Friday, February 26, 2010

Obama Needs To Remind McCain Once More: 'The Election Is Over'

By Manifesto Joe

There's nothing in the Constitution about a three-fifths Senate majority required for approval of anything. It's time to run these obstructionist shitheads over.

The Thursday show, intended to be a public summit on health care, ended up illustrating one thing quite clearly: Congressional Republicans are going to obstruct anything that President Barack Obama tries to do. It's time to roll over these assholes with a Peterbilt truck.

During the exchanges, Obama reminded Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., that "the election is over." McCain snippily came back with something like, "Yes, I'm reminded of that every day."

Obama ignored that and took the high road. I'd say he's taken the high road long enough. I wish to God he'd said something back like, "Well, I'm here to remind you of that again today, senator."

It's time to throw that 60-vote Senate "rule" out, and put these right-wing, special-interest-ass-licking minority shitheads in their proper place. The American people want health care reform, and they clearly voted for it. A simple majority in both houses of Congress, followed by a presidential signature, can bring it. Let's have it. And since we're at it, let's do the public option, too.

I'm not sure what the ramifications would be in November, but it looks as though the Democrats are damned if they do, and damned if they don't, anyway. It's time to rip these sons of bitches three or four new assholes.

Democrats -- real ones, that is -- it's time to go barefisted. These people have used the filibuster with unprecedented frequency, even to block midlevel nominees. It's time to turn them into road kill. Make the filibuster history, and give this country back to the American people.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Monday, February 22, 2010

'Amaricas Congress Woman,' Moron Michele Bachmann, Is Entitled To Her Own Opinion, Not To Her Own Version Of History

By Manifesto Joe

You read that title right. The Web site actually has America misspelled, and with no apostrophe. Do a search. I don't frequent her home page, so I have no idea how long the Yahoo! search engine has been like that.

Texas has long had a Republican Party platform that makes John Birch Society screeds from the 1960s look moderate. So, I would have thought that no other state could produce a blend of moronic and psychotic quite like this. I'd have to say that Minnesota "Congress Woman" Michele Bachmann wins the prize, far and away, over anything this state has ever produced. Her head is so far up her ass, it's threatening to emerge from her throat.

Here's a video, courtesy of no-spin C-Span, showing Bachmann in all her egregious reign of error:

For someone who knows anything about American history, this batshit insanity is so breathtaking that it's hard to know where to begin. And it was spoken by a member of Congress, on the House floor. Of course, I have to throw in that this is a member of Congress who went to college at Oral Roberts University. (aka "Anal" Roberts)

Well, OK, for starters -- the "Hoot-Smalley" tariff was actually the Smoot-Hawley protectionist tariff. It was enacted in 1930, by a Republican-controlled Congress, and signed into law during the first year of the Great Depression by Republican President Herbert Hoover. It predated the New Deal by well over two years. Hoover told the American people that "prosperity is just around the corner." Joblessness rose to nearly 25% before he left office.

Bachmann's Ignorance About History is Nothing Short of Obscene

Let's go on. Calvin Coolidge became president in August 1923, closer to the middle 1920s rather than the "early" 1920s that she talks about. The postwar recession in America was long over by then. It was his thick-headed, horny predecessor, Warren Gamaliel Harding, who inherited a recession. If I recall correctly, Harding played poker and drank whiskey with the larcenous Ohio Gang, and made lots of kissy-face and little nasties with Nan Britton in the White House broom closet, waiting for the whole ugly mess to blow over. He died relatively young, dumb and possibly happy.

Anyway, by Bachmann's "historical account," the "Roaring Twenties" are supposed to have followed Coolidge's supply-side economic policies, which could not have gone into effect until the midpoint of the decade. I have the historical impression that the unbalanced "boom" of the Twenties was already well under way by 1923. Unfortunately, a lot of small towns and rural farm areas weren't included in the "boom." I recall this as one of the weak underpinnings of the 1920s U.S. economy.

Then, according to the scribes of Bachmann Land, the economic downturn that followed the stock market crash of 1929 was supposed to have been a manageable recession. I hear this is what she told CPAC conventioneers in her recent speech to them.

But that evil collectivist demon FDR managed to get the "Hoot-Smalley" tariff passed in 1930, which was an unprecedented feat, since Roosevelt was governor of New York state at the time and the Republicans still controlled Congress.

Yep, then the unemployment rate during that "manageable recession" got close to 25 percent during the grim winter of 1932-33. FDR, still governor of New York, had his evil collectivist tallons dug into the country's fair loins, long before he took office on March 4, 1933.

