What becomes of government credibility in the post-lockdown period? There are thousands of politicians in this country for whom this is a chilling question, even a taboo topic.
The reputation of government was already at postwar lows before the lockdowns, with only 17% of the American public saying that they trusted government to do the right thing. That was before the federal government and 43 state governors decided to turn a virus into a pretext for totalitarian closures, lockdowns, travel restrictions, and home quarantines of most people.
The lockdowns and random policy impositions by government will surely contribute to take the confidence number down to rock bottom. Already, loss of confidence has devastated consumer sentiment. No matter how many headlines blame the virus for all the carnage, the reality is all around us: it’s the government’s response that bears the responsibility.
In 2006, the great epidemiologist Donald Henderson warned that if government pursued coercive measures to control a virus, the result would be a “loss of confidence in government to manage the crisis.” The reason is that the measures do not work. Further, the attempt to make them work turns a manageable crisis into a catastrophe.
So much so, in fact, that this might account for why “14 Days to Flatten the Curve” has stretched to five months in which the Bill of Rights has been a dead letter, many are still locked out of their gyms, we can’t go to the movies, and we are forced to dance around each other in public spaces as if every person might be carrying a deadly pathogen.
No society can function this way, not if it desires prosperity and peace.
Why do the lockdowns and restrictions still last? Governments around the country never had an exit strategy. They locked down with no sense of what would be next, either for the policy or for the virus. If infections go down, they credit the lockdowns, in which case they cannot unlock. If infections are still high, that’s also a case for locking down. If the virus isn’t there, that’s yet another case for locking down.
If coercive stringency is the way to control and finally suppress the virus (impossible), there is no exit strategy except for the arrival of a vaccine, which itself doesn’t promise lasting immunity, if we even get a safe one.
We are besotted with these public health authorities and government officials who made a terrible, life-wrecking error. They can’t admit it because the devastation has been so complete. It’s no easier to dial that back than it was for the US government to admit their terrible mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan. They keep having to do the stupid thing – whether keeping troops in for 20 years or maintaining travel restrictions and mask mandates in the present case – in order to pretend as if they were right all along.
It took almost 20 years after the Iraq invasion for the conventional wisdom to emerge that it was a mistake. Surely it will not take that long for people to realize what a disaster governments have made this time around.
So where does the public stand now on lockdowns? It’s not easy to find reliable polls. We do know that 3 in 4 Americans are willing to tell pollsters that the country is headed in the wrong direction. In addition, one poll records about half the public rating the federal government as poor in its response, while state governments don’t do much better, with half the public calling the response fair to poor.
Still, these polls rarely ask the right question. What we want to know is how people feel about having their rights violated. I took a Twitter poll regarding people’s opinions on lockdown skepticism. What percentage of Americans no longer believe in coercive measures of disease suppression? The results were equally divided: 20%, 40%, 60%, and 80%.
We know anecdotally that ever more people are ignoring the limits on gatherings and forced separation measures. The Wall Street Journal’s Allysia Finley went so far as to say that the whole country has become a Speakeasy, with brazen disobedience wherever it is possible.
Meanwhile, I can find no politician in America who backed the lockdown has had the spine to stand up and say: “I was completely wrong. I panicked. I violated your rights. I’m tremendously sorry. I do not deserve to stay in office even one more day. I resign.”
In the long run, governments need to seek the consent of the governed. They can rule through police powers only in the event of panic. It works for a while. But when people start thinking normally again, the scale of what has happened will dawn on people. Then there could be hell to pay.
If the lockdowns really had lasted 14 days only, it would have gone down in American history as a legendary disaster. But five full months of this nonsense? What does that mean for the future? The blowback will be the dominant issue in American life for many years to come. If we ever do get a new crop of leaders who are firmly committed against lockdowns, brought in by a new anti-lockdown movement, they could start serious investigations and hearings. They will be commissions and reports on precisely how all this came to be and why it all lasted so long.
Even so, it could be a generation or two before the credibility of government and public health authority returns. And as Harvard infectious disease professor Martin Kulldorf warns, “When the fog clears, one of the consequences of the pandemic will be public distrust in science and scientists.”
And rightly so. Professor Kulldorf has distinguished himself for his brave anti-lockdown stance. The same cannot be said of many others. Many in his position have weighed in for coercive measures without the slightest concern for what this could mean for regular people and with zero actual knowledge as to whether their recommended plans had any hope for actually working. This is the height of intellectual irresponsibility.
Still, even if ignorant medicine men like Anthony Fauci and his friends spout off for shutting down society, in the end it is governments that bear responsibility for carrying out their recommendations. It is they, and not the scientists, that deserve the brunt of public anger that will be unleashed in the days, months, and years ahead.
In the very early days of the pandemic, Henry Kissinger obliquely warned of this in an article for the Wall Street Journal. “When the Covid-19 pandemic is over,” he wrote on April 3, “many countries’ institutions will be perceived as having failed. Whether this judgment is objectively fair is irrelevant. The reality is the world will never be the same after the coronavirus.”
Let us hope the lesson is imparted. No matter the crisis, government action is destined to make it worse.
Category: Wisconsin politics
A Wisconsin state agency has required employees to wear masks while teleconferencing from home, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
A July 31 email sent to employees by the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reportedly reminded them that Gov. Tony Evers’s (D) mask mandate went into effect the next day.
Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole said in the email that staff has to wear masks in DNR buildings and in virtual meetings, according to the Journal Sentinel.
“Also, wear your mask, even if you are home, to participate in a virtual meeting that involves being seen — such as on Zoom or another video-conferencing platform — by non-DNR staff,” Cole reportedly wrote. “Set the safety example which shows you as a DNR public service employee care about the safety and health of others.”
The governor’s mask order requires face coverings to be worn in indoor public spaces, and does not include residencies.
Health experts say people should wear masks in their homes if they are living with people who are susceptible to serious illness from the coronavirus. But otherwise, they say, there isn’t much need to.
DNR spokesperson Megan Sheridan told McClatchy that the department wanted its employees to set an example for others by displaying their masks.
