Friday, May 29, 2015

Hastert spent millions to hide relationship with student

A former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives - completely disgraced.

After the indictment of Dennis Hastert, a federal law enforcement official now says Hastert paid a man millions of dollars to hide a sexual relationship that they had while the man was a student at the high school where Hastert taught.

To repeat, Hastert was once the Speaker of the U.S. House. This is the man who was next in line to become President after the Vice-President. He was perhaps the most powerful Republican in Washington before Bush seized power - and effectively the leader of the Republican Party.

An actual former Speaker of the House - completely shamed in front of the entire nation. Think about that for a moment.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Hastert indicted

Remember Dennis Hastert, the miserable clod who served as Speaker of the House during the terrible years of what has been rightly termed the "culture of corruption"?

Now the Illinois Republican has been indicted on federal charges that he evaded reporting requirements and lied to the FBI. The indictment alleges that Hastert illegally transferred funds to avoid IRS detection. The charges also make a vague reference to unspecified "bad acts." It appears that Hastert committed some sort of misconduct years ago and tried to pay off the victim with $3.5 million.

It's taken them this long to indict him? It really would have been nice if this indictment had happened back in 1999.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Unconscionable: Supreme Court case may gut "one person, one vote"

A far-right group in Texas has a court case called Evenwel v. Abbott. Look it up sometime. I'm shocked they even filed a case like this.

This case would actually make it illegal to use the "one person, one vote" standard for congressional apportionment and redistricting - a standard that's been established for decades. Instead of districting based on actual population, states would be required to draw their congressional and state legislative boundaries based on the number of registered voters.

"One person, one vote" is supposed to mean "one person, one vote." Period. Full stop. This means that even people who are not eligible voters are supposed to be counted in redistricting. This has never been in doubt in modern times. For example, kids under 18 can't vote, but they still count in redistricting, because children use public facilities and programs.

That anyone would challenge "one person, one vote" would be laughable if it wasn't such a serious matter. This has become a serious matter now that the Supreme Court has - shockingly - decided to hear the case. Lower courts have quite properly rejected the plaintiffs' argument, but the Supremes have been launching a frontal attack against the Constitution and issuing a lot of ideologically based rulings in recent years.

Plus, this case is part of a larger effort to erase the groundbreaking Reynolds v. Sims ruling - which is what truly settled the "one person, one vote" question. Having failed so far at carving out North Colorado as the 51st state, the Far Right is chomping at the bit for activist judges to do their dirty work for them. If they succeed at this, it's hard to see how there's any hope for America.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Raining on Bevin's parade

It wasn't just the sky that rained on Tea Party gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin's parade this morning.

Each year, the Tea Party has a float in the Bellevue-Dayton Memorial Day Parade. The Tea Party float goes over about as well as a case of salmonella on Thanksgiving. This year was no exception, and this time they even brang along the Bevster.

Nobody cheered Bevin. Nobody.

I don't think Bevin saw me scowling at him, because he was swaggering along the parade path pretty quickly - with that same stupid facial expression he always has. The November election will be sure to wipe that smirk off his face.

Also, a person bubbled.

People plopped stuff at Baste of Cincinnati

I attended the Sunday installment of Taste of Cincinnati - or as I call it, Baste of Cincinnati. Baste of Cincinnati is said to be the most durable food festival in America.

It's not really that exciting, but it's more interesting than staying at home and playing with chunks of dead skin from my foot. I remember going to this event with my family when I was about 9 or 10, and thinking it was the dullest experience ever. I don't think I ever went back until 2 or 3 years ago.

Baste of Cincinnati is starting to rival Ploptoberfest for ploppings. At yesterday's festivities, I noticed somebody put a Dr Pepper bottle in the garbage can - and I don't mean the regular garbage can. I mean the funny garbage can - i.e., the toilet. Later, I noticed someone put a plastic cup in the toilet.

The day seemed to drag, and one of the food items I tried out was clearly spoiled. But later in the evening, I saw a young woman being arrested on Fountain Square.

Also, I saw 2 people who were in a festive enough mood that they bubbled.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Kasich busts health care unions

This is the type of story that'll make you miss the days when John Kasich was a congressman instead of Governor of Ohio (back when he looked like Jim Carrey's character in Dumb And Dumber). At least back then, Fox News Channel was pretty new and wouldn't have been able to cheer him on as much.

This week, Kasich issued an order that bans health care and child care workers under contract with the state from joining a labor union.

I don't even need to tell you this - because you're smart enough to already know - but this order is clearly unconstitutional. The right to unionize is guaranteed as part of the right to freely associate. A majority of the workers had voted for the union. Federal labor statutes also apply.

Maybe what workers need to do instead is form a cult, call it a religion, and sue the government for special rights and taxpayer-funded bailouts. That's what our "friends" on the right do, so why not?


Friday, May 22, 2015

All Bevin and we'll watch him fall...

With Matt Bevin the apparent gubernatorial choice of the Kentucky GOP (and by extension, the region's media), we have to steel ourselves for an extended cavalcade of Matt Bevin stupid.

Kentucky Republicans have a history of nominating outright fascists, and Bevin is no exception. And make no mistake, I would consider Bevin a fascist.

And a liar.

Not only does Bevin lie about growing up poor (he actually comes from a prep school background), but he also lied about attending MIT. On his LinkedIn page, he claimed he was a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. MIT officials say Bevin never even attended the school. Bevin was forced to revise his LinkedIn page.

This scandal actually got some coverage - a teensy-weensy bit - when Bevin challenged the hated Mitch McConnell for Senate. But don't expect it to receive any mainstream press coverage now. That's why I have to expose it again here.

Nonetheless, during Bevin's Senate race, some nobody from Jim DeMint's far-right Senate Conservatives Fund defended Bevin, saying Bevin was "certainly not the first person to puff up his resume." So Bevin is right to lie about his educational record just because other people did it too? What would society be like if everyone had this mindset?

I never thought I'd be this enthusiastic about voting for Jack Conway, but I guess there's a first time for everything.

There's more Bevin scandals where this came from. Trust me on this. Yes, scandals you probably haven't heard of yet. I research these things. Meanwhile, the latest poll has him losing to Conway by 11 percentage points.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Matt Bevin??? Really???

What a disgrace.

The race for Kentucky governor is the most important election in America this year, and the Republican primary was just won by...Matt Bevin???

This is yet more proof that the GOP is ready for the trash heap of history - though, to be fair, I'd have every justification to say the exact same thing if any of the top 3 Republican candidates had won.

Yes, the GOP field was that bad.

Kansas report suggests elections were rigged

Gentleladies and gentlemen, adults of all ages, I now present to you the biggest story about American elections that you've never heard - except from me...

Wichita mathematician Beth Clarkson, Ph.D., has discovered statistical anomalies in recent elections, particularly in Kansas. These irregularities have significantly favored Republicans. Clarkson's analysis says only 3 things can be possible:

1) That there is a "demographic trend that has not been picked up by extensive polling." But we know that's not what happened, since younger voters are becoming more Democratic.

2) That there is a built-in error in the state's voting system.

3) That there is widespread election fraud.

I have pointed out that the 2014 results - in many states, not just Kansas - show a very specific pattern of fraud that seems to be built into voting machines. I know this because partisan elections were generally affected, while nonpartisan elections and referendums typically were not.

Clarkson's study actually follows a 2012 report that found election tampering in many states - including Kentucky. The Kansas study confirmed this pattern.

Now - at long last - there are increasing demands for these reports to be taken seriously. But will they? Judging by The Media's past performance, don't bet on it.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Eureka Springs: the town with guts?

Is Eureka Springs, Arkansas, the town with guts?

When fascist state lawmakers passed antigay legislation recently, City Councilor James DeVito countered by saying the state couldn't stop Eureka Springs from passing its own antidiscrimination ordinance. DeVito said, "We don't go by convention. If somebody tells us you can't do something, well, watch us."

Indeed, Eureka Springs did pass an antidiscrimination measure in February - issuing a bold challenge against the state law that would gut such ordinances. The Tea Party got a referendum on the ballot this week that would have repealed the Eureka Springs ordinance - but the town's voters rejected the Tea Party's bigotry by an overpowering 71% to 29%.

"Well, watch us." The world watched Eureka Springs, and Eureka Springs came through for the forces of justice.

Why aren't other cities and towns this brave? Eureka Springs is right to pass a human rights ordinance. But antidiscrimination laws aren't the only battlefront where the cities need to stand up and be counted. Municipalities also need to flex their muscle on environmental, labor, and other laws - in the face of state regimes that are running roughshod over the cities' autonomy. I'm waiting to see what will be the first city in a "right-to-work" state to nullify "right-to-work" laws. I can't believe it hasn't happened yet.

What's the point of incorporating a town if it can't act for the good of its citizenry?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Have no fear, the May ish is here (finally)!

Did you know that the latest edition of The Last Word is now up and bipping? Sure. Sure you did.

This ish talks about my recent travels - namely the roadmeet in Madison, Wisconsin, and my subsequent trip to Texas in which I saw the Bushes' right-wing propaganda mills.

