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"Howard Zinn: Accused of failing to research the claims he makes about Hiroshima

Source: Oliver Kamm (Blog) (12-13-06)"

Oliver Kamm? Nuff said. He's probably the biggest dumbass anti-Chomsky drooler of them all, other than perhaps David Horowitz.

"[Mr. Kamm writes a column for the Times of London.]"

He's an idiot.

feelmygas wrote a bunch of crap which was lifted, is old, and LONG ago debunked.

"Now, krappinghisbeard, let's indulge in a bit of intellectual honesty: You cannot despoil the source other than say the argument against holds water or it doesn't."

Were you going to make an argument showing that Zinn has done something incorrect?

"The politics of the person who has debunked Zinn is not the issue"

Uhhh...No one has "debinked" Zinn. If so, where?

"although Zinn is referenced as the Grand Old Man of the Left."

Perhaps because he's honest, has participated in FAR more activist work than most any drooler from the right you can name, and on and on.....

"This does not assume a right wing stance by his detractor."

I don't see any links to your sources, not that I don't know them all already.

"Nor should you assume that the agenda is anything less than getting at the truth."

Hey, that's the LEFT position. Always is and always has been.

"We will call this the adhominem fallacy and in addressing Zinn's detractor, you will stick to what contradictions that have been aired and address them or shut the fuck up."

Uhhh...I will do nothing of the sort as you have given nothing. YOu do your homework first, say, reading Zinn's work, and THEN we will talk. Until then it's no use. It's ONE of us, NOT you, who knows the work, and the other who is searching for fairy tale filler. Oh, that's you. You folks do the same with Chomsky. Perhaps this is why you fight so hard NOT to read any of them. SOrt of hard to fight for the fairy tale when you must read LOTS which sort of disallows you to use your artifical ammo. It's just ALL OVER the place:

One example:
Oliver Kamm: distortion à la carte
Oliver Kamm is at it again, peddling distortions to try and discredit someone. If its not Chomsky, its Pilger, and if its not Chomsky or Pilger its Media Lens.

The fact of the matter is that Kamm is now Murdoch's pet Fox Terrier (the expression is normally rottweiller but Kamm's just too small both physically and intellectually to be a rottweiller).

On 06 August 2008 he published this critique of Pilger's article in the Guardian.

This is my reply to Kamm:

"Oliver Kamm states:

"So far, and so predictably cavalier with the fruits of historians' inquiries; but Pilger then goes one better. He writes: "The day after Hiroshima was obliterated, President Truman voiced his satisfaction with the 'overwhelming success' of 'the experiment'."

Here is the text of Truman's statement on the use of the A-bomb at Hiroshima. Truman does not say what Pilger attributes to him. And Pilger has been called on this one before. In 1983, he made a television documentary purporting to expose official deceptions about nuclear weapons. The film was called The Truth Game; you can watch it here. His first words in the programme are: "On 7 August 1945, President Truman announced the atomic bombing of Hiroshima with these words. ' The experiment,' he said, 'has been an overwhelming success.'"

If you have access to a good library (as I'm not aware that the article is online), I recommend looking up a masterly evisceration of the numerous errors of fact and interpretation in Pilger's film, published in New Society, 24 March 1983, under the title "Games with the Truth". The authors are Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War Studies at King's College, London; and the journalist William Shawcross. Freedman and Shawcross note, of Pilger's "quotation" from Truman: "Truman's announcement of the destruction of Hiroshima was released on 6 August 1945. It does not contain the words Pilger cites."

A quarter of a century later, Pilger is still peddling an ahistorical and insupportable thesis by means of a quotation that he knows to be spurious. Think about that. Few are likely to mistake Pilger as an authority on twentieth-century history; but there are still some who regard him as a voice of integrity and a teller of uncomfortable truths. He is in fact, and knowingly, a retailer of ideologically congenial falsehoods."

Literally Kamm is almost right in that obviously Truman did not say the words Pilger quotes in that particular statement. But then Pilger never said he did!

However, if Kamm had done his homework he would have found that Truman did actually utter the words Pilger claims!

Pilger never says that Truman uttered these words in the officisal statement. That was Kamm's supposition and his 'mistake'.

Greg Mitchell, editor of 'Editor & Publisher' in the US, would no doubt be pleased to put Kamm on the right track, as he reported on 06 August 2008 that the quote actually comes from "a wire service report filed by a journalist traveling with the president on the Atlantic, returning from Europe."

He also states: "Approved by military censors, it went beyond, but not far beyond, the measured tone of the president's official statement. It depicted Truman, his voice "tense with excitement," personally informing his shipmates about the atomic attack. "The experiment," he announced, "has been an overwhelming success."...The sailors were said to be "uproarious" over the news. "I guess I'll get home sooner now," was a typical response. Nowhere in the story, however, was there a strong sense of Truman's reaction. Missing from this account was his exultant remark when the news of the bombing first reached the ship: "This is the greatest thing in history!"

I sent a similar comment to Kamm's blog, I ended the comment:

"Perhaps you'd care to withdraw the offending comments in your blog, and apologise to Mr Pilger for accusing him of "peddling an ahistorical and insupportable thesis by means of a quotation that he knows to be spurious" and of being "knowingly, a retailer of ideologically congenial falsehoods"?"

Of course, he could always surprise, but, in my opinion, Kamm doesn't have the moral integrity or courage to apologise when he's mistaken, if it is actually a mistake and not lying propaganda...



I've been doing a bit more research and have turned up more proof that Kamm is wrong.

1. Time Magazine dated December 31, 1945. Article entitled: 'The Bomb & the Man' (p. 3):

"Like many an average citizen, Harry Truman greeted the bomb with few immediate overtones of philosophic doubt. When it was dropped on Hiroshima, by his order, he was aboard the cruiser Augusta, returning from his first international conference at Potsdam. He rushed to the officers' wardroom, announced breathlessly: "Keep your seats, gentlemen. . . . We have just dropped a bomb on Japan which has more power than 20,000 tons of TNT. It was an overwhelming success." Applause and cheering broke out; the President hastened along to spread the word in the other messes. "

2. 'The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb', Author Dennis Wainstock (Associate Professor of History at Salem-Teikyo University in Salem, West Virginia) P.87 :
Google Books

3. The Argus (Melbourne, Australia) 08 August 1945 p. 1:

"Truman Excited at Bombs Success"

"From Our Own Correspondent in London

After hearing of the success of the atomic bomb mission over Japan, President Truman, on USS Augusta, entered the wardroom visibly excited. "Keep your seats, gentlemen. I have an announcement to make," he said.

