Sunday, May 31, 2020

Trump already endorsed police violence against suspects in custody

Two things to remember about the state of the country which is no doubt pleasing a satisfied Trump Sunday morning:

* Media coverage of widespread looting is just what he needs to knock 103,000 Covid-10 pandemic deaths out of the news and let him avoid accountability for a calamity which widespread protest gatherings are going to exacerbate.

* And speaking of protests nationwide triggered by the killing of George Floyd while handcuffed by Minneapolis officers, Trump endorsed the abuse of citizens in police custody three years ago after Baltimore officers gave a handcuffed Freddie Gray an intentionally-brutal and fatal ride in a transport van. 

These are the words of a President who today cannot address the country because he further inflamed the situation with rage tweets and has repeatedly forfeited the moral underpinnings and integrity of the office. 

As he said publicly in 2017 to an audience of police officers:
Addressing law enforcement in New York on Friday, President Donald Trump gave police officers nationwide a green light to engage in violence against suspects...
“When you see these towns, and you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon—you just see ‘em thrown in, rough. I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice,’” Trump said. “Like when you guys put somebody in the car, and you’re protecting their head—the way you put the hand over—like, don’t hit their head, and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head? I said, ‘You can take the hand away, okay.’”

In a familiar pose, Trump is seen digging himself into a hole from which there is no easy escape.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

WI Covid-19 deaths, hospitalizations jump after GOP's Supreme Court win

The Journal Sentinel puts it this way
Twenty people were added to the state's official count of COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, continuing an uptick that began Wednesday and which comes as the state appears to be bucking a national trend toward decreased hospitalizations. 
All told, 588 people have died of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. Of those, 71 deaths were announced in the past four days, marking a 14% increase. Just 64 total deaths were announced in the previous 10 days.    
Here are three other trends which Wisconsin's right-wing Republican legislator/litigator complex decided to buck 17 days ago: 

1) State history, and 2), placing decisions about 'safer-at-home' requirements and schedules during public health emergencies in the hands of the Governor - elected statewide - and who is advised by health-care professionals:

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has struck down Gov. Tony Evers' order shutting down daily life to limit the spread of coronavirus — marking the first time a statewide order of its kind has been knocked down by a court of last resort. 
And 3), the widespread reticence of other courts to jump on the Wisconsin Supreme Court's reckless bandwagon:
There have been legal challenges to stay-at-home orders in MichiganCaliforniaKentucky and Illinois, but none of those were successful in persuading a court to fully strike down the order, as the plaintiffs in the Wisconsin case were.
Who knew they kept white doctors' coats hanging in their closets next to their traditional black robes.
WI Chief Justice Patience Roggensack wrote the 4-3 majority opinion re-opening Wisconsin without a statewide Covid-19 prevention plan in place. Her colleague Justice Rebecca Bradley called the original order tyrannical, while Justice Daniel Kelly said it treated citizens like prisoners.
You can call the jump in hospitalizations and deaths coincidental to the GOP's Supreme Court win, or you can call it a consequence. Covid-19 symptoms usually present within 2-14 days of exposure, and the Court knocked out Evers' order 17 days ago.

Perhaps Wisconsin's winning GOP legislator/litigators Fitzgerald and Vos could be asked for their opinion.

Friday, May 29, 2020

'Open-up' champ Vos's Racine Co. has solid hold on #3 Covid-case ranking

Haven't heard much if anything from WI GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos about his home Racine County's repetitive third-place ranking among Wisconsin counties for confirmed Covid-19 cases. 

I'll post below the Top 10, according to Friday's official data, and you can see that counties like Dane and Waukesha which have much larger populations than Does Racine have fewer positive cases.

A matter of testing availability? Differences in social distancing practices? An absence of, ahem, local leadership
Vos said weeks ago it was "incredibly safe to go outside," but more than 1,600 citizens in his home county of Racine have a Covid-19 positivity test that, like the protective gear he donned on election, suggests otherwise.

I'll bet it didn't help having a sheriff who washed his hands early on of enforcing the safer-at-home order which Vos helped blow up, thanks to an equally reckless right-wing and Republican subservient State Supreme Court majority:

  • 7,429 in Milwaukee County
  • 2,308 in Brown County
  • 1,652 in Racine County
  • 1,131 in Kenosha County
  • 705 in Dane County
  • 665 in Waukesha County
  • 620 in Rock County
  • 379 in Walworth County
  • 238 in Washington County
  • 224 in Winnebago County
  • I do see typically partisan anti-Evers tweets on Vos's Twitter feed, but no personal responsibility taken for the litigation he brought with taxpayer funds which led to the State Supreme Court's 'wild-west' policy [Sic] which does not appear to be doing Vos's constituents and others any favors.

