Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Politics – Wisconsin

What the Rittenhouse verdict reminds us about government power

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

The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse has aggravated several of America’s seeping cultural sores. In the swirl of public debate about race, Second Amendment rights, First Amendment rights, crime, policing, and myriad other issues, 12 brave jurors did the right thing and justice was done.

 

The case was very simple. Irrespective of why Rittenhouse was where he was at the time he was and for what reason, all the jurors had to decide was whether he was reasonably acting in self-defense when he killed two men and maimed a third. Thanks to the continuous live coverage of several news outlets, all of us could watch the trial in real time and see all the evidence presented. If you think that the jury should have returned anything other than an acquittal, you are objectively, demonstrably, and categorically wrong.

 

The greatest crime perpetrated was that Rittenhouse was ever tried at all. Given the overwhelming evidence from multiple videos and witness testimonies, there was never any doubt that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. Yet, despite that overwhelming evidence, the district attorney and his deputies decided to prosecute Rittenhouse anyway for reasons that can only be explained by their political and personal biases.

 

For the people who distrust the police and prosecutors to act fairly and responsibly, you are right. They should not be trusted. In fact, our entire system of government is replete with strong protections for individual rights, diffused power, checks, and balances was designed that way precisely because we should not trust our government and the people who are in it.

 

Any student of history should know that government can never be trusted, but one does not have to look very far in our modern America to find examples of abuse of governmental power. Less than a decade ago, a team of rogue prosecutors sought to criminalize protected political speech by launching multiple John Doe investigations against conservatives in Wisconsin. Their black-booted raids and secret proceedings were designed to silence political opponents.

 

For five years the corrupted FBI has been using lies, raids, and thuggish tactics to undermine former President Donald Trump and his allies based on a Russian dossier that they knew was fake all along. They knowingly used lies from Trump’s political opponents to attempt to topple or undermine an elected president. The same corrupted FBI has now been turned against parents who are voicing concerns about how government schools are performing.

 

The vast majority of police, prosecutors, and judges are good people who are doing hard jobs to uphold the rule of law. They deserve our support and respect. But do I believe that a prosecutor might unjustly railroad a person because of their political biases or racial bigotry? Absolutely. Do I believe that a police officer might let their personal prejudices guide their decisions? I would be a nutter not to. The vast majority do not, but it only takes one rotten government agent to unjustly ruin someone’s life.

 

For this reason, we have erected an entire infrastructure of jurisprudence that is rightfully designed to make it very difficult for the government to punish a person for a crime. Resting on the principle voiced by the great English jurist William Blackstone that, “it is better that ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer,” our American system leans heavily to protecting the accused from the potential abuses of government.

 

If you have a healthy distrust, with respect, for our government law enforcement agencies, that is good. You are in the right frame of mind to be an engaged citizen of a self-governing society. Now you must extend that distrust to all of the other government agencies. While a corrupt or abusive police officer or prosecutor can negatively impact your life, so, too, can a corrupt or abusive Department of Revenue agent, game warden, school superintendent, or mayor. We give these people extraordinary power over our lives as the price paid for a civil society, but we must do so grudgingly and with extraordinary oversight. We have been blessed with more than our fair share of superb elected and unelected government officials, but we have also had our fair share of the corrupt and the stupid.

 

At its best, Thomas Paine tells us, “government is a necessary evil.” Nobody in their right mind would trust evil, which is why we must be skeptical about our government and the people in it. We should also not allow that evil to grow too large as to become uncontrollable. I fear that we have already crossed that Rubicon.

What the Rittenhouse verdict reminds us about government power

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

The greatest crime perpetrated was that Rittenhouse was ever tried at all. Given the overwhelming evidence from multiple videos and witness testimonies, there was never any doubt that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. Yet, despite that overwhelming evidence, the district attorney and his deputies decided to prosecute Rittenhouse anyway for reasons that can only be explained by their political and personal biases.

 

[…]

 

If you have a healthy distrust, with respect, for our government law enforcement agencies, that is good. You are in the right frame of mind to be an engaged citizen of a self-governing society. Now you must extend that distrust to all of the other government agencies. While a corrupt or abusive police officer or prosecutor can negatively impact your life, so, too, can a corrupt or abusive Department of Revenue agent, game warden, school superintendent, or mayor. We give these people extraordinary power over our lives as the price paid for a civil society, but we must do so grudgingly and with extraordinary oversight. We have been blessed with more than our fair share of superb elected and unelected government officials, but we have also had our fair share of the corrupt and the stupid.

