[I'm leaving this sticky so we can watch the mainstream narrative coagulate. See the final UPDATE for a quick blogosphere roundup. --lambert]
Via McClatchy's Fort Worth Star Telegram...
In a rambling, obscenity-laced suicide note posted online, the pilot accused of flying his plane into an Austin office building Thursday takes aim at the IRS, religion, big business and even [??] former President George W. Bush.
“I remember reading about the stock market crash before the ‘great’ depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything,” according to the posting, dated Feb. 18, 2010, and signed “Joe Stack, (1956-2010)."
How is that "rambling"? It's all true.
“Isn’t it ironic how far we’ve come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from the middle class (who doesn’t have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it’s ‘business-as-usual.’
“Now when the wealthy f--- up, the poor get to die for the mistakes… isn’t that a clever, tidy solution.”
How is that "rambling"? It's all true.
Violence, he wrote, "not only is the answer, it is the only answer."
Not to any question I want to ask.... I think NV is the only answer.*
NOTE Why in the name of sweet suffering Jeebus did Joseph Andrew Stack (Piper PA-28-236) identify the IRS as the real enemy? It's the banksters who lack the shame and the stones to self-defenestrate who are the real enemies. Why blame the collection agency, instead of the bank? That's the fundamental sloppiness of the right wing critique at work.
NOTE * In fact, I'm not really willing to entertain discussion on this point; I might even add that policy to the administrivia page.
CLARIFICATION "It's all true" applies only to the quoted material. Obviously, since I call out "the fundamental sloppiness of the right wing critique," and mark the writer -1000 for lack of NV, I don't believe the whole letter is true.
UPDATE Here is a great, great post at Yves place, and read the comments before the press and the access bloggers totally pollute the story.
UPDATE It's all about the rents! Here's an analysis of section 1706, which is the section of the Tax Code Stack writes about in his letter (this happened to me, and no, the impact wasn't good):
Because when the IRS changed the code, it destroyed thousands of engineering independent contractors status. In the past, an individual could act easily as a small business, complete with all taxes and deductions allowed to a small business and take on projects directly with large companies, working in house, using their engineering workplace. ...
That independent consultant, engineer, was charging lawyer rates, $100-$600 an hour, and the firm, corporation contracted with that individual directly.
Corporations would pay those rates and still do, for they needed that level of expertise, but unfortunately, again to the Sec. 1706, the engineer no longer is getting that money, instead a 3rd party contract house is, like a glorified slave trader.
Even worse, corporations will only use certain contract houses and it's not based on skills, expertise, ability, it's all based on some inside contract arrangement and preferred vendor status. Get it? Now trading people is considered to be a vendor. One is just a body and individuals with their technical expertise are traded like sacks of corn and potatoes.
In 1987 when Sec. 1706 passed, corporations ran scared and instead used a host of 3rd party vendors, as IRS buffers, who turn around and take 20% to 80% of that contractor's gross receipts, paid out as 1099-misc. [rent!] That 3rd party does nothing but act as an IRS buffer so a corporation will not be held liable if that independent consultant is deemed to be an employee of that firm.
Engineers and specialty skilled consultants are not the same as other types of contractors or even programmers. Often a firm needs this expertise, but per project, often lasting at least 1 year to 5, but they do not need these specialty skills longer than that because the project is then over.
So, what the IRS did was screw over thousands of highly skilled independent consultants and made 3rd party contract houses, like Manpower, Kelly Services, etc. proliferate and in fact these contract houses plain steal from the consultants pocket and offer nothing except a legal buffering for a corporation to avoid paying FICA and other taxes.
UPDATE Stack's sin? (And I use the word sin advisedly.) Crashing his plane into the building during business hours (though, I suppose one would always have peasants -- cleaning people -- to look out for). Meanwhile, conventional wisdom is coagulating among the access bloggers ("bizarre ideology").
When I read Stack's missive, I see unformed ideology that's no more or less bizarre than, say our elite's "market based solutions" that murder 45,000 people a year, and which our access bloggers and "progressives" at best seek to palliate. And I also see experience that's like mine and like millions:
My neighbor was an elderly retired woman (80+ seemed ancient to me at that age) who was the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for his 30 years of service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union (not to mention the government) raided their pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was social security to live on.
In retrospect, the situation was laughable because here I was living on peanut butter and bread (or Ritz crackers when I could afford to splurge) for months at a time. When I got to know this poor figure and heard her story I felt worse for her plight than for my own (I, after all, I thought I had everything to in front of me). I was genuinely appalled at one point, as we exchanged stories and commiserated with each other over our situations, when she in her grandmotherly fashion tried to convince me that I would be “healthier” eating cat food (like her) rather than trying to get all my substance from peanut butter and bread. I couldn’t quite go there, but the impression was made. I decided that I didn’t trust big business to take care of me, and that I would take responsibility for my own future and myself.
I met with a pollster yesterday, and he said he had never seen such a gap in attitudes in beliefs among those in the political elite versus those of the public at large, and he expected bad outcomes.
"Progressives" suck just as hard as the rest of the elite. We already know that from the health insurance reform fiasco, but we can learn it all over again from the Stack episode. Why? Because Stack's experience, as distinct from his action, is shared by millions. Even though "progressives" are the trivial and abortive power seekers we know them to be, if they had an ounce of political courage or even a smidgeon of good sense, they'd be trying to fix the problem and win an electorate of millions for generations (like, say, FDR).
So what do we get? "Bizarre ideology." Horse-race coverage. More horse race coverage. He's wearing the wrong jersey! It is so terrorism, so FOX sucks! Stack's insane and a tax nut. The only exception I can find is Greenwald, who calls this shot:
[I]f Stack's manifesto begins to attract serious attention, I think it's likely the term Terrorist will be decisively applied to him in order to discredit what he wrote. His message is a sharply anti-establishment and populist grievance of the type that transcends ideological and partisan divisions -- the complaints which Stack passionately voices are found as common threads in the tea party movement and among citizens on both the Left and on the Right -- and thus tend to be the type which the establishment (which benefits from high levels of partisan distractions and divisions) finds most threatening and in need of demonization. Nothing is more effective at demonizing something than slapping the Terrorist label onto it.
As you can see from the links I gave, that's already happening. And who's leading the charge? Why, "progressives" -- to stick the needle into FOX! [pounds head on desk]. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Oh well, I'm sure that plays well in Versailles.
Who was it who said that evil is absence of empathy?
Killing by crashing a plane into a building is evil, for that very reason.
Killing by crashing trillions of toxic derivatives into the economy is evil, and for the same reason -- and it kills a lot more people.
Oddly, or not, that's not the focus of "progressive" discourse right now.