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Former Fox News/CNN reporter doubles down: Scott Walker IS the target of federal crime probe

Although the wild rumors of Scott Walker leaving behind his love-child from a college-age tryst seemed just a bit far-fetched (a sex scandal seems so unlikely for a guy with a face like Walker’s, don’t you think?) and truly “too good to be true,” the same can’t be said when an Emmy award-winning journalist who has worked for Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, a former Attorney General and a former District Attorney all say that Walker IS the target of the so-called “John Doe” investigation… on a federal level.

It would kind of make sense, um, considering that THIRTEEN of Walker’s subordinates have been granted immunity and five people close to him have already been indicted.

Just musing aloud here…

Ruth Conniff writes at The Isthmus:

With the recall election less than two days away, federal prosecutors are closing in on Governor Scott Walker, according to veteran political reporter David Shuster, former Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager, and former district attorney Bob Jambois.

In a conference call organized by state Democrats on Saturday evening, June 2, Shuster, Lautenschlager, and Jambois laid out evidence that Walker is a target of a federal investigation.

Wisconsin Democratic Party Communications Director Graeme Zielinski added that there is evidence of wrongdoing after Walker’s time as Milwaukee County Executive, and that the investigation includes criminal activity during his time as governor.

Based on conversations with a lawyer who has knowledge of the investigation, “We believe that Scott Walker set up a secret computer network in the governor’s office and Department of Administration offices, and that the John Doe investigation is seeking evidence of crimes he committed in Madison,” Zielinski said.

Walker denied the allegations. At a campaign event on Saturday, Walker answered “absolutely not” to reporters’ questions—raised by David Shuster’s reporting for Take Action News—about whether he had been informed, either formally or informally, that he might be a target of federal prosecution. “I’ve never heard a single thing about that, other than spin from the left,” Walker said. He described the allegations as “just more of the liberal scare tactics out there desperately trying to get the campaign off target.”

“I stand by my reporting 100 percent,” Shuster said in the conference call. “It’s clear to me that he is, in fact, a target in a federal investigation.”

Despite copious reporting, especially in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, about the Milwaukee County district attorney’s probe of alleged violations when Walker was county executive—including a secret email network maintained by his staff for the purpose of conducting illegal campaign activity on county time, the theft of funds intended for the widows and orphans of Iraq War veterans, and possible favorable treatment of campaign donors seeking public contracts, not much has been written about the FBI probe.

“The Wisconsin press has only reported about the John Doe—the state component,” said Zielinski. “They have not reported on the federal component of this.”

“I’ve been reporting on federal grand juries for twenty years”—including Justice Department probes of former Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker, Monica Lewinsky, Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, and Jack Abramoff—said David Shuster, a former reporter for Fox News and anchor for MSNBC, who now works with Take Action News and as a host on Current TV.

In his reporting on FBI involvement in the current probe of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Shuster said he consulted with Justice Department attorneys in the public integrity section and “I got independent confirmation that he’s a target.”

Shuster said that he had learned Scott Walker’s attorneys had been seeking to have their client publicly cleared of wrongdoing for the last five or six weeks, in the run-up to the recall election. Prosecutors could not clear him, Shuster said, because Walker is a target.

The ongoing John Doe investigation by the Milwaukee County District Attorney has led to criminal charges against three of Walker’s former aides, an appointee, and a major donor. Thirteen of Walker’s associates have been granted immunity—including Walker’s spokesman, Cullen Werwie.

Recent campaign finance filings show that Walker has transferred a total of $160,000 into a criminal defense fund— the only criminal defense fund maintained by a governor of any state in the nation.

Of course Walker denies all of this. He would, wound’t he?

This is going to be fucking fascinating to watch unfold.

