Hollywood Caves to Chinese Pressure; Citizen Watchdog Group Doesn’t

When it ran an ad during last year’s off-year election highlighting the dangers of permitting China to become our largest creditor, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) stirred a diplomatic hornet’s nest. The one-minute ad became an instant classic; already compared to the 1964, anti-Goldwater ad in which a young girl plucks petals from a daisy immediately before a mushroom cloud fills the screen.

Never an organization to mince words or sugar-coat the intensity with which it combats excessive government spending, CAGW is again airing the ad. It is one of the best, if not the best and most poignant ads I have ever viewed. Every Americans should watch it at least once.

The ad is set in Beijing two decades in the future, in 2030. It opens to a huge lecture hall filled with attentive Chinese students. The Chinese professor begins lecturing the class on why great nations like the United States have fallen. He explains it is because they all made “the same mistakes, turning their back on the principles that made them great.” The professor explains further that America’s problems were compounded when it “tried to spend and tax itself out of a great recession . . . enormous so-called ‘stimulus’ spending, massive changes to health care, government takeovers of private industries, and crushing debt.”

The ad closes with the professor looking directly at the camera and concluding, with an eerie laugh, “Of course, we owned most of their debt . . . so now they work for us.” The class then enjoys a collective and knowing laugh at the state of affairs presented by the professor.

Last fall, the ad sparked reaction from voters, but also directly from the Chinese embassy in Washington; whose official spokesman publicly blasted it. The spokesman, Wang Baodong, told the Washington Post, it was unfair and “unreasonable to blame China for America’s own economic problems, and it’s even despicable to fan up anti-China sensations, which runs counter to common inspirations of our two peoples.”

While CAGW obviously is not cowed by such a diplomatic dust-up, the same cannot be said for the movie establishment in Hollywood. A remake of the 1984 classic, “Red Dawn,” which starred Patrick Swayze as the leader of a rag tag band of young people fighting a guerrilla action against Soviet forces invading the U.S. mainland, has been altered to remove references to China (which was to replace the USSR as the 21st Century invading force).

Recent headlines in China’s state-run papers included these warnings: “U.S. reshoots Cold War movie to demonize China” and “American movie plants hostile seeds against China.” The outcry apparently was sufficient to cause MGM to wet its corporate pants, and agree to change the antagonist from China to North Korea. In fact, the movie, which had been scheduled for release this year by MGM, may now not be released at all; as a result of Hollywood’s kowtowing to Chinese pique at being portrayed as anything other than a benevolent creditor to the United States.

The scary part of all this is not that Hollywood, captive to the Land of Fruit and Nuts, caved to pressure from Beijing; that is hardly surprising. What is worrisome is that Washington continues its spendthrift ways; racking up trillions upon trillions in debt, with more than $1.1 trillion held already by the Chinese government. At this rate, we may not have to wait until 2030 for the hypothetical message in the CAGW ad to be an ad no longer, but rather a news story.

By Bob Barr – The Barr Code

62 comments Add your comment

Joel Edge

March 30th, 2011
7:00 am

” The outcry apparently was sufficient to cause MGM to wet its corporate pants,”
Love it.

ragnar danneskjold

March 30th, 2011
7:40 am

Good morning all. I agree that the commercial is a classic, although I think the economics therein as shallow as that of the literary “masterpiece” “Crash of ‘79″ (an entertaining book, but devoid of economic reality.)

The real tragedy of “Red Dawn” is that Hollywood continues to recycle old material, in its never-ending effort to separate the fools from their money. Sorta like the sanitized remake of Manchurian Candidate a couple of years ago; the rational would not try to remake an excellent show.

Now if you really want to stir people up, why not film “Atlas Shrugged” in three parts, staying faithful to the book?

the watch dog

March 30th, 2011
8:34 am

What is our national policy? Is it a policy that will lead to self sufficiency? It is the great challenge of statesmanship today to put the U.S. on the road to recovery where goods and services consumed by the American people are produced in this country. A part of the business world demand laws to protect competition[restraining competition] There is no coherent system of industrial control.

There should be a national policy in which government controls are dedicated to stopping monopoly of other countries dominating the American market.
It is the great challenge of the 21st century for the American worker to make a durable product at a fair price that will turn China away from marketing goods in this country because ours are better, that is the challenge of the 21st Century.

The people have the power over their own economy, now is the time to show that power, not the power of tomahawk missels but the power of individual ambition and forthrightness.

