the last word (tm)
15/No. 8 - 431st issue - November 3, 2006
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ELECTION IN NOVEMBER, ELECTION IN NOVEMBER...
Nov. 3 - People, people, people! It's getting to be about that time again!
In most years - 2006 is no exception - this is the time of year when folks pull a big lever with a stylized elephant on it because they think an elephant will pop out of the machine for them to play with. In all these decades, however, no chromatic pachyderm has ever been known to emerge from a voting machine, and people are finally starting to realize that's not what the lever does.
Let's be serious now.
For years, as you know, the conservative wing of the Republican Party has ruled the roost in American politics. For 24 of the past 26 years, this faction has controlled either the White House or both houses of Congress. As the party's ranks in government have increased, its policies have become more and more bizarre and out of step with American values. This truth is borne out by the results, as lately almost every year has been worse than the one before it by almost every measure.
The Republicans' broken promises are a bit like what used to happen in America's frontier towns of 100 years ago. Back then, phony salespeople used to breeze into town selling bogus medicines to the public. People were often wounded by these fake cures. The difference is that in those days the townspeople would then approach the seller of the sham elixir and take an axe to their buggy and the remainder of their product.
Conservative misrule has afflicted America in more ways than can be summarized here. The gap between the rich and the poor is now the widest in modern times, our civil liberties have been biffed to fragments, and a country that was once the world's leader is now laughed at as its politicians have repeatedly started illegal wars and carpet-bombed civilians. America's children aren't safe in school, and wages have stagnated.
A political trend that evidently began as a misguided fluke has writhed into malice and thuggery that has slowly become normalized. (As we write this, a new item has come out about George Allen's thugs brutalizing a protester at a campaign rally after he asked the senator why he spit on his wife. How very Bush-like of Allen for having his workers assault a protester.) Meanwhile, fake news stories that originate at the Republican National Committee are reported as fact (while outlets that downplay the stories are in turn attacked for "liberal bias" for not covering these phony stories enough), and every batshit idea that flips out of the vasiform gizzard of some right-wing think tank is amplified endlessly. And anyone who dares to dissent finds their patriotism and character attacked.
Crime now pays. (Republican officials in the Sacramento area sneer as they refuse to prosecute troglodytes who trespass on private property to destroy antiwar signs.) Concern for the downtrodden, sadly, does not (as Las Vegas arrests people who feed the homeless). Every person is considered a criminal - except criminals, of course.
What a mess.
It would be inaccurate to place the blame solely on the Republicans, following the sellout of the "opposition" Democratic Party. In the '90s the Democrats became the "new Coke" of politics (trying to mimic their competitor despite already having more followers).
This is a key reason why we seldom issue endorsements in local elections anymore. We didn't expect local Democrats we endorsed to advance a strongly progressive agenda, but we at least expected them to be moderate and pleasant. We've been gravely disappointed at many of their capers as well, and we do not owe an endorsement to those who will use our tax dollars to stab us in the back by charging to the right.
We'll have more words about the cave-in of national Democrats after the election.
We're proud to say, however, that we at The Last Word are unconquered: We've never conceded defeat in the 1994 "election", or in Bush's rise in the 2000s. We know cheating when we see it, and we know the truth. Besides, a mandate can't be made on such low turnout: You hear of hundreds of missing votes in Florida in 2000, but what about the millions of missing voters all over the country since 1994? (And why do Republicans in Loving County, Texas, get more votes than the number of people who live in the county? If the GOPstapo is gonna cheat, you'd think they wouldn't make it so obvious.)
Government in America in the past 12 years has not been a legitimate one. Are we populist for charting our own path? Yes. But extreme? No. Extreme is spying on phone calls without a warrant. Extreme is the 1996 telcom law. Extreme is John Hostettler.
Their side is extreme. Our side is unconquered!
Important election hovers
We have a tradition of issuing endorsements in public elections, and our endorsements are known to carry clout among our readers. One contest we will make a statement on is that regarding the U.S. House seat for Kentucky's 4th District.
Ken Lucas was the area's congressman for 3 terms from 1999 to 2005 and is now running again. Lucas was assailed almost monthly by The Last Word for being what was likely the most conservative Democrat in Congress. His main causes weren't as loopy as some of those of some politicians who were otherwise less conservative than he was, but many of his positions were unsupportable - if not downright fetid.
How conservative is ol' Lucas-With-The-Lid-Off? Trust us: He's not as right-wing as Republican Geoff Davis, the extremist nut who succeeded Lucas following his initial retirement.
