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That scary socialism

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Those who make their living by exaggerating have been on a tear lately. Socialism is the threat.  Talker Sean Hannity is especially apoplectic.

Columnist Bob Cesca has a brilliant idea: Hannity should spark a revolution—with right-wing pundits as co-revolutionaries—that casts off socialism’s tainted fruit.

Here’s the Cesca war plan:

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com

Social Security Poster: old man
A Victim of Pernicious Socialism
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I’m calling upon Sean Hannity to […] end American socialism now!

Refuse to send your kids to socialized public schools and universities; refuse to use socialized roads and highways; refuse to call upon socialized police and fire departments; shut down the socialized air traffic control; refuse to visit socialized national parks; tell grandma that her Social Security and Medicare checks will have to be sent back; demand the immediate dismantling of our socialized American military.

Sarah Palin and her supporters in Alaska should refuse all forms of “redistributed wealth” by sending back their checks from the socialized oil program there.

Send it all back. I’m sure the entire roster of [pundits] — Limbaugh, Scarborough, Hannity and the like — have already forgone their usage of these socialist services […]

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Uh-huh!

Was Joe McCarthy fifty years ahead of his time?


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Written by Monte

February 20, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Is it honest to call it “socialism?”

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Morning Joe

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The S-word is back.

For example, watch Morning Joe get exercised about the stimulus proposal’s tax refund to people of low income, followed by analysis from ThinkProgress:

clipped from thinkprogress.org

Joe Scarborough: Obama’s Trying To ‘Buy Off People’ With ‘Pure, Straight Socialism’»

SCARBOROUGH: “You’re not going to get Republicans to line up and support tax cuts for people who don’t pay taxes […] It’s not even welfare. […] If you want pure straight socialism, if you want to buy off people, do that.”
There are enormous problems with this analysis. First, Americans benefiting from the tax cut do pay taxes — sales taxes, payroll taxes, social security taxes — even if they don’t pay income tax. In fact, those in the lowest income bracket pay about 4.3 percent of their income to federal taxes. […]The tax credit isn’t some kind of charity; it’s one of the most effective kinds of tax cuts in terms of stimulating the economy. Moody’s chief ecomomist Mark Zandi showed that the refundable tax credit gives the economy a far greater “bang for the buck” than non-refundable tax cuts, corporate tax cuts, or making Bush’s tax cuts permanent, the “solutions” proposed by conservatives:
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Follow the link for Zandi’s numbers.

Meanwhile, if the tax refund plan is indeed a refund, and if can be shown to be among the most quickly effective tax changes for stimulating the economy, isn’t it what we’re looking for?

And didn’t they teach us in high school that socialism was when the government owns the means of production?  Just how is it that tax refunds accomplish that?

I don’t recall learning that when poor people spend tax refunds at American businesses, capitalism is on the way out.  It would seem just to have just the opposite effect.


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Americans of a Lesser God?

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Burlington
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I came across this honest piece at the excellent Blog for Iowa.  Sounds like it was originally published in my home-town newspaper, The Burlington Hawk-Eye.  [That’s beautiful Burlington,  left, at the top.]

I had the following published in the Burlington newspaper last Saturday. I offer it here for people to use, distribute further, etc. My essay is a little long and rambling, but I have been silent too long. And we dare not lose this fight.

David Ure
Burlington, Iowa

~To what lesser God do those people who have no health care insurance belong? What sin did they commit? I have no doubt some of them have made mistakes, made bad choices, engaged in illegal or immoral activities in some instances, didn’t get themselves elected to the state house or Congress; but not all 47 million plus.

The time has come, if we are to continue to call ourselves a nation of God and faith and fairness, for every American to have health insurance. My preference is to plop everyone into Medicare whose operational costs are half to 2/3 lower than the private sector, and allow the insurance companies the opportunity to sell all of us supplemental policies as my elderly, now long-gone, relatives purchased for years.

