Feb 26, 2017

Culture in Local Police States Begs Direction for Ungrateful Populations

Family of slain Madison, Wisconsin, resident,
Tony Robinson, remains unappreciative of glory of
his sacrifice and the valor of Robinson's killer,
Matt Kenny of the Madison police department
- Image is a self-portrait by Kathe Kollwitz,
(1867-1945), an anti-fascist artist who endured
 personal tragedy captured in her work (NYT)

Police killing in man-just-asking-for-it case shows worst of American municipal populations rejecting unity and greater good of community


Madison, Wisconsin—Citizen reaction to the $3.35 Million federal civil action settlement with the family of a police victim killed in 2015 is revealing of a growing citizens' culture steeped in civil liberties and human rights.

This culture should be cleansed.

An unarmed, black nineteen-year-old Tony Robinson of Madison, Wisconsin, was shot seven times by veteran killer cop, Matt Kenny of the Madison Police Department. Kenny successfully shot and killed two people in his 14-year police career (CNN).

Wisconsin's corporate press typically offers compelling news accounts of the spectacular displays of systemic police violence and killings of domestic populations by municipal police departments, as in the Robinson case (Democracy Now).

In police killing-us-for-us incidents, local press often reports news-worthy developments, for example, profiles of the idealism and nobility of law enforcement—traits typically not acknowledged by ungrateful populations remaining unappreciative of the dedication, skill, sacrifice and commitment police employ when they kill people.

The Tony Robinson family of Madison are ingrates of a particularly virulent strain as word among young Madison human rights activists is the Robinson family has not contacted and thanked Officer Kenny in the some two years since he skillfully gunned down the young Tony.

City officials are all on message supporting the work of the City insurance carrier negotiating and paying the record $3.35 Million settlement, following a different local record settlement for a different police killing in August 2015 (Treleven, Wisconsin State Journal).

But let's not mix up righteous killings of our fellow citizens when the Robinson family so shamelessly perches on the wilderness of clean Madison society and takes pot shots at the helpless police working to make America great again.

"Attorneys representing the family of a man killed by a Madison police officer say the city’s mayor should not lie about how a federal lawsuit was settled," reports WMTV (Madison, Wisconsin).

Robinson's attorneys made their provocative reply comments following the statement by Mayor Soglin asserting neither the City Attorney nor the Mayor's office influenced in any manner the multi-million dollar settlement:

Mayor Paul Soglin stresses that the decision to settle the lawsuit was made by attorneys hired by the city’s insurance carrier.

'Neither our office nor the City Attorney were involved in the settlement,' writes Soglin in a statement. 'Let me be clear in asserting that the City of Madison, who was not a party to the case, had no standing and no ability to influence the court or the parties in approving a settlement. Any statement to the contrary is false.' (Potter, Isthmus)
[This writer does not believe Soglin's statement of no influence to be true. Soglin and City Atty Michael May appear to be brilliant politicians working behind the scenes for their conception of what civil libertarian types call 'police reform,' but this asserted long-game strategy is a different story with not direct evidentiary support, just a wild hunch.]

The traumatized Robinson family should be forgiven its collective transgressions against our community.

What is beyond dispute is the American police will kill some 1,000 people in 2017, (Killed by police), (Washington Post), following a better-than-average killing year in 2016 that saw some 1,155 people killed (Killed by police, 2016).

Methodologies used in compiling a killing statistic differ, so those tracking killings by police arrive at slightly different figures.

Is is as well incontrovertible that Madison police are courageous killers.

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval offers his latest analysis continuing Koval's expert never-met-a-Madison-Police-killing-I-didn't-like commentary. This work should be adopted into a Hollywood movie, and everyone from Chuck Norris to Steven Seagal can rejoice in the Chief's prose.

Cleansing the culture and educating the citizenry are projects that should never conclude. We must be vigilant, as President Trump has said, powered by our love.

