Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

 

Stinging from their defeat at the polls in November, Republicans are now rushing a set of bills through a special session of the Wisconsin State Assembly nakedly designed to curb the power of Democratic Governor-elect Tony Evers and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul, and handicap Democrats’ competitiveness in upcoming elections. The bills are scheduled for a vote on Tuesday, with the plan of getting them on outgoing GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s desk so he can sign them before losing his job in a few weeks.

But Republicans didn’t plan on the furious wave of protests that would descend on the state capitol in Madison on Monday afternoon.

Demonstrators crowded outside as the bills were debated, trying to shout down Republicans’ power grab:

The protests were spurred along by MoveOn political director Ben Wikler, who has been covering the GOP’s power play closely since last Friday when the bills were first introduced, and who urged his followers in other states to call senators in key districts:

Wisconsin’s GOP Senate Majority Leader, Scott Fitzgerald, seemed ill-prepared for the wave of condemnation directed at his caucus, saying that he was “a little surprised” by the reaction and calling the demonstrations “over the top.” But he didn’t even try to hide the motivation behind the bills, saying that the bills were necessary because “we don’t trust Tony Evers right now.”

At the same time, in a seeming acknowledgment that the protests are working, Fitzgerald said that he doesn’t yet have the votes for all of the legislation.

Among the things the bills would do are restrict Evers’ power to allocate public funds, shift the authority to let Kaul terminate a state lawsuit from Evers to the legislature (thus vetoing his campaign promise to end Wisconsin’s involvement in the Affordable Care Act lawsuit), give the legislature authority to defend cases challenging the constitutionality of their own bills (so they can fight to preserve their own gerrymandering scheme), cut back early voting, and move the date of the Democratic presidential primary so that it is held on a different day from the state Supreme Court election (which the GOP hopes will depress turnout and let them keep their judicial majority).

Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter @fawfulfan.

 

Blake Neff

Twitter screenshot

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

On July 10, CNN's Oliver Darcy reported that Blake Neff, the top writer for Tucker Carlson's prime-time Fox News show, had been anonymously posting racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and other offensive content on an online forum for five years. Neff used racist and homophobic slurs, referred to women in a derogatory manner, and pushed white supremacist content while writing for Carlson's show. Neff resigned after CNN contacted him for comment.

As Darcy reported, in an interview with the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Neff claimed anything Carlson read during his show was initially drafted by him. Darcy also found instances where there was "some overlap between the forum and the show," as sometimes the "material Neff encountered on the forum found its way on to Carlson's show."

During a 2018 appearance on Fox's The Five to promote his book Ship of Fools, Carlson mentioned Neff by name, calling him a "wonderful writer." Carlson also included Neff in the acknowledgments of the book.


s3.amazonaws.com


Before joining Fox News, Neff worked at The Daily Caller, a conservative news outlet that Carlson co-founded. The outlet has published a number of white supremacists, anti-Semites, and bigots.


Carlson has a long history of promoting white supremacist content on his show. His show has featured many guests who have connections to white supremacy and far-right extremism. Carlson has regularly been praised by Neo-Nazis and various far-right extremist figures, and he's been a hero on many white supremacist podcasts. Users of the extremist online message boards 4chan and 8chan have repeatedly praised Carlson.

The manifesto released by the gunman who killed 20 people in El Paso, Texas, in 2019 was strewn with content that echoed talking points from Carlson's show. Days after the shooting, Carlson declared that calling white supremacy a serious issue is a "hoax" as it is "actually not a real problem in America."

Carlson has been hemorrhaging advertisers following his racist coverage of the Black Lives Matters movement and the recent protests against police brutality. Now that we know his top writer was using content from white supremacist online message boards for Carlson's show, it is more imperative than ever that advertisers distance their brands away from this toxicity.