Bruce Murphy
Murphy’s Law

Role Of Police Questioned in Unrest

Was violence a reaction to years of mistreatment by police?

By - Aug 16th, 2016 12:48 pm
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A Milwaukee Police Department SUV sits in front of the heavily damaged O'Reilly Auto Parts. Photo by Devante' Coleman.

A Milwaukee Police Department SUV sits in front of the heavily damaged O’Reilly Auto Parts. Photo by Devante’ Coleman.

The weekend of violence in Milwaukee has generated a ton of media coverage, nationally and even beyond, all seeking to explain what happened. Violence erupted after the fatal shooting of Sylville Smith, a 23-year-old black suspect, by police. Many of the stories have pointed to the problems of inequity in the city: the lack of jobs and investment and quality education in majority black neighborhoods, the level of segregation and the high rate of incarceration for African American men in Milwaukee.

But the violence here erupted after repeated incidents of black men in custody being killed by police in various American cities over the past couple years, and that has been the focus of many stories: on Milwaukee’s police department, and how much blame it deserves for the situation here.

Some of the national coverage has been half-baked at best. A USA Today story compared Milwaukee to Ferguson and the “systematic predatory practices of the police department” without any evidence that Milwaukee’s department was in any way similar. And Reuters reached back a half century noting that “Police tensions with African-Americans date at least to the reign of former Police Chief Harold Breier, who opposed the civil rights movement in the 1960s.”

The New York Times took a similar approach, in a story headlined “Racial Violence in Milwaukee Was Decades in the Making.” The article quotes retired Milwaukee police officer Cedric Jackson, who is black, saying the department handled suspects differently depending on their race. “One common practice, he said, was that after catching suspects who ran, officers would rough them up. ‘If they caught you in a backyard or alleyway, they’d want to beat you up.’ White officers, he said, ‘really viewed blacks as less than them or animals or not deserving of respect.’”

But Jackson retired in 2011, and the story doesn’t address the current leadership of Chief Ed Flynn, who was hired in 2008. Breier’s approach was one of containment, where the department provided far more manpower to white areas of the city while under-policing minority neighborhoods were crime was more prevalent. Flynn is considered a national leader in proactive policing that combines rapid-response, data-oriented policing targeting high crime (largely minority) neighborhoods with an emphasis on community policing. Flynn has constantly noted and taught his police that you must carefully distinguish between perpetrators in neighborhoods and the many law-abiding citizens. Police, he notes, depend on the cooperation of those residents who can help lead them to criminals.

But the department he inherited is heavily white and it’s not clear how much progress Flynn has made diversifying it. In a city where 40 percent of the residents are black, just 17 percent of police officers are black and 18 percent are other minorities, as a story in the Los Angeles Times noted.

The article leads with a story about Milwaukee County Supervisor Supreme Moore Omokunde getting stopped by a police officer for expired license plate tags. “Omokunde, who is black, cracked open his window, he said, but the officer, who was white, wanted it rolled down all the way and threatened to smash it. ‘He said he would drag me out of the car,’” Omokunde told the newspaper.

I’m told that Flynn has privately admitted the department he inherited has some problem officers. Perhaps the ugliest incident on his watch involved 74 black residents who sued over accusations that police had subjected them to body cavity and rectal searches. This resulted in a lawsuit the city settled for $5 million.

In 2014, a white officer shot and killed a 31-year-old mentally ill black man, Dontre Hamilton. The officer said Hamilton had grabbed his baton and attacked him, but Flynn fired the officer for failure to follow the proper protocol.

Flynn has also been proactive in asking the U.S. Department of Justice to do a review of its practices last year.

And the chief has continued to have the support of most Milwaukee Common Council members, including its African American members. Even Ald. Khalif Rainey, in whose district the violence occurred, avoided blaming the police while noting the dreadful economic and social conditions faced by residents in the Sherman Park neighborhood he serves.

Flynn had expressed surprise at the violent reaction to the shooting “This was, quite frankly, unanticipated,” he told the media. “The chief’s statement raised questions about whether authorities could have taken steps to curb the violence, perhaps by sharing details of the shooting earlier, including the officer’s race or footage from his body camera,” an Associated Press story noted.

The officer who shot Smith was black. As for the body camera footage, under state law, Flynn cannot release it until a state investigation is completed.