Read more:
Legal cloud gathers over Scott Walker as recall election approaches (The Isthmus)

Below, Journalist David Shuster and Wisconsin Democratic Party Communications Director Graeme Zielinski discuss the situation on Current TV:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘The Queen Is Dead’: Derek Jarman’s film for The Smiths, from 1986

As Britain prepares for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Her Majesty, here is The Queen is Dead - Derek Jarman’s Super 8 film triptych (made in collaboration John Maybury, Richard Heslop and Chis Hughes) for 3 classic tracks by The Smiths: “The Queen is Dead,” “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” and “Panic.”

Inner city angst, urban decay, alienation, cute hairstyles, and lots of hand held camera work, well it was the eighties.

With thanks to Neil McDonald

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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PAY ATTENTION: What happens in WI is vitally important to the future of America’s working class

Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce is one of the best political writers in America today. Hand’s down. He’s truly a great writer in the great tradition of great writers at Esquire (well done whoever hired him to do a daily blog). His prose and insights are so good that it kind of pisses me off that MSNBC, Current TV or even CNN haven’t realized what a tremendous political thinker and writer Pierce is and hire him on to be a featured pundit. He’s got important things to say about American politics and he should be as well-known as Paul Krugman, if you ask me…

Pierce will be closely following the Scott Walker recall election in the coming week and I expect that he’ll be providing some of the best coverage of what I feel is GROUND ZERO for the rights of the working class in America and the single most important thing that the national Democrats should be supportingno matter what DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz seems to think... (I do hope she watched the Rachel Maddow segment posted below. I suspect she has and I suspect that it had an effect, too: Hello Bill Clinton, welcome to Wisconsin! Where the fuck is your buddy, Obama???).

Charles P. Pierce writes:

The most telling moment came when Barrett treed Walker on the question of whether he plans to transform Wisconsin wholly into a right-to-work state, as Walker appeared to say to a wealthy backer on a videotape released back on May 10. Walker has consistently ducked the question, and he did so again last night, saying that a right-to-work bill would never reach his desk, and that he refused to comment on a “hypothetical”:

“I’ve said it’s not gonna get there, you’re asking a hypothetical..And the reason I say that is I saw what happened over the last year and half. And I don’t want to repeat that discussion. I think most people in the state, Democrat and Republican alike, want to move forward.”
There are enough weasels in that sentence to make a coat. What, exactly, does “moving forward” mean in this context? Does anyone seriously believe at this point that Walker would be reluctant to sign a right-to-work bill because of what’s happened in Wisconsin since he blackjacked the public employees, that he’s in any way chastened, that the people who groomed him and who are financing his campaign now to the tune of $30 million aren’t in this for the long haul? How many people does Scott Walker think will be driving to the polls on Tuesday on a turnip truck?

For his part, Barrett was having none of it:

“If that bill hits his desk, he’s signing it. I say it right here in front of Wisconsin…The Thursday before the Super Bowl, Mitch Daniels made Indiana a right-to-work state. Mark my words, he’ll sign it.”

Dawn breaks, finally, over Marblehead. The recall is specifically about Wisconsin’s attempt to rid itself of a governor whose primary political strategy over his entire time in public office has been the bait-and-switch.  But its true national import is not what it may or may not mean to the president’s campaign in November.

In 2010, in addition to handing the House of Representatives over to a pack of nihilistic vandals, the Koch Brothers and the rest of the sugar daddies of the Right poured millions into various state campaigns. This produced a crop of governors and state legislators wholly owned and operated by those corporate interests and utterly unmoored from the constituencies they were elected to serve. In turn, these folks enacted various policies, and produced various laws, guaranteed to do nothing except reinforce the power of the people who put them in office. This is the first real test of democracy against the money power. Its true national import is that it is the first loud and noisy attempt to roll back the amok time that Republican governors and their pet legislatures have unleashed in the states at the behest of the corporate interests who finance their careers. It is the first serious pushback not only against Scott Walker, but against Dick Snyder’s assault on democracy in Michigan, and Mitch Daniels’s assault on unions in Indiana, and Rick Scott’s assault on voting rights in Florida. None of this was in any way coincidental. It was a national strategy played out in a series of statewide episodes, aimed at establishing the habits of oligarchy on a local basis. If Barrett has finally realized that, then he’s finally really in the game because he’s finally grasped the mortal stakes he’s playing for.

