The Sins and Prevarications of The Authoritarian Right by Timothy Riley

This is a guest post by Timothy Riley

$688,000 and counting, that is the amount of taxpayer dollars the Republican Legislators and the Governor have paid private law firms to date to draw and defend redistricting maps designed to create a one party system and disenfranchise voters.

Some of these funds were in fact spent to draft contractual “secrecy agreements” under which these same Republican legislators swore to keep the truth regarding the drawing process and content of the maps a “secret” from the very constituents they were elected to serve.

Before all is said and done the legal fees paid to private law firms will easily surpass one million dollars. The Governor has in fact authorized an additional $637,000 in future fees to the law firm protecting his interests. Make no mistake about it, the taxpayer monies are committed solely to protect his and the Republican legislators interests and not those of we the people.

Add this to the approximately four million dollars the Republicans spent on the Voter ID law more commonly and, perceptively, known as the voter suppression act. Legislation, again, enacted solely in the interest of disenfranchising voters to consolidate their power and create a one party system.

Their passion to subvert a democratic State was never more evident than in the repeal of collective bargaining rights and the attendant restrictions they enacted to destroy public sector unions.Under the propaganda, the, “big lie”, if you will that the repeal of collective bargaining rights was necessary to balance the State Budget. They have continued to spew this lie even after the Governor was compelled to testify,under oath, that the repeal did not save the State,”one nickle”. They have continued to spew this lie even after the Senate Republicans extracted the provisions from the Budget Bill and passed them in the dead of night as a separate measure. Thus conceding that the repeal of collective bargaining rights was not a monetary budget item and in fact had no fiscal impact.

The true impact and intent of the legislation was to destroy a perceived political enemy and power base of the opposition all in the interest of creating a one party system.

On the other side of the ledger the Governor and his acolytes’ unbridled assault on education, consumer rights,woman’s rights,the environment,health care, the elderly, the working poor and disabled has been conducted at the behest and will of their corporate masters who,in return, fill their campaign coffers. Not content with mere direct campaign contributions, they then spend millions more through 501(c)(3) “corporations” on bogus “issue advocacy” ads. Hence the Koch Bros. funded “It’s Working” tripe that has been flooding our airwaves. Or, as I refer to it,30 lies in 60 seconds.

The unfettered flow of cash to the Governor and his legislative cronies further serves to foster and create their desired one party system.In short there is no expense too great, no act too devious, no lie too big to dissuade their pursuit of the consolidation and perpetuation of their power and control.

This is a guest post by Timothy Riley

Profit Über Alles: House’s Antiregulatory Folly Is Their Idea of a Jobs Bill

On Wednesday, in a 241-to-184 vote, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 10, the “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny” (REINS) Act, which would require congressional approval from both houses for any major new regulations. Four Democrats slithered across the aisle and voted with the Republicans: John Barrow (GA), Dan Boren (OK), Mike McIntyre (NC), and Collin Peterson (MN).

The claim, unsurprisingly, is that, released from the presumably unbearable burden of regulations, businesses will be able hire more employees. But there is little evidence that regulations hamper the economy.

What we have here is nothing more or less than the Tea Partiers proving to their constituents and, more importantly, to their corporate sugar daddies that they’re doing all they can to “rein in” and undermine the executive branch. Never mind that Obama has put forward fewer regulations than W had at this point in his tenure. Never mind that the bill is highly unlikely to be introduced in the Senate. Never mind checks and balances (I swear none of these guys was paying attention in high school civics class).

This is the House’s pathetically laughable idea of a jobs bill. While the Tea Partiers kowtow to their corporate backers and cozy up to ideological lunacy, the economy continues to teeter on a precipice. It’s immoral and unconscionable for these jackals to play politics and unrelentingly adhere to their crackpot ideology while unemployment levels are so high.

From an editorial in Sunday’s New York Times:

Reins is a terrible piece of legislation that would undermine a functioning regulatory system that protects people from harm. … In a nutshell, the bill would stop any major regulation issued by a federal agency and costing more than $100 million from taking effect unless it received approval from both houses of Congress and the president. Many such rules are issued every year involving everything from food safety to efficiency standards for cars. Disapproval from one house would be enough to kill a rule and force the agency to start all over again. A rule would also die if one house failed to act within 70 days.

