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By Victoria Jaggard With the water ban lifted, more than…

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Raymondville– Dos mexicanos enfrentan la pena capital por la muerte…

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Distrito Federal— El Gobierno federal no permitirá que los migrantes…


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takingsidesIncumbent state representative JoCasta Zamarripa received 678-61% of the vote, while challenger Laura Manriquez received 438-39% of the vote.

According to Zamarripa’s financial statement, she spent $13,396.09 of the total $21,407.70 she collected for this primary campaign from special interest groups and individuals that live outside of the 8th Assembly District. That amounts to Zamarripa spending about $20.00 per vote.

Laura Manriquez who received 39% of the vote had no special interest endorsements, but had the support of real grass roots 8th Assembly residents. Manriquez spent a total of $118.52. That amounts to .27 cents per vote.

When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.

Ferguson, Missouri is hot bed of activities 

This past week Ferguson, Missouri had the nation and the world closely following the demonstrations and the reaction to the protestors by law enforcement.

After a police officer shot and killed an unarmed black male teen, Ferguson police chief decided to hold a press to release the name of the police officer who shot the young man six times–two bullets striking the head of the victim.

The police chief revealed that officer Darren Wilson was put on administrative sanctions until a review of the shooting was investigated by federal and other government agencies. At the same time the chief revealed the name of the officer, he released a video tape that showed the victim allegedly robbery a local store.

Clearly the chief wanted to sway the public into thinking the cop was in the process of dealing with a strong arm robbery suspect when he shot him. But then, hours after the release of the video showing the victim, Michael Brown leaving the store with cigars in hand, the chief had to come back and hold another impromptu press conference to explain to the public that the cop who shot Brown confronted the victim on an unrelated matter.

Not a good idea on the part of the chief to attempt to sway public opinion into thinking his officer was justified in killing Brown.

Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York City chief medical examiner, told The New York Times that one of the bullets entered the top of Brown’s skull, suggesting that his head was bent forward when he suffered a fatal injury.

The report also states that all six bullets entered Brown from the front. Disturbing to say the least.

Ku Klux Klan to

the Rescue

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Watch blog reported that the South Carolina-based New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan boasted that its Missouri chapter is raising money as a “reward” for the officer who killed Michael Brown, the unarmed black teen who’s death has made Ferguson, MO top news this week. I wonder if the police officer will accept the money.

Officer not so friendly 

An officer assigned to assist in crowd control in Ferguson, MO was video taped not being a fine example of police – community relations in Ferguson, MO. Officer “gofuckyourself”, that’s actually how he responded when he was asked for his name, pointed his weapon (an M-4 assault weapon it appears to look like) at unarmed protestors.

Officer not so friendly was suspended indefinitely for his Rambo impersonation. When asked by one of the journalist for his name, officer not so friendly blurted out: “gofuckyourself”. Needless to say, the name stuck…Officer gofuckyourself needs a lesson on when its time to be a jackass and when it’s time to just shut the f*** up during his suspension period.

This is the kind of psycho is released into our communities everyday. Is it any wonder why police community relations are bad.

GAZA ceasefire

talks break down

Once again carnage is alive and well in GAZA. Talks broke down because of one fundamental issue. Basically, how are Palestinians and Israel  going to come to any agreement when the most basic fundamental issue of ending social and economic apartheid in the world’s largest open air prison against the Palestinians can’t even be resolved?

Venezuela stepped up to help the babies of GAZA. The people of Venezuela will be accepting the children orphaned by the conflict by providing a home, health care and a future. In addition, isn’t it interesting that all of the children held in detention on our southern border, there are practically none that come from Venezuela. Go figure.

Recently a blogger reported about  Reynaldo

Hernandez

A local blogger reported recently that muralist Reynaldo Hernandez had been given $2,500.00 in April of 2013 to begin work on the Esperanza Unida

Mural. Shortly thereafter Hernandez joined in with a group of individuals who began spreading lies that money for the mural project given by the city arts board was stolen.

An investigation by the District Attorney office revealed no money for the mural project was misappropriated or stolen. They found that an administrative scam was done by the coordinator of the project, but as ED of the agency, I accept my failure to stop that process from moving forward.

However Reynaldo Hernandez after receiving the money never got started on the work he was partially paid to do. It is now the middle of August 2014, he got the money in April 2013. The City of Milwaukee Arts Board received it’s money back in June this year however Reynaldo Hernandez kept $2,500.00.

Reynaldo Hernandez should return that money to Esperanza Unida. For Hernandez to keep that money, knowing he did not do the work he was paid to do for it, clearly shows this man’s character as being unethical and dubious.

takingsidesIncumbent representative JoCasta Zamarripa, with all the major endorsements, union backing, special interest cash and support of networks like Voces de la Frontera only received 61% of the vote to move on to the general election to face off against a Republican challenger. 61%.  Zamarippa received 678 votes while Manriquez received 438 votes.

According to Zamarripa’s financial statement she spent $13,396.09 for this primary campaign. Zamarripa reports that she collected a total of $21,407.70 for this campaign.  Not a very good showing for an incumbent who was challenged by Laura Manriquez who received 39%. Manriquez had no cash, no endorsements, is recovering from serious ankle and head injury, but was still able to get the support of real grass roots community people. Manriquez spent a total of $118.52.  Laura Manriquez has had to deal with obstacles in the last three attempts against Zamarripa.

Laura Manriquez 2014

Obstacles and Tragedy

In 2010, Manriquez challenged Zamarripa only to have her campaign derailed by a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article. The published report clearly hurt Manriquez’ chance when it reported that Manriquez had state tax warrants issued against her.  In the article, Georgia Pabst,  journalist  for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MJS), the newspaper received a Pulitzer Prize for local reporting that year, defamed Manriquez when Pabst wrote that Manriquez had state warrants issued against her for not paying over $70,000.00 in state taxes.

The article also stated that Manriquez was married and that she and her husband were in grave financial trouble.   Pabst reported about another Laura Manriquez living in the South side at the time.  Pabst published the article despite the fact that Manriquez wrote an email response to Pabst’s question about the tax issue. Manriquez wrote in her email response to Pabst that she did not know what she was talking about.  MJS had Pabst rewrite the article and issue a correction after the Manriquez campaign complained to MJS editors. But the damage to Manriquez’ reputation had been done.

“When that article was released, all the work I did during the campaign went for not. Many voters contacted me told me they were not supporting me. Even after I explained that was not me, many voters asked why would MJS publish information about me like that without checking it out first”, Manriquez said.

In 2012, Manriquez challenged Zamarripa again. However, tragedy befell Manriquez when her son was tragically killed by a hit and run driver.  “The loss of my son was more than I could bear that year”, said Manriquez.  After the death of her son, the campaign fizzled.  This primary election Manriquez decided to challenge Zamarripa once again.

Despite having broken her ankle in three places, while working in the city forestry division, and having metal plate and screws affixed in her ankle after surgery, Manriquez filed her nomination papers after collecting the required signatures to be placed on the ballot.  But once again tragedy struck. Shortly thereafter she was walking down a flight of stairs, Manriquez fell down 15 steps and hit her head causing a major concussion.   Her children cared for her until the ambulance arrived and whisked her to the hospital.