Aleister Crowley, eat your Satan-worshipping heart out. That FDR dude had astounding mind-control powers that left you and your magic circles in the damp English dust.

Anyway, the American people supposedly suffered for 10 long years under the yoke of that demonic collectivist FDR. But somewhere in the dregs of my mind, I seem to recall that unemployment, though still high, generally trended down after he took office. And, he was obstructed by a right-wing Supreme Court that declared two of his crucial programs unconstitutional. He managed to eventually work around them, and by 1940 the annual unemployment rate was down to 14.6 percent. Then it plunged into single digits when that demonic, collectivist federal government stepped in and put the country on a war footing.

A Basic U.S. History Test for Members of Congress

I hear that Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., proposed during a speech to Tea Party imbeciles that the U.S. should bring back literacy tests for voting.

I have a better idea -- not mine originally, but I want to help give this a hearing. Michele Bachmann is a prime example of why all members of Congress should be able to pass a basic literacy test in American history.

I'm not a historian, but I almost didn't have to be. I took a CLEP test when I was a senior in high school and placed out of 6 hrs. of American history. (Yeah, I know, what a braggart, and why the hell ain't you rich?)

Point is, I would expect even the fucking dumbest member of Congress to know more genuine American history than Michele Bachmann. I don't think a basic cultural literacy test for our Washington reps is something that should be out of the question, since Mr. Tancredo is bringing up standards of republican democracy here.

I find it deeply embarrassing that someone with this much shit for brains can even hold office this high. It makes me feel shame for our country that anyone out there even listens to this fool. Then, there's the matter of how she ever got elected to be anything, even dogcatcher. I own dogs that seem smarter.

By the way, where have the news media been during all this? I know they've been treating right-wingers deferentially, for fear of being accused of liberal bias. But reporters aren't supposed to be just stenographers with amnesia. Joseph Pulitzer said the 3 most important things in journalism are "accuracy, accuracy and accuracy." Politicians should be held to a similar standard. They are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

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.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Comments Exchange That Sums It Up: The Difference That I See Is You're Exactly The Same As You Used To Be

By Manifesto Joe

There are people on this Earth who are beyond rational arguments. This is from comments on the previous post.

A comment from Anonymous:

The bottom line is, I think the American people are tired of the failures of the Democratic party.

We need some fresh faces in the Congress. The American people understand this and this is why the Republicans are predicted by polls to make big gains in the Congress in the coming elections.

The Democrats had their chance and they blew it. Now, let's give the other party a chance. If we do, then we can once again enjoy the economic prosperity that Americans enjoyed for much of 2000 to 2007.

I urge all Americans to put the partisanship and pettiness aside. Vote GOP in November. I guarantee you that the Republicans will work hard to end the gridlock in Congress and they'll end all the nasty partisanship that the American people have become tired of.

My response:

Sorry it has taken so long to respond to the second poster, but it took that long for me to stop laughing.

What you are suggesting is analogous to someone in 1933 saying that the way out of the Great Depression would be to revert to the economic policies of Calvin Coolidge.

The Great Recession, the hole we're in now, didn't happen overnight, either. The economic mismanagement of 1981-93 and 2001-2008 set us up with huge deficits, and now obstructionist Republicans are against the Keynesian policy of deficits to help pull us out of this? Since when did they become concerned? When they voted, to a member, in the House against the Clinton economic plan in 1993, which eventually produced record surpluses before Il Doofus got in there and handed out tax bonanzas to his rich friends?

To you, nonpartisanship not only means capitulation, but also Einstein's definition of insanity: repeating the same process over and over, expecting a different result.

Republicans were in power most of the past 30 years. And, since they've packed the courts with right-wingers, the Supreme Court has basically handed them back the country by ruling that it's legal for the Fortune 500 to essentially buy Congress and the presidency. They had their chance, and now it's a cinch they'll get plenty more. Once they've run us into the ground as far as they had by 1932, then maybe the American people will REALLY wise up.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Are Republicans Obstructionists? Ask Rachel Maddow

This video pretty much explains itself. Congressional Republicans' knees jerk in opposition every time President Obama advocates something, anything, no matter what it is. They will even reverse themselves on policy. Here, the main topic is the economic stimulus. -- MJ

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bottom Line On Palin: Politics Is A Profession Better Left To Professionals

By Manifesto Joe

The Sarah Palin crib-note controversy is just one more silly gaffe on Palin's part, but the big picture that emerges is that politics is simply not a business for amateurs. Palin merely joins a large list of people who have tried to become big-time politicians overnight, and found themselves in over their heads. And from what I've seen of Palin over the past year and a half, the sludge doesn't have to get too deep to submerge her.