Milwaukee’s Deadly Pro-Criminal Policies Led to Carnage

53 people in Waukesha and their families are paying the price for Milwaukee’s intentionally pro-criminal policies. But even before that, many people suffered at the hands of this monster.

The shamefaced Milwaukee District Attorney’s Office admitted on Monday it was ‘inappropriate’ for convicted felon Darrell Brooks to be allowed out of jail on a $1,000 bond three weeks ago after trying to run over his ex-girlfriend, as he was charged with five counts of murder for the lives he took at the Waukesha Christmas Parade on Sunday night.

 

Brooks, 39, was taken into custody in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday night after police found his red Ford SUV parked neatly in a driveway five blocks from where he drove through crowds of kids and elderly dancing groups.

 

The amateur rapper has a long criminal history dating back to 1999 with more than 15 arrests in the state of Wisconsin alone for charges including possession of drugs, strangulation and suffocation, battery, illegally possessing firearms as a convicted felon and resisting arrest.

Juiced Report Cards Still Show Declining Results In Government Schools

Even after changing the criteria, thus obliterating any longitudinal value of the report cards, schools show decline

In the first report cards released since before the pandemic to assess Wisconsin schools, the state’s districts collectively backslid, with fewer schools meeting or exceeding expectations for test scores, attendance and equity.

 

About 72% of Wisconsin schools met or exceeded expectations in the 2020-’21 school year, according to the report cards released Tuesday. That’s down from about 87% in the 2018-’19 school year. Report cards were not done in 2020 because of the pandemic.

 

The report cards, produced by the state Department of Public Instruction, are intended as a tool for families and the public to compare schools and track their progress.

 

[…]

 

The scores were partly based on student progress on standardized tests for math and language arts: data that was released earlier this year and showed significant declines statewide and especially in Milwaukee.

 

The report card scores give extra weight to the improvement of certain groups of students, including those who had lower test scores in the past and those who face additional challenges based on race, ethnicity, income, disability and learning English. This year, DPI put more emphasis on students who previously scored lower, and less emphasis on the demographic groups.

 

The report cards also include absenteeism and graduation rates. A previous five-point penalty for failing to meet attendance goals was removed this year.

To hide the overall decline in performance, the DPI granted additional weight if a favored group of kids improved (still not good, but improved) and eliminated metrics that brought down scores.

Even with the cover, it’s pretty clear that Wisconsin’s government schools are in a crisis of quality despite record spending on them. Every year that we allow this to continue is another kid who will be punished for the rest of their lives because of a terrible education.

But, by all means… let’s fill classroom time with SEL and CRT instead of math, economics, finance, literature, history, civics, science, etc.

Wisconsin’s regulatory burden is suffocating

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

All of the tools are there, and have been there, to rein in Wisconsin’s suffocating regulatory burden. What has been missing is the will and energy to use those tools. Normal Wisconsinites do not have a lobbyist who can attend the meetings to weigh in on a regulation. They rely on their elected representatives to be their voice in lightening the weight of government regulation. Far too often, politicians of both parties grant wide latitude to unelected regulators to micromanage Wisconsinites in almost everything they do. The politicians become the voice of the bureaucracy instead of the voice of the people.

 

Wisconsin’s Republicans must take on the regulatory monster because the Democrats never will. There are a few simple questions that politicians should ask themselves before approving any regulation. First, if the regulation supported by law or is it a new law? If a regulation is not in support of a law passed by the people’s legislature, then it should be denied.

 

Second, is the regulation absolutely necessary? There are a lot of good ideas out there or things that people should do, but that does not mean that the government should regulate it. Freedom is precisely the right to do things of which other people disapprove without government sanction. If a regulation is not absolutely necessary, it should be denied.

Evers Calls Out National Guard In Case of Riots in Kenosha

If only he had done this last year.

Members of the Wisconsin National Guard will stage outside Kenosha in a standby status to respond if requested by local law enforcement agencies. Pursuant to Section 321.39(1)(a) of the Wisconsin Statutes, the governor ordered into state active duty members of the Wisconsin National Guard deemed necessary to support local law enforcement and first responders in Kenosha. As has been the case under previous missions, Guard members called to active duty may only be used to provide support to local law enforcement and to protect critical infrastructure and cultural institutions necessary for the well-being of the community, and to provide support to first responders such as the Kenosha Fire Department. The National Guard may not be used to impede the ability of people to peacefully protest or impede the ability of the media to report.

