Friday, January 29, 2016

Tea Party sheriff brags about abusing children

Paul Babeu is the racist Republican sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona. The scandal-tainted Babeu has long been a favorite of the Tea Party.

Before becoming sheriff, Babeu ran the DeSisto School, a "therapeutic boarding school" (i.e., concentration camp) in Massachusetts. The facility was confirmedly abusive. Back before the "school" hired Babeu, it once filed a SLAPP lawsuit against a "client" who reported abuse. Under Babeu's "leadership", the DeSisto School forced teenagers to perform hard labor while depriving them of food and water and do bizarre things such as hold hands while using the restroom. When confronted with this, Babeu said he didn't know anything about it.

Now a 1999 home video has surfaced of Babeu at a Christmas dinner. In this clip, Babeu bragged about the very abuses that he later denied. He boasted that the teenagers at his facility were "sent to what's called the farm, where they actually do manual labor" and were required to sit alone in a corner for weeks on end. He said it was "because they're hopeless."

Guess what? Babeu continues to deny the whole thing and blamed the entire controversy on his sister.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A story only Roads Scholars will care about

Roads Scholaring if poo.

Did you notice over the past few years that the typeface on the big green freeway signs is different? In 2004, the federal government ordered states to stop using the old font called Highway Gothic that was developed circa 1948 and switch to a new font called Clearview. In many states, newer signs now use Clearview, while older signs still use the stencil-like Highway Gothic.

Clearview developers published a detailed document touting their invention and tried to show that it improved legibility for America's irreversibly graying motorists. But many Roads Scholars thunk otherwise and said it was less legible.

Perhaps it was because of misuse. In some jurisdictions, it wasn't just large green mixed-case signs that were changed to Clearview but also some all-capital signs and those with dark letters on a light background. But some Roads Scholars thought Clearview looked too beedledicky even without such misuse.

Now federal highway officials have scrapped their 2004 fiat and told states to switch back to Highway Gothic. They say more recent research shows Highway Gothic is better after all, especially for dark-on-light signs. They also say that the reason the Clearview signs appeared more legible 12 years ago is that they were new signs with fresh reflective sheeting or paint being tested against old, worn-out Highway Gothic signs.

But we Roads Scholars have a thirst for nostalgia. Surely, some Roads Scholars 50 years from now will be seeking out remaining Clearview signs and viewing them the way today's Scholars go spoony over yellow stop signs or cutout route markers.

Just be thankful the feds didn't make us use a serif font on our road signs!


Election rules protect right-wing money men

For decades, one could just assume that in any American election, the Democratic candidate received more votes for each dollar spent than their Republican opponent. It's still true - but these days, campaign finance guidelines inspired by superPAC's and the far-right Citizens United ruling have glossed over this truism.

These rules protect right-wing money men who fund campaigns and run for office. And make no mistake, a vast majority are men. It's clear that the war on women is very real, much like the suburbs' ongoing war against the cities. The problem with the campaign finance regulations is that they do not count some campaign expenditures as partisan when clearly they are.

For example, they count Tea Party superPAC's as nonpartisan instead of Republican, even though the Tea Party is little more than a rebranding of the right-wing GOP establishment. The Democrats (let alone minor parties) don't have a strong counterpart to the Tea Party (big surprise).

As a result, the right-wing media can now gloat that the Republicans won more votes per dollar spent - when it isn't really true, since "nonpartisan" right-wing superPAC's spend their revenues from heroin sales on behalf of Republican candidates.

Lawmakers can fix this, but the President can act without Congress. All the President needs to do is issue an executive order that reclassifies "nonpartisan" expenses as partisan. Professional fearmongers will whimper and cry, but that's too damn bad.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Oregon standoff reads like Tea Party Who's Who

As the right-wing burglary and grand theft auto standoff near Burns, Oregon, escalates, it's time for a little Who's Who of some of the Tea Party characters who have been drawn there.