Pausing only for a moment, the President added: "We have just dropped a bomb on Japan which has more power than 20,000 tons of TNT. It was an overwhelming success."

The President left quickly while the officers were still cheering to repeat the news in other messes throughout the ship."


UPDATE II - 09 August 2008 14,30 hrs

Here is Kamm's pathetic reply:

I should explain to my readers, who may well have worked it out for themselves, that David Sketchley is an indefatigable member of the Media Lens organisation. I have written about Media Lens from time to time owing to its practice of spamming journalists with email campaigns and then publishing their replies without their knowledge or permission. The passionate intensity of these email campaigns is, reliably, inversely related to the amount of political expertise invested in their formulation.

If you check the Media Lens site, you will enter a parallel universe in which the band of regulars assure each other of their own virtue and wisdom, condemn the Jews for their nefarious conspiracies (they don't even bother with the euphemism "Zionist"), and compare journalists (me in particular, for some reason) to excrement. The "media alerts" that guide the faithful invoke the research of such analysts as the 9/11 conspiracy crank Howard Zinn and - no joke, this - Neil Clark, a monoglot school teacher and Wikipedia editor from Botley whom Media Lens count a "Balkans specialist".

Mr Sketchley's distinctive contribution to this organisation is to promote the theory that the massacre of 8,000 Bosniak men and boys at Srebrenica is all a hoax. At one point, he couldn't stop himself from sending me angry emails from his home in Seville, and I endeavoured to answer courteously everything he sent my way; but evidently he has the bug again.

Mr Sketchley, now that my readers know what we're dealing with, let me answer your questions directly. You ask whether I would care to withdraw from my blog the disobliging references to John Pilger, and apologise to him. The answers are "no" and "no".

Almost every time I post on the Pacific War, some aggrieved commenter accuses me of being no expert on this subject, and I'm concerned to acknowledge the truth of that charge. I've never done a stroke of primary research into the subject, and don't read Japanese (or any non-European language). But I do know my way round the secondary literature, and the work of the leading historians in the field, several of whom have very kindly guided me through their own research.

I am consequently able to distinguish, as Mr Sketchley is not, between a "report" and a second-hand recycling of a hoary claim. Mr Sketchley's source has not "reported" any statement attributed to Truman, because he wasn't with President Truman at the time. He has cited, in an op-ed piece that does not bear the hallmarks of familiarity with the historical literature, a claim about President Truman that is noticeably short on verifiable detail. Who was this journalist, Mr Sketchley? What wire service? Why does Mitchell not provide these identifying details?

I ungraciously suspect Mitchell doesn't provide them because he doesn't know them, but is merely retailing a claim that he's picked up from a comrade. This is how ideologically congenial myths get propagated. I have tried to track this one down before, and find that it eludes the leading scholars of the Truman administration whereas it's common knowledge to Pilger, Media Lens and various disarmament groups (who have plainly picked it up from Pilger's original documentary). How fortunate that we have Media Lens to cut through this web of official deceit.

Posted by: Oliver Kamm August 08, 2008 at 01:55 PM

Oh dear. I hadn't anticipated, as I ought to have done, the ease with which a Media Lens supporter can be confused. I was not, Mr Sketchley, taking issue with Truman's appellation of the bombing as a "success" - given that there were huge questions about whether the bomb would detonate at all, and many sceptics, it would be amazing if he hadn't made such a comment. I was referring to Pilger's alleged quotation from Truman that "the experiment was an overwhelming success". That was what I quoted and it is, as far as I am able to tell, a spurious quotation. Truman and the administration did not regard the bombing as an experiment; they regarded it as a necessary act to stop the war and terrible bloodshed. Truman recoiled from the notion that he might have to drop a third bomb, and there is much biographical evidence that the A-bomb decision weighed on his mind for the rest of his life.

Your Googled source Dennis Wainstock is, by the way, not a reliable source: he's a far-right editorialist. I can understand that the distinction will not necessarily be clear to Media Lensers.


Posted by: Oliver Kamm August 08, 2008 at 02:06 PM



I sent Kamm's comments to Greg Mitchell who replied:

"Those quotes are recorded and footnoted in the fairly prominent — and reviewed on the front pages of book sections nearly everywhere -- book that I co-wrote with Robert Jay Lifton in 1995, “Hiroshima in America” (G.P. Putnam) They appear on page 23 of the book and the citations are not “some cliam picked up from a comrade” but rather The New York Times and Newsweek in August 1945. For the record, I started studying the atomic bombings 30 years ago, was editor of the national magazine Nuclear Times for four years, spent several weeks doing research in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, plus several weeks at the Truman Library, several months more at other research libraries, read thousands of articles published from 1945 to 1950, read dozens of books on this subject from authors with a variety of views, hundreds or thousands of magazines articles, examiend diaries and thousands of letters and diaries, interviewed many veterans of the war, consulted on leading films and museum exhibits, watched dozens of documentaries and, besides writing the book, have also penned hundreds of articles on this subject. GM " (E-mail to the author from Greg Mitchell received 8 August 2008 21:03)

Mitchell's book was reviewed by Publishers Weekly thus:

