Sep 20, 2017

Swastikas, Pro-Trump Graffiti Defaces Anti-Fascist Plaque Outside Synagogue in Madison, Wisconsin

Unknown person(s) defaced a plague honoring the anti-fascist
Abraham Lincoln Brigade outside the Gates of Heaven Synagogue
building at the popular James Madison Park in Madison, Wisconsin.
Photo is from Dylan Brogan at the Isthmus.
Madison, Wisconsin — A plaque celebrating the Abraham Lincoln Brigade's anti-fascist battles during the Spanish Civil War was defaced with swastikas some 20 yards outside the Gates of Heaven Synagogue building at the popular James Madison Park about one mile from the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

The community is at a loss for words, (Isthmus, Wisconsin State Journal).

As even progressive cities face emboldened rightwingers, long-time Madison residents do not know where the bottom of racist activity lies.

Reports Rob Schultz:

'I'm horrified, I'm sad. I would have hoped that we were beyond this — especially in Madison,' said Dawn Berney, the executive director of Jewish Social Services of Madison. 'But xenophobia is everywhere, even in Madison.'

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said that the graffiti was the act of ignorant people. 'Given the enabling rhetoric from Donald Trump, particularly since Charlottesville, we know that vicious racist and Nazi attacks have increased. While we know that over 99% of the people of Madison abhor and reject this terrible act, let it stand as a reminder that there are always a few ignorant people who would destroy our liberty and rights,' Soglin said in a statement. 'I ask that they come forward not to be punished but to explain themselves. True patriots never hide and attack in the darkness; striking in silence and in the shadows lies in the heart of cowards and fools.'

The act was committed in the progressive and activist Madison Isthmus, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the first of the Jewish High Holy Days.

Wisconsin has for many decades been a home to anti-Semitic groups such as the John Birch Society and assorted hate groups.

Most concerning is the generic fascism in rural and small-town Wisconsin often dominated by xenophobic white people who vote Republican and support Gov. Scott Walker.

Sep 19, 2017

Wisconsin Supreme Court to Hear Factory Farm Appeal for Inflated Property Rights

Wisconsin Supreme Court to hear factory farm appeal
Examination of the updated Wisconsin Supreme Court website (PDF) indicates the Court will hear Golden Sands Dairy LLC v. Town of Saratoga.

The Court website reads in part: "Golden Sands Dairy LLC v. Town of Saratoga - When a permit applicant secures vested rights by filing a valid building permit application for a project (Wisconsin's "Building Permit Rule"), does the law protect the applicant's right to both construct buildings and to use the project land in the lawful manner described in the building permit application?"
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In central Wisconsin the fearful, hope-and-see mood describing families awaiting the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision to grant or deny review of a state appellate court April ruling, Golden Sands Dairy LLC v. Town of Saratoga has been replaced by expletives by residents, and muttered statements of determination not to be chased out of their own communities by Republicans and a polluting factory farm bellowing the right to use corporate property in violation of settled vested property rights.

Central Wisconsin Awaits Supreme Court on Factory Farm Appeal for Inflated Property Rights

Popular opposition to proposed massive factory farm
in central Wisconsin faces corrupt state Supreme Court.
Photo by Mary Captain-Braund

Appellate law and vested property rights concern families in central Wisconsin

Update: Examination of the updated Wisconsin Supreme Court website (PDF) indicates the court will hear Golden Sands Dairy LLC v. Town of Saratoga.

The Court website reads in part: "Golden Sands Dairy LLC v. Town of Saratoga - When a permit applicant secures vested rights by filing a valid building permit application for a project (Wisconsin's "Building Permit Rule"), does the law protect the applicant's right to both construct buildings and to use the project land in the lawful manner described in the building permit application?"
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Madison, Wisconsin — In central Wisconsin a fearful, hope-and-see mood describes families awaiting the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision to grant or deny review of a state appellate court April ruling, Golden Sands Dairy LLC v. Town of Saratoga.

Residents want the April state appellate decision to stand because the ruling restricts a massive factory farm from beginning operations under a radical, new conception of corporate vested property rights

The communities' future depends on the high Court decision as the predictable consequences of operation of the proposed Golden Sands factory farm are the pollution and depletion of water and air, devastating parts of four counties in this region, if it began operation.

The Golden Sands Dairy LLC appellate ruling effectively kills the operation of the massive factory farm by disallowing use of a 4,660-acre manure dumping field on which millions of gallons of liquid cow waste would be vectored every year.

The Supreme Court decision on the Golden Sands-Wysocki corporation's petition for review, a legal request of a court to hear a case, is expected around October 12, some six months after the April appellate ruling's date.

The appellate ruling freezes construction plans of the dairy Golden Sands CAFO, Confined Agricultural Feeding Operation, by honoring the current legal delineation of vested property rights.

[Note: For updates the case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court is 2015AP001258. Enter   15ap1258 in the Appeal Number field, leave the rest of fields blank and hit search at bottom-left of the linked Wisconsin Supreme Court page.]

Republican Altering of Health, Safety and Environmental Protection

It's an indication how corrupt Wisconsin government is under Republican rule that residents contacted in Wood and Adams counties believe Republicans on the Wisconsin Supreme Court will vote to hear the Golden Sands Wysocki petition, overturn the appellate decision and radically expand the vested rights of property owners to commit virtually any environmentally and economically destructive act, altering the capacity of local communities to protect their economic and environmental well-being and the safety of families against corporate actors.

Since 2011 Republicans have implemented an unprecedented statutory framework according property rights supremacy over any other competing rights, including public interest concerns.

Notes David Strifling at the Marquette University  Law School:

In 2016, the Wisconsin Legislature [enacted] Wis. Stat. § 227.57(11). The statute provides that a 'court shall accord no deference to the agency’s interpretation of law if the agency action or decision restricts the property owner’s free use of the property owner’s property.'

