Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dick Cheney For Mayor Of Pottersville

By Manifesto Joe

Most of you are, no doubt, familiar with the holiday classic "It's a Wonderful Life." In this endearing cinematic piece of Frank Capra-corn, there's a villain, played by Lionel Barrymore, a banking mogul of the town of Bedford Falls, Pa., Mr. Potter. In the vision of George Bailey (James Stewart) in which he literally was never born, the town isn't even called that anymore. It's called Pottersville, named after the loathsome Mr. Potter.

I nominate former Vice President Dick Cheney for mayor of Pottersville.

I always figured Cheney for a prize-winning SOB. That perpetual snear, the deliberate lying during debates, the hypocrisy of the $6 million man begrudging little people medical care while he gets a transplanted heart on the taxpayers' dime, etc., etc., etc.

But until recently, I don't think I'd ever grasped the full inhumanity of this man, the completely self-centered depravity that lurks in that demented brain.

In this link, Cheney voices an almost complete unconcern about the unfortunate person who was his heart donor. "It's my new heart, not someone else's old heart." He's not even curious about how this person died, or about the family. He told mummified interviewer Larry King that he doesn't even know the identity of the person who gave him a new heart. What complete, utter trash.

And yet this man lives on, with Secret Service protection and taxpayer pensions and subsidies of all kinds. I'm not sure there is a hell, but if there isn't, there sure as hell ought to be one, in light of what this wicked little asshole is like. Problem is, he might mastermind a coup to topple Satan and take over the place.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Real Problem Right-Wingers Have With 'Obamacare:' It Requires Insurers To Insure

By Manifesto Joe

It's obvious that President Obama made a big political -- I repeat, political -- mistake in selling his health care plan. And he should never have put any trust in computer geeks -- such people nowadays hold the Earth hostage to their "expertise," while in reality they are often among the most titanic fools on the planet. (Not only do their initial programs sometimes not work, they are forever changing programs that worked fine as they were. It seems that they never heard the old wisdom that if it works, DON'T FIX IT!)

But the Mainstream Media are failing to tell the entire story, which is, of course, nothing unusual. Obviously Fox News gives a distorted picture; that's their job as a right-wing propaganda instrument. But the MSM aren't doing a good job on this issue, either.

This isn't the case with everyone, but many of the plans that commercial "insurers" are canceling are "junk" insurance, policies that offer very limited "coverage" and would leave the "insured" in incredible binds if they actually needed things like hospitalization and such. The reason such "plans" are being canceled is that they don't meet the minimum standards that the Affordable Care Act set forth.

I got to see the flip side of this issue very recently, having been unemployed for 27 weeks. (Oh, and I still haven't been paid for the last week of that, and never will be -- thanks so much, Texas Workforce Commission.) I went with the expensive COBRA plan I was left with after being laid off, but went looking for cheaper alternatives to COBRA, in case I was jobless longer than I was.

In the first place, it was very hard to find anyone who would "insure" me at a reasonable price. I have asthma and allergies, and I take meds for high blood pressure. I was 56 at the time, too. If you're not absolutely healthy, you are usually rejected just for pre-existing conditions such as those. And they don't like older people, either.

The companies that would write me a "policy" were willing to write me junk. I was accepted by one company, then found out much to my horror that they didn't even offer a prescription drug plan to a customer who was willing to pay them over $400 a month. What they had was a discount "plan" that one can obtain cheaply at any retail pharmacy like Walgreens. And they wanted "mo' money" for that? I refused to pay these greedy scumbags one penny and canceled with them post haste.

Anyway, I wasn't making much headway at finding alternatives to COBRA, until I finally landed a job with benefits. Unlike many Americans, I was somewhat lucky.

But I got a good look at what's out there for people who buy their own health "insurance" a la carte, and it's dismal. It's either too expensive, or it doesn't cover jack shit.

For more details, here's a link to a story in Mother Jones magazine that presents more of the real picture.

The bottom line is that the insurance companies have been ripping Americans off for many decades. "Obamacare," minus the public option, was only a partial solution to the problem. It never was anything else. It was simply what Obama could manage to get through a Congress that is partially owned by the greedy, ruthless insurance companies.


It's pretty obvious, from all the political hay that they're making, is that the downtrodden Republican Party, ever desperate these days for an issue, is playing this up for all they can. It's their goal to derail the Affordable Care Act. In my own state, Gov. Rick "El Pendejo" Perry is absolutely refusing to cooperate with this law's implementation.

There are other sinister things going on, like Koch brothers-financed booths on college campuses, passing out free beer in trying to persuade young people not to buy health insurance, but rather just risk getting sick.