The bill is the fullest flowering of the Republicans’ antiregulatory philosophy. Beyond that, it would upend the traditional relationship between the legislative and executive branches. Under long-standing practice, Congress enacts laws—the Clean Air Act, for instance—and then empowers the executive branch to negotiate with stakeholders and write detailed regulations.

Congress delegates this responsibility because it has neither the time nor the expertise to develop the rules or the machinery and manpower to enforce them. Reins would radically re-position Congress to make final decisions that involve detailed technical matters.

Remember, the House of Representatives is currently a body that can’t negotiate its way out of a paper bag. Would we really want them in charge of the minutiae of regulation? And would we want our regulations subject to the enormous lobbying influences that currently reign (pun intended) in Congress? Of course, not. The idea is beyond absurd.

Rabid-right ideologues believe that the private sector is infinitely better than any public sector body. Given how dysfunctional this Congress is, I can almost see their point. But even as toxic as Congress has been lately, corporations and their influence peddling have been far more so. The assertion that businesses and corporations will self-regulate is patently ludicrous.

What should not be lost on the American people is that issues of health and safety and the common good should never be left up to people whose only concern is the bottom line. Because then, of course, human costs will never be counted when they’re tallying up the cost/benefit analysis.

Yesterday’s Huffington Post quotes Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX): “Who do the regulators answer to? No one.” Ah yes, but whom does Congress answer to? Not the American people, clearly. No, members of Congress answer to big money, for whom environmental, health, and safety laws are nothing more than meddlesome interference. Profit über alles.

Rep. Poe continued: “When the regulators go to work everyday, like most people go to work, their work assignment’s a little different. In my opinion, they sit around a big oak table, sipping their lattes. They have out their iPads and their computers, and they decide, ‘Who shall we regulate today?’ And they write a regulation and send it out to the masses and make us deal with the cost to that.”

Rep. Poe is full of crap. Whose well-being does he have in mind when he complains about big oak tables (as if he never sat at one), iPads and computers (who doesn’t use one?), and lattes (that’s really hitting below the belt). As if the process of writing and passing regulations were altogether arbitrary, as if pure profit motive could ensure the well-being of the environment and Americans’ health and safety. Republicans in Congress think protection of the environment, health, and safety should be left up to CEOs and their lobbyists. And this is their idea of a jobs bill.

Teacher from Pro-Scott Walker Ad Applauds White Pride Speech

According to the Politiscoop blogger, a key Walker advocate, Kristi LaCroix, was present at a Kenosha event when a woman stood up to deliver what I would call a ‘white pride speech’, and at the conclusion of said speech, a standing ovation was delivered. (Audio is at the bottom of this post.)
Ms. LaCroix is the Lakeview Tech Academy charter school teacher in Kenosha, Wisconsin who did a TV advertisement for Scott Walker.

The white pride speech transpired at a right-wing “Pints and Politics” event in Kenosha, Wisconsin on December 1, 2011.

LaCroix has proudly and publicly spoken in an ad in favor of Scott Walker.

Is she equally proud and public in her applause for racism? Or as this audience might put it, “white pride”?

Here are excerpts from the recording below:
“I stood up and I said, ‘Look, I’m white and I’m proud of that.”,

“I want you to understand that I am tired of the white male, the white conservative males, the white Christian conservative male being at the bottom of the heap.”

This is a political event. This is the community Ms. LaCroix keeps company with and stands by.

They also stand by Scott Walker.

According to blogger noise of rain, she already keeps company online with individuals in the facebook page “Operation Burn Notice”: an online community that has been threatening to burn recall petitions – a Class i felony in Wisconsin.

harvey's kkk bb
Image courtesy of zen

Teapublican Senate Candidate Lasee explains why we should give teachers guns on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show

Thank you TeaPublican Frank Lasee for not only proclaiming that teachers should be given guns to defend schools in 2006 but for ALSO appearing on the Daily Show where Jason Jones could make fun of you. *sigh* Good times.

Frank Lasee of De Pere, Wisconsin says he’s running for Herb Kohl’s U.S. Senate seat. Here’s a link to a write-up I did on Frank yesterday.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Class Warfare
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

For the record, this segment is from a January 8, 2007 episode of the Daily Show.

