Dec 15, 2018

Gov Walker's Brazen Defiance of Federal Court Risks Wrath of Judiciary in Wisconsin Voting Rights Case

U.S. Dist Judge James Peterson ruled for voting rights,
and against Republican-enacted voting restrictions
in One Wisconsin Institute v. Thomsen. Peterson's
judgment of Aug 1, 2016, and his judicial authority are
now focal points of open defiance by Wisconsin
legislative Republicans and Gov. Scott Walker (R).
Madison, Wisconsin — Defeated Gov Scott Walker (R) signed sweeping lame-duck legislation aimed at limiting the powers of non-Republican elected officeholders and Wisconsin voters (Wisconsin State Journal, the Capital Times, Associated Press), Wisconsin State Senate, 2018 Dec. Extraordinary Session).

Wisconsin Republicans' hubris, echoing Walker's 2018 dismissal of his affirmative duty to call special elections (Robert Dallas Newton Jr. v. Scott Walker), reveals a pathology that now targets the legitimacy of the federal judiciary in Senate Bill 884, signed by Walker as Wisconsin Act 369.

Beyond its routine foolish reading of the rule of law and the law of the case (One Wisconsin Institute, et al v. Thomsen consolidated with Frank v. Walker), in signing Senate Bill 884, Walker has engaged in legitimatizing legislative effrontery that challenges the authority of United States District Court of the Western District of Wisconsin and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

The Wisconsin Republican position: Yes, yes, U.S. Dist Judge James Peterson, you and your appellate-circuit friends get very excited in offering your two cents on election law and One Wisconsin Institute, but we Wisconsin Republicans are very busy here, so run along, now.

As the One Wisconsin Institute (and the National Redistricting Foundation) engage in major federal and state litigation against Wisconsin Act 369 that restricts all Wisconsin early-voting to two weeks before Election Day, Republicans have been silent on the fact that the federal judiciary has already ruled this scheme to be unconstitutional, racially discriminatory and pretextual (misrepresentative in legislative purpose)—high bars to achieve for voting rights advocates.

In One Wisconsin, U.S. District James Peterson ruled much of the Republican transformation of Wisconsin election law and many Republican "arguments for its restrictive voting rules [are] pretexual [misrepresentative], and really aimed at giving Republicans advantage in elections," as noted by Rick Hasen, an election law expert living in California (see Becker, The Capital Times, Mal Contends, One Wisconsin Institute v. Thomsen, Mal Contends, Moritzlaw, Rick Hasen, One Wisconsin Institute v. Thomsen).

Argue the plaintiffs, One Wisconsin Institute and Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund, as noted at Election Law at Moritz:
Count I: Violations of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act
Count II: Undue Burdens on the Right to Vote in Violation of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
Count III: Disparate Treatment of Voters without a Rational Basis in Violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
Count V: Abridgment or Denial of the Right to Vote on the Basis of Race in Violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Fifteenth Amendment
The One Wisconsin Institute and the National Redistricting Foundation (Eric Holder's group), will soon be making the case for the Constitutional rights of Wisconsin voters in federal litigation to uphold Judge Peterson's prior ruling. Wisconsin Republicans cannot just pretend this case hasn't already been adjudicated.

Wisconsin Republicans

To understand Wisconsin Republicans' psychology, one needs to consider the Party has become so self-entitled and brazenly dishonest, Republican believe, for example, a mere federal judge who issued a pro-voting rights decision in U.S. District Court in 2016 is no impediment to stopping voters who dislodged the Republican anti-voting rights governor and attorney general.

In Republican land the more audacious the lie, the dismissal of established law, and the will of the people, the more Republican self-congratulations.

Republicans can be understood as an underground corporate, Evangelical and white-power movement that seized governmental power with a secret agenda on which it did not campaign, and now schemes to impose its authoritarianism in every corner of government insulated from democratic will and the rule of law.

George Packer calls Republicans a "insurgency" steeped in "institutional depravity" (The Atlantic).

Abe Lincoln called such insurgencies a "conspiracy to seize power" (Nichols, The Nation).

By the way, even as the Republican Party has become an outlaw player in American government, the press still refers to the Party as "conservative," and to voting rights advocates, for example, as "liberal." Absurd. Political writers still cannot drop 'conservative' as a continuing term of description.

In any event, the Republican Party's justification of its voting crackdown, uniformity and fairness, has already been found to not have any rational basis.

We Republicans disagree . . . , is not likely a compelling position to assume in challenging the federal judiciary ruling still being adjudicated in appellate court, during a period when the federal judiciary has grown skittish about the primacy of the rule of law prevailing against executive branch and Party claims of monarchical power.