"President Truman was ambivalent about the decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yet, according to this unsettling study, Truman, influenced by army general Leslie Groves and Secretary of War Henry Stimson, went into denial and developed a sense of omnipotence that allowed him to deploy weapons that killed vast numbers of civilians. Eminent psychologist Lifton (whose National Book Award-winning Death in Life dealt with Hiroshima survivors) and former Nuclear Times editor Mitchell (The Campaign of the Century) draw on primary sources, including the diaries of Truman and other decision-makers, in an attempt to refute the widely held belief that the atomic bombings hastened WWII's end, thereby preventing an invasion of Japan and saving countless American lives. The authors demonstrate that the U.S. military and media for decades systematically suppressed on-site photographs, as well as American and Japanese documentary films, that showed the devastation produced by the bombs. They argue that the lasting, harmful impact of Hiroshima on American society includes a defense policy in thrall to nuclear weaponry, self-propelling arms buildups, patterns of psychic numbing and secrecy and denial of the health effects of radiation from bombs and from U.S. nuclear waste dumps. BOMC and History Book Club selections. "




You know, it's REALLY bad when you start using sources which I gave to you in the first place and then pretending that you're onto something. I mean, it's not new or unusual at all as folks like you do this all the time. IN fact, it's one of the things I keep track of in my study. Kamm is NOT a source of which I will respond here as I have a thousand times in other places. Similarly, if you use data from The National Enquirer it will also be ignored. When you come up with something even semi-serious we will have another look. Oh, and this will also mean that YOU have read the material for yourself, and NOT just what the person is saying that you want to hear.

"If you can't do that, then be quiet."

Uhhh...I have nothing to be quiet about as I am the only person here who has read Zinn, Chomsky, Kamm, and knows who is doing what here. You know nothing about Kamm. This is a mistake on your part. You REALLY should learn who you're quoting or referring to before doing so. I mean, you wouldn't want to accidentally quote some guy named Adolph only to find out later.....

YOu have nothing, have never had anything, and I doubt will have anything in the future. So, for the 4,000th time. YOU FIRST read material by the folks who are involved here so that you are able to recognize the difference between a charlatan multiple-liar like Kamm, and honest folks like Zinn and Chomsky. Until then there is no point in talking to you. Hey, I told you over a YEAR ago that ANY references to Kamm, Horowitz, Windschuttlebutt, etc...would NOT be responded to as these are NOT serious folks. I have also explained to you how and why they are not. You have flushed into that VERY deep memory hole of yours. And, NO, just in case you also do the next predictable thing, you know, trying to make an accusation that I'm not responding to your source and attacking him instead of dealing with what he's arguing, well, this is bunk. Already been there and done that, and have so MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANY times. Until YOU read the folks who are involved we can expect nothing from you other than the predictable 'seeing what you want to see' phenomena.

"^^ FTL, I hate to say it, but I really don't think you should be hoping for much more than some extravagant claims on how widely and conclusively Kamm has been proven to be completely wrong in everything he's ever said (without any evidence, natch), aspersions cast on your/his literacy, and to be called a drooler.."

Uhhh...Kamm IS a drooler, and as far as I've seen he's never said anything correct, other than in a moment of semi-honesty, though probably an accident, admitted something as simple as not thinking Chomsky was a Holocaust denier, as if this was some real break from the usual drool squad. Which in a way, it was. There really ARE idiots who have actually tried to make THIS claim, and even Kamm the Scam wasn't willing to shit on himself THIS much. Perhaps you were unaware of this, but I've been through Kamm TOOOOO many times, and it's a waste of time. Now, which Chomsky, Zinn, or ANY of the people we've been discussing books have you read? Why would you even think about going and looking for someone and ending up finding Kamm?((As if I didn't know))Why aren't you investing that much energy into finding about how much of a liar he is? I mean, he really IS a pathological liar, and it's only been demonstrated several hundred times, unlike the mere accusations against Chomsky. Their names shouldn't even be mentioned in the same universe. That you are not able to tell the difference between a Kamm and a Chomsky amounts to not being able to tell the difference between Bolt in the 100m and my father. There really IS a difference. Learn it.

Oh, and drooler number 2 or 3, there IS nothing to discuss regarding Zinn here because, as usual, only ONE of the folks having the conversation knows his work. Until mandrool, or any of you other illiterates, decide to read and learn something about the subject, there really IS not much to discuss.


MC, you called it.


"MC, you called it."

says the well-read genius who laughed at every source the Irish ever produced, and said:

"That lefty rag!? Bwahahahahahahaha!"
and gave no further answer.


IRISH!!!! YOU'RE BACK!!! How could we ever think that you would go away? You have popped in on a couple of threads, this one and the tire thread...admitting that you are 'keeping an eye on things.' I am truly touched, you lying twat...but then again, we knew you were lying all along.

mandible claw

Posted by: kb | August 07, 2008 at 02:08 AM

"sitting around in cushy, overpaid jobs in a liberal European country"


"This is supposed to be a BAD thing?"kb

"By no means. It does hurt one's street cred, however, when telling others with greater life experience they need a "broader perspective."mandrool

I don't recall Cuba bragging that the U.S> needs a broader perspective. And WHO in the U.S. has "greater life experience" than just about every European person?

Are you on the drugs again?

First we have Cuba bragging that the U.S. needs a broader perspective? Er.. What?

Then we have a European telling me I need broader perspective and me responding that said Euro knows shite-all -- and this somehow relates to the life experience of "most folks in the U.S." Okay then. I really do think that sometimes you debate against what you want to be debating against, not against what/who is actually present.

That's funny. Most folks in the U.S. know far less about the U.S. than most Europeans.

Mm hmm. No doubt this extravagant and ridiculous claim is based on precisely nothing.

"Because some folks are intelligent enough to figure out a system whereby they have more free time, less work, and more money to show for it, it's a BAD thing?"kb

"Are you proposing that this is not the case in Australia?"

Don't know, nor do I really care much about Australia.

Then you might want to refrain from presuming to tell an Australian about his lifestyle.

If it IS the case, then maybe I'll check into it and then see why the U.S. is lacking when compared to Australia in this sense as it is in healthcare with France, U.K., and perhaps even Cuba.

Still haven't looked at those Cuba links I gave you, huh? As for the U.K., the U.S. would have to be doing pretty badly if it's worse than roach-infested hospitals where people get appointments by lottery, or dentist waiting queues that are so long they pull their own teeth out with pliers. But then you knew that, right?

"Yeah, I'm one of those hardworking Americans"kb

"Um, I'm Australian."


So it's a little illogical to portray me as claiming to be a hard-working American.

