Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Domestic Terrorism Hits Oak Creek

Part 2 of my report on "A Wisconsin Tragedy"
Monday morning, the day after the horrific assault and mass murder of six Sikhs at their local gurdwara, local and federal law enforcement officials stood shoulder to shoulder at the front of the makeshift press room, normally the Oak Creek municipal court.  Standing at the podium was Teresa Carlson, the FBI Special Agent In-Charge, who headed the murder investigation.
Carlson’s jaw moved but the only noises emanating from her mouth were unintelligible mutterings.  A repeated “Uhm…” was her favorite response to the reporters who challenged her to describe the crime.  
“Was this an act of domestic terrorism?”
Sikh leaders leaned forward in their chairs at the front of the room.
The reporters shouted. “Yesterday you said it was domestic terrorism.”
“Uh,” the Special Agent replied.
“Was it a hate crime?”
Carlson summoned her inner bureaucrat.  “Uhm… I don’t want to get into whether it was a hate crime or domestic terrorism.”
The reporters were relentless. “What is the definition of domestic terrorism?”
She appeared to search her mind as if she had been asked the question by an FBI instructor during academy training.  She obviously was proficient at definitions as she summoned and delivered the answer without hesitation.
“The use of force or violence for social or political gain.”
Having succeeded in delivering a complete sentence, the FBI agent leading the investigation disappeared into the collegial embrace of her fellow law enforcement officials.  
I turned to the Washington Correspondent for “the guardian” with whom I had compared notes prior to the conference.  We had discussed that the Southern Poverty Law Center had been tracking the shooter for over a decade due to his involvement in white supremacy movements and participation in neo-Nazi music acts.
The English reporter and I agreed that the murderer was probably not a disturbed individual acting on the direction of his neighbor’s dog. 
The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, James Santell, stepped to the podium and attempted to rescue his federal law enforcement partner.
For the sake of brevity – not Santell’s strength, I will distill his message to the pertinent quote. “We will focus on the specifics of the event today.”
What kind of message did the US government communicate to the Sikhs, whose congregation’s President and five members were murdered by a known white supremacist, when they backed away from their description of this “event” as domestic terrorism?
What kind of message does it send to all Americans, regardless of religion or race, when the government denies that a mass murder of a minority population, a group which practices a religion which the vast majority of Americans could not begin to describe, is not an act of terrorism?
Especially when the heinous act was committed in this group’s house of worship.   
I looked at the row of Sikh members adjacent to me, many with red-rimmed eyes.  The pleading voice and words of one man from their community, whom I had met at the Milwaukee Cathedral Square vigil the night before, echoed in my head.
“This needs to stop. This needs to stop. This needs to stop.”
Why was the US government backing away from its previous statement that this crime was an act of domestic terrorism?
I pursued this question with Santell after the conference concluded.  The US Attorney reiterated that he would “look at the evidence and build a case before he labeled it.”
But how could the Southern Poverty Law Center have information going back ten years on the shooter, and the federal government, according to FBI Special Agent Carlson, have nothing in their files on him?
Santell said, “Numerous non-governmental groups have information on individuals who pose potential threats - in these groups’ opinions.”  And he said, “This information may not be available to federal agencies.”
How could information on white supremacists be unavailable to the FBI in an era in which The Patriot Act gives the federal government essentially unlimited power to look and listen to anyone, anywhere, and anytime?
Santell conjectured that the feds might have raw data on the shooter, and that perhaps the data had not been analyzed, or that it had been, but perhaps it had been "deemed not actionable.”
Let’s suppose that the federal government did miss this neo-Nazi in the American haystack of white supremacists.  Why was the US Department of Justice cautious today in labeling the crime against the Sikhs an act of domestic terrorism?  
I told Santell that it appeared to more than a few observers that the US government was cautious about applying the terrorism label because it had been a white citizen who had murdered people of color.
The US Attorney nodded his head but did not take the proffered bait. I would be remiss however if I did not state that this Reagan-era appointee had made appropriately inclusive comments in his earlier opening remarks.
He had stated to the Sikhs that “we share in your great sorrow.” He had also stated that “diversity in color, in creed, in religion, in belief” was a part of America.  
But the US Attorney’s opening remarks struck me like the eulogists praise-filled words for a reviled politician.  Everyone knows the speaker is lying from the moment he opens his mouth – but everyone plays along with the charade and smiles politely, focusing their thoughts on the booze-filled wake to follow. 

