CRG, Grandsons of Liberty attack Chris Larson for trying to be a good dad

On Tuesday, conservative groups Citizens For Republican Responsible Government (CRG) and the GrandSons of Liberty (GoL) issued a joint press release attacking Democratic State Sen. Chris Larson for Larson’s unwillingness to attend Gov. Walker’s “bipartisan” brat and beer summit (or, more fittingly, brats, beer, and bullshit: a festive farce).

In their press release attacking Sen. Larson, the usual cast of characters from CRG and GoL cited a recent Facebook status update by Larson as the words of an “arrogant, egotistical person” (their words, not mine). Here’s what Sen. Larson posted on the Facebook status update in question, in its entirety:

I won’t be attending Walker’s beer and brat event tomorrow. I’m watching Atticus all day while Jess is working.

I’m not opposed to bridging the divide in our state. But, we have to do it in a real way that actually means something. If Walker truly wants to find compromise and work together on jobs, education, and health care, he will convene a special legislative session now that there is actually a check on his power in the state senate. Let’s have a real conversation about where Wisconsin is headed.

If he doesn’t convene a special session, then tomorrow is just a distraction. He did these same meetings when he was Milwaukee County Exec and nothing came of it other than the media giving him a pass. Let’s hope they have learned from history.

Conveniently, the “nonpartisan” folks from CRG and GoL left out the first two parts of Larson’s status update regarding him watching his one-month old son and indicating he’s not opposed to bridging the divide in our state, instead choosing to selectively edit Larson’s status update to make it appear he wouldn’t be attending for nothing more than partisan reasons.

Reached by phone regarding the press release co-issued by the GrandSons of Liberty, Larry Gamble admitted to intentionally selectively editing Larson’s Facebook status update to leave out Larson’s statement that he would be watching his son, and Gamble also indicated that if Larson didn’t “make his wife go back to work” so soon after having their child he’d be able to attend Gov. Walker’s event along with his wife and child. When I asked Gamble if he knew the circumstances surrounding Sen. Larson’s wife returning to work – more specifically to back up his assertion Larson made his wife go back to work – Gamble indicated his statement was an attempt to be humorous (though it certainly didn’t seem like a joke to me). Gamble also admitted he had not attempted to contact Sen. Larson regarding Larson’s inability/unwillingness to attend Gov. Walker’s bipartisan brat and beer bonanza.

When asked why his organization had not issued a similar press release condemning Republican State Rep. Steven Nass for not attending Gov. Walker’s beer summit after Nass stated he would not attend because his feelings were hurt, Gamble stated three of the four individuals involved in the release were constituents of Sen. Larson, hence their desire to call him out. When I asked Gamble if his organization and its members were confined to Sen. Larson’s state senate district, Gamble admitted his organization had members statewide, but he reiterated his focus was on Sen. Larson’s partisanship.

Both CRG and GoL have members statewide, and the fact that they’d choose to attack a Democratic State Senator because he chose to stay home to take care of his one-month old son instead of attending Gov. Walker’s beer summit is simply galling. What’s more galling is the fact that those groups – and the individuals associated with them – chose to attack Chris Larson while ignoring a Republican lawmaker who boycotted the same event essentially because his feelings were hurt by Mike Tate. Despite their claims to be “nonpartisan,” it sure appears CRG and the GrandSons of Liberty aren’t really interested in bringing the same scrutiny (and attacks) to bear on members of both parties.

Shame on them…

Chris over at Cognitive Dissidence has his own take on this story that’s worth a read.


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24 thoughts on “CRG, Grandsons of Liberty attack Chris Larson for trying to be a good dad

  1. Nice way to not identify yourself as a blogger and that I was being interviewed when you called. It was also a nice touch that your blocked your caller ID so is listed “unknown” when you rang me up.

    Since you didn’t use all parts of our conversation in this blog, it seems to me you are doing nothing more than “the kettle is protesting about the pot” to borrow that metaphor.