"And Americans working harder or not was never the point to begin with."

Never said it was.

So your entire "dialogue" on American work habits was completely irrelevant?

"This might have been evident from the fact that I a) am not American and b) mentioned nothing about that country or its inhabitants in my original post."

Never said you did.

So why post a phony dialogue in which I refer to myself as a hardworking American?

"...who if given the opportunity would ask for more work and less money just to show how much of a "man" I was."kb

"Right, I'm sure that's relevant somehow."

Uhhh....Yes, if I said it, it IS relevant.

Ho-kay then.

rel·evant (rel′ə vənt)


bearing upon or relating to the matter in hand; pertinent; to the point

Don't confuse your lack of understanding with something being relevant or not.

Don't tell me you're still harping on that debunked idiocy. I notice you're still avoiding the post where I demonstrated I understand you completely.

Just for reference, and so that any random person who stumbles across this thread can see it for themselves and note the fact that you're pretending it never happened:

Okay, I'm going to play your silly game. Your supposed points included, among others:
-The justifications made by proponents of preemptive war bear as much weight as would, by your analogy, a comparison of preemptive war and preemptive treatment of a medical condition;
-Those who defend preemptive war are by doing so demonstrating that they lack the understanding and/or do not see a need, or fail to understand that there may be a need, or understand that there may be a need to, but deliberately avoid, weighing the moral implications of preemptive war and its implications in the real world, making their viewpoint as informed and integral as, to use your example, comparing preemptive war with preemptive medical treatment;
-The group you designate "anti-Chomskyites" disagree with Chomsky on the basis that they think they are disagreeing with a certain political viewpoint when they are not sufficiently knowledgeable of his work to even know whether the viewpoint they are puportedly disagreeing with is in fact the Chomsky himself holds;
-These people would rather read secondary sources such as Amazon reviews and books by David Horowitz, and base their opposition to Chomsky on that material, than to read Chomsky himself;
-This is because they are either too unintelligent to understand Chomsky's works, or they are afraid that his work would prove their own political viewpoints to be misguided, or they are simply intellectually lazy, or a combination of the above;
-This and similar worldviews and the accompanying insulation from factors that would cause a rethink of the worldview in question and are in fact a part of that worldview, are symptomatic of the thought processes of many conservatives; They don't know any better whether by design or accident, they don't want to know any better, and they will not know any better unless they make the effort to do so.
Et cetera.
Posted by: mandible claw | July 15, 2008 at 04:01 AM

"Or at least wanted to be. I mean, true, I would need enough to buy a few guns to make up for my lack of having a dick, and have to have enough to be able to supersize my fat American ass to show how much of a man I was, but that's about it."kb

"Again, this is relevant to me how? And to the discussion on "broader perspective(s)," how?"

Read and see what I was talking about and then you'll know "how".

Right, your assertion that I want to be an American is relevant to the perspective and life experience I've gained, gotcha. Except that it isn't. It's just more of your idiotic bullshit whereby you can't accept that the reason people disagree with your viewpoints isn't because they're ignorant.

If you don't know how, then ask someone to translate from English to English for you.

Hm, I'm seeing a pattern here. You are either making the assumption that, or truly believe that, you are somehow debating on a level that's so far beyond my intelligence as to be incomprehensible and thus when I tell you your points are irrelevant it must be because I don't understand them. Well since I have demonstrated that I not only understand them, but am addressing the implications you are making within them in my answers, which you then class as uncomprehending, it would seem that the exact opposite is the case. You're having trouble keeping up with me and it takes you far, far longer to get to your point or to parse what I'm actually saying.

"Yes, folks who learn to create more free time are idiots. They should all just happily walk up the their bosses, and ask for more work, just so they can show those lazy Europeans who the "man" is."kb

"Um.. Are you done yet?"

Uhhh...I'm done when I'm done. You will read until I'm finished.

Fine, go right ahead and keep making yourself look like an idiot.

"If you're suggesting that from traveling 'round Asia and parts of the third world I should have developed a mindset that wants to see more developed countries take greater notice of the methods developing economies are run, and judge them by that, you're even dumber than I thought."

"That's for sure. Most all of the Asian countries which have developed did so exactly by NOT doing what neo-conartistry dictates."kb

"Oh right, that should be obvious by the conspicuous lack of capitalism on display in the successful nations like Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Korea, and China of late, compared to the relative economic health of collectivist enterprizes like Vietnam and the DPRK. Gotcha."mandrool

Uhhh...EXACTLY by NOT following freemarket rules which are usually imposed on the strong by the weak.

Japan and Singapore have command economies now? Who knew?

EVERY country on your list developed exactly by NOT following freemarket rules, being protectionist, having great state interference in the markets, etc... Talk to ANY economist who is NOT a preacher for the con-artists and they'll tell you:

Hahahahahahahaha.. Okay then. I'd ask you how you'd justify the comparitive dismal failures of most true command economies alongside the success of those that imposed less restrictions and protectionism, but I know you'd just blame America.

The World Bank is not the same institution, but there’s the same kind of conflicts and confrontations going on. In Bolivia, one of the major background events that led to the uprising of the majority indigenous population to finally take political power was an effort by the World Bank to privatize water. Take an economics course, they’ll tell you that you ought to pay the market price and so on. True value, yes, very nice, except that means poor people, which is most of the population, can’t drink. Well that’s called an externality; don’t worry about things like that.

Right, right, it's always about the poor people. And the children. Never mind that a healthier economy is the best way to increase wages and thus decrease poverty levels, and the healthiest economies are the freest.

Chomsky: Poorer Countries Find a Way to Escape U.S. Dominance
By Michael Shank, Foreign Policy in Focus
Posted on February 12, 2008, Printed on February 12, 2008

Noam Chomsky is a noted linguist, author, and foreign policy expert. On January 15, Michael Shank interviewed him on the latest developments in U.S. policy toward regional challenges to U.S. power.

Michael Shank: In December 2007, seven South American countries officially launched the Bank of the South in response to growing opposition to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other International Financial Institutions. How important is this shift and will it spur other responses in the developing world? Will it at some point completely undermine the reach of the World Bank and the IMF?

