Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Politics – Wisconsin

UWM’s disgraceful appeasement

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here you go:

Most Americans have stood aghast as a wave of antisemitic and pro-Hamas protests swept through our universities. We thought that such hate was the stuff of 1905 Russia or 1938 Germany, but here we are witnessing it in 2024 America amongst those who are supposed to be our future. Many universities responded deplorably, but none more so than the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

 

Hamas has been clear about their goal to wipe out Israel and the Jews who live there since their inception. Everything they have done — including the October 7 massacre — has been to further that goal. While one can criticize Israel’s response to the attacks and wish for peace, the campus protests long since descended into the hateful rhetoric of, and support for, Hamas.

 

Some universities took immediate action to clear out illegal encampments and threatening protesters. Some universities offered minimal appeasement coupled with a firm rejection of hate. Then there is UWM, which decided to weigh in with full-throated support for Hamas and has encouraged a campus culture where Jewish students can no longer feel safe.

 

The protests and encampment at UWM was instigated by the UWM Popular University for Palestine Coalition (PUPC), whose coalition includes the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Muslim Student Association (MSA), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Un-PAC, and Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA). These groups range in interests from communism to overthrowing capitalism to ending our republic to the destruction of Israel. All of their interests coalesced around supporting Hamas in their terrorism against Jews.

 

These groups are well-funded and well-organized. In return for ending an encampment that was already illegal, UWM Chancellor Mark Mone and the UWM leadership gave these communists and Hamas supporters a seat at the table. Mone agreed to have the UWM Foundation release financial statements to the PUPC and meet with them to discuss where the Foundation invests.

 

Mone also agreed to “study” whether UWM should end studying abroad in Israel and pressured the Water Council, on whose board Mone serves, to end relationships with two Israeli companies. Mone agreed to forgo any punishments for the protestors’ encampments despite the violation of state law. He agreed to further meetings and a working group with PUPC for a “series of campus conversations and educational opportunities.” That’s eduspeak for “spreading Hamas propaganda.”

 

Most egregious was Mone’s statement on behalf of UWM condemning Israel for responding to Hamas’ violent pogrom of October 7. Calling Israel’s war in Gaza a “plausible genocide,” Mone calls for a ceasefire in Gaza without any precondition for Hamas to release hostages or stop their violence against civilians. Mone voiced this condemnation with full knowledge that Hamas started the war, raped and killed civilian women and children, and has repeatedly rejected a ceasefire. Mone’s statement is indistinguishable from those issued by antisemites and Hamas supporters that were camping on the UWM campus.

 

Rightfully, Jewish groups Hillel Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, and the Anti-Defamation League Midwest, condemned Mone’s UWM for appeasing PUPC. After reminding us that Mone has refused to meet with Jewish students despite a surge of antisemitic incidents on campus since October 7, they say, “Chancellor Mone gave protesters who fueled hate and violated school policies at UWM a seat at the table and even invited them to nominate individuals and faculty to serve on key university committees and working groups … the chancellor’s decision to grant immunity to individuals who mocked and broke school rules and the law sets a dangerous precedent for future incidents on campus.” Indeed, it does.

 

When given an opportunity to educate young adults and reject antisemitic, terrorist, and communist activists, UWM and Chancellor Mone chose to support and enable them. This choice is a disgrace that succors a culture of hate on the UWM campus.

Biden’s and Baldwin’s actions support Hamas

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s you go.

International affairs are inherently complicated with cross-currents of cultures, economies, religion, and philosophies in the deep ocean of history. The current war in the Gaza Strip in Israel, however, in a moment of moral clarity on which President Joe Biden and Senator Tammy Baldwin are demonstrating moral bankruptcy.

 

The fighting in the Middle East dates back to the very dawn of human civilization as a resource-rich and trading nexus of the ancient and modern world. The current war’s roots, however, are very modern.

 

When Israel came into its modern existence in 1948, the area known as the Gaza Strip was Egyptian territory and remained so for nearly 20 years. In 1967, a coalition of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan launched an unprovoked war against Israel that became known as the Six-Day War. Israel overwhelmingly won that war and seized the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Golan Heights as the spoils of war and as a security buffer.

 

The Gaza Strip has been a part of Israel since 1967. In 2005, bowing to international pressure, Israel gave the Gaza Strip to the Gazans for them to self-govern and withdrew all forces, although Israel maintained border security for and with the Gaza Strip.

 

Promptly in 2006, the Gazans elected Hamas, an Islamist terrorist organization supported by Iran, to govern the Gaza Strip. Since 2006, Hamas has regularly launched rockets and small-scale attacks into Israel. Hamas has enjoyed widespread support by the Gazans for nearly 20 years.

 

On Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas launched a bloody attack across the border killing about 1,200 people of all ages and genders, and they took over 250 people back to Gaza as hostages. It was a bloody, bigoted, indiscriminate attack against civilians including babies and grandmothers. As bloody bodies were paraded through the streets in Gaza, the Gazans cheered. This is not the case of an unwelcome totalitarian government ruling over an innocent population. This is the case of a government acting with the overwhelming majority of their citizens supporting their barbarity.