    So what if I didn’t post all of Sen. Larson’s facebook posting. You complain about me take one full sentence without editing from a public figure’s blog and then call it an edited version of Larson’s statement. At least I used a complete thought as written by the Senator. Instead, you used selective paraphrasing of our conversation last night. That’s fine.

    Glad you enjoyed our little chat last night and felt motivated to blog about it.

    Take care,

    1. Mr. Gamble,
      If I may – I have a few questions I’d like to ask you.

      Senator Larson’s absence at the brat summit aside, what is your opinion of the idea to convene a special session? Do you not consider this a suggestion for moving toward a compromise?

      What precisely is the relationship between the Grandsons of Liberty and the governor?

      I find your description of Senator Larson “an arrogant, egotistical person who demands the other party yield to his ideology” a curious one. What you describe, after all, are the actions of Scott Walker and the GOP. Would you not agree that Scott Walker has remained unyielding and steadfast to his ideological policy positions – particularly Act 10? Do you not think the GOL and CRG are a tad disingenuous in this regard?

      The truest test of leadership for Scott Walker and the GOP occurred when they held the majority. It was then, of their own accord, that compromise could have occurred had they so desired. Were they upstanding statesman they would have compromised then. But, they did not. They failed the test of leadership in action. Scott Walker may have won the recall election, but he is no more fit to govern now than he was before he pulled the wool over 53% of the eyes in Wisconsin.

      Finally, I revere the Founding Fathers: I revere their correspondences with each other, and the myriad writings they produced, I revere the constitutional debates, I revere the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I cherish dearly the Founding Fathers’ insightful brilliance in all of its diversity. I’ve been perusing the Grandsons of Liberty website, and while there are some interesting ideas included therein, and I respect your attendance to the Constitution, I must say its overarching radicalism is astounding to behold. I might use its own words to describe the Founding Fathers’ likely reaction to it: “it would physically sicken them.”

      Despite this, I did enjoy some of your forums and will be returning to them.

  2. Even if Larson’s wife was not working, trying to attend an event over an hour away is very difficult with a 1 month old child. Just disgusting that he was attacked for wanting to spend time with the new addition to his family.

  3. @Larry: What you did was not editing, it was taking something he wrote out of context. You tried to score a point by obfuscation. That does not speak well of you.

  4. Perhaps Larson is not supposed to be around such events for fear of a relapse into “larceny.”

      1. Sorry, but I have little respect for Chris “Thief” Larson, who has been able to legislate matters concerning my tax money when he has stolen in the past.

        Him, calling this an event that doesn’t “actually mean something” is rather hypocrytical considering he left the state with the other 13 fleebaggers thus leaving his constituents unrepresented.

        You guys are letting Mike Tate and Graeme Zielinski take over your party and destroy it. It is far cry from the sensible, reasonable Democratic party I grew up knowing. As a reformed liberal, though (yes, I was a liberal until I realized that most things that liberals run get screwed up…but liberalism sure makes sense when you are in college with no consequences for your theoretical ideas), I am actually watching this with a bowl of popcorn as you guys take your party and blow it up.

        1. So, Jeff, “[you were] a liberal until [you] realized that most things that liberals run get screwed up.

          Well, homeboy, in the first place, I truly doubt that you were EVER a liberal.

          In the second, I truly doubt that you could cite a single example of something that liberals have “screwed up”. You strike me as someone who speaks in generalities for a reason.

          How ironic it is that you speak of the Democratic Party “blow[ing itself] up” at a time when the Republican Party, facing extinction in the face of this country’s rapidly changing demographics, lurches ever rightward into rightwing extremism in a desperate attempt to avoid political oblivion.

          Like it or not, Jeff, the country is changing around you in ways that you just don’t seem to grasp. That said, I genuinely hope that your delusions bring you some small measure of comfort.

          1. I was indeed a liberal, or as I call it today, left-center. I had the majority of my political beliefs shaped while I grew up in Kenosha, still a pretty blue-collar town. I voted for Kennedy and Johnson, but started to move to the right in the ’70s. I still think Nixon was a lousy president that disgraced the office. I voted for Carter in ’80 and that was my last vote for a Democratic president. As far as Wisconsin, my last vote for a Democratic governor was Tony Earl in ’82.

