Category Archives: Politics

Red-faced in Virginia

What the heck is going on with Virginia’s Democrats?

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has acknowledged wearing “brown makeup” to a party, days after the state governor admitting wearing blackface.

The second-in-line to the governor’s seat said in a statement on Wednesday that he wore a costume to a party when he was 19 years old at university.

Mr Herring had joined calls for Governor Ralph Northam to quit over a racist photo and blackface scandal.

The lieutenant governor is meanwhile battling a sex assault claim.

All three men are Democrats. If they were to resign over these controversies, Virginia could be led by the Republican Speaker of the House of Delegates, Kirk Cox.

Elizabeth Warren Appropriates Native American Heritage for Personal Gain

She’s lied about this for 40 years for her personal gain.

(CNN)Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren listed her race as “American Indian” on a State Bar of Texas registration card in 1986, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The Post’s reporting represents a previously unknown instance of Warren claiming her race as Native American and the first document that appears to definitively show Warren making the claim in her own handwriting. According to the Post, Warren has previously declined to answer whether she or an assistant filled out forms in which her race was listed as Native American.
Warren’s longstanding assertions of having Native American heritage have dogged her political career and provided fodder for attacks from President Donald Trump. Her use of DNA testing to confirm her limited Native roots last year was met with fierce criticism from some Native American groups. The prospective 2020 Democratic presidential candidate is expected to formally announce her entrance into the race on Saturday after forming an exploratory committee on New Year’s Eve.
The card, obtained by the Post in an open records request, lists Warren’s alma maters of the University of Houston and Rutgers Law School but no other racial identifiers.
Stories like this reveal the dirty underside of our identity politics.

Evers Sics DNR on Foxconn

Evers is having his newly weaponized DNR rehash old permits. Wisconsin is not open for business.

Gov. Tony Evers said Tuesday that state environmental officials will review air-quality permits issued last year to electronics maker Foxconn for its planned $10 billion campus near Racine.

Evers told reporters he discussed the topic with Foxconn officials but doesn’t believe the company is concerned.

“Clearly that’s one area the people of Wisconsin were concerned about, is air quality,” Evers said.

Evers’ comments clarify what he told reporters Friday, following a series of reports suggesting the company’s plans for Wisconsin were in flux.

During the campaign, Evers said scientists told him a flawed process was used to issue the Foxconn air-quality permits. The company’s plan to build a manufacturing facility in Mount Pleasant would make it one of the largest sources in southeast Wisconsin for pollutants that create smog. The region already suffers from summer smog problems, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has reported.

Elect Hagedorn to protect Wisconsin’s conservative revolution

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

Wisconsin’s era of conservative reform came to an end with the election of Gov. Tony Evers. With a liberal governor, the conservative majorities in the Legislature are relegated to a rearguard action to defend the magnificent gains made in the last eight years. But the Legislature’s rampart might be flanked if Wisconsin’s liberals are able to seize control of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court. They could do that next year unless Judge Brian Hagedorn is elected to the court this April.

When Scott Walker was elected in 2010, Wisconsin’s liberals made it clear that they could not abide the will of the people and allow conservatives to govern. A familiar pattern emerged: Republicans legally pass conservative legislation into law; liberals sue; Dane County judge invalidates conservative law; after appeals, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturns the Dane County judge and allows the law to take hold. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has consistently thwarted the liberals’ attempt to overturn conservative laws through the courts, so the liberals are determined to get the court back under their control.

Right now, four of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court Justices are judicial conservatives. That means that they think the role of the court is to strictly interpret the law as written and respect the rights and responsibilities of the other two branches of government to enact the will of the people through legislation. By contrast, three of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court justices are judicial liberals, meaning that they take a more expansive view of the role of the court to enact their own wills to right wrongs, as they define them, with little regard for judicial restraint.

