This is just silly and we shouldn’t still be talking about this (and Rep. Dale Kooyenga agrees) but when someone should just apologize for doing something stupid and get on with life, well he can’t resist getting as silly as he possibly can (Why Am I Paying For This? Or You For That Matter?).

But here is the gist of the continuing saga of that sign in the state Capitol and the good state representative and hopeful state senator.

State Rep. Dale Kooyenga said he removed a protest sign from the state Capitol last year — an act that is costing taxpayers $30,000 — in part because his military training had taught him the placement of the sign could endanger the public.

“I’m not going to give the complete details, but the military, when I was in the military, military intelligence — and when you have something like a sign against a curved wall in a place where it shouldn’t be, is that is a clear risk, OK?” he told the crowd. “You can’t just leave signs that conceal something in the public.”

Kooyenga on Thursday stood by his claim that the sign was a safety risk.

“A sign offers an opportunity to conceal,” he said.

I would think his military training would have actually told him to contact the authorities in charge of maintaining order and safety in the Capitol, the Capitol Police, instead of taking it upon himself to remove the sign. I would think his military training would also have told him to contact the authorities to explain what he had to done to mitigate a ‘risk’ to the Capitol and the public.

What if that sign had been concealing something nefarious as he now claims he suspected? What if he had triggered a bomb or other weapon by moving it? I am pretty confident he knew there was no risk…the sign was just…a sign. And once removed shouldn’t it have been turned over to the Capitol Police to determine if a crime had been committed in posting it? Instead he took the sign and hid it in his office and that was only discovered after the security videos were examined.

None of his story holds water…it seems more in line with exactly what State Senator Jon Erpenbach said:

“This had nothing to do with military training,” Erpenbach said. “It had to do with he can’t control his emotions.”

Going back to my original post (see link above) from earlier this week. Why are tax payers on the hook for the $30,000 settlement? Well Rep. Kooyenga defends the use of tax payer funds:

He noted the state does not make its employees pay personally when they reach court settlements for their actions as government employees. He cited as an example a recent $18.9 million settlement the state reached with a teen inmate who was severely brain damaged after she hanged herself in her cell.

“When that happens, the state doesn’t go after individuals, they, the state has funds set aside for legal settlements,” Kooyenga said. “Because the cost of maintaining legal action throughout the whole process is expensive.”

I have said this before…an elected official is not in the traditional sense, a state employee. Yes they get paid by the state but are elected to office. They aren’t interviewed and hired through a typical employment process. They don’t have assigned job titles and tasks and supervisors and roles to fill in a state department or agency. I understand the reason the state pays for settlements for employees they hire and oversee and instruct…and who they can fire. But to me an elected official is something of a free agent here and should be responsible for her/his actions. Rep. Dale Kooyenga owes the State of Wisconsin $30,000 and he should be expected to pay up.

And he should never be considered as qualified for any elected offices of any kind in the future…period.

One last word from the representative on this sham brouhaha.

“This is a political, let’s-go-after-Representative-Kooyenga (move),” Kooyenga said. “This is a political action. This was not a criminal action. This is a civil action by a person who’s aligned with the opposition. It was a political act.”

Yes sir, it was a political act. By one State Representative Dale Kooyenga who stole a sign he didn’t own because it expressed an opinion he didn’t agree with…and he didn’t expect to get caught!

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Wisconsin taxpayers to pay $30,000 to settle lawsuit after Rep. Dale Kooyenga took a protester’s sign

Wisconsin taxpayers will spend $30,000 to settle a lawsuit brought against state Rep. Dale Kooyenga after he removed a protest sign critical of Republicans from a public area of the Capitol.

Kooyenga, a Brookfield Republican now running for the state Senate, said in a statement he signed off on the settlement because he did not want to “incur the costs of a prolonged legal battle, or further divert time or energy from the actual public policy priorities facing our state.”

Doesn’t want to incur the costs of a prolonged legal battle? Look you self centered son of a bitch. Cough up the $30,000 for the settlement out of your own pocket. There is no reason the taxpayers should be footing the bill for your illegal activities. You aren’t a traditional government employee where the government might be liable…particularly since this was a partisan action. Pay up you little prick!

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by all means do so!!

