Declaration Over Pledge

When I was a child, we would – as students and politicians do today – recite the Pledge of Allegiance. It sticks in my memory, and so it’s easy to type its words without looking them up: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Among those thirty-one words, there’s mention of liberty, but not so much, so vividly, as the first thirty-six words that declared to all the world America’s deepest, founding principles:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

Someday, a time that will be a better day, I believe that we will wisely begin our affairs with a declaration over a pledge.

The Work of the Next Several Years 

Charles Blow writes of the work ahead for those many citizens who now find themselves compelled to defend their rights:

I fully understand that elevated outrage is hard to maintain. It’s exhausting.

But the alternative is surrender to national nihilism and the welcoming of woe.

The next four years could be epochal years in the history of this country. They could test the limits of presidential power and the public’s passivity.

I happen to believe that history will judge kindly those who continued to shout, from the rooftops, through their own weariness and against the corrosive drift of conformity: This is not normal!

Via Donald Trump, This Is Not Normal! – The New York Times.

One cannot say that this will be the work only of the next few years, knowing that often a few years stretch into several. There will be some moments of weariness; they will prove nothing as against the vigor that comes from being in the right.

When Are We?

A simple but significant question about the time in which we live: when are we?  That is, looking at past events, how far along would we say we are in within a given historical progression (assuming one can say)?  Assuming one can say is hardly a simple conditional, but if one could venture a guess, what might one guess?

I’d say that, nationally, we’re at the beginning of something, where that beginning will lead to far worse and far more volatile conditions, perhaps for many years.  I say that locally, we’re in the middle of something much smaller, where this small city is likely to see a continuing but slow decline, likely for several more years.

Which, though, matters more?  In good national times, one might principally focus on local matters (although I’ve always argued that local should be considered from a national perspective).  Yet, I’ve not even the least perceptible feeling that these are good national times.  On the contrary, these days have the feel of incipient loss, with this beautiful republic at risk, of a kind unlike that expereienced within our time.

I write all this coldly, with composure, as I’d guess the country has a not a sudden, but rather a lengthy, time of struggle ahead.

Perhaps one can’t find the comparison, but it’s worth noting that a man in the Boston of 1861 or in the New York of 1939 would have more on his mind than events close at hand.

At the least, one would hope so.

If ever one had confirmation that a narrowly and exclusively local focus was foolish, then one has that confirmation now.

Alexei Navalany Announces Run for President of Russia

If Alexei Navalany is willing to fight against Putin, in a society where Putin’s authoritarianism is much advanced, then we in America who are the fortunate & blessed heirs of a democratic tradition (where authoritarianism is yet only nascent) have no justification for reluctance to join our own fight.

We’ll find those we can support, from among our hundreds of millions, with much good work we can do in support.

In a Principled Opposition, the Basis for a Grand Coalition

Writing at The Week, Jeff Spross nicely summarizes Why Trump’s Cabinet poses a unique threat to the working class.  Spross both explains Trump perceptively & succinctly, and in the same post implicitly holds out the prospect of a grand coalition (principled liberals, conservatives, and libertarians) to oppose him. (For an explicit call for broad opposition, from a conservative, see Evan McMullin’s Ten Points for Principled Opposition to Authoritarianism.)

Libertarians can easily agree with both Spross & McMullin.

First, Spross’s spot-on description of Trump, someone far from the traditional American political spectrum:

Trump is an authoritarian. And like all authoritarians, he wants the adulation of the masses. So he’s happy to ditch GOP ideological orthodoxy to throw voters the occasional scrap of economic populism. But being an authoritarian, he also wants zero democratic accountability. And unions are one of the most powerful and effective institutions Western society has yet devised for making both the economic and political powers-that-be answerable to working people. Trump wants nothing to do with that. His combination of reactionary populist rhetoric with a Cabinet and agenda that looks set to smash the American labor movement to smithereens is not some mistake or oversight. It’s a perfectly logical outgrowth of Trump’s specific worldview.

It wasn’t long ago, truly, that almost all libertarians saw that freedom of association was in the very fiber of a free society, and that anyone (including public employees) should be able to form associations to bargain against an employer, whether government or business.  There are many of us who yet feel this way, and will never yield our wider view to a narrower one.

