Feb 8, 2016

Sanders and Clinton, Save Our Water

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debate in Milwaukee on Feb. 11.

The candidates should be asked: Will you as president commit to massive, new funding for the EPA, aggressive federal enforcement of the Clean Water Act and declare a war: A war to protect our water?

Feb 7, 2016

Wood County Will Not Forget Killing of Two Amish Lives

Received an indignant call this weekend from a Wood County (Wisconsin) resident about the local district attorney, Craig Lambert, (and prosecuting attorney Michael Zell), and their failure to charge a man who killed two members of an Amish family last November (2015), crashing "his truck into a horse-drawn wagon (killing) Christian Kempf and Kempf's 10-year-old son, Melvin," (Madden, USA Today Network, Wisconsin).

The killer received a civil citation.

The Wisconsin state legislature remains in paralysis on the issue of protecting vulnerable residents on the road amid calls across the political spectrum to protect the minority Amish community in particular.

This case, County of Wood vs. Seth M Nelson, shows yet again the need for an integrity unit overseeing the local District Attorney's office, an office staffed across the state by careerists in the position to advance their legal careers with little apparent concern for the public interest.

Feb 6, 2016

'Making a Murderer' Shines Light on Wrongful Convictions

Simon Booker at the Huntington Post notes the success of Making a Murderer has focused attention on the police-prosecutor-prison complex defining the American justice system.

The nearly daily reports of exonerations have seen 2015 record the most exonerations in American history.

But make no mistake the Blue Wall of Silence and careerism make wrongful convictions in America common and difficult to overcome, no matter how glaring the errors and injustice.

Readers here know this legal-political journal has worked locally in Madison, Wisconsin for a new trial for Penny Brummer, wrongfully convicted of first degree intentional homicide in 1994.

A petition for a new trial has begun quickly gathering 100s of signatures in the saturated social justice petition realm of the Internet.

The current District Attorney Ismael Ozanne (Dane County Wisconsin) knows fully well a new trial would result in a exoneration by Penny Brummer, yet refuses to stipulate to a new trial. Advocates await a response, an opportunity for Ozanne to stand up for truth and justice over convictions.

This will require moral courage, and decency.

Twenty years after Brummer's arrest and conviction no longer does being an out lesbian render an individual suspect, and garner dehumanization by prosecutors at trial.

Still, advocates expect this obstinate refusal of prosecutors and police to speak out against injustice.

A retired Madison Police Chief, David Couper writes me in response to a question about Brummer he is in "no position" to do anything, apparently forgetting that in America citizens are free to sign petitions, write letters, columns, contact their elected officials for a redress of grievances, and work with like-minded citizens to persuade the local District Attorney's office to stare truth in its face.

A growing number of advocates are looking askance at this I-don't-know, nothing-I-can-do posturing by retired police and active prosecutors as an innocent woman, whom reportedly even the prison guards have come to regard as wrongfully convicted, sees Year 21 behind bars.

Advocates await a champion to stand up for truth and are optimistic this year, for reasons I cannot explain here without breaking a confidence.

Dante Alighier wrote, the "hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality."

Norman Cohn termed neutrality, "passive compliance."

The consequences of passive compliance are catastrophic. Ask Penny Brummer.

Scott Walker and Idiots Have Another Great Idea for Wisconsin's Water

The predictable consequences of Scott Walker and the Republican scheme to sell off municipal water systems to an out-of-state, for-profit corporation is a health and environmental catastrophe.

Combine this imbecilic idea with the complete abdication of the state protecting our life-blood, fresh and safe water, and it should be clear Scott Walker is selling off the future of Wisconsin.

Charles P. Pierce has the details at Esquire.

Does anyone contend describing Scott Walker and his band of idiots as sociopaths, plotting to toxify Wisconsin citizens, is a reach?

When Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders debate in Milwaukee on Feb. 11, the candidates should be asked: As the "out of state money and the rising plutocracy chose Wisconsin as their lab rat for the new gilded age (Pierce)," will you as president commit to massive new funding for the EPA, aggressive enforcement of the Clean Water Act and declare a war: A war to protect our water?

See Michael Moore's 'Where to Invade Next'

Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next
—an instant classic on war, atrocity
and human indifference
Michael Moore throws his life into social justice pursuits.

The promotion of the Academy Award®-winning Moore's new movie, Where to Invade Next, will have to come from his millions of supporters.

