The Racine Judge and the Lincoln Hills Scandal:

Letter to editor: Judge to Walker ‘I wrote directly to you’:

Dear Governor,

Your enemies have turned the Lincoln Hills matter into a personal attack against you. You and I know my letter to you was written to highlight a most grievous system failure, to hopefully prompt a full inquiry and cause change. I was neither enraged nor angry but deeply concerned that the system, and Lincoln Hills in particular, had failed the young man from Racine.

It appeared that the victim had been punished, that a most-serious crime had been marginalized, that a so-what attitude prevailed. My inquires to the administration there were met with silence. And so I wrote directly to you, attaching the very thorough and detailed report, anticipating that my communication would be acted upon by, at the least, the Department of Corrections administrator.

It has taken some time, but I am pleased that it now appears things may change.

Respectfully,

Richard J. Kreul
Corpus Christi, Texas (formerly of Racine)

For anyone not familiar with this issue: click here

AP’s Scott Bauer: Scott Walker campaign strategist?

Among the more interesting items in the massive dump of 27,000 pages of documents relating to the prosecution of Kelly Rindfleisch, a former close aide to Scott Walker who was convicted of Misconduct in Public Office, was an email exchange between Walker campaign manager Keith Gilkes and AP reporter Scott Bauer (@sbauerAP) during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

Bauer initiates the email exchange with Gilkes by giving Gilkes information on a line of attack that Walker’s Republican gubernatorial primary opponent Mark Neumann planned on using against Walker, namely the amount of time Walker took off from his job as County Executive. Here’s the email:

Click for full size
Click for full size

I hope conservatives remember this the next time they want to scream about perceived “liberal media bias.”

Voter Suppression: Bringing Jobs since 2010

Scott Walker: Bringing Jobs since 2010

Voter suppression has been an American tradition since the days of our founding fathers. It’s sad and appalling, but true. At first our Constitution only recognized the right of white male land owners. That was as of 1790. Also, did I mention you had to have a prerequisite as a Christian to vote? Yep, that would probably mean James Madison couldn’t vote… That whole agnosticism or atheism thing might’ve gotten in the way. Well, that rule was abolished in 1810.

Craziest thing was that we didn’t abolish the land ownership requirement until 1850. Literally 61 years of our country’s foundation are born on this principle of white land ownership. And all sorts of laws were STILL on the books holding people from voting. It’s kind of nuts when you think about it. As a modern day citizen, a voter, student and a young person; I look around me and see all sorts of people who care about what happens in their society, albeit some of them don’t vote, sadly.

I can still remember the first time I ever helped people vote. I was in high school, and unfortunately wasn’t eligible to vote at the time of the 2008 Presidential Preference Primary between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, but I went around the high school to all of my friends who were seniors and urged them and offered to take them with and register them to vote. Some of my teachers even allowed me to walk around the school during class and pull students from their courses to head down to the balloting station in the school. I loved it. And I’m proud, to this day, that I did that.

Yet, we have people like Scott Walker, and Scott Fitzgerald who want to make it harder for people to vote, rather than have a complete and true representative democracy in action in the State of Wisconsin.

We can all remember the Voter ID bill that was passed. Well, currently that law is being held up in court battles. As a person who has helped many register to vote, and ultimately cast their ballot, I can say that I am thankful that we have this battle ensuing for at least a little bit.

In Wisconsin we have an amazing track record of fair, honest and open elections. But every year we hear about the voter fraud argument like it’s a war cry from the right to bring true democracy to our state’s elections. So let’s investigate this. Wisconsin State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen  wants to go after voter fraud and make it a thing of the past. But it seems like that has all ready kind have happened. In 2008, he began an investigation into the elections and found a meager 11 total ballots improperly cast. Can someone explain how that is going to turn an election result realistically?

But beyond that let’s think about why it’s  a GOP priority to make people have identification to vote. What are some populations that tend to vote certain ways? Let’s think.

1. We all know students and young people are more likely to vote for a Democratic candidate over any other party.

2. The African American community has trended to vote for a Democratic candidate since the 1960s civil rights battles that people shed blood for.

3. People with lower incomes also trend to vote for the Dem ticket rather than crossing over to the GOP.

Huh. Well isn’t that something interesting when you add this little fact sheet into the equation. (Provided by One Wisconsin Now).

Wisconsin’s population is substantially less likely to have a state-issued identification. Those without state-issued photo identification and who would need to obtain one under the Wisconsin Voter ID bill include:

    • 23 percent of all elderly Wisconsinites over the age of 65
    • 17 percent of white men and women
    • 55 percent of all African American males and 49 percent of African American women
    • 46 percent of Hispanic men and 59% of Hispanic women
    • 78 percent of African American males age 18-24 and 66 percent of African American women age 18-24

[Driver License Status of the Voting Age Population in Wisconsin, 6/05]

Hmmmm. Methinks you have displaced the mirth, GOP.

Now here’s my take. I’m a student, and you’re reading what I have to say, so listen up folks: students vote. Holy cow! Blasphemy! WHAT?!

