Sunday, February 21, 2010

For The Record, My Real Name Is Not Joseph Stack

By Manifesto Joe

I've noticed my blog traffic stats picking up a lot since that nutjob in Austin crashed a plane into a building housing IRS offices. Of course, it would probably not be technologically possible, or at least not likely, for me to still be posting posthumously. But I want all out there to know, this isn't me, and I was as shocked as anyone else.

I guess the reason I'm getting this extra traffic is from obvious search words like "Joe," "manifesto" and "Texas." That would bring a certain number of people here even if they had no such intention.

It may also make what few regular readers I have curious as to why I hadn't commented about this yet. I wanted to see as much about this as I could before venturing an opinion.

From what I can tell, this was a guy who fell on hard times for two reasons. One, the tax code was changed in a way that was detrimental to him. Two, I'd say he made a lot of shitty decisions on his own. In any case, he came to demonize the IRS to such a degree that he would do a batshit insane thing such as this.

I can understand Mr. Stack being pissed off at the IRS. I've only had one run-in with them in my time on Earth, and I found them to be supremely arrogant assholes, almost unbelievably so. I suppose it's like with police agencies -- there are some good, dutiful folks among them, but the profession is such that it attracts a disproportionate number of jackasses.

But in hindsight, I didn't find the IRS to be any worse than a great many other American institutions, most notably health-care insurers such as Aetna. I'm singling them out for this reason: I took a couple of days of unpaid leave to be at my mother's deathbed. This insurance company, on a technicality, would not recognize the leave days as legitimate. Fortunately, my employer didn't want to fire me over this, and I wasn't being paid for those days anyway. But it goes to show how incredible things can get with such institutional psychosis. By the way, if you can help it, never buy any insurance product from Aetna. They will do anything and everything they can not to pay a cent, or do anything else. In my case, my employer leaves me no choice.

But, back to the Joe Stack case: I carefully monitored reactions among the wingnut fringe, and found many of them to be surprisingly careful. Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh were assholes as usual, but relatively circumspect. There were many of the usual lunatic comments all over the Internet, but the higher-profile people seemed to take very careful steps for a change.

One notable exception is the newly elected Republican senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown. He managed to hurt himself somewhat; but of course, people have short memories.

Bearing through tech problems, here's what he had to say about it. You may have to type the address in yourself.

Anyway, I read parts of Mr. Stack's "manifesto" that he put online. It's hard to make out anything linear there, other than that he fiercely resented having to pay income taxes. Must have been reading too much of that Ayn Rand BS. He was clearly an anarchist, but it's hard to figure out whether he was a "left" anarchist or a "right" one. There's no discernible straight line of thinking there.

In any case, he embodies the reason why violence for any cause, even one that seems like a good one, is inexcusable until it becomes absolutely a last resort. He killed a person who had nothing to do with his own life crisis, and he damaged the lives of many other uninvolved people. I don't know how he wanted to be remembered, but I feel certain it will be ignominiously.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.


Marc McDonald said...

The interesting thing about the IRS is that, despite the fact that Americans hate it, almost nobody realizes just how unfair our nation's tax system really is.

If Americans did understand this, they'd hate the IRS even more. (Well, actually, rather than the IRS, Americans should direct their anger at the corrupt politicians who created our nation's tax system).

Indeed, if Americans were truly informed on this issue, I have no doubt that the U.S. could face a French Revolution-style social upheaval.

Consider this: the vast majority of the rich pay less of their income into taxes than the middle class and working class do. Don't believe me? Just ask Warren Buffett, the second richest man in the world---he has noted that he pays less of his income into tax than does his secretary, who makes $60,000 a year.

In fact, for all of the opposition progressives have toward the flat tax, few seem to grasp that a flat tax would actually be more progressive than our current steal-from-the-poor, give-to-the-rich system.

But don't take my word for it. Read the work of investigative journalists like Barlett and Steele. They've documented cases where billionaires avoided paying ANY tax. Indeed, they documented the case of one billionaire who never paid a dime of income tax and who never even bothered to file a tax return for 25 years---and faced no consequences.

Combine this with the hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate welfare that our governments hands out yearly to the rich and powerful and you have a powder keg situation, where the prospect of social upheaval is increasing in our nation.

Anonymous said...

I hate the fact that my poverty tax bracket pays the same if not more of its income before we get it than the top 5% who run this monkey-farm of a country. But you don't see me doing anything irrational.