MAGA Mission a Failure

In 2015, Donald Trump announced he was going to Make America Great Again. In his speech at Trump Tower, The Donald outlined his plan. Here it is:

Below is Donald Trump’s formula — 19 points in all — to make America great again, as culled from his Tuesday remarks.

  • Sell junk to Saudi Arabia, since the goods we send them are blown up anyway;
  • Repeal Obamacare “and replace it with something that benefits everybody”;
  • “Turn off that spigot” of sending money to China (in the form of debt payments) by taxing them “until they behave properly”;
  • Renegotiate our foreign trade deals;
  • Call up the head of the Ford Motor Company and tell them they are going to be taxed at 35 percent for every car coming from Mexico until they decide to nix their plant in Mexico City;
  • End President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration;
  • End border crossings from Mexico because some of those border-crossers are “rapists”;
  • To do that, build a “great, great wall” on the U.S.-Mexico border;
  • Have Mexico pay for that wall;
  • Don’t appoint a secretary of state who rides bikes and breaks his leg;
  • Avoid riding bikes himself;
  • Work hard on the Islamic State problem;
  • Stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons;
  • Find the General Patton or General MacArthur from within the U.S. armed forces to “make it really work” in the Middle East;
  • Rebuild the country’s infrastructure — “nobody can do that like me”;
  • Create jobs — “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created”;
  • Save Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security “without cuts”;
  • Protect the Second Amendment;
  • Take the brand of the United States “and make it great again.”

I conclude the MAGA Mission has failed. But let’s give this President his due. He did accomplish items # 4, 10, and 11 but I think it isn’t enough to compensate for the other items he failed to accomplish.

Perhaps his slogan in 202o should be MAMA.

Make America Mediocre Again.

He seems to be doing quite well at that.

StayAtHome: Emails with Wisconsin Rep

Four weeks ago I sent my State Representative and my State Senator an email protesting the extension of the Wisconsin StayatHome Order. My State Representative is a good man whom I’ve met several times and he replied promptly. I haven’t yet heard from my State Senator.

The next few postings are about the content of those emails.

Email #1:

With respect, Representative XXXXX
Why is Wisconsin shuttering ALL of its citizens for another month?
One size does not fit all. What is good for Milwaukee County (with a population density of 3,800 people per square mile) does not work for Barron County (with a population density of 52 people per square mile).
If you live in Barron County, you are already shuttered in place.
Can we get a break, please?  After four months of an invasive pathogen, our county has had 6 cases of confirmed COVID-19. Zero deaths. We have already flattened the curve by living here.
Look, we have to learn how to live with this disease. It will be around for three more years minimum. Here’s what should be talked about:
a) Counties with less than 100 people per square mile and a low infection and death rate should have a much more open lifestyle. The more people per square mile, the more restrictions should be in place.
b) every building the public enters should have a sanitation station and signage that says all who enter must sanitize. Same as when they leave.
c) every building the public enters should have a posted “public area sanitation plan” for people entering to decide if that plan is sufficient for their safety.
d) Face masks should be required by anyone, everyone, within 50 feet of a building that the public enters. If you are in the woods or parks or outdoors jogging, no face masks are required if you are with family members. If you are in the same places with strangers, then face masks are required.
e) If a person wears a mask and gloves, no social distancing requirements are required but they are encouraged.
f)  Protect all nursing homes and places where healthcare workers are present. Everyone wears PPE ( gloves, masks, disposable garbs), a sanitation plan is posted, a screening process is utilized for those who wish to enter.
g) Workplaces: sanitation plans are required. Masks and gloves and sanitizing stations available for employees and may be required PPE by management.
h) Counties with more than 500 people per square mile and a high infection rate should have shuttered-in policies for non-work hours. Counties with more than a thousand people per square mile should have 24-hour shuttered-in policies.
i) Meetings and gatherings of non-family and non-colleagues: Sanitization stations, sanitization plans, masks, gloves, and in some cases garb.
j) Neighbors and children playtime: Give some guidance on this, please. Sticky kids (snotty, dripping, drooling, leaking) cannot play outside. All kids come in and change clothes and wash up before roaming the house. Home sanitization plans make a lot of sense. Why not develop them?
The issue isn’t to prevent any possible case of spreading the virus, the issue is to reduce the likelihood of spreading the disease while living a normal lifestyle.
Tell the rest of the legislature to start treating people like adults. Give us the plan, give us alternatives, and get the heck out of the way so we can live our lives in peace and freedom.
Protect the elderly and the immune-compromised. Why is that so hard to do?
Let’s get people back to a somewhat normal lifestyle. You and your legislative friends can move mountains, can you also make some plans to live with this disease until there is a cure and a vaccine?