 

Israel responded the same way I hope America would if the people of Tijuana attacked San Diego and butchered women and children. Israel fought back to eliminate the hostile threat while taking extraordinary measures to limit civilian deaths. The fact that some civilians are being killed is the direct result of Hamas’ policy to use them as human shields.

 

This is not a complicated war. Hamas is an Islamist terror group that is wantonly killing civilians from their power base and then hiding behind their own citizens when Israel pushes back. To support anything other than Israel’s right and duty to rid the world of Hamas is to support the perpetuation of hate, bigotry, murder, and terror.

 

Yet, that is where we find President Biden and Senator Baldwin. As always, we must watch what they do — not what they say. Biden has attempted to split the baby with his rhetoric vacillating between powerful support for Israel and appeasement to Hamas. His actions, however, lean heavily in favor of Hamas.

 

Biden has been calling for a ceasefire without the precondition of releasing all of the hostages which only benefits Hamas. Biden has condemned Israel for civilian casualties despite Israel’s extraordinary efforts to keep them to a minimum while Hamas pushes civilians into the fray. Last week, Biden unilaterally halted the shipment of ammunition to Israel and has threatened to halt more shipments if Israel moves to root out Hamas in their last remaining stronghold in Rafah.

 

Hamas never had a greater ally than President Biden.

 

Meanwhile, Senator Baldwin is in lock-step with Biden and Hamas providing rhetorical and legislative support whenever they need it. Baldwin has always been a loyal vote of support for whatever the Democrat leadership wants. This case is no different.

 

In a moment of crystal clear moral clarity, Biden and Baldwin have put themselves on the wrong side of history.

Wisconsin Supreme Court to Decide Fewest Cases in 40 Years

Is this a problem? I rather like a minimalist court. Although it does seem that this particular court is usurping power and running roughshod over the Constitution where they choose.

It would be the first time the court has issued fewer than 40 decisions in a term in at least four decades.

 

According to Ball’s analysis, the court filed more than 130 decisions in its 1980-81 term and has generally fluctuated between 40 and 100 per term in subsequent years. Before the late 1970s and the creation of the court of appeals, the state Supreme Court often filed more than 200 decisions per term and sometimes more than 300.

 

[…]

The number of petitions for review has dropped significantly. The court received 658 petitions in its 2020-21 term, 624 in 2021-22 and 573 in 2022-23. According to a March 2024 report from the court, 332 petitions have been filed in the current term.

“In addition to a smaller number of petitions for review, the justices have clearly decided that fewer of the petitions merit acceptance. Why that might be is harder to say,” Ball said.

It is interesting that there are so few petitions. Does this indicate a lack of confidence in the court? Maybe. Maybe it’s just coincidence.

WIAA considers implementing NIL

My full column for the Washington County Daily News is below. I was delighted to see that the WIAA rejects NIL in its meeting yesterday. Well done.

On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, the voluntary governing body for high school sports in the state, will take up the question of whether high school athletes should be allowed to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) as in college sports. I strongly urge the WIAA to reject this proposal.

 

To date, 31 other states have already allowed NIL in high school sports. Wisconsin’s high school athletic directors, who comprise the membership of the WIAA, have been reluctant to follow suit, but it appears that such reluctance may have been overcome.

 

At issue is the definition of “amateur.”

 

The simple definition is that if one is not directly paid to compete in a sport, then one is an amateur. For decades, high school and college sports insisted that their athletes be true amateurs to preserve the competitive balance of sports. We did not want rich schools to pay professional athletes to dominate a sport. The loophole in the system was that wealthy school supporters would give gifts or highly paid noshow/ low-show jobs to talented athletes to attract them to a particular school. To combat this, the WIAA, NCAA, and other athletic governing bodies banned athletes from profiting from the fact that they are athletes. These governing bodies tended to over-enforce the rules to the point that athletes were wary of even having a regular job for fear of losing their amateur status.

 

A push began several years ago to allow athletes at the college level to profit from their NIL. I was a supporter of this. The rationale is simple. College athletes are adults competing within a highly profitable athletic monopoly and it is unfair for everyone to make money off of their talent except them. The vast majority of college athletes do not receive scholarships and will never compete as professionals. If they can make a few bucks supporting the local car dealership because they are a popular track star at the local college, then we should not stand in their way.

 

The implementation of NIL is currently ruining college sports. Between the transfer portal and lucrative NIL contracts, the competitive and rooting nature of college athletics is being gutted. While I still support NIL for college athletics for the reasons above, it needs significant reform to preserve college sports. The National Collegiate Athletics Association should, for example, reinstitute the rule whereby college athletes must sit on the bench for a year if they transfer to a different school.

 

While I support NIL for college sports, high school sports are different for one significant reason. The athletes are minors.

 

They are dependents of their parents who are responsible for their care. Money made from the athletes’ NIL does not go to the athlete, but to the athlete’s parent or guardian.

