Undaunted by the fact that the millions they spent so far haven't moved the needle against Democrats at all, the Kochs are sinking a big chunk more into their anti-Obamacare habit in New Hampshire, Louisiana, Colorado and Michigan. And they are also picking up a whole new bunch of Pinnochios from Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post while they're at it.
The Koch brothers might be coming to a town near you, but not in a way that they'd want. Patriot Majority USA is launching a national bus tour on Saturday to expose the "Greed Agenda" of the billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch. The progressive nonprofit hopes to highlight how the Kochs have advanced a range of conservative policies throughout the country.
At times Emanuel, Obama's former chief of staff at the White House and a featured speaker at the recent Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., and school leaders in his administration have come perilously close to sounding like one of those Mississippi legislators back in 1985 who dealt with an 11-week statewide strike by public school teachers by granting them a $4,400 pay raise over three years but at the cost of no-strike provision in state law that prevented them from ever striking again.
Progressives are right when they say Ryan represents everything that shows how out of touch the Republicans are with the needs of the country. But they are not looking at Romney's Ryan decision for what it is -- a hugely dangerous step toward getting the Koch brothers' hand-picked star right to the verge of the presidency, which, should it come to pass, could dramatically transform the nature of American politics for our lifetimes. Whether Romney wins or loses, the Ryan pick poses a threat to the well-being of the nation.
Walker's recall win was expensive. More than $63 million was raised and spent by both candidates, outside groups and one or two right-wing billionaires. Walker spent $45.6 million, and his opponent, Tom Barrett, spent $17.9 million, according to The New York Times. Walker's campaign chest was more than 2 times the size of Barrett's. Walker inundated television, radio and newspapers with his campaign ads, and Barrett simply didn't have the money to counter them all effectively. Walker was even able to con 29 percent of union members into voting for him, a union-busting errand boy for the top 1 percent.
Gov. Scott Walker, whose decision to cut collective bargaining rights for most public workers set off a firestorm in a state usually known for its political civility, easily held on to his job on Tuesday, becoming the first governor in the country to survive a recall election and dealing a painful blow to Democrats and labor unions.
Recalls and impeachments are a remedy of last resort. Most of the time, voters who don't like an incumbent choose to live with the offending politician until the next election, on the sensible theory that fixed terms of office and regular elections are adequate checks on abuses of power and extreme policies.
The collapse of Americans' faith in the Supreme Court has been recent but dramatic. Somewhere in between Bush v. Gore and Clarence Thomas's paid appearance at the Koch brothers' retreat and Antonin Scalia comparing surgery to broccoli, Americans noticed that some of the foremost justices in the country are buffoons.
One of the most consequential campaign finance loopholes affecting the 2012 race -- the one allowing big-money donors to secretly funnel millions into campaign ads -- is now closed, after an appellate court ruling on Monday. In April, a district court judge struck down a Federal Election Commission regulation that allowed donors to certain nonprofit groups -- including those created by Karl Rove and the Koch brothers -- to evade normal disclosure requirements.
I'll have more on this in a bit, but David Axelrod told reporters on a conference call this morning that the Obama re-elect will spend $25 million on ads this month, dropping the equivalent of a nuclear bomb that a number of political watchers had been expecting to land in the defining pre-convention season. It's a breathtaking figure, but one that Axelrod framed as pushing back on the broad spectrum of anti-President Obama ads coming from Republican-leaning groups like American Crossroads, Americans for Prosperity and the American Energy Alliance.
Wisconsin Democrats organized the protests that gripped the state. They turned Gov. Scott Walker's plans to strip public unions of their collective bargaining rights into a national Democratic cause. They got the signatures they needed to force a recall election, and then some. They are now just a little more than a month away from the big showdown with Walker they have been craving for over a year - but rather than excitement, there is growing fear within the party that they just might blow it.
This week, we're exposing the world of campaign finance post-Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court case that opened the door to super PACs. The stories fall into three categories: donor profiles, pieces on super PACs, and scandals (though as Michael Kinsley said, "The scandal in Washington isn't what's illegal; it's what's legal").