Who thinks for the President?

Who is the President’s brain?  Is it Jared Kushner? Senior advisor to the President?

It is prima facie this President is no genius. So then who is the architect that is making these maneuvers to align EVERY POSSIBLE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OFFICIAL as a Trump loyalist?

Does this President fear all independent thinkers?

Is this all Jared Kushner? Will he overthrow the President at the right time this year and take over the United States government in a previously-unthinkable coup?

So all of a sudden with less than 7 months to an election, the President tosses out all inspector generals to put his own minions into place.

Is the President merely the circus barker who gets everyone’s attention while the carny operators prepare to fleece the public at large?

Atkinson’s firing is part of a larger shakeup in the intelligence community. Maguire, the former acting Director of National Intelligence, was also removed by Trump and replaced by a Trump loyalist, Richard Grenell.

The intelligence community, which Trump has always viewed with skepticism, has been in turmoil amid the constant turnover. Atkinson is at least the seventh intelligence official to be fired, ousted or moved aside since last summer.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which was created to improve coordination of the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies after 9/11, has been in upheaval since former director Dan Coats, who had a fraught relationship with Trump, announced in July 2019 that he was stepping down.

Trump nominated Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, to replace Coats, but his selection drew sharp criticism from Democrats and a lukewarm response from some Republicans because of his lack of experience.

Trump withdrew Ratcliffe’s name from consideration shortly after he was nominated, but then re-nominated him again in February. The Senate has yet to move on the nomination.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-fires-intelligence-watchdog-who-had-key-role-in-ukraine-complaint/ar-BB129a2a?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=mailsignout

And Jared Kushner said this recently:

Kushner on Thursday evening offered a novel argument about the national stockpile. He said some states still had stockpiles that they hadn’t been employing for the coronavirus outbreak and that localities should go to them first. And then he suggested that the national stockpile wasn’t even meant for them.

“And the notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile,” Kushner said. “It’s not supposed to be the states’ stockpiles that they then use.”

When the federal government says the stockpile is THEIR’s and not OUR’s. They have broken the bond with the State’s and the People they represent.

 

 

 

Texas Draws a Line…

Currently here’s the governors order for Texas – Air-travel from Coronavirus hot spots is also targeted by a new Texas executive order. Passengers landing in Texas from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Louisiana, and Washington will be required to participate in a 2-week quarantine. Also included, flights from the cities of Chicago, Miami, Detroit, and Atlanta.

How’s that going to work? Good question.

Troopers encountering out-of-state license plates (or other un-Texas indicators) may stop and inform passengers/people they must self-quarantine for fourteen days. The troopers are collecting the addresses of where people will quarantine and troopers may stop in to check up to ensure they are in quarantine.

There will be more of this going forward. Travel across the US might become uncomfortable as a patch work of state laws may inhibit the freedom to travel.

This will become very complex in state border cities like Kansas City, Cincinnati, and others in which you work in one state and live in another.

Welcome to Zero Tolerance for travelers, too!

 

 

Zero-Tolerance Fraternization

 

I knew it would happen. Instead of flattening the curve, government officials are trying to stomp out COVID-19 altogether through isolation…come hell or high water.

In addition to being charged with violating a recent executive order barring such gatherings, the Kaufmans were also each hit with a half-dozen child endangerment counts since the couple’s six minor children were at the party.

