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The recent speech by Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s governor, has drawn a fair bit of attention. Conservatives would have you believe that it marks the start of real GOP reform; but the reality, as Andy Rosenthal says, is that Jindal wants to change the jingle in the commercial without changing the product.

And if you want a clear demonstration of that point, compare Jindal’s words and deeds. Here’s what he just said:

We must not be the party that simply protects the well off so they can keep their toys. We have to be the party that shows all Americans how they can thrive. We are the party whose ideas will help the middle class, and help more folks join the middle class. We are a populist party and need to make that clear.

And here’s what he recently did:

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) recently rolled out a plan to replace his state’s personal income and corporate taxes with an increased sales tax. Such a move would shift taxes from the rich to the poor, who are disproportionately hit by the sales tax.

According to an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Jindal’s plan will raise taxes on the bottom 80 percent of Louisianians, while cutting them for the richest 1 percent:

– The bottom 80 percent of Louisianans in the income distribution would see a tax increase from repealing the personal and corporate income taxes and replacing them with a higher sales tax.

– The poorest 20 percent of taxpayers, those with an average income of $12,000, would see an average tax increase of $395, or 3.4 percent of their income, if no low income tax relief mechanism is offered.

– The middle 20 percent, those with an average income of $43,000, would see an average tax increase of $534, or 1.2 percent of their income.

– The largest beneficiaries of the tax proposal would be the top 1 percent—a group with an average income of well over $1 million. Louisianans in the top 1 percent would see an average tax cut of $25,423, or 2.3 percent of their income under the plan described above.

I guess there is some innovation here: finally, Republicans have stopped being the party that only want tax cuts, and have started becoming the party that wants to cut taxes for the rich while raising them on ordinary families. Populism!

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One political commentator quoted minority leader Cantors 'tweet' to his followers. The attitude demonstrated by the House will have the same 'Executive Office obstruction' tone as last year.

The Republican Party has no achievable goals other than to prove that their political agenda is more important than that of the President and the Senate.

It's a childish 'King of the Hill' game played daily in Washington, D.C.

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The truth is that I hated Obama’s first inaugural speech. To borrow a phrase from Barney Frank, it gave me a case of post-partisan depression. The new president was still thinking of himself as the man who could somehow end the political divide; and on policy substance, it was a VSP speech full of talk about hard choices and remarkably off-base at a time when highly expansionary fiscal and monetary policy were called for.

The second inaugural was much better. Maybe a bit lacking in poetry — but it was a clear acknowledgment that he faces an implacable, irrational opposition, together with a forceful defense of progressive values. In fact, Obama has never been this clear before about what he stands for.

What it means in terms of actual politics and policy is anyone’s guess, although my guess is not much: the GOP majority in the House will still block everything it can, and unless Democrats regain the House next year in a huge upset, that puts a lid on what can be achieved. Still, we’re starting off on the right note.

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Outdoor:

There are a great many democrat gun owners. So I will point to 1994 as to what will happen if we decide to go with gun control. If you truely want to reduce gun violence, you must evolve the society to remove the need for violence. This means education, social welfare, mental help for those who are the mentally weakest of us.

Fail to be more civilized, accept more acts of senseless violence and an increasing rate of it.

Now that we have taken care of the suicidal idea of gun control, we can discuss the other issues of conservatism being more about athoritism than freedom.

To tackle this, you ought to start out with the realisation that there is no true freedom but anarchy. The total lack of any limits or controls by another over you. This runs counter to civilization, so reality is that there are degrees to freedom.

We banned slavery 150 years ago, but people are still slaves to the economy and those who control the economy. Slavery never dies, it evolves into something else... Another form of control.

An employer controls the health of their employees through the pay they give. Mass media controls our spending habits through the promotion of trends. Religion simply is control through the fear of retribution brought by a force we cannot comperhand. (personally I see such fear of a vengeful god as simple mindedness. Blood gods are weaklings who gain strength through fear, not willful obedeance and mutual love/understanding/respect)

In reality, the conservative ideals are born of of ignorance. Ignorance which causes the rejection of civilization. This is why the conservatives are both anti education and anti abortion. They do not understand science well enough to care to understand the hypicoracy of protecting life until it is born and then saying its a hardnock life.

Do all conservatives follow the same patteranse? No. In any given system. You have variations and degrees. So one can it say that all conservatives are one thing or another... But those who aren't the typical conservative are too silent for civilization to be made stronger. (namely where education is concerned)

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Almost five years ago Thomas Schaller published an important book titled Whistling Past Dixie, which basically argued that it was time for Democrats to stop running scared of the views of Southern whites — they weren’t going to get those votes anyway, and demographic change had proceeded to the point where they could win national elections without the South. Indeed, so it has come to pass: while Obama did win Virginia, he did it by appealing to the new Virginia of the DC suburbs, not the rural whites, and otherwise he had a totally non-Dixie victory.

