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

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

Tim Michels Opens Campaign Headquarters in Milwaukee County, Stressing Education, Crime & Elections

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels opened his campaign headquarters in Milwaukee County, stressing election integrity, educational freedom, and backing law enforcement to fight crime.

Historically, if Republicans could get 40% of Milwaukee County votes, they were well-positioned to win statewide. By locating his HQ in Milwaukee County, Michels and his campaign indicated they are going to fight for every Wisconsin vote.

“We are going to start a new era of new leadership in Wisconsin,” Michels said in his speech at the West Allis office. He stressed that his family’s company, Michels Corp., was set to help build the Keystone pipeline until President Joe Biden shut it down.

“When he (Joe Biden) was dancing that night at his inaugural ball, we were laying off about 700 hard-working men and women,” he said. “These are great family-supporting jobs. What a travesty.” He tied Biden’s decision to rising gas prices.

Michels noted that his family’s company bid on the border wall. “We wanted to build that. We need to have firm control on illegal immigration and get it stopped,” said Michels.

Michels also talked about election integrity. “If we don’t have fair elections, the entire system comes apart….you can’t have ballot boxes sitting in the middle of a park unattended. That’s absolutely insane…”

As governor, he said he would work with the Legislature to “stop the Zucker bucks and stop the ballot harvesting and to have fair control of early voting, and we will pass those laws, and we will have no more election shenanigans here in Wisconsin.”

Michels said he supports universal school choice and wants to see “more ABCs and to stop the CRT in education.”

Michels also spoke about crime spikes. He condemned the defund-the-police and “cops are bad” movement and said his brother-in-law is a police officer. “I will support law enforcement. I will back the blue. Every law enforcement officer here in Wisconsin will know that at the top” they will have a leader who backs them and will work to reduce crime, Michels said.

He said the campaign office in Milwaukee County was the first of five they are going to open up soon. Michels said he was “cooking with jet fuel, and we are off,” using an Army reference.

Michels’ campaign considers issues like crime and gas prices a bridge back to suburban women the party wants to attract. Homicides in the City of Milwaukee are on track to break last year’s record numbers.

In contrast, Evers recently vetoed a slate of educational freedom measures, and he’s let down law enforcement in myriad ways, including during the Kenosha riots when he slow-walked getting the National Guard to that city.

Wisconsin Right Now was the only media outlet in attendance at the opening.

You can watch Michels’ full speech and see the behind-the-scenes video here:

Michels said in an interview with Wisconsin Right Now that he wants to be governor for all of the people of Wisconsin “from Kenosha to Superior,” but he said that Milwaukee is a “very important city” to the state’s economy and vitality.

The city “has so many problems. But they are fixable,” he said.

State taxpayers fund the cost of Milwaukee failures, footing the bill for some of them, he said.

“It’s getting worse,” Michels said, noting that he had just met with a man who indicated he had to “run from his office to his car to make 100% sure he wouldn’t get mugged.” He said no one should have to look over their shoulders. “We have to do better. We have to flip the switch” and combat crime.

Michels said elections, education and crime are among Evers’ greatest failures.

Michels is running in the GOP primary against former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and former U.S. Marine Kevin Nicholson, as well as Rep. Tim Ramthun.

In his speech, Michels described his childhood baling hay and picking rocks and then getting involved in ROTC and spending 12 years in the Army. He was a commander of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He then joined the family business. He called his father a “great entrepreneur, a great American businessman.” He said he and his brothers have built the company from a few hundred employees to over 8,000. “There’s nothing fancy about that,” he said of those anecdotes.

He said the government often puts excessive regulation, taxation and bureaucracy on businesses in the state.

Michels discussed his meeting with Trump. He said they talked about “building stuff” and characterized the former president as very insightful.

“I hope to win his support,” he said of Trump.

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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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Wisconsin State Rep. Janel Brandtjen Blasts Out-Going WEC Commissioner

(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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Stock Market Flirts With Bear Market; Americans Fear Recession

(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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