the army, they had the Air Force, they had everything on their side. And people said, “How can you win? How can you do this? How can you do this? Against all the odds against you?” And Mao Tse-tung said, “You fight your war and I’ll fight mine,” and think about that for a second.

The inclusion of and comparison to Mother Teresa adds insult to already grievous injury. Bleep you, Anita Dunn.

The real “wingnuts” are in charge. They deserve no quarter, and no benefit of the doubt. Ever.

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UPDATE: Clarity — As long as real “wingnuts” like Anita Dunn, Kevin Jennings, John Holdren, and so many others populate responsible positions in this administration, this administration deserves no quarter, and no benefit of the doubt. A full-broom housecleaning could conceivably render things differently. Fat chance.

Full-Year U.S. Deficit Quick Hit: $1.417 Trillion Result Is Slightly Worse Than CBO’s Last Estimate; National Debt Increased Almost $1.9 Trillion

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:29 am

As I suspected yesterday (“There’s also the possibility that the final statement will be issued late this afternoon in hopes of getting light weekend press coverage of the full-year deficit”), the Treasury Department released the government’s final Monthly Treasury Statement for the fiscal year ended September 30 late yesterday afternoon.

The $1.417 trillion deficit is slightly higher than that predicted by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) earlier this month.

CBO’s receipts estimate of $2.106 trillion was about $1.4 billion higher than actual. Its “outlays” estimate of $3.515 trillion was $6.7 billion too low. “Outlays” is in quotes because many disbursements the government makes, most notably those related to the Troubled Assets Relief Program, are treated as “investments,” and their Net Present Value (NPV) is excluded from “outlays,” even though by any sane reckoning the money involved in these “investments” has been “laid out.”

Though this move by Treasury conveniently serves to make what used to be mostly routine reporting on the deficit nearly indecipherable, we do know that when the conversion to NPV accounting took place, the government’s “outlays,” and therefore the reported deficit, went down by over $175 billion. There have been additional TARP “investments” made in General Motors and Chrysler since then. It’s pretty obvious that the reported deficit if computed handling TARP on a cash basis would be much higher than the officially reported $1.417 trillion. Based on the detail in Trea

Because of the march to indecipherability, reporting the changes in the national debt (which one would expect to be the sum of accumulated reported deficits but isn’t, as you’ll see) is going to become a habit around here.

Thus, based on the final Treasury Statement’s release, the following slightly revises what I noted yesterday.

Using the TreasuryDirect tool found here, after the close of business on September 30, 2009, the national debt was $11,903,588,660,952.03.

On September 30, 2008, the national debt was $10,024,724,896,912.49.

The comprehensive (i.e., actual) deficit for the entire government of the United States of America during the fiscal year ended September 30, 2009 was therefore $1,878,863,764,039 — and 54 cents.

The difference between the reported deficit and the comprehensive deficit is “the hidden deficit,” or (this is probably the term I’ll stick with) the “unreported deficit.” The past fiscal year’s unreported deficit was $471 billion ($1.878 trillion minus $1.417 trillion).

Positivity: South Berwick teen touted as hero

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:20 am

From South Berwick, Maine:

October 05, 2009 2:00 AM

In the wake of a tragic fire which claimed his home, one teenager was recognized this weekend for his bravery during the blaze.

The South Berwick Fire Department on Sunday made 13-year-old Max Willette an honorary firefighter after he awoke in a house on fire and got himself and his mother to safety shortly before the home became fully engulfed in flames.

South Berwick Fire Chief George Gorman presented Max with a plaque and praised his “outstanding valor” in the ceremony, which the teenager in his Boy Scout uniform quietly accepted.

The Willette family home burned to the ground in September following a fire that raced through the house, engulfing the frame within minutes. Max was sleeping on the couch and woke up shortly before 12:15 a.m. on Sept. 22 to find flickering lights and fire. He ran upstairs and knocked on the wall of his sister’s room to wake her, though she was not home, and woke his mother, Alice, as the two ran out of the building after grabbing a phone in order to dial 911.

Gorman showed the Herald a picture of the home on fire that he said was taken about five minutes after the building ignited, shortly before South Berwick companies arrived to battle the blaze. Flames could be seen coming out of every window and even the shingles on the roof were burning, and Gorman said that Max’s quick thinking and fast response were the only things that saved him and his mother.

“The actions that he did probably saved both their lives,” Gorman said. “Another minute and they would not have made it out of the building.” ….

Go here for the rest of the story.