Jul 19, 2017

Wisconsin Water Activists Call for Moratorium on Factory Farms, CAFOs

Wisconsin citizens Call for Moratorium
on Factory Farms, CAFOs. Petition is live

Citizens Launch Moratorium on Factory Farms, CAFOs Petition

Madison, Wisconsin — In the village of Rome, Wisconsin, lake community residents in central Wisconsin are fighting for their lives, water, and homes on which retired folks have carved out a place for peace.

Dreams of having grand-kids over on languid, Summer days are imperiled. The calm satisfaction of a lifetime of work as a foundation on which loved ones can relax has been replaced with anxiety and betrayal.

Anyone ever observe a grandparent watching children at play? It's a sacred phenomenon: Pride, protection, laughter, and calm satisfaction that biologically and spiritually, life continues.

The good life not sacred in Wisconsin anymore.

This northern state with 10,000s of lakes is targeted by the Republican Party of Wisconsin and their financial patrons, industrialized agriculture and factory farms, (CAFOs for Confined Agricultural Feeding Operations).

CAFOs deplete and pollute surface and ground water to such a degree that Wisconsin lakes and other water bodies running dry, closed because of toxic blooms, drinking-water contamination, and children being rushed to the hospital for bathing are an accepted rite of Summer, like mosquitoes at night.

Rome Concerned Citizens in Adams County Wisconsin, working to protect the water, and to stop the operation of a massive CAFO, has connected with clean water allies.  They are demanding a Moratorium on new Factory Farms, CAFOs. Direct action is being contemplated, sources close to the effort say.

The Moratorium on new Factory Farms, CAFOs was launched in June by the Sustain Rural Wisconsin Network.
From Rome Concerned Citizens,

We have fought against the proposed CAFO in Saratoga these past five years and all the while lobbyists have pressured our legislature for more.

Many of you have been involved, and hundreds of you have had your wells tested, or are going to have your wells tested to establish a baseline.

Kewaunee County [in northeastern Wisconsin] has the highest concentration of dairy CAFOs at 16 and their drinking water wells show it. Over 60 percent of their drinking water wells are unusable because of manure pollution.

This proposal for a moratorium says stop and assess before we approve any more.

Concerned Rome Citizens and nearly every environmental group we know of has signed on in support. Every county and municipality in the state has been contacted.

Check with your community and ask if they are taking part. Then, sign the moratorium as an individual.
You know what central Wisconsin residents are doing this Summer? Organizing water testing events:

Friends and neighbors,

The summer is speeding by, before you know it the kids will be back in school, the color of the leaves will be changing, and the Supreme Court will announce their decision whether to hear the Wysocki appeal.  We will know within months if we need to hunker down to fight another day or if the end has truly come in this long fight.  If there ever was a time to be sending positive vibes out into the universe or a prayers up to the skies it is now.  We are not expected to hear any news until September so communications and update may be a little sparse throughout the next few months. Until then ... enjoy your summer!

Saratoga / Rome Water Testing Weekends Scheduled
With the long wait ahead we must remain vigilant and active in our fight against Wysocki. We have no way of knowing what the higher court will decided, because of this, we plan to continue to build our wall of resistance.  Protect Wood County & Its Neighbors will be hosting a second community wide water testing event.  Another round of data and baseline measures of our water conditions will be key if we once again are forced to fight in the courts.  Everyone is encouraged to have their water tested, even if you participated last round it is important to have your water tested again to show consistency over time.

Testing will be held on the following weekends from 7AM to 5PM daily:
  • July 15-16 (Rome community water testing - alternate instructions HERE)
  • July 22-23
  • July 29-30
  • August 5-6
NOTE: TESTING PROCEDURES ARE DIFFERENT THAN LAST ROUND.  We strongly encourage residents to sign up for their desired weekend of testing, complete all necessary paperwork to the best of their ability, and make payment ONLINE.  Registering online will guarantee you a testing bottle on your chosen weekend, walk-ins may or may not be able to be accommodated.  You can access the registration site by following the link provided HERE,  If registering online is a problem we can accommodate your registration by phone, please contact Bruce Dimick (715) 325-1990 OR respond to this email with a name and phone number and we will get in touch with you directly.

