Jan 27, 2020

Bernie Sanders Surges as Party and Special Interests Wince

The Bernie Sanders campaign has generated appeal in precisely the demographics needed to beat Donald Trump — white, rural voters.

So, naturally the can-do-little-right Democratic Party establishment is desperate to stop Sanders in rural Iowa.

From the Associated Press:

[S]simmering tensions within the Democratic Party are apparent. Establishment officials are struggling to mask their concern about Bernie Sanders’ strength with polls showing the self-described democratic socialist running strong in both Iowa and New Hampshire. 

Anecdotal reports from Iowa shows the Sanders field operation finding significant support in the field one week out from the Feb 3 caucuses.

The number of "Commit to Caucus cards" field reps are filling out with Iowa folks shows caucus voters want an authentic, candid contact that Bernie Sanders delivers.

Combined with the field operation's sheer numbers, Sanders seems to be finding casual-voter support ripe for whichever campaign has the best-organized and best-staffed field operations.

It's no good to run up contact numbers, we need good contacts to win, appears an ethic of many Sanders field operatives. It better be.

"Convincing Iowans to support a candidate requires a field organizer to forge genuine relationships; the caucus process takes hours and is conducted in full public view, so voters need to believe in a campaign to subject themselves to it," notes 538.

Many Iowans make up their mind in the last 10 days, notes Dan Guild at Bleeding Heartland.

The question remains: In the sprint to the Iowa Caucuses, can the Democratic Party stop caucus voters from casting their preferences?

Jan 24, 2020

Wisconsin Cow Manure Bill Creates Brokers for Cow Manure Credits

Courtesy of Chuck Wagner and Wisconsin Watch
Yellow-brown well water used to come from the tap in
the home of Chuck Wagner, who lives in rural Luxemburg
in Kewaunee County in northeastern Wisconsin. He
said testing linked the contamination to cattle manure.
It cost him $10,000 to drill new well free of manure
contaminants.
Bipartisan Support for Pollution-Protection Racket 

Madison, Wisconsin — 'Nice water ya have there. Shame if anything were to happen. Tell you what — I'm going to direct manure in your water, but some guys I know in a different county won't dump as much over there, okay? We'll keep the decisions centralized now.'

This doesn't seem a good deal if you like clean water.

But this water-pollution racket is being proposed in Wisconsin State Assembly Bill 113, (2019 Senate Bill 91) to augment existing rackets.

AB 113 has drawn broad bipartisan support in the state legislature populated by people in thrall of both Big Ag polluters and brown-water events — "manure- and pathogen-tainted water flowing from faucets," (Verberg, Wisconsin State Journal).

SB 91 passed the State Senate in May 2019, 32-0.

Assembly Bill 113 expands on an existing pollution credit scheme. The bill would "creates a system for buying and selling water pollution credits through a central clearinghouse," notes the beginning of the bill text.
 
There are eight Democratic sponsors out of 34 total sponsors in the 99-member State Assembly.

Gov. Tony Evers (D) has called on the Republican-led Legislature to convene in special session in late January to take up a several agriculture pollution bills, including perhaps Assembly Bill 113.

Evers is a corporatist Democrat hostile to clean water guarantees and citizen action working against water polluters.

Dec 31, 2019

American of the Decade — Angela Kamoske of the Madison, Wisconsin Police Department

Remember Philando Castile, human being. Mr. Castile
is pictured above after being gunned down by a Minnesota
cop during a traffic stop. Castile's young daughter was
in the back seat and his spouse was driving during
the execution by police officer Jeronimo Yanez.
"I watched the dash cam video. And it broke me. ... So today, I stand up and speak out, even if it means standing alone. To the family of Philando Castile, to those that loved him, and to everyone who watched that video and felt broken inside, I am sorry. This shouldn’t have happened. His life mattered."
Detective Angela Kamoske of the Madison, Wisconsin Police Department

Madison, Wisconsin — The police execution of Philando Castile in Minnesota on July 6, 2016 is perhaps the most depraved killing of an innocent man during a period in which police turned into death squads across America.

Naturally, police unions defend the killings.

But amid the public outcry and international protests after the Castile execution, one police officer stood up and said, Philando Castile's life mattered; this should not have happened.

That American is Angela Kamoske of the Madison Police Dept.

Lt Angela Kamoske of the Madison Police
Dept
. Alone among every other police
officer in the country, Kamoske spoke out
against the killing of Philando Castile.
Ms. Kamoske is now a Lieutenant working in Madison's south side.

