Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Politics

Supporting the 2nd Amendment

So… who is opposed to the right to carry a weapon for personal defense now? Or the right to have a weapon to help cast off a tyrannical government? There sure are a lot of violent crazies out there.

 

Just wondering.

Evers’ Faillings

I was going to write something substantially similar to this, but Senator Stroebel beat me to it.

“Yesterday, Gov. Tony Evers demonstrated his irresponsible priorities as a chief executive. While the state learned of his disastrous handling of the COVID-19 vaccination effort, Gov. Evers was busy rushing out a press statement defending the indefensible actions of convicted domestic abuser Jacob Blake.

 

“According to press reports, Gov. Evers’ plan – if he has one – to ensure frontline healthcare workers and senior citizens receive the COVID vaccine has resulted in Wisconsin being third worst in the region in terms of per capita vaccinations. Physicians and senior citizens have confirmed to the press and lawmakers that they are struggling to receive the vaccine even though they are the national priority to receive it.

 

“Just last month Gov. Evers was upset that Wisconsin ended up with fewer doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine than originally planned. Apparently he never had a good plan to distribute the doses received or the additional doses he was trying to secure.

 

“Instead of posturing and defending a convicted domestic abuser who armed himself and attempted to steal a vehicle with children in it, Gov. Evers should be fixing the COVID vaccine distribution problem in our state. It is sad that he learned nothing from his failure to adequately process the unemployment insurance claims of hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin workers last year.”

Sen. Stroebel represents the 20th Senate District.

Democrats Poised to Seize Control of U.S. Senate

That’s disappointing. I guess we will see if there are any moderates in the Senate Democrat caucus to appease or if it’s 100% socialist 100% of the time.

The Democratic Party of US President-elect Joe Biden is on the verge of taking control of the Senate as results come in from two elections in Georgia.

 

Atlanta pastor Raphael Warnock is projected to have won one of the seats. The other is on a knife-edge.

 

If the Democrats win both, Mr Biden will have a much better chance of pushing through his legislative agenda.

Assembly returns to work in person

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. It begs the question: when will any of us go back to a relative normal? Here’s a part:

For those who decry the decline of consensus and collaboration in our elected bodies, making them virtual will only make it worse. Consider the people debating politics on social media as they retreat into their information silos and ideological fortresses and imagine them writing legislation that will govern your life. The results would be predictably bad. Some things just have to be done in person.

 

Furthermore, let us not pretend that any but the tiniest minority of our representatives are actually isolating at home. While the Democrats insist on doing their jobs virtually, most of them are continuing to go shopping, eat at restaurants, meet with friends and colleagues, spend time with their extended families, work in their businesses, and generally go about living their lives. They might be wearing masks and keeping their distance, but they are going about their lives like millions of other Wisconsinites. Their insistence on doing their jobs as elected representatives virtually is conveniently selective.

 

In his letter imploring Speaker Vos to keep the Assembly virtual, Assembly Democratic Leader Gordon Hintz conveniently neglects to provide any standard by which he and his colleagues would willingly attend in person. Presumably, the Democrats want to do their jobs virtually in perpetuity — or at least until they no longer need to posture that COVID19 is more dangerous than it is.

Wisconsin Legislative Republicans Propose COVID Response Package

It’s not a bad batch of ideas

The GOP proposals, unveiled as members of the Legislature were inaugurated Monday afternoon, would bar mandatory vaccinations, prevent local health officers from issuing coronavirus restrictions for more than two weeks without other approval, protect businesses from lawsuits seeking damages for COVID-19 exposure, temporarily relax restrictions for K-12 students seeking open enrollment at another school district and require two thirds approval by school boards in order for schools to offer virtual instruction.

 

Other measures would grant the GOP-led Legislature authority over how future federal aid dollars are spent — something Evers has adamantly opposed. And they would prohibit the Department of Health Services from limiting public gatherings at churches and allow residents at long-term care facilities one visitor.

 

“We can’t allow an unelected bureaucrat to rule over communities like a dictator, picking and choosing what businesses should fail or forcing schools to be virtual,” Vos said, in reference to efforts last year by DHS Secretary Andrea Palm to mitigate spread of the coronavirus.