Here's Stephen Colbert on this and related matters. This includes video of the crib-palm-note incident.

The Republican Party seems desperate for effective leadership if they are actually giving the likes of Palin her 15 minutes. I don't sell her too, too short -- she may be able to marshal enough of a foolish following to take her a pretty long way in that party. But, expect many more gaffes and missteps. She's a bush-leaguer trying to play in the majors. (As opposed to a George W. Bush-leaguer. He finally left office with a 22% approval rating, but that family name and connections got him plenty of trips to the plate.)

Palin has much company among unseasoned rookies who thought being in the public arena was going to be easy. Here's just a short list:

Jesse Ventura. I give Jesse credit for having more native intelligence than Palin, but a pro wrestling career and the mayorship of a small town didn't nearly prepare him to be governor of a midsize state. He's not quite a fool, but he took enough of a pummeling over four years to persuade him to leave this particular arena while he was still standing.

Jimmy Carter. Oh, he's been a model for ex-presidents. But his experience as a sort of citizen politician at the state level didn't get him in shape for Washington. He spent four long years growing into the job of president, and didn't show enough growth, early enough, to sell him for a second term. He was a workaholic chief operating officer in the job, never quite understanding what it takes to be able to delegate responsibility, get along with Congress, and see the forest as well as the trees. It's a shame, because by some accounts this was one of the brightest people ever to hold the office.

Kinky Friedman. "Why the hell not. ... How hard can it be?" The songwriter-humorist-novelist is certainly no dummy. But he found out, the hard way, exactly how hard it can be, and is, without the right background in public affairs and high-level debate. Because of his regional fame, he started a very promising independent candidacy for Texas governor in 2006, then got his ass thoroughly kicked over a campaign trail that culminated with his embarrassing performance in the general-election debate. He got 12.6% of the vote. He dropped out of the running for the Democratic nomination for governor this time, wisely. Not so wisely, he's running for the party's nomination for agriculture commissioner. Something tells me that even if he could get elected, we in Texas wouldn't quite have an updated version of Jim Hightower.

Arnold Schwarzenegger. Again, this is no dummy, at least not in any classic sense. But he had absolutely no business thinking that he was qualified to lead the nation's largest and now probably most troubled state. To illustrate how daunting this job is and how few people, even with the right experience, want it, California's attorney general and ex-Gov. Jerry Brown has been talked up as a good prospect for one last go at it. Well, at least Jerry's a veteran pro.

Debra Medina. For those unfamiliar, this is the third GOP hopeful, trailing incumbent idiot Gov. Rick "Goodhair" Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, for the 2010 Republican gubernatorial nomination in Texas. When a would-be politician goes on the Glenn Beck show on Fox and makes herself look kooky and foolish in comparison to Glenn, you know there's an enormous problem.

Bobby Jindal. After an upset win to be elected Louisiana governor and some initial promise, he's struck out and fallen flat every time the Republican high-rollers have invited him to the major-league plate. It's clear that he simply lacks the experience to become what the big dogs had hoped for.

Is it a coincidence that so many of these rank amateurs are Republicans? I'd say it just shows how desperate the GOP is for effective standard-bearers, for people who could follow in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan, or even Il Doofus, for that matter.

So, as per the question, how did Reagan, and Bush II, both Johnny-come-latelys to high office themselves, fare so well? Reagan was intensively schooled in politics before becoming a candidate for California governor in 1966, and his thespian and PR skills were well-honed before then. Il Doofus, in addition to benefiting from family connections, surrounded himself with seasoned political rogues like Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, which got him through many a difficult time. Some of the folks in the aforementioned list were smarter than these two in the purest sense of intelligence, but clearly not as "cunning."

And so, back to Sarah Palin. Like Ventura, she was mayor of a small town, and then served a rather short tenure as a state governor -- but not even of a midsize state. I have a hard time understanding what John McCain was thinking when he picked her, among all the prospects he had, as a VP running mate. I suppose he was shooting dice, hoping to energize a presidential campaign that was already floundering at convention time.

Palin's exposure on the national scene has given her a certain following, but she's got many long miles to go. One poll shows that 70% of the American people don't think she's qualified for the presidency. Wow -- ya think? The shocking news there was that 28% actually believe that she is.

