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8 Authoritarian Tactics Right-Wingers Have Used to Sabotage the Wisconsin Uprising

How Gov. Walker, Republican lawmakers, Tea Party groups, Fox News and conservative pundits have gone after Wisconsin's public workers and their supporters.

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We kept these plans silent so they wouldn't leak to the news media or Barack Obama's political team -- going so far as to take our staff to the remote Nevada desert to undertake this work.  Now we can unveil this once-secret effort to fight back against Barack Obama and his public employee union mobs, and rally support for Gov. Walker of Wisconsin.

Then, of course, there's Fox. Glenn Beck has just been randomly combining words like "unions," "Muslim Brotherhood" and "New World Order." Communism as well, obviously. (Maybe when whatever terrible thing that Glenn Beck says is going to happen happens, he'll will find shelter in the Tea Party Express Nevada bunker?) Media Matters highlights some of the other unhinged Fox coverage.

In an especially classy move, the network flipped the statistics on a public opinion poll on Walker's wildly unpopular legislation; the onscreen graphic read that 61 percent support taking away collective bargaining. The poll that exists in reality actually showed that 61 percent would oppose a similar measure introduced in their state.

7. Shoot 'Em

Of course, lies, threats, intimidation and blackmail can only do so much. A conservative Indiana Deputy Attorney General had a different idea of how to deal with the protests. When Mother Jones tweeted a report that riot police would be called in (turned out not to happen), the AG tweeted back, "Use live ammunition." When Adam Weinstein followed up, the two had the following exchange:

From my own Twitter account, I confronted the user, JCCentCom. He tweeted back that the demonstrators were "political enemies" and "thugs" who were "physically threatening legally elected officials." In response to such behavior, he said, "You're damned right I advocate deadly force." He later called me a "typical leftist," adding, "liberals hate police."

(He has since lost his job.)

8. The Chamber

One more thing: right before the governor of Wisconsin announced his plan to destroy the state's unions, we learned that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had even grander ideas. The Chamber's law firm had hired, on spec, a bizarre consortium of "cyber security" firms to launch a campaign of disinformation and outright sabotage against their political opponents. "Team Themis," as they nerdily called themselves, planned to target the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), along with other critics of the Chamber like Think Progress (which reported the story) and ChamberWatch. (If you don't remember the details of the wildly entertaining story of how the hackers of Anonymous published thousands of internal emails from HBGary, one of the firms in Team Themis, read about it here.)


In conclusion, here's some lighthearted banter about beating people with baseball bats from the Buffalo Beast conversation between "Koch" and Scott Walker:

Koch: Bring a baseball bat. That’s what I’d do.

Walker: I have one in my office; you’d be happy with that. I have a slugger with my name on it.


Tana Ganeva is an AlterNet editor. Follow her on Twitter. You can email her at

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