For instance, there's Joaquin Mariano DeMoreta-Folch, a Tea Party powerhouse from Florida. DeMoreta-Folch showed up at the Oregon standoff to support the militants and declared himself a "God-grace administrator" to investigate county officials. Foes have called DeMoreta-Folch "unlearned and unstable" - and he lives down to the description: When he was asked why he was using the Magna Carta instead of the Constitution as the basis for his phony proceedings, he hollered, "The Magna Carta is the supreme law of the land! The Bible is the supreme law of the land!"

Lee Rice is a Tea Party leader from Wisconsin who accompanied DeMoreta-Folch. Rice is just as delusional as the rest of the cast of zany characters there.

Meanwhile, the right-wing militants have expanded their counterrevolution from Harney County into neighboring Grant County, Oregon - where (unlike in Harney County) Tea Party Sheriff Glenn Palmer supports their cause. Palmer was also named Constitutional Sheriff of the Year for 2011 by an organization that has advocated overthrowing county governments and replacing them with right-wing juntas.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Bevin official resigns in scandal already

The totalitarian Matt Bevin regime is only 6 weeks old, and already a scandal has forced the resignation of a Bevin-appointed official.

The New Hampshire Forehead recently appointed John Rittenhouse to the Kentucky Department of Parks. But it turned out Rittenhouse had a serious violation of state ethics law only a year ago: After resigning as a manager of a state park, he had entered into a contract to buy a restaurant that subleased its location from the parks department. He did so even after being told it was an ethics violation.

Plus, Bevin hired Rittenhouse even after Rittenhouse disclosed the violation on his application.

Now that this scandal has come to light, Rittenhouse has been forced to quit his new post.

Once again, the Kentucky GOP.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Oregon invader has murder conviction

Well looky what I've found!

When I tell people the Tea Party is a bunch of thugs, they act like they don't want to hear it, because they don't want to believe that such an influential movement (even one they don't like) is nothing but a criminal gang to its very core. But now any pretense that the Tea Party is peaceful and legal-like has been kablammoed to shards.

Neil Sigurd Wampler is a California man who is taking part in the armed Tea Party burglary standoff near Burns, Oregon. It turns out that Wampler has a murder conviction on his record for killing his father.

When this came to light, Wampler initially said it was a different guy with the same name who had the murder record. That's not true. His birthdate matched prison records, and a law enforcement official in California confirmed it's the same man. The cops know this, because they've had run-ins with him over whether he's allowed to own a gun following his conviction.

Other standoff participants denied even knowing Wampler, but that's another lie. He's been there cavorting with them the whole time.

Please don't send them any more bubble gum.


It's official. The forces of good have no guts.

What happened to the days when our side had guts? Remember Occupy? It was only 3 years ago that Occupy was perhaps at its peak.

It isn't just a matter of ideology but of what the law says. Even when the law is on the side of good, our side won't show any guts whatsoever anymore. Not a shred.

When the Bundys and their Tea Party pals took over that town in Nevada, the law could have lowered the boom. Instead, authorities surrendered to the Tea Party unconditionally. Now the same thing is happening in Oregon.

Something like this is happening in Tennessee now too.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that it's unconstitutional to ban couples of the same sex from marrying. That's the law of the land. But right-wing lawmakers in Tennessee have introduced a bill that would defy this ruling outright and reinstate Tennessee's marriage ban.

Right-wing legislators in zillions of states are trying to nullify the Supreme Court's ruling, but the weak response to the Tennessee bill is mind-numbing. The federal government warns that if the Volunteer State passes this bill, the state will lose $8.5 billion in federal funding.

Only $8.5 billion? In a state of 6.5 million people, that's not much. Per person, that would be only a fraction of the monetary limit in a small claims lawsuit. What's worse than this though is that the $8.5 billion would come out of programs for the poor. It's not the poor that elected all these Republicans - but it's the poor that can't afford to pay for the GOP's extremism. For the people who'd actually be paying, $8.5 billion is a lot.