Meanwhile, he noted that an unexpected, complicating factor was the arrival of “agitators from Chicago,” as the Chicago Tribune reported. “The Revolutionary Communist Party of Chicago showed up, and actually they’re the ones who started to cause problems leading into (Sunday) evening by marching and trying to take over (the intersection of) Sherman and Burleigh,” Flynn said. “That was about 11:30 at night. We made it to 11:30 in the evening, and we had these characters show up.’”

Carl Dix, a spokesman for the group, contested Flynn’s view, saying “the rioting was prompted by conditions in the community that existed before his group arrived.” But he also referred to Flynn as the “pig chief.” And Dix told ABC News his group seeks to “dismantle” the police.

Flynn noted that police managed to remain restrained under tough conditions: “It certainly appears there are people who are willing to shoot at (police) without concern of whether they injure or kill them… We do have people who are recklessly firing firearms generally, and clearly some of them are firing at police,” but “none of our officers returned fire.”

Meanwhile, the slain man’s sister Sherelle Smith, has claimed the officer who shot her brother “knew my brother personally from high school,” as she told TV station Fox 6. “You know exactly how my brother was and you shot and killed him.” A Milwaukee police source confirmed the officer involved in this shooting incident did attend Pulaski High School with Sylville Smith.

But the officer presumably also knew Smith had a police record: he was accused in a shooting last year and charged with recklessly endangering safety, a felony. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Smith was subsequently accused of pressuring the victim to recant statements that identified him as the gunman and charged with trying to intimidate a witness. The charges were dropped because the victim recanted the identification and failed to appear in court, Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern told the newspaper.

Flynn has said the officer stopped Smith’s vehicle because he was behaving suspiciously and then had to chase Smith several dozen feet on foot into an enclosed space between two houses. Mayor Tom Barrett has said that Smith was carrying a stolen handgun loaded with 23 rounds of ammunition.

Flynn said the video from the officer’s body camera showed Smith turning toward the officer with a gun in his hand, but that the moment when the officer fired his weapon could not be determined because the audio was delayed, as the Huffington Post reported.

“I’m looking at a silent movie that doesn’t necessarily tell me everything that will come out in a thorough investigation. Based on what I saw, didn’t hear, don’t know what the autopsy results are going to be, he certainly appeared to be within lawful bounds,” Flynn said of the officer.

Barrett has that Smith did not drop the gun as ordered before he was shot.

Under a recently passed state law, an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice is required whenever someone is killed by police or dies in official custody. Barrett has called on the state to release the body camera footage. “This is a flashpoint,” he told the Journal Sentinel.

But state DOJ spokesperson Johnny Koremenos said the department will not release the video until its investigation is complete and then all evidence collected will be shared with the public. That’s the proper procedure, but unfortunately, the lack of closure will only fuel more rumors and accusations, further aggravating police-community relations.

Photo Gallery by Devante’ Coleman

26 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law: Role Of Police Questioned in Unrest”

  1. Vincent Hanna says:

    “Flynn has said the officer stopped Smith’s vehicle because he was behaving suspiciously”

    This is what raises many people’s eyebrows. What exactly does that mean? I get nervous when I pass a cop because I’m afraid of getting pulled over for speeding. Could that be construed as acting suspiciously? In this case there very well could be more to it, but when all you cite for a reason is “acting suspiciously,” it just makes police critics suspicious.

    Also, Scott Walker isn’t mentioned here, but he is deplorable. He never ever talks about Milwaukee or problems on the north side until something like this happens, and then he criticizes others for simply stating that there’s “urgent work to do to rebuild trust between police and communities.” Which is true.

  2. Vincent Hanna says:

    Lowery is a great writer and this is a good piece. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/08/16/why-milwaukee-boiled-over-with-violence-after-police-shooting-death/?utm_term=.a7daef9a805f

    Does anyone know if it is true that Smith had a valid concealed carry license, as many have claimed?

  3. Milwaukee Native says:

    Mayor Barrett, Chief Flynn and Council President Hamilton have at least publicly handled the situation professionally and seem to have helped defuse tensions. They also appear to be trying to contain incendiary Sheriff Clarke so that he does not fuel more unrest with his outrageous statements and actions.

    Gov. Walker has seemed virtually checked out. When he finally held a press conference he was perfunctory (after participating in a private rally supporting police on Sunday, which had been scheduled before the unrest).

    Has Chris Abele even said a word publicly? He’s said improving conditions in the city will be the focus of his new term in office. OK, what might that mean?