Noam Chomsky : I think it’s very important, especially because, contrary to the impression often held here, the biggest country Brazil is supporting it. The U.S. propaganda, western propaganda, is trying to establish a divide between the good left and the bad left. The good left, like Lula in Brazil, are governments they would’ve overthrown by force 40 years ago. But now that’s their hope, one of their saviors. But the divide is pretty artificial. Sure, they’re different. Lula isn’t Chavez. But they get along very well, they cooperate. And they are cooperating on the Bank of the South.
The Bank of the South could turn out to be a viable institution. There are plenty of problems in the region.
But one of the striking things that’s been happening in South America for quite a few years now is that they are beginning to overcome for the first time, since the Spanish invasion, the conflicts among the countries and the separation of the countries. It was a very disintegrated continent. If you look at transportation systems they don’t have much to do with each other. They’re mostly oriented toward the imperial power that was dominant. So you send out resources, you send out capital, the rich tiny elite have their chateaus on the Riviera, and that sort of thing. But they have not much to do with each other.

There was also a huge internal divide between a rich, mostly white, Europeanized elite and a massive population. For the first time, both of those kinds of disintegration, internal to the countries and among the countries, are being confronted at least. You can’t say they’re overcome but they’re being confronted. The Bank of the South is one example.

Actually what’s happening in Bolivia is a striking example. The mostly white, Europeanized elite, which is a minority, happens to be sitting on most of the hydrocarbon reserves. And for the first time Bolivia is becoming democratic. So it’s therefore bitterly hated by the West, which despises democracy, because it’s much too dangerous.

But when the indigenous majority actually took political power for the first time, in a very democratic election of the kind we can’t imagine here, the reaction in the West was quite hostile. I recall, for example, an article - I think it was the Financial Times - condemning Morales as moving towards dictatorship because he was calling for nationalization of oil. They omitted to mention, with the support of about 90% of the population.

Hey, a majority of the population supported Castro too - maybe there's something to this leftist propaganda thing that works? Who knew?

But that’s tyranny. Tyranny means you don’t do what the United States says. Just like moderation means that you’re like Saudi Arabia and you do do what we say.

But when you do do what it says, you're a puppet regime, like in Iraq? Okay, gotcha.

There are now moves toward autonomy in the elite-dominated sectors in Bolivia, maybe secession, which will probably be backed by the United States to try and undercut the development of a democratic system in which the majority, which happens to be indigenous, will play their proper role, namely, cultural rights, control over resources, political and economic policy, and so on. That’s happening elsewhere but strikingly in Bolivia.

The Bank of the South is a step towards integration of the countries. Could it weaken the IFIs, yes it can, in fact they’re being weakened already. The IMF has been mostly thrown out of South America. Argentina quite explicitly said, “Okay, we’re ridding ourselves of the IMF.” And for pretty good reasons. They had been the poster child of the IMF. They had followed its policies rigorously and it led to terrible economic collapse. They did pull out of the collapse, namely by flatly rejecting the advice of the IMF. And it succeeded. They were able to pay off their debts, restructure their debts and pay them off with the help of Venezuela which picked up a substantial part of the debt. Brazil in its own way paid off its debt and rid itself of the IMF. Bolivia is moving in the same direction.

The IMF is in trouble now because it is losing its reserves. It was functioning on debt collection and if countries either restructured their debt or refused to pay it, they’re in trouble. Incidentally the countries could legitimately refuse to pay much of the debt, because, in my opinion at least, it was illegal in the first place. For example, if I lend you money, and I know you’re a bad risk, so I get high interest payments, and then you tell me at one point, sorry I can’t pay anymore, I can’t call on my neighbors to force you to pay me.

Er.. I'm not sure why this would be the case. Chomsky is proposing a lending institution that gives money away - it's a nice thought but it doesn't happen.

Or I can’t call on your neighbors to pay it off. But that’s the way the IMF works. You lend money to a dictatorship and an elite, the population has nothing to do with it, you get very high interest because it’s obviously risky, they say they can’t pay it off, you say okay your neighbors will pay for it.

Right, a default in loan payments is naturally the lender's fault.

It’s called structural adjustment. And my neighbors will pay me off. That’s the IMF as a creditors’ cartel. You get higher taxes from the north.

The World Bank is not the same institution, but there’s the same kind of conflicts and confrontations going on. In Bolivia, one of the major background events that led to the uprising of the majority indigenous population to finally take political power was an effort by the World Bank to privatize water. Take an economics course, they’ll tell you that you ought to pay the market price and so on. True value, yes, very nice, except that means poor people, which is most of the population, can’t drink. Well that’s called an externality; don’t worry about things like that.

What the population did - and it was a big conflict, mostly in Cochabamba - peasants just forced the international water companies, Bechtel and others, just to pull out. It was supported by a solidarity movement here, it was quite interesting. But the World Bank had to pull out of that project and there are others like it. On the other hand, some of the things they do are constructive. It’s not a totally destructive institution. But that’s weakening too.

The same thing is happening in Asia. Take the Asian Development Bank. At the time of the Asian financial crisis, in 1997-98, Japan wanted to work through the Asian Development Bank to create a substantial reserve which would enable countries to survive the debt crisis instead of selling off their assets to the West. The United States just blocked it.

But they can’t do that anymore. The reserves in the Asian countries are just too high. In fact the United States survives on funding from Japan and China, which subsidizes the high consumption-high borrowing economy here. I don’t think the United States at this point could tell the Asian Development Bank, “I’m sorry you can’t do this.” That’s somewhat parallel to the Bank of the South. Similar things are now happening in the Middle East, with sovereign funds and so on.

Shank: With these institutions springing up in the developing world as alternatives to the IMF and the World Bank, what similar initiatives will emerge in the developing world regarding currencies?

Chomsky: It’s already happening. Kuwait has already made a limited move toward a basket of currencies. The United Arab Emirates and Dubai are moving toward their own partial development funds. Saudi Arabia, that’s the big important one, if they join in it’ll become a major independent center of funding, lending, purchasing, and so on. It’s already happening. Investment in the rich countries and to some extent in the region, particularly North Africa. Separate development funds. It’s a limited move; they don’t want to anger the United States.
etc. etc. Chomsky

..none of which proves anything regarding free market principles and economic development in Asia's capitalistic nations.