I’ll dig a bit deeper as we get more details.

 

Madison Government Teachers Are a Disgrace

Absolutely disgraceful. They do not care about the kids at all. And it isn’t even close. 94% would rather sit on their butts and phone it in even though the risk to them and the kids is minimal. And yet… I bet they are all finding their way to Starbucks, grocery stores, and other places.

The Madison teachers union is signaling strong opposition to a return to in-person learning, even as local public health officials haven’t reported any school-linked COVID-19 hospitalizations or deaths and as some private schools that have been open for in-person instruction since the beginning of the school year report few major pandemic-related problems.

 

The Madison School District has also refused to release many details about the experience of a subset of students who have been receiving care and academic help in school buildings since September — potentially crucial information ahead of a decision on whether there will be a broader return to classrooms this month.

 

[…]

 

According to the results of a survey of MTI members posted to a member’s public Facebook page, about 94% of the approximately 1,000 teachers who responded opposed returning for in-person classes in the third quarter. Sadlowski declined to release the full survey but said the results the member posted were accurate.

 

[…]

 

Separately, Public Health Madison and Dane County reports that since Sept. 1, it’s identified 22 clusters of coronavirus transmission and 121 cases linked to schools, including two clusters at schools in another county. None of the cases resulted in hospitalization or death, according to spokeswoman Sarah Mattes

These teachers clearly don’t believe that they are essential.

Noted.

Pushing for a Meat Tax

Oh, fer cryin’ out loud.

Organic and regular beef are just as environmentally damaging, they concluded — while organic chicken actually results in slightly more greenhouse emissions overall.

 

Based on their findings, the team propose that policy measures — ‘meat taxes’ — are needed to ‘close the gap between current market prices and the true costs of food.’

 

Such taxation, the team said, would call for a 40 per cent increase in regular beef’s cost, but only a 25 per cent rise for organic beef, which is already more expensive.

So we increase food insecurity for lower-income folks while funneling more money into the hands of politicians and bureaucrats.

What is a COVID Death?

This tragic story helps illustrate the issue with COVID death statistics:

Louisiana Rep.-elect Luke Letlow, who died while battling COVID-19, suffered a heart attack following a procedure, a hospital official said.

 

The 41-year-old was receiving treatment in the intensive care unit at Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport when he died Tuesday, the Monroe News-Star reported.

 

LSU Health Shreveport Chancellor G.E. Ghali confirmed Letlow underwent an operation related to the virus and later went into cardiac arrest.

 

“It’s devastating to our entire team,” Ghali told the paper, adding that he “had no underlying conditions.”

We all saw the headlines when they came out. Things like, “Congressman-elect dies of COVID-19” and “Rising Republican Dies of COVID-19.” But was it?

We do not know the specifics of why he was undergoing heart surgery. They say it was related to his COVID illness, but how? What were they actually doing? And given the shock of the doctors, it seems that they did not think it was a high-risk surgery. Clearly it was the heart attack that killed him, but is the underlying COVID the real culprit? What a bit fat guy dies of a heart attack or diabetes, do we say that he was killed by obesity? No, so why label COVID as the problem here? If someone has a heart attack while driving and is decapitated in the crash, what killed her? It gets complicated. An argument could be made either way by rational people.

In the case of COVID, however, we have defaulted to classifying ANY death where COVID is present as a “COVID” death. We see the stats where this is happening. COVID deaths are increasing while it looks like we have virtually cured many other previously-deadly ailments. People who were shot, drowned, had heart attacks, strokes, etc. are all mixed in with the COVID death statistics. Sometimes, they are called a COVID death even if they do not have a firm diagnosis but the person had “COVID-like symptoms.” There is a distinct preference to label deaths as being caused by COVID if the slimmest of connection can be found.

The question is… why? Why have officials all across the country chosen to default to COVID when declaring the cause of death.

Hint… follow the money… follow the power.

Evers fights for more government with COVID-19 bill

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News this week. Thankfully, this bill is still dead.

