Tuesday Reads: Diary of a Mad Meme

988922_10100144300981501_6638277329610483009_nGood Morning!

So I thought I’d start off with a local story that’s gone rather viral.  My fellow Louisiana Blogger and buddy Lamar White has broken a story that’s even bigger than soon-to-be Senator Double Dip’s payroll fraud.  I’ve watched it go completely viral over the last two days. It’s the stuff political junkie dreams are made from.

Metarie Louisiana is a small town that was one of the first white flight suburbs of New Orleans.  My first real exposure to it was watching Sheriff Harry Lee give a speech to a Republican women’s club 20 years ago in a restaurant in Fat City where I happened to be dining with the guy that brought me here.  The fact a big ol’ huge southern sheriff was Chinese and talking some really right wing stuff to a bunch of little old gray-haired white ladies was a hoot.

This was slightly after the entire Edwin Edwards/David Duke Governor race so I knew what the area was infamous for, believe me. News of that affair even drifted its way up the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to the backwater of Omaha, Nebraska.  Then, there’s the fact that the various congressional and lege seats were and are held by some of the worst people in the state (e.g. Vitter and David Duke). It’s a wingnut haven. I drive through it on the way to the airport and try not to let the air waft into the car.

So, the current seatholder–whom I refer to as Congressman Sleaze–is Steve Scalise.  He’s just been elected to the majority whip position under Boehner and his goosesteppers.  Jindal and most republicans in that part of the state have always gotten in a lather at the idea of getting David Duke’s contact list for obvious reasons.  Scalise, however, appeared at one of his events.   What’s really odd is his response.  It’s a combination of ‘I didn’t know’ and ‘The one aid I had at the time is responsible’ and the usual ‘Who me racist?  Anti-Semitic?’ By Monday afternoon, the findings had gone from Lamar’s blog to TPM to WAPO. All the major news stations were on it by yesterday afternoon.  Way to go DUDE!!!

Bad news for incoming majority whip Steve Scalise. He has admitted that in 2002 he addressed a group called the European-American Unity and Rights Organization — founded by David Duke, whom the Anti-Defamation League calls “perhaps America’s most well-known racist and anti-Semite,” formerly of the KKK and known for his theory that Jews were behind 9/11.

Why would Scalise attend an event sponsored by Neo-Nazis and KKK members then admit to being confused about the event? Why would you possibly think speaking at this event was a good idea? Why would you think attending this event was a good idea as a human being let alone if you had the faintest glimmer of public office in your eye? NOTHING ABOUT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA.

In his defense, Scalise’s advisers are saying that “he addressed them, sure, but only because he had no idea where he was or whom he was talking to at any given time until 2007.”

I’m not making this up:

Here is an actual thing that one of Scalise’s former advisers wrote:

“It was a crazy time and I doubt there was a lot of checking up on who was who. . . . It really wasn’t until 2004 that he started sitting down and evaluating speaking engagements and questionnaires. Even then he really didn’t get a handle on schedule until he ran for state senate in 2007 and then congress the year after.”

That is certainly one tactic. “Until 2004, I had LITERALLY NO IDEA whom I was speaking to at any given time. My schedule was a total mystery to me. If a man came off the street, wrapped in a Confederate flag, and said, ‘Come address my group,’ I would have said, ‘Yessir, no question, I want to popularize my proposal to end slush funds.’ I didn’t know my own name until 2005, in case you discover that I’ve signed any unfortunate petitions.”