Among the eight other adults charged with violating the emergency declaration was Michael Zimmerman, a 99-year-old resident of Lakewood, a south Jersey township.

Seriously? Child endangerment? And a 99-year-old man? What evidence is there that the children were in danger? Did the adults knowingly bring a person infected with COVID-19 into their home for a party?

And this is where ReasonableCitizens lose faith in the law and law enforcement. Laws are put in place to do one thing, and then they are used to do something else. The shutter-in laws were intended to flatten the curve. Now they are used to threaten families with child endangerment charges and arrest old men because they met with their family. What a mess!

Perhaps the police could have broken up the party and sent everyone home. Maybe the cops could have said everyone is under self-quarantine for two weeks. But no. Show a policeman a broken law, and he will deliver charges without regard for the circumstances.

The law was written to prevent large groups of strangers from gathering together in public or private. It was written to REDUCE the spread of the virus through public gatherings. But now it is applied to families who gather in the privacy of their homes.

The law is now interpreted to mean there will be ZERO tolerance of fraternization under any circumstances.

What hath WHO wrought?

What hath your overzealous government wrought?

What hath your law enforcement protocols wrought?

State of Wisconsin seeks more election control

The movement by professional politicians to control local elections continues its trajectory to perhaps destroy Democracy as we know it.

Both professional political parties have staked out their long term strategies to minimize surprises in elections. For Republicans, this means minimizing the get-out-the-vote efforts that favor Democrats and for Democrats it means resisting any and all efforts to challenge or restrict their voting block.

Just as gerrymandering controls ‘areas’ of voters, this new control over absentee voting limits the hours available to types of voters to cast ballots. What types? The ones that can be motivated just a few weeks before elections to shift the gerrymandered vote to the other side. It also impacts the nursing home voter, the hospitalized voter, those without transportation, and those with unusual work schedules.

Here is one description of how this affects towns in Wisconsin. In case you don’t know, many towns have part-time Town Clerks.It is their responsibility to conduct the voting process. While the law applies to Towns, Villages, and Cities, it is towns with part-time Town Clerks that have this special problem.

Not the best news to report. Apparently, there has been a change in the law and we will no longer be allowed to just list “by appointment” for our part time clerks in the Type E Absentee notice. I’m waiting on specific guidelines from GAB as to if there is a minimum number of hours that have to be listed and any other requirements. Just want to give you heads up. This won’t be an issue for those of you who already list your hours but it does affect the rest of you. You might want to talk with your colleagues to get their take on this…

  Here are some of the options that were listed by Diane at GAB:

  • Allow absentee voting during all office hours
  • Allow absentee voting during specified hours
  • Allow absentee voting during specified hours and by appointment at other times
  • Allow absentee voting by appointment during specified hours

  Here is the statute:

6.86 Methods for Obtaining an Absentee Ballot:

(1) (b) Except as provided in this section, if application is made by mail, the application shall be received no later than 5 p.m. on the 5th day immediately preceding the election. If application is made in person, the application shall be made no earlier than the opening of business on the 3rd Monday preceding the election and no later than 7 p.m. on the Friday preceding the election. No application may be received on a legal holiday. An application made in person may only be received Monday to Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. each day. A municipality shall specify the hours in the notice under s. 10.01 (2) (e) (which is the Type E Notice).

  In sum, one way or another, you’ll have to lock yourself down on the hours that you’ll be conducting in-person absentee voting, or making appointments, and stick to them, and it must take place during the 10 day in-person absentee voting period sometime between Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., and no more than 45 hours a week.

Towns with part-time Town Clerks had great flexibility to meet a voter at the Town Hall on a weekend or any time that both could agree to be there and take care of this absentee voting. This appears to be gone now. It also appears that Town Clerks that have full time jobs plus part-time Town Clerk responsibilities will be most impacted by this set of changes.

(The Type E notice is for absentee voting. See here.)

Residents who planned to vote before they left town for a month or a week may find themselves limited in their use of the absentee ballot.

In summary, more local controls where none are needed. Another milestone in limiting voting to certain types of voters.

