Thursday, June 25, 2015

Weekend Celebration And Hiatus Song

We're on a bit of a hiatus until mid-next week (grandchildren need to be cuddled and other relatives need attention, too).  So, an early Weekend Song to end what's been a week that saw the flag of slavery and treason coming down across the nation and, most importantly, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) more firmly enshrined in law and custom than ever before, thanks to the King v. Burwell decision.  So, here's our happy song to take you into the weekend and next week, from the Beatles of course.  We'll be back soon!

Tiny Right-Wing Heads Exploding Over Obamacare Affirmation

Savor, as Ed Kilgore does, the schadenfreude of seeing right-wing Republican dead-enders in their agony over the Supreme Court's John Roberts' betrayal of their Noble Cause.  Here's an appetizer:
At National Review’s The Corner, Quin Hilyer had this to say about the Chief Justice:

With today’s Obamacare decision, John Roberts confirms that he has completely jettisoned all pretense of textualism. He is a results-oriented judge, period, ruling on big cases based on what he thinks the policy result should be or what the political stakes are for the court itself. He is a disgrace. That is all.
The headline was: “Chief Justice Roberts Has Officially Gone Native in Washington.”
There aren't enough pixels to capture all the agony - real and fake - that Republicans and small-bore people everywhere are experiencing over the King v. Burwell decision that, as President Obama said, means "the Affordable Care Act is here to stay."  But you'll be hearing "Apocalypse now!" from all the candidates in the Republican presidential clown car, Congressional hacks and the mouth-frothing grifters at Fox "News."  Feel free to roam the internet and get warmth from wingnut volcanic rage (after Kilgore's piece, you can go here for more unhinged reactions - hee hee).

And, you know what?  It doesn't matter anymore.  They lost, and the American people won.

BONUS:  There's a lot out there about human pus sac "Justice" Antonin Scalia's raving dissent, but a few discerning observers noted that Chief Justice Roberts used Scalia's previous argument against him in King v. Burwell.
To defend making the subsidies available to consumers everywhere, Roberts cited a line the dissent to the 2012 decision in favor of Obamacare, in which Scalia said, "Without the federal subsidies . . . the exchanges would not operate as Congress intended and may not operate at all."
Roberts used the line to argue that it "is implausible that Congress meant the Act to operate" in a manner to limit the subsidies only to those states with state-operated exchanges, as the challengers in King v. Burwell argued.
Who said a raging crackpot has to be consistent?  Nicely played.

BREAKING: Obamacare Subsidies Upheld By Supreme Court!

In a 6-3 decision just announced, the Court agreed with the Obama administration in the King v. Burwell case that subsidies under the Affordable Care Act would be available for people covered by the Federal exchange, just as they are under State-run exchanges.

Here's the decision, authored by Chief Justice Roberts.

Here's the concluding rationale:
Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter. Section 36B can fairly be read consistent with what we see as Congress’s plan, and that is the reading we adopt.
Huge victory for common sense, judicial restraint and, above all, Obamacare recipients!

UPDATE:  President Obama reacts:
"As the dust has settled, there can be no doubt that this law is working. It has changed, and in some cases, saved, American lives," Obama said.
"Today after more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law, after a presidential election based in part on preserving or repealing this law, after multiple challenges to this law in front of the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay," Obama added.

UPDATE II:  Ian Millhiser delves into how the way the Court rendered the decision only strengthened it against future challenges (go here to read why):
It is also the most perfect victory that the Obama administration could have achieved in this case. King not only preserves Obamacare today — it also sharply limits the scope of future cases seeking to undermine the law.
UPDATE III:  Jeffrey Toobin on the rot at the center of the suit:
[T]his lawsuit was from its inception a shameful and cynical exercise, which illustrated the debasement of the contemporary conservative legal movement.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Clinton Still Leads Republican Candidates (By A Lot)

Despite months of hammering by Republicans and their Clinton-hating stenographers in the "mainstream media," Hillary Clinton continues to lead three Republican rivals by 8 to 14 points, according to the latest NBC News/ WSJ poll.

With the usual caveat that the election is [insert timeframe] away, the biggest margin is the matchup with Gov. Scott "Koch Head" Walker (R-Kochland), who she leads 51-37.  She leads John Ellis  Bush Jeb! by 48-40, and Sen. Marco "Glug Glug" Rubio (R-Poland Spring) by 50-40.

Time for the "mainstream media," the awesome Republican propaganda machine that is Fox "News," Benghazi!!! sleuth Trey Gowdy, and the emptiest suit in America (h/t C. Pierce), RNC chair Reince Priebus, to crank it up a notch!

In the meantime, a musical fanfare to salute their ineffective efforts to date.

If Republicans Abandon Tentherism, Then That Would Be Progress

Charles P. Pierce would like for the Republicans who are suddenly aware of the moral implications of flying the flag of slavery and treason to be held accountable for their antebellum views on the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution (i.e., the misconception that the slavery flag also represented -- nullification!):
Tentherism is the basis of almost all the retrograde ideas filtering around the conservative moonscape -- from creationism in the public schools, to armed freeloaders on federal lands, to the mindless resistance to health-care reform, to the awful Citizens United and Shelby County decisions at the Supreme Court. Let these suddenly enlightened citizens abandon what the flag represents as quickly as they abandoned the flag itself, and then we can have ourselves a Day of Jubilee.
To imagine that the fight for a modern, pluralistic, egalitarian society is over now that the American swastika may be coming down in some of the yahoo precincts of the South is naive.  In the wake of the Charleston massacre, the flag issue just became too indefensible even for the moral cowards of the Republican Party.  But we'll bet they'll be sticking to their position on nullifying Federal laws as long as there's a Democrat in the White House.

BONUS:  To get a sense of the States rights dystopia Republican tenthers would like to return to (via the Republican Supreme Court's Shelby County decision gutting voting rights, for example), blog pal P.E.C. sends us this reminder of what a "literacy test" designed to keep blacks from voting looked like in Louisiana in the 1960's.

