How the Manch stole Christmas.
SUMMARY: Our little Unf*cking team wishes the Unf*cking community a safe and healthy holiday season. We'll be back on January 8th with a new drop but here's a Holiday Quickie to tide you over. In this Quickie we examine three positive things that have occurred since Biden took office. (We had to look pretty hard for these, but wanted to end on a positive note.) Then we offer thanks and praise to Joe Manchin for taking a giant shit on the poor. What a guy. Happy, Merry and all that crap. See you in the New Year!
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Well, we made it Unf*ckers. It’s the last show of 2021 and we’re ready to kiss this year goodbye as I’m sure you all are as well. We’re taking a short break for the New Year so the next episode will drop on January 8 of 2022 assuming no war with China, another Capitol insurrection or Max being disappeared by the CIA or something.
On behalf of our little Unf*cking team, we wanted to thank you for an extraordinary year. We’re finishing with almost 450,000 downloads, have welcomed new followers from around the globe to the pod and launched a successful coffee partnership with the Unkechaug Nation. You helped the Mohawk community in upstate New York exceed their winter heating fundraising goal. Just over a thousand of you became Subf*ckers. And, of course, you helped me prevail in the fight against the name UnCluckers.
We have some cool stuff planned for next year so everyone stay healthy over the break and without further ado, we present a holiday Quickie highlighting three positive trends and some thoughts on how the Manch stole Christmas for your unf*cking enjoyment. Hopefully it will tide you over to the New Year.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the House,
Not a cretin was stirring, not even Matt Gaetz.
The missiles were placed in the silos with care,
In the hopes that China would also prepare.
The senators were on recess all snug in their beds;
While visions of donations danced in their heads;
And Manchin on his big yacht, took a big crap,
On the poor and the sick, like Thanos’ snap.
When on the White House lawn there arose such a clatter,
Mamala sprang from her bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window, she flew like a flash,
Flipped off the haters and threw up the sash.
J’Biden had wandered out in the snow,
Looking for Corn Pop, the one Black guy he knows.
When what to her wondering eyes did appear,
But Air Force One and eight GOP profiteers,
A tiny hand driver so fucked up and sick,
She knew in a moment it was that fucking orange prick.
More rapid than Covid, these douchebags they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
Now Marjorie! Now Butthead! Now Boebert! Now Kevin!
Jim Jordan, on Crenshaw, Gohmert and Zeldin!
To the Capitol steps, and over the wall!
Overthrow, overthrow, overthrow them all!
Cotton and Hawley will meet us inside,
To recreate the day that democracy died!
So up to the Capitol, the traitors they flew,
With a sleigh full of coal, and uncle fartnoggin too -
Just then, in a tinkling, they pissed on the roof
The laughing and giggling was even more proof.
They despise the country and all those around,
Down the chimney Orange Von Fucknugget came with a bound.
He was dressed like a fuckboy, from his head to his feet,
Looking for Proud Boys and McDonalds to eat;
A bundle of lawsuits he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a felon who was under attack.
His eyes - how they squinted! His diaper, how heavy!
His cheeks were like Cheetos, his dick like a cherry!
His mouth like an asshole drawn up like a bow,
And Sean Hannity shoved far up his asshole.
The crumbs of a Big Mac stuck in his teeth,
With that stupid toupee on his head like a wreath;
His fat fucking face and a giant round belly,
That shook when he laughed, except he never laughs because he’s a literal fucking psychopath incapable of experiencing joy or laughter.
And jamming a finger way up his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his airplane, let out a dog whistle,
And blew out his mouth the last of the gristle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he flew out of sight -
Fake News, Rigged Elections and to all a good night!
Drones, Judges and Proof
Originally I had planned to end the year on a positive note. A Quickie that highlighted three positive developments in 2021 that are real. Very real accomplishments or trends that signal a shift in the United States. We’re still going to highlight them today, but as of this moment most of the focus in Washington is on the power wielded by one man. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. The coal mining, back stabbing, millionaire from West Virginia who went back on his word and fucked a nation in what can only be considered an attempt to preserve his own net worth. The Manch who stole Christmas.
So if you want to end the year on an unf*cking positive note, you can skip over the back half of this when we dissect the DOA Build Back Better initiative and offer some advice to the Progressives on how they can pick up the pieces. And I do mean pieces. More on that toward the end.
So let’s start with some good news. For the most part, I’ve been pretty negative toward the Biden administration for its handling of the economy, increasing the already bloated military budget and its inability to herd the cats in the democratic caucus. And with good reason. The first year of a new administration tends to be the most significant legislative period, especially in the modern era. Understanding that while Biden hardly came in with a mandate, he did win the election, democrats retained control of the House and they had a fighting chance in the Senate with V.P. Harris being able to break any ties.