There, Manriquez was diagnosed having major brain trauma.  The impact of the fall caused her brain to swell, hemorrhage and develop a blood clot; however doctors did not decide to do surgery, opting instead to see if the swelling in the brain would stop. After four days it did.  After several weeks in the hospital recovering, Manriquez was released however the injury prevented her from walking and being on her feet for long periods.

“I really wanted to be out there. Knock on doors. Meet with the voters. Surround myself with my community like I usually do. But these past two elections I’ve just had the most rotten luck”, said Manriquez.

Manriquez is still recovering. In recent weeks she has been able to get around but in limited fashion.

“I thank my Lord Jesus and Father God for giving me life. Life is wonderful. I will continue to do the work I have been doing to see the world God intended us to have come to fruition”, said Manriquez.

The election season is upon us and voters are left to choose between two candidates running next week for the 8th Assembly District.

The incumbent, JoCasta Zamarripa is surrounded by union and other special interest support, while her primary challenger, Laura Manriquez, was unable to mount a substantial campaign due in large part to her medical health issues that have temporarily enabled her.

Zamarripa should have no problem being reelected for another term in office, which raises a curious eyebrow when you look closely at her campaign literature, which list her work on voter rights, but it fails to even mention her #1top-priority issue that she vowed to put a lot of energy into in January 2014, and that is same-sex marriage.

In January, 2014, looking confident and determined, State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa appeared on WITI television to say that she has made the legalization of same-sex marriage her priority issue for 2014. Zamarripa said, “We’re ready for marriage equality. The Legislature has to catch up at this point”. Zamarripa vowed to focus her energy to make Wisconsin a same-sex marriage state.

But this priority issue does not appear in recent reelection campaign mailings put out to 8th Assembly voters by the Zamarripa supporters.  Why?

Why is it that Zamarripa continues to hoodwink Southside voters with literature that does not accurately detail what her “top-priority” issue is?

The 8th Assembly District deserves to know that their representative has made same-sex marriage her #1 legislative issue, but rather than highlight this fact on her campaign literature, Zamarripa highlights work on voter rights, which is NOT her “top priority” issue.

If you’re a lawmaker who has been on television news stations and interviewed in newspapers proclaiming that same-sex marriage is your “top priority” issue, why omit that fact from your campaign literature?

Unless Zamarripa trying to pull a fast one on your constituents. Looks like Zamarripa really is not fully out of the closet.

Siding With Hamas?

Several Emails were sent to me by individuals who want to remain anonymous. Their messages were an attempt to appeal to me to stop supporting Hamas, which they believe my articles published in several newspapers are all about.

I will respect their request to remain anonymous, but I want to stress to my readers that my call for action to stop the murder of unarmed children and women in GAZA is a call to hold Israel’s leaders accountable for the war crimes they are committing.

Anyone who believes that Israel’s defense forces have the legitimate right to bomb schools, hospitals and other none military targets indiscriminately are not only wrong–you have also lost your humanity.

To argue facts presented to you by the likes of people such as Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Bigot Belling, the same voices over the radio that also tell you that the detention of children at our southern border is a just cause, leads me to believe that you have no human feeling in you at all.

To be sure, the same people who attack immigrants, advocate for the continued assaults against immigrant families and the detention of desperate and hopeless children, are the same people you’re going to listen to regarding the Israeli campaign in Gaza? Really!

The United Nations stands in opposition to the military activities of Israel, meaning the world is condemning Israel for its war crimes, and yet, the United States stands alone in support of Israel’s assaults of none military targets and those of us who believe this is appalling are in support of Hamas?

This is elementary thinking and speaks volumes to the limited ability of some people to think deeper about this issue.

There are those who support Israel because they choose to simply listen to the mantra of pro-Israeli advocates, and there are those hard line/hard core wackos who ignore the evidence and practical arguments for proving Israel’s leaders are war criminals because they simply are blinded by fear and hatred.

You can scream I’m anti-Semitic and pro-Hamas all you like. The facts still remains: unarmed children and women are being murdered by Israel, who is perfectly at ease with itself to bomb schools, hospitals and other none military targets. That is a war crime.

2014-04-22T140119Z_1_CBREA3L0Y6900_RTROPTP_3_MCDONALDS_original

takingsidesHamburger chef Jamie Oliver won a battle against McDonald’s, one of the largest fast food chains in the world. After Oliver showed how McDonald’s hamburgers are made, the franchise announced it will change its recipe.

According to Oliver, the fatty parts of beef are “washed” in ammonium hydroxide and used in the filling of the burger. Before this process, according to the presenter, the food is deemed unfit for human consumption.

According to the chef and presenter, Jamie Oliver, who has undertaken a war against the fast food industry: “Basically, we’re taking a product that would be sold in the cheapest way for dogs, and after this process, is being given to human beings.”

Besides the low quality of the meat, the ammonium hydroxide is harmful to health. Oliver calls it “the pink slime process.”

“Why would any sensible human being put meat filled with ammonia in the mouths of their children?” asked the chef, who wages a war against the fast food industry.

In one of his initiatives, Oliver demonstrates to children how nuggets are made. After selecting the best parts of the chicken, the remains (fat, skin and internal organs) are processed for these fried foods.

The company, Arcos Dorados, the franchise manager in Latin America, said such a procedure is not practiced in the region. The same applies to the product in Ireland and the UK, where they use meat from local suppliers.

In the United States, Burger King and Taco Bell had already abandoned the use of ammonia in their products. The food industry uses ammonium hydroxide as an anti-microbial agent in meats, which has allowed McDonald’s to use otherwise “inedible meat.”

Even more disturbing is that because ammonium hydroxide is considered part of the “component in a production procedure” by the USDA, consumers may not know when the chemical is in their food.

On the official website of McDonald’s, the company claims that their meat is cheap because, while serving many people every day, they are able to buy from their suppliers at a lower price, and offer the best quality products.

In addition, the franchise denied that the decision to change the recipe is related to Jamie Oliver’s campaign. On the site, McDonald’s has admitted that they have abandoned the beef filler from its burger patties.

Wages on the rise at McDonald’s

Important victory this week for fast-food workers: The National Labor Relations Board has just ruled that the McDonalds Corporation is a “joint employer” with its franchisees – potentially making the fast-food giant responsible for working conditions (including pay) at its 14,000 restaurants. McDonald’s and other chains have repeatedly claimed their franchisees are responsible, not them. But the NLRB says McDonald’s controls the terms of the operations of its restaurants.

The implications of the ruling are significant. Not only will the McDonalds Corporation and other national chains become even more central in the movement to raise fast-food workers’ wages to $15 an hour; they won’t be able to circumvent state and local laws by arguing (as does the International Franchise Association in a lawsuit filed in Seattle) that fast-food and other franchisees are small businesses, not subject to such laws on the same terms as big businesses.

takingsidesOn Milwaukee’s Silence Regarding Palestine

I’ve been asked by activists organizing in other cities around the country in support of the Palestinian people, why is there nothing going on in Milwaukee protesting the indiscriminate actions of Israel against the people of Palestine? Well, in a word: MONEY.

