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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 25,745

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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.

The early NSDAP did have a number of "leftist" position points...

...that appealed to socialist-favoring workers. For instance, from their original "25-Point Program" of 1920:
10. The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently we demand:
11. Abolition of unearned (work and labour) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.
12. In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
13. We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
14. We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
15. We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
16. We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
17. We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
18. We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.
19. We demand substitution of a German common law in place of the Roman Law serving a materialistic world-order.
20. The state is to be responsible for a fundamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education and subsequently introduction into leading positions. The plans of instruction of all educational institutions are to conform with the experiences of practical life. The comprehension of the concept of the State must be striven for by the school (Staatsbuergerkunde) as early as the beginning of understanding. We demand the education at the expense of the State of outstanding intellectually gifted children of poor parents without consideration of position or profession.
21. The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.
The other points are those we more commonly associate with right-wing nationalists these days.

This continued through the Strasser wing of the party, favoring the brothers Gregor and Otto Strasser.

The name Strasserism came to be applied to this form of Nazism that developed around the brothers. Although they had been involved in the creation of the National Socialist Program of 1920, both called on the party to commit to 'breaking the shackles of finance capital'.[1] This opposition to "Jewish finance capitalism," which they contrasted to "productive capitalism," was shared by Adolf Hitler himself, who borrowed it from Gottfried Feder.[2]

This populist and antisemitic form of anti-Capitalism was further developed in 1925 when Otto Strasser published the Nationalsozialistische Briefe, which discussed notions of class conflict, wealth redistribution and a possible alliance with the Soviet Union. His 1930 follow-up Ministersessel oder Revolution ('Cabinet Seat or Revolution') went further by attacking Hitler's betrayal of the socialist aspect of Nazism, as well as criticizing the notion of Führerprinzip.[3] Whilst Gregor Strasser echoed many of the calls of his brother, his influence on the ideology is less, due to his remaining in the Nazi Party longer and to his early death. Otto, meanwhile, continued to expand his argument, calling for the break-up of large estates and the development of something akin to a guild system and the related establishment of a Reich cooperative chamber to take a leading role in economic planning.[4] Strasserism, therefore, became a distinct strand of Nazism that, whilst holding on to previous Nazi ideals such as ultranationalism and anti-Semitism, added a strong critique of capitalism and framed this in the demand for a more "socialist-based" approach to economics.

It is disputed, however, whether Strasserism effectively represented a distinct form of Nazism. According to historian Ian Kershaw, "the leaders of the SA (which included Gregor Strasser) did not have another vision of the future of Germany or another politic to propose." But they advocated the radicalization of the Nazi regime, and the toppling of the German elites, calling Hitler's rise to power a "half-revolution," which needed to be completed.

To keep a long story short, their faction was eliminated during the Night of the Long Knives purge.

So, during the 1920's there's an argument to be made that they were socialists, as long as you remember that it was a faction of the party, with an opposing faction. And it was the Strasser faction that was put to the knife, by Hitler loyalists.

But Hitler, particularly once he consolidated power and didn't have to "play nice" to anyone? Calling him "leftist" or "socialist" is so ignorant it's more of a vacuum than a gap in knowledge. It actively sucks in garbage.

Raise your hand if you're glad our foreign policy right now...

...is not in the hands of that gaggle of chickenhawk neocons that had attached themselves to Romney.

Particular things that stood out for me:

1) Jumping to extreme alternatives: North Korea, Communism, giving up all modern gadgetry. As if there are no alternatives, as if you can't incentivize economic behavior in any way other than is done right now, even though we've done so in the past. "Where's this Golden Era?" Nobody said anything about a "golden era", but there were some things that were handled differently in the past and maybe we should take a second look at them, especially given #2:

2) the bland rewriting of history: "first we tried one thing, it went to far, now we're trying something else..." as if the deregulation, extreme tax cutting, and privatization that started under Carter but got rocket boosters under Reagan had been rationally debated, and was not the result of political power plays. I recall Reagan making speeches about how lowering taxes at the high end would let that money be used for investment to modernize our aging industrial plant to restore our competitiveness in markets at home and abroad. Instead, that money went into the stock market and fueled Merger-mania, leveraged buy-outs that let company assets be stripped and sucked upward, and union-busting. More bait-and-switch than the swinging of a pendulum, especially considering that the pendulum never swung back.

3) Did you notice how he went completely ballistic when she noted he was a rich guy? As if that was just prying into his personal business, and had no bearing on the perspective from which he evaluates these issues? That it might affect his view of budgetary priorities? Easy enough for him to talk about raising the retirement age when to him it is of no more significance than adjusting the bass on a stereo, but for tens of millions of people there might be a higher incentive to look at other alternatives.

4) The way he kept wondering aloud what her agenda was, what she "was getting at", largely because her reaction to his pearls of wisdom was not simple ooh-ing and ahhh-ing.

And a plug for blogger Driftglass, also of The Professional Left Podcast, who originally made me aware of the interview.