Spross does more, however, than describe Trump accurately.  He implicitly recognizes the possibility of a grand coalition of left, right, and libertarian against Trump:

Trump’s goal is neither a coherent set of pro-worker social values and policies, nor a coherent set of free-market social values and policies. Rather, his goal is the obedience of both realms to a central strongman — namely, himself.

We can – and should – form alliances from diverse parts of American politics.  There is not a single political difference between the principled left, right, or libertarian that matters more than the assurance of a free society and the defeat of its authoritarian enemies.

We’ve much good work to do.

Evan McMullin’s Ten Points for Principled Opposition to Authoritarianism

On Twitter, conservative @Evan_McMullin lists ten principles for political opposition under a Trump Administration. Libertarians would do well to embrace, and live each day, all ten. McMullin’s ten tweets began on December 4th at 12:08 PM and concluded at 12:12 PM.

(Points Six and Seven are especially important: it’s a grand coalition that we’ll need, and so we should and must embrace people of all walks of life in our common political endeavor. Libertarians have much to contribute through our resolute defense of free markets, individual liberty, and peace; we will find that we have much to gain in alliances and with the support of others, ideologically different from us, who yet share a commitment to a free society.)

Listed below are all ten of McMullin’s points, useful for reviewing often to assure one stays on the right path.

1. Read and learn the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Know that our basic rights are inalienable.

2. Identify and follow many credible sources of news. Be very well informed and learn to discern truth from untruth.

3. Watch every word, decision and action of Trump and his administration extremely closely, like we have never done before in America.

4. Be very vocal in every forum available to us when we observe Trump’s violations of our rights and our democracy. Write, speak, act.

5. Support journalists, artists, academics, clergy and others who speak truth and who inform, inspire and unite us.

6. Build bridges with Americans from the other side of the traditional political spectrum and with members of diverse American communities.

7. Defend others who may be threatened by Trump even if they don’t look, think or believe like us. An attack on one is an attack on all.

8. Organize online and in person with other Americans who understand the danger Trump poses and who are also willing to speak up.

9. Hold members of Congress accountable for protecting our rights and democracy through elections and by making public demands of them now.

10. And finally, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, have “malice toward none, with charity for all” and never ever lose hope!

The National-Local Mix

localI’ve written at FREE WHITEWATER for over nine years, and I’ll be writing here for far longer to come.  A good friend asked me today if I’d given up on local coverage, and the easy answer is…not at all.  We’ve a small and beautiful city, well worth talking about and contending over.   A few quick remarks for longtime readers, and for some new readers who’ve come to FW since the election —

Plain Views.  I’ve written plainly before, and I’ll do the same now.  My views are libertarian, from a family that was liberty-oriented before the term libertarian became popular. (Dean Russell sometimes gets credit for boosting the word libertarian in 1955, but of course the ideas involved are far older.)  My family came here before the Revolution, and they and many others have held liberty-centric political views throughout their time on this continent, using other descriptions for their politics before libertarian took off in the second half of the twentieth century.

One could say less in the hope of pleasing more, but that’s likely futile.  I would happily decline an invitation to a gathering that favored acceptance over conviction (in the improbable & unwelcome event that anyone would send such an invitation to me).

The Limits of Local.  One of the themes of this site is that towns like ours accomplish the most when they embrace American and not local standards for politics & economics.  In fact, hyper-local standards in politics & economics are lesser standards, easy and comfortable for the myopic but inadequate for a competitive people.  There are a few websites or newspapers nearby that are hyper-local in focus.  That makes sense if one’s writing about a sewing club; it’s both sad and laughable as one’s way of considering political, economic, or fiscal policy.  If hyper-local politics were enough, then one might as well embrace a small village in authoritarian Russia as a small town in democratic America.

Putin’s not detestable because he speaks Russian; he’s detestable because he’s returned oppression to Russia.  The undeniable prettiness of particular Russian villages lessens Putin’s many sins, and Russia’s hardships, not in the slightest.

In same way, Whitewater is not beautiful simply because, so to speak, she’s beautiful; she’s beautiful because America is a free country of which Whitewater is one part.  Hyper-localism at the price of national standards reminds of nothing so much as Socrates’s remarks on the unexamined life.