One of those three judicial liberals, Justice Shirley Abrahamson, is retiring and the election this April is to replace her. At first glance, this may appear to be a relatively inconsequential election. The balance of the court is not on the line. If the people of Wisconsin elect a judicial liberal, the balance of the court will remain the same. If the voters elect a judicial conservative, then the judicial conservatives strengthen their majority to a 5-2 split. Without much on the line, why worry, right?

The key is to look to April of 2020. In that election, incumbent Justice Dan Kelly will likely run for reelection. Kelly is one of the judicial conservatives on the court. The challenge for Kelly is that the presidential primary will be on the same ballot. President Donald Trump is unlikely to face a serious primary challenger, so Republican turnout will be light. Meanwhile, the Democratic primary for president portends to be hotly contested, so Democratic turnout will likely be massive. That does not bode well for a conservative judicial candidate on the ballot. Kelly faces a steep uphill climb that has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with the rest of the ballot.

If Wisconsin’s voters replace Abrahamson with another judicial liberal and retain a 4-3 judicial conservative majority, it is exceedingly likely that the election of April 2020 will flip the court to a judicial liberal majority. If that happens, liberals will sue to overturn every conservative law passed in the previous decade and have the Supreme Court on their side. They cannot turn back the clock through the representative democratic process, so they will turn to the courts instead. Act 10, concealed carry, school choice, the repeal of prevailing wage, the Wisconsin REINS Act, voter ID, right to work, castle doctrine — all of it is at risk if judicial liberals gain control of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court.

That is why Wisconsin must elect a judicial conservative to the Supreme Court this April. That judicial conservative is Appeals Court Judge Brian Hagedorn.

Hagedorn has served in a number of legal capacities since graduating from the Northwestern University School of Law. After three years in private practice, he worked as a law clerk for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman before going to work as an assistant attorney general. He worked as Gov. Scott Walker’s chief legal counsel from 2011 to 2015 during the time when many of Wisconsin’s most significant reforms in generations were passed into law. Since 2015, Hagedorn has been serving as a judge on Wisconsin’s Court of Appeals.

Hagedorn’s judicial philosophy is one of restraint and humble respect for the individual rights and the will of the people. As he says, “justices wear neutral robes, not capes.” That is exactly the kind of attitude Wisconsin needs on the court to protect our liberties and uphold constitutional laws that were dutifully passed by the representatives of the people.

Elect Hagedorn to protect Wisconsin’s conservative revolution

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Log on or pick up a copy for the whole thing. Here’s a sample:

The key is to look to April of 2020. In that election, incumbent Justice Dan Kelly will likely run for reelection. Kelly is one of the judicial conservatives on the court.The challenge for Kelly is that the presidential primary will be on the same ballot. President Donald Trump is unlikely to face a serious primary challenger, so Republican turnout will be light. Meanwhile, the Democratic primary for president portends to be hotly contested, so Democratic turnout will likely be massive. That does not bode well for a conservative judicial candidate on the ballot. Kelly faces a steep uphill climb that has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with the rest of the ballot.

If Wisconsin’s voters replace Abrahamson with another judicial liberal and retain a 4-3 judicial conservative majority, it is exceedingly likely that the election of April 2020 will flip the court to a judicial liberal majority. If that happens, liberals will sue to overturn every conservative law passed in the previous decade and have the Supreme Court on their side. They cannot turn back the clock through the representative democratic process, so they will turn to the courts instead. Act 10, concealed carry, school choice, the repeal of prevailing wage, the Wisconsin REINS Act, voter ID, right to work, castle doctrine — all of it is at risk if judicial liberals gain control of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court.

That is why Wisconsin must elect a judicial conservative to the Supreme Court this April. That judicial conservative is Appeals Court Judge Brian Hagedorn.

Unions Sue to Centralize Government Power in the Executive

Now that the Executive Branch is controlled by Democrats

The plaintiffs include Service Employees International Union, Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers, American Federation of Teachers and Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals. Nine individual plaintiffs also are listed, including state Sen. Janet Bewley, D-Mason.

The suit contends the laws violate the state constitution by stripping powers from the executive branch. It asks a judge to bar state officials from implementing or enforcing the challenged provisions.