Testing bottles will be available for pick-up at the Saratoga Town Office (building next to the hall) on Saturdays with water samples to be returned by homeowners on Sundays between the hours of 7AM and 5PM.  As we did last time, we will deliver all samples to the UWSP Water and Environmental Analysis Lab for testing.

Two test options will be offered:
  • Chloride/Nitrate  -  $26.00
  • Homeowners Package  -  $49.00
ATTENTION PLEASE - organizing and manning the town hall on three separate weekends is no small task, it is one that is much too big for our small leadership team to manage independently. We are in need of volunteers to assist with this event.  Any amount of time you are willing to provide would be greatly appreciated.  The hours will be 7AM-5PM both days with each day divided into two shifts, we estimate the need for 3 volunteers per shift.  On Saturdays we will be signing people up and passing out the sample bottles.  On Sundays we will be collecting the sample bottles and putting them on ice in coolers for transport to UWSP.  Because we are encouraging on-line registration this should simplify the Saturday registrations.  The tasks are not difficult and one of the core group members will be in attendance at all times to answer questions and make sure everything's running smoothly.  If you have been looking for a chance to support the cause, this is a great opportunity.

You can sign up to assist by following the link provided
HERE  or by contacting Bruce Dimick (715) 325-1990.  We appreciate your consideration in lending a hand.

Jul 17, 2017

Cops Gun Down Minneapolis Woman; Bride-to-Be Killed in Cold Blood

Just another human being killed by police, (Facebook)
Rub-Out in Minnesota by Killer Cops

Yogi teacher was to be married next month

"Fuck police," says grieving son of a gentle woman who phoned police about a disturbance near her home, after which police shot her to death, (Facebook).

Reports Frederick Melo and Nick Woltman in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press:

Zach Damond, who identified himself in a Facebook video as the son of the woman’s fiance, said she had called police for help after hearing a noise near her house. In the video, which was posted Sunday to the Women’s March Minnesota Facebook page, Damond described the woman who was shot as his 'best friend.'

'My mom is dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know,' Damond said. 'These cops need to get trained differently. I just know she heard a sound in the alley, so then she called the police, and the cops showed up. … Next thing I know, they take my best friend’s life.'

In an email message on Sunday, Damond said, 'Tell people to call the police and demand answers.'

At a news conference Sunday afternoon, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges called on the BCA to share the details of the shooting as quickly as possible.

Police will kill for any or no reason.

Police are now working on protecting the killers, while the citizenry demands answers.

Jul 14, 2017

$ 7 Million Verdict in Wisconsin for Family of Woman Gunned Down by Police in 2014

The face of hate in Madison, Wisconsin wears military blue
and black. Killers, Justin Bailey and Gary Pihlaja, have bad
attitudes and they found a home with the local police.
Madison, Wisconsin — A jury in U.S. District Court in Wisconsin spoke loud and clear:

26-year-old Ashley DiPiazza need not have been gunned down by Madison police in 2014.  Post-911, unreasonable policing in which everyone is subject to lethal force by occupying military-police units must stop now.

For family and friends of Ashley DiPiazza, a record $7 Million verdict will do little to ease the trauma of losing a young woman to killers. Said Joe DiPiazza, Ashley's father: "She had just told me all her friends were married and had kids, and she felt a little left out. She’d ask, ‘Dad, what kind of mother do you think I’d make to my child?’ I told her she’d be great,'" (Schultz, Wisconsin State Journal).

The federal civil rights case, Estate of Ashley DiPiazza v. City of Madison, Justin Bailey, Gary Pihlaja, resulted in "$4 million in compensatory and $3 million in punitive damages," reports Rob Schultz, Wisconsin State Journal.

Ashley DiPiazza, 26, was gunned
down by Madison, Wisconsin
police in 2014
Even as the Wisconsin citizenry is increasingly saying, 'no' to police killing people, the local police union and Madison Police, 'never-saw-a-killer-cop-I-didn't-like' Mike Koval bemoaned without irony police now may have to think before killing people, (Schultz, Wisconsin State Journal).