Gov. Tony Evers is urging the Republican leadership of the Legislature to pass his self-styled “compromise” bill addressing the ongoing health concern precipitated by COVID-19. Setting aside, for a moment, that Evers’ bill is not a compromise (hint: compromise bills are rarely announced by only one side) and that Evers has actually taken the Legislature to court over the legality of bills passed in a so-called “lame duck” session, let us examine the priorities of the governor during the ongoing health concern.

 

Evers’ bill consists of 17 provisions. Seven of the provisions are designed to expand government and/or reduce the government’s accountability to the people. Eight of them would make waste, corruption, and graft easier with taxpayer money. And two of them are regulatory overreaches that will wreak havoc on citizens and the economy.

 

Given Evers’ background as an educrat, it is not surprising that his bill begins with the absolution of the government education establishment from the strictures of accountability. Under his bill, government schools would not be required to administer pupil assessments and the State Department of Public Instruction would not be required to publish the annual school and school district accountability report for the 2020-2021 school year. Evers seeks to remove any evidence of just how much government education failed the children of Wisconsin this school year.

 

Ominously, Evers seeks to allow any state entity to waive in-person requirements until June 30, 2021, “if enforcing the requirement would increase the public health risk.” You will take note of the fact that no objective standard is given for what constitutes an increase to the public health risk. While this may impact things like court proceedings, Evers’ likely target it to waive in-person requirements to obtain official state photo identification and the spring elections. With this provision in law, Evers could provide a massive gateway for illegal aliens to obtain official photo identification and force the upcoming elections to be conducted 100% by mail.

 

The bill also seeks to funnel unemployment insurance payments into the hands of people who do not need it. It would permanently allow people who are receiving federal Social Security disability payments to also receive unemployment payments. Under current law, someone who is receiving money because they cannot work due to a disability is not eligible for unemployment payments because they are already being compensated for not working. The bill would also completely waive the requirement to seek work in order to receive unemployment payments until July 3, 2021. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is at 5% and employers are again struggling to find workers. Anyone who is able and willing to work can find a job. Evers should focus his attention on fixing the unemployment payment backlog that his administration has allowed to languish for the previous nine months.

 

Evers is also sure to take care of the state bureaucracy. His “COVID relief” bill would allow state government employees to take their annual leave even if they have not completed the required six-month probationary period. Evers would lavish additional funding on the Department of Health Services and the Department of Administration while expanding their powers. The DOA would be given arbitrary discretion to shift money around to fund unemployment payments and DHS would be given a grand mandate to operate COVID testing and treatment facilities in perpetuity. The Department of Revenue gets a nod too with the arbitrary discretion to distribute grants to small businesses. The arbitrary discretion of any government official is an invitation for corruption.

 

Most shockingly, Evers would completely prohibit any foreclosures or evictions until July 1, 2021. He would do so without providing any relief for the thousands of property owners, big and small, who would be forced to completely pay for the housing for people unable, or unwilling, to pay their mortgage or rent. Should this provision go into effect, it will force a wave of bankruptcies for small- and medium property owners and force the prices up for people who do pay their bills. While one might be willing to grant Governor Evers credit for trying to stick up for struggling families, this measure is so breathtakingly stupid and destructive that no such credit can be issued.

 

Governor Evers’ bill is a mishmash of bad ideas interspersed with measures clearly designed to unshackle the state bureaucracy. Its only redeeming quality is that it will never pass. True to his character, Governor Evers announced this bill after a series of insincere discussions with the legislative leadership designed to give him the cover of having negotiated something. He did so while giving the Legislature a ridiculous deadline of less than two weeks during the holiday season to pass it. Thankfully, the legislative leadership has signaled that they will not be bullied by a duplicitous governor offering nothing but a list of destructive decrees.

 

The fact that Governor Evers is devoid of good ideas does not release the legislative Republicans from their duty to convene and pass meaningful legislation to help Wisconsinites who continue to feel the impact of COVID-19 and our government overreaction to it. They should start with universal school choice to allow families to escape government schools that failed so badly during this time, liability protections for employers, and prohibit state taxpayers from paying to bail out local governments that enforced more restrictive COVID-19 measures that crippled their own local economies.

States Prioritize Vaccine Rollout

Interesting

FloridaTexas and Ohio are among the Republican-led states forgoing federal vaccination guidelines to prioritize the elderly ahead of frontline workers.

