The Last Word (tm) SURPRISE!
A nonpartisan populist zine!
Vol. 13/No. 2 - 401st issue - January 28, 2004
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
FBI AFRAID OF ALMANACS
The FBI (Fumbling Bunch of Idiots) is one of many in that alphabet soup of federal agencies that has been hopelessly plagued by corruption as far back as even an old dude like me can remember.
Around Christmas and New Year's the government tried to scare us with its CoDe OrAnGe bullshit - which effectively shut down New Year's festivities in New York and other cities for anyone with enough dignity to refuse to be treated like a criminal - but anybody with sense knew it was just an excuse for the government to do exactly that.
We all know the FBI doesn't do its job. The average citizen who tries to rely on their local FBI office to go after real federal crimes usually finds themselves confronted with a bumbling office staff that passes the buck to another regional office or to the local police (after the local cops have already said to contact the FBI) - and a dangerous criminal goes unpunished. But the FBI salivates whenever the terrorism threat level is increased, because it gives them a pretext for harassing innocents.
In the CoDe OrAnGe frenzy (note the alternating capital letters to mock the juvenile nature of the terror alert system), the FBI sent a bulletin to law enforcement agencies throughout America ordering them to hassle people who read almanacs. They claim that the reference volumes - which were invented by Benjamin Franklin and contain such s00per secret information as metric measurements, calendars, and the birthdates of famous people - can be used by terrorists.
Peter Geiger of Farmers' Almanac, known for its weather predictions, said, "Our almanac is about as far away as you can get from terrorism and about as close as you can get to what you would think of as Americana."
The FBI is composed of what are probably the only people in the world to suffer from "almanac-phobia".
It's hardly a surprise that the FBI would single out innocent reference tomes as an excuse to interrogate people - for in a separate bulletin the FBI urged a crackdown against peaceful antiwar protesters, solely because they disagree with the government.
The hypocrisy and almost perfect misarrangement of priorities reeks to high hell. When the government barred aircraft from getting too close to Las Vegas on New Year's Eve, it applied to every aircraft EXCEPT commercial jets. Commercial airlines pose a far greater threat to your life than almanacs and peace activists do. For years we've been reporting how red hot engine parts and other pieces of their jets have been falling off planes in midair and crashing through roofs, because the airlines are so irresponsible. Commercial flights should be as far away from heavily populated places as possible because of this alone - and not just on New Year's. The airline industry is guided by greed, greed, greed - and they lobby the government to get what they want, and that's why there's so little regulation on commercial airline movement. If some terrorist had hijacked a commercial flight and crashed it into the middle of Las Vegas on New Year's Eve it would have been largely due to airline greed.
As code creep crawls just slowly enough that people are expected not to notice, CoDe ReD is a very real possibility in the near future. And that's when the real fun begins. Experts say that when CoDe ReD occurs the government would likely shut down national landmarks and set up unconstitutional roadblocks on the nation's streets.
Code creep, of course, is part of the larger phenomenon of tyranny creep. Assaults on our freedom that were almost unthinkable in America only 3 years ago - a full decade AFTER my observation that "America is fast becoming a police state" - are now accepted without question. That my statement was made that long ago and things have steadily worsened since then proves just how bad things are now - but it's happened slowly enough that most people don't realize it. Here's an analogy: If you shove your hand into scalding water, you'll reflexively pull away. But if you put your hand in temperate water and slowly bring the pot to a boil, you won't notice your limb is charred until it's too late.
Public officials are already bragging that once CoDe ReD is issued you'll just have to get used to it - and you know what? Since tyranny creep as we know it began under Reagan, there are now millions of Americans who don't really know what freedom is, because they've never experienced it. Unless somebody teaches them what liberty is all about, they're not going to resist when the government pushes them around.
You know what I have to say?
Now come and arrest me!
MORE RIAA TYRANNY
The Recording Industry Assholciation of America thinks it's a law enforcement agency! (We use singular pronouns to refer to the RIAA because it represents a faceless construct more than it does actual people.)
Of course the laws it's enforcing are ones the people it hassles don't seem to be violating - but since the RIAA is no more of a law enforcement agency than, say, the militia movement is, and it is not a court of law, it thinks it is not bound by laws that prevent police from abusing their authority or by safeguards usually afforded to accused parties.
The RIAA has hired former police officers to form a makeshift agency to raid music vendors and close down their businesses, accusing them of piracy. These vendors may or not be guilty of piracy - but the RIAA doesn't care if they're innocent. Its agents - who wear official-looking uniforms and vests - bust 'em anyway.