            As for things that liberals have screwed up? Public education, urban development, economic development in cities, immigration, the family (see “Great Society”), energy policy, environmental policy, etc.

            I am now 65 and have not forgotten the way I grew up. The Democratic Party I knew was that of the common man. It stood up for worker’s rights, but was also interested in negotiating without killing the employer. My father was a union man through and through and I remember how much he valued hard work and fair negotiations (he was a foreman at an auto parts factory). The party is not even the same anymore. I doubt Kennedy would even recognize how far to the left the Democratic Party has become. I never thought that my Christianity would be labeled as bigoted or that my pro-life stance would be “anti-women.”

            My father never wanted a handout and contacted our representatives in a civil way when he had a problem with public policy. I respected him and my fellow Democrats in the ways that they conducted themselves in disagreements.

            As I said in my earlier post, you guys are letting goons like Tate and Zielinski ruin what was once a party established on looking out for the common worker who did not have elite clout. I would argue that Governor Doyle began this swing to the left in Wisconsin.

            Wisconsin is not a shrill, uncivil state. We don’t identify with a blue fist or screaming masses running into state buildings. We wince when we see protestors dump beer onto state senators. We were apalled when 14 state senators left the state – clear dereliction of duty. Yet this is what the Democratic Party has become. It orphaned people like me who still value the rational values that Democratic politicians used to stand for.

            I guess it doesn’t matter, though. I am on the side that represents my matured beliefs and, yes, Governor Walker got my vote twice and will continue to as he now values the same things I do. I am a voice of reason for the Wisconsin Democrats, but I kind of hope you don’t take my advice because what you are doing is rendering your party powerless for years to come.

            1. Edit: I volunteered with my father for Kennedy and Johnson (still have the buttons). He voted for them, but I was not 18 yet. I did vote for Humphrey and McGovern, though (futile as those votes proved to be).

            2. Jeff and Radical Extremism: Behold How Propaganda Works

              Let’s examine “Jeff’” and his contentions.

              Note the rhetorical establishment of credibility: A nicely crafted “biography” of a man who knows “both sides” of the fence, an honest convert who has chosen the conservative “side” out of fair, balanced, reasonable consideration. Surely, he couldn’t represent radical extremism – he’s just an average guy. Or could he?

              Yes, he could. And he does.

              When shaping public opinion it really doesn’t matter if Jeff is a real person who genuinely believes in the radical ideas he proposes or if he’s a shill posing as an actual person who is paid in real dollars by the Right Wing Propaganda Machine. Either way propaganda succeeds – the subversive message is put forward in a most insidious form and it spreads and spreads and spreads and consumes every other idea and value in its path – like an invasive species that obliterates all traces of native life.

              Let’s examine what “Jeff” accomplishes in his comments:
              “Jeff” reinforces (more than once) the conservative propagandist meme that “Liberals are children” “Liberals are immature” “Liberals are adolescents.” This propagandist technique foments distrust and undermines credibility for any Liberal idea, value, or policy. It is not legitimate criticism, it is subtle demonization and the source for this technique can be traced back to Joseph Goebbels – the mastermind of Nazi propaganda. Jeff could be a victim of the propaganda he is disseminating or he could be the source of the propaganda itself. Either way, Jeff disseminates propaganda; he is a propagandist.

              “Jeff” instills the idea that liberals have victimized him for his beliefs. This is one of the most insidious effects of modern day Conservative propaganda and one of the most dangerous. When this brand of Goebbels-inspired distortion infects the common consciousness the result at best is rigidity in thought and an attitude of no-compromise. At its worst it breeds psychotic, irrational fear of neighbors and countrymen. 20th Century history has shown what that sort of dissonant paranoia can do within every Conservative Authoritarian regime it has been applied – from Nazism to Italian fascism, to Stalinsm to Pol Pot. Conservative propagandists in the modern day hammer into their narrative the idea they are being victimized when it is in fact they – with their beliefs and policies – who are the victimizers.