But after the first year, posturing begins for the midterms and assholes throughout the beltway tighten when new legislation is dropped at their feet. So it’s pretty likely that the victories that have been achieved with the first Biden stimulus and the Itsfuckedforsure Bill are all that can be expected. The opportunity to close out the year with a victory lap with the signing of Build Back Better were dashed and 535 fuckheads will return to their districts for the holidays.
Nevertheless, there are some positive signs beginning with our unbridled militarism.
General Kenneth McKenzie of the U.S. Central Command recently took the unusual turn of admitting to and offering an apology for a drone strike in Afghanistan that killed innocent civilians. While it cannot ever undo the horror of this event nor the countless strikes that murdered innocent civilians at American hands over the past 20 years, it marks an enormous shift in tone and responsibility on the part of the U.S. military.
Upon taking office, Biden quietly signaled a shift in policy by taking back the power to authorize drone strikes. Prior to this procedural move, the military essentially had carte blanche to order strikes, oftentimes with devastating consequences and in parts of the world where we aren’t even formally engaged in active warfare. Not that this should even matter. The fact is that drones are indiscriminate and should be outlawed based on the flawed and brutal nature of the strikes. But by taking back the ability to authorize such campaigns, Biden gave the White House exclusive oversight.
This didn’t go unnoticed even just weeks into his administration as drone strikes, once a casual and routine part of American terrorism in Africa and the Middle East, suddenly came to a halt. It also had the effect of putting far greater media attention on them when they happened with the strike in Kabul revealing the utter brutality and wanton nature of this kind of assassination. The fact that the military was compelled to offer an apology is stunning, though it shouldn’t be.
The caveat that must be mentioned here is that other than the authorization for strikes changing hands, nothing else has changed with respect to the policy. The military not only said there will be no retribution for murdering 10 civilians, seven of whom were children, they also haven’t taken drone warfare off the table. As we covered in our militarization episode, these strikes should be considered acts of war, authorized only by Congress and extremely limited in scope when the homeland is under a clear and present threat. It’s illegal under every international code and law there is, but no one has the ability to take us to task for our indiscriminate assassinations that have taken place in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan.
It just goes to how far we have come since instituting the Bush Doctrine. Children in Afghanistan would celebrate on cloudy days and emerge from their homes because they knew the drones weren’t flying. That’s criminally fucking insane. So the fact that we haven’t walked back this method of war entirely leaves it open for other presidents to use or to simply hand back to the military. And as military reporter Spencer Ackerman notes, the fact that we haven’t used drones in a year kind of blows the whole “we’re keeping the homeland safe” theory behind the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.
I’m linking an Intercept article from Jeremy Scahill whom I consider to be the foremost authority on our militarism from Bush until now. In it he says, “The handling of the Kabul drone strike is an ominous sign that while Biden has pledged to review the efficacy and impact of drone strikes, a long-standing mechanism for self-exoneration remains entrenched.” And that’s the real danger. But, as I mentioned, I’m trying to stay positive so here’s the upshot on this topic. For the first time in twenty years children in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan can play outside on sunny days without fear of being murdered from the sky.
Pencil head Trey Gowdy on Fox was recently bitching about how unfair it is that Biden is appointing so many federal judges to the bench. And, oh boy has he ever. FiveThirtyEight has done a pretty good job breaking this down along with Brookings to provide some historical context around these appointments. Of course, we’re a long way from undoing Trump’s stacking, especially on the lower courts in red states, but it’s a hell of a start.
According to FiveThirtyEight and Brookings, Biden has, “more nominees at this point in his term than any president since George W. Bush, the highest share of confirmed nominees than any president since Bill Clinton and the most appointments since Ronald Reagan.” That’s good news in terms of restoring some sort of balance of power between the parties in the judicial system, though it should be noted that the net difference isn’t all that impressive in sheer numbers. Most of these appointments are happening in blue states as democratic judges clear the way for younger blood.
(Do you hear me up there RBG?)
The real impressive thing is Biden’s commitment to diversifying the courts. “71 percent of the successful appointments thus far are nonwhite and the overwhelming majority (75 percent) are also women — far outstripping previous presidents, including his Democratic predecessors, on both metrics,” according to FiveThirtyEight.
These gains are likely to slow down if the midterms shape up as dismal as everyone expects. Especially if the republicans take back the senate. Then we’ll be back to stalemates and vacancies. And if someone on the high court should kick the bucket prematurely (cough - Clarence Thomas - cough) I’m sure old Turtlefuck McConnell will invent some reason to wait until the next presidential election to nominate a Supreme Court Justice.
In the meantime, we’ll take little victories where we can, especially if it means more Black and Brown faces in charge of the criminal justice system.
