the last word (tm)
15/No. 4 - 427th issue - June 28, 2006
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SURPRISE! NKU VIOLATES FREE SPEECH AT BUSH EVENT
June 28 - It was May 18 that we published our previous issue, in which we predicted that Northern Kentucky University (despite the school's grandstanding about what a great First Amendment stronghold the school was in defending NKU Right To Life's ability to erect its displays on a lawn where nobody else has been allowed to post anything) would surely later be caught infringing on the free speech of those the school disagrees with (as had happened there before).
It was May 19 - only one day after the publication of that ish - that NKU did exactly what we forecast.
Guess - just guess - who came to speak at the Highland Heights campus on that fateful Friday? This little idiot:
(While you're at it, peep the text of the news ticker segment below Chimpy's abhorrent visage.)
If we at The Last Word thought we were more powerful and important than we are, we would have thought some big shot at the White House had sent Bush to appear at NKU just for the sake of trying to show us who's boss. In reality, however, it was the other way around: The university president actually invited Bush to speak.
Although it was a thinly disguised partisan event, it wasn't just at NKU. It was, in effect, sponsored in part by this so-called public university: Nazi Klansman University acquired a block of tickets to the speech, which it then distributed to some students and professors, local high schools, and Gateway Community & Technical College. Inviting a sitting politician to speak at your school wouldn't be so bad if not for the fact that 1) it was a war criminal like Bosh; and 2) it was such a transparently partisan appearance.
How nice it was for Kentucky taxpayers and tuition-paying students to so generously choose to finance a Republican assembly they don't even agree with. Wait, they didn't choose to.
You don't believe it was partisan, or at least ideological? The Chickenhawk-in-Chief wasn't there for some patriotic celebration. He was outlining a cause he calls his American Competitiveness Initiative, which he first revealed during his most recent State of the Union snoozer. This is another gimmick to make America more "competitive" in the "global economy." When you hear some fuddy-duddy talking about "competing" in the "global economy" or "marketplace", it's shorthand for having workers toil for longer hours for less pay - and spending more years in school just to get a job that's less desirable than what one would have gotten 30 years ago.
What does the "global economy" mean? These days, if you work for a large business, it's hard to see what the point is in even waking up each morning, unless you're a high-ranking executive. Big Business makes money off the backs of the workers who do most of the real labor. That includes not just menial laborers but also skilled workers who used to make a decent living. Pilots at some major airlines, for example, who have passengers' lives in their hands, are sometimes paid so little that they qualify for food stamps.
If pilots are so poorly compensated, what about less lucrative occupations? According to the Service Employees International Union, a janitor in Cincinnati must now work a staggering 95 hours a week to support themselves, their spouse, and 2 children. But that's at $7.50 an hour, which is still more than federal minimum wage. In many other careers, the minimum wage of $5.15 is the norm.
NKU is the only institution of higher book-burnin' that we at The Last Word have ever been expelled from - and naturally it's also one of very few Bush praised as a model for his American Competitiveness Initiative.
Most of Bush's tirade wasn't even about that though. A majority of the speech was devoted to pumping up the Iraq War. Now there's a nonpartisan cause - not!
"Free speech zone" shrinks
Unsurprisingly, Dumbya attracted several hundred protesters. Even more unsurprisingly, NKU tried to stifle their right to free speech.
Nazi Klansman University relegated dissenters to what it called its "free speech zone", which was on the lawn of the Honors House - an out-of-the-way spot that was nowhere near most university activity or where Bush was gabbing. The whole campus was a "free speech zone" for NKU Right To Life when it posted its display - which is fine with us, as long as Right To Life doesn't obstruct gathering spaces with its display, which it did. But when someone challenges conservatism, their free speech gets cooped up in a remote area that's about the size of a postage stamp.
Protesters marched from the Honors House to the paved plaza outside the University Center building. For those unfamiliar with No Knowledge College, the school has long tried to promote this plaza as a constant "free speech zone" open to speakers representing a variety of issues. We're witnesses to this not being so, however. At NKU some speech is freer than other speech. And this was confirmed on May 19: First, local police stopped the anti-Bush demonstrators at the square. Then, supporters of the embattled dictator tried to attack the protesters.
Yep, that's the NKU we know.
According to the Kentucky Post, an NKU employee hired to guard ol' Disgeorge complained that the protesters actually got too close to Bush and that "they were not supposed to be where they could be seen."
What the fuck's the point of protesting then?
The biggest irony of all: While dissidents were having their First Amendment freedoms muzzled on the plaza, the university president chitchatted with Bush outside Regents Hall about free speech - to which Bush reportedly replied, "I'm pleased you have that here."
Except they don't have that there, George, you spoiled freak. This is yet another Orwellian example of how everything is now called the opposite of what it is - and how nobody dares to argue.
Congressman won't pay police expenses
Bush also went to a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Geoff Davis (R, as if you haven't guessed). Police had to be paid overtime for this event. This cost taxpayers in the city of Florence and Boone County $12,700.
