The Last Word (tm) SURPRISE!
Vol. 15/No. 7 - 393rd issue - August 19, 2003
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
I'm 30, I can do what I want! I'm 30, I can do what I want! I'm 30, I can do what I want! I'm 30, I can do what I want! I'm 30, I can do what I want! I'm 30, I can do what I want! And yooouuuuuuuuuu can't!
WEBSITE OWNER IMPRISONED FOR VIEWS
Don't you just love living in a democracy where you are free to express your views?
Those who still think of rape defendant Bush as a First Amendment giant and that the United States does not have political prisoners can now politely crawl back under their rock and hibernate for a few more centuries.
Federal authorities charged Sherman Austin with the thought crime of "distributing information related to explosives" (!) because of the opinions on his website. Never mind the fact that even if he had posted instructions on building bombs on his own page, instead of merely posting a link to such sites, then it would be constitutionally protected speech - regardless of the gamy vomitings of Orrin Hatch, Dianne Feinstein, and other haters of free expression.
Any judge who is not the result of feedlot conception would laugh the case right out of the courtroom and let the defendant off the hook - and probably tear the prosecutors a new asshole for wasting the court's time with such nonsense. But the fact is that modern America is a fascist dictatorship, so we can't expect to find much gray matter filling public positions - so right-wing U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson sentenced Austin to a year in federal prison. (Even under the vague and blatantly unconstitutional law against distributing information on explosives, prosecutors must show that the defendant has an intent to cause violence - which they in this case failed to do.)
Austin is also required to pay a $2,000 fine, banned from using a computer for 3 years, forced to fork over all his utility bills to the government after he is released, and prohibited from associating with activists - which apparently includes not just militant activists but also nonviolent ones. So much for freedom of assembly!
If they're going to ban an organization then why not the Republican Party? Republican rightists advocate physical force every time they open their shit-caked little mouths. Against innocent Iraqi civilians, against airplanes full of missionaries (because ONE drug dealer might be on the same flight), against schoolchildren - the scoundrels of the GOP's right wing support violence. But you don't see the government shutting down Republican sites, do you? Even sites that support right-wing terrorists like Timothy McVeigh haven't been shut down. Right-wing maniacs roam the nation collecting explosives and nobody stops them.
So why would they imprison someone for providing web links to explosives information that is already available at libraries all over the country? Because the fact that the defendant in this case had posted links to it is just a flabby excuse to jail for him for his views.
The sentence was actually a plea bargain to avoid serving an additional 20 YEARS as a "terrorism enhancement".
What a joke! We know how John Ashcroft is always twaddling about terrorism - with that perpetual sneer always dominating that oozing hillock of mangled flesh that is laughably referred to as his face - but it is Ashcroft's political guild that supports the War on Drugs, which has mollycoddled terrorists for years. Prohibition is the best friend of terrorists and organized criminals, and if drug prohibition was ended then terrorists would have nothing to sell to finance their murderous activities. (Not long ago the government - even after promising to stop - ran TV commercials accusing anyone who uses marijuana of supporting terrorism. The basis of the ads was so flimsy that the next ad they came out with basically admitted that it was full of shit.) Of course the FBI was monitoring Sherman Austin's site well before 9/11. The 9/11 attacks (which Bush had prior knowledge of) are just an excuse that the government uses to muzzle dissent.
If they're so unnerved by Austin's site, they'd poop a hole in their pants if they saw some of the early issues of The Last Word (from back when America still had a Bill of Rights and we didn't have to worry about being censored).
Meanwhile, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University mirrored the banned site as part of a project on free speech. An FBI agent bragged to a Pittsburgh TV station that he complained about the mirror site to federal lawmakers because "there are people out there." PEOPLE?! Ooh, how scary!
Since the original site is part of the court case, which is public record, how can they close down a mirror site?
Then again this is the same country where a woman was recently arrested because she had a copy of the Bill of Rights in her car, so what can we expect?
The police state didn't appear overnight, but rather has been steadily expanding over the past two decades. If we sit back and do nothing then it will continue to get worse. Maybe some folks think they have a constitutional right to step on everyone else in their quest to drive the biggest vehicle and live in the biggest mansion and even to inflict misery on themselves sacrificing all that is truly valuable in order to achieve what they don't need. But for you and me freedom is about exercising the rights we are endowed with just by existing: free speech, dignity, equality, personal liberty, self-determination.
America is stuck in a vicious cycle of greed and tyranny that won't end unless you act.
DON'T TAKE THE CONSERVATIVE BAIT
An unelected conservative elite made up of political insiders and corporate stuffed shirts has for years been conducting a secret war against America - and it's a psychological war as much as it is an economic and cultural one.
By using the media to endlessly repeat the same tidbits of right-wing propaganda, they indoctrinate millions into slurpring up their lies like a fish gobbling up bait only to be reeled in for that fetid slaughterhouse known as the neoconservative movement.
The pathological demagogues of the right-wing elite might not necessarily be geniuses but - thanks to the deep sea of corporate capital they're bathing in - they're powerful enough to exert a large (and, since the illegal invasion of Iraq, very rapidly growing) influence on the public's political sensibilities.
But wait just a pea-pickin' minute there! Isn't conservatism patriotic?
