Saturday, May 28, 2022
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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Milwaukee Press Club 'Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism' 2020 & 2021 Award Winners

Speaker Robin Vos’s Glaring Double Standard on Tim Ramthun & David Bowen

Speaker Robin Vos took swift disciplinary action against Republican state Rep. Timothy Ramthun for spreading what he calls “misinformation” about him relating to the election, however, Vos and the Assembly still haven’t taken any action against Democratic state Rep. David Bowen for his behavior at the scene where a violent mob assaulted two police officers at their own home and a gun was discharged near them.

We think that’s a glaring double standard that Speaker Robin Vos and Assembly leadership should explain. Are Vos’s hurt feelings more important than the physical wounds incurred by two police officers?

Although Bowen wasn’t accused of the physical assaults, he was present and refused to give police a statement about what happened, hindering the police investigation into serious felonies. Even Vos himself called Bowen’s actions “abhorrent.” But he did absolutely nothing.

That wasn’t the case with Ramthun, whose offense involved making allegations against Robin Vos that Vos says aren’t true and embarrassed him on a national conservative website, Gateway Pundit; Bowen’s own cohorts said Bowen lied to the public about the violent mob attack and made disturbing comments.

The Assembly Speaker stripped Ramthun of his staffer as punishment. Meanwhile, Bowen’s website lists two staffers; we’re told Ramthun still has a limited-term employee left, but he’s without the other staffer to help answer constituent phone calls and concerns. We think that penalizes Ramthun’s district because he will have less help than other legislators to conduct outreach – including Bowen!

More than a year after the violent mob attack against the officers, the Assembly still has taken no action against Bowen.

I think Rep. Bowen’s actions were abhorrent, and we will be discussing options for the Assembly to address his actions,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told Wisconsin Right Now on Jan. 23, 2021, in an exclusive interview.

He’s never explained the Assembly’s lack of action toward Bowen. Yet Vos acted swiftly against Republican Ramthun, who is a major critic of the 2020 presidential election, for making allegations….against Vos. Republican Assembly leadership then swiftly put out a lengthy statement defending Vos’s action against Ramthun and accusing Ramthun of lying. We don’t remember a similar statement about Bowen.

In contrast, we wrote every single member of the Assembly in the past, asking what action they planned to take against Bowen, and had trouble getting most to even respond.

Apparently, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos believes that accusations made by a fellow representative against him are more serious than Rep. David Bowen being present at the scene of a violent mob attack against then Wauwatosa Police Officer Joseph Mensah and his Milwaukee police officer girlfriend.

We bet Officer Mensah and his police officer girlfriend would disagree. They were left bruised in the attack. Although Bowen is not accused of laying a hand on them, his cooperation with police could have helped them pinpoint who did. He wouldn’t give it.

Even after top leaders in the Wisconsin State Assembly said they would discuss Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber’s request that they seek discipline against Bowen while in caucus, nothing happened.

Nothing.

Were Robin Vos and the legislators too caught up in the current WOKE movement to bring themselves to discipline an African-American legislator?

Yep, we just asked that.

We reached out to Robin Vos for comment, but he failed to respond.

Here’s a reminder of what David Bowen is accused of doing:

  • That, according to then Wauwatosa Police Chief Weber, “Mr. Bowen lied in his publicly issued statement.” As we have reported, two People’s Revolution members, including accused shooter Ronald Bell, told police that Bowen lied to the public about what happened in the mob attack. In addition, public statements that Bowen gave – essentially trying to pin the blame on the officer – are repudiated by the criminal complaint against the accused shooter. Even two People’s Revolution members later told police that Officer Mensah was the victim in the attack, along with his girlfriend.
  • Bowen refused to talk to the police about the felony crimes they were investigating even though he was an eyewitness to the situation.
  • The accused shooter, Bell, told police that Bowen allegedly encouraged him not to turn himself in to police.
  • Bowen was allegedly in the parking lot of Target when People’s Revolution members were at the store to buy toilet paper before the mob attack; toilet paper was strewn on Swayka’s lawn during the assault. Protester Corey Kirkwood told police that he observed David Bowen approach TPR member Percy Hayes and “ask where the group was going with the toilet paper” before they left Target. “Hayes and Bowen moved away from the others so Kirkwood did not hear anymore of the conversation. As the group drove away from Target, Kirkwood pulled alongside Bowen and asked Bowen if he knew where they were headed. Bowen replied something similar to, ‘I can’t tell you but you’re going to like where we’re going,’” the police reports allege.
  • There are conflicting reports about whether Bowen himself threw toilet paper during the mob attack.
  • There is no evidence that Bowen tried to stop the attack.
  • According to reports, while referring to a bullhorn that was cracked over Officer Joseph Mensah’s head, Bowen allegedly told protesters, “It was good that we got at him, and now Alvin Cole’s mom has a souvenir.” Cole was the armed teen shot by Mensah outside Mayfair Mall after Cole discharged a firearm near the officer, according to the DA. The shooting was ruled justified self-defense.
  • A People’s Revolution member alleged that Bowen shouted an expletive at the officer during the attack.
  • Bowen is accused of being present when People’s Revolution member Khalil Coleman allegedly instructed people to delete videos of the incident, police reports contend.
  • Bowen has been named in a citation relating to a separate incident that says he and a Tammy Baldwin staffer refused to comply with police officers’ requests that they comply with an emergency order and get out of the road.

