Monday, February 28, 2011

Michele Bachmann: Sarah Palin With A Brain? Paleeeeaze ...

By Manifesto Joe

It appears that some Republican activists are beginning to see U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., as a better presidential alternative to fading GOP star Sarah Palin. Believe it or not, one such person described Bachmann as "Sarah Palin with a brain." Here's the link.

To quote John McEnroe, "You can't be serious!" Whose brain would that be?

Bachmann is the imbecile who cited the "Hoot-Smalley Tariff" as an example of bad economic policy, and she alleged that it was passed during FDR's watch and was part of his policies. (It was actually the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, named after Sen. Reed Smoot and U.S. Rep. Willis Hawley, passed in 1930 and signed by President Herbert Hoover.)

There's even more ludicrous nonhistory in this C-Span footage of Bachmann speaking on the floor of the U.S. House:

Dumb and dumber?

Bachmann is, to anyone who has any real knowledge of U.S. history, a drooling idiot who has no business even being in the House of Representatives, let alone under any serious consideration as a presidential contender.

One thing that worries me is that we've already had at least one semiliterate fool in the White House (Il Doofus), and it was very recently. Given the rank ignorance of the current American electorate, it isn't outside the realm of imagination that someone even worse could soon find their way there.

I wish Joe could say it ain't so.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Funniest Monty Python Ever

It probably helped that, back in 1975, I was stoned at the time.

I just watched it straight, and it seemed funny then, too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Manifesto Joe's Great Moments In Conservative History, Chapter 11: Mr. Magoo Wins The Cold War

By Manifesto Joe

Revisionist history has it that Ronald Reagan "won the Cold War" by, in essence, outspending the Soviet Union on a military buildup. Those evil commies just couldn't compete, the myth has it, and they were suddenly forced to fold their empire all over the world.

What utter right-wing hogwash.

Let's look a bit more closely at the situation as it really was in those days. The U.S., typically, has spent perhaps as much as 6% of its GDP on the military. The old Soviet Union often spent as much as 25% of its GDP on military outlays, depriving its civilian population of many basic needs so that lonely, unhappy young men could sit around on military bases in the Soviet part of the world, getting sick on boiled carp and bad vodka.

I remember all the right-wing alarmist BS of the time. I read in the National Review in 1985 (that was when I could still read that rag without tossing my cookies and making the pages stick together) that the Red Army was arguably the most formidable fighting force that the world had seen up to that time.

We know now that, around 1985, the Soviet military was a large, but largely ineffective, fighting force, ill-equipped and with miserable morale. Hell, the Mujahideen in Afghanistan kicked 100,000 of their asses for years and years, finally forcing them out of the country. (And yet, nobody now seems to be arguing that U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Texas, won the Cold War. The argument seems at least as plausible.)

After the Soviet Union collapsed, conservatives all of a sudden crowed about the superiority of American fighting forces over those hapless commies. The story kept changing whenever it was convenient. So, which was it, right-wingers? The most formidable fighting force the world had ever seen, or a bunch of homesick clowns who couldn't beat a ragtag guerrilla force in one of the world's poorest countries?

The Soviet economy was at the root of the empire's decline, and it had been in trouble for a very long time. Its centrally planned economy was stagnating by the mid-1970s, when Reagan was still sticking his foot in his mouth as governor of California. Here's a passage from that summarizes this pretty well:

The vigorous Soviet economy of the late-1960s and early 1970s quickly fell victim to the very factors that had contributed to its success, central planning and raw materials allocation. Brezhnev recognized that the Soviet economy was slowing, and attempted to patch problems rather than completely overhaul the system. His efforts failed. Even if Brezhnev had attempted to overhaul the Soviet economy, the highly entrenched special interests that made their living by manipulating the Soviet Union's centrally planned economy could have defeated Brezhnev's efforts.

Throughout the 1970s and into the mid-1980s, the Soviet Union's GNP and industrial output continued to increase, but at a lessening pace, eventually leading to economic stagnation. The Ninth Five Year Plan (1970–1975) saw a growth rate of approximately 3%. The period of 1975–1980 experienced a growth rate of between 1% and 1.9%, depending on whether revised Soviet numbers or the West's estimate is examined. Likewise, 1980–1985 saw a further decline in economic growth, between 0.6% and 1.8%. Declining economic growth rates were not confined to the Soviet Union. Eastern Europe, with its economies intertwined with the Soviet Union's, suffered a similar fate.