 

This fact makes NIL at the high school level take on the attributes of exploitation of a minor rather than freeing the athlete from exploitation.

 

The other movement in sports that corrupts this issue is the spread of legal sports gambling. Americans have always gambled on sports, but it was relegated to shadowy corners of society. We shunned it from the light because of the corrosive nature of gambling on competition. The availability of online sports betting and a growing cultural acceptance has made sports betting a big business and many people participate.

 

The corrosive effect of gambling is already seeping into high school sports. Infusing NIL money and influences into high school athletics will only increase the incentives and abilities of bad actors to corrupt the games.

 

It is not difficult to imagine someone with a betting interest in a high school sport using NIL influence to change the outcomes. We have a long history of cheating on sports to win a bet.

 

It is important for high school athletes to be able to work a job or receive reasonable gifts without jeopardizing their amateur status and ability to compete. The WIAA should work to clarify those rules so that athletes can work and compete without fear. But the WIAA should reject implementing NIL in Wisconsin. The risks to the athletes and their sports are not worth the rewards.

Chancellor Porn Still Being Paid by Taxpayers

Remember this guy? Wisconsin taxpayers will be paying him for the rest of his life.

The former chancellor, Joe Gow, said Wednesday that interim Chancellor Betsy Morgan filed three charges against him March 29, accusing him of unethical conduct, failing to cooperate with an investigation, and using UW-La Crosse computers to produce pornographic materials.

 

Gow declined to share a letter from Morgan detailing the charges, saying he didn’t want to look as though he is trying to play out his case in the media.

But he said the ethics charge may be connected to his writings in two pornographic e-books. He declined to go into detail. The allegation of failure to cooperate stems from his refusal to speak to an outside law firm investigating the matter without an attorney, he said. He denied using any UW state-owned equipment or state dollars to produce porn.

 

[…]

 

Gow said he has requested a hearing before a faculty committee, as is his right under state law. The committee would recommend to the Board of Regents, the UW system’s governing body, whether he can keep his backup job as a tenured communications professor. The board would make the final decision on whether he can stay on.

 

The regents fired Gow from the chancellor post in December after learning he and his wife, former UW-La Crosse professor Carmen Wilson, were producing and starring in pornographic videos. They also wrote two e-books titled “Monogamy with Benefits: How Porn Enriches Our Relationship” and “Married with Benefits — Our Real-Life Adult Industry Adventures” under pseudonyms.

 

Promising Poll in Wisconsin

The election is a long way away, but this is promising.

MILWAUKEE – A new Marquette Law School Poll survey of Wisconsin finds Republican former President Donald Trump supported by 51% of registered voters and Democratic President Joe Biden by 49%. Among likely voters also, Trump is the choice of 51% and Biden of 49%.

 

In the U.S. Senate race, Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin is supported by 52% and Republican challenger Eric Hovde by 47% among registered voters. Among likely voters, the race is a tie, with 50% for both Baldwin and Hovde.

Evers Stamps Feet and Sputters Nonsense

Good for the Republicans. They put forth a reasonable bill to deal with this and Evers vetoed it. Evers has proven to be untrustworthy in negotiations and is just grandstanding now. His legacy of refusing to come to the table and negotiate in good faith is biting him in the butt. Good.

The moves are the latest twist in the ongoing stalemate between Evers and the Legislature over the best way to combat PFAS chemicals that have polluted groundwater in communities across the state. Evers and Republicans have both said that fighting the chemicals is a priority, but they haven’t been able to come together on what to do about it.

 

Evers invoked a rarely used power and called a meeting of the Republican-led Legislature’s budget committee, urging it to release the funding that was previously approved in the state budget. But Republicans on the Joint Finance Committee did not show up, with the GOP co-chairs calling Evers’ move “blatant political game-playing.

 

”Although no Republicans came, Evers made a previously unannounced appearance in the Capitol hearing room and joined three Democratic lawmakers in blasting the GOP inaction.

 

“The Republicans are missing in action on this,” Evers said. “This is one they whiffed on, big time.”

 

[…]

 

Sen. Howard Marklein and Rep. Mark Born, the Republican committee co-chairs, said in a letter delivered to Evers on Friday that although the governor can call a meeting of the budget committee, he can’t actually require it to meet or take action. The committee will not meet, they said.

 

“We are disappointed in your disregard for a co-equal branch of government, as well as the legislative process,” Born and Marklein wrote to Evers.

 

[…]

 

Evers said in his veto message that he objected to the bill because it would limit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ authority to hold polluters liable. But Wimberger, the bill’s sponsor, said Evers wants to create a “slush fund” for the DNR and not protect landowners not responsible for pollution from possible costly enforcement actions.

West Bend School District eyes November referendum

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

According to the Wisconsin Policy Forum, 60.2% of the 103 proposed school referendums in Wisconsin passed this April. That is down from the 80.1% that passed in 2022 and 85.6% that passed in 2020. That last time that support for school referendums had this little support was in the wake of the Great Recession.

