New on NewsReal – Miraculous GOP Turnaround Causes Michael Moore to Drop the Act and Ask Obama to Disenfranchise Wisconsin

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

In a stunning development, a clerical error in Wisconsin has transformed what many expected to be a long, ugly legal battle favoring the Left into an almost certain victory for the Right, outraging leftists like Michael Moore, to the point where the radical “documentarian” has stopped bothering to hide his disdain for the democratic process.

The intense Wisconsin Supreme Court race between the incumbent Republican, Justice David Prosser, and his Democrat challenger, state DNR enforcer JoAnn Kloppenburg, ended Wednesday with the latter declaring victory based on the Associated Press’s calculation of a 204-vote lead. Prosser didn’t budge, and most predicted an onslaught of recounts and vote fraud litigation to ensue.

But on Thursday evening we learned that Waukesha county clerk Kathy Nickolaus had erroneously passed on the county’s data to the AP without the numbers from the city of Brookfield, which shifted the lead to Prosser by more than 7,000 votes. Leftists are predictably outraged that hijacking the judiciary to thwart Governor Scott Walker’s public-sector union reforms won’t work after all, though none have topped the overreaction of Moore, who tweeted last night:

Republicans created the rule: “Whoever declares victory first, wins!” When will Obama Justice Dept impound ballots and stop the shenanigans?

Much has been said about the totalitarian impulse and anti-constitutionalism behind modern leftism, but rarely is it expressed so overtly by one of their own. Moore wants the federal government to forcibly prevent the certification of a state election and give the office to someone based strictly on her own, premature and entirely unofficial, declaration of victory?

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

A (Perhaps Unnecessary) Plea for Action

A few hours ago, I sent out the following letter to many friends and colleagues in Wisconsin. Fortunately, new developments may render it unnecessary.
To my fellow Wisconsinites,

As you know, the final outcome of the state Supreme Court election will have tremendous ramifications for our future. JoAnn Kloppenburg is an environmental zealot with a record of disdain for the personal liberties of Wisconsin residents. She benefitted from a slanderous attack on David Prosser and did not have the decency to condemn it, despite the victim of the Prosser case calling on her to disavow the “offensive” and “inaccurate” ad.
As a judge, she will certainly rule based on her politics rather than the state Constitution, and we can expect her rulings to consistently side with government bureaucrats who want to micromanage our lives, and against the individual rights of the people. (By contrast, Prosser’s long judicial record matches his rhetoric, proving that he is an independent, impartial judge.) By giving the Supreme Court a liberal majority, her victory would, for all intents and purposes, rescind self-government in our state until the next Supreme Court election. The danger is that serious. For Kloppenburg’s supporters, this election was never about judicial philosophy; it was a proxy war to wage against Governor Walker’s agenda and preserve the dominance of government unions over our state.
As it stands, we do not know who won the election on Tuesday. Kloppenburg claimed her 204-vote lead as a victory, but as of Thursday afternoon, the lead has shifted to Prosser by 40 votes. We will not have a final answer for some time. But if Wisconsin history tells us anything, it’s that the Democrats and their allies will pull out all the stops to steal this election. We’ve already started to see several allegations of vote fraud and other suspicious activity, and more is sure to come in the days ahead.
Right now, the only hope Wisconsin has lies with the alertness and dedication of the state Justice Department. So I’m writing you today to ask you to all to contact Attorney General JB Van Hollen, to urge him to vigorously investigate and prosecute all reports of voter fraud in the days and months to come, and to watch the recount process very carefully. Ask your friends and family to do the same (feel free to forward this email to as many people as you can think of). Contact Governor Walker and your representatives, and demand that they pressure the Attorney General’s Office to take this seriously. You may contact each office below:
I appreciate your taking time out of your busy schedules to read this. Take care.
Calvin Freiburger

Did Kloppenburg Steal the Election? Signs of Vote Fraud in Wisconsin Supreme Court Race

In the 2004 election, around 5,000 more votes were counted in Milwaukee alone than the number of voters recorded as having cast ballots, so it’s entirely plausible that JoAnne Kloppenburg’s 204-vote lead in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race is fraudulent.
The following is a collection of election irregularities and signs of potential fraud in this week’s election that have been reported thus far. To be clear, many of these are unverified allegations, and while they may not all be true, they are all worth investigating. This post may be updated periodically as new facts and allegations come to light.
First, an anecdote of my own: as I’m currently at college in Michigan, I (along with my mother) voted absentee while I was home for spring break two weeks ago. When my father went in to vote on Election Day, he noticed that neither my nor my mother’s name had been checked off on the voter rolls as having already voted.
Blogger Thomas Ferdousi has been closely following signs of fraud. Among the highlights:
[W]e now have this from the Dane County election numbers.

