I just dscovered via Tim Lambert’s Deltoid blog that Peter Sinclair who produces the YouTube video series Climate Denial Crock of the Week has produced a new episode that provides futher debunking and discrediting to Martin Duurkin’s now infamous piece of trash "The Great Global Warming Swindle"

Climate Denial Crock of the Week: The Big Swindle Movie

Thanks Peter (and Tim). I added this great video essay to my own list of debunking references : “The Great Global Warming Swindle”? Shams & Lies


Whose Deficit Is It?

I just came in from picking up the mail yesterday and caught the Radio America right wing radio host Greg Knapp talking ranting on CNBC about how bad Obama tripled the deficit.

Tripled? Usally the figure I hear cited by the right wing ideologues is quadrupled and they very often cite this chart from an article entitled Bush Deficit vs. Obama Deficit in Pictures found on the website belonging to the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation to make their point! The Heritage Foundation is quick to point out that "The Washington Post has a great graphic which helps put President Obama’s budget deficits in context of President Bush’s."

"…in context of President Bush’s."????

Not really. The graph represents and uneven tilted playing field.

Quoting from reporting done by Lori Montgomery and Ceci Connolly for that same Washington Post:

In addition to the substantive proposals, Obama’s team boasts of improving the budget process itself. For years, budget analysts complained that former president George W. Bush tried to make his deficits look smaller by excluding cost estimates for the war in Iraq and domestic disasters, minimizing the cost of payments to Medicare doctors and assuming that millions more families would pay the costly alternative minimum tax. Obama has banned those techniques, the senior official said.

Take 2005 for instance. If you include just the excluded cost at the time for the Iraq War the REAL deficit figure for fiscal 2005 would be $427 billion* not the $317 billion the CBO used in it’s figures.

So where did this swollen bloated deficit we face really come from? This past week the the NYTimes’ gave us this chart in the David Leonhardt article Sea of Red Ink Was Years in the Making that gives us a far better more accurate look at just where Obama’s record deficit came from:

How Trillion-Dollar Deficits Were Created

Quoting from the mid-section of the Sea of Red Ink Was Years in the Making article:


Mr. Obama’s main contribution to the deficit is his extension of several Bush policies, like the Iraq war and tax cuts for households making less than $250,000. Such policies — together with the Wall Street bailout, which was signed by Mr. Bush and supported by Mr. Obama — account for 20 percent of the swing.

About 7 percent comes from the stimulus bill that Mr. Obama signed in February. And only 3 percent comes from Mr. Obama’s agenda on health care, education, energy and other areas.

If the analysis is extended further into the future, well beyond 2012, the Obama agenda accounts for only a slightly higher share of the projected deficits.

How can that be? Some of his proposals, like a plan to put a price on carbon emissions, don’t cost the government any money. Others would be partly offset by proposed tax increases on the affluent and spending cuts. Congressional and White House aides agree that no large new programs, like an expansion of health insurance, are likely to pass unless they are paid for. (JJH- Yes and on the day this article came out Obama proposes making ‘pay-as-you-go’ the law)

Alan Auerbach, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, and an author of a widely cited study on the dangers of the current deficits, describes the situation like so: “Bush behaved incredibly irresponsibly for eight years. On the one hand, it might seem unfair for people to blame Obama for not fixing it. On the other hand, he’s not fixing it.”

“And,” he added, “not fixing it is, in a "sense", making it worse.”

When challenged about the deficit, Mr. Obama and his advisers generally start talking about health care. “There is no way you can put the nation on a sound fiscal course without wringing inefficiencies out of health care,” Peter Orszag, the White House budget director, told me.

Outside economists agree. The Medicare budget really is the linchpin of deficit reduction. But there are two problems with leaving the discussion there.


Looking at the analysis another way courtesy of Matt Yglesias here’s how it looks as a pie chart:

Months ago when I first learned that Obama wasn’t going to be playing around with budget language tricks I made the claim that if you took away the cost of the Iraq War and the Bush Tax Cuts the deficit would be a quarter of what it was and people (my Conservative & Republican friends) scoffed and dismissed what I was saying. It certainly looks now like I wasn’t that far off in my own analysis at the time.

Don’t believe the numbers? Check out the methodology in How We Crunched the Deficit Numbers.

