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MSNBC: Mark Ames and Yasha Levine
Broke the Koch Brothers' Takeover of America
eXile TV / July 14, 2011
By Mark Ames


UPDATE: We’ve set up a “FOC the RATS!” website, click here.

Mark Ames unveiled on MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Show the long-awaited answer to waffentwerp Grover Norquist’s anti-tax crusade: It’s called Real Americans For Tax Reform. [Read the transcript of “Manifesto” below the video.]

Folks, we all agree that the American middle class’s Golden Age was during the Eisenhower presidency of the 1950’s. And we also know that the top tax rate under Ike for the richest Americans was 91%. That’s 91%. Repeat: The rich paid 91%. So if America is going to be great, we must tax great.

Already, Real Americans for Tax Reform has formed a coalition with the Foundation On Constitutional Reform to create a new mega-movement of grassroots activists called RATrFOCRs. The goal: To force every single Democratic Party candidate to sign a pledge to raise taxes on the top .1% riches Americans, so that they pay the same tax rate they would have paid under President Eisenhower, during the Golden Years for America’s middle class. In other words, the richest Americans would have to pay a 91% tax rate again. Sure, it’d mean the rich would have to take a bit of a haircut, but if Ames can do it [see photo], so can Bill Gross.

Watch Ames roll out RATrFOCR on the Dylan Ratigan Show, and behold the magic of history:


Normally I like to come on this program and deliver a message of hopelessness and despair. But today’s different. Something about the way this whole “deficit crisis” is being managed on behalf of the rest of us – the way a handful of sleazy old politicians are holding a hissy-fit competition to decide just how miserable we’re going to be when we hit retirement age. Don’t get me wrong, we’re all going to be miserable in our old age no matter what—I’m already miserable just talking about it—that’s not the question. The question they’re deciding for us is: How much more miserable can the politicians, and their billionaire sponsors, make us? In medieval times, they held jousting tournaments to decide things like love and marriage; in our time, they hold door-slamming contests to see who can impoverish retirees the most.

So given all this, I’ve decided there’s no point spreading my own little message of hopelessness. That’s like backing up over roadkill–and doing donuts on it. I’m giving up on giving up. Instead, I’m ready to do something. The question of course is, how?

Dylan, Joe Klein and watching Stephen Colbert a few weeks ago summed it up for me: Be The Grover Norquist. Grover looks at government the way Jeffrey Dahmer used to look at confused young men; something you drown in a bathtub and hack into bite-sized pieces. And to make that dream possible, Grover has dedicated his life to slashing taxes on the rich. He heads a group called “Americans for Tax Reform” and thanks to Grover, Republicans are terrified of even whispering about raising taxes on billionaires–or it’s straight to Grover’s bathtub with them.

Now this may seem strange, but I was actually inspired by Grover Norquist. Because it shows that one person can make a difference.

And so, here on Msnbc’s Dylan Ratigan show, I’m announcing the formation of a new deficit-crisis group called Real Americans for Tax Reform. Already, RATrF is forming a coalition with another like-minded group called the Foundation On Constitutional Reforms, together forming RATr-FOCRs. So, “Meet the RATrFOCrs”.

Our platform is simple: We believe in restoring America’s greatness, to our Golden Age under President Eisenhower. And to be great, we must tax great. That’s why Real Americans for Tax Reform believes in restoring President Eisenhower’s tax rate on the richest one-tenth of 1% Americans. Since the top income tax rate under Republican President Eisenhower was 91%, they’re gonna feel a little pinch for once, because right now they pay about a third of that. For everyone else, the maximum effective tax rate would drop to whatever billionaire Pete Peterson pays today, which is—yep, just 15%. Real Americans for Tax Reform has drawn up contract—a pledge—that it will badger every Democrat to sign, and if they don’t sign on, one of our members will dress up in a Grover Norquist costume and follow them wherever they go.

So, America, grab your pitch forks—and your rat traps—and get ready to join the RATrFOCR Revolution!


Don’t forget to watch the Dylan Ratigan Show weekdays at 4pm EST, 1pm PST. Also check out Ratigan’s website and make sure to download Ratigan’s excellent podcasts at Radio Free Dylan.

Mark Ames is the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine.

Click the cover & buy the book!

