Steve Bannon is the alligator in the swamp

Now Bannon is bushwhacking electable Republicans

The Squire received his first Christmas gift this season. My personal Santa is a most interesting and accomplished citizen, former U.S. Justice Department civil rights attorney and fighter pilot Bud Sather of Middleton. He was also former chief legal counsel to Gov. Warren Knowles.

Bud bestowed a book: Let Trump Be Trump, written by the President’s first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and David Bossie, the plaintiff in the Citizens United case. (The book’s message, The Weekly Standard snarked: “Let Trump be Bannon.”) Oh, well. It’s the thought that counts. Thanks, Bud!

But if Trump wanted to be Trump, if his Trump-osities were bringing win after win, he would not have found it necessary to call in the Marines. Four-star Marine Corps General John F. Kelly was specifically assigned to impose order. If Trump wanted to continue being Trump he would not have pushed out Steve Bannon, Paul Manafort, the Mooch, and other figures of the political underworld. People CAN grow in office. JFK did.


Bloody Steve

Taking his revenge like “Bloody Bill” Anderson’s Civil War guerrillas, Bannon is bushwhacking elected (and therefore, electable) Republican senators — especially majority leader Mitch McConnell, who has fought for every Trump initiative permitted by the Constitution, including repealing Obamacare. (Not Mitch’s fault Trump dissed McCain before the election! That’s not draining the swamp; that is breeding more alligators.)

We have our own example of a Bannon Republican in Wisconsin, one Paul Nehlen, who again appears to be running against Speaker Ryan, after garnering 16% of the primary vote in 2016. A few weeks ago Nehlen told a journalist to “eat a bullet.”


Trumpites love that kind of talk. Voters not so much.

‘Bannon is for losers’

“It takes a very special Republican to lose in Alabama,” Karl Rove writes in today’s Wall Street Journal, after Bannon-backed Roy Moore lost to a pro-abortion Democrat.

 … Roy Moore is the most recent in a too-long line of cranks and nuts who threw away almost-certain Republican victories in Senate races. It started in 2010 with Nevada’s Sharron Angle and Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, continued in 2012 with Missouri’s Todd Akin and Indiana’s Richard Mourdock …

“If [Tuesday’s] election proved anything, it proved that we need to put up GREAT Republican candidates,” the president tweeted Wednesday morning. That’s absolutely correct. So don’t put Steve Bannon in charge of recruitment.

Instead of draining the swamp, Bannon made it more likely the next retiree from the Supreme Court will be replaced with an alligator instead of another Neil Gorsuch.

“Mr. Bannon cares less about conservative policy victories than he does personal king-making,” today’s Wall Street Journal editorial admonishes.

He wants to depose Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader even if it costs Republicans Senate control. GOP voters, take note: Mr. Bannon is for losers. …. The Moore defeat should also be a lesson to the Republican Party, and President Trump, that many GOP voters are still at heart character voters.

“The obvious lesson here is that angry populism fueled by resentment against the bogeyman of supposed ‘elites’ is not the basis for a political party or movement,” Robert Tracinski in The Federalist.

Republicans are or ought to be the champions of honest but limited government and paragons of personal responsibility.

“As frustrating as it is to lose a Senate seat in a ruby-red state, it would be worse to spend the next three years having every inane, offensive, and Constitutionally illiterate utterance from Roy Moore’s mouth hung around the necks of rest of the party,” observes Jim Geraghty in National Review.

Did you notice? We’re not quoting liberals, progressives, or socialists here!

Maybe it’s a matter of ‘Wisconsin nice’

We suspect our fellow wizard, Jim Wigderson, got it right over at Right Wisconsin:

If there is a lesson for Republicans in last night’s results from Alabama, it’s that character still matters, at least at a statewide level. You can count the noses and figure the vote margins, but in the end Judge Roy Moore was the one Republican who could lose in Alabama.

Now Democrats in Wisconsin are at least feigning that the results are somehow meaningful in Wisconsin. “We just elected a Democrat in Alabama,” tweeted Randy Bryce, a Democrat challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan. “The most conservative state in the country. Next up, it’s Paul Ryan’s turn to face the voters.”