Kamoske listened to audio, watched the cell-phone video and read documents chronicling the killing of Castile with his family in the car.

Kamoske then stood up, spoke out, and acclaimed the humanity of Philando Castile and wrote a letter detailing her broken feeling and stating simply: His life mattered.

Her letter appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on June 25, 2017:

Philando Castile's Life Mattered

By Angela Kamoske

I have been a police officer for 19 years. I love my job and serving my community. I have learned over the course of my career to never assume anything. As I watched the events unfold on July 6, 2016, on a Facebook Live feed, I thought that there must be more that happened. There must have been such a threat that wasn’t captured on this video, that forced Officer Yanez to feel his only option was to shoot into a vehicle with a child in the back seat.

Over the past two days, I have listened to the audio interviews. I have read the documents. And then I watched the dash cam video. And it broke me. Officer Yanez was in a position that if he perceived a threat, he could have disengaged. He could have taken other steps to ensure everyone’s safety, and not have forced this outcome.

Shooting a seat-belted man, with a child in the back seat, was not the only option. Until those of us who wear the badge are willing to stand up and speak out when we see things that are wrong, and lead hard conversations, how can we ever expect change? How can we ever expect to rebuild trust within our communities? Barbecues and pick-up basketball games are nice, but that’s not going to do it.

So today, I stand up and speak out, even if it means standing alone. To the family of Philando Castile, to those that loved him, and to everyone who watched that video and felt broken inside, I am sorry. This shouldn’t have happened. His life mattered.

Have a fun and safe 2020.

Let's hope no more such acts of courage and decency become necessary.

Until that time, I salute Angela Kamoske, a lonely voice for humanity from the ranks of the police.

---
Here are some suggestions from the National Lawyers Guild - Minnesota Chapter.

The National Lawyers Guild - Minnesota Chapter unconditionally condemns in the strongest possible terms the murder of Philando Castile by St. Anthony Village police officer Jeronimo Yanez. The NLG expresses its deepest sympathy and condolences to Mr. Castile’s family and loved ones.

It is a tremendous outrage that the repeated unjustifiable police killings, especially of African American males, have become such common knowledge yet continue unabated. While no one deserves to die at the hands of law enforcement, there is no pretext for police to attempt to rationalize the murder of Mr. Castile because he had so clearly done nothing wrong, was an exemplary citizen, and the horrendous death and police indifference to the effects of their actions was so painfully captured on cell phone video.

The NLG demands that government leaders end their pattern of enforcing the continued deadly status quo by failing to take any concrete action to hold police accountable or enact any meaningful reforms. The salience of this latest atrocity must spur immediate action to hold the responsible police officer accountable and initiate systemic change to end the serial police killings as well as the larger dynamic of police abuse and oppression in communities of color. The NLG recognizes that the most affected communities must have a voice in the specific changes to made, but calls for the following actions to be taken immediately:

1. A special independent prosecutor must be appointed to investigate and bring criminal charges against the murderer in this case. The special prosecutor must be independent of police influence, and have access to funding needed to hire investigators, experts, associates and cover other expenses needed to conduct a full investigation and prosecution. Responses to previous police shootings have repeatedly and invariably demonstrated that elected and career prosecutors are too beholden to police interests to be capable to delivering justice. The Ramsey County Attorney, the governor, and other appropriate officials must collaborate to make the special independent prosecutor a reality.

2. The office of an independent prosecutor must be permanently established to investigate and prosecute cases of deadly force and other abusive police conduct.

3. Minnesota law must be amended so that police officers have no more authority to use deadly force than other citizens. Specifically, Minnesota Statute § 609.066 which authorizes use of deadly force by peace officers must be repealed.

4. A special civilian commission must be established to propose specific, comprehensive and systemic reforms to police powers, policies, and governance. A majority of the commission must include representatives of communities disproportionately harmed by police abuse.

Dec 29, 2019

Three Exonerees Offer to Meet with Wisconsin Gov Evers to Explain False Confessions and Wrongful Conviction

Madison, Wisconsin — No observer of the Brendan Dassey wrongful conviction featured in the Emmy-winning Making a Murderer series believes Dassey committed a crime, and certainly not the first-degree murder, mutilation of a corpse, and second-degree sexual assault for which he was convicted in 2007, (Appleton Post-Crescent).

