Daily Archives: April 11, 2011

Tammy Baldwin Asks Eric Holder To Investigate Wisconsin Supreme Court Election

Huffington Post

After the bombshell announcement that a Waukesha County clerk forgot to report thousands of votes in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court election, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) is asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to involve the federal government in the ongoing investigation.

Last Tuesday’s election, which pitted conservative incumbent David Prosser against progressive candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg, appeared to end with Kloppenburg winning by a razor-thin margin, with initial results showing her just a couple of hundred votes ahead. But on Thursday, Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus held a dramatic press conference and admitted that she had forgotten to report the votes of the city of Brookfield. The adjusted total gave Prosser a 7,500-vote advantage.

On Friday evening, Baldwin sent a letter to Holder, saying that many of her constituents had expressed concern about the announcement. She requested that the Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section, which oversees the federal prosecution of election crimes, investigate the handling of Waukesha County’s vote records.

“For our democracy to endure, we, the people, must have faith in its laws and system of justice, including faith that our elections for public office are fair and free from any manipulating or tampering,” wrote Baldwin. “Following this week’s election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, numerous constituents have contacted me expressing serious doubt that this election was a free and fair one. They fear, as I do, that political interests are manipulating the results.”            

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Filed under Wisconsin Recall Efforts, Wisconsin Supreme Court Election, Wisconson GOP

Major CEO Donor To Walker Charged With Two Felony Counts Of Illegal Campaign Contributions

Think Progress

A top donor to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) gubernatorial campaign has been charged with multiple violations of campaign finance law, reports the Associated Press.

Prosecutors today have charged William Gardner, the CEO of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Company, with one count of excessive political donations and another related to unlawful political contributions. Prosecutors claim Gardner used his employees and family members to funnel $44,000 to Walker during the GOP primary. He is accused of then illegally reimbursing the donors with company money.

Walker has returned the contributions. Notably, prosecutors charged Gardner because the law prohibits direct donations from corporations to candidate committees. However, the Citizens United decision allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts in support of a candidate for office. If Gardner had funneled the company donations through a group like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or another front group, or if his company had taken out ads in support of Walker, his actions would not have attracted legal scrutiny

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Filed under Gov. Scott Walker, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Recall Efforts

Crooks & Liars: Why are we letting a vindictive Randroid dork rule our political discourse?

Great question!

Crooks & Liars - Brad Reed

Paul Ryan’s rise as a supposed “serious thinker” is a sad symbol of our political class’s depraved and sadistic sense of morality.

And I don’t say this just because Ryan’s truly Satanic budget plan would destroy the social safety net to fund more tax cuts for rich people. It’s also that our elite media has decided that a hardcore disciple of Ayn Rand is somebody who is actually worth listening to instead of being laughed out of the room. For despite Ryan’s pretensions that he’s just an honest wonk who’s seeking out serious solutions to our nation’s debt problem, the reality is that he’s a vindictive mega-dork who’s coming extremely close to enacting his nerdroid revenge fantasies on the American public.

I mean, look, no one who is a devoted Randian cares about anything except redistributing wealth from the unworthy looter class (i.e., 99% of the population) to the super class of highly-productive rich people (i.e., Charlie Sheen, Paris Hilton, LeBron James, LeBron James’ mom and Paul Ryan). And Ryan even admits that it was Rand who inspired him to get involved in politics:

The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” Ryan said at a D.C. gathering four years ago honoring the author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.”

And like other Randroid bed-wetters, Ryan believes that social insurance programs that have saved countless people from poverty are actually a grand form of tyranny holding back the creative potential of our oppressed producer class:

At the Rand celebration he spoke at in 2005, Ryan invoked the central theme of Rand’s writings when he told his audience that, “Almost every fight we are involved in here on Capitol Hill  . . .  is a fight that usually comes down to one conflict – individualism versus collectivism.”

In that struggle, Ryan argued that shifting Social Security (which he called a “collectivist system”) toward personal investment accounts was not only good policy, but would change the political landscape, according to a recording of the event made by its host, The Atlas Society.

