Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Author: Owen

Permanent State of Emergency

In a press release about a law that allows people to drive an unregistered vehicle during a state of emergency, Senator Marklein shares this fact with us:

Since 2019, there have been 19 State of Emergency declarations by the Governor that have applied to at least some part of the state under Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 323. These declarations have covered more than 710 of the last 982 days, or more than 72% of the time. In addition, there have been countless local emergency declarations.

These State of Emergency declarations have ranged from closing state office buildings due to cold weather, to preparing an emergency management response due to elevated wildfire conditions, to COVID-19 related measures. While some of these declarations are only necessary for a few days, under state law, emergency declarations last 60 days, unless revoked by the Governor via an executive order or by the legislature by joint resolution

It is remarkable how easy, and how often, our government officials suspend inconvenient rules by issuing a state of emergency. Why do we bother with a representative government and all of the apparatus of making and enforcing laws if they are suspended at the drop of a hat whenever the governor finds them onerous?

The legislature should take a hard look at revising the parameters of what is, and what is not, an emergency and who gets to decide.

“This is not a gun grab”

If you have to say it...

State Rep. Deb Andraca (D-Whitefish Bay) said 19 other states have extreme risk protection order laws, and passing similar legislation could save lives in Wisconsin.

 

“This is not a gun grab,” State Rep. Andraca said. “This is a bill that respects our Second Amendment rights with provisions, such as criminal penalties for those who bring false charges. Only a judge can issue an order based on clear and convincing evidence of a threat. The order is temporary, can be challenged or terminated with full due process.”

Mandela Barnes might be a perfect socialist

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News this week.

We learned last week that the Democrat front-runner for U.S. Senate and current lieutenant governor, Mandela Barnes, did not pay any income taxes and received health care coverage from the taxpayers via BadgerCare in the same year he purchased two condos and ran for public office. It is a pattern of behavior that has become all too familiar in Barnes’ short political career.

 

In 2018, Barnes ran for lieutenant governor. Despite the booming economy, he decided to forgo earning a living to devote his time to politicking, so he did not pay any income taxes that year. Lacking any declared source of income, he was also on BadgerCare that year. BadgerCare is Wisconsin’s Medicaid program that is meant to provide taxpayer-funded health care coverage for low-income Wisconsinites. I doubt that the taxpayers thought that the intent of BadgerCare was to pay for the healthcare of fulltime political campaigners, but that is what they did.

 

What is interesting about that year is that Barnes also purchased two condos within a single year. After all, the economy and the housing market were doing well, so surely Barnes thought that either he needed two homes, or it was a good investment. Barnes has claimed that he used inherited money for the real estate purchases (some enterprising investigating reporter should verify the source of the money). This indicates that while Barnes forewent earning an income that year, he was not without means. Yet, despite having means, he chose to consume taxpayer dollars for his health care. He could have applied for an individual health insurance policy through Obamacare, but that would have meant spending some of his own money on premiums. Why should he buy only one condo and pay for his own health insurance when there are plenty of chumps out there to pay for his health care? This has been Barnes’ pattern throughout his political life. As he proudly touts his “progressive” credentials, he burnishes his socialist credentials by using every opportunity to avoid paying his own way and to spend other people’s money. Such purloining is at the heart of socialism.

 

In 2019, the public learned that Barnes had not paid the property taxes on his condo. According to city of Milwaukee records, Barnes had two delinquent property tax bills in June. The property taxes were due by the end of January and Barnes still had not paid them by the middle of summer. When confronted with the delinquency, Barnes dismissed the news as “ridiculous” and claimed that the “check is in the mail” — the refrain of deadbeats since the advent of regular mail service.

 

Barnes’ reluctance to pay his fair share of the tax burden is understandable. Many property owners grit their teeth when the property tax bill comes due every year. But such frustration with the high cost of government is not a valid reason to withhold payment, and socialists like Barnes want government to cost even more. When caught, Barnes paid the bill. There is no telling how long that check would have taken in the mail had it not hit the news.