Milwaukee is full of professional activists/organizers interested in careers in activism that lead to a pay check. For these people, activism that leads to real confrontation that can lead to possible marginalization from funders or a job with a nonprofit, is activism they stay away from.

These cowards hide their faces from being seen and labeled as radicals, trouble makers or loose cannons. For them, this is a social sentence for being black balled. Once black balled, they fear not being invited to feel good socials, offered organizing jobs and self-promoting dinner banquets that highlight fake-ass activists looking for not just an adventure, but a job and some funding for their group.

I will also add that when real activists/organizers do get involved and start organizing a pro-Palestine rally, they will have their efforts sabataged. They are not part of the professional/career track activists/organizers networks operating in Milwaukee. The same networks that work with organizations and institutions that maintain Mikwaukee’s hypersegrageted social/economic apartheid society.

Regarding The 

Children

There was a time in our world history when the human race not only valued life, but treasured and cherished the life of a child to the point nations would send armies to destroy tyrants murdering, abusing and discarding children as waste indiscriminately. Children – 100 killed in Gaza over the last two weeks; over 50, 000 children at our southern border held in camps – many of them refugees from drug wars in Central America. Children suffering and our leaders turn a blind eye. Shame on humanity.

Courageous Former President Jimmy Carter

One of the few American presidents who have balls big enough to challenge the lies being parroted by Zionist sympathizers that control the American government and tells the naked truth….we should support former president Carter in every way we can..he is already under attack from the Zionist and their cruel partners in Israel.

Former President Jimmy Carter, author of a new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASI… was interviewed from his home in Plains, Georgia. He responds to a caller who asks questions concerning pressure put on the US political system and the resulting support of Israel. The caller refers to author James Bamford’s book “A Pretext For War”http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASI… and he asks President Carter about the Zionist and other pressure groups within the US.

President Carter gives a raw truth response. Simply stated, the killings in GAZA is nothing more than a land grab by the Israeli government. The theft of land owned by the Palestinians is the primary reason Israel is marching on Palestine.

Shame on the United States government for supporting the murder of civilians by the Israeli defense forces who are doing nothing more than what the union army in America did in the 1800s against the Native Americans here in the United States.

Detroit Continues to Fall, But Hey! They’re Building a New Hockey Arena The Detroit Red Wings unveiled plans for their brand new publicly subsidized $450 million arena development. The arena, which promises to include $200 million additional investments in mixed-used development, will break ground in September. The Ilitch family, which owns the Red Wings and Tigers, is calling the new arena district a “bold vision” that will “generate at least $1.8 billion in total economic impact.” Renderings were released and neighborhood names coined, because everyone wants sports franchises handling their urban planning.

You might remember the uproar over the arena deal—which includes $284.5 million in public investment—when it was originally announced last summer. Isn’t this a terrible idea for a city wading through bankruptcy proceedings, people asked? (Yes, it is.) Couldn’t those tax dollars be better spent on other infrastructure improvements in the area instead of lining the pockets of a wealthy pizza magnate? (Yes, they could have.)

So rather than invest in infrastructure jobs that rebuild neighborhoods in the city, Detroit leaders decide to spend tens of millions of public dollars building new arenas for their gladiators. And you wonder why Detroit is in ruins.

Presidential Elections Coming

The media’s attention has turned to the 2016 presidential election, and stories abound about Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, Christie, Paul, Jeb Bush, and others jockeying for contender position. Meanwhile, President Obama’s approval ratings are in the basement, not only with Republicans but with many Democrats and independents. He’s not a just a lame duck; he’s a severely disabled duck.

But we’re still more than two-and-a-half years before a new president occupies the White House. That’s a long time, and it’s a dangerous time. Crises are breaking out all over the globe. Here at home, Tea Party radicals are pushing Republicans to the extreme right, and the Senate may be under the control of the GOP after the midterms.

Lord help us.

The Failed War on Drugs

The nation’s war on drugs has been a total failure. It hasn’t reduced the flow or use of drugs in America. Our prisons are bursting with drug users and low level drug dealers, mostly Black and Latinos. There is a thriving black market that has helped fuel the growth of violent gangs and drug cartels throughout Mexico and Central America; causing a child refugee crisis along America’s southern border.

There is light on the horizon however. The nation appears to be finally waking up: Washington state and Colorado have legalized marijuana sales, the District of Columbia has decriminalized possession of small amounts, and others states are considering similar measures.

In addition, the US Sentencing Commission, which sets punishments for federal crimes, voted unanimously to reduce sentences for people convicted of possessing and selling illegal drugs – including those already serving time. Unless Congress rejects the guidelines (unlikely, given the need to save money by shaving 80,000 “bed years” off the federal budget, and a growing bi-partisan consensus that jailing non-violent drug offenders makes no sense) that means nearly half of the federal prisoners incarcerated for drug crimes in federal prisons will be eligible for sentencing reduction (averaging around 25 months). At least 46,000 could be eligible for release when the guidelines take effect November 1, 2015.

Far more needs to be done. Sepan todos Latinos y Afro-Americanos este hombre…El Rey de los racistas en el estado de Wisconsin. Mark (bigot) Belling. Neta!

takingsidesIn the midst of Israel’s latest exercise in savagery, Palestinians are reporting the death of innocent children by Israel’s Defense Force in large numbers. All over Gaza infant children are wailing, amidst the sounds of explosions and jet planes, targeting any civilian who moves.

Reports from Gaza speak to massive destruction in once quiet neighborhoods with no military targets – except Palestinians who are fair game for Israel’s high tech US-supplied military machine. Reports also indicate that ambulances trying to evacuate wounded civilians have been targeted and destroyed, and over 70 had been killed, and of the 300 or so wounded, about 2/3 women and children.

Palestinians say that few Hamas activists have been wounded and that Hamas rocket launching sites have not been destroyed.

The United Nations reports that 80% of Gaza Casualties are Civilian in addition to thousands of them being displaced from their homes.

Thousands of Gazans have fled their homes amidst a relentless Israeli bombing campaign.

The United Nations estimates more than 20percent of the dead are children. At least 1,200 Palestinians have been wounded, nearly two-thirds women and children. More than 940 homes have reportedly been severely damaged or destroyed, some 400,000 people are without electricity, and 17,000 people are displaced

In a report to UNRWA by Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian physician who has worked extensively in Gaza.  In every respect, the situation is disastrous. Gilbert reports:

“Palestinian children in Gaza are suffering immensely. A large proportion are affected by the man-made malnourishment regime caused by the Israeli imposed blockage. Prevalence of anaemia in children < 2yrs in Gaza is at 72.8%, while prevalence of wasting, stunting, underweight have been documented at 34.3%, 31.4%, 31.45% respectively.”

As the bombings continue by Israel’s Army, mourners weeping cling to each other in front of International news networks, a mother screams in disbelief as she mourns the death of her young son, who was killed while he was playing on a beach in the Gaza Strip with his three cousins.

The four boys, two aged ten, and two other boys both named Mohammad, aged 11 and nine, died in shelling from a nearby Israeli gunboat. Their bodies were draped in Fatah flags during their funerals.

