Tag Archives: wisconsin

Exclusive Interview: Kyle Rittenhouse Unfairly Smeared by Facebook and MSM?

I interview the attorney for Kyle Rittenhouse about the new video which claims to prove that the 17 year-old acted in self-defense during the shooting deaths of two men in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The full 11-minute video referenced in this interview can be seen at ISE Media by clicking here.


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Wis. Gov. Scott Walker Signs Law Granting Authorities Broader Strip Search Powers

Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker signed a bill on March 1 which expands the circumstances in which police and correctional officers can conduct strip searches on detainees and inmates suspected of misdemeanor and other minor crimes.

Previously, individuals detained or jailed on non-felony crimes could only be strip searched if they were to be held among other people for at least a 12-hour period. The Associated Press notes that Walker’s new law removes that 12-hour minimum time requirement.

[RELATED: Walker Calls Building U.S.-Canada Border Wall To Stop Terrorists ‘Legitimate Issue’]

The Associated Press also reported that Republican supporters of the bill argued that allowing law enforcement and corrections authorities to strip search anyone who will be detained or incarcerated among others will lead to safer jails and will help protect officers. Democratic opponents countered that the bill could result in civil rights abuses.

Unfortunately, strip searches are extremely uncomfortable, there’s no question. But for the family of an inmate or an officer who gets killed by the shank that was hidden and not found because no strip search was performed, they’re going to go through much more discomfort than the strip search,” argued bill author Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) according to The Capital Times.

Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee), a critic of the law, said that the 12-hour requirement had originally been put in place to prevent people who are jailed or detained briefly for civil violations like non-payment of a fine from being strip searched.

[RELATED: Governor Scott Walker Calls for Full Reauthorization of PATRIOT Act]

The signing of the new law comes on the heels of the Milwaukee Common Council’s January approval of the payment of a $5 million settlement to 74 African-American residents who raised allegations that they were forced by police to submit to illegal body cavity and strip searches during a drug investigation.

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Wisconsin to Begin Drug Testing Welfare Recipients

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced that he has signed off on the state’s plan to drug test some welfare recipients, which will be implemented on November 9th.

Walker’s office released a statement on Tuesday which said that the program submitted by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families is “another step forward in implementing drug testing of able-bodied adults seeking certain welfare benefits.”

Walker said that the program will apply to “certain able-bodied adults seeking benefits and/or training through Transform Milwaukee, Transitional Jobs, and noncustodial parents in the W-2 program.”

[pull_quote_center]Our 2015-17 State Budget implements common-sense reforms that put in place drug screening, testing, and treatment mechanisms, so we can continue strengthening Wisconsin’s workforce Employers across the state frequently tell me they have good-paying jobs available in high-demand fields, but need their workers to be drug-free. These important entitlement reforms will help more people find family-supporting jobs, moving them from government dependence to true independence.[/pull_quote_center]

Under the new plan, Walker also noted that “individuals who test positive for a controlled substance without a prescription would be eligible for a drug treatment plan.”

While Walker dropped out of the presidential race in September, creating a drug-testing program for welfare recipients was one of the plans he highlighted when he announced his campaign bid in July.

“In Wisconsin, we enacted a program that says that adults who are able to work must be enrolled in one of our job training programs before they can get a welfare check,” Walker said at his campaign launch. “Now, as of the budget I just signed, we are also making sure they can take a drug test.”

[RELATED: Walker Takes Feds To Court To Drug-Test for Food Stamps]

Wisconsin filed a lawsuit against top officials at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in July, challenging the federal rules surrounding the U.S. food stamp program known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Federal rules were unclear regarding whether states could legally drug test welfare recipients.

In February, ThinkProgress reported that after looking at similar programs in Arizona, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Utah, it found that the states are spending “hundreds of thousands of dollars to ferret out very few drug users.”

The report noted that according to statistics, while the states collectively have spent nearly $1 million on the drug-testing efforts, welfare applications test positive for drugs at a rate of 0.002 percent to 8.3 percent, which is lower than the national drug use rate of 9.4 percent.

Wisconsin Becomes 25th Right To Work State

Republican governor and presidential hopeful Scott Walker signed Wisconsin’s right-to-work legislation on Monday, making Wisconsin the 25th state to pass this sort of legislation.