 

In the same vein, Barnes failed to pay a slew of parking tickets until he was forced to. It was only $108, but the fines went unpaid even as Barnes assumed the office of lieutenant governor. The unpaid parking tickets meant that Barnes could not register his car, so he did not drive.

 

Fortunately for him, as lieutenant governor, Barnes had access to a taxpayer-funded security detail that could chauffeur him around the state in the guise of “protecting” him. With all that full-time protection and being driven around in the taxpayers’ cars, Barnes did not feel much need to pay the fines and register his car.

 

Once again, the incredibly high cost of Barnes’ security detail — even on days when he did not have any public duties — and the unpaid fines came into public view. Once again, Barnes was dismissive of the allegations and claimed there was just some mix-up. And once again, he finally paid the bill.

 

Barnes’ thoughtless use of the taxpayers’ dollars, disregard for personal responsibilities, and entitled rudeness are not deviations from the norm. They are the norm. He has spent a career finding ways to spend other people’s money as he enriches himself. That is precisely what he will continue to do should Wisconsin’s voters be foolhardy enough to send him to the U.S. Senate on their behalf.

Evers Advances GOP Tax Idea

He is a petty, petty man. That fact being acknowledged… do it.

MADISON – Democratic Gov. Tony Evers offered a plan Wednesday to repeal a tax on businesses even though he vetoed legislation to do just that less than two months ago.

 

Republicans who control the Legislature called the move hypocritical. Evers said he was offering a better plan to end the state’s personal property tax than the one he vetoed, which he has said was drafted in a “haphazard” fashion.

 

“This legislation will continue our efforts to support businesses and families as they bounce back from the pandemic while ensuring our local governments have the aid they need to remain whole,” Evers said in a statement.

 

Republican Sen. Duey Stroebel of Saukville, a longtime backer of the effort to end the personal property tax, said the way Evers rolled out his plan “has all the hallmarks of political cover and not serious legislating.”

White House Plames UK PM for Biden’s Inability to Answer Questions

There is nothing about this response that is good.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday blamed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the chaos in the Oval Office the day before, saying they were not given a head’s up he was going to call on members of his press corps.

 

‘He called on individuals within his press corps without alerting us to that intention in advance,’ she said in her daily press briefing.

 

Psaki was quizzed repeatedly on why British reporters were called on during the Oval Office meeting with President Joe Biden but American reporters were not. White House aides ushered reporters out of the room, shouting over the journalists, as they tried to ask Biden questions.

  1. Yet another foreign policy flub throwing a close ally under the bus
  2. Why would this be a surprise? There was a room full of reporters.
  3. Even if it was a surprise, why can’t Biden answer questions in an unscripted format? People ask me questions all the time without warning me ahead of time about when and what they would ask.

Wisconsin Reinstalls Statues Torn Down by Rioters

Isn’t it weird that it would take federal funds to do this? How is this an interest to anyone outside of Wisconsin? And how many other little things like this are we paying for all over the country when the local folks should just do it themselves?

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Workers have reinstalled two statues on the Wisconsin Capitol grounds that protesters damaged during a demonstration last year following George Floyd’s death.

 

Protesters in June broke off a leg and tore the head off a statue of abolitionist Hans Christian Heg. They also dented and broke a finger off the “Forward” statue.

 

The state received $60,000 in federal grants to cover restoration efforts. Workers from the state Department of Administration reinstalled both statues Tuesday morning.

 

They used a boom crane to lower Heg back onto his pedestal.

Hattians Don’t Want to Live in Haiti Either

Perhaps they should have immigrated legally. America is not responsible for paying for the incorrect assumptions of illegal aliens. And no… I don’t buy this narrative for a minute.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The Haitian migrants had done well for themselves. Since leaving their country, many more than a decade ago, they had built lives in Chile, Brazil, Panama. They had homes and cars. They had stable jobs as bank tellers, welders, mine supervisors, gas station attendants.

 

But they longed for the possibility of a better a life in the United States, under a president who had protected Haitians in the United States from deportation and many believed would relax entry requirements. So they sold their belongings, left their jobs and pulled their kids out of school. And they headed north.