Welcome Piyush "Bobby" Jindal To The Republican Clown Car

Inauthentic delusional demagogue Gov. Piyush "Bobby" Jindal (R- Swamp) is set to become the next Republican- who- will- never- be- President candidate today.  There are at least two interrelated things to know about Jindal:  he's been a spectacular failure as governor, and he's a pure-blood phony.  Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly hits on the first feature:
You can expect a fair amount of the obligatory one-day media coverage given to elected officials who run for president to dwell on the irony that the Smartest Man In Every Room is running on a yahoo platform of religious demagoguery and redneck defiance of elites. Having made such a thorough mess of his tenure as governor of Louisiana, however, it’s not like he can run on his wonky accomplishments, though there is a hammerheaded constituency for anyone who just comes out and admits he’s wrecked state government and the education system for the sheer destructive hell of it. (our emphasis)
Jindal's attempts to distance himself from his Asian Indian roots is a subject of a profile in today's once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle.  The takeaway?  "There's not much Indian left in Bobby Jindal:"
Jindal’s status as a conservative of color helped propel his meteoric rise in the Republican Party — from an early post in the George W. Bush administration to two terms in Congress and now a second term as Louisiana governor — and donors from Indian American groups fueled his first forays into politics. Yet many see him as a man who has spent a lifetime distancing himself from his Indian roots.
Jindal's rise in Republican ranks peaked in 2009 after his unintentionally hilarious opposition response to the President's State of the Union speech, in which he resembled not a person of presidential caliber but someone who might be a page at NBC.  His single-minded pursuit of the presidency to the detriment of his constituents combined with his destructive tenure as governor of Louisiana has left him less popular than President Obama in this red(neck) state, quite an achievement.  He also managed to offend British Prime Minister Cameron when he said in a speech in London that parts of Europe and the UK were "no-go zones" because of Muslims.  Said Cameron, "When I heard this, frankly, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fools’ Day. This guy is clearly a complete idiot.”

Last but not least, he also has the distinction (in our minds) of making frequent appearances in our "Today's Dispatches From The Stupid Party" feature, a feature he's probably owed royalties to (nah!) since he coined the term "Stupid Party" to refer to the Republican Party.  So congratulations to him for that, too.

BONUS:  Mr. Pierce's take on Jindal's sad "cautionary tale:"
He's languishing in Patakiland at the moment. His numbers have to be rounded up to get to one percent. But the cautionary tale about "Bobby" Jindal is this -- sooner or later, every Republican has to join The Stupid Party, and if you leave presidential timber out there in the Louisiana humidity long enough, it warps.
BONUS II:  At last, The Onion's candidate profile for "Bobby."

(Image:  Official portrait of Piyush "Bobby" Jindal, left, and the "real" Piyush "Bobby" Jindal, right;  no, he's not distancing himself from his Indian roots much.)

Mid-Week Birthday Song

Happy 68th Birthday to Fleetwood Mac co-founder and drummer Mick Fleetwood.  The British/ American rock band started as a British blues band, but achieved its greatest artistic success when Fleetwood, co-founder John McVie, and Christine McVie shuffled the original lineup to add Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.  The band is currently on its "On With the Show" world tour.  Here's a popular cut from their  1976 "Rumours" album, "Go Your Own Way."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Bad Case Of "Foxbetes" Brought On By Charleston Murders

Jon Stewart on the sniveling Republican hypocrites at Fox "News," from Sean "Heil" Hannity, to Rudy "Noun, Verb, 9/11" Giuliani, to Fox Felon Bernie Kerik, to Assy Andrea Tantaros, to Rich "Starbursts" Lowry (buffering might be slow):

Today's Cartoon - Identity Crisis?

(click on image to enlarge)

(Clay Jones,

Race And Cowardice

Here's sportswriter (!) Sally Jenkins this morning in the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle:
If you went to Germany and saw a war memorial with a Nazi flag flying over it, what would you think of those people? You might think they were unrepentant. You might think they were in a lingering state of denial about their national atrocities. The Confederate battle flag is an American swastika, the relic of traitors and totalitarians, symbol of a brutal regime, not a republic. The Confederacy was treason in defense of a still deeper crime against humanity: slavery. If weaklings find racial hatred to be a romantic expression of American strength and purity, make no mistake that it begins by unwinding a red thread from that flag.
Yet the governor of South Carolina found it easier to call for the execution of this milkweed boy than it was for her to finally call for the lowering of that banner. Why?
Jenkins, who happens to have co-authored a book on Unionists in Mississippi during the Civil War, writes a particularly powerful essay on how this "American swastika" was allowed back into public life, most notably during the civil rights struggles of the last half of the 20th century, and the truth about what it really stands for.  Why she's not a regular contributor to the editorial page (instead of a Bush administration re-tread) is symptomatic of the decay of this once-great newspaper.

Another recommended read this morning is on the subject of how the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party, and specifically it's presidential hopefuls, reacted to the Charleston killing and displaying the flag of slavery and treason:
The massacre last week at a church in Charleston, S.C., opened a leadership opportunity for the nearly two dozen politicians running to be the next president.
But few stepped forward to seize it.
The Republican hopefuls mostly stammered and stumbled in response to the shootings. At first, some resisted calling the massacre racially motivated, only to reverse course when it became obvious it was.
Most stopped short of calling for South Carolina leaders to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the state capitol in Columbia. Some, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, declined to comment at all. Only after South Carolina’s Republican governor, Nikki Haley, emotionally declared Monday that the flag should come down did most GOP candidates join the chorus.
We eagerly await the insights of Ron "Leadership!" Fournier (but we won't be holding our breath).

Monday, June 22, 2015

Rand Paul: Still Just Making Stuff Up

You would think, as a person who's been burned in the recent past by his loose connection with the truth, Sen. "Ayn" Rand Paul (Dudebro-KY), would be a little more careful with historic accuracy.  And you would be wrong.

