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“That’s the Way to Do It!”: Fascism, That Is (with apologies to Dire Straits)

Tea Par­ty Fash­ion Show

COMMENT: As the U.S. descends into fas­cism, it is worth not­ing how vio­lence direct­ed against the Democ­rats goes unheed­ed. In Wis­con­sin, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic We Are Wis­con­sin head­quar­ters was destroyed by fire, short­ly before recall elec­tions to neu­tral­ize Tea Par­ty Repub­li­cans were sched­uled. This is a numb­ing con­tin­u­a­tion of the epi­dem­ic of vio­lence direct­ed at Democ­rats in recent months, much of it lethal.

“We Are Wis­con­sin Head­quar­ters Destroyed in Fire”; Dai­ly Kos; 7/30/2011.

EXCERPT: The We Are Wis­con­sin head­quar­ters in La Crosse, Wis­con­sin, was total­ly destroyed in a fire that start­ed at 9:30 a.m. today and is still burn­ing. There were staff in the build­ing when the fire start­ed, but all were evac­u­at­ed and are safe. At this time, there is no indi­ca­tion of the cause of the fire.

An arti­cle in the La Crosse Tri­bune has pho­tos show­ing the  extent of the fire that spread to adjoin­ing build­ings.

State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jen­nifer Shilling, who is run­ning against Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Dan Kapanke in one of the state’s recall elec­tions, is going to need assis­tance fol­low­ing this fire. The recall elec­tion is less than two weeks away and this is going to seri­ous­ly impact her get-out-the-vote effort.

COMMENT: In addi­tion to the epi­dem­ic of anti-Demo­c­ra­t­ic vio­lence, it should be not­ed that the impov­er­ish­ment of a pop­u­la­tion pro­pels it in a right­ward direc­tion. Tak­ing into account the overt fas­cist her­itage of the GOP and under­stand­ing that fas­cism was­n’t an aber­ra­tion, one can but won­der if the eco­nom­ic dev­as­ta­tion engen­dered by the GOP and abet­ted by Oba­ma is intend­ed to do to the U.S. what eco­nom­ic col­lapse and polit­cal mur­der did to the Weimar Repub­lic. Here we go folks!

“Low Incomes Make Poor More Con­ser­v­a­tive, Study Finds” by George Low­ery; physorg.com; 11/16/2010.

EXCERPT: . . . . New research find­ings add com­plex­i­ty to the basic assump­tion that humans act in their own eco­nom­ic self-inter­est. By ana­lyz­ing hun­dreds of sur­vey ques­tions from 1952 to 2006, Peter Enns, assis­tant pro­fes­sor of gov­ern­ment, and Nathan Kel­ly of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ten­nessee found that as inequal­i­ty ris­es, low income indi­vid­u­als’ atti­tudes toward redis­tri­b­u­tion become more con­ser­v­a­tive. Their paper appears in the Octo­ber issue of the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Polit­i­cal Sci­ence.

“It’s a bit of a conun­drum,” Enns admits.

The researchers also exam­ined pub­lic opin­ion data on the ques­tion: Should gov­ern­ment increase spend­ing on wel­fare, keep it the same or decrease it? “As inequal­i­ty rose, the high- and low-income respon­dents on aver­age become less sup­port­ive of spend­ing on wel­fare,” Enns said. “And this is not because low-income peo­ple are unaware of inequal­i­ty; our results show they are more aware of it than most peo­ple.”

The researchers found that high­er lev­els of house­hold income inequal­i­ty in the Unit­ed States gen­er­ate more con­ser­v­a­tive pub­lic opin­ion. “We broke down pubic opin­ion by income group and found the high- and low-income groups respond­ing in a sim­i­lar way, both becom­ing more con­ser­v­a­tive when inequal­i­ty ris­es,” Enns said. “We were very sur­prised to observe that the self-rein­forc­ing aspect of inequal­i­ty holds for high- and low-income groups, and how they move togeth­er in par­al­lel over time.” . . .