 

[…]

 

The core issue facing the West Bend School District is a decline in enrollment. After peaking about 10 years ago, enrollment has been steadily declining and is projected to continue to decline for the foreseeable future. It is a pervasive demographic trend throughout Wisconsin. According to the district’s figures, enrollment declined 18.6% over the past 10 years and will be down almost 40% off peak in another 10 years. The result is that the district has far too much physical space for far too few students. The district needs to right-size its physical footprint to match reality.

 

First, we must dispel the notion that any school district needs more money to shrink. When a business sees a downturn, they close stores and reduce staff. Nobody gives a business more money to get smaller. School districts do not need more money to get smaller either.

 

They can close and sell facilities, move and reduce staff, and change bus routes at no additional cost to taxpayers.

 

Voters must not allow “declining enrollment” to be conflated with “need more money.”

 

[…]

 

According to Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction data, in 2011-2012, the West Bend School District spent $82.5 million to educate 7,010 children (DPI uses a three-year rolling average for student count, so actual student count is a bit lower), or $11,763 per child. In 20212022, they spent $121.9 million to educate 6,491 students, or $18,779 per child. That is a 59.6% increase in per-student spending in just ten years. Yes, inflation has been part of that story in the past four years, but not even that accounts for such an increase in spending.

 

Where did all of that money go? Clearly it did not go to updating facilities or they would not be about to ask for more money in a referendum. According to ACT and other test scores tracked by the DPI, educational performance has been flat or declining. The district spent a fair amount paying off old debt from previous referendums. The district also abandoned a proposed merit pay system for staff in 2020. It is difficult to justify that much additional spending in a district with declining enrollment while failing to properly manage the district’s facilities.

WMC Asks Supreme Court to Overturn Governor’s 400 Year Tax Increase

This court won’t strike it down, but they should. No governor should have the power to raise taxes – especially not for centuries.

Attorneys with Wisconsin’s largest business lobbying group asked the state Supreme Court on Monday to strike down Democratic Gov. Tony Evers‘ use of a partial veto to lock in a school funding increase for the next 400 years.

 

The Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Litigation Center filed the petition on behalf of two taxpayers. It will be up to the liberal-controlled Supreme Court to decide whether to hear the case before it goes through lower courts, which is where cases typically start.

At issue is a partial veto Evers made of the state budget in July that increased how much revenue K-12 public schools can raise per student by $325 a year until 2425. Evers took language that originally applied the $325 increase for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years and instead vetoed the “20” and the hyphen to make the end date 2425, more than four centuries from now.

 

[…]

 

“The law is clear,” said WMC Litigation Center Deputy Director Nathan Kane in a statement. “Voters and their elected legislators are the ones empowered to increases taxes, no one else.”

Leftist Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Won’t Seek Reelection

This was unexpected, but welcome. We will have an open seat with no power of incumbency in play.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley announced Thursday she would step down at the end of her term next spring, putting liberals’ majority on the pivotal swing state’s highest bench at stake.

 

The April 2025 election to replace Bradley promises to be an expensive and bitter race and will likely feature many of the same momentous issues — like abortion rights and redistricting — that defined a 2023 Wisconsin Supreme Court race that ultimately gave liberals their first majority on the bench in 15 years.

 

In a statement, Bradley, 73, said she would not run for a fourth 10-year term on the court, saying it was a good time to bring “fresh perspectives to the court.”

“My decision has not come lightly. It is made after careful consideration and reflection. I know I can do the job and do it well. I know I can win re-election should I run, but it’s just time to pass the torch,” wrote Bradley, who was elected to the technically nonpartisan court in 1995.

West Bend School District Looks to Adjust to Declining Enrollment

There are some interesting plans. The root cause, of course, is that the West Bend Schools District’s enrollment has collapsed and looks to continue to decline for the foreseeable future. The story is happening across the nation and is a demographic trend with which everyone is grappling.

For the moment, I will put aside my frustration that this district has seen these enrollment numbers for 10 years and did nothing. Small changes made along the way are preferable to massive changes after there is crisis.

The plans on the table are to close a couple of buildings, build a big new school in Jackson, upgrade some buildings, yadda yadda yadda. Same old stuff. It’s all designed to create a package that is attractive enough to enough voters to get them so pass an expensive referendum so that a lot of people will get paid and the school leaders get to pretend that they accomplished something.

Spoiler alert… it is very, very inexpensive to just close buildings, sell them (you can even sell them cheap to prioritize getting them off the taxpayers’ books instead of getting a windfall), and move kids to ample available space in the rest of the district. You don’t need to spend tens of millions of dollars shrink your physical footprint to adjust to fewer customers. No business on earth does that.

Illegal ballot drop boxes an invitation for election fraud

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

Gov. Tony Evers has called on the Wisconsin Supreme Court to allow election drop boxes throughout Wisconsin. It is telling that he is not proposing legislation to allow drop boxes, but is, instead, calling on his activist allies on the High Court to impose drop boxes by judicial fiat. There are two separate questions regarding this issue. Is it legal? Is it a good idea? Let us start with the first question.

