the last word (tm)
18/No. 5 - 455th issue – November 12,
firstname.lastname@example.org - http://www.bunkerblast.info - Bellevue, Kentucky
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TEA PARTIES STILL BREWING FAIL
The Online Lunchpail – the populist political blog we sponsor – has extensively covered the Tea Party movement that utterly beginned early this year.
This movement is nothing like the real Boston Tea Party of 1773. The real Tea Party was a protest against taxation without representation - and against using tax money to prop up corporate monopolies. The Tea Party farces this year are about whatever grievance du jour is issued by talk radio or the right-wing blogosphere. (In fact, these rallies have even advocated higher taxes - in the form of the misnamed FairTax, a confiscatory federal sales tax.)
Their ideology is one of aggrieved entitlement. They complain about the stimulus package, health care reform, and benefits for the poor - even while the Tea Party crowd leeches off the taxpayers by having the city of Cincinnati roll out the red carpet for them. All this while these buffoons dress up in Colonial-era hats, spew racist bile, and travel from city to city.
I'm wise enough not to fall for their fascist bullshit - and I have no patience for those who do, because America should be years past that point.
Unfortunately, some of our local political "leaders" seem to have fallen for it, as they have opted to appear at these events.
For the record, The Last Word never endorsed the GOP poobah in question. The closest we may have come was rooting for him in a Republican primary - because other Republicans were so singularly bad. But because The Last Word has never been a GOP rag, why would anyone who votes in a Republican primary even care who The Last Word endorses?
You can compare the Tea Parties to various prophets of phony populism we knew of in the '90s.
One may draw a line to a local activist who appeared on NKU's campus - who I assisted at first, before he went utterly bonkers. Likely he already was bonkers - but never revealed it until the political winds gave him cover.
You can also draw a line to disastrous Democrats of the era. One of my most prized possessions was a campaign letter from a local Democratic politician. But I threw his letter away when he expressed support for expansion of the right-wing prison state in our schools. After what I had suffered in my youth, this was personal. He chose to take things to a personal level even after everything I'd done for his party. (Now you know another reason I changed my party registration to Green.)
These lightweights and silly clowns got away with so much because they filled voids in life. They had the power to give disenfranchised individuals a false feeling that they were part of something. But the Lipton Lugnuts who people the Tea Parties have no excuse - because they already have everything. Money. Power. Endless praise for everything they do. They're not disenfranchised from anything.
Now I know power and money aren't the only highways to happiness. At this stage in life, I find joy in living in harmony with my surroundings. But even if money can't buy happiness, the Tea Parties still have no excuse - unless they're hopelessly incapable of feeling any positive emotions without being led around by sham leaders.
SIGN, SIGN, EVERYWHERE A SIGN...
This article isn't about signs everywhere, but a sign in just one location.
The Last Word has been a critic of the city of Bellevue's illegal, classist attempts to drive out working-class residents by paying apartment building owners to convert their properties into one-family houses.
So city genitors have a funny way of retaliating against us.
The entire program is overseen by something called the Bellevue Neighborhood Association. I have no idea how one is chosen to serve on this board, and I don't know anyone who was asked to serve. Evidently, the whole city is under this committee.
Anybaste, City Clowncil decided to spend money on a monstrous fiberglass sign touting this secret society and the rental conversion program. Where did they put they sign?
Right there on the entrance to my street, of course.
I've been all over the city of Bellevue, and this is the only sign like this I've found. So you know it's a volley against The Last Word.
The city can't even clear the sidewalks when it snows, but it can spend hundreds on this asinine sign?
Nothing like having my tax dollars being used to spite me.
THE RIGHT-WINGERS' POTEMKIN WORLD
I try to be real, but the rightist brain trust is as phony as a $23 bill with Glenn Beck's stupid portrait.
This has been true not just in the current Tea Party era but throughout the history of the modern right-wing plen-T-plaint, which goes back as far as the rise of talk radio in the early '90s. This Potemkin populism pervades right-wing talk-shit radio and websites.