Discussion

2 comments for ““That’s the Way to Do It!”: Fascism, That Is (with apologies to Dire Straits)”

  1. Con­cern­ing the links between a decrease in income and more con­ser­v­a­tives atti­tudes and val­ues, I can say that I have noticed it here in the Province of Que­bec. After the depar­ture of the NHL Que­bec Nordiques for Col­orado, the city expe­ri­enced a defin­i­tive slow­ing in busi­ness activ­i­ty. Things were look­ing pret­ty bad up there. Ten years lat­er, I was sur­prised to see a rather ent­hou­si­as­tic crowd of new­ly “con­ser­v­a­tives” in the area of Que­bec city, where such peo­ple nev­er exist­ed before that. There is even a group today of cit­i­zens that bear strong sim­i­lar­i­ties with the Tea Par­ty of the U.S. I would even add they seem to be mis­tak­en on the same issues!

    Con­cern­ing the links between vio­lence and fas­cism that you evoked hap­pen­ing in Greece and oth­er places, let me pro­pose an arti­cle that I just post­ed on my blog. It is a com­para­i­son between Breivik’s and Hitler’s thought pat­terns on sex­u­al­i­ty. In this arti­cle, I am com­ment­ing on a news­pa­per arti­cle by Jonathan Kay of the Nation­al Post. I took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to bring on the mar­vel­lous Wil­helm Reich and use his exper­tise on the psy­cho­log­i­cal aspects of fas­cism, to begin ana­lyz­ing fas­cist vio­lence. Of course, such a top­ic would neces­si­tate a Ph.D. the­sis but nobody has the time to do that these days. But I will cer­tain­ly con­tin­ue to pub­lish on the sub­ject. Here it is:

    http://lys-dor.com/2011/08/08/sex-and-slaughter-anders-behring-breiviks-and-hitlers-fascist-views-on-sexuality/

    Have a great day.

    Posted by Claude | August 8, 2011, 10:14 pm
  2. If you’re a bil­lion­aire’s shill min­ion that’s look­ing to run for office but don’t real­ly want to have to deal with the pub­lic scruti­ny that some­times comes with being a bil­lion­aire’s shill min­ion, you may want to con­sid­er mov­ing to Wis­con­sin:

    PRWatch
    Decrim­i­nal­iza­tion of Scott Walk­er Fundrais­ing

    By Mary Bot­tari on Octo­ber 9, 2015 — 8:41am

    The far-right Wis­con­sin Supreme Court already hand­ed Gov­er­nor Scott Walk­er a “get out of jail free card” when it called a halt to the John Doe crim­i­nal probe into cam­paign finance vio­la­tions by Walk­er and his team of advi­sors dur­ing the 2011–2012 recall elec­tions.

    Now, the Wis­con­sin leg­is­la­ture is going the extra mile with three sep­a­rate bills to retroac­tive­ly decrim­i­nal­ize the behav­ior at the heart of the inves­ti­ga­tion and to defang the non­par­ti­san elec­tions agency that aid­ed it.

    The first will allow can­di­dates to direct­ly coor­di­nate with big mon­ey “issue ad” groups that keep their donors secret–allowing politi­cians to form their own shad­ow cam­paign com­mit­tee, and then ask bil­lion­aires and cor­po­ra­tions from around the coun­try (or even over­seas) to con­tribute mil­lion-dol­lar checks, with­out any pub­lic dis­clo­sure. The sec­ond will destroy the non­par­ti­san Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Board, wide­ly regard­ed as a “mod­el” for the nation, that assist­ed pros­e­cu­tors in the Walk­er inves­ti­ga­tion. The third will exempt politi­cians as a cat­e­go­ry from these types of cor­rup­tion probes.

    Leg­isla­tive lead­ers are call­ing it an over­haul of the state’s cam­paign finance laws, but it real­ly isn’t cam­paign finance at all. Wis­con­sin should inau­gu­rate new chap­ters in the statutes includ­ing “Facil­i­tat­ing Secret Mon­ey in Wis­con­sin Elec­tions” and “Pro­tect­ing Politi­cians from Inde­pen­dent Over­sight and Account­abil­i­ty.”