 

After losing his court battle to delay holding special elections for an open legislative seat and a senatorial seat THREE TIMES, Governor Scott Walker relented and called for the special elections. And the legislature called off passage of the special bill they were working on to change the rules around special elections.

But amid all of this brouhaha, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald pulled a particularly odd reason for avoiding the elections out of his sleeve:

He and Vos (House Speaker Robin Vos) said they were worried that the tight timeline of a special election might lead to the disenfranchisement of the federally protected voting rights of troops stationed overseas and other voters abroad.

I find no issue with trying to avoid disenfranchising voters. And certainly the logistics in these cases is always problematic but Wisconsin has done hundreds of these special elections over the years under very similar circumstances. I read somewhere else that there might be about 100 such voters who may be affected. But there was never any concern shown or voiced for the tens of thousands of voters disenfranchised by NOT holding the special elections…all of those Wisconsin residents who live in the affected districts. Those residents who don’t have representation.

And for the man who was directly involved with the district gerrymandering which is currently before the US Supreme Court…which certainly disenfranchises Democrats…who earn the majority of the popular vote in the state but don’t hold either house in the legislature.

Or the man directly involved in disenfranchising Wisconsin voters with laws that shorten and restrict early voting.

Or who was directly involved in disenfranchising Wisconsin voters by pushing through reprehensible voter ID laws.

Are we talking about the same Senator Fitzgerald? Why would NOW be the first time he seems to be demonstrably concerned about disenfranchising voters?

why does the parent company keep trying to maintain the Kmart division? They can’t compete with Walmart. We all know that. Why throw away the American heritage of the Sears franchise instead of just pulling the plug on Kmart?

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What is the penalty for lying on a census form?

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Earlier this month I called bullshit on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s failure to hold special elections to fill vacant legislative seats after appointing GOP legislators to administrative positions (Walker Sued Over Elections, His Excuse?)

The arguments involved are: under the one voter one vote rule, Wisconsin residents aren’t being represented in Madison as long as these seats remain unfilled…while the governor says he is being fiscally responsible by not wasting money on elections.

Well, Dane County Circuit Judge Josann Reynolds, who was appointed to the bench in 2014 by one Governor Scott Walker, ruled that under current law the governor is responsible for holding the special elections to fill the vacancies.

(Judge Reynolds) determined Walker had a duty under state law to hold special elections so voters could have representation in the Legislature. She said failing to hold special elections infringed on the voting rights of people who lived in the two districts.

“To state the obvious, if the plaintiffs have a right to vote for their representatives, they must have an election to do so,” said Reynolds.

So the good governor is preparing to hold the elections, right? Well no, Certainly the ruling will be appealed and the Wisconsin Supreme Court will most likely overrule the circuit court. But in the meantime the GOP majority leaders are preparing a bill to change the law! No, really.

One day after a judge dealt Republicans a setback by ordering special elections, Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow GOP leaders in the Legislature said they will pass legislation to block those elections.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said they would take up legislation to change special election rules after a Dane County judge ruled that Walker must call special elections to fill two legislative seats that have been vacant almost three months. Walker quickly committed to signing the bill, which has not yet been released.

The party of law after having broken the law wants to amend the law to allow them to avoid the ramifications of the law and by passing the new law might be breaking the law (no I didn’t follow that either):

In a news conference Friday, Fitzgerald could offer no specifics on what legislative changes he would make to halt the elections and acknowledged he wasn’t yet sure if such a bill would be constitutional.

Well constitutional or not, I don’t remember there being laws that could be passed and then applied retroactively. They’ve already broken the current law.

Unfortunately even if special elections would be held, the winners would be in perpetual campaign mode since they would have to run for re-election in the August primary/November general election cycle for 2018. If the GOP actually wants to amend the law, they should maybe throw in a paragraph on special election winners not having to defend their seat if they have served less than a year since the special election.

But no matter the outcome…this should be apparent to all of the voters in the state of Wisconsin: The GOP incumbents in Madison aren’t really intent on protecting your vote…they are intent on protecting their hold on power.

And in his best President Trump impersonation, legislative Assembly Speaker Robin Vos exhibited a prime example of contempt of court:

On Thursday, Vos, the Assembly speaker, dismissed Reynolds as an “activist Dane County judge,” saying he thought the description fit even if she was appointed by Walker.