The laws are “a clear attempt by one branch, the Legislature, upset by an electoral outcome affecting another branch, to undo the separation of powers” in the constitution, according to the complaint.

British Rapper and Felon to be Deported

Well, well… not exactly the “hiding in the shadows” story we usually get.

Atlanta rapper 21 Savage has been arrested by immigration officials who say he is actually from the UK, reports say.

The rapper, Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, came to the US in July 2005 aged 12 and failed to leave when his visa expired a year later, officials said.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesman said he was being held for removal proceedings.

He has previously described a childhood in Atlanta during interviews.

In an interview with Fader magazine in 2016 he said he had first seen a gun at the age of eight – although the article did not specify where this incident had taken place.

The 26-year-old is also quoted in the interview as saying he was expelled from school in Atlanta aged about 12 or 13 for taking a gun to class.

“His whole public persona is false,” a CNN reporter quoted an ICE spokesman as saying.

Other reports quoted ICE as saying the rapper was being held in the state of Georgia for being unlawfully present in the US and for being a felon. He was convicted of drugs charges in 2014.
[…]

There are 10.6 million undocumented immigrants in the US, according to the Center for Migration Studies. That represents 3.25% of the US population.

Invasion Continues at Southern Border

It won’t stop until we stop it.

MEXICO CITY — Thousands of U.S.-bound Central American migrants resumed their northern journey on Thursday, Mexico City officials said, part of a growing group of would-be asylum seekers who say they are fleeing violence and poverty back home.

Around 2,400 migrants left a city shelter to begin the journey from the Mexican capital early Thursday morning, the latest caravan to embark upon the risky path to the U.S.-Mexican border despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s determination to prevent them from entering.

Since last October, thousands of mostly Central American migrants have sought to cross into the United States, many traveling in caravans in order to minimize the risks of kidnapping and attacks by members of criminal gangs while in Mexican territory.

Virginia Governor Caught in Scandal

The man just advocated infanticide and I’m supposed to get outraged over this?

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam appears to have almost no choice but to resign after losing support from virtually the entire state Democratic party and other key allies, who late Friday urged the governor to leave office because of a racist photo in which he appeared more than 30 years ago.

[…]

The yearbook images were first published Friday afternoon by the conservative news outlet Big League Politics. The Virginian-Pilot later obtained a copy from Eastern Virginia Medical School, which Northam attended. The photo shows two people looking at the camera — one in blackface wearing a hat, bow tie and plaid pants; the other in a full Ku Klux Klan robe.

An Associated Press reporter saw the yearbook page and confirmed its authenticity at the medical school.

In his first apology, issued in a written statement, Northam called the costume he wore “clearly racist and offensive,” but he didn’t say which one he had worn.

Is West Bend Planning to Build a School For Germantown Kids?

Ever since the West Bend School Board started down the road of building a new Jackson Elementary School, something has struck me as odd about the location. Follow me here…

The plans for a New Jackson Elementary School in the West Bend School District call to build a new and much larger school building. The School Board has already purchased property to the south of the current school. Here’s the thing… Jackson Elementary already sits in the extreme southern part of the district. The new site moves it further south. Why? And why build a bigger building when enrollment is declining?

Here’s the thing about Jackson… it sits astride three school districts. Here’s a map:

As you can see, the site of the proposed new school is less than a mile from the Germantown School District and just about a mile from the Slinger District. The question becomes, where will the population growth be? If the population growth is going to be to the north of the village, then it would make more sense to site the new school further north. Due to the Jackson Marsh and the underground pipeline to the east of town, nobody really expects growth that way. The most likely areas for growth are to the West, in the Slinger District, or to the South, in the Germantown District.

Fortunately, we don’t even have to speculate too much. The Village of Jackson has approved a handful of new subdivisions. You can see the map here. One of those subdivisions is a 20 acre plat on the south side of town in the Germantown School District. Incidentally, Joel Ongert, the West Bend School Board President, and Don Kirkegaard, the West Bend School Superintendent, attended the Village Board meeting where that subdivision was approved.