This declining growth rate in the 1970s and 1980s resulted in the Soviet Union receiving a diminishing rate of return on capital investment. This proved disastrous for the Soviet economy, because by 1980, the Soviet Union was spending nearly one-third of its GNP on capital investment, with most of the sum dedicated to the military. The military was consuming such a large portion of the Soviet economy for two reasons: the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan and the arms race with the United States. These two events would weigh heavily in the Soviet economic demise and lead to its inevitable fall. A weak economy prevented the Soviet Union from reacting appropriately to each experience.

Now, what Reagan admirers would have one believe from this is that the U.S. military buildup of the 1980s was what "won" the Cold War. The Cold War had been going on for about 35 years by the time Reagan even took his first oath of office. Did he hasten the Soviet collapse by a year or two? Perhaps -- but it's pretty clear from what we now know that the Soviet Union's economy was already, in essence, a dead man walking by 1980. Just a basic maintenance of the U.S. military for another 11 years was quite sufficient to see them run out of gas.

I've read that when one says something to Russian economists nowadays about Reagan winning the Cold War, they are unable to restrain their laughter. Everybody knew what the problems were in those days, they would say, and they were all right here.

Does this demonstrate the superiority of capitalism? Well, yes and no. Many of those who led the U.S. through the Cold War were Democrats, who advocated a mixed economy and were regarded by capitalism's right-wing ideologues as heretics. The Democrats weren't fans of the Soviet command economy, either, or of its police state. But they recognized a need for a reformist approach to capitalism, which one would be at a loss to explain to the typical Tea Party activist of 2011.

Now, less than 20 years after the final collapse of the Soviet Union, it looks like it is capitalism that is in trouble all over the world, and that seems largely for similar reasons -- its apparent inability to reform itself. For over 30 years in the U.S., wealthy individuals and giant corporations have insisted on gaming the political system to evade taxes, and on demagoguing much of the public into believing that any sort of tax increase will ultimately be a tax increase on them.

We now have the vantage point of seeing, from the second term of the Clinton administration, that it is quite possible for the federal government to raise enough revenue to run comfortably in the black without damaging the economy. But one wouldn't know that, if one listens to rich people and Corporate America, and takes their swill seriously.

Back to the Cold War -- it came to an end because of a general collapse of the Soviet economy, and that was something that was many years in the making. A military empire has to be paid for, and the Soviet empire had their system overextended long before Reagan became president. Less than 20 years later, it looks increasingly like something similar is happening here.

Years ago, there was a saying that the U.S. didn't win the Cold War -- Japan won it. Now I'd say it's looking more and more as though China was the real winner. The U.S. is so deeply indebted to them, and largely because of war expenses, that we aren't likely to get out of that debt within any living American's lifetime.

Now, as for Reagan and Mr. Magoo

Ronald Reagan was apparently an inspirational leader for many people. In contrast, what I generally saw for 8 years was a "Teflon" presidency and the amusing rightness of his critics' comparison to the cartoon character Mr. Magoo.

For those perhaps too young to remember, Mr. Magoo was a cartoon character whose life span was from about 1949 to 1965. The late character actor Jim Backus was his voice. Mr. Magoo doesn't get a lot of retro TV airplay nowadays, because I think he's regarded as far too politically incorrect, sort of like comedian Bill Dana's character Jose Jimenez or advertising's The Frito Bandito. I'll explain.

Mr. Magoo was a rich old dude who had poor eyesight and was hard of hearing, yet he insisted on continuing to drive his outdated flivver and to stroll through life as though there were nothing wrong. He would instigate catastrophes everywhere he went, but would himself walk away unscathed and oblivious about anything that had happened. People who had impaired eyesight and hearing were eventually offended by the character, so despite great popularity in his day, Magoo had a pretty short shelf life on the rerun circuit.

Compare this to a president who cut and ran after hundreds of Marines got blown up in Lebanon, yet today few call him a coward. (If it had been Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, there would have been all kinds of editorial comments about how yellow is not a color that goes with the decor of the Oval Office.)

Compare this to a president who was basically giving his blessings to a tradeoff with terrorists of arms for hostages -- and yet now few seem to remember this.

Compare this to a president whose policies led to the most expensive failure of U.S. financial institutions since the Great Depression. Not many seem to remember that, either.

Compare this to a president who created record deficits by cutting taxes broadly on wealthy Americans and big corporations, so much that now you can't reason with the average shithead on the street about how these people are looting the store and pushing the burden onto him or her.