    Thursday, May 28, 2020

    WI right-wing pandemic panderers rack up suffering, national attention

    The New York Times Thursday night shined a light on far-right wingers in Wisconsin who pandered to pandemic's enablers. The story leads the paper's online page; here is the third paragraph:
    Wisconsin saw its highest single-day increase in confirmed cases and deaths this week, two weeks after the state’s highest court overturned a stay-at-home order.
    Deeper into the story:
    In Wisconsin, there were indications that the virus was still spreading before the order was lifted. But in the weeks since restrictions were overturned, the case numbers have continued to grow.  
    “It worries us,” said Dr. Nasia Safdar, the medical director for infection prevention at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison. “We wonder if this is a trend in an unfavorable direction.”
    The Times' story didn't include this ugly news from Kenosha, and no doubt it won't be the only one of its kind: 
    Seven food and beverage servers at several unnamed establishments in Kenosha County have tested positive for COVID-19, the county’s health officer said.
    I mean, get used to it:
    Casa Tequila in Waukesha shuts temporarily after a cook is diagnosed with COVID-19
    Northern Wisconsin, are you and your hospitals which already operate at narrow or negative margins ready for tourists and second-home owners heading for the bars, supper clubs, and resorts? 

    The trends in Wisconsin and forces which helped set them in motion are no mystery in our state, having been noted here and emphasized over the last 24 hours -
    After successfully imploring the WI Supreme Court for a seat at the Covid-19 planning table -
    - Wisconsin's GOP legislators walked away from the table and accountability to let the state reopen - come what may.
    To which Covid-19 said, 'thank you,' so this will be your headline Thursday morning into the weekend: 
    Wisconsin sees new single-day records in coronavirus deaths, cases and tests
    Which should not come as a surprise, as I noted on May 20th:
    Bad news Wednesday: Record number of Covid-19 cases in Wisconsin reported...
    4:45 p.m. update - And I now see this alarming news at Urban Milwaukee:
    State Sees Biggest Hike In New COVID-19 Hospital Admissions In 30 Days

    WI GOP's Covid-19 'plan' had no life. Seems to be a theme.

    After successfully imploring the WI Supreme Court for a seat at the Covid-19 planning table, Wisconsin's GOP legislators walked away from the table and accountability to let the state reopen - come what may.

    To which Covid-19 said, 'thank you,' so this will be your headline Thursday morning into the weekend: 

    Wisconsin sees new single-day records in coronavirus deaths, cases and tests
    Which should not come as a surprise, as I noted on May 20th:
    Bad news Wednesday: Record number of Covid-19 cases in Wisconsin reported...
    4:45 p.m. update - And I now see this alarming news at Urban Milwaukee:
    State Sees Biggest Hike In New COVID-19 Hospital Admissions In 30 Days
    Anyone hospitalized with Covid-19, anyone caring for them, anyone separated from them, anyone meeting with a pastor and funeral director to plan memorial service via Zoom isn't going to be convinced that the curve has been flattened or the corner has been turned.

    Or that it's comforting to know that Death Cult Republicans who had been saying for weeks even before they got the bars and beaches reopened that it was perfectly safe to go outside (but in operating room gear)  

    keep on consulting "When you wish upon a star" for guidance.

    Tuesday, May 26, 2020

    The new fiscal crisis is triggering another outbreak of evictions

    As the economy reopens, so does the festering, old wound of eviction - grossly unjust and unfair in light of windfall excesses reaped from tax breaks and other subsidies by the rich.

    While corporations grabbed millions to which they were not entitled, drained programs of their funding in minutes, or Tweeted their way to riches:
    After One Tweet To President Trump, This Man Got $69 Million From New York For Ventilators
    The Silicon Valley engineer, who had no background in medical supplies but was recommended by the White House, never delivered the ventilators.
    And at the other end of the spectrum?

    Do you remember that a Pulitzer Prize in Non-Fiction was awarded to former UW-Madison researcher Matthew Desmond in 2017 for his devastating portrayal of low-income Milwaukeeans trapped and degraded by the eviction machine:
    Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
    From Harvard sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America.
    Now we're in a new financial crisis on top of a pandemic that has killed scores and sickened many who are low-income Milwaukeeans - and across the country - yet the eviction machine is gearing up anew.