MANNY: You mean like Clarence Thomas.
Well played, Manny. Well played.
Part of the American Rescue Plan was a shift in the way the government handles tax credits for children in families that live under a certain threshold. It changed the tax credit, which had a cap of $2,000 per year to a monthly payment up to $3,000 for eligible families. The success of this program was more in the switch from credit to payment than it was in lifting the cap. And how successful was it this past year? According to policy experts, childhood poverty was reduced by 30% to 40% this past year.
Unfortunately, Joe Manchin literally told democratic caucus members that it was too tempting for families to spend this money on drugs, despite there being literally zero evidence that this was the case. Commondreams reported, “according to the Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis, among Manchin's constituents in West Virginia who received the CTC, more than half used the payments to buy groceries. 39% said some of the payments went to buying clothing, 38% said they used them to pay essential bills, and more than a quarter reported using the CTC to help with rent or mortgage payments. The Social Policy Institute…found similar results in other states, with about half of recipients nationwide reporting that they mainly used the payments to buy food.”
Food. Not drugs. Food. And that goes for the people in his state. But we’re going to open up his asshole in a minute. For now I want to focus on the poverty reduction aspect of this issue. You see when people who don’t earn enough to even pay income taxes receive a tax credit, it’s essentially moot. So when you just open the wallet and pay people in poverty directly, they do things like buy clothing and food. And it, statistically at least, lifts them out of poverty. Children, when they’re not at school, have something to eat.
Apart from the fact that Joe Manchin has zero fucks to give about the people of West Virginia or anyone else in the country who lives below a certain income level, this is obviously not what we’re celebrating here. What should be celebrated is that this bill, this one simple shift in how we allocate funds to the poor, has delivered the proof that policy wonks and social theorists have long contended: That direct payments lift people out of abject poverty and are used for positive social impact items like food, shelter and clothing. These are the things that reduce childhood obesity and cognitive issues that arise from being malnourished. Things that become very expensive for society to absorb later in life. These are the things that provide dignity to people and give them a shot to perform in the world. This one program proved the concept and gave us a roadmap to alleviating if not ending poverty in our nation. It’s big. And should be celebrated.
Now let’s rip off Manchin’s head and shit down his neck for a bit before we head out for the holidays.
#FJM. No, Seriously. Fuck this guy.
“I was raised with an awful lot of faith in God.”
That’s a quote from Joe Manchin’s website.
Lots of faith in God. A good Christian man. Went to church all his life. “Raised with an awful lot of faith in God.”
I’ve often wondered about pious fucks like Joe Manchin who quote from the Bible while taking away from the poor. He’s not the first. Not even the worst of them and he won’t be the last. But still they make me wonder.
I’ve watched the interviews. The ones where he said that he just couldn’t “get there.” Despite the President acting in good faith and promising the members of his caucus that a form of Build Back Better would pass if they would just uncouple the infrastructure bill from it. He promised. Like a good Christian man from the south.
Joe Manchin claims that he couldn’t in good conscience add to the federal deficit, using fraudulent CBO estimates from the GOP that included provisions that were already dead, carried out one-year plans for the entire ten despite the bill not calling for that, and it eliminated revenue offset projections from increased IRS enforcement of tax collections and other offsets. But Joe Manchin knows that most of the country won’t understand that his claim is based on a lie. We do, because we do the work. But most people don’t.
Joe Manchin claims that all this reckless spending is what’s causing inflation but we know better. As we proved in our Kellogg’s example last week, inflation is being caused by corporate greed with companies raising their prices ahead of any perceived supply chain issues. Anti-poverty initiatives like Child Tax Credit payments don’t increase inflation. Corporations taking record profits and pouring them into stock buybacks only to raise prices to increase their margins, that’s what causes inflation. Because we know that if reckless spending was the cause of higher consumer prices then our multi-trillion dollar wars would have already done that. New housing costs might be impacted by swings in the prices of raw materials, but that doesn’t account for rents of existing properties. That’s greed.
Using the actual CBO estimates, the worst case scenario would be $500 billion in additional expenses that aren’t offset by revenues, but that’s only after Kyrsten Sinema declared that she would never vote for a billionaire tax. Of course it was ignored completely that when the CBO extended the outlook by another ten years, these increases were budget neutral.
Forget that the percentage of interest on the national debt to GDP with this plan was still projected to be less than it was under Reagan and even when adjusted for inflation. They know these particulars are lost on the average person who only sees that these lawmakers are holding themselves out as responsible parties despite voting for a $780 billion military budget.
So here’s what the bill did. Just so we’re all clear.
It provided incentives for residential and commercial solar to help Americans save on energy and to hit our carbon reduction goals by 2050.