US Attorney Santell

But I was in no hurry to get anywhere - I didn’t have a noon TV spot to fix my hair for, or an expense account lunch to attend - so I didn’t just record the lawyer’s answers and move on. 
He grinned at me. “You get it,” he said. 
I’m not sure why he thought that I “get it” but he carried on. 
“We can’t tell people around here, in the suburbs, that they have terrorists. They hear terrorist and they think they have Al Queda.”
I was very concerned, not only because Wisconsin’s representative for the US Attorney General thought that I got it, but more importantly, that he believed the American public couldn’t understand that an angry Pillsbury dough boy with a goatee, a semi-automatic weapon, and a love of Adolf Hitler was a terrorist.
Does this man, does this US government, believe that the American people can’t understand that terrorism can be and is homegrown? Or do they prefer to stick to the know-nothing model which tells us that only Muslims are terrorists? 
Heaven, or more appropriately Wall Street, forbid that American citizens are presented with the truth.
The truth is: homegrown hatred kills – and it kills for social and political gain.
If you don’t believe me – ask a Sikh.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Wisconsin Tragedy

The man in the pristine white tunic and turban stood outside the Oak Creek Police department, a Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced building atop a small hill on Milwaukee County’s south side.  It was little more than twenty-four hours after the horrific assault on his gurdwara, the Oak Creek house of worship of his Sikh faith.

In those twenty-six preceding hours he had lost his beloved uncle, Satwant Singh Kaleka, the President of the Sikh temple and motivating force behind its construction, and five other members of his close knit community, all who were considered family, regardless of blood ties. 
The pain and suffering that this man had endured during and after the attack on his sanctuary is beyond comprehension.  How can anyone who has not suffered a like loss understand the confusion in the aftermath of a shooting, the first moment when one learns of death - and the unexpected mourning of family and friends who moments before where preparing for worship in a sanctuary – a place of safety.  
Instead they found themselves evacuated by police tactical units to a bowling alley across the street.
And then a short night before he was summoned to countless rounds of interviews on the morning news shows, where he explained his faith, bared his emotions, and summoned hope for the end of violence.
Then back to his family and community for a brief respite from the ceaseless media monster that now waited at the Oak Creek police department.  By the time that Kanwardep Singh Kaleka entered the Oak Creek courtroom that served as the multi-jurisdictional law enforcement press room, two-hundred plus media - local, national, and global, awaited him and his fellow Sikh leaders.
Sixty minutes after the press conference that left the assembled media with numerous unanswered questions, this man could be found outside, four reporters around him in a half-moon formation.  He was as tranquil as possible after one hour’s worth of interviews, most likely answering the same questions repeatedly.
He had every reason to express anger and to discuss ways for his community to isolate itself in fear from a society that that had expressed its diseased nature in the most violent way possible – mass murder.
But he did not choose fear. I will not say that he did not struggle with his moral choices. He made the briefest of an ill-tempered remark about the shooter, the man who killed his uncle.  
It was but a word, barely noticeable except that everything he said prior, and after, was said with the spirit of compassion and peace. And he humbled himself for his remark, graciously and magnanimously expressing how the Sikh community would persevere to be a faith community that was open to the entire community, regardless of creed, class, or other distinctions.
At this point in the interview I began to recede from the circus of reporters around him. Perhaps it was his message of family that spurred me to text my brother, to whom I had not spoken since an ill-advised political conversation during the recall election, to ask if he was available for lunch.
As my brother and I bounced messages back and forth, Mr. Kaleka was asked to do evening news shows - CNN for the second or third time today, and one other program.  He said if they could find someone else it would be great, due to the previous nine television interviews that he had done that morning, but if they needed him, he would join them.
The man was obviously tired in ways that I could not fathom.  And then two more reporters stepped in front of him. As they jumped into their questions, he smiled, extended his hand, and said, “Let’s introduce ourselves so that we know each other.”
The reporters smiled and took his hand.  I unashamedly listened while I exchanged text messages with my sibling.
This re-energized man proceeded to talk about his uncle, his family, and his community - not just the Sikh community, but the entire community.  He spoke with a compassion for humanity that I have only heard once before from a person who was in the same room as me, another faith leader, albeit one who was awarded a Nobel Peace prize.
I cannot even begin to capture what this man said today - I am entirely incapable.  
It was a message about reaching out and helping our human family.  It was a message of love and hope, and the divine necessity to do what we know in our hearts is the right thing to do.
This was the message from a man whose uncle and five “family” members had been murdered only the day before.
I could barely look up from my phone, not because I was entranced by its screen, but because I was embarrassed for my tears.  But how could I not look at this man who had the courage to open his heart after the wound that had been so viscously inflicted upon it?
I looked at Kanwardep Singh Kaleka.  He was smiling.  
The two reporters in front of him had tears falling down their cheeks. 

Overhead Light Brigade at Cathedral Square Vigil

Thursday, August 2, 2012

On DDT, Camels, and Voting Machines

Americans sure do like to sell each other stuff: chemicals, tobacca, explodin’ automobiles – it’s all part of them quarterly earnings and profits and such they're always on about on the news shows.
The things they’re tryin’ to sell us these days.  The government, the people we pay, they's tryin’ to tell us it’s okay to have some good ole boys in Nebraska count votes for us folks here in Wisconsin.  
Hell, I’m a boomer, and we seen some stupid shit, real stupid. 