Total votes for the Supreme Court Election: 182,382
For County Executive: 171,718

So we’re dealing with about 10,600 more votes being cast for the Supreme Court election than in the County Executive race. Now, of course the Supreme Court race was very contested, so many may have seen it as more important– but over 10,000 in the city?

Not to mention the fact that last night there were 10,000 (exactly) votes given extra to Kloppenburg by Dane County before the number was retracted.

WISN’s Mark Belling has received word of voter intimidation:
Village of Grafton Police were called to the Grafton Town Hall because election officials were concerned that protesters were too close to the polling place and were not following the rules established by Wisconsin’s Election Authority or Government Accountability Board (GAB).  Two witnesses confirmed that a Police Officer who reported to address the incident apparently refused to deal with the protesters initially.  Jessica Schmidt, Grafton Town Clerk, and another witness heard the officer say, “I used to be a conservative but I’m not anymore.”  Apparently, this behavior was a result of the recent debate over union rights that has consumed Wisconsin.  The officer then walked outside and without addressing the issues presented by the protesters and refused to do his job, allowing the intimidation to continue.  The officer’s behavior was apparently upsetting enough that an elderly poll worker was shaking immediately following the incident and needed to be calmed down by a nurse that was present at the polling place.   
Belling is also sounding the alarm [PDF link] on allegations of fraud in Mequon:
I have filed a Wisconsin Open records request with the City of Mequon demanding any ballot submitted but not cast in yesterday’s election, including any remnant of a shredded ballot. We have received reports Mequon poll workers destroyed submitted ballots before poll closing time, demanding a driver’s license number from the absentee voter. This request is unusual and the destruction of ballots is of grave concern, given the closeness of the state Supreme Court election. I will consider seeking an injuction to back up my request if Mequon officials are not copperative.
WISN’s Vicki McKenna has asked her audience members to share their stories here. Among the highlights:
One caller, McKenna said, talked about a “missing box of ballots,” a voter overheard poll workers talking about. On air, McKenna said the ballot box could have contained blank ballots or it could have been filled with Wisconsin voters’ completed ballot. Either possibility presents a dilemma, though, as blank ballots in the hands of the wrong people could be used to illegally influence counts after the election.
“There are reports of 17-year-olds voting because they didn’t need to show proof of their age or anything like that,” McKenna told TheDC. “There were folks allegedly using their husbands’ or relatives’ utility bills in voter registration, ballots weren’t being counted because they were using the wrong kind of pens.
– Here is what I don’t get. 222,761 votes were tallied in the Milwaukee County Exec race. [CF: Yep – see here.]  227,577 votes were tallied in the Supreme Court race. [CF: Yep – see here.] That is a difference of a touch over 4,800 votes. Shouldn’t they be almost identical? And by almost I mean with a few hundred votes? I didn’t take the time to do that math associated with cross checking numbers but wouldn’t one assume they should be closer? Does this mean that Milwaukee County didn’t count over 4,800 votes for the supreme court race? It was on the ballot so why the difference?
– I guess my mother and I were given the wrong ballot to fill out. I know that doesn’t make a lot of difference in the Prosser/Kloppenburg race, but we were given the River Hills-Glendale School District ballot when we should have been given the Maple Dale-Indian Hill School District ballot.
– (Waukesha) My son moved over a year ago and filled out all the proper forms for change of registration of his new address and ward. However his name is still listed on our old ward’s registration listing, I saw it just below mine! He easily could have voted twice, not that he would, but it exposes a problem. There should be no outstanding registration changes before an election occurs. he moved over a year a ago! This is also a disturbing loophole as even showing ID won’t fix this. Maybe it would be caught some other way, but let’s catch up on registration change paperwork people – scary.
– In my voting location, the machine was not accepting ballots first thing in the morning, so the guy was throwing them some place behind the machine. What number did my district turn in? The count on the machine that did not include my vote or did they remember to add those ballots later on when the machine was working?
– Secondly, in a Milwaukee neighborhood of a relative, two people came to the door asking who lived there. The woman lived alone, but mentioned the name of her deceased husband. The person on the porch put his name into his palm pilot, thanked her, and left. It dawned on her later what must be going on – getting potential names of voters (whether dead or alive), but too late. The people involved in this activity had gone. No one knows how many names they got to use for voting.
– There are people on the voter rolls in my community that haven’t lived there for years. I bet there are some people who move frequently who are registered to vote in many different places. Such a shoddy system, and the democrats like it that way.
– As a student at a state university, I sat in a class where they encouraged students to vote Tuesday. “Just bring your campus ID to prove you’re a student and you can vote.” What about proving residence? What about students like me who vote in their home district becuase they live off campus? Could I have voted twice? There was a large push all over campus to get students to “vote against Walker by voting for Kloppenburg.” Her non-experience as a judge shouldn’t matter, I guess. I think re-counts should focus on college campuses…
– I was at Greenfield City Hall from 8:00PM – 10:15PM and watched as the ballots, machine tallies, and other materials were returned and added. I noticed 2 problems. The first was that several ward officials were returning bags of ballots that had not been sealed. The second was that people were leaving their bags of ballots unattended (on benches, on the ground, etc.) as they walked away to chat with other election officials returning their ballots.