Though to this point Republicans have worked to change the nature of corporations' property rights vis a vis the public interest function of state agencies, the Golden Sands Dairy LLC v. Town of Saratoga case accords the Republican-dominated Supreme Court a way to expand corporate property rights over the health and safety claims of neighbors and communities.

Wisconsin Supreme Court

Corporate interests, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau and Wisconsin Realtors Association, have filed Amicus, (Friend of the Court), briefs in support of the Court hearing the Golden Sands-Wysocki petition.

Republican Supreme Court members protect corporate interests, and for years have refused to recuse themselves in cases in which the justices' political campaigns have benefited from heavy spending by litigants, (Wisconsin Democracy Campaign), (Wisconsin Democracy Campaign).

Some central Wisconsin residents contacted believe that because the remaining credibility of the Wisconsin Supreme Court as an independent judicial body is at stake, the Court may not overturn the well-grounded April state appellate decision.

Proposed Golden Sands factory farm in central Wisconsin
could turn rural paradise into industrial wasteland.
 Don Ystad of Adams County Wisconsin
who has been promoting tourism and recreation for writes:
"Take a step back from the politics of this
situation and ask yourself, 'what is best
for the state of Wisconsin?  Another CAFO sited, or the
preservation and growth of an existing, vibrant area,
poised to be the 'golf mecca of the Midwest?'
Unfortunately, the Wysocki CAFO has the
political support of local State Rep. Scott Krug,
(R-Nekoosa, Wisconsin) and State Sen. Patrick Testin,
(R-Stevens Point). These politocs have already chosen Big Ag
over everything else, including the Sand Valley Golf Resort.

Sep 15, 2017

Hillary's Wasn't-Me Book Tour

What Happened,
(Simon and Schuster)
Reading the reviews of Hillary Clinton's book, What Happened (Simon and Schuster), and watching Clinton's TV appearances, a constant Clinton theme is blaring: 'I didn't do it.'

The Clinton noise is like Fitchburg, Wisconsin cops harassing a residential home: Bad attitude and lots of time of their hands.

But it's Bernie Sanders who is targeted by Clinton for special reproach: Did you know Bernie isn't even a Democrat?

Ohh myyyy God!

From an instructive review by Jeffrey St. Clair in CounterPunch:

Hillary has tried to reinvent herself many times and does so yet again in this meretricious coda to her failed campaign. ...

She rationalized her votes for the Iraq War by saying she was duped by Colin Powell and Dick Cheney. She manufactured a timely tear for the cameras after her loss to Obama. She assumed the mantle of unrepentant war-monger during her belligerent tenure as Secretary of State and transubstantiated into a white dove during her debates with Bernie Sanders. ...

She then cynically blames Sanders for her losses in Ohio and Pennsylvania with apparently no assist from Putin: 'What did matter, and had a lasting impact, was that Bernie’s presence in the race meant that I had less space and credibility to run the kind of progressive campaign that had helped me win Ohio and Pennsylvania in 2008.' Tell Putin the news, Bernie.

Jesus Hillary, a simple I fucked up would do. Bernie did not stop Clinton from winning Ohio and Pennsylvania and Michigan and Wisconsin and Florida, you nit-wit.

Notes David Remnick in The New Yorker:

The wounds that the new book opens are not just Clinton’s. A few nights before meeting with her, I was at dinner with a political professional who worked on her 2008 campaign. I mentioned that I was going to interview Clinton, and sought his advice about what I should ask. He put down his fork and scowled. 'Ask her why she blew the biggest slam dunk in the history of fucking American politics!' he said. 
Hillary Clinton remains determined to show us why she is the one candidate who could have lost to the lunatic in the White House.

But maybe we should give the corporatist Dems just one more chance?

Sep 13, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court Order on Gerrymanding Signals Bad Day for Wisconsin and Democracy

Madison, Wisconsin — The latest move by Justice Anthony Kennedy to consolidate Republican power over the Constitutional rights of voters in a Texas civil rights case bodes ill for the future of the potential precedent-setting Wisconsin gerrymandering case, (Gill v. Whitford, MortizLaw), (Beverly R. Gill, et al., Appellants v. William Whitford, U.S. Supreme Court).

Kennedy is the fifth vote in a mid-September order blocking two federal courts that ruled Republican-created Texas voting districts are racially discriminatory, (Abbott v. Perez, 17A225, and Abbott v. Perez, 17A245, U.S. Supreme Court).

The Texas case is widely seen as a signal that supposed-swing vote, Anthony Kennedy, will ignore Constitutional rights and find for Republican interests in Gill v. Whitford, to be heard in oral argument on Oct. 3.

Kennedy is the author of the infamous Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision that propelled Republican interests in a decision that rivaled Bush v. Gore in partisan favoritism and corruption on the United States Supreme Court.

"For those who expect Justice Kennedy to be a savior here—or in the Gill partisan gerrymandering case (where he also voted with the Court to stop an interim remedy in Wisconsin pending Supreme Court resolution)—this is one data point against that hope," notes election law expert, Rick Hasen.

See also Foley at MoritzLaw and the Sept. 5 Amicus brief by the League of Women Voters on "high-tech stealth gerrymander[ing], (p24)" that utilizes "sophisticated technologies" enabling legislatures to "cloak intentional, extreme partisan gerrymander, (p.3)."

Kennedy will likely ignore this cloaked, high-tech element of modern gerrymandering when Kennedy supplies the fifth vote for Republicans in 2018 in the ornate scam that defines modern Constitutional jurisprudence.

Could Kennedy be seized by a spasm of conscience? Ha.