Democratic gubernatorial candidates state Rep. Dana Wachs (D-La Crosse) sent a fundraising email, “If Alabama can do it, so can we.” … But unless Ryan or Walker have been pursuing dates in Wisconsin’s middle schools, what happened in Alabama doesn’t translate to here.

We repeat that Kevin Nicholson is the current Bannon favorite to replace Tammy Baldwin next year. We would be supporting Leah Vukmir even if she were not best friends with Our Ms. Vicki.


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Character matters, even in Alabama

Blake Gober says “Steve Bannon just did the unthinkable: got a Democrat elected in Alabama!” A pro-abortion, Tammy Baldwin strain of Democrat.

Friends who believe Trump died for our sins, arose on the third day and ascended into the White House will blame sun spots, Don Lemon, and “RINOs” like Mitch McConnell who, nonetheless, manages to get elected. Unlike a certain Short Eyes from Alabama.

The Policy Werkes dusts off its old yardstick, on which reads: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll stand for anything.” We rightly hectored Democrats for excusing Bill Clinton’s moral transgressions because he was supposedly good on policy.  A kind of hostages-for oil-tradeoff. Yes, character matters.

We’re all for draining the swamp but this is breeding alligators.

There is no recovering the political capital squandered by the President and the RNC on a fatally flawed candidate/human being. Cheers to the Republican Senate Committee, chaired by Cory Gardner of Colorado, which walked away. And to Wisconsin’s Republicans, especially Scott Walker, Ron Johnson, and Paul Ryan.

A jury of his peers in Alabama passed judgment on the Republican candidate Tuesday. Hellz bellz, Alabama’s other senator, Republican Richard Shelby, wouldn’t endorse Roy Moore.

Bannon also struck out trying to defenestrate Speaker Ryan in last year’s First District race. Bannon’s hobby horse, Paul Nehlen, got a whipping 16% of the vote in the GOP? primary.

Bannon NicholsonIn Wisconsin’s Senate race 11 months hence, Kevin Nicholson is “doubling down” on Bannon’s endorsement. That’s according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. That’s enough to get us even more firmly into Leah Vukmir’s camp.

Let’s hope Republicans don’t carve each other up like they did in the last race against Ms. Baldwin.

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Have a very Stately Christmas — In JAIL!

It’s beginning to look a lot like a freezing cold, Global Climate Change Christmas at Stately Blaska Manor.

The electrified barbwire fence is decorated with garlands of evergreen and holly. The guard tower beams gaily colored search lights on the surrounding neighborhood. The little lights are not twinkling (“Thanks for noticing, Ed”) on the holiday buckthorn tree. Probably a blown fuse. Fix it next year.

Cousin Eddie stopped by to empty the black water from his tenement on wheels into the storm drain. He’s stocking up on dog chow, now.

The indentured servants are singing “Twelves Days of Christmas” from Twisted Sister’s Christmas album (“… Six cans of hair spray/ f-i-i-i-i-i-ive skullhead ri-i-i-i-i-ings/ four quarts of Jack/ three studded belts/ two pairs of spandex pants/ – and a tattoo of Ozzy Osborne.”

The white lab coats at the Policy Werkes (and Tanning Salon) are key punching their Santa wish lists into Ol’ Sparky, our Eisenhower-era mainframe stored in the tool shed.



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Hastily approved wheel tax could go to voter referendum after all

State bill would require retroactive referendum

[ UPDATE: I appreciate The Capital Times referencing my work at this roadside stand. I tried to write this report down the middle (for once). I have not endorsed the bill. I believe the Dane County Board acted miserably in rushing through a new tax, buried in the budget bill introduced barely a month before the final vote and overshadowed by the controversial jail rebuild. I also believe that government governs best the closer to the people. The correct antidote to bad legislation is something called “elections,” as I note in the penultimate paragraph. ]

We’ll cry “dilly dilly” if our liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances ever cut taxes instead of raising them. If Democrats don’t like the tax reform now before Congress, why didn’t they enact their own when they ruled the roost?