So Nate Cohn argues that this same logic applies to gun control: the voters who care passionately about their semi-automatic weapons are rural whites who ain’t gonna vote Democratic in any case — and the new Democratic coalition doesn’t need them. David Atkins takes it further, saying the awful truth: the pro-gun fanatics are basically the kind of people who think that Obama is a Kenyan socialist atheistic Islamist, and the urban hordes are coming for their property any day now. People, in other words, who already vote 100 percent Republican — and lose elections.

As Cohn says, it’s not clear whether Democrats realize how things have changed. But maybe yesterday’s horror will provoke some fresh thought, and they’ll realize that this does not have to go on.

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p 4 Actually, some people thought so at the time. Paul Ryan and many other modern conservatives are devotees of Ayn Rand. Well, the collapsing, moocher-infested nation she portrayed in “Atlas Shrugged,” published in 1957, was basically Dwight Eisenhower’s America.

Strange to say, however, the oppressed executives Fortune portrayed in 1955 didn’t go Galt and deprive the nation of their talents. On the contrary, if Fortune is to be believed, they were working harder than ever. And the high-tax, strong-union decades after World War II were in fact marked by spectacular, widely shared economic growth: nothing before or since has matched the doubling of median family income between 1947 and 1973.

Which brings us back to the nostalgia thing.

There are, let’s face it, some people in our political life who pine for the days when minorities and women knew their place, gays stayed firmly in the closet and congressmen asked, “Are you now or have you ever been?” The rest of us, however, are very glad those days are gone. We are, morally, a much better nation than we were.

Along the way, however, we’ve forgotten something important — namely, that economic justice and economic growth aren’t incompatible. America in the 1950s made the rich pay their fair share; it gave workers the power to bargain for decent wages and benefits; yet contrary to right-wing propaganda then and now, it prospered. And we can do that again.

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p. 3 The data confirm Fortune’s impressions. Between the 1920s and the 1950s real incomes for the richest Americans fell sharply, not just compared with the middle class but in absolute terms. According to estimates by the economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, in 1955 the real incomes of the top 0.01 percent of Americans were less than half what they had been in the late 1920s, and their share of total income was down by three-quarters.

Today, of course, the mansions, armies of servants and yachts are back, bigger than ever — and any hint of policies that might crimp plutocrats’ style is met with cries of “socialism.” Indeed, the whole Romney campaign was based on the premise that President Obama’s threat to modestly raise taxes on top incomes, plus his temerity in suggesting that some bankers had behaved badly, were crippling the economy. Surely, then, the far less plutocrat-friendly environment of the 1950s must have been an economic disaster, right?

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p 2 Nor were high taxes the only burden wealthy businessmen had to bear. They also faced a labor force with a degree of bargaining power hard to imagine today. In 1955 roughly a third of American workers were union members. In the biggest companies, management and labor bargained as equals, so much so that it was common to talk about corporations serving an array of “stakeholders” as opposed to merely serving stockholders.

Squeezed between high taxes and empowered workers, executives were relatively impoverished by the standards of either earlier or later generations. In 1955 Fortune magazine published an essay, “How top executives live,” which emphasized how modest their lifestyles had become compared with days of yore. The vast mansions, armies of servants, and huge yachts of the 1920s were no more; by 1955 the typical executive, Fortune claimed, lived in a smallish suburban house, relied on part-time help and skippered his own relatively small boat.

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Consider the question of tax rates on the wealthy. The modern American right, and much of the alleged center, is obsessed with the notion that low tax rates at the top are essential to growth. Remember that Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, charged with producing a plan to curb deficits, nonetheless somehow ended up listing “lower tax rates” as a “guiding principle.”

Yet in the 1950s incomes in the top bracket faced a marginal tax rate of 91, that’s right, 91 percent, while taxes on corporate profits were twice as large, relative to national income, as in recent years. The best estimates suggest that circa 1960 the top 0.01 percent of Americans paid an effective federal tax rate of more than 70 percent, twice what they pay today.

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When a news network is ostensibly about the preservation of extreme wealth for a small segment of American society, and the candidates interviewed and promoted are the candidates of the emerged plutocracy, it is obvious that the agenda of conservatism is nothing else than a reversal of the history and culture of the United States of America.

Only a Frogz Noozie would disagree.

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