The Last Word (tm) SURPRISE!
A nonpartisan populist zine!
Vol. 13/No. 5 - 404th issue - March 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
MORE PROOF BUSH IS FULL OF SHIT
It's hard for Bush to look like more of a fool than he already does, but in an interview with Chris Matthews on MSNBC, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo helped him to do just that. Cuomo, a popular Democratic statesman, offered keen insight on America's crumbled economy that's rarely uttered even though everyone knows it's true.
Cuomo said Bush's record "is close to being an abject failure." Now there's an understatement. Bush's record isn't just close to being an abject failure - it IS an abject failure!
Cuomo went on to say, "There's a big difference between a technically good economy, which is production, distribution, and consumption of goods, and whether your people are doing well." He pointed out that 140,000,000 workers are "in deep doo-doo" and that 15,000,000 are already out of work or working only part-time.
He further elaborated on the plight of the working class. Health care costs rise 12% while wages increase 1% at most, assuming you can even find a job. It's "a good economy if you're a big corporation, if you have a lot of shares in a good corporation." Cuomo went on to inquire, "When we read news that says the economy is terrific, ask yourself: Terrific for whom?"
He continued with an explanation of the failures of giving tax breaks to the rich using the rationale that they'll reinvest while failing to ease the tax burden on the working class.
But since you've read us for 11 years you already knew about all that.
In today's America, with its yawning gorge between rich and poor, the stock market and corporate profits are antithetical to the financial interests of the average person. When the market booms, you find your wallet getting lighter. Simply put, money that isn't invested becomes less valuable - and corporations profit mightily from mishandling workers and exploiting sweatshop labor. (Slavery in its purest forms generates an estimated $13,000,000,000 in annual profits for corporations and individual slaveholders worldwide, while enslaved workers receive none of that sum.) When the media babbles rosy economic statistics as it's done lately, look around you at the growing number of families who have to reside in crowded shacks and live off food stamps.
Do you believe Bush and the media - or do you believe what you've seen and experienced?
THE NUTTIEST BILL EVER IN CONGRESS?
We thought we saw it all during the 104th Reich, but a Kentucky congressman and 11 of his madcap cohorts have managed to outdo perhaps anything that was proposed under the Contract With America.
Republican Ron Lewis of Kentucky's 2nd District - himself an extreme conservative - has teamed up with his fellow House members Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), Terry Everett (R-Alabama), Richard Pombo (R-California), the despicable Howard Coble (R-North Carolina), Mac Collins (R-Georgia), Virgil Goode (R-Virginia), Joseph Pitts (R-Pennsylvania), Trent Franks (R-Arizona), the atrocious Joel Hefley (R-Colorado), John Doolittle (R-California), and Jack Kingston (R-Georgia) to introduce a proposed law called the Congressional Accountability For Judicial Activism Act.
You're gonna think this is a joke - a hoax concocted to discredit Republicans. When we first saw it that's what we thought. But it's real! You can go look it up on thomas.loc.gov. For your convenience, the bill is numbered H.R. 3920.
What this bill would do is permit Congress, upon approval by two-thirds of each house, to overturn any new Supreme Court ruling that concerns the constitutionality of a law passed by Congress. In other words, when Congress passes a law that's unconstitutional, the Supreme Court wouldn't be able to strike it down, because Congress would just override the Supreme Court if it did.
Then why even have a Supreme Court?
This would be fucking laughable - if it wasn't such a serious matter!
The text of the bill includes a flimsy self-justification that cites the Constitution's Article III, but in fact, the Constitution doesn't give Congress the authority to completely remove a case from the Supreme Court's jurisdiction - let alone one involving the constitutionality of Congress's laws.
We would welcome impeachment of Supreme Court Justices based on their own statements that they've placed contrived principles such as the "role model effect" ahead of constitutional law that they've sworn to uphold. Impeachment, however, should only be used in light of their choice to shove the Constitution aside, not because their rulings are merely wrong. That's how the system of checks and balances is supposed to work. Perversely, conservatives in Congress generally support rulings in which the Supremes admit to placing a higher priority on things like the "role model effect" than on the Constitution - so their hypocrisy is once again on display in front of the world (yes, the world that's laughing at them).
We know you're tempted to say it would serve conservatives right if progressives gained control of Congress and used Ron Lewis's law to overturn conservative rulings by the Supreme Court - but like we said, such a law doesn't pass constitutional muster in the first place, so don't expect us progressives to make use of it.
Besides, regardless of what political faction controls Congress, wouldn't Lewis's legislation be struck down by the Supreme Court before Congress could take advantage of it?
(Last year the Supreme Court took it upon itself to reduce a punitive damage award against Ford Motor in the case of a fatal car crash - overturning a California state court decision. In addition to proving that the Supreme Court is closely allied with big corporations that sell defective products, it also makes conservatives - who claim to be champions of states' rights - look even more hypocritical than they already do. And by having to pay only 1.2% of its net worth in the original verdict, Ford was getting off easy even before the Supremes intervened. Why isn't Congress outraged about this?)