    And while there is some renter relief funding available, an advocate for at-risk tenants is predicting mass evictions ahead because legal actions have begun prematurely.
    Landlords jump the gun and file eviction actions before governor's moratorium expires
    Raphael Ramos, head the Eviction Defense Project, said he expects many landlords to begin filing notices this week. Afterward, he said, they will either work out arrangements with tenants or file eviction actions. 
    The onslaught of filings will likely begin next week, Ramos said, for evictions filed before March 27 that were frozen when the moratorium began, combined with new evictions actions that would have been filed earlier if not for the governor's ban. 
    This is not good, and the situation will worsen because right-wing Republicans from Mitch McConnell to Scott Walker have argued against more federal aid to states.

    Because nothing 'validates' the far-right belief that the public sector is inept than crises in cities that keep people scrambling for the basics and leaving less time time to organize, advocate and vote.

    Friday, May 22, 2020

    Study says WI is among Top 10 states risking 'uncontrolled' Covid-19 spread

    Say there, second-Covid-19 wave enablers, a/k/a certain WI State Supreme Court Justices - 

    - and GOP legislative 'leaders' shrugging off their own  counties' heavy Covid-19 caseloads:

    How does it feel to put 5.8 million Wisconsinites (and Memorial Day Weekend tourist partiers) on this list at #10:

    Study estimates 24 states still have uncontrolled coronavirus spread
    The coronavirus may still be spreading at epidemic rates in 24 states, particularly in the South and Midwest, according to new research that highlights the risk of a second wave of infections in places that reopen too quickly or without sufficient precautions...
    Texas tops the list, followed by Arizona, Illinois, Colorado, Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Alabama and Wisconsin.

    Thursday, May 21, 2020

    Deplorable politics creating disposable citizens

    They say talk is cheap, but we're learning life is cheap in Trump's America:
    Lockdown Delays Cost at Least 36,000 Lives, Data Show 
    And if the country had begun locking down cities and limiting social contact on March 1, two weeks earlier than most people started staying home, the vast majority of the nation’s deaths — about 83 percent — would have been avoided, the researchers estimated. 
    Under that scenario, about 54,000 fewer people would have died by early May. 
    And more culpable rightwing Wisconsin politicians who had extra weeks, or months to make the right call, but went with the wrong, rightwing call - 

    - threw away that advantage because they ware in thrall to partisan Republicans and their noisy rabble and decided to put sit-down cheeseburgers over common sense and haircuts over public health:
    Bad news Wednesday: Record daily number of new Covid-19 cases in Wisconsin reported:
    The percentage of positive tests jumped back to 8%, the second straight day of increase after it fell to 2.9% on Sunday. A 14-day downward trend of positive test rate is a key metric in the Badger Bounce Back guidelines that many businesses are following as they make plans to reopen.
    4:45 p.m. update - And I now see this alarming news at Urban Milwaukee:
    State Sees Biggest Hike In New COVID-19 Hospital Admissions In 30 Days

    Wednesday, May 20, 2020

    Blase, science-averse WI's pols overlook Covid-19 facts

    Bad news Wednesday: Record number of Covid-19 cases in Wisconsin reported:
    The percentage of positive tests jumped back to 8%, the second straight day of increase after it fell to 2.9% on Sunday. A 14-day downward trend of positive test rate is a key metric in the Badger Bounce Back guidelines that many businesses are following as they make plans to reopen.
    4:45 p.m. update - And I now see this alarming news at Urban Milwaukee:
    State Sees Biggest Hike In New COVID-19 Hospital Admissions In 30 Days
    A total of 51 people were newly hospitalized with the disease, a 30-day high and above the average of 34 since DHS began reporting the data daily on April 4th. 
    In Milwaukee County, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has gone from 146 to 183 in the past week. 
    “This is a concerning 29 percent increase in COVID-19 patients in our hospitals,” said Dr. Ben Weston, Milwaukee County medical services director, during a Wednesday afternoon press briefing.
    This is not the trend any sane person is looking for, yet some people may shrug off the Covid-19 pandemic now that our President is practicing medicine without a license.

    And 92,000+ US deaths are heading for normalization, with Memorial Day on May 25th shaping up as extra grim because the death toll will likely surpasses an astonishing 100,000 by then.

    In Wisconsin, the shoulder shrugging was given another incomprehensible imprimatur by right-wing Wisconsin state judges who awarded like-minded legislators the seat they coveted at the end of the bar from which they also practiced absentee medicine and flat-out bad political science.