New on NewsReal – Oh, Good: Left-Wing KINDERGARTEN Teacher Threatens to Kill Wisconsin Republicans

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

The fireworks in Wisconsin over Gov. Scott Walker’s efforts to rein in government employee unions aren’t over yet. Unions have declared war on any Wisconsin businesses that won’t publicly oppose Walker, and the budget repair bill has been blocked by an activist judge, turning next week’s state Supreme Court election into a proxy battle on the issue.

Oh, and we’re not done with the onslaught of violence and vitriol on behalf of the unions and the educational establishment, either. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Wisconsin resident Katherine Windels is now facing felony charges for death threats she made against state Republican lawmakers:

The subject line of the second email was: ”Atten: Death Threat!!!! Bomb!!!” In that email, she purportedly wrote, “Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your families will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks.”

“I hope you have a good time in hell,” she allegedly wrote in the lengthy email in which she purportedly listed scenarios in which the legislators and their families would die, including bombings and by “putting a nice little bullet in your head.”

According to the criminal complaint, Windels told investigators “I sent out emails that I was
disgusted and very upset by what they were doing.”


Asked if she intended to follow through on any of her threats, Windels told the investigators “No,” according to the complaint.

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey reveals two key details about the story that the Sentinel left out: first, Windels is a pre-school and kindergarten teacher, and second, this isn’t the first time she’s done something like this—she sent the emails using the name and email address of Lisa Patterson, a woman who she allegedly sent threatening text messages to in October 2010.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

Governor Walker, Please Reconsider

Not your policies – on the merits, you’ve been great so far. But I beg you to reconsider what you recently told National Review Online:

Walker, to be sure, has every intention of pursuing all elements of his muscular budget proposal in coming weeks. Yet the key for him, he says, is making Democrats realize that he is not looking to make enemies with them, regardless of how angry they are about the budget-repair bill. “[The budget-repair bill] was not about getting a political victory,” he says. “It was about getting our economy on track. It’s time to move forward.”

This is exactly the wrong way to react to what’s transpired – the lies, the venom, the shameless attempt to grind the democratic process to a halt – over the past month. Above all, any Republican leader who wants to get meaningful results has to recognize one critical truth: regardless of whether or not you’re “looking to make enemies with them,” the Democrats are always looking to make enemies with you. No matter what you do, the Democratic Party is your enemy, because that’s what they’ve chosen to be. They’re operating on a fundamentally incompatible set of first principles and partisan interests. No amount of olive branches or appeasement will soften their ideology or their treachery, but will just result in needless concessions from us and leave our opponents convinced that their tactics work. Failure to recognize this fact always kills Republicans.

New on NewsReal – Peter Beinart Spins Walker’s Conservative Victory as a Boon for Obama

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

If it’s a day ending in “y,” that means it’s time for more crappy political advice from the Daily Beast’s Peter Beinart. Beinart’s kind of a one-trick pony on the subject—I’ve noted before how, no matter the situation, he advises Republicans not to govern like conservatives lest they face certain electoral doom (the right electoral strategy, coincidentally, happens to be to govern exactly like Peter Beinart would). Today, he argues that the Wisconsin GOP’s victory over public-sector unions will ultimately ensure a second term for Barack Obama:

In 2010, Republicans successfully accused Obama of abetting the extremism of Nancy Pelosi. In 2012, Obama will ask Americans if they want a president who abets the extremism of Scott Walker. By so successfully shifting the ideological debate to the right, Republicans have reframed Obama as a man of the center. And by terrifying liberals, they are helping ensure that Obama gets the large Democratic base turnout he needs […]

The 2012 Republican nominee will likely face the same problem. Embracing Scott Walker will alienate independents; rejecting him will alienate the conservative base. Parties usually win elections when their partisans are pragmatic enough to nominate candidates with crossover appeal but desperate enough to turn out for them nonetheless. Today’s GOP isn’t that kind of party. The Democrats, especially after last November, are.

