Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Week To Go, And The Kooks And Psychos Are Out In Force

By Manifesto Joe

To follow is a video of James David Manning, chief pastor of ATLAH World Missionary Church in New York, in which Manning makes comparisons of Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler that are, to say the very least, extremely broad.

This kind of demented propaganda is still making the rounds over e-mail, and it's gotten a lot of views on YouTube. It's been out there for a while, but it won't hurt to remind readers about the kind of kooks who are on the loose.

Analogies of this kind usually have to have a lot more behind them. For example, if Obama had, before this crucial point in history, led an attempt to overthrow the government; spent time in prison and written a book there advocating racism and genocide, among other things; and led a militant political party that engaged rivals in bloody street fights -- well, then the analogy might hold up better.

From what I can tell here, the analogy is based on only one thing: Adolf Hitler was a charismatic public speaker, and so is Barack Obama. What a striking coincidence!

In the tradition of Looney Tunes, on with the show, this is it:

I learned a few things from this. Pastor Manning refers to the "Roman and Jewish press" printing lies about Jesus. Wow. I didn't know they had printing presses back when Jesus was "hung" (Manning's word for it).

And, perhaps Manning himself has more in common with Hitler than he's likely to let on. According to his Wikipedia bio:

As a younger man, Pastor Manning burglarized homes, mostly on Long Island. He spent about three and a half years in prison in New York and Florida for burglary, robbery, larceny, criminal possession of a weapon, and other charges before his release in 1978. While in prison, he became a devout Christian.[1]

It's funny how people like Manning manage to find some sort of mask, and being born again is among the common ones. I'd say he's picked up on a new and better kind of larceny. It's cooler when you don't have to carry a gun or face jail time.

A final note: Do you detect a hint of jealousy?

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

30 Years Too Late, Greenspan Learns The First Great Economic Lesson Of The 20th Century

By Manifesto Joe

This hasn't been a popular opinion for a while, but here goes. The 20th century offered two great economic lessons: (1) Underregulation of markets is a very bad thing, and (2) overregulation of markets is also a very bad thing. The first lesson should have been abundantly clear in the winter of 1932-33. But by the '70s, the second lesson was prominent, so much so that many economists just plumb forgot about the first.

Among the most influential of these economists was Alan Greenspan, later to become a longtime chairman of the Federal Reserve. I found it disturbing, reading about his background way back in the '80s, that the Span Man actually bought into the crackpot economic notions of the late Ayn Rand and her quasi-solipsist cult.

But among economists, such was the climate of the '70s and '80s. The welfare-state excesses of the '60s and early '70s had suddenly made the reforms of the New Deal era irrelevant, and the pre-1929 mind-set had returned with much vindictiveness.

But Greenspan, appearing before a House committee this week, made a startling admission. He conceded that he was "partially wrong" in trusting financial markets to police themselves. Here's the link.

Sadly, the Span Man ran the Fed mostly as a "free" market ideologue for 18 years. By the time he left the post, most of the damage had been done. Now it's going to be up to younger Americans -- Mr. Greenspan is 82 -- to clean up the mess for generations.

Let's revisit the two great lessons. In the early '30s, it was a no-brainer that the greed of players in the financial markets had contributed greatly to the worst economic meltdown in U.S. history. And so, general economic thinking was dramatically altered. It should have been clear that, left so unregulated, greed is NOT good. It leads to unsound practices, skewed income redistribution, social irresponsibility, shortsightedness; and in the end, everybody gets hurt. Au contraire, Gordon Gecko. Unregulated greed is BAD. Greedy people do not police themselves; quite the opposite, they do their best to rig the game. We have seen repeatedly in history that unregulated greed ultimately DOES NOT WORK.

But, by the '60s, we had the Galbraith-dubbed "affluent society," in which so much could seem to be taken for granted. We sort of became victims of our own success. The welfare state tried to do a little too much -- though in the U.S., it paled in comparison to the largess of other societies that spent far less on their war machines.

