Tag Archives | Wisconsin

Do You Smell The Chum?

Jaws ChumWell, this past Tuesday certainly was freaky. In case you hadn’t noticed it, a massive disturbance rippled through the Force with enough power to knock the shoes off of anyone paying attention. It’s unclear to me precisely what it all adds up to, but I suspect that the universe just passed through a Paradox Inflection. Just possibly the forces of Right Wing Corporatist Perversion have actually begun to turn on themselves.  Here’s just three examples of what I mean:

1.  Rupert Murdoch retreats on his big to monopolize Britain’s largest satellite service BSkyB.  In the wake of the recent phone hacking scandal where person’s in the employee of Murdoch’s flagship publication News of the World was forced to close up shop for illegally eavesdropping on the survivors of terrorist attacks and bribing police officials. Many initial reports saw that as a savvy move to divert attention from Murdoch’s attempt to acquire control of a much more lucrative and influential television market, but apparently British politicians are reacting more like a shark sensing blood in the water.… Read the rest

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Luntz and Counter-Luntz: The Word You’re Looking for Is “Dissent”

LuntzBlueRedLuntzIn recent weeks I’ve had number of interesting discussions with friends, Facebook and otherwise, about the bizarre shift towards totalitarianism in American politics. Of course, no political movement is possible without a corresponding cultural alignment, and the most lamentable trend in this regard seems to me to be the ascendancy of misanthropic polemical whores like Frank Luntz, who function more or less as the shock troops against the American tradition of anti-ideology, perverting our traditional inclinations into a cult of Mammon.[1]

Wisconsinites, whom I believe to be reasonably typical victims of Luntz et alia, demonstrate some pretty mixed reactions to the word “protest”, judging by some friends’ anecdotes surrounding pre-recall canvassing going on in this state.  One friend’s story particularly resonated with me:  a man who angrily turned a canvasser away from his door saying that he was tired of all that protesting going on in Madison, and thought the “Wisconsin 14″ had shown bad faith by leaving the state to forestall passage of Governor Walker’s union busting bill.  In his mind, the Democratic senators should have “negotiated” with Walker.… Read the rest

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Happy Bloomsday, America!

Hand drawing of Bloom by Joyce

Hand drawing of Bloom by Joyce

June 16th is the annual celebration of Leopold Bloom’s doomed wanderings through Dublin in 1904, as chronicled in James Joyce’s classic novel “Ulysses”.  And in the 21st century, reality finally catches up with and overtakes fiction.

In 1921 a U.S. court banned Ulysses on the grounds that some of its graphic depictions of nudity and sexuality constituted pornography under the Postal Code. And while that decision was reversed in 1933 by a judge who could only have failed today’s more rigorous selection processes for illiteracy and cretinism, the private sector came to the rescue of public morals when Apple banned an online illustrated version from its iStore last year.

However, that victory had an even shorter half-life. A couple months later, presumably realizing that it would lose it’s investment completely if it maintained the ban, and that nobody would likely access anything remotely smacking of literary merit anyway, Apple decided to give it a go after all.… Read the rest

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Foghorn Leghorn Speaks On Matters in Wisconsin

FoghornLeghornIs it possible to channel a fictional character? Specifically, the Southern-gentrified blowhard from the Warner Bro.’s 1960’s “Foghorn Leghorn” franchise? Based upon experiments performed over the weekend, I can report a firm and conclusive “yes”. But the ritual requires copious volumes of an obscure Sri Lankan stout called “Lion“. And Mr. Legohorn seems to have quite a bit to say about Wisconsin people and places . . . .

“The behavior on display before us in this instance constitutes a perfect SCANDAL in the eyes of our sacred parliamentary traditions. This method of proceeding cannot call to mind words any loftier or more noble than “poltroon” and “knave”. I understand that the accepted standards of comportment may not be all they could in some of the darker corners of the great state of Wisconsin, but I see no reason to drag them into the sacred halls of our legislature.”

—Regarding the extraordinary violation of Wisconsin’s open meetings law by which Republican majority leader “Big Fitz” Fitzgerald surreptitiously passed Gov.… Read the rest

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Scott Walker Has Painting Of Poor Children Removed From Wisconsin Governor’s Mansion

MJS bicecol05_cOther politicians can slash taxes for the rich while cutting funds for teachers and struggling families, but few can throw in some Mr. Burns-style symbolic nose-thumbing like the Wisconsin governor. Via Mother Jones:

Walker has made headlines again after he removed a painting (see right) depicting three Milwaukee children—one had been homeless, one from low-income family, and a third who had lost family members in a drunk-driving accident—from the Governor’s mansion.

The painting, hung over the mantel, was intended to remind state leaders of the people they represent. Scott Walker and his wife Tonette replaced it with a portrait of Old Abe, a Civil War-era bald eagle from Wisconsin.

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Through the Eye of a Needle …

DopeVia Dystopia Diaries:

Some unexpected good news here:  A Wisconsin judge has ruled that the passage of Governor Scott Walker’s aggressive union-busting bill’s, engineered late in the night without the statutorially required 24 hours notice or the quorum necessary for a budget bill, is a violation of the state’s open meetings law.  An injunction is now in place to prevent the bill’s enforcement.