Instead of punishing far-right politicians, the government plans to penalize Tennessee's poorest citizens, who didn't even vote for these public figures. What incentive does this give for Tennessee Republicans to follow the law? The GOP enjoys harming the poor. No question about it. Cutting services for the poor will only encourage Republicans.

If public officials in Tennessee don't follow a binding federal law, why not arrest them? Is the federal government afraid to do so? Are they bullied? I'm sure there's somebody in government who doesn't think Tennessee or any other state should be allowed to defy the marriage ruling - because that's the law, not because it suggests any ideological position. But are they planning to take any real punitive action against officials who won't follow the law? Cutting poverty programs punishes only the innocent.

The long and short of it is that hardly anybody today who actually has the desire to do what is right has the guts to do it. With friends like this, who needs enemies? If they don't care, why should I? If the forces of good had shown even a smidgen of grit since the height of Occupy, we'd be living in a much grander country now.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

GoFundMe campaign for progressive safe space unveiled

I mentioned this in the most recent Last Word, but now I'm ready to unveil it to a larger audience, so listen like thieves...

I am trying to raise money for a "safe space" in northern Kentucky for political progressives, leftists, liberals, and others of a non-right-wing persuasion. I'm doing this because of the nationwide pattern of persecution by right-wingers.

The Tea Party has their own "safe space", which includes almost the entire United States. So it's time for us to have one of our own.

I plan to use the money we raise to buy a property in Newport, Bellevue, or Dayton in northern Kentucky. If another nearby location becomes available (even in Ohio), I'll consider it on a case-by-case basis. The property may include a building, or it can be simply a vacant lot. From checking property websites, I have estimated the cost at $50,000. That's how much an unimproved parcel around here usually costs. No kidding. Hopefully, I can find something cheaper. Excess money will be spent on taxes and maintenance for this site.

This will be a community space to provide safety for dissenters from right-wing tyranny.

Donate to this cause:

South Dakota voters may repeal reich-to-work law

Come November, America may have one fewer so-called "right-to-work" state.

South Dakota voters will get to vote on a referendum that would effectively vanquish the state's hated right-to-scab law by allowing labor unions to charge fair share fees for their services.

Let reich-to-work laws die in misery.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Bubbling season lasts all year at Kroger

Earlier at Kroger, some guy bubbled.

Also, some woman was talking on her cell phone inside the supermarket and angrily declared, "This Kroger doesn't have shit!"

Saturday, January 16, 2016

'Pail Poll delays Detroit move, brings party change

The results from the pair of 'Pail Polls I've had up for the past month are in!

These polls were not binding referendums but suggestions. Kind of like "Like It Or Spike It" that Power 94½ used to have. By an overpowering vote of 87.5% to 12.5%, you - the many befaced readers of this blog - voted that I should stay in greater Cincinnati instead of relocating out of town. I guess the idea of losing the guy who actually follows through on shit wasn't too appealing. This doesn't mean I'll never relocate - because my very life may depend on it - but now it's less likely that I'll do it very soon. The fact that Thomas Massie isn't unopposed like The Media hoped and predicted is another reason to stay.

The other 'Pail Poll was closer: By a vote of 57% to 43%, you suggested that I should rejoin the Democratic Party instead of remaining a registered Green. I jumped the gun on this and rejoined, because the deadline for changing party affiliation was earlier than I thought it was, and it was clear which way this survey was going.

Some of you will disagree, but there are valid reasons for rejoining the Democrats. For starts, the Kentucky Democratic Party has finally rid itself of DLC establishment hacks like Kim Davis and Jim Gooch. And the Greens seldom run candidates when they need to the most - for instance, when a right-wing Democrat runs unopposed. The Greens seem more likely to run candidates when the election is already competitive. But the main reason for rejoining the Democrats isn't because of the Greens' shortcomings, but because progressive goals need a bigger party. The Tea Party grew into the Republicans from the right, and the GOP is now largely synonymous with the Tea Party. We need a force to grow into the Democrats from the left. After the Tea Party debacle, others have backed up the notion that the best way to restore progressive power to American politics is to rebuild our ranks within the Democratic Party. Best all, now I can vote for Bernie Sanders in the primary.