 

But instead of the reception they’d expected, they were detained in the small border town of Del Rio, Texas, and without warning deported — to Haiti, a broken country many no longer recognized — in a head-spinning sequence that left them feeling mistreated and betrayed.

Biden’s Aids Usher Reporters Out of Room To Prevent Him from Answering Questions

Who is running this country?

Joe Biden’s answer to a question about the crisis on the Southern border was unclear on Tuesday when his aides shouted down reporters, covering the president’s attempt to respond.

 

‘Violence is not justified,’ Biden appeared to say but the rest of his response was not decipherable.

 

White House staff interrupted Boris Johnson as they pushed to get reporters out of the room, shouting over the British prime minister during his Oval Office meeting with Biden.

 

[…]

 

But his aides yelled ‘thank you’ and ‘let’s go’ to the press in the room, herding them outside as Biden appeared to address the issue. But between the shouting of his aides and the president’s wearing a face mask, it was impossible to make out the majority of what Biden said.

 

In the Oval Office sit down, Johnson took control of the meeting, calling on British reporters for questions that he and Biden answered. No American reporters were recognized.

 

Biden had a notecard in hand – as he usually does for meetings – that he referred to during his remarks with Johnson.

 

After reporters were pulled from the Oval Office, a group of American reporters making up the ‘pool’ – the small group of journalists that follow the president to represent the entire press crops –  went into White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s office to file a formal complaint about the situation.

 

‘The entire editorial component of the US pool went immediately into Jen Psaki’s office to register a formal complaint that no American reporters were recognized for questions in the president’s Oval Office,’ noted CBS radio correspondent Steve Portnoy in his report. Portnoy is also president of the White House Correspondents Association. ‘And that wranglers loudly shouted over the president as he seemed to give an answer to Ed O’Keefe’s question about the situation at the Southern Border. Biden’s answer could not be heard over the shouting.’

Mandela Barnes might be a perfect socialist

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a sample:

We learned last week that the Democrat front-runner for U.S. Senate and current lieutenant governor, Mandela Barnes, did not pay any income taxes and received health care coverage from the taxpayers via BadgerCare in the same year he purchased two condos and ran for public office. It is a pattern of behavior that has become all too familiar in Barnes’ short political career.

 

[…]

 

This has been Barnes’ pattern throughout his political life. As he proudly touts his “progressive” credentials, he burnishes his socialist credentials by using every opportunity to avoid paying his own way and to spend other people’s money. Such purloining is at the heart of socialism.

 

In 2019, the public learned that Barnes had not paid the property taxes on his condo. According to city of Milwaukee records, Barnes had two delinquent property tax bills in June. The property taxes were due by the end of January and Barnes still had not paid them by the middle of summer. When confronted with the delinquency, Barnes dismissed the news as “ridiculous” and claimed that the “check is in the mail” — the refrain of deadbeats since the advent of regular mail service.

 

Barnes’ reluctance to pay his fair share of the tax burden is understandable. Many property owners grit their teeth when the property tax bill comes due every year. But such frustration with the high cost of government is not a valid reason to withhold payment, and socialists like Barnes want government to cost even more. 

 

[…]

 

Barnes’ thoughtless use of the taxpayers’ dollars, disregard for personal responsibilities, and entitled rudeness are not deviations from the norm. They are the norm. He has spent a career finding ways to spend other people’s money as he enriches himself. That is precisely what he will continue to do should Wisconsin’s voters be foolhardy enough to send him to the U.S. Senate on their behalf.

Violent Milwaukee

Frankly, until the people in Milwaukee start caring, it’s hard for me to get up the energy. I’ll just avoid going there.

Milwaukee is in the grip of the worst violence in its modern history. There were 189 killings here last year, a 93% increase from 2019 and the most ever recorded.

 

The jump reflects a nationwide trend. In one study, researchers from the nonprofit Council on Criminal Justice looked at 34 cities and found that 29 had more homicides last year than in 2019. The overall rise was 30%, though in most places killings remained below their peaks in the 1990s.