If you needed any evidence of how efficiently the right-wing propaganda machine functions, here it is. This is just one small part of it: the part that wants to grab the minds of our youth, lock them in a high-pressure environment for six days, and get them on the team early. All promoted with flattery, intimations of excitement and exclusiveness, and an appeal to unwary parents who of course want to help their children succeed.
Most of the attention has focused on ALEC s role in creating model bills, drafted by lobbyists and lawmakers, that broadly advance a pro-business, socially conservative agenda. But a review of internal ALEC documents shows that this is only one facet of a sophisticated operation for shaping public policy at a state-by-state level. The records offer a glimpse of how special interests effectively turn ALEC s lawmaker members into stealth lobbyists, providing them with talking points, signaling how they should vote and collaborating on bills affecting hundreds of issues like school vouchers and tobacco taxes.
What's happening with ALEC is good. But not good enough. Pressured by a coalition of civil rights, clean government and religious groups to quit their memberships in the American Legislative Exchange Council, multinational corporations are indeed exiting ALEC. Now, it's time to demand that the 2,000 legislators who have joined ALEC do the same.
A Wisconsin law that made it easier for victims of wage discrimination to have their day in court was repealed on Thursday, after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) quietly signed the bill.
As the ALEC boycott continues to grow some corporations are not getting the message. Executives from Pfizer, Reynolds American, and Procter & Gamble are daring you to boycott them. Beneath the good news that Kraft and Pepsi have joined Coca-Cola in deciding to stop supporting ALEC, there are some companies who just don t get it. According to Reuters, Pfizer, Reynolds American, and Procter & Gamble have all came out in support of ALEC.
ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, behind closed doors, corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve 'model' bills.
Karl Rove first pulled the group together to coordinate independent spending in the run-up to the 2010 midterms and it worked. The coalition including groups that hadn t always played well together has been credited with helping boost Republicans to sweeping victories across the country. But this time around, the tenuous alliance is being tested. New players are joining, heightening already intense competition for money, voter intel and, in a broad sense, control of the Republican Party. Meanwhile, some conservative groups that participated in the 2010 effort - including Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth - seem to be keeping their distance.
Gov. Scott Walker will not challenge any of the 1 million signatures filed by opponents seeking to recall him. That leaves only a signature review by state elections officials standing between the Republican governor and what would be just the third recall election for a governor in U.S. history.
A former top Halliburton executive will serve 2 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty in Houston federal court to orchestrating a $180 million bribery scheme to secure $6 billion in natural gas deals in Nigeria, the Justice Department announced Thursday.
On Wednesday Gov. Mitch Daniels delivered a body blow to organized labor, signing a bill making Indiana the 23rd "Right to Work" state. Daniels' law, which unions will protest during Sunday s Super Bowl in Indianapolis, poses a major test for Indiana's labor movement. To survive "Right to Work," Indiana unions will have to disregard one of the most popular arguments made recently by their supporters: that a union is a business.
A fish rots from the head down. Two staffers who worked directly for Gov. Scott Walker while he was county executive were charged Thursday with illegally doing extensive political work while being paid by taxpayers to do county jobs. This is in addition to the three aides of Scott Walker that were arrested on January 5, 2012.
If you didn't know there was a major political event going on in South Carolina today a map of tweeting from mobile devices would not tell you. South Carolina, one of the most right wing states in the nation, has been erect as a key state in deciding the GOP nomination. If Romney loses tonight he will have to try and be the first candidate to lose the state's primary but pick up the GOP nomination.
Critics of Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin on Tuesday said they had collected more than 1 million signatures, or nearly twice as many as required, on petitions to recall Mr. Walker and force a new election.
For the past year, public employees around the country have been under attack. With collective bargaining cast as a fiscal issue, private sector workers are encouraged to vent their economic frustrations at lazy government clerks living high on the hog off others hard-earned tax dollars. "We can no longer live in a society," Scott Walker, then governor-elect of Wisconsin, argued, "where the public employees are the haves and taxpayers who foot the bills are the have-nots."