    The Supreme Swin­dle

    In a 4–2 July deci­sion that broke along ide­o­log­i­cal lines, the Wis­con­sin Supreme Court’s right-wing major­i­ty end­ed the John Doe probe into whether Gov­er­nor Scott Walk­er ille­gal­ly coor­di­nat­ed with sup­pos­ed­ly “inde­pen­dent” secret mon­ey groups dur­ing the recall elec­tions. The Court declared that any coor­di­na­tion that did occur did­n’t vio­late the law, since it only involved so-called “issue ads” that stopped short of express­ly say­ing “vote for” or “vote against” a can­di­date. The Court addi­tion­al­ly ignored evi­dence that Walk­er’s team had also engaged in coor­di­na­tion with express advo­ca­cy groups.

    By rul­ing as it did, the Court over­turned years of prece­dent and prac­tice in Wis­con­sin. Pre­vi­ous­ly, one of their own col­leagues, Wis­con­sin Supreme Court Jus­tice Jon Wilcox, was fined $60,000 for engag­ing in the same type of issue ad coor­di­na­tion that Walk­er engaged in. But the state’s high­est court, elect­ed with over $10 mil­lion in sup­port from the same dark mon­ey groups under inves­ti­ga­tion in the Walk­er probe, was anx­ious to cre­ate new rules.

    On Wednes­day, GAB Chair­man Judge Ger­ald Nichol, a for­mer Repub­li­can Dis­trict Attor­ney appoint­ed to the board by Scott Walk­er, said the jus­tices should have recused them­selves.

    Nichol told Wis­con­sin Pub­lic Radio: “You get off the case, and that pro­tects the sys­tem. It gives it integri­ty. And right now, I think the Supreme Court has a prob­lem with their integri­ty.”

    “Most judges in this state who I’ve talked to are appalled by that deci­sion,” Nichol added.

    The jus­tice’s fail­ure to recuse may yet be chal­lenged before the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 2009 held that a West Vir­ginia Supreme Court Jus­tice should have recused under sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances, but by then Nichol and his col­leagues will be off the board and Wis­con­sin cam­paign finance laws will have been dra­mat­i­cal­ly rewrit­ten.

    Vos Writes Coor­di­na­tion into Law, Wel­comes Secret Mon­ey

    This week, Wis­con­sin Assem­bly Speak­er Robin Vos (R‑Rochester) unveiled a bill to cod­i­fy the Wis­con­sin Supreme Court deci­sion and legal­ize cam­paign coor­di­na­tion between inde­pen­dent issue ad groups and can­di­dates.

    Under the bill, there is noth­ing stop­ping a can­di­date from form­ing a non­prof­it, hav­ing it oper­ate out of their cam­paign offices, and ask­ing bil­lion­aires and cor­po­ra­tions from around the coun­try (or over­seas) to con­tribute mil­lion-dol­lar checks, with­out any pub­lic dis­clo­sure. Donors who max out on their con­tri­bu­tions direct­ly to cam­paigns (cur­rent­ly lim­it­ed to $10,000 per guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date) will have a new con­duit for giv­ing mon­ey, with the full knowl­edge of the can­di­date, but no dis­clo­sure to the pub­lic. Cor­po­ra­tions could sup­port Wis­con­sin can­di­dates with­out pub­lic dis­clo­sure. Spe­cial inter­ests seek­ing polit­i­cal favors—but not pub­lic scrutiny—can cur­ry favor with can­di­dates with­out ques­tions from the media.

    At the same time, the bill dou­bles the con­tri­bu­tion lim­its for indi­vid­u­als to give direct­ly to a can­di­date, but these small­er dona­tions would have to be dis­closed.

    Elec­tions law expert Tara Mal­loy with the Cam­paign Legal Cen­ter told CMD: “By allow­ing out­side groups to coor­di­nate all spend­ing except express advo­ca­cy expen­di­tures with their favored can­di­dates, the bill offers big spenders a clear route to cir­cum­vent Wisconsin’s con­tri­bu­tion lim­its. This approach is by no means con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly com­pelled. No fed­er­al court has rec­og­nized a First Amend­ment right to engage in this this type of coor­di­na­tion. Not even the U.S. Supreme Court in Cit­i­zens Unit­ed. In fact, the Supreme Court has explic­it­ly rec­og­nized that a state can go beyond express advo­ca­cy in restrict­ing coor­di­nat­ed spend­ing.”