August 16th – Wisconsin Democratic Senator Holperin vs. Simac / Democratic Senator Wirch vs. Steitz

A live text chat window will be operational starting at 6:30PM Central below the twitter window. Pick a name, put in a comment, and then I’ll be able to give you the go-ahead to chat. Appleton Wonk and I will both be chatterboxes in residence this evening.

What’s going on in Wisconsin? These updates center on 2 recall elections: Democratic Wisconsin senator Jim Holperin fights to defend his seat in the 12th district against Tea Party leader Kim Simac. Democratic Senator Wirch will try to hold the line against Republican Steitz in the 22nd district.

Former Senator Dave Zien and Tea Party Create Scene, Attack Solidarity Singer in Capitol Today

Here’s the report that WORT FM did on this. You’ll hear an announcement and then the news picks up at the 1:30 mark.
I’m sharing some notes and photos from a person who was at the Capitol during an assault on a singer from the Solidarity Sing Along group today. She asked that I share none of the names included outside of Zien’s name.
“Today former senator Dave Zien brought his attack dogs to the capitol.

Two of Zien’s associates attempted to cover 1st floor banner holders with their Don’t Tread On Me flag.

**** stepped in to help us and was assaulted by the Tea Party thugs. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt (although **** had his tooth broken by one of Zien’s goons). About a dozen Solidarity Singers gave statements to police, and the two Teabaggers were hauled off in handcuffs.

By sheer coincidence, Zien’s friend (a Milwaukee FOX affiliate) just happened to be there with his camera crew.

Zien was harassing singers earlier on the ground floor of the rotunda by wheeling around haphazardly and yelling, “Walker for President!” He nearly crushed people’s toes with his wheelchair, yet was not cited for this behavior.

Seated: Dave Zien

**** received a citation for Disorderly Conduct. He acted in our defense. The charge should be dropped immediately.”

WORT FM of Madison will include an interview on this event in its 6:30PM Central news show. [You can listen online HERE].
I am feeling a personal pang of sadness, disappointment, and a bit of shame because I grew up in the former senator’s district which covers Chippewa, Clark, part of Dunn, Marathon, and Barron counties. Despite being opposite him on politics, I don’t assume that Zien is a violent kind of guy, though he is known as an outspoken man.
He was in a really rough motorcycle accident in Florida mid-March and people feared he’d die. I was one of many who asked others to think of him at that time and pray for him if they preferred. Dave was born in Chippewa Falls and lives in Eau Claire.

“I stand with those people over there” : Madison Magazine’s “The Walker Effect”

by Maggie Ginsburg-Schultz

I’m tugging out a portion of a much longer, very good article by author Maggie Ginsburg-Schutz with Madison Magazine. In this excerpt, the setting is Rhinelander at Wolff’s Log Cabin Restaurant where an AFP “Stand with Walker” group has pulled up, and a group of anti-Walker protesters has also assembled.

“A jingling of bells announces a customer, and Dave and Barb turn their attention to the tall man who has just entered. He’s got mustard yellow gloves stuffed in the right pocket of his cargo pants, and his clothes say Laborers International Union Local 4. He’s holding a green and gold sign that reads “Wisconsin Business Supports Workers’ Rights.”

“I stand with those people over there,” he says, pointing to the anti-Walker protesters, “and our organization AFSCME is going around talking to businesses and we don’t want boycotts. Essentially what we’re asking is businesses that will put this sign up, we will encourage our members and the people in this community to frequent these places and to remember.”

I want to ask what he means by “remember,” but I’m busy holding very still. Dave tells the man that he has a policy against putting up political signs for either side because he doesn’t want to upset any of his customers. For the next four minutes and 16 seconds, the union man argues his point and Dave and Barb repeat their position about remaining neutral, refusing to hang the sign. The union man pushes the front door open.

“I’ll give you a chance to think about it, but it would be prudent,” says the man. “This is not to make a threat, but I think that people will interpret the fact that because you didn’t put this up, that means that you side with Walker.”

“See, now it feels like you’re blackmailing us,” says Barb.

“Oh, I’m not trying to blackmail you,” he answers. “I’m just telling you the way it is.”

“But it is blackmail!” says Barb, visibly upset now. “That’s what’s frustrating! You want your rights but, by God, I want mine, too.”
“And we have the right to decide where we’re going to do business,” he says, the door closing behind him in a last-word vacuum.