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Add your own

  • 1. John Drinkwater  |  July 14th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Funny shit. I hope you’re serious about dressing up as Grover Norquist and following around Democrats…sounds like RATrFOCR could team up with Michael Moore for a documentary on this project.

  • 2. LaDana W Emerson  |  July 14th, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    On Twitter, I’m @AwhHellNaw and you’ve got my e-mail address so DO PLEASE KEEP ME POSTED because I’m down with becoming a member of RATrFOCRs!!!

  • 3. the dude  |  July 14th, 2011 at 4:29 pm


  • 4. Zhu Bajie  |  July 14th, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Sounds good to me! I like Ike!

  • 5. Ro  |  July 14th, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    YES YES YES!!! We gotta get this off the ground this is what it’s all about! As soon as I get the opportunity, in the next couple of weeks I’m going to start pushing this thing myself. I don’t care if I have to stand in front of the grocery store like all of the other annoying petition signature people there. I bet I’ll get beat up by a fascist but who cares, let’s do this!

  • 6. TMNM  |  July 14th, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    Brilliant, i’ve been considering your Dwight Proposal myself, since the crash.

    It was that or my personal fav, Israels’ lost art of the 7 Year Debt Forgiveness.

    How do poor people pay back fake cyper money anyways?

    i wear a size 6.

  • 7. coldequation  |  July 14th, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    If you raised taxes on the rich that high today, thry’d move to dubai. This isn’t the fifties.

  • 8. DrunktankDan  |  July 14th, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Totally down to fuck some rats. . . Gonna need a bit of viagra though in the form of some good old fashioned class violence. Anyone wanna help me blow up a couple of Bentleys?

  • 9. DrunktankDan  |  July 14th, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Also, Ames looks a hell of a lot less like Mel Gibson with the new haircut. Thank fuckin christ, that shit was distracting.

  • 10. RazerRay  |  July 14th, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Seen this?

    Remember, they only call it class war when we fight back:

  • 11. Marcus  |  July 14th, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    But then who will want to be rich? Nobody! Who will step up and create the monopolies? Who will pollute the world to make shitty products for those with depressed wages? I don’t think you thought this thing through- people like Mark Cuban will come steal my 40k nursing job since he is naturally so much better at it than I am.

  • 12. Punjabi From Karachi  |  July 14th, 2011 at 9:51 pm




  • 13. Joshua  |  July 14th, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Is this a joke or am I too high understand? Simply Googling this supplies me with nothing.

  • 14. helplesscase  |  July 14th, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    So…can this be a real thing? Future history books should tell children: “it was the ‘Rat Fuckers’ who saved America.”

  • 15. RATrFOCR  |  July 15th, 2011 at 10:55 am

    I´m a RATrFOCR, too!
    Ames: ymmd!

  • 16. Anarchy Wolf  |  July 15th, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Who else read that as ratterfucker?

  • 17. Jkj  |  July 15th, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Tax the rich n corporations out of existance they havnt paid anything in last 40yrs protect main st not facist wall st

  • 18. CensusLouie  |  July 15th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    You know, it’s actually an interesting tactic to take an anti-plutocrat (“liberal”) cause and wrap it up with the exact same window dressing conservatives use to justify their plundering.

    Plaster “REAL Americans” all over the tax hike crusade, throw in backdrops of crying bald eagles in front of flags, constantly repeat your talking points (doesn’t matter if they’re true or not) to create an echo chamber, and you just might confuse conservatives enough to get behind you.

  • 19. Flatulissimo  |  July 15th, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Today, we are all rat fuckers.

  • 20. my talkative ringpiece  |  July 15th, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    The big guys pay little to NO taxes. I learned this the hard way, I worked, and paid my taxes, I mean, making $5 an hour in the 80s, paid 1/3 of my income in taxes. I did my own returns and had never heard of this earned income tax credit thing, never heard of deductions for college costs, a ton of stuff I simply didn’t know about. All water under the bridge, really. But multiply me by millions. The working class pays a ton of tax, just about all of it, I think. When you get up close to say $100k a year, chances are you’re paying less taxes in absolute dollars than you did when you made $20k a year. Get up into $250k a year, and you’re probably paying even *less*. The big players like GE and Google and so on, have the public paying THEM.

    I’m not sure how you solve this. Tax the big guy, and yep, he leaves for Dubai. I’m all for taking the burden off of the little guy, but then the gov’t has NO income and the whole thing crashes. Maybe that’s inevitable anyway?