 

During the 2020 election during the pandemic, the Wisconsin Elections Commission gave guidance for local election officials to use drop boxes to collect absentee ballots. Most likely, they gave this guidance at the behest of local officials trying to grapple with running an election during a pandemic when many people were not comfortable going out in public. While the WEC’s and local officials’ motives to use absentee ballot drop boxes may have been benign, it was not legal.

 

Wisconsin’s election laws are extensive and prescribe how elections are to be held, who can vote, what identification is needed, how ballots are to be secured, and how absentee ballots are to be handled. Despite the lengthy statutes setting how elections are to be conducted, they are silent on the topic of drop boxes. The law neither allows them nor forbids them.

The laws do, however, provide detailed rules on how to manage absentee ballots. The fact legislatures of the past under Republican and Democrat control wrote these laws without mentioning drop boxes is important. Drop boxes have been used in other states for years, but prior legislatures decided not to include their use in Wisconsin’s statutes. This is why, in the ruling issued by the Wisconsin Supreme Court less than two years ago, Justice Hagedorn wrote: “We conclude WEC’s staff erred by authorizing a voting mechanism not authorized by law. The memos created a ballot drop box scheme entirely absent from Wisconsin’s election code. The legislature’s ‘carefully regulated’ procedures for absentee voting do not permit voting via ballot drop boxes.”

 

Ballot drop boxes are clearly illegal in Wisconsin. With the new leftist majority on the Supreme Court, however, the issue has been challenged again despite the recent ruling on the matter. None of the facts have changed. Only the justices have changed. This is why Governor Evers and his comrades are asking the court to reverse its earlier decision and allow ballot drop boxes without ever proposing legislation to allow them in the statutes.

While clearly illegal at this time, they may be a good idea. It is a subject that can be sincerely debated with good points on both sides. This is what the Legislature is for — for duly elected representatives of the people to debate and vote for laws that that set public policy.

 

If we are to have ballot drop boxes in Wisconsin, the procedure for how to manage and secure them should be defined by law to ensure consistency and secure elections across the state. They should be monitored in person or by video that is archived. People should not be permitted to insert a ballot into the drop box without first taking a picture of their face in case the ballot is challenged. And only one ballot should be able to be inserted at a time with a minimum 30-second interval between each inserted ballot.

 

The problem with drop boxes in the current usage — particularly unmonitored ones — is that they are easily susceptible to election fraud. Bad actors can drop hundreds or thousands of fraudulent ballots into drop boxes without the person ever having to identify themselves. It is a gaping hole in our election security. If we are going to have drop boxes, let us do it in a way that maintains secure and fair elections. Wisconsin law dictates how local officials must run elections and manage ballots in every other case. How we might use ballot drop boxes should not be left to the discretion of local election officials.

 

However, Wisconsin does not need ballot drop boxes. People who are unable or unwilling to vote in person can already mail in their absentee ballots without ever leaving their homes. Wisconsin also has generous inperson early voting times for weeks before an election. Wisconsin’s same day registration even makes it easy to vote if someone forgets to register in advance of the election. There are currently no significant barriers to voting that providing absentee ballot drop boxes would remedy.

 

The question is, then, why are Governor Evers and his comrades so adamant that Wisconsin allow ballot drop boxes? Evers took to X last week to declare, “Drop box voting is safe and secure. Period.” That is demonstrably false. A quick search reveals hundreds of videos and stories of people shoving dozens or hundreds of ballots at a time into ballot drop boxes throughout America. There is no good, legal reason that anyone should be putting multiple ballots into a drop box. One can deduce that Evers’ rabid support for unsecured ballot drop boxes does not come from honorable intentions.

 

Sadly, I expect the activist leftist majority on the Supreme Court to reverse the recent, and correct, decision of the court to prohibit drop boxes. Without statutory guidance to govern the use and security of the drop boxes, their yawning invitation to commit election fraud will further undermine confidence that Wisconsin truly has a secure and fair elections.

State Bar Tries to be Less Racist

Victory? I guess? But if the results of the program are the same, it doesn’t seem like much of a victory. Liberals have no problem saying one thing to appease the law and then doing whatever they want.

The State Bar of Wisconsin said that under terms of the settlement, its “diversity clerkship program” would continue unchanged under the new definition.

 

But the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, which brought the lawsuit in December, declared victory, saying in a statement that “mandatory and annual State Bar dues will not fund internships and policies primarily based on race, but rather on merit and diversity of viewpoint.”

 

The original definition of “diversity” for the Wisconsin program said the concept includes race, ethnicity, gender identity and other factors. The new definition simply says it involves “including people with differing characteristics, beliefs, experiences, interests, and viewpoints.”

 

Under the deal, the bar association must also clearly say in all materials related to the program that race is not a factor in considering participation in the program, according to the conservative law firm.

