Tag: protest

The Metro-East doesn’t like Bruce Rauner’s destructive political agenda

The people of Belleville, Illinois, located in the heart of St. Clair County in the Metro-East region of Illinois (the Illinois portion of the St. Louis metropolitan area), are certainly no fans of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner’s destructive political agenda.

Rauner held a campaign event made an appearance in Belleville to promote his agenda of screwing hard-working Illinoisans over by, among other things, repealing our state’s prevailing wage law, making it harder for people to sue businesses that wronged them, and cutting funding to government services that many Illinoisans rely on. This drew many hard-working Illinoisans to Rauner’s event in Belleville, where they protested him and his destructive agenda.

Rauner has made it clear that he is willing to hold our state’s budget hostage and buy off politicians to get his way. Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly need to hold firm against Rauner’s agenda by not caving to Rauner’s demands. Illinoisans from every corner of this state are waking up and realizing how terrible the Rauner agenda would be for themselves and their fellow Illinoisans.

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My thoughts about no charges being filed against the police officer who killed Tony Robinson

Earlier today, Dane County, Wisconsin District Attorney Ismael Ozanne announced that he would not file any criminal charges against Matt Kenny, a member of the Madison, Wisconsin Police Department, despite the fact that he shot and killed 19-year-old Tony Robinson, who was unarmed at the time of the shooting.

Here’s my thoughts about this:

Right Decision, Bad Law

Given the description that Ozanne of what led to Kenny’s decision to shoot and kill Robinson, I believe that Ozanne made the right decision, given the current Wisconsin state law regarding law enforcement officers using deadly force. However, I believe that the law gives police officers in Wisconsin too broad of authority to use lethal force, and that many other states have similar laws on the books. Because Wisconsin state law allows law enforcement officers to use deadly force if, for whatever reason, the officer reasonably believes that someone is threatening to either kill or cause great bodily harm to the officer, the police shooting of Robinson was justified in the eyes of the law, but not justified in the eyes of my personal opinion. I believe that deadly force should never be used against an unarmed person like Robinson was at the time he was shot and killed by Kenny, and that deadly force should only be used if the suspect(s) is/are armed, the suspect(s) show(s) intent to use the weapon(s) against law enforcement officer(s) and/or others, and the officer(s) have no other option but to use deadly force.

Madison’s Police Taser Policy is Absurd

If you’re wondering why Kenny did not use a taser in order to stop Robinson without killing him, that’s because of an absurd policy in Madison that prohibits law enforcement officers from using a taser except when another officer is present at the scene. Madison’s taser policy should be amended to allow for officers to use tasers to stop suspects without another officer being present, and similar policies in other jurisdictions should be amended as well.

Racial Disparities are Systemic in Madison

Despite being America’s most progressive city, there’s systemic racial disparities between white people and black people in Madison. If you’re a black person in Madison, you’re anywhere from 8 to 11 times more likely to be arrested than a white person in Madison:

The Race to Equity report also found that black adults in Dane County were more than eight times as likely to be arrested as white adults in 2012, which was higher than the black-white arrest disparity in Wisconsin (4-to-1) and the entire nation (2.5-to-1) in 2010. While black men made up only 4.8 percent of the county’s total adult male population in 2012, they comprised more than 43 percent of all new adult prison placements that year.

Updated numbers for only Madison may be even worse: Erica Nelson, who authored the Race to Equity report, told PolitiFact Wisconsin that black adults are 10.9 times as likely as white adults to be arrested in the city, based on a preliminary analysis of the Madison Police Department’s 2013 annual report.

I Strongly Support a Peaceful, Constructive Movement Against Police Brutality and Systemic Racism

So as long as the protests are peaceful and constructive in nature, I strongly support protests against brutality by law enforcement officers and systemic racism in our society. A lot needs to be done to make America a truly equal place. Protests should be non-violent, raise awareness of the problems of police brutality and systemic racism, and raise awareness of various solutions to hold police officers who engage in brutality accountable and end the systemic racism in this country.

The problems of police brutality and systemic racism in this country go beyond Madison, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Baltimore, New York City, and Ferguson. They are nationwide problems that need to be addressed by the people, the media, and public officials. Most importantly, there needs to be a concerted effort in this country to, through non-violent protests, supporting progressive-minded candidates for public office, and implementing new laws and policies, to end police brutality and systemic racism in this country once and for all.

Canadians protest against bill to allow secret police to spy on political opponents of far-right Canadian government

According to a recent poll by Forum Research, 50% of Canadian voters oppose Bill C-51, proposed Canadian legislation that, among other things, allows Canadian spying agencies the power to spy on and infiltrate pro-environment organizations, First Nations (i.e., indigenous people of Canada), and opponents of current and proposed oil pipelines. The legislation is supported by far-right Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who leads the Conservative Party of Canada.

