Monday, July 27, 2009

While Demagoguing Health Care And Jobless Benefits, Governor Goodhair Lives Large Off Taxpayers

By Manifesto Joe

I would like to know what a man who lives in a house that rents for $9,900 a month, and has his every whim taken care of by chefs, stewards and housekeepers to the tune of $168,000 a year, knows about the travails of working people.

Rick "Governor Goodhair" Perry of Texas seems to think he knows enough about the subject, since he is refusing $555 million worth of federal unemployment aid. And he says he would invoke something about states' rights in the 10th Amendment to the Constitution to keep any Obama-spawned national health care plan out of Texas.

Let's go back to the lead paragraph. This money is coming from the taxpayers of this state, even as Governor Goodhair rails against the wicked largess of the federal government.

The Houston Chronicle has run a couple of insightful pieces about the propensity of the longest-serving Texas governor (who started out as an ordinary West Texas farm boy) to live very high on the hog.

Here's a link to a March commentary, and here's another link to a report published just the other day.

In addition to this brazen hypocrisy and demagoguery, there's the matter of his response to swine flu. Perry solicited federal help to avert a pandemic, right after he all but advocated Texas secession. He taketh and does not giveth when it comes to questions of ordinary Texans' day-to-day survival. But, understand that a flu pandemic wouldn't exempt Governor Goodhair's superrich friends, or even him. That federal loot certainly comes in handy during times like that.

It's a long way to go until the Texas Republican Primary in 2010, so I expect plenty more hayseed grandstanding from Perry in the meantime. Stay tuned.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Just When It Seemed Safe Again To Admit That You're A Texan ...

By Manifesto Joe

... Rick "Governor Goodhair" Perry takes his buffoon rube act on the road yet again. This time, he threatened to invoke the 10th Amendment, pertaining to states' rights, to keep any national health care plan that might emerge from the Obama administration out of Texas.

You know the good old conservative/libertarian ideology: It's better to starve, fester and die homeless on your feet, than to get any sort of relief check and thank God and Congress on your knees.

Being interviewed Thursday by right-wing talk show host Mark Davis of WBAP-AM Radio in Dallas (The uniquely untalented Mr. Davis used to write a pathetic wingnut op-ed column for the Fort Worth newspaper; his minuscule "talents" are decidedly geared toward AM wingnut talk radio.), Perry said the president's health care plan would be "disastrous" for Texas. By the way, Texas has a frightening number of uninsured residents, many of whom are children and women of child-bearing age. The taxpayers end up paying for their ER bills anyway, as they generally end up in charity hospitals supported with public funds.

So, Governor Goodhair is going to defend us Texans against those godless socialists with their health care plans, the same way he's been defending thousands of jobless Texans from getting extensions on their unemployment benefits with federal money. (He's been refusing it.)

It's so good to know that the governor is so concerned about the long-term interests of Texans, even as so many face foreclosures from being jobless and/or unable to afford mounting medical bills. Changes in the law during the Bush era have made bankruptcy a very unattractive proposition, but many people now have no choice but to limp down that road.

By the way, here's a link to the story about Perry's latest redneck grandstanding.

There are some people who would perversely describe Perry's recent rhetoric as "populist." That would describe it accurately if "populism" is the art of putting it to the people in the posterior and then distracting them such that they don't know where the reaming is coming from.

Texas has a long and sad history of this sort of "populism," which is ultimately a manipulative, chauvinistic anti-populism. Our officeholders have typically been servile to the rich, especially oil and gas money, while our poor have had to endure all manner of regressive taxation, such as sales taxes, and various user fees. We've rarely had real populists in control, even when our "Blue-Dog Democrats" have been in power.

Perry himself isn't shocking, because as long as I can remember, we've mostly seen the likes of him in high office in these parts. It's just disappointing that, after all these years, ol' Bubba out there still hasn't quite figured out who made his butt feel so sore the next morning. A hint: It wasn't Barack Obama.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

An Independent Texas Would Be A Third-World Country

By Manifesto Joe

The jokes about Gov. Rick Perry's veiled threat of Texas secession have faded into collective memory now, but a few of us were given pause to consider the "what ifs" about this.

What if Texas legally could, and did, leave the United States?

If these figures available courtesy of Texas state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, are any barometer, we would be little more than a Third-World country.

Here are some nuggets from the senator's Web site about Texas' standing when stacked up in 2007 against the other 49 states:

Percentage of Uninsured Children

Income Inequality Between the Rich and the Poor

Percentage of Population without Health Insurance

Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) Scores

Percentage of Population over 25 with a High School Diploma

Percentage of Non-Elderly Women with Health Insurance

Rate of Women Aged 40+ Who Receive Mammograms

Rate of Women Aged 18+ Who Receive Pap Smears

Cervical Cancer Rate

Women's Voter Registration

Women's Voter Turnout

Percentage of Eligible Voters that Vote

For more on the subject, go here.

And the coup de grase: The president of our great reborn republic would apparently be (you guessed it) Rick Perry, he of the 2.3 GPA as an animal husbandry graduate of Texas A&M.

Am I sure that a dolt like Perry would be somebody that an independent Texas would actually elect as its president? I suppose nothing in this life is truly certain, but a recent piece of evidence points to this as the case.

Perry has been governor since Il Doofus resigned in December 2000 to go on to bigger and more horrific things, and Perry is finally facing his first serious challenge for re-election, from U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. Hutch is almost certain to go through with a challenge in the 2010 Republican Primary.

There's one big problem with her chances. She's regarded as a moderate (chortle) in this state, and the Texas Republican Party still wants the U.S. to unleash Chiang Kai-shek's skeletal remains on the mainland of Red China.

A poll conducted jointly by the Texas Politics Project and the University of Texas' department of government had Perry with a 12-percentage-point lead over Hutch, 38-26. Let's face it, the 'necks will go to the polls for Governor Goodhair, not for Kay Bailey H.

And although Democrats here have made a few admirable gains in recent years, they are still in a shambles when it comes to having a viable challenger for governor. The undecideds are way ahead among Democrats; but among those potential voters who have made up their minds, the poll leader is Kinky Friedman, with 12 percent.

Kinky, for those unfamiliar, is a veteran Austin singer-songwriter and humorist whose talents in those areas are considerable. But in his foray into Texas politics in 2006, he was inept as a politician, made a gaping ass of himself in debate, and ultimately split the meager progressive vote here in a year in which Perry seemed a bit vulnerable (He won re-election with 40 percent of the vote against three challengers).

Rather than talking this horseshit about seceding from the union, Texans should be damned glad of the union. It's damned near the only thing that keeps us from becoming Guatemala.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Different Take On Independence Day

Jose Marti was a guy who truly walked the walk. He died in 1895 at the age of 42 in an abortive uprising in Cuba against the Spanish government. He was one of the most prolific and important writers of the Spanish language. He spent 12 years in exile in New York City before returning to Cuba to meet his fate.

The venerable American folk singer Peter Seeger has kept Marti's legend alive, and spread it to English-speaking audiences. Here are a couple of videos of Seeger's tributes.

And again:

Have a happy Independence Day, and be grateful that most of us don't have to die for it the way Jose Marti did. -- MJ