Category Archives: Politics

Court Rules in Favor of Election Integrity

Excellent.

MADISON – In a sweeping decision that took more than three years to come out, a panel of federal judges on Monday reinstated limits on early voting and a requirement that voters be Wisconsin residents for at least a month before an election.

The three judges also banned most voters from having absentee ballots emailed or faxed to them and told a lower court to continue to tweak the system the state uses to provide voting credentials to those who have the most difficulty getting photo IDs.

The unanimous decision by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago was mostly a setback for the liberal groups that challenged Wisconsin’s voting laws, but it did give them some victories. The appeals court upheld a decision that allows college students to use expired university IDs to vote and barred the state from requiring colleges to provide citizenship information about dorm residents who head to the polls.

Although there was a down side.

In one victory for those who brought the lawsuit, the appeals court agreed with Peterson that students could use expired college IDs to vote. And the appeals court also went along with the lower court ruling that said the state could not require universities to provide citizenship information about students living in dorms. (Such a requirement would violate federal privacy laws for students, the appeals court found.)

Monday’s decision also dealt with a separate challenge to the voter ID law that was heard by U.S. Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee. The appeals court had already blocked a ruling by Adelman that would have allowed people to vote without an ID if they signed an affidavit. It gave a final reversal to Adelman’s decision with Monday’s ruling.

Couple Defends Home

Good for them.

A couple brandished an AR-15 and a handgun at protesters marching past their mansion in an upscale St. Louis neighborhood.

Husband and wife, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, could be seen aiming the guns at demonstrators who walked by their palatial property in the wealthy Forest Park area at around 6pm on Sunday.

While the couple is easy to tease for their poor weapon handling and wealthy trappings, they are expressing what many of us are feeling. Our neighborhoods are being overrun by violent rioters and the police are letting them do it. That leaves it to each of us to defend our lives and our property by ourselves. Given the current state of things, did this couple have any reasonable expectation that the cops would come and defend their home? Was there a reasonable expectation that this crowd might decide to sweep through their home, rob it, and burn it? That kind of violence is happening all over the country and this couple acted to defend themselves and their property. Good for them.

Minneapolis Council Members Get Private Armed Security As they Vote to Defund Police

I notice that they are blaming that old bogeyman, “white nationalists.” I call BS. True White Nationalists are not generally supportive of law enforcement. Why would they be upset about defunding the police? It gives them just as much relief from their criminal and terrorist activities. No, I suspect those death threats are coming from the same people who are already making threats in their efforts to destabilize civilized society.

In any case, the hypocrisy is thick and the callous disregard for the safety of the citizens they represent is appalling. They get taxpayer-funded, armed security while they push to strip the streets of protection for those same taxpayers.

Three members of the Minneapolis City Council have been provided with a private security detail after receiving death threats for supporting proposals to defend the city’s police department in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.

A city spokesperson said the private security details ordered for council members Andrea Jenkins, Phillipe Cunningham and Alondra Cano have cost taxpayers $63,000 over the past three weeks – a rate of $4,300 per day.

News of the arrangement surfaced Friday, the same day the council voted 12-0 to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department, initiating steps toward establishing ‘peace officers’ and a new ‘holistic’ approach to public safety.

[…]

The security detail is being provided by two firms, Aegis and BelCom as an interim fix until other security solutions can be established

When asked why MPD are not providing security to the councilmembers, a city spokesperson said the department’s resources are needed elsewhere in the community. The hourly cost of private security is similar to the cost for a police officer, the spokesperson added

Government Asks Tech Companies to Forbid Advocating Crime

This whole censorship thing gets a bit slippery, eh?

As protests against police brutality and racism stretch into their fourth week across the US, the Trump administration is pressuring tech companies to take action against posts that encourage the toppling of statues, describing them as “criminal activity.”

Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf sent letters to companies including Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Snapchat Friday. They claim that social media sites have enabled “burglary, arson, aggravated assault, rioting, looting, and defacing public property,” according to copies of the letters obtained by Business Insider.

