The Last Word (tm) SURPRISE!
A nonpartisan populist zine!
Vol. 13/No. 8 - 407th issue - July 4, 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
SO MUCH FOR THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM!
This Fourth of July, celebrate the two-party political system America USED TO have - because the two major parties have now become almost identical on many important issues.
Last month, the U.S. Senate voted 99 to 1 to approve a Republican bill to increase mammothly the fines paid by radio and TV personalities for so-called "indecency". Never mind what the First Amendment says about Congress restricting free speech, for Congress has been ignoring the Constitution for years now.
The Senate's bill - which was smuggled into an otherwise unrelated defense authorization bill - would increase the fine for announcers nearly 300 times to a maximum of a staggering $3,000,000.
Meanwhile, wages are stagnating, jobs are leaving the country, the health care system is in ruins, and soldiers are dying in a war Bush started - but lawmakers of both parties sit on their pampered asses and let things get worse.
Only one Democrat (John Breaux of Louisiana) opposed the "indecency" bill - and no Republican opposed it.
The bill's sponsor, right-wing Republican Sam Brownback of Kansas, gloated, "This is something the public wants." No, it isn't, Sammy. The public wants health care and jobs more than it wants the government deciding what they're allowed to listen to on the radio.
Democratic leaders haven't only caved on the culture wars. They've done so even more on economic matters.
For example, take a look at this preposterous statement:
"Another idea is expanding the school year to 11 or 12 months. We need to update the calendar to fit today’s reality. A longer school year may be necessary to meet the educational demands of the 21st century."
What Republican said that?
Tommy Thompson? William Bennett? Dumbya? Nope!
You'll be shocked that it wasn't a Republican who said it! It was Dick Gephardt - A DEMOCRAT!
We could have supported a Gephardt campaign in the '90s - before he spouted off with this punitive idea that sounds more like the babbling of a right-wing think tank than the reasoned writings of a respected Democratic congressman. What's truly striking though is that, among all major politicians in America, Gephardt seems among the least likely to support such a punishing concept. Judging by that, you can only imagine what thoughts must lurk deep in the minds of other politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike.
Sure, the Republicans are worse, but what good are the Democrats when they sink to copying failed Republican ideas like year-round school? Ten years ago, it was almost unthinkable that a Democrat who was thought to be economically liberal would support something so silly.
Gephardt is often mentioned as a possible running mate for John Kerry. Now, we'll admit Kerry and Gephardt would be better than you know who, but it's sad that the Democrats can't find a candidate who publicly criticizes policies like year-round school that rob America's families and children.
Gephardt's own statement yields enough proof that he's endorsing a bullshit idea. He continues, "Year-round schooling would also provide another way for schools to help fill the child-care gap by providing a learning environment for kids during summer months." Firstly, a school's job isn't to be a daycare center. Secondly, the child care gap exists because parents must work longer hours than they used to in order to support their kids. Instead of locking schoolchildren in prison-like schools for 3 extra months each year, why not focus more attention on the wage stagnation that has slowly worsened over most of the past 20 years? Thirdly, a person 20 years ago who never attended college could find a much better job than a college graduate today. Instead of forcing everyone to put in more time in school, wouldn't it be better to rein in Corporate America's downsizing, outsourcing, and exploitation? Year-round school ruins lives by molding young minds into cheap, docile labor.
Quality of education - not quantity - matters.
If there's a major difference between the two parties, it's in their intent, not their actions. Today's Republican leaders fuck things up on purpose. The Democrats simply splutter in the hopes they'll get things right eventually.
What's discussed above are just a few examples of the sellout of Democratic leaders. Like when Coke changed its flavor in the '80s to mimic Pepsi, even though Pepsi lagged in sales, the Democrats changed their tune in the '90s to copy the Republicans, even though the Republicans had less public support. It was a dumb move. In addition, debate of current events has moved so far to the right that so-called liberals today would have been considered conservative 20 years ago.
