Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Milwaukee Racist Karen Arrested For Assaulting Protesters




Like most every other city in the country, Milwaukee has seen daily peaceful protests against police brutality. On Saturday, one such protest was blocked by a Milwaukee Karen, an attorney named Stephanie Rapkin, who parked her car in the protesters path and then walked away from the car. She refused to move her car despite several people asking her to move it. It escalated to the point at which Rapkin spat in the face of an African American teenager:
Several people continue to urge her to move her car. Another group of protesters approaches the woman, shouting at her while she shouts back. Rapkin can then be seen spitting on a young African American male. Quickly, bystanders get between Rapkin and the young man; they surround the woman and usher her away.
Later that same day, the protesters went to Rapkin's house and started shaming her by chalking thinks on the public sidewalk in front of her house. Apparently being a slow learner, Rapkin came out of her home and started getting into the faces of the protesters until she assaulted another protester:
On the video, the two are seen arguing about her spitting on the 17-year-old boy. Rapkin tells Friedman, who was holding the camera, that she was simply responding to being physically attacked by the boy, and she then demonstrated the supposed attack by appearing to shove Friedman in the chest. "You just put your hands on me," Friedman said in response. "That is assault right there. Wow, I just got that on video, ma'am." Friedman, a communications major, said in the interview that he was stunned that Rapkin had compounded her earlier mistake by pushing him. A woman at the scene, he said, immediately called the police to report what happened.
When the police arrived, Rapkin was holed up in her abode. When police got into the home and told her that she was under arrest, she went full Karen on one of the officers:
When police told Rapkin she was under arrest for battery and disorderly conduct, she resisted their attempts to handcuff her. During the struggle, police said, Rapkin struck one of the officers in the groin. Shorewood Police are now seeking charges of battery, disorderly conduct, battery to a law enforcement officer, and resisting/obstructing an officer.
She got to spend the weekend in the county jail, which must have been pure hell for her, since I guarantee she never got to speak to the manager. Karen's, er I mean, Rapkin's woes doesn't end there. Attorney Mike Maistelman filed a formal complaint against Rapkin with the Office of Lawyer Regulation. They will conduct an investigation and if deemed necessary, will send it to the Wisconsin Supreme Court who will decide what consequences, if any, she will face. I contacted Maistelman who gave me this statement:
"If you are not actively seeking justice for all, then you are supporting injustice. We must all take affirmative action to end discrimination of any kind."
Rapkin can't look to the State Bar of Wisconsin for succor either. They haven't taken a kindly view of her behavior either:
Larry J. Martin, executive director of the State Bar of Wisconsin, wrote on Sunday that he watched the video of the spitting incident and is "both disgusted and disturbed. ... There is no justifiable reason for one person to ever spit on another individual."
A video of the incidents and subsequent arrest can be seen here on Facebook.

Friday, May 29, 2020

BREAKING: COVID-19 Spread By Kangaroos



Two weeks ago, the Wisconsin Supreme Kangaroo Court ruled in favor of the coronavirus pandemic and let the virus run rampant across the state. Anyone and everyone with a minimum of two working brain cells feared for the worst and took what precautions they could to protect themselves and their loved ones. Those that didn't meet the two brain cell requirement went out and packed the bars, what restaurants decided to open, barbershops and hair salons. And now, the predictable and utterly unavoidable results have happened. Wisconsin is seeing a spike in new COVID-19 cases, new hospitalizations and deaths:
Wisconsin saw a record number of new coronavirus cases and deaths reported in a single day on Wednesday, two weeks after the state’s Supreme Court struck down its statewide stay-at-home order. 
The state reported 599 new known COVID-19 cases on Wednesday with 22 known deaths, according to Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services, the highest recorded daily rise since the pandemic began there. As of Wednesday, the state had more than 16,460 known cases and 539 known deaths, according to the department. 
The previous record in new coronavirus cases was 528 the week prior.
But wait! There's more! There's always more. A second lawsuit against the stay at home orders had been filed with the state supreme court just days before they had rendered the decision. One of the complaintants in this second lawsuit just so happened to be a big time donor to Rebecca Bradley, the judge who called keeping people alive and healthy to "tyranny" and compared the stay at home order to the Japanese internment camps of WWII:
While the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in favor of Speaker Robin Vos and Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald in their challenge to the “Safer at Home” extension, the Court has been considering another challenge to “Safer at Home.” One of the individuals in that second lawsuit challenging Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home orders contributed $20,000 to a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice’s campaign. 
Jere Fabick, of Oconomowoc, owner of FABCO Equipment, contributed the maximum $20,000 to conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley’s campaign in 2016 when she was elected to a 10-year term on the court. Rebecca Bradley is part of the high court’s 5-2 conservative majority. 
Fabick, who is also on the board of directors of the Heartland Institute, a rightwing Illinois think tank, is a loyal GOP donor. Fabick contributed about $355,900 to mostly GOP legislative and statewide candidates between January 1994 and December 2019.
Conveniently, the Supreme Court then decided to not hear the second case, so as to avoid the obvious conflict of interest involved, although Bradley had already done what she was paid to do and ruled in her donor's favor. So what if a lot of people get sick and possibly die? It's what she got paid to do.