Employees in right-to-work states are not forced to pay union dues.

“This legislation puts power back in the hands of Wisconsin workers, by allowing the freedom to choose whether they want to join a union and pay union dues,” Walker said in a press release.  “This also gives Wisconsin one more tool to encourage job creators, like those here at Badger Meter, to continue investing and expanding in our state.  Freedom to Work, along with our investments in worker training, and our work to lower the tax burden, will lead to more freedom and prosperity for all of Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin joins neighbors Iowa and Michigan, which both passed similar legislation in 2012.

Even some union members aren’t opposed to this rule change, according to The Daily Signal:

“This is something I’ve never understood, that people think right to work hurts unions,” Gary Casteel of the United Auto Workers said last year. “To me, it helps them. You don’t have to belong if you don’t want to. So if I go to an organizing drive, I can tell these workers, ‘If you don’t like this arrangement, you don’t have to belong’ versus ‘If we get 50 percent of you, then all of you have to belong, whether you like to or not.’ I don’t even like the way that sounds, because it’s a voluntary system, and if you don’t think the system’s earning its keep, then you don’t have to pay.”

Man Who Changed Investigations for WI Officer Involved Shootings, Speaks Out On Tony Robinson Shooting

Washington D.C.- After Wisconsin police spent a mere two days investigating the police who shot and killed his son during a traffic stop in 2004, Michael Bell Sr. made it his mission to change how law enforcement in the state looked into officer-involved shootings.

He worked with police and sheriffs departments, lawmakers and criminal justice and law professors to require an external review takes place whenever an officer of the law shoots a civilian.

Bell tells Ben Swann how his son’s death has led to his involvement with the protests over Tony Robinson Jr.’s death in Madison.

Videos of Wisconsin GOP candidate allegedly making racist comments not to be released

Videos allegedly showing Wisconsin GOP attorney general candidate Brad Schimel making potentially racist and sexist remarks will not be released after state judge previously ordered them to be shown to the public.

The videos in question were recorded in 2009 and 2013 during statewide prosecutors education conferences.

According to Court House News, Democrats from Wisconsin say the videos depict Schimel making, “offensive racial remarks and ethnic slurs, including but not limited to stereotyped accents, as well as sexist remarks…”

Judge Richard Niess from Dane County in Wisconsin, originally ordered the videos to be released last week.  However, according to the Chippewa Herald, the state’s Justice Department appealed the order and Judge Niess cancelled his order shortly afterward.

Judge Niess is saying he found no evidence of any off kilter remarks on the videos and the remarks were not “earth-shaking in any respect.”

Democrats in Wisconsin are fighting this though, saying the videos should be released since they fall under the state’s open records law.  With the election being one day away, Democrats in the state are also saying material within the videos is relevant to the political climate and the public has a strong interest in seeing the recordings.

Daniel Bach, the attorney for the Democratic Party, said in a statement, according to the Raw Story, “If the public does not have the opportunity to view these tapes by tomorrow, this case is mooted.”

The Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Anthony Rossomanno, however, said releasing the videos could potentially reveal strategies used by prosecutors, as well as the identities of several victims of sexual predators who were used in examples at the conferences.

The Justice Department also asked the court to consider the fact that the information was being requested by Schimel’s election opponents.  They said, in a statement, “A further issue is whether the court improperly gave weight to public interest in discerning whether there is misconduct by public figures when the requesters themselves created the public interest in that controversy and provided no factual basis for it.”

As of now, the videos will not be released to the public.

Voter I.D. Laws Blocked in Wisconsin and Texas

On Thursday, the United States Supreme Court blocked a law in Wisconsin, which would require voters to present photo IDs. This was originally put into place by a lower court, and would have effected the election in November.

The Huffington Post reported that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals originally declared the law constitutional on Monday. However, on Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Advancement Project “filed an emergency request asking the Supreme Court to block the ruling.”

The Associate Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, Molly Collins, said the union is “thrilled that people are going to be able to vote in this election.

According to Politico, the vote was 6-3, and the law was struck down on the grounds that it “discriminated against minorities by forcing many of them to get new identification.”

Although there were complaints that absentee ballots had been sent with no notification of the need for a photo ID, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen insisted that they “will be exploring alternatives to address the Court’s concern and have voter ID on Election Day.”

I believe the voter ID law is constitutional, and nothing in the Court’s order suggests otherwise,” Van Hollen said.

The law requiring voter IDs in Wisconsin was originally passed in 2011. Similar laws have been passed in other states, including Virginia, where the State’s Board of Elections announced that approximately 100,000 voters might not be able to vote in the November elections, due to the fact that they do not have a valid photo ID.

While 34 states have passed laws requiring voters to have photo IDs, Wisconsin isn’t the only state making last minute changes.

Also on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, blocked the voter ID law in Texas, calling it an “unconstitutional poll tax,” and saying that its purpose was to discriminate against Hispanic and African-American citizens by creating “an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote.

Following the federal judge’s decision, the Texas Attorney General’s office announced that it plans to appeal the decision immediately. The Deputy Communications Director, Laura Bean, said that the office will “urge the Fifth Circuit to resolve this matter quickly to avoid voter confusion in the upcoming election.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter ID laws are constitutional so we are confident the Texas law will be upheld on appeal,” Bean said.

Supreme Court refuses to act on same-sex marriage issue

While more people are showing support for same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court made the decision Monday to not get involved with any appeals court decisions over same-sex marriage and allow these courts to decide how their states should move forward.

As a result of their refusal to get involved, five additional states have been added to the list of 19 others who allow same-sex marriage.  These five new states are Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin, according to Reuters.  The appeals courts who rule over these states have already ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in the past.

Six other states, who fall under the jurisdiction of those appeals courts, may also be affected by this decision and they may see same-sex marriage soon.  These six are Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

“The court’s letting stand these victories means that gay couples will soon share in the freedom to marry in 30 states,” said president of the Freedom to Marry organization, Evan Wolfson, according to USA Today.  “But we are one country, with one Constitution, and the court’s delay in affirming the freedom to marry nationwide prolongs the patchwork of state-to-state discrimination and the harms and indignity that the denial of marriage still inflicts on too many couples in too many places.”

Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said, according to the BBC, “Today is a joyous day for thousands of couples across America who will immediately feel the impact of today’s Supreme Court action.”

This is not the first time the Supreme Court has made a decision which has suggested support for same-sex marriage.  Last year, the Supreme Court invalidated parts of a law which denied legally married same-sex partners spousal benefits.

All of the small victories for those in support of same-sex marriage make many believe the Supreme Court will soon make a decision which will tackle the issue nationwide.

Feds Declare War on Raw Milk Cheese: Regulation Spoils Acclaimed Wisconsin Cheese


No matter which way you slice it, the federal government is turning Wisconsin cheesemakers’ moods extra stinky.

A soft raw milk cheese, Rush Creek Reserve, made by Uplands Cheese Company near Dodgeville, Wis. is the latest cheese to be ruined by regulation.

Newly imposed regulations may require aging periods for raw milk cheese to exceed the standard 60 days, which is already twice as long as European cheesemakers do. By the time Rush Creek Reserve completed the potential two month-plus aging period, the cheese would become overripe.

So, Uplands Cheese Co. has decided to no longer produce the much sought-after cheese.

According to the Chicago Reader, “It’s not because of anything that has happened at Uplands—[cheesemaker Andy] Hatch describes his most recent FDA inspection earlier in the summer as “really positive”—or, indeed, because of any particular incident anywhere that he knows of. But a cheese specifically designed for aging for 60 days—the rule since 1949—risks suddenly being afoul of newly imposed regulations which may mandate longer aging periods or other impossibly strict conditions for cheese making.”

Just like the FDA’s rule change on curing cheese on wood planks earlier this year, the potential for regulation change doesn’t make producing a cheese that could be illegal once it’s ready to be sold economically feasible. .

Wisconsin cheese blogger Jeanne Carpenter explains it this way: “The death of Rush Creek Reserve should act as the canary in the coal mine for all American raw milk artisan cheeses, because just as our great American artisan cheese movement is in serious full swing, the FDA has basically declared a war on raw milk cheese.”

Thankfully these changes don’t affect Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Upland Cheese’s most decorated and celebrated artisan cheese. But who knows what new rules the feds will come up with next.

More and more companies like Burger King are fleeing the U.S. and finding new homes in Canada where corporate tax rates are more favorable.

As the U.S. becomes increasingly business unfriendly with high taxes and regulations will cheese makers find a new home in another country? I certainly hope not.

Girls, 12, Stab Playmate 19 Times, Blame ‘Slender Man’ Meme

Last Saturday morning, residents of Waukesha, a suburb of Milwaukee, were rocked by reports that two 12-year-old girls had stabbed another friend, also a 12-year-old girl, 19 times in a premeditated attempt at murder. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the victim survived after fleeing the scene and being discovered by a bicyclist. She is currently receiving hospital care and is in stable condition.

The two suspects, whose names are withheld due to their age, had allegedly been planning to commit the murder for months and chose the birthday of one of the suspects, May 30, as the date for the attack. The victim and two suspects, all of whom were attending Horning Middle School together, made plans to have a sleepover. During the sleepover, the girls took to a nearby wooded area to play hide-and-seek, during which time the suspects allegedly launched their attack, stabbing the victim repeatedly. Though the victim escaped and survived the attack, her wounds were near-fatal. According to a criminal complaint referenced by NBC News, a knife-wound near the heart came “one millimeter away from certain death.”

When authorities picked up the two suspects, one of whom had a knife, the girls admitted to the stabbings and indicated that they had carried out the plot in an effort to gain the favor of a fictional internet horror character called “Slender Man,” which the girls discovered on the horror website Creepypasta Wiki. Slender Man is an internet-era folk horror character which emerged from a thread in the Something Awful web forum. Over time, the character developed into a viral phenomenon, with fans creating their own Slender Man stories and content.

The alleged perpetrators claimed that they believed Slender Man to be real. They also claimed that they carried out the attack in an effort to become avatars of the character and out of a fear that Slender Man would kill their families if they did not.

The two suspects were arrested and charged as adults with attempted first degree intentional homicide. If convicted, they could face up to 65 years in prison. The bail for both suspects was set at $500,000. Due to the shocking nature of the age of the suspects and the connection to the Slender Man meme, an international firestorm of attention has ignited around the case, sparking debates around a variety of subjects, ranging from when children should have access to the internet to whether or not one of the suspect’s father’s interest in death metal music and gothic imagery could have contributed to the attack. A recent scientific study from The Journal of Pediatrics found no link between access to violent media and aggressive behavior in children.

Watch NBC News‘ video report on the attack below:

Cop Sentenced To Just Two Years For Anally Assaulting Dozens Of Black Victims


Milwaukee police officer Michael Vagnini repeatedly fingered black male suspects’ anal cavities. The suspects-turned-victims were sometimes as young as 15-years-old.

It is illegal for police officers to perform cavity searches — only medical personnel are allowed to do this. Still, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn waited “a couple of years” to have Vagnini investigated for assaulting more than a dozen victims.

Vagnini was reportedly violent and did not use gloves during many of the illegal cavity searches. When asked if he had a warrant to conduct the searches, Vagnini was known to laugh. According to one victim, the officer held a gun to his head as he touched his scrotum and probed his anus. The “probing” was so violent that the man’s anus bled. Another time, the officer stuck his fingers inside the anal cavity of a 15-year-old boy while touching his genitals.

One man, Keon Canada, was searched four separate times — each times, his anus was fingered and no drugs were found.

According to the Journal Sentinel, the men that Vagnini assaulted were all black — some had drugs on them and others did not. However, several victims allege that the officer planted drugs on them.

Vagnini was recently sentenced to 26 months in jail. He does not have to register as a sex offender since his plea deal voided the sexual assault charge against him.

Four officers aided Vagnini in his illegal searches: Jacob Knight, Jeffrey Dolhopf, Brian Kozelak and Jason Mucha. They did not perform any cavity searches but they turned a blind eye to Vagnini’s actions and sometimes held victims down while the assaults occurred. They got paid leave during the investigation and subsequently were forced to quit the police force.

Many are outraged by Vagnini’s punishment and claim it is not harsh enough.

What do you think?

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