Via Buzzfeed:
Many of the quotes attributed to the Founding Fathers in two of Rand Paul’s books are either fake, misquoted, or taken entirely out of context, BuzzFeed News has found.
Paul’s first two books — Government Bullies, which was an e-book best-seller, and The Tea Party Goes to Washington — lay out the conservative manifesto he hoped to bring to Washington following the tea party wave in 2010.
A heavy theme in Paul’s books is that the tea party movement is the intellectual heir to the Founding Fathers, with Paul often arguing he knows what position our country’s earliest leaders would have had on certain issues(our emphasis)
"Ayn" Rand seems to have a particular fondness for attributing faux quotes to Thomas Jefferson, presumably in order to convince his knuckle-dragging, low-information tea bagger audiences that, yessir, they are freedom freedumb fighters in the American revolutionary tradition when, in fact, nothing could be farther from the truth.

These books have been out there for some time, and the misquotes of the various Founding Fathers have been used by "Ayn" Rand for years with no consequences.  But since he's fond of quotes, here's one, the proof of which he's been relying on, that we'd like to offer: "A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." 

Republican Racist Blood Money (Updated)

This offers another clue why Republicans want to avoid acknowledging the primacy of racial hatred in the Charleston murders.  The right-wing group noted here is the "Council of Conservative Citizens" (which, by the way, says the Charleston killer had "legitimate grievances"):
The leader of a rightwing group that Dylann Roof allegedly credits with helping to radicalise him against black people before the Charleston church massacre has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans such as presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum.

Earl Holt has given $65,000 to Republican campaign funds in recent years while inflammatory remarks – including that black people were “the laziest, stupidest and most criminally-inclined race in the history of the world” – were posted online in his name.  (our emphasis)
It's their base, and they don't want to offend them!  Even Ben "On Meds?" Carson can see that.

In the great scheme of things, with Republicans awash in Koch brothers and Adelson millions, this is a drop in the bucket.  But it's hard to imagine this is the only racist dumbass that's been lining Republican pockets at the local, State and Federal levels.  And, more importantly, it defines what you are as a party if you rely on any support from low-life white supremacists, financial or philosophical.

BONUS:  Charles Pierce knows this isn't an anomaly for the right.

BONUS II:  Michelle Goldberg on the Council of Conservative Citizens/ Republican Party connection.

BONUS III:  Seems like this Earl Holt dolt gave to 48 Republicans in a number of states. 

Charleston And The "Culture Of Evasion"

Here's E.J. Dionne, Jr., this morning on how some =cough= Republicans = cough= take cover through a "culture of evasion" to deflect the changes that we need to make as a people in the wake of tragedies like the murders in Charleston, SC:
Right off the top, anyone who wants to discuss the implications of this shooting is scolded for “politicizing a tragedy.” We are told we must heal and mourn first, that it’s “disrespectful” to the victims to ask what this slaughter means and what we must do as a nation. How manipulative: Mourning the deaths of good people — and honoring the astonishing spirit of forgiveness modeled by their families — is used as an excuse to delay reflection on why this happened until the moment of urgency passes. In a media culture with a short attention span, there is no surer way to contain and marginalize the hard questions. (our emphasis)
Hmm.  Could he be referring, at least in part, to an op/ ed in the same paper the day before from Republican apologist and Family Bush publicist Kathleen Parker, who wrote this perfect example of delaying reckoning:
As I hear talk-show hosts scramble to turn this tragedy into issues — gun control, race, mental illness, what’s next? — I can’t help thinking that some manners are in order. People need time to recover from shock and to heal. Grief isn’t bound by deadlines or expressed in sound bites. Southerners, especially, like to take time with their mourning.
Let’s allow them.  (our emphasis)
No, let's not allow them.

Manners?  How is flying the flag of slavery and treason -- the "American swastika" -- at the South Carolina state capitol mannerly?   Southerners "like to take time" in a lot of things, don't they?  Southerners are taking their time getting over the Civil War, over integration, over voting rights, over same-sex marriage -- essentially over entering the 20th (much less the 21st) century.

No, they've had enough time.  And they don't have the moral authority to decide when and how long to mourn the victims of their "heritage."

UPDATE:  The Governor of South Carolina is now calling for the flag of slavery and treason to come down.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day 2015

To all our fellow fathers out there, have a wonderful Father's Day.  Enjoy and appreciate your children and, if you're lucky to have your father still, give him a Hackwhacker hug!

Blogging will be light to nonexistent today, because Fathers.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Primer For Republicans Who Can't Fathom What's Behind The Charleston Murders

It's really simple enough for a Republican to understand.  Just follow along.

Here's the killer with his flag:

Here are a few excerpts from his"manifesto":
The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case. I kept hearing and seeing his name, and eventually I decided to look him up. I read the Wikipedia article and right away I was unable to understand what the big deal was. It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right. But more importantly this prompted me to type in the words “black on White crime” into Google, and I have never been the same since that day. The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored? [snip]
I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.  (our emphasis)
Oh, that "manifesto" is something to behold.  It's every anti-black, anti-Semitic, anti-Hispanic Southern white supremacist bit of disassociated dumbassery that you could read on any skinhead, neo-Nazi or Klan web site.  The "Council of Conservative Citizens" he cites as a source of his information on crime is a far-right organization that's been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Any ambiguity now, Republicans?

Today's Cartoon Twofer - It's Not Tradition, It's Hate

(click on image to enlarge)

(Dan Wasserman, via

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Letters We Wish We'd Written Dept. - "National Trauma" Edition

Readers of the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle were responding today to Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party fabulist Kathleen Parker's June 17 op/ ed tongue bath of the Family Bush ("Bushes Through The Years"), and in particular this sentence: "After the national trauma of the Clinton years, during which mothers like me were forced to shield our children from the president's deeds, it was a relief to see George W. and Laura Bush move into the White House."