Here is the same map where I’ve shaded in the approved new subdivisions:

This is just what the Village of Jackson has approved. I don’t know what Mayfield, Slinger, Germantown, and Richfield have planned for their pieces of this map. So the question remains… why does the West Bend School Board want to build a massive new school on the extreme southern boundary of the district? Is it to serve the kids currently living in the district or the ones who will move into the district? Or is the big new school designed to lure kids from the Germantown and Slinger Districts through Open Enrollment?

We know that the West Bend School District has been a loser in the Open Enrollment battles for years. Is this school designed to stop that bleeding? If so, why should the taxpayers of the West Bend School District shoulder the burden of building a fancy new school to serve kids who live in another district? IF the taxpayers are going to build a new school to serve their own kids, why not build it on the north side of town – further inside the district and closer to the potential growth around PV?

There has been a lot that doesn’t add up about the why, where, and how for the School Board’s push for a huge new school in Jackson. Perhaps the cartography answers some of those questions – even if they don’t want to say it out loud.

Wisconsin Government Awash in Taxpayer Cash

It looks like there’s ample money for another tax cut!

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and the GOP-controlled state Legislature will have about $1.8 billion in new state tax revenue as they craft the next budget, according to a report released Wednesday by the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office.

[…]

In addition to new revenue projections, the numbers also show the state is projected to end the current budget on June 30 with nearly $700 million in the bank.

Evers Badgers Foxconn about Environmental Regulations

Gee, is there any wonder why Foxconn might be getting cold feet when this is the first thing they hear from the new governor?

Gov. Tony Evers says he’s confident Foxconn’s leaders understand his concerns around the manufacturer’s environmental impact in Wisconsin.

Addressing RENEW Wisconsin’s Renewable Energy Summit yesterday in Madison, the guv said he spoke with Foxconn’s Louis Woo Wednesday night. The special assistant to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou told Evers about the company’s plans to keep the waters of Lake Michigan clean.

“I know we’re always concerned about the environmental issues as it related to Foxconn,” Evers said. “I feel confident going forward that they get it, and that we’ll have a good partnership there.”

Still, he said, “we have some things to check up on though.”

Gov. Tony Evers’ SOS

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News yesterday. Stay warm out there!

Gov. Tony Evers took to the Assembly chamber last week to give his first State of the State speech. Evers had a difficult challenge ahead of him. Thanks to his predecessor and the legislative majorities who were just re-elected, the state is in historically good shape, but Evers had to redefine success in order to justify his radical agenda. As we enter an era of divided government in Wisconsin, Evers’ speech was infused with rigid liberal dogma delivered in a confrontational tone. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the speech, however, is how he blundered his way into a completely avoidable controversy.

One of Evers’ campaign promises was that he would withdraw Wisconsin from an ongoing lawsuit regarding Obamacare. That suit is suing to invalidate Obamacare on the grounds that the individual mandate is unconstitutional (it is) and has made good progress in the lower courts. Since several states are involved in the suit, Wisconsin’s withdrawal will not have a measurable effect on the outcome of the case, but withdrawing would be a symbolic gesture to Evers’ radical liberal base.

Knowing that Evers intended to fulfill this promise, the Legislature passed a law in December that requires the governor to gain legislative approval before withdrawing the state from ongoing legal actions. It was a way for the Legislature to add a check to what was a unilateral power of the executive branch.

Governor Evers knew all of this when he declared in his State of the State speech, with great fanfare from the liberals in the room, that “I’m announcing tonight that I have fulfilled a promise I made to the people of Wisconsin by directing Attorney General Kaul to withdraw from a lawsuit … .”

While it made for a great applause line for liberals, Evers was declaring that he had instructed Kaul to withdraw from the Obamacare lawsuit. It is important to note that Evers used the past tense, meaning that he had already issued the instruction to the attorney general. Evers announced this in a statewide, televised speech even though he knew that it was no longer legal for him to unilaterally withdraw from the lawsuit.