              1. Exhibit A: Jeff and Radical Extremism, Behold How Propaganda Works

                Let’s peer into the “victimization of “Jeff” shall we? He states that for holding “pro-life” beliefs he’s been branded Anti-Women. Here’s the reality: “Jeff” is not being victimized for his beliefs. By naming his beliefs for what they are, his beliefs are being criticized. Victimization and Criticism are two very different matters. “Jeff” is employing a powerful subversion; for it is his own belief system that victimizes women and therefore is rightly termed Anti-Women. “Jeff” is not “pro-life” if he supports anti-abortion policies of any kind. Taking an anti-abortion stance is taking an Anti-Choice stance. Such a position is, indeed, Anti-Women because it is Anti-Women’s-lives from several perspectives. The first is from the potential literal, physical death of a woman’s life if she does not receive the abortion care she may need from those most qualified to assist her in that decision – the medical community. Given that most anti-abortion legislation also limits or denies access to critical preventive women’s health care, there is an added risk for a woman’s potential death, preventable death, if she is denied that preventative medical care. In the second respect Anti-Choice belief denies the right of a woman to determine her own destiny with respect to her health concerns and her own family planning choices. Anti-abortion is Anti-Life. It is Anti-Women’s Lives – both in the potential of literal, physical death and in a woman’s ability to determine her own life course.

                Support for anti-abortion legislation is a vote denying a woman what she believes is in her own best interest. A vote for Anti-Choice measures is a vote against women’s interests in favor of one’s own personal religious beliefs. Anti-Choice legislation is legislating religious morality. Legislating morality denotes a theocracy, not a democracy. The founding fathers included “No Establishment of Religion” into the founding principles of this nation to prevent what conservatives today are attempting so rabidly to do with their efforts to roll back Roe v. Wade state by state. Anti-Choice is Anti-Women, it is Anti-Constitutional, and it is antithetical to every principle of individual liberty and freedom of religion the founding fathers designed.

                The issue of abortion is an issue of women’s health, health care access, and determination of her own life course. It is not the purview of anyone beyond a woman and her doctor. If “Jeff” believes abortion is wrong, “Jeff” shouldn’t have one. But “Jeff’s” beliefs do not give him the right to deny anyone else of their rights to act on their own beliefs about abortion nor do his beliefs give him the right to deny anyone’s access to women’s health services.

                Perhaps “Jeff” might cogitate a while on the implications of his beliefs from a perspective other than his own. Conservatives don’t consider the societal implications of their beliefs. Anti-Choice beliefs have REAL consequences, profoundly NEGATIVE consequences for women when those beliefs are implemented in the real world.

                But “Jeff’s” comments also suggest that one cannot be Anti-Choice and a Democrat at the same time. Yes, one can. There are many Democratic legislators who identify themselves as “pro-life.” But is the reverse true? Can you be Pro-Choice and a Republican at the same time? Not easily since the party line is virulently Anti-Choice.

                “Jeff” claims that the Democratic Party labels him bigoted simply because he’s a Christian. If “Jeff” promotes bigotry by using Christianity as the source for bigoted belief then “Jeff” has been rightly criticized, not victimized. By identifying The Democratic Party as the victimizer, he insinuates that Democrats are not Christians. This is subversive to the extreme. For the record, I’m not a member of the Democratic Party and I am not presenting a defense for it. I am simply laying out precisely how “Jeff” is attempting to undermine trust in Liberals and the Democratic Party by twisting the truth to unrecognizable proportions. I’ll be the first to speak out with legitimate criticisms against the Democratic Party. “Jeff” is not legitimately criticizing. He’s demonizing. Demonizing is not what legitimate critics do; demonization is what propagandists do. “Jeff” is a propagandist, not a critic.

                1. Exhibit A: Jeff and Radical Extremism, Behold How Propaganda Works

                  Let’s see what more we can glean from the things “Jeff” says about his “rational” conservatism:

                  He claims liberals have “screwed up” public education, urban development, economic development in cities, immigration, the family (via The Great Society), energy policy, environmental policy.