Aaron Rodgers is human after all

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

Aaron Rodgers has always had an independent streak. It is a character trait that has made him one of football’s greats on any given Sunday and made people scratch their heads at his unconventional grooming choices. In hindsight, it seems obvious that Rodgers would chart his own course to protect himself from COVID-19.

 

The bones of the story are rather dry. Rodgers did not want to take a COVID-19 vaccine and chose a homeopathic protocol to boost his immune system instead. He has subsequently come down with COVID-19. Our collective experience shows that he could have just as easily contracted COVID-19 if he had been vaccinated, but the revelation that he is unvaccinated has invited scrutiny.

 

The flesh of the story is full of depth and nuance that bring to the surface the entire national conversation regarding vaccines, mandates, health care autonomy, natural rights, responsibility, privacy, and honesty. While the confines of this column will not allow us to explore the entire body, let us pick at a few scabs together. Thankfully, Rodgers took the time to wax expansively about the issue on “The Pat McAfee Show.” His explanation was like one of his expert fourth-quarter game-winning drives — aggressive, thoughtful, creative, layered, and difficult to counter. In his interview, he spoke truths that many Americans know, but are fearful of expressing for fear of a repressive response from the government/ media/Big Pharma/Big Tech medical totalitarians. First, many of the rules that government and businesses have enacted in response to the pandemic are idiotic. They defy logic, ignore the science of how viruses spread and disregard our actual experience or results of these rules. Many of the rules are designed to allow people to demonstrate the virtue of subservience to authority and shame those who think independently. Making a speaker wear a mask at a podium when everyone else is vaccinated and unmasked “makes no sense,” as Rodgers said. It makes even less sense when we know that vaccinated people are spreading and becoming infected with COVID almost as easily as the unvaccinated. Our national experience is that the greatest value of the vaccines seems to be in lessening the severity of an infection — not preventing the spread of it.

 

Second, “health is not a one-size-fits-all” proposition, said Rodgers. Doctors have known this for centuries and there are entire health care practices built around leveraging knowledge and technology to deliver personalized health care. The human body is an intensely complex creation. To think that there is one treatment or drug that is universally effective and necessary defies centuries of learning. In Rodgers’ case, he claims to be allergic to two of the vaccines and considered the risk of negative effects of the vaccines to be greater than the risk of a healthy young man getting a virus that is statistically less dangerous to him than driving to work every day.

 

Third, Rodgers asserted his freedom as a thinking American to make a choice for himself based on the information he chose to consume. He made a health care decision for himself that would have been a private choice as recently as two years ago. He thinks that health care decisions should be private, and up until the pandemic melted privacy laws, it would have been. While some may make the case that Rodgers’ case is different because he is a public figure, consider that our federal government has just enacted a mandate for tens of millions of Americans that will force Americans to disclose their medical status on pain of pauperism.

Which brings us to the very definition of freedom. What is it? Are Americans still free in the age of COVID? Freedom is the broad latitude to exercise one’s natural rights without restraint. It is the ability to speak one’s mind without punishment. It is the power to decide what medical treatments to receive, if any, without coercion. That is not to say that freedom can be exercised without criticism, but that nobody — especially one’s government — can wield coercive power to stifle the exercise of one’s rights.

 

We cannot be said to live in a state of freedom when we cannot express opinions to make our own health care decisions without being penalized by our government whether that government is acting directly or reaching through our employers with the fist of regulation. We do not have freedom if we are only permitted to speak, pray or receive health care that is approved by our new pharmacratic overlords.

 

At its core, freedom means that people can speak and make personal medical decisions even if they are self-destructive, kooky, or just plain stupid. Whether you agree with Rodgers’ decision about his health care choices, it is his choice to make. In a different era, we allowed our government to exercise power over us only when there was heat created by the friction of opposing freedoms grating against each other. We no longer live in that era. Now we live in an era where we allow our government to wield direct and indirect power to regulate our personal medical decisions and silence speech that does not conform with the current government-approved canon. Rodgers has said that his thoughts on the pandemic will make the left cancel him and the right champion him. Perhaps, but for me, his thoughts humanize him because he is an American who has the same rights as the rest of us. He is frustrated and angry about the increasingly heavy boot of oppression that is suffocating our liberty with the garrote of public health policy.