Oh yeah, we vote. In this state we have 44,000 students that didn’t originate here. Under the Wisconsin voter ID law, you need a WISCONSIN ID to vote. I don’t know how many of you have been to the DMV lately, but those cost money, unless you ask for it specifically for voting purposes. And I don’t know about many college students out there, but I’m poor. I also know plenty who don’t have access to a car. Oh, we also have class during the day when most DMV service centers are open and available to provide these ID cards.

Students are able to prove identification with student ID cards, however. This was originally not included in the bill, but thanks to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and a group of persistent students and young folks at United Council, republicans allowed these to be used. However, they made using them for voting harder than using a regular ID.

This means that you are required to show a proof of enrollment upon presenting your student identification card. Proof of enrollment means just what it says, proof that you are enrolled in the school you have your ID from. At first glance this wouldn’t seem such a big deal. However, most students don’t just have a proof of enrollment form on them at all times. Often times, and in many of our universities in this state, you have to go to a separate office and obtain the form yourself, taking time out of a busy course and study schedule. This also would create a burden for students not normally put on people with a valid state issued photo ID. A photo ID is a photo ID. You can read more about these arguments in the amicus brief filed by the WDC and joined by UC here.

So let’s get this straight. Walker wants to go after the single digit numbers that commit voter fraud…because they can change an election’s outcome…right? But hell, what’s 44,000 votes of students. I mean that would never change an election…

Did I mention that this would cost MILLIONS of dollars and create a huge bureaucracy in the DMV…more than already exists?

All of this just doesn’t add up. Especially because when Governor Walker was elected, he promised us jobs. He actually promised us more jobs than the current unemployment rate, effectively ridding us of the woe of unemployment. But hey…it’s a floor, not a ceiling…

Well, I have a question for Mr. Walker: what about this legislation brings jobs?

 

 

Hello dey, Wisconsin!

Hello, good morning, good day and good evening, or as my Grandpa Lee used to say, “Hello Dey!” For those of you who do not know me, as I’m guessing that’s pretty much everyone, I’m Dustin. I’m another poor college student, union thug, pinko liberal here to dispel words upon you that spread progressive thought and discourse. Well…at least I hope so.

For most of my life I’ve been a Democrat. As in, since I was 14 and became aware of politics.

My activism started when I joined the Rainbow Alliance for the Youth, or RAY Club, a form of Gay-Straight Alliance, and ran for president of the club in his first meeting. Ultimately, I lost, but continued in that meeting to run for other offices and succeeded in winning a spot as secretary of the club. After two years of being taking meeting minutes, I ran for the presidency once more in my junior year and won. In that same year, I was appointed co-president of Amnesty International of Hamilton High School and president of Community Activists for the Revival of Empathy (CARE), a catch-all activist group that worked with the Salvation Army to feed the hungry, started a recycling program at my high school and worked with students to bring awareness to various types of discrimination.

When I was 19, I unsuccessfully took on Dan Knodl in the 24th State Assembly district. It was a great experience and I met so many amazing folks that have taught me about the process and helped me to become involved in election cycles beyond 2010. I also received the honor of working for the coordinated campaign at the UW-Stevens Point campus as a campus organizer for the 2010 election cycle.

I’ve served on the Portage County Democratic Party executive board, the 5th Congressional District executive board and managed Dave Heaster’s valiant attempt at taking on Jim Sensennbrenner. And, I, like so many of you, was in Madison at ground zero back in February and March of 2011. It’s been an amazing ride and now I have landed here at Blogging Blue!

I really hope we can help shape the discussion. Young voices are especially needed to change the atmosphere surrounding politics. Common sense and decency seems to have vanished from the English language, and it’s time we start to take the discussion back. It’s our voice; it’s our power. And I look forward to this chance to help influence our discourse.

I encourage you to ask me questions, suggest topics that need attention or notice, and stop in every week to see what I think of Scott Walker’s Wisconsin and how we can begin to change the world one by one!

Why Creating 250,000 Jobs Is An Impossible Task

I imagine most all of us realized that Governor Scott Walker’s promise to create 250,000 jobs in Wisconsin by the end of his four year term was a matter of campaign hyperbole. But thank you to all of those who are holding him to it and reminding all of us about his statement.

At first I wasn’t sure what was worse…his original statement…or his continued doubling down on it since then. Well I realized last night that it was the original statement that is the real issue…not just because it is a such pure campaign nonsense…but because neither Governor Walker or his staff ever really thought about what 250,000 jobs means in a state like Wisconsin.

Essentially no matter what his policies are and no matter if they would have worked exactly as he promised…creating 250,000 new jobs is essentially impossible…(and I believe I said this in a comment during the recall…but I don’t recall exactly when), it’s all in the MATH:

The US Census Bureau estimates the 2012 Population of the State of Wisconsin at 5,726,398. Out of that total, 23% are under the age of 18 – that is 1,317,071 residents of Wisconsin, and another 14.4% are over the age of 65 – that is 824,601. In most cases the members of these two groups aren’t looking for full time employment – they total 2,141,672 people. In other words we have approximately 3,584,726 adults available for full time employment (yes I know some people over 65 work full time, yes I know some under 18 work full time, and yes I know some adults between 18 and 65 can’t work for any variety of reasons…so don’t quibble).

