Here in Whitewater, part of the gerrymandered Fifth Congressional District, we have for a congressman a septuagenarian multi-millionaire (Sensenbrenner) who votes with Trump, and his most-likely successor is a state senator (Fitzgerald) who sings a Trump train song.
Men who tried all day to be embarrassments wouldn’t be able to match Sensenbrenner’s and Fitzgerald’s natural tendencies in that regard.
By contrast, in Virginia, the voters of that state’s Second Congressional District can be proud of their representative, Elaine Luria, a former officer in the United States Navy.
Why would one say this?
One says this because Rep. Luria’s plain statement about her oath of office, by itself, sets her apart from our own disappointing representative and his even worse, but probable, successor.
Here’s how Schultz’s story begins – a single-sentence first paragraph:
An 18-year-old Janesville man is accused of second-degree sexual assault after a woman said she was assaulted after a night of excessive drinking.
From the headline and first paragraph, and onward for 4 more short paragraphs, this story shifts the emphasis to alcohol’s role in this sexual assault (Paragraph 2: “after drinking to the point of vomiting”; Paragraph 3: defendant “offered to let her stay at his place so she wouldn’t drive in her condition”; Paragraph 4: “she passed out on the bed”; Paragraph 5: the victim “woke up to Dyer assaulting her, but she could not speak, see or move because she was so drunk”).
No and no again: the story mightily and falsely shifts the focus to over-drinking rather than violence inflicted without consent. Whether this victim drank or didn’t, dressed one way or another, wore makeup of one kind or another, etc., it does not matter: whether she gave consent is all that matters, and all that should and must matter in a morally well-ordered society.
The reporter goes on to write that according to the criminal complaint the alleged assailant “eventually admitted the assault, saying it dawned on him while he was doing it that it was wrong.”
The reporter, Frank Schultz, elsewhere fancies himself an amateur etymologist of sorts – he touts skill with language by describing himself as a ‘Word Badger.’ It’s notable that his story has not a single direct quotation of its own – I’m quoting this story, but it has no quotations marks – every word this reporter writes is attributed directly only to the reporter. Schultz, himself, chose each and every word.
This story did not have to be written this way – it was written this way. This story did not have to be edited this way (if it should have been edited at all) – it was edited this way.
An emphasis on the victim’s intoxication and not on the alleged assailant’s lack of consent runs through this shabby effort. It’s a veteran reporter and a veteran editor who are culpable here: neither reporter Frank Schultz nor editor Sid Schwartz is young.
Their word choice is, it turns out, a prelude of sorts for mine: the story is reprehensible, as it is deserving of rebuke.
Gov. Tony Evers has rehired his former agriculture secretary less than a week after Senate Republicans voted to fire him.
Brad Pfaff has been hired as the state Department of Administration’s director of business and rural development after being ousted last week by Republican lawmakers following a series of clashes over state funding for farmers’ mental health services.
A spokeswoman for Evers did not immediately say whether the position was created for Pfaff.
The Republicans’ vote to remove Pfaff marked the first time the Senate ousted a cabinet secretary in decades, and possibly ever. Evers’ called the move “absolute bullshit.”
Republicans defended their vote to reject Pfaff by arguing manure storage rules Pfaff has been developing would hurt struggling farmers amid one of the worst downturns for the dairy industry.
But Evers said the lawmakers were punishing Pfaff for sticking up for farmers and publicly criticizing Republicans who control the Legislature for holding back suicide prevention funds.
MADISON, Wis. — The governor of Wisconsin called a special session last week to debate gun legislation. It resulted in exactly zero new laws, and it lasted less than a minute.
Such is life these days in Wisconsin, a state that for much of the last decade was a laboratory for some of the nation’s most conservative policymaking and a hotbed of partisan fervor, but where pretty much everything has now slowed to a crawl.
Acrimonious deadlocks have become the new normal in Wisconsin, one of three Midwestern states where Democrats ended full Republican control last year by flipping governorships. Gov. Tony Evers’s defeat of Scott Walker, whose success at pushing Wisconsin sharply to the right prompted a brief presidential bid, has given Democrats a new foothold this year in a region where they had been mostly sidelined. Yet with attention turning to the presidential election, in which Wisconsin voters are seen as playing a decisive role, divided power has given way to frustrated impasse, with little chance for either party to hold up state policymaking as the showcase it once was here.
It’s Veterans Day: “A Congressional Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made November 11 in each year a legal holiday: “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”
During the 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump made an aggressive promise on federal finances: He would eliminate the budget deficit within eight years. Now, three years into his presidency, the deficit is 68 percent higher than when he started.
