The Last Word (tm) SURPRISE!
Vol. 12/No. 10 - 396th issue - October 26, 2003
Bathroom Bandit, editor-in-chief - serving Bellevue, KY, from New America
firstname.lastname@example.org - http://members.iglou.com/bandit
blog blogga blog at http://bandit73.pitas.com
DON'T VOTE - IT ONLY ENCOURAGES THEM
The saying on a bumper sticker wouldn't be so comical if there wasn't a grain of truth to it: "Don't vote - it only encourages them."
Rarely has this truism been so evident as it is now in the November 4 "election" for Kentucky governor and other state offices.
Only two candidates for governor will appear on the ballot - and let me tell ya, it's a stinkeroo.
Democratic Kentucky Attorney General Ben Chandler will face Republican U.S. Rep. Ernie Fletcher in what should have been a promising contest - but isn't, considering both candidates' right-leaning views.
If you think Chandler's party affiliation absolves him from being associated with the misery of conservatism, remember how much damage Dick Morris's phony focus groups did to the Clinton administration and (along with Republican election-rigging) how this helped turn what should have been easy Democratic landslides in every election since 1996 into major struggles. The experiences of the past few years seem to us to erase the conventional belief that more conservative Democrats are less likely to alienate voters, because the party won more elections when it nominated more liberal candidates. Unfortunately party leaders don't get the message.
Ben Chandler's successes as Attorney General do not excuse some of his "me too" stances in his governor campaign or prominent individuals known to advocate right-wing economic causes somehow worming their way into his fold. But this pales in comparison to the right-wing extremism and outright dishonesty of Ernie Fletcher - who is by far the worse of two evils.
Ernie "The Truth Stretcher" Fletcher - a stealth rightist who has a history of vile demagoguery and annoyingness - got his campaign started on the wrong foot when he picked a running mate who wasn't even eligible to run and ended up being dropped from the ticket when he was caught. (You don't go and get a Virginia driver's license if you claim to live in Kentucky, genius.) The fart-like miasma of Big Business - especially ecologically ruinous homebuilding interests - has been a big source of financing for the Fletcher campaign. (These interests were themselves tainted by Clyde Middleton's Republican scandal in Kenton County in 1998.) Fletcher is perhaps better known for his votes in Congress supporting the excesses of the pharmaceutical racket.
Predictably, Fletcher broke Kentucky campaign laws in the very first political ad of the fall season by hiding behind the pathetic Republican Governors Association. You see, PACs are allowed to run political ads without reporting them as contributions ONLY if the ads don't actually back a specific candidate. And that is an Allowed Cloud, my friends. The law means what it says. That commercial contained so many lies that some TV stations pulled it. Another RGA ad (referring to an attorney hired by Gov. Paul Patton) accuses Chandler of "taking money from Patton’s own defense lawyer" - which the RGA admits is a lie. Yet another Fletcher commercial features a Chandler speech quoted out of context - but none of Fletcher's ads actually discuss issues.
You were a lot cleverer on "Sesame Street", Ernie.
Sadly, TV commercials are among the few venues that even mention elections anymore. In the past two years, news organizations have devoted hardly any coverage to electoral politics (other than the Arnold Schwarzenegger debacle).
We used to savor endorsing candidates for public office, but after Clinton managed to squander his every last drop of political capital by supporting school uniforms while ignoring the yawning gap between rich and poor, endorsements have really become just a way of setting ourselves up for tremendous disappointments. Anyway, in a real democratic republic a so-called "election" like the one for Kentucky governor, in which the only candidates on the ballot are far more conservative than the average person, would be considered a sham. Not even the great Gatewood Galbraith's independent candidacy for Attorney General can rescue this electoral season.
Galbraith is a candidate who we have always been proud to endorse in his past campaigns for governor, thanks to his honesty and true populism. We'd like to vote for him again on November 4 for Attorney General. However, considering what a sham the Chandler/Fletcher contest is, we are highly reluctant to drag ourselves a whole city block up to the polling place. We think we can guess at what the "official" result is going to be, because after seeing the Florida scandal in 2000 it's now painfully obvious that many folks who vote for someone other than a Republican don't have their votes counted. The saying "Don't vote - it only encourages them" may be taken seriously nonetheless, because whoever does win - whether Ben Chandler or the abominable Ernie Fletcher - will use each vote to justify their so-called "mandate" when they inevitably do something harebrained.
But if you insist on casting a vote that probably won't be counted, then you know what party not to vote for.
MORE SCANDALS IN THE LOOPER HALL OF SHAME
In the mid-'90s Byron "Hey Mr. Blooper" Looper was a disgruntled Republican big shot in Tennessee who was involved in the brutal murder of a political opponent. It was the ultimate personal scandal for a politician, needless to say, and it briefly sent shock waves across America. We say briefly because the scandal was quickly hushed up, never to be heard from by the media again.
