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Glenn Beck Compares Hiroshima to Detroit in Gigantic History Fail

Reported by Aunty Em - March 5, 2011 -

Glenn Beck’s show on Monday (2-28-11) was, in microcosm, exactly why he can crow his facts are right and how he can get it colossally wrong at the same time. After first attacking Van Jones (what’s new?) for daring to use the words “American Dream,” as if those words were trademarked™, Beck started comparing Hiroshima after the war to current day Detroit. This awakened me from my Glenn Beck-induced stupour because I am a native Detroiter, well steeped in its history. I knew he got Detroit all wrong. I also knew he got Hiroshima all wrong because I just finished reading “The Reckoning,” by David Halberstam, for the 2nd time. This segment was one of the biggest failures from The Grand Wazoo Historian Emeritus of Glenn Beck U:

This is Hiroshima. August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb completely destroyed 70 percent of the buildings. And by the end of the year, up to 140,000 had died. Look at the city then. Almost half of the city's population, in total, died. Some 200,000 or more would eventually die from the effects.

Now, look at Hiroshima today. It's not the wreckage. What happened? Well, people decided they weren't going to allow their city to be destroyed forever. Yes, the government came in and helped rebuild the city, but what else could have rebuilt from that destruction?

They needed help from the government, but it was the people, embracing the free market system, that revitalized Hiroshima. *

Wrong. Japan’s market has never been quite free. The government, first in the form of the Occupational Government and then later when they had their own ‘democratic’ government, could almost be looked at as (GASP!) Democratic Socialism. Which industries were allowed to rebuild, which received raw materials, which received loans was tightly controlled. While that’s to be expected during an occupation after a war, it continued long after, well into the ‘80s. The entire Japanese auto industry, as Halberstam http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/hal0bio-1 makes clear in his book, could stand in for Japanese industry overall. Resources, because Japan is landlocked and has almost none, are often controlled by the government. Comparing the Japanese Capitalistic System with the American Capitalistic System is like comparing Communism under Stalin with Communism under Castro with Communism under Mao with American Communists today. What’s that you say? Beck’s already done that? Never mind. Let’s move on to Detroit.

But take a look at Detroit today. One city embraced the free market system and the entrepreneurial spirit. The other embraced progressive policies and corrupt government and unions and companies that weren't allowed to fail. And they should have failed because they stunk on ice.

They begged for a bailout and got one, and the union bosses did their share, too, whereas Hiroshima has nearly quadrupled in size since the attack. Not so much with Detroit.
Less than 50 percent of Detroit's peak population of 1.8 million in 1950 still live in the city. Thirty-six percent of Detroit's residents live in poverty. Detroit's poverty rate is more than double than that of the entire U.S. as a whole.

Eighty-one percent of the Detroit's public school students qualify for free and reduced-price lunches in 2009 -- 81 percent. As far as education, about 42 percent of Detroit's public school students don't even graduate -- half.

Here’s where Beck proves what a charlatan he is. Every fact quoted above is correct. Don’t take Beck’s word for it. Look it up, just not on Google, one of Beck’s latest scary bogeyman. No surprise however, Beck’s conclusions are almost exactly the reverse of reality. The Big 3’s problems were not created by Detroit’s “progressive policies” or unions. Conversely, the policies of the Shining Star of Capitalism, The American Auto Industry, were a disaster for Detroit, which had its own economic difficulties that pre-dated auto industry bailouts.

“The Reckoning” is the true story of how The Big 3 had become moribund—an industry that thought new trim on a model year was a big deal—while the Japanese auto industry, helped by its semi-Socialism, was innovative. Another book completes the picture of the auto industry’s meltdown: “Taken For A Ride; Detroit’s Big Three And The Politics Of Pollution,” by Jack Doyle (oddly enough published by the dreaded Soros puppet publisher Tides Center). This terrific book illustrates conclusively how The Big Three spent far less money on R&D (by enormous factors) than it did on lobbyists and advertising campaigns to fight governmental MPG and Air Quality regulations. Because every drop of oil had to be imported, Japan embraced lower MPG (and Air Regs because they were serious about air pollution) to build cars—again using its semi-Socialistic system. Once they had a domestic auto industry up and running, it only took some tweaking to make these cars ready for American roads. The Smart Americans saw how efficient Japanese cars could be and started buying them up in numbers that The Big 3 couldn’t believe. (The Stupid Americans demanded little more than bigger and bigger machines and tons of options, all at the detriment to mileage and air quality.) The Big 3 reacted by adding additional trim and options to their road behemoths and fighting Japan with trade policies. It also continued to fight every regulation mandating clean air and gas efficiency. In a nutshell that’s how The Big 3 failed. It had nothing to do with “progressive polices” and unions and everything to do with Capitalists destroying their own industry.

[To be fair: Beck is right about Detroit’s corrupt and comical (my word) governments.]

Detroit’s problems—its shrinking population, poverty level, and educational woes—are divorced from any of The Big Three’s problems, except for this: when the auto industry crashed it only made the existing problems in Detroit far worse than they already were. When I was growing up just off 8 Mile in the ‘60s, Detroit was the 5th biggest city in the U.S. Now it’s the 11th. A lot of that is due to the white flight that started back in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s. It accelerated in the ‘60s and ‘70s, especially following the Detroit Riot, as more suburban tracts and gated communities were built in the suburbs north of 8 Mile, the city limit. Eventually the middle-class Blacks also moved into pockets outside the city to escape what Detroit had become.

Libraries have entire bookshelves devoted to telling the story of why Detroit is the most segregated city in ‘Merka, but the best one on the topic is “Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism” by James W. Loewen. This book shows how racist policies, either overt, covert, or violent, shaped every U.S. city we see today. And, some like Detroit, more than others.

But let’s be clear: neither progressive policies or the unions destroyed both Detroit and the auto industry Of course Beck will correct the record that. Right?

[If you care about Detroit, follow my facebook or Twitter @AuntyEmEricann feeds, where I talk about Detroit a lot.]

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