Opposition to Bill C-51, which has been referred to by political opponents of Harper as the “secret police bill”, is growing every day all across Canada. Dozens of protests in opposition to the secret police bill were held last weekend in numerous Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, and Edmonton. That’s because the secret police bill would, if enacted, violate the civil liberties of Canadians, especially those who don’t believe in Stephen Harper’s destructive political agenda.

Harper and the Conservatives aren’t the only supporters of the Canadian secret police bill. Justin Trudeau, who leads the Liberal Party of Canada, would support the secret police bill if provisions requiring oversight of spying and infiltrating operations are added to the legislation. This has led to significant left-wing opposition to Trudeau and the Liberals at a time when they’re in a position to possibly win a plurality of seats in the Canadian House of Commons in the parliamentary elections scheduled for later this year:

The poll results also revealed that while Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau supports C-51 with “added parliamentary oversight,” a majority of Liberal voters nationally (66 per cent) disapprove of the bill.

“This poll should also prompt Justin Trudeau to reconsider his stance,” said OpenMedia spokesperson David Christopher. OpenMedia is one of the organizations invited to speak before a committee hearing in Ottawa about C-51.

“With over two-thirds of his party’s supporters opposing this legislation, isn’t it time Justin Trudeau showed he can listen to Canadians, instead of backing government attempts to ram this extreme legislation through Parliament at breakneck pace?”

Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau believe that Canadians who care about protecting the environment are a bunch of terrorists. That’s simply not true, and the fact that Harper, Trudeau, and their ilk to support spying on and infiltrating Canadians who oppose Harper’s anti-environment agenda is absolutely disgusting.

Wisconsin Democrats and progressives, I’m proud of you all

Sadly, the Wisconsin wage theft (i.e., right-to-work) bill has passed both chambers of the Wisconsin State Legislature and is expected to be signed into law by Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

However, I’m proud of how Wisconsin Democrats and progressives spoke out and fought against the wage theft legislation.

I’m proud of Scott Wittkopf, Julie Wells, and the rest of the team at the Forward Institute, Wisconsin’s progressive think tank, for encouraging progressives to use better messaging against horrible wage theft legislation. You have been wonderful advisers of the Wisconsin progressive movement, and I hope that more progressives take your group’s advice.

I’m proud of Lori Compas of the Wisconsin Business Alliance, Wisconsin’s progressive business group, for exposing the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the main right-wing business group in Wisconsin that supported the wage theft legislation, as an organization that represents very few of its own members. You are truly the heart, soul, and brains of the progressive movement in Wisconsin, I wish there were more people on the face of this Earth that are as cool as you are.

I’m proud of Rebecca Kemble of The Progressive magazine for filming testimony and state legislative speeches in opposition to the wage theft legislation. You have truly been the eyes and ears of the progressive movement in Wisconsin, and I hope you win your election to the Madison Common Council next month.

I’m proud of those who protested, testified, blogged, posted on social media, and/or otherwise spoke out against the wage theft legislation in Wisconsin. Those who spoke out against wage theft include Heather DuBois Bourenane, Lisa Mux, Cheri Goetz, Jeff Smith, Randy Bryce, Jennifer Epps-Addison, Phil Neuenfeldt, John “Sly” Sylvester, John Nichols, Jenni Dye, Zach Wisniewski, Chris “Capper” Liebenthal, Meg Gorski, and countless others. Thank you all!

Last, but certainly not least, I’m proud of Wisconsin State Legislative Democrats for strongly opposing wage theft legislation from the moment Republicans signaled their intent to enact the legislation until the final vote was cast in the state assembly. Your opposition to the wage theft bill in Wisconsin is some of the strongest opposition to anything I’ve seen from Democrats in a long time.

I’ve never been prouder of a group of people than I am of Wisconsin Democrats and progressives who strongly opposed the wage theft legislation. To use a phrase that the odious Joe McCarthy turned into an epithet many decades ago, I’ve been a fellow traveler of the Wisconsin progressive movement despite being a lifelong Illinoisan who has never been to Wisconsin. I would love nothing more than to be able to visit Wisconsin someday in order to meet those wonderful Wisconsinites who stand for progressive values.

PROVISIONAL ENDORSEMENT: Jeff Smith for Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairperson

I’m provisionally endorsing Jeff Smith’s campaign for Chairperson of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW). Please note that my endorsement of Smith for DPW Chair is only a provisional endorsement and not a full endorsement at this time, since I’m only endorsing Smith provided that a potential candidate for DPW Chair, Lori Compas, does not enter the race for DPW Chair. If Compas runs for DPW Chair (which is not likely, since it’s been a while since she stated that she was considering a run and hasn’t said anything about whether or not she’ll run since then), I will pull my endorsement of Smith and endorse Compas instead, while, if Compas does not run for DPW Chair, my provisional endorsement of Smith will automatically become a full endorsement of Smith.