Bill Clinton’s out there for him today, raising roofs and raising hell, a day late and a dollar short, if you really want to be cynical, but still utterly overmatching the Triple-A team of Republican surrogates — Bobby Jindal? Nikki Haley, who’s grateful to have fled South Carolina one step ahead of an ethics investigation herself? — that are out stumping for Walker this weekend. Friday morning, on the spot with Fr. Jacques Marquette first made camp, Clinton talked about creative cooperation, and he ran his riffs about how people come together in small towns, but he also hung on Walker the responsibility for the confrontational politics elsewhere around the country, which is the only national message in Wisconsin worth mentioning. There the blog goes on the road this weekend to see what it can see. This thing is so tight I’m going to need Dan Rather’s help with the metaphors.

What happens in Wisconsin is of national, even generational, importance. This is not merely something that should be seen as a “state level” election at all. If you don’t know why I say this, you’re not paying enough attention!

Charles P. Pierce’s Esquire blog will be essential reading in the coming days for everyone who cares about democracy in America. Get into the habit of reading him and being able to savor his writing through the election, you’ll be glad you did.

In this long, but absolutely essential piece, Rachel Maddow lays out a seriously DARK prognosis for the future of this country if the Koch brothers money is able to drown out the Tom Barrett campaign and the Walker recall effort fails. This aired right before the holiday weekend, and I don’t think has gotten around the way it should have. Once again Maddow proves herself to be one of the premiere journalists of our time. I think Ed Schultz has done some great work in Wisconsin, too, but no one can build a case quite like Rachel Maddow can. She’s a national treasure (How did someone so smart get to be on American TV, anyway?):

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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What happens in Wisconsin will change history, one way or the other

A contemplative article by Dan Kaufman in The New York Times Magazine, “How Did Wisconsin Become the Most Politically Divisive Place in America?” tries to make sense of what’s happened there since Scott Walker was elected governor of the state in late 2010:

This past March, standing outside a Shell station in Mellen, Wis., in the state’s far north, Mike Wiggins Jr. told me about a series of dark and premonitory dreams he had two years earlier. “One of them was a very vivid trip around the North Woods and seeing forests bleeding and sludge from a creek emptying into the Bad River,” Wiggins said. “I ended up at a dilapidated northern log home with rotten snowshoes falling off the wall. I stepped out of the lodge, walked through some pine, and I was in a pipeline. There was a big pipe coming in and out of the ground as far as I could see.

“I had no idea what the hell that was all about,” Wiggins continued. But he said the dream became clearer when a stranger named Matt Fifield came into his office several months later and handed him his card. Wiggins is the chairman of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and Fifield, the managing director of Gogebic Taconite (GTac), a division of the Cline Group, a mining company based in Florida. He had come to Wiggins’s office to discuss GTac’s desire to build a $1.5 billion open-pit iron-ore mine in the Penokee Hills, about seven miles south of the Bad River reservation. The proposed mine would be several hundred feet deep, roughly four miles long and a half-mile wide; the company estimated it would bring 700 long-term jobs to the area. Fearing contamination of the local groundwater and pristine rivers, Wiggins told Fifield he planned to oppose the mine. He didn’t know at the time that the company’s lawyers would be working hand in hand with Republican legislators to draft a bill that would weaken Wisconsin environmental law and expedite the permitting process.

What followed was a drawn-out fight that resembled other statewide battles over labor, education and voter-registration laws — all of which have been introduced since the election of the Republican governor Scott Walker in 2010. The most bitter of these fights began in early February last year, when Walker proposed eliminating virtually all collective-bargaining rights for a vast majority of the state’s public-employee unions. Around the time that Walker announced the measure, similar laws were introduced in Michigan, Ohio and Florida, and a nationwide demonization of public employees caught fire. Within two months, the National Conference of State Legislators had tracked more than 100 bills, initiated across the country, attacking public-sector unions.