Police Officers Leaving The Job

Can you blame them?

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee police say a recent spike in retirements and resignations is a result of the recent unrest.

“Our law enforcement people don’t want to be here anymore,” Assistant Chief Regina Howard said. “I think that’s really tough because of everything going on out there.”

To date in 2020, 75 officers have resigned or retired. Since May 25, 26 (about 35 percent) of those letters were filed. In all of 2019, 69 officers retired or resigned.

“Every single day, there are resignation and retirement letters coming up to the chief’s office,” Howard said. “From members we wouldn’t have expected.”

“These are lieutenants, captains, that play integral roles as it relates to this department,” Assistant Chief Michael Brunson said. “They had dates they were planning on retiring. Because of the environment, because of what’s going on in the zeitgeist, they are deciding to push those retirements up because of this.”

And how many more are taking a step back from policing? How many are just looking the other way when that car blows through a red light? How many are only responding to calls? How many are spending their tours just driving around minding their own business? How many crimes are being committed as our police retreat into the safety of inaction?

Biden Would Abuse Executive Power and Ignore Federalism

Here’s a winning issue… not. Irrespective whether wearing a mask is a good idea or not, do you really want the President of the United States to have the power to micromanage your life like that? Hint: he doesn’t.

(CNN)Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden said if elected president, he would make wearing a face covering in public compulsory, furthering himself on the issue from President Donald Trump who has stressed that masks are voluntary and has flouted public health recommendations.

“The one thing we do know is these masks make a gigantic difference. I would insist that everybody out in public be wearing that mask. Anyone to reopen would have to make sure that they walked into a business that had masks,” Biden told CNN’s affiliate in Pittsburgh, KDKA, while wearing a black mask.
Pressed if he’d use federal power to mandate wearing a mask in public, Biden responded, “Yes, I would. From an executive standpoint, yes I would.”
Asked again if that meant he would “in effect” mandate mask wearing, Biden said, “I would do everything possible to make it required that people had to wear masks in public.”
Take notice of how hard the reporter tried to rescue Biden from himself.

Students Want Lincoln Statue Removed from UW-Madison Campus

It stopped being about tolerance or inclusivity a long time ago. Now it’s about the purge of our shared heritage and a rigid adherence to a radical, and fluid, ideology.

MADISON, WIS. (AP) — The leader of a group for Black students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison wants a statue of President Abraham Lincoln in place for more than 100 years the heart of campus removed.

Nalah McWhorter, president of the Wisconsin Black Student Union, told WISC-TV that marginalized students do not feel that Lincoln symbolizes the emancipation of slaves.

“Just because he was anti-slavery doesn’t mean he was pro-Black,” McWhorter told WISC-TV on Thursday. “He said a lot in his presidential campaigns. His fourth presidential campaign speech, he said that he believes there should be an inferior and superior, and he believes white people should be the superior race.”

$1.4 Billion Went to Dead People

Whenever you throw out this much money at such a rapid pace, there will be rampant errors and fraud.

WASHINGTON — Nearly 1.1 million coronavirus relief payments totaling some $1.4 billion went to dead people, a government watchdog reported Thursday.

More than 130 million so-called economic impact payments were sent to taxpayers as part of the $2.4 trillion coronavirus relief package enacted in March. The Government Accountability Office, Congress’ auditing arm, cited the number of erroneous payments to deceased taxpayers in its report on the government programs.

Democratic Convention Goes Mostly Virtual

It’s a good thing that Milwaukee didn’t expand the Trolley for the convention, eh? The taxpayers dodged a $100+ million Barrett Bullet.

The Democratic National Convention Committee has asked state delegates not to travel to Milwaukee this year, with new coronavirus cases on the rise across the United States.

Instead, Milwaukee will host a four-night scaled-back convention the week of August 17. Instead of taking place at the Fiserv Forum, the convention will be at the Wisconsin Center, also in downtown Milwaukee. State delegates will vote for their candidate virtually.