Okay, I knew about David Duke and I didn’t live in the state until 20 years ago to this month actually. How could this little guy not know who he was speaking to?  David Duke was a Louisiana Republican Party fixture until his run-in with the IRS and his later self expatriation to Russia. As previously mentioned, every one of these Republican officeholders went for his voter list.  You can’t tell me Scalise wasn’t just trying to get at the member list and grab as many potential votes as he could.  He probably figured it wouldn’t matter to his constituents or he’d never get caught.  He obviously had no idea about Google at the time so the way back machine must be way over his mental capacity.   Roll Call has this little gem up about conversation that Vitter and Scalise had about Duke in 1999. ick tweet

Back in 1999, Roll Call interviewed white supremacist leader David Duke about the possibility he would seek the House seat vacated by the resignation of Republican Rep. Bob Livingston. As part of that report, reporter John Mercurio also talked to up-and-coming Louisiana politicians, current Sen. David Vitter and current House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

“I honestly think his 15 minutes of fame have come and gone,” said state Rep. David Vitter (R), a wealthy Metairie attorney who holds Duke’s old seat in the state House and is “seriously considering” a Congressional bid. “When he’s competed in a field with real conservatives, real Republicans, Duke has not done well at all.”

Another potential candidate, state Rep. Steve Scalise (R), said he embraces many of the same “conservative” views as Duke, but is far more viable.

“The novelty of David Duke has worn off,” said Scalise. “The voters in this district are smart enough to realize that they need to get behind someone who not only believes in the issues they care about, but also can get elected. Duke has proven that he can’t get elected, and that’s the first and most important thing.”

In light of Monday’s news reports about the likelihood that Scalise addressed Duke’s European-American Unity and Rights Organization back in 2002, here is the full report from the Jan. 7, 1999, edition of Roll Call:

10885064_10204902334573144_1073535409181496610_nDuke was a former state representative holding the same lege seat that both Vitter and Scalise once had.  He made a comment about him prior to his damned appearance.  How could he not know who he was speaking to?  Anyway, the blogosphere lit up like a candle on Sunday and it’s been one big rolling ball ever since then.  Are people really going to believe this weak excuse?  And here’s a good idea of why I call the dude Congressman Stevie Sleaze.

By 2004, according to New Orleans CityBusiness, Scalise was condemning Duke, who by then was in federal prison on tax charges. Still, Duke was again considering a runfor the 1st District seat.

“David Duke is an embarrassment to our district and his message of hate only serves to divide us,” Scalise told the newspaper.

Scalise’s own message has not always been one of inclusion. Months after criticizing Duke, he was one of six state representatives who voted against making Martin Luther King Jr. Day a state holiday. He had also voted against a similar bill in 1999.

In a 2008 ad during his first successful bid for Congress, Scalise accused Democratic rival Jim Harlan of “endorsing Obama’s liberal and dangerous agenda shaped by radicals like Rev. [Jeremiah] Wright.” His campaign also put out a flier with Harlan’s photo near the star and crescent symbol, commonly associated with Islam.

Here he is again with his excuses flying.

Please walk me through how you came to appear at the white nationalist event. 

“I don’t have any records from back in 2002, but when people called and asked me to speak to groups, I went and spoke to groups. It was myself and [former state Sen.] James David Cain who were opposed to the Stelly tax plan.

I was the only legislator from the New Orleans area who was opposed to the plan publicly, so I was asked to speak all around the New Orleans region. I would go and speak about how this tax plan was bad.

I didn’t know who all of these groups were and I detest any kind of hate group. For anyone to suggest that I was involved with a group like that is insulting and ludicrous.

I was opposed to a lot of spending of spending at the state level. When people asked me to go speak, I went and spoke to any group that called.”

You don’t remember speaking at the event? 

“I don’t. I mean I’ve seen the blog about it. When you look at the kind of things they stand for, I detest these kinds of views. As a Catholic, I think some of the things they profess target people like me. At lot of their views run contradictory to the way I run my life.

I don’t support some of the things I have read about this group. I don’t support any of the things I have read about this group, but I spoke to a lot of groups during that period. I went all throughout South Louisiana.

I spoke to the League of Women Voters, a pretty liberal group. … I still went and spoke to them. I spoke to any group that called, and there were a lot of groups calling.

I had one person that was working for me. When someone called and asked me to speak, I would go. I was, in no way, affiliated with that group or the other groups I was talking to. ”

You don’t remember speaking to a group affiliated with David Duke? 

David Duke was never at any group I spoke to.”