If "Obamacare" is derailed, then what? Well, it looks like we'll go back to the way things have been for decades. You know -- up to 50 million Americans uninsured, up to 30 million more underinsured, people with pre-existing conditions denied coverage, insurance companies getting obscenely rich while putting out little or nothing in return, people who do have health insurance paying higher premiums and higher taxes to cover the cost of uninsured people with their visits to ERs and charity hospitals. You know -- the very conditions that led to the passage of the half-ass "Obamacare" program in the first place.

I'm not an optimist. But what this all may mean is that, perhaps within a decade, Americans will at last get what they should have gotten long ago: Medicare-E (Medicare for Everybody). A single-payer system is the only solution to this travesty. But of course, what that means is that some people will simply have to die off, so that less brainwashed voters can force this to become law.

Let's face it -- the United States is the last, I repeat the very last, developed country on Earth that doesn't have a national health care system. We wouldn't have to do it the way everybody else has done it. Doctors and other providers don't have to become employees of a national service, the way it is in more "socialized" systems. In America, we can style it our own way.

But "free market" arguments don't wash on most points, and certainly not where health care is concerned. If I have a catastrophic illness, I'm not going to be in a position of shopping around for the best prices on doctors, hospitals, ambulances, etc., like some Arab trader. I'm going with whomever can take my case ASAP, with money as no object. (But of course, it's certainly the object, and the objective, of "providers" and "insurers." And they take everything that isn't nailed down.)

Perhaps you have noticed that among all the other developed countries on Earth, none, not one, of them seeks to emulate the American health care system. Interviews in those countries indicate that their people generally think Americans are just plain fucking crazy to have tolerated this shit for decade after decade.

I understand that one of the sticking points of "Obamacare" is that it requires coverage for mental health ailments. I hate to say such hurtful things, but in the case of many Americans, that strikes me as a pretty good idea.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

JFK Assassination Was A Defining Moment For Boomers

By Manifesto Joe

We, the baby boomers, are still talking about it 50 years later. We even indulge in gallows humor. My old man, who won five Bronze Stars in the Pacific Theater of World War II, was a much better shot than Lee Harvey Oswald, and I recall that Christmas as being one more generous and affluent than we could usually afford. Was he, my old man, the dude on the grassy knoll?

More seriously, the question that keeps coming up is, where were you when ...?

My memory of it wasn't very remarkable. I was in the second grade. We were playing during noon recess, right after lunch, when a teacher came out to the playground and told us that the president had been shot and wasn't expected to live. Our house was only a few blocks away from the schoolyard. When the teacher told us we were dismissed for the day, I walked home.

My dad owned and operated what was then a Humble gas station in our small town in South Texas. He was at work. I found my mother at home, crying, with the TV on. Walter Cronkite was crying, too. Funeral dirges went on for days on the tube. Instead of missing my favorite shows, I watched the proceedings. I was a fan of Jack Kennedy, but at that age I don't think I understood much about politics. What I saw was that he looked like the hero in the Westerns, while Dick Nixon looked like the dude with the black hat.

One of our neighbors, a very proper Southern Baptist spinster, was shocked at Roman Catholic funeral protocol. "They're passing around the beer!" she exclaimed scandalously. My mother didn't correct her, but did explain to me that the correct word is "bier."

Then Jack Ruby shot and killed Oswald. A few years later Ruby died in prison. Then Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, followed quickly by Robert F. Kennedy. Assassinations were commonplace, to be expected damn near all the time. Conspiracy theories abounded, for many years, decades.

I never thought the Warren Commission had much credibility, but the plethora of conspiracy theories became a laughingstock in itself. The one that seemed most plausible to me: The Kennedy brothers had done a lot to piss off organized crime during those thousand days in power. That was about the last period, the 1960s, when U.S. organized crime figures would have been able to pull off a military-style hit on a person that prominent and powerful. Oswald wasn't much more than a fair shot, and he was using a World War I-era Italian bolt-action rifle. My guess is that he was just a chump, a patsy, and it was Jack Ruby's job to shut him up -- for good. Then, later, Ruby had to be silenced.

But, there have been so many theories, so many lecture tours, so many books written, that the theories are like a smorgasbord. Take your pick. In the end I doubt that we'll ever really know what happened. But I can't bring myself to believe that Oswald acted alone.

In any case, the JFK assassination was one of the events that defined a whole generation. Just about all of us born between 1946 and 1958 can remember something about where they were, what they were doing, when they heard that JFK had been murdered. There are millions upon millions of memories in The Naked City. You just heard one of them.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.