Let's start with this premise: If you scrutinize far-right sites like Free Republic, you'll notice that a disproportionate number of participants are in charge of making decisions on hiring and firing. They're generally not average workers, who might be subjected to these decisions. More likely, they own a large local business or hold some executive position.
Many of their complaints are against labor unions. Meanwhile, major anti-union organizations – that pretend to be "friends of the worker" – are actually bankrolled by big corporations that have fought workers.
So how can one believe the right-wing diatribes against unions?
In the interest of disclosure, I'll admit that The Last Word has been strongly supportive of organized labor. Support of workers, opposition to racism, and advocacy of civil liberties are causes that we're very proud of. So don't just take my word for it when I say the right-wing intelligentsia doesn't give a hot diggity boom about workers. The facts that are in plain sight ought to speak for themselves.
(And I'm not being against small business. Small business is more beneficial to the economy than Big Business, which has been the major steamroller against workers' interests.)
The pied pipers of pompous poo who compose the wingnutosphere also thump false when they grumble that health care reform or regulation of Big Business deprive them of their freedom. To them, "freedom" means their own "right" to be as greedy or as fascist as they want to be.
Yet they jabber against the ACLU – the American Civil Liberties Union. They expect us to listen to their ravings about their own "rights" even while they attack an organization dedicated to civil liberties?
On other issues, the wingnutosphere has a new demigod: one Christopher Monckton, a British viscount who has denied the dangers of climate change. They think a British nobleman with a hereditary title knows more about issues facing average Americans than labor leaders do? They trust someone who is not a scientist and has no scientific credentials when he talks about climate change?
That's like a high school hiring me to be the dean of discipline!
But life goes on. The natural progression of things will resume. Kids will play. People will forget. But it will be too late, as permanent scars will dot America's landscape as solemn monuments to the country's lost years.
CREDIT SCORES = SCAM
The Last Word should be used for advocacy as it once was, instead of confining all our advocacy to The Online Lunchpail. (And you thought The Last Word was nothing but humorous stories about flatulence!)
So I'd like to talk to you about credit scores. One of the biggest rip-offs ever.
If you're an adult, you probably have a credit score. It's based on a secret compilation of your credit files, often received from credit bureaus.
This system is found in several other countries, but modern America may be the only society where credit scores have become practically a state religion.
To do just about anything in America these days, you need a good credit score. You're persona non grata without it. And in order to get a good credit score, you almost need good credit to begin with! Good credit has literally become almost a hereditary peerage - an elite fraternity that shuns those who don't have clout.
Even cell phone companies rely on credit scores of prospective customers. One utility company in Texas even tried charging customers higher rates if they had worse credit.
In the United States, consumers are awarded no legal rights to even know what their credit score is. You may order a credit report from each of the 3 credit bureaus once a year. This does not include your credit score.
Furthermore, credit bureaus often won't even send you your report. I asked for mine and never received it - thus wasting one of my yearly requests.
Because of the peevodiff scuzzbaggery of "regulation for thee, not for me", there's almost no regulation of what they do with your credit score. BushAmerica means some teenager who gets caught with a joint can go to prison, but there's almost no rules whatsoever against credit bureaus' blackballing of consumers.
At minimum, there ought to be a law letting you find out what your credit score is for free - any time you feel like it.
But that's not enough.
The system of credit scores needs to be outlawed altogether. If the federal government won't act, the states need to shore up their laws.
Our lawmakers need to either regulate or gargle with piss.
WE GET MAIL
We get mail.
Yes, buy gum, we do!
We recently received an angry e-mail challenging our repeated criticism of the misnamed EdChoice - an Ohio program that provides a taxpayer-funded bailout for private schools that don't need it. It wasn't labeled as a regular letter to the editor, but the author really opened themselves up for ridicule.
Their incomprehensible rant (replete with misspellings) reads:
"I read you article on Edchoice. You seem to feel its all about the facilites. My community was given a failing grade year after year and the only CHOICE was to take the edchoice option for my child to have a chance at an education that didnt require her to defend herself everyday in a school that is full of children who have parents using the system as daycare.
"Do you have children in a school system with a failing grade? Is your child in a school plagued with voilence?