Scott Walker disagrees of course:

Dec 12, 2018

Gov-elect Tony Evers 'Meet the Press' Appearence Is Weak, Uninformed

Wisconsin Gov-elect Tony Evers (D) appears on Meet
the Press (NBC News) with Chuck Todd
on Dec. 9, 2018.

Evers needs to engage Republicans head-on

Madison, Wisconsin — The Wisconsin people voted in record numbers to oust Gov Scot Walker (R) and his corrupt, deceitful brand of Wisconsin destruction from which it will take years to recover.

Unfortunately for Wisconsin, Gov-elect Tony Evers (D) is the wrong man for the wrong State at the wrong time.

Witness Evers' appearance on Meet the Press (NBC News, transcript) last weekend, Dec. 9.

Softball after softball, predictable Republican talking point after talking point were floated to Tony Evers, appearing from Madison, Wisconsin.

Evers—wooden and anemic—responded by adopting Republican premises (lies), while failing to defend Wisconsin voters derided by Republicans for not voting Republican.

Evers was meandering, halting, passive-voiced and clunky—offering mostly consultant-crafted blather.
Here's Evers' response to the opening question from host, Chuck Todd, asking about Evers lobbying Scott Walker after the lame duck, extraordinary session of the gerrymandered legislature:

I communicated with Governor Walker over the telephone a few days ago and laid out my position that vetoing the legislation was going to be an important thing not only for, you know, to make sure that are—what happened last November, the vote of the people of Wisconsin, is actually upheld and we're putting people in front of politics. But also, it's just bad legislation. And I made that, made that pitch, and he was noncommittal. I know publicly he's said in other arenas that he plans to sign most or all of it. So I'm not particularly encouraged at this point in time. But it's around Scott Walker's legacy. He has the opportunity to change this and actually validate the will of the people that, that voted on November 6th.
Alright, takes anyone a moment to get warmed-up in a national news-talk format, but Evers has been running for governor since the Summer of 2017.

Chuck Todd next presses Evers, asking for specifics. Todd's question reads in full:

Did you negotiate with him? Did you say, 'You know what? Look, I know X is really important to you. I get that. But what's with Y and Z here?' Was there a Y and Z? Did you go to him and say, 'Look, I really think this part is just crazy. Please veto that. If you want to keep this, I get it'?

Replies Evers:

No, I talked about a few areas that are really important that actually Republican business leaders have talked about that, that would take away power and implicate and make, make economic development much more difficult in the state of Wisconsin. But the entire thing is a mess. It's a hot mess. And I believe that he should veto the entire package. In fact, at least three or four of the pieces that are in there now, he has vetoed previously. And so it makes no sense to me. And, you know, he's been a longtime public servant. And, and he, he, he has a legacy here. So we're hopeful that he will veto the whole thing.

Jesus Christ.

Todd's fifth question offers an angry denunciation of Republican Party sleaze and self-entitled Republicans-must-have-power-no-matter-what—that Evers had better hit out of the ballpark.

Says Todd:

Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin) said the following: 'The legislators who engineered this coup, their actions amount to a smash-and-grab hijacking of the voters' will.' Do you 'coup’s' the right word here?

Replies Evers:

Well that’s always—is seems, it seems strong, but the fact of the matter is, as I just said, if Scott Walker had won this election, and he did not, I did, we wouldn't be sitting here talking about this today. We, we wouldn’t, we wouldn’t be talking—Scott Walker wouldn't be sitting here talking about, 'Jeez, they're trying, they’re trying to balance the power here.' So, no, I think, as, you know, it's directly related to, to a win by a Democrat. And that'd be me. And we—we need, we need to have this, we need to have this vetoed.

Are you kidding me?

No lame duck Wisconsin legislature has ever attempted this power-grab and Evers says 'coup' is too strong of a characterization?

Where has this guy been for the last seven years as Republicans have infiltrated every corner of government and rigged every public hearing, proceeding, election and deliberation to the fullest extent possible?

Todd then poses a question, staring every pol in the face. Asks Todd:

One of their [Republican] rationales has been, 'Well, Governor-elect Evers' margins all came from two cities: Madison and Milwaukee. We have to represent the rest of the state.' What do you say to that charge? And, more importantly, you won a very narrow election. How do you reach—[cross-talk] How do you reach across this divided state at this point?

Republicans don't believe voters casting non-Republican votes count. This is an anti-democratic commitment that corrodes the foundation of representative government.

Republicans over the last seven years vilify any aspect of government, any region, institution and municipality that produce non-Republican political activity or outcomes.

Nearing the end of Meet the Press, will Tony Evers redeem his performance and stand up for all voters, acclaim all voters count and hail individual liberties as Republicans demonize Madison and Milwaukee voters in its project to divide and conquer Wisconsin? No.

