Tuesday Afternoon Reads: Fun in Festering Fitzwalkerstan, Fakes for Caveat Emptor, and Yoko Ono is 80?

Dying Camellias 1 Here in the Fitzwalkerstan, epicenter of the NeoConfederate North, we live the good life by clinging to a barbarian code not unlike that of this famous thief: Conan, what is the best in life (see video below).

At one time, we were known as the home of Progressivism, then we were Wisconsin. But since 2010 we’ve acquired a new character and a new appellation: Fitzwalkerstan.

Our new name is an affectionate conjunction referencing the subsumption of our state by simulacrum Scott Walker, mimicking a Governor, aided by his aping sibling-minions, the Fitzgerald brothers: Scott, State Senate Majority Leader and Jeff, Speaker of the Assembly. After a failed U.S. Senate bid, losing out to Tammy Baldwin, Jeff has since left the Assembly – sort of. He’s now a state lobbyist for American Traffic Solutions. We all miss him. We miss the bare fisted nepotism when Walker had the Fitzgerald brothers heading up both branches of the state legislature, gumming up the government and retooling it for their own ends.

Jeff’s departure for the revolving door didn’t diminish the pace or the agenda, however. Scott Walker has since run rough shod over what was once Wisconsin. Given he spends more time out of state than in, it’s kind of crazy that he can get so much done. But where there’s a will there’s a way as they say. Cognitive Dissidence, one our local blogs recently compiled a short list of Walker’s achievements:

Dying Camellias

I would assume that the protests which erupted in Madison, our state capitol, and the subsequent Lincoln-like flight of our Democratic legislators escaped no one’s attention in 2011. These are the events that put Scott Walker, the Rock Star, on the map. His celebrity status may have faded a little bit by now, but it had just erupted in February of 2011 when he “dropped the bomb” by unleashing the union-busting atrocity known as Act 10.  And a rock star he was, indeed, at the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit, occurring ever so fortuitously at the end of February. But no one paid attention to that event despite Scott Walker being a gushed at guest speaker. I believe I alluded to the summit in a comment at one point, and I believe I also pasted the poem I wrote in response to it. I mention it again because Dakinikat wisely warned us that what happens in Louisiana can happen anywhere. Right she was.

The Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit occurred over a three day period. I did not attend. I did watch the majority of it piece meal when the Tea Party Patriots still had the stream posted on their website. It was painful. It was ghastly. But it was worth it. By the end of that terrible weekend, the summit had outlined every nasty maneuver the GOP has initiated during their reign of terror in DC and in statehouses across the country. From hostage politics, shut-downs, voter disenfranchisement, the war on women… all laid out in its hideous glory. A grand strategy with a tactical mechanism to make it happen at every level of government. I’ve watched the goals of that summit play out over the last two years in my state, many others, and certainly in DC. Walker and Jindal operate from the same playbook reflecting the strategy laid out  at the Tea Party summit in 2011.

The Cognitive Dissidence post begins by referencing Mike Tate, chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party.  Tate has adopted Howard Dean’s 50 state-strategy, and is applying it to our 72 counties. I hope it will work. When I think on the Dean strategy I think more of the South than I do our NeoConfederate North. Perhaps this is the strategy that can turn the South from red to blue? This is probably a topic that has received coverage already, but if anyone could speak to it now, I’d be extremely interested in a discussion about Southern political dynamics, also bruising the Red West until it is a lovely shade of blue or blue-green.

Digression alert: Blue-green is sacred to Wadjet, Ancient Goddess of Lower Egypt. No Egyptian deities had names that could ever be uttered, so no one knows their true names. Wadjet, the epithet and the color refer to the color of papyrus hence her epithet, Wadjet, means Papyrus-Colored One. That’s a digression which hasn’t anything at all to do with shifting political landscapes, I mentioned it because blue-green always reminds me of the Wadjet color, and I think Wadjet is pretty groovy, and I think I want my own epithet. Maybe She-Who-Digresses would be fitting.

Now might be a good time to explain the photos. They are part of a series of photographs I call “Dying Camellias.” Though, they’re not camellias. They’re peonies. I photographed thousands over 2 seasons during various stages of decay. I love the decay process, and peonies have an exceptionally bizarre decay process. I include them because this post is about the process of decay.

We see it in my state inflicted by Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP. But Walker really can’t muster an original thought in his head. He hasn’t the capacity for complex thought let alone strategy. He dropped out of college or was kicked out for substandard performance; he doesn’t speak about it so no one knows which is the more accurate.

