Thursday, February 25, 2016

Antislavery bill becomes law despite GOP obstruction

It's news to some, but many of the products you buy are made from slave labor abroad. Corporate America has never been serious about reining in this abuse. Occasionally, you'll read that some industry plans on eliminating slavery in the production of its goods within a few years, but there's a couple problems with that: Slavery should be eliminated immediately, not just within a few years. Plus - without fail - slavery still isn't eliminated when the deadline passes, so another empty promise to eliminate it is made, and the cycle begins anew.

Now President Obama has signed a federal law that bans the importation of goods produced with forced labor. It covers everything from food to minerals to clothing to electronics. The law remedies a 1930 law that has let slave-made goods sluice into the country unabated.

Why wasn't a law against slavery passed earlier? For years, it's been hamstrung by Republicans who preach market fascism.

Hopefully, the next step will be more specific legislation requiring overseas producers of goods sold in America to abide by American labor laws. Meanwhile, the new law must be enforced with gusto.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Woman dies in jail after being deprived of water

Here's another case of a person dying in what amounts to a debtors' prison - and we won't stop short of saying the victim was tortured to death.

Last July, a South Carolina woman went to a hospital for a stomach illness. Then she was taken to the Charleston County Jail when it was discovered she couldn't pay a fine for a minor shoplifting charge from back in 2011. It's unknown how police found out she was hospitalized.

She died in jail a day later after being deprived of water. She had vomited all night and was denied access to a restroom. Jail staffers ignored officials' requests to take care of her.

Now the jail's medical contractor - Carolina Center for Occupational Health - is facing a lawsuit for her death.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Stupor Tuesday

Super Tuesday is in 8 days, and did you know that Super Tuesday was one of the first shots fired by the DLC to try to install a right-wing candidate as the Democrats' presidential nominee?

It is believed that the first Super Tuesday coup attempt was in 1988, when right-wing Democrats got numerous states that were seen as friendly to their cause to hold their primaries on the same day in an attempt to commandeer the nominating process. It didn't work then, but it worked in 1992, when Super Tuesday allowed Bill Clinton to pull ahead of Tom Harkin - who had labor backing and would have likely been a much better choice in the long run.

The Democratic establishment is doing it now too. They're using Super Tuesday to help Hillary Clinton regain her lead over Bernie Sanders - even after poll after poll shows Sanders would do better in the general election.

This sounds like an intentional case of sabotage against the party's progressive wing. It's as if the party establishment is trying to deliberately lose the general election just to "prove" that the party needs to move even further right in order to win. I never used to think the DLC was that sinister - until they sabotaged that congressional race in Hawaii a few years back by running their own candidate in the general election to split the Democratic vote.

It's like how the Kentucky Democratic Party refuses to put any effort into taking back the Kentucky Senate and wouldn't run any candidates for Kenton County Fiscal Court.

Man dies in debtors' prison over ambulance bill

Utah is a command state, so it makes aggressive use of unconstitutional debtors' prisons to collect personal debts. There's no trial. They just haul people off to jail.

In the fascist stronghold of Box Elder County, a man was taken to debtors' prison because he was unable to pay an ambulance bill of almost $2,400. He died in jail.

A police official said, "We go to great lengths to never arrest anybody on these warrants." Bull. If that was true, why did they arrest this man?

Deaths at the hands of law enforcement is a serious issue, and I attended the protest in Covington against police killings in late 2014. It appears as if deadly debtors' prisons may have to be yet another front in America's fight against injustice.


Democrats grow ranks in Highland Heights

Don't look now, but in recent months, the Democrats have taken a registration advantage in all 5 precincts in my hometown of Highland Heights, Kentucky. The party has had a slight citywide advantage as long as I can remember, but I don't remember any other period when they led in all 5 precincts.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Thayer abused post to retaliate against ex-fiancee

Another scandal in the Republican Party of Kentucky? You've got to be kidding me!

Kentucky Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer has long been known as a right-wing hack, but now he's being sued by his former fiancee too. According to the suit, the Georgetown Republican abused his position to retaliate against his ex-fiancee when she failed to move out of a mansion they shared. Thayer threatened to contact a state office to have her removed from a list of approved family counselors.