Whitewater’s Near Term.  I’m an optimist about Whitewater’s longterm, but these next several years will prove difficult for this small, midwestern city.  Whitewater has significant poverty (especially child poverty), and limited growth.  Considering the principal possibilities of a drastic change of course now or a renaissance after continued decline, I’d guess we’ll prove an example of a city that chooses poorly, declines relatively, and rebounds only afterward.   (It needn’t have been this way, but too many mistakes have taken us past the point of a different course.)

Many have enjoyed the James & Deborah Fallows American Futures series on thriving small towns, and it’s disappointing to write that Whitewater’s near future probably will not be like that of those growing towns; there’s much that’s disconcerting about surveying a city – however naturally pretty – that’s a cautionary tale of what not to do.  Disconcerting, but not hard – the hardship of the wrong course will not fall on someone writing about our city, but on the many vulnerable people within it.

The future will write the history of the present; with few exceptions, it will be unkind to the last generation of local policymakers.

Logo.  When I write about local topics, I’ll add the logo that appears in the upper-left corner of this post.

The Mix of National and Local.  Most people in our city, or any other, are naturally sharp.  It’s a libertarian teaching – because it is true and always has been – that the overwhelming number of people are capable and clever (and so need less governmental meddling than they receive).  People who voted for one major party candidate or another are not worse for doing so.  It’s impossible that Americans were fundamentally good until a few weeks ago.

Voting for Clinton or Trump did not make the average person better or worse.  I don’t write this to ingratiate – that wouldn’t be my way, one can guess – but because saying so is consistent with what I have always believed about people.  (In any event, if someone who voted his or her conscience needs reassurance now, he or she should think more carefully.)

Trump is a fundamentally different candidate from those who have come before him.  Not grasping this would be obtuse.  Writing only about sewing circles or local clubs or a single local meeting while ignoring Trump’s vast power as president – and what it will bring about – would be odd.

Someone in Tuscany, circa 1925, had more to write about than the countryside.

One may think otherwise, of course.  It’s simply unrealistic to expect a libertarian to think otherwise (at least if the term is to have any meaning).

I’m not worried about posting both national and local topics, as though some nationally-focused posts will detract from local coverage.  The local die has been cast.  Describing near term local events is now careful narration more than advocacy.  There’s much to say, and in detail, but for local policymakers in this town there’s little room to move.  Perhaps the shifts they can make in the near future will still help those in need.

These will prove, I think, challenging times for those both near and far.

Small Towns in America Can Thrive

I posted recently about James Fallows’s Eleven Signs That a City Will Succeed.

(See, from FW, James Fallows on ‘Eleven Signs a City Will Succeed’ (Part 1) and an assessment of those signs for Whitewater, James Fallows on ‘Eleven Signs a City Will Succeed’ (Part 2).)

In the video below, James & Deborah Fallows talk about how (comparatively) smaller cities in different parts of the country are thriving. It’s a brief video, but from it one might be led to a deeper, if different, assessment of how a community can succeed.

Of this point one may be certain: it never was, and it never will, be true that boosterism brings lasting success to a community. 

I’m not convinced, absent more information, exactly why these towns are succeeding, but I’ve no doubt that America’s future is bright nationally, and can be bright locally, too.

The job market in the United States is constantly shifting—especially in small towns that were once totally reliant on large factories for jobs. While politicians focus on failing industries, things looks different from the local perspective. Atlantic national correspondent James Fallows and contributing writer Deborah Fallows travelled to Pennsylvania, California, and Kansas to understand what transformations were happening in various industries. “These perceived weaknesses are actually our strength,” says one young resident of Erie, Pennsylvania.

Via The Atlantic.

Immigration in America Is Not Broken

Immigration has proven to be one of the most divisive issues in the 2016 presidential race. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have expressed that the system is broken, but a consensus on any solution seems untenable. In this video, Atlantic national correspondent James Fallows and contributing writer Deborah Fallows ventured across the country to bridge the disconnect between national political rhetoric on immigration and the realities in migrant communities. They travelled to three American states—Pennsylvania, California, and Kansas—to understand the economic benefits that immigrants bring to the small towns they most often reside in.

This documentary was produced for American Futures, an ongoing reporting project from James and Deborah Fallows. The couple has spent three years exploring small town America by air, “taking seriously places that don’t usually get registered seriously.”