“By wearing a mask while video conferencing with the general public, we visually remind folks that masking is an important part of navigating the business of natural resources during this tumultuous time,” Sheridan said.
She added that screenshots of virtual meetings could also be “taken out of context” and “could be misinterpreted to suggest that state employees are not properly following” the mandate.
State Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R) told the Journal Sentinel that he thinks most people should wear masks in public but called the DNR’s policy for teleconferences ridiculous.
“I’m more inclined to support things that actually do help as opposed to just putting on an appearance of helping,” he told the newspaper.
The state agency’s guidance comes as several Republican lawmakers in the state are advocating to overturn Evers’s mask mandate.
Maybe DNR employees should wear this mask:
“Social Justice” has devolved into mob justice in Wauwatosa.
On Saturday, a mob of Black Lives Matter protesters “targeted” Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah, venadlized his girlfriend’s home and fired a shotgun at the back door, according to a police report.
“Officer Mensah attempted to establish a dialogue with the group but was ultimately physically assaulted outside his home,” the report states, adding that the group was estimated between 60 and 70 people.
Mensah is on paid administrative leave while investigators look into the officer’s fatal shooting of 17-year-old Alvin Cole. The black teen allegedly fired a handgun at officers at Mayfair Mall during the Feb. 2 shooting.
Mensah has fatally shot three men in five years; the two previous officer-involved shooting cases have been ruled justified, that Mensah acted in self-defense.
Black Lives Matter protesters have made Mensah the face of police brutality and social injustice in suburban Milwaukee, demanding the black police officer be fired and charged with homicide. They’ve received the backing of most on Wauwatosa’s woke city council.
Mensah detailed Saturday’s events on his Facebook page. His description is a harrowing account of mob justice.
“Last night, protesters came to my girlfriend’s house while I was there, and tried to kill me,” he wrote. The officer went on to write:
“I was unarmed and tried to defend my property and the property of my girlfriend. We were both assaulted, punched, and ultimately shot at several times. A shotgun round missed me by inches. Not once did I ever swing back or reciprocate any (of) the hate that was being directed at me. I am all for peaceful protests … even against me, but this was anything but peaceful. They threw toilet paper in her trees, broke her windows, and again, shot at both of us as they were trying to kill me. There are children that live there … The irony in all of this is that they chanted Black Lives Matter the entire time, but had zero regard for any of the black children that live there or me, a black man.
The Wauwatosa Police Department received assistance in disbursing the crowd from numerous neighboring agencies. Police say the investigation into the incident is ongoing.
As city officials continued to placate the mob, area lawmakers demanded an end to criminal violence excused as “peaceful protest.”
“The attack on Wauwatosa Police officer Joseph Mensah cannot be justified. It was not a ‘protest.’It was an attempt to circumvent two ongoing investigations and insert vigilante justice targeting his family, his neighbors, and those that may support him. It was fueled by hate, not legitimate action for change,” state Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine), a former law enforcement agent, said in a press release Monday.
“No one should be targeted for violence and intimidation because of the job they hold – whether they are police officers, teachers, nurses, or referees – anyone.”
State Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) said the mob attack amounted to an assassination attempt on Mensah’s.
“I encourage local, state, and federal authorities to investigate the incident and bring all parties to justice. Arrests should be made of the shooter and all parties that trespassed on private property, witnessed the incident, and fled,” Kooyenga said.
Wauwatosa Police issued a statement Tuesday refuting claims made by Rep. David over the events that took place Saturday outside of Joseph Mensah’s home.
“This includes inaccurate information and allegations contained in an official press release, from a State elected official who was outside of the home while criminal conduct and a shooting occurred,” a police statement released Tuesday said.
The incident in question happened Saturday when Joseph Mensah, a Black Wauwatosa police officer involved in three fatal shootings of people of color over the past five years, was attacked and allegedly shot while at home. Police said a group of 50-60 people showed up at the officer’s home near 100th Street and Vienna Avenue in the Milwaukee suburb around 8 p.m., “targeting” him.
The large group first vandalized the home and then became more violent, Wauwatosa police said in a Sunday’s news release.
“Officer Mensah attempted to establish a dialogue with the group but was ultimately physically assaulted outside his home,” police said in a statement. “As Officer Mensah retreated into his home, armed protesters approached the rear door and a single shotgun round was discharged by a member of the group into the backdoor,” Sunday’s release said.
In Tuesday’s statement, police said what occurred Saturday night was not an organized or peaceful protest. “It was a targeted, planned act of violence against one of our police officers and our community,” the release said.
Police said this is an active, on-going investigation and evidence continues to be gathered regarding the events of August 8th. Investigators are looking through a large amount of high quality, video footage from the scene and are working to identify suspects and vehicles involved in any illegal activity.
“At the point in the investigation probable cause is developed to support the arrests of individuals
involved, arrests will be made regarding this incident,” Tuesday’s statement said.
“The Wauwatosa Police Department will not stand by and allow this type of intimidating, aggressive, dangerous, illegal behavior to occur, especially under the guise of peaceful protests.” Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber said in the statement.
The Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission has called a special meeting for August 14 at 11 a.m. The virtual meeting has no listed agenda yet.
The controversy over what happened has led to elected officials release statements. Wisconsin Rep. David Bowen, stated on Facebook he was there when the incident unfolded.
“What I observed on Saturday outside Officer Mensah’s home was an out-of-control, yelling & aggressive man that came out of his house with the goal to provoke peaceful protestors and incite violence,” Bowen’s statement said.
Bowen said Joseph Mensah “choosing to come out of his house aggressively to provoke these passionate people, many of whom have lost someone they loved, who want to change this broken system is disturbing. None of them displayed any behavior to welcome the provoking threats of violence by Joseph Mensah”.
Bowen called the narrative by Mensah and the Wauwatosa Police Department, “totally inaccurate, irresponsible and false”.
In Bowen’s statement, he said he felt threatened by Mensah’s actions such as “spraying pepper spray into the crowd, yelling and inviting protestors to fight him, taking his big dog out to potentially attack people”.