I mean, I remember runnin’ outside on summer evenings through DDT that the City sprayed on us. Were they preparin’ us for ‘Nam?  No, they just didn’t like them nasty skeeters. And they killed ‘em good. 
Don’t mind that growth on your liver, son.
While the kids were suckin’ down chemicals on the street while playin’ “kick the can,” mom and dad was on the front porch inhalin’ Camel straights.  But it was okay back then; doctors said so.
Twenty years on, when mom got herself a job at the Piggly Wiggly, Ford Motor Company sold her and a few other folks some butt ugly cars that exploded when you tapped the rear bumper.
Problem was, when the damn thing blew, mom didn’t have the get up and go she did before takin’ up her pack-a-day habit. 
Now our government – the GAB - is sellin’ us that these Cornhuskers have these shiny, new machines – yeah I know it’s a computer, but they tol’ us it’s a special kind – that no one knows how to work but these nice people on John Galt Boulevard, in Omaha – trust them.
Who is John Galt?
I mean, look at that nice suit, and those shiny shoes on their salesman, our GAB man says.
So one of my good ol’ boys asks the pretty feller from John Galt Boulevard if he can show us under the hood a that computer, give us a look see at what my friend called “the source code” – the thing that makes that fine machine add our votes?
The feller says he don’t know much ‘bout computers.
Well that don’t sit well with the folks in the room, but the GAB man, a lawyer, which they all is, says, don’t worry your pretty little heads ‘bout no source code, you’re not allowed to see it by law - the computer corporation owns that code
GAB lawyer feller
Well then who owns the dang election, a feisty gal asks?  What the hell did my daddy get his self into over there in Normandy and around those parts if we can’t even own our own elections?  That’s just not right!
And the GAB man says, we’s done talkin’ but your welcome to play with the shiny machines.
Well I was so upset I got outta that boiler room they had us crowded into, lit up a Camel and high-tailed it in my 1973 Pinto.
And when I got home I looked on the Google machine and I see here that one of the owners of this fancy company is a former REPUBLICAN Senator - Chuck Hagel. 

You Democrats, independents, and such don’t mind having Republicans in charge of your ballots – do you?  Republicans ‘round these parts have proven themselves to be above partisan politics, haven’t they?  
Surely they wouldn’t allow for such petty things as profit or greed to get in the way of how those machines spit out the results?
Well, while you’re sittin’ around waiting for Gov’ner Walker to drop the next bomb… smoke ‘em if you got ‘em. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Walker Gives Head Job to Karl Rove Protégé - Media Misses Story - Again

photo by LadyForward1

If you rely on the mainstream media for news you are forgiven if you missed the promotion of a well-connected political operative into Scott Walker’s inner circle last week.

Unfortunately the highly-trained reporters at the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" and "Wisconsin State Journal," members of the government-approved Wisconsin Capitol Correspondents Association – WCCA, couldn’t be bothered to write more than one paragraph about this Karl Rove protégé.
In a breathtaking example of brevity in reporting, readers were provided only name, rank, and salary information for this political appointee.
Here is the result of the backbreaking toil of our state’s journalistic elite:
Jocelyn Webster was promoted from Department of Administration spokeswoman to Scott Walker’s Director of Communications at the annual salary of $95,000.
Stunning, isn’t it? 
After recovering from the impact of that in-depth report, one begins to wonder why the crème de la crème of political journalists are unable to venture beyond their taxpayer-provided Capitol press room to conduct the odd interview or two.
Perhaps, unknown to the general public, Scott Walker has placed transit restrictions on the Capitol correspondents, limiting them to press purgatory within the four walls of their Capitol clubhouse.
All too often these journalists don’t attend legislative committee meetings held within a few short strides of their office, instead choosing the news-free confines of the press room. How do we know that they’re missing from these and other meetings?  Because citizen journalists are attending and reporting on these vital government processes.

WCCA reporters daring to venture from their press room. - photo by Thid

Even if the lot of our government reporters is to be confined to their office, couldn't they at least use the Google machine to do a bit of research – and report their findings to us?