Trump inherited a deficit of $585 billion when he took office in January 2017. That was 58 percent lower than the $1.4 trillion former President Barack Obama inherited in 2009 following the financial crisis, a number his administration slashed over two terms.
According to the latest Congressional Budget Office data released on Monday, the full-year deficit for 2019 is estimated to come in at $984 billion, just shy of the $1 trillion that many analysts were expecting. In 2018 the figure was $779 billion and in 2017 it was $665 billion.
“Relative to the size of the economy, the deficit—at an estimated 4.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)—was the highest since 2012, and 2019 was the fourth consecutive year in which the deficit increased as a percentage of GDP,” the CBO said in its report.
“He’s got no hope of eliminating the deficit,” Danny Blanchflower, professor of economics at Dartmouth College and a former monetary policymaker at the Bank of England, told Newsweek.
Paul said Trump’s confrontation rights under the Sixth Amendment supersede any laws Congress has passed to protect whistleblowers. But the two things aren’t really in conflict, and the Sixth Amendment doesn’t apply to impeachment in any case.
The Sixth Amendment includes bedrock constitutional protections: the rights to counsel, to call witnesses, to confront accusers and to a speedy public trial with an impartial jury. The text of the amendment starts by limiting those rights to defendants facing “criminal prosecutions.”
Impeachment is a different process that turns on congressional votes. The maximum penalty is removal from office. Under the Constitution, the House has the sole power of impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachment charges, with a two-thirds majority required for conviction.
(The Pauls – Rand and father Ron – are often described as libertarians, but libertarianism is incompatible with Trumpism, and in the father’s case incompatible with pre-Trump racism. See Libertarians and Ron Paul. In the Pauls, one hoped for more but received less.)
Sunday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of thirty-eight. Sunrise is 6:41 AM and sunset 4:36 PM, for 9h 55m 03s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 96.2% of its visible disk illuminated.
Before the 2016 US presidential election, most Americans had very little sense of Russia’s hacking capabilities and the extent to which its operatives were causing havoc. But the country’s hackers had been quite active and well known in some communities well before, staging a series of increasingly brazen and destructive attacks against regional rivals, including Estonia, Georgia, and Ukraine. Even after 2016, most Americans are probably not aware of the extent to which such Russian operations remain a threat. A devastating cyber attack launched on Ukraine in 2017 ended up infecting business networks around the world and costing billions in damages, crippling hospitals—including in the US.
In his just-released book “Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hackers,” Andy Greenberg of Wired walks readers through the discovery of Sandworm, the name given to the small group of Russian military hackers thought to be behind the high-profile attacks, explaining that they sometimes launched them for the pettiest of reasons.
Through groundbreaking computer restoration technology, Director Peter Jackson creates a moving realistic depiction of World War 1, as never before seen, in restored, vivid colorization and retiming of film frames. Shown in honor of Veterans Day.
Saturday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of forty-three. Sunrise is 6:40 AM and sunset 4:37 PM, for 9h 57m 23s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 91.3% of its visible disk illuminated.
But many took Mr. Schabowski by his word. After West Germany’s main evening news, popular with East Germans who had long stopped trusting their own state-controlled media, effectively declared the wall open, crowds started heading for checkpoints at the Berlin Wall, demanding to cross.
At one of those checkpoints, a Stasi officer who had always been loyal to the regime, was working the night shift. His name was Lt. Col. Harald Jäger. And his order was to turn people away.
As the crowd grew, the colonel repeatedly called his superiors with updates. But no new orders were forthcoming. At some point he listened in to a call with the ministry, where he overheard one senior official questioning his judgment.
“Someone in the ministry asked whether Comrade Jäger was in a position to assess the situation properly or whether he was acting out of fear,” Mr. Jäger recalled years later in an interview with Der Spiegel. “When I heard that, I’d had enough.”
Shortly after, Mr. Jäger defied his superiors and opened the crossing, starting a domino effect that eventually hit all checkpoints in Berlin. By midnight, triumphant easterners had climbed on top of the wall in the heart of the city, popping champagne corks and setting off fireworks in celebration.
Not a single shot was fired. And no Soviet tanks appeared.
That, said Axel Klausmeier, director of the Berlin Wall Foundation, was perhaps the greatest miracle of that night. “It was a peaceful revolution, the first of its kind,” he said. “They were prepared for everything, except candles and prayers.”
Wisconsin is a small state, yet an important one – in these recent years she has played a significant role in the political life of the country. As one would not wish to live other than in Whitewater, so one could not wish for more valuable ground on which to fight the political conflict of our era than in Wisconsin.