They were killed as 100,000 Palestinians were urged to evacuate their homes ahead of an Israeli ground offensive.

Israel’s military has warned tens of thousands of Palestinians to leave their homes as the conflict escalates, raising fears that a full ground invasion of Gaza is imminent. However, many do not heed the warnings because Hamas dismisses them as psychological propaganda – and because it is not immediately clear where Palestinians are supposed to go while the entire Gaza Strip is under threat of Israeli airstrikes.

Israel has acknowledged that at least one attack which caused civilian casualties earlier in this conflict was a tragedy – and while it will argue that such incidents take time to investigate, it may do so again.

Israel blames Hamas for civilian fatalities and injuries at two levels. First, it says Hamas bears overall responsibility for the flare-up of hostilities and second, it argues that the Israeli armed forces go to great length to avoid civilian casualties.

It says Palestinian militants use their own people as human shields. Palestinians don’t accept any of that. They point angrily to the civilian death toll and feel they are being subjected to brutal collective punishment.

Both sides now appear to want to achieve a ceasefire. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zukhri confirmed that his group would stop rocket attacks for a period of time.

Officials in Gaza say Israeli raids have left 220 Palestinians dead. Hamas rocket attacks have killed one Israeli.

Israeli army officer Brig Gen Yoav Mordechai told BBC Arabic that the ceasefire had been requested by the UN and other international organisations

The ceasefire comes at a time when dead children in Gaza now have to be buried and thousands of Gaza families must find new homes.

takingsidesLong-time Hispanic political gadfly, Dagoberto Ibarra was initially giving an impassioned speech about his life’s struggles when he arrived illegally in country in 1969. But his speech during a news conference held this week in Waukesha City Hall, organized by Wisconsin business leaders as part of a national call for immigration reform, took a turn for the worst when he said:

“I’m not seeing anybody doing anything,” said Dagoberto Ibarra, who ran for alderman in Milwaukee’s 8th District in 2004. “This is the most useless Congress in the last eight years … because a (N-word) is in charge.”

Yep! Everything in this country is a mess because, as Dagberto tried to explain after he uttered the racial, the N-word president is causing problems on Capital Hill.

The reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel later interviewed Ibarra by telephone, reporting that “Ibarra at first denied describing the president with a racial slur”.

“I was making reference to what Republicans say,” Ibarra said.

So in Ibarra’s mind, because the Republicans use the N-word to describe the president of the United States, Dagoberto Ibbara felt comfortable enough to describe the president of the United States as nothing more than a N-word.

In the report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Orville Seymer, of the conservative group Citizens for Responsible Government asked Dagoberto Ibarra to help assist his group by joining them at the press conference to be nothing more than a  “backdrop” for the news cameras.

What Seymer is basically saying is that when he holds news conferences like this he just seeks bodies to be nothing more than props standing in front of the cameras for visual effect to make it look like they have support.

In this case, because the issue was immigration reform, Seymer sought out a few brown faces to stand as backdrops to make it look like he’s really reaching out into the Latino community. Well, for just going out there and grabbing anybody to be in front of the camera, Seymer’s news conference instead of being focused on immigration reform, is now a news conference in which a racial slur was used to describe the president of the United States of America.

I wonder if they’re proud of themselves.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel went on to report that at the news conference the group  “…denounced Ibarra’s remark about the president, saying they were unaware of the businessman’s views and hadn’t expected him to speak in the first place”.

Really. The video shows Ibarra was at the podium for over 4 minutes before he slurred president Obama. So this notion they’re trying to put out there that they “were unaware of the businessman’s views” is a bunch of malarkey.

Seymer has known and has worked with Ibarra for some years. It’s the reason he invited him to the press conference. So this idea that he was caught by surprised by Ibarra’s comments, well, that’s nothing more than an attempt to cover his back side.

Even the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter noticed that Seymer, who spoke at the news conference, appeared nervous when Ibarra approached the microphone. Which only indicates to me that Seymer could have stopped Ibarra from speaking if he was not scheduled to speak. And if Seymer was nervous seeing Ibarra approach the microphone, clearly it’s because Seymer knew Ibarra has a reputation of inserting foot in mouth when he speaks.

Nevertheless, you have to give it to Dagoberto Ibarra. I mean, his rant was not only offensive to the Black community, he even managed to insult white people as well.

“If you’re white you’re OK,” he said. “If you’re not white, you’re selling drugs, you’re smuggling, you’re no good.”

So you white people are all OK. You only buy the drugs us dark people sell and smuggle into this country.

If I’m inferring correctly from Dagoberto Ibarra’s speech, I got the impression that Ibarra was implying that if only a white guy were in the White House today, everything in this country would be OK.

Ibarra’s N-word comment against the president should not really come as a shock. His description of Obama pretty much reflects the mantra of many people who oppose president Obama.

The N-word describing the president has become somewhat fashionable in many political circles around the country.

Not long ago, national debate hit many of theSunday morning talk-shows after a monthly newspaper in New York printed in its headline, “The N—-r in the White House.” The article was pro-Obama, but clearly many people did not read the article, all the ignorant people cared about was the headline of that newspaper calling the president the N-word.

While I commend the efforts to move right wing political networks towards finding a solution to the immigration question, the lessons here from this news conference should be pretty obvious.

takingsidesFormer Vice President Dick Cheney has been on a tirade criticizing President Obama for getting out of Iraq. “When we left it was in pretty good shape, especially after the surge,” he told the Washington Post in an interview published last week.

Speaking about the collapse of the puppet Iraqi government left in charge by Washington to control the country after United States military forces deported Iraq, Cheney said: “The situation has developed in part because there was no stay-behind force.”

In case anyone forgot, it was Dick Cheney who was the architect of the Iraqi invasion and it was Cheney who perfected the lies used to justify it the invasion of Iraq.

Cheney’s desire for mayhem in Iraq led to a total absence of any strategy for exiting the mess he created.

He had been pushing for invasion of Iraq since the late 1990s, perhaps due to his own financial interests in the region’s oil fields.

In a recent article written by Cheney he made no mention of the financial burden his 12-year war has put upon the United States taxpayers.

Estimates go as high as $6 trillion, even though the Bush administration had predicted the whole thing would cost between $100 and $200 billion.

That comes to about $75,000 for every U.S. household in which we paid to send troops into a conflict that was not needed.

But Cheney saw benefit for having the war, the former CEO of Halliburton, subsidiary, KBR, reaped $39.5 billion from the war, according to the Financial Times.

A case can be made that he’s a war criminal for perpetrating torture. In all these respects he has fueled terrorism, rendering America less safe than it was.

Richard Clarke, the nation’s top counterterrorism official under former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, accused former Vice President Dick Cheney of committing war crimes in their 2003 invasion of Iraq.

“I think things that they authorized probably fall within the area of war crimes. Whether that would be productive or not, I think, is a discussion we could all have,” said Clarke, who resigned in 2003 after the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq. “But we have established procedures now with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where people who take actions as serving presidents or prime ministers of countries have been indicted and have been tried.”