Friday, May 15, 2020

George Takei Schools Wisconsin Supreme Kangaroo About Interment Camps


Last week, when the Wisconsin Supreme Kangaroo Court heard the case over the Safer at Home order, one of the worst injustices was Rebecca Bradley. She had the gall to compare the order to the Japanese internment camps of WWII:
Bradley suggested the state's stay-at-home order is "the very definition of tyranny," during last week's Supreme Court hearing.

She invoked the country's internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II during the hearing and again in her written opinion.


"In Korematsu v. United States," Bradley wrote. "The United States Supreme Court professed to apply 'the most rigid scrutiny' to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II but nevertheless found the 'assembling together and placing under guard all those of Japanese ancestry' in 'assembly centers' to be constitutionally based on '[p]ressing public necessity' and further rationalized this defilement of the Constitution because 'the need for action was great, and time was short.'"
This caught the attention of George Takei, the Japanese American actor, who had spent four years of his childhood in one of these internment camps. Needless to say, he was not pleased with her comment and responded on Twitter to her hyperbole and bigotry:
Instead of apologizing or even feeling chagrin, Bradley doubled down by trying to blame the media and rationalizing it:
But Bradley wrote that she wasn't trying to compare the order to Japanese internment camps.

"Although headlines may sensationalize the invocation of cases such as Korematsu, the point of citing them is not to draw comparisons between the circumstances of people horrifically interned by their government during a war and those of people subjected to isolation orders during a pandemic," Bradley wrote. "We mention cases like Korematsu in order to test the limits of government authority, to remind the state that urging courts to approve the exercise of extraordinary power during times of emergency may lead to extraordinary abuses of its citizens."
If Bradley had any morals or ethics, she would have resigned. But since she has neither, don't hold your breath to do anything upstanding like that.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Wisconsin Supreme Kangaroo Court Rules In Favor Of Pandemic


The Wisconsin State Supreme Kangaroo Court has decided, in a 4-3 ruling that Wisconsin's Safer at Home order was illegal and immediately abolished the order. The decision is, of course, disappointing but not surprising, since many of the judges had obviously decided the ruling even before they heard the case.

Among the pro-pandemic judges was Rebecca Bradley, who compared the order to Japanese internment camps during WWII and Dan Kelly, the Scott Walker appointee, who is obviously still better in getting his ass handed to him in last month's election.

The rationale that the kangaroos used to support their decision made it obvious that this whole thing was nothing more than another power grab by the Republicans and their special interest masters:
In the majority opinion, Roggensack determined Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm should have issued regulations through a process known as rulemaking, which gives lawmakers veto power over agency policies.

Without legislative review, “an unelected official could create law applicable to all people during the course of COVID-19 and subject people to imprisonment when they disobeyed her order,” the majority wrote.
The problem with their reasoning is that state law clearly spells out that the governor's administration's authority to issue the order that it did.

Surprisingly, another one of Walker's appointees actually had a rare moment of lucidity:
Hagedorn, who worked as chief legal counsel for former GOP Gov. Scott Walker, wrote in another dissent that the court should not be a referee between the warring parties controlling the other two branches of state government.

"We are a court of law. We are not here to do freewheeling constitutional theory. We are not here to step in and referee every intractable political stalemate," Hagedorn wrote."In striking down most of (the order), this court has strayed from its charge and turned this case into something quite different than the case brought to us.

"To make matters worse, it has failed to provide almost any guidance for what the relevant laws mean, and how our state is to govern through this crisis moving forward. The legislature may have buyer's remorse for the breadth of discretion it gave to (the Department of Health Services). But those are the laws it drafted; we must read them faithfully whether we like them or not," he said.
But here's the kicker - the Republicans had no plan of their own to deal with the pandemic. They belatedly realized this and had asked the court to order a six-day stay so that they could cobble something together but they were denied. Now they are begging Evers to give them a plan for them to approve.

Meanwhile, the state has been thrown into a pandemic pandemonium. With no statewide order in place, many counties and cities have quickly rigged up their own versions of stay at home. But these are different from county to county and even from city to city. Some places already had their orders in place so nothing changed. Many others did not.

Thus one can expect that the state will become one giant COVID-19 hot spot as bars across the state opened up within an hour of the ruling.

Laughingly, Robin "Full PPEs" Vos made this statement about the ruling:
“Republicans believe business owners can safely reopen using the guidelines provided
by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. We urge our fellow small
business owners to utilize the suggestions as a safe and effective way to open up our
state.