Vice President Joe Biden is still expected to accept the nomination in Milwaukee.

The announcement Wednesday from the DNCC was not surprising, but disappointing for a city that has spent the last decade rebuilding its downtown and hoping to showcase itself as a tourism destination.

[…]

Event planners say that the convention will still have live broadcasts and curated content from Milwaukee and other satellite cities, locations and landmarks across the country.

West Bend School District Responds to Demands

This is what your tax dollars are being spent on when they cry “poor.” They are working hard to build more self-righteous, ignorant, social justice warriors like the ones making demands.

Laura Jackson, WBSD assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, confirmed that members of the executive leadership team have received a copy of these demands.

“There have been a number of activities taking place in the West Bend School District in the past year and more are scheduled or planned for the rest of 2020, and in 2021 and 2022, to inform and train staff on issues of racial injustice and social justice,” she said.

The district highlighted several activities from recent years to address racial injustice: In 2019 and 2020, the district had small groups of staff work together to examine equity and how it is achieved; staff members participated in Intercultural Development Inventory in 2019 with more inventories scheduled for 2020; WBSD literary specialists and instructional coaches attended training with a nationally-known educator on creating more equitable school spaces last year; instructional coaches also participated in training,

provided through the Department of Public Instruction, which focused on educational equity in mathematics and literacy; in August, the entire WBSD leadership team is scheduled to begin training on developing a greater understanding of racial issues.

More than 100 staff members will attend several days of training; WBSD has developed an internal list of more than 40 resources for staff to read and view. DPI also released a detailed list of resources available to staff; during regular review cycles, the district may address these topics; WBSD is a member of the Closing the Achievement Gap (CAGC) of South Eastern Wisconsin, which includes 36 school districts. One of its goals is to hire more minority teachers and administrators; and there are multicultural clubs in three schools. WBSD said they support any additional clubs being formed and assist in the process.

“As our students and staff return to our schools in September, we recognize that as a school district, we must intentionally prepare to support their social and emotional needs around the continued pandemic and the events around racial injustice,” said Jackson. “We are ready to work with staff on identifying and supporting social and emotional needs, and to also support students as they process events that are dominating the news this summer.”

Madison Mayor Ramps Up Appeasement

What a joke – an unfunny joke. 90% of the statement from Madison’s mayor is about how Madison is doing its best to appease the rioters as fast as possible. You elected this, Madison.

However, what happened last night in Madison was far from peaceful and exceeding dangerous. People attacked a State Senator who championed workers’ rights in 2011, tore down a statute of an abolitionist who died trying to end slavery during the Civil War, and attempted to set fire to a building with dozens of people inside. We need to separate First Amendment protests from those engaged in criminal conduct. People engaged in violence and criminal conduct against people or property on the streets of Madison will be held accountable.

Madison Police are involved in a wide-ranging investigation of activities that lead up to the arrest on the square yesterday and will have further information on this investigation when it is available. Officers are also investigating Sunday night hit and run involving a pick-up truck and a pedestrian.

People are asking for real, substantive changes, and the City is responding. The Council moved forward with the creation of an independent police auditor and an independent civilian police oversight committee, and we will continue to work to implement the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Task Force on Police Policy and Procedure. The Public Safety Review Committee and the City Attorney’s office are reviewing the Madison Police Department’s use of force policies, comparing them with the 8 can’t wait standards, the NAACP recommendations, and other best practices from around the country, and will make recommendations for any needed changes. Our Community and Economic Development divisions are working to develop programs and move funds to support wealth-building, housing assistance,small businesses and more in the Black community. Alders are exploring the mental health ambulance model and how to adapt it for Madison. My office is engaging with the question of how to reimagine public safety, and working to engage the community in all of these issues. At the State level, the Governor and Lt. Governor introduced a strong package of proposals around police reform and racial equity.

I’ll wager that there are zero arrests out of this.

Save State Street?