We know the plane crash that killed Paul Wellstone just before Election Day last year was a political murder, and it seemed redundant even to point this out when it should have been so obvious. But this murder was a highly organized act of thuggery - not one that we know of as being tied to a particular individual as the perpetrator.
Personal scandals by individual Republican politicians crop up almost weekly. Granted, most don't involve murder or even accidental death (though some do). But they share something in common with the Looper case: They receive little media coverage, even though Democrats who are even accused of doing things that are far less serious are daily raked through the coals.
Virginia House Speaker S. Vance Wilkins Jr. - a highly partisan Repub-a-dub - was forced to relinquish his House Speaker post when it was discovered that he paid $100,000 in hush money to a woman who accused him of groping her. Wilkins was the first Republican House Speaker ever in Virginia. No sooner did the Republicans seize control of the Virginia House than it became awash in this scandal.
The whole state of Kentucky has been subjected daily by the media to Democratic Gov. Paul Patton's so-called "scandal" - which, like the Clinton/Lewinsky affair, is just an excuse for Republicans and their cheering section in the press to try to bring down someone who might occasionally oppose them. (The REAL Patton scandal was his "reform" of the workers' comp system, an act that posed far more harm to the average Kentuckian, in the name of promoting a "healthy business climate".) But you never hear anyone in the media utter the words "the David Williams scandal". Williams is the right-wing Republican leader of the Kentucky Senate and one of the most powerful politicians in Kentucky. While the archconservative bird cage liner known as the Kentucky Post made a daily feature of the Patton "scandal", we can find only one tiny article in its pages about the Williams scandal. In this alleged incident a Northern Kentucky woman accused Williams of asking her for sexual favors in lieu of money as payment for legal services that he performed as a lawyer. The Kentucky Bar Association launched a review of the matter.
Pennsylvania State Rep. Thomas Druce - yet another card-carrying GOPstapo member - was tainted by scandal when he was involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident in which he plowed into a pedestrian and then tried to cover up the mishap. He pleaded guilty in court to leaving the scene of a fatal accident, tampering with evidence, and defrauding insurers - which could have netted him a total of 16 years in the clink and fines of $35,000, but civic leaders said Druce was granted preferential treatment because of his clout.
U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow (R-South Dakota) was recently charged with manslaughter because he ran a stop sign and caused a highway crash that killed a motorcyclist. For years Janklow has been involved in traffic wrecks - and he always bragged of it. He was once involved in 3 collisions in one year. On at least 4 occasions Janklow has blamed his crashes on nonexistent vehicles and animals that he claims forced him to swerve to avoid hitting them. He once wrecked into a city bus and blamed it on a phantom vehicle coming towards him. In 1973, when he was caught driving in an erratic fashion, he emerged from his car reeking of liquor and naked from the waist down, and then he fought a police officer and exclaimed, "No son of a bitch Indian can arrest me as no S.O.B. has jurisdiction over me!" He was then arrested for drunk driving, disorderly conduct, assaulting a cop, and indecent exposure.
Here's a real scumbag: former Waterbury, CT, mayor and failed U.S. Senate candidate Philip Giordano. Yes, a Rethuglican. When Giordano ran for the Senate against Joe Lieberman, he ran as a "law and order" type and assailed Lieberman for supposedly failing to "protect children from pedophiles." But wait until you hear what Giordano did: He was nabbed on federal child sex abuse charges for repeated sexual assaults against two girls who were only 8 and 10 years old. The judge said that in 18 years it was the worst case he'd ever seen. Giordano was convicted of 17 felony counts and presented with 37 years in the slammer. Giordano was also involved in a corruption scandal where he was accused of taking kickbacks from contractors with links to organized crime.
In yet another incident, Republican New York State Sen. Guy Velella was busted in a bribery scandal.
It's hard to believe the Republicans - a party where sleaze and corruption now seem to be almost a requirement - were once the party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, who must be gyrating in their graves right now.
PRO-IMPEACHMENT MAYOR'S BAKERY VISITED BY FDA
Santa Cruz, CA, took a bold step towards progress by being the first city to approve an act urging Bush's impeachment - an example that deserves to be followed by cities in our area. Among other crimes, the dictatorial Bush regime stole the 2000 "election" and lied to the American people to try to justify the Iraq War and should be removed from power.
Arcata, CA, quickly followed Santa Cruz's lead when council members unanimously approved a similar act, adopting a letter that urges Congress to investigate Bush's fascism.
Suspiciously, 4 days after the Santa Cruz action, a bakery owned by Mayor Emily Reilly was burglarized by someone who managed to pry the moulding off a window and evade a motion detector. A computer hard drive was stolen. Four days after that, the bakery was visited by the Food and Drug Administration.