Jocelyn Webster: What the Capitol Reporters Missed
Webster’s connection to the major political ills of the last decade far surpasses any Walker administration politico: the insidious alliance of corporate lobbying and government that is the American Legislative Exchange Council - ALEC; the lies, deception and immorality of the Iraq War; and the pervasive corruption of Karl Rove’s Office of Political Affairs in the Bush White House – all before she achieved the age of twenty-eight.
Webster immigrated to America’s Dairyland last December after high-profile campaign PR gigs with Chris Christie, Rudy Guliani, and John McCain/Sarah Palin, followed by a Governmental Affairs position – read lobbyist – at 7-Eleven’s corporate headquarters in Dallas. 
The Walker administration provided Webster $10,000 to move to Wisconsin, as apparently there were no Wisconsinites qualified to be spokesperson for his Department of Administration.  
Webster’s debut coincided with the DOA’s introduction of the highly controversial Capitol Access Policies and was extensively reported by citizen journalists here.
Perhaps Webster was hired because of her hyper-partisan background.  After all, the new Capitol Rules included un-democratic language, stating in part: four or more people congregating in or around the Capitol was a protest; protestors could be billed for Capitol Police services; and the State could not be held liable for injury or death to protestors caused by Law Enforcement employees.
At the first public question and answer period for these new rules, held in the Capitol basement, Webster distanced herself from the public while her boss, DOA second-in-command Chris Schoenherr, answered questions from concerned citizens, legislators, and civil-rights advocates.
Even though Webster had no active role in the meeting she quickly made a spectacle of herself.
Jocelyn Webster - by Lisa Wells 
As people asked questions and raised concerns about the new rules and how they might impact Wisconsin’s culture of accessible and open government, the new spokesperson gasped in dismay, demonstrably rolled her eyes, and shook her head in horror. 
One citizen was so offended by Webster’s condescending histrionics, behavior which even Anne Romney would have found offensive, that he demanded to know who this interloper was. Go to 9:14 on the video to see Webster's reaction.
After the citizen scolded Webster for her lack of Midwestern manners, the Capitol beat reporter for the Journal Sentinel, Jason Stein, also the WCCA President, made his way across the crowded room, slid in next to Webster and commiserated with her about her cold Wisconsin welcome.
Had Stein reported on Webster instead of offering his argyle-clad shoulder for her to cry on, he might have provided a valuable service to his newspaper’s readers, and to the public-at-large, offering unique insights into the values Scott Walker deems important in his governance of Wisconsin.
Instead, the WCCA media abdicated their role as leaders of the Fourth Estate, leaving citizen journalists, sans taxpayer-provided press rooms and corporate-backed research teams, to take up the mantle of a a free and independent press. 

At Her Daddy’s Lobbying Knee
While most college students are grateful to scrape together a few bucks to go out for pizza and beer with friends, Jocelyn, on summer break from Delta Gamma sorority, attended lobbying functions at exclusive Seattle waterfront grills with her high-powered lawyer/lobbyist father, Clifford Webster. 
Clifford Webster
In 2004, when many astute political observers had not yet heard of, or comprehended the reach of the American Legislative Exchange Council, Jocelyn was already attending their legislative events and establishing political contacts.
Jocelyn’s name can be found one of her father’s 2004 expense reports, filed five months late with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission, as a guest at a “Northwest PhRMA Task Forces” event “during ALEC.”  PhRMA is one of the largest lobbying groups in Washington, representing almost fifty pharmaceutical companies.
And Webster’s firm picked up the dinner tab to the tune of $5,200.  Not exactly Pizza Hut.

Clifford Webster’s influence, and therefore his daughter’s professional network, extends far beyond his lobbying efforts in the Pacific Northwest.  His law firm, Carney Badley Spellman is a member of the State Capitol Group, a mega-association of independent law firms founded as specialists in business law in all fifty state capitols.
Clifford Webster has served as chairman of this lobbying powerhouse, which boasts 17 former Governors and their law firms among its members, including Delaware’s Pierre DuPont, and Wisconsin’s Tony Earl, of Quarles and Brady.
This national lobbying association claims to be non-partisan. However, a fairly recent quote from Clifford Webster highlights his clients’ partisan legislative concerns when he rails against “the usual Democratic themes - health care, environmental policy, public education, etc."

From Delta Gamma to the White House
Based on Clifford Webster’s extensive political network it is no surprise that his daughter landed a job in the Bush administration upon graduation from college.
Jocelyn Webster’s tainted tenure in Karl Rove’s Office of Political Affairs was thoroughly reported by my fellow citizen journalists within days of her eye rolling performance in the Wisconsin Capitol basement and can be read here
The credentialed Wisconsin Capitol journalists offered no reports about Webster’s appearance in a House Congressional investigation that highlighted her role in the illegal use of Republican National Committee email accounts.
What was the problem with using RNC email accounts for official White House work?
First, emails on RNC accounts could be destroyed with impunity – covering up illegal activity – like Rove’s outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.  Government email is subject to Federal recordkeeping laws and therefore must be archived.  The emails of political organizations are not subject to these same laws and therefore may be destroyed.
Second, the use of the RNC email accounts, with direct evidence from Congressman Harry Waxman’s investigation pointing directly to Jocelyn, were used to plan and organize purely political meetings with civil service employees on government time.

Rove’s OPA repeatedly and willfully violated the 1939 Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees or taxpayer dollars to be used for partisan political reasons,  and was investigated and reported on seperately by the Office of Special Counsel.
Sound like the activity of any former Milwaukee County Executive, now Governor?   