I feel for these business owners who have seen their livelihoods destroyed. I wonder how many of them supported the lefty city politicians who shut down their local economy and then stood by while the rioters destroyed their businesses.

A coalition of State Street businesses pleaded with the city on Monday to improve safety, offer subsidies to attract new businesses and to temporarily convert the street into a pedestrian mall.

In a letter to the city titled “Save State Street” and signed by “your concerned local State Street business and property owners,” the group, which had been meeting for nearly two weeks, also encouraged the city to fund programs to increase the number of Black and other minority-owned businesses; add more security cameras, remove rocks from planters and to replace the glass at the now boarded up visitor center adjacent to Lisa Link Peace Park.

The list of 19 requests come in the wake of closures due to COVID-19 followed by rioting and looting during protests over the killing of George Floyd. Business owners say they fear for their safety, haven’t been listened to by the city and worry about the street’s vibrancy as several businesses have indicated they may not return.

[…]

A major issue revolves around the presence of police, something the street has lacked in recent weeks, according to business owners.

“We have heard continuously that people, regardless of race, age, sex, etc., do not feel comfortable or safe on State Street with the current state of affairs,” business owners wrote. “That perception is unlikely to change unless the city actively works to change it. Neighborhood officers should be peacefully present, walking State Street and pleasantly interacting with people in an attempt to rebuild relationships and trust with community members.”

Verveer, who represents much of the downtown, said Monday that he is not surprised by the letter and is “appreciative” of the list of the requests. He was asked by the merchants several weeks ago if it would be helpful if they made a list of concerns and offer ideas to address the issues on the street that normally gets millions of visitors a year. The letter is absent names of business owners.

Tommy Thompson to lead UW system

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

The University of Wisconsin System has been struggling to find a new system president to replace the retiring Ray Cross. After an exhaustive and expensive search that yielded a single final candidate, that candidate withdrew his application saying that, “it’s clear they have important process issues to work out.” Indeed, they do.

Last week, the University Of Wisconsin Board Of Regents paused their search for a permanent president and appointed former Gov. Tommy Thompson as an interim president for at least the next year. It is an inspired choice. The UW System is desperately in need of a fundamental transformation and Thompson is one of the few people who might be able to build enough unity to pull it off.

As Wisconsin’s only four term governor, Thompson is known as a pragmatic, consensus- building leader. He is also a cheerleader par excellence for everything Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s political landscape, however, is very different than when Thompson held power in Madison. Time will tell if Thompson can still build political bridges in this climate.

 

Large Gatherings Don’t Lead to Covid Outbreaks

I guess we can have state and local fairs now? Concerts? Parades?

The United States has seen new coronavirus cases climb from about 21,000 a day the last week of May to nearly 23,000 a day this week. Positive tests and, in some places, hospitalizations have spiked, too, leading many to wonder if a change in behavior caused outbreaks in states such as California, Arizona and Florida.

But neither protests or more people leaving home explain the surge of new COVID-19 cases, a USA TODAY analysis of counties with at least 100 cases has found. Residents of counties with growth of 25% or more over the previous two weeks left their homes at the same rate as people in counties without a surge of new infections, according to cell phone location data compiled by the company SafeGraph.

And large protests were as common in counties without outbreaks as in others

TOMMY! Named Interim UW-President

Good choice.

MADISON, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin System regents’ leader has picked Republican darling Tommy Thompson as the system’s interim president, delivering another twist in what has become a messy search to replace outgoing President Ray Cross during the coronavirus pandemic.

Regents President Andrew Petersen asked Thompson, the state’s only four-term governor, to jump into the position, according to a system statement. Petersen has the power to unilaterally appoint interim presidents. He announced his choice to the full board of regents Thursday; the statement said Petersen received “uniform” support from the board.

“The University of Wisconsin System is the state’s most valuable asset, and I will be its biggest advocate and its toughest evaluator,” Thompson said in the statement. “No other institution in the state can do more to improve lives, communities, and Wisconsin’s economy.”