Don’t tax my wheel

Back home in The Emerald City, our liberal-progressive-socialist acquaintances are doing what they do best: raising taxes.

Not content with a 6.7% increase in property taxes, the Dane County Board of Supervisors tacked on an annual $28 wheel tax applicable to all light trucks and automobiles (with some exceptions) registered in the county. Only six other counties (out of 72) exact the tax, which comes on top of the state’s $75 registration fee. But another 19 municipalities do, including Milton and Lodi.

But the state legislature may have something to say about that. A hearing is scheduled Thursday 12-14-17 on a bill that would require local governments to hold a referendum before enacting a wheel tax — even if they already have one in place, as in Dane County.

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Journalists, pls defend political speech; I’ll help write the editorial

[ UPDATE: State Journal editorial czar Scott Milfred responds: “Thanks, Dave. Our editorial board is still digesting the latest and lengthy John Doe doings, and may editorialize next week.” ]

To: John Smalley, editor, and Scott Milfred, editorial page editor, Wisconsin State Journal
To: George Stanley, editor, and David Haynes, editorial page editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  

Gentlemen, this is important:

A taxpayer-supported government agency based in Madison WI used its police powers to investigate the political activity of the citizenry in violation of First Amendment guarantees of free speech. Who says the Constitution was violated? A circuit court judge (Judge James Peterson) who stopped the searches, the WI Supreme Court who stopped the investigation, and the U.S. Supreme Court (in refusing to overturn the state court). Now the attorney general of the State of Wisconsin has found, contrary to the headline in the 12-7-17 State Journal, that a crime WAS committed.

Attorney General Schimel’s report, page 77: “The Leak Was a Crime.” What’s more, former Government Accountability Board personnel continue to withhold evidence, frustrating the DOJ from bringing charges.

The whole enterprise was foul. Pre-dawn police raids with battering rams at the ready. Children held incommunicado while police rummaged through the house. Hundreds of thousands of documents sized, including private tax records and medical conversations b/w mother and daughter. Much of that personal information stored carelessly under computer folders marked “Opposition Research.” Radio and print journalists monitored; a dossier compiled on them. The victims enjoined from complaining at the risk of police reprisal.

Attorney General Schimel wrote what we in the newspaper business (in my misspent youth) would call the Nut Graph:

The Department of Justice is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponization of GAB by partisans in furtherance of political goals, which permitted the vast collection of highly personal information from dozens of Wisconsin Republicans without even taking modest steps to secure this information.

However you may feel about campaign finance reporting, one must concede that this so-called “cure” is worse than any disease.

Please disprove former GAB chief legal counsel Shane Falk’s belief that the citizens of Wisconsin are “sheeple.” This is your opportunity to get on the right side of history, to assert that the Constitution’s protections extend beyond the newspaper office to the rest of the citizenry. Yes, even to white, middle class Republicans.

I have appealed to you publicly here (Blogge of 12-7-18). Now I appeal directly through this e-mail. Please tell me when we can expect to read your denunciation of the speech police and this McCarthyite chapter in Wisconsin’s history.

— David Blaska

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Now will the State Journal and Journal Sentinel finally condemn the speech police?

Vicki McKenna among those GAB spied on

Thank the Good Lord for Brad Schimel, the first conservative state attorney general in long memory. Thank you the heavens above for the too few brave souls — Eric O’Keefe, the Wall Street Journal, Vicki McKenna (her interview with Schimel), and Matt Kittle (his report) among them — for speaking out against the government gag orders.

Brad Schimel

The AG

The public release of the Wisconsin A.G.’s report confirms that the Legislature did the right thing in blowing up the Government Accountability Board (GAB) and scattering its tainted staffers to the winds. Now it is time to prosecute the secret government speech police named in the report. Now it is time for the state’s news media to — at long last — stand up for The First Amendment.

This is Attorney General Brad Schimel’s money quote:

The Department of Justice is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponization of GAB by partisans in furtherance of political goals, which permitted the vast collection of highly personal information from dozens of Wisconsin Republicans without even taking modest steps to secure this information.

The Department of Justice investigation found: Continue reading

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