There are two major problems with Beinart’s analysis. First, if one’s stance on public-sector unions is to be our new barometer for “extremism,” comparing Obama and Walker is hardly an open-and-shut case, even on the Left’s own terms—consider that government employees at the federal level can’t collectively bargain over wages or benefits, whereas Walker’s bill still allows some bargaining over wages. Assuming the GOP’s next presidential nominee isn’t totally asleep at the switch (which, admittedly, isn’t all that safe an assumption), he or she will challenge Obama on that very point.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

"I hope you’re embarassed to call yourselves sentaors."

In commenting on the return of Wisconsin’s 14 runaway Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald strikes exactly the right tone:

Today, the most shameful 14 people in the state of Wisconsin are going to pat themselves on the back and smile for the cameras. They’re going to pretend they’re heroes for taking a three-week vacation […] To the Senate Democrats: when you smile for the cameras today and pretend you’re heroes, I hope you look at that beautiful Capitol building you insulted. And I hope you’re embarrassed to call yourselves senators.

This is the tone Governor Scott Walker should emulate going forward. Republicans invariably turn out to be their own worst enemies by failing to treat disgraceful conduct as disgraceful.

The Union Label: Let the Buyer Beware

Scott Walker’s detractors are just trying to protect teachers, right?

Wrong:

[I]n June 2010, long before Scott Walker was elected, Milwaukee Public Schools fired 482 teachers–including Megan Sampson, a young educator named an “outstanding first year teacher” by the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English.

Sampson and 481 other teachers were laid off for two reasons having to do with collective bargaining: First, the collective bargaining agreement allowed the teachers’ union to choose between small reductions in health care benefits and layoffs. “Given the opportunity, of course I would switch to a different [health care] plan to save my job, or the jobs of 10 other teachers,” Sampson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The teachers’ union felt differently. It chose layoffs. 

Second, the collective bargaining agreement guaranteed that teachers would be laid off on the basis of seniority rather than merit (or lack thereof). Therefore, Sampson, and likely a lot of other promising young educators got the axe, while the rest of the teachers, good and bad alike, were protected simply by the amount of time they’d put in.

And “for the children”? That’s crap, too:

A 2004 study by Hofstra University scholar Charol Shakeshaft on the sexual misconduct of public school teachers is a shocking wake-up call that was widely ignored by the public union-friendly press. And even worse, the public teachers unions protected many of the offending teachers and allowed them to quietly transfer to other schools where they victimized more children. “Examples include touching breasts or genitals of students; oral, anal, and vaginal penetration; showing students pictures of a sexual nature; and sexually-related conversations, jokes, or questions directed at students.”

Everyone agrees that the sex scandal in the Catholic Church is a tragedy of immense proportions and the media has done a good job at uncovering the network of cover-ups and lies that harmed children irreparably. But what would you say if I told you that the public school system, which is about the same size as the Catholic Church in America with a school in every parish, has more sexual abuse cases in ten years than the Catholic Church has had in fifty?

In Defense of Scott Walker: Setting the Record Straight on Wisconsin, Education, and Unions (UPDATED)

After some behind-the-scenes wrangling, a condensed, 300-word version of my editorial on Scott Walker’s fight with Big Union is slated to appear in the Fond du Lac Reporter on Sunday (UPDATE: here it is). Here’s the original, extended cut.

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As I watch the battle over Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to alleviate Wisconsin’s projected $3.6 billion deficit, it pains me to see old friends and former classmates from Fond du Lac High School misled by the lies and fear-mongering of people who don’t have their best interests at heart. Some of it—like comparing Walker to dictators like Adolf Hitler and Hosni Mubarak—is merely the infantile ranting of hate-filled, ignorant partisans, but others are sincerely worried about the future of education in Wisconsin. My friends, please read on as I try to set the record straight.

Accusing Walker of “attacking” state workers is patently absurd. On February 20th, the non-partisan PolitiFact.com reported, “no matter how you slice it, the 12.6 percent share of health care premiums that Walker proposes employees pay is well below what most pay in the private and public sectors,” and explained how “experts say they will be better of” on pensions, as well.

As most Americans suffer alongside the nation’s economic woes, government workers’ compensation remains relatively constant. Throw in nigh-impenetrable job security and retirement at 55, and the public sector compares quite favorably to the private – and will continue to do so under Scott Walker.