    It will be interesting to see what any or all of our elected officials do in the wake of these events. They certainly should have seem something like this as a potential threat. To his credit, Flynn seems to have done the most proactive preparations. I was impressed when he said that 150 officers have gotten special training in recent years in defusing situations of real or potential unrest. Their restraint has been a positive force. But at this article notes, there’s a lot of baggage to counter.

  4. AG says:

    I never believed this is truly about the police… it’s about the political narrative going on right now that the greatest oppression of the inner city is coming from the police and/or white people. We are turning a blind eye to the current culture in the worst parts of the city and finding many other things to blame. The best one I saw yet was the comment that lack of air conditioning would have prevented this. If we’re not going to get real about what is actually going on then nothing will ever change.

  5. Vincent Hanna says:

    AG do you think improvements in police/community relations can be made, or do you think that isn’t really an issue in all of this? When you read that Wash Post piece or others like it (they are everywhere right now) that attempt to chronicle what it’s like to live in those neighborhoods and share how neighborhood residents feel about the police and their community, what are your impressions? Today you have been posting a lot about how someone can’t really know what it’s like to live in a neighborhood when they don’t actually live there. Doesn’t the same apply here? How can we truly know what daily life in Sherman Park is like when you and I and others do not live there?

  6. jim says:

    Couple of things…why are the events of Saturday night continually referred to as “unrest” instead of what it really was, which is looting, rioting, arson, disorderly conduct, and other criminal acts?
    Vincent…regarding your question about whether he really had a concealed carry permit; I am assuming that the permit would be for a legally obtained firearm, not one stolen in a burglary.

  7. Vincent Hanna says:

    Why weren’t the Oregon occupiers called terrorists? Someone is always unhappy with the media’s phrasing, but everyone is perfectly aware of what transpired. If it makes you feel better to quibble, quibble away.

  8. Virginia Small says:

    Recent events have put a spotlight on Milwaukee. But UWM economics professor Marc Levine has been publishing reports and speaking to the media about Milwaukee’s issues and stats for a long time. Just over a year ago Levine urged Milwaukee’s leaders in an op-ed to consider what was then happening in Baltimore and similar factors in Milwaukee. He also warned that touted economic impacts of a new arena were unlikely based on all the research about subsidized entertainment.

    http://archive.jsonline.com/news/opinion/the-failure-of-economic-development-in-baltimore–and-milwaukee-b99504153z1-304738911.html

  9. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    It was reaction to the failure of the Left wing, white, male, racists, that ran Milwaukee into the ground. They have failed tot each kids, get them jobs, make Milwaukee livable. Instead they end money on the East side, downtown, trolleys, Areans. People know when they are the priority instead of the big money people.

  10. Vincent Hanna says:

    That’s totally correct. If you went to Sherman Park right now and asked residents what they are most angry about, they’d say “left-wing white male racists.” Once again WCD has his finger on the pulse of racial issues. How is it that an old white man knows so much about what concerns people of color?

  11. Wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Cause I work with them every day of last 40 years. The people that run schools, cities in Meto areas have been the Left and they have failed. Cannot blame Bush, they are flabbergasted.

  12. Vincent Hanna says:

    Bush? Huh? Who blamed Bush for anything? And I was kidding of course. You know less than nothing about racial issues. Not a single person in Sherman Park is lamenting “left-wing white racists.” Only you in the suburbs.

  13. John Casper says:

    Bruce, many thanks for another excellent piece.

    I don’t think MPD is to blame. As your work makes clear, that doesn’t mean they can’t improve as a force.

    If WIConDigest were a conservative, he’d know that the federal government is undermining bed rock conservative principles, such as posse comitatus https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act . Not only do the job-killing-government-regulations against marijuana remain in place, local law enforcement depends on pot interdiction for operating revenue. Treating pot like alcohol is probably the low hanging fruit, but it’s tough if the executive branch or Congress won’t reschedule it. Second lowest hanging fruit–and something that would help all Americans–is a federal job guarantee.

    “There is a way to do that: The government could serve as the “employer of last resort” under a job guarantee program modeled on the WPA (the Works Progress Administration, in existence from 1935 to 1943 after being renamed the Work Projects Administration in 1939) and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942). The program would offer a job to any American who was ready and willing to work at the federal minimum wage, plus legislated benefits. No time limits. No means testing. No minimum education or skill requirements.”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/09/toward-a-new-new-deal/

    The blame is on centuries of white supremacy, “The Case for Reparations”
    Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.”
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/

    The federal government could pay reparations into the trillions without raising taxes.