 

The bar association also may not say that only law students from diverse backgrounds, with backgrounds that have been historically excluded from the legal field, or who have been socially disadvantaged are eligible, the law firm said.

 

The program in question offers summer internships for first-year law school students at top law firms, private companies and government offices. Past participants have included Alliant Energy, Froedtert Health, the Kohler Co., the city of Madison, the Wisconsin Department of Justice and the state Department of Corrections.

Washington County Finds Buyer for Samaritan

Of course it’s all rainbows and sunshine in the announcement, but this looks very positive for the residents and the taxpayers.

WEST BEND — The Washington County Board on Wednesday night voted to sell Samaritan to EOM Healthcare Group, contingent upon negotiations between EOM Healthcare Group and the county.

 

“We have determined that we are dealing with a qualified offer and a qualified buyer,” said Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann. “They have an offer for us to consider that we think is worthy of your consideration.”

 

EOM Healthcare Group owns Middleton Village Nursing and Rehab in Middleton, Lincoln Park Nursing and Rehab in Racine, and Bradley Estates Nursing and Rehab in Milwaukee, as well as others across the country.

 

[…]

 

There were three key conditions that the county was looking for a buyer to accept, including taking care of the residents, taking care of the staff and keeping the skilled nursing licenses within West Bend, if not Washington County.

 

According to EOM Healthcare Group’s Jacob Jeidel, the main owner, those conditions fit perfectly into their mission. Additionally, EOM healthcare Group said they would keep the facility name, Samaritan, the same.

 

“EOM is actually an acronym, it stands for everyone matters,” said Jeidel. “I think where that really comes into light is …everybody knows that the residents come first, and that’s obvious. No one will disagree with that.”

 

“…Unfortunately though, what gets neglected along the way is the staff, and the staff get thrown by the wayside …It’s a lifestyle, it’s not a job, and so the focus here of the company that we try to accomplish, and I think we successfully accomplish in many ways, is very, very much employee focused.”

 

According to Jeidel, in addition to a number of employee benefits, which are discussed at eomhealthcaregroup. com under “Employee Initiatives,” EOM Healthcare has also increased all floor staff wages on day one after purchasing their current three Wisconsin-based nursing homes, and has increased wages several times since.

 

“We like to be competitive, not just because we want to hire nurses, but we want to make sure our staff is happy working at the facility,” said Jeidel. “…That is something that is very important to us, and something that we take very seriously.”

Evers’ Bad Friday

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here it is:

On Good Friday, Wisconsin’s Christians paused to reflect on the crucifixion of Jesus and plan for weekend family celebrations of his rising. Gov. Tony Evers used the time to veto 41 bills. This column lacks the space to catalog every bad decision Evers made on Friday, so let us try to narrow it down to the top five.

 

Evers has been very vocal about the need for Wisconsin to support child care providers. Child care is expensive and there are not enough providers to meet the demand. This problem has been exacerbated by inflation, regulations, the inability of providers to pay higher wages without raising prices, and the end of government subsidies from the various federal COVID bailouts.

 

The Republican Legislature passed a bill to help child care providers with a state loan program. Evers vetoed it. He did so claiming that it was not enough. Evers would rather that the state provide no help at all if it is not his plan. He does not really care about helping ease the child care crisis. He cares about it being a political issue for himself.

 

Evers vetoed another bill that would have prohibited John Doe investigations in cases where a district attorney had already declined to press charges because of self-defense or defense of others. Wisconsin’s John Doe laws are an old process intended to allow an independent investigator to investigate if a crime has been committed. Under John Doe, the investigation is done in secret to protect innocent people from being publicly maligned with an unfounded accusation while they are investigated. We saw during the Scott Walker era how the John Doe process was turned into a political weapon by activist leftist district attorneys and judges.

 

By vetoing this bill, those same prosecutorial and judicial activists can use the John Doe process to go after police officers and civilians who were already cleared of a crime for reasons of self-defense or defense of others. In particular, this will empower the anti-police activists to continually ruin the lives of good cops who had to use force to defend themselves or the public. Evers is helping to fuel anti-police activism.

 

Another bill would have prohibited credit card companies from tracking firearm purchases in the state. This has been advocated by anti-civil rights activists as a way to facilitate discrimination against people who legally exercise their rights to keep and bear arms. Evers is on the side of the oppressors and wants to make it easier to suppress our civil rights.

 

It may shock some to learn that government school districts do not have to put contracts out to bid. Some do so as a matter of good policy, but it is not required by law. This means that when school districts pass those massive building referendums, they can award those contracts to whomever they want without seeking competitive bids. This is an obvious avenue for massive corruption at the expense of taxpayers.

 

The Republican Legislature passed a bill that would have required government school districts to conduct a legitimate bidding process for any contracts over $150,000. Evers vetoed it. He wants to make it as easy as possible for government schools to dole out tax dollars to their favorites even if it is not a good deal for taxpayers. For Evers, it is not about the taxpayers. It is about political favoritism at all levels.