Kenosha District Attorney Named D.A. of the Year

SMH:

The Wisconsin District Attorneys’ Association (WDAA), an organization representing over 400 criminal prosecutors in the State of Wisconsin, is
pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s prosecutor of the year awards. These awards are designed to recognize the outstanding work of Wisconsin prosecutors, and include specific honors for a District Attorney, Deputy District Attorney, Assistant District Attorney and Rising Star, which is an ADA with 5-10 years of experience who demonstrates great promise and leadership in the field of prosecution.

Nominations were received from criminal justice system partners across the state and reviewed by a bipartisan committee of current and former prosecutors. The following recipients received their awards on November 4, 2021 during the fall State Prosecutors’ Education & Training conference held in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin:

Lifetime Achievement Award: Bob Donohoo, Milwaukee County

 

Lifetime Achievement Award: Bob Barrington, Dodge County

 

District Attorney of the Year: Mike Gravely, Kenosha County

Aaron Rodgers is human after all

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

We cannot be said to live in a state of freedom when we cannot express opinions to make our own health care decisions without being penalized by our government whether that government is acting directly or reaching through our employers with the fist of regulation. We do not have freedom if we are only permitted to speak, pray or receive health care that is approved by our new pharmacratic overlords.

 

At its core, freedom means that people can speak and make personal medical decisions even if they are self-destructive, kooky, or just plain stupid. Whether you agree with Rodgers’ decision about his health care choices, it is his choice to make. In a different era, we allowed our government to exercise power over us only when there was heat created by the friction of opposing freedoms grating against each other. We no longer live in that era. Now we live in an era where we allow our government to wield direct and indirect power to regulate our personal medical decisions and silence speech that does not conform with the current government-approved canon. Rodgers has said that his thoughts on the pandemic will make the left cancel him and the right champion him. Perhaps, but for me, his thoughts humanize him because he is an American who has the same rights as the rest of us. He is frustrated and angry about the increasingly heavy boot of oppression that is suffocating our liberty with the garrote of public health policy.

“The whole day was a clusterfuck, right?”

I agree with Pocan. But not only was the day a cluster, so is the legislation that Democrats are ramming through on a Friday night.

House Democrats were on the cusp of a deal to advance the party’s domestic agenda late Friday, breaking the logjam on an infrastructure bill that has languished for months and moving ahead on their $1.75 trillion social spending package.

 

In the end, a statement from moderates vowing to back the social spending plan later this month, pending a positive cost analysis, finally broke the fever.

 

“The whole day was a clusterfuck, right?” said senior progressive Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.). “At the end of the day, what we all want to do is get the president’s agenda done, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Wisconsin Center District breaks ground on money pit

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

The Wisconsin Center District broke ground on a huge expansion of Milwaukee’s convention center including a 112,000-square-foot expansion of the expo hall. On the heels of a pandemic and at a cost of $420 million, they must be high.

 

The Wisconsin Center District is a government entity that runs the Wisconsin Center (convention center), UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, and Miller High Life Theatre. It also owns Fiserv Forum, but that venue is operated by the Milwaukee Bucks. The WCD is funded by revenue from operating the venues, a special sales tax on hotel rooms, a sales tax on food and drinks in local restaurants, a sales tax on car rentals, and a hotel room tax in Milwaukee County and the city of Milwaukee. If you have ever dined or stayed in Milwaukee, you have helped fund the WCD.

 

Milwaukee has always struggled to consistently attract convention business, but with this new expansion of the Wisconsin Center, the WCD is hoping to change that dynamic. The expansion will expand the Wisconsin Center to 300,000 square feet of contiguous space. It will also add 24 additional meeting rooms and at least 400 indoor parking spaces. Finally, the WCD will add six loading docks, an executive kitchen, and a ballroom that will seat at least 2,000 people for dinner.

 

Unfortunately for the WCD, there is very little to support the supposition that the reason that Milwaukee has not been able to attract a substantial number of conventions is because the convention center is too small. The convention center has been expended over the years and the results remain the same. The reason that Milwaukee does not attract many conventions is because it’s Milwaukee.

 

Downtown Milwaukee is lovely and boasts a handful of fun attractions, but there just isn’t enough there to compete with so many other cities contending for convention business. When you couple the meager attractions with runaway crime, an inhospitable city government, and the long, brutal winters, the WCD has always been overly optimistic about the prospects of turning Milwaukee into a destination city for conventions. Furthermore, nobody is really sure if the pandemic- collapsed convention business will ever fully bounce back. Businesses have found other ways to market their wares, and some may never return to their previous convention spending.