Bowen stated this was not the first protest in front of leaders’s homes such as Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber, Former Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales, and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett all ended without incident.
“No one tried to kill him or his girlfriend. That’s a lie. No one tried to enter his home. That’s a lie. There weren’t several shots fired. Another lie. No protestor shot at the back door. That’s the biggest lie. Joseph Mensah chose to engage with a protestor, and pulled the trigger on that individual’s firearm,” Bowen’s statement said.
Wauwatosa Police Department posted a response to Bowen’s statement on Facebook.
“The Wauwatosa Police Department has seen Rep. Bowen’s statement, and the facts do not support his comments. The investigation remains open and ongoing. We anticipate releasing more information once it is completed,” the post said.
Mensah posted a Facebook statement on the incident:
“Last night, protesters came to my girlfriend’s house while I was there, and tried to kill me. I was unarmed and tried to defend my property and the property of my girlfriend. We were both assaulted, punched, and ultimately shot at several times. A shotgun round missed me by inches. Not once did I ever swing back or reciprocate any the hate that was being directed at me. I am all for peaceful protests, even against me, but this was anything but peaceful. They threw toilet paper in her trees, broke her windows, and again, shot at both of us as they were trying to kill me. There are children that live there any the knew that. The irony in all of this is that they chanted Black Lives Matter the entire time, but had zero regard for any of the black children that live there or me, a black man.”
Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride released a statement encouraging all members of the community “to reflect on their personal responsibility to engage in responsible and civil behavior.”
“In recent weeks, various groups have protested in Wauwatosa, demanding that Officer Mensah be fired. The City of Wauwatosa has always supported and protected the right to peaceful protest,” McBride said.
McBride said the incident was not a peaceful protest; it was criminal behavior.
The mayor said in his statement he is meeting with Police Chief Barry Weber, the city administrator, the city attorney, and other city officials to determine “which steps can be taken to ensure that Officer Mensah is fully protected and that criminal behavior of this kind will not happen again.”
As a black, conservative activist in southeastern Wisconsin, I am often invited to speak to various groups on how we expand our base, grow the conservative movement, and reach out to communities that do not vote for conservatives in large numbers. I recently spoke about this very topic at a Dane County GOP Pints and Politics. As I told the activists there, the solution is understanding the first rule of politics: showing up. I learned this rule as I got my start in conservative activism.
However, prior to learning the lesson of showing up, I was not someone who was born into conservativism. In fact, I didn’t even personally know a conservative. I graduated from a Milwaukee Public School in 2005, grew up in a liberal city, and had no concept of what a Republican or a conservative was. But you know what? I also had no concept of what a Democrat was, other than that I was supposed to be one because I am young and black – and that is just the way the chips fall.
My first interest in politics arose out of then-President Obama’s reelection efforts, beginning in 2010-2011 after the Tea Party came to power. I was a young student in college with a family, and politics began to interest me. I started watching MSNBC and the late progressive, Ed Schultz, and his nightly cable news show. He, like me at the time, was a champion for President Obama. I even once volunteered for Milwaukee liberal State Senator Lena Taylor. While I was not a member of the Democratic Party, I was certainly a supporter and voted for Democrats. For a brief time, I was also a small donor and helped register voters for President Obama.
My opening to the Republican Party began as I took interest in who the possible opponents were to President Obama, which led me to watch the Republican debates. Those debates included Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and a few other notable Republicans. I watched all of them, and as the debates went on, I took interest in the Republican candidate who went after Republicanism. That candidate was Congressman Ron Paul. He opened my eyes to true conservatism – aggressively cutting spending, cutting and even removing government agencies and departments, an America-first foreign policy, and holding Republicans to account for their failure to do these things when they controlled government – policies similar to those supported by the Freedom Caucus and conservative leaders like Congressman Jim Jordan today.
Ron Paul provided a stark, clear contrast between conservatism and liberalism. After that, I saw few differences between the other Republicans on stage to the Democrat I was supporting. At that point, I jumped on the Paul train and never looked back, leaving my liberal past behind me.
My conversion was happening during the same time of the infamous recall election of then-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. The recall began in November 2011, at the very time I was going through my own political conversion. The only thing that prevented me from signing the recall petition was timing. That is the only reason you will never see my name on the recall petition.
This brings me to why I’m writing this article. The only way for the conservative movement to grow is for people like my former self to hear and be exposed to a conservative message. That requires showing up. But it also requires accepting converts into the conservative movement and supporting converts to conservatism who run for office on a conservative agenda.
I have been watching the Republican Primary in the 3rd Congressional District – a seat Democratic Congressman Ron Kind currently holds. There is a young conservative candidate running, Jessi Ebben, who shares a similar story to mine. Jessi Ebben is a convert to conservatism, and her campaign has been endorsed by rock-solid conservatives in the Freedom Caucus, Congressman Jim Jordan, Debbie Lesko, and others. These are the same conservatives who not only fight against big-government liberalism but big-government Republicanism. The Freedom Caucus has been the greatest supporters of President Trump and has stood by him even when some in the Republican party has been slow to defend the President. I have met many others like Ebben and me. I have learned that converts to conservatism are some of the greatest supporters and defenders of the President and our movement.
Ebben’s story slightly differs from mine. Her conversion to conservatism happened after the recall election, and she signed the recall petition. Like just about everyone, in college, I was just beginning to think critically. And I’m sure the same is true of Ebben. It is foolish and self-sabotaging for Republicans or conservatives to punish people for converting to conservatism, and for signing a recall petition as a young college student – especially when they can eloquently describe why they are a conservative today.
More important, outright rejecting converts to conservatism is a path to building a permanent minority. The only way for the conservative movement to grow and win elections is to accept – and actually seek out converts like me and Jessi. I generally don’t get involved in elections out of my area, and I am not getting involved in this race, other than to say we need to build a young, energetic, conservative movement and not concede the future to progressivism.