It seems the reason for these raids is that some vendors might sell music on independent labels that compete with the RIAA and that the RIAA is so paranoid about piracy that it'll close down many innocent sellers just to nail the few who may be real bootleggers.
But what the RIAA is really doing is impersonating the police - which is a crime itself. At least one vendor said the RIAA agents told him they were the cops and that they'd haul him away in handcuffs if he didn't let them confiscate his merchandise. The rogue agents even fill out incident reports listing the height, weight, and hair color of people they raid.
You know what that's like? That's like if I decide to dig up that toy sheriff's badge and costume I wore on Halloween when I was a kid and walk into a school somewhere and arrest the principal because there's a remote chance that the school might have an unconstitutional dress code.
Shockingly, the RIAA plays the race card to justify its actions. Its blatantly racist excuse for making incident reports is so far beneath the dignity of this newsletter that it doesn't even deserve a response except to say it's a fucking load of crap.
During the holiday season the RIAA Republicans seized over 100,000 items in its extrajudicial raids. In recent years, nongovernment organizations like the RIAA have become a refuge for individuals who enjoy abusing a badge. While the RIAA acts outside the law to badger vendors, it also expects the law to come to its defense, filing frivolous lawsuits and lobbying congresscritters to introduce harebrained bills to do its dirty work. One of its most corrosive capers was its lawsuit against a 12-year-old girl who lived in a housing project who dared to use an Internet file sharing program. The RIAA autocracy extorted $2,000 from her family to settle the suit. The RIAA also sued a 79-year-old man, accusing him of distributing pirated Vanilla Ice songs on the Internet - even though he did not own a computer or know how to use one.
The RIAA - which unfairly compared Kazaa to Joe Camel - also got right-wing members of Congress to introduce a bill that would require minors to obtain parental permission before using file sharing software.
But what did you expect from the RIAA? It's fascist, after all! It's even extorted money from webcasters in other countries, so fuck the RIAA some more!
But there's hope. The RIAA lost a court case in which it tried to force ISPs to rat out customers who use file sharing software. And the makers of Kazaa have filed a lawsuit against entertainment companies for using an unauthorized replica of their program to trespass onto the network, violating their terms of service agreement, and breaking antitrust regulations.
Hopefully the courts will get sick of the RIAA's shit and crush it like it's a big ol' Pepsi can.
DRIVING A STAKE THROUGH OUR HEART SO WE GO AWAY FOREVER
As if we're a vampire, there's been a concerted effort for years to drive a stake in our heart and completely discredit us - and once again we have to clear our name of some of the crap that's been attributed to us.
After life was splintered into subatomic shavings by a series of intolerable crises in my youth, what's amazing is that once every few months I receive an e-mail from someone who I thought acted like a jerk in school that expresses nothing but sheer praise for me now - but in the opinion of more recent critics on the Internet who falsely claim to be champions of progress, I should be impaled on one of those steel rods that they hang neckties from in department stores and beaten to a pulp with a rake handle.
Truth be told, the later crop of detractors doesn't know what the fuck they're talking about. The evidence that The Last Word has been a victim of sabotage at least since 1995 is staring them in the face, and yet these self-styled freedom fighters fail to comprehend it. If they had a genuine commitment to liberal causes, they'd take note of what's been going on for fear they might be the next victim - but instead they dare to question the degree of our commitment. The Internet is one of few places where Americans in recent times have claimed to be far more liberal than they really are - and ironically many of those who claim to be the most liberal accuse people who criticize conservative economic policies of being conservative.
Ya know, we're only one zine - with a staff of one. We can't do everything. They know this. And it might not be a big deal if not for the ammo that more virulent enemies in high places have given them by posting uneducated twaddle under our name - some of it filling entire articles, but sometimes being slipped into a legitimate original. We've been pretty sure that people in the federal government have been involved.
For most of the latter half of the '90s these parties maliciously took advantage of a complete breakdown of community (which many of these parties had helped cause), basically kicking us when we were already down. Their actions were poison - and I mean that both figuratively and literally. They didn't just break a zine. They broke a man.
Part of the blame lays with Google for not deleting phony posts despite our requests. It burns me up inside that I break my back all these years only to have Google help tear down all that hard work, and this proves the need for legislation to force Google to act.
People, if you see anything fishy, e-mail us to verify whether we did indeed write it.
Minus all that shit, we have a shining record that speaks for itself. These days, we know the problems that have set us back, and we're better at combating them. We survived. For quite a few years now I've sometimes felt as if my brain is being devoured alive by events I've experienced since youth, and I can do little more than lay on the bed and convulse, but The Last Word manages to take a lickin' and keep on tickin'.