"From Korea, to Japan, to Taiwan, etc....Most ALL, in fact ALL, did so exactly by NOT playing the game by the rules which the U.S. attempts to dictate, though not following themselves."kb

"Er.. Which rules would those be?"

Uhhh....If you need to ask then you have no business discussing this topic.

I don't need to ask. I would like you to clearly articulate your case and the facts upon which you are basing it, instead of hiding behind claims that others are ignorant when called on it.

"The ones that state that big-government collectivist economics doesn't work -"

Uhhh....First of all, THIS isn't a rule. This is a theory with some justification to support it. There is also much to support the fact that dependong on WHICH country is being discussed, then in certain ways, at certain times, etc...they HAVE worked. The U.S.S.R. is a great example. ALready dealt with this.

Right, the USSR, I clean forgot! Of course they made things "work" by building a giant empire comprised of satellites they'd annexed, and by slavery, forced labour and coercion. Oh and they killed tens of millions of people in the process. I guess it worked if you write all that off as a means to an end, though. Either that or you could make the observation that similar occurrences are uniform across the sphere of command economies, and come to the fairly obvious conclusion that it works by force, not in and of itself.

This is why most Latin American countries which the U.S. dominated would have loved to have followed a similar path as them, and are actually still trying to as is evidenced by all of the moves to the left all over the place.

Hey, maybe they can follow the shining example of Cuba! You know, where the same exact things happened as I outlined above. On a smaller scale, though, since of course there simply aren't that many Cubans to kill.

Perhaps these new countries can leave out the negative aspects which occurred under the never-democratic Soviet system, thereby excluding it from being anything remotely resembling socialism, and develop a better social/democratic system whereby they maintain the public welfare aspects, something any non-depraved society should strive to do, while at the same time maintaining freedoms of individuals, etc...Pretty much already happening in China.

Oh yeah, China is big on individual freedom and social safety nets, sure.

This is why we hear virtually nothing but negative crap about China on the news.

Um.. Maybe that's because there's so much negative crap and so little positive crap in China?

Whether it's the air quality, tearing down old houses to build Olympic buildings, etc....

You forgot funding and enabling genocide in Sudan, and blocking international efforts to combat it. Oh and repression of Tibetans, Chinese Christians, bloggers, journalists, Falun Gong practitioners, etc.

the goal is clear; Make sure most folks perceive China as bad because the government claims to be communist,

Hm, factual reporting on China's government gives it a bad name, I wonder if that's an indication that it's doing a bad job? Nah, must be a gian conspiracy involving the corporate media and the US state department.

not that much of anyone in the population gives a shit.

Except for the Christians, journalists, bloggers, Falun Gong members, and anyone else who happens to set a foot wrong.

Wouldn't it be really interesting to see nothing on the U.S. media other than showing the delapidated parts of town all over the place, the homeless, the L.A. air quality every day, and on and on....

Right, there are just sooo many reports on the successes of U.S. healthcare, income distribution, economic conditions and so forth. Cos, you know, the corporate media would never ignore the vast majority of positive aspects of life there and focus on the few negatives.

"and which the US left unfortunately is trying to avoid following? Thought so."

Uhhh....Not at all.

Ah.. Yes at all. Count the right-wing politicians who've called for nationalizing the oil industry.

"Again I will use Chomsky,"kb

"...the renowned economist..."

Well, actually, I have heard no economist say anything which was "beyond" Chomsky, nor anyone challenge him, nor anyone seem to be beyond his works.

Except for where I pointed out that he's completely mistaken on NAFTA's role in Mexican farmers being pushed off the land. You know, the post you completely skipped over, failing to answer a single point I raised, and then pretended I was wrong.

Perhaps this is why he is asked to speak in economics departments.

Yeah, it could be. It could also be due to the prevalence of leftist thought in academia.

"you know, just to bother the droolers. ((I can easily find many other sources saying the same things, in fact, many of Chomsky's own sources, as well as others, but using Chomsky just sort of has that ripping skin off effect which is fun to watch. Let's watch!))"kb

"Hm, let's just take a brief interlude here to review what happened last time I disagreed with Chomsky on economics:"

Uhh...You were wrong.

Care to elaborate on that? Was the World Bank wrong too? Was their report erroneous? Did you disprove my claim that "corporate interests" were not originally behind biofuels? Did you do anything whatsoever to back up your claim?

Oh, right, you didn't. You just stated that it was "wrong" without falsifying a single point that I made.

For reference, and so anyone reading this can easily see the weight of evidence I have backing my argument - evidence which you ignored totally, here it is again:

Part of an article by Chomsky in the Khaleej times:

The 1994 US-sponsored NAFTA agreement may also play a significant role, one that is likely to increase. An unlevel-playing-field impact of NAFTA was to flood Mexico with highly subsidised agribusiness exports, driving Mexican producers off the land.
Mexican economist Carlos Salas reviews data showing that after a steady rise until 1993, agricultural employment began to decline when NAFTA came into force, primarily among corn producers — a direct consequence of NAFTA, he and other economists conclude. One-sixth of the Mexican agricultural work force has been displaced in the NAFTA years, a process that is continuing, depressing wages in other sectors of the economy and impelling emigration to the United States. Max Correa, secretary-general of the group Central Campesina Cardenista, estimates that "for every five tons bought from foreign producers, one campesino becomes a candidate for migration."

Mandible says:

This is basically the opposite of what the World Bank says.
"The decline of Mexican corn prices was a long term trend that preceded NAFTA, and the US-Mexico maize-producer price differential did not change significantly after 1994. Government producer-price subsidies actually kept such prices above what would have been the case under NAFTA without domestic price subsidies. Consequently, NAFTA can not be held responsible for the poverty that characterizes subsistence agriculture, and further protectionism might not help fight rural poverty in Mexico."