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff, also accused Cheney of war crimes in 2011, citing the former vice president’s affinity for enhanced interrogation techniques.

“Waterboarding is a war crime, unwarranted surveillance … all of which are crimes,” Wilkerson said in 2011. “I don’t care whether the president authorized him to do it or not, they are crimes.”

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who has known Cheney for decades, told ABC News that Cheney fears being one day tried as a war criminal.

“He’s developed an angst and almost a protective cover, and now he fears being tried as a war criminal so he uses such terminology as ‘exploding heads all over Washington’ because that’s the way someone who’s decided he’s not going to be prosecuted acts: boldly, let’s get out in front of everybody, let’s act like we are not concerned and so forth when in fact they are covering up their own fear that somebody will Pinochet him,” Wilkerson said.

For America, the chickens coming back home to roost on Cheney could not happen any sooner.

takingsidesFormer Vice President Dick Cheney has been on a tirade criticizing President Obama for getting out of Iraq. “When we left it was in pretty good shape, especially after the surge,” he told the Washington Post in an interview published last week.

Speaking about the collapse of the puppet Iraqi government left in charge by Washington to control the country after United States military forces deported Iraq, Cheney said: “The situation has developed in part because there was no stay-behind force.”

In case anyone forgot, it was Dick Cheney who was the architect of the Iraqi invasion and it was Cheney who perfected the lies used to justify it the invasion of Iraq.

Cheney’s desire for mayhem in Iraq led to a total absence of any strategy for exiting the mess he created.

He had been pushing for invasion of Iraq since the late 1990s, perhaps due to his own financial interests in the region’s oil fields.

In a recent article written by Cheney he made no mention of the financial burden his 12-year war has put upon the United States taxpayers.

Estimates go as high as $6 trillion, even though the Bush administration had predicted the whole thing would cost between $100 and $200 billion.

That comes to about $75,000 for every U.S. household in which we paid to send troops into a conflict that was not needed.

But Cheney saw benefit for having the war, the former CEO of Halliburton, subsidiary, KBR, reaped $39.5 billion from the war, according to the Financial Times.

A case can be made that he’s a war criminal for perpetrating torture. In all these respects he has fueled terrorism, rendering America less safe than it was.

Richard Clarke, the nation’s top counterterrorism official under former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, accused former Vice President Dick Cheney of committing war crimes in their 2003 invasion of Iraq.

“I think things that they authorized probably fall within the area of war crimes. Whether that would be productive or not, I think, is a discussion we could all have,” said Clarke, who resigned in 2003 after the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq. “But we have established procedures now with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where people who take actions as serving presidents or prime ministers of countries have been indicted and have been tried.”

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff, also accused Cheney of war crimes in 2011, citing the former vice president’s affinity for enhanced interrogation techniques.

“Waterboarding is a war crime, unwarranted surveillance … all of which are crimes,” Wilkerson said in 2011. “I don’t care whether the president authorized him to do it or not, they are crimes.”

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who has known Cheney for decades, told ABC News that Cheney fears being one day tried as a war criminal.

“He’s developed an angst and almost a protective cover, and now he fears being tried as a war criminal so he uses such terminology as ‘exploding heads all over Washington’ because that’s the way someone who’s decided he’s not going to be prosecuted acts: boldly, let’s get out in front of everybody, let’s act like we are not concerned and so forth when in fact they are covering up their own fear that somebody will Pinochet him,” Wilkerson said.

For America, the chickens coming back home to roost on Cheney could not happen any sooner.

The growing inequalities of income and wealth are creating massive gaps in political power enabling the most wealthy among us to sway the political and economic game in their favor.

Not long ago CNBC announced the results of a poll they conducted of 514 people with investable assets of $1 million or more (the richest 8 percent of American households). 51% of these people believe inequality is a “major problem” for the U.S. and nearly two-thirds (63%) support higher taxes on the wealthy. Surprisingly, 64% supported a higher minimum wage as a way to narrow the wealth.

According to CNBC the survey included a balanced number of Democrats and Republicans. Not surprisingly 86% of Democratic millionaires say inequality is a major problem while only 20% of Republican millionaires agree. The survey pointed out that 78% of Democratic millionaires support higher taxes on the wealthy but only 31% of Republican millionaires do. It also states that 77% percent of Democratic millionaires back a higher minimum wage but only 38 percent or Republican millionaires agree.

A month ago America celebrated the 100th Mother’s Day, but in 35 of those years mothers have been in the paid workforce. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that large numbers of middle-class mothers were able to gain access into the paid workforce. This happened because in the late 1970s the start of the long slide of hourly wages for male workers began – and moms had to take up paid work in order to maintain family standard of living they grew accustomed to. The reason Male hourly wages began sliding are attributed to the combined impacts of shrinking unions, corporate outsourcing of jobs over seas, labor-replacing technologies, and deregulation.

Most mothers went into paid work in addition to their other jobs at home — and most are still doing house work even after coming home from work.

I bring this up because if you believe people are paid what they’re worth, then compare the incomes of those who tend to America’s human capital with those who tend to our financial capital. Financial capital has almost nothing to do with American competitiveness; it moves around the world at the speed of light. Yet, America’s human capital is the resource on which our future standard of living, and that of our children, uniquely depends.

That being said, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that America’s top four hedge-fund managers got $10.4 billion last year. That’s more than the salaries of all of Wisconsin’s public schools teachers combined.

According to annual rankings published by Institutional Investor’s Alpha Magazine, hedge-fund manager David Tepper took home $3.5 billion last year.

Now, if he worked 40 hours a week and went on a two-week vacation, that came to $1,750,000 an hour. $1,750,000 an hour is enough money to hire 241,380 workers at the nation’s current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. It’s enough to lift the wages of 538,461 minimum-wage workers to $10.40. It’s enough to hire 103,734 workers at the nation’s median hourly wage of $16.87.

I can’t help wondering how Tepper possibly can spend $1,750,000 an hour. I also wonder what kind of society is it that won’t raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.

With these numbers you would think Mitt Romney would be supportive of this income inequality. However, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” television show he came out in support of an increase in the minimum wage. “I part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue of the minimum wage. I think we ought to raise it,” he said. “Our party is all about more jobs and better pay,” Romney said, adding that income inequality has worsened under Democratic control.

What Romney does not say is that he stood against a minimum-wage increase in 2012. Why the change of heart in Romney? He’s not running for president that’s why.

takingsidesWhen former president George W. Bush invaded Iraq, he told the world that not only Saddam Hussien threaten the world with weapons of mass destruction, Iraq was also a haven for Al Queda.

The Bush administration went on to further state that in the post-9/11 America there should be a belated reckoning with Saddam Hussein, referring to America’s failure to remove Saddam in the first Iraq war in 1991. Bush accused Saddam of continuing to sponsor terrorism and had killed tens of thousands of his own people.

Well, after removing Saddam Hussien from power, then killing him and having over 5000 American service men die to liberate Iraq, it seems that today, Iraq is no closer to stability and freedom than it was when Saddam was in power.

Iraq is under a new Islamist militant campaign that has overrun the cities of Mosul and Tikrit. Cities Americans fought in and died in to remove Saddam fighters from.