“If we actually accomplish this goal of personalizing Social Security, think of what we will accomplish. Every worker, every laborer in America will not only be a laborer but a capitalist. They will be an owner of society.  . . .  That’s that many more people in America who are not going to listen to the likes of Dick Gephardt and Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, the collectivist, class-warfare-breathing demagogues,” said Ryan.

Except, unlike all the capitalists on Wall Street, all of these new worker-capitalists wouldn’t have been bailed out when their Social Security accounts got wiped out by the stock market crash in 2008.

And yes, for the record, Ryan did vote for the bailout in 2008:

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Filed under Rep. Paul Ryan, Tea Party Caucus

Wisconsin Debate Shifts To Recall Elections

To paraphrase a famous (often misquoted) saying:  Hell hath no fury like a populous scorned!

Huffington Post

Nearly a month after the Wisconsin standoff over union rights ended, some of the fervor from that debate has shifted to recall efforts targeting lawmakers in both parties – Republicans who voted to cut back collective bargaining and Democrats who fled the state to try to stop them.

Now that the law has passed, organizers are focusing on signature-gathering efforts. But of the 16 state senators who were originally targeted, only six appear likely to face an election threatening removal. And before recall elections can be held, supporters need to find candidates to run against the incumbents.

Still, voter outrage remains high in many places, helping to stir interest in the recalls.

“A lot of legislators are going to be looking over their shoulders a little more in the future,” said Michael Kraft, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay. “And if they are in the middle of a recall effort, they might be nervous about that. They might moderate what they say and how they approach the budget.”

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Filed under Wisconsin, Wisconsin Anti-Union Legislation, Wisconsin Recall Efforts

Bill Press Tells Howard Kurtz That MSNBC Hosts Are ‘Not Calling Anyone Nazis’

During a discussion of Glenn Beck’s departure from Fox News’ air on Sunday’s Reliable Sources, progressive radio host Bill Press joined host Howard Kurtz in pushing back against the idea that MSNBC’s opinion personalities are somehow equivalent to Beck. While Press and Kurtz were correct in their overall assessment, Press’ declaration that MSNBC hosts are “not calling anyone Nazis” isn’t quite true, and benefits from the fact that Keith Olbermann is no longer at the network. Oddly, though, Olbermann’s record of Nazi references only reinforces the contrast between Beck and MSNBC.

Sure, there are superficial similarities between Beck and Olbermann. Both are strongly opinionated, have extremely loyal followers, and neither is a stranger to the rhetorical use of the Third Reich. Beck rightly drew fire for accusing prominent Jew George Soros of being a Nazi collaborator, while Olbermann compared prominent Jew Floyd Abrams to Nazi collaborator Vidkun Quisling.

But the research for the “Top Ten List” of Keith Olbermann’s Nazi references, compiled by our own Matt Schneider, illustrates the fallacy of the comparison. Only six of those ten were from MSNBC’s air, and those examples stretched all the way back to 1998. Beck, by contrast, makes Nazi references with such comical frequency that during my one visit to Beck’s Mercury Radio offices, I could hear the word “Nazi!” wafting out of the studio into the waiting room. I half-expected “Nazi” to be an all-purpose, “Aloha”-style salutation at Beck HQ.

However, Press also illustrates the need for liberals to hold their figureheads to a higher standard. As I’ve said before, even if the score is 50 to 1 in Nazi references, or other crazy talk, isn’t it better to be able to say “We don’t do that,” and for it to be true?

Also lost in the Beck/MSNBC foodfight is the fact that CNN employs its own noted Nazi-bomb thrower, Redstate’s Erick Erickson.

Video here…

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Filed under Fox News, Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, MSNBC

Eric Cantor to Poor and Middle Class: Die.

Crooks & Liars - By karoli

Nothing gets my blood boiling faster than listening to the Sunday talking heads bloviate about how all those old people don’t really need their Medicare anyway. Eric Cantor just couldn’t wait to call Medicaid and Medicare recipients welfare queens this morning — as if they don’t pay for it with the taxes THEY pay (unlike our corporate person counterparts), while extolling Ryan’s plan to gut health services to the entire nation. Really, his message (and Ryan’s) is this: If you’re under 55, die and die quickly so there’s more for us.