“Wisconsin now joins multiple states that don't have extensive ‘stay at home orders’ but
can continue to follow good practices of social distancing, hand washing, hand sanitizer
usage and telecommuting. This order does not promote people to act in a way that they
believe endangers their health.
Reality did not support this inanity:



I have to wonder how many of these bars are having Corona specials, since that is what they are mostly serving up.

The really ironic part is that the Republicans, on behalf of their Big Business masters, think that they have won. But it will be a Pyrrhic victory at best. Sick and/or dying workers aren't very productive and sick and/or dying consumers don't buy a lot of things.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Wisconsin Supreme Kangaroo Court Hopping Mad Over Safer At Home Order

Image courtesy of @bluegal


As I had reported last week, Wisconsin Republicans filed a lawsuit directly with the Wisconsin Supreme Kangaroo Court in protest of Governor Tony Evers extending his Safer At Home order due to ever escalating new cases of COVID-19 and people not following medical guidelines to minimize the spread.

The Supreme Kangaroos agreed to not only take the case but fast-tracked it to be heard Tuesday morning.

What a debacle it was!

It should be immediately noted that the Supreme Kangaroos were literally hearing and deciding a case in which thousands of Wisconsin lives hang in the balance via Zoom, because it was too unsafe for them to meet in person.

When the Attorney General's Office was finally allowed to present its case, the kangaroos didn't even allow the attorney to have 30 seconds of his introductory statement before they started interrupting him with belligerent and biased questions.

Some of the lowlights started with (In)Justice Rebecca Bradley calling the ruling an example of tyranny and comparing it the Japanese internment camps of WWII:
"Isn't it the very definition of tyranny for one person to order people to be imprisoned for going to work among other ordinarily lawful activities?" asked Justice Rebecca Bradley, who later questioned whether the administration could use the same power to order people into centers akin to the U.S. government's treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
When the state's attorney pointed out the sudden and huge spikes in new cases in Brown and Milwaukee Counties as examples of why the order needed to be extended, Chief (In)Justice Patience Roggensack dismissed it with a flippant bit of racism:
Roth noted while the majority of cases were once in Madison and Milwaukee, Brown County now has the second-highest number of cases — a change that occurred within a couple weeks.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack dismissed the idea that the outbreak was community-wide and could be replicated elsewhere.

"(The surge) was due to the meatpacking — that's where Brown County got the flare," Roggensack said. "It wasn't just the regular folks in Brown County."
Most of the employees of these meatpacking plants are minorities, which Roggensack basically said weren't regular people.

Officials in Brown County were quick to point out that it is affecting all the people:
Even with the microscope on food processing plants, Brown County officials have emphasized that those facilities aren't solely driving the increase in cases.

Claire Paprocki of Brown County Health and Human Services said the recent uptick stems in part from people who don't practice social distancing, show up to work sick or continue to gather with family and friends.
Another egregious moment came when Justice Rebecca Dallet objected to recently voted out (In)Justice Dan Kelly continuously interrupting the state's attorney. Kelly gave her complaint an offhanded dismissal and included a nasty bit of condescending misogyny by referring to Dallet as "Mrs. Dallet" instead of her proper title of Justice Dallet, just like he would demand to be addressed as.

One major underreported part of this shitshow were all the parties that filed a Friend of the Court briefs in favor or in opposition of the safer at home order:
The court allowed arguments only by Roth and Walsh. A number of other groups filed friend-of-the-court briefs favoring or opposing a ruling stopping enforcement of “safer at home.” The Legislature’s position is supported by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the Wisconsin Dairy Alliance, hunting and fishing groups, and the Wisconsin Tavern League, among others.

Opposing the Legislature’s request are the Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards; the Wisconsin Public Health Association; the Wisconsin Nurses Association; a coalition of state community, advocacy, labor and membership organizations; Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice; and several other groups.
All the groups wanting the order dismissed are the same special interests that the five conservative justices are beholden to and are only interested in money.

In favor of the letting the order stand are the front line health care providers, you know, the ones that actually know and care about what's going on and want to preserve lives.

Frankly, I'm in fear for the people of Wisconsin. All indications make it seem likely that the Supreme Kangaroos will put the interests of their dark money overlords over the lives of the people, and strike down the safety nets. Then we will end up just like Texas, where they have seen thousands of new cases each day, after a partial reopening.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Workers Memorial Day 2020



Today, April 28th, is Workers Memorial Day, a day used to honor, remember and commemorate people who have died from work place accidents and/or illnesses.

This year, today is significantly more poignant with the coronavirus pandemic that has almost every state and almost every country in some state of lockdown.  Countless lives have been lost due to our political leaders failing to identify and properly address the pandemic in a timely manner.  More lives have been lost, such as Italy's Lombardy, due to businesses being more worried about their bottom lines than their workers' lives.

To commemorate today, people are being asked to take a moment of silence at noon.