  14. WashCoRepub says:

    I recommend working with President Obama on the ‘reparations’ proposal. He seems to have lots of experience with palleting and disbursing large amounts of cash. Admittedly, it’s to the Iranian government so far, but the experience gained there should count for something.

  15. John Casper says:

    WashCoRepub,

    Do you, “recommend,” President Obama give Iran weapons, the way President Reagan did?

    “IS OBAMA, LIKE REAGAN, TRADING HOSTAGES WITH IRAN?”

    http://www.newsweek.com/obama-reagan-trading-hostages-iran-487314?rx=us

    Since you were so anxious to bring Iran into the discussion, how much will the 90-million Iranians, who want milk and cheese, elevate the price for Wisconsin dairy farmers?

    The cash President Obama gave to Iran is infinitesimal when compared to the federal welfare he and both parties give to Wall Street and the elites.

    As long as a debt is denominated in dollars, the U.S. government cannot default on it, except by choice. If you were a Republican, you’d be asking why federal taxes are so high. Unlike state and local governments, the federal government doesn’t need tax revenue to provision itself. The currency is a public monopoly. They issue it.

  16. Vincent Hanna says:

    WashCoTroll must have typed that while waiting for Trump to speak.

  17. Kent Mueller says:

    With their movement and party spinning out of control and splintering into a dozen jagged pieces, Conservatives right here on this page are slathering their BS on every urban or other issue fast and thick.
    WashCoRepub brings his completely unrelated Iran deal BS into THIS discussion. Either he knows the facts and trusts that others don’t or doesn’t know the facts at all. I’ll just say that when it came to dealing with terrorists no one was better than Reagan. Hell, he’d cut deals with terrorists all day long.
    WCD brings up the stale chestnut of Democrats being responsible for what they completely disowned, at great expense, in 1964-65 with the passing of The Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act. Johnson may have glumly noted that he cost the party the (formerly “solid”) South for a generation, but I for one am forever thankful they took all those dumb old white bigots (north AND south) off our hands for good. Too bad so sad you’re now running out of old white bigots. Time for the GOP to own their sins — they hadn’t been the Party of Lincoln since the 1870s and showed nothing but benign indifference to civil rights thereafter. Oh yes, the welfare state is the new slavery, blacks and other minorities only vote Democratic for the hand-outs, not because of the dog-whistles and implying words of the GOP. I’ll certainly agree with WCD that we need an effective glide path out of welfare (badly fixed in the ’90s). I’ll give you the example of Vernon Presley, a man with anger issues who was constantly getting and sooner than later losing jobs. when he got a job the family had to move out of public housing immediately, when he lost it they had to move back in. That continued until his son Elvis made something of himself. A 3 month grace period might have made a world of difference. Until listening to talk radio, I never realized how many people wanted the joys of poverty instead of having little choice. All their arguments to minorities boil down to “Shoulda chose the right parents!” and “Pull yourself up by your boot-straps!” which is soon followed by, “Wait a minute, kid. Where’d you steal the boots?”.

