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

“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.