Scott Walker Officially Launches Campaign For Vice-President Of The United States

Today Wisconsin governor Scott Walker began laying plans to snag an appointment to be the Republican nominee for vice-president. He did that by suspending his futile aspirations for the presidency. Now he will be free to brown nose whichever remaining candidates he thinks will be best positioned for the nomination – with the exception of one in particular.

Walker’s concession speech was remarkable for the stance it took with regard to his rivals. He spoke openly about one candidate (without actually saying his name) that he portrayed as negative and harmful to the Republican Party and to America. Walker lamented that Donald Trump’s hostility and proclivity for name-calling made it impossible to mount an optimistic campaign in the mold of Ronald Reagan. He said in part that…

“Today, I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top of the field. With that in mind, I will suspend my campaign immediately.

“I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive conservative alternative to the current front-runner. This is fundamentally important to the future of the party and more importantly to the future of our country.”

This is an unprecedented approach to leadership. Walker is appointing himself as the lemming-in-chief for GOP candidates to sacrifice themselves in order to defeat Trump. Were it not for his obvious self-interest in boosting his odds of being picked up as a running mate, it would be somewhat admirable. After all, he is correct in assessing Trump’s front-runner status as being enabled by the size of the field. With fewer candidates distributing the vote, Trump’s lead will disappear. However, the notion that fellow losers like Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, etc., are going to follow Walker over a cliff is unlikely. They will undoubtedly leave the race, but not at Walker’s behest.

Walker must be a terrible disappointment to his billionaire benefactors, the Koch brothers. They invested heavily in him with the expectation that he would would carry their agenda to the White House. Now they’ll have to find another mule to do their dirty work. Lucky for them there are plenty of of others available and willing. As President Obama noted at the last White House Correspondent’s Dinner…

Koch Brothers

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Scott Walker Promises To Ruin …er… Turn America Around

The latest passenger in the Republican Presidential Clown Car is Wisconsin’s union-busting governor, Scott Walker. His announcement address today was rife with the routine braggadocio required by all aspirants to high office.

Scott Walker (Lumbergh)

Among his laundry list of campaign pledges was the promise to “fight and win” for the “born and unborn.” And apparently what Walker thinks born and unborn Americans need most is to have their health insurance repealed, because that’s what he swore to do to ObamaCare. Although he did express support for healthcare for veterans, which is fortunate because he practically declared war on Russia and China, so they’re gonna need it.

Walker spoke at length about his record in Wisconsin but, not surprisingly, left out his numerous failures that place Wisconsin near the bottom on job creation, education, economic growth, etc. But perhaps the most intriguing pronouncement he made was his promise that…

“The good news – it’s not too late, we can turn things around.”

Well, that’s a relief. Because if America had to proceed any further in the positive direction it has been going for the last six years, who knows how long we would endure. Thankfully, Walker has arrived just in time to turn things around, back in the direction that George W. Bush had taken us.

Scott Walker vs. Obama Record

And if anyone can turn things around from the course of sustained prosperity that we’ve been on, it’s a Koch brothers puppet like Scott Walker. He was famously fooled by a blogger who called him pretending to be David Koch (YouTube audio below). They spoke for about ten minutes with Walker pandering shamelessly to who he thought was the billionaire who has been a reliable donor to his Wisconsin campaigns. At one point “David” suggested that Walker should plant troublemakers among the protesters who were packing the capital office. Walker answered saying “we thought about that.”

Of course, it would have been illegal for Walker to dispatch provocateurs to disrupt people who were exercising their free speech rights, but Walker is no stranger to unlawful activities. He is currently being investigated for election irregularities that have already seen six of his associates convicted.

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Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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Here is a transcript of the Walker phone call with the fake Koch.

The Real Post-Wisconsin Right-Wing Agenda: Kill The Unions

During the long and bitter recall campaign against Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, the Republicans insisted that their sole purpose was to cut wasteful spending and bring down government deficits. Most of the working families of Wisconsin knew that wasn’t true. Walker’s agenda was aimed squarely at collective bargaining rights that had been won over decades of hard fought negotiations. The result was a better quality of life for workers in the state, both in and out of unions.

In the past week, however, the veil has been lifted, and the anti-worker conservative’s motives are now being expressed openly and without the deceptive pretenses that characterized the pro-Walker campaign.

Kill The Unions

Immediately following the election results, the National Review’s Rich Lowry published an article with the provocative title, “All That’s ‘Left’ Is to Sound the Death Knell for Unions.” Lowry gleefully wrote of the defeat of the recall, disparagingly portraying the 1.16 million pro-recall voters as “hippie leftovers and lefty college students.” But the unadulterated focus of the article was on his notion that public sector unions were on the decline and should be abolished.