The Pentagon Spin Unit – Cheerleaders for Death 
After the debacle in Rove’s office, Webster was fortunate to land at the Pentagon’s Office of Public Affairs, although one observer did label the group “a dumping ground for administration cronies.”
Webster’s role at the Department of Defense is key to understanding her as a fully realized partisan - a political propagandist who needed no knowledge, experience, or particular expertise - other than the skills necessary to shape a message, and feed that message, regardless of its relationship to the truth, to an incurious and sycophantic press corps – and ultimately to an unsuspecting and largely trusting electorate.
Have you ever wondered how the media, especially right-wing pundits and bloggers, talk and write about the exact same topics at the same time?  Is this a coincidence, like the proverbial one-hundred monkeys left in front of one-hundred typewriters for one-hundred years who eventually manage to pound out “Hamlet”?
In 2007 the Pentagon couldn’t wait one-hundred years for a consistent, positive message about the Iraq War from the media monkeys.  An election hovered around the corner and the growth of social media demanded a rapid, content-laden response from the DoD.
Webster and her fellow war hawks at the aptly named “SurrogatesOperation” fed Iraq War talking points to selected media who could be trusted to ape the administration line.
The “Surrogates” coached active and former military officers prior to their appearances on the talk news circuit, providing insider information to keep them on message about the Bush/Cheney war effort.
A few officers did not appreciate Webster’s coaching, and described her as “very young with no background in national security or foreign affairs.”
Some military experts were “put off to say the least by these neophyte political appointees telling retired and active personnel in uniform what to say and what to think.”
But regardless of Webster’s inexperience, the partisan media monkeys banged out the message.
After a media briefing on Guantanamo in June 2007 with J. Alan Liotta, principle director for the Pentagon’s Office of Detainee Affairs, Deroy Murdock, a nationally syndicated columnist, wrote a passionate column entitled “Expand Gitmo!” 

In his celebratory pro-war piece, Murdock, a media fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institute, described Guantanamo prison as a word-class resort, albeit one that needed to escalate the use of torture.  His excitement was especially palpable on the benefits of waterboarding and blasting rock music at prisoners at deafening volumes.
Not surprisingly, Webster and her fellow neo-con cheerleaders for death and destruction did not lead any pro-Geneva Convention discussions for the media.  
This disdain for the rule of law would become evident in Webster’s first month as spokesperson in the Walker administration.

From Waterboarding to “The Idle Rich”
After Obama took the White House the Republican diaspora took Webster in a number of directions before she found her way to Rove’s home state of Texas.

Webster, front-center, with the "Idle Rich"
Webster’s lengthy political résumé appeared to bode well for her role in corporate political affairs at 7-Eleven’s Dallas headquarters.  But Jocelyn’s primary focus in the “Big D” was not necessarily on Slurpee’s, but the oh- so-trendy club scene, partying with her well-heeled peers at “The Idle Rich Pub.”
Why did Jocelyn decide to move to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin?  Was Dallas too boring - or was Scott Walker’s rise to national prominence too enticing for a politically ambitious true believer?     

A Hardy Handful of Activists
By the end of 2011, Webster’s allies at ALEC had decimated one century of open and transparent legislative practices in the state to which she brought her Gucci carpetbags.
No longer did the GOP majority legislate based on Wisconsin’s unique circumstances.  Instead, they yielded the tiresome task of writing laws to the corporate controlled ALEC lobbyists.  The only effort that the business-backed legislators needed to undertake was to switch the proposed bills from ALEC letterhead to Wisconsin stationary before introducing them.
The Center for Media and Democracy exhaustively researched and reported on the pervasive influence of ALEC, including Scott Walker’s union-busting Act 10, “the bomb” that he dropped on an unsuspecting Wisconsin. 
This ALEC legislation, which was never discussed during Walker’s gubernatorial campaign, initiated the pro-democracy Capitol Uprising in February 2011 in Madison in which hundreds of thousands demonstrated in favor of collective bargaining.
By late 2011 a disparate group of about three hundred activists, what the New York Times called “a hardy handful,” remained active in and around the Capitol, advocating daily for the recall of Walker and the restoration of collective bargaining via the songs of the Solidarity Sing Along and other free speech activities – such as holding signs and banners under the soaring dome of the Wisconsin Rotunda.
Solidarity Sing Along - photo Lisa Wells
It was on these activists that Walker dropped a second bomb - a bomb with which he tried to stifle free speech and assembly in the Capitol. 

Cue Jocelyn Webster – Lie #1
Jocelyn steered the assembled WCCA reporters, all of whom had remained mute during the Capitol Rules meeting, away from the frustrated Wisconsinites, into a narrow vending room.
The new DOA spokeswoman told the assembled reporters that “the rules are nothing new,” and the "updated policy is meant to remove confusion and create consistency for law enforcement officers and the public.”
This was the first time, to my knowledge, that Webster briefed the WCCA press - and she used the briefing to tell a blatant lie. She lied that the rules were not new when the ink was barely dry on the copies distributed at the meeting.  The policies that I outlined above couldn't be found anywhere on any State website - because they did not exist. 