Life is cheap for killers, Justin Bailey and Gary Pihlaja, Not so for most others. Reports Schultz, in the Wisconsin State Journal:

After the verdict, the jury heard friends and family members recall how DiPiazza had many friends, loved her family, was responsible and had a couple of relationships with young men that left her disheartened.

At the time of the shooting, DiPiazza also was grieving over the impending death of her mother, Michelle Duby, of Lake Geneva, who died of cancer two days after DiPiazza was killed, DiPiazza’s father said. 

A disheartened Ashley DiPiazza was gunned down by miserable people to whom life means little.

It's not supposed to be this way. But Ashley DiPiazza is just another stat on the Killed-by-Police chronicle of horror:
Ashley DiPiazza was killed by Wisconsin police in May 2014, (Killed by Police)

Jul 13, 2017

Wisconsin Republicans Still Pushing Anti-Muslim Bill

UW-Madison Law School prof,
Asifa Quraishi-Landes,speaks out
against religious defamation by
Wisconsin Republicans,
(Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
Continuing Republican effort to vilify Muslims

Wisconsin Republicans, and only Republicans, are still advocating for an anti-Muslim bill that Republicans claim is needed to protect "fundamental" rights against foreign and religious entities seen as set to take over the American judiciary.

The bill, (Assembly Bill 401), is authored by a white supremacist Republican legislator, State Rep. Thomas Weatherston, (R-Village of Caledonia, Wisconsin), and was introduced in June in the 2017-18 legislative session, (Wisconsin Independent, Uppity Wisconsin, Wisconsin State Legislature).

Reports Annysa Johnson in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Critics, including the American Bar Association and many non-Muslims, argue that the laws are unnecessary because such protections already exist in American jurisprudence. And they're seen by many as part of a larger agenda to vilify Muslims.

'If you look at the promotional materials, the lobbying, it's the same people who are pushing against Sharia around the country — holding rallies, talking about 'Sharia creep' and Muslims taking over,' said Asifa Quraishi-Landes, who teaches constitutional and Islamic law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison [Law School] and serves as president of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers. 'They see any acknowledgment of Sharia in American Muslim life as a first step to the Trojan Horse.' Last week, the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Legislative leaders to reject the bill, saying it's unconstitutional and 'contrary to our nation’s crucial principle of not elevating or marginalizing one faith community.' [some links added]

The white supremacist Republican legislator, State Rep. Thomas Weatherston and supporters, have not been disavowed by other Wisconsin Republicans. Weatherston's bill has drawn a total of 14 co-sponsors.

For more information:

The hate bill, Wisconsin 2017 Assembly Bill 401, was introduced June 19, 2017 by Republican Representatives Weatherston, Brandtjen, E. Brooks, Horlacher, Kremer, Murphy, Quinn, Ripp, Sanfelippo, Skowronski, Thiesfeldt and Tusler, and cosponsored by Republican Senators Nass and Moulton.

Wisconsin 2017 Assembly Bill 401 was referred to the Assembly Committee on Constitution and Ethics.

Jul 6, 2017

Judge Alex Kozinski on Prosecutorial Misconduct

Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the 9th Circuit, (official photo).
Did the government react in horror at having been caught with its hands in the cookie jar? Did Justice Department lawyers rend their garments and place ashes on their head to mourn this violation of their most fundamental duty of candor and fairness? No way, no how. Instead, the government argued strenuously that its ill-gotten conviction should stand because boys will be boys and the evidence wasn’t material to the case anyway.
Eugene Volokh in the Washington Post offers remarks on the most American of derangement and inhumanity: the Police-prosecutor state.

Prosecutors from the United States Attorneys' offices to county district attorneys to municipal attorneys' offices are left unchecked with near-absolute power to cite with civil citations, prosecute, financially ruin and destroy lives under the color of law.

This near-absolute power does tend to corrupt nearly always.