This is the political conflict of our time: whether Trumpism will establish a herrenvolk on this continent, stretching from one ocean to another, under a bigoted autocracy that takes for itself while heeding only foreign dictators at the expense of our own people.
Three years ago, this deplorable movement approached power through an electoral college majority despite a three-million vote popular loss. This faction, since assuming power, has inflicted countless injuries, abuses, and lies on the people of a virtuous republic that they are manifestly unworthy to lead.
(This band did not, surely, come to power without years of the slow erosion of basic standards and rights. It’s now obvious that across America boosters who peddled false descriptions & junk solutions during the economic hardship of the Great Recession contributed, knowingly or unknowingly, to the erosion of reason and honesty. They were at first forgettable for their absurdities, later annoying for them, and how having contributed to our present degradation they are politically unforgivable. That’s why, for some who have wondered, a boosterism in Whitewater and elsewhere that once merely irritated must now be confronted relentlessly.)
There are, undoubtedly, losses yet ahead before this conflict is won. There are, undoubtedly, parts of America where victories will come more easily. For it all, there is no better place to be than Whitewater, Wisconsin. Love alone would hold one here; principle alone requires that one contend and fight here.
How fortunate, truly, that these different sentiments support the same effort.
Republicans are road-testing yet another deeply absurd defense of President Trump: They are conceding that, yes, there may have been a quid pro quo, but there’s no proof Trump himself was behind it.
Trump himself suspended the military aid.
Trump personally ordered acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to inform budget officials that the aid that had already been appropriated by Congress was being frozen, officials told The Post.
Trump did this one week before his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which Trump demanded the investigations he wanted, explicitly mentioning Biden and the conspiracy theorythat Ukraine, not Russia, hacked the Democratic emails to set up Russia and Trump.
Giuliani publicly confirmed the whole plot, and that he was acting at Trump’s direction.
Trump froze the aid to Ukraine at a time when Trump lawyer Rudolph Giuliani had already said publicly for months that he was pressuring Ukraine to carry out these investigations. As far back as early May, Giuliani explicitly said he wanted those investigations to target both the conspiracy theory and Biden specifically.
Those texts demonstrate the meaning of [Ambassador to the E.U] Sondland’s confession.
Pence directly delivered the message about suspended aid to Ukraine.
On Sept. 1, the same day Sondland informed a top Zelensky aide that the military aid was conditional, Vice President Pence met with Zelensky.
Zelensky raised the withheld aid with Pence. And as The Post reports, Pence informed Zelensky that the administration was “still looking at” the aid, i.e., it was on hold. Pence also told Zelensky he needed to do more to fight “corruption.”
Foxconn Technology Group wants permission to omit sprinkler protection in part of its factory — the second fire-related code variance the company has sought.
A consultant’s report, prepared for Foxconn’s construction management team and included in a group of planning documents released last week by a state agency, says sprinklers can safely be omitted in the factory’s “stocker” areas if certain recommendations are followed.
Thursday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of twenty-nine. Sunrise is 6:37 AM and sunset 4:39 PM, for 10h 02m 08s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 77.33% of its visible disk illuminated.
Voters in three states chose candidates and policies that could result in expanded access to the ballot, an undoing of Republican gerrymandering efforts, and a fairer voting system.
Democrat Andy Beshear, who was elected governor of Kentucky,pledged during the campaign to issue an executive order restoring voting rights to 140,000 people convicted of nonviolent felonies in the state. Kentucky is one of only three states where people with past felony convictions cannot vote unless the governor restores their rights. As a result, 300,000 Kentucky residents—nine percent of the electorate—have been disenfranchised, including more than one in four African-Americans, the highest black felon disenfranchisement rate in the country.
In Virginia, Democrats won the state legislature, giving them one-party control of the state for the first time in a quarter of a century. Democrats could now pass major voting reforms like early voting, automatic and Election Day registration, and the automatic restoration of voting rights for ex-offenders, along with repealing the state’s restrictive voter ID law. All of these bills have already been introduced by Democrats in the legislature but blocked by Republicans.
Virginia Democrats will also control the drawing of the state’s redistricting mapsin 2021. It remains to be seen whether they will support efforts to create a bipartisan redistricting commission to redraw legislative and US House maps, which passed the legislature this year but must be approved by the legislature again in 2020 and then by the voters in a ballot referendum.
In September, an obscure Twitter account promoting a fringe belief about an anti-Trump cabal within the government tweeted out a hashtag: #FakeWhistleblower.
It was typical for the anonymous account, which traffics in far-right content and a conspiracy theory known as QAnon, some of whose adherents think that satanic pedophiles control the “deep state.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently labeled QAnon a potential domestic terror threat.
Still, that did not stop others, including a Republican congressional candidate, from quickly picking up the hashtag and tweeting it. Within a week, hundreds of QAnon believers and “MAGA” activists had joined in, posting memes and bogus reports to undermine the complaint by a government whistle-blower that President Trump had pressed Ukraine’s leader for dirt on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son.
Of the 2,298 votes cast in the Nov. 5 advisory referendum, 1,218 (53%) voted in favor of dissolution; 1,080 voted against it, according to unofficial results released Tuesday night by the school district.
These residents had a right to have their opinion heard on the issue explicitly (and not implicitly through a failed spending referendum). For it all, they’ve decided poorly: unable to control spending on their local district, they’ve decided they should have no local district at all. They’ll now find their children traveling farther, certainly for high school, to districts that absorb the territory that was once the Palmyra-Eagle School District’s.
These residents should have been able to manage their own public education system without ending local control entirely. They’ve almost certainly made their communities less attractive to homebuyers with children who will shun a community where their children won’t have a locally-controlled school.
Whitewater’s school board recently voted to petition the Wisconsin legislature to allow a three-way consolidation whereby the Whitewater and Mukwonago School Districts would absorb the Palmyra-Eagle School District without the need for a state advisory board to carve the dissolving district up.
That petition was presumptuous – we’ve not had in Whitewater a community discussion about what splitting Palmyra-Eagle with another district will mean. Like all libertarians, I strongly support people moving or going where’d they’d like to go, so if Palmyra-Eagle’s parents want to send their children to Whitewater, we should welcome them (as I surely will). SeeSchool Board, 10.28.19: 3 Points.
It was not, however, our school district’s proper place to petition the legislature for a deal with another district to carve Palmyra-Eagle as they saw fit without significant community consultation in all affected areas. Nothing like that community consultation has happened. We don’t know with confidence what Palmyra-Eagle’s parents want for their children – where they want to go matters as much as what we want.
Palmyra-Eagle’s students won’t feel welcome here if they’re treated as reallocated headcount, for goodness’ sake. In these months ahead, our school board owes our community – and Palmyra-Eagle’s, too – much more than a petition: circumstances call for outreach to residents and parents in both communities. This is as true whether one gains students under consolidation or by assignment under a state advisory board.
One truly hopes that many of the parents in the Palmyra-Eagle School District choose, happily and even excitedly, Whitewater and the Whippet Way. There is no other community in all the world in which I’d rather be; those genuine feelings come from free choice, not compulsion.
Honest persuasion and respectful outreach matter most.
Wednesday in Whitewater will be snowy with a high of thirty-eight. Sunrise is 6:36 AM and sunset 4:40 PM, for 10h 04m 34s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 70.3% of its visible disk illuminated.
Democrats had a good night Tuesday in the off-year elections, picking up both chambers of the Virginia state legislature and apparently the governor seat in Kentucky, although Republican Governor Matt Bevin hasn’t yet conceded. In Mississippi, Republicans held on in the gubernatorial race, but by a relatively slim margin.
Oh yes, the suburbs. Bevin was hurt in suburban Cincinnati (although see a dissenting thread). Democrats also picked up a state legislative seat in suburban St. Louis; won their first three city council seats in Carmel, an Indianapolis suburb; and did better than usual in some Memphis suburbs. That continues a trend from 2018 that should scare Republicans. That said, it’s impossible to know if it will continue or if it’s a Trump-era reaction that will dissipate or reverse once he’s gone.
National effects? The Washington Post’s Robert Costa reports that Senate Republicans were watching Kentucky closely: “not just watching the returns, but President Trump’s political capital as they make decisions about how to handle impeachment and their own future.” How politicians interpret elections is only sometimes scientific, but it always matters, often far more than the objective facts about those elections. Whether they think Trump is an electoral asset or poison at the ballot box will be at least as important to the outcome of impeachment and a Senate trial as actual evidence of malfeasance. I can say one thing: These political professionals are unlikely to be convinced by Trump’s habitual false claims that his intervention in a race moved the polls by massive amounts.
It’s worth noting here one possible reason for that difference. Fox News is the most trusted network among Republicans, according to Suffolk University polling — and Fox News has also been much less likely to cover key witnesses in the impeachment inquiry.
Republicans’ lack of familiarity with the core issues — or professed lack of familiarity — is a theme in Monmouth’s poll.
Most Republicans — a group that, again, opposes the impeachment inquiry — think that what’s been revealed so far shows that Trump either did nothing wrong or did nothing that rises to the level of impeachment.