Despite the party switch, I am not moderating my views. For those hoping I am, tough toilets. We have to take a sinewy stand for what is good. So - by and large - life will go on as usual for the Time Being.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Yesterday's photos...Don't stay around long...

Photos and videos from yesterday's Roads Scholaring in Newport with the Peace Bike are up already. You know what you're gonna do with 'em? Peep 'em...

Harassment reports increase with Tea Party invasion

Harney County, Oregon, should expel that invasive species known as the Tea Party.

As the Tea Party "militia" standoff there gets more ridiculous by the day, the sheriff has issued a statement that says reports of harassment and menacing have increased markedly since the Tea Party arrived. Sheriff Dave Ward says he's received "continual reports" of local residents being followed around town by right-wing militants, and of the militants sitting in cars outside their victims' homes. The right-wing invaders have also confronted government employees while grocery shopping and argued with them about their job duties. They've even ripped down fences erected by local ranchers or the government.

Yet the stupid continues.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Year-round school nearly dead in L.A.

Remember when this used to be a really big problem?

The Los Angeles school system drew ridicule in 1989 when it became one of the first to widely adopt a year-round school calendar. The excuse for it was that it would ease overcrowding. But all it did was appease big corporations and cut into valuable family time. Other school systems copied this gimmick, for they were almost wholly dedicated to cutting into family time.

But year-round school drew protests in L.A. Plus, in 2002, a series of studies by UCLA and Gallaudet University found that students on a year-round calendar performed significantly worse. (These studies were of course never publicized by The Media.) But hundreds of L.A. schools continued using this failed "reform."

These days, however, there's only one school left in the Los Angeles public school system - Bell High School - with a year-round schedule. It's unpopular even there - but school officials insist on keeping it.

Let year-round school die a miserable death.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tea Party "militia" joined by ISIS backer

Here's more of the newses CBS seems to loses.

As Tea Party burglars continue to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, they've been joined by one David Fry, who drove all the way from Ohio just to be there. Fry joined the right-wing militants at the government building they burglarized, and used a government computer to make a website for them.

It turns out that Fry has also praised ISIS and Adolf Hitler. He defended his stance by ranting about when he called "a Jewish conspiracy against the free world that involves causing nuclear meltdowns."

What a beezweezer.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Red Monday a bust

It's a fact: January 11, 2016, will not be known in Kentucky political history as Red Thursday. Mainly because it's Monday. But it won't be known as Red Monday either.

After Jeff "Col. Klink" Hoover puffed up and blustered last week that he was going to make history today by launching a Republican coup in the Kentucky House - even though there's no legal way to do it - political writers across the Bluegrass State started rubbing their hands together in excitement. You see, if these writers don't really like the GOP's policies, it would be easy for them to just buy their way out of the pain. Not so for the average Kentuckian.

Hoover's failure to follow through today doesn't mean our ideological allies at the municipal level are any less gutless for not coming up with a plan to combat Republican fascism and fiscal mismanagement foisted upon us at the state level. They'd rather have me waste time on a plan they're too chicken to use. (Why do you think I was up until 5 AM again last night?)

The Guy Who Looks Like David Bowie

I grew up on MTV, so I saw the late David Bowie's videos quite a bit.

In high school, there was some sort of counselor or social worker who strongly resembled Mr. Bowie. So I always called him The Guy Who Looks Like David Bowie - but only behind his back, never to his face.

He knew he looked like David Bowie, but just never admitted it and hoped nobody would notice. But I think I was the first student to notice. I remember snickering to classmates that he looked like David Bowie, and they laughed in agreement.