    America: where every Subway sandwich-folder needs a CPA.

  • 21. Anatoly Chubaisovich Chichikov  |  July 15th, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    The IMF has finally come home to its North American Argentina. We are so fucking screwed. As they say in Kandahar, when a bird flies over Kabul, it covers its tail with its wing.

  • 22. jonnym  |  July 16th, 2011 at 8:42 am

    You guys who are saying “tax em and they’ll leave” have apparently never heard of capital flight laws. A lot of countries have them. The US doesn’t, of course — which is why it’s time we implemented them.

  • 23. Brian  |  July 16th, 2011 at 10:12 am

    “suck it up and cope” is the new “let them eat cake”. Perfect version for our age: not clever and just mean.


  • 24. my talkative ringpiece  |  July 16th, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Maybe I’m screwed up but capital flight laws scare the hell out of me. Some countries, leave with too much money and the sentence is death. Are we going to have the CIA or some kind of FBI-Interpol alliance chasing down American expats now, with orders to shoot to kill?

    Are capital flight laws even compatible with our fundamental ideas?

    Apparently the law now is, you can’t even *leave* the US without a passport. Not even to Mexico or Canada. And of course a passport can be denied for any of a number of reasons.

  • 25. Dobb  |  July 16th, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    YES! This must be real. We must FOC the RAT.

  • 26. Mike C.  |  July 16th, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    The “big guys” can go ahead and leave for Dubai, or whatever opulent concrete sinkhole they like. We’ll tariff them for continuing to do business here; a deserter’s tax.

    This isn’t Atlas Shrugged; America isn’t going to fall down and catch fire without the people making no practical contribution to the world, who happen to have lodged themselves in the economy’s esophagus like stinking tapeworms.

    They’re not _hiring_ anyone thanks to their tax cuts. They’re not even spending more. They’re socking it away for the next generations of their mutated, sociopathic bloodlines.

  • 27. Rockstar  |  July 16th, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    re #7, you are suggesting that the filthy rich sociopaths will abandon their golf courses, mansions, and factories and flee the country to avoid paying taxes? I hope they aren`t hit by the door on their way out.

    (BTW, you might be interested to know that US citizens living abroad are still obliged to pay US taxes)

  • 28. boson  |  July 17th, 2011 at 5:55 am

    shit man, i’d join you but then i’m not american.

    maybe you should create a sublist for international supporters or something.

  • 29. Lumpenproletariat  |  July 17th, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I just signed up. Let us fuck these rats together! SOLIDARITY!

  • 30. Mike C.  |  July 17th, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Not thrilled with the name, but this is no time to quibble over “brand.” A whole host of laws and regulations must be slammed onto the table before our representatives.

    Time to be uncompromising. The old left. The true left.

  • 31. Richie Rich  |  July 18th, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    The fear that the rich will leave for Dubai or whatever is somewhat overblown. About 90% of US GDP is internal to the US (ie the rich would either have to manage the institutions remotely and thus pay taxes RO give up control of those institutions, since they can’t be moved out of the country logistically).

    Other countries that have dramatically higher tax rates (Germany, Sweeden, France, etc.) have not experienced large migration, and in fact have pretty decent economies with high levels of productivity and much better conditions for workers.

    Besides, even if it WERE true it would still be a pretty big blow to the bosses – they’d have to give up their mansions, golf courses, yachts, social ties, control and manipulation of local governments etc. It would hurt.

  • 32. ew  |  July 18th, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    This is like a prelude to civil war. Instead of politicking for and financing a rebellion to maintain slavery and their princely lifestyles, rich white men will instead politic for and finance a rebellion to make the rich even richer. Oh, hold on – they’re doing that already! It’s called the Tea Party!

  • 33. Cum  |  July 19th, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    “Some countries, leave with too much money and the sentence is death. Are we going to have the CIA or some kind of FBI-Interpol alliance chasing down American expats now, with orders to shoot to kill? ”

    Sounds good to me! I’m a ratfucker, are you?

  • 34. rick  |  July 19th, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    “90% taxes on the rich” maybe should be the one, proud, practicable bit of “radical” policy, French Revolution call made (except it’s about as revolutionary as America in 1959).

  • 35. Anyseven7  |  September 26th, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    What happened?? I have not seen one word of this since it was aired.

    Typical, Socialists don’t produce, they only take.

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