Next time you hear someone smoldering about how you should pick a major party or shut up, remember this article.
KKK WHINES ABOUT LOSING TRUE FREE SPEACH NOW
There's a big difference between free speech and True Free Speach Now (tm).
True Free Speach Now is when some unsavory person or organization sheds crocodile tears over their First Amendment rights allegedly being violated when the evidence suggests otherwise. Usually such characters have no case. Even in the rare instance when they do have a case, they support denying freedom of speech to those who they disagree with.
Pat Robertson loves his True Free Speach Now. His followers have lobbied legislators to defeat laws against school bullying, because they claim the right to be a terrorist on a school campus is covered by the First Amendment. Is that stupid or what? Yet they support censoring people who don't agree with them.
The racist morons who compose the Ku Klux Klan also trot out the True Free Speach Now defense to cloak their actions - even though they support taking away civil rights of others!
Not long ago, the University of Louisville refused to ensure that the KKK and the National Alliance wouldn't appear on campus to try to recruit new followers. What was especially irritating about this was the fact that Northern Kentucky University - which is also supported by the state of Kentucky - banned us from campus because, among other things, our newsletter opposes racism. These days, the only people who seem to have rights are militant racists. I was jailed for a day for distributing print copies of The Last Word at NKU, but the University of Louisville refused to ban racist groups from recruiting students - even though one of the racist groups had vandalized a kiosk! Furthermore, I had been a student at NKU and had planned on returning to school there - but the subjects who appeared at U of L weren't students at all.
U of L eventually gave the KKK explicit permission to distribute flyers on campus.
Apparently, however, U of L finally got fed up with the Klan tearing up school property, and several of the Klan members were asked to leave the campus.
So what's a Klansman to do? File a frivolous lawsuit, of course!
Now that's rich - a group that opposes others' rights suing over its own rights allegedly being violated. Of course, I don't think the Klan's rights were violated, for the university bent over backwards to accommodate them - but that's beside the point.
I know the KKK never did have much grip on reality, but this shit is fucking ridiculous.
Unfortunately we're told that there are as many as 6 separate Klan organizations in Kentucky. Worse yet, a Klan chapter in Eastern Kentucky is reportedly run by a cop.
I'm sick of these losers. Hopefully someday they'll go away.
TOLEDO SCHOOLS IN GRIP OF TYRANNY
WTOL-TV in Toledo - displaying the typical pro-uniform bias that pervades the "mainstream" media - gloats that all of the city's elementary schools have fallen under the grip of right-wing tyranny by adopting a mandatory uniform policy.
Wow, the youth of Toledo must really be a privileged few. That MUST be an exclusive school system for an elite class of youngsters, for if a student wishes not to wear a uniform, they can surely transfer to a school for us lowly commoners, right?
That's sarcasm, people.
Supposedly this IS the common public school system! If you live in Toledo, and you wish to exercise your right to a public school education, you are in effect compelled to wear a uniform. Private schools can tell students who refuse to wear a uniform to go to school elsewhere - but now public schools think they can do the same, even though school is compulsory.
In other words, Toledoans who oppose uniforms are barred from attending school - despite being required to attend school.
The TV station didn't interview anyone who dared to speak out against uniforms, but I'm sure that in a city of 300,000 (which Bush lost) they could have found one if they had at least made the effort to present a balanced story. What I don't understand is why hundreds of students aren't marching down to the courthouse to sue the school system.
It's the sort of thing that makes me wish I wasn't born 20 years too early and 200 miles too far south - because I sue. I'd rub my hands together in excitement at the mere thought of challenging the school over its stupid dress code. I live for shit like this.
Grow a backbone, folks. In a public school, you have a moral and constitutional right to be allowed to opt out of a uniform policy. Exercise this right. If the school won't let you opt out, fuck them. Let them do their worst to try to enforce a dress code that you ignore day after day. If they still don't get it, remember that courts exist for a reason.
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(Copywrong 2004. Online edition created with Internet Exploder 6.)
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