The UN also said the humanitarian situation around Mosul, where up to 500,000 people have fled, was “dire and is worsening by the moment”.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki vowed to fight back against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) insurgents.

ISIS, which is also known as ISIL, is an offshoot of al-Qaeda. It controls a large swathe of territory in eastern Syria and western and central Iraq.

Who is ISIS you ask? Well, they are:

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has 3,000 to 5,000 fighters, and grew out of an al-Qaeda-linked organisation in Iraq

ISIS has exploited the standoff between the Iraqi government and the minority Sunni Arab community.

ISIS has already taken over Ramadi and Falluja, but taking over Mosul is a far greater feat than anything the movement has achieved so far, and will send shockwaves throughout the region

The organisation is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – an obscure figure regarded as a battlefield commander and tactician. He was once the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, one of the groups that later became ISIS.

Mr Maliki has asked Iraq’s parliament to declare a state of emergency.

The Bush administration launched the Iraq war on false premises. Since leaving office Bush has asserted that he acted in good faith, and that interrogation of leading Iraqis showed that the regime planned to revive its weapons program as soon as sanctions disappeared.

I question the good faith argument I condemn the poor judgment in bringing war and death to Iraq on flimsy grounds. Iraq was not a threat to any other country.

The 2003 invasion of Iraq resulted in the arrest of Saddam Hussein and the removal of his regime.

George W. Bush, who had been given leeway by the Congress to make decisions regardingIraq, led the U.S. The President, together with his Departments, intelligence service, and advisors, represented the U.S.

The official U.S. policy was to remove Saddam Hussein and his regime from power.

Now that this policy has been accomplished, we are left with a county that is now in chaos. We are left with a country that has truly become a haven for terrorists. We are left with a country that is contributing to the instability of the Middle East.

More than a decade has passed since Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, and to this day, nothing beneficial for peace, for the United States and for the world has been produced from this campaign.

What is taking place is the rise of those forces the United States did not want in power in Iraq.

So, why did the United States invade Iraq?

 

takingsidesI’m often asked why I’m no longer a Democrat and why do I speak to leaders of the GOP. My response is simple. Both parties need to be dealt with as one would deal with a pirate—with suspicion and caution.

In the candidacy of Laura Manriquez, I know we will not be electing a pirate.

Laura will be going against a formidable incumbent (JoCasta Zamarripa) who has entrenched herself well within the inner circles of networks who have used their political power to go after respectable businesses (Palermos Pizza), practiced hypocrisy in education by saying they’re against school choice when in fact, they operate along side groups that establish choice schools in the South side. These same networks have bamboozled the community as well by having Zamarripa push for bogus legislation that she and they know will not get past the GOP controlled Assembly (Cesar Chavez Holiday bill). Obviously the Chavez holiday action by Zamarripa was more for political mileage, and fooling the community into thinking Zamarripa was really trying to achieve something in the GOP controlled legislature.

Far leftist political networks will attack Laura Manriquez as a Republican operative (despite the fact that Laura has been a dues paying conservative democrat longer than Zamarripa has held office or even been a democrat). They made this charge against Laura before. The record clearly shows that in past campaigns Laura Manriquez has never taken one dime from Tea Party Republicans, GOP  PACs or any GOP 227 funding/support in-kind or otherwise.

Laura Manriquez is a consensus builder as evident by her gaining support from the leader of the GOP Assembly the last time she ran, Scott Suder. An achievement Zamarripa would never accomplish.

In the last campaign Laura Manriquez challenged Zamarripa in,  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter, Georgia Pabst intentionally wrote a bogus article about Laura in which she identified Laura Manriquez as having warrants placed on her by the state for owing back taxes in excess of over tens of thousands of dollars. Pabst wrote the article even after she was sent an email by Laura Manriquez telling Pabst she did not know what she was talking about.

The hack job Pabst did in that article forced the Pulitzer Prize winning Journal Sentinel to make a correction and rewrite the article to cover for her lazy unresearched trashing on Laura piece. It turns out Pabst wrote about the wrong Laura Manriquez who happened to live on the same street as Laura, but several blocks north. And here I thought the Pulitzer Prize was the standard of exemplary journalism.

The networks that Zamarripa panders to will mobilize hard to keep her in office. They will spend lots on money to defame and ridicule Laura Manriquez.

However, we know who Laura is. We know how hard Laura works in our community. We know Laura is not a divider or a politrickster.

takingsidesThe Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch is reporting that federal District Court Judge Rudolph Randa, who blocked an ongoing John Doe criminal probe being conducted against Governor Scott Walker, regularly attended “judicial junkets” funded by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, and other right wing ideological and corporate special interests.

The Center for Media and Democracy reports that its analysis of these all-expense paid junkets, shows that Judge Randa attended judicial seminars put on by George Mason University in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012.

The Center for Media and Democracy states that the George Mason University seminars are also bankrolled by the Searle Freedom Trust, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and corporations like BP, Exxon Mobil, and Dow Chemical.

Faced with this revelation, clearly the recent decision made by Judge Randa to destroy evidence and close the John Doe investigation that was being conducted against Governor Scott Walker demonstrates at best his decision to be suspect, and at worst unethical.

The Center for Media and Democracy further reports that these all-expense paid junkets covered the trip for judges, with conference sponsors picking up the costs of a judge’s flights, hotel rooms, and meals.

The Center states that “one seminar Judge Randa attended was in La Jolla, California, a swanky San Diego suburb that is home to both great golfing and Mitt Romney…”

No other federal district judges in Wisconsin attended the privately-funded seminars at George Mason University, according to the Center for Media and Democracy’s review of publicly available financial disclosure documents.

Recent reports have been published indicating that Gov. Scott Walker’s political campaign might be negotiating with prosecutors as part of a secret investigation into the 2012 recall campaigns involving him and other candidates, according to an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.

In the editorial published by the newspaper Walker is attacked for having his attorney negotiate with authorities at a time when the prosecutors have had their investigation halted by a federal judge. The federal Judge who halted the investigation is Judge Randa.

“We’ve learned that Steven Biskupic, who represents Friends of Scott Walker, has been negotiating with Wisconsin special prosecutor Francis Schmitz to settle the state’s investigation. The understandable concern among the direct targets of the John Doe is that Mr. Biskupic will cut a deal that would exonerate Mr. Walker while wresting concessions from some of Mr. Walker’s allies,” the editorial reads. “… Sounds like Mr. Walker has to decide whose side he’s on — his own, or the larger principles he claims to represent”, the editorial continued.

Walker has no comment on the editorial allegations, citing the judge’s order of secrecy in the case.

“As I pointed out before, the bottom line is, per the law, people who know anything about it are prohibited from talking about it, and people who don’t know anything about it shouldn’t be talking about it. So either way I don’t talk about it,” Walker said to a local newspaper while attending an event in New Berlin.

When Walker won his June 2012 recall election, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm launched a secret John Doe probe to look into whether the Wisconsin Club for Growth and other conservative groups illegally coordinated with the campaigns for Walker and other GOP candidates for state Senate.

The John Doe probe began to examine possible illegal campaign coordination with special interest groups and the Walker campaign, Friends of Scott Walker.