He’s a fantastic cheerleader who might be able to help unify some of the factions. He’s also a big government spender, so it will probably take someone else to shepherd the necessary budget contraction.

Evers’ record(ings)

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News on Tuesday. Since I wrote this, there have been some very serious developments and it looks more and more like Evers might be covering up for a felon. I wonder… the Dane County DA and AG won’t investigate, but couldn’t the Jefferson or Racine County DAs (or wherever Vos and Fitzgerald were when they took the call)?

After the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Governor Tony Evers’ unconstitutional lockdown order, our state government leaders needed to figure out what, if anything, the state should do in its continuing effort to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Dutifully, Governor Evers and the two leaders of the Legislature, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, got on a phone call to discuss the path forward. What the legislative leaders did not know what that Governor Evers’ staff secretly recorded the conversation for dubious reasons and then released the recording to the media. Such a breach of trust, and his reaction to it, tells us a lot about our governor.

The rough details of the transgression are known. There were five participants in the call: Governor Evers, Speaker Vos, Majority Leader Fitzgerald, Evers’ Chief of Staff Maggie Gau, and Evers’ attorney Ryan Nilsestuen. The call was recorded and given to the media. Vos and Fitzgerald were shocked to learn that it was recorded. Evers claimed that he did not know it was being recorded, but wouldn’t say who did it. Gau and Nilsestuen have not admitted to anything.

Wisconsin law allows a call to be legally recorded if one participant of the call knows. The law does not require that all participants be notified that the call is being recorded, but it is considered both impolite and unethical to not make such a disclosure. However, if one of Evers’ other non-participant staffers recorded the call, it would be a crime. Since Evers will not disclose who recorded the call, he is either covering up for a staffer’s unethical behavior, crime, or both. What does all of this tell us about Governor Evers? Quite a bit. If we believe that Evers is telling the truth that he was ignorant of the recording, then he does not have any control over his staff. Whether a CEO, general, governor, or any other person of great responsibility, it would be unthinkable for a staff member to record the boss’ phone call with other leaders without the boss’ knowledge and consent. If Evers truly did not know, then he is not managing his staff. They are managing him.

Further, Evers’ refusal to disclose or discipline the perpetrator tells us more about him. It tells us that he is either afraid to hold his staff accountable for bad behavior, or he condones it. Recall that we do not yet know if the perpetrator committed a crime or merely violated ethical boundaries. Either way, Evers is allowing staff members to run rogue with no consequences.

Whether Evers knew or just condoned his staff’s recording of the call, it also shows that his administration is willing to use slimy tactics for political gain – even on an official call that was supposed to be about working together to respond to a pandemic. They recorded the call and released it to the media in an effort to embarrass political opponents. Despite the Evers administration’s claims of innocent motives, the results speak for themselves. Look at what they do — not what they say.

Finally, since the disclosure of the recording, Governor Evers has not seen fit to apologize to Vos and Fitzgerald for recording their conversation. He may have not known that the call was being recorded at the time, but he knows it now. His stubborn refusal to even do the simple mannerly thing and apologize for the breach of trust shows his inability, or unwillingness, to build relationships with people with whom he disagrees politically. His lifetime as a bureaucrat has not equipped him with the skills and he lacks the natural acumen to develop personal relationships outside his rigid ideological sphere.

After almost a year-and-a-half in office, Governor Evers has not made any progress in learning how to govern in a divided government. He has lurched from insults to partisan attacks to cursing to violating trusts. Is it any wonder why he resorts to unconstitutional dictatorial actions instead of working with the Legislature on behalf of the people of Wisconsin?

Milwaukee Schools Kick Out Police

Lovely. Because THAT’s why MPS fails to educate so many kids.

The Milwaukee Board of School Directors voted unanimously to terminate its contract with the Milwaukee Police Department Thursday evening.

More than two dozen members of the public called in to express their support for the resolution, and board members received nearly 800 written messages about the planned vote.