  18. Kent Mueller says:

    Let’s boil this down to facts and then look at the background. First the facts. Police stopped a car for “behaving suspicoiusly”. The sooner they define this the better. It was probably a legitimate stop and I’ll give the benefit of a doubt. They didn’t stop the car just because it had two black men inside — then they’d be stopping at least every other car in Sherman Park. I do believe in the phenomena of “driving while black”, it’s just far more likely in a predominantly white area. Sylville Smith ran immediately and an officer gave chase. He neared the suspect and confronted him, in a passage-way between two houses apparently. Per accounts–and the body cam video that the state could release as soon as possible would confirm this — Sylville brandished a hand-gun that turned out to have been stolen one month before in Waukesha County. I suspect the Walker Dept. of Justice is perfectly happy to “follow protocol” in not releasing the video even though it leaves Milwaukee hanging in tension. I’m sure they think unrest in Milwaukee plays well with out-state Republican voters this November. I think it’s unlikely a black officer is going to grab a “plant gun” for an immediate foot pursuit.
    Word went out right after through social media that the police had shot yet another young black man before any other facts were known. A crowd gathered. One more shooting was a tipping point. A tense scene, a lot of yelling and anger, some rocks and water bottles thrown, then a complete idiot decides to fire several shots into the air. We all know how it went from there.
    Ed Flynn is not Sheriff Bubba Lummox of Lostanothatootha County, Alabama. I believe he saw what he said he saw on the video. The facts didn’t matter and weren’t yet out. Another shooting. The tipping point.
    Among the multiple tragedies of the facts: Black Lives Matter showed up soon, and probably were a moderating factor, but could not contain the anger. The police reaction was measured and careful — no tear gas, no random beatings while wading into the crowd with night sticks, they didn’t bring out the riot gear until it was called for. BLM had always welcomed whites into the movement. Check all the photos and videos, they were there, whether in solidarity with the greater goals or because it was their neighborhood too. An element of the mob turned on whites, especially Sunday night in what was more a disturbance than the riot of the night before. An 18 YO white kid was dragged from his car and, accidently or on purpose, shot in the neck for the crime of “driving while white” and had to be rescued by an up-armored Bearcat tactical vehicle. Saturday night the local press, who weren’t taking sides, were shoved and attacked by the mob and had to pull back, all for the crime of being the press. Admirably, they underplayed that fact. I don’t think that mob for the most part lived in Sherman Park. The greatest tragedy of all, aside from 6 businesses being burned and/or looted, was that this centered at Sherman and Burleigh in the heart of Sherman Park, one of the few truly integrated and arguably the best-organized neighborhood in Milwaukee. None of this helps.
    Social media was used to summon a mob before the facts were known. Social media was also used effectively by Mayor Barrett in his call for parents to contact their kids if they weren’t home. I watched on live TV as the crowds dispersed to the point that, in less than an hour, there wasn’t anything to report on and coverage ceased. Saturday night I tuned in a police scanner for the first time (on a web-site called Broadcastify). It was complete chaos until about 1 -1:30 AM. By 2:30, after 20 minutes of relative quiet, the greatest concern was a young man walking up Oakland Ave with an open bottle of Jack Daniels. Come on, a college student with an open bottle of liquor? You have to go home with someone after a night partying, why not Jack Daniels?
    Now the background: Milwaukee has always had a black population, going back to Solomon Juneau’s black cook voting in the first election ever held. He was a Free Man as far as I know. It grew slowly, still numbering less than 7,000 by WW I. WW II and the post-war manufacturing boom brought a large influx in a late stage of the Great Migration. That’s important. The most urban and best-educated blacks had already moved to other cities; Chicago, Philly, NYC, Boston and Detroit. A less educated and more rural population were drawn by manufacturing jobs and were still coming here into the early ’80s, when Reagan’s recession brought a steady closure of factories one after another. Here’s a fact that makes no sense. Despite always having been among the most-segregated (when not the most) metro area, for several decades we also had the largest or second largest Black Middle Class. It was because of those diverse manufacturing jobs. Some people made it under the wire, worked in a factory for 40 years and retired, owned their own home. If they could they sent their kids to college, if they couldn’t they got them a job at the plant. Those that went to college didn’t see any reason to come back to the most segregated city in the nation. Now imagine that, like Detroit with vehicles, we only made motorcycles, or tractors, or only brewed beer, and those industries took a hit like Detroit did with the first Oil Crisis under Nixon. There is a reason that even 53206, the poorest zip code in the country, doesn’t look like the vast empty stretches of central Detroit. We took a soft but, in individual cases, often a tragic hit compared to the Motor City. Drive down almost any inner-city street in Milwaukee. You can see the owner-occupied homes and those owned by responsible and irresponsible houses, the problem houses and the promising ones, can we build on that? We are running out of time.
    A generation after the closure of Tower Automotive, the last large employer of a blue collar black middle-class, try telling an 18 YO black man that he just has to play by the system when the only living example he has, let’s say his Uncle Larry who worked at A.O.Smith/Tower and got laid off at at 57, whose home went into foreclosure when all he could get was a janitor job in a hospital, was screwed in the end by the system. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, kid! But first, tell me where you stole those boots!!

  19. Thomas says:

    Kent’s references in response # 17 to Smith/Tower reminded me of something James Causey wrote in the Journal-Sentinel earlier this week. While reflecting on a lack of hope in much of Milwaukee, Causey wrote about a very nice looking building in the largely abandoned Smith/Tower complex that was empty. Could that be the building that was prepared for Talga Train? Had Walker accepted the multi-millions offered by the federal government for a fast train from Milwaukee to Madison and beyond, many residents of Sherman Park could have been employed in the building of that line and in the manufacture and repair of trains in a nice looking building in the Smith/Tower complex.