Removing local control over the siting of cell towers

Goodbye local control over the siting of cell towers in Wisconsin.State statute 66.04040 removes all vestiges of town or municipality control unless the political unit of government has zoning authority. This removes almost all towns and some villages from local control over the siting of cell towers. It vests some authority to the county but limits that authority severely.

Ok, so why is this happening? Why is the Wisconsin state legislature removing local control over so many items?

#1. The frac sand industry took a shellacking when the travails of the Town of Cooks Valley with the frac sand industry became public knowledge. Using blogs and the Wisconsin Town’s Association as megaphones, the word quickly spread to town officials that if you want to control your destiny, you better adopt ordinances to control the industry before it comes to your town. Numerous towns enacted protective ordinances modeled after Cooks Valley’s to ensure they did not lose air, water, or lifestyle quality in their towns. The frac sand industry sought to fight the issue in court and the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled with the towns and against the industry.

#2 It is so much harder to get the Supreme Court to invalidate laws than anything else so crafty industry professionals began lobbying legislators  to enact legislation that removed town authority and placed authority in state laws. When state laws pre-empt local towns from taking any direct action against the industry companies, it forces towns to sue the state government if towns want any power at all. The advantage to industry is that state authority and legislators are a defense against town action. Good gig if you can get it. And they did.

#3 People want to be let alone but today’s industries terraform the surroundings into inhospitable places to live. From high capacity wells that drop the local water table to farmland run-off that causes a loss of aquatic plants and an increase in algae blooms, local people are tired of industries creating problems that cannot be solved locally.

#4 The transmission of useful information through social media to local officials means that industries no longer have years to operate with invisible/hidden tactics that take advantage of small town officials who once were not aware what was happening 100 miles away.

So the cell tower industry chose to pre-empt local control and establish state authority for the application and siting of cell towers. A smart move on their part to limit the ability of local authority to do anything about it.

2. If a political subdivision has in effect on July 2, 2013, an ordinance that applies to a class 2 collocation and the ordinance is inconsistent with this section, the ordinance does not apply to, and may not be enforced against, the class 2 collocation.

3. A political subdivision may regulate a class 2 collocation only as provided in this section.
4. A class 2 collocation is subject to the same requirements for the issuance of a building permit to which any other type of commercial development or land use development is subject.
The passage above from 66.0404 says precisely what it means: 1. If a local town already has an ordinance , this law negates that ordinance. 2. The local town is not permitted to get creative in how it controls the siting of cell towers, its power is limited to what the statute specifically gives it.  3. Local officials cannot create a new requirement for cell tower ‘permit applications’ different than any other commercial development or land use permit applications.
Sneaky law. It snubs local authority like a red-headed step child.
Too late to do anything about this attack on local control. Barron County’s cell tower ordinance has been killed by 66.0404 and the only thing that Barron County can do now is write a pablum-oriented ordinance in compliance with state law.
Forget the fights about abortion and immigration, our liberty is at stake. I have said many times that local control is being usurped by the feds and by the state. At the federal level, we are the Federal States of America instead of the United States of America. At the local level, we are simply becoming vassal political units with the responsibility to carry out state mandates and no authority to create ones ourselves.This loss of freedom and liberty to choose for ourselves is what makes the current state of affairs so heinous.
The Freedom to Choose is the foundation of liberty. Controlling the list of what we can choose from is tyranny and oppression.
We are up the river without a paddle if this momentum to remove local authority continues.
When the feds centralize power over the state and the state centralizes power over municipalities, nothing good can come from it.

 

Transgender School Laws make little sense to me

SAN FRANCISCO — With a law that spells out the rights of transgender students in grades K-12 set to take effect in California, school districts are reviewing locker room layouts, scheduling sensitivity training for coaches, assessing who will sleep where during overnight field trips and reconsidering senior portrait dress codes.

A law that spells out the rights of transgender children is simply silly. The State of California pays to educate its children throughout the public school system and they don’t have a law governing the rights of other children. They simply make state education money contingent upon meeting the criteria they have set in place. No special laws are needed for transgender children.