In fact, it’s hard to seriously call Walker anti-teacher when he’s standing up for teachers’ rights of conscience and free association, by proposing that they be given the right to choose whether or not to pay union dues. Not only would this return hundreds of dollars annually to our teachers, but it would also let them decide whether they want their money going to political causes that have nothing to do with education – the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers both donate millions to Democrat candidates and radical left-wing causes and smear groups, including Planned Parenthood, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Action Network, ACORN, the Sierra Club, Amnesty International, Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition, Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, People for the American Way, and Media Matters.

Thomas Jefferson called forcing people to “furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors” “sinful and tyrannical.” Why force teachers to take sides or donate to any political cause just to do the job they love? (Or are only far-left Democrats welcome to teach in Wisconsin?)

As for the worry that unions can’t survive without coercion, that’s freedom. If they’ve earned their members’ confidence, they’ll persevere. If not, they’ll fall. Think about it – if unions need the force of law to coerce their own members to support them, isn’t that all the evidence we need that the unions aren’t as valuable or as noble as they claim?

Not only is this more moral, it’s smarter economically, too—Investor’s Business Daily reports on the link between prosperity and the right to work:

According to statistics compiled by the National Institute for Labor Relations Research, real personal income in right-to-work states grew 28.3% from 1999 to 2009 vs. 14.7% in forced-unionism states — almost double. Disposable income in right-to-work states stood at $35,543 per capita in 2009 vs. $33,389, and growth in real manufacturing GDP jumped 20.9% from 2000 to 2008, compared with 6.5% in forced-unionism states.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, right-to-work states added 1.5 million private-sector jobs from 1999 to 2009 for a 3.7% increase; states that are not right-to-work lost 1.8 million jobs over the same decade, a decline of 2.3%.

Workers’ actual rights are safe—as Walker points out, legal protections like merit hiring and just cause for discipline and termination come from the Civil Service Act of 1905, which he’s not touching. The only “right” at stake is collective bargaining. But understanding how unions work exposes public-sector collective bargaining as a bad idea that needs to go.

In private-sector bargaining, there are two sides: labor unions and corporate management. Everyone has a seat at the table and both sides are vulnerable to market forces and free to risk taking their business elsewhere if they can’t reach an agreement. But public-sector bargaining often ill-serves taxpayers—there’s no competition, it enables unions to coerce concessions from government without regard for the public good, and unions are often negotiating with politicians they’ve bought and paid for. Government has much more latitude to make unsustainable promises today and let someone else worry about paying for them tomorrow. There’s a reason even FDR said collective bargaining “cannot be transplanted into the public service.”

Because most public school curricula don’t teach the fundamentals of economics or political science (instead teaching liberal propaganda and, since 2009, even legally-mandated pro-union propaganda), their students are susceptible to such union propaganda campaigns. My friends, you’ve been betrayed. Your compassion has been exploited by union bosses and politicians who want to scare you into action not to defend Wisconsin’s teachers, but to preserve their own power and influence.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: In the 300-word version, I place the number teachers would get back from collective bargaining at over $700. I got this figure from this document on WEAC’s website. But looking over it again for this blog post, I saw that the site has other documents that place the number lower, apparently depending on county or locality. I apologize for the error.

UPDATE 2 (3/31/11): I’ve updated the union dues hyperlink again to provide a more comprehensive source.

New on NewsReal – Who Asked You? "Inception" Cinematographer Decries "Madness" in Wisconsin

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Just because you did good work on a great movie does not mean your political opinions matter. Somebody should have told that to cinematographer Wally Pfister before he accepted Inception’s Academy Award for Best Cinematography; that way we might have been spared a lecture about Wisconsin’s horribly oppressed unions. Jim Hoft has the scoop on Pfister’s acceptance speech shout-out to his union crew, and his backstage elaboration:

“I think that what is going on in Wisconsin is kind of madness right now,” Pfister says. “I have been a union member for 30 years and what the union has given to me is security for my family. They have given me health care in a country that doesn’t provide health care and I think unions are a very important part of the middle class in America all we are trying to do is get a decent wage and have medical care.”

Actually, the country has given you health care, and a whole lot more. It’s given you a wage that’s much better than “decent” and the opportunity to work on movies and accept awards for them. What you really mean is that the government hasn’t provided healthcare (there’s a reason for that which has nothing to do with its heartlessness: widespread government healthcare doesn’t work).

And considering that only 6.9% of private-sector workers belong to a union, the average American isn’t getting that decent wage or medical care from one (dare I suggest they might be getting them from evil businessmen like the Koch brothers?). So much for being “a very important part of the middle class.”

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.