Throughout his life, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker seems to have had a sense of mission. Patricia Walker, the governor's mother, tells the story of how when her son was around 8 years old and the family was living in Plainfield, Iowa, he noticed that the building where city meetings were held lacked an Iowa flag. "He collected money and bought a flag," says Patricia Walker, a retired bookkeeper. "He went around carrying a mayonnaise jar."
On Wednesday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker held a press conference touting that he was going to lift a cap on enrollment in Family Care, a state program designed to keep the elderly and disabled out of nursing homes. Good for him, right? However, it turns out that Walker not only imposed the cap in the first place, but that he was ordered by federal health officials:
The Four Winds Motel north of Baraboo, Wis., is creating a stir with its decision to show support for the recall effort against Gov. Scott Walker (R) with a controversial sign. "RECALL THE KOCHSUCKER NOW!" it reads in block letters, likely a reference to reports that the billionaire oil magnate Koch Brothers provided funding to Walker through their PAC, or perhaps to the ensuing prank call made to Walker by a Buffalo journalist pretending to be David Koch.
Gov. Scott Walker (WI) used an interview with Ron Meyer from the conservative Young America's Foundation to blame unions and government for preventing job creation for young people. Walker spoke as if he was having a casual conversation about ideas that he has developed on his own, but he went down a long list of conservative talking points that have been repeated over and over again by conservatives funding by the Koch Brothers and other right-wing financiers. Among Walker's comments:
When Wisconsin voters elected Scott Walker governor and handed Republicans control of the Legislature, about 1,000 new jobs in the emerging wind energy sector stood waiting on the state's horizon, according to industry proponents. But Walker, who received at least $1.5 million in campaign cash directly from interests opposed to wind energy and much more indirectly, quickly quashed the rules that would have allowed those jobs - and the state's energy independence - to move forward.
Governor Walker is a friend of small business, he recognizes that 70 percent of the jobs created in this country and this state are by small businesses. He wants all of the people in the state to be successful. It s comforting, and it s been rare, so it s a refreshing change. We've got offices and divisions of our own company in other states - New York, California - and we can see that if Wisconsin continues on a pro-business strategy, we re gonna grow our staff here.
An online advocacy group is urging corporations that market to African-Americans to stop giving money to a conservative organization working for stricter voting laws. The group, ColorofChange, is targeting companies that support the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a nonprofit that has helped states pass photo ID laws, which are criticized by minority and civil rights groups. Its members include legislators and corporations, who pay higher fees to join.
Wisconsin State Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) is releasing a new ad featuring clips of the infamous prank call between Gov. Scott Walker (R) and a journalist posing as billionaire David Koch. The call -- made by Ian Murphy, editor of the online newspaper the Buffalo Beast -- occurred as protests against the governor and his anti-union legislation were growing in February. Hulsey's "reminder ad" comes as an official recall effort against the governor gains momentum.
If you think state government should bully high schoolers for exercising their right to free speech, that it has a right to poke through the medical records of women who ve had abortions, that there shouldn t be a separation between church and state, and you re A-OK with the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity s effort to wipe out just about all functions of the federal government that benefit anyone other than the obscenely rich, but you only hold those views when your party is in power, than your dream job is working as communications director for Kansas Republican governor Sam Brownback.
Reports are coming in from the field in Dane County [Wisconsin] that many self-IDed Republicans in neighborhoods populated by professionals are signing the recall Scott Walker petition.
During the "Tea Party"/CNN Debate, the tea partiers showed just how morally depraved they truly were and how abjectly dangerous some of these people are with their anti-Christian libertarian Randian ideas. I cringed, sickened.
Walker Support of Special Interests Over Wisconsin Families Helps Fill RGA Coffers Madison - Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker's long career of supporting big oil, big banks and big insurance has paid off with enormous contributions for the Republican Governors Association, which has raised $27 million in 2010 alone and has already purchased $1 million in attack ads in Wisconsin. Total spending by the Republican Governors Association to support Walker's anti-middle class priorities will likely top $2 million this year.
