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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 22,320

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What he describes is at best "salvaged", not "won"

Here's the money quote:

At the highest level, President Bush's decision to conduct the surge was exceedingly courageous. His advisers were split on the decision, with many favoring other approaches that in my view would have failed. And as the going did get tougher over the early months of the surge, President Bush's steadfast leadership and his personal commitment to seeing the war through to a successful conclusion (albeit one that might take many years to unfold) took on enormous significance.

President Bush's commitment had an enormous psychological effect on our men and women in Iraq, as well as on the Iraqi people. Our troopers recognized that we had a chance to do what was needed to reverse the terrible cycle of violence that had gripped Iraq in the throes of civil war. And the citizens of the Land of the Two Rivers realized that there was still hope that the new Iraq could realize the potential that so many had hoped for in the wake of the ousting of Saddam Hussein and the collapse of the Ba'athist regime in 2003.

Nowhere does he mention that everything he writes about was due to the complete, double-barreled failures of Bush: first and foremost for launching the war under false pretenses, and second -- having launched the war -- the absolute and complete failure to maintain order and provide the public with basic security and other needs. Everything in Petraeus's article is about cleaning up the mess that took root because Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the rest of the neocon PNAC gallery bet the lives of soldiers and civilians that their pet power play could be done on the cheap. And what would they care if it didn't? They got rid of Saddam like they wanted to, and the rest didn't cost them anything, did it? What price did they pay?

Iraq is not a "win", certainly not on the alleged (and now obviously false to anyone not infoxicated) reasons for launching the invasion, nor even on "oust Saddam and let Iraqis move on" grounds. Accepted counterinsurgency doctrine would have required at least twice the number of troops Rumsfeld sent in, with three- or four-times the number more likely to be effective. Of course, troop levels that high would have made it impossible to keep claiming that the war could be done quickly and cheaply, which would have changed the political calculations of those who voted for the AUMF. So the Bushies said whatever would get their foot in the door, and to hell with whoever paid the actual price for it.

That observation is glaringly absent from Petraeus' talk about his "win".

If Boehner needs to save face, here's a compromise we can make...

If he passes a clean continuing resolution and a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling, we agree to restore the income tax rates in effect when Ronald Reagan was overwhelmingly re-elected in 1984. And we'll throw in adjusting for inflation.

Don't Be a Sucker - 1947 anti-facist film...

...produced by the US military after WW2 when a lot of demilitarized soldiers could have been ripe prey for demagogues (and some were).

Something that needs to be reposted periodically, especially these days.

Over 100 long-lost Doctor Who episodes found by dedicated fans - in Ethiopia


A group of dedicated Doctor Who fans tracked down at least 100 long-lost episodes of the show gathering dust more than 3,000 miles away in Ethiopia.

It was feared the BBC ­programmes from the 1960s – featuring the first two doctors William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton – had vanished for all time after the Beeb flogged off a load of old footage.

But after months of ­detective work the tapes have been unearthed at the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency.

A television insider said: “It is a triumph and fans ­everywhere will be thrilled.

The Tea-Belly Sneeches

From 2010, by Driftglass: http://driftglass.blogspot.com/2010/09/now-bush-belly-sneetches.html

Current events make it apropo

Even more than the rate, it was the distribution

Borrowing this from a post I made back in March:
Most discussion of tax history mentions the top marginal rates of the past (91% in the 50s, 70% in the 60s and 70s, 50% through most of Reagan's presidency, etc.)

I like to highlight a different aspect: leaving aside what the rates were, where did they kick in? We live in times where people argue "are couples who make $250K 'rich'?" "Should we raise taxes on people who make over $250K? Over $500K?"

Where did these sorts of things lie in the past?

Using the inflation adjusted historical tax bracket tables from The Tax Foundation for married couples filing jointly, let's break it down a little and find out the equivalents in 2012 dollars:

Total number of brackets: 24
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 14
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 9
Top bracket affects income over: $2,551,044

Total number of brackets: 24
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 16
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 11
Top bracket affects income over: $3,426,776

Total number of brackets: 25
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 13
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 8
Top bracket affects income over: $1,457,740

Total number of brackets: 25
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 9
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 5
Top bracket affects income over: $853,509

Total number of brackets: 15
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 1
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $360,650

Total number of brackets: 5
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 1
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $386,423

Total number of brackets: 6
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 1
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $383,773

Total number of brackets: 7
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 2
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $440,876

Special Bonus Gipper edition numbers:
Total number of brackets: 2 (No, not a typo. Two brackets)
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 0
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $57,738
(There was a reason why Poppy Bush had to go back on his 'Read My Lips' line -- this rate was so low it was unsustainable (naturally, they crucified him for it). And every RWNJ wants to go back to this, or lower...)