There’s a long silence after he leaves. Things just got very personal in here. The Wolffs stare out the window, where the atmosphere is almost festive as the anti-Walker crowd builds and dozens of cars honk in solidarity from the highway. A woman in a black baseball cap holds a yellow piece of tagboard, the words “I give my students 100%” scrawled across it in black Sharpie. For her, it’s personal, too.

“I can’t put a sign out for anybody,” Dave repeats to himself, as if to make sure.

“They’re gonna end up putting us out of business,” Barb says quietly.”

You’ve heard that phrase,  “It’s not personal, it’s just business.” (Just before you got laid off, perhaps.)  Now the phrase needs some updating. How about, “It’s not personal, it’s just Wisconsin under the Walker administration”?

The article in full is HERE.   

Donald Trump Thumped by Obama at White House Correspondents’ Dinner + Seth Meyers of SNL

This is excellent. Enjoy while I go looking for a copy of Trump’s long form birth certificate.

Next: Seth Meyers of SNL roasts them all.

CSPAN has the entire thing HERE

Some highlights:

• “I’m going to make a lot of jokes about many of the people in this room, but don’t worry. I assure that no matter how harsh the jokes, they’ve all been vetted by the man at the top: Chinese President Hu Jintao.”

• “The New York times [after] party used to be free, but tonight, apparently there’s a cover. So, like everyone else, I’ll probably just go to the Huffington Post party. And the Huffington Post party is asking people to go to other parties first and just steal food and drinks and bring it from there.”

• “Side-note: I actually met James O’Keefe last night. At least, I think it was James O’Keefe. It may have just been a regular pimp who hated organized labor.”

• “I’ll tell you who could definitely beat you [in 2012], Mr. President: 2008Barack Obama. You would have loved him.”

• “Mr. President, look at your hair. If your hair gets any whiter the tea party is going to endorse it. Ooooh, I’m going to get an angry voicemail from Ginni Thomas in 19 years.”

• “I’ll bet it’s hard getting back in campaign mode again, but you know who is really dreading it? He’s writing down words that rhyme with ‘debt-eiling’.”

Anthony Bourdain: Tea Party looks “dumb as a sack full of hammers”

Bourdain says what you already know about the Tea Party.

But it’s a great pleasure to hear it on CNN – – which has been recently slipping dangerously close to Fox territory. It’s just 1 min. 8 seconds.

Anthony Bourdain is a guest with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Bourdain is better known for being a snarky and successful New York City chef on the show “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel. Bourdain is asked what he thinks of the Tea Party:

“If I were a conspiratorially minded person I would think that Michelle Bachmann, for instance, was the creation of some evil Democratic group to make them [the Tea Party] all look like looney-toons and dumb as a sack full of hammers.”

If you’re curious, the book he mentioned is by Hampton Sides: Hellhound on His Trail

It’s an account of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the FBI’s  massive global manhunt for James Earl Ray.

A typical rave review on amazon: “You know the ending and still Hampton Sides keeps you turning the pages. Sides’ exceptional attention to detail and his masterful storytelling makes this book a must-read. Sides has raised the bar for narrative nonfiction.”

And from reviewer Andy Orrock-

“Though focused mainly on following the rapidly converging tracks of King and his killer for the first 40 to 50% of the book, Sides also has meaty, fascinating passages on both George Wallace and J. Edgard Hoover. Of particular note, Sides focuses on the ‘cognitive dissonance’ of Hoover leading the hunt for King’s assassin: “A hidebound FBI director charged with finding the assassin of a man he loathed, all the while answerable to (yet barely on speaking terms with) a liberal young attorney general (Ramsey Clark) who revered the deceased.”

Despite that bias, the FBI’s performance in identifying the killer, piecing together his trail and apprehending him (in conjunction with Canadian help and Scotland Yard) is nothing short of miraculous. “

100’s throng Wauwatosa town hall meeting. Sensenbrenner & Vukmir deliver massive FAIL in response.

In this video,  you see the standing-room only crowd and hear Vukmir lie about the fundamentals of collective bargaining to the shock of those assembled. She woodenly describes how much money an Oshkosh school district could save with the Governor’s proposed changes, and finally, you see Sensenbrenner adjourn the meeting to shouts of “Shame!”