Three People’s Revolution members were criminally charged, one with discharging a firearm near the officers, who were left with injuries after being beaten by multiple people. Their home was also vandalized. The People’s Revolution was furious at Mensah over his three on-duty fatal shootings. However, District Attorney John Chisholm ruled all three were legally justified acts of self-defense.

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Texas Public Safety Director: ‘Wrong Decision’ Not to Confront Uvalde Shooter Sooner

(The Center Square) – The commander in charge of the police response to Tuesday's mass shooting at an Uvalde elementary school made the "wrong decision" to not send officers into the classroom to confront the gunman who shot and killed 19 children and two fourth grade teachers, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said Friday.

The chief of the Uvalde Consolidated School District Police Department, who was in charge of the initial response at Robb Elementary School, thought the shooter, 18-year-old Uvalde resident Salvador Ramos, was barricaded inside that classroom and that no other children were at risk, McCraw said.

“Obviously, based on the information we have, there were children in that classroom that were still at risk,” McCraw said. “From the benefit of hindsight where I’m sitting now, of course, it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period.”

Nearly 20 officers stood in a hallway outside of the classroom for more than 45 minutes before federal Border Patrol agents arrived and used a master key to open the door and kill the gunman, he said.

Outside the school, parents, neighbors and others said law enforcement waited close to an hour before confronting Ramos and killing him. Videos posted online showed a chaotic scene of parents pleading with officers who remained outside to enter the school as the active shooting incident was ongoing.

Victor Escalon, South Texas regional director in the Department of Public Safety, said at a Thursday news conference that the first officers on the scene did enter the school once they arrived but were shot at and began evacuating students and school personnel.

"Four minutes [after Ramos entered the school and began shooting students], local police departments, the Uvalde Police Department, the Independent School District Police Department are inside, making entry," Escalon said. "They hear gunfire, they take rounds, they move back, get cover. And during that time, they approach where the suspect is at."

After two officers were shot, Escalon said, law enforcement decided to start evacuating as many students and school personnel as they could.

About an hour after the shooting started, a tactical team from U.S. Border Patrol arrived, entered the building and killed the suspect, authorities said.

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(The Center Square) – One of Wisconsin’s top critics of the 2020 election in the state is not staying silent about the resignation of one of Wisconsin’s Election Commissioners.

Commissioner Dean Knudson on Wednesday resigned his seat on the state’s Election Commission out of frustration with the continued focus on the last presidential vote in Wisconsin.

“Integrity demands acknowledging the truth even when the truth is painful. In this case, the painful truth is that President Trump lost the election in 2020 – lost the election in Wisconsin in 2020. And the loss was not due to election fraud,” Knudson said during Wednesday’s WEC meeting.

Knudson is a former Republican lawmaker, and helped create the Wisconsin Elections Commission back in 2015.

"I'll put my conservative record up against anyone in the state of Wisconsin, and yet now I've been branded a RINO," Knudson added, employing the acronym for Republican In Name Only.

But Republican state Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, on Thursday questioned Knudson’s conservative bona fides.

“Wisconsin Election Commissioner Dean Knutson resigned yesterday citing lack of support from the GOP. He blamed conspiracy theories and misinformation about the 2020 election, but in reality, he simply didn’t do his job, which was to oversee the agency that Wisconsinites depend on for fair and honest elections,” Brandtken said.

Brandtjen has led one of the investigations into the 2020 election from her Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections since early 2021.