Thayer also tried pressuring government officials into making sure no police report was made following a massive temper tantrum in which he screamed at his ex-fiancee until she ended up locking herself in a bedroom to avoid him. In another incident, Thayer entered the house at 1:30 AM "in a fit of rage" and destroyed Christmas tree ornaments. He also cut off access to a Kroger account they had.

America is feelin' the Bern, but Kentucky has to deal with Damon Thayer's shit?


Friday, February 19, 2016

Bevin faces impeachment effort

With Matt Bevin enjoying some of the worst approval numbers of any governor in America, the Tea Party blunderbuss is now the target of a serious impeachment drive to combat his nonstop lawbreaking.

In recent weeks, Bevin has tried to cut funds for committees that oversee elections and ethics probes. If Bevin succeeds at cutting these funds, these committees will be unable to investigate his corruption. He's doubled down on social issues as well - even filing a frivolous lawsuit against Planned Parenthood.

No provisions could be found in Kentucky law allowing a recall election - which is interesting, because Republicans tried to have Paul Patton recalled when he disagreed with them. Instead, an impeachment petition has been launched. This petition also cites widespread election fraud that put Bevin in power: The Attorney General's office received 52 fraud complaints on Election Day.

Maybe Matt Bevin and Rick Snyder can be cellmates.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Sanders leads every Republican candidate

Twenty years ago, did you ever think Bernie Sanders would be the frontrunner for President?

A new poll from Quinnipiac University - a pollster that is usually too favorable to Republicans - says the Vermont senator would defeat every leading Republican candidate in the general election by 4 to 10 points. Sanders actually does better than Hillary Clinton would do!

Let that sink in for a moment: Bernie Sanders - a self-described democratic socialist - is now the frontrunner for President of the United States.

But you know the right-wing media's knives are coming out.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

IBS thoughtcops Sanders, gets laughed at

The far-right Investor's Business Daily has just been upgraded from hilarious to uproarious.

A few weeks ago, IBS (as I call it) ran a lengthy hit piece against Bernie Sanders, one of America's most popular populists and leading presidential aspirant. I didn't discover the article until now, because nobody reads IBS.

But. It. Is. Funny!

And I'm not laughing with IBS. I'm laughing at them.

Idiot's Business Daily attacks Sanders for complaining about "how the rich were ripping everybody off." Good for Bernie! I've only been exposing the self-evident wrong of economic inequality for the past 25 years. I'm glad someone has been doing it longer.

IBS's hand-wringing whine says of the Vermont senator, "His worthless background contrasts sharply with the successful careers of other 'outsiders' in the race for the White House, including a billionaire developer, a world-renowned neurosurgeon and a Fortune 500 CEO." That statement stinks of right-wing elitism at its most embarrassing. The Far Right has been trying for years to recast themselves as "aw, shucks" populists, but IBS let the mask slip. American conservatism is as elitist as ever. They don't care about you. Team Tyranny might want your vote, but they thoroughly disdain you - because of your economic status, education level, job, etc.

As comical as IBS's editorial is, it has an underlying sentiment that's actually pretty serious - a sentiment that has caused incalculable harm to America. IBS is trying to marginalize the fight against income inequality - which isn't so funny. Until about 20 years ago, you could talk freely about the injustice of economic inequality and win a receptive audience. That changed because of the right-wing media thought police. They manipulated public opinion until income inequality wasn't seen as a serious issue again until Occupy came along. I beat my head against the wall for years trying to have this issue covered by the Really Serious People - and I was ignored.

And make no mistake, the Far Right was attempting to control thought - not just express an opinion. Their goal wasn't just to challenge economic populism but to exterminate it. I was prepared to be challenged, but the facts aren't on the Right's side, so they resorted to eliminationism. When a problem can't be exposed because we get shouted down, it can't be solved.

However, Investor's Business Deadly did the right-wing cause no favors with its harangue against Bernie Sanders.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Have no fear, the February ish is here!

Do people pop?

That question has vexed America since the dawn of mankind. But the latest ish of The Last Word - your road atlas to freedom - will answer this question for you! There's also an article about the coolness of Mister Rogers, and more!

So point your pooper here...