Then at 5:30 pm, we are invited to join the Milwaukee Area Labor Council for a virtual commemoration that will include videos, stories and a reading of the names of those were killed on the job during the last year.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Wausau Mayor Katie Rosenberg Attacked By Anti-Semites. But She's Not Jewish.



Meet Katie Rosenberg, the newly elected mayor to Wausau, Wisconsin. Rosenberg, a lifelong Democrat, beat the Republican incumbent, Robert Mielke by a solid 5%. She became an instant internet sensation with her simple two word tweet when the results were finalized:

But her friends and the people of Wausau know her better for her iconic peace sign she flashes as readily as she flashes her contagious smile. She also ran one of the cleanest, most positive campaigns that I have seen in Wisconsin in a long time, which is not surprising for someone like her.

I've been cyber friends with Rosenberg for a many years, even before she entered politics and became a Marathon County Supervisor, and always found her to be direct, honest and thoughtful. I have always enjoyed our chats and gained insights from her that I hadn't thought of before.

Unfortunately, not even the charming community of Wausau is immune to the hate and bigotry that has become all too prevalent in our society. Rosenberg has been the victim of uncounted misogynistic attacks. She has also been repeatedly been the target for anti-Semitic attacks as well:
Rosenberg had plenty of examples.

“The majority of it is online via Twitter or Facebook. It’s usually name-calling (I am sure you know all the anti-Semitic names) and I block or delete them,” she said in a Twitter direct message exchange. “Last summer I had some guy (obviously drunk) come up to me and tell me that I was trying to ‘Jew’ him.”

The experience was not new to her family.

“Growing up my dad was on our local city council and we received tons of mail addressed to ‘Jimmy RosenJew.’ I only received one letter like that,” she said, attaching a photo of a pile of hate and hoax mail her father got.
But there's a catch. Rosenberg isn't Jewish:
Despite her last name, Rosenberg isn’t Jewish — we asked her about it.

“Any Jewish heritage I might have was lost a looooong time ago, before my family left Europe,” she said in a private exchange with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Twitter. “I don’t know the story, unfortunately.”

But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t had some quintessentially Jewish experiences, which she explained in a manner that was consistent with the in-your-face attitude in her victory tweet.

“A lot of people assume I am Jewish and I don’t see any reason to correct them because a lot of it comes in the form of anti-Semitism,” she said.
Given that Rosenberg is only 36 years old, Wausau has a long, bright future ahead of it. And with the election of William Harris, the first African American to serve on the Marathon County Board, that entire region is a breath of fresh air in the general miasma of Wisconsin politics today.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Did Republican Sh*tshow Elections Cause Uptick In COVID-19 Cases?

Image courtesy of Crooks and Liars
As the gentle reader is aware, Wisconsin Republicans were hoping to suppress the vote in the spring elections by forcing it to be held last Tuesday, during a pandemic, in spite of the advice of health experts and common sense. They were hoping to keep as many people from voting as they could so that they could keep the Scott Walker appointed Dan Kelly on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

And what a shitshow it was!

In Milwaukee, instead of the customary 180+ polling stations, there were only five. There were so many demands for absentee/mail in ballots that many counties ran out. Hundreds of thousands of people never received them because county clerks were overwhelmed. To make matters worse, the post office managed to not deliver hundreds of ballots. The people denied their ballots ended up risking their health and lives as well as the health and lives of their family to exercise their right to vote. People stood in line for up to two and a half hours, sometimes in pouring rain or hail, for the opportunity to vote.

Pretty much, the sentimentality of the voters were the same:

Despite the Republicans best efforts to suppress the vote, it was a massive turnout by Democrats - much higher than for the past few years. Their cherished Kelly lost to the challenger, Jill Karofsky. In a delicious irony, the Republicans immediately started mewling that the election had been rigged. No, really.

Unfortunately, we are now starting to see the other results of that poor decision to force the elections. While Wisconsin was starting to see a flattening of the curve and it looked like things were going to be better than expected, there is a new uptick in confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Here are the state numbers on April 14, one week after the election:



And here are the numbers from the very next day:



As the gentle reader can see, there was a jump of almost 170 confirmed cases. While that is low compared to hard hit areas like New York, it is significantly higher than the average daily increase in new cases in Wisconsin as the curve was starting to plateau.

I'll admit that one day does not mean a trend, but it apparently was enough to cause Governor Evers to extend the "safer at home" order for another month, until May 26. Of course, the Republicans are in such denial that they refuse to see the cause and effect of their piss poor decision making. They, like so many others around the country, are pushing to lift all the restrictions because of MONEY!! The Republicans still can't fathom that dead people don't work and don't help keep the economy going.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Robin And Michelle Vos: The Most Dysfunctional People In Wisconsin



By now, just about everyone and their uncle caught the video of Robin Vos, the Republican Speaker of the Assembly, who was a driving force Tuesday's shitshow of an election, making a fool of himself by telling people that it was perfectly safe to come out to vote in Tuesday's elections in Wisconsin while he is bedecked in full PPE, including gloves, facemask, goggles and a full length hospital gown. What a lot of people missed is that Vos was an "Election Inspector" in a drive-thru polling station in the small city of Burlington with a population of 10,000. This means that while other workers, who were not nearly as protected as Vos, would go up to the cars to get the person's Voter ID and signature and run them to Vos who entered them into the computer to verify them. Vos had absolutely zero contact with any members of the public.