    ...

    Get­ting Rid of the GAB, an Inde­pen­dent Elec­tion Board Is No Longer Need­ed

    Vos’ cam­paign finance deform mea­sure came the same day that the GOP dropped a bill to get rid of the inde­pen­dent elec­tions and ethics board.

    The bill will do away with the non-par­ti­san retired judges who sit on the GAB board and weigh-in on every major deci­sion. Judge Nichol and the oth­er judges (the major­i­ty appoint­ed by Walk­er) will be out on the street and par­ti­san appointees will take their place.

    Nichol warned that dis­man­tling the board short­ly before the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions was rash and ill-advised. “The pub­lic and the agen­cy’s cus­tomers will not be well served by rush­ing through a sweep­ing reor­ga­ni­za­tion at this point in the elec­tion cycle,” he wrote to leg­isla­tive lead­ers. The board had its hands full imple­ment­ing Vot­er ID and oth­er changes demand­ed by Repub­li­cans. The board “makes its own deci­sions guid­ed by the law, not par­ti­san pol­i­tics,” he wrote to leg­isla­tive lead­ers.

    But his warn­ing falls on deaf ears. The Wis­con­sin GOP appears ready to rush the GAB reform bill and changes to the cam­paign finance sys­tem through the leg­is­la­ture. Speak­er Vos and over 23 oth­er leg­is­la­tors who vot­ed to cre­ate an inde­pen­dent over­seer of Wis­con­sin elec­tions will now have to reverse course. (See the list here.)

    Gut­ting the John Doe Statute, No More Cor­rup­tion Inves­ti­ga­tions

    The final fol­ly in the trin­i­ty of bad ideas is a bill that would pro­hib­it Wis­con­sin’s John Doe statute, which lays out a process sim­i­lar to a grand jury but oper­at­ing in front of a judge, from being used to inves­ti­gate polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion. The broad­ly writ­ten bill authored by GOP Sen­a­tor Tom Tiffany (R‑Hazelhurst) would only allow the stat­ue to be used for seri­ous, for instance vio­lent, felonies and would apply time lim­its and oth­er restric­tions mak­ing it unwork­able.

    For­mer Mil­wau­kee Dis­trict Attor­ney E. Michael McCann, tes­ti­fied that the new bill was so poor­ly writ­ten that pros­e­cu­tors would no longer be able to use the law to inves­ti­gate iden­ti­ty theft, mort­gage fraud, cer­tain drug offens­es, theft reach­ing into the mil­lions of dol­lars, per­jury as well as polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion and cam­paign finance and ethics law vio­la­tions.

    The End of an Era of Good Gov­ern­ment

    Wis­con­sin’s cam­paign finance laws were enact­ed after the Water­gate scan­dal rocked the nation. Now the lan­guage that ush­ered in a 30-year era of trans­paren­cy and fair play in Wis­con­sin pol­i­tics is being jettisoned.0

    The Vos bill elim­i­nates the pre­am­ble of the state’s cam­paign finance law, which includes: “our demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem of gov­ern­ment can be main­tained only if the elec­torate is informed,” “exces­sive spend­ing on cam­paigns for pub­lic office jeop­ar­dizes the integri­ty of elec­tions” and “when the true source of sup­port or extent of sup­port is not ful­ly dis­closed, or when a can­di­date becomes over­ly depen­dent upon large pri­vate con­trib­u­tors, the demo­c­ra­t­ic process is sub­ject­ed to a poten­tial cor­rupt­ing influ­ence.”

    That’s right, an informed elec­torate is no longer a goal of Speak­er Vos and the Wis­con­sin GOP, which has now made mul­ti­ple attempts to gut the state’s open records law.