No forensic evidence supports the Tarantinoesque crime scene concocted by Wisconsin law enforcement and presented at trial by the disgraced sex offender, District Attorney Ken Kratz (resigned). Kratz was forced from office after sexual assault and harassment allegations against him became public in 2009.

No evidence against Dassey beyond a false confession proved to be no impediment to a conviction.

What's really important is that Wisconsin law enforcement is not held to account for its conduct, believe Wisconsin politicians.

Dassey's wrongful conviction and the related wrongful conviction of Steven Avery are now defended at all costs by the Democratic Party's Attorney General Joshua Kaul and Gov Tony Evers.

Three exonerees convicted because of false confessions similar to Brenden Dassey's have offered to meet with Evers to explain why wrongful convictions are wrong, and how misconduct by corrupt and immoral law enforcement destroys innocent life.
Tony Evers is a life-long public school bureaucrat who to this point has proven impervious to fact and reason in the Dassey and Avery affair.


If Evers deigns to accept the meeting with the three exonerees, I would advise these three people to bring pictures for Wisconsin's incurious governor.
---
Colborn v Netflix Defamation Case

In related news over the holidays, the Manitowoc County Dep Sheriff Lt. Andrew Colborn's (ret) attempt to shield law enforcement from public scrutiny survived a motion to dismiss in United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin.

The case is Colborn v. Netflix Inc (1:19-cv-00484).

Colborn's amended complaint survived the dismiss motion for not meeting the low threshold of stating a claim upon which relief can be granted, citing Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 12(b)(6).
---
Plaintiff Colborn's action accuses Netlix, Inc and the Making a Murderer docu-series journalists, Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, of having "omitted, distorted, and falsified material and significant facts in an effort to portray Plaintiff [Andrew Colborn] as a corrupt police officer who planted evidence to frame an innocent man," (Appleton Post-Crescent).

Colborn's lawsuit also states in part that the documentary, Making a Murderer, did not "admit" the factuality of, and include the "[t]horough, careful, and objective analysis by some members of the public and a few journalists [that] revealed that the series had badly distorted the facts," as advanced in a 2016 book authored by attorney Michael Griesbach, (the author of Colborn's original 2018 complaint in this case), in Indefensable: The Missing Truth About Steven Avery, Teresa Halbach, and Making A Murderer (Kensington Publ’g Corp. 2016).

Griesbach is a former Manitowoc County Assistant District Attorney.

Colborn and Griesbach argue that the 2015 documentary should have included Griesbach's polemical 2016 monograph, Indefensable, though this requirement would violate known physics pertaining to time travel and, in any event, is not required in a free society, protected in part by the First Amendment.

Reads the Netflix motion to dismiss in part:
8 The Amended Complaint also alleges that all Defendants acted with actual malice because they have refused to 'admit[] their distortions and omissions of fact' in the wake of '[t]horough, careful, and objective analysis by some members of the public and a few journalists [that] revealed that the series had badly distorted the facts.' Dkt. 1-2 ¶ 55. Here, the Amended Complaint makes a not-so-veiled reference to a book criticizing MaM published by Colborn’s counsel that mirrors many of the allegations in the Amended Complaint. See generally Michael Griesbach, INDEFENSIBLE: THE MISSING TRUTH ABOUT STEVEN AVERY,  TERESA HALBACH, AND MAKING  A  MURDERER  (Kensington Publ’g Corp. 2016). This detour is, however, irrelevant to the issue of actual malice, which is measured at the time of publication, not afterwards. Pippen, 734 F.3d at 614. 

Advocates for Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey are watching the developments of what they believe is an increasingly desperate Wisconsin law enforcement effort to protect wrongful convictions.

According to Colborn's novel theory of libel law underlying his complaint, any public official performing his public duties, criticized at a public trial, has a basis for civil action if journalistic and political speech criticizing the official's public conduct does not comport with a cop's self-serving portrayal of his public performance.

Colborn seeks to upend First Amendment jurisprudence, specifically calling for reordering the holding of a landmark 1964 First Amendment case in a June 2019 brief.

Colborn included this argument in his federal defamation suit against both the creators and distributors of Making a Murderer that seeks to eviscerate specific protections exemplified in the First Amendment case, New York Times v Sullivan.

Colborn v. Netflix Inc et al, Case # 1:19-cv-00484, was removed from Manitowoc County circuit court to federal court on April 10, 2019. 

The case is being heard by Judge Pamela Pepper, United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

A trial is expected in 2020.