This is a litany that could go on a long time -- but finally, compare this to a president who just happened to be sitting there, on the edge of dementia, at the time that Mikhail Gorbachev decided that the Soviet system was no longer workable. And now, right-wing revisionist historians are strutting about, posturing as though this were a feat that Reagan pulled off all by himself. Few seem to recall the reality of the situation -- they just remember glittering speeches about the myth of some "shining city on a hill."

Mr. Magoo, I sez. The senile old fool walked away from multiple disasters unmarked. And he's still doing it posthumously.

"Magoo, you've done it again!"

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Friday, February 18, 2011

More Evidence That Fox News Is Like Soviet State TV

By Manifesto Joe

I have sincerely tried to keep an open mind about this. I tried to watch it. The straight news seemed credible for short periods, but would be followed quickly by brazen opinion, with no transitions or labeling. The coverage of Barbra Streisand's brief involvement in politics a few years back was most revealing. The "crawls" leading up to the story said things like "Babs' babble," and "Has Yentl gone mental?" 'Scuse me -- "Fair and balanced"?

Now we're seeing more. Here's the latest on the right-wing answer to Soviet state television:

Here's the link.

I have to admit that I saw a few things on CBS News back in the 1980s that I couldn't say were entirely balanced. But two wrongs don't make a right, especially when the second "wrong" is so baldfaced and blatant. Fox "News" should have absolutely no credibility now. This is the result of the right wing ruthlessly grabbing control of the debate about broadcast news so single-mindedly that they have totally lost any sense of objectivity. Clearly, these people will do anything to advance "the agenda." The bias is now blatantly and shamelessly on the other side of the spectrum.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Manifesto Joe's Great Moments In Conservative History, Chapter 10: Reagan Is Still 100

By Manifesto Joe

OK, plus one day. Cut me some slack -- I had to work on Super Bowl Sunday.

Ronald Reagan's presidency seems to have become bogus nostalgia for some people. I suppose that for some, it's appropriate. If you hate labor unions and love union-busting, you'd love Reagan. If you hate poor people and think they ought to be punished for being poor, Ronnie was your man. If you think keeping a country in a state of perpetual war is good for it, then Reagan would happily oblige you.

Let's look at some of the real Reagan legacy.

Supply-side economics

It's not hard to see that the timing for supply-side theory was right. The America of the late 1970s and early '80s was suffering from demand-pull inflation -- too many dollars chasing too few goods. A correction was needed.

What we got was an overcorrection. The misery index of, at one point, 13% inflation and 21% interest rates gave Reagan what he needed to sell a large dose of snake oil to the public. Economist Arthur Laffer's supply-side theory was that cutting taxes would actually increase federal revenue, because (1) with lower rates, more of the wealthy and big corporations would be willing to pay rather than seek tax shelters or be scofflaws, and (2) the resulting economic growth would in itself create revenue.

Well, in 1981, taxes were cut broadly, with the rich and corporate America as the main beneficiaries. So, we sat back and waited. And waited. Almost 30 years later, I'm still waiting for my trickle-down from the first time. It generally felt more like "tinkle-down."

What this did in reality was create a structural deficit, with too many government obligations (including Reagan's defense buildup that amounted to a 40% increase in military spending) versus too little federal revenue. Deficits ballooned to record numbers.

The second year, 1982, Reagan and members of Congress led by Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas overhauled Social Security, raising taxes on it and thereby mitigating some of the revenue-anorexic effects of the tax cuts of the previous year. At least Social Security would be sound enough for another generation or so. But the effect was to raise taxes on less affluent people, and in a way that most of them had no clue thereof. The Social Security tax, you see, is regressive, ceasing after a certain level of income. Rich people don't pay it past a certain income figure. Apparently this was once gauged as a way of getting them on board with the program. But de facto, when Social Security taxes are raised, it's the working class that pays most of it.

Anyway, we kept waiting, and the deficits just got bigger. All that extra revenue that was supposed to come in -- well, it didn't. Supply-side just turned out to be a massive fraud that greatly enriched the wealthy while the incomes of ordinary people stagnated. The mantra we kept hearing from Reagan was simply that "Congress spends too much."

Looking back, there was method in this madness. If you're a laissez-faire economic conservative, you want, as Grover Norquist said, government to be shrunk down to the size that it can be "drowned in the bathtub." That's one good way of accomplishing that.