And, my friends, in this story you have a history of this entire movement. First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. Nicholas Klein 1918
As tens of thousands of Wisconsinites rallied in Madison for a mass signing of petitions to recall anti-labor Governor Scott Walker Saturday, it was announced that the drive had collected 105,000 signatures in its first four days.
A joint analysis by iWatch News and the Center for Responsive Politics has found that the 15 freshmen members of the Tea Party Caucus have embraced many of the same special interests that have supported Republicans for years. The fifteen combined have received over $3,450,000 during the first three quarters of this year from almost 700 different PACs.
With a recall effort against Gov. Scott Walker just now getting off the ground, the governor and two allies have taken to the air by spending more than $1.3 million to run TV commercials in support of Walker's budget proposals.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is one of many Republican politicians swept into office last year promising to focus on job creation. Many of those Republicans, Walker included, have instead relentlessly pushed a conservative social agenda and policies that destroy jobs.
The first problem is that higher status for the wealthy can easily lead to crony capitalism. In public discourse social status judgments are often crude. Critical differences are lost, like the distinction between earning money through production for consumers, as Apple has done, and earning money through the manipulation of government, which heavily subsidized agribusinesses have done. The relevant question, in my view, is not about how much you have earned but about how you have earned it. To further confuse matters, many right-wing Republican politicians supported corporate bailouts and corporate welfare far beyond what was necessary to stabilize the economy, in doing so further muddying the difference between productive and predatory capitalism.
A reviewer for the official National Park Service bookstore at Ford s Theatre has recommended that Bill O Reilly s bestselling new book about the Lincoln assassination not be sold at the historic site "because of the lack of documentation and the factual errors within the publication."
Voters turned a skeptical eye toward conservative-backed measures across the country Tuesday, rejecting an anti-labor law in Ohio, an anti-abortion measure in Mississippi and a tightening of voting rights in Maine.
Twenty-nine percent of those polled by Fox said they would be scared if Obama were re-elected, 21 said the same about Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 18 for businessman Herman Cain and 14 for former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney.
For those of you who love a good feud (and who doesn t, right?), MSNBC star Rachel Maddow has attracted the Eye of Mordor that is Koch Industries PR department, and on Thursday night s show, made the most of her appearance in their field of vision. Taking aim at Koch Facts relatively weak reaction to a blog post by Maddow producer Laura Conaway, the host excoriated the company for fighting legislative efforts at job creation, trashed them for picking on her producer by name, and challenged the Koch brothers to "man up" and come sit for an interview.
A financial blogger and ex-CEO credited with being one of the original "founders" of the Tea Party has come out against the movement, saying it has been hijacked by the very people it was protesting and is now obsessed with "guns, gays and God." In a "message" to the Tea Party Wednesday, Karl Denninger declared that he "ought to sue" anyone who uses the Tea Party name "for defamation."
The Atlantic Bridge, the British affiliate organization to the American Legislative Exchange Council, is quickly erupting into a scandal that may force the public to scrutinize the practices of both right-wing groups. Earlier this month, the U.K. s Charity Commission shut down Atlantic Bridge after an investigation revealed that the nonprofit has operated as little more than a front for various corporate lobbying and Tory party interests.
Here's how Florida's prisons were nearly privatized without anyone knowing about it. In a rather arrogant and high-handed move, Republican lawmakers tucked a secret provision into the budget right at the end of the frenzied 2011 legislative session requiring private companies to take over 29 prisons by January 1st. Of course, it was all intended to union-bust and replace nearly 3800 union employees with minimum-wage private company replacements
The upstart conservative movement was all the rage in the summer of 2009, and channeled that energy into a wave of victories in the 2010 midterm elections, sending dozens of hard-line, intransigent Republicans to Congress. However, a new CNN/ORC poll (PDF) out Tuesday shows that the pendulum of public opinion has swung away from the tea party.
New research shows that a shift from defined-benefit retirement plans (pensions) to defined-contribution plans (401(k)s) is exacerbating income inequality and poorly preparing the majority of Americans for their retirement.