Here’s my response to Mr. Cantor. I would like for him to start doing more with less by immediately terminating his Federal Employees’ Health Benefit Plan and shopping for his own health insurance. Then I would like him to imagine himself in a scenario where an aged relative comes to him needing a home and financial assistance because their health is so fragile they can no longer care for themselves. He will be faced with the reality of having to find a qualified home health care provider at his own expense because said indigent relative does not really “need” Medicaid, since they have Uncle Eric to rely upon. All of the expenses will be out of his own pocket.

But hey, he’ll definitely learn how to do more with less.

Does Cantor not realize that more than half of Medicaid benefits go toward long term care for the elderly? Or maybe he does, and so the message is to die, and die quickly?

Anyone within the reach of my keyboard already knows the Ryan plan is a big pile of nonsense. Unless, of course, they’re political opinion-makers with a wide platform. Then it’s “courageous.” And very, very “serious.” Again I ask, what are they smoking?

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The Nation: Fox News – The Liars’ Network

The Nation - Eric Alterman

In July 1999 Vice President Al Gore paddled down the Connecticut River in New Hampshire to spread what then–Rolling Stone reporter Eric Boehlert termed “his green theme of protecting the environment” while posing for the obvious photo-op. His hopes for making this message heard, however, went over the side when Bill Sammon, a reporter for the then-Moonie-owned Washington Times, wrote that local authorities had granted Gore a special favor when they released nearly 4 billion gallons of water from a nearby dam, at a cost of $7 million, in order to (literally) float Gore’s boat. As Boehlert noted in his masterful forensic audit of the story, Sammon’s point was clear: “In a clumsy abuse of power, Al Gore, a supposed friend of the environment, gladly wasted precious natural resources to stage-manage a political event.”

The rest of the press corps swallowed and regurgitated Sammon’s item, all but unmasticated. Newsweek dubbed it the “photo op from hell,” and CNN covered the “wave of criticism after floodgates are opened on a New Hampshire river to keep Al Gore afloat.” The New York Times report mocked the “mishap,” and the Washington Post chuckled with its readers about “Gore’s Four Billion Gallons for a Photo Op.”

Alas, it was almost all fiction. Nobody connected to the Gore campaign ever requested the release of the water. (The Secret Service did.) The correct figure for the amount of water released was 500 million gallons, or one-eighth of the amount roundly reported. The local utility company that operates the dam was already dumping millions of gallons into the parched Connecticut River every day, but for Gore’s trip this routine exercise was moved up a few hours. The alleged $7 million cost was also made up. The water in question made its way through hydroelectric turbines that generated power to be sold by the utility companies.

When Boehlert contacted Sammon, he waved off the question of accuracy entirely, because, he said, the story successfully made “a point about Gore’s political reflexes, [which are] to spin furiously and resort to deception.”

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Filed under Fox News, Fox News Lies

Sarah Palin on Donald Trump’s birtherism: ‘More power to him’

It takes lots of nuts to make up the GOP nut gallery…

Politico

Sarah Palin hailed Donald Trump’s claim that he has investigators in Hawaii looking into President Obama’s birth, but stopped short of bolstering the notion that he wasn’t born in the U.S.

“More power to him!” Palin told former New York district attorney Jeanine Pirro on her Fox News show on Saturday, referring to The Donald’s claim that he hired probers to look into the issue.

“I appreciate that Donald wants to spend his resources in getting to the bottom of something that so interests him and many Americans,” she said.

“He’s not just throwing stones from the sidelines, he’s digging in (to it), he’s paying for researchers,” she added.

But when Pirro asked Palin’s view of the issue, the former Alaskan governor walked a careful line on the issue.

“Well, you know, I think that he was born in Hawaii because there was a birth announcement put in the newspaper,” she said. “But obviously there’s something there that the president doesn’t want people to see on that birth certificate…he’s going to great lengths to make sure it isn’t shown. And that’s kind of perplexing for a lot of people.”

Several news outlets and independent groups have examined the “birther” issue and dismissed it as unfounded.

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Filed under Sarah Palin