A John Doe is similar to a grand jury investigation, but in front of a judge rather than a jury, and is conducted under strict secrecy orders.

The special interest groups under investigation include Wisconsin Club for Growth, which is led by a top Walker advisor and friend, R.J. Johnson, and which spent at least $9.1 million on “issue ads” supporting Walker and legislative Republicans during the 2011 and 2012 recall elections. Another group is Citizens for a Strong America, which was entirely funded by Wisconsin Club for Growth in 2011 and 2012 and acted as a conduit for funding other groups that spent on election issue ads; CSA’s president is John Connors, who previously worked for David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity and is part of the leadership at the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity (publishers ofWatchdog.org and Wisconsin Reporter). Other groups reportedly receiving subpoenas include AFP, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, and the Republican Governors Association.

This revelation by the Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch could be the spark of a major scandal. Stay tune to this one. Looks like its about to hit the fan.

takingsidesWhile the poor and middle class fight battles for the super rich around the world, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, the wealthiest of Americans  continue to get extraordinary tax breaks. Some of these people are investment managers who earn billions of dollars.

Consider this, The economy as a whole is 11 percent bigger, the stock market (S&P 500) is 83 percent higher, and corporate profits are up 53 percent.

Yet 95 percent of the economic gains have gone to the top 1 percent, and the median household income has fallen 4 percent. Troubling is it not?

To continue to make the most profit possible, major corporations employ various strategies that are designed to  boost profits and cut payrolls — which doesn’t work in the long run because workers are also consumers, and without enough money can’t buy what businesses have to sell.

The slash-and-burn tactics of many businesses are turning their workforces against them, reducing productivity, and harming the bottom line.

Those who condemn President Barrack Obama for “tearing down the wealthy” lack historical perspective. Presidents from Franklin Roosevelt to Harry Truman railed against the excesses of a privileged few in finance and business. Some have gone beyond rhetoric. Confronted with rising steel prices, John Kennedy sent the FBI storming into corporate offices and is widely thought to have ordered the authorities to audit executives’ personal tax returns. Richard Nixon used the same weapon in 1973, announcing tax investigations “of the books of companies which raised their prices more than 1.5 per cent above the January ceiling”. All were reacting in their own way to a phenomenon that Bill Clinton described best: “Although America’s rich got richer … the country did not … the stock market tripled but wages went down.”

Given the widespread frustration with stagnant incomes, and an increasing body of evidence suggesting that the worst-off have few opportunities to improve their lives, action to address this must be initiated now.

If income could be redistributed without stunting economic growth, there would be a compelling case for reducing incomes at the top and transferring the proceeds to those in the middle and at the bottom. Unfortunately this is not the case.

What to do? Businesses should their workers as assets to be developed, rather than as costs to be cut.  Allowing businesses to count their workers as assets on their balance sheets instead of liabilities would strengthen balance sheets, encourage more investment in workers, generate higher productivity, and better align the interests of labor and capital. Should the National Accounting Standards Board should make this change.

Closing loopholes that only the wealthy can enjoy would help as well. Measures such as the earned income tax credit can raise the incomes of the poor and middle class by more than they cost the Treasury, because they give people incentives to work and save.

It is ironic that those who profess the most enthusiasm for market forces are least enthusiastic about curbing tax benefits for the wealthy.

Inequality has been with us and growing since the mid 1980s. All Obama has done is go along with Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and all the Republican and Democrat policy makers along the way. Still nothing has been done.

Sooner or later inequality will have to be addressed.

takingsidesThe growing inequalities of income and wealth are creating massive gaps of political power enabling them to sway the political and economic game in their favor.

Recently CNBC announced the results of a poll they conducted of 514 people with investable assets of $1 million or more (the richest 8 percent of American households). 51% of these people believe inequality is a “major problem” for the U.S. and nearly two-thirds (63%) support higher taxes on the wealthy. Surprisingly, 64% supported a higher minimum wage as a way to narrow the wealth.

According to CNBC the survey included a balanced number of Democrats and Republicans. Not surprisingly 86% of Democratic millionaires say inequality is a major problem while only 20% of Republican millionaires agree. The survey pointed out that 78% of Democratic millionaires support higher taxes on the wealthy but only 31% of Republican millionaires do. It also states that 77% percent of Democratic millionaires back a higher minimum wage but only 38 percent or Republican millionaires agree.

This past weekend America celebrated the 100th Mother’s Day, but in 35 of those years mothers have been in the paid workforce. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that large numbers of middle-class mothers were able to gain access into the paid workforce. This happened because in the late 1970s the start of the long slide of hourly wages for male workers began – and moms had to take up paid work in order to maintain family standard of living they grew accustomed to. The reason Male hourly wages began sliding are attributed to the combined impacts of shrinking unions, corporate outsourcing of jobs over seas, labor-replacing technologies, and deregulation.

Most mothers went into paid work in addition to their other jobs at home — and most are still doing house work even after coming home from work.

I bring this up because if you believe people are paid what they’re worth, then compare the incomes of those who tend to America’s human capital with those who tend to our financial capital. Financial capital has almost nothing to do with American competitiveness; it moves around the world at the speed of light. Yet, America’s human capital is the resource on which our future standard of living, and that of our children, uniquely depends.

That being said, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that America’s top four hedge-fund managers got $10.4 billion last year. That’s more than the salaries of all of Wisconsin’s public schools teachers combined.

According to annual rankings published by Institutional Investor’s Alpha Magazine, hedge-fund manager David Tepper took home $3.5 billion last year.

Now, if he worked 40 hours a week and went on a two-week vacation, that came to $1,750,000 an hour. $1,750,000 an hour is enough money to hire 241,380 workers at the nation’s current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. It’s enough to lift the wages of 538,461 minimum-wage workers to $10.40. It’s enough to hire 103,734 workers at the nation’s median hourly wage of $16.87.

I can’t help wondering how Tepper possibly can spend $1,750,000 an hour. I also wonder what kind of society is it that won’t raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.

With these numbers you would think Mitt Romney would be supportive of this income inequality. However, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” television show he came out in support of an increase in the minimum wage. “I part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue of the minimum wage. I think we ought to raise it,” he said. “Our party is all about more jobs and better pay,” Romney said, adding that income inequality has worsened under Democratic control.

What Romney does not say is that he stood against a minimum-wage increase in 2012. Why the change of heart in Romney? He’s not running for president that’s why.

takingsidesSome consider police in the US as the greatest threat to the American public. There are those who point to Dontre Hamilton, who was recently shot by an MPD officer, as yet another example of police use of excessive force.

The fact that police often go to the wrong door to arrest someone shows the carelessness with which they carry out their duties. There are recorded instances when police associate an innocent civilian with a drug dealer, brake into his home, shot dead the family’s pet dog, and hold the person and his and children at gun point. But most cases of police brutality never make the news.

Most who suffer abuse from the police don’t bother to complain. They know that to make an enemy of the police brings a lifetime of troubles. Those who do file complaints find that police departments tend to be self-protective and that the naive and gullible public tends to side with the police.