Also missing was the whole clip, included in this tweet, which showed Vos explaining that if people applied for an absentee (mail in) ballot but hadn't received it, they could just email the clerk's office and have one emailed back to them:
However, this advise was completely false, as reported by PolitiFact when another person gave the same misinformation:
"He was wrong," Magney said.

And later in the day, so was state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who made a nearly identical claim to a reporter while working as an election inspector.

His staff later admitted the error. Spokeswoman Kit Beyer confirmed Vos was mistaken, saying the elections commission "had guidance recently on that fact, which staff hadn’t briefed him on."
Vos' third (or is fourth now?) wife, Robin Litgens Vos, did no better. She was also an election inspector in the small village of Rochester, Wisconsin, a population of 3,600 people. She posted on Facebook that is was perfectly safe to vote, but as Dan Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel pointed out, there were no voters there:
But what can you expect from a woman who, while a state representative herself, abandoned her husband and children to have an adulterous affair with Vos?

Nor was this Litjens Vos' first foray into the realm of the super stupid. In March, she also shared her opinion that the reactions to COVID-19 were "way overblown:"
Michelle Litjens Vos, a conservative pundit and former state lawmaker, called the country's coronavirus prevention and mitigation efforts an overreaction in a series of posts on her personal Facebook page.

"I want to go on record and say we could be unnecessarily destroying our economy," she wrote.

"COVID IS NOT AIRBORNE (droplets yes, airborne no)," she wrote. "My GOD we're over reacting."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that respiratory droplets — "produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks" — can carry the disease from person to person.

A New England Journal of Medicine study found that the virus could remain suspended in air between a half-hour and up to three hours,

[...]

In another post, Vos wrote, "Yes people will die of this. It just isn't worth shutting down our whole economy - except grocery stores. In my opinion."
I wonder if these two asshats even realize they already have blood on their hands from all the people that will die from forcing the elections yesterday.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Republicans to Wisconsin: You Vote, You Die!



Like many other states, Wisconsin's elected leaders were befuddled about what to do, if anything, regarding the general spring elections and presidential primary, which is scheduled for tomorrow, April 7. However, thanks to the Republican-controlled legislature, the election has become a full-fledged clusterfuck.

Weeks ago, Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, started pushing for the election to be held as scheduled but asked for the Republicans to change the law to allow it to be all done with mail-in ballots.

The Republicans refused, stating that they didn't wan't think that COVID-19 was all that contagious. Despite the Republicans official stance, officials and politicians of both parties started pushing for voters to request an absentee ballot. The system became overwhelmed with more than a million people asking for their mail-in ballots, and counties ran out of ballots, creating a backlog where several people have not received their ballots weeks after making the request. (My wife and I made our requests early on and have already returned the completed ballots.)

In the meantime, the County Clerks for both Milwaukee and Dane Counties, in an effort to make voting even safer, ruled that people didn't need to have a witness sign the ballots. Predictably, the Republicans had a meltdown about this because both counties are Democratic strongholds and sued to stop this. After a series of hearings, it was decided that the witness signature was indeed needed but they had an extra week to return the ballots.

Rather belatedly, Evers called for a special session for the state legislature, scheduled for this past Saturday so that the Republicans could postpone the election date. The Republicans, led by Speaker of the Assembly Robin Vos and Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald, gaveled in and immediately gaveled out of session, postponing any decision to Monday, the day before the elections. On Monday, the refused to postpone the elections. They'd rather needlessly expose poll workers and voters to the COVID-19 virus rather than allow people the ability to safely exercise their right to democracy.

Following the Republicans absolute refusal to do their jobs, Evers issued an Executive Order postponing the in-person voting until June 9, citing the health risk of having it as scheduled while confirmed COVID-19 cases are spiking.

Guess what the Republicans did? Yup, they had another temper tantrum and immediately started to file an appeal with the State Supreme Court, saying that Evers didn't have the authority to issue such an order. Again, because this cannot be overemphasized, the Republicans are saying that they would rather see democracy and voters die rather than be adults about the whole thing.

Even if Evers' order stands, it presents a new set of issues, since many of the races in the general election were local races and the winners were to be seated later this month or in early May. Again, this is an issue that could have been resolved if the Republicans chose to do their jobs instead of turning their grandstanding into a shitshow.

All that said, the Republicans haven't been just sitting on their butts but are concerned about things that are more important to them, such as lifting the ban on many non-essential business because MONEY. At the same time, they want Evers to open up the golf courses and attend Easter and Passover services, because nothing says fellowship like contaminating each other with a potentially deadly virus.