I am all for primaries being vigorously contested on the basis of ideas, but the outright rejection and badmouthing of people for views they held before converting to conservatism will only lead us down a path of losing future elections to the likes of Joe Biden, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and the far left.
It’s not enough that public school teachers and the college professors who train them are increasingly prone to teaching leftist absurdities like “2+2=5” or presenting the mendacious 1619 Project as legitimate American history. Teachers unions are now trying to blackmail the entire country into meeting a set of leftist political demands for reopening the schools this fall, using COVID-19 as their excuse.
Of course, the pandemic certainly presents challenges for re-opening schools, but other sectors of society have managed to rise to the occasion over the past several months to keep the country running. Grocery stores clerks, truck drivers, warehouse workers, and of course police, firefighters, doctors, and nurses—all have kept working, sometimes under tough conditions and sometimes at great personal risk.
Then there are teachers unions. More than any other group during this pandemic, teachers unions have shown themselves to be abjectly selfish, hyper-political, and totally intransigent about teaching during the pandemic. They are willing to lie about the science behind COVID-19 transmission and shamelessly stoke fear to advance their partisan agenda. Just about the last thing these unions seem to care about is educating children or helping the country get back on its feet.
On Monday, an alliance of teachers unions and leftist groups in dozens of states staged a “National Day of Resistance,” issuing a series of demands that they say must be met before their members will return to the classroom. What do they want? Rents and mortgages canceled, a “massive infusion of federal money” from “taxing billionaires and Wall Street,” moratoriums on new charter schools and voucher programs and standardized tests, and of course “police-free schools,” among other things.
Some teachers unions have gone a step further. In New York City, one group is demanding teachers not be required to return to school until a minimum of 14 days have passed after any new COVID-19 cases, claiming their lives are at risk if schools open (despite evidence to the contrary in Europe and Asia). During protests Monday, hundreds of NYC teachers marched with handmade coffins and a guillotine, chanting wording to slogans like “children can’t learn if they’re dead.”
Elsewhere in the country, it’s more of the same. In Massachusetts, the state’s second-largest teachers union is demanding remote-only instruction. In Austin, Texas, the teachers union has issued a lengthy list of demands including no in-person instruction until mid-November at least, a guarantee of full pay with no layoffs or furloughs, and all employees having the right to refuse to return to work if they feel unsafe. Earlier this month, a large teachers union in Los Angeles demanded everything listed above as well as things the city’s school district has no power to do, like the passage of Medicare for All, a California wealth tax, a federal bailout of the school district, and defunding the local police.
Beyond these nakedly political demands, many unions want their teachers to get paid for not working. According to a report last week in The New York Times, some unions are trying to limit the amount of time teachers have to spend teaching online each day, all while getting paid in full.
All this amounts to political blackmail. The teachers unions know that millions of parents can’t afford to stay home from work to educate their kids, nor can many afford private school or private tutors. They think they have leverage—and in many places they do, if only because city and state elected officials are unwilling to stand up to them.
What all this presents, for leaders willing to see it, is an opportunity to bust the teachers unions and give power to parents and families. Instead of acceding to the unions’ outrageous demands—many of which have nothing to do with the pandemic and everything to do with politics—elected officials, either at the state or local level, could issue vouchers to families and let them decide how best to educate their children this fall.
Specifically, they could create education savings accounts, which simply give parents a savings account dedicated to their kids’ education. The state deposits the child’s public education dollars into the account and parents can use it for various things like online classes, a private tutor, private school tuition, whatever. Especially during the pandemic, it’s a nimble way to help people fit their child’s education to specific local circumstances.
This idea isn’t new but it does have new urgency given the extortion scheme teacher unions are running. It’s especially important that parents of underprivileged and special-needs students—who have fared the most poorly with remote learning—be given a chance to find in-person instruction for their kids.
Those who claim to care about such students should be forced to choose a side. Do lawmakers care more about appeasing teachers unions or ensuring our kids get an education? We’re about to find out.
Someone I know observed that had Gov. Scott Walker not gotten Act 10 into law, Wisconsin schools already would have been closed and Wisconsin students condemned to an entire school year of ineffective (or worse) online teaching. And yet, given all the Recallarama crap Walker and the GOP went through, arguably they didn’t go far enough, and instead they should have eliminated public employee unions, especially teacher unions.
Vicki McKenna passes on this from retired Milwaukee police detective Steve Spingola:
Metropolitan Milwaukee is a land of makers and doers. At 5:30 a.m., the local interstate freeways are crowded with commuters en route to manufacture, construct, package and ship things. Southeastern Wisconsin is not Madison, Berkeley, Portland or Seattle; yet, anti-police activists have made inroads by bullying, intimidating or taking control of municipal common councils and police civilian review boards. Now, the mob is coming for two exemplary minority law enforcement professionals for simply doing their jobs.
Milwaukee Police Chief Al Morales is the idyllic leader of a big city police department. A life-long resident of Milwaukee, Morales rose through the ranks, making his mark as a homicide detective in one of the most dangerous cities in America. In 2002, a 20-year-old criminal defendant, just found guilty of homicide by a jury, disarmed a bailiff of a firearm in open court. Morales, who chaired the trial with an assistant district attorney, shot and killed the man in what he described as “an out of body experience.”
The major reason Chief Morales is so well respected by the officers he commands is his courage under fire. The son of Mexican immigrants, he has walked-the-walk. In Milwaukee, Al Morales is the one person standing in the way of the mob. Mayor Tom Barrett and leadership are an oxymoron. The Milwaukee Common Council, once a bastion of police support, has come to view the city’s criminal element as an emerging political constituency.
In early June, when a group of protestors attempted to walk onto the high-rise Hoan Bridge, also known as Interstate 794, during rush hour, non-peaceful protestors scuffled with officers. Milwaukee police deployed tear gas to disburse the unlawful assembly. Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, a man who has no law enforcement training, ripped Morales and the MPD’s Major Incident Response Team. In comments to the media, Hamilton said police should consider the motivations of protestors and, then, ignore the laws the so-called peaceful protestors driving on sidewalks, urinating on homes, throwing objects at police, and detonating fireworks, are trampling.