Today on Fox News Sunday, that sentiment was affirmed by Indiana mayor (and prospective Romney running mate) Mitch Daniels, who said that “I think, really, government works better without them.” That’s a little like having the CEO of General Motors express his preference for not having to deal with auto worker’s unions. Of course not. They would both prefer to be able to exploit workers and deny them reasonable benefits and working conditions without the interference of worker’s advocates.

The fact that the right is now openly declaring their intention to abolish unions indicates the confidence with which they believe they can pursue that goal. They have always wanted to go back to the days when corporations could set the rules and employees had to take it or leave it. But after the success of the movement for worker’s rights and union representation they pretended to moderate their stance and accommodate the unions. Now that facade has apparently been demolished and management factions of business and government are re-mobilizing to roll back the gains won through prior negotiations.

Lowry and Daniels, and the right-wing media that support them, had better be careful. The results of the recall in Wisconsin were not an affirmation of some general opposition to unions. And with 1.16 million voters supporting the recall (vs. 1.33 million for Walker), there is still abundant support for the rights of workers. And there is no evidence that anti-recall voters were anti-union.

Not discussed much since the election is the fact that the recall of another Republican state senator was successful, which flips the majority control of the senate to the Democrats. So clearly the hooting on behalf of giddy Republicans is premature. They are not as popular as they think they are. And now, Walker’s regressive policies will not be rubber-stamped by a GOP legislature.

But Democrats must not be complacent. The right has overtly declared war on unions. It is no longer a secret agenda hidden behind a disingenuously expressed sympathy for workers. It is out in the open and it must be countered effectively and vigorously. They have thrown down the gauntlet and it is up to the left to step up and challenge them. This is a battle we can win because, while they may have millions of dollars from vested special interests, we have the people on our side.

Andrew Breitbart’s Imaginary Republican Primary

Last week Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment published an unintentionally hilarious column that sought to offer Democratic alternatives to President Obama. The choices included non-Democrats like Fox News anchor Chris Wallace and Independent senator Joe Lieberman.

Not content to embarrass himself with his incoherent analysis of Democratic politics, the author and editor of, Joel Pollak, followed up the story this week with even less plausible suggestions for his own Republican Party. Pollak advocates for a brokered convention that would nominate a candidate not currently in the field. He runs down the GOP wish list of familiar names like Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie, and threw in some of the most unpopular characters the Republicans have ever hatched like Eric Cantor, Jim DeMint, and Paul Ryan. These folks might get the Tea Party extremists sweaty, but they would alienate the general public to an unprecedented degree. However, Pollak saved his top recommendations for last, and they are doozies.

Pollak’s number two choice for president is one of the nation’s most ridiculed and disrespected politicians, Sarah Palin. Despite starring in a documentary bomb, ironically titled “The Undefeated,” Palin has a resume chock full of defeat. She bailed out of her governorship half way through her first term. She lost the 2008 vice-presidential campaign and is credited with having been responsible for the fall of the ticket. Her book sales have been declining with each new release. Her canceled Alaska tourism program on TLC lost viewers almost every week it aired. She is currently trying to pitch a new TV show featuring her husband’s snowmobile exploits, but no one is biting. When Republicans are polled as to whether they want her to run for president, majorities say unequivocally NO! So of course, she’s the perfect candidate.

Well, almost perfect. Palin was, after all, Pollak’s second choice. So who could Pollak come up with that would surpass Palin’s extraordinary credentials? He would have to dig deep to uncover someone even more ludicrous than Palin. And Pollak does not disappoint when he reveals his first choice, the governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker.

There may be no politician in America who is more reviled by average citizens and working families. Scott Walker is renowned for his arrogant attempts to roll back collective bargaining rights that were in effect for decades. He managed to anger nurses and firefighters, and even his own police departments, as he battled for lower wages, pensions, and budgets that would mandate extensive and dangerous layoffs. His state has lost jobs for five consecutive months as job creation grew nationally. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics place Wisconsin last in the nation.

But the biggest obstacle to Walker being drafted for a presidential run is that he is about to be recalled. The organizers of the campaign to recall Walker have already announced that in less than half the allotted time they have over 500,000 of the 540,000 signatures required for a recall election. Walker’s popularity in the state is abysmal and his prospects for fending off the recall are, let’s say challenging. Earlier this year Democrats successfully recalled two of Walker’s Republican legislative allies.