Were you avoiding him? 

“He was a state representative before me. Everyone knew who he was. I would not go to any group he was a part of.”

Why do you think this [controversy] is coming out right now? 

“Clearly, some people are trying to infer some things that just aren’t true. As a conservative…there are a lot of groups that don’t like conservative beliefs.

From what I’ve read about this group, they don’t like Catholics like myself.”

Yes, and the dog ate his campaign schedule.10897997_10100144393446201_1294380105915636085_n

So, all us blogging Louisiana Buddies are in awe once more of Lamar’s terrific detective skills.  Here’s a great example from blogging Buddy Adrastos.

This kerfuffle reminds me of the days when all sorts of “respectable” Louisiana Republicans played footsie with Dukkke. Many, like Scalise, have put some of Dukkke’s “populist” positions in a suit and tie and tried to make them respectable *after* the Gret Stet Fuhrer wannabe stopped doing so. It’s a minor league version of how Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter (yes, Jimmy Carter) cherry picked George Wallace’s political tree as it were. To be fair to my least favorite recent Democratic President, he borrowed Wallace’s anti-Washington/I’m an outside shtick, and not the whole standing in the schoolhouse door thing.

On a personal level, I’m pleased as punch that vast swaths of the MSM are giving Lamar credit for breaking the story. I expect that the Republican helots will be coming after him directly. He might even get slimed by Rush. If that happens, I will be a jealous motherfugu. (I’m trying swear less as well as to coin a swell new euphemism in addition to my continuing campaign to revive the word swell.) For now, I will merely bask in the reflected glory and hope that Lamar won’t forget the little people or Darby O’Gill for that matter…

I suspect that Scalise will keep his seat in Congress. He is, after all, from the same burg that elected Dukkke to the state lege. Moreover, as recently as 1999, Dukkke received 19% of the vote in a primary for the same seat Scalise holds today. Dukke finished third behind former Governor Dave Treen and the eventual winner, our old pal, Diaper Dave. Scalise has already used the “I’m not a racist” dodge to the Vestigial Picayune. We’ll see how it plays.

I think it’s pretty obvious that the folks in the Scalise District couldn’t care less about it. After all, they once elected Duke to represent them in the lege. The real damn shame about all of this is that the east coast media is giving interview time and column space to Duke.  He’s not rotting up there on the North Shore with the rest of the klan.  Scalise will undoubtedly retain his seat and it might even give him some cred upstate should he decide to run for a statewide office. However, I’m not sure what exactly the Republicans in the District are going to do with him.  He’s either going to have to do some serious mea culpas or offer to step down.  How long this stays as a top trending social media item will undoubtedly help write the end of the story inside the Beltway.  It’s also New Year’s and college football bowl game time.  There’s quite a few distractions including a downed airliner taking up air time. This is definitely an insider story at this point so the ending is still going to be written within the beltway.  Look for Boehner’s response or his absolute vanishing act from media appearances until he gauges if this story has very very long legs. Whatever happens, watch for Lamar’s blog.   And then watch the hashtag fun too.

Anyway, that’s my little two cents for the day.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


29 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Diary of a Mad Meme”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    I can’t believe how quickly this story spread. I went on Twitter last night late and it was all over my feed. It’s huge on Google news this morning and it’s taking up much of Memeorandum. Scalise must be in shock. Congratulations to Lamar W. I hope his site didn’t go down from all the traffic.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    I’m from Massachusetts and even I had heard of David Duke! How could a local LA politician be “unaware” of who he was and what he stood for? At that time he was all over the news.

    The new congress will meet and greet some really odd and dangerous thinking people come January. Some of them are out and out nutjobs who managed to get through their primaries and who were funded in large part by the Koch Brothers and their affiliation to the Tea Party.

    Homophobics, racists, and religious nut cases are about to be sworn in in a matter of weeks. Stand back and watch the lunacy begin!

    This is what you get when only 38% of the voting population bothers to come out and cast ballots.

    Looney tunes!

