At a time when it’s become a cliché to say that Occupy Wall Street has changed the nation’s political conversation -- drawing long overdue attention to the struggles of the 99% -- electoral politics and the 2012 presidential election have become almost exclusively defined by the 1%. Or, to be more precise, the .000063%.
WASHINGTON -- A super political action committee supporting Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has refunded a $50,000 donation from a London-based securities firm because the contribution could have violated a U.S. law that guards against foreign money in American political campaigns, a spokesman for the group said Tuesday.
One year to the day after announcing a bill to eliminate collective bargaining for most public employees in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker continues to draw vociferous opposition. Hundreds of protesters returned to the Capitol Square on Saturday afternoon to kick off a week commemorating the anniversary of the announcement and weeks of demonstrations that followed.
At a retreat last weekend, dozens of wealthy donors convened in a large golf resort in Indian Wells, Calif. for a four day conference to raise money and plot out election year strategy, the Republic Report has confirmed. We traveled to the conference, and spoke to a few of the attendees.
The one truly stunning ad on Super Bowl night was a moving two-minute Chrysler commercial featuring actor Clint Eastwood. Aired at halftime, the ad hailed the renewal of the American automobile industry and featured images of union firefighters and factory workers.
At the 50-second point in the ad, images from last year's mass pro-union protests in Madison were featured.
But something was missing: union signs.
The images from Madison were taken from a historic video by Matt Wisniewski, a Madison photographer whose chronicling of the protests drew international attention and praise. Wisniewski's work went viral, and was even featured in a video by rocker Tom Morello.
Two days after Ohio voters overwhelmingly rejected Governor John Kasich’s anti-labor agenda by a sixty-one to thirty-nine margin in a statewide referendum, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker jetted to Arizona to launch the next front in the national campaign to attack union rights.
After meeting with former Vice President Dan Quayle, Walker was whisked over to the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, where he briefed a thousand Arizona conservatives on how they could attack “the big-government union bosses.”
The Pulaski High Marching Band, of Pulaski Wisconsin, made an awesome statement in yesterday's Rose Bowl Parade.
It was quite an honor for the Red Raiders from this small town (pop. approx. 3000) northwest of Green Bay to be marching in 80-degree weather in Pasadena, while their proud community looked on from windy 18-degree Wisconsin.
The TV coverage started as they marched along playing "On Wisconsin," looking properly Badger-like in their red uniforms.
And then they got to the grandstand, at about 1:15 in the YouTube ... listen to what happened.
Iowa's Republican presidential contest is bringing out harsh attack ads from supporters of Rick Perry (left) and from Ron Paul's campaign. Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
A tide is flowing through American politics: a tide of money unleashed by a supreme court decision that opened the floodgates to unlimited spending on advertising by so-called "super pacs" – political action committees loosely affiliated with individual candidates.
Today, Iowans will kick off the Republican nominating process for president of the United States with the first-in-the-nation caucuses. But why a Tuesday?
The short answer: We vote on Tuesday for absolutely no good reason. This is true especially when you consider the United States, arguably the world's most famous democracy, has ranked near the bottom of all nations in voter participation for more than half a century. And that's not because, as Mitt Romney suggested to me last month, we need great candidates to increase voter turnout. Heard of JFK? Reagan?
Participatory Budgeting in the Age of Fiscal Austerity
A Crisis of Legitimacy
Following the 2009 financial crisis, the ensuing bailouts and the passing of austerity measures, American and European voters increasingly feel alienated by their political representatives. The Tea Party in the US rails against politicians they believe to be incompetent, far removed and corrupt. Similarly, the Occupy and Indignados movements see their elected representatives as catering to the corporate elite, lobbyists and the so-called 1%. A recent Gallup poll (12-2011) reports that the approval rating for the US congress is at an all time low: only 11% of Americans think it is doing a good job while a whopping 86% believe they are performing abysmally.
All eyes are on Iowa this week, as the hodgepodge field of Republican contenders gallivants across that farm state seeking a win, or at least “momentum,” in the campaign for the party’s presidential nomination. But behind the scenes, a battle is being waged by Republicans—not against each other, but against American voters. Across the country, state legislatures and governors are pushing laws that seek to restrict access to the voting booth, laws that will disproportionately harm people of color, low-income people, and young and elderly voters.
A liberal-leaning Milwaukee think tank is out with a new report blaming state budget program cuts and public worker paycheck reductions for exacerbating Wisconsin's job struggles.
The report from the Institute for Wisconsin's Future says the reduction in take-home pay for tens of thousands of public employees is now hurting the private sector, as are the drastic state budget cuts for K-12 education.
If money is speech, as the crooked courtesans of our high court would have it, then Gov. Scott Walker might imagine himself well-positioned for the recall election he is now all but certain to face.
Last Thursday the United Wisconsin movement announced that its thousands of volunteers had in less than a month gathered more than 500,000 signatures on petitions demanding that the agonizingly inept governor of Wisconsin be held to account for an agenda that just cost the state another 14,000 jobs. On the very same day, Walker was touting the news that his campaign had raised more than $5 million.
Surely, in the calculus of the corrupt, 5,000,000 dollars should carry 10 times the political power of 500,000 signatures.
Frank Nikolay learned his New Deal Democratic politics the hard way, as a poor kid in the Great Depression. He knew what it meant when a family fell on hard times and he knew what the government — yes, the government — could do to help them get back on their feet and on the road to prosperity.
Nikolay, who would become one of Wisconsin’s most respected lawyers, a leader in the state Legislature and a contender for statewide office, had no taste for those who suggested that government was the problem. He said they were either lying to themselves or lying to the people.
And Frank Nikolay was no liar.
He spoke the plain truth, even when doing so entailed political risks.
Paul Krugman wakes up this morning, mourning the death of Politifact. He has good cause! In announcing its 2011 "Lie Of The Year," the truth-squadding agency has settled on something that isn't so much a "lie" as it is "100 percent true on its face," and the selection seems to have been made because it doesn't seem to understand some very basic things about Medicare's defined health benefits.
We know the marching song is "On Wisconsin," but not so today as corruption involving a justice of the state Supreme Court, a major law firm, members of the Legislature secretly working with a mining company, and WMC to "relax" environmental protections to help the mining company in the "new" mining bill that has no sponsor is now part of the new marching song. "Not Wisconsin, not Wisconsin, line your pockets now..."
Two stories. Let's begin with the Gableman saga. Gableman ran against Louis Butler for a seat on Supreme Court, a rather cushy position--high pay, good benefits, 10-year term...not bad!