But one day, I kept acting up in class, because this school was just so futile. Then The Guy Who Looks Like David Bowie popped into the room. I greeted him by putting on my best radio voice and mimicking a concert announcer.

I declared, "Ladies and gentlemen..." The social worker began getting an uneasy look on his face, as if he knew what was coming.

I continued, "Now, right here on our stage..." The look of uneasiness grew.

I went on. "It's the electrifying..."

I continued, "The stupendous..."

I doubled down. "The amazing..."


I then started humming the intro to "Modern Love."

It was during the first syllable of "DAVID BOWIE!!!" that The Guy Who Looks Like David Bowie emitted a sigh of defeat. It was at that precise moment that he knew he had lost us all for good. He knew that now everyone would think of him as The Guy Who Looks Like David Bowie.

He tried to keep a game face, but the truth was out: The Guy Who Looks Like David Bowie looked like David Bowie.

From then on, every time he entered the classroom, I'd inevitably hear a student whispering, "It's David Bowie."

That was before I had a college professor who looked like Mick Fleetwood.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Terrorists shoot up Sanders HQ

I guess it was only a matter of time before the Tea Party brownshirts began terrorizing the Bernie Sanders campaign.

On Thursday, a bullet hole was discovered in a window of a Sanders campaign headquarters in Las Vegas. This happened on the same day Sanders himself was scheduled to be at this office.

But right-wing armchair loudmouths on website comment pages are calling the whole thing a hoax. Yep, after a long, hard day of work, I like to go around throwing bullets through windows of Bernie Sanders offices and blaming it on the Tea Party.


Have no fear, the January ish is here!

The January issue of The Last Word is pub-a-roony, and you're gonna read it until your face flies off in public!

This ish talks about lots of interesting things. It discusses some ridiculous looking shirts I found in my closet and refuse to wear. It talks about defying parental bedtime rules. Best all, it introduces you to my campaign to erect a politically progressive "safe space" in northern Kentucky - and tells you how you can help fund this effort!

So point your pooper here...

Career-ending scandal could be on the way for local GOPer

This is exactly the sort of scandal I've been longing to see for many years.

It would appear that a certain Republican member of the Kentucky House from northern Kentucky may be about to find himself at the center of a gay prostitution scandal - despite his own antigay fascism. The incident in question hasn't been confirmed, and I don't know all the details, so I'm not naming the lawmaker in this entry. But if it turns out to be true, that would be HIIIIIIIIII-LARIOUS!

It seems that the lawmaker - who is married - was caught hiring a male prostitute late Christmas night at a park not too far from his home. An undercover police car then followed the legislator home and confronted him. The lawmaker made a big scene in front of his house and appeared somewhat drug-addled. He reportedly sat down in a patio chair on his lawn, held a broom across his lap and claimed it was a rifle, and dared police to shoot him. Then he held the broom up and tried to challenge the officer to shoot it out of his hand. He launched a predictable "Do you know who I am?" speech and accused the officer of trying to "hump the goddamn phone pole."

This stupid standoff reportedly ended in the legislator's arrest on charges related to prostitution and terroristic threatening.

I believe the incident happened, but some of the details appear unlikely. For instance, the police following him home like that just seems somewhat weird. I would have thought they'd arrest him at the park. But maybe the cops recognized him and just didn't want a big scene there.

I also can't find any record of the arrest or pending charges. That's easy to explain though: Some right-wing officials probably got the whole case dropped. They seem to be doing that a lot lately if they know their cronies are in trouble.

Frankly, I wouldn't care if a politician is gay. This is 2016, and I'm a progressive. We should all be decades past this. I wouldn't even care very much if a politician hired a hooker. It's not a felony, and if they're willing to admit they made a mistake and vowed to learn from it, I'd let it go. But it's a whole different story when the politician is expressly antigay and builds his whole platform on trying to run everyone else's lives. The big problem isn't that he hired a gay prostitute, but that he's so hypocritical about it. The policy of the Far Right seems to be, "Do as we say, not as we do."