Davis, however, won't reimburse the city and county for the money he caused to be spent, although the expenses were incurred just so Bush could raise campaign funds for him.
After Simon Leis raised a ruckus about paying for Bill Clinton’s visit - which was nothing like Bush’s fundraising appearance - you’d think Davis would reimburse the local police for having Bush at his event. Clinton was invited by a private citizen, not a sitting congressperson, yet still he was under far more criticism than Davis and Bush are, even though Davis had the fuzz work overtime at a partisan shindig.
If we as a community wanted to be poor hosts, Bush could have been arrested the moment he set foot in Campbell County. Even though the community had bent over backwards for him, anyone who dared to take offense at his presence was shooed away from what used to be a "free speech zone" a month earlier. Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth.
Nobody in the dinosaur media seems to have caught on to all the ironies of Disgeorge's Northern Kentucky vacation, so major controversy has so far been averted. Kind of like how they've mostly ignored the fact that the dean of students at NKU was abusing university computers for his own partisan political campaign. (Yes, another R.)
(By the way, the criminal charges against the professor involved in the Right To Life flap have now been dismissed, which is further evidence that NKU had no case.)
BUSH'S PRO-DEATH LAW (THAT THE MEDIA COVERS UP)
June 25 - In few other settings besides Orwell's 1984 and BushAmerica is someone called "pro-life" after enacting a law to let hospitals end lives of patients who don't want to die and aren't even terminally ill. This is yet another example of how in the current political climate, up is down.
As Texas governor in 1999, Bush signed a law that allows health care providers to end a patient's life regardless of the wishes of the patient or their family. Shockingly, it was the National Right To Life Committee that helped draft this addition to Chapter 166 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. Under this law, if an attending doctor disagrees with the patient or the patient's family members who want the patient to continue being treated, and if a so-called ethics committee (whose members are appointed by the hospital) wants to stop treatment, the hospital may (after a delay of only 10 days in which to find another facility) stop treating the patient.
In other words, the physician, hospital, and committee are empowered to judge whether the patient's life is worth saving, even if the patient is fully conscious and wants to continue living.
This was an issue early this year in the case of a 54-year-old woman at a Houston hospital. The patient had suffered bleeding on the brain after undergoing open heart surgery but remained conscious most of the time and was not terminally ill then. According to her family, she did not want to die. However, the hospital made a unilateral decision to end her treatment - thus condemning her to death. Proceedings of the hospital's ethics committee were closed (even to the patient's family), and nobody knows if there are any records of the meetings.
Hardly any media outside Houston even covered the story. Nor have they often covered the fact that it was Bosh who enacted this policy in the first place - let alone questioned how someone who claims to be "pro-life" can sign such a law.
The hospital in this case did eventually back down after some protest, and the woman did die in early May of natural causes. But this isn't the only case like this: A Dallas hospital has decided to end the life of an 11-month-old baby.
Where are the "pro-life" conservatives now? When can we expect Congress to intervene to save this little boy? As far as we know, nobody in the government has lifted a finger to help the infant. Is it already too late?
The doublespeak of Bush and his merry minions is astounding.
Doctors must swear to obey something called the Hippocratic Oath, which says they must never harm patients. But conservative politicians who have allowed physicians to defy this commitment must be following the Hypocrites' Oath.
How low the country has sunken when life-saving treatment can be denied to patients just for the convenience or profit of a hospital. That the government and hospital committees are allowed to play God like this clearly violates the Hippocratic Oath in addition to constitutional protections of due process.
This isn't the first time a regime has made such an effort to exterminate the sick. Politicians must have been snoozing through history class to not learn from past mistakes.
YAHOO BECOMES GOVERNMENT INFORMANT
June 28 - Corporate America wraps itself in a patriotic, colorful facade of red, white, and blue, which looms over us like the canopy of an irksome chain retailer. But - like the electronic marquee Bro$$art squandered all that money on - this window dressing masks a censored world where the truth doesn't dare get spoken without ruinous repercussions.
This analogy describes Yahoo quite well.
Last year it was found that Yahoo's Hong Kong division ratted out journalist Shi Tao to the Chinese government, netting the reporter 10 years in prison on ridiculously trumped-up charges. Yahoo had given China's authorities IP numbers that helped identify the journalist. (This is probably old news to many of you. It sometimes takes a while for us to hone a creative response to actions like this.)
Reporters Without Borders said it was already known that Yahoo "collaborates enthusiastically with the Chinese regime in questions of censorship" and that "now we know it is a Chinese police informant as well."
Yahoo's reasoning was that it was just following Chinese law. But this is not an acceptable excuse for cooperating with an oppressive regime to have someone imprisoned for a decade just for trying to report news.
It turned out that back in 2003, Yahoo did practically the same thing. Internet writer Li Zhi was charged with "subverting state power" (now there's a real freedom-loving phrase) for trying to join a dissident political party and sentenced to 8 years after Yahoo cheerfully provided information about the writer's online activities to Chinese police.