That isn’t playing well in the Dane County Court system…read to the bottom here to get that story.

Note to Governor Walker: if you want to protect your control of the legislature, don’t appoint legislators to your administration.

There a number of things that would help prevent mass shootings similar to those repeatedly experienced in the United States. And no, nothing will eliminate all gun violence, but something needs to be done to make Americans feel safer in public places…not just schools.

First, comprehensive background checks of all buyers in all sales. There is no reason that this isn’t already the law of the land.

Second, waiting periods between gun purchase and taking possession of a weapon. The minimum should be 48 hours but I see no reason that it couldn’t be 72 hours. This isn’t going to cause any harm to a ‘law abiding gun owner’. For what guns cost nowadays, no hunter or sportsman is going to purchase a gun as an impulse buy.

Third, ban bump stocks (and every other accessory) that allows semi-automatic weapons to act like automatic weapons. There’s already a law controlling the ownership of fully automatic weapons. It shouldn’t be circumvented by tricks and accessories. And after the Las Vegas shootings last fall, a significant majority of Americans support this legislation.

Fourth, ban high capacity magazines. Hunters and sportsmen don’t need them and aren’t even likely using them. Their only real world use is killing as many people as possible as quickly as possible without reloading. Many discussions have suggested limiting magazines to 10 shots…I would think 6 is sufficient.

Fifth, ban semi-automatic weapons that are based on military specifications. Again they have very little utility in hunting and none in target shooting. Rip a deer up with a few rounds from an AR-15 and you’ve probably ruined a fair amount of meat. I realize that hunting rifles are semi-automatic. But few are designed to hold more than a hand full of rounds of a totally different caliber than military style rifles). A true hunting rifle is intended to drop your quarry after you’ve identified it and targeted a lethal target on your prey. An AR-15 is designed to spray bullets at targets partially seen and do maximum damage to even peripheral body parts by tumbling and creating huge areas of damage to flesh, muscle and bone. For killing people, not game. There is not a game animal in the world that would require an AR-15 or like rifle for a hunter to be successful.

None of these suggestions revoke the 2nd Amendment. That amendment already has limits. Civilians are already prevented from owning military weapons…I am just suggesting we identify these other items in the third, fourth, and fifth position as military items too and add them to the ban. I am not suggesting we ban hunting rifles or shotguns or target guns or guns used for skeet or trap shooting.

And for those who say we are punishing law abiding gun owners…my repeated mantra on that has been…they are law abiding gun owners until they aren’t…and then it’s too late (i.e Parkland and Las Vegas).

We aren’t going to see any meaningful changes on gun laws in this country before the elections in November of 2018. So before you vote, make sure you understand the candidate’s position on gun control and gun safety…because your life in this case may just depend on it.

Edit March 28 2018 in response to WashCoRepub:
thanks for asking me to clarify my position. I wrote this in my head over a period of a week and when I do that I often leave out something or forget something when writing it up. I need to start making notes. Ban: in this case I am thinking it is an immediate ban on sales of the guns and ammunition. Take them off the shelves the minute the bill is signed. Provide a fund to buy back any guns and ammunition that owners want to surrender immediately. I would like to buy them all back but that’s probably a non-starter. So grandfather in current owners…they sell them back to the government when they are ready to dispose of them. Not doing so is a felony. Letting anyone else use them is a felony. And I would put a sunset date on ownership. Ten more years after passage of the law? Twelve?

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Over the past week, I have posted two disparate items that seem to come together in the controversy surrounding Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data. The first was GOP Congress: 14 Children Gunned Down, Crickets, Dog Dies In Airplane, Immediate Bill, where nothing has been done about children being murdered and nothing changes, but when one puppy dies and there is immediate legislative action. And Who Is Protecting the 2018 Election?, where the government has taken almost no action to protect the upcoming mid-term elections.

But oh my god, some social media site and third party instigator are reportedly misusing data, and there are immediate calls for a Congressional investigation and for Mark Zuckerberg to testify in Washington.

Keep your eye on the ball Washington…we need to secure our elections first! We all know Facebook is selling our data…it isn’t any surprise. So Congress should keep its faux outrage to itself. I would rather know that the Wisconsin voting rolls are accurate and my vote is recorded without interference from Moscow.