Smith has some excellent ideas for reviving the currently moribund Democratic Party of Wisconsin, which is barely relevant in Wisconsin politics nowadays due to current DPW Chairman Mike Tate and others in the failed Democratic establishment badly mismanaging the state party, and making the party, whose list of former statewide elected officials includes people like Gaylord Nelson, Bill Proxmire, Pat Lucey, Tony Earl, and Russ Feingold, great once again. Some of Smith’s ideas include more support for Wisconsin College Democrats chapters to help the party reach out to young voters more effectively, making the DPW’s messaging more progressive, and making the DPW less dependent on political consultants who are more interested in getting payoffs from the party and its donors than doing anything to actually help Democratic candidates.

Mike Tate, who is not running for re-election for DPW Chair, is one of many individuals in the DPW who are responsible for the DPW being in so much disarray. Tate was the one who hand-picked corporate hack and Jim Doyle crony Mary Burke to run against Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker last year, and, in the process, Tate single-handedly turned Burke, who tried to run for governor as a political outsider, into the ultimate political insider, which destroyed what little chance she had of defeating Walker. Sadly, that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Tate’s mismanagement of the DPW.

While I’m not a Wisconsin resident (I live in Illinois, and we could certainly use better, more progressive Democratic leadership here, although trying to pry the Illinois Democratic Party out of the hands of Mike Madigan is nearly impossible), the election for Chairperson of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin has massive national implications, because Wisconsin could very well determine which party wins control the White House and the U.S. Senate in next year’s elections. Of the candidates currently running, I believe that Jeff Smith is the best candidate for DPW Chair, and that’s why I’ve provisionally endorsed Smith’s campaign. This year’s DPW Convention, which will select the next DPW Chair, will be held on June 5 & 6 at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee, and DPW members who are selected as delegates to the state convention by their home county’s Democratic Party chapter will be able to vote for DPW Chair.

Racism in the Democratic Party: Missouri State Representative Keith English wants to ship anti-racial profiling protesters to Mexico

Protesters calling for an end to racial profiling by police officers in Missouri and elsewhere in the United States who are marching from Ferguson, Missouri, where unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, have been the target of racist attacks.

However, this time, those racist attacks are coming from a Democrat.

Keith English, a Democratic member of the Missouri House of Representatives from Florissant (located near Ferguson in northern St. Louis County), posted a map to his Facebook page showing a line from somewhere in or near Kansas City, Missouri to somewhere in or near Monterrey, Mexico, located in the Mexican state of Nuevo León. In his Facebook post (which has since been deleted, although a screengrab of the Facebook post was posted on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website), English remarked that he was giving the map to the protesters to “help in their cause”.

I’m certain that the protesters have zero use for English’s map and view his map and Facebook post as racist. For Keith English to publicly state that he thinks that people who want to eliminate racial profiling by police officers in Missouri and elsewhere in this country, including many of his own constituents, should be shipped to a foreign country is extremely offensive. Racism should not be tolerated in the Democratic Party, and English should be expelled from the Democratic caucus of the Missouri House of Representatives. Should English run for another term in office in 2016 as a Democrat, progressives should run a Democratic primary challenger against him.

Rick Scott can’t tell the difference between an electric device and an electronic device

Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott, facing a tough re-election battle against Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor of the state who left the Republican Party a few years ago and joined the Democratic Party a couple of years later, refused to appear at a debate with Crist for several minutes over something as trivial as Crist using a fan to keep himself cool:

While Scott claimed that Crist’s use of an electric fan violated the debate rules, the debate rules reportedly prohibited electronic devices from being used in the debate, not electric devices. Electronic devices are items with computer chips in them, such as computers, cell phones, tablets, and other similar devices. Electric devices are items that are powered by electricity, but do not have computer chips in them, such as light bulbs and…you guessed it…electric fans.

Crist called Scott’s refusal to appear at the debate on time over his use of a fan “the ultimate pleading of the Fifth”, referring to Scott invoking the Fifth Amendement a total of 75 times in a deposition related to a civil case involving Columbia/Hospital Corporation of America (Columbia/HCA), which Scott was a former CEO of, at the same time the federal government was prosecuting Columbia/HCA for, among other things, Medicare and Medicaid fraud.

Several minutes after Crist appeared on stage, Scott relented and appeared on the debate stage. When asked by debate moderators about why Scott delayed his appearance at the debate, Scott tried to claim that Crist didn’t plan on showing up to the debate despite the fact that Crist appeared on stage several minutes before Scott did. That’s an absolutely absurd claim by Scott.

I’m certain that Floridians are sick and tired of Rick Scott’s corruption and political games.