 

The WCD has never been shy about spending taxpayer money on fanciful projects despite the slim prospects for success. After all, it’s not their money. For this expansion, the WCD borrowed $420 million.

 

They will pay back those bonds with the venue and tax revenues that they collect. But the state of Wisconsin has guaranteed $300 million of those bonds with state taxpayer money. If the whole thing is a failure, state taxpayers will shoulder the majority of the expense.

 

It is also worth remembering that the WCD’s finances have been in shambles for years. For the last six years, the WCD has run an operating loss every year. In 2014, they ran an operating loss of $16.5 million. In 2015, they lost $17.9 million. 2016; lost $15.1 million. 2017; lost $20.5 million. 2018; lost $24.1 million. 2019; lost $30.2 million. 2020 – the pandemic year; lost $35.7 million. Given the success of the Milwaukee Bucks winning the championship in 2021, the WCD might have eked out a profit, but probably not. The WCD was on the verge of defaulting on its loans last year until the pandemic caused the Federal Reserve to drop interest rates to near zero and the WCD refinanced its loans.

 

Given WCD’s previous financial record, it is a wonder that they could borrow even more on top of what they have already borrowed. But when the payback of the loans are supported by local tax revenue and Wisconsin state government has guaranteed the lion’s share of the loans, the WCD can continue to borrow and spend with abandon.

Mequon School Board Recall Attempt Fails

Even Mequon’s school district is lost. It’s time to defund government education.

A recall effort against four Mequon-Thiensville School Board members failed to unseat any incumbents Tuesday, a major loss for recall organizers who had raised nearly $50,000 and gained national attention in their months long pursuit.

 

Each of the incumbents won over 58% of the votes in their races, according to unofficial results posted by the district Tuesday.

 

The election marks the 16th failed recall effort against school board members in Wisconsin since the pandemic began, with many of the recall organizers citing frustration with pandemic safety measures.

Wisconsin Center District breaks ground on money pit

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

Milwaukee has always struggled to consistently attract convention business, but with this new expansion of the Wisconsin Center, the WCD is hoping to change that dynamic. The expansion will expand the Wisconsin Center to 300,000 square feet of contiguous space. It will also add 24 additional meeting rooms and at least 400 indoor parking spaces. Finally, the WCD will add six loading docks, an executive kitchen, and a ballroom that will seat at least 2,000 people for dinner.

 

Unfortunately for the WCD, there is very little to support the supposition that the reason that Milwaukee has not been able to attract a substantial number of conventions is because the convention center is too small. The convention center has been expended over the years and the results remain the same. The reason that Milwaukee does not attract many conventions is because it’s Milwaukee.

 

Downtown Milwaukee is lovely and boasts a handful of fun attractions, but there just isn’t enough there to compete with so many other cities contending for convention business. When you couple the meager attractions with runaway crime, an inhospitable city government, and the long, brutal winters, the WCD has always been overly optimistic about the prospects of turning Milwaukee into a destination city for conventions. Furthermore, nobody is really sure if the pandemic- collapsed convention business will ever fully bounce back. Businesses have found other ways to market their wares, and some may never return to their previous convention spending.

Kewaskum President Scheunemann Resigns

Good for Kevin for his years of service.

KEWASKUM — Village President Kevin Scheunemann announced his resignation in a letter to constituents, effective as of Jan. 1, 2022.

 

Scheunemann is a director of or officer on six different nonprofit and charitable organizations and has several business locations operating at present in challenging supply chain and labor circumstances.

 

“These other organizations will need more of my time and attention in the future,” Scheunemann wrote.

 

During his seven years as village president, Scheunemann said, he has been a part of several “great community blessings.”

Election officials must restore confidence in elections

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

The nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau released its 168-page audit of Wisconsin’s handling of the November 2020 election. The findings are deeply concerning for anybody who cares about whether or not our government still operates with the consent of the governed.

 

The entire purpose of holding elections is for the governed to choose who should do the governing. For this purpose, we go through a rigorous process to establish laws to ensure that every person who is eligible to vote can do so, and that we will only count one vote for each eligible voter.