And you know damn well that if a solidly liberal public official was caught in something like this, it would be all over the papers by now. I can almost guarantee it. If it wasn't, it would somehow come out right at the time to inflict maximum political damage on their allies.

My job is to find facts, and if this scandal ends up being stretched out long enough to inflict serious damage on Kentucky Republicans, tough toilets.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Ethnic assault caught on camera, results in firing

It seems like the Tea Party is getting more violent every day. They may be shrinking, but they're like the dinosaur in the sci-fi movies that stumbles around and breaks things in the process of dying.

A bizarre incident has occurred in Beaverton, Oregon. A man in a red SUV pulled up to a woman in a car at a traffic light and began screaming anti-Hispanic slurs at her. The woman said that in all her 36 years, she had never in her life seen anything like this. During the attack, she started filming it with her phone camera.

The assailant couldn't even get his ethnic slurs straight, for the victim is Arab-American, not Hispanic.

Of course, the Portland media initially didn't identify the asshole. (The Portland media is so right-wing that it makes the Cincinnati media look like a Socialist Party newsletter in comparison.) Later, he was identified as Joseph Metoxen, 35, of Aloha, Oregon. It turned out he was a plumber, and the plumbing business he worked for fired him when the assault came to light.

And make no mistake, the incident was an assault. Metoxen approached someone in a threatening manner. But the local sheriff's department says they will not be making an arrest over this incident, claiming his actions were free speech. Seriously, they said that.

Most people would have thrown a rock clear through Metoxic's head. But get this: He later called the sheriff because he was afraid of the backlash caused by his own actions. He was then arrested on an outstanding criminal mischief warrant stemming from an earlier episode in which he damaged a car by whacking it with a wrench.

Right-wing thugs were carrying out assaults just like this a lot in our area some years back. As far as I know, the attackers weren't fired or arrested, but were mollycoddled. With this kind of encouragement from Republican officials, why should we be surprised when it spreads?


Red Monday

Barack Obama is the best President since Jimmy Carter. But what in the World of Warcraft has happened to our state governments?

The Democrats hold a 50 to 46 edge in the Kentucky House, with 4 vacant seats. But not if House Republican leader Rep. Jeff "Col. Klink" Hoover gets his way.

Hoover blurted out that he thinks this coming Monday will be a historic day for the House. But it's hard to see how the GOP can gain control of the House then, because the deadline for lawmakers to switch parties - unless they're retiring - was December 31. So the first big question: What sort of undemocratic methods are the Kentucky GOP planning on deploying to take a House majority on Monday? It's not like they can assassinate William Goebel again. I'm sure they would if they could, because they believe political power should flow from a gun barrel.

Another big question: How many remaining House Democrats - even among the few who are retiring - would even want to switch now? The Democrats have said all their existing legislators are behind them on preserving the prevailing wage and holding back reich-to-work laws, so why would any of their members join a party that makes passing right-to-scab laws a priority, especially since these laws are so unpopular in Kentucky? There have been rumors that the Republicans have offered gifts to lawmakers who switch - but that would be against federal law.

Incidentally, if you count Kentucky as a Southern state, the Kentucky House is the only state legislative chamber in the South led by Democrats.

The Republican Party. Unfit to lead - in any state.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Wisconsin loses 10,000 jobs after reich-to-work passage

Here's the latest reason why the Tea Party needs its teeth kicked down its fucking throat.

After Wisconsin passed an unconstitutional "right-to-work" law that breaks up labor unions, the state is now losing jobs at a record pace. It's even worse than it was in the Gingrich/Bush/Greenspan recession that the right-wing media ignored. This even as most of the country recovers from the recession. Nazi Gov. Scott Walker vowed that a right-to-scab law would create jobs, but that was a lie, because it now turns out that Wisconsin has lost 10,000 jobs under this law.