"You speak about taxes payers money as if you know whats best to do with it. Well the Supreme Court decided the system in which Ohio collects money for schools is not legal. So before you get to choose how this illegal money is spent maybe you should come down and see the lower middle class and low low middle class families using there right to divert there illegally obtained money to a school where their children will have some kind of a chance. They should call it EdChance. My money that I work more then 40 hours a week for is taken and used as seen fit by people I did not elect and you feel you know better. Well for once the system is allowing the everyday person to do whats best for their children and it rubs you the wrong way.
"Are you in any way connected to, a part of or a supporter of the Teachers Union?"
The funniest part of that tirade is the second paragraph, in which the author asked if I have kids in a school plagued by "voilence" (sic). Uh, I attended violence-plagued schools. And guess what? The 2 most violence-plagued schools I went to were private schools!
If I "speak about taxes payers money as if you know whats best to do with it", maybe it's because I'm a taxpayer. So I do know what's best to do with it, genius.
DAMN, THIS TOILET SCAM...
Because November is the toiletymost month of them all, how can The Last Word not use this time to report one of the most ingenious johnnypot-related scams ever devised?
Not long ago, folks in Fredericksburg, Virginia, noticed their town was getting too toilety for words.
According to police, a man kept damaging urinals in restaurant lavatories - then posing as a plumber who offered to repair them. In just one afternoon, he hit 7 eateries, including a Cracker Barrel and an Outback Steakhouse.
One restaurant actually fell for this fraud and paid the phony plumber hundreds of dollars to repair a toilet he had trashed. His plumbing work then turned out to be faulty. (Shocker!) At that restaurant, the man allegedly ripped the pipe from under the urinal and released pee water all over the floor. It's unclear, however, if he plopped anything.
After police charged a 39-year-old Maryland man in this scam, they learned that he was also accused of a similar con game in surrounding counties.
The outcome of the case is unknown.
This is probably what Joe the Plumber does on his free time.
Every couple years or so, I have to answer the same questions I've fielded since about 1998 - questions I shouldn't even have to answer. The question is: how do I account for certain idiotic statements I allegedly made online (in The Last Word and otherwise) years ago?
By...bipping. (To the tune of the old "By Mennen" jingle.)
If you have to ask this question, you must have missed the issues in which I discussed something called a forgery.
With the Internets (sic) being "unregulated for me, not for thee" and all, it's possible for someone to forge your name and e-mail address on an Internet posting. Not long ago, it was widespread, in fact.
Happened to me, happened to lots of folks.
Rewind back to the days of Deja News. Deja used to own the great 'Net archive before Google buyed it. Several people have claimed that Deja allowed people to modify posts that were already archived. At minimum, I've seen headers changed from what they originally were - in an apparent effort to frame folks for posting something they never posted. It appears as if the content of some posts was modified as well.
As late as 2004 - which was after Google had acquired Deja's archive - someone posted that the archive was "corrupted" and "tampered with."
I'm not sure how this was accomplished. One may have had to sign a sworn affidavit saying they had posted the originals. If that's the case, someone committed perjury by signing an affidavit to change my posts.
There's also considerable evidence that an unknown individual in my area had an account on my former ISP and used it to impersonate me. The Last Word was well-known and controversial enough by then that they would have.
So, to answer the question at hand: I did not post some of what appears under my name or address. In some cases, I can prove it - and have. In others, it would be my word against my foes'.
Ironically, I've received e-mails of praise for things that were forged under my name. But for every positive e-mail, I've probably lost at least one job offer and 10 friends because of these sly forgeries.
And that's not to mention the more blatant forgeries I've been a victim of (which were easy to debunk right off the bat).
Why did these acts of fraud and apparent perjury flourish? It's the same reason the attacks by assholes from school went on for years before: Whoever was behind it had clout with the authorities. It was known years ago that the Internet attacks against me were coordinated by adversaries from school. But the forgeries suggest local investigators were still looking the other way even in the Internet era.