And of course, while they want all these things to get opened, the Republicans also want Planned Parenthood to be classified as non-essential and the clinics closed. In other words, golfing is a necessity in life, but women's healthcare is just a trivial nicety.

I certainly hope that the voters will remember all this when the spring elections are held as well as in November, when we get to decide which is more important - our very lives or their political careers.

ADDENDUM: The Republican controlled State Supreme Court just issued a possible death sentence for Wisconsin voters, the rat bastards that they are.

Monday, March 30, 2020

David Crowley Is Confused About His Endorsements



David Crowley, who is running against State Senator Chris Larson to be the next Milwaukee County Executive, is apparently more than a bit confused about who is endorsing him.

Crowley's campaign has been sending out text messages like this one, bragging about being the only candidate to receive endorsements from Republican legislators:


This would fit in with his Abele-esque talking point about being able to work across the aisle so well.

Why he would think that this is a good selling point, I don't understand, especially given the way that the Republicans have been treating Milwaukee for the past ten years.

However, there is a problem with Crowley's talking point.  If one checks his list of endorsements on his website, he doesn't list one Republican. Not one.

It is my understanding that Crowley has been endorsed by Deanna Alexander, who is definitely a Republican, but is not and never has been a state legislator.  She is a Milwaukee County Supervisor who is mercifully not running for reelection this year.

So what gives? If he has indeed been endorsed by Republican legislators, why are they not included on his website.  Or is he simply lying about it to appeal the right wing base that supported his dark money benefactor, Boss Abele?

ADDENDUM: It has come to my attention that the website and the text were not technically Crowley's but that of the practical campaign run by Abele's PAC.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Kelly Holds Fundraiser At Gun Range Day After Mass Shooting



Last week, there was a mass shooting at the Molson Coors brewery in Milwaukee. An employee pulled out two handguns and proceeded to shoot and kill five coworkers before committing suicide.

On the very next day, NRA-backed Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly, who is running for election after being politicaly appointed by former governor Scott Walker, had a fundraiser at a gun range:
Kelly held a political fundraiser on Thursday — around 26 hours after the mass murder — at a shooting range in Waukesha County. Kelly is a conservative jurist running against liberal Dane County Judge Jill Karofsky in the April election.

"Tonight!" announced a Facebook post by the Waukesha County Republican Party. "Help return Justice Dan Kelly to the State Supreme Court by attending a fundraiser in his honor at the Wisconsin Firearms Training Center in Brookfield!!!"

The post said money from liberal sources is "pouring into the state to back soft on crime Judge Jill Karofsky." "Can you help save our courts?" said the post, which carried the hashtag #2A, a reference to the Second Amendment.

How's that for politically tone-deaf? But there's more.

The flyer from the Kelly campaign said hosts could give at three levels, including $5,000 for the "50 Cal M2HB" level, a reference to a Browning M2 .50-caliber machine gun.

A $2,500 donation put a supporter at the "25 ACP" level, named for a semi-automatic .25 caliber handgun.

A $1,000 donation was the "10 mm" level, referring to a different semi-automatic handgun.

The cost to attend: $100.
As one might have expected and righteously so, Kelly received a lot of backlash for such a bone headed stunt. One might have also expected that at the very least, Kelly would have offered an apology or something. But he didn't even do as much as offer the usual "thoughts and prayers" to the victims.

Instead, Kelly tried to play the victim card. In an fundraising email, Kelly wrote:
Last week the good folks at the Wisconsin Firearms Training Center (“WFTC”) hosted a campaign event for Justice Daniel Kelly. The WFTC dedicates itself to providing our fellow Wisconsinites with the tools and training necessary to protect themselves and their families from those who would do them harm, and Justice Kelly is grateful for their support and enthusiasm for his campaign. It was a pleasant and productive evening for everyone who attended.

But then our opponent’s allies did what they always do … they made it political and exploited a tragedy for their own benefit.

Our opponent’s allies attacked us for appearing at this event because a very sick individual had recently shot several of his co-workers at a major Milwaukee business. Along with the rest of our fellow Wisconsinites, we were shocked and saddened by this terrible tragedy, and we continue to pray for the victims and their families.

However, this attempt by Judge Jill Karofsky and her allies to exploit this tragedy for their own political gain is inexplicable and grotesque. They equated an evil murderer with the good folks at WFTC who are simply trying to make sure they have the tools and training to protect themselves and their families from those who would do them harm.

This is not just an attack on Justice Kelly, this is an attack on everyone who cares about protecting themselves and the innocent people around them. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by this. After all, it fits the same disgraceful pattern we have seen in the rest of Judge Karofsky’s campaign.
Pretty horrific, right? But wait! There's more. There's always more.