When Yahoo was confronted with this, their reaction was basically, Hey! This wasn't supposed to happen! A Yahoo spokesperson said Yahoo had "only responded with what we were legally compelled to provide, and nothing more." Did Yahoo actually think its customer wasn't going to be imprisoned on bogus charges after the customer's information was given to police?
Then - surprise, surprise - the world discovered there was yet another instance in which Yahoo may have caused the incarceration of a Chinese dissident, this one also in 2003. Reporters Without Borders released court papers that showed Yahoo may have caused Jiang Lijun to be sentenced to prison for 4 years for "subversion" after being linked to e-mails that (gasp!) criticized the government. It is unknown, however, if Yahoo actually gave this user's information to police or if the user was ratted out by a fellow dissenter. Somehow we think we can guess, judging by the other Yahoo cases.
The U.S. Congress can at least step in to help prevent future incidents like this by barring American companies like Yahoo from cooperating with authorities in any country to unjustly prosecute people just for speaking the truth. To American conservatives, however, the "global marketplace" takes priority over human rights. Heaven forfend the Republican elites do anything to upset their partners in Beijing.
(This is also why Pat Robertson made such a hypocrite of himself regarding China's mandatory abortion policy: Although he's reputed to be a foe of abortion, Robertson actually praised China's policy of forced abortion in a 2001 interview with Wolf Blitzer. Robertson's apparent belief is that abortion is just fine if it's forced. Actually the Right Rev has business interests in China, and evidently he didn't want to frustrate the nation's political leaders.)
However, a law to go after businesses over what they do in foreign lands might seem hypocritical, because BushAmerica isn't exactly the world's leader in Internet freedom. (Dumbya's minions think Guantanamo Bay is just a Holiday Inn without the green sign, so we're sure they don't feel guilty about letting American companies be complicit in condemning writers to bad conditions in foreign prisons.) Indeed, Yahoo has conspired with the Bush regime in much the same way as it collaborated with the Chinese government. Recently the online giant admitted that it let U.S. authorities snoop at records of its search engine usage. Google vowed to fight the government's rogue demand, but Yahoo caved.
How rich of Yahoo and its conservative allies to invoke their "right" to pursue unlimited profits while violating the rights of customers in America and abroad. It should come as no surprise that Yahoo CEO Terry Semel donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Republican National Committee (although he also gave a much smaller amount to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee). Semel defended Yahoo's collusion with Chinese authorities. At a conference sponsored by the Wall Street Journal, Semel refused to rule out cooperating with Nazi Germany if Yahoo had been around when the Nazis were in power.
America's ruling party has proven that going after real online predators is not its priority, so Yahoo can't credibly claim that nabbing such lowlifes is its aim. Republicans actually criticized the Clinton administration when it tried to stop online kiddie porn - which is evidence that the GOP probably has no interest in fighting real Internet criminals like child pornographers and molesters.
Caving to Chinese authorities isn't limited to Yahoo. Microsoft's MSN Spaces has aggressively censored Chinese-language blogs (even though at least one Chinese-based blogging company was found to be free of such extreme censorship). But at least we don't know of MSN ratting out dissidents as Yahoo does. (On the other hand, who would want to post a blog on a Microsoft-owned service? Doesn't blogging on a site sponsored by a large corporation defeat the whole purpose of blogging?)
What to do about Yahoo's rightism? The Last Word's mailing list is on Yahoo. It used to be housed on eGroups - until Yahoo swallowed up eGroups. Remember that election? Wait, it wasn't an election. Yahoo just decided to impose itself on us without our permission by conquering eGroups.
In the past year or so, Yahoo has been deleting clubs all because they have to do with...bubble gum. (In addition to appeasing repressive regimes in China and the U.S., it looks like Yahoo is also trying to do the bidding of the government of Singapore.) Because of the humor found in such venues, gum-related forums have developed a cult following on the Internet, and Yahoo had several, until it began deleting them. Yahoo refused to provide the moderators with a reason why they were deleted.
Now, we don't want to just quietly cancel our Yahoo account. We want to go out in style. So let's give Yahoo a reason to yank our access.
Look at this:
That's a piece of bubble gum.
Now look at this:
That's a winner of a Christopher Cross look-alike contest bubbling. (We assume Yahoo is afraid of Christopher Cross, because it's afraid of everything else, including poop-free bubble gum and not ratting out dissidents.)
Now that we mentioned bubble gum, can you please pull our account, Yahoo? Pleeeeeeeeeez? Pleezy-keen with molasses and cayenne peppers on top???
We don't want to keep using an Internet company that has so little regard for human rights. A journalists' union in Britain and Ireland has already encouraged its members to boycott Yahoo. But we'd much rather be kicked off Yahoo in a giddy spectacle than voluntarily shun it.
If our Yahoo account gets yanked, we know we're doing our job right. We live to butt heads with people in high places who think they can abuse their positions to cop an attitude with the world.
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