Here's an example of American conservatives' supposed dedication to patriotism: In 1994 they incessantly badmouthed America for its failure to impose judicial floggings on petty lawbreakers and praised the practices of rightist police states like Singapore (where, incidentally, they do not even have jury trials). They're always talking about how the punishment should fit the crime, but doesn't it seem like public lashings are a bit over the top for teenage vandals, when hardened criminals get off with mere probation?
Since then crime has been just one of the issues conservatives have used in their attempts to justify mortgaging the Bill of Rights and adjourning America's democratic traditions - consigning folks to lockstep conformity and further reducing the economic conditions of the disadvantaged.
While the rich prosper, America's lower economic groups live more of a Third World reality than at any time since the Industrial Revolution, especially with their political marginalization (including the fact that many were not even counted in the 2000 census, let alone the botched presidential "election").
The ballooning gap between rich and poor and concentration of media ownership is a lethal combination - and this also represents another facet of neoconservative psychological warfare. Life is much harder for a poor person in today's America than for a person of the same real income in most Third World countries, and here's why: In this postdemocratic America, the poor are constantly being told it's their own fault they're poor, while the rich flaunt their prosperity as if to rub it in everyone else's noses.
At least in most other countries they admit when poverty gets out of control instead of going to such amazing lenghts to cover it up and shove blame onto the victims.
America's right-wing rulers pose as representatives of the people, but their claims to populism are phony. Far from being friends of the downtrodden, the apparatchiks of the Far Right enjoy visiting hatred or extreme suspicion on the poor, racial minorities, and other groups. Ironically, the media likes to portray the poor as racist and mislabels racist politicians as populist - CNN incorrectly referred to Lester Maddox as a "populist governor of Georgia" - but racism is much more severe in America's nouveau riche suburbs than in poor communities. Real populists despise bigotry - for bigotry is itself a hazard to economic fairness.
Don't take the bait. You've been lied to enough lately, and it's time to reacquaint yourself with what the real enemy is: conservatism.
LIES LIES LIES YEAH!
Having those '80s flashbacks again, are we?
The Thompson Twins must have been forecasting the future actions of NameZero, provider of "free" Internet domain names. "Free" belongs in quotation marks because now they've decided to start charging us, despite the terms of service agreement.
Can you say "breach of contract"? Sure! Sure you can, boys and girls!
We wouldn't mind spending a small amount on this service in order to keep our e-mail and website accessible via the same domain name regardless of what ISP hosts our account - but the trouble is that we can't. NameZero - which has been taken over by some large corporation - now boasts on its website: "We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover credit cards for payment. ... Unfortunately, we are not able to accept checks or money orders."
They're not able?
Uh, they always did accept checks until now. So of course they're able. In other words they're lying about that.
To qualify for a credit card you have to have a certain amount of money to start with. So we have no choice but to let our domain name expire.
You've just lost our business, MaimZero.
When our domain name expires the ONLY e-mail address where you will be able to contact us will be email@example.com. E-mail sent to our old address will not be deilverable. Our web page is again found at http://members.iglou.com/bandit. Our blog will still be found at http://bandit73.pitas.com.
MONTHLY MORON MOTORIST
A Monthly Moron Motorist is a must even in slow months - and for last month our Monthly Moron Motorist is the hapless beedledick in that red van who ran a traffic light at 7th & Monmouth in Newport and almost plowed us into oblivion.
ALUMNUS MESSAGE BOARD UPDATE
In case you're wondering about that Internet message board for alumnuses of one of the school systems we attended and our status there after being deleted from the board 5 times, apparently due to our political views, you'll be pleased to know that they finally realized how stupid they looked by claiming we were never enrolled when at least 5 other regulars stated otherwise, and our newest account has so far managed to avoid ostracism.
Around the same time the new account was created I had a bizarre dream that seemed to sum up the situation spiffily. In this dream I was back in school - a common element of so many of my dreams - and was enrolled at the insufferable Bishop Brossart High School. The setting of this dream was every school day in succession up until the last day of school - and each morning when I got off the bus, instead of going to Brossfart, I escaped to Campbell County High School (changing into a set of normal clothes in the restroom so I wouldn't demean myself wearing the servile garb that was obligatory at Bro$$art). The dream ended on the last day of school before summer vacation, and I was summoned to the principal's office at CCHS. A nondescript headmaster lectured me that since I was not enrolled at CCHS, I had no business attending classes there - but since I had already gone to class there it would count as high school credit anyway, and the entire charade of pretending to be a CCHS student would be forgiven.
In this dream I clawed my way to triumph over adversity and lived happily ever after. It parallels my experience in real life: I never attended CCHS, but by joining the message board I was substituting my association with the public school system in place of my disastrous career at Bro$$art, the private school where I spent most of my high school years. (Not unlike the horrid private schools, the county's public schools aren't exactly known for academic excellence or safe conditions, but it's clear that CCHS would have been a far better choice than Brossart, thanks to Brossart's cruel and calculating ways.)
What I did by posting on a Campbell County Schools forum was reclaim what was lost 17 years ago when I was permanently excluded from the school system that was funded by our tax dollars and reacquire mastery over school life.
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(Copywrong 2003. Online edition best suited to be viewed with Internet Exploder 5.)
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