Here's a Letter We Wish We'd Written in response:
Which of these eight-year presidential terms should be characterized as a “national trauma”:
●The Bill Clinton years: Approximately 23 million net new jobs, no major land war launched, one combat-related military death, the addition of $1.3 trillion to the national debt, and the blue-dress sex scandal; or
● The George W. Bush years: Approximately 1.1 million net new jobs, two major land wars launched, thousands of combat-related military deaths, the addition of $4.9 trillion to the national debt, and no sex scandal?
Kathleen Parker chooses the Clinton years. Anyone care to question her priorities?
Samuel T. Goldberg, Bethesda
We  would say her priorities are clearly to whitewash the Dumbya years so she can see Jeb! in the White House after the "national trauma" of an African-American president who expanded health care to millions more Americans, and brought us back from economic ruin and the disastrous war the president she so fondly remembers got us into.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Weekend Walking Music

Richard Thompson, who was one of the founding members of British folk rock group Fairport Convention (we like to think of them as Britain's answer to The Byrds), has been a major force in music for over four decades as a prolific songwriter and performer, often with his ex-wife Linda Thompson.  He's written songs recorded by such diverse talents as R.E.M., the Pointer Sisters, Shawn Colvin, and Los Lobos.  Next week, on June 23, he'll release his latest album, "Still," which was produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco.  This is a preview cut from that album titled "Beatnik Walking."  (Note the many references to Amsterdam and some of its noted former residents.)  Enjoy your weekend.

Want To Honor the Charleston 9? Start With This

In the aftermath of the racist massacre of 9 black churchgoers this week in Charleston, SC, there have been renewed calls for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the State Capitol to acknowledge the reality of the racial divide and to make a small step toward closing it.  Indeed, while both the U.S. and state flags were lowered over the capitol building in Columbia out of respect for the victims, the symbol of slavery remained at full mast. The usual suspects are resisting the removal of the flag, bringing up their time-worn excuse of "tradition" and "honoring the fallen."  Keep in mind that this flag -- this flag of treason against the U.S. -- was flown in a fight to maintain the vicious system of slavery in the South, and is carried in demonstrations today by the KKK, neo-Nazi groups, and assorted white supremacists. There's no honor associated with that flag, and that needs to be said over and over.

A column by the late Steve Gilliard from 10 years ago, reproduced by Driftglass, drives home the point that this flag has become the American equivalent of the Nazi swastika, which was co-opted from ancient Sanskrit as a symbol of hope and good will.  One hundred and sixty five years after the end of the Civil War, the symbol of racism still holds a place of honor among many Southern whites, and a continuing stab in the heart of black Americans who know exactly what "tradition" that flag represents.

BONUS:  Read Ta-Nehisi Coates' article in The Atlantic, calling for the banishment of this symbol, and  screw the apologists and the rabid white supremacists.

Right-Wingers Try To Construct False Narrative In Charleston Murders

As we noted yesterday, there's a concerted effort by right-wingers to shift the focus of the Charleston, SC, murders from the (white supremacist) killer targeting blacks to it being a crime against Christians (or, most disgustingly laughable, "religious liberty").  Certainly, that would fit more easily into their base-inflaming, false narrative of a "war on Christianity" (you know, because same-sex marriage!).  Unfortunately, the killer didn't get their talking points:
(CNN) - Dylann Roof admits he did it, two law enforcement officials said -- shooting and killing nine people he'd sat with for Bible study at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
But why? To start a race war, Roof told investigators, according to one of the officials.  (our emphasis)
The false right-wing narrative, promoted by the usual suspects (Fox "News", various Republican presidential clowns), is an attempt to distract people from a fact the right doesn't want you to know, as Ryan Cooper notes:
Since 9/11, right-wing terrorists have killed more than five times as many people as Islamist ones. Yet a short study warning to keep a watchful attitude towards the former is met with enraged hostility. It reveals both the small actual danger of Islamist terrorism, and the utterly ridiculous and hypocritical way in which anti-terrorism resources are allocated.
Still, if conservatives are confident in their ideas, and do not subscribe to the paranoid delusions of the sovereign citizen, white supremacist, or neo-Nazi movements, they should not feel threatened by close investigations of such people. But I'm not holding my breath(our emphasis)
We're not holding our breath, either.

There are monstrously evil people in the world willing to put their evil thoughts into action, and they're being aided and abetted by these banal people we see and hear every day in the media and the halls of Congress.  We believe that's called "accessories after the fact."

BONUS:  Ana Marie Cox on why Republicans don't want to talk about racial hatred.

BONUS II:  Craven Republican Jeb! Bush still mystified as to the killer's motive.  Ass crack. 

BONUS III:  Now the dimmest of the bulbs chimes in.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Rump's Jobs Program Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)

Report:  "Rump" Trump hired actors to hold signs and wear t-shirts at his Tuesday announcement to cheer and to pad his yoooge "crowd."  That's what Rump would say a "loser" does.

"Laudato Si" - Pope Francis Issues Encyclical On Stewardship Of The Earth

The much anticipated encyclical from Pope Francis I on man's moral responsibility for stewardship of the Earth, "Laudato Si" ("Be praised"), has been released.  Here's the text.

The Associated Press summarizes:
Pope Francis called Thursday for a bold cultural revolution to correct what he calls the "structurally perverse" economic system of the rich exploiting the poor that is turning Earth into an "immense pile of filth."
In a sweeping manifesto aimed at spurring action in U.N. climate negotiations, domestic politics and everyday life, Francis explains the science of global warming, which he blames on an unfair, fossil fuel-based industrial model that he says harms the poor most. Citing Scripture and past popes' and bishops' appeals, he urges people of all faiths and no faith to undergo an awakening to save God's creation for future generations.
It's an indictment of big business and climate doubters alike.
"It is not enough to balance, in the medium term, the protection of nature with financial gain, or the preservation of the environment with progress," he writes. "Halfway measures simply delay the inevitable disaster. Put simply, it is a matter of redefining our notion of progress."
It's even more than we expected from this remarkable breath of fresh air in the Catholic church.

Meanwhile, tiny right-wing heads are exploding.  (And fat ones, too.)

How's That Republican Rebranding Coming Along, Hispanic Outreach Edition

No estan escuchando:
In an autopsy of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential election loss, the Republican Party concluded it was “imperative” for GOP candidates to step up their engagement with Latinos in order to win back the White House.
Otherwise, the report said, “they will close their ears to our policies.”
An obvious place to start would be the nation’s annual “Latino political convention” here this week in Las Vegas, where more than 1,200 Hispanic leaders have gathered for, among other things, a presidential candidates forum.
Yet out of the GOP’s 16 declared or likely presidential candidates, only one — retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson — showed.  (our emphasis)
That's right.  Only Ben "On Meds?" Carson showed up. A guy who blamed the measles outbreak in California in part on illegal immigrants.

