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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 02:59 PM
Number of posts: 49,104

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Michelle Obama Praised For Style, Warmth In China

BEIJING (AP) — U.S. first lady Michelle Obama brought the importance of education to the foreground on Sunday on the third day of a visit to China, where she has won praise for her approachability and admiration for her comments supporting freedom of speech.

Mrs. Obama, traveling with her two daughters, has been photographed at famous spots including the Forbidden City and Great Wall during the first independent trip by a U.S. president's wife to China. She has won compliments for her elegant clothing and her interactions with ordinary people in a country where it is rare to see leaders' spouses or children in public.

"She is very warm and frank, and when she is talking to people she conscientiously listens to what they have to say," said Wu Qing, a retired professor of Beijing Foreign Studies University who met Mrs. Obama on Sunday.

"In China, we usually use weather to express our mood or state of mind, so the fact that the weather has been so nice these few days means she is very welcome in China," Wu said.


Wow --- Red (KOCH) Head Lady: "I LIVE HERE - Obamacare IS Working"



Luckovich gives Phelps Hell...


Robert Reich Calls "Baloney" on Koch-Apologist Who Claims That Unions Funnel More $$$ Into Politics

Robert Reich

I debated a Koch-apologist yesterday who claimed America's unions funneled more into politics than the Koch brothers. Baloney. Union money at least comes from large numbers of workers seeking higher pay and better working conditions; Koch money comes from two brothers seeking to entrench their power and privilege. And it's clear the Koch brothers are spending way more. In 2012, union spending (PAC, individual, outside) totaled less than $153.5 million, while Koch spending totaled $412.6 million.


KRUGMAN: GOP Favoring Wealth Over Work: "Consider, as Exhibit A, The BUSH TAX CUTS"

MAR 22, 4:22 PM 64
Favoring Wealth Over Work

In my last post I tried to document the extent to which modern Republican rhetoric has already adopted the values of “patrimonial capitalism”, even though America’s top one percent still owes its high incomes largely to compensation rather than wealth. On reflection, I thought I should also document the extent to which the GOP has put its money — or, actually, taxpayers’ money — where its mouth is, with concrete policies that favor wealth over work.

Consider, as Exhibit A, the Bush tax cuts. Bush did cut the top tax rate on earned income from 39.6 to 35 percent, a 12 percent reduction. But he cut the rate on capital gains from 21 to 15, a 28 percent reduction; he cut the rate on dividends from 39.6 (because dividends were previously taxed as ordinary income) to 15, a reduction of more than 60 percent. And he put the estate tax on a path toward zero — a 100 percent reduction.

The estate tax made a partial comeback thanks to the awkward fact that a Democrat was in the White House, and there have been some tax hikes on capital income. The point, however, was that Bush tried to give people living off wealth, inherited wealth in particular, much bigger tax cuts than he gave high earners.

And the efforts go on. I know that Paul Ryan likes to lecture the poor about the dignity of work; but his famous initial “roadmap” called for the complete elimination of taxes on interest, capital gains, and dividends, plus elimination of the estate tax. In other words, he proposed eliminating all taxes on income derived from wealth.

Now, Ryan casts this as policy that favors saving. But the truth is that it would mainly favor people born on third base or beyond. Even now, 6 of the 10 wealthiest Americans are heirs rather than self-made entrepreneurs — the Koch brothers plus a bunch of Waltons. There’s every reason to believe that the role of inheritance will only grow over time.



MAR 22, 9:36 AM 91
Working for the Owners

I’ve just finished a draft of a long review of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century, which argues that we’re on the road back to “patrimonial capitalism”, dominated by inherited wealth. It’s an amazing book; among other things, it does an awesome job of integrating economic growth, the factor distribution of income (between capital and labor), and the individual distribution of income into a common framework. (It’s all about r-g). One slight weakness of the book, however, is that Piketty’s grand framework doesn’t do too good a job of explaining the explosion of income inequality in the United States, which so far has been driven mainly by wage income rather than capital. Piketty does take this on; but it’s kind of a side journey from the central story.

No matter; it’s still a masterwork. But I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit, and one thing that strikes me is the remarkable extent to which American conservatism in 2014 seems to be about defending and promoting patrimonial capitalism even though we aren’t there yet.

Think back to the Bush administration, whose main economic theme was the “ownership society“: in effect, the message was that you’re not really a full-fledged American, no matter how hard you work, unless you have a lot of assets. Think of Eric Cantor’s famous Labor Day tweet in which he used the occasion to celebrate business owners. More recently, Mike Konczal has pointed out that despite claims that the Tea Party somehow represents a rebellion against business domination of the GOP, the Tea Party agenda corresponds almost perfectly with Wall Street’s goals.



Horsey does "Presidential States Of Mind"

Oh My, International Laws Violated


This Gives Me Hope: Conservative book sales have suddenly plummeted.

Buzzfeed reports that conservative book sales have suddenly plummeted.

This pattern continues as you scan the works of recent and prospective Republican presidential candidates. According to one knowledgeable source, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker received an even larger advance than Pawlenty’s, and Bookscan has his 2013 book Unintimidated selling around 16,000 copies. Sen. Rand Paul’s latest, Government Bullies, has barely cracked 10,000 sold; and despite spending months in the 2012 GOP primaries, Rick Santorum’s book about the founding fathers, American Patriots, sold just 6,538 copies. Perhaps most surprising, Immigration Wars, co-authored by Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who consistently polls in the top tier of the Republican 2016 field, sold just 4,599 copies.


MOYERS & CO: Koch Brothers would be shamed & hurt publicly if people knew what that money was doing

Who’s Buying our Midterm Elections?
March 21, 2014

BILL MOYERS: This week on Moyers & Company, the corrupting influence of money in politics.


BILL MOYERS: So are you suggesting-- is it feasible that the Koch brothers or anybody is putting all this money into this labyrinth because they would be ashamed or hurt publicly if people knew what that money was doing?

ANDY KROLL: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think in a few rare cases, we have seen I.R.S. forms sort of accidentally released that include a list of donors. And it's been sort of a who’s who of--

KIM BARKER: Fortune 500--

ANDY KROLL: Fortune 500 corporations. I mean, there was a tax filing from the early 2000s for the group Americans for Prosperity. Which is founded and funded by Charles and David Koch. And it had a whole roster of major corporations, name brand corporations. And they give to these organizations specifically so that they don't have their name out in the public. And they can sort of quietly push, you know, this issue or that issue, but not have their brand out there. And they want to have their cake and eat it too.

BILL MOYERS: So that would explain why when the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United said transparency, disclosure will be the cleansing agent here, Mitch McConnell and others in Congress made sure the disclosure bill that would implement that transparency didn't pass. The Disclose Act.

KIM BARKER: Yeah, yeah, and you really-- so I think that the-- either the Supreme Court was naive about how campaign finance really works. Or maybe just prescient. Maybe they knew what was going to happen. But their whole idea of using disclosure as some sort of cleansing mechanism and the internet as a way for people to figure out what was actually going, naive, you know?

You look at some of these groups, Americans for America, ad paid for by Americans for America, and you say, "I'm an American. I can get behind that idea. I can get behind America." You know? And you really have no idea, though, where the money is coming from. And you have to do the level of research-- I mean, I think Andy and I can spend months on a story. And you still get to the end of it. And I can say, "I know someone's controlling this network from behind the scenes. But I can't tell you who it is."/b]


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