Dec 23, 2019

Wisconsin Gov Evers Hides from Truth on Brendan Dassey Clemency — Rejection in Unsigned Form Letter

Corrupt Wisconsin police targeted the innocent to tragic
consequence. Image - Kathe Kollwitz, (1867-1945). Kollwitz
is a major anti-fascist artist who lived in Germany, and
never recovered from the death of her son in WW I.
Dassey Pardon Petition Remains before Tony Evers

Madison, Wisconsin — News that Gov Tony Evers' (D) Pardon Board declined to review the Brendan Dassey pardon and commutation petition does not surprise, (AP).

This is a political decision, defending the wrongful conviction of an innocent Wisconsin man, convicted as a child, and preyed upon by the tree jumpers populating Wisconsin law enforcement, (see Under the Hood: Brendan Dassey, Language Impairments, and Judicial Ignorance, (full paper) LaVigne and Miles).

The advisory Board's decision was released in a form letter on the Friday before Christmas, the time to conceal the bad work of Wisconsin politicians.

No elected politician has ever publicly taken the side of the exonerated and the wrongfully convicted in Wisconsin. Not once.

Consider that, in Wisconsin of all places and to be clear the worst place to be black, standing up and speaking the truth is an exercise so dreaded by the denizens of public office, that they would rather see innocent lives destroyed than to advocate for their liberty.

Neither has any daily newspaper advocated for the freedom of the innocent.

Seth Waxman — a member of Brendan Dassey's legal team — said this year that when reviewing the outrageous interrogation of Dassey by Mark Wiegert, (current Sheriff of the Calumet County Sheriff's Office), and Tom Fassbender (Wisconsin DoJ, DCI investigator (ret)), that his "blood ran cold."

Gov Evers maintains the explicit state Constitutional authority and right to summarily reject the Board's decision and grant Mr. Dassey his immediate freedom with a stroke of a pen for any or no reason, (Rolling Stone).

This action would entail using capacities that to date Evers has not displayed — intellectual honesty, knowledge of Wisconsin law enforcement, and to the worst of Evers' personal defects, a moral backbone and sensibility to the call of social justice.

Put yourself in the place of Tony Evers, what would you do? Defend the innocent and call out the guilty, or hide?

From the Wrongful Conviction Podcast and Jason Flom:

Dassey Team Response to Pardon Board Clemency Denial

On behalf of Brendan’s lawyers, Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin, we share the following statement:

Today, only five days before Christmas, the Wisconsin Pardon Advisory Board chose to reject Brendan Dassey’s clemency petition in an unsigned form letter, without reviewing the petition on the merits.

Had the Board reviewed Brendan’s petition on the merits, it would have seen what more than 250 national experts -- and millions of ordinary people around the globe – see: a terrible miscarriage of justice.

Now 30 years old, Brendan Dassey has been imprisoned for thirteen years based only on a false confession that is inconsistent with the known facts of the case, has been disproven by DNA and forensic evidence, and was immediately recanted. That false confession was the result of a deeply flawed interrogation of a 16-year-old special education student with profound learning disabilities.

Although the Pardon Advisory Board has stated that it will not consider commutations, Governor Evers is not bound by those rules.  He does have the power to issue commutations under the Wisconsin Constitution and should do so when, as here, courts fail to deliver justice.  Our partners around the country stand ready to work with the Governor to develop an appropriate process for the review of commutation petitions.

In the meantime, we will continue to work, respectfully but relentlessly, towards the day when this Governor recognizes in Brendan Dassey the gentle, cheerful, and kind human being whom we have known for twelve years.  A good teacher never forgets his most vulnerable students; a good Governor never forgets his most vulnerable citizens.

We spoke to Brendan this morning. While the Board’s choice today has caused pain to many around the globe, Brendan wishes to express his profound gratitude – and his Christmas wishes -- to his many supporters.  He is not giving up hope, and neither are we.

Now more than ever, we need your help.  If you’d like to support our continuing effort to free Brendan, please consider doing the following two things:

(1)Re-sign the petition to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers at bringbrendanhome.org and add your request that he “review the petition on the merits.”

(2)Send Brendan a letter of support and hope.  Your words of encouragement mean more to him than anything else.  You can address the letter to Brendan Dassey, #516985, Oshkosh Correctional Institution, PO Box 3310, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3310, U.S.A.

Thank you for standing with us.

Happy holidays and keep on fighting.

Signed,

The team at Wrongful Conviction