We fear for the rebranding.

Mass Killing in SC A "Hate Crime" (Updated)

BREAKINGThe shooter's been apprehended:
The suspect in Wednesday's deadly shooting at a South Carolina church has been apprehended in Shelby, North Carolina, according to local outlets WLTX and WSOC.
The shooter, who was photographed by the church's security cameras, has not been identified. According to witnesses, he sat with the parishioners for an extended time before the shooting.  He apparently released one church member so that she could tell everyone what happened.  According to a cousin of the slain pastor who spoke to an eyewitness,
"...he had reloaded five different times and her son was trying to talk him out of doing that, killing people, and he just said, ‘I have to do it’ and he said, ‘You rape our women and you're taking over our country and you have to go.’”  (emphasis added)
It would be illuminating to understand what influences prompted the shooter to commit that act of racial hate. We hear definite echoes of those thoughts from the far-right when it comes to immigration and racial bias (Trump's discourse Tuesday on Mexicans, for example).  The "take our country back" rhetoric of the Tea Party conjures up the same paranoia that hostile racial/ethnic forces have taken over the country. It would be a mockery of the dead to simply dismiss this as an isolated case of a deranged killer (or in Rudy 9-11's diversionary description, "just evil"), and not to explore the environment in which he developed his deranged thinking.

UPDATE I:  The killer has just been identified as Dylann Storm Roof. Here's his photo:

UPDATE II:  The execrable Fux and Friends' Steve "Douchey" Doocy wants to make this look like an attack on Christians, despite the shooter's own words.  They have no shame whatsoever.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fox "News'" Bullshit Mountaineer Roger Ailes Takes A Tumble

Do we dare to think there's a glimmer of hope that things might be changing at Fox "News" given this report about their chairman and man with his own grease trap Roger "Jabba The Nut" Ailes (spoiler alert: not really):
For much of the past 15 years, Roger Ailes has operated with virtual impunity inside Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. Nothing, it seemed, could induce Murdoch to rebuke Ailes publicly, even if Ailes forced Murdoch to choose between him and his sons. Such was Ailes’s power that he has been able to run a right-wing political operation under the auspices of a news channel.
This week, for the first time, there are signs that this remarkable era may be entering its twilight. Yesterday, 21st Century Fox announced that Ailes would be reporting to Lachlan and James Murdoch. For Ailes, it was a stinging smack-down and effectively a demotion.
And, why is this anything more than inside- "Bullshit Mountain"- baseball?
Ailes and James have maintained a distant, if frosty, relationship. James is an environmentalist who led News Corp's campaign to be a carbon-neutral company. His wife once worked for the Clinton Foundation. Ailes, a fierce climate-change denier, openly badmouthed James to friends and colleagues. He's called him a "fucking dope" and "Fredo," according to sources.
No one I spoke to in the hours after the news broke could remember a time when Ailes has been so publicly diminished. "History was made," a longtime Ailes associate told me. "It is terrible for Roger," said another. "It is a public contradiction. Roger takes these things personally. Worse, it shows that Rupert did not give him a heads-up of the management change in advance. That alone was a slight to his ego."
"Jabba The Nut" Ailes' contract with Fox expires in 2016.  Maybe he'll be offered an early buyout.

(Image:  Approximate visualization of Roger Ailes.)

The Pope And The Dopes

As we noted last week, right-wing Republicans are all aflutter (not in a good way, of course) about Pope Francis' anticipated encyclical on global climate change, a draft of which was leaked earlier this week.  Because politics! Remember these are the same hypocrites that were very happy when the previous two Gucci-wearing, pedophile-protecting Popes were providing political cover for the Republican Party in fighting contraception, abortion rights and same sex marriage.  But when a Pope talks about protecting the planet, well, let's hear from the thought leader of the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party himself, "Oxycontin Rush" Limbaugh:
The Vatican (without naming me, of course, 'cause I'm just a peon) started denying it left and right. "The Pope is not Marxist! This is an extreme characterization of the pontiff's remarks. There's no way." But I stood by it at the time. I caught a heck of a lot of grief from the Drive-By Media for pointing out early on that Il Papa sounded like a Marxist
Well, this global warming encyclical -- that may be Latin for "rant" -- seems to confirm it. (I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding. I know that encyclical is not Latin for "rant." I just watched Trump.)
But he doesn't even disguise it folks in this encyclical. Doesn't even disguise it! Every other word seems to be about how unfettered capitalism is destroying the world and how the rich countries have to give more money to the poor countries to make amends. I mean, that's -- call it what you want -- Marxism, socialism, what have you. But if this thing is real, then it leaves no doubt here what the political leanings or inclinations of the of the of the pontiff are.
And Jesus was Trotsky.  That's a large, putrid pile of flesh right there, folks. (There are other, smaller putrid piles of flesh also - on Fox "News" of course.)

Then there's the "Smart Bush," Jeb! (a.k.a., John Ellis Bush), a Catholic convert who also doesn't want to mix politics and religion, except when he does:
“I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home, but I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope,” Mr. Bush said. “And I’d like to see what he says as it relates to climate change and how that connects to these broader, deeper issues before I pass judgment. But I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting in the political realm.”
That Pope Francis is aligning himself with the progressive agenda on income inequality and now on global climate change isn't something these profoundly cynical and malevolent right-wingers can bear, it seems.  It's no a teachable moment, not when it contradicts their marching orders from the billionaire fossil fuels barons that generously fund their reactionary politics. With the issuance of the Pope's encyclical tomorrow and the Pope's visit to the United States later this year, the moral and existential issue of global climate change will be unavoidable, no matter how much these moral midgets would wish otherwise.

Mid-Week Halcyon Song

Melbourne, Australia-based indie folk group The Paper Kites have what is described as an ethereal sound, with their lilting harmonies and use of acoustic instruments.  "Halcyon" is a song from their first extended play album "Woodland" from 2011.  Enjoy.