 

The last example is the most egregious. We have a mental health crisis in this country. The aftershocks of the government mismanagement of the pandemic coupled with a social media contagion leaves our kids lonely and depressed. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults experience a mental illness each year and, “50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.”

 

The Republican Legislature passed a bill that would have allowed out-of-state mental health care providers to provide care for Wisconsinites via telehealth without requiring a Wisconsin license. The licensure requirements for mental health professionals varies little between states and the imperative of getting Wisconsinites timely care during a mental health crisis outweighs the need for a duplicative and meaningless state stamp of approval.

 

Evers vetoed this bill too. Instead of opening up an entire nation of qualified mental health professionals to treat Wisconsinites, he sided with ensuring that the state collect its $77 license fee over the mental health of Wisconsinites.

 

Governor Evers is on the side of antipolice and anti-2nd Amendment activists, the bureaucracy, and his personal political agenda. He is not on the side of Wisconsinites.

Two forgotten stories deserve attention

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

In the latter half of last year, two unsavory and revelatory stories about Gov. Tony Evers were reported and made headlines throughout Wisconsin. Here we are at the end of March and the headlines have faded and Evers continues to act with impunity, having suffered no consequences for his shady behavior.

 

The first story was broken by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in August of last year. They revealed that Evers’ longtime Chief of Staff, Maggie Gau, was living with one of her subordinates. Later reporting revealed that that subordinate was Evers’ communications director, Britt Cudaback.

 

While the initial story is outrageous enough, further reporting revealed it to be even worse than first thought. Cudaback was appointed as a deputy in 2019 for $62,000 per year. She was promoted to report directly to Gau in 2020 and her annual salary was increased to $100,006. In 2023, her pay was increased again to $112,008. Her 80% increase in pay came in just four years during the same period she was living with her boss.

 

Furthermore, during that period, Evers admitted that no formal performance reviews were administered and there is no documentation that shows that there was a competitive and inclusive hiring process for the position and compensation that Cudaback holds. Evers vigorously defended the practice.

 

Such relationships between a supervisor and a subordinate are strictly prohibited throughout the private sector and the rest of government because they are inherently discriminatory and coercive, but Evers accepts and applauds them. It has been seven months since that story broke and, as far as we know, nothing has changed.

 

The second story that further revealed Evers’ deceptive and unethical behavior was broken by Wisconsin Right Now in November of last year. Through a series of open records requests, Evers’ office accidentally let it slip that the governor had been using a secret email alias for years. Tony Evers had stolen the name of Hall of Fame Milwaukee Braves pitcher Warren Spahn to conduct public business with other government officials and people outside of government.

Wisconsin’s Open Records Act is very strong and very explicit. The key to it is that the public has an explicit right to know what their government is doing. If a government official is conducting the people’s business, the public has a right to see it with a few very narrow exceptions. If the public official if using a private email account, chat platform, social media, paper documents, or any other medium on or off government property or technology, the people have a right to see it. Yes, that also includes if the government official is using a fake name in an attempt to hide what he is doing from the public.

Cudaback (still in the job three months after the previous story was revealed), defended the practice of a government official using a fake name as “common.” It would be troubling enough if that statement were true, but it still does not mean that the governor’s use of a fake name excludes those communications from public scrutiny. Furthermore, Evers’ fake email was on a Wisconsin. gov domain, which makes it subject to mandatory retention rules.

 

The governor’s office admitted to more than 17,000 emails written to and from Evers’ fake email address between 2018 and 2023. That equals about eight emails per day for six years. That is a tremendous amount of communication that the governor is hiding.

 

In early December, both Wisconsin Right Now and the Republican Party of Wisconsin filed open records requests for the 17,000 emails as is their right under Wisconsin law. Despite a legal and moral responsibility to hand over the emails, to date, Tony Evers has refused to do so. Our governor is flagrantly breaking the law by his refusal to allow the people to scrutinize the business he is purportedly doing on their behalf.

 

The fact that both stories flared and disappeared tells us something about the state of politics in Wisconsin. First, the combination of both stories tell us that Tony Evers is unscrupulous, immoral, and has a Trump-sized ego in which he believes he does not have to conform to strictures of law and morality to which we other mere mortal must adhere.

 

Second, the fact that the stories evaporated and Evers has not suffered any consequences reveals that Wisconsin no longer has a Fourth Estate that will hold the powerful accountable. In that sense, Evers is right to just ignore the controversies and continue to do whatever the hell he wants. Unfortunately, Wisconsin is worse for it.

Two forgotten stories deserve attention

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

In the latter half of last year, two unsavory and revelatory stories about Gov. Tony Evers were reported and made headlines throughout Wisconsin. Here we are at the end of March and the headlines have faded and Evers continues to act with impunity, having suffered no consequences for his shady behavior.

 

The first story was broken by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in August of last year. They revealed that Evers’ longtime Chief of Staff, Maggie Gau, was living with one of her subordinates. Later reporting revealed that that subordinate was Evers’ communications director, Britt Cudaback.