 

Among the 19 cities with more than half a million people — including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago — none saw a bigger surge than Milwaukee. With 127 killings through the first half of September, the city is nearly on pace to match last year’s record. Hughes was the 78th person killed this year.

 

[…]

 

Black officers now make up 18% of the force, which has downsized considerably over the last two decades and become much less diverse. The homicide unit has shrunk to two dozen detectives.

 

[…]

 

Milwaukee police have solved 58% of the homicides committed last year, down from 68% in 2019. The rate so far this year is 34%.

Judge Throws Out Attempt to Oust Republican Board Member

Our government is breaking down.

A Dane County judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit from Attorney General Josh Kaul seeking to remove the head of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, which sets policy for the state Department of Natural Resources.

Kaul, who filed the lawsuit in mid-April, sought to have the board’s chair, Frederick Prehn, removed from the body after his term expired on May 1. Prehn has stayed on in the role — meaning Republican appointees maintain a 4-3 majority on the board — citing a little-known law that allows members to keep their seats on the board if the state Senate has not confirmed their replacements.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ nominee to replace Prehn, Sandra Dee Naas, has not yet received a hearing in the Legislature’s upper chamber — something that is commonplace among the governor’s nominees, including several Cabinet secretaries.

Prehn, a Wausau dentist who was appointed to the board by former Gov. Scott Walker in May 2015, could, in theory, remain on the board for years under the current strategy.

I love some bare knuckle politics as much as the next guy, but there is also supposed to be a regular churn of appointed members. The current administration is entitled to replace board members as a matter of course. This isn’t like the Biden Administration’s ouster of board members before their terms were up. This is normal order. The Senate has the prerogative to approve or deny the governor’s candidate, but to just sit on their hands is to disrupt normal order. This plays both ways.

Some Health Insurers Stop covering 100% of COVID Treatment

Good. COVID is a virus that will be with us forevermore. It is time to treat it like we would any other malady.

In 2020, as the pandemic took hold, U.S. health insurance companies declared they would cover 100% of the costs for covid treatment, waiving co-pays and expensive deductibles for hospital stays that frequently range into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

But this year, most insurers have reinstated co-pays and deductibles for covid patients, in many cases even before vaccines became widely available. The companies imposed the costs as industry profits remained strong or grew in 2020, with insurers paying out less to cover elective procedures that hospitals suspended during the crisis.

Remember that whenever insurance covers anything 100%, all that means is that all premium payers are picking up the full bill.

Haitians Invade Texas

We don’t really have a border anymore, and it is intentional.

DEL RIO, Texas (AP) — Haitian migrants seeking to escape poverty, hunger and a feeling of hopelessness in their home country said they will not be deterred by U.S. plans to speedily send them back, as thousands of people remained encamped on the Texas border Saturday after crossing from Mexico.

 

Scores of people waded back and forth across the Rio Grande on Saturday afternoon, re-entering Mexico to purchase water, food and diapers in Ciudad Acuña before returning to the Texas encampment under and near a bridge in the border city of Del Rio.

 

Junior Jean, a 32-year-old man from Haiti, watched as people cautiously carried cases of water or bags of food through the knee-high river water. Jean said he lived on the streets in Chile the past four years, resigned to searching for food in garbage cans.

 

“We are all looking for a better life,” he said.

I get that Haiti is a hellhole, but why is the U.S. responsible for it? If Haiti is that bad, what about Mexico? Cuba – that communist paradise? Venezuela? Canada? Belize? Jamaica? Heck… what about the other side of the island in the Dominican Republic?

Someone is paying for all of these Haitians to travel to Mexico to this focal point in Del Rio. Someone is opening ports and doors to get them there. This is intentional.

France’s Foreign Minister Compared Biden to Trump

Ooo… that’s gotta hurt in the halls of the White House. I wonder if anyone told Biden.

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the announcement a “stab in the back”.

He called it a “brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision” that reminded him of former US President Donald Trump.