From the beginning, Walker, who declined to comment for this article, seemed cognizant that his move to end collective bargaining placed him at the forefront of a national conservative strategy. His attack on public-employee unions was lauded by Mitt Romney, John Boehner and Karl Rove, and he has received significant financial support from the billionaire conservative donors Charles and David Koch. In a widely publicized prank phone call with Ian Murphy, a blogger impersonating David Koch, Walker described a dinner he held for his cabinet at his Executive Residence on Feb. 10, the night before he announced the collective-bargaining measure. “It was kind of the last hurrah, before we dropped the bomb,” he said to the faux-Koch. At the dinner, Walker held up a photograph of Ronald Reagan and told his cabinet that what they were about to do recalled Reagan’s breaking of the air-traffic-controllers’ union strike in 1981. “This is our time to change the course of history,” Walker said.

The June 5 recall election against Walker and four Republican state senators will be a decisive and momentous day in American history—no matter which side of the political divide you are on—and not just for residents of Wisconsin. If the reichwing and the Koch brothers get beaten back, it’ll send a definitive message to Republicans—and draw an iron line in the sand—letting them know how far is TOO FAR and what NOT to do if they don’t want to end up like Scott Walker. If Democrats take back control of the statehouse, I get the sense that things would largely calm down in Wisconsin, after two years that have seen friendships ended, family arguments and nasty, nasty local politics, vandalism, etc. Clearly in this way, Scott Walker has been a disaster for life in his state. How many people who live there, no matter what their political affiliation is, would argue that the mood in Wisconsin has improved under Walker?

However, if the Democrats and the unions lose, and it appears that they will lose, it’ll be a sad day indeed and will be seen as a demoralizing lesson in just how DEAD democracy really is when billionaires and out of state interests can come in and defeat the determined solidarity of tens of thousands of Wisconsin’s most politically engaged progressive citizens. If Walker wins, it will be a significant blow to the labor unions and progressive morale in general.

With repetitive TV and radio ads blanketing Wisconsin’s airways (Walker is spending over 20x what his challenger Tom Barrett can afford) the Koch brothers and the GOP have brainwashed people into supporting policies that would beggar their neighbors, friends and relatives and destroy the hard fought gains of the unions in the state where the labor movement was arguably born merely so that the rich can get richer. It’s not like everyone in Wisconsin doesn’t already know what’s going on and I doubt that many people are still undecided if they’ll be voting for Walker or Barrett with just two weeks to go. The polls are TIGHT, and incredibly—when you consider how his governorship has torn the state apart and Walker’s SHITTY record on jobs—favor the governor. It’s going to be all about the ground game and the side who can get out the most voters (something the Republicans excel at ).

You can kick in a few bucks to kick Walker’s ass at ActBlue. Fingers crossed and GO WISCONSIN.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Jimmy Reid: The ‘greatest speech since President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address’

DM pal Tommy Udo reminded me today of this brilliant and inspirational speech by the socialist, trade unionist, politician and writer Jimmy Reid. The whole speech has been posted over at Exile on Moan Street, and my DM comrade Richard Metzger wrote eloquently about Jimmy Reid at the time of his death in 2010.

It’s may be forty years since Reid gave this speech, at his inauguration as Rector of the University of Glasgow, but its inspirational words are still as relevant and much needed today. Back in 1972, Reid’s speech hit resonated across the world, and was published, in its entirety, in the New York Times, where it was described as:

“...the greatest speech since President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.”

No hyperbole. This is one of the Great Speeches, and as Richard has previously pointed out “Mandatory Reading”.