You may recall the raucuous buildup to the April 5th Wisconsin Supreme Court election which was widely seen as a referendum on that un-precedented (and now apparently un-lawful) powergrab, an Orwellian abuse of rhetoric and procedure whose only certain purpose was to destroy any group to politcally organize outside the orbit of his Koch brothers patrons.  David Prosser, the Republican incumbent was and still is regarded as strongly in favour of Walker’s dubious scheme, whereas his opponent, Madison-based JoAnne Kloppenberg ran on the ticket of the Democratic party who not unnaturally opposed it.

But if the buildup was a barn-burner, the prolonged aftermath was distinctly anti-climactic.  The 11th hour defection of one of Prosser’s campaign managers seemed to deal a heavy blow to the Republican’s judicial credibility.  Lazy or naive[1] commentators would have expected the hoary old chestnut about Wisconsin being the clean-government state, a la it’s Robert La Follette heritage, to come into play here and cast Prosser’s chances in doubt.… Read the rest

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Madison Activists Push Resolution To Deny Constitutional Rights To Corporations

800px-Constitution_We_the_PeopleWisconsin activists seek support in the belief that corporations don’t deserve the same constitutional rights as citizens. Isthmus reports:

Kaja Rebane wants Dane County residents to send a message that corporations aren’t people and money isn’t speech.

The UW-Madison grad student helped organize a successful effort to put referenda on the April 5 ballot in both the city of Madison and Dane County. It ask voters whether they believe corporations and people, and money and speech, should be considered distinct.

The local movement, spearheaded by South Central Wisconsin Move to Amend, is part of a national one that aims to amend the U.S. Constitution, to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Jan. 21, 2010, decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. That controversial ruling, passed 5-4, found that the government could not restrict corporate spending on independent political advertisements, saying this violated the First Amendment.

While organizing on this issue is being done nationwide, Dane County is one of the first to hold a referendum on it.

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When No Experience Pays Off Big (In a Government Job)

Brian Deschane's mugshot

Brian Deschane's mugshot

Daniel Bice writes in the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:

Just in his mid-20s, Brian Deschane has no college degree, very little management experience and two drunken-driving convictions.

Yet he has landed an $81,500-per-year job in Gov. Scott Walker’s administration overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees at the Department of Commerce. Even though Walker says the state is broke and public employees are overpaid, Deschane already has earned a promotion and a 26% pay raise in just two months with the state.

How did Deschane score his plum assignment with the Walker team? It’s all in the family. His father is Jerry Deschane, executive vice president and longtime lobbyist for the Madison-based Wisconsin Builders Association, which bet big on Walker during last year’s governor’s race.

The group’s political action committee gave $29,000 to Walker and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, last year, making it one of the top five PAC donors to the governor’s successful campaign.

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“Herr Prösser?!!”: The Madison Uprising to Shift Gears on April 5th

>Click Here<The madness surrounding Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to destroy trade unionism continues apace, but outsiders are likely to be deceived into thinking momentum of the Madison Uprising has been dissipated from its previous well-defined orbit. They couldn’t be more wrong and the turnout for Wisconsin’s April 5th supreme court contest between Prosser (R) and Kloppenburg (D) will prove that.

Current reports from Madison consistently describe a hard core of about one to two dozen protestors haunting the capitol building these days. Some Right Wing supporters of the union-busting tactics have publicly taken courage from this decrease since March 11th, when Walker signed the contententious bill. That, however, would be to focus on the hole, rather than the doughnut, so to speak.

While massive 100+ person rallies like those that continued for 3+ weeks in the capitol building are hugely important for gathering momentum and mobilizing latent energies, they really only represent the tip of an ungodly horror being whipped up for Walker and his supporters in places where it will do some real damage — the home districts of Republican legislators.  Here is but a brief sampling of highlights from the blog TMPDC:

— The wife of Senator Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) and their household help have signed petitions demanding Hopper’s recall in a very public way.

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Indiana Prosecutor Resigns After Suggesting Staging ‘Fake Attack’ In Wisconsin

Carlos F. LamVic Ryckaert and Kevin O’Neal report in the Indianapolis Star:

For the second time, an Indiana public official has lost his job because of provocative comments made about the political brouhaha in Wisconsin.

Carlos F. Lam, a Johnson County deputy prosecutor, resigned Thursday after acknowledging he sent an email last month urging Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to discredit labor union protests by orchestrating a fake assault on himself.

Possibly, Lam suggested, the pretend assailant might even use a firearm.

Lam’s boss, Prosecutor Bradley D. Cooper, accepted the resignation. He called Lam’s Feb. 19 email to Walker a “foolish suggestion.”

On Feb. 23, the Indiana Attorney General’s office fired deputy Atty. Gen. Jeff Cox after he suggested in blog posts and on Twitter that police use live ammunition on protesters who had poured into Wisconsin’s Capitol.

The political fight in Wisconsin erupted when Walker, a Republican, called for eliminating collective bargaining for public employees.

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