 

While medical workers and residents and staffers of long term care facilities are being prioritized for vaccines in virtually every state, local leaders are split on who gets the vaccine next.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines say under the second tier of vaccinations grocery store employees, transit workers, and other frontline staffers should receive the shot at the same time as those who are 75 and older.

 

But in Florida, Texas, and Ohio shots are being offered to the elderly first and frontline workers are asked to wait.

 

‘We are not going to put young, healthy workers ahead of our elderly, vulnerable population,’ Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saturday, allowing people 65 years and older to jump ahead of essential workers.

I can see both sides. On the one hand, prioritizing the higher risk groups first makes the most sense to reduce the death count as quickly as possible. On the other hand, prioritizing frontline workers first gets those industries back to work faster. Given those considerations, I’d prioritize the most vulnerable first.

Assembly Democrats Want to Continue Virtually

I agree with Vos on this one.

Assembly Democrats are demanding legislators be allowed to attend floor sessions and other meetings remotely as Republicans signal they will require lawmakers to conduct much of their business in person during the upcoming legislative session, even as the coronavirus pandemic persists into 2021.

 

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, indicated on Tuesday that the Assembly may no longer allow remote accommodations, representing a rollback of COVID-19 accommodations allowed during much of the pandemic.

 

“People all across Wisconsin safely go to work every day and members of the Assembly are capable of doing so as well,” he said in a statement. “The Assembly will convene safely as other legislatures across the country have done during the pandemic. Members and staff are being asked to follow CDC guidelines, practice social distancing, wear a mask and wash their hands frequently.”

 

Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, and other Democratic members told Vos on Tuesday they want the chamber to continue current Assembly accommodations into the next session, such as remote-work options for staff and the ability for lawmakers to join floor sessions and committee hearings and sessions virtually.

First, Vos is right. People all over the state are going to work every day. They are doing so safely. We pay these legislators a full time wage and we, as citizens, have a reasonable expectation for them to put on pants and go to work. Perhaps they should lead by example for the rest of the state.

 

Second, there is value in doing this in person. Many of us have shifted to a more virtual work style through 2020. There are some good sides like saving on clothes/commuting expenses, save time between meetings, can squeeze more work into the day with that time savings, etc, but we also lose a lot without conducting business in person. Those hallway chats can be productive. Eating lunch together or helping a colleague dig their car out of the snow develops relationships. The infamous “grab a drink after work” builds rapport. Being able to read someone’s body language helps facilitate understanding. Humans are natural social animals and conducting complex negotiations successfully requires all of the senses to do it successfully. By being virtual, the Assembly is robbed of the social dynamic and people retreat into their virtual castles of dogma. The isolation of a virtual environment promotes distrust, linear thinking, and fear. Working with people on a screen is not the same as doing it in person. They become avatars instead of people.

These people are making massive decisions that impact the lives of millions. It is not asking too much for them to go to work to conduct the business of the realm.

Dr. Ron Remmel Announces 2022 Run Against Congressman Scott Fitzgerald

From the email and for your edification/entertainment.

12/29/2020

Dear Friends, or as I shall call you, Bloggers:

I am Ronald S. Remmel, Ph.D., and I live in West Bend WI (see attached resume).

Today I am starting my run for the Democratic nomination for U.S. representative from the 5th Congressional District (or whatever it becomes after redistricting).

Why so early?

* Tom Palzewicz, the previous outstanding Democratic candidate, probably won’t run again???

* Scott Fitzgerald (R) won the election, and will start work in Washington on Jan. 3.

* I am better educatged than Fitzgerald, with a B.S. from Caltech, a Ph.D. from Princeton, and professorships in medical neurophysiology at the Univ. of Ark. for Med. Sci., and biomedical engineering at Boston Univ.

* I have successfully manufactured medical electronics (eye movement monitors) for 25 years, and have sold them profitably to 5 continents, including mainland China.

* Fitzgerald (R) had been the WI Senate Majority leader, and had sued and opposed Gov. Evers’ pandemic policies at every turn. Fitzgerald even refused to call the State Legislature into session to vote upon the kind Governor’s proposals!!! Meanwhile, thousands of Wisconsinites died and hundreds of thousands got sick.

Scott Fitzgerald is not a nice person.

* Things got so bad here in Wisconsin that, according to my calculations (see attached paper):

Wisconsin was the first state to approach herd immunity!

* Trump is now virtually gone, but lots of little alt-right Trumpies are still running around.

* Science describes how the world works. Our students are woefully behind much of the rest of the world in education. We need to emphasize STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and biomedicine to prevent another devastating pandemic.

* We need to develop cutting-edge technology right here in Wisconsin such as AI (artificial intelligence), self-driving vehicles, quantum computers, and customized medical treatments based upon gene sequencing.

* With my experiences in physics, medicine, biomedical engineering, and world-wide business, I am the best candidate to bring state-of-the-art education and technology to Wisconsin–not stonewall Fitzgerald.

———————————————–

I plan to head off Alzheimer’s disease as I travel all around learning EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING. Well not quite–the work of Congress is divided up into committees. I might be good on fusion research, or Mars, or epidemiology committees, but I am totally unqualified to be on the pork-barrel, or the lobbyist, or the penny-get-rich-quick-stock committees.

But I do know lots about fraud and scams because I wrote the book, “The Art of the Scam” (Amazon Kindle). Maybe I should be on the Federal Trade Commission or even supervise the FBI!

I have never to my knowledge told a lie in my adult life (but my friends will surely say, you forgot what you promised). But I won’t air all my dirty linen in public, either.

I WILL make mistakes, but my mother taught me to say, “I apologize; I was wrong.”

My jokes will be funnier than Ronald Reagan’s!

If elected, I have promised to take my girl friend Lorrie Meller to Manhattan on a $5,000 clothes buying spree (Sorry, I don’t have $100K like Sarah Palin spent when she was chosen VP). Then Lorrie and I can attend parties at the WH With Lorrie more stylish than Nancy Pelosi–ha, ha!

But I fantasize…

Two years of hard work to get elected. I welcome your support!

Prof Ron For Wisconsin

—————————-

Rules for this Blog:

Democracy thrives on the free exchange of ideas. If I am to effectively represent you in Congress, I need to hear from all of you. This Blog will help me to do so.

There is no such thing as a “Republican pothole,” or a “Democratic pothole,” only a pothole. Nearly all of the serious problems in America are nonpartisan.

IT WAS ABSOLUTE APPALLING TO ME THAT THE PANDEMIC BECAME PARTISAN.

There are not just good ideas and bad ideas, but sometimes only various poor ideas, like solutions to global warming. I welcome all of your contributions to this Blog–from the right and from the left–and let the other Bloggers critique them.

Actually, I have been carrying on my Email Blog for over a year, with hundreds of valuable contributions, even from 2 Canadians!

——————-

No religious comments. The Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free practice thereof.”

—————————

No conspiracy theories. Support arguments with facts.

—————————

No personal insults such as, “Dr. Remmel, you’re an IDIOT!” That may very well be 100% correct, but try rephrasing it to say, “I disagree with you for the following reasons…”

Massive Property Tax Increase in Milwaukee

And they voted for it.

Across Milwaukee’s 15 aldermanic districts, the average assessment increased 9.14% from 2019, according to the Assessor’s Office.

 

Milwaukee residents also voted overwhelmingly in April in support of additional spending by Milwaukee Public Schools, and taxpayers are seeing the bill for the first time.

 

The school district can now exceed its state-imposed revenue limits by $87 million a year beginning in the 2023-24 school year, but it is ramping up to that sum by starting with $57 million in the 2020-21 school year.

 

The extra spending approved in the April referendum meant the school portion of city residents’ property tax bills increased by $1.60, from $9.58 to $11.18, for each $1,000 of home value — or about $240 a year on a home assessed at the median sale price of around $150,000.

IRS Plans 50% Increase in Small Business Audits Next Year

Welcome to Biden's America. Right after liberal states and municipalities hammered small businesses with lockdowns and restrictions, the IRS is going to audit the hell out of them.

The Internal Revenue Service is planning to ramp up audits of smaller businesses and their investors by about 50% next year, following years of persistently low examination rates, an agency official said Tuesday.