News reports from earlier in August say that the unemployment rate for Wisconsin has remained steady at 6.8% for June and July 2013. So taking 6.8% of our 3,584,726 available population…there are only 243,761 Wisconsinites that need a job. Whoa…that’s not enough people to even fill 250,000 jobs!

Yes I realize I am being a bit facetious and a lot sarcastic…there are other things to consider…like the underemployed who need better jobs…and there will never be zero unemployment…and those who have dropped out of the ranks of unemployed because they stopped looking…but nobody in Gov Walker’s office or his campaign got out their calculators to suggest a reasonable number for his ‘goal’!

Just sayin’.

Act 10: Governor Walker Tells It Like It…Well, No, He’s Lying!

In this morning’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, political columnist Daniel Bice outlines the loss in membership in public unions since the enactment of Wisconsin Act 10 that obliterates the power of Wisconsin public employee unions. Well, public employee unions except for the protected police and firefighter unions that is.

Now the short gist of the article is public employee unions have been losing members in great numbers since Act 10. But Governor Walker denies any attempt to destroy the public unions, instead he is helping public employees make an informed decision based on the value added from the unions:

“We were trying to empower workers and give them a choice,” the first-term Republican governor said. “If workers saw value out of their union, then they have every right to stay put. But if they didn’t, they could make that choice.”

Value out of their union? What possible value can there be when public employee unions have absolutely no power or authority? Power and authority that were directly prohibited by Act 10.

Oh yeah, I forgot, the union can still negotiate basic pay restricted by the annual cost of living.

The entire point of Act 10 was to defang the unions…steal their membership and empty their treasuries to prevent any political activism on their part. Political activities that generally works against the interests of the Republican Party.

Stop lying to us Governor Walker…your actions have intentionally removed any value the public employee unions could offer their membership…there can not be any value out of the unions in the wake of Act 10. Time to tell it like it is!

(when a public union negotiates a pay raise for it’s membership under the new rules, do you think that the Governor will have the balls to deny that raise to non-union members and make them individually negotiate their own pay raises? Will he dare give larger raises to non-union members in the future than those allowed to unions?)

Dan Sebring attends conservative Leadership Institute, gets butt kicked in 2010 election (UPDATED)

Says perennial Republican Congressional candidate Dan Sebring about the conservative Leadership Institute:

“Leadership Institute training is an absolute must for anyone seeking public office,” Dan said. “It is far and away the most comprehensive, indispensable crash course introduction to political activism for activists, candidates, and campaign staffers on the planet. I recommend it highly to anyone considering running for public office and their staff.”

Since completing his training at the Leadership Institute, Dan Sebring has used what he learned there to get crushed by incumbent Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore in 2010 (he got a paltry 29.6% of the vote), and he’s like to face another electoral drubbing in 2012.

The fact is, no amount of training or guidance can change the fact that the vast majority of residents of the Fourth Congressional district simply aren’t interested in being represented by a Republican extremist who can “trace his roots to the Mayflower” and who has demonstrated he clearly isn’t interested in representing anyone who doesn’t share his narrow world view.

UPDATE: Apparently Dan Sebring still has a thin skin, if this post on his official Facebook page is any indication:

Thanks for reading, Dan!

Walker Obstructed John Doe Investigation Two Years Ago

According to Dan Bice at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Milwaukee County Executive’s office has been obstructing the probe into the misappropriation of funds intended to help veterans and their families as far back as May, 2010.

On May 5, 2010, Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf filed a petition with court officials asking if his office could initiate a secret investigation into what happened with $11,000 in donations intended for Operation Freedom, an annual event honoring veterans.

By making it a secret John Doe investigation, Landgraf wrote that prosecutors might get better cooperation from Walker’s office, which had been “unwilling or unable” to turn over records and information needed in the investigation. He said he would need to subpoena county records and officials.

“It may be the County Executive’s Office is reluctant to provide information to investigators due to a fear of political embarrassment,” Landgraf wrote, noting that Walker was then running for governor.

The irony was that the DA made it a John Doe investigation to help protect then-candidate Scott Walker from unnecessary political pressure.  But Landgraf didn’t anticipate the depths to which Walker and his cronies would sink to cover up their illegal activities.

… Landgraf’s filing is the first public suggestion Walker’s office later reversed course and quit cooperating.

“As part of the pre-Doe investigation, Investigator Jeffrey Doss sought to obtain documentation that would form the basis of tracing the funds from Milwaukee County to the Order,” Landgraf wrote in his May 2010 petition. “The Office of the County Executive has been unwilling or unable to provide such documentation. It is unclear at this juncture why the Office of the County Executive has not produced (or has not caused another Department to produce) these records.”