Sunday, May 27, 2012

General Wesley C. Clark and his bizarre apologists.

Marx, Engels, Clark, Hitler, Mussolini: At least the USA stopped one of them without bloodshed.
Way back on 15 June 2003, retired General Wesley C. Clark let spew forth this gem whilst chatting with Tim Russert on NBC's Meet the Press:
The Bush tax cuts weren't fair. The people that need the money and deserve the money are the people who are paying less, not the people who are paying more. I thought this country was founded on a principle of progressive taxation. In other words, it's not only that the more you make, the more you give, but proportionately more because when you don't have very much money, you need to spend it on the necessities of life.
One 'funny' thing about this quote is it was one of the only 2003 video clips of General Clark that is not available on the internet today.  If you search for video with Wesley Clark from 2003, you get all sorts of interesting crap that New World Order conspiracy theorists love, and a little FOX News bashing, but nothing on this, although the quote above is all over the place.  I was unable to find the transcript on the NBC website too, but that might just be me.

So, retired General Clark thinks that this country was founded on a principle of progressive taxation?  Seriously? Eugene Volokh made a great response at the time:
Somehow I slept through the class session in American History where they explained just how the country was founded "on a principle of progressive taxation." "No Taxation Without Progressivity," was that the big slogan? (Thanks to Dan Gifford to the pointer; I should also note that columnist Walter Williams also made the same observation shortly after the Clark speech, and I'm sure many others did, too.)
Although I like both Volkh's and Williams' responses, I had a decidedly different reaction.  General Clark was spewing the Communist Manifesto and labeling it USA founding principles.  Progressive taxation has been item two in the handy list Marx and Engels included in the Communist Manifesto since its publication in February, 1848.  It is also addressed as a tax on business and investment income in both Mussolini's Fascist Manifesto and in the German National Socialist's 25 Points of 1920, and in the current American Nazi Party.

While trying to find the video, or just the audio, of Clark's 15 AUG 2003 Meet the Press appearance, I cam across this bit of humor by one Nathan Newman (note, all of the links to his evidence are broken):
September 18, 2003
Volokh Gets It Wrong
US Founded on Progressive Taxation

Eugene Volokh is accusing Wesley Clark of being historically ignorant.

The complaint?

Clark attacked Bush's tax cuts as a betrayal of America's progressive history:

The people that need the money and deserve the money are the people who are paying less, not the people who are paying more. I thought this country was founded on a principle of progressive taxation.Volokh snidely dismisses Clark by saying, "Somehow I slept through the class session in American History where they explained just how the country was founded'on a principle of progressive taxation.'"
But it's Volokh who has his history wrong.

For those of us for whom this country was founded in the "New Birth of Freedom" that ended slavery and completed the Constitution with the post-Civil War Amendments, the United States WAS founded on progressive taxation.

In fact, the first progressive income tax was in 1862 to fund the Union troops. From the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA):
It was a "progressive" tax in that it initially levied a tax of 3 percent on annual incomes over $600 but less than $10,000 and a tax of 5 percent on any income over $10,000. In 1864 the rates increased and the ceiling dropped so that incomes between $600 and $5,000 were taxed at 5 percent, with a 10 percent rate on the excess over $5,000. Passed as an emergency measure to finance the Union cause in the Civil War, the first income tax generated approximately $55 million in government revenues during the war. Paying the taxes was viewed as part of the patriotic war effort, and the whole country was proud when the merchant prince A. T. Stewart paid $400,000 in taxes on an income of $4 million.So yes, pride in a progressive income tax is EXACTLY what this country was founded upon.
It's worth noting that the Congress assumed it had the power to pass an income tax on that basis and revived it in the 1890s, only to have a rightwing Supreme Court strike the income tax down. This led to passage of the 16th Amendment, further ratifying progressive taxation as a founding principle of our constitutional system.

One thing that conservatives don't understand about America-- liberty was not founded in 1776. It's been a continual process with each generation having to refound this country in struggle -- a little bit of revolution periodically in Thomas Jefferson's phrase. But there is little question that our modern constitutional system was only established with the Civil War, and progressive taxation was at the heart of that effort.

Posted by Nathan at September 18, 2003 05:37 PM
Today I did attempt to respond to this load of crap thusly, but Nathan Newman's website redirected to a "page not found" message:
Okay, in what universe can you possibly read the US Constitution and glean that before the ratification of the 16th Amendment that an income tax was constitutional?  The Congress attempts all sorts of laws outside their powers that they know full well are outside of their powers.