 

The result could be a surge in audits of companies ranging from mom-and-pop retail stores and technology startups to investment funds that have historically faced only infrequent checks thanks to the time and effort required at the IRS.

 

“The IRS is focusing our efforts to increase compliance activity in this area of not only partnerships, but also investor returns related to pass-throughs,” De Lon Harris, the IRS deputy commissioner of examination for small businesses, said at an American Institute of Certified Public Accountants event. For 2021 “we are planning for 50% more than we had in the previous year.”

Evers fights for more government with COVID-19 bill

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. I dig into Evers' COVID bill a little. Here's a part:

Gov. Tony Evers is urging the Republican leadership of the Legislature to pass his self-styled “compromise” bill addressing the ongoing health concern precipitated by COVID-19. Setting aside, for a moment, that Evers’ bill is not a compromise (hint: compromise bills are rarely announced by only one side) and that Evers has actually taken the Legislature to court over the legality of bills passed in a socalled “lame duck” session, let us examine the priorities of the governor during the ongoing health concern.

 

Evers’ bill consists of 17 provisions. Seven of the provisions are designed to expand government and/or reduce the government’s accountability to the people. Eight of them would make waste, corruption, and graft easier with taxpayer money. And two of them are regulatory overreaches that will wreak havoc on citizens and the economy.

Republicans Consider Election Law Changes

I agree with the first one and disagree with the second one.

State Sen. Kathy Bernier, R-Lake Hallie, told the "UPFRONT" program that changing what constitutes an "indefinitely confined" voter will be at the top of the list. "UPFRONT" is produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Bernier said "indefinitely confined" was supposed to apply to voters who are "frail elderly or developmentally disabled." Instead, she said, it was used by a wide variety of voters during the pandemic, including two state lawmakers. Indefinitely confined voters are not required to show a photo ID.

"That is just horrible, that is just wrong," she said. "That is not what that provision was for, and we will have to go back and fix it."

Bernier said she also will bring back up a change allowing in-person, absentee voters to feed their ballot directly into the tabulator. That change has been "sitting in the Legislature for quite some time" and it would help local clerks count absentee ballots faster.

"That would reduce an extraordinary amount of absentee ballots, and the question about the envelopes and where they've been, and whether they are accurate. That would reduce the number greatly," she said.

It is clear that the Democrats actively exploited the "indefinitely confined" loophole to allow people to evade the photo ID requirement. We need to close that loophole and use the "indefinitely confined" provision for its intended purpose.

I don't like the idea of counting in-person absentee ballots when they are submitted, but it's close for me. The problem they are trying to fix is two-fold. First, there is the issue of ballot security for absentee ballots. It is a risk to have thousands of completed ballots laying around for weeks before an election. If security is lax, those ballots could be altered or discarded before being counted. The second problem they are trying to fix is the issue simply the workload and confusion of counting all of those ballots on election day. By spreading it out, it makes the day run smoother.

The problem with counting them when they are submitted, however, is that election officials have a running tally of who is winning and losing prior to the election. This opens the door to election officials giving the heads up (illegal, yes) to candidates and parties. Then those candidates and parties can use that information to prepare target legal and illegal campaigns to sway the final results.

I would prefer to see the legislature focus on fixing the issue instead of creating a new one. Focus on ballot security for absentee ballots. Maybe digital safes where the combination is only given to local election officials on election day by state officials is a part of the plan. Video surveillance of ballot handling. Require 3rd party observation of ballot handling. RFID in the envelopes to track them. There are things we can do to better secure absentee ballots prior to election day. No system is perfect, but we can make it more secure.

The second problem of a rush of processing on election day seems like a non-issue. Almost all municipalities seem to be able to handle it with only a handful of corrupt and/or incompetent municipalities having issues. Focus on the problem children instead of punishing the whole class.

Trump Caves and Spends Our Kids’ Future on Pork

This is the swamp at its worst.

US President Donald Trump has belatedly signed into law a coronavirus relief and spending package bill, averting a partial government shutdown.

[...]

The relief package worth $900bn (£665bn) was approved by Congress after months of negotiation.

It is part of a $2.3tn spending package that includes $1.4tn for normal federal government spending.

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