French diplomats in Washington cancelled a gala to celebrate ties between the US and France in retaliation.

Lawmakers Introduce Anti-Riot Bill

Meh. The problem with preventing/punishing riots doesn’t have anything to do with the laws. There are plenty of laws against destroying property, assaulting people, disrupting traffic, etc. The problem is that they happen in liberal cities where the politicians and local police lack the will to aggressively enforce those laws.

Remaining at a protest that turns violent or destructive could result in felony charges in Wisconsin under a proposal from Republican state lawmakers.

 

Sponsors say the plan is partly in response to last summer’s violence and destruction in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. It would create a definition of “riot” in state law and impose new penalties.

 

Under the bill, a riot would be defined as an unlawful assembly of three or more people that includes an act or threat of violence by at least one person that poses a risk or would result in personal injury or property damage, or an act that “substantially obstructs law enforcement or another governmental function.”

 

The proposal would make it a felony to participate in a riot that results in “substantial damage to property or personal injury,” with a minimum penalty of 45 days in jail and a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine and up to three and a half years in prison. It would also make it a misdemeanor crime to attend or incite a riot or to block a thoroughfare while participating in a riot, with a minimum penalty of at least 30 days incarceration and a maximum penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and 9 months in jail.

Student Debt Breakdown

Interesting data. It helps inform us that when we are talking about the student debt “crisis,” we’re mostly talking about people who took on a lot of debt to go into lucrative professions. To have taxpayers pay that debt is really to have the working class pay off the debt of the professional class.

Overall, graduates with associate’s degrees borrowed an average of $14,000, as compared to bachelor’s degree grads who borrowed $23,000.

 

Then there are master’s degrees, of which the costs have been a large focus of the conversation around the price of higher education in recent months. Master’s degree holders borrowed a median of $40,000, according to the data, while professional degree recipients took out a median of $144,000 while doctoral degree graduates borrowed a median of $73,000, according to the data.

 

“The one pattern that really did jump out at me … is that the student debt for a master’s degree and for professional degrees is just off the charts,” Gillen said. “There’s really, really high debt for graduate programs. That doesn’t always hold for doctoral programs, which I felt was kind of interesting.”

Biden’s Deal Draws Ire of America’s Oldest Ally

Making friends

France is reacting with anger after being left out of an agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia to give Australia nuclear-powered submarines.

 

In a statement issued by French Minister Of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-yves Le Drian and Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, the country said the decision announced on Wednesday “is contrary to the letter and spirit of the cooperation that prevailed between France and Australia, based on a relationship of political trust as well as on the development of a very high-level defence industrial and technological base in Australia.”

 

The statement went on to call the announcement “regrettable.”

Biden Backs Milley Despite Treason Revelations

Biden’s judgment is remaining consistent.

WASHINGTON — The White House affirmed on Wednesday that it was standing by Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who according to a new book may have circumvented the military chain of command by reassuring a Chinese general he would warn Beijing if then-President Donald Trump ordered a nuclear attack on the rival superpower.

 

“The president has complete confidence in his leadership, his patriotism and his fidelity to our Constitution,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing.

What kind of chumps are we?

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News this week.

America is increasingly becoming a country where if you work hard, play by the rules, take care of your family, and live up to your responsibilities, you are a chump. Not only are you a chump, but you are held in contempt by those who want what you have.

 

Many of us grew up in an America where we were expected to build our own American Dreams. In our teens or early adulthood, we would enter the workforce in some low wage job to work our way up the ladder. Without any real skills or experience, entry level jobs were compensated accordingly. Those first jobs were grunt work, but they taught us responsibility, diligence, work ethic, and the value of a day’s work.
Now the thought of a crummy first job has become taboo. Some people expect their first jobs to be “family supporting” even when there isn’t any family to support. Convinced that they posses a personal dignity that wafts above the demands of menial labor, they sit home and sponge off others while waiting in their lobby of their own future.