Brandtjen said Knudson allowed:

Bloated voter rolls to continue.Madison’s Democracy in the Park"Over $8 million in Zuckerberg money for targeted "get out the vote’ efforts.Ballot trafficking and drop boxes.Illegal suspension of special voting deputies, knowingly.WEC lawsuits against Justice Gableman and Brandtjen instead of cooperating with the investigations.

“Stripping our elections of the safety measures the legislature has put into statute is not what we expect from the Elections Commission; in fact, we expect the exact opposite,” Brandtjen added.

Knudson’s resignation means Republicans will have to appoint another commissioner. That search is underway.

His resignation also came as Commissioner Bob Spindell, who is a vocal 2020 election critic, is set to take over as commission chairman. That vote was supposed to happen Wednesday, but has now been postponed.

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Milwaukee School Counselor Under DPI Investigation For Opposition to Transgender Ideology

(The Center Square) – An elementary school counselor from Milwaukee is refusing to resign or change her mind about gender identity, even after the state opened an investigation that could cost her her job.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction sent Marissa Darlingh a letter on April 29, explaining that she was under investigation for what she said at a rally in Madison just six days before.

“DPI has opened an investigation to determine whether to initiate educator license revocation proceedings against you,” the letter stated. “It has been alleged that you engaged in immoral conduct.”

Darling was one of several speakers at a feminist rally in Madison on April 23 where she used a commonly expressed profanity repeatedly as she discussed transgenderism.

“I oppose gender ideology ever entering the walls of my school building,” Darling said. “Over my dead ... body will my students be exposed to the heart of gender identity ideology. Not a single one of my students under my ... watch will ever, ever transition socially, and sure as hell not medically.”

DPI’s letter said the investigation will “determine if there is probable cause to support allegations of immoral conduct.”

DPI gave Darlingh the option to resign ahead of the investigation, but Darlingh opted instead to fight.

On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty sent a letter to DPI that promises a lawsuit if the state tries to suspend Darlingh’s license because of her opposition to transgenderism or her use of profanity.

“The state is, quite simply, trying to punish a public-school counselor for her views on gender ideology. This is a classic, clear-cut, violation of the First Amendment and the state can expect a federal lawsuit if it proceeds,” WILL’s Luke Berg said.

Darling said she will not back down, and will not change her mind about transgenderism even after the investigation is complete.

“My views on the harms of gender ideology to children are informed by a desire to serve and protect children,” Darling said in a statement. “That’s why I got into education. I will love and serve every child under my care, no matter what. But I won’t recant under threat from the state.”

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Liberal Groups & Labor Unions Want Milwaukee to Reject RNC 2024 Bid

(The Center Square) – A number of Wisconsin’s progressive advocates and big labor unions want Milwaukee to abandon plans to host the Republican National Convention because they don’t like Republicans’ politics.

Voces de la Frontera Action, Power to the Polls, the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, Never Again is Now, and SEIU all signed on to an open letter Tuesday asking Milwaukee’s city council to reject a contract that would be necessary for Milwaukee to host the RNC in 2024.

“We the undersigned community organizations want to send a clear message to city, county and state leaders: the Republican National Convention is not welcome in Milwaukee,” the groups wrote. “The Republican Party, both nationally and in Wisconsin, has become an organization that supports White Supremacists, the violent attempted coup at the US Capitol to overthrow a democratic election, and continues to engineer new ways to undermine fair and democratic elections.”

The open letter comes as city leaders in Milwaukee are set to vote on the RNC contract on Wednesday.

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson on Tuesday said the city can host the Republican convention without endorsing the Republican Party’s political views.

"I think that the RNC presents a tremendous opportunity for us in Milwaukee," Johnson told reporters. "I think it presents a great opportunity for Milwaukee to be in the national conversation, to be a city that other large conventions and other large events look to. I want the RNC to be the bedrock for a new and stronger convention and tourism economy that we can build here in the city of Milwaukee."

Johnson said his support for the RNC is a “business decision.”

CJ Szafir with the Institute for Reforming Government said the opposition is “on-brand” from progressives and big labor in the state

“It's terribly disappointing that progressive and labor groups are opposed to Milwaukee hosting an event that could bring up to 45,000 visitors to the city, creating as much as $200 million in economic impact. This would directly benefit Milwaukee small businesses and workers, which ironically is who these groups claim to care about,” Szafir told The Center Square. “A political convention is one of the great American historic events and to have the RNC come to Milwaukee in 2024 would give Milwaukee the global spotlight that it deserves. This should get bipartisan support.”