We seem to get stronger after each crisis - and like we've said before, the fact that our enemies have been pissed off enough at us to go through so much woe to try to bring us down proves we've been doing something right, so we're gonna keep doing it.
WORDS FROM A PROVEN RACIST
Check out these words from known racist Trent Lott!
In 2000, when Clinton was President, Lott (the Mississsippi Hair Helmet) declared, "Any appointment of a federal judge during a recess should be opposed."
But a few days ago Lott - praising Bush's abuse of the process that allows him to appoint right-winger Charles Pickering to a federal judgeship while the Senate is in recess - beamed, "Judge Pickering's record deems this recess appointment fully appropriate."
Hey Trent Logg, ya big dummy, ya can't - ah, never mind.
The Senate Judiciary Committee had already rejected Pickering once, mostly because of his terrible civil rights record and his propensity for placing his own views above the law.
To give you an idea of what Bush's appointees to federal courts are like, look at what Pickering did in a racial intimidation case in 1994 when he served on a lower court: In this case, a racist fuckchop named Daniel Swan had joined two other right-wing fartpipes in burning a cross in front of an interracial couple's home and then fired shots into the house that almost struck the couple's baby. But Charles Pickering thinks that's all fine and dandy. After Swan had been sentenced to 7 years in the paholkey - as was called for under federal sentencing rules - Pickering violated the judicial ethics code by privately meeting with the prosecutors and threatening to order a new trial if they didn't agree to a lighter sentence.
This happened during a year in which right-wing Republicans somehow seemed to get elected by not doing a damn thing except have their egocentric, annoying pack of followers write identical letters to newspapers shrieking, "Bring back the hot seat and watch the crime rate go down!" - so it makes you wonder why one of their political allies would have so much compassion for a group of racist thugs that almost killed an infant. It's probably because they support racist terrorists.
These are the same people who write letters to prosecutors urging them to place 6-year-olds on trial as adults - even though they oppose giving kids basic rights that adults have. They even think parents should be allowed to force 17-year-olds to change their name or to join the KKK.
The intentionally ignorant have become America's ruling faction, and not just in states known to be conservative. Even in Massachusetts, right-wing extremists have tried to abuse the system there to undermine progress.
The New Right actually has few followers but it's just big enough that - when coupled with all the vote fraud that goes on and their frenzied pronouncements shouting down dissenters - it's a safe bet they control a majority of major elected offices nationwide.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
To The Editor Of The Last Word:
... YOU GODDAMN COMMUNIST!
AMERICA OFFLINE STRIKES AGAIN
At the risk of retaliation by the online industry, it behooves this newsletter to expose an unfortunate characteristic of America Online that has come to our attention.
We've been told that AOL is using its so-called "news service" to malign Howard Dean by running a "voter poll" that asks, "Which is funnier: Dean's Iowa speech, or parodies of Dean's Iowa speech?"
Clearly AOL is trying to mislead and misinform people about the presidential candidates. On the surface it may look like just a lighthearted josh on something a political figure says, like our brief piece on Mario Cuomo's "What is 6?" speech that appeared when Cuomo wasn't running for any public office. We probably wouldn't have mentioned that during an election in which Cuomo was running for anything, because we probably would have supported his campaign. But since Howard Dean IS running for something - and since AOL is a major element in corporate control of the media and has long leaned to the right anyway - it's obvious they want to undermine Dean's candidacy.
If we come across any more poopyisms for us to ridicule, we're gonna try to make sure they're conservative ones, so instead of balancing our own bias we can balance that of the "mainstream" media.
MORE SOCIAL ENGINEERING BULLSHIT FROM DUMBYA
In addition to his constant sneer, Bush always has a crazed look in his eye that makes us afraid to watch any of his tirades, for fear he might jump out of the TV and go on a homicidal rampage.
His State of the Union harangues are impossible for us to stomach - so we assign the difficult task of watching them to our longtime fans, who report back to us the right-wing gibberish that inevitably sluices from his gaping maw.
Clinton gave a wretched State of the Union address in 1996, but Bush's latest tops even that for the sheer amount of social engineering crap that managed to fill it.
The most shocking example? It's hard to tell, but it could be the Dumpilator announcing his intent to waste millions of taxpayer dollars on random drug tests of high school students. In addition to being clearly unconstitutional, that's the sort of thing that, if a President had advocated it 20 years ago, most of the members of Congress in the audience would just get up and walk out. But these days it is met with thunderous bipartisan applause from Congress. (That doesn't say a whole lot for the so-called two-party system, does it?)