This law appears to be aimed at the private education sector and not the public sector. But that isn’t what really bothers me. What gets under my skin is that it is preferential to an infinitely small portion of the population. It is a specialty law and not one for the general good.

Look at the above mess that school systems have to go thru to ensure compliance for the 2% that may be (and I stress ‘may be’) transgender individuals.

Sadly, we no longer legislate for the common good or the public-at-large. Our government is now working to ensure that every individual is not a victim of the system regardless of his/her condition. This is just plain wrong.

What should have happened here is for a local school system to be allowed to determine how to educate its students and under what conditions. They can choose to make exceptions if they wish.  But instead ‘Oppressors’ seek to make it difficult for everyone else in order to accommodate the needs of 2% of the population. Oppression by the minority is becoming a national phenomenon.

Life is difficult for everyone at any age, any sex, any race. But if this trend of unequal rights continues, everyone will have special rights because everyone is different. There is a reason that governments do things for the common good. No government (or any laws)  can possibly be fair to everyone under all conditions. Imagine trying to control the weather so that everyone has the precise temperature that  makes them comfortable, has the right amount of rain or snow, and in which the weather does not offend the plans of anyone. That is impossible. God makes the rain to fall on all people and He does not do it equally. A government of the people is not a government of the individual. It is a government of the aggregate and not the specific person.

Sadly, we write laws now for exceptions, minorities, the unusual, the weird and not for the common good any longer.

The possibility that the law could be overturned worries XXXXX, 16, a junior at Manteca High School in the San Joaquin Valley. Born a girl, XXXX told his parents and school administrators his sophomore year that he was transgender.

But he said school officials balked when he asked to be transferred from an all-girls aerobics class to a team sports class for boys. “They didn’t understand the seriousness of the issue I was dealing with,” he said. “They treated it like a normal thing, like I didn’t like the class or was bored with the teacher.”

‘Balked’ is now worthy of a law. Me. Me. Me. ‘I am different than them and they should adjust to me. I don’t need to adjust to them because I am me and I only want to play with boys.’  Yeah, you have it tough because you are different but that is not a reason to impose yourself on everyone else. What if the team does not want you? Would you force them to choose between playing sports with you and not playing at all?

For the record, I don’t care what sex any person perceives themselves to be. I do care that the 98% of the people are not hobbled by the pursuit of equality outcomes for  2% of the population.

Perhaps in some theoretical sense the world ought to change itself and offer two-tier systems of sports performance. Instead of the traditional male-female performance denominations  there can be the ‘greater ability’ sports contests and ‘lesser ability’ sports contests and any gender can play either league if they meet the criteria. But then what do we do with the men who only want to play with men and the women who only want to play with women? Or the one man who only wants to play with all women or the one woman who wants to play only with men? How will government ever deal with all the variations? What will the do-gooders do in those cases?

I was never an athlete. Poor hand-eye coordination, poor reflexes, average height, and overweight. I never had the ability or skills to compete with others in organized sports. So now when I hear that someone with an athletic ability is choosy about which gender they play with, I see it as arrogance. Thank the Lord for the gift you have and worry less about how you show it off.

Perhaps all sports should, by law, be handicapped like bowling. Then we mediocre people can play and have an equality of outcome, too. So if I am on the team, we are spotted perhaps two TDs or 15 baskets or 4 goals. Now isn’t that the silliest thing ever? I think so.

Governments should not be concerned about equality of outcome but equality  to participate.

I see no value in twisting the public and private school system to fit the 2%. Do you?

WI Legislature: Damn the Citizens! Full Speed Ahead!

It is not enough to take away local control and invest it all in the State of Wisconsin (SOW). Now the WI legislature desires to place limitations on public input and debate about legislation in process.

This is, apparently, Governor Walker’s America: control by the State, influence by lobbyists, and legislation by corporate accord. Damn the Citizens! Full Speed Ahead!

Kathleen Vinehout comments on Changes in Committee Workings Public Input.

