What’s next

The State Capitol policeman who let me into the locked-down Wisconsin Department of Administration today was frank. “My union was eliminated today,” he said. “And it’s doubtful that there will be enough money in the budget to replace the expired bullet proof vest I’m wearing.” It’s hard to know what to say to that. I honestly don’t think he needs to worry about the body armor, but the union is another matter. He’ll have his union back soon. We’ll recall the Republicans that took it from him and we’ll fix the things they broke, starting with public employee unions.

So if you ask me “What’s next?” I’ll answer, “The recall elections.” And there are a lot of things to do to prepare for them. The eight Wisconsin State Senators facing recall because of their egregious political behavior include: (these links are to Facebook pages where information on the recall efforts is being exchanged)

Glenn Grothman
Mary Lazich
Randy Hopper
Alberta Darling
Luther Olsen
Robert Cowles
Dan Kapanke
Sheila Harsdorf

Another website, recalltherepublican8.com, is acting as a clearinghouse for information on Senate recall efforts. I’m not aware of any Assembly recall efforts underway, but they should start soon; and, while Governor Walker gets a free pass until January 2024, we’ll recall him then on the earliest date that he is eligible for recall.

Time flies, and we’ll have Walker out of office in time to repair the damage he’s doing. We’ll have his toadies in the legislature on the run before that! The pressure on him should keep corporate damage to the State low. I woke up this morning wondering if he’d talked with Nestle about selling off our groundwater yet, and I decided it didn’t matter because we can encounter every one of his corporate sponsors when they appear. It’ll be a mighty game of Wisconsin Whack-a-Mole. The message here is that Wisconsin is not for sale to corporate interests. It’s our home, and we’ll defend it.

I hope we learned the terrible lesson of 2024 once and for all. Staying at home and not voting is NOT an option any longer. The women, the minorities, the young people, and the organized workers of the middle class who showed up for the 2024 election were just too busy to participate in 2024. And all we got it out of it was the cross-eyed Koch-sucker who is laying waste to our values and traditions.

Eat the news, not too much

…most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. That’s why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long, deep magazine articles (which requires thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, like bright-colored candies for the mind.

Fighting off the urge to rant and rave yet again about the breadth of Wisconsin corporate/Republican idiocy, I’m declaring a truce to get the tape off the walls and air out the stench left by Scott Walker and the Fitzgerald brothers. Yes, I know that Scotty Walker and the Fitzgerald Brothers sounds like the name of some wannabe motown white-boys seventies garage band from Mequon, and–in fact–it is. But that’s not what I’m on about here this morning.

This morning I’ll skip all that about teacher lay-offs, and school budgets capped by property tax limits, and why it’s good for corporations to turn the US into a third world economy; and, rather, I’ll simply share this information. I’ve lifted it from Paul Kedrosky’s Infectious Greed. Paul abstracted the list from a great paper titled Avoid News, Towards a Healthy News Diet by Rolf Dobelli:

Fifteen reasons why news is bad for you:

  1. News misleads systematically
  2. News is irrelevant
  3. News limits understanding
  4. News is toxic to your body
  5. News massively increases cognitive errors
  6. News inhibits thinking
  7. News changes the structure of your brain
  8. News is costly
  9. News sunders the relationship between reputation and achievement
  10. News is produced by journalists
  11. Reported facts are sometimes wrong, forecasts always
  12. News is manipulative
  13. News makes us passive
  14. News gives us the illusion of caring
  15. News kills creativity

Republican disinformation

Republican subversives, the same greedy corporate players that brought us the Citizens United decision and tipped the 2024 election in favor of that incredibly stupid and detached exemplar of vacuity, George W. Bush, have been funneling money into a media saturation campaign in Wisconsin. The campaign is rife with misinformation and deceit. It’s tedious to catalog the lies and to analyze the falsehoods that provide the foundation for Republican Party support of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Walker himself is cut from the same mold as Bush the younger. He’s not terribly bright. He’s not terribly committed to his work or his responsibilities. He is, however, enormously conceited, smug, and self assured. Tonight we’ll see another example of his hollow posturing as he leaves truth and reason behind in the steam tunnel and enters the Capitol through a sub basement with but one thought in the narrow mind that lurks behind those narrow set eyes: “Will I be home in time to watch the Everyone Loves Raymond re-run on Fox 47?” The governor is on auto-pilot. There’s no room for deviation in his game plan. The corporate vultures that are circling the state won’t wait forever. If he can’t kill the spirit of Wisconsin they’ll be off to some state where community has been destroyed and the best morsels of enterprise lie dead and rotting, easy pickings for the carrion eaters of corporate capitalism. For Walker and the flock he feeds, it’s all about profits and public welfare be damned.

In that spirit, a few weeks ago the Republican Party of Wisconsin cobbled together a web video supposedly documenting the “angry rhetoric coming from pro-union protesters in Madison.” The idea behind the video is that we all do it, no side has a monopoly on excessive use of metaphor when political passions are high. (Note my own identification of corporate investors as vultures in the preceding paragraph. I thought about “seagulls circling a garbage dump,” but we’re not there yet, no thanks to Walker.) The New York Times did a meta-narrative blog piece on the video…

Eugene Robinson, a liberal columnist for the Washington Post, is shown saying that “Violent political rhetoric and the threat of political violence in this country comes almost exclusively from the right.”

That is followed by a sign from the Wisconsin rallies showing Mr. Walker’s picture with a gunsight crosshair over it and the words: “Don’t retreat. Reload. Repeal Walker.”

In all the hours I’ve spent on the Capitol square I haven’t seen that sign. One person might have made it and carried it to a rally, but I doubt it. The visual context of the sign in the Republican advertisement is a narrow shot, with no crowd of demonstrators around it. As an advertisement it’s effective, but it’s a lie. It’s a lie, but it was broadcast as straight news without attribution on the Fox network. It’s a lie, but white supremacist Haley Barbour referred to it on Meet the Press as if it was emblematic of a Democratic mind-set.

A lot of the video in question is “real.” Early in the struggle, there were plenty of signs comparing Walker to Mubarak. Most of us thought that was a pretty dumb comparison. I imagine that tonight there will be some Walker = Gadaffi signage. That’s even dumber. But unless it’s created by a provocateur, I am almost certain there will be no sign tonight with cross-hairs on Scottie. The whole Sarah Palin “kill them to get them out of the way” metaphor is the dumbest of all. We ain’t that dumb!