Comedians On Donald Trump's Yooge Announcement

We promise we won't be making this the "Donald- Trump- Is- A- Clown" website, but at least we want to share a few comedic takes on his yooge announcement yesterday (see post below). Then maybe we can forget about him for a while.  First up, here's Stephen Colbert:

Now, Jon Stewart, who said Trump's announcement was "over half an hour of the most beautifully ridiculous jibber-jabber ever to pour forth from the mouth of a batshit billionaire":

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Biggest Clown Of Them All Enters The Race (Updated)

This could be yooge!  The fondest dream of millions of Americans (mostly progressives) has come true!  Orange-haired turbo-bullshit four times bankrupted clown Donald "Rump" Trump is IN!  The Republican clown car, that is, and he's the biggest clown to enter so far:
Trump's announcement speech was a word salad of outrage (Mexican immigrants "bringing drugs, bringing crime, they're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people"), fear-mongering (Iran is taking over Iraq "and they're taking it over bigly"), and self-promotion ("I beat China all the time").
All the talking points were present in unvarnished form—Obamacare bad, immigrants bad, other countries bad, economy bad, politicians bad (wonderful people who want Trump's support, but also apparently morons who won't speak the truth). Also present, major tangents about things like how President Obama would be welcome to play golf on a Trump-owned golf course.
Finally, he got down to it. "Our country needs a truly great leader and we need a truly great leader now. We need a leader that wrote the art of the deal." (Or The Art of the Deal.) And yes, that means that "Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of the United States and we are going to make our country great again."
No one better epitomizes the clueless, blowhard, "beleaguered" Republican billionaire class better than Rump.  To have his big, ignorant mouth flapping as long as his bankroll will carry him is something Democrats could only dream about until now.  Rump's IN IT!  Let the jokes write themselves.

UPDATE:  Epic trolling from the Democratic National Committee:
Today, Donald Trump became the second major Republican candidate to announce for president in two days. He adds some much-needed seriousness that has previously been lacking from the GOP field, and we look forward to hearing more about his ideas for the nation.

UPDATE IICharles Pierce's take is right on:
He is the inevitable result of 40 years of political conjuring, mainly by Republicans, but abetted by far too many Democrats as well. He is the inevitable product of anyone who ever argued that our political institutions should be run "like a business." (Like whose businesses? Like Trump's? Like Carly Fiorina's Hewlett Packard?) He is the inevitable product of anyone who ever argued why the government can't balance its books "the way any American family would." He is the inevitable result of the deregulated economy that was deregulated out of a well-cultivated wonder and awe directed at the various masters of the universe. Sooner or later, all of this misbegotten magical thinking was going to burp up a clown like Donald Trump.
UPDATE III:  Our Silver Spring Bureau Chief beats us to it once again:  here's Onion's candidate profile of Rump.

UPDATE IV:  The New York Daily News weighs in (click on image to enlarge):

(Image:  Makeup not really needed.)

Three Rethugs That Would Undermine The Constitution

With the Supreme Court expected to rule this month in the same-sex marriage case of Obergfell v. Hodges, three hitchhikers in the Republican / New Confederate / Stupid Party's 2016 clown car are vowing to ignore a ruling that would sanction same-sex marriage nationally.  Those three Rethugs have no chance of becoming President in 2016 (or any other year):  reactionary secessionist Sen. Ted "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz, nutzoid Ben "On Meds?" Carson, and holy roller Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum.  But let's imagine them in the position of the Chief Executive, having taken an oath "to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," and then defying a ruling of the Supreme Court. The cornerstone of the Constitution is three co-equal branches of Government, a check and balance system on absolute power. If you're sworn to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution," and then undermine the Constitutional authority of one of the branches, isn't that a violation of your oath of office, and thus an impeachable offense?  Sure it is, but again, these three extremists will never be required to take that oath in the first place.

"Failure Gene" Isolated?

A research breakthrough, as covered by the perceptive Andy Borowitz.  It apparently runs through the males in some families.  Let's hope that we develop immunity by 2016.

BONUS:'s Charles P. Pierce had this to say about Jeb!'s (a.k.a., John Ellis Bush) speech yesterday, which required temporary amnesia on the part of the listeners:
Jeb (!) is not about the past. Not him. He's especially not about that thin slice of the past that occurred during the years 2001-2009, when somebody Jeb (!) once met briefly was president of the United States and everything went to shit. Because Jeb (!) grew up in a small shoebox in the middle of the road, and is not one of the 'pampered elites.'

(I have to admit that this was the point where I expected his pants to ignite.)
BONUS II:  You can run, but maybe you can't hide (click on image to enlarge):

(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Happy 800th Birthday, Magna Carta!

A charter to define the rights and relationship between King John of England and his barons, the Magna Carta, was signed 800 years ago today, June 15, 1215, at Runnymede in England. As a political document, it's reach extended well beyond its original purpose:
The political myth of Magna Carta and its protection of ancient personal liberties persisted after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 until well into the 19th century. It influenced the early American colonists in the Thirteen Colonies and the formation of the American Constitution in 1787, which became the supreme law of the land in the new republic of the United States.[b] Research by Victorian historians showed that the original 1215 charter had concerned the medieval relationship between the monarch and the barons, rather than the rights of ordinary people, but the charter remained a powerful, iconic document, even after almost all of its content was repealed from the statute books in the 19th and 20th centuries. Magna Carta still forms an important symbol of liberty today, often cited by politicians and campaigners, and is held in great respect by the British and American legal communities, Lord Denning describing it as "the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot".
And, we should add, you don't look a day over 700.

Welcoming Jeb! To The Republican Clown Car

Now that Jeb! (a.k.a., John Ellis Bush) has blundered into entered the Republican clown car, here's Onion's candidate profile (this time we beat Silver Spring Bureau Chief Brian to the punch!):
Here are some key facts to know about Jeb Bush:
Birthplace: Shadow of his father and brother

Heritage: Seventh-generation Establishment

Languages: Fluent in both rich and poor

Connection To Hispanic Community: Checks out

Number Of Public Battles Over Coma Patients’ Right To Die That He’d Like To Have Back: 1

Biggest Obstacle To GOP Nomination: Has publicly acknowledged the humanity of illegal immigrants

Greatest Qualification: Already knows White House layout pretty well

Greatest Liability: O, what fickle hand of fate! ’Tis the very same privileged background that elevated him to such prominence in the first place!