By the '70s, we had the symptoms of "stagflation" and demand-pull inflation that tend to show up in societies that are overregulating and overtaxing. Unfortunately, this opened the door for the economic quackery that has characterized the "supply-side" and "trickle-down" (tinkle-down, I sez) thought of the past 30 years. Many economists, secure in their own tenure and advisory posts, conveniently forgot about what happened in the first half of the 20th century.

Now, at last near the end of our second Gilded Age, Alan Greenspan is compelled to humble himself before Henry Waxman, and admit that he's had to rethink his ideas of the past 40-plus years.

Pardon me, little fish that I am, that I take a moment to gloat a bit. I was warning about this in 1984. I couldn't get many people to listen back then, mesmerized as they seemed by the foolish platitudes rising through Ronald Reagan's 70-ish turkey neck.

Don't worry, Mr. Greenspan -- you'll have plenty of dignified company in the online history books. Now just fade away, and leave the cleanup to sadder but wiser generations.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Monday, October 20, 2008

From Joe's Vault: Log Cabin Republicans Are Like Chickens For Colonel Sanders

By Manifesto Joe

This was originally posted Oct. 30, 2006, on BeggarsCanBeChoosers.com. I think it's still relevant for the gay community, especially since religious-right darling Sarah Palin is McCain's running mate. Let's go back a couple of years:

In the 1960s, the Democratic Party lost the South because of its leaders' support for civil rights. Barry Goldwater won several Deep South states even while losing badly almost everywhere else. Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, announcing that he was switching parties, said, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. It left me."

It's too bad that gay and lesbian Republicans can't see, in an inverted way, the same thing a bigoted philistine like Thurmond could.

The Mark Foley scandal has put this GOP minority into the spotlight, albeit in an unfortunate way. Foley's misbehavior certainly isn't representative of the gay community.

But many Americans are now aware of something I don't think they'd given much thought to before: There are surprisingly many gay and lesbian Republicans.

My question is: why? Why would people of those sexual orientations continue to vote for and donate money to candidates of a party mostly composed of people who regard them as, at best, sick freaks, and at worst, hellbound sinners?

The most high-profile organization that gives these GOP outsiders something of a voice is the Log Cabin Republicans. Their home page describes them as "loyal Republicans" who believe in things like:

* Low taxes. (So they'd rather live in Central America than in one of those socialist nightmare regimes in Scandinavia. Have they read anything about the state of gay rights in Guatemala lately?)

* Limited government. (Do they mean the kind that can't respond to natural disasters like hurricanes? Or the kind that gives the president semidictatorial powers to, for example, define what constitutes torture?)

* Strong defense. (Like the kind that, after the U.S. is attacked by Al Qaeda, decides to attack an adversary of theirs in Iraq? And then doesn't send enough troops to secure the borders, the precious oil fields, or bring any semblance of order to the country? But still stretches our military so thin that it likely wouldn't be able to respond to a real threat from, say, North Korea or Iran? And somehow manages to create a virtual terrorist training ground in Iraq? Can you say Larry? Moe? Curly Joe?)

* Free markets. (Do they mean the kind in which contractors like Halliburton, with incestuously close ties to the "vice president," get no-bid contracts worth well over $10 billion?)

* Personal responsibility. (Do they mean the kind that George W. Bush and Deadeye Dick Cheney have demonstrated during their adult lives?)

* Individual liberty. (Do they mean the kind the Texas Republican Party endorsed in its 2004 platform, in which it opposed legalization of "sodomy," and also advised candidates that a risk of not supporting the entire platform would be withholding of state party funding?)

I understand that what Log Cabin Republicans have in common with politicians like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mary Bono and Lincoln Chafee is that all contemporary Republicans, "moderate" or otherwise, are economic royalists.

It's not hard to understand how someone would want their human rights and the trust fund, too. They basically want the little people to pay the bulk of the taxes, and then much more; and they may even sincerely believe, for whatever misguided reasons, that they should. I'll save that argument for another time.

But as the radical right extends its already decades-long dominance of the GOP, these "moderate" politicians are looking almost as irrelevant now as James Eastland and Lester Maddox appeared among Democrats in the Sixties.

Log Cabin Republicans, you didn't leave the party, but it left you -- 25 or 30 years ago. Maybe it's time you gave some thought to something you regard as unthinkable -- to follow the lead of Media Matters for America founder David Brock, and back Democrats, at least for a while. The only way "moderates" (I'm old enough to remember when they were called conservatives.) are ever going to retake the GOP is for the radical right to start losing elections. A lot of them.


Friday, October 17, 2008

'Joe The Plumber' Isn't Even A Plumber, He Owes Back Taxes, And He's Related To Charles Keating

By Manifesto Joe

John McCain, he of the many smirks on C-Span split-screen TV, invoked "Joe the plumber" many times during Wednesday night's debate, doing the best he could to source some kind of game-changer.

Turns out that Joe isn't exactly the sort of guy Big Mac was betting on. He's not a licensed plumber. His hope of buying the business he works for is, by his own admission, a long shot. He owes just under $1,200 in back taxes. And even if he were to miraculously reach the income bracket that he was referring to in his silly exchange with Barack Obama, analysts say it's doubtful that he would owe much at all in extra taxes. In the Obama plan, he certainly won't owe any more in his current bracket, and would likely get a cut.

Let's have a closer look at "Joe," courtesy of Yahoo! News:

Here's the link.

There's more about "Joe" apparently. He appears to be related to one Charles Keating by marriage. You know, of the Keating Five, back in the 1980s dregs of John McCain's legislative past. Here's a link to this tidbit. And then, there's some kind of Alaska sled dog connection rumored ...

McCain is obviously doing anything he can to pull this one out of his anus, and failing horribly by not doing any homework. I'll stop short of the allegation that this man was a crude Republican "plant." I don't want to smell that one, either. And, by the way -- if the Palin selection, and then "Joe the Plumber" as a final debate centerpiece indicate what kind of judgment McCain would exercise as president ...

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Evidence That Sarah Palin Was Herself An AIP Member?

It's old news that Todd Palin is a former member of the radical right, secessionist Alaska Independence Party. Now some evidence has surfaced that Klondike Hottie herself may have been a member. This video, posted on YouTube today by mtaa11, certainly seems to indicate a cozy relationship between the governor and this subversive group:

One thing the woman certainly has is chutzpah. If she didn't, she wouldn't be on the campaign trail bashing Barack Obama over alleged buddying-up with long-ago Weatherman Billy Ayres.

John McCain's VP choice is clearly a disaster of many dimensions, and this is one more. I won't suggest that she should sign a "loyalty oath," but it would be appropriate for her to either repudiate what the AIP stands for, or resign her vice presidential candidacy. I guess there's no reason she couldn't carry on as governor of Alaska. Some of the kooks up there seem ready to re-elect the likes of Ted Stevens to the U.S. Senate. Palin continuing as governor wouldn't seem too shocking. -- MJ

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fundamental Pettiness Of Palin Doesn't Escape Attention of Panel In Her Home State

By Manifesto Joe

The image of a barracuda may sit well with certain voters -- the right-wing fringe, the kind whom John McCain has generally been indulging amid their outbursts of "Kill him!" and "Terrorist" at the rallies, in reference to Barack Obama. But that image apparently didn't sit well with members of an Alaska legislative panel.

The chief investigator of that panel concluded Friday that Sarah Palin, as Alaska's governor, unlawfully abused her power by trying to have her former brother-in-law fired as a state trooper.

Here's more from The Associated Press:

Investigator Stephen Branchflower, in a report to a bipartisan panel that looked into the matter, found Palin in violation of a state ethics law that prohibits public officials from using their office for personal gain.

The inquiry looked into her dismissal of Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, who said he lost his job because he resisted pressure to fire a state trooper involved in a bitter divorce and custody battle with the governor's sister. Palin says Monegan was fired as part of a legitimate budget dispute.

Monegan's firing was lawful, the report found, but Palin let the family grudge influence her decision-making — even if it was not the sole reason Monegan was dismissed.

"I feel vindicated," Monegan said. "It sounds like they've validated my belief and opinions. And that tells me I'm not totally out in left field."

Here's a link to the complete AP report.

I think we're seeing more that has resulted from the abysmal failure of the McCain campaign to vet his vice presidential choice. The problem here was clearly part of Palin's record in Alaska for many months, yet the McCain campaign had no figurative mine detectors out.

Let's skip thoughts about Sarah Barracuda, as a prospective VP, for just a moment. What does this say about John McCain's fitness to be commander-in-chief? Would he choose his Cabinet, his judicial appointees, more astutely?

Granted, Joe Biden is an old face, all too familiar to viewers of Sunday-morning talking-head TV. But Obama, even with his just-under four years in the Senate, has made a vastly better choice for an understudy. Even if Biden is old news, I would feel a lot safer with him having the nuclear codes than someone like Sarah Barracuda.

I'd say Obama could be trusted to make many more good choices. McCain made a shockingly bad one, and the news gets worse every day. It might be a wise decision for him to urge Palin to step down and try to get, say, Mitt Romney as a late replacement. But it's so late in the game, I don't think he could be persuaded to do anything of the sort.

Bring on Nov. 4. I just hope there isn't some new and ingenious way for the Republican machine to steal this election.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Palin's Appalling Ignorance Keeps Surfacing, This Time On Oil Exports

By Manifesto Joe

It matters whom a presidential nominee picks for a running mate. It says quite a bit about their judgment. After all, John McCain is presuming to be the person who will appoint a Cabinet and many federal judges. If he can't pick a good vice presidential running mate ...

Sarah Palin has shown herself to be someone with barely enough of an IQ to do OK with coaching and preparation. (As does McCain.) But when it comes to off-the-cuff knowledge of the issues, she's been losing every round since she was chosen. Today, the subject was oil exports.

The Associated Press reported today:

WASHINGTON - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, touted by GOP presidential candidate John McCain as his expert on energy, seemed to have problems Thursday explaining whether the government bans oil exports — especially from her state's North Slope fields.

A questioner at a town hall-style meeting in Wisconsin said he had heard that at least 75 percent of the oil drilled in Alaska was being sold to China and said, if true, he would like to know why.

"No. It's not 75 percent of our oil being exported," Palin said, suggesting some of Alaska's oil, in fact, may be going abroad but not that much.

"In fact," she added, "Congress is pretty strict on, um, export bans of oil and gas especially."

No Alaska oil has been exported since 2004, and little if any since 2000, according to the Energy Information Administration and the Congressional Research Service.

And Congress has never imposed outright bans on oil exports. Congress prohibited exports of Alaska oil in 1973 when the Alaska oil pipeline was built. But that ban was lifted in 1996 when there were large volumes of Alaska oil coming down from the North Slope and U.S. demand was soft.

The Alaska ban has never been reinstated.

So this is Big Mac's expert on energy issues?

This is a person clearly trying to play far out of her league. But here's a scary thought: George W. Bush, Il Doofus himself, has been "president" for nearly eight years. Now, we're in two wars with no foreseeable end, the economy has been wrecked, and the Constitution has been sullied beyond understanding.

Bigger mistakes have been made -- perhaps.

(Here's a link to the whole AP article.)

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

McCain-Keating-Palin '08: The Real GOP Ticket

If there is any remaining doubt about John McCain's connection with the deregulation debacle facing the country now, let's go back 20 or so years, to his "palling around" with one Charles Keating. Obama is only slightly acquainted with Billy Ayres, and was 8 when the bad behavior took place. Whither Charles Keating, Big Mac? (Fries with that, hon?)



There are technical problems, but one or the other approach will get you there. -- MJ