Jimmy Reid’s Inaugural Speech as Rector of the University of Glasgow, 1972
“Alienation is the precise and correctly applied word for describing the major social problem in Britain today. People feel alienated by society. In some intellectual circles it is treated almost as a new phenomenon. It has, however, been with us for years. What I believe is true is that today it is more widespread, more pervasive than ever before. Let me right at the outset define what I mean by alienation. It is the cry of men who feel themselves the victims of blind economic forces beyond their control. It’s the frustration of ordinary people excluded from the processes of decision-making. The feeling of despair and hopelessness that pervades people who feel with justification that they have no real say in shaping or determining their own destinies.

“Many may not have rationalised it. May not even understand, may not be able to articulate it. But they feel it. It therefore conditions and colours their social attitudes. Alienation expresses itself in different ways in different people. It is to be found in what our courts often describe as the criminal antisocial behaviour of a section of the community. It is expressed by those young people who want to opt out of society, by drop-outs, the so-called maladjusted, those who seek to escape permanently from the reality of society through intoxicants and narcotics. Of course, it would be wrong to say it was the sole reason for these things. But it is a much greater factor in all of them than is generally recognised.

“Society and its prevailing sense of values leads to another form of alienation. It alienates some from humanity. It partially de-humanises some people, makes them insensitive, ruthless in their handling of fellow human beings, self-centred and grasping. The irony is, they are often considered normal and well-adjusted. It is my sincere contention that anyone who can be totally adjusted to our society is in greater need of psychiatric analysis and treatment than anyone else. They remind me of the character in the novel, Catch 22, the father of Major Major. He was a farmer in the American Mid-West. He hated suggestions for things like medi-care, social services, unemployment benefits or civil rights. He was, however, an enthusiast for the agricultural policies that paid farmers for not bringing their fields under cultivation. From the money he got for not growing alfalfa he bought more land in order not to grow alfalfa. He became rich. Pilgrims came from all over the state to sit at his feet and learn how to be a successful non-grower of alfalfa. His philosophy was simple. The poor didn’t work hard enough and so they were poor. He believed that the good Lord gave him two strong hands to grab as much as he could for himself. He is a comic figure. But think – have you not met his like here in Britain? Here in Scotland? I have.

“It is easy and tempting to hate such people. However, it is wrong. They are as much products of society, and of a consequence of that society, human alienation, as the poor drop-out. They are losers. They have lost the essential elements of our common humanity. Man is a social being. Real fulfilment for any person lies in service to his fellow men and women. The big challenge to our civilisation is not Oz, a magazine I haven’t seen, let alone read. Nor is it permissiveness, although I agree our society is too permissive. Any society which, for example, permits over one million people to be unemployed is far too permissive for my liking. Nor is it moral laxity in the narrow sense that this word is generally employed – although in a sense here we come nearer to the problem. It does involve morality, ethics, and our concept of human values. The challenge we face is that of rooting out anything and everything that distorts and devalues human relations.

Via Exile on Moan Street, with thanks to Tommy Udo!
The rest of Jimmy Reid’s speech, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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56% of American voters would legalize marijuana according to new poll
07:51 am



Lady Liberty is 420-friendly

The results of a new Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely nationwide voters, conducted earlier this month, was released yesterday and the results show a surge of support for the legalization of cannabis. The question posed by the pollsters was “Would you favor or oppose legalizing marijuana and regulating it in the similar manner to the way alcohol and tobacco cigarettes are regulated today?”

“And the survey says…” that a solid majority support legalized nature.


The poll affirms, once again, that the tide of public opinion continues to turn in our favor. Fifty-six percent of respondents stated they would support legalizing and regulating marijuana in a similar manner alcohol and tobacco. Only 36% were opposed to the concept and 8% were undecided.

You can view more information about the poll on Rasmussen Reports’ website here.

A previous poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports in April reported that 47% of adults “believe the country should legalize and tax marijuana in order to help solve the nation’s fiscal problems.” Forty-two percent of respondents disagreed, while ten percent were undecided.

