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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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