Jocelyn Gets Comfortable – Lie #2
During the first rules meeting Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs stated to the activists:
"I don't think that decision needs to be to challenge us (the Administration)… whether or not we're gonna make an arrest.  I told each and every one of you, you don't want it on your record.  If it goes that route you don't want to be involved in that (having an arrest record)."
The assembled citizens understood the message loud and clear.  Show up at the Capitol with four or more people and you could face arrest.  This was no idle threat, as many of those in attendance had already been arrested for free speech activities – such as quietly holding copies of the Constitution in the public Capitol Rotunda.

Tubbs and Schoenherr - photo by Lisa Wells
But after an uproar from citizens and legal scholars the administration was forced to backtrack on these odious rules – allowing Webster her first opportunity to lie to the Wisconsin public. 
"There's a fundamental misunderstanding of this policy if there was a belief arrests were going to stem from this policy." 
There was no misunderstanding.  Wisconsin First Amendment activists had been arrested throughout 2011, and had been threatened with arrest by Capitol Police Chief Tubbs, at a meeting which Jocelyn attended.
And on December 16, 2011, the day the rules were scheduled to go into effect, Webster condescendingly said this about the potential for arrests:
                               "It's kind of funny that anybody even thinks that they would be."
Interesting that Webster, an English major, and political spinmeister of the highest order, would choose to use the word “funny” when describing citizens’ fears over potentially being arrested for exercising their First Amendment rights.
Did Webster think it was “funny” when her Pentagon “Surrogates Group” advocated torture of American detainees at Guantanamo?  Does Webster believe the US signature on the Geneva Convention is “funny”? 

Jocelyn Entrenched – Lie #3
At the same time that Webster attempted to sell the destruction of the First Amendment, her Department of Administration was mandated by state statute to report the fiscal 2011 results of the “Contractual Services Purchasing Report”. 
This report was eagerly anticipated after a year of union busting as it would highlight the state spending that Walker had shifted from public employees to private contractors.
Eight months passed before Webster reported the results.  
Bill Lueders of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism said that Webster blamed the University of Wisconsin System, which she claimed, “was late in turning their submission for this report and the DOA did not receive it until May 2012, which delayed the report.”
Lueders followed up with David Giroux, spokesman for the UW System, whose account differs:
“It looks like DOA requested the contractual services data from UW System in early December 2011, and we responded right away.”  Subsequently, “we discovered some formatting errors in our report that were affecting the final results. Those errors were corrected and the reformatted data was submitted to DOA in early March.”
Based on our knowledge of Webster, it’s not surprising, according to Lueders that “Webster did not respond to a request to explain the discrepancies in these accounts.”
The previous year’s report, the last year of the Doyle administration, was released in November 2010 – on time and a full seven months earlier than the comparable report released by Webster.
What were Webster, and her boss, Scott Walker hiding? 
Money.  Lots of money.
$363.8 million dollars was paid to private contractors instead of state agencies – agencies which are staffed with public employees – Walker’s political enemies. This outlay represented a 26 percent increase in spending on outside contractors over the previous year. 

Strike 3 and You’re Out Promoted
One value that Webster and Walker hold in high regard is consistency. They tell their story the way they want to tell it – facts be damned.  If a bit - or a lot of dishonesty is required to tell a tale – so be it.
Just after Walker’s recall victory it was announced that the recently created Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation - WEDC, Walker’s quasi-governmental agency, designed to shift taxpayer dollars to corporations, had offered tax incentives to Skyward, a Stevens Point educational data development company.
Skyward had been promised an $11.7 million tax break from the Walker administration contingent on winning a state contract.
Interestingly, even though public records show that the multi-million offer was made by the State to Skyward, Jocelyn Webster stated:
"To be clear, Skyward did not receive any firm commitment, monetary awards, or tax incentives from WEDC."
Webster also claimed that a March 2012 letter to Walker informing him of the deal was never received by the Governor.
Webster’s third lie did not lead to her dismissal from the Walker Administration and an ignominious exit from Wisconsin, for in Walker’s world mendacity leads to the brass ring.  
Within weeks of maintaining that Walker never received the communication confirming Skyward’s tax break, Webster was promoted to his very own Director of Communications. 
Now Webster resides in Walker’s inner sanctum, where she will be able to utilize the dark arts of political communication, which she has learned from her variety of experiences - with her ALEC-connected lobbyist father, from her one year and two investigations in Karl Rove’s White House, to her time as a “Surrogate” at the Pentagon where she manipulated the media in support of torture and the Iraq War.
And the journalists who sit on their asses - day in and day out at the Wisconsin State Capitol reported nothing about this political operative’s background.
Why don't reporters pursue stories that touch on the ethics of our political leaders?
Jason Stein, the WCCA President, in an exchange with a colleague of mine about the relationship of the WCCA to those in power, said that the Capitol reporters wished to do nothing that would damage their privileged relationship with the government.
The Capitol reporters have elevated their relationships with public servants above their relationships with their readers, the voters of the state, and the Constitution.
But the ultimate relationship of the press is with money. 
Stein’s employer saw revenues soar during the recall campaign.  Steven Smith, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Journal Communications, the parent of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WTMJ 620AM, and TMJ4, reported increased operating earnings driven in large part by political advertising.
Smith also sits on the executive board of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, which gave $437,000 to Walker’s during the recall race, via the Republican Governor’s Association.
With all this money invested in the Walker, and the stream of millions in political advertising revenue, it’s no surprise that Stein’s boss, and his newspaper endorsed Scott Walker.
Did all those millions influence Stein and the Capitol reporters to sit on their hands when they should have been researching and writing about Walker’s latest political appointee - Jocelyn Webster - and made them miss the story – again?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Junkies Lament - A Common Disaster