We have enough research to know that a majority of our students, our students of color, are not treated with respect by the system,” said board member Paula Phillips, who co-introduced the resolution. “While we can try to make this work, it hasn’t been working.”

Director Sequanna Taylor, the other board member who drafted the resolution, agreed.

“If we’re going to address and have our students ready for success, then we need to have them in an environment that is successful,” she said.

This assumes that MPS is a successful environment irrespective of the police presence.

Blue Flu Hits Atlanta

Perhaps the communities and the Mayor should have kept their commitment to the police who serve them.

The police department said an unusual number of officers working the late shift had called out sick. The mayor said the city would be OK.
“There’s a lot happening in our cities and our police officers are receiving the brunt of it, quite frankly,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. She said the city has committed to the officers through a big pay raise, and “we expect that our officers will keep their commitment to our communities.”
She said she thinks morale is down tenfold.
“We do have enough officers to cover us through the night,” she said. “Our streets won’t be any less safe because of the number of officers who called out. But it is just my hope again that our officers will remember the commitment that they made when they held up their hand and they were sworn in as police officers.”

Madison City Council Denies Funding for Non-Lethal Tools for Police

I guess the council prefers that the police either allow rioters to loot or use lethal force to stop them. What an idiotic act of virtue signaling that will make it more difficult for police to handle situations without using lethal force.

The Madison City Council on Tuesday unanimously blocked the police department’s request to use $50,000 for certain weapons, including projectile launchers that were used against local protesters.

[…]

The projectile launchers, which a police spokesman said fire sponge rounds, were used against protesters during the unrest and looting Downtown that occurred on May 30 and 31, acting police Chief Vic Wahl said in a June 2 blog post.

Ald. Max Prestigiacomo, 8th District, who proposed the amendment to prevent funding the launchers, said standing against the tools was “showing solidarity with those protesters.”

[…]

Funding for the launchers was part of a resolution that would have moved $125,000 in unused police funds to purchase and install a generator at the East District Police Station for $75,000 and purchase the less-lethal equipment for $50,000. The other equipment would have included Tasers, ammunition and training for new instructors, Wahl said in a statement.

The amended resolution approved Tuesday left the funding for the generator, but took out the funding for the weapons.

Police Chief Apologizes for Having an Opinion

This is the sad world that we’re living in. The Germantown chief expressed an opinion that is understandable, inoffensive, and benign. He is simply frustrated and expressed it. The mob swarmed and he was compelled to apologize, Here’s what he said:

According to the first post, officers were tasked with providing security for a march that started at Germantown High School, W180-N11501 N. River Lane, Saturday and ended at the police department, N112-W16877 Mequon Road.

Snow said one of the protesters held a large sign that said “ACAB,” which stands for “All Police Officers Are [expletives].”

“I do think the intent of the organizers was to conduct a peaceful demonstration,” Snow wrote. “I simply do not understand why a sign was carried that was clearly intended to create a divide and degrade an entire profession. The entire narrative on ‘police brutality’ is one I am happy to debate with anyone.”

That’s it. And it’s true. Carrying a sign that says “All Cops Are Bastards” when protesting the actions of a few – you know, smearing an entire population based on the bad acts of a few of them – IS divisive and degrades an entire profession. If you are a nurse and someone was protesting with a sign that said “All Nurses Are Bastards” because a few nurses are, wouldn’t you be frustrated? Or Firefighters? Or Insurance Agents? If you do your job well and with integrity and honor, and people disparage you because a few people with the same job are bastards, aren’t you allowed to be frustrated?

But no… only one opinion is allowed.

Snow later issued an apology shortly after 5 p.m. regarding the post saying he broke a “cardinal rule” taught to him by the last chief of police — never post angry.

“I was called out by many and you were correct, I missed an opportunity,” Snow said. “For that I am sorry and I do apologize. One of our followers pointed out I created a divide and it was my job to make it right. I listened Saturday and was impacted. I was impressed by the people who organized the event and understand their motives were genuine.”