Mandible says:

This is not to mention that corporate entities took to biofuels long after they were pushed by the environmental lobby as a means to preventing global warming, which was also pushed into prominence in public discourse by the environmental lobby and other liberals - the World Bank finds that either way, Mexican food prices weren't caused by NAFTA or by supposed corporate interests.
Posted by: mandible claw | July 21, 2008 at 02:05 AM

Posted by: mandible claw | August 14, 2008 at 05:46 AM

I only posted it like three times, too. Must have been easy to miss.

You great charlatan.

mandible claw

mandible claw

Posted by: kb | August 17, 2008 at 02:44 AM

"Um.. The focus on capitalism and private industry in market fortress nations like Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong etc. allowed them to punch far above their weight in economic terms, despite each of them having suffered far, far, far more from imperialist and/or military invention, than has any nation in Latin America - while Latin American nations' propensity for colectivism has kept them in the doldrums despite their incomparably greater natural resources.. And this doesn't agree with everything I've said, how, exactly? The only part of the article that could be taken to counterpoint me is where he makes the logic leap to "neoliberal practices having created the third world" despite having posted reams of evidence that it didn't, and somehow claims the aircraft and computer industries for the state.. Er.. okey then. Maybe try to avoid discussing economics until you can, you know, develop some sort of inkling on how it works. Just a thought."

And? So? What's your point? That you're recognizing that your ideas and Chomsky's aren't all that different?

Ah, no. That he provides a mountain of evidence supporting my views, then makes a huge logic leap to claim that the evidence supports the opposite conclusion. Try to keep up, and try to identify correctly the point that is being made, please.

"Mandrool? Are you there? Here is an example of the sort of "anti-Americans" us lefties like to use as sources. You know, inexperienced, intellectual know-nothings who just sit around in their ivory towers complaining about how bad the world is because of the rightwing fascists. You know the type. Anyway, here is evidence of their inexperience and naivete. I mean, unlike the masters from the right, like, say, Rush or Coulter."kb

"John Stockwell is a 13-year veteran of the CIA and a former U.S. Marine Corps major. He was hired by the CIA in 1964, spent six years working for the CIA in Africa, and was later transferred to Vietnam. In 1973 he received the CIA's Medal of Merit, the Agency's second-highest award. In 1975, Stockwell was promoted to the CIA's Chief of Station and National Security Council coordinator, managing covert activities during the first years of Angola's bloody civil war. After two years he resigned, determined to reveal the truth about the agency's role in the Third World. Since that time, he has worked tirelessly to expose the criminal activities of the CIA. He is the author of In Search of Enemies, an exposé of the CIA's covert action in Angola.
Stockwell is a founding member of Peaceways and ARDIS (the Association for Responsible Dissent), an organization of former CIA and Government officials who are openly critical of the CIA's activities. His latest book is entitled The Praetorian Guard: The U.S. Role in the New World Order."

"Er.. And? You could have just as easily name-dropped Moulitsas or John Kerry."

Uhhh...Not quite the same at all. Stockwell is MUCH more informaed that Kerry. He was there, participated in it, and is moral enough to talk about what he was doing.

Presumably that makes him a war criminal by admission?

He managed to escape the shackles of indoctrination and realize that simply towing the line is NOT a sign of patriotism any more than excoriatedbuttcyst is patriotic.

That's odd, I'm pretty sure Exorcist has served his country too. The fact that he didn't then turn around and condemn its actions and thus indirectly his own, must be a sign that he's a turncoat traitor!

"Hell, look up a guy called Joe Vialls some time. Being a paranoid conspiracy theorist doesn't necessarily exclude serving your country."

Not interested in conspiracy theories as anyone who can read should already know by the folks I've referred to and used as sources; Chomsky, Zinn, etc...They're the opposite of conspiracy theorists.

Unconspiracy untheorists?

"Typical "lefty" source. Just a commie through and through."

I don't use "commies" as sources either, not that there haven't been some quite intelligent ones.

You're doing that thing again - yeah, the one where you reply to your own comment. Check your original post again - you said that, not me.

Chomsky as ripped communists when they've deserved it as long as he's been writing and much longer. So has everyone else I've referred to.

Hm, I guess you just won a debate against yourself then.

"It's easy to tell by looking at his record. And yours? Where are they? And here's what this typical lefty (Stockwell) says with regards to another typical lefty who obviously knows nothing about the real world, Howard Zinn. I mean, what would HE know? This protesting for civil rights when most whiteies were against it, leftwing, anti-war, college professor, idiot. Oops! I left out an important piece of HIS lefty upbringing:"kb

"Zinn eagerly joined the Army Air Force during World War II to fight fascism, and he bombed targets in Berlin, Czechoslovakia and Hungary....." ( A bunch more basics about Zinn's background)

"I'm kinda wondering how this relates to Cuba's economy.."

Why? It's straightforward.

Ah no, it isn't. You're appealing to authority, a fairly basic debate fallacy.

"Yeah, nah, got nothing. Although, the fact that these people's ground-zero background apparently lends them credibility in your view does somewhat beg the question of why the same isn't the case for Cuban emigres.. Interesting."

Don't know what you're referring to. Be specific.

The dozens of aspersions you've cast on the character of the Cuban emigres is what I'm referring to. And the fact that while they have survived Cuba, escaped and lived to tell the tale, you give their testimony precisely zero credence, but appear to believe that Zinn and Stockwell are imparted credibility thanks to the fact that they, too, have supposedly witnessed what they are writing about, first-hand. Try to keep up with what's happening.

"Back to the show. Here's Stockwell commenting on Zinn's book:"kb

"But first, how many people have read ..... The last time I was here, I asked you to ..... How many people actually read Howard Zinn's book A People's History of the United States? ..... That's better! Everybody else: Tomorrow, call in sick. Don't go to class. Read this book! Quite simply, you will never understand the U.S. System as completely until you read it. And once you read it, you will be able to understand what's happening, broadly, for the rest of your life. It's extremely well-written, extremely well- documented, tremendously moving, with quotes on every page: every phase of our history, as viewed, not from the interests of the country and big business — as our high school textbooks are and as our college textbooks are — but from the viewpoint of the people who died in the wars, who fought in the wars, who paid for the wars, and who profited from the wars, of course."John Stockwell

"HERE is a "lefty" position, contrary to what you mistakenly "think" you know as one."kb

Yes, I agree! Oh, wait, that was me.kb

Your propensity to talk to yourself is beginning to disturb me.