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Autopsy Of Mentally Ill Black Man Shows LAPD Shot Him In Back

    The Los Angeles Police Department released an autopsy on Monday revealing that a mentally ill black man killed by LAPD officers in August was shot three times, including once in the back, according to television station KABC.

    The autopsy stated that the shot to Ezell Ford’s back and another to his abdomen were fatal, according to the TV station. The wound on his back revealed a muzzle imprint from the gun, suggesting the shot was fired at close range, the station reported.

    Several witnesses said Ford was face down on the ground when he was shot, the station reported. But police said he was killed while resisting arrest and had “grabbed the officer’s handgun and attempted to remove the gun from its holster.”

  4. Fannie says:

    I bet if you went into his closet, you’d fine a t-shirt “vote for David Duke”. Sleeze would have worn it proudly, cause he was getting in on the Duke gravy train, and getting money from all across this country via the KKK. I can see him wearing it in a parade in Metarie, maybe somebody will fine a photo clip of him. The ideal was to gather money to help support Duke who was hiding out in Russia. Back in the day they had raffles at those parades, and were handing out plane tickets to Russia.

    Let us not forget the KKK, who have resorted to terrorism across this country, back then, and now. The wizards were connected to the bombs that were mailed to a federal judge in a courthouse, and to the NAACP office located in Jacksonville, Fla. I seem to recall a link to the four little black girls that died in a church bombing in Alabama. And I know all about those involved in Mississippi Burning, in Philadelphia, Ms. They were haters who like this individual, were motivated to belong to the group known as KKK. They go way back with a long record of terrorism.

    I am glad that to see him exposed, we need to throw them out of office, because they are the ones who want to reverse all the work we have done for civil rights, for blacks, women, and gay rights. You are absolutely right Dak, and Pat, and BB, and JJ. The question I ask is are we a better nation now that we have a hater in the 3rd highest office in the house? The next question, just how many more do we have serving in our government? This is an insult to the years of hard work in bringing about equality and justice for this country.

    This is the party that wants to win over the hearts and minds of people in the 2016 election. I bet when Republican Sleeze was speaking for the KKK, he didn’t know that he had a degree from LSU in Computers and Political Science, he was lost in space, no, lost in the sea, no, lost in the building, motherfugu lost his voodoo doll.

  5. NW Luna says:

    Botany story for the day:

    Now it’s time for another Yuletide tradition: cleaning up the needles that are falling off your Christmas tree. …. Consumers consistently cite messiness as one of the most common reasons they don’t have a real tree, says the National Christmas Tree Association.

    Keeping a tree well-watered goes a long way toward minimizing the needle problem. But beyond that, scientists are trying to find ways to make trees less messy and keep them fresh through the holidays.

    Some kinds of trees, like the noble fir or Fraser fir, are better than others at maintaining moisture and keeping their needles once they’re in your house, says Gary Chastagner of Washington State University. But even within a given species, some trees are better than others, he said. Needle retention is an inherited trait: if a tree does well, so will the offspring that grow from the seeds in its cones. At a research station in Puyallup, Washington, Chastagner works to identify individual trees that hold onto their needles best.

    I find this sort of thing interesting since part of the land I grew up on was a tree farm.

  6. NW Luna says:

    House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that N.Y. Rep. Michael Grimm made the right decision by resigning from Congress after pleading guilty to tax evasion charges.

    Boehner, R-Ohio, said that Grimm’s decision was “honorable,” adding that he knows Grimm made his decision “with the best interests of his constituents and the institution (of the House) in mind.” Boehner said he appreciated Grimm’s service to the House.

    Grimm, a New York Republican, had vowed to stay in Congress as long as he could, even after his guilty plea last week. But he said Monday night that he plans to resign effective Jan. 5.

    I guess if Grimm was from a Southern state like LA or AL he would have stayed in office.