Politics is a business for pros, Sarah. Bank your royalty money, and stay on Fox "News." You've got enough credibility to stay on the air there, since their standards are low. The American people, as dumbed-down as they seem by American Idol and video games, apparently aren't buying it, at least not yet.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

R.I.P., Charlie Wilson: 1933-2010

By Manifesto Joe

U.S. Rep. Charles Wilson, D-Lufkin, couldn't be elected now in the Texas district he represented for 24 years in the U.S. House, and that's a shame.

One could argue that "Good Time Charlie" wasn't quite a role model. Near the end of his time in the House, the Republicans launched a series of campaign ads with a Robin Leach Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous sound-alike chronicling all the swell junkets and such that Charlie had racked up. He lived the high life of a freewheeling old-style politico, and he wasn't ashamed of it.

And, on foreign affairs, Charlie had a hawkish streak that ended up yielding very mixed fruits, to say the least. As was said in the Los Angeles Times obit, Charlie's legacy of getting money for the mujahedin fighters in Afghanistan "grew more complicated as the Muslim freedom fighters that Wilson tirelessly championed evolved into the Taliban, which would ultimately give haven to Al Qaeda." He didn't necessarily have the best judgment, in hindsight.

But on domestic issues, Charlie was a courageous progressive. He even used the word "liberal" in self-description, and did so unabashedly. I would trade in the sober reactionary Republicans who represent most of this state, any day you name, for a slightly whiskey-buzzed Charlie Wilson, any old time.

He had the reputation of a shameless playboy who invited scandal repeatedly during his political career. His congressional office was staffed by a bevy of women obviously hired at least as much for their looks as for their competence. But even the late Molly Ivins commented that, for all those bimbo trappings, Charlie's office was run about as well as anybody's on the Hill.

The public image of Charlie was not accurate, according to one of his closest friends. Again, from the L.A. Times obit:

Wilson's friend of 45 years, Buddy Temple, said the figure presented in the film (Charlie Wilson's War) failed to replicate the man he knew.

"Charlie was a go-to guy in Congress," Temple said at a news conference in Lufkin shortly after Wilson's death Wednesday. "The whole idea that he was this playboy who never paid attention to business was just as wrong as it could be."

This is not the time, but I'll eventually raise a glass of Mr. Jack Daniels to you, Charlie. We could use a few more like you, and a few less like, say, Tom DeLay.

Here's the full L.A. Times obit here.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sarah Palin And The Tea Baggers: Attack Of The 4.5-Inch Dickheads

By Manifesto Joe

The tea-party people held their first national convention this weekend in Nashville, and former Alaska novice Governor and bestselling airhead Sarah Palin actually tried to give them a rabble-rousing speech.

It was filled with lots of profound insights like: "How's that hope-y, change-y stuff working out for you? (Some news sources reported that she said, "ya," rather than "you." As in, "You betch-ya.")

So damned incisive, this one. So little to learn about this viewpoint, and so much time! Anyway, here's CNN's bid at giving some decent (I'd say generous) coverage to this March of the Goosestepping Retards. (Yep, Sarah, I said the R-word! At least your latest kid has a congenital excuse.) Click here.

That these are simply morons gathered for a sort of right-wing suppository-user's Woodstock is a no-brainer. The question is whether these dickheads are going to be able to sell this special brand of dickheadedness to a wider audience. Given the widespread stupidity of the American people, I'm just a little worried.

One thing that's clear is that my use of the epithet "dickhead" is not without substantiation. Said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland: "She also continues to rate better among men than women." Noting what an incredibly vapid fool this person is, it does appear that her looks are helping her among those right-wing men given to "thinking" with the smaller head rather than the larger one. Get your hands out of your pants, Bubba.

She appears to be marshaling some sort of drooling right-wing base behind her, but the smarter breed of Republicans had better be wary. I'd love to see a 2012 series of debates between Sarah Palin (alleged to have a degree from the University of Idaho, after several misstarts) and Barack Obama (law prof at the University of Chicago). That would be incredible fun.

Here's a little more from that CNN report, buried near the end:

Palin's experience has frequently been called into question, most recently in a book that chronicles the 2008 campaign.

"Game Change" by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann largely portrays the then-vice presidential candidate as wholly unprepared for the national stage and poorly versed in a range of pressing issues.

The book also alleges McCain aides quickly grew troubled with Palin's lack of understanding on key issues, including the job of the Federal Reserve, the difference between North Korea and South Korea, and the purpose of the war in Afghanistan.

Palin has called the book "a bunch of BS from [McCain campaign manager Steve] Schmidt and those guys," Palin said. "It's pretty made up."

Yep, I'm really going to believe her.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.