    So I'm not expecting these failed politicians to take a look at real information published daily by real doctors and health-care professionals - but you can read for yourselves what the pandemic has done to Wisconsin and why it wouldn't take much of a spike in cases which continue to accumulate to again sandbag front-line medical staffs and facilities with fresh risk, statewide suffering and death.

    So before we waltz off into Bucky's Land of Denial - wherein Wisconsin was the only state among the 50 which let elected judges to throw out a coherent, commonsense Covid-19 prevention plan, start with this state website and absorb that:

    * Confirmed Covid-19 cases in Wisconsin in just two months went from three on March 20 to 13,413 on May 20, and deaths during the same two months rose from three to 481.

    You may not know any of these people, but they represent your fellow citizens and do not deserve to be forgotten.

    * Only 33% of all hospital beds in Wisconsin are immediately available, and there are still, statewide, 129 Covid-19 patients in intensive care units and 301 Covid-19 patients on ventilators, data show

    The data also show the southeast region, which has the highest number of Covid-19 cases, has just 25% available bed capacity; the other six regions' bed availabilities range from 26-42%.

    However, a survey two years ago showed 58.3% state hospital bed availability statewide
    2018 survey by the Wisconsin Hospital Association of 152 hospitals shows a total of 12,449 hospital beds with an average occupancy rate of 58.3 percent. About 11,000 of those beds are in "general medical-surgical" hospitals, as opposed to more specialized hospitals like psychiatric, rehabilitation, or drug abuse facilities. 
    So it doesn't wouldn't take much of a spike to again severely stress the system and undo or diminish the productive results of the now-defunct state "Safer-at-Home" order.

    Again, let's also remember that patient numbers all come with names, faces, families, and the State Supreme Court in servitude to right-wing GOP legislators did state hospitals no favors as their staffs, also with names, faces and families are working to recover from damaging and dangerous first-wave case loads.

    * Further into the data, we see that there are 299 ongoing facility-wide outbreak investigations underway, principally in nursing homes and workplace sites. The nursing home outbreaks killed a lot of people's grandparents and long-time spouses, while various workplaces became danger zones to state residents whom State Supreme Court Chief Justice Patricia Roggensack decided were not 'regular folk.'

    But we have seen, the virus does not make those distinctions, and will continue its cruel cull if the Justices and the GOP 'leaders' like GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos guessed wrong.

    Walker as state-failure expert? Yes. As workers' friend? No way.

    The New York Times could not have picked a more appropriate politician to put his name on an op-ed about 'failed state bureaucracies' than Scott Walker - the now-ex Governor of the State of Wisconsin who failed to win re-election after Donald Trump had carried the state just two years earlier.

    Note Walker's rightist, boiler-plate ideological dig at "bureaucracies," as if he didn't direct them, put his allies in their management positions, politicizes them through reclassifications - 
    Walker give himself more power to fill high state positions 
    and tailor their programs through budget and staff cuts, revenue transfers, tax policies, and so on.

    Set aside - but never forget - his op-ed's camouflaged shilling for GOP-aligned, right-wing, states-rights groups which have hired him that he's wrapped in a preposterous, pretend bond for workers - 

    Don’t Bail Out the States
    Instead of propping up failed state bureaucracies, the federal government should support American workers.
    - and remember that Wisconsin is where Walker froze the state's mandated hourly minimum wage at the rock-bottom rate of the entirely of his eight-year reign at $7.25.

    * And had that poverty-enforcing pay rate legally-defined as a "living wage."

    * And sprung surprise Act 10 cuts to teachers, nurses' and other public employees' pay, benefits and union organizing rights. 

    Commenters on that post said they and others had left their teaching jobs for better pay or more respect in in Illinois and Minnesota schools. 

    One commenter reminded readers that Walker had treated most state workers the same way. 

    * Followed by further cuts in private-sector take home earnings enforced through a so-called 'right-to-work' law - and a related reduction in prevailing union-scale wages paid on public projects.

    *  And went out of office having mortgaged the state budget for (to date) non-existent high-tech manufacturing jobs pledged by the Taiwanese firm Foxconn.

