Posts Tagged ‘Ron Johnson’

Target Rich Environment Vol. 4

October 21, 2010

Section 1. The increasingly poor decisions of Ron Johnson

I’ve been writing about this guy for the last month.  The fact that he is poised to retire Senator Feingold, literally, makes me want to weep.   Here, via TPM, who’ve consistently done excellent work exposing Tea Party candidates lack of substance and compassion, is a sterling example of Ron Johnson’s unfitness to govern; when pressed on his lack of specificity and substance in an answer he’d given regarding the Department of Veteran’s Affairs’ responsibilities to homeless veterans, Johnson said the following:

“Specifically I can’t really — I haven’t been there, I don’t have all the details. One thing I will point out: I don’t believe this election really is about details. It just isn’t. I mean as I’ve gone through the state of Wisconsin I’ve viewed this pretty much as a job interview…. I’ll have to get there. I’ll have to start performing the job.”

That is a frightening, unadulterated glimpse into the Tea Party mindset.  A mindset that swears the entirety of governing just boils down to the repetition of generalities about tax cuts and deregulation, meaningless references to socialism and something called “Obamacare” and a steadfast adherence to, and belief in, the abstractions and fantasies peddled by Ayn Rand–the rest (ie. actual governing) is just “details” that would-be Senator Johnson can’t be bothered to learn or care about.  You see, once your in-laws hand you a plastics company and you are just smart enough to not run it into the ground, you start to look around and feel entitled and superior enough to ask the people of Wisconsin to send you to the U.S. Senate, even though you don’t believe in government, where you’ll openly and clumsily dismiss the care and well-being of homeless veterans as a trivial “detail.”  This debacle followed on the heels of Johnson’s inability to articulate any sort of jobs plan/outlook for middle class workers when pressed during an interview with the Green Bay Press Gazette, even though every indicator in the nation says that’s what voters are most concerned about.  Johnson was asked to explain his jobs plan and he brought up the stock answers of cutting spending and deregulation, but the interviewers weren’t satisfied and asked for specifics which prompted the following exchange (with video, again via TPM):

There’s no real jobs plan?’ one interviewer asked.

“I would say bring fiscal discipline to the federal government,” Johnson replied. “We’ve got to curb spending.”

That didn’t satisfy his interviewers.

“So your jobs plan is to control spending. But what about the middle class?” the editor responded. “I mean, I hear you talking a lot about business, businesses. But I mean, what is your plan for the middle class?”

“We have to get the economy moving,” Johnson said, frozen.

‘Isn’t that pretty simple though what you’re saying is just, you know, elect me, to go there and cut spending and everything will take care of itself.'”

Thank god there are still journalists that will push back against this empty nonsense.  All they did was ask Johnson to elaborate past slogan and platitude level and he flat out couldn’t.  This inability lead the Green Bay Press Gazette to endorse Senator Feingold for the first time ever, according to TPM.  The majority of Johnson’s constituents will be middle class or lower and he has no plans, cares, ideas or ambitions to help make their lives better, which, in non-Ayn Rand infected corridors of reality, is what public service in the United States Senate entails.  Policy and governing is all about details.  Conservatives cried oceans of tears about the dangers inherent in President Obama’s inexperience and here is Johnson actually “comparing himself to a promising job candidate who has the potential to learn on the job” at a candidate forum at UM-Milwaukee.   It would funny if it weren’t so sad and dangerous.

Voters of Wisconsin–Please do not elect this man.

Section 2. The continuing destruction and dissolution of meaning in language

There was an excellent front-page diary by Meteor Blades on Daily Kos this morning detailing the sad verdict handed down by a district court judge in Helena, Montana.  The verdict, ala Citizens United, overturned Montana’s 98 year-old voter-initiated Corrupt Practices act, which banned corporate political spending.  According to the Helena Independent Record, the court ruled that the state’s ban on direct corporate political spending “insofar as it prevents corporations from making independent expenditures to support or oppose political candidates or political parties, is declared unconstitutional.”  Another sterling example of Citizens United’s enabling of anti-democratic corporate interests who want to buy our elections.  One of the plaintiffs in the Montana case is a group called the Western Tradition Partnership, a shadowy corporate front group whose executive director said of the decision:

“The court has restored fairness and balance to elections by allowing employers to speak freely about the radical environmentalist candidates and issues that threaten your right to earn a living”  (emphasis mine).

Let’s parse that language for a moment–I love how these groups are always (anonymously) out to righteously inform you about, and protect you from, “candidates and issues that threaten your right to earn a living.”  Yet they also tout the fact that they represent employers.  So if you read between the lines they are essentially saying: let us do, say and buy whatever we want (anonymously) or we’ll send the rest of your jobs to China or Mexico all while blaming any and everyone else, such as, in this case, “radical environmentalist candidates.”