The American electorate has been force-fed a lobotomizing opiate by its ruling political parties. The drug, a seemingly innocent message, administered repeatedly until independent thought beyond proscribed parameters is not tolerated:

A vote outside the two-party structure is wasted.
The addict recoils when they are told that their diseased mind survives based solely on a narcotic vision, and that the same distorted perceptions that prop them up will blind them to the tools necessary for their continued survival.
“Everything is fine,” the junky says. “Just going through a few tough spots. Got it all under control.”
Really? Then since everything is solid in your world, you won’t mind if I share somevisions” from outside the cocoon of your Democratic Party?

“A candle burning for everything I ever wanted”
Sgt. Joe Altmann
Sergeant Joe Altmann of Marshfield, WI was killed in Afghanistan on Christmas Day.  The Army medic, who was on his first tour in Afghanistan after having served two tours in Iraq, had turned 27 only ten days earlier, and was married ten months ago.  His mother, Janice Altmann, said the family was “devastated”.

Altmann is the tenth Wisconsin resident to die while serving in Afghanistan in 2011, the tenth anniversary of the war.

“A tattoo burned for everything I've ever wanted and lost”

Should a free trade pact be signed with Korea, “which will destroy 159,000 U.S. jobs,” asked AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka - or with Colombia, “where 51 trade unionists were assassinated last year,” and with Panama, “a country that routinely tramples workers’ rights and shelters money launderers and corporate tax dodgers?”

President Obama signed the free trade deals, first negotiated under George Bush, in October.  Obama, who had highlighted free trade risks to the environment and worker’s rights during his 2008 campaign, chose to disregard those concerns in 2011. 

“I had a long list of names that I kept in my back pocket”
Larry Summers, the misogynistic former Harvard University President, is one of many Wall Street economic advisors that Obama has relied upon to right the American economy. Summers, an avowed acolyte of libertarian economist Milton Friedman, destroyed efforts to regulate derivatives as a member of the Clinton administration. These unregulated casino-style financial instruments ultimately fueled the 2008 destruction of the US economy.  

Timothy Geithner, Obama’s tax evading Treasury Secretary, used his previous position on the New York Federal Reserve to guarantee banks receive face value for derivatives contracts that were worth substantially less - all on the taxpayer’s dime, utilizing federally funded TARP money. 
William Daley, a politically connected financier, was delivered from JP Morgan Chase Bank to the Obama administration in 2011, as its newest Chief of Staff. Was it merely coincidence that an executive from America’s largest bank was selected to run Obama’s White House the year before the 2012 election?

Consider this: in 2008 Barack Obama raised more campaign funds from the finance, insurance and real estate sectors than any previous presidential candidate. Yes, that includes George W multi-millionaires-are-“my base” Bush.

"But I've cut it down to one and your name's at the top”

The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan has tripled in the less than three years that Obama has led the war – a conflict begun by George Bush ten years ago. The number of Afghan civilian casualties has risen by 19 percent under Obama’s leadership.

Obama’s secret “drone wars” have killed as many as 2,250 people in Pakistan alone, and scores more in Yeman and Somalia.
Obama job czar, GE CEO Jeff Immelt, announced in July that GE Healthcare headquarters would move from Waukesha, WI to China as part of its plan to invest $2 Billion dollars in China.   

Not to worry too much about the happily-ever-after”

Wisconsin progressives, union members, and freedom of assembly activists learned, in the cold Wisconsin winter, that Obama’s campaign rhetoric is forgotten when they most need his help.

"If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I'm in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I'll walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner."
When Obama was unable to find his comfy shoes, or the 100,000 plus Wisconsin workers and families rallying for their rights on the Capitol Square, he showed that he stood with corporate supporters of a Governor who bragged that he "dropped a bomb" on Wisconsin.

“Just keep the Caddy moving 'til we're well beyond that hill”
Obama understands dropping bombs on civilians. His Central Intelligence Agency drops them abroad – and his Wall Street backed policies drop them just as assuredly as does Scott Walker, within our domestic borders: on working families, on union members, and on civil libertarians.  