Morales, vis-a-vis his assistant chief, Michael Brunson, took issue with the Common Council’s depiction of events. “We have had five police vehicles struck by gunfire,” Brunson noted, and “forty-three business were looted on the first day alone.”
It was, however, when Chief Morales crossed the politically incorrect Rubicon that his job was suddenly in jeopardy. The day after the Hoan Bridge incident, Morales compared the physical and verbal attacks on his officers to the death of Christ. “Two thousand years ago, an angry mob came before people and said crucify that man…Law enforcement throughout our nation, law enforcement is being crucified.”
The references to God and service became too much for some on the secular progressive left. Milwaukee’s Fire and Police Commission soon issued a list of eleven directives to Morales. If these edicts are not fulfilled, Morales could be removed for insubordination. One of the directives demands Milwaukee police no longer use chemical irritants against protests of any kind. This directive caused several law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin to rescind an offer to provide officers for the mid-August Democratic National Convention.
Ironically, Morales isn’t the only minority officer under fire from those demanding racial justice. Wauwatosa — a suburb just to the west of Milwaukee — has a police department considered the gold standard in Wisconsin. One of the department’s officers, Joseph Mensah, has shot and killed three people of color in the last five years.
The first two shootings were ruled justifiable by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office, as well as the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. In the third shooting, which occurred February, a 17-year-0ld at a shopping mall pointed a gun with a thirty-one round magazine at an officer and discharged a round. Officer Mensah returned fire and killed the shooter. The incident was captured on officers’ body cameras. Yet five months have passed without the district attorney’s office doing what a fifth-grader could do: watch the video and find the shooting justifiable.
And now the mob is coming to crucify Mensah. In mid-July, the Wauwatosa Police and Fire Commission (PFC) suspended Mensah, even though Chief Barry Weber has not filed a single complaint against the officer. Officer Mensah has stated publicly that anti-police agitators have listed the addresses of his family and friends on the Web, and protestors have gathered outside the homes of PFC members.
Even more troubling is the Milwaukee media’s coverage of Mensah, which, on only one occasion prior to Officer Mensah’s suspension, noted that the officer himself is African-American. The anti-police journalists in the local media apparently saw no value in this critical detail. To the mob and its supporters, the narrative of a rogue officer on the lookout to shoot people of color was too powerful to undermine.
Fortunately, Officer Mensah is fighting back. As of this writing, supporters at his GoFundMe page have raised nearly $70,000 for his ensuing legal battle. And Chief Al Morales isn’t going down without a fight, either. Yet, if the mob can bully, threaten and intimidate in a metropolitan area of the makers and doers — the kind of people that make America tick – they will be empowered to use the same tactics across the country.
Ladies and gentlemen — Senate leader Scott Fitzgerald was genius, [Tuesday], as he laid down a marker on school reopening with the Governor.
This was genius and important move.
This came after Tony Evers told reporters he has no secret plan to close the schools …
And that comes — after we republicans and conservatives insisted this could be his next step. And it is. If he can pull it off. Trust me.
Gov. Evers has had WEAC and the five largest teachers’ unions in the state pressuring him for two weeks now- to force all classes on-line in fall. Not just in public schools- which are the schools these putrid unions represent-
But also private and parochial schools. The unions want to keep the schools closed to play cheap political games and help the democrats keep a blanket on the economy….until trump is voted out …
But they also don’t want to risk parents pulling their kids out of public schools and sending them somewhere else — or — or — this is the bigger risk for the unions —
They don’t want a bunch of bad publicity and a PR war as the private and parochial kids go to school as normal in fall and thrive … as none of the kids get sick and the nanny-state worries are debunked.
Imagine if — by election day — if one set of schools was in nearly full operation and the kids were thriving and healthy and back with their friends and teachers…as MPS, Kenosha, and a bunch of the public schools had stayed closed and were still doing half-assed distance learning on line?
What a PR nightmare that would be for our public schools and the local school board members who are pro-union.so that’s what these union leaders are really worried about: if they are going to help out the democrat party and keep the public schools closed-they want assurances that their brand won’t be tarnished any more than it already is.
And so that is why the unions are pressuring Tony Evers to close all schools in fall and Gov. Evers was the state DPI head forever-and owes his entire adult career to the teachers unions.
They even shoveled over half a million dollars into his run for Governor.
And so — of course-Tony Evers is inclined to close down the schools … and i am certain … is planning to. And the issue has now gotten tangled up in his statewide mask mandate … which some Republicans want to repeal … and others don’t.
But as I said Monday — when i laid out both Fitz and Vos’s thinking —
One thing they are unified on is — if Gov. Evers moves to close down the schools via executive order — they will immediately reconvene the legislature and block that move.
This is a given-according to what Fitz and Vos have told me over the last few days. Gov. Evers will not get away with closing all WI schools via executive order and that’s the hill to die on, if it comes to that.
Not the mask order.
So — this had reporters asking Gov. Evers yesterday: do you plan to close down the schools?
To which he replied. Quote … I have no secret plan.
Okay … but that’s not a yes or no answer … to the question.
And so it is important to lay down the marker. As Fitz did. Because Tony Evers has lied to us … or ‘changed his mind’ … numerous times before and on the covid-19 issue alone.
Remember — Gov Evers said he had no plans to implement a state-wide shelter-in-place order … and then … less than a week later, he did it.
Evers said he had no plans to extend that lockdown order and then he did.
Evers said he had no plan to close the schools in spring when covid-19 hit and then he did.
And of course — for weeks — Gov. Evers said he had no plan to issue a statewide mask mandate- right up to the moment that he did it.
So Tony Evers has lied, or at least ‘changed his mind’, several times now. On covid-19 alone.
Evers said he had no authority to postpone the April 7 election. And then he attempted to.