The only way a "right wing" Supreme Court excuse fits is in the same way that Howard Dean criticized the Kelo v. New London decision on eminent domain was decided by a "right-wing Supreme Court": he lied about it.  Maybe he got the idea from you, since that happened a couple of years after you made this post.
Also, the Supreme Court did not overturn the Civil War Income Taxes, the Grant administration successfully lobbied Congress to do so.
Wesley Clark was engaged in the same sort of retread falsehoods as Ted Kennedy did on 12 AUG 1980 speaking on progressive taxation. He engaged in fabrication. Kennedy may not have known that progressive taxation is item two in the list at the end of "Chapter II. Proletarians and Communists" in the Communist Manifesto, but he should have at least known that Progressive RINO Teddy Roosevelt did not invent it and it sure did not originate in the USA. BTW, a progressive tax on capital is the first item under Finance in Mussolini's 1919 Fascist Manifesto and similar can be found in the 1920 German National Socialist 25 Points.

Seeing a General express these bizarre notions is no surprise. After 30 years of service, I became surprised when I met a fellow officer *without* a natural leaning to Commu-Fascism.
 I didn't realize until after reading that my response sounds like Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ghost Buses and Waterless Urinals

I took a little trip down the highway to the big city the other day finally got pictures of some oddities.  Above is what I call a "ghost bus,"  almost every seat but the driver's is empty and that is typical whenever one sees these buses.  They have other classes of empty buses too and digging up the ridership numbers might be a good exercise in picking truth from bullshit.  Note the motto on the bus.

Update 5 JUN 2012: Took another trip down the highway to the big city and spotted these cutsie buses for the college students:

 Two passengers, one driver.

Below is another strange sight:
In a hospital they have reverted to a fancy version of an outhouse.  The plaque boasts of "saving" 40,000 gallons of fresh water, by eliminating the flush.  Meanwhile, a major river flows tens of yards from this spot.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

National Socialism, FDR Style

This topic was addressed earlier here.

In this short clip, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the US Department of Energy tell us how the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration treated private property.  Don't let the war fool you.  FDR and his gang could not care less about private property rights before or during World War II.
View the High Definition version at:
Video from the Y-12, A Nuclear Family series is fair use, Title 17, Section 107, United States Code.

Note from the video, and historian D. Ray Smith, that Cades Cove was made a part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and people were moved.  What is not mentioned is that Cades Cove was a 1934 big government project to turn a wilderness with a few people living within its boundaries into a big giant happy park, with nobody but federal employees (Parks Service) living within its boundaries.  At least they didn't name the place after a politician.  It was so darn important to the world, that FDR stopped by to "dedicate" the place in 1940, six years after he had the residents dragged out.

Then FDR had another brilliant idea to build hydroelectric dams all over the countryside.  Some were in the Tennessee River Valley, others were in the west.  The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) evicted families, by force if needed, out of the Clinch river valley that formed the Norris Dam reservoir.  Norris Dam is a monument to government named after George W. Norris, a U.S. Senator from Nebraska.

Some of those people who were booted from Cades Cove by FDR and then booted from "Norris" by FDR settled in Bear Creek Valley, and were booted from there by FDR for the Manhattan Project.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Goldberg's Critics are Maddening

Okay folks, I need to quit doing things like this, but I don't think this post will be the last one like it.

Via a post by Jonah Goldberg about one of his critics, I found this big pile of crap at the History News Network: Poor Scholarship, Wrong Conclusions by Matthew Feldman
After a paragraph about Feldman's credentials, he opens with this:
"Fascism is definitely and absolutely opposed to the doctrines of liberalism, both in the political and the economic sphere," proclaimed Mussolini in his co-written The Doctrine of Fascism from 1932, for this is the century of authority, a century tending to the "right", a Fascist century. If the nineteenth century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the "collective" century, and therefore the century of the State. It is quite logical for a new doctrine to make use of the still vital elements of other doctrines.

"But what did he know? Had Mussolini's co-author been a pugilistic journalist like Jonah Goldberg rather than a fascist intellectual like Giovanni Gentile, that keystone of texts on fascist ideology would have sounded more like this . . ."- Dr. Matthew Feldman
And he goes on and on calling Jonah Goldberg a dimwit for daring to notice that Mussolini would be called a Liberal and a Leftist today.  The people Mussolini was "right" of were Stalin, Hitler and Trotsky.  He might have been barely left of FDR, which is open to debate.

Perhaps the fine man of letters, an Oxford Research Fellow no less, did not make it all the way through the passage he quoted.  This seems like a key bit: If the nineteenth century was the century of the individual (liberalism implies individualism) we are free to believe that this is the "collective" century, and therefore the century of the State. It is quite logical for a new doctrine to make use of the still vital elements of other doctrines.

Update 11 June 2012: Even Wikipedia has this correct -
The term classical liberalism was applied in retrospect to distinguish earlier 19th-century liberalism from the newer social liberalism.[10] Libertarianism has been used in modern times as a substitute for the phrase "neo-classical liberalism", leading to some confusion. The identification of libertarianism with neo-classical liberalism primarily occurs in the United States,[11] where some conservatives and right-libertarians use the term classical liberalism to describe their belief in the primacy of economic freedom and minimal government.[12][13][14]
What is the modern Liberal (Leftist) all about today?  Collectivism!  In the 19th century "Liberal" was about the individual, now every Liberal west of Iceland and east of the International Date Line calls for big government control of every aspect of our lives.  Show me one American Liberal who wants to abolish the minimum wage and if you find one in the wild, go search for one in the United States Congress.  They are all for legalizing marijuana as long as nobody makes a buck off of it, in stark contrast to the Liberty embracing libertarians who don't care if you grow it, smoke it, buy it, sell it, or use it.  If you can manage to make a living from it, so be it.

Update II: 11 June 2012: How the Oxford English Dictionary defines the political Liberal  (no entry for Classical Liberal) - Pronunciation: /ˈlɪb(ə)r(ə)l/
     1 willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one’s own; open to new ideas: 
  • (in a political context) favouring individual liberty, free trade, and moderate political and social reform: a liberal democratic state
Yes, Mussolini was squarely against that and so are the current self-identifying American Leftists (self labeled Liberals).  In the USA, where Goldberg is from and his books are published, a British Liberal is known as a Classical Liberal.  As David Horowitz says about people who call themselves Liberal in the USA, "The only things they are liberal about are hard drugs and sex."  They have no tolerance for individual liberty and mentioning free trade to them is like feeding garlic to a vampire, just like Mussolini was his entire life.

American Liberals are Leftists and Statists.  The current crop of American Liberals running the federal government are as corporatist as Mussolini.  Just witness their General Motors antics and two terms, with a party swap, of showering car companies, 'green energy' firms, banks, investment firms, and insurance companies with bailouts.  Real ones, not the 1979 Chrysler variety.

For evidence of Mussolini's consistency  on Fascism being the opposite of individualism, see my page about Liberalism that includes the Fascist Manifesto.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

All Four Episodes of Frontline Series: Money, Power And Wall Street

Frontline Series: Money, Power And Wall Street
All four episodes at the link, with a few comments by me.

If I Crash My Airplane in the Desert, does it make News?

If it is my airplane and my desert, why is it the US government's business what I do with either?

Video courtesy of NBC's Today Show.

The Discovery Channel crashed an airplane in a Mexican desert.  They are not accused of stealing the airplane.  They are not accused of scaring unsuspecting passengers and onlookers.  They are not even accused of defiling Gaea. No, they are being taken to task for not getting US federal bureaucrat permission.

Another set of gripes from NBC are that the feds and Boeing were not invited to the Discovery Channel Desert Classic (not to be confused with the Jimmy Carter Desert Classic), leading them to the conclusion that it was a "stunt."  If anybody knows stunt journalism, it is NBC for sure.  Did NBC invite any General Motors engineers to watch them rig a pickup truck with a bomb to make it explode on cue?  Does not sound like it.  If you think the truck blowing up incident is ancient history, NBC has more recent experience with news stunt editing.  Some may say that this is systemic to the NBC news culture.

So now NBC is all in a huff about a competitor creating video for a show (their product) without even seeing the final product.  The story implies the Federal Aviation Administration and other government busybodies are concerned about this experiment, but they can't manage to find any current bureaucrats to go on camera and gripe.

At what point does private property matter to these people?

Below is my annotated version to the above video (HD version on YouTube), with some bonus footage of real terror by real terrorist in a Jordan desert on September 12, 1970 (corrected a spelling error of mine):

May Day Post

Mac OS used a bomb image similar to the Haymarket bomb
The Festivus of Communists and other Socialists is today.  I'll be adding to it as the day wears on.  In true commie fashion, the roots of May Day are not from May 1st, but from May 4th when a group of "anarchists" (socialists under a different name) tossed an iron cased dynamite bomb into a Chicago crowd.  Those who call it the "Haymarket affair" are typically socialists. Those who call it the Haymarket massacre or riot are describing it properly.  Every stripe of socialist views the event as a triumph of "workers" over evil employers.

Related: About That New Obama Slogan

By Michael Walsh
April 30, 2012 3:17 P.M.

Forward,” that is. I knew that sounded awfully familiar. From Wikipedia:

Vorwärts (“Forward”) was the central organ of the Social Democratic Party of Germany published daily in Berlin from 1891 to 1933 by decision of the party’s Halle Congress, as the successor of Berliner Volksblatt, founded in 1884.

Friedrich Engels and Kurt Tucholsky both wrote for Vorwärts. It backed the Russian Marxist economists and then, after the split in the Party, the Mensheviks. It published articles by Leon Trotsky, but would not publish any by Vladimir Lenin. . .

Vorwaerts lives on today as the house organ of Germany’s leftist SPD; you can read all about its illustrious history here (in German).

And if you don’t think David Axelrod doesn’t know this, you really ought to think again.
Okay, just one more link. Occutard supporting Huffington Post coverage:
This May Day Could Be One to Remember

One more, a collection of things National Review discovered, Occupy Wall Street Violence at ‘Wildcat March’  plus some video:
"Anarchy isn't easy"

Sorry, can't close out this post without a link to video of Big Government 'Anarchists'  who may or may not have wanted to blow up an Ohio bridge,