He’s one of the most inarticulate politicians ever, yet his predigested talking points, no matter how inarticulately executed, work phenomenally well. And they get regurgitated by the populace. It’s an astounding phenomenon to observe. Yet, he has improved due to what I suspect is the same grooming Paul Ryan received for the presidential stage. I think that polish has a distinct cast recognizable as the Koch-sheen.

I believe Walker’s talking points take on the same gleam, and his obfuscating rhetoric succeeds because he speaks the secret language of conservative dog whistles, a language any conservative anywhere in the U.S. would hear. Those are the dog whistles of the right wing political machine that is moving across the land. It’s the same machine that has groomed Scott Walker from an utter buffoon to a skillful politician and the very same cookie-cutter homogenization juggernaut steamrolling over all 50 states. It  is as coordinated an effort as it gets. It is, itself, a process of national decay fueled by regression.

The strategy – the Tea Party strategy – is fusing the Libertarian and Evangelical wings of the Right.  In the long run, I don’t think that strategy will work, these two factions aren’t natural allies. I think we can already see the bonds decaying between more traditional Conservatives like Chris Christie and Libertarian wingnuts like Rand Paul. Yet, to use an appropriate epithet – the Political-Machine-That-Festers will initiate long-term rot if the rot machine continues unabated. The pace of rot since the 2010 sweep, no doubt, indicates the desire to do as much agenda-cementing as fast as possible prior to their demographic death. On that note, hear hear to a little festering! Let the beauty of decay begin!

dying cams z14 8x10

Speaking of swindlers and shenanigans, I love this:

‘Caveat Emptor’: An Art Exhibit Made Entirely Of Forgeries Confiscated By The FBI (PHOTOS)

I must admit I’m torn by the question posed:

 Should exceptionally executed forgeries have a value all their own? How much should an artists’ name affect the worth of a work?

Also on the art front: one who doesn’t seem in decline or decay is Yoko Ono, whose diverse art platforms spanning fifty years of expression went on display at Louisiana’s Museum of Modern Art in June. The exhibit, commemorating Yoko’s 80th birthday, runs until September 29. Should any of our Southern Sky Dancing sisters make their way to the exhibit, I should very much like a review! Admittedly, I’ve never concluded an aesthetic opinion on Yoko Ono’s work. At the same time, one can’t deny she is a dynamic woman worthy of a level of respect she has not perhaps received in decades past, yet absolutely deserving of mention in a post about decay – she’s weathering her withering well.

A look at Yoko Ono’s 50-year career « AMA

YOKO ONO HALF-A-WIND SHOW – Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

And you, Sky Dancers, what is now upon your minds? What questions occupy your thoughts today?

7 Comments on “Tuesday Afternoon Reads: Fun in Festering Fitzwalkerstan, Fakes for Caveat Emptor, and Yoko Ono is 80?”

  1. bostonboomer says:


    This is wonderful. I love the colorful language you use to describe your state and its current political culture. The flower photos are fascinating–what an original project and a great metaphor for the sad deterioration of Wisconsin.

    • peej says:

      Thank you, BB. I didn’t want to get too pessimistic in language. I find I have to choose my words very carefully these days. It is a sad state of affairs in Wisconsin.

  2. cygnus says:

    Okay, non-sequitur except maybe for festering misogyny, but Slap Hillary? Really? Are we twelve people?


    • bostonboomer says:

      Good grief!

    • peej says:


      I love the word cringe-worthy, tee-hee. Always happy to see it in a sentence as in:

      “When they’re not opening their mouths and making cringe-worthy statements about rape, rape victims, and violence against women, the GOP is busy playing, “I Know You Are But What Am I?” when it comes to lady business.”

      Unfortunately, the Weiners and Filners are low-hanging fruit, um, so to speak. I mean in terms of legitimate grounds for criticism. Doing so doesn’t excuse their own misogyny.

  3. dakinikat says:

    GOP groups are scrambling to expand outreach to women, as party operatives fear the gender gap could grow.


    Gee ya think women hate the republican war on them?

  4. bostonboomer says:

    US files criminal charges in Benghazi attack probe.

    Federal authorities investigating the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi have filed charges against Ahmed Abu Khattalah, leader of a Libyan militia that officials believe was involved in the assault, people briefed on the investigation said. The charges under seal are the first criminal counts to emerge from the probe.

    The investigation of the attack last September 11 that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others continues, these people said, as investigators try to build their case against Khattalah and others who authorities believe were involved.