 

Some of us chose the path of college to gain an education necessary for our chosen careers. We worked, scrimped, and chose a college within our means. Many of us also borrowed money with the full understanding that it was a debt we were incurring as an investment in our own futures and would pay the money back with the wages of that future.

 

Now we are being told that we must also pay off the bad investments in others’ futures too. When that neighbor kid took out massive loans to go to a college she could not afford to get a degree in something that had little market value, she made a bad investment. But instead of being responsible for her choice, she tells us that we must pay for her bad choice with a righteous entitlement that is only learned in our most esteemed universities.

 

As we began our families, many of us grew up in an America where we were expected to be responsible for them. We had to feed, clothe, house, and educate our children so that they would become responsible adults who could build their own futures and contribute to their communities. This often meant making personal compromises. We scaled our living expenses to live on one income so that one parent could stay home or worked overtime to afford help. We bought the store brand food, took “vacations” to the neighboring county, lived in modest homes, and became masters of the thrift stores.

 

Now we are being told that all those compromises we made in our own lives to care for our own families cannot be expected of others. Instead, we must pay to feed every kid in school whether their families can afford it or not. We must pay for child care for other people’s kids. We are not permitted to question the choices of parents who enjoy their steak dinners and vacations as they expect us to feed, clothe, and provide child care for their children. To ask such questions is deemed insensitive and inappropriate.

 

As we thought about getting older, many of us put money away to care for ourselves in our dotage. We have spent a lifetime pulling money out of our earnings to stash away with the hope of growing old. Again, we made compromises. We ate out less, bought cheaper houses, made that old couch last another year, and just lived with that dent in the car door instead of fixing it. A lifetime of little compromises is the price borne to afford an independent old age.

 

Now we are being told that if we have managed to save a nest egg for ourselves that we must share it with those who never made those compromises. Even now, the liberals in Washington and Madison are eyeing retirement funds as “wealth” to be taxed and taken for those who lived as if they would never grow old.

 

Now President Joe Biden is mandating vaccines, but only for Americans who are working and being responsible. If you are an illegal alien, are on the dole, work for Congress, are a refugee, or refuse to work, you do not have to get vaccinated. Only Americans who are gainfully employed are being forced to choose between getting vaccinated and pauperism. Irrespective of your opinion on federal vaccination mandates (I vehemently oppose them), only Americans who are being responsible, working, contributing members of society are feeling the heavy jack boots of Biden’s mandates.

 

So what kind of chumps are we? Why work hard, make personal compromises, and invest in a future that you will never be able to enjoy?

 

These questions are why socialism always fails. People are compassionate and want to help care for those in our society who are truly not able to care for themselves. When, however, people are forced to work harder to pay for those who are unwilling to care for themselves, they become chumps. And when the chump’s burden of paying for their lazy neighbor becomes too heavy and robs them of the rewards of their labor, then the chumps give up and look for some other chump to pay the bills. The cascade continues until there aren’t any more chumps left to pay.

Parents Push Back on SEL and CRT Curriculum in West Bend

I heard rumblings about the West Bend School Board’s meeting last night, but the video of parents sharing their views is incredibly compelling. Check out the Washington County Insider for more.

Quite a few parents asked the board to call an emergency meeting to remove the SEL and CRT curriculum from the West Bend School District.

 

“Stop teaching SEL in Badger and the high school and take emergency action to remove it now. You are causing harm to our children,” said parent Corine Freund. “It is not safe in our school. My son got beat up last week in your school district and I am tired of it.”

 

Nicole Casper has two children and already removed one from the district opting for homeschooling. “Why do you think it’s ok to continue teaching something parents don’t want,” she said. “Why is there such a pushback against parents who are concerned to have this stopped?”

 

Jamie Dutcher read from SEL curriculum that promoted a website for 13-and-14-year-old children. The website loveisrespect.org reminded students to “clear your history after visiting this website.”

 

“Sex can be a fun and gratifying activity for you and your partners to enjoy together. Five tips for your first time. … You can live chat your questions to us.”

 

Dutcher said she asked superintendent Jen Wimmer about the site and Wimmer told her the website was stricken from the curriculum.

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