So peep, weep, and eep...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

British election sparks protests

The British know how to react to stuff like this. In America, we've sat on our asses for the past 35 years. But in jolly old Britain, all hell breaks loose when elections go awry.

After the Conservative Party defied all polls by scoring an upset victory in Britain's recent elections, protests have erupted in London. Several hundred people have participated in the demonstrations.

Why hasn't there been something like this in America? Sure, we have Occupy, but where were they this past November? Where were the protests before Occupy? Why wasn't all of 1995 just one big protest?

What's wrong? Are people skeered? Bwok bwok bwok!!!


Friday, May 8, 2015

Another Tea Party legislator busted for sexual assault

Vermont State Sen. Norman McAllister is a Tea Party favorite in his second term as senator. The Republican has championed discredited ideas like mandatory drug testing of welfare recipients.

But now the wealthy, powerful legislator has been charged with sexual assault and human trafficking because of allegations that he accepted or solicited sex from 2 women in exchange for overdue rent. Plainclothes police arrested McAllister during a break in legislative debate.

Bye, Norm.


Bitter memories of Jim Wright's resignation

Former House Speaker Jim Wright died Wednesday at the age of 92. As with the defeat of his successor Tom Foley, bitter memories of Wright's resignation linger.

The Texas Democrat served as Speaker from 1987-89. One of the first things in Wright's Wikipedia entry is the statement, "Wright resigned from the House in 1989 because of a scandal."

This irritates me. In many ways, Wright was an above-average congressperson. He voted for the 1957 Civil Rights Act when most other Southern lawmakers did not. He chaired the 1988 Democratic convention that nominated Michael Dukakis for President.

Wright's downfall came when Newt Gingrich filed ethics charges accusing him of using bulk purchases of his book to earn speaking fees above the permitted maximum. Gingrich and the right-wing media actually targeted Wright largely because of his criticism of the CIA's illegal actions in Nicaragua. This pursuit of Wright's "scandal" boosted Gingrich's credentials among the Far Right - which eventually led Gingrich to become Speaker himself after the rigged 1994 "elections." As Speaker, Gingrich got in trouble for his own book deal that was far worse than anything Jim Wright did.

Later in life, Wright was denied a voter ID card because of unconstitutional voter suppression laws that had recently been enacted.

Do the Republicans have a lock on the U.S. House and the Speaker position now? Gerrymandering, right-wing media bias, and rigged elections have hardened GOP power. But Republican voters are aging, and America's schools would have to double down on their right-wing brainwashing to churn out enough new blood to keep the GOP alive.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

GOP doubles down over Work-for-Less Jamie's domestic violence scandal

While I was on my Texas trip, a major scandal involving Kentucky's Republican Party blew wide open: Jamie Comer - the serial liar who serves as Agriculture Commissioner and who is now running for governor - had been the target of allegations that he physically abused his former girlfriend Marilyn Thomas. Now Thomas has come forward with more details in a 4-page letter to the Louisville Courier-Journal. Thomas's former roommate has corroborated her account:

This isn't the first scandal like this in the GOP, and it's one of many reasons why the party has to be consigned to the sanitary sewer of history. Domestic violence is a serious matter, and the Republicans - a party that has displayed a pattern of harboring abusers - have to face the stiffest fallout possible for this scandal. I've briefly alluded to Comer's scandal in some of my past writings, but part of my job is to maximize the consequences for disgraces like this. I owe Kentucky nothing less than the permanent ruin of the Republican Party.

This is not a selfish political goal. The response by Republicans to the scandal shows why. After the story finally hit the papers, local Republicans haven't abandoned Comer. Shockingly, they've doubled down on their support for him. In fact, for the first time in months, Comer's chance of winning the Republican primary has improved. That's because the GOP base doesn't think like normal people like you and me.

Over the past few days, Jamie Comer has abused Marilyn Thomas nonstop in the media. Comer can't go 5 seconds without dishing out more abuse - just like how the Republican Party can't go that long without abusing the country.

I'm not letting up in my fight against Team Tyranny, but with stories like this, my work might not even be necessary to get them off the game board.

People didn't bunkeroo in Texas

Yesterday, I returned from a road trip in Texas and the Mid-South. In particular, I visited the official presidential museums in Arkansas and Texas. Let me just say, the museums for the Bushes are like an alternate universe.

Nobody farted on this trip, nobody plopped anything, and nobody wore a helicopter hat. I only saw one celebrity look-alike on the entire trip - namely, a Nancy Kerrigan look-alike.

But since I know you're going to ask, some woman bubbled at the Bill Clinton Museum.