The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Archive for January 2009

400 richest Americans’ incomes doubled under Bush tax cuts; economy collapsed

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clipped from thinkprogress.org
Bloomberg reports that, according to recently released IRS data, “the average tax rate paid by the richest 400 Americans fell by a third to 17.2 percent through the first six years of the Bush administration and their average income doubled to $263.3 million.” Much of their income came from capital gains resulting from the Bush tax cuts:
The drop from 2001’s tax rate of 22.9 percent was due largely to ex-President George W. Bush’s push to cut tax rates on most capital gains to 15 percent in 2003
Capital gains made up 63 percent of the richest 400 Americans’ adjusted gross income in 2006, or a combined $66.1 billion, according to the data. In all, the 400 wealthiest Americans reported a combined $105.3 billion of adjusted gross income in 2006, the most recent year for which the IRS has data.
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Observe the present economy. Like what you see?

O'Pari Luxury Yacht
Image by yachtfan via Flickr

Certainly the tide has risen for the very wealthy: their fortunes have doubled. But has this “rising tide” lifted “all boats?” Has trickle-down affected your income? Can we say that business has been stimulated?

Perhaps it’s a good time to wonder why tax cuts for the rich did not result in national prosperity as promised.

Mired on the shore in our jonboats, most of us look on as the yachts head for the open sea.


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January 31, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Square feet per person in various nations

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Interesting …
clipped from www.boingboing.net

Square feet per person in various nations

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January 30, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Posted in Social change

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Ads target GOP senators who might block stimulus bill

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After the bill passed the House without Republican support, a series of ads and publicity campaigns will ask voters to contact GOP senators, enlisting their support.  This one’s directed toward Iowa‘s Chuck Grassley:

Tax cuts and smaller government won’t put people back to work, won’t create demand for manufactured or retail goods, won’t rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, won’t forestall home foreclosures, won’t return money to retirement portfolios, won’t help people get the education they need to care for their families.

Every economist that I’ve read sees stimulus as the best hope for stopping our economic free-fall.  Is this the time for ideological mantras —and partisan politics—or for taking our best shot, together?


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January 29, 2009 at 2:40 pm

What’s next, GOP?

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An exciting era of American history has begun.  Bipartisanship (even post-partisanship) is on the front burner.  The President is trooping down to the Capitol today to listen to Republicans.

Competence is in; cronyism is out.  Effectiveness is in; ideology is out.  Diplomacy is in; war is, well, less.  A new wave of young people have energized government.  A new wave of non-white participation has democratized government.

But the most powerful in the GOP read their recent trouncing as a sign that they’re not conservative enough.  As the thoughtful conservative David Brooks writes in the NY Times:

David Brooks

Image via Wikipedia

In one camp, there are the Traditionalists, the people who believe that conservatives have lost elections because they have strayed from the true creed. […]

To regain power, the Traditionalists argue, the G.O.P. should return to its core ideas: Cut government, cut taxes, restrict immigration. Rally behind Sarah Palin.

Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are the most prominent voices in the Traditionalist camp […]

Only one thing is for sure: In the near term, the Traditionalists are going to win the fight for supremacy in the G.O.P. Read the rest of this entry »

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January 28, 2009 at 10:48 am

Inauguration: a satellite view

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Drop over to the GeoEye satellite page, and you’ll find a wonderful shot of the US Capitol during the Inauguration of President Obama.  You can even download the whole thing, but it will take ten megabytes!

January 20, 2009; Satellite image by GeoEye

January 20, 2009; Satellite image by GeoEye

Worth a look!


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January 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Superbowl warmup: dazzling fantasy moves

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Home from a great wedding weekend (photos soon!), I give you a complete goof-off:  an unbelievable set of stunt passes, kicks, catches, and a dive by the pros.  Have fun!  (h/t Lucas Asbury)

Written by Monte

January 25, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Posted in 5. Chill

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U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture: US “has a clear obligation” to prosecute Bush, Rumsfeld

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Apparently, international law (which is, in this case, US law as well) is pretty clear.
clipped from thinkprogress.org
In remarks that aired on German television last night, Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, urged the U.S. to pursue former President George W. Bush and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld on charges that they authorized torture and other harsh interrogation techniques:

bushrummyweb.jpg

Rumsfeld, Bush

“Judicially speaking, the United States has a clear obligation” to bring proceedings against Bush and Rumsfeld. […] He noted Washington had ratified the UN convention on torture which required “all means, particularly penal law” to be used to bring proceedings against those violating it. […]

Indeed, a bipartisan Senate report released last month found that Rumsfeld “bore major responsibility” for abuses committed at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and other military detention centers […]

[L]ast week, a Bush administration official overseeing Gitmo trials said Rumsfeld approved the torture of one particular detainee.

Bush himself said last year that […] he personally authorized waterboarding Kalid Sheik Muhammad […]

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I wonder how the USA could demand compliance by any nation to any treaty obligation if it doesn’t fulfill its own solemn obligations in this case.

If we can look away when torture suits the leaders of the moment, can’t everyone? If we can find lawyers who’ll write opinions excusing our leaders when they feel torture appropriate, can’t everyone?

Robert Mugabe will see himself and the USA as birds of a feather.


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