In fact, Wisconsin's middle class is shrinking faster than any other state.

How do we stop this murderous fascism? Hey, I have an idea! Let's make a bunch of Facebook posts about our favorite bands! That'll fix things!


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A profile in wussifiedness in a Texas city

This blog heaped praise upon the town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, for passing its own antidiscrimination law - in brave defiance of state lawmakers' unconstitutional efforts to prevent the town from doing so.

But Denton, Texas, is the "anti-Eureka Springs", if you will (or if you won't).

The city of Denton took a step in the right direction when it banned the environmentally disastrous procedure of natural gas fracking. Two-thirds of voters supported the ban in a 2014 referendum.

But it all fell to detritus last year when state lawmakers opened up their spleezox yips and passed a law overturning the city's ordinance. This might not have mattered much if Denton officials had the guts to tell state lawmakers to go gag on a turd. Instead, city council caved and voted to repeal its fracking ban.

Wow, some "leadership." Does anyone else feel like making chicken sounds when they read a story like this?

We don't have a progressive revolution, because our side doesn't have any guts. On issue after issue, we outnumber the Tea Party - and even if we didn't, it wouldn't matter from a moral standpoint. The Tea Party is many things - almost all of them stupid. But at least they have guts. When they don't get their way, you hear about it. Ever hear the saying, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease"?

Imagine the nation we'd have if the forces of good actually still had any courage.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Sikh murdered in hate crime

A media and political climate that exploits fear has consequences - all of them negative.

In Fresno, California, a 68-year-old Sikh man has been stabbed to death in broad daylight at a liquor store. Authorities are investigating the murder as a hate crime.

It is a crime not only of violence and hatred but also of unparalleled ignorance.


Fiddling while Burns burns

Have you heard?

Tea Party activists are taking over the town of Burns, Oregon, to protest the government going after a local ranching family for their lawbreaking. It's like what happened in the Cliven Bundy standoff in Bunkerville, Nevada, in 2014. In fact, Bundy's sons are leading the attempted right-wing coup in Oregon.

The Tea Party is there to support members of the Hammond family who were sentenced to prison for repeated arsons. In 2001, the Hammonds illegally shot deer on public land - so they set fire to hundreds of acres of this land to destroy the evidence of their poaching. In 2006, they set another fire that they claimed was to stop a wildfire from reaching their ranch. This blaze almost killed some firefighters.

But - as in Bunkerville - local residents are getting sick of the Tea Party's shit. Even USA Today - not exactly a leftist organ - says that residents' message to them is, "Go away."

Now the Tea Party "militia" has burglarized the headquarters of a local wildlife refuge and is threatening to kill wildlife officials who try to make them leave. The situation is so unstable that schools are closing for a week.

Of course nobody in Burns likes right-wing thugs taking over their town, but what are they doing about it? Is there any indication that they're actually fighting them off? I haven't seen any. Maybe I'm underestimating people's willingness to fight. But I haven't seen Occupy do a single fucking thing since 2014 to fight back against anything, so I'm not very optimistic.

One thing is for sure: If I lived in Burns, this invasion would stop. It would be no more. I don't put up with garbage like this. If it came here - although an inner-city area like this doesn't have much in common with a ranching place like Burns - I'd say the same thing. (The closest we came to an incursion like this was probably a few years ago when a Republican politician had an office that sold heroin.) I support the Bill of Rights - and don't just give lip service to it - and I don't fight with one hand behind my back.

Try me, Tea Party.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Chick-fil-A tantrum shows there's no hope for Far Right

A few days ago, the only Chick-fil-A location in New York City was shut down by health authorities - because it was absolutely filthy. There were flies in the food, and inspectors found a staggering 59 critical health violations.