  7. NW Luna says:

    Program that backed Solyndra now showing successes

    When it was established in 2009, as part of Obama’s stimulus package, the clean energy loan guarantee program was billed as a two-fer: It would provide billions of dollars for environment-friendly energy and it would create jobs. Instead, the program became synonymous with failure and a regular talking point for conservatives. Besides Solyndra, three other subsidized companies went bust at a cost of $780 million. Critics, especially Republicans in Congress, seized on it as an example of government waste.

    But roughly six years on, there are more signs that the program is working. In California, Tesla Motors has flourished, paying back a $465 million loan nearly 10 years early. A handful of companies have opened solar energy sites and signed long-term contracts to sell power to utility companies.

    And then there is the Abengoa biorefinery in Hugoton, where Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz came in October for the opening. He was joined by two Kansas officials who voted against the stimulus package: Republicans Sen. Pat Roberts and Gov. Sam Brownback, a former senator.

    “This program, let me say, not only here in Hugoton, but across the board has been a tremendous success,” Moniz said. “I mentioned $30 billion in loans with a 2 percent default rate — that is a pretty enviable in any portfolio.”

  8. NW Luna says:

    A woman in the US state of Idaho has been killed after a two-year-old boy accidentally shot her with a gun he found when reaching into her handbag.

    The woman was shot in a Wal-Mart in Hayden, a town in Idaho’s northern panhandle.

    A sheriff’s spokesman said the woman was shopping with several children and it was unclear if they were related. Officials said she had a concealed weapons permit but her identity has not been released. The woman and children were in the rear of the store near the electronics area when the shooting occurred, officials said.

    Hayden, ID, one of the contenders for the white supremacists’ capitol of the US.

  9. NW Luna says:

    From the Guardian (includes hat tip to Dak’s blog buddy!):

    I’m not a fan of hot takes, but this time I’m putting my foot down. Nazis are bad.

    But apparently some kids missed the public service announcements about it. Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise, the House GOP Whip and third-highest ranking member of the House GOP leadership, tried to “groove” on Nazism in 2002, appearing at a convention of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), which was founded by Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard and neo-Nazi David Duke. ….

    After all, it’s probably not hard to turn a neo-Nazi into a potential Republican voter by telling him that a corporatized, authoritarian, nationalistic, militaristic party is the only thing standing between him and effete, war-losing, left-wing elites who are trying to destroy the homeland via a fifth-column of non-native minorities, college professors, “homosexuals” and other cultural degenerates. ….

    Blogger Lamar White Jr, who broke the story, notes that the convention took place over two days – meaning that Scalise wasn’t punching in and out of some obscure 90-minute lunch event – and featured promotional materials citing Duke. So Scalise’s spokesperson’s statement that he wasn’t totally aware of the provenance of the event at which he was speaking unfortunately leaves him with the dilemma of appearing either to be a bad liar or a total incompetent.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yup. My take exactly.

      • Check this out

        From tpm

        Iowa Baseball Team Avoided Hotel Where Scalise Spoke To White Nationalists

        House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) has emphasized this week that he was not aware of the hateful views of a white nationalist group founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke when he spoke before it at a convention over a decade ago.

        Yet the event was apparently well known and toxic enough that it forced a minor league baseball team from Iowa to move to a different hotel to avoid bumping into the May 2002 conference.

        The Iowa Cubs, a AAA team, were planning to stay at the Best Western Landmark Hotel in Metairie, Louisiana at the same time as the national convention for the European-American Unity and Rights Organization was being held there.

        But according to newspaper reports at the time, the local New Orleans team that was arranging the visiting team’s accommodations made a change in part because of concerns about the EURO event.

        The Des Moines Register covered the lodging change on May 2, two weeks before the convention Scalise spoke at took place on May 17-18. A New Orleans alt weekly, the Gambit Weekly, also reported on the change in an article about potential backlash to the EURO meeting.

        The switch was sparked by an anonymous call to the Iowa Cubs about the planned EURO meeting, according to the 2002 report from the Des Moines Register. The team’s media relations director then brought the concern to the New Orleans Zephyrs.

        I couldn’t get the link to work