I hope she does not mind that I excerpt almost all of what she wrote:

Committees are the doers of the Legislature. The process is designed to be slow and deliberative and to encourage public input. However, speed and secrecy are increasingly being used to limit public involvement and careful legislative deliberation.

Public hearings are one place where people can make an impact on a developing new law. By testifying at a hearing, a person can directly provide input. Those who cannot travel to the Capitol can send emails or letters to members of a committee and request changes in legislation.

In recent years, small but significant changes are taking place in the workings of committees that limit public involvement — changes like shortening the length of notice before a public hearing; providing a public notice of one version of a bill and then offering a complete rewrite shortly before the public hearing; limiting speaking time for those testifying; limiting questions from committee members; allowing “invited testimony only” in a public hearing; or voting on a bill immediately following the public testimony.

All of these actions have been used for decades. But it is the increasing frequency with which they are used that concerns many of my constituents.

Committee chairs have extraordinary power. They set rules by which public hearings are held. They decide whether and when to hold a hearing, whether the hearing receives enough public notice for widespread citizen involvement, and who, if any, invited speakers might testify. During the hearing the chair determines the order of speakers and whether to limit speakers’ time testifying.

Following the public hearing, the committee chair decides if and when committee members will vote on the bill. Usually the process involves consultation with members. Discussion following a public hearing can involve conversation about new information made public during the hearing. When a substantial rewrite of the bill appears necessary, the committee chair sometimes convenes a working group to work through bill changes.

Thus correct language for new legislation emerges from a careful process of give and take. Members and the public have adequate time to prepare and concerns are addressed. This process is slow — so slow it sometimes involves several legislative sessions.

Speed and secrecy will kill public input. And changes in the actions of committee chairs can, over time, create a Legislature that listens primarily to the input of lobbyists, paid to represent the interest of their clients. Those voices without paid lobbyists are increasingly not heard, their concerns not addressed.

…….more

For example, a recent public hearing was held in the Senate mining committee on a bill to limit local people’s voices in sand mine operations. Many traveled by bus from western Wisconsin to testify. The first six hours of the testimony focused primarily on the concerns of those who benefited from the legislation — none of whom lived near a mine. The committee chair finally got to calling the majority of those opposed to the legislation very late in the afternoon — after the bus had to leave taking many opposed to the bill back home.

These unfortunate scenarios are increasingly common in the state Capitol. When citizens take the time to journey to a public hearing and are not able to testify, they rightly feel left out of the process. It’s easy then to give up.

Now Madison, WI wants citizens to buy sanitary insurance!

The trend to require citizens to buy insurance is growing!

The city of Madison is suggesting property owners buy a $70-per-year insurance policy to help pay for sanitary sewer line repairs on private property.

In the past, city engineering crews repaired the portion of a sanitary sewer located in the public right-of-way at the request of the property owner. But state government decided to prevent local government from performing any construction work for which a private person is financially responsible.

Never mind if local officials had been providing the repair program for years. The Legislature and governor apparently considered it to be bad public policy. It’s a good deal for contractors and the insurance company selected by city officials.

It’s the latest example of growing loss of local control. The ban on local government employees doing any work on private property didn’t attract much attention at passage. But the sewer letter from city officials to home owners has people shaking their heads.

The State of Wisconsin is getting mighty uppity with the usurpation of local control.

Let’s list them:

1. The State of Wisconsin (SOW) now prevents local communities from having residency requirements. Firemen, policemen, and other first responders no longer have to live in the local area. This means that in local disasters, first responders and not local any more.

2. Local control over cell phone tower installations was usurped by SOW. I guess the State feels the need to tell the town or suburb what to do.

3. “Legislation was also enacted to restrict the power of local government to regulate landlords and real-estate brokers. Another tells local government how to assess the property value of billboards.”

4. Local control over absentee voting has been removed.

5. The pending mining bills seek to take local control away from towns and villages and give it all to the state.

The SOW under Governor Scott Walker seeks to consolidate power at the state level wherever they can get away with it.

Think global and vote local this year. Your independence may be dependent upon your vote.