The Wisconsin GOP chimed in and tried to tie all gun owners in with Kelly's insensitivity and tactlessness and even with the murderer:
Make no mistake, such a disgusting attack on Justice Daniel Kelly and his supporters is an attack on all the law-abiding gun owners of our state. By launching such a distasteful attack, Karofsky’s allies apparently believe responsible gun-owners and mass murderers are one and the same.

Attempts to tie Justice Daniel Kelly and supporters of the Second Amendment to the shooting in Milwaukee demonstrate that there is no low that Jill Karofsky and her allies won’t stoop to for political gain. Under no circumstance should law-abiding citizens who legally exercise their rights to bear arms be blamed in any way for the tragic events that occurred in Milwaukee.
There is no way in hell that someone with a complete lack of morality and common sense like Kelly has shown, should be on the bench of the highest court in the state.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Milwaukee Mass Shooting Sponsored By The NRA and GOP



On Wednesday, Milwaukee became the site of the latest mass shooting. Anthony Ferrill, a 51 year old electrician and long time employee at the Molson Coors brewery chose to bring two handguns - one equipped with a silencer - to his job site. He shot and killed five coworkers before turning one of the handguns on himself, committing suicide.

Authorities have not given an official motive, but it is known that Ferrill was a gun nut and was often seen going around the neighborhood carrying a gun. We also know that Ferrill had an ongoing dispute with one of the victims and felt that he was being discriminated against due to being African American. It also appeared that he had a dysfunctional thought process:
About a year ago, the co-worker said, Ferrill started saying he believed brewery workers were coming into his home, bugging his computer and moving chairs around.

"I was: 'Are you serious, Anthony? What?' We all kind of joked about it, saying we should maybe get him an aluminum hat. Things just started getting weird. But he was dead serious about it," the co-worker said.
The usual suspects on the right have started their normal litany of excuses including that Ferrill was evil, that it wasn't the right time to discuss guns, etc.

However, those are mere excuses to distract from the fact that Republicans have been willfully refusing to take any action to pass even the most common sense gun laws. Mitch McConnell has been sitting on such a bill for over a year now.

Likewise, Wisconsin Republicans, under the thrall of the NRA, have been even worse. They have systematically dismantled almost all the gun laws in the state. Not coincidentally, Wednesday's shooting was the eleventh mass shooting in the state since 2004.

But there's more. There's always more.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers had called the legislation to a special session to pass two common sense gun laws - one to stop the loophole in background checks and a red flag law. In a poll, more than 80% of Wisconsinites supported these two bills.

Not only did the Republicans refuse to have an honest debate about these laws, but State Senate Majority Leader, Scott Fitzgerald, went beyond the pale to avoid any such debate, much less pass these two laws:
But it wasn’t until 8 p.m., after most of the activists had gone home, that Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, called the session to order with no other lawmakers in the room. He adjourned the session a few seconds later, avoiding debate or a vote on the gun control measures Democratic lawmakers had been advocating for throughout the day.

“I think if there are bills that would make sense to Republican legislators, that we would call ourselves into regular session or extraordinary session to take those up,” Fitzgerald said. “I think the governor knows the bills that he’s offered are not going to pass the Legislature … As they’ve been presented by the governor, there’s no momentum for them.”
You can almost see the NRA's hand sticking up his backside.

On Wednesday morning, Evers again implored the state legislature to review and reconsider the bills. About an hour before the shooting occurred, Fitzgerald again absolutely refused to even entertain the idea:
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, early Wednesday afternoon made clear that the state's gun laws would not change under a Republican-controlled Legislature despite a call for a review from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

"We’re going to have that discussion about the Second Amendment forever," Fitzgerald told reporters in Franklin, about an hour before the shooting at the Molson Coors brewery. "A lot of the provisions that are in place already, people are satisfied with."

His comments came just after Evers again called on lawmakers to take up legislation aimed at keeping guns away from people who are dangerous, underscoring the deep divide between Evers, Democrats and Republicans on the issue of gun restrictions.
It should be noted that while most politicians on both sides of the aisle only offered the perfunctory thoughts and prayers, one politician showed that he truly gets it and has the courage to say it as it is. Shortly after the shooting, State Representative Jonathan Brostoff issued a statement that read in part:
“But in times like this, thoughts and prayers are not - and never have been - enough. In the past 16 years, Wisconsin communities have suffered ten mass shootings, and countless other fatal and near-fatal incidents involving firearms. Time and again, public opinion polling shows that Wisconsinites are in favor of common sense gun reform legislation. We have committed community groups like Moms Demand Action and the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort who have organized their communities and continue to keep these issues at the forefront. We have a governor who specifically called a special session of the Legislature this session in order to address gun violence. And yet, time and again, bought-and-paid-for Republican politicians in this state do everything they possibly can to block simple and popular reform measures from making their way through the political process, all while more and more Wisconsinites die as a direct result of their antipathy and inaction. So today, I have one question for any politician who continues to block these life-saving reforms: how many NRA dollars are Wisconsin lives worth?”
It should also be noted that Fitzgerald is running for Congress, to replace the retiring James Sensenbrenner, which goes a long way to explain why he is so ready to bend over backwards for those NRA

Monday, February 17, 2020

Chris Larson: The Only "Only" Choice For Milwaukee County Executive


Because of the abbreviated amount of time left by Chris Abele when he suddenly abandoned his bid for reelection, the people who decided to throw their hats in the ring really needed to scramble to develop a base, raise money, get nomination signatures, etc.