A bill that was almost as ridiculous as Lewis's bill was introduced last year by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri). His Pledge Protection Act would have specifically banned lower federal courts from ruling whether forced recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance violates the First Amendment (which it does). Any court in its right mind would just strike down this law if it passed, so Akin and dozens of his colleagues just looked stupid by sponsoring this bill.
The Pledge Protection Act was part of a whole series of bad bills last year. Other bills would have given tax-exempt status to churches engaging in political activity or prohibited the court-ordered removal of Roy Moore's Ten Commandments monument in Alabama's judicial building from being enforced.
Congressional activism that overrules or prevents legitimate court rulings - solely because Congress disagrees with the courts - would lay hulk to the very foundation of America's civic system. It appeals to a small but loudmouthed segment of voters: the financially secure New Right of America's newest suburbs, who are almost as far to the political right as possible both economically and socially.
Save me from tomorrow. I don't want to sail with this ship of fools.
BE PREPARED FOR MORE FRAUD!
For all that's been reported on the rigging of the 2000 election in Florida, it's almost been forgotten that some of the ballots there failed to list Democratic candidates for Congress, and some actually listed the wrong candidates.
Or - far more damning to the GOP than the "dimpled chads" flap - the fact that a precinct in Volusia County with only 600 voters reported MINUS 16,022 votes for Gore, so Gore's total dropped by 16,022 and caused him to lose the so-called election. Internal memos at Diebold Election Systems, which makes voting equipment, revealed a suspicious glitch in the memory cards of the machines, probably caused by a second memory card being uploaded from an unauthorized source - such as Republican operatives working at the polls, perhaps?
Or that county workers found that one of the bags of ballots in their vault was thrown onto a shelf with ballots spilling out of it, as if somebody had pawed through it to throw away ballots that were not to their liking. Or the state barring people from voting because they were on a phony list of convicted felons - even though they were actually law-abiding citizens. Or the racial intimidation by poll workers and police - including the fact that Hispanic voters in Osceola County were required to present two forms of identification instead of one. Or the polling place that was bulldozed without notice.
Diebold is a very right-wing firm, as FEC records suspiciously show that most of its executives donated to the failed 1998 reelection campaign of Sen. Lauch Faircloth (R-North Carolina) within a few days of each other. To give you an idea of what his views were like, Faircloth helped lead a "Christian reconstructionist" organization that wanted to revoke the right to vote from non-Christians, establish a theocratic government, and impose the death penalty for homosexuality. Also, many websites exposing Diebold have mysteriously vanished.
So keep your eyes peeled for election fraud this November. There's certain to be some.
Oh, and by the way, we never did hear the outcome of the recount in the 1998 Senate election in Kentucky that the Republicans stole and in which the electricity suspiciously went out in Democratic precincts. Nor have we ever been offered an explanation (other than "their poo also voted") of why Bush received more votes in Loving County, TX, than the number of people who live in the county.
DRIVER GETS OFF EASY FOR TRYING TO KILL ANTIWAR ACTIVISTS
It's no secret that Hamilton County is run mostly by corrupt fascist boors who scoff at freedom of expression, and in recent months there's been a new reason to spit back in the face of the murderous New Right, as it continues to spew its hatred through its clenched molars.
On Ezzard Charles Drive in Cincinnati the operator of a tractor-trailer rig drove onto the sidewalk in an attempt to run over antiwar demonstrators (some of whom were veterans). One of the protesters who was scattered was in a wheelchair.
The cops charged the driver with several minor offenses - but he should have been charged with attempted murder. In fact, his rampage was nothing short of an open-and-shut case of terrorism. If he had killed anyone, it would fit the definition of one of the most serious federal crimes on the books: terrorism resulting in death.
You'd think anyone who would try to kill peaceful demonstrators by running them over with a vehicle would be serving hard time and be reduced to nothing more than a wild beast gnashing their teeth in a cage. But here's the really shocking part of this story: The driver got off with just a measly $240 fine, just so the county could say he was punished. Not only is he not in prison, but he's still allowed to drive!
America now has the highest imprisonment rate in the world, being over 6 times as high as any other industrialized nation. While the census reports that the country's population grew by 13% in the '90s, the number of people behind bars tripled. Why? Because so many minor crimes that weren't even prosecuted 20 years ago now bring a harsh jail term - and because the "justice" system is so bloodthirsty that it often throws the book at the accused and convicts innocent people. In New York City a person was even charged for the "crime" of sitting on a milk crate!
Yet someone who commits a serious violent crime gets only a token fine!
Why doesn't the Republican Party of Hamilton County just come right out and admit it supports attempts to murder people who dare to disagree with its views?
This is just like when young right-wing terrorists at my high school bribed Campbell County authorities to allow them to attack their many enemies.
Media coverage of this outrage has of course been minimal - but that's what we expect in a country that doesn't have freedom of the press. TV networks in, say, Chile have reported the Iraq War accurately, but the Pentagon censors U.S. media, forbidding them from showing scenes they don't want the public to see. Not even Big Bird is safe from the rightist propaganda mill: A PBS special on the rigged 2000 election spoke favorably of the Supreme Court dictating the final result. That program had been underwritten by numerous right-wing interests.