Davis started off his term as an unremarkable guy. But by the end of his first year, he was established as a leading voice of congressional batshittery. In a Jean Schmidt-like display of folly, Davis accused war opponents of "emboldening our enemies." However, Davis refused to support interest caps on predatory payday loans that hurt the morale of America's fighting men and women.
Recently, Davis looked like more of a birdbrain than ever when he wrote a bill to force schools to allow warrantless, unconstitutional strip searches of large groups of students.
While Davis attacks Lucas for writing a letter urging leniency for a banker in the Erpenbeck scandal, it turns out that at least 4 of Davis's major contributors did the same thing Lucas did! Davis's campaign commercials were also caught lying: They claimed Lucas wrote his letter on congressional stationery, though he did not. (And we've noticed that when Davis gets a lie in his head, he never stops repeating it.)
Geoff Davis has been said to physically resemble a vampire. If he is one, he subsists on the circulatory fluid of all of us, vomits it back up, and uses it as ink to write his villainous legislation. He's truly become one of the major evil spirits of the 109th Congress.
As Ken Lucas is returning from retirement by becoming the Democratic challenger to Davis, there's also a Libertarian candidate in the form of Brian Houillion - but Houillion's demands for abolishing the minimum wage in such an economically troubled time have ruined his appeal.
Though we would not endorse any of the 3 candidates, Lucas, sadly, is the best choice.
A few words
No other elections in our area are of such urgent interest as this House race. We must note, however, that the Democrats are the best option in most, if not all, contests in our immediate area, despite the party's mind-blowing sellout. One thing is certain: Republicans in Campbell County have not lifted a finger to halt eminent domain abuse, even though they've had the power to do so. So that's another strike against the ruling party.
Although we make endorsements based on issues rather than parties, Republicans who have a stranglehold locally haven't done shit that we can see to earn our support.
Vote Tuesday, November 7!
CONSERVATIVE CHEATING LOOMS
Nov. 3 - When something "looms", it's usually not a good sign. But every newspaper or magazine must occasionally run a headline saying that something "looms."
Farts loom. They waft, they linger, and they loom.
A while back we saw a headline that read, "Civil War Looms With 68 Killed in Baghdad." Maybe the reason Bosh started a war with Iraq is that he knew civil war might loom, and that he thought it meant it had something to do with flatulence. But that's just speculation.
Anyway, according to KNBC-TV in Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Times, conservatives are already cheating in next week's election. Twelve people have been charged in a major election fraud scheme in Orange County, California, designed to illegally help Republicans.
The GOPee hired operatives to gather new voters in Orange County. Throughout the voter drive, the operatives - who were paid $10 for each new Republican voter - kept switching voters' party registrations from Democratic to Republican. Officials say there appear to be several hundred instances of election fraud like this just from this drive.
Also in Orange County, Republican congressional candidate Tan Nguyen is under investigation after his campaign sent out a menacing letter to voters that falsely states that it's illegal for immigrants to vote and threatens them with deportation or imprisonment if they attempt it. This letter is bullshit because immigrants who are naturalized U.S. citizens can in fact vote. (Ironically, Nguyen himself is an immigrant.)
Conservatives are truly desperate.
In a separate story all the way on the other side of the country, the Miami Herald reports that touch-screen machines used in early voting in southern Florida have been incorrectly displaying votes cast for Democrats as Republican: Voters press the screen for Democratic candidates, but the machine marks their vote as being for the Grand Old Farty.
Oh, we didn't think so, because we know you're pretty intelligent (because if you were stupid you wouldn't be reading us).
It's also not a surprise that hardly any other media organizations have reported on these conspicuous acts of Republican fraud, because they seldom have reported stuff like this before.
Wait! There's more!
The Washington Post reports that a boring 17-page manual distributed among Republican volunteers in Maryland tells how to intimidate voters at the polls and how to bully poll workers by telling them they'll go to jail unless they block such voters from voting. The same illegal tactic was used in Ohio in 2004. The article points out that it's perfectly legal for a party to set up poll watchers. Usually, however, the purpose of these watchers is to make sure their party's supporters are able to vote - not to harass people who back another party.
What's gonna be rather amusing is if most of this cheating by Republicans fails. On almost every Election Day for many years, we've kept sharp watch on the numbers as they've rolled in, and we've been awed by how Republicans who are losing throughout the night end up miraculously winning. This time, their fraud might not be enough, and if that's so, these sore losers are going to be sputtering mad!
And they entertain us when they're like that.
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