 

While the initial story is outrageous enough, further reporting revealed it to be even worse than first thought. Cudaback was appointed as a deputy in 2019 for $62,000 per year. She was promoted to report directly to Gau in 2020 and her annual salary was increased to $100,006. In 2023, her pay was increased again to $112,008. Her 80% increase in pay came in just four years during the same period she was living with her boss.

 

Furthermore, during that period, Evers admitted that no formal performance reviews were administered and there is no documentation that shows that there was a competitive and inclusive hiring process for the position and compensation that Cudaback holds. Evers vigorously defended the practice.

 

Such relationships between a supervisor and a subordinate are strictly prohibited throughout the private sector and the rest of government because they are inherently discriminatory and coercive, but Evers accepts and applauds them. It has been seven months since that story broke and, as far as we know, nothing has changed.

 

The second story that further revealed Evers’ deceptive and unethical behavior was broken by Wisconsin Right Now in November of last year. Through a series of open records requests, Evers’ office accidentally let it slip that the governor had been using a secret email alias for years. Tony Evers had stolen the name of Hall of Fame Milwaukee Braves pitcher Warren Spahn to conduct public business with other government officials and people outside of government.

Two amendments to protect our elections

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

Although the presidential primary races were already settled long before Wisconsinites had the opportunity to weigh in, there are still important local races to decide on the April 2 ballot. In addition, every Wisconsin voter will be asked to decide on two amendments to Wisconsin’s state Constitution.

 

The reason these amendments are on the ballot is troubling. Even though our system of government is replete with checks and balances at every level, we remain largely dependent on people willingly following the law without the need for coercion.

 

Increasingly we are seeing government officials at all levels willfully violate the law because they have realized that there are few consequences for them doing so. We saw this phenomenon in full display during the pandemic as laws were ignored, civil rights were suppressed, and official restraint was abandoned for the sake of “safety.”

 

This was particularly true for election laws. In Wisconsin, election officials illegally collected ballots in parks, plopped unsecured ballot collection ballots all over the place, ignored voter ID requirements, accepted invalid mailed in ballots, turned over the administration of elections to private activists, and generally ignored, violated, or invented laws and regulations at their whim. With rare exception, all of the election officials who ran roughshod over our lawful election processes remain at their posts and have escaped any negative consequences for their actions. In our late-stage republic, leftists have discovered that they can implement their will through the power of the bureaucracy without the annoyance of needing to win elections or pass legislation. With a bit of gumption and an accomplice executive branch, even a banal local bureaucrat can wield enormous, unchecked power and citizens are left with few legal recourses.

 

For these and other reasons, the Republicans in the Legislature have begun to ask the voters to amend the Constitution to reflect the will of the people in the hope that the Constitution will be more difficult to ignore or violate than statutes. With our current activist leftist Supreme Court, this plan is not foolproof, but at least it provides an avenue for citizens to insist that their government obey their governing document.

 

On the ballot next month are two proposed constitutional amendments that are a direct response to leftist election officials manipulating recent elections and the failure of law enforcement to hold them accountable.

 

The first proposed amendment would prohibit the use of private funds to conduct elections. The second proposed constitutional amendment is related to the first. It would prohibit any person except people lawfully elected or selected to administer elections.

 

Both amendments are a response to Mark Zuckerberg’s activist group that poured millions of dollars and provided activist staffers for five Democratic strongholds in Wisconsin. Their stated objective was to help with ballot access and election staffing issues. Their real objective was to turn out the vote for Democrats. Local election officials gave these Democratic activists the keys to the electoral process. Low and behold, we saw massive Democratic turnout in those five districts.

 

The reason we do not want private groups to fund and manage our elections is that there is no accountability for malfeasance. They are unelected and unaccountable to the citizens. Whether leftist, rightist, libertarian, anarchist, communist, liberal, or conservative, we must not allow private activists to control the process by which our government obtains the consent of the governed.

 

I truly wish that we did not need resort to constitutional amendments to provide safeguards for our elections. Laws and regulations should do. Unfortunately, experience has taught us that laws and regulations are not enough. We need to install every possible safeguard to protect our elections from the incompetent and the nefarious.

 

Please vote “yes” on both proposed amendments. Wisconsin will be better for it.

Wausau Suddenly Overwhelmed by Homeless People In Winter

Hmmmm… First we hear that little Whitewater is facing a crime wave with social services being overwhelmed by illegal aliens. Now we see that Wausau is being overwhelmed by homeless people. It’s almost as if we have an open border and illegal aliens are finding their way to communities throughout the country.

The Wausau Police Department is requesting an additional two officers as part of a team approach to working with homeless residents, as the number of people without permanent housing surged considerably over the past three months.

“The speed at which unhoused individuals are coming into our community scares me,” he said.

[…]
In his February presentation, Barnes said city workers are shoveling human fecal material from downtown parking ramps on a regular basis.
[…]

Barnes said the homeless situation in Wausau is making policing complicated and reducing the amount of policing that the rest of our community “that pay taxes to have a quality police force” is getting.

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