Naturally, the Far Right is throwing a screeching temper tantrum that the city has put a kink in Chick-fil-A's plans for world domination. They claim the fast food chain is being singled out because of its right-wing activism.

One Chick-fil-A fan cried on Twitter that the closure was part of a "war on religion." Another groaned, "sounds like the liberals will go to any length to close down a Christian co." Another whined, "why does this feel political by the progressive liberal left?"

The Far Right even scapegoated Muslims for the closure. One said, "prob no prayer room. CAIR."

Ironically, if this Chick-fil-A had been kept open, a lot of right-wing bigots who support Chick-fil-A for its social views would have ended up getting sick from the food there. I guess they like having their stomachs pumped.


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Newport! Bellevue! Covington! It's a great place to start!

Last month was a December to dismember.

I goed Roads Scholaring again last month, and this Peace Bike outing yielded 24 roadly photos. All of them rule, and you're gonna peep 'em until the peep police stop you...

Tough on crime the Tim way

I always get a chill up my spine whenever crime becomes a top issue in any campaign - because it's always discussed on the right-wing media's terms. They've tried to kablammo the whole notion that you can be a progressive populist and still be tough on crime.

Remember, we're fighting against people who think chewing bubble gum should be a crime. I swear I am not making this up. They support the dictatorship in Singapore that has criminalized precisely that.

But the political left has a better record at fighting crime than the political right. Team Tyranny has gimmicks like "3 strikes" laws, mandatory minimums, and "broken windows" policing that aren't effective. But our side favors a progressive approach in which criminal penalties increase or decrease based on the crime's severity. For instance, I support tough prison terms for sending out computer viruses - but I don't know any Tea Party members who support this. I support stiff punishments for big banks and debt collectors that make harassing phone calls - but right-wing members of Congress are trying to make it easier for debt collectors to make harassing calls. I also support making it easier for individuals to collect in small claims lawsuits.

I support strong penalties for child abusers, while the Far Right keeps trying to hide behind religion as a pretext for abusing children.

The ineffectiveness of the right-wing "broken windows" methods that excuse major crimes while harshly punishing minor offenses is borne out by statistics. The rate of serious crime in the United States skyrocketed during the 1990s and 2000s when right-wing policies were most widely honored. Only later did the crime rate go back down - but this improvement has been seen primarily in big cities that have more progressive leadership.

Why do we need to make the media start discussing crime on our terms? I have been a crime victim lately. The home invasions of 2009 and 2010 were a product of right-wing tolerance of crime. It ended when a duo who lived nearby was caught for a different burglary. Authorities said they were suspects in about 75 local burglaries, but they were only charged for the one they were caught for, because officials let them off easy if they took a plea bargain. Now I've been the victim of another break-in - in which someone stole my ATM card. I have no idea how they broke in without me discovering it right away, but I think I know who did it and why. Still, a motive is not a justification.

A burglary is far more serious than a mere theft of a small amount of money, because it shatters the sense of privacy we have a right to enjoy. I intend to see the culprit prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Unfortunately, judging by what happened after the earlier incidents, the law isn't very tough on burglars. I've been punished more severely for writing on the sidewalk with chalk during an Occupy protest than most burglars are.

Also missing is my Speedway convenience store reward card. Ahem. Ahem, ahem, ahem. Not like I used it much, but there's some significance there.

What is the suspected motive for the latest crime? I think it was so the burglar could get money to buy drugs. I'm not interested in throwing the book at every drug addict - unless of course they commit real crimes to support their habit. The War on Drugs is as much of a failure as other "hang 'em high" policies. But if we're serious about halting drug-related crime, why don't we go after Contraband Central? I'm talking about the Tea Party - which supports itself in part by selling heroin. Ironically, the Tea Party are the most vocal supporters of right-wing crime-fighting methods that have been proven failures.

Crime should be discussed on progressive terms - or not at all. The truth needs to be said: We're tough on crime - but fair. The Evil Empire is not.