The notion of a brokered GOP convention is music to the ears of Democrats. It’s an admission that the candidates put forth so far are inadequate to the job. Should one of them prevail in such an environment they would emerge greatly weakened. Should a new name emerge, it would be someone that did not endure the primary process of vetting that is so critical to assessing the viability of a candidate. Imagine if any of the previous Republican frontrunners (Bachmann, Cain, Perry, Trump) had been selected by acclamation in a brokered convention. They would have been quickly dispensed with in the general election because their obvious flaws would not have been revealed until it was too late. That will surely be the fate of any of the candidates that Pollak is setting up now.

So I wish him well. I completely agree with his choices. It would bring me great pleasure if Walker or Palin or Christie or DeMint were thrust to the head of the line and were chosen to face Obama in the general election. Obama has some very real hurdles to overcome in his quest for another term. The economy has to continue to show signs of improvement. Unemployment has to keep going down. And any number of international hotspots need to be carefully managed in order to avoid tragic flareups. But the most consistently positive advantage that Barack Obama has over his prospective opponents is that he is running against the sort of contemporary Republicans that have lost all semblance of sanity. How lucky can a guy get?

The Great Suppression: Republicans Clampdown On Art

The Republican Party likes to pretend that they are the defenders of individual freedom in America. Of course, that is a pretense that has never true. Their vocal protestations about government being “on your back” only apply to regulations aimed at corporations and taxes on the wealthy. The GOP has no problem with government leaping onto the backs of women seeking reproductive health care, or gays who want equality in marriage and military service, or kids who want to attend school without someone else’s religion forced down their souls.

In short, the GOP wants businesses to have the absolute freedom to run rampant over a population that is straight-jacketed by federal guardians of morality. And that constricting philosophy extends to the free expression of artists as well. Conservatives have long-held the view that the creative community is dangerous and subversive, and they must be silenced. They acted on those views when they blacklisted artists in the 1940’s and 1950’s. And today they are pressing hard to shut down public broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. But it doesn’t stop there.

There have been some recent incidents that ought to stir outrage among Americans who value free expression and the First Amendment to the Constitution. Public figures have been stepping on the rights of artists in an official capacity and it is repugnant and un-American.

A few years ago, Secretary of State Colin Powell was scheduled to give a speech at the United Nations to make the case by the Bush administration for going to war against Iraq. Prior to the speech he had aides cover up a tapestry depicting Picasso’s painting, Guernica. Powell was not going to make an argument for war in front of such a powerful and iconic anti-war statement.

Bush’s Attorney General, John Ashcroft, held press conferences in the Justice Department in a hall where the statue “Spirit of Justice” had stood for decades. In 2002 he ordered that the statue, a female representation of justice with one bare breast exposed, be covered by a drape. It’s not clear whether he was worried more about this being embarrassing or arousing.

Earlier this year, Paul LePage, the governor of Maine, had a mural removed from the Maine Department of Labor. The mural depicted scenes of Maine’s working citizens and the history of labor in the state. Obviously it has no business taking up space in the Labor Department.

And just this week, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin removed a painting from the governor’s residence. The painting was of children from diverse backgrounds and was meant to remind the residents of that home, which belongs to the people of Wisconsin, of the impact their work has real families. Now Walker won’t have to be concerned with that unless he runs into some in person, in which case he’ll have much more to be concerned about.

The brazen insensitivity of public officials censoring messages that were meant to inspire openness and a devotion to service is appalling. These people are not only offending the artists and the citizens whose views are being represented, they are astonishingly tone-deaf to the political backlash that was easily anticipated.

Republicans can’t seem to get enough censorship. It weaves through the party from state houses to the White House. There is even a current speculative candidate for the GOP nomination for presidency in 2012 who has a low regard for free speech.

Rudy Giuliani: An exhibition of paintings is not as communicative as speech, literature or live entertainment, and the artists’ constitutional interest is thus minimal.

That was Giuliani arguing in court to ban artists from displaying their work on the streets of New York City. His argument is that, while evangelists predicting the end of the world and banjo pluckers strumming out strains of My Clementine are protected by the Constitution, artists are not. That’s all America needs now is a president who doesn’t think that art is communication or that it is protected by the Constitution. Welcome to the Dark Ages.

Fox News Hypocrites Bash American Workers

Last night Wisconsin Republicans orchestrated an anti-democratic coup to reverse 50 years of worker rights. The legislative trickery produced a fierce backlash by opponents of Governor Scott Walker’s union-busting agenda. Here’s how Fox News presented this story on their Fox Nation web site:

The headline “Rabid Leftists Storm Wisconsin Capital After Vote,” was a deliberately incendiary invention of the Fox Nationalists. The article to which this item linked was in the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel with a much less provocative headline: Demonstrators crowd Capitol in wild scene after Senate vote. And it’s not like this is an isolated event either:

This is a concerted propaganda campaign by Fox to demean and demonize law-abiding demonstrators. The “rabid leftists” to whom Fox refers are in fact Wisconsin citizens. They are teachers, farmers, homemakers, and even the very police officers on duty in the capital building. They are Americans exercising their Constitutional rights to free assembly and speech. They are peacefully and respectfully redressing legitimate grievances.