Quickly after the speech, Republicans pointed out the error in Evers’ declaration and the attorneys from

the nonpartisan Legislative Reference Bureau reiterated the meaning of the clear language of the law that Evers could not order the attorney general to withdraw from the Obamacare lawsuit.

Within days of Evers’ speech, he had to walk back the order to comply with the law and Attorney General Kaul has dutifully requested that the Legislature approve withdrawing from the lawsuit. The odds are that such approval will not be forthcoming.

Evers’ reaction is quite telling. In a statement to the Wisconsin State Journal, Evers claimed that he understood that the action would require legislative approval and said, “So in my worldview — and I know that’s not everyone’s worldview — there’s nothing inconsistent with what I said and what’s actually going to happen.”

Evers is trying to create an alternate reality where he was in the right. The problem with that is he did not say it in an off-the-cuff remark. He made a formal declaration in his State of the State address. Presumably, such a formal speech had been vetted, reworked, and fact-checked by his staff and himself multiple times before it was delivered. He is an educator by profession and had ample time to write the statement in a way that people could understand his meaning without having to divine Evers’ worldview.

There can only be two rational explanations for Evers’ blunder, and refusal to own up to it. Either Evers is simply a liberal activist who will run roughshod over the law in pursuit of his agenda unless he is checked, or he lacks the competence necessary to write a coherent speech — much less run a state.

Either way, for those of us who were hoping, despite our political differences, for honesty and competence in the Evers governorship, this early bungle does not bode well for the next four years.

Gov. Tony Evers’ SOS

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Check it out online or pick up a copy. It’s about Evers’ abortive and illegal effort to withdraw the state from the Obamacare lawsuit. Here’s a part:

Evers is trying to create an alternate reality where he was in the right. The problem with that is he did not say it in an off-the-cuff remark. He made a formal declaration in his State of the State address. Presumably, such a formal speech had been vetted, reworked, and fact-checked by his staff and himself multiple times before it was delivered. He is an educator by profession and had ample time to write the statement in a way that people could understand his meaning without having to divine Evers’ worldview.

There can only be two rational explanations for Evers’ blunder, and refusal to own up to it. Either Evers is simply a liberal activist who will run roughshod over the law in pursuit of his agenda unless he is checked, or he lacks the competence necessary to write a coherent speech — much less run a state.

Either way, for those of us who were hoping, despite our political differences, for honesty and competence in the Evers governorship, this early bungle does not bode well for the next four years.

 

West Bend School Board Moves to Close Charter School

It’s actually become pretty easy to predict what this school board will do… if the teachers union wants it, the board will give it to them.

Tonight, the West Bend School Board approved that recommendation in a 5-1 vote with board member Ken Schmidt being the only no vote. Kurt Rebholz was not in attendance at tonight’s meeting.

Chelsea Doman Davis, a WBSD parent, spoke in support of Pathways Charter School at tonight’s meeting, “I am speaking to you again about Pathways. This is the third time you’ve heard from me on this subject, but as a child advocate, I am used to speaking up when others are uncomfortable to do so. I realize at this point I am unlikely to sway opinions but after last week’s work session, I felt a few more things needed to be more said. I’m a little more off the cuff than usual so forgive me if I ramble or stumble.

“First of all, as a parent I was a little disappointed that the information shared in last week’s work session wasn’t requested a year ago when the extension was granted. This work session was even a last-minute decision at the end of the meeting two weeks ago. You had a year to decide and were waiting until the last minute to try to understand what Pathways is about. With the weather last week, I’m not sure if any of you were able to go to Pathways or if you’ve taken the opportunity to do so before. I think only a few of you have. The best way to understand Pathways is to go to the Showcase Nights and talk to the students and see what they’re working on.