Critical reading; notes Volokh:

... I began serializing “Criminal Law 2.0,” a new article by Judge Alex Kozinski — for whom I clerked 20 years ago, who is one of our nation’s most prominent appellate judges and has long been seen as on balance a libertarianish conservative (appointed by President Ronald Reagan). The introduction gave 12 reasons to worry about our criminal justice system; Wednesday’s post discussed wrongful convictions; yesterday’s post discusses the jury system, and ways to improve it; today’s post discusses prosecutorial misconduct; and I’ll post other parts of the article in the days to come. I’ve added some paragraph breaks and removed the footnotes (which are available in the PDF version), but otherwise this is as Judge Kozinski wrote it. [Writes Kozinski]:

Prosecutors hold tremendous power, more than anyone other than jurors, and often much more than jurors because most cases don’t go to trial. Prosecutors and their investigators have unparalleled access to the evidence, both inculpatory and exculpatory, and while they are required to provide exculpatory evidence to the defense under Brady, Giglio, and Kyles v. Whitley, it is very difficult for the defense to find out whether the prosecution is complying with this obligation.

Prosecutors also have tremendous control over witnesses: They can offer incentives — often highly compelling incentives — for suspects to testify. This includes providing sweetheart plea deals to alleged co-conspirators and engineering jail-house encounters between the defendant and known informants.

Sometimes they feed snitches non-public information about the crime so that the statements they attribute to the defendant will sound authentic. And, of course, prosecutors can pile on charges so as to make it exceedingly risky for a defendant to go to trial. There are countless ways in which prosecutors can prejudice the fact-finding process and undermine a defendant’s right to a fair trial.

This, of course, is not their job. Rather, as the Supreme Court has held, '[A prosecutor] is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer. He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor — indeed, he should do so. But, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones.'

All prosecutors purport to operate just this way and I believe that most do. My direct experience is largely with federal prosecutors and, with a few exceptions, I have found them to be fair-minded, forthright and highly conscientious.

But there are disturbing indications that a non-trivial number of prosecutors — and sometimes entire prosecutorial offices — engage in misconduct that seriously undermines the fairness of criminal trials. The misconduct ranges from misleading the jury, to outright lying in court and tacitly acquiescing or actively participating in the presentation of false evidence by police.

Prosecutorial misconduct is a particularly difficult problem to deal with because so much of what prosecutors do is secret. If a prosecutor fails to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense, who is to know? Or if a prosecutor delays disclosure of evidence helpful to the defense until the defendant has accepted an unfavorable plea bargain, no one will be the wiser. Or if prosecutors rely on the testimony of cops they know to be liars, or if they acquiesce in a police scheme to create inculpatory evidence, it will take an extraordinary degree of luck and persistence to discover it — and in most cases it will never be discovered.

There are distressingly many cases where such misconduct has been documented, but I will mention just three to illustrate the point. The first is United States v. Stevens, the prosecution of Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican Senator in history.

Senator Stevens was charged with corruption for accepting the services of a building contractor and paying him far below market price — essentially a bribe. The government’s case hinged on the testimony of the contractor, but the government failed to disclose the initial statement the contractor made to the FBI that he was probably overpaid for the services. The government also failed to disclose that the contractor was under investigation for unrelated crimes and thus had good reason to curry favor with the authorities.

Stevens was convicted just a week before he stood for re-election and in the wake of the conviction, he was narrowly defeated, changing the balance of power in the Senate. The government’s perfidy came to light when a brave FBI agent by the name of Chad Joy blew the whistle on the government’s knowing concealment of exculpatory evidence.

Did the government react in horror at having been caught with its hands in the cookie jar? Did Justice Department lawyers rend their garments and place ashes on their head to mourn this violation of their most fundamental duty of candor and fairness? No way, no how. Instead, the government argued strenuously that its ill-gotten conviction should stand because boys will be boys and the evidence wasn’t material to the case anyway.

It was only the extraordinary persistence and the courageous intervention of District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who made it clear that he was going to dismiss the Stevens case and then ordered an investigation of the government’s misconduct that forced the Justice Department to admit its malfeasance — what else could it do? — and move to vacate the former senator’s conviction. Instead of contrition, what we have seen is Justice Department officials of the highest rank suffering torn glenoid labrums from furiously patting themselves on the back for having 'done the right thing.' ...
I have never heard a prosecutor of any variety say of the wrongfully convicted, the wrongfully fined: Something must be done, an innocent has suffered.