Friday, June 28, 2024

Act 10 Has Been Very, Very Good To Me - But It Can Go Away Now

Act 10, Scott Walker's legacy legislation attacking public sector unions is being challenged again in the court system.  There's a very good chance that that unconstitutional law will finally be put out of our misery, especially now that justicehas been brought back to Wisconsin with the election of Justice Janet Protasiewicz.  

Right wingers, knowing that a major key to their reign of terror is about to end, are in a panic.  Their propagandists are spewing their thoroughly debunked numbers of how much money Act 10 allegedly saved, although Scott Walker testified, under oath, that Act 10 had no fiscal ramifications whatsoever.  

But, having been a Milwaukee County employee for over 24 years, I have a slightly different perspective than my fellow union members or from the right wing nut jobs.

Milwaukee County has a policy called the Rule of 75, which means that when a person's age and years of experience totaled to 75, they were eligible to retire with full benefits.  However, the Rule of 75 did not pertain to union members represented by AFSCME.  

When Walker and his fellow Republicons rammed through Act 10, the Milwaukee County Executive Chris "Walker-Lite" Abele immediately turned around and said Milwaukee County was no longer recognizing AFSCME and that considered its members to be non-represented employees.  

But by virtue of doing so, he automatically made 1,100 workers, including myself, eligible for the Rule of 75.  

Abele and the county board tried to deny this simple fact, which led to eight years of court battles between AFSCME and Milwaukee County.  Ultimately, the state supreme court sided with AFSCME, in a decision written by Rebecca Bradley - yes, THAT Rebecca Bradley!

Thus, five years ago today, I punched out for the last time, seven years ahead of when I was supposed to be eligible for retirement, as a Milwaukee County employee and have been enjoying my retirement ever since, along with our three dogs.

But that said, Act 10 has done a lot more damage than good.  Two very recent examples include the multiple inmate deaths at Waupun prison and the murder of a youth worker in Lincoln Hills.  And that's doesn't even include the Scottholes all over our roads, the soaring overtime costs in almost every department, the decrease in services that people depend on, and - well, this list is almost endless.

So, all in all, while Act 10 helped me and some of my coworkers out, it's long past time to finally get rid of that law that should never have been in the first place.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The David Chokehold Prosser Law Library Gets Major Upgrade

Another great injustice has been corrected by the new and improved Wisconsin Supreme Court. The Wisconsin state law library is not named after the state's first woman attorney, Lavinia Goodell. From 2016 until now, the law library was inappropriately named after the infamous former Justice, David Prosser. Predictably, the name change caused faux outrage among the current and past fascist members of the court:
There was no apparent opposition within the court to honoring Goodell, but there was not unanimous support for removing Prosser's name from the law library. "There are many ways to honor Lavinia Goodell, which is entirely appropriate, without dishonoring a lifelong public servant like Justice David Prosser," Chief Justice Annette Kingsland Ziegler told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday.
As for Prosser himself, he was less outwardly outraged, but did prove that he was the same old liar he has always been:
"I was a person, for 18 years, who probably used the library … as much as anyone, and more than a lot of people," Prosser said, adding that he has continued to support the library financially since his retirement. When the library was named for Prosser, then-Chief Justice Patience Roggensack said, "no justice has been more dedicated to the research that happens in the law library than Justice Prosser."
Those claims of being a patron of the library sure as hell weren't true in 2011, when Prosser issued a legal ruling regarding Act 10 and open meeting laws, without "apparent deliberation or research of the laws. Prosser must be really seething that "his" law library was named after a woman, given his long history of misogyny. In 2010, Prosser got in trouble for threatening then Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson:
The Feb. 10, 2010, incident occurred as the court privately discussed a request to remove Justice Michael Gableman from a criminal case. "In a fit of temper, you were screaming at the chief; calling her a 'bitch,' threatening her with '. . . I will destroy you'; and describing the means of destruction as a war against her 'and it won't be a ground war,' " [Justice Ann Walsh} Bradley wrote in a Feb. 18, 2010, e-mail to Prosser and others.
But there's more. There's always more. I would be grossly remiss if I did not include the incident in which Prosser assaulted Justice Ann Walsh Bradley and put her in a chokehold:
It all started when the story was finally brought out that Justice Ann Walsh Bradley accused her fellow Justice David Prosser of choking her. What earned her his wrath and alleged attempt of dispensing corporeal-bordering-on-capital punishment was telling him to leave her chambers.
For any of these examples, Prosser should not have even been allowed to stay on the Court, much less be honored by naming a building after him. The significance of what the liberal justices were doing was not lost on them either:
"Lavinia Goodell was a pioneer for Wisconsin women and the legal profession," said Justice Jill Karofsky in a statement. "She never backed down from this critical fight, which paved the way for so many women in our state who have proudly served as lawyers, judges, and justices." When people enter the library, Protasiewicz said in a statement, "they need to know they are somewhere named after a leader who inspired others to do good and do what is right."
Every time that SCOWIS corrects another wrong, it's like another breath of fresh air blowing across the state.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Charlie Sykes Criticizes Trump For Acting Like Sykes