Justice Scalia dies

Conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia - the longest-serving Justice on the court - has reportedly died at the age of 79:

Friday, February 12, 2016

West Virginia enacts right-to-scab law

Why would West Virginia of all places pass an unconstitutional "right-to-work" law? Fifteen years ago, I would have thought Kentucky and Ohio would have both easily beaten West Virginia in that marathon to ruin.

West Virginia is a state whose citizenry once literally fought a battle against the federal government to be allowed to unionize. And that state is now becoming "right-to-work"?

This week, Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed a right-to-scab bill passed by the state's Republican legislature. But today, right-wing lawmakers overrode his veto. (Like Kentucky, West Virginia requires only a simple majority to override a veto.)

One might think that by enacting a right-to-scab law, the West Virginia GOP has just permanently cost itself its electoral edge. "Right-to-work" support hurt Kentucky Republicans in 2014, and it may have hurt the GOP in the Senate election in Michigan too. On the other hand, Republican talking heads will inevitably blame "the liberals" when West Virginians are forced to work at low-paying jobs at fast food restaurants when they're 40 - even though it's GOP policies that are forcing people to do so.

West Virginia Republicans also repealed the state's popular prevailing wage law.

Just rejoin Virginia already.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sanders and Trump win New Hampshire primaries

Bernie Sanders versus Donald Trump. If those are our choices in November, I don't even need to tell you which one to vote for.

Today in New Hampshire, Sanders and Trump won the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries, respectively. They must have each won pretty handily, since media outlets called it right when the polls closed.

I guess the Democrats there have gotten their act together quite well - eschewing the Third Way mind control that has held the party back. Meanwhile, Republicans there continue to embarrass themselves by choosing a useless right-wing billionaire.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Massachusetts town stands up against fossil fuel land grab

Don't look now, but there's actually a town somewhere in the United S. of A. that's standing up and telling the underpants-crapping Far Right to pound sand.

Fossil fuel giant Kinder Morgan wants to build a natural gas pipeline in Massachusetts. They've demanded that several towns give Kinder Morgan surveyors access to land belonging to homeowners and farmers. But the town of Deerfield is standing up against this corporate land grab. Deerfield has issued a directive that says police will arrest anyone from Kinder Morgan who trespasses on locals' property. Deerfield's Board of Health has forbidden all Kinder Morgan activities within the town - and will enforce this order.

This might not be remarkable except that it seems to be a Eureka Springs-style challenge against the Masters of the Universe who think they can tell Deerfield otherwise. Kinder Morgan gloats that right-wing state and federal laws preempt Deerfield's autonomy. Tough toilets, Kinder Morgan. The company has an atrocious safety record consisting of numerous fires, explosions, fuel leaks, and deaths. Deerfield has a duty to protect its citizenry from these dangers - and from the greed of corporations that want to seize land.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Federal court tosses county right-to-scab laws

This is a victory for freedom and working people.

Not long ago, 12 counties in Kentucky (including Boone County) passed their own so-called "right-to-work" law, which was designed to cheat workers and make union organizing a thoughtcrime. Today, a federal court ruled that counties can't pass such a law.

The grounds for this case though is that federal law references states - not counties. The ruling itself doesn't invalidate state right-to-scab laws - though those laws too are in fact an unconstitutional impairment of contracts. It's time for smart lawyers to start arguing against work-for-less laws on those grounds.

But the "right-to-work" Gestapo is as wasteful as the day is long, so you can bet your bizcream they'll appeal today's ruling.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Another hilarious celebrity look-alike

Today at Kroger in Bellevue, I saw a Helen Reddy look-alike.

Clinton and Cruz win Iowa caucuses

Hope you enjoy your new right-wing President - because that's exactly what you're getting if the results of yesterday's first-in-the-country Iowa caucuses are replicated nationwide.

Last night, the Democratic and Republican caucuses in Iowa were won by Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz, respectively. It was a disappointing evening but not entirely unexpected. Granted, Clinton just barely won her caucus, and the margin was so slim that Bernie Sanders wants Iowa Democrats to count the actual number of votes, not just delegates.

I wasn't expecting Sanders to win, considering how much The Media hates his guts. But in the long run, Cruz will do more damage to the Republicans than Clinton will do to the Democrats. I repeat, that's in the long run. In more rural states, it may be too late.

It bears repeating: If we really had a "liberal media", a party led by Ted Cruz wouldn't even be a serious contender.