Here's what Evers emitted:

Well I can—it would have been a lot easier without this legislation. I'll tell you that. I have reached, in my present job as state superintendent, that's a statewide elected position, and I've reached across the aisle on all, all number of issues. So that's part of my DNA. I'm an educator. So I, I always try to find common ground. And I'll continue to do that going forward.

This just makes it more difficult. But I won the election. Any way you slice it, I won the election. And actually I narrowed some of the, the votes outstate. And I've won lots of those counties outstate in the past. So I am the governor, I will be the governor of the state of Wisconsin—, ...

Enough out of you, Evers.

Since when does a newly elected governor refer to the northern two-thirds of the state as "outstate" to a general audience on national TV?

Checked around with Wisconsin pols and most say the term "outstate" is not necessarily pejorative in usage.

Outstate is certainly idiosyncratic and perverse in responding to Republican talking points hitting Milwaukee and Madison. Something about Milwaukee just doesn't sit well with Republicans, wonder what.

Look, outstate is a political term used by pols among pols.

Never would a statewide elected official use "outstate" to refer to people whom he proposes to represent against a threat to democracy unprecedented in state history.

In any event, attacking voters because they live in Madison and Milwaukee is an outrage.

My personal suggestion to Tony Evers: Resign and get Lt.-Gov-elect Mandela Barnes in there.

Mandela Barnes is a guy who knows the score, knows the stakes and has the spine to advocate for the Wisconsin people imperiled as never before.

See Meet the Press for video of Tony Evers' appearance.

Meet the Press, Tony Evers appearance with Chuck Todd video on Dec. 9, 2018 is below:

Dec 10, 2018

Report: Wisconsin Republicans Fabricated Fraud Charges out of Clerical Mistakes, Paperwork Errors

Photo: Coburn Dukehart /Wisconsin Center for Investigative
—  Helu Wang and Dee J. Hall report on
Republican effort to use machinery of government to
harass citizens unpopular with Republicans for
participating in state Medicaid-funded programs.
"Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Office of
Inspector General has aggressively sought to recover
money for clerical errors instead of legitimate fraud
from personal care providers who help bathe,
feed and clothe roughly 16,000 disabled or elderly clients,"
report Wang and Hall.

Punitive state audits based on clerical errors drive caregivers out of their professions, and terrorize disabled and older people receiving humane care in their homes

Madison, Wisconsin — Gov. Scott Walker's (R) corrupt and perversely hostile use of state government has generated victims across Wisconsin.

An early Scott Walker initiative, (see Executive Order #2 (2011)), is a hysterical cry against "Waste, Fraud and Abuse" in state-administered programs that Republicans just happen to not favor, such as Medicaid serving 1.2 million Wisconsin people.

A Republican strategy uses the Republican-led Wisconsin Dept of Health Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG), (established by Gov. Scott Walker (R) in 2011), to target participants in state-administered programs, politicizing and criminalizing legitimate use.

Walker subsequently trumpets how well the dubious effort is performing in helping the tax-payer against the demonized people using FoodShare and Medicaid.

The Republican initiative mirrors a federal effort begun in the Bush-Cheney adminstration targeting veterans and their families who received veteran disability benefits, in a long game to privatize the United States Department of Veterans Affairs through false and politically motivated cries of 'fraud.'

The Republican false cries of fraud extend to citizens' voting as warnings to minority and non-Republican-voting citizens.

In an investigative report in WisconsinWatch published this weekend, Helu Wang and Dee J. Hall report the Republican effort has become widespread, increasingly hostile and still generating victims as state officials divine fraudulent intent from clerical omissions and state glitches.

Write Wang and Hall:

[The state seeks to] take back huge sums of money from companies and individuals who provided health care services but had minor paperwork errors. ...
The [IOG] has steadily increased the number of audits of Medicaid providers to more than 2,000 a year. ...

Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Office of Inspector General has aggressively sought to recover money for clerical errors instead of legitimate fraud from personal care providers who help bathe, feed and clothe roughly 16,000 disabled or elderly clients,"

Patients, parents and nurses describe Republican efforts as a nightmare.

"The Fraud Investigation, Recovery and Enforcement (FIRE) Section in the OIG now has 30 staff, including 23 positions to support Medicaid and FoodShare Program fraud prevention and detection activities," crows Walker in a standard press release.

The message to Wisconsin citizens is: Use and you lose.

No such scrutiny or targeting exists in the Republican-created and scandalous Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) used heavily by Walker donors.

What Gov-elect Tony Evers (D) and Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul (D) will do to correct Republican injustices remains to be seen.