A certain politician was once quoted as saying, "I'm not crazy, and I've never been crazy, but let me tell you this: If you had done to you what they done to me, it would be enough to drive you crazy." What I experienced in high school would drive anyone utterly batshit. It generated feelings of helplessness and despair. For authorities to allow this campaign to continue on the Internet shows their complete lack of morals and their disrespect of the law. Those who allowed it are amoral, evil people, and it's time we get that straight. In a society, there's standards. This is the line that separates civilization from barbarism.
I'm going to have to keep answering these questions until Google makes it easier for folks to delete fraudulent posts that others posted under their name. And I don't think Google's going to do this until there's a law protecting our right to delete these forgeries. There ought to be a law to allow us to delete these forgeries on sight.
If you're skeptical of too much regulation, then why doesn't Google self-police by allowing folks to delete forged posts?
THE CONTINUING NAZIFICATION OF MY ALMA MATER
According to an article in the declining Cincinnati Enquirer of September 22, my former high school is becoming more of a fascist stronghold than ever.
No, not Brossart, where you'd expect it. Rather, this trend is enveloping another of my many alma maters - Holmes High School in Covington.
When I went to Holmes in 1991-92, for something like this to happen there would have been almost unthinkable. But I seem to remember that Holmes started becoming just another prison school around the late '90s. So this trend isn't entirely new.
Under this plan (assuming it hasn't been scrapped), the school would use GPS to track "habitual truants." Students who missed too much school would be required to carry a phone-sized GPS device so the school could track their movements.
The Republican-dominated Kenton County Fiscal Court was happy to use the taxpayers' money to help pay for this $160,000 boondoggle. This after commissioners ran on a platform of "fiscal responsibility"?
Using GPS in this manner is probably unconstitutional. It's certainly ineffective, as other cities have tried it with no positive results. The definition of "habitual truant" is fairly broad itself, so this program would almost surely afflict students who shouldn't even be considered truant.
Perhaps the most important point is this: The other side thinks no corporation should face any regulation whatsoever to protect consumers, yet they support programs like this that monitor individuals' every move?
HEALTH REFORM OPPONENTS CHANNEL GUN CONTROL
Some of you have been asking why I don't publish more articles against gun control.
Simple: It'll just remind you of the fact that you supported gun control in the '90s - which there's a good chance you did.
Gun control was a popular stance then. Not now. (According to Gallup, 54% of Americans favored tighter gun laws as late as 2001. This was down to 39% in 2009.)
These days, we all know gun control is a failed model. We will not support gun control outright in these pages, and we can't even remember the last time we even appeared to. We learned that lesson early - probably pre-World Wide Web early.
Besides, if conservatives are so worried about gun ownership rights for themselves, then it's only fair that we progressives should insist on the same rights for ourselves plus everyone else.
If the Left was more supportive of gun control in the '90s, it was because of interest in this issue among a small number of opponents of the conservative monolith. This contingent was right on most issues, but their gun control stance had too much influence. Gun control support was voiced frequently enough that other dissenters against the right-wing revolution too often began supporting it too, when they otherwise wouldn't have.
We're seeing something similar today with opposition to health care reform. Although most Americans support reform, opposition is heightened among regions and constituencies where it otherwise wouldn't be.
Political scientists often view right and left as not a single straight line but a two-dimensional graph. One axis is for culture war issues; the other is for economic matters. The Republicans in recent times have focused less on economic issues, because their economic elitism has so little appeal.
But if the GOP can get a socially conservative but fiscally liberal cross-section of voters to listen to their ravings, the party feels safer in touting economically conservative stances. This influences these voters to take stances that they previously would avoid.
And so, the fix is in. Call it a noise machine, if you will.
Thus, in scientific polls, you see many states and regions displaying roughly as much opposition to health care reform as they would for certain culture war causes. In some ways, this is surprising - but it shows that too many people are willing to follow a party line.
Just as gun control backers once gained support among unlikely individuals, now opponents of health care reform are being followed in improbable quarters. Frankly, this has to stop. Not just because the health care system is in such desperate need of reform, but also because this party line "thinking" stifles out-of-the-box ideas.
Don't be a follower. Be a leader.
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