In 2011, a nationwide Gallup poll reported that 50 percent of Americans support legalizing the use of cannabis for adults. Forty-six percent of respondents said they opposed the idea.

The 2011 Gallup survey results marked the first time that the polling firm, which has tracked Americans’ attitudes toward marijuana since the late 1960s, reported that more Americans support legalizing cannabis than oppose it.

Bear in mind, anything coming from Rasmussen is likely to be suspiciously—and not even that subtly—biased in favor of the GOP. Considering the source, the results of this poll showing a SOLID majority for the first time seems especially promising. That the Obama administration’s record is worse than Bush’s when it comes to prosecuting cannabis offenses, seems all the more galling in this light.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Clone the President: Ronald Reagan blood vial for sale in online auction
04:37 pm


Ronald Reagan
Jurassic Park

He’s back?

Imagine some rightwing billionaire buying this and then spending millions having the Gipper cloned.

He vill be raised in a monastery in upper Bavaria, jah, until he is ready to be unveiled and take his rightful place on da vorld stage.

Quick, someone alert Alex Jones!

Via The Washington Times:

The bids are lofty for a vial that once held Ronald Reagan’s blood, now up for grabs at an online British auction house. At the moment, the leading bid is $5,081 for a 5-inch glass vial with “dried blood residue from President Reagan,” drawn from him at George Washington University Hospital after a 1981 assassination attempt by John Hinckley Jr. A separate hospital form is also included in the package from Guernsey-based PFC Auctions, which also is selling celebrity autographed guitars and a slice of royal wedding cake from Prince William and Kate Middleton’s nuptials, among many other things.

And the vial? The slender glass tube with green stopper once belonged to a relative of a Maryland-based laboratory technician who actually analyzed the contents more than three decades ago. The mysterious keeper-of-the-vial held onto it, and eventually informed officials at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library of its whereabouts.

After some back and forth, the vial keeper got the green light to sell it, assuring the auctioneer that “everything was OK, National Archives was not interested in what I had, nor was the Secret Service, the FBI and other agencies … it was simply something that was of no importance at this time, and that I was free to do with whatever I wanted with it.”.

A letter of provenance is included with the listing from the seller:

“These articles have actually been in my family’s possession since 03/30/1981, the day that President Reagan was shot in Washington D.C. Back in the 70’s and 80’s, my mother worked for Bio Science Laboratories in Columbia, Maryland. Her laboratory was the laboratory contracted by Walter Reed Army Medical Center as well as the George Washington University Hospital to handle blood testing as well as other types of testing. Her lab did the blood work and testing for President Reagan. The test tube and the lab slip that I have are for his blood work to be tested for lead on [Monday] 03/30/1981. The testing was completed and the test tube was sitting on my mother’s desk. At the end of the week, she asked the director of her laboratory if she could keep the paper work and the test tube. The director of the lab told her no problem and really never gave it a second thought. It has been in my family ever since. My mother passed away back in November last year [2010] and my father passed away in January 2009. Prior to their passing, they knew that it was the only thing that I wanted with regards to their personal property or money that they accumulated over the years…

“About 3 to 4 months ago, I contacted the Reagan National Library and spoke to the head of the library, a Federal Agent. I told him what I had, how I came across it and so on. We spoke for about 45 minutes. The reason that I contacted the Reagan National Library was to see if they would like to purchase it from me. He indicated that if I was interested in donating it he would see to it that he would take care of all of the arrangements. Prior to hanging up the phone, he said to me, do me a favor, don’t move from where you are, I will call you back within 30 minutes but I have to make a couple of phone calls to seek legal counsel, consult with National Archives, the FBI and other three or four letter agencies that I have heard of. I said am I in any kind of trouble or will there be some black cars/suv’s or helicopters hovering above my home and he said not yet but possibly in the very near future depending on what he learned from the phone calls he had to make. I told him alright, I will not move from where I was sitting and would await his return call. He called back in 25 minutes and said that everything was ok, National Archives was not interested in what I had, nor was the Secret Service, the FBI and other agencies. Since 30 years had passed by, he thought that it was simply something that was of no importance at this time and that I was free to do with whatever I wanted with it. He then stated that he felt the family would be interested in it being returned to them and if I was interested in doing so to contact him and he would make all of the arrangements. I told him that I didn’t think that was something that I was going to consider, since I had served under Pres. Reagan when he was my Commander in Chief when I was in the ARMY from ’87-’91 and that I was a real fan of Reaganomics and felt that Pres. Reagan himself would rather see me sell it rather than donating it.


Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Swear To Tell The Truth’: Excellent documentary on Lenny Bruce

Documentarian Richard B. Weide likes to focus on the lives of comedians in his films and in Lenny Bruce he has powerful material to work with. Combining rare archival footage and interviews with Lenny’s mother Sally Marr, ex-wife Honey, daughter Kitty, Paul Krassner, Nat Hentoff and Steve Allen, Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth manages to be both richly informative and emotionally engaging. It’s a terrific movie.

With lean narration by Robert De Niro, Weide digs deep into the life of a comedian prophet driven to an early death by drugs and a government hellbent on shutting his mouth. Bruce was a punk Jesus who railed against hypocrisy and injustice with the low key deadliness of a man armed with the truth and a razor blade tongue.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Lib vs. Con: The new Mac vs. PC?
09:53 am


low IQ buffoonery
"Joe the Plumber"

“Why do you bust your butt ‘working’?”

We’re all familiar with the concept of the “low information voter” (a term that can be used interchangeably, and with wanton impunity, of course, with “Fox News viewer” and “your average Depends-wearing, scooter-riding old Tea party fart”).  Without low information voters, the Republicans would have virtually no chance of winning elections. They rely on them as a stalwart voting bloc every time and they never disappoint.

Lately I’ve been wondering if there should be a brand new term coined to describe a voter with even lesser cognitive abilities?

Take this new advertisement for Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher’s Congressional run in Ohio against popular Democrat Marcy Kaptur. There’s something that is so amazingly… what’s the word I’m looking for… REVEALING, yes, that’s it, revealing about the state of US politics in 2012 captured so perfectly in these succinct 50 seconds.

If this video was made by smart people, it would be brilliant, but since it’s so obviously the work of fucking dolts, it can only be seen and appreciated through that lens, probably. You’d want to believe that people dumb enough to be suckered in by “propaganda” this pitifully stupid wouldn’t even know how to register to vote or even how to acquire a driver’s license, but clearly a sizable amount of the American electorate IS THAT DUMB. So dumb, in fact, that Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher is seen as a freakin’ credible GOP candidate for Congress… I mean… what?

There are so many ridiculous subtexts going on here that anyone with half a brain would just snicker a bit at the tools on their screen who thought this lameness counted as “satire.” BUT, to someone with LESS than half a brain, the obvious Fox News-watching target of this ad, this must be how they see the world around them.

First there is the portly, shiftless, white, middle-aged “hippie” Occupier (who confusingly looks exactly how I picture the average Fox News viewer to look, but never mind that or the even more curious Rod Blagojevich t-shirt he’s wearing!) who mooches off “the system” while biting the hand that writes those sweet, sweet government checks. This lazy leftie bum is juxtaposed against hardworking, conservative “Joe the Plumber,” a man who takes care of business, his family and who pays his taxes, fair and square (despite Wurzelbacher’s own tax troubles, but he’s obviously counting on no one remembering that). 

Which one of them is supposed to be Justin Long and which one is John Hodgman???

And what kind of mongoloid would watch this and think “Hey, Joe the Plumber! That’s who I’ll vote for”???