Moore came down with pneumonia, a condition I can assure you is easy to pick up in the northern United States, (by the way before, during and after public visits to the office, library, restaurants, and stores wash your hands frequently) and first thing when you get home.

With Moore burning it on both ends, he is hospitalized, and had to cancel all of his public appearances.

The eternally optimistic, passionate and brilliant filmmaker is out with another classic film scheduled for release the weekend of Feb. 12, (check your local movie guide).

Where to Invade Next comes as the Republican candidates for the presidency (with Democrat-in-name Hillary Clinton yapping behind) compete to posture as the one willing to destroy, kill and inflict a catastrophe somewhere, sometime should he/she sufficiently manipulate the results of the American electoral process, where winning a popular vote is not needed to assume the U.S. presidency nor the nomination of the Republican or Democratic parties.

Michael Moore will heal-up fast.

America will not if we blindly follow the next president into war and destruction, at a place to be determined by us.

Feb 4, 2016

Wisc GOP Scams Public on High-capacity Water Wells

Wisconsin State Rep. Robin Vos
(R-Rochester, Wisconsin)
engineers water give-away
to special interests
Wisconsin Republicans want to give away our public fresh waters to Republican campaign contributors fast and quiet.

Even as Republicans work to appear to respond to constituents in central Wisconsin over proliferating high-capacity water wells, (wells drawing 100,000 gallons of water per day), the Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is working with the Republican Attorney General (and Scott Walker and all Wisconsin GOP legislators), to do an end-run around the Republicans' own bill, AB 477, (Richmond, AP).

This is a legislative scam, engineered by and abetted by all Wisconsin Republican office holders who will fall in line behind the Republican Dog and Pony show.

The Attorney General is expected, many residents fear, to issue an interpretation of the DNR's function under 2011 Act 21 protecting natural resources favorable to private parties obtaining an accelerated number of high-capacity well permits without consideration to the impact to area surface waters and other resources.

Wisconsin State Rep. Robin Vos' (R-Rochester, Wisconsin) letter is reproduced below, along with the objecting response of the Assembly Democratic leadership:

ROBIN J. VOS, SPEAKER OF THE WISCONSIN STATE ASSEMBLY

TO: Members of the Committee on Assembly Organization
FROM: Speaker Robin Vos, Chair
DATE: February 1, 2016
SUBJECT: Ballot 15-05 Request formal opinion of Attorney General

[MOTION] It is moved that the Committee on Assembly Organization request a formal opinion of the Attorney General relating to several questions surrounding 2011 Act 21 and the authority of the Department of Natural Resources to apply conditions related to monitoring wells and cumulative impact analyses prior to the grant of a high-capacity well permit. Please reference the attached letter.

I am recommending adoption of this motion. Please review and indicate your approval by circling 'aye" or "no", signing your name, and inserting the date. Thank you.

[If this ballot is not returned to the Speaker's office by Tuesday, February 2, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. you will be designated as not voting.]

YES NO 

The Democratic response is reproduced below:

WISCONSIN ASSEMBLY DEMOCRATS

February 1, 2016
Speaker Robin Vos
Room 211 West
State Capitol
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708

(HAND DELIVERED)

Speaker Vos,

We strongly object to your decision to have the Committee on Assembly Organization vote by paper ballot to approve or deny the motion to ask the Attorney General to issue a formal opinion regarding the Department of Natural Resources' monitoring of high-capacity well permits.

This issue is the perfect example of why the committee should meet in person. The people of Wisconsin deserve to know why you chose not to have an open discussion about the critical issue of monitoring the impact of high-capacity wells in this state.

We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss the background related to this request to the Attorney General and the reasons behind asking for this decision. It is our strong opinion that fast-tracking such a controversial request results in limiting public input and debate.

If there truly is confusion in our laws regarding high-capacity well permits, then we ought to be having an open and inclusive discussion to address this issue.

Put simply, choosing to conduct this vote by paper ballot goes against considering other alternatives for addressing this issue and is in contradiction to our Wisconsin values of open, honest and transparent government. We must have serious conversations about preserving clean water and protecting our lakes and streams.

Finally, limiting public input on this critical issue is in direct conflict with the spirit of the memorandum of understanding the leaders of our parties agreed to earlier this session.

Sincerely,

Peter W. Barca
Assembly Minority Leader

Katrina Shankland
Asst. Minority Leader

Andy Jorgensen
Minority Caucus Chair