Feb 23, 2017

Trump Human Rights Message Falls Flat, Damage-Control Project Addressing Admin Anti-Semitism Failing

White House spokesperson, Sean Spicer, hits Anne Frank Center
for not praising Donald Trump, (Salon),(CNN). Replied the Frank
Center executive director, Steven Goldstein, to Salon Magazine:
"The audacity of Sean Spicer to demand from the podium that
the Anne Frank Center salute this president for his pathetic attempts
to recognize anti-Semitism. ... What universe are these
people living in?"

Remarks this week made by Donald Trump after a tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture were as genuine as a serial arsonist's stated concerns over violations of fire safety codes.

Said Trump reading his statement from a teleprompter, "This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms. The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful, and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil."

What an ass, this anti-Semitic piece of human filth.

Fortunately, major civil rights organizations refuse to normalize Trump, and recoil at the notion they should take at face value the words of an openly racist administration dotted with open anti-Semites.

The new message of civil rights from the Trump adminstration follows a recent spate of anti-Semitic bomb threats, and desecrations in the Midwest inflicted at a historically Jewish cemetery, met with a yawning response from the young presidency.

Vice-president Mike Pence paid a surprise visit this week to the desecrated cemetery in Missouri in an effort at further damage control as perceptions harden that the administration's alliances with white supremacists and anti-Semites will continue.

Coming from east-central Wisconsin, this writer assures readers the Trump administration's continuing stroking of, and obsequious posture toward anti-Semites is accomplished willfully and is carefully crafted; which is to say anti-Semitism still plays well in rural America, emphatically in Wisconsin.

Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect condemns
Donald Trump,  (Twitter)

Feb. 21, 2017 statement from the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect executive director, Steven Goldstein:

"The President's sudden acknowledgment is a Band-Aid on the cancer of anti-Semitism that has infected his own Administration. His statement today is a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting anti-Semitism, yet day after day have refused to apologize and correct the record. Make no mistake: The anti-Semitism coming out of this administration is the worst we have ever seen from any administration. The White House repeatedly refused to mention Jews in its Holocaust remembrance, and had the audacity to take offense when the world pointed out the ramifications of Holocaust denial. And it was only yesterday, President’s Day, that Jewish Community Centers across the nation received bomb threats, and the President said absolutely nothing. When President Trump responds to Anti-Semitism proactively and in real time, and without pleas and pressure, that’s when we’ll be able to say this president has turned a corner. This is not that moment."
---
Feb. 22, 2017 statement of Steven Goldstein, made in reply to the White House spokesperson's public condemnation of Goldstein for his failure to praise Donald Trump in Goldstein's Feb. 21 above statement, (Salon Magazine):

"The audacity of Sean Spicer to demand from the podium that the Anne Frank Center salute this president for his pathetic attempts to recognize anti-Semitism. The imagery is callous at best and constitutes dark prejudice at worst. What has become of our democracy, that a press secretary for the president — let alone the president himself — expects applause simply for saying that anti-Semitism exists? Next President Trump will announce that the United States has achieved the first landing of a person on the moon and also expect us to applaud. What universe are these people living in"

He also said the president has repeatedly called out anti-Semitism. When? When? This weekend passed, including this Sunday, during which over a hundred graves were desecrated, and on Monday bomb threats were made to eleven Jewish community centers, and he remained silent. Then he read a statement with all the passion of a B-grade actor auditioning for a high school play. You looked at him and it didn’t look like he could even connect to the words — and this is a president who rarely reads anything prepared — and the one chance he gets to speak about anti-Semitism, he needs notes!"

"When will our nation get fed up with this president trotting out the religion of his daughter and his son-in-law as a talking point shield against the anti-Semitic conduct of his administration? So what if his daughter is Jewish and his son-in-law is Jewish? That’s like saying some of our best daughters are Jewish. By this logic, his daughter is also a woman, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a misogynist."

Feb 18, 2017

Trumpians Feel Emboldened

Black and brown folks need not stop by
Milwaukee, Wisconsin—The east side of Milwaukee is a vibrant cultural, entertainment and dining destination, an easy neighborhood to extol, not unlike Madison's Isthmus-State Street-Capitol neighborhoods.