 

What the LAB audit found was that under the cover of COVID, the state’s Wisconsin Elections Commission and local election clerks flagrantly ignored multiple laws designed to ensure free and fair elections. Further, several of those clerks refused to cooperate with the LAB’s investigation. The end result is that the audit’s findings are incomplete, and we will never have a full accounting of what went on during the November 2020 election. In conducting the audit, the LAB surveyed all of Wisconsin’s municipal and county clerks. Only 47.9% of the municipal clerks and 81.9% of the county clerks bothered to respond. Also, citing obscure guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice, the city of Madison, Milwaukee County, and the Town of Little Suamico refused to allow the LAB auditors to physically inspect any election records. This means that 623,700 ballots from two areas of the state that most flagrantly ignored election laws were not inspected by the LAB. One can only speculate why every other Wisconsin clerk thought it acceptable to let the LAB inspect election records.

 

Given the lack of cooperation from Milwaukee and Madison and given that Milwaukee and Madison were ground zero for election shenanigans, the LAB’s findings are incomplete, at best. Even so, the LAB’s audit documented several instances where election officials ignored or intentionally violated established election law.

 

Wisconsin law requires that election officials must continue counting ballots when the polls close until the counting is complete. They are not permitted by law to adjourn and come back at a later time to finish. The reason for the law is simple. Leaving boxes of ballots sitting around for hours or days is an invitation for election tampering. Also, when there is a large gap in time between when the votes are cast and the results are announced, it causes people to lose confidence in the integrity of the counting. Despite this law, the WEC issued permitted local election officials to adjourn before they finished counting the ballots. The WEC’s guidance is in direct violation of Wisconsin statutes.

 

Wisconsin law requires that municipal elected government establish polling places at least thirty days before an election. In March 2020, the WEC wrote guidance allowing municipal clerks to unilaterally change polling places without the approval of the governing body. At the time, it was the beginning of the pandemic and the guidance allowed clerks to move polling places away from nursing homes and other places more vulnerable to the pandemic. The WEC’s guidance remains in effect in violation of the law.

Perhaps no other area of election process was more flagrantly abused than with absentee ballots. Prior to 2020, Wisconsinites could easily vote absentee in person at their local municipal office or by mail. It required a witness and, with rare exception, a photo identification. In 2020, many of Wisconsin’s election officials abandoned any notion of ballot security for absentee ballots. In Dane County, many absentee voters claimed an exemption to avoid showing a photo ID. Unsecure ballot drop boxes were strewn across the state for people to deposit completed ballots. Missing or incomplete information was routinely filled in by election workers.

 

The results shown in the LAB audit are staggering: 59.6% of all ballots counted in the November 2020 election were absentee. The counties with the highest absentee ballots were Dane (74.4%) and Milwaukee (70.6%). Not coincidentally, these two liberal counties had record turnout and have largely refused to cooperate with outside audits.

 

Despite the record number of absentee ballots being cast by people who, presumably, were voting absentee for the first time, a shockingly low 0.2% of the ballots were rejected compared to 2.5% being rejected in the previous presidential election. Clearly, election officials were turning a blind eye to possibly fraudulent ballots.

 

Wisconsin’s election officials and the Wisconsin Elections Commission have a lot of work to do to re-establish confidence in the integrity of Wisconsin’s elections. They could start by following the law.

Election officials must restore confidence in elections

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

The nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau released its 168-page audit of Wisconsin’s handling of the November 2020 election. The findings are deeply concerning for anybody who cares about whether or not our government still operates with the consent of the governed.

 

The entire purpose of holding elections is for the governed to choose who should do the governing. For this purpose, we go through a rigorous process to establish laws to ensure that every person who is eligible to vote can do so, and that we will only count one vote for each eligible voter.

 

What the LAB audit found was that under the cover of COVID, the state’s Wisconsin Elections Commission and local election clerks flagrantly ignored multiple laws designed to ensure free and fair elections. Further, several of those clerks refused to cooperate with the LAB’s investigation. The end result is that the audit’s findings are incomplete, and we will never have a full accounting of what went on during the November 2020 election.

Fighting for our children

Here is my column that ran in the Washington County Daily News on Tuesday:

The outrage that so many parents and community members are feeling is the realization that many of our government schools no longer consider themselves accountable to the people.

 

Throughout Wisconsin, and the rest of America, we are witnessing an eruption of outrage and activism by parents who are angry with their local school districts and the people who run them for indoctrinating children with critical race theory. This latest advancement of Marxism in our schools, however, is only the latest manifestation of a much deeper issue.