According to the Billings Gazette, the Western Tradition Partnership bills itself as “a grass-roots organization dedicated to ‘Rediscovering America’s National Treasure’ by promoting responsible natural resource development, private property rights and multiple use of and access to public lands.”  But the Gazette also reported that a Montana state investigator found that the Partnership was soliciting donations from “officers of several foreign corporations or their affiliations, including some based in Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom.”  They are so devoted to caring for “America’s National Treasure” that they need money from corporations in South Africa and Great Britain.  They are sternly for “private property rights,” but public lands must be accessible and open to multiple uses, like mountaintop removal, strip malls and/or strip mining.   The Western Tradition Partnership proclaims itself to be “the leading organization fighting the anti-jobs, anti-taxpayer policy agenda of extreme environmentalist front groups.”  Again, I challenge anyone affiliated with these groups to show me anyone in American public life (outside of the Chamber of Commerce and their obsession with protecting corporations so-called “right” to outsource, but that’s another post) who is “anti-job.”  Then they really pour it on with their courageous fight against the powerful and prominent “anti-tax payer policy agenda” put forth by imaginary” extreme environmentalist front groups.”  What is an “anti-tax payer policy agenda?”  I’m willing to bet it’s anything that conflicts with the profit margins held by the corporations (some of whom are foreign as the Billings Gazette reported) who actually fund this group.  But seriously, the phrase “anti-tax policy agenda” has no literal meaning or connection to any tangible, corresponding symbol, concept or object signified by the English language.  It is devoid of meaning in the purest sense.  This empty, nonsensical “pseudo” language is a virus employed by corporations and conservatives to erode the foundations of reality and bend history to their whims.  Refuse/Resist.

Section 3. Maureen Dowd sums it  up

I’m always fond of pointing out in my posts the delicious irony inherent in how conservatives like Sarah Palin yell all day about the notion and concept of “American exceptionalism,” yet their every single incompetent thought and action continually negates and disproves the concept.  In practice, though, the often demonstrated conservative fondness for scams, tilted scales, ponzi schemes, censorship, dishonesty, hypocrisy and nepotism suggests a fondness for the “exceptionalism” of banana republics and tin-pot dictatorships.   Another recurring strand of my posts  has been writing about this damaging insistence of voters to reward candidates “like themselves.”  Maureen Dowd wrote a column in the New York Times today, entitled “Making Ignorance Chic,” which summed both of these strands up beautifully.  Speaking of Sarah Palin, Dowd wrote the following:

“She says she believes in American exceptionalism. But when it comes to the people running the country, exceptionalism is suspect; leaders should be — as Palin, O’Donnell and Angle keep saying — just like you.”

Exactly.  When will people reject this idiocy?

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Warning Shot

October 12, 2010

I’ve written before about the conservative fixation on the rubbish spewed out by in Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged and it reared it’s ugly, pitiful head again in the recent debate between prototypical Tea Bag hypocrite Ron Johnson and Senator Russ Feingold.

According to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, the ‘hot novel’ provided the debate with its “most spirited discussion.”   Johnson was asked about his admiration of Atlas Shrugged and said the following:

It’s a warning of what could happen to America…When you hear people talk about a tipping point, that’s what we’re concerned about. . . . We have more people who are net beneficiaries of government than are actually paying into the system. That’s a very serious thing to think about.”

Johnson, he of the brave, innovative and proud tradition of in-law supplied, and government subsidized wealth, is clumsily furthering the faint, fledgling meme that bold, indispensable producers such as himself may just one day act out this adolescent fantasy of withholding their invaluable services (that, in this case, wouldn’t exist at their current level without government investment) just to teach all the rest of us lazy socialist leeches a lesson once and for all.   Glenn Beck seemed to imply a similar warning in his appalling defense of the fire department who refused to put out the man in Tennessee’s house due to his failure to pay a municipal fee.  Beck said (never will I link to or support his nonsense) something to the effect of “America had better start thinking about these types of things,” basically confirming Keith Olbermann’s conception of the whole disgusting incident as a harbinger of an emerging “a la carte government” that would make John Galt proud.

The easily lead, “low-information,” voters who follow these people need to realize once and for all that the entire rationale for the Tea Party’s existence is so that people like Johnson, Glenn Beck and John Raese can continue to pay less taxes.   That’s it.  Period.  They have no other platforms or principles and they are getting poor, misinformed people (aka Tea Party followers/”low information” voters) to fight their battles for them, while they vote completely and utterly against their own true interests.