"Right, a view of US history that excludes and/or demonizes capitalism"

This isn't "a view" anymore than it's an opinion of the sort you keep confusing. He says nothing about capitalism which isn't true. But if you have evidence to the contrary please offer it. Good luck finding any.

I'm not interested in finding any. What I'd like you to do is to return to the topic at hand, which as you may recall was economics in Cuba and other collectivist systems vs. free market capitalism. You could start by actually addressing my post on Chomsky's NAFTA article.

"what a surprising about-face for a lefty commentator."

What is "left" about his comment?

What is "left" about anti-capitalism? Do you really need me to lead you through over a hundred years of political debate? Or are you just being obtuse again?

It's quite simple. There was the illusion he was thrust into, swallowed wholeheartedly, and believed, only to find out that things were NOT the way they seemed. In other words, he HAD been indoctrinated, of course this makes one the perfect tool, and then grew out of it.

Right, a complete and sudden shift in his thinking after exposure to stressful and hazardous situations could only be the metaphorical scales falling from his eyes. There's no other possible explanation for it.

It'S not a matter of left or right unless you wish to consider right as equating to indoctrinated and having a false picture of the real world and left as seeing things the way they are.

Mmm hmm. Zinn's American history presumably having definitively won the debate on the merits or otherwise of capitalism, gotcha.

Personally, the right/left" distinction doesn't interest me much. I'm interested in the facts, and NOT upholding some agenda, as are the indoctrinated.

You mean by attributing the success of capitalist free-market economies to protectionism and government involvement, and the failure of command economies to capitalism? Gotcha.

"Or not, since anti-capitalism is one of the left's hallmark traits."

It's one of them and is so for good reason.

Ah, yeah, the left hate capitalism because it places the individual and the industry beyond their control and thus precludes them exerting power directly over either. Pretty simple really.

Ever looked at any of them?

Ever looked at any of what? Any of capitalism? Please try to use grammatical English, or at least a better approximation thereof, it really does make it a lot easier to understand what you are trying to say.

I didn't think so. It's sort of just a given that capitalism is the ONLY system, eh? Nonsense.

Of course it's not the only system. It's the only system that has proven itself viable and successful, however.

"Again, I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to demonstrate with this in regards to Cuba's economy and the dictator who runs it -"

I'm sure you're not. That's the problem.

The credentials of Zinn and Stockwell have precisely zero bearing on Cuban economics, and since those credentials were all that you presented by way of argument, I pointed out by wauy of feigning puzzlement that you have posted nothing of relevance. If you had posted testimony from either of them regarding the alleged effect of U.S. operations on the Cuban economy there might be something that could be addressed.

Why aren't you? I'm not entirely sure why you don't understand why this dictator became one, and why the economy is what it is and the U.S.'s contribution to it.

I understand perfectly the rationale behind your argument on the matter. It's just that you have nothing in the way of evidence regarding how one affected the other. All you've done is presented some evidence that one thing happened, and made the logic leap to thinking that proves it caused the second. That's far from a convincing argument.

Just watched two DVDs about Castro and Cuba.

Ah.. And?

"however you have, possibly inadvertantly, brought up a discussion tangent which 100% bears out my contention that imperialism, military action and so forth has a far smaller effect on a nation's economic welfare than does its actual economic system."

That's the most naive statement I've ever heard. If you crush, or even threaten to crush, a much smaller and weaker country, forgetting that this IS terrorism as well, then it's pretty irrelevant what sort of economy they may have, may be trying to have, could have had, etc....

Wrong and wrong. I demonstrated to you using the examples of Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, how capitalist free market economies overcame far greater imperialist and/or military intervention than Cuba has ever experienced. You're so far behind the debate it's ridiculous.

Also, implied in your statement is that it of some concern of yours what sort of economy some other country has. Why? Want to know if they're willing to open themselves up to exploitation thereby making them a friendly country, whereas those who would rather not do this demonstrate their criminality by NOT wishing to be exploited?

Ah, no. Interested in the welfare of the people there, sure. Like the prospect of a free exchange of goods, services and currency between the two countries benefiting the people of both, yeah. Twisted, ignorant libtard misrepresentations of how capitalism works, nah, not so much. I'd rather not live in your world.

Nice scam.

I heard about a better one, though. This guy apparently took over an entire country by force, murdered thousands of his political opponents, and then ruled as its dictator for the next fifty years while enriching himself to the tune of billions and enslaving the general populace, and then tricked an entire hemisphere of political thought into taking his side and blaming someone else for his actions!

I mean, not very intelligent, and borders on playground bullying games, but transparent and NOT intelligent.

That's funny, I don't remember bullies at school offering to trade lunches on mutually beneficial terms - they kinda just took what they wanted and beat you up in return. Oh, and then blamed someone else. Sorta like what Castro did to Cuba, actually.

"Case in point: Singapore, Japan, see also Germany. All distinguished by marked presence of capitalism and absence of collectivist statism re. economy, all economically successful. Wow, who knew?"

Here is your economics lesson for today:

Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha ....... Now it's ME who needs the economics lesson? Oh my, you really are a hoot. Oh, and it's by Noam Chomsky.. Didn't I just completely debunk his theory on NAFTA and Mexico like right in this thread?

Look, dude, I'll give you a hint - libtards like you can make unjustified claim to defence of human rights, humanitarian motivations and other such shite, because those aren't easily defined using empirical methods, and the whole debate is easily fudged. That's why you so rarely get called out in any meaningful way over things like human rights in Cuba or China, it's just too much of a hassle pointing out where you're wrong.

But over the last 150 years you've massacred about 100 million people, caused a bunch of wars, enslaved hundreds of millions more and wrecked economies around the world, all in the name of your pipe-dream of a collectivist paradise. You don't get to tell other people about economics, no way, nohow, not ever.


"You don't get to tell other people about economics, no way, nohow, not ever."

And you do? lolz

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