“Won't you share a common disaster?”
Obama backers tell leftists who don’t rally around the President, that support for a third party that takes into account workers, the environment, and peace, will weaken the Democratic Party and send the country careening to the right.

These arguments sound like those from another junky, Amy Winehouse, which she made for not going to rehab. Her drug and alcohol addled mind made her hang on to what she had, including her thinking, as diseased as it was, no matter the consequences to her health.
Maybe Amy Winehouse never had a chance with her disease.     

We should not subject any more Joe Altmann’s to ours.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wisconsin GOP Assembly Reps Rally to Save Lobbyists' Rights

The unedited first draft of the letter sent from WI GOP Assembly Reps to the DOA concerning new Capitol rules for free speech.

December 16, 2011

The Honorable Contemptible Mike Huebsch
Secretary Former ALEC State Chair
Wisconsin Fitzwalkerstan Department of Administration
P.O. Box 7864
Madison Ayn Rand, WI FW  53707

Dear Secretary Former ALEC State Chair Huebsch,
We are writing to ask threaten the Department of Administration (DOA) to enforce the Wisconsin Fitzwalkerstan State Facilities Access Policy, effective December 1, 2011. For a number of months now, law abiding groups school choirs (not Governor Walker’s Very Large Conifer ceremony) have been going through the appropriate rarely used permitting process to meet at the Capitol, while other groups violent communistic out-of-state union thugs have consistently ignored those rules – without consequence. By not enforcing the policies of  beating these unionistas at the Capitol, the DOA and the leadership of the Capitol Police (fire Tubbs) are creating a double standard against those groups school choirs and lobbyists that are going through all the steps necessary to follow the laws and policies governing our Capitol that your Koch-inspired legal team creates on a whim. This is unacceptable that citizens believe that the former state of Wisconsin Constitution, and US Constitutional rights, apply to their political beliefs.

While we are pleased can hardly wait to see the Administration making positive steps  use SWAT teams and The Fitzwalkerstan Guard  toward upholding the rule of law dictatorial fiat, it is imperative (or watch us really whine) that the DOA hold all Capitol visitors to these rules - or else beat them to a bloody pulp. The circus-like environment created at times by several of these groups Walker dropping a bomb, Justice Prosser choking a fellow justice, and a DOA employee assaulting a Capitol visitor, is an affront to the dignity of the people WMC and other lobbyists of the State of Wisconsin Fitwalkerstan, which the Capitol represents and to whom it belongs.  Groups Socialist   moochers refusing to abide by the rules dictatorial fiat are not entitled to special any “free speech rights” not afforded to other individuals or groups.
A Kleefisch affair

This is most certainly a matter of the stifling of free speech, the democratic fascistic process and our republican corporate form of government. As state legislators, we are duly elected officials of Diebold Inc. and of our respective corporate lobbyist constituencies, elected to represent the individual and collective voices of our lobbyist constituents in the Capitol. While we all agree the Capitol functions as a public lobbying  forum for debate ALEC legislation and free paid speech, we also recognize that this building is a place of business – the people’s  lobbyists business. Constant audible disruptions (Robin Vos and Glenn Grothman) at all hours of the working day both inside and outside the Capitol are an impediment to us as legislators (Joel Kleefisch) conducting affairs on behalf of our constituents. Further, the intimidation free speech tactics employed by several of these groups Democrats, and other left-leaning radicals, not only on legislators, but on our constituents and even school groups is unacceptable.

Our constituents should not be dissuaded from tempted to visiting their Capitol over the lunch hour –  every day – knowing that they will not never have an opportunity to visit our great rotunda and important legislative offices without filled with the loud bellowing of unpermitted demonstrators. unrepentant lobbyists. These practices are not permitted at the U.S. Capitol or the U.S. Supreme Court and our uninformed legal opinions about those two US government structures, which offer zero legal precedent for the Wisconsin Fitzwalkerstan Capitol, should not be permitted here.

Every group, except for lobbyists who fill our campaign chests, and provide us with expensive escorts at ALEC conventions, must be held to the same standard and required to respect the rule of law in order to uphold the safety of stifle the political speech of Capitol visitors, and protect constituents lobbyists, staff and members of the legislature from encountering dissent.

We all agree, most adamantly, that the constitutional right to political speech should be one of the most protected forms of speech, as long as we agree with the message. However, no one opinion, except ours, takes precedence over another - and the liberties lobbyists  of all who visit the Capitol must be respected. The Wisconsin  Fitzwalkerstan State Facilities Access Policy not only enables and protects a forum for free paid speech but includes allows for a very lenient “spontaneous event” domestic spying policy that goes even further to ensure that political speech is protected stifled. We salute the Administration for finally addressing this issue and we look forward to the policy’s uniform selective and robust violent enforcement .


The GOP Wisconsin Fitzwalkerstan Assembly Representatives