Reporting on a raucous meeting is a lot like reporting on sports – easy to get caught up and forget to put down a word.  Thus I’m particularly impressed that “badscience” captured good play-by-play at last night’s wild Wauwatosa town hall meeting. One day we will be able to look back on this recorded moment of failure fondly, recounting how the deluded Vukmir and blustering Sensenbrenner dug their own graves and interred their political careers.

The scene is a little messy. But under the Walker regime, this is what Democracy looks like.

Hundreds rallied outside the building and 100’s Continue reading

Where there is Andrew Breitbart, there are lies.

Not pigpen. I recall that Charles Shultz is a conservative. Instead, I present a dirty pig.

Some people leave a wake of garbage in their path. Reminds me of Pigpen from Charlie Brown .

Andrew Breitbart spoke at Madison, Wisconsin yesterday to approximately 3,500 Tea Party and Pro-Walker people. They were there to do their darndest to match the numbers of Progressives, workers, and students that have rallied since last week February 14 against Scott Walker’s union-busting “Budget Repair Bill”.

Now there are rumors left behind to dispel. Picking up garbage is something we thought we’d have to do after receiving 60,000 visitors. But this?: A doctored video Continue reading

Michelle Bachmann’s Rebuttal to the State of the Union Address

For your viewing enjoyment; Michelle Backmann’s rebuttal from last night. It aired on a Tea Party site and  CNN.

While she is in opposition to Obama, she is not a friend to the Republican party. CNN caught flack from the Republican Party for airing her speech. Because of that fact, and because she makes embarrassing gaffs like publicly claiming that the founding fathers fought long and hard to end slavery, it could be in the best interests of the country if she keeps this stuff up.

Climate of fear, Resigning Republicans, and Palin’s “Blood Libel”

Climate of fear? Violence? Stupidity?

From The Hill: James Clyburn (D-SC) on Sarah Palin, “I think intellectually, she seems not to be able to understand what’s going on here…”

The No. 3 House Democrat referenced the civil rights era and said that some of the shrill rhetoric in modern politics is reminiscent of that time. “I have some experiences that maybe she does not have,” he said. “When I see and hear Continue reading

Civil war fantasies: Repeal amendment and a secession reenactment

The Repeal Amendment Over the years I have on occasion made jokes about secession. Usually about Texas, as in, “Hey, Texas. Did you secede yet, or what?”

Now, in “secession-lite”, Texas could have a chance to collaborate with 33 other states to buck the federal system. Tea Partiers & friends now want the opportunity to repeal any congressional action if the legislatures of two-thirds of the states vote to do so. This amendment to the constitution is nicknamed the “repeal amendment”.

From OTB: “Granting the states the power to overturn a Federal law, whether for policy or Constitutional reasons, would do more to bring down the Federal structure of the American government than even the Civil War tried to do. ”

Chris Matthews talked to Kenneth Cuccinelli, Virginia Attorney General- the same guy that kicked off the constitutional fight against Obama’s healthcare law.Matthews is alarmed and calls the legislation “antebellum”.

Odds are the repeal amendment won’t get far: “.. it would require acquiescence by both houses of Congress to a decrease of their own power combined with the agreement of 3/4 of the states“.

If you want to hear Randy Barnett of Georgetown University Law Center yakking on Freedom & Prosperity radio about his brainchild, here’s that link. Barnett says massively unpopular laws such as the health insurance reform act could be battled with the law he proposes, and laws that are tucked into large omnibus packages that were not individually voted on.

He talks about the deterrent effect the repeal amendment would have, and he speculates that it would be used if, for example, the federal government nationalized private pension funds.

A Bad Flashback December 20, 1860 happens to be the day when South Carolina became the first state to secede from the union 150 years ago.  Some proud white folks will be fantasizing about that very day, dressing up like Scarlet O’Hara and Rhet Butler & watching a mock signing of their state’s secession from the Union.

NAACP members from South Carolina–some # it is safe to presume descended from slaves– will on that day be making it clear they are royally pissed off. South Carolina’s NAACP members will be watching and discussing segments of Birth of a Nation – a 1915 film that glorified the Klu Klux Klan.

NAACP calls the reenactment of the secession “disrespectful”. I think the secession worshipers are making it clear that they miss having slaves.

I wonder if slaves are black or not in their modern plantation fantasy.

Sweet Tweet ‘@paxlibri: “South Carolina is too small to be a Republic, and too large to be an insane asylum.” James Petigru.   I couldn’t agree more.’