 

The real source of the outrage is our collective realization that the people who run our government schools no longer consider themselves accountable to the communities they are supposed to serve. Too many of our school administrators, teachers, and board members just want parents to shut up, pay their exorbitant taxes, and blindly accept what their children are being taught. It is an all-out assault on small “r” republicanism. When the pandemic began and we knew so little about the latest virus, parents wholeheartedly supported their local government schools as they made difficult decisions in what everyone thought was the best interest of the children.

 

Eighteen months later, we know much more about the virus, the minimal risk to children, and the incredible damage that many of the virus mitigation methods do to children. Despite this, too many schools have persisted in damaging children despite the clear science and the protestations of parents. The refusal of government schools to follow their community’s direction on virus mitigation was a shock for many parents. The entire purpose of having an elected board of community members run our government schools is so that the school district will reflect the collective will of the local community. Not only have many school districts refused to acquiesce to that collective will, school administrators, teachers unions, and the board members who serve them have treated the community with contempt for daring to challenge the mental and moral supremacy of officialdom.

 

The infusion of CRT into the curriculum of many schools was another revelation for parents. CRT is a postmodern radical racist ideology that has its roots in the Marxist dogma of dividing people by arbitrary characteristics. Marx divided people by economic class. CRT divides people by race. In both cases, they eschew the rights and liberties of individuals in favor of collective reward or punishment. They are ideologies that erode individualism as a means to subjugation.

 

CRT put a name to something that has been happening in too many of our government schools for some time. Now that parents are objecting and the term “CRT” has become politically toxic, some schools are changing the name to “social emotional learning,” “culturally responsive teaching,” or just infusing the ideology throughout the curriculum without assigning it a name. Fortunately, many parents are already onto the game and are trying to hold their local school board accountable.

 

In Mequon, an intrepid band of parents rallied the community to recall four members of the School Board who have been ignoring the community on issues from virus mitigation to the efforts to radicalize the children through the curriculum. Importantly, the parents in Mequon, now awakened, are pointing out that while the school board and administrators have been focused on botched virus responses, radical curriculum, and shaming parents, the school district’s education performance has been declining for years. This is true of almost every government school district in Wisconsin. While school administrators and board members focus on turning out a generation of woke radicals to fuel the leftist revolution, parents just want educated kids who are equipped to go get their American dream.

 

The outrage that so many parents and community members are feeling is the realization that many of our government schools no longer consider themselves accountable to the people. They consider themselves to be autonomous institutions whose purpose is to transform the bigoted, inequitable, individualistic society around them. Their hubris fuels their derision of the people they are supposed to be serving.

 

It is incredibly important that the people in Mequon and elsewhere reclaim their local government school boards for their communities. Education is the key to success for each child and every moment wasted is a moment taken from that child’s future. Teachers can model respect, dignity, and personal responsibility while teaching a full curriculum of reading, mathematics, economics, finance, civics, history, literature, geography, science, art, mechanics, technology, and all of the other subjects that compose a well-rounded education. Time is the most precious commodity a school has and there is not a moment to waste on divisive indoctrination.

Karens Sue Schools Because Their Kids Got Sick

Unless these parents are also forcing masking, distancing, etc. on their kids in every other aspect of life, I don’t see how they can even prove that their kid got COVID at school. But imagine what kind of hell schools will be if they become liable for every kid who catches any kind of illness in their walls.

The parents in Waukesha and Fall Creek each filed federal lawsuits against their respective school boards after their children tested positive for COVID-19. The lawsuits claim the children got sick after they were exposed to another sick child while in school, and blame their children’s’ illness on the districts’ lack of mitigation strategies.

 

Both cases are seeking an order to force the districts to comply with COVID-19 guidance from the CDC.

 

The lawsuits are being funded by the Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC. The Super PAC and the brewery, which has politically branded beers, are owned by Kirk Bangstad, who ran unsuccessfully last November for the Assembly District 34 seat against incumbent Republican Rob Swearingen. He started a Super PAC in January targeting Republican federal and state officials.

Wisconsin Ends Fiscal Year With Surplus

Give it back to the people who paid excess taxes.

Madison, Wis. – Wisconsin concluded Fiscal Year 2021, which ended on June 30, 2021, with a positive balance of $2.58 billion.  In addition, the state increased its Budget Stabilization Fund (“Rainy Day” Fund) to a record-high $1.73 billion according to the new Annual Fiscal Report released by the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) today.

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