Darwin

March 30th, 2011
8:47 am

First, Red Dawn should not be remade because it was stupid in the first place. If anyone wants to shoot a movie about aggression, do a movie about how the U.S. overthows democratic governments to get their oil (Iran 1954). Second – CAGW doesn’t know what side is up. Demonizing others (e.g. Muslims) or countries (China, USSR, etc) only portrays the U.S. as xenophobic. It’s obvious that the add is nothing more than more of the same for special interests. Anyone with a lick of sense knows that if we don’t reform health care in this country, we will go bankrupt.

Carlosgvv

March 30th, 2011
8:57 am

China is a country which engages in long term planning, does not waste huge amounts of money in foreign aid and does not get engaged in costly and useless foreign wars. America is the exact opposite and shows no sign of changing it’s ways in the foreseealbe future. You do not have to be a genius to see the likely outcome of this.

Common Sense

March 30th, 2011
8:58 am

Darwin,

The reform we got was not what was needed… ObamaCare has increased the price of healthcare, it did not reduce the costs… In order to reduce costs in a free market, there must be competition, and the market will set the price, you do not lower costs, by FORCING people to buy, or face punishments for not doing so… that has created a government controlled monoply…

Parrots

March 30th, 2011
9:02 am

Does China hold “most” of our debt? Donald Trump survived the 80’s and 90’s because he held so much of the bank’s debt that they couldn’t afford to treat him like they other deadbeats, (like you and moi).

We will control all of China simply because they won’t want us to default like the deadbeats many of us are. The commercial is ridiculous. Chock full of distortions, half-truths, and outright lies. Showing the chinese people laughing at us. This reminds me of the movie “Carrie”. “Of course, the US is in the red. Red, the color of blood, and the Chinese dogs will come sniffing around. They’ll laugh at you”, warned Carrie’s Mom.

It’s the perfect cartoon for a Tea Party platform!

Are we Americans really this easily manipulated? Barr is using double-secret triple-reverse psychology this time, (I hope and pray).

Barr can’t be this big of a doofus. He simply can’t.

Can he?

and red dawn was the dumbest movie of all time. I mean, what doesn’t mesmerize the morons in this country? I can’t criticize because I still watch the 3 stooges faithfully.

The Chinese are holding something all right, but it ain’t most of our debt.

jim1980

March 30th, 2011
9:04 am

I agree others that remake of “Red Dawn” is stupid idea. When original “Red Dawn” made, it was made for the concept of war between “communist” vs “capitalism”. That concept is just not valid in the world of today. Very few countries are pure “communist” anymore. Sure, CCP may have “communist” as its party name, but its policies are brutal capitalism.

Devil's Advocate

March 30th, 2011
9:05 am

Man, I can’t figure out Barr these days. He has to some basic points but the things he attacks make me scratch my head. WTF cares that MGM is reshooting the Red Dawn remake? I thought it was mistake in the first place to plant China as the invading force and this was years ago when I first heard about it. China is not the former Soviet Union. We do not have the same Cold War tension with China that we ever had with the USSR and that tension is what set the tone for the original Red Dawn. The project was doomed from the start.

Yes, MGM caved to Chinese Pressure (not Hollywood Mr Barr) but they caved to approving a stupid project first. Please stop with the blanket statements. The only reason Mr Barr says that Hollywood caved is to further demonize the American film industry as the hippy liberal artists who get way more money and influence than they deserve (typical that someone that far right would turn his back on the priciples of capitalism when it doesn’t directly benefit them).

Common Sense

March 30th, 2011
9:11 am

In China, the Government can and will, kill their citizens, that is not capitalism.. their government also tells their citizens where they can live, and none of them are allowed to own a gun… You see, when the citizens can own weapon’s, they have the power to over throw a regime’ …

jim1980

March 30th, 2011
9:04 am

I agree others that remake of “Red Dawn” is stupid idea. When original “Red Dawn” made, it was made for the concept of war between “communist” vs “capitalism”. That concept is just not valid in the world of today. Very few countries are pure “communist” anymore. Sure, CCP may have “communist” as its party name, but its policies are brutal capitalism.

atlpaddy

March 30th, 2011
9:20 am

So, Hollywood caved to China, huh? Sounds like their just following a precedent set by almost all other “American” multi-national corporations and their stooges in the Republican and Democratic parties. Seems like that ship has sailed a long time ago.

hypocrite king

March 30th, 2011
9:23 am

Remember everyone, communism is bad. That is why we don’t allow relations with Cuba. However, we make an exception for China b/c they provide cheap labor and they have money.

Also, alcohol is good but marijuana is bad.

jarvis

March 30th, 2011
9:31 am

Red Dawn was a “classic”?
I suppose it was as much a classic as any other Charlie Sheen movie.

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JF McNamara

March 30th, 2011
9:32 am

This isn’t a great commercial. Its a bully commercial that tries to scare people into thinking the way that you do. All it does is propogate unnecessary fear.

What the ad should’ve said was, “We need to raise taxes to pay for the things we need and want instead of borrowing money from the Chinese.” That’s our only problem. People are so against raising taxes or cutting spending that affects them that its created a paradoxial dilemma.

Instead of pumping fear, the CAGW should posed realistic solutions to our problems. They chose to scare people to get votes while pushing unobtainable outcomes (cut spending only). How is that noble or helpful? How is that great?

jarvis

March 30th, 2011
9:34 am

Yep, it was right up there with Platoon and Wall Street.

joe

March 30th, 2011
9:37 am

Darwin should not be allowed to use that as his username, cause he clearly isn’t nearly as intelligent as the original…if he was, he’d know that healthcare reform is not the driving force of our potential bankruptcy…It’s our out of control spending…on everything…entitlements, stimulus, wars, foreign aid, illegal immigrants and yes, healthcare. If we don’t get someone in the white house who understands this, we are in deep deep touble. Barry the magnificent doesn’t get it, and I’m afraid the GOP candidates who have expressed an interest in running don’t get it either. I’m hoping someone like Rand Paul, Marco Rubio or Chris Christie gets the nod, but so far, they don’t appear to be interested. We need to cut, cut again, then cut some more…cut til it hurts.

Civilian

March 30th, 2011
9:37 am

Soon our coins and bills will be reprinted to say “In God We Trust” made in China

Devil's Advocate

March 30th, 2011
9:38 am

I thought “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”, “48 Hours”, and “Breakfast Club” were classics.

Carlosgvv

March 30th, 2011
9:48 am

Common Sense

So, since the Libyan rebels have guns, it will not be necessary for the US to give them heavier weapons?

Pay attention. This is not a drill

March 30th, 2011
9:50 am

Every political and economic system has intrinsic flaws. We all saw how communism failed due to the rigidity and corruption of centralize planning. The result was moral and social bankruptcy and widespread hopelessness. Socialism and the welfare state underperform for the same reasons and add disassociation of actions from consequences. Fascism, Fabianism, Marxism and so on have fatal flaws well-documented by history and basic logic.

As Winston Churchill said, capitalism is the worst system except for all of the others. It too, however, has serious flaws — predation, monopoly, money supply manipulation and so forth. If you mate capitalism with democracy, then all hell breaks loose. The famous dictum for this is that democracy works up until the people figure out that they can use the power of government to help themselves to other peoples’ goods. This is true not just of the general electorate, but corporations, NGOs and do-gooders of every stripe. This is the reason that the founders of this grand experiment known as the US created a constitutional republic with stringently limited government powers. The goal of government was to protect the individual rights of its citizens; what they did with those rights via free association was up to them.

The purpose of the above commercial is not to bash the Chinese. It is to point out that capitalism is based on a social contract that was outlined by Fredrick Bastiat in “The Law” and statements like Jefferson’s, “[A] wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” Or Madison’s. “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.”

If we wish to continue as an open, capitalistic society, we must guard against falling prey to its vulnerabilities. This is not a right vs left issue. It is one of reality and reason. The commercial is just pointing out the logical consequences of abandoning both in the name of immediate political advantage.

Tim

March 30th, 2011
9:52 am

Did anyone see the movie? China was on our side.

godless heathen

March 30th, 2011
9:56 am

Like when Hollywood did “Clear & Present Danger”. Muslim terrorists if the book version were replaced with Nazi throwbacks. Implication: Only white men would set off an A bomb at the Super Bowl.

Shocked!!!

March 30th, 2011
9:57 am

But what is left out of the article leading to the video is the question “Who pays for producing that ad?” Why low and behold it is the rich corporations directly and the extreme wealthy individuals indirectly that had the ad produced. The tea party folks and their like.

alphadog

March 30th, 2011
9:59 am

I’ve long believed China is a great threat to the U.S., second only to radical Islamic terrorists in the short term. The Chinese have the largest army in the world, the economic strength, the technology (stolen and sold back to us) and the fortitude to impose their political will where ever they wish. They have the patience and long-term view of the world to wait until they own more of our economy, have planted their technology bugs in our networks and weapons systems and for us to be weaken by the Muslims. Let’s not ignore the threat from China, political, economic or military.

Red Dawn is a classic in its own right. Invasion by the Chinese is as plausible as any futuristic fiction. But North Korea?! Who thought of that and what were they smoking?

Edward

March 30th, 2011
10:03 am

Barr just continues to confirm his ignorance with every diatribe he posts. He’s doing nothing but slinging bacon-flavored soundbites to the teabagger dogs.

Roekest

March 30th, 2011
10:03 am

Whatever. If a ruthless Chinese dictator needed a good lawyer (and if the price was right), Bob Barr would be on the first red-eye out to Beijing.

Tall

March 30th, 2011
10:11 am

Parrots@9:02 am: You make some good points. I think people give the Chinese too much credit. If you have to grow an economy at better than 8% anuually to maintain social order, you better not look over your shoulder. Within the next few years the Chinese will have a change in socioeconomic structure that they cannot prepare for. As the population becomes more urbanized and prosperous, they will want to live better. There are terrible pollution problems to deal with, an excess of single males in the population,
a business community that is still shielded from the harsh degree of Western and Japanese competition, a large percentage of the population that cannot afford housing too name a few.

Tha fact that the do hold a large amount of U.S. Treasury debt does concern me, but I suspect that will be spent in the following years. After all, you can water your farm crops with polluted water if you wish, but I don’t think you’ll like the end product.

Steve

March 30th, 2011
10:21 am

I like the commercial. I don’t believe it is bashing China. It simply states a financial truth.
I agree we can do without a remake of Red Dawn…unless they’re getting Charlie Sheen for it. I hear he is available.

Hillbilly Deluxe

March 30th, 2011
10:30 am

We built up China, starting in the early 70’s. We sold our soul in pursuit of short term profits and cheap consumer goods.

Been so long since I saw “Red Dawn” that I don’t remember all that much about it. I do remember that I thought it was a stupid movie with about 0% believability.

JF McNamara

March 30th, 2011
10:35 am

Pay attention. This is not a drill,

I think we watched a different commercial. What you said sounded great, but that’s not what the comeercial said. All it said was a vague notion of “abandoning our principles” and then a barrage of all the things *they* think are against America’s principles with no intellectual framework.

Also, while we’re a capitalistic constitutional Republic, we have incorporated facets of all other government types. We have socialism for the poor, communistic shared ownership of road, bridges, etc. Without those additions, America would’ve long failed just like all the other countries who’ve tried to mimic our “pure capitalism”.

For those who want to push us there (ie TeaParty), its a road that will lead directly to failure.

jconservative

March 30th, 2011
10:40 am

China is a country run by experts in their field. The US is a country run by experts in 10 second sound bites.

DebbieDoRight

March 30th, 2011
10:44 am

What is worrisome is that Washington continues its spendthrift ways; racking up trillions upon trillions in debt, with more than $1.1 trillion held already by the Chinese government.

You know Barr you hypocritically forget to point out that if we would’ve allowed the Bush Tax Cuts to expire then we wouldn’t have to worry so much about that $1.1T debt becoming more due to inflation, etc. If you weren’t being hypocritcal you’d mention that everyone in the USA (that includes you too Bob of the $10K+ speaking fees to speak at the local “Christ is King not a Muslim Church of God By the Side of the Road in Haynesville United Baptist Church”), everyone is going to have to tighten their collective belts, roll up their sleeves and work to lower this debt; not just the middle class. However, since you ARE being hypocritcal, you conveinently left that part out……….

DebbieDoRight

March 30th, 2011
10:56 am

Whatever. If a ruthless Chinese dictator needed a good lawyer (and if the price was right), Bob Barr would be on the first red-eye out to Beijing.

Classic!! Thanks for that, it made my day! :)

mrs. w

March 30th, 2011
11:46 am

I wish those fine Chinese folks who make all of my clothes would learn how to sew a straight seam. Their pants a a b**** to iron.

Guy Incognito

March 30th, 2011
11:51 am

DDR

Funny how your acronym is the same for the former communist E. Germany

Yes, tax the poo right out of the weathiest, those who create the majority of private jobs, watch them move to other countries along with the jobs, and then shout that we need to raise taxes even higher!
We have one of the highest coporate tax rates in the world! That’s part of the reason why so many jobs have left already

Or do you plan to force them to stay and employ people at a loss?

Parrots

March 30th, 2011
12:04 pm

China called. They want Taiwan back.