The candidates also had to immediately try to differentiate themselves from the others and grab people's attention and their support.  This led to a flurry of press releases and statements that each candidate was the only one to do this, the only candidate to be that, the only candidate that could rub their belly and pat their head at the same time, etc.  Most of these "only I" statements were exaggerations, irrelevant to the job they were applying for or just plain false, meaning that they were indeed not the only one to fit whatever given boast.

But one candidate, Chris Larson, stands out because he is the "only one" in many regards.

Larson is the only one to have both experience in Milwaukee County as a county board supervisor and in the state as a state senator.  That is a valuable amount of knowledge on how both governments work and how to bridge the great divide between Milwaukee and Madison. 

Larson is the only one to consistently take on Scott Walker and his mini-me, Chris Abele.  Larson fought to stop or at least minimize the damage done by Walker both as county executive and as governor.  Not the least of these was leading thirteen other state senators, the Fab 14, out of the state to give the people the chance to understand what Walker wanted to do with Act 10 and to organize and fight back.  Larson has also been a strong and consistent advocate for a living wage and workers right.  Recently, he held a press conference announcing the introduction of restoring workers rights lost under Act 10.  Granted, nothing will probably come from it now, but at least someone was willing to get the conversation started.

Likewise, Larson was the only one willing to stand up to Boss Abele in 2016 and challenge him because Abele was only trying to finish the job Walker started in destroying Milwaukee County and giving it away to the rich.  In fact, Larson beat Abele in the primary, even though Abele spent $42 per vote against Larson's $2 per vote.

Abele only won the general election that year after dropping a multimillion dollar money bomb on his campaign and getting a lot of help from the Republicans.

Larson is the only candidate to have viable, doable plans to address some of Milwaukee County's greatest woes, including the lack of dedicated funding for our transit system and parks system, addressing the needs of our senior citizens, our homeless and our mentally ill.  He does not offer just general, vague statements on what he is going to do but is ready to implement these plans.  He is also not offering any pie in the sky nonsense, such as "we'll just ask the Republicans for more money."  He understands full well the animosity the Republicans have towards Milwaukee, a lot of which has to do with their racism and the fact that Milwaukee is home to the largest African American community in the state.

These are just some of the reasons that Larson is the only candidate to earn more endorsements than all of the other candidates combined, including all of the unions.

Well, he can add one more endorsement to that list - mine. 

I am happy and proud to stand with Larson, just as I did in 2016, and just as he has stood with us for all these years.

Please join me in supporting Chris Larson for County Executive, donate what you can and most importantly, join me in casting a vote for Larson tomorrow and again in April.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Abele Comes Clean: He Ain't No Democrat



For years, I have opened myself to the scorn and wrath of the establishment Democrats, the corporate Democrats and Republicrats by pointing out that Chris Abele was no Democrat.  For years, these same people would try to ostracize me, demonize me and vilify me.

They're rationale for defending Boss Abele was always the same - He gives us so much money! He's our biggest donor!  Meanwhile they kept ignoring the simple fact that all the money he would give them was only a fraction of the amount of damage he would do to them.

But I have been vindicated in my assertions.  Ironically, the vindication came from none other that Abele himself:
Outgoing Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, who is a Democrat, says if he ever runs for office again it would probably be as a political independent — and he’s not all that thrilled about attending the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee.

That being said, Abele says he supports Milwaukee hosting the DNC as good for business and the community. He said he promised Democratic Party Chairman Tom Perez any logistical support that Milwaukee County government can provide.

“It’s great for the community and I think a Republican convention would be great for the community, too,” Abele said, during a Friday luncheon appearance at Marquette University Law School.
Abele went on to issue some of his usual vainglorious humble bragging, before getting to the real reason for his sudden decision not to run again:
Abele is not seeking re-election after serving about nine years as Milwaukee County executive. He said he will focus on his venture capital fund, philanthropy and lobbying the Wisconsin Legislature on issues including changing the way Wisconsin funds local governments.
This lines up with his statement on how having both Democratic and Republican conventions here.

He's all about the money. He wants to make more and more money as well as save it from having to have to pay taxes, which he hasn't done in years either.

Gee, how noble of him.

That said, Abele isn't really done with politics either.  He's got a lot of money invested in various candidates - such as David Crowley, Lena Taylor and Jason Fields - so that he can be the behind the scenes emperor of all of Milwaukee, undoubtedly with the intent to maximize his ability to monetize both the city and the county.