And so — when he trotted out this claim on having no plan to close the schools-it was great that Scott Fitzgerald pushed back. Fitzgerald put out a statement a short while later, saying:
“I appreciate the governor’s statements that support in-person instruction, but actions speak louder than words. Earlier this spring, the governor flip-flopped on whether to issue a stay-at-home order. He flip-flopped on whether to move the April 7th Election,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m fearful that he will cave to pressures from liberal groups and backtrack once again.”
This seems like a minor thing. It’s not.
By issuing that statement, Scott Fitzgerald got statewide coverage and drew all sorts of attention to what the governor said … that it otherwise wouldn’t have received.
It is now — officially noted — that Governor Evers said he wasn’t going to close down Wisconsin’s schools in one fell swoop.
Everyone heard it — or heard about it.
And that is a very good strategic move, given that we know —
We know — the teachers unions have been exerting so much pressure on Tony Evers that he will do their bidding if he has an opening.
One of the arguments against having republicans challenge the mask mandate is — it gives Gov. Evers a way to scapegoat them as he closes down the schools.
The scenario is simple: the GOP forces repeal of the mask mandate … so Evers’ team watches the covid-19 numbers and waits for the next slight uptick between now and Labor Day.
And then says, see? See? Those damn republicans! Their repeal of the mask mandate has led to a new spread and now the governor has no choice but to close the schools. Blame it on them. Evil republicans.
I tell yah — this is what Evers and his evil handlers would wait for if the GOP repeals this mask mandate.
Evers needs the opening. The excuse. To shut down schools. That’s all he needs and the GOP shouldn’t offer themselves up as a convenient one.
In fact — if they allow the mask mandate to stay in place, and then Evers closes schools anyway, yet again, the Republicans will have the high ground.
They will be able to say: look, we let the illegal mask mandate stand, in part, so that we could get the kids safely back to school. But if you are going to close the schools anyway, then we’ll vote to block both items.
That’s how the Republicans should play this.
They already have Evers in a bit of a box when it comes to trying to close down the schools now — but Fitz planted a flag yesterday that everyone in Wisconsin could see:he got Evers ‘on record’ in every newspaper and TV station in Wisconsin: say what now, governor?You promise not to close schools?
Can you say that into the microphone for posterity, sir?
That’s what Fitz’s action was. It makes it far more difficult for Evers to simply ‘change his mind’ in a week or two and order all schools closed in service to his union masters.
And as for this idea that parents are worried about covid-19.
The left wing blogs are pushing this idea that parents are afraid to send their kids to school and the GOP and trump will be harmed by forcing this —
All of these districts are taking parental surveys. And even in MPS, most parents said get my kid back to class. I think it was about a 60/40 mix.
And every poll i have seen out of every suburban district puts it at about 70/30 or better.
West Bend just polled their district.7 in ten parents said they want their kid back in school.
I believe Waukesha’s ratio was about the same.
Hey — in Waunakee — which is near Madison — the school board just reversed itself on an ‘all virtual’ opening after parents complained.
In the school district where I live, 80 percent of parents, who were surveyed twice, want their kids in school buildings.
And as local people of good will agonize over this decision on whether to reopen schools … the top democrats and union heads know the health risks are all bologna.
They know this is all about politics.
Some unions aren’t even really trying to keep it a secret. We have seen the LA, NY, and Chicago teachers unions all play extortion games that have nothing to do with covid-19.
They have reopening demands such as: we won’t reopen schools until the police are defunded. Until charter schools are outlawed. Until low income rents and mortgages are canceled and forgiven.
In Chicago: we won’t go back to class until the history curriculum is scrapped.
Honestly. This is a coordinated effort between the teachers union and Dem state lawmakers: we need to cancel history class because it only teaches about old white men, and their greatness. So … if you want the public school teachers back in class …
It’s extortion and has nothing to do with covid-19. The teachers unions are using covid-19 and our children’s education-as a political weapon.
And few things are more putrid.
This is truly awful, unconscionable stuff, people.
I don’t particularly have confidence in legislative GOP leadership. People have also forgotten that the state Supreme Court decision overturning Safer at Home specifically excluded schools, and indeed school buildings stayed closed through the end of the 2019–20 school year. So I’m not sure if Evers did close schools a reversal is legally likely.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
Whatever was left of an in-person 2020 Democratic National Convention evaporated Wednesday as organizers announced Joe Biden won’t be traveling to Milwaukee to give his presidential acceptance speech.
And neither will any of the other speakers who will address the Aug. 17-20 convention.
With the coronavirus pandemic paralyzing modern politics, Democrats will hold a virtual convention.
Biden will accept the party’s presidential nomination from his home state of Delaware.
Organizers said in a statement that there had been ongoing consultation with public officials and experts. The decision on speakers not traveling to Milwaukee was made “in order to prevent risking the health of our host community as well as the convention’s production teams, security officials, community partners, media and others necessary to orchestrate the event.”
Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said: “From the very beginning of this pandemic, we put the health and safety of the American people first. We followed the science, listened to doctors and public health experts, and we continued making adjustments to our plans in order to protect lives. That’s the kind of steady and responsible leadership America deserves. And that’s the leadership Joe Biden will bring to the White House.”
While the political logic of picking Milwaukee rested heavily on the urgency Democrats faced in winning back Wisconsin in 2020, the Biden decision is one more blow to the idea that this convention could provide an electoral boost specific to Wisconsin.
It also raises the stakes for the fall campaign as both Biden and President Donald Trump are targeting Wisconsin’s electoral votes.
Biden hasn’t campaigned in person in Wisconsin at all this year, although he has made several virtual campaign appearances aimed at voters here. In 2018, he appeared in Wisconsin on behalf of Democratic candidates.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton campaigned here during the primaries but did not make an appearance during the general election.
That doesn’t say much good about this state’s COVID-19 response under Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, does it? It does seem to render moot the question of whether Evers’ mask order will apply to the DNC, though.
As for hidin’ Biden, Michael Goodwin writes:
On Aug. 4, 2016, Clinton led Trump by nearly 7 points in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls. That same metric now has Biden up by 7.4 points.