On Wednesday morning, 14 September, FBI agents descended on the Madison home of one of Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker's closest aides, Cynthia Archer. The federal agents seized Archer's computer files and other documents. A wider investigation involving another Walker aide may be in the works. The FBI raid has breathed new life into the hopes of Democratic organisers in Wisconsin as they decide whether to launch a recall campaign against Walker himself.
Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) appeared on MSNBC with Chris Jansing this morning to attack President Obama s new deficit reduction plan, which includes some tax increases on the wealthy. Taking up the typical GOP talking point, Fleming said raising taxes on wealthy "job creators" is a terrible idea that kills jobs because many of these people are small business owners who pay taxes through personal income rates.
This summer, there were nine Wisconsin state senate recall elections. For the record, two of the Republicans facing recalls lost, the other Republicans and all the Democrats survived. Setting aside the issues related to those recalls, it is disturbing to see how the "democratic process" worked in these elections.
In the 1964 presidential elections, a young political operative named Bill guarded a largely African-American polling place in South Phoenix, Arizona like a bull mastiff. Bill was a legal whiz who knew the ins and outs of voting law and insisted that every obscure provision be applied, no matter what. He even made those who spoke accented English interpret parts of the constitution to prove that they understood it. The lines were long, people fought, got tired or had to go to work, and many of them left without voting. It was a notorious episode long remembered in Phoenix political circles.
About a dozen law enforcement officers, including FBI agents, raided the home of a former top aide to Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday as part of a growing John Doe investigation.
ALEC is basically telling prospective members that they will accept corporations as equals at the table - so basically - don t join ALEC unless you are willing to accept corporations as your equal.
As the nation gears up for the 2012 presidential election, Republican officials have launched an unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008.
What's the worst that Ron Paul could do? Try to get America back on the gold standard, only to find that he doesn't have the votes in Congress to do it? I am not just being funny. Though Paul has some radical domestic policy ideas, I just don't see any of them getting passed into law. And in foreign policy and national security matters, the areas where he would exercise the most unchecked discretion, he is the candidate you'd least expect to unwisely provoke or launch a war.
Stupid and silly, but dangerous grown-ups trying to deal with a very real anxiety, the decline of the United States and the white folk within. Christopher Hitchens put it rather better when he describes the "no-nothing isolationist" approach of the Tea Party.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a non-profit classification that brings companies together with state lawmakers to emanate and disciple for indication legislation. Minnesota experts on lobbyist avowal contend ALEC s activity here requires a organisation to register as a lobbyist underneath state law.
Robert Morrow, an Austin-based Paul backer and self-employed investor, bought the ad in the local alt weekly last week. He opposes Perry on policy grounds (he calls the Texas governor a neocon and a crony capitalist) but also because he believes Perry is a family values hypocrite. The one problem: There's no evidence that Perry has had affairs, as Morrow alleges.
But the 76-year-old Texas Republican congressman's tiny-government ideals have become increasingly relevant  to the national debate. And despite some eye-rolling by television anchors,  there's been plenty of substantive coverage of Paul's ideals and track record. Here's our guide to some of the best reading on Ron Paul.
Watch as Jason Jones, Samantha Bee, Wyatt Cenac, Aasif Mandvi and John Oliver go over the motivation, tactics and fashion choices of Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin's prideful followers. For example, Cenac explains how the name was conceived (a 4th grade understanding of American history) and Jones tells us what he thinks of when he hears the term (hint: it has to do with his five-year-old daughter).
If there s one thing Tea Party Dominionists know how to do, it s craft an appealing, all-American sounding narrative. While all politicians do this, Tea Party candidates are infamous for the utter lack of credibility in the nevertheless successful narrative.
What are the four primary characteristics most associated with those Americans sympathetic to the Tea Party? "Authoritarianism, ontological insecurity (fear of change), libertarianism and nativism." So says one of the many findings in a study presented to the American Sociological Association on Monday.
This video just totally blew my mind. I knew the Tea Party voted against their own economic interests, but I didn't realize the true level of corruption in the party. They sell limited government and capitalism like it's their jobs, but who truly stands to benefit from this school of thought? The Tea Party is a party of billionaires, Who's to Blame?