                  Note what “Jeff” does here. It is very interesting, indeed. Two main points to take away from this portion of “Jeff’s” comments:
                  He insinuates that liberal values are screwed up, but more importantly, he attributes “failure” in the spheres of public education etc. to liberal values and policy. Here, he inserts the propagandist meme “Liberals are immature” coupled with the notion that their ideas are theoretical. He’s subverting the truth – it is, in fact, conservative theory-based policymaking that is inapplicable to the real-world problems we face.The reality is that every sphere he’s listed has been undervalued or unvalued by primarily Conservative policy, and subsequently underfunded and undermined. Now, I think it is only fair to say that it is in the last 30 years, Democratic policymakers in tandem with Conservative policymakers have achieved these failures together. Progressive policymaking has not been realized, but rather consistently undermined by both Conservatives and establishment Democrats. But let’s be clear, it is primarily “starve the beast,” the wrong-headed belief in “small government,” and strict adherence to predatory capitalism that diminished the spheres in “Jeff’s” list. Starve the Beast, Wrong-Headed Belief in Small Government, and Strict Adherence to Predatory Capitalism are, in the main, Conservative ideological realms. If “Jeff” actually believes what he’s implied, then he lacks an even rudimentary understanding of recent history. Willful ignorance is not a defense for being a propagandist who disseminates revisionist history which obfuscates good reality-based policymaking. “Jeff” inhibits civil discourse and social progress when he clings to demonstrable untruths and flings them carelessly about as he has here.

                  1. Exhibit A: Jeff and Radical Extremism, Behold How Propaganda Works

                    Let’s look at how he subversively shapes one’s ideas about union members and unionization by rhetorically establishing his credibility in union matters:
                    “My father was a union man through and through and I remember how much he valued hard work and fair negotiations….”
                    “My father never wanted a handout and contacted our representatives in a civil way when he had a problem with public policy.”

                    The questions everyone one should be asking “Jeff” are these:

                    Did any of your father’s elected representatives implement policy that would abolish your father’s union rights?

                    Did any of your father’s elected representatives lie about their policy intentions?

                    Did any of your father’s elected representatives try to legally abolish his union in stages, in small steps, chipping away at it until all protections for working people were gone?

                    We see here as “Jeff” establishes his credibility – subversion, subversion, subversion embedded everywhere, cloaked in notions which evoke “down home”, honest, hard working, ethical, traditional, and fair but not what it actually is – EXTREMIST. What “Jeff” is attempting to do here is convince the reader that the radical extremists in Wisconsin politics are Walker’s opponents. This is pure subversion – the radical extremists are, in fact, Walker and his GOP allies. But “Jeff” would have you believe otherwise by implying that union members are seeking something that is not their due which is deeply cynical, a false accusation, and one that breeds bitter division and seething resentment among non-union citizens. “Jeff” also effectively upturns extremism by insisting that his father, a union man through and through, contacted his elected officials in a “civil way” when he had a “problem with public policy.” The inversion, of course is implying the Madison protests were illegitimate because they were not civil, therefore those partaking in the protest were uncivilized, and it implies that there wasn’t legitimate reason for Wisconsin workers to rise up and oppose Scott Walker. All these notions are wrong, false, untrue, subversive propaganda designed to very efficiently shape public opinion. That is what’s happening here with “Jeff” – make no mistake.

                    1. Exhibit A: Jeff and Radical Extremism, Behold How Propaganda Works

                      Next look at his battle for who is Wisconsin and who is not? “Jeff” insists that “Wisconsin is not a shrill, uncivil state. We don’t identify with a blue fist or screaming masses running into state buildings. We were appalled when 14 state senators left the state – clear dereliction of duty. Yet this is what the Democratic Party has become. It has orphaned people like me who still value the rational values that Democratic politicians used to stand for.”

                      Whoa, Nellie! This little bit is packed so full of Conservative Propaganda, subversion is just bursting out of the seams!