It should be obvious this isn't just some remarkable coincidence. Remember in the mid-'90s when some office in Washington was burglarized and a computer used by congressional Democrats working on health care legislation was stolen? And haven't you ever heard of something called Watergate? Area bakers observed that the fact that the bakery break-in immediately followed the impeachment vote was fishy. One observed, "I'd say this sounds a little bit suspect."
We'd surely say so!
I've known since high school that America has a spy network far more sophisticated than many realize that harasses political dissenters and ordinary citizens. Once when I was 16 I found my conversations being eavesdropped upon with a microphone hidden in a ceiling - which I discovered when someone involved in this atrocity repeated back to me what I had said and admitted using a microphone - and I've been somewhat careful about what I say on the phone, following the Cincinnati phone spying scandal of the '80s and another fishy incident in the '90s. I've had a few friends who seemed to vanish from the face of the planet, and I've long feared that the government killed them or sent them to a concentration camp. (This does happen, by the way. In a secluded part of the city of Covington - yes, Kentucky - there's a facility that was and possibly still is used as a concentration camp, as we've discussed at length many times.)
If you think I'm paranoid, I've got witnesses to a lot of this shit, and I've encountered other folks who say some of the same things have happened to them. Don't wait until you're locked in a cell - alone, hogtied, without food or water - to learn the hard way that you live in a dictatorship.
As a teenager I lost a small radio, but later I saw it at school, even though I had never taken the radio to school. (I knew it was my radio and not just the same type because whoever stole it wasn't smart enough to remove the label with my name from it.) The obvious conclusion was that someone must have swiped the radio from my home. Around the same time I discovered a closet door in my den vandalized. In college, when I was an adult and no longer lived with my parents, NKU violated federal law by sending a letter to my mom informing her of my record as a student. The letter she received was a photocopy of an original that was sent to me and was not accompanied by any explanation - as if the school was saying, "That'll show ya!"
More recently, I've had my low-power radio station closed down by the FCC, and I've been bothered by other agencies after being reported by individuals doing the ruling party's dirty work. Others have told me they think a certain large media corporation has a vendetta against me, based on Internet posts they've seen, and I agree. And on Tuesday a big batch of e-mails I was receiving was replaced with blank messages - for I believe someone's been intercepting them. Also, remember that computer virus we told you about last time? We examined the headers of one of the hundreds of infected e-mails we've received since then and found it was addressed to numerous other users of a message forum about low-power radio.
Saying the bakery break-in and FDA visit look suspicious is stating what is obvious. It's even more obvious than it would have been if a mayor who supported impeaching Reagan had their business burglarized back in the '80s. The Bush White House is out of control.
TIME TO CHALLENGE GOP CHALLENGERS
You won't believe what Republicans in Louisville have up their sleeve.
The GOPstapo plans to install "challengers" at 59 voting precincts in mostly black areas. Their aim is to intimidate blacks by forcing them to take an oath swearing they are eligible to vote, and if they refuse to take the oath they won't be allowed to cast their ballot.
The fact that Kentucky authorities allow the Republicans to get away with violating the civil rights of voters based on their race is shocking.
Isn't this supposed to be 2003? Oops, we forgot: It's 2003.
ACADEMIC FREEDOM UNDER ATTACK IN COLORADO
In Colorado, disgraced Republican Gov. Bill Owens and his GOPstapo conspirators have concocted a plot to undermine academic freedom. Conservatives hate freedom. They don't trust you to make your own decisions. Freedom and conservatism are diametric to each other.
Owens's plan would among other moronic things require colleges and universities to hire more conservatives - at the expense of progressives. The proposal was created at a secret meeting in June with California-based extremist David Horowitz, who fired off an enyclical to followers bemoaning the nonexistent "battle" for like-minded conservatives to acquire teaching positions.
Alleged bias against conservatism in academia is a crisis fabricated by rightists. As far as we can gather, this bias doesn't exist. On the other hand, blacklisting against those whose views aren't somewhere to the right of Michael Sewage is a growing problem on America's campuses, especially in the past decade, and we don't need to look any further than NKU to find it. Whether you're a professor or a student, NKU is one place where dissidents have learned they must either keep their opinions to themselves or face hefty consequences. The problem is national in scope and was aggravated following the 1994 conservative revolution when Congress effectively coerced universities into censoring and quashing dissent.
Thankfully, federal civil rights laws still prohibit education facilities from asking prospective employees about their political views. But this doesn't seem to matter to Bill Owens, who plans on forcing universities to ask anyway.
Colorado's Rethuglican machine plans to force the issue in its 2004 legislative session by burying it in a controversy over affirmative action. Of course, conservative opposition to affirmative action usually involves exploiting the public's misconceptions in order to promote the racial intolerance that often characterizes conservatives. Politicians and talk radio windbags - because of their own raw racism or their desire to advance other right-wing causes - constantly repeat misinformation about this and other issues, until the public begins to accept their lies unquestioningly.