Milwaukee and Nashville, Tennessee are the final two cities in the running for hosting the RNC in 2024. A decision on the winning city is expected later this summer.

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(The Center Square) – The stock market came back from a midday drop on Friday, the day ending with the S&P 500 Index 18.6% below the record high set in early January.

A bear market would have begun if the decline reached 20%.

The stock market tumble is a continuation from declines earlier this week, a week that saw record high gas prices continue to rise. Other contributing factors in the index most closely associated with workers 401(k) accounts are rising interest rates, inflation, the war in Ukraine and China's economy.

“Since 1928, the S&P 500 has had 1 bear market every 4 years on average,” Charlie Bilello, founder of Compound Capital Advisors, wrote on Twitter. “With the S&P down 20% from its peak in January, this is now the 3rd bear market we've experienced in less than 4 years.”

New polling shows the majority of Americans expect a recession as energy prices and inflation continue to soar. Quinnipiac University released new polling this week that showed most Americans are pessimistic about the nation’s economic future.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans (85 percent) think it is either very likely (45 percent) or somewhat likely (40 percent) that there will be an economic recession in the next year, while 12 percent think it is either not so likely (8 percent) or not likely at all (4 percent),” the poll said.

Overall, Americans did not think the economy was doing well before the stock market declines this week.

“Roughly 1 in 5 Americans (19 percent) say the state of the nation's economy these days is either excellent (2 percent) or good (17 percent), while 4 in 5 Americans (80 percent) say it's either not so good (34 percent) or poor (46 percent),” the poll reported. “This is Americans' most negative description of the state of the nation's economy in a Quinnipiac University poll since President Biden took office.”

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(The Center Square) – It’s been two weeks and there’s still no word on who leaked the U.S. Supreme Court draft brief indicating that the court was set to overturn Roe V. Wade and returning the issue of abortion back to the states.

At a recent event in Dallas, Texas, hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institution, and the Manhattan Institute, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas spoke about the leak and his concern for the rule of law and credibility of the court.

A roughly 8-minute clip of his talk was published by C-SPAN, in which he said, “I think we are in danger of destroying the institutions that are required for a free society. You can’t have a civil society, a free society without a stable legal system.

“You can’t have one without stability in things like property or interpretation and impartial judiciary. I’ve been in this business long enough to know just how fragile it is.”

Prior to the draft opinion being leaked this year, Thomas said it was impossible to think that even one line of one opinion would be leaked by anyone.

“No one would ever do that,” he said. “There’s such a belief in the rule of law, belief in the court, belief in what we were doing, that that was beyond anyone’s understanding or at least anyone's imagination, that someone would do that.”

Now, “look where we are,” he said. “That trust and belief is gone forever. When you lose that trust, especially in the institution that I’m in, it changes the institution fundamentally. You begin to look over your shoulder. It's like kind of an infidelity, that you can explain it, but you can't undo it.”

New York University professor Melissa Murray holds a similar sentiment. She told the New York Times last week that the leak “violates the omertà that traditionally has shrouded the court’s deliberations. To the public, this not only looks like the kind of maneuvering that we’ve come to expect from politicians, it also strips the court of the mystique it has generally enjoyed.”

Meanwhile, Chief Justice John Roberts’ reputation is also at stake. He has a lot riding on whether or not the leaker is identified and punished, Dan McLaughlin at National Review Online notes.

“John Roberts’s Court is at stake here,” he argues. “If decisions can be leaked in draft form with impunity in order to influence their outcomes, this will become a regular feature of high-profile cases, placing the Court under even worse pressures and threats than already exist.”

The Supreme Court isn’t the only institution that’s changing, Thomas said. Universities, colleges, law schools have all changed over the last few decades. Today, the climate on most campuses doesn’t allow for peaceful debate of differing views, instead policies of censorship are creating a “chilling effect” on speech.

He recently met with students attending the University of Georgia, where he said students expressed that they can’t publicly affirm pro-life or traditional family views because of the climate on campus.

At Yale Law School, his alma mater, students could once freely speak about anything, “it was anything goes, you do your thing I do my thing,” he said. Now. there’s censorship, he said.

"I wonder how long we're going to have these institutions at the rate we're undermining them,” Thomas said. “And then I wonder when they're gone or they are destabilized, what we'll have as a country – and I don't think that the prospects are good if we continue to lose them."

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