                      Let’s examine it point by point and reveal it for what it really is:
                      “Jeff” first delegitimizes the entire opposition against Walker by positing that it is irrational and uncivilized. He mischaracterizes the protestors by casting them as irrational: “screaming masses running into state buildings,” thereby delegitimizing the resistance to Walker and the radicalized GOP. He further posits that legitimate people in Wisconsin reject those who oppose Scott Walker. Those who oppose Walker are somehow “Not Us.” For “Jeff” there are two sides and two sides only, no compromising in-between-sphere, which would, in fact, be the rational, civil position to take. For “Jeff” it’s us against them. That’s not rational, level-headed, moderation in thought; It’s intolerant extremism, and it’s hazardous to societal health. “Jeff” is no average joe with temperate beliefs. He has demonstrated himself to be a Hideously Insidious Radical Propagandist.

                      When “Jeff” claims “dereliction of duty” of the Wisconsin 14, he’s lying. What the Wisconsin 14 did is called denying a quorum. If “Jeff” is appalled by this maneuver then he is appalled by the rule of law and he is appalled by the noble Republican who first did the very same thing in the very same way – Abraham Lincoln. The Wisconsin 14 were not in dereliction of duty, they were faithfully, honorably, and desperately responding to the radically extreme measures imposed upon the legislature by the radically extreme Scott Walker and his radically extreme GOP cohorts. The Wisconsin 14 were given no other choice. They were offered no compromise. The measure of their actions should most properly be viewed by the extremity of pressure applied by Scott Walker and the GOP. And so should the actions of Wisconsin citizen protestors. Protestors whose numbers ranged in the hundreds of thousands and whose principled defiance extended for weeks at a time should be a signal for those who care to critically think about the affairs of our state rather than mindlessly absorb what radical extremists want them to believe. Those who support a radical authoritarian like Scott Walker might do well to understand how he convinced the people of this state to vote for him in the recall election – it was by disfiguring public opinion by inundating it with Radical Conservative Propaganda.

                      One of my very favorite bits of propagandist distortion is when “Jeff” says this about the Democratic Party: “It orphaned people like me who still value rational values that the Democratic politicians used to stand for.” This is subversion of what truly is happening between Rational Democrats and Radical Republicans. Orphaned? All political orphaning in this state has been committed by right wing radicals. They’ve abandoned the people in favor of corporate and obscenely wealthy interests and they have abandoned all standards of decency and dignity. “Jeff” has subverted who is orphaning whom and he has done it insidiously and shamefully. It is the GOP that has been hijacked by radical ideals which respond not to the realities of the challenges we face, but to narrowly ranged ideology. By the time the reader reaches this point in “Jeff’s” comment, he has already demonstrated that he is exactly the opposite of what he says he is. He doesn’t hold rational values, he holds values of extreme intolerance and non-compromise. Democratic legislators and the Wisconsin citizen unions did offer compromise with respect to Act 10. Radical Walker and the Radical GOP rejected compromise. “Jeff’”with his pure subversion is exactly what is corroding realistic, healthy political discourse in Wisconsin.

  5. If the not so distant future, “Tea Party” will be synonymous with stubborn, destructive behavior.

  6. Jeff and Radical Extremism, Behold How Propaganda Works

    Finally, “Jeff” wraps up his nonsense in the propagandist dichotomy of “Conservatives are mature” “Liberals are immature” just to cement it in the mind one more time. It’s distasteful and shameful for him to reiterate it. Moreover, he reasserts the idea that there is only one correct side in our political divisions – Scott Walker’s side. No compromise, No other way to look at it, No other way to think about it. This kind of rigid thought stifles honest, moral, and critical thought. Rigidity of thought in no way mirrors rational open-mindedness. “Jeff” may claim he is a “voice of reason” for the Wisconsin Democrats, but he has proven himself otherwise. He has proven himself to be one who disseminates Radical Conservative Propaganda. What “Jeff” is doing is mainstreaming Conservative Radicalism.

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