It would put 300,000 unemployed Americans to work in temporary climate corps jobs.
Recall from our MMT episode that Argentina launched a similar initiative to put unemployed people to work in federally funded, locally administered jobs programs starting in 2001. As economist Stephanie Kelton writes, “at its peak the program employed some two million people, about 13% of the labor force. Almost 90% of the jobs were in community projects and 75% of the participants were women. Just six months after launching the program, extreme poverty had fallen by 25%. Within three years, half of the participants had left the program, most for jobs in the private sector.”
It provided for universal Pre-K.
A one year extension of the Child Tax Credit payments. Not ten. Just one.
It included paid family leave like every other industrialized country on the planet.
It expanded Medicare to protect the elderly and put restrictions on prescription drug price increases.
It offered funds for affordable in-home care for our aging population.
Extended Pell Grants and other education provisions that largely benefit communities of color.
This was the social infrastructure bill that was to be paired with the physical infrastructure bill and, in fact, holds several funding provisions that pay for promises made in the physical bill with respect to climate change initiatives. So those will now have to change or come off the table, thereby reducing the positive effect of the itsfuckedforsure bill.
The ultimate reason Joe Manchin killed this bill is because, his words not mine, it would have transitioned our economy to a green economy too quickly. But even his home state coal unions are pissed at him because it included provisions to retrain coal miners and offered incentives to clean energy corporations to set roots in states that would be most impacted by a shift away from coal and dirty fossil fuels.
So really Manchin did this to protect his own business interests. Or perhaps he did it to set the table to flip parties or run for president as some have speculated.
And here’s the thing. I don’t blame Joe Manchin. He’s a total shill. And a fucking asshole. No, I blame Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. I blame the Problem Solvers Caucus. Every democrat who actually believed this piece of shit and forced the Progressive Caucus to back off and uncouple the bill because Manchin “promised” them he would work with them to pass something big, even if it wasn’t the whole.
Instead, he revealed his true colors, went on Fox News of all places, and singlehandedly declared to the country that poor people aren’t deserving of our love and attention. Just one giant fuck you and they let him have the stage. All that free press and the entire right wing media establishment praising him for doing the right thing.
If the democrats were serious about any or all of these crucial provisions they would break them up into smaller bills and month after month force these motherfuckers to take a vote. Biden needs to stop trying to pass huge pieces of legislation like he has a clear mandate or like he’s LBJ or FDR. The only thing he has in common with these famous acronym democrats is that half the country calls him FJB, that is when they’re not calling him Brandon.
You’re not LBJ. Or FDR. Or JFK. You’re just Brandon and half the country thinks you’re a joke, a quarter knows you’re not up to the task and the other quarter put you there because they were afraid of professor orange von fucknugget having four more years to pound America straight in the ass.
It’s time to hire a marketing team over at the fucking DNC. Build Back Better with a multi-trillion dollar price tag makes people nervous and makes it easy to kill. After the itsfuckedforsure bill was passed, they should have come out with the top five specific bills and dedicate entire months to each provision. And bring them to a fucking vote. Make these assholes cast their vote against these bills. And give them a snappy patriotic title. At the end of every month, you call a fucking vote and make these people stand up to it because it’s easier to understand.
Month 1: The No Children Starve in America Act.
Extend the Child Tax Credit and offer universal Pre-K with school meals to continue lifting children out of poverty. I dare you to vote against that.
Month 2: The Greatest Generation Protection Act.
Extend Medicare, cover in-home nursing and limit prescription drug price increase. I double dare you.
Month 3: Beat China to Net Zero Act.
Climate economy provisions that beat those commie fuckers to net zero so we can outlive them and be number one! And fuck the civilian corp, by the way. Americans don’t want more government employees. But what you can do is put in a provision that any company that sets down in coal country to build a zero emission plant pays no taxes for ten years. So long as they’re union.
Month 4: Protect New American Babies.
Are the right-to-lifers really going to stand in the way of paid family leave when we point out it could be the difference between abortions and having babies? I TRIPLE dog dare you.
Month 5: Make America Smart Again.
Higher Pell grants, free state college. Oh, and here’s something the administration could just do. They don’t even need new legislation. Knock ten thousand off all outstanding federal student loans like Biden promised he would and refinance the balance of student debt at the same fucking rate you give big banks. The difference in what you save from defaults would completely offset losses in interest payments on the debt.
Problem fucking solved.
Five months. Five bills. Wrapped in the flag and shoved down the throats of the oligarchs that truly control this nation.
Here endeth the lesson.
Here endeth the year.
See you in 2022.
FiveThirtyEight: How Biden Is Reshaping The Courts
The New York Times: Extreme Poverty Has Been Sharply Cut. What Has Changed?