But there is a nascent problem in the fashionable east side of Milwaukee in this age of Trump.

If you happen to drop by Whole Foods on the east side for a beer at the Whole Foods East Side Grill and you're black or brown, you're in the wrong place. Racism permeates the most charming of places.

From a Facebook post revealing what is a pattern of increasingly frequent hate incidents as whites become emboldened, pleased to mistreat ethnic minorities with the disdain held among some very stupid people, (including apparently employees at Whole Foods in Milwaukee):

I am feeling OUTRAGED at Whole Foods. My husband and a friend were having a beer and talking to two other guys. They were watching news about the Trump press conference. One man, who just happened to be Hispanic, was refused service. I mean, he had at [most] one beer and was clearly over the limit! And my husband, who happens to be African American, stood up for him. My husband and his friend were asked to leave as well. All were accompanied out by a store 'guard.' Now what Whole Foods didn’t know is both my husband and his friends are retired lawyers, and public defenders at that. They know their rights. So I challenge you. Is this the America you want?

Remember Martin Niemolle

When the Nazis came for the communists ...

Trump is unhinged. Do not believe for a moment Trump's retrograde supporters are tempered by rectitude and love of humanity.

As for Whole Foods, hate crime victims still have not heard from the manager to whom this complaint was communicated.

Feb 17, 2017

Mega Factory Farms Contribute $100,000-plus to Buy, Deplete and Pollute Wisconsin Water

Pollute-and-Deplete Attack on Water Backed by Full-spectrum Dominance of Political Culture


The United States Department of Homeland Security, (DHS), maintains a vigilant commitment to protecting our water and wastewater systems sector.

We take clean water and the safe elimination of sewage for granted, a mark of a first-world country.

As the DHS explains: "Safe drinking water is a prerequisite for protecting public health and all human activity. Properly treated wastewater is vital for preventing disease and protecting the environment. Thus, ensuring the supply of drinking water and wastewater treatment and service is essential to modern life and the Nation’s economy."

Not all see protecting water the same way as DHS.

The threats to safe drinking water are here, industrialized agriculture or Big Ag.

Big Ag is without conscience, and almost every politician has their hands out for its money and support, and don't look for DHS to do anything.

Industrial special interests have no qualms about poisoning private water wells, and surface and ground water aquifers. Lost your safe drinking water, your infant is hospitalized? Dead areas in Lake Michigan? What are you going do about it? Call the EPA, the DNR?

In rural regions in Wisconsin, and not just Wisconsin, industrial agricultural operations (CAFOs or Confined/Concentrated Animal/Agricultural Operations), are annually dumping 100s of millions of gallons of untreated animal feces mixed with water into the environment to often tragic consequences, and it's getting worse.

Wisconsin Republicans, and many Democrats such as State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, (D-Milwaukee), are happy to take the money and endorsements of Big Ag and sell out our clean and safe water. Zamarripa has a safe near-southside Milwaukee assembly seat, so why not take any a few hundred bucks from ag interests and get an endorsement?

By Don Ystad of Adams County in central Wisconsin

Concerned Citizens,

While I don't want to politicize this issue, the following article points out the power play of the large ag concerns in our central sands area.  We saw it firsthand with the WPVGA, (Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association), junk science groundwater blitz of our county boards recently.  And, from the article, further evidence that the rush is on: "Most of these contributions, about $106,350, were also made during the last six months of 2016 after the GOP-controlled legislature failed to pass bills last spring aimed at loosening rules for controversial high-capacity wells".

So, let's build on the momentum from our Feb 8th statewide Citizens Water Lobby Day in Madison.  We need to be our own lobby, large enough to challenge the efforts of the big ag grower lobby.  Five hundred of us showed up on the 8th.  Join us and reach out to your friends and tell them to go to the link for the new Citizens Water Coalition of Wisconsin.

Be a part of this citizens lobby. We may not be able to outspend them, but we do have the votes!

