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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 23,098

Journal Archives

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.

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'. This opposition to "Jewish finance capitalism," which they contrasted to "productive capitalism," was shared by Adolf Hitler himself, who borrowed it from Gottfried Feder.

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. 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. 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.

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