    George W. Bush deserves blame for the fiasco(s) resulting from the ill-conceived 2nd war in Iraq that became perpetual on his watch. Gov. Walker could be blamed for telling Milwaukeeans to “abandon hope” when he refused federal money for a train that could have provided prosperity for many residents of this state and when he effectively kicked Talga out of town.

    Milwaukee needs vision, hope, and opportunity. Governors Thompson and Doyle both worked on the dream of a fast train from Milwaukee to points west. Walker killed that dream.

    Thanks, Vincent, for being patient with with WCD. WCD really should enroll in a remedial writing class at an adult high school. Working on writing skills could improve his thinking. Maybe he could get a G.E.D. in the bargain.

  20. Wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Scott saved us from a giant mess, like what CAlif. has right now, budget is tripled and the route has been changed dozen times. Around court there are a mess. No one needs this when we have planes and roads, buses.

  21. Dave Reid says:

    The California project is not at all similar to the Wisconsin project. The comparison is just not valid. It’s such a shame that Tommy Thompson’s vision for rail in Wisconsin was dropped for politics.

  22. wisconsin conservative digest says:

    Sure Dave. Around the world these halfast trains are huge disaster taking money away from the schools. Thank Scott, other wise the huge Medicaid bills that Ohio nd others are faced with , the Halfast train, the Obamacare disaster saved this state billions. we either would be Illinois, Calif. mess or Wisconsin, in good fiscal shape, thanks to Scott.

  23. Vincent Hanna says:

    Hey Scott Walker Fan Club please stay on topic.

  24. John Casper says:

    WI Con Digest,

    1. So, Gov. Walker refused the federal money, because the high speed rail wasn’t fast enough?
    1.1 Do you have a link?

  25. Thomas says:

    Yo Vincent, back to the topic:

    When Rep Gwen Moore spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Talga Train on the grounds where A.O. Smith once stood, she said something such as “We back:” suggesting that opportunity was again available on the north side of Milwaukee. Shortly after that affirmation, newly elected anti-government Gov. Walker told her (in effect) to “get back … back to where she once belonged … ” when he refused the federal money for the train from Milwaukee to Madison and shut down the train building and maintenance by Talga at the old A.O. Smith territory.

    WCD or AG’s praise of Walker for saving WI money by refusing many millions of dollars for 6% of our population from us + the other 94% makes no sense. Walker’s official reason for turning down the money was that maintenance of the train could cost one million dollars per year. The federal govt. routinely subsidizes 90% of rail maintenance. Simple arithmetic tells us that it would have taken hundreds of years to lose money on that proposal.

    Walker’s alleged concerns re money are no more credible than his alleged concern re jobs. His actions have resulted in our state lagging behind most other states in terms of jobs and in diminishing our middle class: turning us into a WISSISSIPPI. Walker’s focus is so fixed on partisan political power that he does not seem to care if the citizens of our recently relatively prosperous state sink to the level of our poorest states – so long as we adhere to “trickle down” bullshoes and other ideological nonsense that serves the half of 1% who have it made already – who win whether the rest of us win or lose – even when the masses face apocalypse at they did in the 2007- 2009 recession.

  26. Thomas says:

    Correction:

    The last sentence of post # 24 should have been “as” rather than “at.” I acknowledge 90% of the blame for my error, yet I attribute up to 10% of the blame to reading so much A.G. and W.C.D. I came close to winning spelling contests when I was young. Years of teaching and reading bad spelling resulted in my loss of confidence in spelling. My mind’s eye saw words spelled multiple ways (most of which were wrong) and I had to winnow the chaff from the wheat – a process that did not always restore confidence. Humbled by this mistake, I feel compelled to ask A.G. and W.C.D. once more to consider enrolling in remedial writing classes because they “dumbing us down.” We read through their tortured language to find what we knew before we started reading them: that they are reiterating the fact free nonsense of the likes of Rush Limbaugh and the many little Limbaughs such as Sykes and Belling – stuff that incites anger in people who are so ignorant that they think that anger is better than no emotion. (Give yourselves a break; please, those of you who have no ideas or emotions. Smell the roses; leave the issues to those who have legitimate concerns. Plugging into prefabricated anger will not give you ideas or emotions. It will give you nothing more than anger directed towards targets determined by hucksters who profit by pissing you off.)

    Thanks for listening.

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