    So let Walker's record of failure by the bureaucracies he directed speak for themselves, and remember, these policy deficits or rollbacks were all intentional to produce the very deficits designed to turn right-wing Republican talking points about what government can't do into self-fulfilling, donor-obeisant prophecies:

    * Walker minimized, ignored or hamstrung his own agencies' clean water policy and legal practices left rural land and drinking water wells contaminated with harmful manure pollution:

    Data show what people in Kewaunee County and the Central Sands region who live near the industrial-scale Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, already know:
    Their drinking water is contaminated:
    WI Central Sands the next Flint? Kewaunee County already soaks up that honor.
    And, yes, new litigation has been filed by dozens of residents in Juneau County - - but did you know that a delayed and diverted 2012 case brought against a Kewaunee County CAFO was successfully re-routed by former Attorney General Brad Schimel through the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court to Waukesha County?
    Where Scott Walker sent him through a post-defeat, 11th hour judicial appointment!
    * Walker would not direct his Department of Natural Resources to adequately confront the spread of chronic deer wasting disease, thereby imperiling the health of the state's deer herd, the integrity of the state's image and the rural economies which rely on it.

    Noted in this early 2018 posting, and in subsequent reporting.
    Also noted, in 2017: even less testing for the disease since Walker came into office.
    Unfortunately, CWD testing in Wisconsin has plummeted in recent years because of budget cuts and the end of in-person deer registration in 2015. 
    From 2002 through 2006 the Department of Natural Resources averaged 25,858 CWD tests annually. Soon after, lawmakers like former Rep. Scott Gunderson, R-Waterford, slashed CWD funding, causing CWD tests to average 9,053 from 2007 through 2010, a nearly three-fold decline. 
    Since 2010, the DNR has averaged a record low 5,545 CWD tests annually, even while documenting record CWD cases, including 447 in 2016.
    * Walker gave large agricultural and industrial operations more freedom to release harmful phosphorous into state waterways, thereby doubling the number of impaired lakes, rivers and streams which are less able to sustain fish populations, please tourists, attract anglers and reliably guarantee clean drinking water downstream:
    There are now twice the number of polluted lakes, rivers and streams in Wisconsin, and the principals culprit is algae-promoting phosphorous being released with greater ease after Walker led the effort to roll back phosphorous-dumping restrictions.
    Waterway pollution skyrockets in Wisconsin during Walker, GOP reign
    * Walker had his DNR managers remove vital climate change science from a public website - an official denialist position which kept the state unprepared for precisely the predicted heavier rains in the region's climate change modeling.

    The result - many Wisconsin communities, as I wrote in August, 2018 towards the end of Walker's governorship, kept facing repetitive, destructive and fatal floods during his tenure:

    Wisconsin was hit earlier this year by flooding that scoured away cars, pavement, and land. Now it's happened again.
    We've also got Scott Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality' management that scrubbed away important information about why the flooding is likely to get worse, having ignored expert, public warnings about insufficient stormwater management and funding since 2003.
    The rains in SE Wisconsin did stop and the flooding from Dane County to Ixonia to Watertown to I-43 in Milwaukee County is receding, but water levels will continue to rise and more rain is in the forecast.
    So I wonder: is there a bigger picture to this?, since parts of Wisconsin - - Watertown, 2016Racine County, 2017, Racine County, 2008, Madison, 2018, historic flooding in NW Wisconsin in 2018 and 2016  
    etc.  - - have been hit by rains routinely labeled heavy, historic, worst ever., and so on.
    Flooding which will no doubt continue because Walker systematically encouraged wetland filling statewide, beginning literally in his first few hours as Governor.

    * Followed by Walker's successful push towards the end of his second term for a dirty air exemption for SE Wisconsin to align his pro-polluter WI DNR with  justice system favors for Foxconn.

    Let Walker talk about failure all he wants.

    We'll remind others why he's the expert.

    Monday, May 18, 2020

    The right is using Covid-19 to steal, smear civil rights language, legacy

    Bad enough that the Covid-19 pandemic is striking down African-Americans with disproportionately cruel suffering and death.

    Add to that the smug insensitivity by various voices on the right - from armed 'protesters' to powerful corporations - who would justify their #MeFirst politics by hijacking the language and legacy of the civil rights movement.

    * No, banks that won't lend to oil companies which want to risk destroying the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge - especially when there is a worldwide oil glut and renewable energy development offers cleaner options - - are not practicing "redlining."