Affirmative action is, in general, a false target. What people should be fighting instead is corporate leaders who bust unions and set their salaries hundreds of times higher than their average employee, and trade policies that cost workers in the U.S. their jobs while abusing laborers overseas.
There's lots of things wrong in society. But universities censoring conservatives doesn't appear to be one of them, since it doesn't seem to be going on at all.
FEW APOLOGIES FOR POLITICAL INCORRECTNESS
If you're almost anywhere in America, go switch on a commercial music radio station. Chances are, you'll be confronted with music selections that are horribly edited to delete "dirty" or "violent" or "blasphemous" or "drug-related" or "peeing-related" lyrics that may mildly offend even one listener - but not the thousands of listeners who are irritated by such arbitrary censorship. If the station is owned by Clear Channel, the DJ might come on later and encourage motorists to deliberately wreck into bicyclists - which is attempted murder - but anything else potentially offensive is not to be heard via these wastes of wattage.
Political correctness has run amok, my friends. You can't say this, you can't say that - and if you slip up, watch out!
There's some things that are just a matter of human decency: You wouldn't scream out "FUCK!!!" during the most solemn part of a funeral. Nor would we go around saying things designed to offend any ethnic group. But there are some matters that increasingly aren't just blown out of proportion but are actually exploited - by the same individuals who wrongly accuse their foes of engaging in this very type of exploitation and blame imagined political correctness for their own failures.
A related phenomenon we've noticed lately is this form of demagoguery being used against those who didn't even make any statement that could even be remotely construed as some bigoted dig. In fact it's used against people who have yet to say anything at all about the topic at hand. Recently we were shocked and angered to find conservatives - for all their hatemongering - engaging in this vile discourse to zing their opponents, despite the fact that we progressive populists have a strong record of opposing bigotry. As base as this trend is, we'll save further discussion of it for another day.
The political correctness we're talking about here is employed by those who are out of real arguments, but it's surprisingly effective in silencing dissent, and that's why it's our duty to warn you about it.
During the 11-year history of The Last Word we've run into more and more resistance from these false prophets of taste and good manners for items that in our first year would have never even raised an eyebrow. Maybe their grasp of language arts is so poor that they don't understand the beauty of common idioms and words, and they subconsciously project their own inner turmoil onto what they read. I endured a zillionth-rate education, but there's a big difference between shitty schooling and the intentional stupidity of our detractors.
Not everything is misinterpreted by the intentionally ignorant - but even what they interpret properly doesn't pass their rigid test of political correctitude. In our case, an obvious example is articles dealing with religion. A lot of people seem to get all upset when religion is even mentioned. They'll attack you as a Satan worshiper or a communist for your writings. More to the point, every experience I've ever had with religion has been negative, and I'm not alone. DUUUH, right-wing idiots!!! When religion affects government policy, you can bet we're gonna say something. Religion has for many years seemed to us to create things for us to rebel against - and I feel I should have no regrets about rebelling against rules that seem to exist just for their own sake. Since I was a teenager I have tried to do the right thing, and I don't care one fucking bit if the Taliban at Bishop Brossart High School thinks it's wrong.
A couple of news items I saw while working on this article reinforced more than ever my mutiny against religious extremism. If some fanatic doesn't like it, then tough shit.
We KNOW what the reaction from conservatives is going to be to some of our early articles when we get those online. It ain't gonna be cordial. The malcontents are out of arguments, so they have to incite people to advance their causes. We're more susceptible to this gimmick than other liberal outlets because we've focused on economic more than social issues, but others are far from immune to it.
Only very recently - within the past few months - has a new and undefinable type of political charlatanism attained such an ear-splitting howl. The right wing of today has a perverse and phony unity that mocks all the truths the rest of us hold dear.
Censored literature is dull and unlively. Text should jump off the page and clop you on your bulbous cranium. Literature should stimulate the brain and make you think. But it's clear these days that thinking can get you into trouble, because now we're all expected to be not human beings but machines to perform capitalism's work.
What would be regrettable is for us to offend innocents. We may not be perfect like we're expected to be, but we think we've done a fine job of avoiding that, and our strong record should speak for itself.
But there's some things we won't apologize for: We won't shed a tear over raking through the coals the hopelessly clueless. Racist clods are one category of those who we should mercilessly offend. Child molesters are also fair game to ridicule. So are religious extremists, greedy business executives, terrorists, and miscellaneous assholes. They can summon the language police to try to twist our words, but if they don't like what we have to say, that's...
TOO FUCKING BAD!!!
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(Copywrong 2003. Online edition created with Internet Exploder 6.)
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