When one deals in politics long enough, you come to expect hypocrisy and outright lying from right wingers.  But sometimes, they take it to such extremes that even the most hardened are left with their mouths agape. Charlie Sykes reached that plateau on Friday morning when he made an appearance on Morning Joe to discuss Donald Trump's dissing of Milwaukee:


Sykes actually had the audacity to say this:
This was probably not the most significant thing. But this is going to stick. It's going to stick around here. You know that it's going to be mentioned every single day, if not every single hour, during the RNC convention here in Milwaukee. 
I will tell you one caveat, that one of the things that, you know, the Trump Republicans are going to try to do is they're going to try to divide the rest of Wisconsin from Milwaukee and say, yeah, you know, Milwaukee is this terrible thing and have other people in Wisconsin, you know, go along with that kind of view. I don't think that that's going to work because, and I think you touched on it, cities like Milwaukee have a great deal of pride, but they also have a chip on their shoulder. They have a little bit of a sensitivity to this sort of thing. 
You know, back in the 1950s, you know, when the Milwaukee Braves defeated the New York Yankees in I believe was the 1957 World Series, remember the there was there was a lot of sort of sneering about Milwaukee, you know, being, you know, being in a small town and Milwaukee's resented that. Right. So Donald Trump has messed with a city that, you know, we may here in Wisconsin be willing to criticize ourselves and, you know, talk about the problems they have, but we don't need Donald Trump coming in and dumping on on a city that we love and that I think is going to really shine next month.
Even more amazing was that Sykes said that with a straight face. 

What makes it so breathtaking in its hypocrisy is that Sykes spent over 20 years ripping on Milwaukee day in and day out while he was a squawk radio host in Milwaukee for WTMJ-AM and on Sundays when he hosted a TV show on TMJ4. He would rip on everything fromm the city's infrastructure, such as the Deep Tunnel project which helps abate some of the raw sewage runoff into Lake Michigan, to smearing and even libeling local elected officials, like inferring that then County Executive Chris Abele was a pedophile. And he did that after getting his employer sued and nearly losing his job for committing libel against a community activist. Sykes, along with fellow squawker, Mark Belling, have been credited for the ultimate demise of Northridge Shopping Mall through repeated criticism of alleged crimes, lack of security and various racebaiting statements:
...“Sykes is credited with, among other accomplishments, having blocked public funding for needle-exchange programs and having helped drive into bankruptcy an urban mall after harping on security issues there.” Sykes disputes the second part of this sentence, a reference to the closure of Northridge Mall in 2003. But he was credited for contributing to the mall’s woes, by a former Milwaukee County supervisor, Democrat Jim McGuigan, who wrote in a 2006 blog post that “for me and many of my neighbors the reason for Northridge malls demise has a great deal to do with talk radio show host Charlie Sykes personal harangues against security at the mall and implications that black kids at the mall were creating an unsafe environment.” 
I reached McGuigan late last week and asked him whether he stood by that assessment and he said he did. “Charlie was one of the big people who were railing on Northridge Mall. I’m sorry if they don’t want to take credit for damage they did—too bad, too sad,” he said. “We don’t have a mall there because they were screaming about [security].”
In fact, Sykes' racist attacks led to the ongoing "white flight" Milwaukee has seen over the years. Likewise, Sykes's reckless rhetoric only fed into the anti-Milwaukee attitude that Republicans have fostered in the rest of the state, painting Milwaukee has a wild, crime-ridden city and feeding into their own racist phobias they already have against Black people and other minorities.