In an instant-classic flub at the Iowa State Fair this week, Mitt Romney proclaimed, "corporations are people, my friend." Romney, of course, was speaking in the context of tax policy, making the point that to raise taxes on corporations is to raise taxes on the owners -- people -- of that corporation.
The Wisconsin recalls on Tuesday wound up being something short of the game-changing contests they were supposed to be. In the end, Republicans notched an overall victory, but not necessarily a mandate for the policies that led to the recalls.
A stand by Wisconsin Republicans against a massive effort to oust them from power could reverberate across the country as the battle over union rights and the conservative revolution heads toward the 2012 presidential race.
MILWAUKEE -- Democrats failed to gain control of the Wisconsin Senate, winning two seats Tuesday but losing four races to Republican incumbents in recall elections that both sides said are a precursor to next year's fight for the White House and Congress
Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf was probing if Wisconsin Right to Life, an anti-abortion group, broke the law when it gave gift and gas cards to volunteers who got voters to complete absentee ballot applications in the recall election of Republican state Senator Alberta Darling.
We Are Wisconsin, an influential coalition of labor unions backing the six Democratic challengers in Tuesday's recall elections, says the California-based Tea Party Express (TPE) group and the Republican Party of Wisconsin broke state law by coordinating on a phone banking operation to boost Republican state senators facing recall votes
Gov. Walker made a deliberate decision to have redistricting be decided on Election Day when he called the legislative Republicans plan up on August 4th. Thanks his own decision, Gov. Walker now has until the end of the day to sign or to veto his party s divisive and partisan redistricting maps that would crush our democracy and attempt to monopolize power on all levels of state government so the Republicans can avoid accountability for the next decade.
Last week, Wisconsin kicked off its 10-day state fair. It s traditional for the governor to herald the fair s opening day. But when Walker took the stage Thursday, he was met with a hail of boos and protests signs. "This is the one place where all across the state where people can actually come together," he tried to shout over the crowd. "At least most people can." As he walked off stage, the crowd chanted "Recall Walker."
As co-chair of Wisconsin's powerful legislative Joint Finance Committee, Alberta Darling was charged by Governor Scott Walker with cobbling together the most anti-public education budget in Wisconsin history. And Darling delivered, with a plan to slash $800 million in funding for public schools across Wisconsin while at the same time scheming to shift tens of millions from the state treasury into the accounts of private schools.
Republican state senators Sheila Harsdorf, Luther Olsen, Alberta Darling and Randy "Bed" Hopper all believe that lowering taxes on moist soft products is a serious enough priority for Wisconsin families that they fought to insert the moist snuff tax preference provision into the already highly contentious state budget.
Yesterday the big news in the internets was the news that a company was incorporated, donated a million dollars to a super PAC associated with Mitt Romney and then disolved, all within the space of about 4 months. The building the business supposedly was based at in Manhattan had never heard of the company. All this has caused complaints to be filed to the SEC and DOJ. It turns out that two other companies have done something very similar for Mitt, yet it appears only one station has reported it, and that is a local Fox affiliate of all places.
Capitalizing on the sentiment of protecting traditional farming, giant agribusiness interests have convinced some states to revise their Right to Farm laws to stealthily protect the most egregious of industrial farming practices from legitimate nuisance suits.
If there is a silver lining to the debt limit crisis - and it's a big if - it would be that the extremism of Republican agenda has finely become visible to a larger number of Americans. It is time to recognize what it means to face a determined ideological bloc. And what it means to fight back.
Dozens of Florida legislators are in New Orleans this week for three days of pro-business pep talks, policy seminars and great food. The annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, features topics such as public pensions, Medicaid reform and tax policy, with such conservative stalwarts as economist Arthur Laffer and former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey.
I really thought it would take more than five minutes in New Orleans before I realized the conservative movement had landed. But it didn t. As I was waiting for my bags, I heard a mid-thirties woman talking on the phone. 'Yah, I m down in New Orleans for the American Legislative Exchange Council meeting. We write legislation, and they pass our ideas. It s the free market.'