As A Child Was Traumatized After Walking In On His Mother, Barbara Bush, Stepping Out Of The Shower: Possibly
This should be fun!

UPDATE:  Sadly for Jeb! he's still loathed by the frothing- at- the- mouth base of the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party.

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon

(click to enlarge)

Not surprisingly, Fux "News" has led in the "defense of the indefensible," starting with anchor-model Megyn Kelly, who was the hack saying the 15 year-old McKinney, TX girl pinned to the ground by the out-of-control cop "was no saint."

The victimhood of the right-wing also extended to the Dennis "Diddling Denny" Hastert situation, with Rethuglican Rep. Peter King (Irish Republican Army-NY) calling him the "only victim" in the underage sex abuse scandal. Then there's that solid Christian family, the Duggars, whom many on the right are still defending.

For the right-wing, ideology trumps reality, and false victimhood trumps decency.

(cartoon: Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

Monday Reading - Democrats Finding Their Backbones

Is it possible?  Democrats actually standing up and fighting for progressive policies?

Paul Krugman takes a crack at why this might be the way of the electoral future:
Part of the answer is that Democrats, despite defeats in midterm elections, believe — rightly or wrongly — that the political wind is at their backs. Growing ethnic diversity is producing what should be a more favorable electorate; growing tolerance is turning social issues, once a source of Republican strength, into a Democratic advantage instead. Reagan was elected by a nation in which half the public still disapproved of interracial marriage; Mrs. Clinton is running to lead a nation in which 60 percent support same-sex marriage.
At the same time, Democrats seem finally to have taken on board something political scientists have been telling us for years: adopting “centrist” positions in an attempt to attract swing voters is a mug’s game, because such voters don’t exist. Most supposed independents are in fact strongly aligned with one party or the other, and the handful who aren’t are mainly just confused. So you might as well take a stand for what you believe in.
E.J. Dionne, Jr., focuses on Hillary Clinton's role in this new, muscular, progressive offensive:
... Clinton is trying to forge a new consensus and is unashamed to pile up policy proposals: on family leave, child care, college affordability, incentives to employers for higher wages, immigration reform, clean energy and limits on the power of wealthy campaign donors.
Her platform is more progressive because the political center is in a different place in 2015 than it was in 1991 when Bill Clinton touted his “New Covenant.” Americans are more socially liberal now. The financial implosion of 2008 fostered a deep skepticism about Wall Street. Growing resentment of inequality, stagnating wages and blocked social mobility is justified not by ideology but by the often-bitter facts about contemporary capitalism.
Hillary Clinton’s kickoff here on Saturday sent all these messages. The venue itself, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, oddly captured the vast diversity and glorious contradictions of the country she hopes to lead.
Doubtless, we owe a lot to principled progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders for being the conscience of the party (i.e., "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party").  That their fight for progressive values has led the way for others to follow should not be lost in the discussion.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

J.E.B. Bush! Oops, Strike the Last Name

After his stumbling over questions about his brother Dumbya's terrible domestic and foreign policy legacy and flip-flopping on previously held positions, House of Bush pretender-to-the-throne John Ellis "J.E.B." Bush can't seem to find his footing.  He's been putting on an act for the past few months that he's just testing the waters for a "possible" Presidential run in 2016, when it's been patently obvious with his fundraising and "policy" speeches that he's running.  Tomorrow's the day he formally announces, though, and he managed to step on his shoelaces with the premature release of his campaign logo:


Now, what's missing in this logo?  That would be the name Bush, and J.E.B. can't seem to distance himself fast enough from the last name his brother severely tarnished (thanks, Dumbya!).  It's almost painful to watch J.E.B. (or is it J.E.B.! ?) think he's fooling anyone.  There was a saying attributed to the late Robert Kennedy that went, "Hang a lantern on your problems," in order to own up to them and to address them proactively.  What J.E.B. has done instead is to hang an exclamation point on them.


(click on image to enlarge):

(Mike Luckovich, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

If Only The Washington Post Editorial Board Read The Post's Reporting

From a news report on today's once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle front page:
As President Obama was weighing how to halt Islamic State advances in Iraq, some of the strongest resistance to boosting U.S. involvement came from a surprising place: a war-weary military that has grown increasingly skeptical that force can prevail in a conflict fueled by political and religious grievances.
Top military officials, who have typically argued for more combat power to overcome battlefield setbacks over the past decade, emerged in recent White House debates as consistent voices of caution in Iraq. Their shift reflects the paucity of good options and a reluctance to suffer more combat deaths in a war in which America’s political leaders are far from committed and Iraqis have shown limited will to fight.
“After the past 12 years in the Middle East, there is a real focus by senior military leaders on understanding what the endgame is,” said a military official, “and asking the question, ‘To what end are we doing this?’ ”  (our emphasis)
From the lead editorial in today's once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle:
Mr. Obama’s escalation nevertheless is most notable for excluding the steps that American and Iraqi commanders and military experts have been saying for a year are necessary to decisively reverse the Islamic State’s momentum. These include the deployment of U.S. advisers to front-line Iraqi units, along with spotters who can call in airstrikes, and an increase of close-in air support.
Such tactics worked during the U.S. “surge” in Iraq, and they allowed Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance to overthrow the Taliban government in 2001-2002. That they are not being used now, despite the Islamic State’s recent gains, seems to be explained only by Mr. Obama’s political resistance to reversing his decision to withdraw U.S. forces four years ago(our emphasis)
Perhaps it's too much to expect the neo-conservatives on the Post's Bugle's editorial board =cough= Fred Hiatt =cough= "Action" Jackson Diehl =cough= to absorb the reporting of their own staff, or to ever ask "to what end are we doing this?"  Rather than being confused with the facts, they prefer to continue to bang the neo-con drum in an effort to browbeat  President Obama (contrary to the advice of his military officials) into sending someone else's children into war.  Of course, both Diehl and Hiatt were vociferous cheerleaders for Dumbya's Iraq misadventure War and, to no one's surprise, have learned precisely nothing from that experience.  Also, we seem to recall that one of the policies President Obama ran on in 2008 was to bring the troops home from Iraq (in accordance with the timetable set by the status of forces agreement with Iraq signed by -- wait for it -- the Post's Bugle's "surge" hero Dumbya). 