We're wondering if every school system in America shouldn't just bring it on right now, because somebody is sure to sue the living dickens out of them when they do. I can't possibly imagine that forcing someone to take a drug test just to go to school would be upheld by the courts - and even if it is, there's 50,000,000 students in America, so there's bound to be at least one who simply won't submit to a drug test no matter what, and their bravery in standing up against the Nazis is going to have a ripple effect.
Hey Georgie, why don't you write an executive order requiring every 30-year-old to take a drug test? Please. I'm in a lawsuit-filin' mood, so don't delay!
Seriously, there aren't many things that are sillier than forced drug tests of high school students. Never underestimate the significance of basic privacy and civil liberties issues - something lost not only on the GOPstapo but also on New Democrats pandering to whiny suburbanites who don't care if anyone has their rights trampled by their desire to make everything look all nicey-nice when it isn't. (We'd like to talk about the Democrats' sellout on personal autonomy in more detail, but we don't have room for it in this ish.)
Bush also discussed his proposal for abstinence-only sex education. A few of you may think that's just fine and dandy - except everyone knows it doesn't work! In most of our local school systems, they preach abstinence. Only. This has failed to stem the rate of teenage pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases.
I don't know if it's possible to be more batshit than the school drug test proposal, but here's something that comes damn close: Bush also supports a constitutional amendment - yes, a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT - to override state laws that recognize civil unions and domestic partnerships of gays. The proposed amendment would seem to even prevent states from granting employee benefits to domestic partners. It would read, in part, "Neither this Constitution or the Constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups." What ever happened to the Republicans' support for states' rights?
Because right-wing Republicans in Congress are already trying to revoke federal funds from states that permit ads for medical marijuana on public transportation systems, I don't think we should be under any illusions that Republicans are champions of local autonomy. But what's just as irritating as their hypocrisy on states' rights is their notion that the Constitution should be cluttered with social engineering shit. There are many things in America's civic life that everyone just takes for granted but aren't even mentioned by name in the Constitution. So what's the excuse for mucking up the Constitution with an amendment that, of all things, trumps states that allow civil unions?
If they want to use the federal muscle to regulate domestic relationships, they should start with a prohibition on forced marriages of the very young. But apparently conservatives in the government are all for forced child marriages, judging by their silence on the issue.
(An aside we can't find room for anywhere else: We suspect a massive fraud designed to silence dissent on the Internet has been perpetrated for years by conservatives in federal and state government agencies. Even if there is no fraud, we know about the New Right's intentions, based on what it's done and said elsewhere, so - well, maybe we'll talk about this some other time.)
You probably all remember the obnoxious kid in the neighborhood who everyone said was going to end up in jail someday. From the Contract With America through the Bush era, American conservatism has been like the imp we all knew - consistenly doing the wrong thing for its own sake. The difference is that the New Right claims to be guardians of morality - even while jailing the homeless and starting a war in which they kill innocent children. While they support strict regimentation of personal behavior (except their own), they favor complete deregulation of monopolistic corporations.
America can't be governed by a 57-year-old juvenile delinquent who probably confuses the "nuclear Stratego" game he plays by dropping encyclopedias on a game board with the real war he started. The Commander-in-Thief is out of control.
JAILS SUED FOR TORTURE
This story is a few months old, but we haven't heard anything new on it in a while, so anyway...
It seems the Campbell County Jail is the target of a federal lawsuit over torture of inmates detained there. According to the suit, jail staff denied meals to an inmate, held him against a wall and sprayed pepper spray in his face, tied him to a chair and left him stranded for hours in a recreation yard, and allowed other inmates to assault him.
Now, since we weren't in jail when the alleged torture took place, we can't verify it. But it's hard to side with the Campbell County Jail after the Grant County Jail was the subject of an entire series of lawsuits over torture there.
An attorney in the Grant County suits said he had been receiving 5 to 10 calls daily from people who had been tortured at the Grant County Jail. An 18-year-old inmate was sexually assaulted by a group of other inmates - something he claims the guards encouraged them to do. In another case, an inmate said guards had beaten him bloody. A nurse at the jail claimed in a lawsuit that she was fired for refusing to lie to investigators about the torture.
Why are we even mentioning this? To enlighten those who still believe the ruling regime is their friend.
After I was held in the Campbell County Jail for 12 hours for a crime that I was not only innocent of but also was not even an offense that one may be taken to jail for - while real criminals freely roam the streets of Cold Spring and fill my e-mail box with Nazi propaganda - one would have to be a fool to think America has a real justice system based on real laws.
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(Copywrong 2004. Online edition created with Internet Exploder 6.)
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