They need to constantly be reminded that in the 1860s Republicans were the liberal-left party

I like to use this (conservative) political cartoon from 1860. The characterization of Lincoln and his supporters would be at home at any Tea Party rally -- where it'd be used to describe Democrats.

“People who just want stuff”: 1860

With all the conservative whining and wailing going on about Obama’s re-election, saying that he won because of “people who just want stuff” and other assorted poutrage, it’s worth noting that this is a trope they’ve been playing for a very, very long time.

Below is a conservative political cartoon from 1860, engraved by Currier and Ives and published in Harper's Magazine. Way back when “The Party of Lincoln” was actually running Lincoln for president, it was considered the liberal/left party.

See if you recognize the playbook:


"The Republican Party Going to the Right House"

Lincoln rides on a fence rail, carried by Horace Greeley (anti-slavery editor of the New York Tribune), leading his followers into a lunatic asylum.
GREELY: "Hold on to me Abe, and we'll go in here by the unanimous consent of the people."
LINCOLN: "Now my friends I'm almost in, and the millennium is going to begin, so ask what you will and it shall be granted."

Younger Woman: "Oh! what a beautiful man he is, I feel a passionate attraction' every time I see his lovely face."
Bearded Man: "I represent the free love element, and expect to have free license to carry out its principles."
Man with trim beard and hat: "I want religion abolished and the book of Mormon made the standard of morality."
Caricatured black man: "De white man hab no rights dat cullud pussons am bound to spect' I want dat understood."
Older woman: "I want womans rights enforced, and man reduced in subjection to her authority."
Scruffy man with bottle: "I want everybody to have a share of everybody elses property."
Barefoot man: "I want a hotel established by government, where people that aint inclined to work, can board free of expense, and be found in rum and tobacco."
Seedy top-hat man: " I want guaranteed to every Citizen the right to examine every other citizen's pockets without interruption by Policemen."
Man at the end: "I want all the stations houses burned up, and the M.P.s killed, so that the bohoys can run with the machine and have a muss when they please."

Let’s go down the list, shall we?:
Supported by "liberal media": Check
Liberals will embark on profligate giveaways to THOSE PEOPLE? Check.
Flighty, emotional, entranced by charisma/celebrity? Check.
People conservatives consider sexual deviants? Check.
People conservatives consider religious deviants? Check (and how ironic, this particular turn).
Grasping minorities after special rights? Check.
"Feminazis"? Check.
There's a vast army of layabouts, thugs, and outright thieves who want to take your hard-earned stuff? Check, check, check, and check.

Quietly bookmarking

'cause, y'know, you're all scary

Eskow: Have Wall Street's "Third Way" Democrats Ever Been Right About Anything?

Have Wall Street's "Third Way" Democrats Ever Been Right About Anything?
Richard (RJ) Eskow

Prof. William K. Black Jr. was understandably displeased by The New York Times' description of the Third Way think tank as "center/left." Prof. Black writes that "Some lies will not die ... Third Way is Wall Street on the Potomac. It is funded secretly by Wall Street (it refuses to reveal its donors), it is openly run by Wall Street, and it lobbies endlessly for Wall Street." Black adds that "Third Way, like every Pete Peterson front group, is dedicated to shredding the safety net as its highest priority and throwing the Nation back into a gratuitous recession through self-destructive austerity."

The description of Third Way as a "Pete Peterson front group" might seem to contradict the "Wall Street" label. It doesn't. Peterson's a hedge fund billionaire who has devoted decades of his life, as well as an enormous sum (he spent nearly a half-billion dollars in one five-year period alone) to slashing Social Security and lowering taxes for himself, his ultra-wealthy peers, and large corporations.

Third Way's board members include a number of prominent financial types who benefited mightily from bank deregulation, including some (like William M. Daley) who lobbied and fought for deregulation.

Third Way argues that their patrons' preferred system of (lower) taxes would increase employment in the United States. The response to that is simple: We've had more than a decade of low taxes for wealthy individuals and corporations. How's that working out for you? But lower taxes lead to economic growth, don't they? Look around you: Wrong.

In an interview on Bill Moyers Journal, Moyers introduced the quoted Prof. William K. Black Jr. like so:

"The former Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention now teaches Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. During the savings and loan crisis, it was Black who accused then-house speaker Jim Wright and five US Senators, including John Glenn and John McCain, of doing favors for the S&L's in exchange for contributions and other perks. The senators got off with a slap on the wrist, but so enraged was one of those bankers, Charles Keating — after whom the senate's so-called "Keating Five" were named — he sent a memo that read, in part, 'get Black — kill him dead.' Metaphorically, of course. Of course."

On September 6, 2008, Senator Barack Obama told AARP members:

"John McCain's campaign has suggested that the best answer for the growing pressures on Social Security might be to cut cost of living adjustments or raise the retirement age. Let me be clear: I will not do either."

Less "bluffing" and more clarity, please!

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

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.
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