[…]

Diana Swillinger, Pathways Charter School Governance Council, commented,”The board decision not to renew its partnership with Pathways is extremely disappointing. While many words from the administration offered promises for a similar education and environment at East and West High Schools, the examples given of how Pathways students would be transitioned and integrated showed a lack of understanding of the experience and  autonomy students currently have. We can hope, for the students’ sakes that administrators will gain a significantly greater understanding in the coming weeks and months in order to not fail them.
“Pathways is a unique and intense educational opportunity that will not be duplicated within the current system. Students, parents and staff are grieving a great loss.”

Shultz Considers Run

Run, baby, run.

(CNN)Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said on Sunday he is seriously considering running for president as a “centrist independent” in 2020.

“We’re living at a most fragile time,” Schultz told CBS’s Scott Pelley in a “60 Minutes” interview that aired on Sunday. “Not only the fact that this President is not qualified to be the president, but the fact that both parties are consistently not doing what’s necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged every single day in revenge politics.”

Last week, CNN reported two people familiar with Schultz’s thinking said the businessman is exploring a potential 2020 presidential run as an independent.

A person close to Schultz’s advisers said his team is “exploring a possible independent bid for the presidency in 2020,” but the person emphasized that all options remained on the table.

UW Uses Federal Money to Pay off Loan

Argh.

The University of Wisconsin System will use federal money to pay off bank loans taken out by the UW-Oshkosh Foundation, according to agreements released Friday.

The UW System paid $6.3 million to banks using federal money designated for administrative costs — meaning no state taxpayer money or tuition dollars, according to UW System spokeswoman Heather LaRoi. This money comes from reimbursements for administrative costs already incurred by the UW System related to federal grant activity at UW campuses.

At the close of fiscal year 2018, the UW System had about $9.5 million in federal money from this fund that had accrued over the last decade, according to LaRoi.

UW-Oshkosh will pay back the UW System $3.825 million in annual installments of $191,250 from January 2020 through July 2038, according to the agreement. The annual payments will be made with money from the Witzel biodigester, which turns organic waste into energy. The UW System Board of Regents assumed ownership of the biodigester along with the UW-Oshkosh Alumni Welcome and Conference Center.The payments related to the bankrupty case stem from a building projects controversy surrounding the university’s foundation, a nonprofit organization primarily funded through private donations and investments to help the university.

Remember that this is all because the former chancellor illegally backed loans by a private institution with taxpayer money. That private institution, the UW) Foundation, subsequently bought his house for way above market price. And in the end, who pays? The taxpayers. Meanwhile, take note that the UW System continues to horde slush funds.

This is also yet another example of how much of our money the federal government pisses away. Why in the world are they handing out millions to a university system for “administrative costs?”

*blink*

Heh.

President Donald Trump has endorsed a deal to reopen the US government for three weeks, after a record-breaking shutdown of federal agencies.

Congressional sources say the pact does not include any money that Mr Trump has demanded for a US-Mexico border wall.

The Republican president previously vowed to reject any such bill unless it included $5.7bn (£4.3bn) to fund his signature campaign pledge.

But Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, have flatly refused.

Mayor Sadownikow Shared Thoughts on Role

I wish more elected officials thought this way.

“I believe our role is to operate at the speed of business, to facilitate requests and conversations when they arise and stand prepared to respond immediately to the needs of existing or prospective entities,” Sadownikow said. “West Bend helped facilitate several significant developments the past couple of years that validate our internal philosophies.”

Phillips Forgives Students

What a piece of garbage. He targeted teenagers and lied about the whole thing. He should be apologizing – not forgiving.

Native American activist Nathan Phillips said he has prayed about a videotaped encounter last week at the Lincoln Memorial and now he has good feelings in his heart for all the people who mistreated him.

So even though he’s angry, Phillips told NBC’s “Today” show on Thursday that he has forgiveness for the boys from Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School who he said could be seen mocking Native Americans in videos.

Phillips said the white boys were angrily chanting at a group of black street preachers, and “it was really getting explosive.” So he said he used his drum to reach God, and felt “spiritually moved into that center, that whirlwind.”