    “The net effect of this plan is effec­tive­ly the com­plete dereg­u­la­tion of cam­paign finance law in Wis­con­sin, includ­ing any mean­ing­ful trans­paren­cy or dis­clo­sure. Much more mon­ey, in much larg­er amounts will flow and Wis­con­sin vot­ers will be rel­e­gat­ed to the side­lines,” says Wis­con­sin Com­mon Cause direc­tor Jay Heck.

    As we can see, it isn’t just aspir­ing bil­lion­aire shill min­ions that should con­sid­er mak­ing the move to the Bad­ger State. There’s a vari­ety a crim­i­nal acts that should be much eas­i­er to exe­cute one these new laws are passed:

    ...
    Under the bill, there is noth­ing stop­ping a can­di­date from form­ing a non­prof­it, hav­ing it oper­ate out of their cam­paign offices, and ask­ing bil­lion­aires and cor­po­ra­tions from around the coun­try (or over­seas) to con­tribute mil­lion-dol­lar checks, with­out any pub­lic dis­clo­sure. Donors who max out on their con­tri­bu­tions direct­ly to cam­paigns (cur­rent­ly lim­it­ed to $10,000 per guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date) will have a new con­duit for giv­ing mon­ey, with the full knowl­edge of the can­di­date, but no dis­clo­sure to the pub­lic. Cor­po­ra­tions could sup­port Wis­con­sin can­di­dates with­out pub­lic dis­clo­sure. Spe­cial inter­ests seek­ing polit­i­cal favors—but not pub­lic scrutiny—can cur­ry favor with can­di­dates with­out ques­tions from the media.

    ...

    The bill will do away with the non-par­ti­san retired judges who sit on the GAB board and weigh-in on every major deci­sion. Judge Nichol and the oth­er judges (the major­i­ty appoint­ed by Walk­er) will be out on the street and par­ti­san appointees will take their place.

    ...

    The final fol­ly in the trin­i­ty of bad ideas is a bill that would pro­hib­it Wis­con­sin’s John Doe statute, which lays out a process sim­i­lar to a grand jury but oper­at­ing in front of a judge, from being used to inves­ti­gate polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion. The broad­ly writ­ten bill authored by GOP Sen­a­tor Tom Tiffany (R‑Hazelhurst) would only allow the stat­ue to be used for seri­ous, for instance vio­lent, felonies and would apply time lim­its and oth­er restric­tions mak­ing it unwork­able.

    For­mer Mil­wau­kee Dis­trict Attor­ney E. Michael McCann, tes­ti­fied that the new bill was so poor­ly writ­ten that pros­e­cu­tors would no longer be able to use the law to inves­ti­gate iden­ti­ty theft, mort­gage fraud, cer­tain drug offens­es, theft reach­ing into the mil­lions of dol­lars, per­jury as well as polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion and cam­paign finance and ethics law vio­la­tions.

    ...

    The Vos bill elim­i­nates the pre­am­ble of the state’s cam­paign finance law, which includes: “our demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem of gov­ern­ment can be main­tained only if the elec­torate is informed,” “exces­sive spend­ing on cam­paigns for pub­lic office jeop­ar­dizes the integri­ty of elec­tions” and “when the true source of sup­port or extent of sup­port is not ful­ly dis­closed, or when a can­di­date becomes over­ly depen­dent upon large pri­vate con­trib­u­tors, the demo­c­ra­t­ic process is sub­ject­ed to a poten­tial cor­rupt­ing influ­ence.”

    ...

    “For­mer Mil­wau­kee Dis­trict Attor­ney E. Michael McCann, tes­ti­fied that the new bill was so poor­ly writ­ten that pros­e­cu­tors would no longer be able to use the law to inves­ti­gate iden­ti­ty theft, mort­gage fraud, cer­tain drug offens­es, theft reach­ing into the mil­lions of dol­lars, per­jury as well as polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion and cam­paign finance and ethics law vio­la­tions.”
    Yes, it turns out retroac­tive­ly legal­iz­ing sys­temic polit­i­cal bribery isn’t con­se­quence free.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 9, 2015, 12:22 pm

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