From Matt Rothschild, of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

Several large farms with an interest in the issue of high-capacity wells have been throwing tens of thousands of dollars over to Republican legislative campaign committees.

Until the drastic rewrite of Wisconsin’s campaign finance law in November 2015, it was illegal for farms or other corporations to give money directly to legislative campaign committees. But the new law allows them to give up to $12,000 in a so-called segregated account, which isn’t supposed to go toward electing specific candidates.

During the second half of 2016, several large potato, vegetable and cranberry farms made corporate contributions totaling $56,250 to the four legislative campaign committees, which are used by legislative leaders to milk special interests for campaign cash to spend on elections. Those contributions included:

  • $28,000 to the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee;
  • $21,200 to the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate;
  • $4,950 to the Assembly Democratic Campaign Committee;
  • $2,100 to the State Senate Democratic Committee.

Several of the owners and employees of these farms also gave personal donations to the legislative campaign committees, including $27,200 to the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate and $12,900 to the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee. The two Democratic legislative campaign committees received a combined total of $4,900 from large farm owners or employees. Last month, GOP Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, of Juneau, said he wants to approve a bill that would let high-capacity well owners repair or replace existing wells without a permit.

A review of the individual and business contributions to the legislative fundraising committees and legislators shows:
  • Most of the contributions, about $133,750, went to Republican lawmakers, and $12,450 went to Democrats. Republicans control the Assembly and Senate by margins of 64-35 and 20-13, respectively;
  • Most of these contributions, about $106,350, were also made during the last six months of 2016 after the GOP-controlled legislature failed to pass bills last spring aimed at loosening rules for controversial high-capacity wells;
  • Nine officers and board members of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, their families, workers and businesses made about $78,500 in contributions to legislators and legislative fundraising committees;
  • In addition to campaign contributions from its officers and board, the Vegetable Growers Association spent about $183,600 during the 2015-16 legislative session lobbying on high-capacity well, groundwater, wetlands, shore land zoning and other measures.
Topping the list of contributors to legislators and legislative fundraising committees were:
  • The Wysocki family, of Bancroft, their businesses and employees, $38,800;
  • Jeremie Pavelski, of Wisconsin Rapids, co-owner of Heartland Farms, $23,625;
  • James Mortenson, of Wisconsin Rapids, and Mortenson Brothers Farms, $17,750.
The farms want looser rules governing controversial high-capacity wells and groundwater that already allow them to draw 100,000 gallons of water a day for irrigation. But as the number of large farms has grown, the huge volume of water drawn by high-capacity wells has become a major concern, as rivers and streams throughout Wisconsin shrink or dry up during the summer.

Feb 16, 2017

Trump Playing with Xenophobia with His Own Dangerous Pathology

Asked about anti-Semitism, Trump ignores question,cites
2016 Electoral College win in response,
(Brian Williams, 11th Hour)

Anti-Semitic incidences on the rise, you ask? Hey, I won 306 Electoral College votes, says Trump.


What?

It's nothing new for a politician to ignore a reporter's question and offer a reply that is utterly unresponsive to what is asked. Some call it message discipline.

However, Donald Trump has a problem, the problem of the psychopath—displaying no empathy and a self-absorption so complete that not even a query about anti-Semitism and hate can pierce his pathology.

Here is the question directed at Trump at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday:

Question: "Mr. President, Since your election campaign and even after your victory, we've seen a sharp rise in anti-Semitic, anti-Semitic incident[s] across the United States, and I wonder what do you say to those among the Jewish community in the States and in Israel and maybe around the world who believe and feel that your administration is playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones."

Trump: "Well, I just want to say that we are very honored by the victory that we had. 306 Electoral College votes. We were not supposed to crack 220, you know that, right? There was no way to 221. But then they said there's no way to 270....

Text of reporter's question and Trump's reply is below; from Sopan Dap of the New York Times, (Twitter):

(Twitter)
 Video below from Brian Williams 11th Hour, and Talking Points Memo: