Saturday, November 26, 2016

Wisconsin recount futile in Koch Brother’s Dismal Dairyland of GOP corruption

On November 8th, Donald Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate to win Wisconsin in nearly 30 years.  Due to the massive anomalies in the Wisconsin election process since the GOP takeover of 2010, Green Party candidate Jill Stein has requested a recount of the votes cast in the state.  According to the Washington Post a recount of the votes in Wisconsin will take place.


Election recount will take place in Wisconsin, after Stein files petition

An election recount will take place soon in Wisconsin, after former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein filed a petition Friday with the state’s Election Commission, the first of three states where she has promised to contest the election result…

Trump scored upset victories in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and seems on the path to declare a victory in Michigan as well, though the result of the election in that state will not be certified officially until Monday. Had Clinton won those three states, previously seen as part of the Democrats’ “firewall,” she would have secured enough electoral votes to win the election…

While the group had no specific proof of hacking, they noted anomalies suggesting Clinton routinely did more poorly in Wisconsin counties that used voting machines, as opposed to those that relied on paper ballots.

Election fraud committed at the highest levels in Wisconsin’s government has been rampant since 2010 when the GOP took control of Wisconsin’s government.  In 2011 after the GOP takeover of Wisconsin’s government, the right-wing extremist and former Republican Speaker of the Assembly, Justice David Prosser was running for reelection to the Wisconsin Supreme Court where he has been a Justice since 1998.  Prosser whose violent outbursts had made the high court a national laughing stock, lost his reelection to Joanne Kloppenburg.  But shortly after the announcement, Waukesha county clerk Kathy Nicklaus, who had been an aide to Scott Walker proclaimed Prosser the winner.  From Forbes:


Something Smells In Waukesha County, Wisconsin-- And It's Not The Cheese

Suspicious evidence is beginning to emerge calling into question last week’s controversial state Supreme Court election between incumbent Justice David Prosser and challenger, JoAnne Kloppenburg.

Kloppenburg, the Democrat, had initially been thought to be the winner by the narrowest of margins – approximately 200 votes – in the election that was viewed as a referendum on Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-collective bargaining policies.

However, hours after the challenger declared victory, the Waukesha County Clerk, Kathy Nickolaus, announced that the votes of an entire city within her county had been accidentally omitted in her counts. When those votes were added into her totals, Justice Prosser emerged with a victory margin of roughly 7,500 votes –almost precisely the number needed to deny Ms. Kloppenburg an automatic, government-funded recount…

It turns out that there was a similar error in Waukesha County in 2006 during a Republican primary for State Assembly. Candidate Christine Lufter had been leading in the election until an alleged computer error discovered by Nickolaus was found to be placing votes in the wrong candidate’s column.

My, isn’t it interesting that every “mistake” uncovered by Kathy Nickolaus favors candidates backed by the Koch Brothers.  How is it that Nickolaus was able to control the election results in Waukesha County during her ex-boss’ recall election?  From Mother Jones:


Will Scandal-Plagued Election Clerk Supervise Walker Recall in Key County?

Republican Kathy Nickolaus may be the only county clerk known by name across Wisconsin—and not for a good reason.  Last year, Nickolaus, the top election official in Waukesha County, a solidly Republican suburb outside of Milwaukee, blamed "human error" for the late discovery of more than 14,000 missing votes in a bruising state Supreme Court race.  Those votes erased liberal favorite JoAnne Kloppenburg's lead in the race, handed victory to conservative incumbent David Prosser… 

This April, Nickolaus resorted to posting election results on strips of grocery-receipt-like paper after the county's reporting system failed on election night.  After the April controversy, Nickolaus pledged to step down from handling the county's election operations. But ahead of Gov. Scott Walker's recall election on June 5… recent evidence suggests Nickolaus still has control over the county's vote-counting... WTMJ news station reported that Nickolaus "appeared to be very much in charge of the count…"

Kelly Steele, a spokesman for the labor-backed We Are Wisconsin group, says it would be "criminal" to allow Nickolaus to have any role in the county's June 5 election. "After Kathy Nickolaus earned her reputation as the most incompetent or corrupt election clerk in America, Waukesha County assured the world she would no longer administer elections…"

All evidence from the May primary suggests she's fully in charge and reporting out results to the world."  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board has also demanded Nickolaus' resignation…   But although Nickolaus has said she won't run for reelection, she remains in her job—and, if the May 8 primary is any indication, she's still supervising elections.

Yep, in Wisconsin there’s no getting rid of the corrupt Republicans, they control every branch of government.  What’s particularly egregious has been the takeover of the Wisconsin Supreme Court whose GOP majority was funded by the outside groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Wisconsin Club for Growth.  The Club for Growth’s funding of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s recall campaign was the subject of a John Doe investigation. 

Members of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court whose campaigns were funded by CFG refused to recuse themselves when the high court ordered the investigation be quashed.  The corruption on the Wisconsin Supreme Court has not gone unnoticed nationally.  From Newsweek:



The Wisconsin Supreme Court is facing harsh criticism for a blatant conflict of interest in a July 16 ruling to shut down a campaign finance investigation of Gov. Scott Walker’s 2012 re-election campaign.  One headline referred to the court as a “crony court.” A Wisconsin columnist called the justices “self-serving” and concluded, “Justice bought is justice denied.”

Why? The justices in the majority have benefited from $10 million in spending by the same special interest groups that were suspected of conspiring with Walker.  The Wisconsin high court has become THE MOST CORRUPT COURT IN THE NATION SINCE THE GOP MEMBERS TOOK CONTROL.  

Yes, indeed another milestone for Republicans, according to Newsweek “the Wisconsin high court has become the most corrupt court in the nation since the GOP members took control.”  And what does Wisconsin look like under GOP control?  Let’s start with the GOP’s 2010 “redistricting” scam.  From Riverwest Currents:


It took Republican legislative leaders only 12 days to go from unveiling their redistricting plans to passing them into law. The consequences of the redistricting legislation, however, may affect politics in Wisconsin for the next decade.  After presenting redistricting maps on July 8, the Senate passed the redistricting legislation on July 19, and the assembly on July 20 along predictable partisan lines…   

When asked why the redistricting legislation was being rushed to a vote, a representative of Sen. Scott Fitzgerald’s (R-Juneau) office said the rush was necessary to proactively counter a lawsuit against the Government Accountability Board (GAB), pending in US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The lawsuit requested that a three-judge panel be appointed to redraw the district lines…

Every ten years, after new census data is released, the districts need to be equalized based upon the most current population data.  Under the new legislation, the chief responsibility for redistricting falls upon the state legislature rather than local official.   The prior law required local officials and state legislatures to perform these duties… and taxpayers incurred no special charges for this work.

Michael Best & Friedrich and Troupis Law Office were hired by the state at taxpayer expense to redraw the various districts. So far the law firms have charged the state about $350,000. The redistricting process was conducted secretly.   On July 21, the 15 residents who filed the lawsuit against the GAB in federal court amended their original complaint to argue that the new maps violate the US Constitution and the Voting Rights Act by carving up cities and splitting minority communities.

So the GOP hired a special interest group to redistrict costing taxpayers $350,000 and the process was done in secret.  Isn’t that interesting, minorities were forced to pay a private law firm to redistrict their communities to dilute their vote. My, my, my.  And diluting their votes wasn’t enough for the GOP, they wanted to make sure any Democratic leaning voter would be unable to vote at all.  And voila, the GOP “voter ID law” was born in the bowels of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Koch Brothers modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan.

And years later what does Wisconsin look like after Walker and the GOP redistricted the state and instituted their Jim Crow voter ID law?  From Salon:


The quiet, vicious racism of Scott Walker’s Wisconsin

With a voter-ID law passed by the GOP-controlled legislature and signed by Walker and threatening to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of mostly minority voters in this election, the last thing the Koch brothers’ favorite governor wants is people who are going to say the quiet parts out loud…

The New Republic took a deep dive into Walker’s world two years ago. What the magazine found was a city and its suburbs even more segregated than most, where the chairman of one county’s Republican Party could still refer to one mostly African-American neighborhood in Milwaukee, in 2014, as “the colored section.”

Where white flight between 1960 and 2010 was so high it tripled the population of three formerly rural counties around Milwaukee, while the percentage of African-American residents in those three counties is under 2 percent. Where the black poverty rate within the city is the second-highest in the country.  This is the world that has coddled Walker as he traveled up through the ranks of the Republican Party.

As a member of the state Assembly, the executive of Milwaukee County, and now governor, he has spent his entire career deeply slicing budgets for programs that benefit inner-city African-Americans, such as public transportation. He has also pushed for private-school vouchers that decimate public education and advocated for privatizing prisons, all while cutting taxes to ensure that funding levels for these civic outlays are unlikely to be restored anytime soon, if ever… 

That this is all happening during the first election in which Wisconsin’s new voter-ID law is in effect only increases the irony. The law is part of the broader effort by Republicans both in Wisconsin and other states to limit the voting power of traditional Democratic constituencies. The Wisconsin law could disenfranchise as many as 300,000 mostly minority and student voters who want to cast votes today…

That’s right, in Wisconsin if you are a minority or a student why even bother to try to vote?  Republicans in Wisconsin control the elections and if you are lucky enough to overcome the onerous hurdles laid out by the GOP and actually cast a ballot, your vote won’t be counted anyway.  Election after election, as the GOP increases their control through election fraud, the Democrats just stand down and capitulate to the GOP. 

If the Democrats refuse to fight for your right to have your vote counted, why should you?  That is what happened in Wisconsin in the 2016 presidential election.  The voters were abandoned by the Democratic Party.  From the New York Times:


Many in Milwaukee Neighborhood Didn’t Vote — and Don’t Regret It

MILWAUKEE — Four barbers and a firefighter were pondering their future under a Trump presidency at the Upper Cutz barbershop last week...  They admitted that they could not complain too much: Only two of them had voted. But there were no regrets.

“I don’t feel bad,” Mr. Fleming said, trimming a mustache. “Milwaukee is tired. Both of them were terrible. They never do anything for us anyway.”

As Democrats pick through the wreckage of the campaign, one lesson is clear: The election was notable as much for the people who did not show up, as for those who did. Nationally, about half of eligible voters did not cast ballots.

Wisconsin, a state that Hillary Clinton had assumed she would win, historically boasts one of the nation’s highest rates of voter participation; this year’s 68.3 percent turnout was the fifth best among the 50 states. But by local standards, it was a disappointment, the lowest turnout in 16 years. And those no-shows were important. Mr. Trump won the state by just 27,000 voters.

Milwaukee’s lowest-income neighborhoods offer one explanation for the turnout figures. Of the city’s 15 council districts, the decline in turnout from 2012 to 2016 in the five poorest was consistently much greater than the drop seen in more prosperous areas — accounting for half of the overall decline in turnout citywide.

The biggest drop was here in District 15, a stretch of fading wooden homes, sandwich shops and fast-food restaurants that is 84 percent black.  In this district, voter turnout declined by 19.5 percent from 2012 figures…   It is home to some of Milwaukee’s poorest residents and, according to a 2016 documentary, “Milwaukee 53206,” has one of the nation’s highest per-capita incarceration rates.

So what do you think a recount in Wisconsin will show?  Why even bother, the only votes to be recounted are the ones that the GOP allowed to be counted in the first place.  I for one believe that Donald Trump won the vote in Wisconsin.  Donald Trump came to Wisconsin several times, even while he was dissed by Paul Ryan and the Republicans.  Hillary Clinton didn’t even bother to visit Wisconsin even once during the campaign. 

Donald Trump earned the votes he received in Wisconsin.  If you really want to see the kind of corruption happening in Wisconsin, bring in the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the voter suppression laws and the constitutional violations that are taking place along with the re-segregation of Milwaukee.  A recount of the votes will show what the GOP wants it to show, there’s nothing to see here folks.  Everything is hunky dory.

By Patricia Baeten

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