I really don’t expect the Republican, Conservative, and NeoCon right to change their rhetorical denials and really ever own up to responsibility for the deficit, in fact just yesterday Karl Rove flat out refused to accept any responsibility for the deficit and spun his administrations record continuing the deceit (watch it):

ROVE: This guy is going to run up a $1.8 trillion deficit. That’s what it’s projected to be this year,”

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you take some responsibility, meaning you, the Bush eight years, for this…


VAN SUSTEREN: You take absolutely no responsibility? Because…

ROVE: No, lets put it this way, look look we had a deficit that ran 2% of GDP and we were fighting a war [Rove carefully avoids saying that the cost of the Iraq War was not included in the deficit] and trying to grow the economy. He planning a 4% of GDP…

VAN SUSTEREN: So that twice?

ROVE: Twice. He’s going to…his smallest deficit is 200 billion dollars larger than Bush’s largest deficit [the cost of the Iraq war, around 200 billion]. Think about that.

….but I think it’s very important for everyone to know that Obama and the Obama administration are standing up and taking responsibility for hundreds of millions , billions of dollars lost, squandered, misspent, and hidden by the last administration. Remember that the next time you hear someone on the far right rant hysterically about Obama running up the largest deficit in history. It is Obama’s deficit, he’s stood up and claimed it, but it is very certainly a gift he received from the last administration.

Today is Darwin Day

Today is a great day for science. Notably today marks the 200th anniversary of evolutionary biologists Charles Darwin’s birthday. (an interesting ironic aside is that another important figure in world history Abraham Lincoln was also born today and Darwin and Lincoln are rumored to be born only hours apart)

And on another front the U. S. Supreme Court has ruled that Vaccines Are not to blame for autism! Scientific research and the scientific method triumphs over woo, pseudoscience, and guessing! Quoting from the article ABC News: Court Says Vaccine Is Not to Blame for Autism:

The judges in the cases said the evidence was overwhelmingly contrary to the parents’ claims — and backed years of science that found no risk.

"It was abundantly clear that petitioners’ theories of causation were speculative and unpersuasive," the court concluded in one of a trio of cases ruled on Thursday.

Interestingly PBS had a rebroacast of another landmark court case won by science on just the other night with Nova – Judgment Day Intelligent Design on Trial perhaps in honor of Darwin’s birthday week celebration.

Happy Darwin Day to everyone!

Tonight on CNBC there is a two-hour special entitled House of Cards which, to quote Newsday, is "A remarkably clear overview of the financial debacle that has put us all in this fine mess." While it it scheduled for showing at 8pm 12 am Eastern Time this evening I think I would ‘bet you my house‘ that CNBC will be rebroadcasting it several times in the coming weeks too.

A week or two I also discovered an outstanding program on the finacical crisis entitled The Ascent of Money on PBS which was written and narrated by Harvard professor Niall Ferguson who is the author of the book by the same name entitled The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World. While I don’t know about continuing local broadcasts of the program on local PBS channels the entire program is available to watch online on the PBS web site location I linked to above.

Since we can all stand to understand the economic science(s) of the crisis we are in better I think I can highly recommend our viewing both of these programs.

We get the news yesterday that the "Republicans Cut 500,000 Jobs Out of Stimulus Package"

Brilliantly put from the Economist Dean Baker in The TPM Cafe

"Trying to save money on stimulus, is like finding a short cut for your jogging route. We can do it, but it undermines the whole point of the effort."

And here are the YouTube Videos for Episode 3 of The Genius of Darwin

Richard Dawkins’ Genius Of Darwin – Part 3 (1 of 5)

Richard Dawkins’ Genius Of Darwin – Part 3 (2 of 5)

Richard Dawkins’ Genius Of Darwin – Part 3 (3 of 5)

Richard Dawkins’ Genius Of Darwin – Part 3 (4 of 5)

Richard Dawkins’ Genius Of Darwin – Part 3 (5 of 5)

The other day I posted an article that had a Google Video of Episode 1 of the UK’s Channel 4 three part series The Genius of Charles Darwin and while I haven’t seen a contiguous Google Video for Episode 2 I did find it published as a series of YouTube Videos and I post them here:

Richard Dawkins’ Genius Of Darwin – Part 2 (1 of 5)

Richard Dawkins’ Genius Of Darwin – Part 2 (2 of 5)

Richard Dawkins’ Genius Of Darwin – Part 2 (3 of 5)

Richard Dawkins’ Genius Of Darwin – Part 2 (4 of 5)

Richard Dawkins’ Genius Of Darwin – Part 2 (5 of 5)