With apologies to Yogi Berra, if Biden isn’t careful, America could wake up in November with that déjà vu feeling all over again.
Just as military generals prepare to fight the last war, political consultants are prone to repeat the same errors that led to defeat before. The big one here is that Biden can play it safe, stay in his basement bunker, and take the oath next January.
For example, Biden has answered questions from the press just twice this summer, and the media obliged him with softball questions. It is notable that Chris Wallace of Fox News, a notoriously tough interview, recently grilled President Trump on his Sunday show, and then followed with an invitation to Biden that was promptly rejected.
The most fanciful part of the hidin’ Biden fantasies is the newest — that he can skip the debates and still get elected. I don’t see how that works.
For one thing, if there is anything voters, and Trump, can smell, it’s fear. And the mere entertaining of the idea that Biden could break with tradition that goes back nearly half a century and take a pass on face-to-face showdowns with his opponent may masquerade as strategy, but it is a sign of fear, plain and simple.
It is the fear that Biden will be unmasked as mentally unfit to be president. His deficiencies are not a secret to those who know him, and general-election voters have a right to see them clearly before they make their final choice for the presidency.
So far, Biden’s team hasn’t suggested he won’t debate Trump, but it is almost certainly something they have thought about. It’s even possible they have given a silent approval to the media Praetorian Guard floating the trial balloon to see if it flies. As of now, it’s still flying, unmolested by any hostile fire from other top Democrats. Where are Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi? Where is the Democratic National Committee? Where is Barack Obama on this one?
Their silence shows they, too, want to know if the no-show ruse will work. After all, they, too, must suspect that Biden cannot go for three 90-minute encounters with Trump and emerge intact.
Think what that means: It means the Biden campaign and the entire establishment of the Democratic Party are prepared to foist an impaired man into the Oval Office, uncertain that he can fulfill his duties. Trump Derangement Syndrome has done some strange things to people, but this one takes the cake.
In reality, if it became widely understood among independent voters that the insiders wanted Biden to skip the debates because they knew he wasn’t up to them, that would almost certainly lead to a Trump victory. Put it this way: Why would anyone who isn’t mad with Trump hatred vote for an opponent whose most intimate associates know he can’t do the job?
Although the first televised presidential debate is the most famous — the one between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960 — it wasn’t until 1976, when President Gerald Ford met challenger Jimmy Carter, that debates cemented themselves as a fall requirement. For the last two decades, there have been three each cycle, and one more between running mates.
Some have been enormously consequential, but most matter because they establish a baseline test of competence and readiness. With the coronavirus wreaking havoc on this year’s party conventions, the acceptance speeches by Trump and Biden will lose some of their excitement, giving their debates added significance.
If Biden doesn’t show, that will be conclusive proof that he’s not capable of being president.
Megan Fox takes an interesting concept but, as you will read, fails on a few levels:
If you are, like me, stuck in a state where coronavirus restrictions have turned your life upside down, bankrupted your business, and traumatized your kids, and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, you might be considering a big relocation. There are plenty of states that are retaining liberty in spite of the Chinese flu virus that has a 99% recovery rate. If you are considering fleeing your state for a new one, then look into the following five states that scored the highest in a data-collection study by the financial site WalletHub, showing which states have the fewest coronavirus restrictions. (Please note that coronavirus restrictions change daily. It is possible that by the time this is published one or more of these guidelines will have changed so verify before you pick up and move.)
1. South Dakota
Governor Kristi Noem should be on the shortlist for the Republican presidential nomination for 2024. She is an unapologetic supporter of liberty and refused to lock down her state or force people out of business. While schools closed all over the nation, Noem drew the line at locking people in their homes. Instead, the governor left it up to the people to change their patterns or behavior in light of the pandemic. As a result, sporting teams continued to practice add, with extra precautions, restaurants stayed open.
A friend touring South Dakota in July told me that she saw a high school girls’ volleyball team having camp. The state has been a refuge for sports teams looking for somewhere to play. This has had the added benefit of bringing tourism to the area and, unlike other states, South Dakota’s economy has not taken a hit as a result of the decision by Noem to stay open for business. A great article at Aberdeen News describes all the out-of-town sporting events that came to South Dakota as a result of the governor’s policies. The hockey businesses boomed during the lockdown. “We had the only open ice between Chicago and Denver. I’m serious about that,” said Nathan Sanderson, executive director of the South Dakota Retailers Association.
South Dakota also enjoys a low tax structure, ranking number 40 on the scale put together by WalletHub for states, ranked from highest to lowest taxes.
Noem also announced that school will open in the fall. Details of how or with what restrictions, if any, are unknown as of now, but it’s a pretty good bet that there will not be draconian restrictions in light of the way South Dakota has handled the crisis.
South Dakota also is one of the very few states left without a mask mandate. Coronavirus is on the decline in South Dakota. According to the CDC website, it is listed on the lower end of states with outbreaks, having seen only fifteen deaths and around 500 new cases.
Gun laws are few and far between. There is no requirement for licensing for open carry. You are required to have a permit to conceal-carry a handgun, but other than that, the law is constitutional carry. If you can handle cold and snowy winters, South Dakota is the freest state in the nation currently.
Surprisingly, Wisconsin came in at number two on the freest states study. Governor Tony Evers tried to lock down his state, but the state Supreme Court struck his order down and he was unable to issue statewide mandates related to coronavirus. That makes it hard to understand how he got away with issuing a statewide mask mandate late last week with a $200 fine if ignored. If a lawsuit is brought against him he’ll probably lose like he did the last time. The good news for Wisconsin residents is that they have an active Republican opposition that will fight. The Wisconsin State Journal reported:
“It’s disappointing that yet again Governor Evers has chosen to not communicate or work with the Legislature,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said in a statement. “There are certainly constitutional questions here; I would expect legal challenges from citizen groups.”