Self-fulfilling prophesies

Despite the Democratic House of Representives' insistence that much of the social safety net be preserved, big cuts did ensue. The financial deregulation that began during the Carter presidency accelerated under Reagan. Government subsidies for housing and the like were slashed -- the HUD budget ended up something like 40% of what it had been, in real dollars. And regulation of any kind was curtailed as too expensive. What that did was essentially tell all the foxes that the henhouse was theirs for the taking.

Thus, the bromides about government being so inept, being so unable to function efficiently, etc., gain credibility of sorts. Naturally, when you put inept and inefficient political appointees in charge of diminished government regulation, you're going to get inept and inefficient "regulation." With such an approach, government indeed becomes the problem, not the solution, as Reagan famously said.

Rampant corruption

Reagan appointees became notorious, producing a federal government that had more officials either indicted or under investigation than any in recent memory. I believe that the count was over 100 at one point. With the foxes in charge of all the henhouses, how could we have expected anything different?

But obviously, many Americans don't remember any of that now. What they remember, with hazy nostalgia, is a telegenic actor-president who spoke to them about "a shining city on a hill." Some of us -- unfortunately, not enough -- remember that this hill had a curious odor of dung about it.

The savings-and-loan scandal

I'll lift a bit of material from Wikipedia to cover this:

The deregulation of S&Ls gave them many of the capabilities of banks, without the same regulations as banks. Savings and loan associations could choose to be under either a state or a federal charter. Immediately after deregulation of the federally chartered thrifts, state-chartered thrifts rushed to become federally chartered, because of the advantages associated with a federal charter. In response, states such as California and Texas changed their regulations so to be similar to federal regulations.[citation needed]

More important, however, was the moral hazard of insuring already troubled institutions with public dollars. In the view of a savings and loan president or manager, the trend line was fatal over the long haul, thus to get liquid, the institution had to take on riskier assets, particularly land. When the real estate market crashed, the S&Ls went with it. By insuring the risk, the government guaranteed that desperate S&L owners and managers would engage in ever more risky investments, knowing that if they were successful, the institution would be saved, and if unsuccessful, their depositors would still be bailed out.

The S&Ls went on to do a lot of imprudent real estate lending (sound familiar?), among other things that led to the failure of 747 of them. The Resolution Trust Corp. was created to clean up the mess. We have a family friend who worked for the RTC, taking possession of failing S&Ls on behalf of the government. She told us that at one site, she went to the second floor and found a well-stocked wet bar with cut-glass nudes and such decorating the place. Things like this had been apparently done with depositors' money.

Not all of this occurred on Reagan's watch. But for eight years, he championed the sort of deregulation that led to such gross abuses.

More from Wikipedia:

The ultimate cost of the crisis is estimated to have totaled around $160.1 billion, about $124.6 billion of which was directly paid for by the U.S. government via a financial bailout under the leadership of George H.W. Bush. The remainder of the bailout was paid for by charges on savings and loan accounts —- which contributed to the large budget deficits of the early 1990s.

Bogus nostalgia for "Doctor Feelgood"

People like to be told bright, glittering things by politicians, and Reagan was undoubtedly a master of that. My wife and I never quite understood the appeal. She hated him as an actor in his Hollywood days, and always commented on that turkey neck. I saw him similarly to Gore Vidal, who bemusedly called Reagan "grandmotherly."

Sadly, the man was almost all shine and very little substance. I understand that President Obama would like to pick up some of that shine, so as to rally faltering support for his programs. But Obama has the misfortune of being an intellectual, so despite also being a fine speechmaker, he usually ends up telling people a lot of grim truths that they don't want to hear. Reagan, about as far from an intellectual as it gets, never had that problem, and that was a major reason for his political success.

Coming soon: Reagan is still 100, third chapter.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Manifesto Joe's Great Moments In Conservative History, Chapter 9: Reagan Turns 100

By Manifesto Joe

I remember the time well. It was the 1980s, the prime of my young adulthood. He was supposed to be rebuilding America, and millions of jobs went overseas or to Mexico. Suddenly there were all these homeless people on the streets, hitting on you for spare change -- in 1980 they had either been living in Section 8 housing or were in mental asylums. You could see Reaganvilles beneath the bridges and underpasses in every city, with tents pitched and fires burning in garbage cans. He was supposed to be a fiscal conservative, but the deficit ballooned to record numbers. Yet, I noticed that I was suddenly paying more tax for Social Security than I was before.

He was supposed to be this badass patriot, yet hundreds of Marines were blown up in a defenseless position in Lebanon, and then we tucked tail and ran out of there. Arms appeared to be traded to terrorists for hostages. The example of Cold War conquest was overrunning some little halfass country called Grenada, where they found a cache of commie weapons that were, like, World War I vintage.

This is the guy we're supposed to be honoring on what would have been his 100th birthday?

Not the sharpest pencil in the box

We've certainly discovered that it isn't necessary for a U.S. president to be an intellectual of any sort. But Ronald Reagan lowered the bar a lot, and paved the way for the likes of Il Doofus, and now Klondike Hottie, to parade about on the national stage. Here is what some notables (and Reagan himself) said about Uncle Ronnie, courtesy of the website, "The Reagan Years":

"I never knew anything above Cs."
--President Reagan, in a moment of truthfulness, describes his academic record to Barbara Walters, November 27, 1981

"They told stories about how inattentive and inept the President was.... They said he wouldn't come to work--all he wanted to do was to watch movies and television at the residence."
--Jim Cannon (an aide to Howard Baker) reporting what Reagan's underlings told him, Landslide: The Unmaking of the President: 1984-88

"Reagan's only contribution [to the subject of the MX missile] throughout the entire hour and a half was to interrupt somewhere at midpoint to tell us he'd watched a movie the night before, and he gave us the plot from WarGames, the movie. That was his only contribution."
--Lee Hamilton (Representative from Indiana) interviewed by Haynes Johnson, Sleepwalking Through History: America in the Reagan Years

"This President is treated by both the press and foreign leaders as if he were a child.... It is major news when he honors a political or economic discussion with a germane remark and not an anecdote about his Hollywood days."
--Columnist Richard Cohen

"What planet is he living on?"
--President Mitterand of France poses this question about Reagan to Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau.

"During Mr. Reagan's trip to Europe...members of the traveling press corps watched him doze off so many times--during speeches by French President Francois Mitterrand and Italian President Alessandro Pertini, as well as during a one-on-one audience with the Pope--that they privately christened the trip 'The Big Sleep.'"
--Mark Hertsgaard, On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency

"He demonstrated for all to see how far you can go in this life with a smile, a shoeshine and the nerve to put your own spin on the facts."
--David Nyhan, Boston Globe columnist

"an amiable dunce"
--Clark Clifford (former Defense Secretary)

"Poor dear, there's nothing between his ears."
--British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

" reinventing the wheel."
--Larry Speakes (Reagan's former press secretary) describing what it was like preparing the President for a press conference, Speaking Out: The Reagan Presidency from Inside the White House

"The task of watering the arid desert between Reagan's ears is a challenging one for his aides."
--Columnist David Broder

"He has the ability to make statements that are so far outside the parameters of logic that they leave you speechless"
--Patti Davis (formerly Patricia Ann Reagan) talking about her father, The Way I See It

"This loathing for government, this eagerness to prove that any program to aid the disadvantaged is nothing but a boondoggle and a money gobbler, leads him to contrive statistics and stories with unmatched vigor."
--Mark Green, Reagan's Reign of Error

"President Reagan doesn't always check the facts before he makes statements, and the press accepts this as kind of amusing."
--former president Jimmy Carter, March 6, 1984

"Ronald Reagan is the first modern President whose contempt for the facts is treated as a charming idiosyncrasy."
--James David Barber, presidential scholar, On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency, Mark Hertsgaard

"His errors glide past unchallenged. At one point...he alleged that almost half the population gets a free meal from the government each day. No one told him he was crazy. The general message of the American press is that, yes, while it is perfectly true that the emperor has no clothes, nudity is actually very acceptable this year."
--Simon Hoggart, in The Observer (London), 1986

Sage words from the Gipper himself

These quotes are from the same source:

"All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk."
--Ronald Reagan (Republican candidate for president), cited in the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press, February 15, 1980. (In reality, the average nuclear reactor generates 30 tons of radioactive waste per year.)

"Growing and decaying vegetation in this land are responsible for 93 percent of the oxides of nitrogen."
--Ronald Reagan, cited in the Los Angeles Times, October 9, 1980. (According to Dr. Michael Oppenheimer of the Environmental Defense Fund, industrial sources are responsible for at least 65 percent and possibly as much as 90 percent of the oxides of nitrogen in the U.S.)

"Fascism was really the basis for the New Deal."
--Ronald Reagan, cited in Time, May 17, 1976

"I know all the bad things that happened in that war. I was in uniform four years myself."
--President Reagan, in an interview with foreign journalists, April 19, 1985. ("In costume" is more like it. Reagan spent World War II making Army training films at Hal Roach Studios in Hollywood.)

"...a faceless mass, waiting for handouts."
--Ronald Reagan, 1965. (Description of Medicaid recipients.)

"History shows that when the taxes of a nation approach about 20 percent of the people's income, there begins to be a lack of respect for government.... When it reaches 25 percent, there comes an increase in lawlessness."
--Ronald Reagan, in Time, April 14, 1980. (History shows no such thing. Income tax rates in Europe have traditionally been far higher than U.S. rates, while European crime rates have been much lower.)

Well, that's enough to digest for one day. But wait awhile -- there's more.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Glenn Beck's Self-Serving Recklessness Endangers Professor's Life

By Manifesto Joe

Frances Fox Piven is a lefty academic, a sociologist who advocates reforms of welfare in the U.S. that would eventually lead to a guaranteed annual income for all Americans. I've read one of the professor's books, and can't say that I agree with her entirely.

But now that TV-radio demagogue Glenn Beck has put her in his ludicrous right-wing crosshairs, I find that I must come to her defense. Because the 78-year-old professor urges a certain level of militancy among America's unemployed, in the form of mass protests, Beck has made her a verbal target, and some of the lunatics who hang on his toxic words appear to be cleaning and oiling their firearms.

Wikipedia summarizes the controversy thusly:

Conservative commentator Glenn Beck has repeatedly criticized Piven, labeling her references to the May 2010 Greek protests a call to violence. Beck stated that she is an enemy of the Constitution, and that the Cloward-Piven strategy would "intentionally collapse our economic system", which in turn has led to multiple death threats against her. Comparing Beck to 1930s fascist broadcaster Charles Coughlin, Piven has replied that her references to riots are "not a call for violence"; that her critics are using "a kind of rhetorical trick that is always used to denounce movements of ordinary people, and that is to imply that the massing of people itself is violent."

When somebody gets on Beck's shitlist, threats often follow. The Care2 Petition Site reported:

After Beck's outrageous remarks against Piven, threatening comments surfaced on his website, including:

"Somebody tell Frances I have 5,000 rounds ready and I will give my life to take our freedom back"

"we should blow up Piven's office and home"

The irony, of course, is that Piven now appears to be a target of potential violence, after Beck drew attention to her by accusing her of advocating violence.

It's not news that Beck is a reckless and dangerous demagogue. The development here is the obvious chilling effect that a braying jackass like him can have on any kind of opposition rhetoric. When an emotionally disturbed man with the power of a mass broadcaster can incite an army of right-wing goons to potential violence, that smells of de facto fascism.

By the way, I'm sure Care2 would be happy for you to sign their petition to Roger Ailes, president of the neo-fascist propaganda TV network also known as Fox News. Here's the link to the petition site.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bertha Lewis Was Right: Tea Party Is "A Bowel Movement"

By Manifesto Joe

I hate to break it to all you Tea Partiers out there, but even after the results of the demagogued 2010 midterm elections, the Tea Party isn't doodley-squat in Washington. In the Senate, it appears to be some kind of crude joke.

The Chicago Tribune reported that "The first meeting of the Senate Tea Party Caucus on Thursday (last week) attracted just four senators willing to describe themselves as members."

Newly minted Rethuglican senators, including Marco Rubio of Florida and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, passed on the meeting.

Predictably, the first meeting of this "caucus" was organized by Rand Paul of Kentucky. He persuaded three other senators to attend. This sounds like decent news to me, considering what young Mr. Paul wants to do. According to the Tribune, "He recommended gutting the Interior and State departments, eliminating the Energy Department and cutting all funding for public radio and television and the National Endowment for the Arts."

I think somebody left out killing the Department of Education, and also gutting and privatizing Social Security and Medicare.

Fortunately, in view of the Senate turnout, few are taking much of this seriously. The Tea Party attracted a lot of attention just with its smell. I doubt that it's going to have much staying power in Washington.

It's hard to witness mass stupidity and not call it by its rightful name.

Regarding the title of this piece, here's a link to a "fair and balanced" account from Fox News of former ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis' speech last April. Read on, but prepare for resulting bowel movements. And don't say I never left a link to a Fox News article.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.