Dec 8, 2018

Wisconsin GOP Donor at Center of Saudi-Veterans Scandal at Trump DC Hotel

Jason Johns, former registered agent of
Saudi Arabia and Republican-linked
donor and Gov Scott Walker appointee,
is at the center of a scandal at
the Trump International D.C. hotel

Scott Walker-appointed official, GOP pol and registered Saudi agent defends Saudi Arabia scheme funneling $100,000s to Trump

Madison, Wisconsin — A Wisconsin Republican Party-linked lobbyist was a chief organizer of the Saudi Arabia-funded scheme to fund Donald Trump's D.C. hotel by inducing veterans to front for an effort to indemnify Sandi Arabia in its role in the 911 attacks against the United States, the Wisconsin State Journal reports, (Verburg, Wisconsin State Journal). [See also Daily Kos.]

The Wisconsin State Journal contacted Johns after news of the scheme broke in a piece published by the Washington Post on Dec. 5.

Johns, of Oregon, Wisconsin, has donated $1,000s to numerous Republican officeholders, data at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign reveals. [Enter "Johns" to generate Jason Johns and Jason E. Johns of Oregon, Wisconsin.]

Johns also donated some $1,000 to the Wisconsin State Senate Democratic Committee, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign website shows.

Reports the Wisconsin State Journal:

A Wisconsin veterans advocate and former appointee of Gov. Scott Walker was near the center of a Saudi Arabian lobbying effort that has raised eyebrows for its heavy use of the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C.

But Madison-based advocate Jason Johns said in an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal he did nothing wrong in overseeing the Saudi-funded program, which flew veterans to Washington and put them up at President Donald Trump’s hotel while they spoke out against a law the Saudis wanted overturned.

Jason Johns was appointed by Gov. Scott Walker (R) as deputy secretary to the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) in 2011 after a Republican-backed law gave Walker the sole authority for hiring and firing executive-level WDVA political appointees, (Stein, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).

Johns is listed as founder and president (2005-present) of Wisconsin Legislative Strategies, Inc. lobbying firm in Johns' LinkedIn webpage.

"Johns said he registered as an agent of the Saudi government when he started working for  Qorvis/MSLGroup [Saudi lobbying group] and let the registration lapse in 2017 after the program ended," reports the Wisconsin State Journal.

Johns defended the Saudi Arabian scheme. Reports the Wisconsin State Journal:

Johns said Thursday he wasn’t involved in booking the Trump property, and he didn’t buy the implication that it was wrong.

'The undertone here is that Qorvis purchased all of the hotel rooms at the Trump Hotel in order to curry ‘favor’ and/or ‘influence’ with President Trump as he was coming in to office,' Johns said.  

Nothing to see here, may become the new Republican Party slogan.

Dec 7, 2018

Wisconsin Republicans Leave Behind Deceit and Destruction

Defeated Wisconsin Gov Scott Walker (R) leaves
behind a degraded state, burnt and razed with
intent and malice. Above, Scott Walker sits on a
Harley at a 2010 event, Operation Freedom, from which
Walker's cronies embezzled $10.000s. In June 2018
Walker failed to defend Harley Davidson from attacks
made by President* Donald Trump (R).
Madison, Wisconsin —  Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Wisconsin Republicans —  an unappealing blend of Evangelicals, bigots and corrupt Trumpists — are using their tax-payer salaries, benefits and perks to take another slash at anyone who dares use food stamps, now known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the lameduck session.

Reports H. Claire Brown in The Intercept:

The new [lameduck] legislation enshrines in state law outgoing Gov. Scott Walker’s controversial policy of forcing many food stamp applicants to submit to drug testing. It also limits the incoming administration’s ability to walk back the state’s strict new work requirements for aid recipients. After Walker’s approval, Wisconsin will be the only state that requires drug testing for non-felon food stamp applicants.
One would think that Scott Walker in particular would be grateful for public assistance considering the $millions in public monies Wisconsin taxpayers have given this career politician and his family in salary, healthcare and pension.

Not Scott Walker.

The billionaire-licking Walker maintains a perverse hatred of anyone enrolled in Medicaid, SNAP and the University of Wisconsin System, all the while funneling $100 of millions in public monies to Republican-connected scams through the scandalous Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

Foxconn is just the logical extension of Republican corruption.

Even while the Wisconsin press remains insistent on characterizing Scot Walker and Republicans as "conservative," what is being attempted in these last weeks of Walker's tenure is the latest radical power grab of public institutions, unprecedented in modern times and with no common purpose to the Wisconsin people.

Desperate to lie to the end, Scott Walker's office said Walker is still deciding whether to sign the series of bills passed by lameduck Republicans and only Republicans, (In Session Wisconsin State Senate).

Scott Walker will sign the legislation. It's what God wants.