Wisconsin has the fewest number of bars and restaurants closed, according to the Wallet Hub data analysis. Local health authorities in Wisconsin set the rules, and while some counties are more strict than others, on a statewide level, Wisconsin has more free counties than restricted. They lose points for being a higher tax state, ranking at number 15 on the WalletHub study of American taxes by state.Wisconsin gun laws are the same as South Dakota. There is only a permit requirement for concealing a handgun; everything else is constitutional carry.
Wisconsin is also full of natural beauty, recreation, and many great local breweries and wineries. While winters are cold and snowy, summers are ideal for all kinds of outdoor sports and water activities on the many lakes and rivers. I can personally vouch for the incredible cheese selection there, too. You haven’t lived until you get some Wisconsin fried cheese curds and wash them down with a Spotted Cow brew. Heaven.
Bonus: The waterparks in the Wisconsin Dells are open!
As Fox noted, things change, and indeed after Fox wrote this Evers came up with his statewide mask order, which Republicans have to date failed to challenge in the Legislature or in court. I have a hard time believing that a state should rank highly when its would-be authoritarian governor is prevented from doing what he wants to do (Safer at Home I and II). And Evers’ legal weasel has promised that since Evers has signed another health emergency, aspects of Safer at Home I and II are going to come back.
(For those who wonder, by the way: Had Gov. Scott Walker done the exact same things Evers has done, I would be criticizing Walker more harshly than I have criticized Evers.)
I can think of numerous reasons not to live in Wisconsin beyond that crappy winters. Two are Madison and Milwaukee.
Now back to the countup:
Oklahoma is a favorite state of mine. I have a lot of family there, so it would be an easy move to make with a full support system already built in. Not only that, but this is the first state on the list where the winters are very mild while still having four seasons. Oklahoma summers are no joke. It is very windy and very hot. However, Oklahomans value their freedom above almost everything and the state has managed to keep the restrictions to a minimum.
According to the CDC numbers, Oklahoma is on the low end of coronavirus in death rates per state. They also do not have a statewide mask mandate, and while some cities did institute local ordinances, they will not be enforcing them through citations.
Oklahoma also has elected officials actively fighting unreasonable restrictions and at least one who wants to ban mask mandates that some communities are instituting. News 9 reported:
Republican Senator Nathan Dahm of Tulsa County has already started a petition to gather signatures of people who are opposed to mandatory mask requirements like those we’re seeing here in Oklahoma City. Now, Dahm plans on drafting a law.
Governor Kevin Stitt has not called for a statewide mask mandate, so communities around the state are doing it piecemeal.
Senator Dahm doesn’t believe they have the authority, so Dahm said he has gathered a few thousand signatures of folks opposed to mask mandates, and plans to present them to his colleagues in the state legislature.
Oklahoma schools are planning to open for in-person learning with the option to stay home for children whose parents aren’t comfortable sending them. Oklahomans also enjoy a low tax burden and a ranking of 44, with income and property tax rates below 2%. Housing in Oklahoma is also very inexpensive as many building materials, like bricks, are made there. The cost of living is low and Oklahoma ranks high on the list of inexpensive places to live in the United States.
It’s true that tornados are a real problem in Oklahoma, but storm shelters offer good protection as well as insurance. Oklahoma is the ideal place for storm-chasers as the weather is always active and never boring. Oklahoma also has a booming faith community with many churches of all faiths to choose from. Oklahoma has the best gun laws in the nation: none. Any adult may carry a firearm, loaded or unloaded, for any legitimate purpose openly without a license. There is also no license requirement for concealed carry either. Oklahoma is a kickass place. They also have nightclubs that turn into rodeos and then back into bars. It’s an experience, and Cowboys in Oklahoma City appears to be open. If you happen to be in OKC, don’t miss this. It’s awesome.
Number 4 is Utah. Fox didn’t write about Utah for some reason. Perhaps she was channeling her inner Supertramp:
Iowa is another state that did not issue statewide mask orders and the governor has defended her decision by asking people to voluntarily wear them, saying that she does not have the authority to enforce a mandate. The Gazette reported:
[Gov. Kim] Reynolds has consistently promoted the state public health department guidance that Iowans should wear face masks when they are in public and come within 6 feet of other people. Her administration recently started a public campaign urging Iowans to wear masks, and she reiterated the recommendation during Thursday’s news conference.
But Reynolds has stopped short of issuing a mandate that all Iowans wear face masks in public. She says a mandate would be difficult to enforce and suggested that some states with mask mandates still have seen increases in coronavirus cases.
Reynolds also has overridden schools’ plans to teach online for more than 50% of school instruction, insisting that students go back to the classroom. The AP reported that schools that do not comply with the governor’s plan will be held accountable.
Reynolds said the state has provided options for parents to choose remote learning but that schools aren’t allowed to do so without approval. Schools that choose to move to primarily remote learning without obtaining approval from the state, their remote-learning school days will not count toward their required instructional time, she said.
Iowa loses points for being on the higher tax spectrum, ranking at number 10 with a total tax burden of 9.62%. Gun laws in Iowa are pretty good, only requiring permits for purchasing and concealing handguns. They could repeal those permits to score higher on my list, but their governor, who is demanding that life go back to normal as quickly as possible for the kids, makes up for it.
Iowa HS baseball season ended Saturday night (only state where HS sports have taken place since pandemic)
It wasn’t exactly perfect smooth sailing with Covid but:
– 94% of teams were unaffected
– 96% finished season
– all infections reportedly mild
– fans were allowed all season
– State Champions were crowned in multiple Classes
One more thing:
Sadly, shockingly, Texas does not make the list of places I would move anymore. The left has taken over the major cities in Texas. Invaders from California, bringing their politics with them, have made Texas a place that needs major rehab. Coronavirus restrictions are also quite stringent and Texas ranked as the 46th-worst state for restrictions on freedom in the WalletHub study. That’s hard to believe, isn’t it? We should all consider that winning a presidency without Texas is going to be damn near impossible. So for that reason alone, it might be a place to move if your goal is moving to politically strategic places. But don’t expect an abundance of freedom in Texas. Those days are over.
A Wisconsinite comments for our state:
Vicki McKenna passes on this screenshot: