Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Miserable Day In The Life Of A Fukushima Rescue Worker

Business Insider reports on the treatment of workers expected to save Japan. Republicans are no doubt taking note for further degradation or irradiation of the working class:

"Kyodo has published a depressing description of a day in the life of a Fukushima rescue worker.
Around 400 workers sleep in conference rooms and hallways in a nearby building, wrapped in lead-lined sheets.
At 6 a.m. they wake up and receive 30 "survival food crackers" and a 180 millliter pack of vegetable juice.
Until recently they were limited to one bottle of mineral water during the day.
They work through lunch.
At 5 p.m. they return to their shelter, where they eat rice and one can of chicken or fish. The men look warn out, according to nuclear safety official Kazuma Yokota.
No wonder the workers say they can't stand it anymore in emails also published today."

MSNB's Dylan Ratigan Talks To Mark Ames & Yasha Levine About The Koch Brothers

An succinct history of recent American oligarchic kleptocracy and the ramifications beyond Wisconsin. Ames and Levine are uniquely qualified given their experience in Russia with the Exile.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

TEPCO CEO Hasn't Been Seen In Weeks

Speculation now swirls around the whereabouts or existence of the CEO of the Japanese energy firm TEPCO which owns the facility at Fukushima. Business Insider relates:

"His company is in the midst of an existential crisis that may see it go bankrupt or nationalized. So where is TEPCO CEO Masataka Shimizu.

The Washington Post runs a startling report noting that he hasn't been seen in two weeks at his upscale Tokyo apartment, nor is he showing up in public, nor did he join the head of the country's nuclear safety board in front of the Diet.

There are rumors in Japan that he has fled the country or committed suicide, More likely, however, is that he's basically gone into hermitude, not unlike Toyota's CEO during the recent brake pedal controversy.

Politicians are furious, calling his absence inexcusable.

Meanwhile, TEPCO shares have crashed hard for the second straight day as the odds grow that a nationalization will wipe out all the equity."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Rap News 7: #revolution (Wisconsin Edition), Meanwhile Walker Tanks in the Polls

As much as I enjoyed the above satire Dane 101 reports on Walker's continued plummet in the polls:

"A new poll out today shows a widening margin in Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's approval rating. The poll, conducted on March 27 by We Ask America, finds that 54.87 percent of Wisconsinites disapprove of the job Walker is doing while 43.71 percent approve. The pollster notes an even more striking number in the results, only 1.42 percent of those polled had "no opinion." We Ask America's margin of error is +/- 2.38 percent.

The most recent poll before this one (that I can find, so please correct me if I missed one) was released on March 4 by Conservative polling outfit Rasmussen. That poll found 43 percent approved or strongly approved and 57 percent disapproved or strongly disapproved. Rasmussen's margin of error is +/- 4 percent.

The substantial change seen in the recent polls comes when undecideds are factored in. The first known poll was released on February 22 by Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. In that poll they found 43 percent approved with Walker and 51 percent disapproved.

Comparing the February 22 polling data to the March 27 polling data it appears that Walker isn't making many new friends. While his approval rating has remained stagnant his disapproval rate is fluid. Undecideds, it appears, have begun to take a position and that position is one of disapproval."

Forward Wisconsin.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Laibach America and Morality

Laibach has always been a difficult study for most Americans. The Slovenian take on things doesn't translate easily but is worth listening to these days.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Welcome to Hudson, Governor Walker

The Middle western despot again flees the people this time in Hudson caught on film by folks from St.Paul.The heartening aspect of this is working Americans awakening to the realities of corporate fascism.

Cumbion Mountain - Chico Sonido & Toy selectah - official video

Also known as Up Bustle and Out with hints of "RawHide". More Wisconsin republican corporate criminality in the next never ends.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wisconsin State Troopers Not a Private Army?

While though the Fitzgerald brothers dad runs the highway patrol show even rethugblicans have some insight that this is probably illegal as per CREW:

"Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his Republican cohorts in the legislature have some explaining to do. The rookie governor rose to national fame after picking a bare knuckled political fight with Democrats over union rights. He showed up on our radar when he illegally sent in the Wisconsin State Patrol (WSP) to search for the Democratic state senators who had fled to Illinois.

On February 23rd, we submitted open records requests to the Office of the Governor, the Office of Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and the Wisconsin State Patrol (which is headed by Sen. Fitzgerald’s father, Stephen Fitzgerald) asking for any records of communications regarding the decision to send troopers out after the legislators. Their responses were surprising.

Several documents produced by Senator Fitzgerald’s office clearly show his staff was well aware there was no legal authority to dispatch the troopers, and that doing so would have required - at the very least - an amendment to Senate rules. No legislative fix was ever passed, but the troopers were deployed anyway.

Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, which houses the WSP, claims to have no documents about the whole debacle. That seems unlikely. An unprecedented request made of the WSP by the governor and the majority leader, yet there is not one single record about the affair. Do you believe that? Neither do we.

As for the governor, his office is stonewalling, claiming that due to the “breadth” of the request, it could take weeks for his office to respond. Nearly three weeks later, still nothing. We’ll keep after him.

Back in February, CREW filed a complaint with the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board over the misuse of state troopers, and today provided the board with this new information.

It seems pretty clear that Gov. Walker and Sen. Fitzgerald knowingly violated the law. It’s up to the Government Accountability Board to hold them accountable."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The McCarthy-Walker Connection

The New York Times has an Op-Ed by UW Madison history professor William Cronon drawing parallels between Scott Walker and another Wisconsin demagogue, Joseph McCarthy.

Obama, Libya, and "The Death Of The Liberal Class"

The Libyan civil war raises huge questions one of which is where does President Obama stand regarding U.S. policy. A place to start might be our current wars, started by Bush and continued by President Obama. Chris Hedges in his book "Death of The Liberal Class" cites Dostoevsky's "Notes From The Underground" as a description of an ineffectual liberal:

" I never managed to become anything: neither wicked nor good, neither a scoundrel nor an honest man, neither a hero nor an insect..."

Medvedev-Putin partnership split over Libya

An interesting development in Russian domestic politics. Look for Medvedev to perish in some mysterious plane/helicopter/banya accident.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Libya, Bahrain, and "Good" Wars

As we rev up another "good war" George Galloway raises some uncomfortable points.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Honest John - the Koch brothers

Quite frankly I don't know this guy but I expect to be very much like him in 10 years or less. I especially like the parting shot.

Glenn Grothman Rejects Love of a Stranger

I have the feeling that we will be seeing more stories of Wisconsin republican strangeness and Glenn Grothman, one of the strangest, weighs in with this one courtesy of the Madison Police:

"Tuesday afternoon, several Madison Police officers were monitoring a crowd of around 100 protesting outside of the M&I Bank, 1 W. Main St., when Sen. Glenn Grothman approached. Demonstrators allowed Sen. Grothman to pass, but some were verbally abusive to the lawmaker. When Sen. Grothman exited the bank, he was also subjected to angry words, but as he walked away a man hugged Sen. Grothman. An officer reported that Grothman did not appear to enjoy the embrace, and was able to squirm away. The officer came up to the man and told him it is not okay to put hands on people who do not wish contact. The man told the officer he had no idea who Sen. Gorthman was, but that he hugged him because,” I loved him." He added that he loves "everyone," and that he decided to hug Grothman because he was wearing a suit, like the one the man used to wear when he worked in insurance. The man told the officer that he is the "peace walker,” that he had trekked here from Las Vegas, and that he is considering running for president. He also asked the officer if he knew "Snoop Dog." The officer said he did not, and again told the man not to touch people who do not want to be touched."

This may be the only love he gets on the streets of Madison that he can expect for some time to come.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wisconsin Republican Shame, A Case of Gingrichitis

Republicans will need to gird themselves for increased scrutiny as the saga of Randy Hopper amply demonstrates. According to the Raw Story:

"Protesters who marched at the home of Wisconsin state senator Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac) were met with something of a surprise on Saturday. Mrs. Hopper appeared at the door and informed them that Sen. Hopper was no longer in residence at this address, but now lives in Madison, WI with his 25-year-old mistress.

Blogging Blue reports that the conservative Republican's much-younger new flame is currently employed as a lobbyist for right-wing advocacy group Persuasion Partners, Inc., but was previously a state senate staffer who worked on the Senate Economic Development Committee alongside Mr. Hopper. Her bio has been scrubbed from the Persuasion Partners' website, but a screen-grab is available here.

Sen. Hopper has worked closely with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to implement the state's new anti-labor laws and enact policies favorable to the interests of big business. Like Walker, Hopper is one of the Republican politicians named in a massive recall effort spearheaded by Wisconsin Democrats.

According to Wisconsin law, state elected officials who have served at least one year of their current term are eligible for recall by voters. Hopper was elected state senator for district 18 in the fall of 2008, making him eligible for recall, whereas Governor Walker will not be eligible until 2012.

Blogging Blue also reports that Mrs. Hopper intends to sign the recall petition against her husband. The petition has already been signed by the family's maid."

You just can't make this shit up, we are so blessed that our foes are such hypocritical dimwits and I apologize to non-hypocritical dimwits everywhere.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hipodil - Stand By Me

After a day of solidarity in Madison this version of "Stand By Me" by the Bulgarian group Хиподил seemed somehow appropriate.

Wisconsin Fab 14 Return to Tumultous Welcome

The 14 state senators who fled the state almost 1 month ago returned to a tumultuous welcome at the state capitol in Madison today. The crowd of 50,000 to 100,000 (my estimate, it was big) loudly thanked the legislators for their courage and perseverance which, to a large extent, allowed an unprecedented mass movement to be born. The focus is on recalling scumbag republicans, repealing egregious legislation, and rebuilding civil society in Wisconsin (now known as Fitzwalkerstan). As usual many creative expressions of opinion to be seen amongst the throngs.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Wisconsin: This Is What Corporate Facism Looks Like

A naked power grab in Wisconsin as per TPM:

"The special conference committee in Wisconsin -- convened in order to strip out the fiscal elements of Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill, in order to pass the anti-public employee union proposals and avoid the state SenateDemocratic boycott of the three-fifths budget quorum -- just met for roughly five minutes and passed the bill.

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D) attempted to make a motion to delay the meeting or make amendments -- and was not recognized for a motion by the chair, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. Barca argued, over Fitzgerald's attempts to say there would be no motions, that the conference committee violated the state's open meetings law, which requires at least 24 hours notice before a government meeting, unless there is good cause to act more quickly.

The bill then passed in committee on a 4-2, party-line margin -- and in a surreal sight, the online feed of the state equivalent of C-Span, Wisconsin Eye, faded out to tranquil music as the video was playing the shouting and ire of the meeting itself.

The bill to strip away most collective bargaining for public employee unions, and impose new limits on union organization, is now headed to the full chambers.

Late Update: Jessica Arp with the local CBS affiliate reports that the Senate has just passed the bill by a margin of 18-1 -- with only moderate Republican Dale Schultz voting no, in absence of the Democrats who had fled the state in order to block budget quorum.

Mary Spicuzza with the Wisconsin State Journal reports that the Assembly will move on the bill tomorrow."

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Sensenbrennner Heckled and Booed at Townhall Meeting

This is sweet on so many levels. First a republican congressman being waylaid at a townhall meeting and having to bail 27 minutes into the proceedings. Even better the congressman is James Sensenbrenner, arguably the dean of rightwingbats in Wisconsin and representative of that heart of darkness, Waukesha county. Quite frankly Scott Walker's agenda and moronic handling of the whole thing is an unbelievable gift.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

'America Is NOT Broke': Michael Moore Speaks in Madison, WI -- March 5, 2011

The past 3 weeks here have been the the most amazing thing I've seen in my life and gives hope that a true from the bottom up awakening is possible in spite of astroturf movements and media concentration. People who never thought about politics are becoming engaged and breaking the molds. Wisconsin will never be the same.

Moscow Grooves Institue - 2 Professors

Musical relief from American political tension courtesy of MGI.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Elizabeth Warren: Assault on Middle Class (March 1, 2011)

It's debatable whether Scott Wanker has even heard of Elizabeth Warren. He certainly has never heard of the reality that she describes.

Thursday, March 03, 2011