However, you can find plenty of examples of police brutality on Youtube — more than you can watch in a lifetime. I have Google for “youtube police brutality” and the result was astonishing. There’s everything from police shooting a guy in a wheelchair to body slamming a befuddled 89-year old great grandmother to tasering kids and mothers with small children.

The Google results may contain duplicates as more than one person might have posted a video of the same event. However, probably only a small percentage of incidents are captured on video by onlookers, and many incidents of police brutality have no witnesses. What the videos reveal is that a large percentage of police move with alacrity to assault the public. The number of incidences could be very high.

In contrast, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2009 (the most recent year for which data is compiled), there were 806,000 aggravated assaults (not including assaults by police against the public) by criminals against the public, of which 216,814 were committed by hands and feet and not by weapons. (In the U.S. if you merely push a person or grab his arm, you have committed assault.

Considering the data, one might conclude that the police are a greater danger to the public than are criminals.

Indeed, the trauma from police assault can be worse than from assault by criminals. The public thinks the police are there to protect them. Thus, the emotional and psychological shock from assault by police is greater than the trauma from being mugged because you stupidly wandered into the wrong part of town.

Why are the police so aggressive toward the public?

In part because their ranks attract bullies, sociopaths and psychopaths. Even normal cops are proud of their authority and expect deference. Even cops who are not primed to be set off can turn nasty in a heartbeat.

Also, because police are not accountable. The police have been militarized by the federal government, equipped with military weapons, and trained to view the public as the enemy.

The abuse happens, because people with authority are dying to use the authority.

Submission is what the government and the police want. Anyone who argues with the police will be abused. An American who stands up for his rights is likely to be beaten to a pulp.

And “our” government assures us that we have “freedom and democracy.” We have a police state, and everyone who forgets it is in deep trouble.

The U.S. government is the most determined foe of democracy in the world. Yet, Washington lectures China, which has more civil liberties than Bush/Cheney/Obama permit Americans.

If americans ever find the emotional strength to acknowledge the oppression under which they live, they will one day rise to make the changes in leadership needed to restore civility among police ranks, and establish mutual respect from the community and police for the rule of law.

takingsidesBefore Don Sterling donned a metaphorical white hood and declared himself a racist cretin during a taped discussion with his girlfriend, the Los Angeles Clippers owner was about to receive an award from the NAACP.

The award had nothing to do with achieving civil rights justice. The award had nothing to do with achieving justice for any cause at all. He was getting the award because he gave money.

Hmmm…Awards today are often bestowed not because someone has achieved something great but because they have achieved great wealth. Their donations summon high honors from organizations that benefit and hope to receive even more in the future. What ever happened to awards and honors to the honorable?

L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling told his girlfriend he does NOT want her bringing black people to his games … including Magic Johnson … and it was ALL on tape.

Among the comments:

– “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” (3:30)

– “You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want.  The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.” (5:15)

– “I’m just saying, in your lousy f******* Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.” (7:45)

– “…Don’t put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me.  And don’t bring him to my games.” (9:13)

Sterling has a documented history of allegedly racist behavior — he’s been sued twice by the federal government for allegedly refusing to rent apartments to Blacks and Latinos.

He was also sued by former Clippers exec Elgin Baylor for racial discrimination — though a jury was ultimately not convinced and shot down Baylor’s case.

Donald Sterling was given the maximum ($2.5 million) allowable fine for conduct detrimental to the NBA. He was also given a lifetime ban from the NBA and the franchise he owns. He received these punishments for expressing racist viewpoints in a taped private conversation.

Sterling has done much in his life to merit these types of sanctions from the NBA commissioner’s office, and most of those instances happened in the public eye. Had the NBA taken action for how he exploited black and Latino people as a slum lord, and racist comments he had made in the past, I would be applauding the actions of the NBA today. This despicable man should have been dealt with long ago.

Nevertheless, the NBA investigation is now complete. The central findings of the investigation are that the man whose voice is heard on the recording is Mr. Sterling.

The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful; that they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage.

Listening to the words of this despicable man I was particularly interested in his assertion that from his wicked mind he believed his white culture viewed Black people as the “ENEMY”. No Mr. Racist Sterling, you and those like you, are the enemy of humanity.

takingsidesIn the aftermath of the failed attempt to get a symbolic Chavez holiday bill passed in the Republican controlled legislature, details are starting to come forward regarding the failed effort.

Not that setting aside March 31 as a optional state holiday to honor labor and civil rights leader Cesar Chavez was not worth pursuing, I mean, even Gov. Scott Walker expressed support for the bill, but the manner in which Zamarripa moved the bill in Madison has some questioning if her action was political posturing on her part.

Talk by members of the legislature say that if Zamarripa wanted to pass the bill, her lobbing effort fell way short because she did nothing early in the legislative session to gain GOP support. If so, did Zamarippa purposefully avoid lobbing Republicans to make a political circus of the bill?

With a bill such as the Chavez holiday bill, any democratic legislator should know it would be considered controversial in a GOP controlled Assembly. Such a bill requires tedious and unrelenting lobbing to gain support. If you’re a democrat who wants to get a bill passed in an assembly where your party is in the minority, you have to create a bipartisan coalition, not just introduce your bill late in the session with an organization many Republicans despise and therefore will not be involved with.

Zamarripa states that she gave the GOP an opportunity to show that they are sensitive to the idea of standing “and advocating for Latino Wisconsinites”, but what she did not speak to was the manner in which she moved the bill.

Did the Chavez bill have a public hearing or did Zamarripa decide to “pull” her bill onto the floor without support from her GOP colleagues?

Might the GOP have supported the Chavez bill had Zamarripa followed legislative procedures, or held a public hearing and even coordinated with State Representative Jesse Rodriquez to lobby her colleagues?

Common sense would dictate that in a GOP controlled Assembly; Republicans will generally not support a democratic bill that has failed to go through a public hearing. In a Republican controlled Assembly, bills “pulled” on the floor by a democrat has no chance of passing.

This year the Republicans were able to elect State Representative Jesse Rodriquez to the State Assembly. Rodriquez became the second Latina elected to the legislature and the first Latina Republican elected to state office.

Why do I mention Rodriquez? Well, because Representative Rodriquez voted with her GOP colleagues against the Zamarripa Chavez bill. Why?

Well, it appears that Zamarripa did not have the common sense to seek out Rodriquez as an ally to help lobby the GOP into supporting the holiday bill. Rodriquez voting against the bill indicates clearly that the process in which Zamarripa proceeded to get the Chavez bill passed was intended to be nothing more than a political posture by Zamarripa to make the GOP and Rodriquez look bad in the eyes of the Latino community.

In an article that was published by Urban Milwaukee, Bill Lueders, who is the Money and Politics Project director at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism wrote that the Republican Party will be in control of the Wisconsin legislature after the coming elections.

A recent poll released by St. Norbert College and Wisconsin Public Radio had Governor Scott Walker ahead of the democratic challenger, Mary Burke by 15 points.

If Zamarippa continues to play political games in Madison with the GOP, the 8th Assembly District will be stuck with a lame duck representative creating similar politricks to make it appear she’s trying to do something.