Unsurprisingly, the dumbest man in the Congress, Colonel Allen West, has endorsed “Joe the Plumber.” (“We stupids gotta stick together” his endorsement communicates, doesn’t it?). It makes you wonder, at what point will the balance tip irrevocably in favor of the really stupid people in this country? When they made all of those cuts to education during the Reagan years, THIS is what the result was, ultimately, that clowns like these two can be considered credible candidates for the United States Congress. The idea that West, a man who makes Sarah Palin seem, well, not so bad, has been bandied about as a VP candidate this year is… well, par for the fucking course, isn’t it?

Devo were right! From George Washington to THIS GUY? Unless the educational system gets turned around quickly, America is fucking doomed.

[I’d like to take this opportunity to remind our readers from outside of the United States who feel all smug and superior to us that we’ve got the big guns. That is all.]

Via Wonkette

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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How much money does Mitt Romney REALLY have?
09:26 am

Class War

Mitt Romney

Forbes’s Edwin Durgy did the number crunching on the Bain of our existence:

Mitt Romney isn’t the richest person to ever run for President – Ross Perot had him beat by a factor of ten. And if he’s elected, inflation adjustments might favor sprawling plantation owners like Washington and Jefferson, or Kennedy if family assets counted. But there’s no denying that in terms of total dollars a President Romney would be the wealthiest White House occupant ever, and would be even wealthier had he not set aside a trust, now worth $100 million, for his 5 boys. So just how rich is he?

Forbes spent the past month trying to answer that question definitively. The core basis for our valuation comes from Romney himself – specifically, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics disclosure forms, which he filed in August 2007 and August 2011, plus discussions with high-level Romney officials familiar with specific changes to his holdings since that last report. Of course, those disclosures, taken at face value, are about as concrete as a campaign promise, with vague asset ranges (“$1 million to $5 million”) and definitions.

Seeking to remove as much guesswork as possible, we assigned a value to every single asset Mitt and Ann Romney own – 184 in all across the couple’s two blind trusts, IRAs and outright holdings. Our core method: noting the shift in ranges between the 2007 filing, the 2011 filing and now (much of his wealth has been consistently held over the whole period). Comparing which assets changed brackets – or didn’t – with their underlying price fluctuation (or in some cases, a good comparable) over that period, we were able to get better estimates of where each fell in the range. Supplemented by a dozen interviews – from local real estate experts to private equity partners – we get a detailed look at the current state of Mitt’s money, pinpointing his net worth at $230 million, split between 9 different asset classes. Highlights include the sale of nearly all of his individual equities – he sold 71 stocks since his last disclosure – and a big move into cash. He now holds $16 million, up from $1 million in August.

I guess the loot in the off-shore bank accounts and in Switzerland can only be guessed at…

The amazing—even amusing—thing to me is that somewhere north of 40% of likely US voters think that putting a man in charge of the American economy who got obscenely—not to mention ludicrously—wealthy by being one of the most successful corporate raiders and job destroyers in recent memory, is a good idea!

Mitt Romney certainly created a lot of wealth, that’s for sure. FOR HIMSELF.

And $20 million for each of his kids! Think the richest man who would ever be the POTUS is going to advocate raising taxes on his own family’s fortune?

Not a fucking chance that option would be on the table, is there?

We DO live in Idiocracy. How else to parse the notion that 40% of the people who vote would pull the lever for Thurston fucking Howell the IVth???

I realize that it sounds perverse—not to mention terribly, terribly UN-patriotic—but there is a small part of me that hopes for a Romney and GOP victory this year.

Why? Because the man and his party would nail the coffin SHUT on capitalism, that’s why.

Given another four years, the Republicans WILL wreck the place, but good. Bush nearly accomplished it, Romney and crew—for it WILL BE former Bush administration members who would staff a Romney White House—would be sure to finish it off.

What would come next would be… interesting. Not necessary good, but interesting and perhaps necessary.

More details on Romney’s net worth and where he invests: What Mitt Romney Is Really Worth: An Exclusive Analysis Of His Latest Finances (Forbes)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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