Via The Atlantic.

Americans Support a Diverse Society 

From a March survey of several countries, America stands out as expecially supportive of a diverse society:

I’m not a bit surprised: much of our unmatched greatness lies in our embrace of universal principles and cosmopolitan values, offering as they do a free & equal place for newcomers from the world over.  (We are now and have been a great country; we don’t need to be made again what we already are.)

My forefathers came to this continent well before the Revolution, believing & knowing from their arrival onward that those later arriving from other parts of the world would only enrich the American experience, and make this country stronger.  

SeeAmericans more likely to say growing diversity makes their country a better place to live @ Pew Research Center.

Happy Independence Day

An annual reading of the Declaration of Independence, with transcript below, from NPR —


And now we will celebrate Independence Day, as we do every year at MORNING EDITION, with our reading of the Declaration of Independence.



(Reading) When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.


(Reading) We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

GREENE: (Reading) That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.

LAKSHMI SINGH, BYLINE: (Reading) And to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness.

JULIE MCCARTHY, BYLINE: (Reading) Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established shall not be changed for light and transient causes. And accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: (Reading) But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such government and to provide new guards for their future security.

DEBORAH AMOS, BYLINE: (Reading) Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies. And such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government.

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: (Reading) The history of the present king of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

AUDIE CORNISH, BYLINE: (Reading) He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operations till his assent should be obtained. And when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

SHANKAR VEDANTAM, BYLINE: (Reading) He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: (Reading) He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable and distant from the depository of their public records for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI, BYLINE: (Reading) He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: (Reading) He’s refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise, the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without and convulsions within.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: (Reading) He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states. For that purpose, obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners, refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: (Reading) He has obstructed the administration of justice by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers. He has made judges dependent on his will alone for the tenure of their offices and the amounted payment of their salaries. He has erected a multitude of new offices and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

MICHEL MARTIN, BYLINE: (Reading) He has kept among us in times of peace standing armies without the consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to the civil power.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: (Reading) He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation.

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: (Reading) For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us, for protecting them by a mock trial from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states.

ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: (Reading) For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world, for imposing taxes on us without our consent, for depriving us in many cases of the benefits of trial by jury.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: (Reading) For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses, for abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government and enlarging its boundaries so as to render at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies.


(Reading) For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments, for suspending our own legislatures and declaring themselves invested with the power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: (Reading) He has abdicated government here by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns and destroyed the lives of our people.

JACKIE NORTHAM, BYLINE: (Reading) He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages and totally unworthy, the head of a civilized nation.

CORNISH: (Reading) He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, and to fall themselves by their hands.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: (Reading) He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. In every stage of these oppressions, we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms. Our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.

JUANA SUMMERS, BYLINE: (Reading) A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of a free people, nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.

SUSAN STAMBERG, BYLINE: (Reading) We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: (Reading) They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must therefore acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our separation and hold them as we hold the rest of mankind – enemies in war, in peace, friends.

COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: (Reading) We therefore, the representatives of the United States of America in general Congress assembled, appealing to the supreme judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies solemnly publish and declare that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free independent states.

GREENE: (Reading) That they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved.

MONTAGNE: (Reading) And that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce and do all other acts and things which independent states may have right do.

INSKEEP: (Reading) And for the support of this declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.


GREENE: Two hundred and thirty-nine years ago tomorrow, church bells rang out over Philadelphia as the Continental Congress adopted Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence.


GREENE: And we declare it’s MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

Memorial Day 2015

ARLINGTON, Va. — Darrell Stafford inspected a freshly dug grave at Arlington National Cemetery recently and nodded. The burial plot, 5 feet by 10 feet, was ready for the coming ceremony. It was just one of 28 funerals that he would help oversee that day.

During his 32 years at the cemetery, Mr. Stafford has witnessed thousands of burials, and he has approached each one with military precision.

“You see a 22-year-old mother at a grave site who doesn’t have a husband anymore with her little kid,” he said. He has also seen veterans with missing limbs visit comrades’ graves. “In this business you see it day in and day out, and you can’t just start to think that this is routine.”