No, it seems the neo-cons of the editorial board are determined to have the United States make the same mistakes they foolishly counseled back in 2003.  Fortunately, no one is listening to them.

(Image:   Fightin' 101st Keyboarder Jackson Diehl -- or is that "J. Fred Muggs" Hiatt?)

Popping Off

First, two related news items, via Raw Story:
  • Four wedding guests at New York's Waldorf Astoria were injured when a gun carried by another guest accidentally discharged, spraying shards from the floor.  A gun at a wedding?  Maybe the families don't get along.
  • Colorado resident Adam Hirtle is a curious man (in more ways than one).  He was curious about what it felt like to shoot oneself in the foot…so he did.  The NRA needs to create a special award for him.
Finally, yesterday's shooting at Dallas Police Headquarters by a deranged man driving an armored van ended in his death.  The man had a history of delusion and criminal charges, including assaults on family members.  His access to weapons begs the question of why we allow the deranged and the felons that access.

UPDATE:  Then there's this murderous open-carry dimwit whose only mark in life will be that he took another's in cold blood.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

"America's Basic Bargain"

Dem presidential candidate Hillary Clinton delivered her much anticipated first major speech of her 2016 campaign today in New York City, and struck the theme of bringing shared prosperity to America's middle class:  
"It's America's basic bargain.  If you do your part, you ought to be able to get ahead, and when everybody does their part, America gets ahead too. That bargain inspired generations of American families, including my own."
In an era of widening gaps in income, Clinton said that prosperity must be "built by all and shared by all," a theme in stark contrast to Republican right-wing economics which places tax, regulatory and subsidy resources in the hands of the wealthiest, trusting them to make decisions to benefit the economy.

Clinton delivered her campaign's inaugural address to thousands on Roosevelt Island, a symbolic nod to the 20th century's greatest President, Democrat Franklin Roosevelt, whose New Deal pulled the country out of the Great Depression and who led the U.S. to victory in World War II.

(photo:  Reuters, Brendan McDermid)

She Understands Quote of the Week

“The problem is not that I don’t understand the global banking system. The problem for these guys is that I fully understand the system and I understand how they make their money. And that’s what they don’t like about me.” -- (emphasis added) Massachusetts' remarkable Sen. Elizabeth Warren, responding to a condescending comment by financial pirate Jaime Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan that she didn't understand the "global banking system."

The "system" that Sen. Warren does indeed understand, and is exposing for the rest of us, is one that the likes of Mr. Dimon want to remain byzantine and "too big to fail" the next time he and his counterparts in finance crash the economy, while he walks away with billions.

Another Failed Republican "Experiment"

The relentless war on middle income Americans by hyper wealthy plutocrats and their political shills, as symbolized by Wisconsin Gov. Scott "Koch Head" Walker (see post below), has taken a serious toll.  In Kansas, the right-wing Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has crippled his state through reckless corporate and other tax cuts over three years that have forced the closing of schools and elimination of some public services.  Now, facing the collapse of the state's public services, Brownback and his Republican-controlled state legislature decided yesterday to raise state sales taxes to help fill the $400 million budget deficit.  Sales taxes are, for the most part, regressive, placing the broadest burden on lower income people, and are the type of taxes that Rethuglicans reach for in emergency situations.

The Kansas experience is another example of the failure of right-wing, supply side (or "trickle down") economic policies that for 30 years have caused the greatest gap in wealth in this country since the Gilded Age of the 1890s.  David Madland's article in Salon details the failure of trickle down economics to do anything more than transfer the wealth of lower and middle income families to the economic elites, who use their wealth to influence politics in their favor (gutting government, lowering their own taxes, etc.). The Republican / New Confederate / Stupid Party has gone in the tank for trickle down economics, believing that if the wealthiest corporations and people do well -- extremely well -- then everyone else does, too.  Cutting taxes on the elites has not produced an economic boom, either in the 1980s or in Kansas of 2015.

Scott Walker: Busting Unions "Because He Could"

In today's New York Times, Joe Nocera looks at the union-busting record of Koch brothers employee of the year Gov. Scott "Koch Head" Walker (R-Kochland), with links to recent articles in the New York Times Magazine by Dan Kaufman and in Washington Monthly by Donald Kettl.  All point to why the lightweight Walker could be such a dangerous person in the White House (spoiler alert: he won't get there):
The fact that Wisconsin has historically been strongly pro-union — indeed, the largest public services employee union, AFSCME, was founded in Madison in 1932 — only makes Walker’s triumphs that much more impressive to his fellow Republicans. This is something Walker will undoubtedly highlight if he runs for president. As he put it in his 2013 book, “Unintimidated,” “If we can do it in Wisconsin, we can do it anywhere — even in our nation’s capital.”

As for the right-to-work law, [Dan] Kaufman points out that Wisconsin’s law was “a virtual copy of a 1995 model bill promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council” — A.L.E.C. — whose conservative backers include Charles and David Koch.

The Koch brothers are staunchly anti-union, of course, and they have supported Walker in both of his gubernatorial races. Their oil baron father, in fact, was an early and enthusiastic supporter of right-to-work legislation, helping to get it passed in Kansas in 1958. They have said they will spend some $900 million on the 2016 elections. At an April fund-raiser, according to The Times, David Koch is reported to have said that Walker would be the Republican nominee. As Kaufman nicely puts it, passing Act 10 was his “audition” for potential big money backers like the Kochs.  (our emphasis)
What makes Walker especially dangerous is not his intellect (he's a dolt), but his vindictive, gut-fighting personality and, most importantly, the powerful people pulling his strings and funding his to- be- announced campaign.  As much of a lightweight as he is, he's not to be taken lightly.  Two elections and a recall later (well done, Wisconsin!), that should be evident by now.

UPDATE:  Walker's also going after the University of Wisconsin-Madison (and by extension the progressive Madison community) and his actions are likely to result in this renowned research university losing it's place in the top tier).