    Trump’s energy chief: Banks are "redlining" oil and gas investments
    More here:
    Since last December, five of America’s six biggest banks — Goldman SachsWells FargoCitiMorgan Stanley and JPMorgan — have announced they won’t directly finance new oil and gas development in the Arctic. This includes specifically the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
    For the record, redlining was the systematic denial by the private sector and public officials of residential lending to African-Americans which enforced segregation and multiple levels of unequal opportunities from housing to employment to schools, and so on.
    A 'Forgotten History' Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America
    * And, no, people brandishing assault rifles, confederate flags and signs demanding immediate haircuts - or tap beers where they might be DWI (Drinking While Infected) - are not the 2020 reincarnation of the civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks 

    and other brave Americans who fought for the right to vote, attend public schools, ride public transportation and, yes, buy homes and rent apartments without redlining discrimination.
    The audacity of those comparing 'open up' protesters to Rosa Parks
    This ignorance about American history, and the way American law has been used as a tool to repress and disadvantage minority citizens, is not limited to ignorant banner-wavers or self-interested company executives.

    Look no further than a sitting Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice who used a fatuous and ill-informed description of the Governor's pandemic-fighting stay-at-home orders to conjure the US Army's roundup and imprisonment of more than 117,000 American citizens of Japanese heritage for nearly four years durng World War II. 

    I think Forrest Gump should get the last word when it comes to Justice Rebecca Bradley, ir those who would abuse Rosa Park's good name, or make out Big Oil as today's redlining victims:
    "Stupid is as stupid does."

    Friday, May 15, 2020

    A Covid-19 case brought by Justice R. Bradley big donor still pending

    Two tips of the cap to the continually-invaluable Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

    * First for shining an even brighter spotlight on Justice Rebecca Bradley's reprehensible role

    in removing public safety science from Covid-19 prevention by disclosing her campaign committee's connection with a plaintiff in a second Covid-19 case that is still pending.
    Conservative Justice Got $20K Contribution from Individual in Second Stay-at-Home Suit
    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. 
    * And secondly for reminding us that the right-wing majority on the State Supreme Court went out of its way a few years ago to allow themselves through an obliterated recusal standard to accept campaign donations from parties to litigation before the Court.

    Here is one post from my blog that incorporates much of that scandalous history:
    I doubt that it will go anywhere [it didn't], given the current 5-2 conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, but dozens of retired Wisconsin judges are asking the state's high court justices to fix a conflict-of-interest enabling rule approved when conservatives had only a 4-3 edge that made it easier for judges to hear cases involving their campaign donors.
    More than 50 retired jurists on Wednesday asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to require judges and justices to step aside when hearing cases involving those who helped bankroll their elections. 
    The proposal from the 54 former judges comes seven years after the high court adopted rules that said campaign spending, on its own, isn't enough to force a judge off a case.
    I've been writing about this since 2014 - - updated here - - noting the unbelievable reality that the Wisconsin Supreme Court's conservative majority not only approved a recusal rule that allowed state judges and justices to hear cases involving entities which had donated to the campaign committees - - they solicited the recusal rule draft from some of their special interest/donors, then approved it.

    Thursday, May 14, 2020

    WI GOP legislators rediscover local controls, abandon a Covid-19 role

    The Little Dictators have changed costumes: now they're Little Weasels.
    long-tailed weasel
    Republicans running the WI Legislature on behalf of Scott Walker and his donors spent years stripping municipalities of local controls as they slashed funding and consolidated power, particularly over cities, to lay right-wing, anti-union and environmentally-damaging damage on the public sector:
    For nearly a decade, the Legislature rocketed through one far-right piece of legislation after another. Those bills then hit the desk of Gov. Scott Walker, who happily signed almost every bill into law....
    From 2011 to April 2018, Republicans passed 180 different measures that either limited local control or acted as an unfunded mandate on local governments. 
    But now that the state is facing an unprecedented public health and fiscal emergency with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, these same GOP legislators have decided this is precisely the best time to cut Democratic Gov. Evers and the state resources he manages out of the logical and statutory role he was playing and let all the local governments do their own thing.

    Leaving the state without a coherent coordinated strategy so the virus can have an easier time moving from community to community.
    Top GOP lawmakers now want to leave virus plan in the hands of local officials
    Remember that the GOP legislators kept telling everyone and their pawns at the State Supreme Court all these deeply-concerned GOP legislators wanted was a planning seat at the table.

    It was a load of crap. They just walked away from the table and told other government officials in hundreds of cities, villages, towns and counties to go figure it out for themselves. 

    So they monkey-wrenched Evers' leadership with the assistance of the right-wing State Supreme Court, washed their hands of any planning, and can point fingers at local officials if when the virus runs wild, local budgets collapse, and municipal layoffs explode.

    In other words, the legislators just unloaded responsibility on to the locals - an unprecedented unfunded mandate with service obligations and lives in the balance.

    Does Vos get to get away with saying this?
    "As a Republican, I believe in local control," he said Thursday.