Contrast this with the way Fox characterized the Town Hall protesters who opposed health care reform just two years ago and attempted to suppress the free speech rights of reform advocates:

Note how the Fox Nationalists celebrate this rabid assemblage that even features a likeness of the President as Hitler. That’s the sort of rhetoric and imagery that Fox likes to pretend never existed, but this was the headline on their web site on August 13, 2009.

So one crowd of angry but peaceful protesters, disgusted by a Republican ploy to steal from them both their rights and their votes, is portrayed as “rabid leftists.” But another crowd of racist and offensive protesters, seeking to kill legislation that would provide health care to millions without coverage, are portrayed as patriots. That’s the Fox News model of fairness and balance.

Ironically, the story at the bottom of the list in that image, regarding the awakening of a “sleeping giant,” is just as relevant today if you insert Governor Walker’s name in place of Obama. Despite the extremist and illegal actions on the part of the Wisconsin GOP, this dispute is far from over. The people are not going to take this laying down. This is what we’re fighting:

Tea Party: Losing Ground And Desperate

Tea CrusadesThe ongoing conflict in Wisconsin between an intransigent, union-busting governor and the representatives of average, working Americans is trending consistently toward the position of the people. Despite millions of dollars of Koch Industries lobbying funds, the Republicans and union bashers are, in their own words, “losing ground.”

This is an excerpt from a recent fundraising letter sent by Tea Party Express (TPE) to supporters:

“Friends, new polls coming out in Wisconsin show that the Obama-Labor Union ad campaign against him is having an impact. Governor Walker has started losing ground…”

Actually, the old polls were showing that as well. What is new is that even reliably right-leaning pollsters like Rasmussen are now showing that Governor Scott Walker is viewed unfavorably by nearly 60% of his constituents. The despondent correspondence goes on to say that…

“If we lose in Wisconsin then Republican Governors across America will take the lesson that they should give in and capitulate, and all the progress we have seen from the tea party movement will be undone,”

Indeed. Both sides of this debate recognize the impact that the conclusion will have on similar debates across the country. It’s interesting that TPE is so concerned about a defeat in Wisconsin that they believe it will undo “all the progress” they’ve made. But what is even more interesting is that they are directing this concern to only Republican governors.

That focus is something that I have been addressing for months, and that the media needs to acknowledge: There Is No Tea Party!

When will they get this through their barnacle-encrusted skulls? There are no Tea Party candidates; no Tea Party policies; no Tea Party voters. They are all Republicans. They run as Republicans and vote for Republicans. To pretend that it is something distinct is delusional. And this isn’t just me talking, it’s…

Republican Party spokesmen:
John Boehner, House Minority Leader: There really is no difference between what Republicans believe in and what the tea party activists believe in.

Tea Party spokesmen:
Mark Skoda, Tea Party Leader: This movement is beginning to mature … not as a third party but a force to be reckoned with in the traditional party structure.

Media spokesmen:
Carl Cameron, Fox News: They plan to establish separate spin off political action committees to fund raise for candidates who back Tea Party goals and the official Republican National Committee platform.

See? Everybody agrees that there is no Tea Party. It is journalistic fraud to persist with the charade. This is especially true of Tea Party Express, which was created by the Republican consulting firm of Russo/Marsh. Sal Russo runs TPE as a revenue center for his firm, funneling most of their donations right back into his wallet. And for some inexplicable reason this is the corrupt, phony Tea Party clan that CNN has hooked up with to host a Republican (of course) presidential primary debate.

This is madness. If the press treats the Tea Party as a separate entity and gives them a voice distinct from their Republican source, they are in effect giving the GOP twice as much exposure as the Democrats. To be fair and balanced they would have to regard or the SEIU as a separate party and hire their spokespeople as news analysts and feature their responses to official GOP dogma – in addition to that of actual Democrats. I don’t see that happening.

In the meantime, the Tea Party is growing noticeably more desperate. Their latest fundraising appeal is evidence of how seriously they take their declining popularity in Wisconsin and the impact of that nationwide. They have never really been a popular movement as most polls have pegged their support in the teens with pluralities having no opinion. And their views have been shown to be wildly out of touch with mainstream Americans.

The media has to be pressed to justify their misrepresentation of Tea Partiers. Either that or put me on every panel where they have a Republican posing as something that doesn’t exist.