We could tire you with a litany of examples of right-wing media censorship and bias and of the authorities' tolerance of violence against dissidents, but what's been stated here should be sufficient to acquaint you with the mounting fascism of this postdemocratic era.
WHAT?! MORE REPUBLICAN SCANDALS?! YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!
Why won't Sonny Perdue, the incompetent right-wing governor of Georgia who won the rigged 2002 election, PAY HIS TAXES LIKE EVERYONE ELSE?!
Oh, I know. It's because he thinks he's above the law.
His agricultural supplies company owed thousands of dollars in back taxes in 2 counties. Perdue didn't waste time in coming up with excuses to defend his tax evasion.
Maybe we should also mention how the teenage son of fascist Gov. Bill Owens of Colorado was charged with a series of felonies including burglary following his involvement in a crime spree at his school.
Remember about 10 years ago when conservatives were jacking off uncontrollably at their "superpredator" concept? Their vision of a "superpredator" was a violent teenage hooligan committing every crime imaginable and showing no remorse. The "superpredator" would make a former classmate of mine who once set a couch on fire in the woods and grew up to become a guest of the Ohio corrections system look as meek as one of the "Brady Bunch" kids. But the "superpredator" was the New Right's best friend, because it was something they could rail against in order to get elected.
(It's kind of like what someone said about David Horowitz's "whack Osama" website, modeled after the carnival game where you whack a monster with a mallet and it pops back up in another hole. Just as Horowitz and other conservatives want their friend Osama bin Laden - who they supported for years - to keep popping up so they can trot him out to advance their own perverted political goals, they also want fictitious "superpredators" to keep reappearing for the same reason.)
For all the noise the New Right generated about "superpredators" - ah, never mind.
FASCISM COMES TO LIFE IN OHIO SCHOOLS
To give you an idea of the fascism that rules the roost these days in America's schools, we've found two similar stories from last year about some incidents in Ohio that illustrate perfectly what a slaughterhouse the education system has become.
In the first incident, a teenage girl who was the victim of schoolmongering allegedly brang a knife to school after threatening to stab the so-called student who was harassing her. In our opinion, the student with the knife was only defending herself. She was doing what any other normal person would do. But she was victimized on two fronts - once by her schoolmate who had attacked her, and again by the so-called "justice" system, which placed her in a juvenile detention center for daring to defend herself. She was charged with two different trumped-up crimes - aggravated assault and possession of a concealed weapon - which clearly violates the safeguard against double jeopardy.
Since the knife wasn't actually used, how is it assault?
The law against concealed weapons isn't even meant for things like this. Recently, while we were at work, we saw an oafish man - who did not appear to be a police officer - strolling down a busy street in downtown Cincinnati with a menacing handgun prominently displayed in a holster on the waist of his slacks. We're not as strongly anti-gun as you might expect, but if you can bop around with a loaded firearm on a crowded street when there appears to be no specific danger to justify carrying a gun, then I think a student has every right to use a much less powerful weapon to defend themselves against a threat that is very specific and real - especially since the school failed to protect her! Most of my contemporaries would agree.
In the other incident, a 15-year-old high school student was held in a detention center after she stabbed an aggressing classmate in the shoulder with scissors. The student who was stabbed deserved it, as he had been harassing her. The charge was "delinquency by reason of felonious assault" - but attorneys said provocation can be used as a defense in cases like this.
There ought to be a law.
The law should prohibit prosecution of students who use defensive force against schoolmongering. The events discussed above almost certainly would not have resulted in criminal charges in the America of a quarter-century ago, even if it was illegal under statutory law, because common law - yes, common sense - would have prevailed. If there were charges, they would have most likely been against the initial assailants, not against the students who fought them off. Back then, the prevailing view would have been that those who were stabbed had it coming. That's one of the reasons there was far less school harassment and violence back then.
We shouldn't have to legislate common sense, but since schools have none, we must.
Bush and the media are crediting his tax cuts for the very rich with America's supposedly record high rate of home ownership.
Only problem is that the rate of home ownership is declining, and has been for most of the past 20 years.
So they lied. Big surprise.
And before you show us statistics to try to prove otherwise, remember that economically disadvantaged households are less likely to even be counted in official reports now than 20 years ago. Statistics from after 2000 are based partially on that year's flawed census, inflated to account for intercensal population estimates - and I'm one of those who wasn't even counted in the census, since I'm not rich and I'm not a Republican. Hell, there were whole towns left off the census - and they're Democratic ones.
Instead of counting the burgeoning underclass, the government just sticks its fingers in its ears and shuts us out like we don't exist. To the Bush regime, WE ARE NOT PEOPLE! Oh, except of course when the FCC shut down our radio station, and when our finances were audited because of our political views - then we started existing.
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(Copywrong 2004. Online edition created with Internet Exploder 6.)
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