….Mr. Stafford, 56, manages a team of some 20 caretakers who conduct the burials of both coffins and cremated remains. A tall man with a graying beard and gruff voice, he said his team’s attention to detail was vital, whether for the burial of a private or a general….

“It’s a place of heroes, in my opinion,” Mr. Stafford said. Later, he added, “This is for the guys who earned it.”

Via Before a Soldier’s Rest, a Panoply of Details @ New York Times.

McCain on the CIA Torture Report

Goodness knows libertarians have had countless differences with Sen. John McCain, on domestic and foreign policy. 

We could have no disagreement, however, with his condemnation of the CIA’s use of torture for interrogation of America’s enemies. 

Our politics – including the acknowledgment of our own ethical failures -should be of the highest standards.  To use the means of our murderous, nihilistic enemies isn’t simply ‘beneath’ us, but a fundamental rejection of America’s principled teachings on human rights. 

Considering McCain’s long, difficult military service and captivity in Vietnam, and career in government afterward, he’s particularly situated to consider these issues. 

More ABC US news | ABC World News

Understanding America Backwards

There’s a longstanding maxim of liberty that Americans inherited from England: ‘those things not prohibited by law are permitted.’ The burden is on the state: if there’s no express ban under law, then a person is free to act. 

Since government has to enumerate restrictions if it wants to enforce them, a free society places a practical limitation against constraints on liberty.

(A companion maxim of liberty applies in reverse to the government, itself: the state may do ‘only those things expressly permitted under law.’)

It’s a tragedy of our times that so many officials, and especially small-town ones, believe and act in the opposite and worse way: they assume that action may be limited unless they expressly concede otherwise. 

Most of these same officials consider themselves proud Americans, yet they’re ignorant of even these fundamentals of liberty.  Although those of this ilk may consider themselves proper representatives of our tradition, they’re closer to the hectoring party cadres of third-world autocracies.  

Posted also @ DailyAdams.

The No-Prior-Discussions, Wheelchair-Access Lawsuit Against Whitewater

Weighty claims require that claimants present their grievances deliberately.

A serious presentation ordinarily includes (1) signaling that one has a grievance, (2) offering a chance for a negotiated resolution, and only later (3) letting others know that one might seek recourse to the courts if negotiations should prove unproductive.

(This last point only applies if one can prosecute a cause of action; bluffing beyond one’s means is a fool’s gambit.)

One reads of a lawsuit against the City of Whitewater for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, for a claimed failure to provide wheelchair access in parts of the city. The plaintiff, Amy Bleile, is a former Miss Wheelchair Wisconsin. She’s retained an attorney from Birmingham, Alabama who has filed suit on her behalf in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, seated in Milwaukee.

Quick searching shows the case to be captioned as Amy Bleile, Plaintiff, vs City of Whitewater, Wisconsin, docketed at 2:13-cv-942, and filed on 8.20.2013. (I’ve no connection to this plaintiff or to her attorney; I only became aware of the lawsuit yesterday from the article to which I’ve linked, below.)

Oddly, one also reads that neither Plaintiff, Amy Bleile, nor her attorney, Michael A. Chester, contacted the city before filing their federal lawsuit.

From the Daily Union, 8.22.13:

Chester said neither he nor Bleile contacted city officials about the alleged ADA violations before filing the suit, which seeks no damages, but contains a court order requiring the city to remove the barriers to accessibility downtown and at Starin Park.

“We hope the city will collaborate with us, reach an agreement to get the barriers removed in a reasonable amount of time,’ he said.

That’s absurd, really: Attorney Chester makes no effort at discussion before filing suit, but then insists afterward that he’s seeking mere collaboration.

Perhaps lawyers practicing from Alabama define collaboration differently from people in the other forty-nine states of America.

To file suit without prior (close-in-time) contact to a target defendant is a poor practice.

This is apparently inexplicable; there are precious few times one rushes to court without approaching the other side beforehand.

Yet, if one looks at the complaint, one finds that although the Ms. Bleile is seeking only changes in accommodations (actions, not money), her out-of-state attorney is seeking fees for litigating the case, from the City of Whitewater, to be awarded by the court. From Plaintiff’s Complaint, in both Counts I (Paragraph 26) and II (Paragraph 33) one sees a request

….That the Court award reasonable attorney’s fees, costs (including expert fees) and other expenses of suit, to the Plaintiff….

Suing without contacting currently-serving city officials affords plaintiff’s counsel a chance to demand court-awarded attorney’s fees to which he would not be entitled if he had given the City of Whitewater a chance to resolve the case through contact and negotiation before litigation.

The federal dockets also show that five such lawsuits have been filed on behalf of Plaintiff, Amy Bleile, against different defendants, in either the Eastern or Western Districts of Wisconsin. (The first case listed is now closed.)

1 Bleile, Amy (pla) wiedce 2:2013-cv-00636 446 06/06/2013 08/19/2013 Bleile v. Bavaria Equities 1107 LLC

2 Bleile, Amy (pla) wiedce 2:2013-cv-00942 446 08/20/2013 Bleile v. Whitewater, Wisconsin, City of

3 Bleile, Amy (pla) wiwdce 3:2013-cv-00398 446 06/06/2013. Bleile, Amy v. Otis Holdings, LLC

4 Bleile, Amy (pla) wiwdce 3:2013-cv-00399 446 06/06/2013 Bleile, Amy v. Southern Wisconsin Foods Real Estate Holding Company, LLC

5 Bleile, Amy (pla) wiwdce 3:2013-cv-00589 446 08/20/2013. Bleile, Amy v. GE Capital Franchise Finance Corporation

Disability-access claims are serious ones that should not be filed without advance warning. Supposed, unaddressed concerns do not obviate the reasonable step of contacting currently-serving city officials. One has reason to look askance at no-prior-warning lawsuits.

All people should enjoy access to our city.

Non-conformity with federal disability law should, where found, be remedied promptly; plaintiffs’ attorneys who commence lawsuits without prior opportunity for resolution should be undeserving of court-awarded fees.

How Many Rights for Whitewater?

How many rights do Whitewater’s residents possess? It’s a simple question, and there’s a simple answer: They possess all the rights of residency or citizenship, respectively, of Americans and Wisconsinites elsewhere.

One may express this plainly:

All of America, and all of Wisconsin, for all of Whitewater.

There is no local practice, no old custom, no reflexive habit that abrogates federal and state rights.

There’s no Whitewater exception to American law.

I’ve sadly heard more than once – including recently – of someone told that there’s a special local custom, etc., of a public body, or in our schools, that implicitly trumps national or state laws.

There isn’t.

It’s not some American rights, or some Wisconsin rights, for residents or citizens (depending on legal status). It’s all of those rights.

Fortunately, this is clear to most people; to hear otherwise is rare.

Still, one encounters a few people like this, now and again. I’d guess they mostly know that what they’re saying is wrong, but contend as they do selfishly or lazily, to have their way, or to shirk their duties.

The one thing these few do not deserve, and so must not have, is their way. It’s America’s way, and Wisconsin’s way, that all Whitewater deserves, and so must have.

Sunday, June 30th: Mock Funeral for the 4th Amendment

I’ve received the following message about a political rally at Madison’s Capitol Square in support of Fourth Amendment rights.

Those rights are succinctly and clearly expressed in the Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against un- reasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The press release for the rally appears in full, immediately below:

This event is a Mock Funeral for the 4th U.S. Constitutional Amendment. The 4th Amendment the part of our written Bill of Rights which deals with unreasonable search and seizure.

Since 9-11 we Americans have faced with a steady loss of our digital privacy, violations in the sanctuary of our homes, have been spied upon through our communication networks, and are continually harassed during travel.

Rouse yourself this Sunday, June 30th and join your companions in Madison at the Capitol Square where we can together perform a Mock Funeral of the 4th Amendment in order to formally and peacefully recognize our disapproval with our governments actions.

Here is the official Facebook event link:

Stick around the event to learn about what you can do in order to directly resist these issues including:

Protecting your data with encryption.
Using proxies and anonymous internet browsers to communicate online.

Discovering alternative currencies which you can use to complete transactions privately.

Learn your legal rights when stopped by the police.

Identify how to act when being searched.

How to file a FOIA request to learn what information the government has collected about you.

We are very accepting of any speakers, performers, or booths at the event of any political persuasion, provided they are relevant to these fourth amendment issues.