Archive for November, 2005

Schwarzenegger Veers Hard Left

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/30/2005

Arnold Schwarzenegger has named a former Gray Davis aide — and former executive director of the California Democratic Party — as his new chief of staff. Daniel Weintraub doesn’t see any problem with that. The FlashReport has more on the nominee. Schwarzenegger’s new chief of staff — Susan Kennedy — actually managed the left-Demo 1998 get-out-the-vote campaign which gave us Gray Davis.

I’ve come to regret my vote in the recall election. Tom McClintock would have made a much better governor for the state of California. Schwarzenegger is simply in over his head. He’s failing us and he doesn’t even know it.

Jon Fleischman
considers Schwarzenegger’s pick “the big kiss-off to the GOP base” and he’s right.

Posted in California | Leave a Comment »

Hong Kong — economic King Kong

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/30/2005

The Hong Kong economy grew at an annualized rate of 11% in the third quarter of this year — Stefan Karlsson takes a look at what Hong Kong can teach the world.

Posted in Economics | Leave a Comment »

The Conservative Mind

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/30/2005

An interview with Roger Scruton. Quotable:

MG: What deleterious consequences result from the “free market ideology” you mention? Are there particular economic arrangements that conservatives ought to prefer?

Scruton: The free market is a necessary part of any stable community, and the arguments for maintaining it as the core of economic life were unanswerably set out by Ludwig von Mises. Hayek developed the arguments further, in order to offer a general defence of “spontaneous order”, as the means to produce and maintain socially necessary knowledge. As Hayek points out, there are many varieties of spontaneous order that exemplify the epistemic virtues that he values: the common law is one of them, so too is ordinary morality.

The problem for conservatism is to reconcile the many and often conflicting demands that these various forms of life impose on us. The free-market ideologues take one instance of spontaneous order, and erect it into a prescription for all the others. They ask us to believe that the free exchange of commodities is the model for all social interaction. But many of our most important forms of life involve withdrawing what we value from the market: sexual morality is an obvious instance, city planning another. (America has failed abysmally in both those respects, of course.)

Looked at from the anthropological point of view religion can be seen as an elaborate (and spontaneous) way in which communities remove what is most precious to them (i.e. all that concerns the creation and reproduction of community) from the erosion of the market. A cultural conservative, such as I am, supports that enterprise. I would put the point in terms that echo Burke and Chesterton: the free market provides the optimal solution to the competition among the living for scarce resources; but when applied to the goods in which the dead and the unborn have an interest (sex, for instance) it wastes what must be saved.

UPDATE: Michael Blowhard has more Roger Scruton web links. Blowhard on the Scruton interview: “It’s a blogging event!”

Posted in Economics, Hayek | Leave a Comment »

Random Thoughts

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/30/2005

From Thomas Sowell, including these:

Nightmare for the 2008 Presidential election: Hillary Clinton versus John McCain. I wouldn’t know whether to vote Libertarian or move to Australia.

It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Time to Get Rid of the “Medal of Freedom”

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/30/2005

The thing has become a joke. An award created to honor “notable service” during World War II is now a political tool used by Presidents to celebrate already celebrated celebrities. How bad has it gotten? One of the latest recipients — as Daniel Pipes reports — is Muhammad Ali, a truly outrageous selection illustrating by absurdity how celebrity trumps every fact on the ground when it comes to giving special titles of nobility to select Americans through the “Medal of Freedom” process.

If current trends continue expect to see Angela Jolie — or Jessica Simpson — on stage soon receiving a “Medal of Freedom” award from the President.

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

The Battle of Midway

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/29/2005

If you’d like to get me a book for Christmas, here’s a good one.

The Wall Street Journal has a review.

Posted in Books | Leave a Comment »

Why GM Builds Cars That Suck

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/28/2005

and cost too much — InstaPundit’s readers weigh in. A taste:

Generations of GM management collected mammoth salaries and bonuses essentially by selling out the future of the company; specifically, by acceeding to successively, incrementally worse labor contracts.

Sound a lot like what happened at Big Steel ..

One more:

It was the [GM Financial Staff] that gave us cars like the Chevrolet Vega, produced at the notorious Lordstown, Ohio plant at a rate of 100 cars an hour. The build quality on that car was so bad that it is joked that the Vega was the only car ever built that was guaranteed to rust out while still on the showroom floor.

Posted in Economics | Leave a Comment »

Carnival Time

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/28/2005

for Capitalists, blogger capitalists, that is.

Posted in Economics | Leave a Comment »

A Letter from Prof. Rudy Rummel

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/28/2005

Many scholars and commentators have referenced my total of 174,000,000 for the democide (genocide and mass murder) of the last century. I’m now trying to get word out that I’ve had to make a major revision in my total due to two books. One is Wild Swans: Two Daughters of China by Jung Chang, and the other is Mao: the Unknown Story that she wrote with her husband, Jon Halliday. I’m now convinced that that Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin.

From the time I wrote my book on China’s Bloody Century, I have held to these democide totals for Mao:

Civil War-Sino-Japanese War 1923-1949 = 3,466,000 murdered
Rule over China (PRC) 1949-1987 = 35,236,000 murdered

However, some other scholars and researchers had put the PRC total as from 60,000,000 to a high 70,000,000. Asked why my total is so low by comparison, I’ve responded that I did not include the China’s Great Famine 1958-1961. From my study of what was written on this in English, I believed that:
(1) the famine was due to the Great Leap Forward when Mao tried to catch up with the West in producing iron and steel;
(2) the factorization of agriculture, forcing virtually all peasants to give up their land, livestock, tools, and homes to live in regimented communes;
(3) the exuberant over reporting of agricultural production by commune and district managers for fear of the consequences of not meeting their quotas;
(4) the consequent belief of high communist officials that excess food was being produced and could be exported without starving the peasants;
(5) but, reports from traveling high officials indicated that peasants might be starving in certain localities;
(6) an investigative team was sent out from Beijing, and reported back that there was mass starvation;
(7) and then the CCP stopped exporting food and began to imports what was needed to stop the famine.

Thus, I believed that Mao’s policies were responsible for the famine, but he was mislead 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.

Now, I have to change all the world democide totals that populate my websites, blogs, and publications. The total for the communist democide before and after Mao took over the mainland is thus 3,446,000 + 35,226,000 + 38,000,000 = 76,692,000, or to round off, 77,000,000 murdered. 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.

For perspective on Mao’s most bloody rule, all wars 1900-1987 cost in combat dead 34,021,000 — including WWI and II, Vietnam, Korea, and the Mexican and Russian Revolutions. Mao alone murdered over twice as many as were killed in combat in all these wars.

Now, my overall totals for world democide 1900-1999 must also be changed. I have estimated it to be 174,000,000 murdered, of which communist regimes murdered about 148,000,000. Also, compare this to combat dead. Communists overall have murdered four times those killed in combat, while globally the democide toll was over six times that number.

For more on all this see Rummel’s website Power Kills.

Rummel also has a blog.

Posted in International, Liberty | Leave a Comment »

Bush’s Latest Double-Talk on Immigration

Posted by PrestoPundit on 11/28/2005

Michelle Malkin live blogs the President’s immigration speech: “Most ridiculous line so far: Introducing his .. “guest worker” plan by saying we need to “bring workers out of the shadows and reject amnesty.”

Missing from Bush’s speech? Mass third-world immigration and the return of the bedbug problem.

Posted in Immigration | Leave a Comment »