But I won’t say it has to be this way or nothing. More than anything else, I want to see coverage in place for everyone, and for it to be there in as direct and obvious a manner as can be cobbled together. Read the rest of this entry »

Gunmen prove Homeland Security right

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The Department of Homeland Security is formed ...

On April 7, the Dept of Homeland Security issued a report warning of the dangers of domestic terrorism from right-wing extremists.

Outraged, some leading conservatives demanded apologies and terminations.

A month later, the assassinations began.

Follow the story:

clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com
April 7, 2009: The Department of Homeland Security releases a nine-page assessment document entitled “Rightwing Extremism […] [It] warned of “a heightened level of extremist paranoia” and “lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”
April 14, 2009: Former Speaker Newt Gingrich:

The person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired […]

April 14, 2009: Conservative commentator Sean Hannity intentionally misrepresents the focus of the assessment as targetting “people who have pro-life bumper stickers.”
April 14, 2009: Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin:

The “report” … was one of the most embarrassingly shoddy pieces of propaganda I’d ever read out of DHS. I couldn’t believe it was real. …By contrast, the piece of crap report issued on April 7 is a sweeping indictment of conservatives.

April 15, 2009: House Republican leader John Boehner demands an apology from the Department of Homeland Security for the report.

May 31, 2009: Dr. George Tiller [killed in Wichita church] … suspect apprehended is a right-wing extremist […]

June 10, 2009: [Lone gunman opens fire at] U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum … suspected shooter is a right-wing extremist […]

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Far-right speakers have continually pooh-poohed the idea that their over-blown exaggerations could stimulate some to actual violence.
The evidence is on the table.

Enough. Time to stop crying “socialism” (Sarah Palin) andif somebody doesn’t stop him, America will cease to exist… and Obama is “the focus of evil” (Alan Keyes) and “… the tree of liberty will be fed with the blood of tyrants and patriots. You are the patriots.” (Rep. Michael McCaul). Time for Republicans to utterly reject demagogues and their hyperbole – for what right-winger would believe a Democrat’s plea?

Just as the world waited to hear from reasonable Muslims after 9/11, our nation should hear now from reasonable conservatives, who should be vigorous in their denunciations of the irresponsible, emotional, and self-serving claims of Limbaugh, Hannity, Gingrich, Palin, Malkin, Boehner and the lot.

Stop it. Tragedy has begun.

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Low income Iowans pay higher tax rates

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Hmm—and we thought taxation in America was progressive. None such here in my state. In fact, it’s tilted against those who have the least.

If you’re poor, you pay a higher net rate—especially in states that shift the burden away from income tax and onto sales tax. Details:[h/t Lori, via the newspaper of our youth, the Burlington Hawk-Eye.]

clipped from www.thehawkeye.com

Study finds low-income Iowans pay higher taxes

the bottom 60 percent of Iowa taxpayers pay roughly 10 percent of their income in state and local taxes.
Those in the top 1 percent, making more than $320,000 a year, pay 6.3 percent of their income in state and local taxes, the study said.

“The state sales tax has doubled in the last 25 years while we have made big cuts in income tax,” Ralston said. “This is not a good tradeoff if we want a tax system that better reflects a household’s ability to pay.”

For low-income families making less than $16,000 a year, 7.3 percent of the household income goes for sales and excise taxes. Those taxes consume 2 percent of those with household incomes about $127,000.

The report recommended that lawmakers once again expand the earned income tax credit that goes to the working poor, as well as allow local option income taxes to augment or replace local option sales taxes.
warned against any additional increases in the sales tax
the most regressive of taxes
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Now suppose you make $16,000 a year.  When you pay taxes, you pay them instead of something you need.  You don’t fill your prescriptions.  You hold off repairing your car.  You don’t even think about going to the dentist or paying for a haircut, or getting your kid’s teeth straightened.

And you make it.  Until one thing goes seriously wrong.

Say, the car’s transmission fails.  No chance Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

November 12, 2008 at 1:55 pm