Joe Mama

March 30th, 2011
12:42 pm

Bob, if a business (like MGM) makes a business decision, then who are you to criticize it? I thought you were all for businesses calling their own shots without criticism or interference.

Please turn in your Libertarian Party membership card and step this way to get your Tea Party aluminum foil beanie cap.

george

March 30th, 2011
12:42 pm

Hard to have any sympathy for a country that is committing genocide against the Tibetan people.

Guy Incognito

March 30th, 2011
1:19 pm

Parrots

You hit the nail on the head.

Here’s how it goes……Hey Obama, this is Hu. We’ll for give a trill of that debt, if you will make sure that the U.S. does not interfere with our operation to slaughter the Taiwanese……err, I mean, liberate the people of Chinese Formosa

joe

March 30th, 2011
2:10 pm

Some day in the not so distant future, we’ll end up giving the Chinese Hawaii in return for eliminating all debt. Easy peasy quick and sleazy…done.

John Keating

March 30th, 2011
2:38 pm

It’s interesting to take this ad an extra step. Where did China get the money to become America’s banker? From all the well-paid manufacturing jobs that U.S. corporations shipped overseas. As we saw from its lobbying for the tobacco industry and others, Citizens Against Government Waste is dedicated to protecting the interests of large corporations — the very people who made China rich enough to start calling the shots.

that's goofy

March 30th, 2011
3:07 pm

MGM made a business decision. How many people are in China? A remake (shudder) of Red Dawn exists to make money. Why would MGM risk making a huge profit overseas?

poison pen

March 30th, 2011
3:20 pm

Carlosgvv, your 8:37 post is right on, I don’t always agree with you, but you hit the nail on the head this time.

poison pen

March 30th, 2011
3:23 pm

Debbie, how do you make your money? hahahahaha

AngryRedMarsWoman

March 30th, 2011
3:34 pm

“Red Dawn is a classic in its own right. Invasion by the Chinese is as plausible as any futuristic fiction. But North Korea?! Who thought of that and what were they smoking?”

They missed the obvious and more realistic (and current?) storyline – Mexican Invasion.

AngryRedMarsWoman

March 30th, 2011
3:37 pm

oops….forgot to LOL at myself. :)

Anyway, I liked Red Dawn. It was a fun movie. Found it in the $5 rack and bought it some years ago – my son and his friends watch it from time to time and for them I think it is more of a coming of age movie that shows young people being empowered to help shape their own destiny and that of others. Cheesy, but still a fun movie.

John Keating

March 30th, 2011
3:54 pm

Common Sense. Regarding your 8:58 post “In order to reduce costs in a free market, there must be competition, and the market will set the price.” Don’t be so sure. Here in Canada we have universal health care. But we spend much less per capita than the U.S. (US$3,678 compared to US$6,714 in 2006). If you use infant mortality as a measure, Canada also has better quality health care than the U.S. (4.8 infant deaths per 1000, compared to 6.3 in the U.S.)

bob

March 30th, 2011
4:00 pm

To the people that are saying “ObamaCare” has increased the cost of healthcare, were you asleep for the last 10 years as your insurance premiums increased 10 to 30% a year while your co-pays and deductibles soared? It was the lack of real change that is allowing healthcare costs to continue to spiral upwards. The commercial in question is essentially accurate in that all we have done to contain costs have been a total debacle.

Now for the idea that lots of government spending is always a bad thing, do you remember the economic lessons of the 1937 and WW2? The Federal Government nearly balanced the budget in 1937 so therefore the Great Depression should’ve been over a WW2 should’ve killed our economy. In fact unemployment increased and the depression worsened and the economy was boosted during WW2. Keynesian economics worked.

Our problem now if that our debt is too large to spend our way out of a recession without making the debt a crippling factor. The stimulus could’ve worked if it was targeted to building and fixing infrastructure.

You can’t honestly say that we cannot afford to build and repair our infrastructure, we actually cannot afford NOT to do it. We WILL fall like the Romans if we cannot maintain and expand our roads, railroads, airports, docks, water system, the electric grid and pipelines. The Western Roman Empire stopped the upkeep and patrolling roads to keep traffic flowing in the 4th Century and it took over 100 years for them to fall. If we do the same we will fall within a decade. Our decline will be that sudden since we have little economic momentum, unlike the Western Roman Empire, to continue on.

Barack

March 30th, 2011
4:33 pm

poison pen

“Debbie, how do you make your money? hahahahaha”

The old fashioned way…Section 8 & Government handouts.