ALL income tax progressivity for very high incomes was eliminated under Reagan, and has stayed that way ever since.

Let me repeat that last part:
ALL income tax progressivity for very high incomes was eliminated under Reagan, and has stayed that way ever since.

Brackets reached up into the equivalent of millions today. (heck, between 1936 and 1941 the top bracket kicked in at (inflation-adjusted) incomes in the ballpark of $80 million). That had been eroded by inflation, but it was cut off at the ankles under Reagan.

There are plenty of details that can be argued, but the basic structure worked for people trying to get ahead. Now it works for those who already are.

A couple of my old posts you might want to look at...

...just some of my own "talking points" when dealing with these people -- and remember, you're not necessarily going to convince them, but you might have more effect on bystanders, and even the "arguing with a brick wall" people can have seeds planted that eventually break up the bricks.

“People who just want stuff”: 1860
(because they need to be constantly reminded that Lincoln's Republican Party was a liberal-left party)

Let's look at history: where did income tax brackets fall?

A Century of Tax Bracket Thresholds

Today I discovered that Grover Norquist agrees with me about something...

This list came up last year. My answers remain: *regarding RW talking points that I've also had relatives post on Facebook)

It's worth remembering we've been through this before: (Re: fearmongering about muslims)

Finance isn't the "engine of the economy". It's the lube system.

Lysenko Economics (naming the mess Krugman describes)

There's a pretty easy answer to that question...

It lost touch with reality for basically your entire adult lifetime, Mr. Frum. All the deals that you made, all the nutty groups you courted to win power, all the campaigns against "liberal media" and "liberal elitism", and the radicalism those things fed. You recruited these radicals -- as long as they hated liberals then the Republican Party wanted them.

You used all of that to gain power, and to enact your lower taxes, your notion of "reasonable regulation", and your imaginary "limited government", and you're just now noticing that they don't want to stop at a place that you think is reasonable. You fed this pack of beasts, and now you've discovered that since you're not completely with them, they regard you as a slacker, backslider, and backstabber, and they're happy to chew you up too.

And let's not forget how you've been a Useful Idiot for conservative billionaires who do not want "free markets, low taxes, reasonable regulation, and limited government" -- they want markets that work for THEM, no taxes on THEM (just on "the little people"), regulation that doesn't limit THEM but does limit anyone who would cause THEM problems, and government that THEY can control.

The intellectual underpinnings of this were laid down in the 50s and 60s, the tools were sharpened in the 70s, your Great Crusade was launched in the 80s, and took on its present form in the 90s. If you're only noticing it now, just think back on the 20-40 years of excuses you've made for the radicalism that now has a firm grip on your party.

How did the Republican Party lose grip with reality? By ignoring reality, Mr. Frum. Just like you did.

That's wishful thinking.

If every Anderson vote had gone to Carter, Reagan still would have won.

"Minus the sabotage of the Hostage" negotiations: That would have required exposure while it was happening, which wasn't particularly likely what with Bush being a former CIA director, and a lot of intelligence people ticked off at Carter and Ramsey Clarke.

And for lack of investigation you're blaming the ACLU? What about all the mainstream party Democrats, the forerunners of the current "centrists", who made sure investigations never dug too deep, and never went to the jugular. It wasn't the ACLU who said the following in 1986:
Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), noting that he served in the Cabinet of Republican President Richard M. Nixon, urged President Reagan on Saturday to "clean house," saying, "This nation does not need and does not want another failed presidency."

Portraying the crisis over secret arms deals with Iran and clandestine payments to Nicaraguan rebels as transcending partisan politics, Moynihan told Reagan that "your presidency, sir, is tottering." And he added, "We want you to save your presidency, our presidency."


I recall that John Kerry's investigations of Reagan were continually marginalized by the Democratic leadership.

I recall that once Bill Clinton came into office -- meaning that the targets of the investigations were no longer in a position to obstruct those investigations -- his people were specifically asked about getting to the bottom of a multitude of Reagan/Bush scandals, and the word was that "that's just not on their radar screen". "Look forward, not back" Version 1.0. You remember how the appreciative Republicans thanked him, right?

But hey, rather than hold the party leadership to account for their lack of action and even cooperation, why not grind some axes, eh?

Breaking: GOP Congress members leak emails revealing that Vince Foster...

...changed the Benghazi talking points!

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports that congressional sources have confirmed that the Benghazi talking points were changed by so-called suicide victim Vince Foster, incognito aide and lesbian lover of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Yes, it's satire. This disclaimer, however, is sheer mockery of anyone who actually needed a disclaimer.

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