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By Robert Miranda Some people watch history, some people make…

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Streetcar Proponents Point to Koch Boogie Man


The supporters of the Milwaukee streetcar are pointing to a recent Bruce Murphy authored article in Urban Milwaukee in which he exposes organizers of the petition drive calling for a referendum on the streetcar being funded by conservative groups outside the city.

Murphy writes that Chris Kliesmet and his Citizens for Responsible Government Network, which is organizing the petition drive, is linked to Republican operative Craig Peterson and David Fladeboe, state director of the Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity.

Murphy further writes that Fladeboe told him that “his group is quite involved in the effort: ‘We have been educating the public on why the streetcar is wrong for Milwaukee since the mayor started on this project. Now we are working on pushing the referendum to allow the people of Milwaukee to decide the fate of the streetcar.’”

Who are the Koch brothers you ask?

Billionaires David and Charles Koch have been buying our democracy in the form of giant checks to the House, Senate, and even the Presidency.

The Koch brothers, worth $80 billion dollars, are the second wealthiest family in America.  Working with other billionaires like Sheldon Adelson, the Kochs spend an UNLIMITED sum of money to create an America shaped by their fanatical right-wing libertarian views.

Forbes Magazine has reported that the Koch brothers’ fortune often increases by $12 billion dollars annually, while the fortune of Sheldon Adelson increases $11 billion.  That’s right! In one year!  In other words, they are self-serving right-wing multi-billionaires who possess the capability of spending more money on the political process than everyone else combined.

Now do you understand why Bruce Murphy and the proponents of the streetcar invoke the name Koch and scream boogie man?  Because Koch brothers are the boogie man.

However, for me, it’s not about the boogie man and his money, but rather Milwaukee’s position as the most segregated city in the country in terms of race and poverty — more than Atlanta, Chicago or Los Angeles, are the issues of importance.

In Milwaukee Blacks are located mostly in the north-central area of the city and Hispanics stay in the southern inner city near Humboldt Park. How does this happen? What drives poverty in Milwaukee to the current levels? Why are the races so segregated?

Interesting how supporters of the streetcar can pinpoint how the boogie man is involving his money in the political networks of the streetcar, but they have failed to identify the players in our city who have helped to create and nurture the conditions of poverty and apartheid that has tainted the image of Milwaukee over the last 40 years.

The Koch oligarch dynasty may be flashing their cash in Milwaukee to defeat the streetcar and change the political dynamics of the city. They only are able to do so because the plantation masters of the city have allowed the Koch brothers to come in because segregation and poverty conditions in Milwaukee are alive and well.

White progressive/liberal leaders are perplexed by the encroachment of political right wing operatives into the black community.

This encroachment should not be a surprise to left wing whites since statistics and other studies show that in the last forty years blacks in Milwaukee have steadily fallen behind in employment, education, economics and the increase in segregation of the black community in Milwaukee continues to lead the nation with no real effort to end it by the white progressive/liberal powers who vote for and control the mayor.

Alderman Joe Davis Sr., in this same article states “…since it is in the downtown area, will be of no benefit to African Americans, and that Barrett only cares about white millennials, not black millennials”.

This statement should be an indicator to white lefties who sympathize with blacks that they are losing black trust and that things are not going to stay the same in this city as progressive/liberal whites continue supporting these kinds of major investments that do nothing to advance black interest.

A Plan to Save Esperanza Unida

takingsidesMany people have asked me in recent days what was my plan to save Esperanza Unida when I first took the position as executive director in 2006. Now that the City of Milwaukee is foreclosing on one of the agency’s buildings, because of property tax delinquency, some of you asked if I had a plan.

Yes, I had a plan. My plan had the support of Aldermen, the mayor of the City of Milwaukee and various CEOs of international businesses like Bucyrus International, and presidents of area community colleges. My plan had the support of Don Sykes of the Workforce Development Investment Board, in addition, over 30 community based organizations who were partnered with MATC endorsed my plan. My plan even had the support of the president of the country of Turkey and his Secretary of International Trade. My plan had the support of business CEOs of various countries.

My plan was just a Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) vote away from having Esperanza Unida become a major international business partner that would be bringing international contracts to our community, and having people in our community trained to get jobs created by those contracts.

Had Christine Neumann-Ortiz, former State Representative Pedro Colon, who was also an MATC board member and labor attorney and MATC board member Peter Earle voted and spoke to support Esperanza Unida’s plan, this agency in 2007 would have created a sister city economic/manufacturing trade partnership between Istanbul, Turkey, the City of Milwaukee, Bucyrus International and the Milwaukee Area Technical College.

All we needed was for MATC Board of Directors to vote for this plan. A plan that was endorsed by Dr. Darnell Cole, the president of MATC and his staff, Tim Sullivan, the CEO of Bucyrus International, the mayor’s of Manisa and Istanbul, Turkey, the mayor of Milwaukee, Alderman Joe Davis Sr. the Chairman of the Sister City committee of Milwaukee and the CEO of the Milwaukee Investment Board and Alderman Jim Witkowiak, who accompanied me on a trip to Istanbul, Turkey representing Mayor Barrett.

But Christine Neumann-Ortiz, former State Representative Pedro Colon and labor attorney, Peter Earle joined forces to block my plan.

In March 2007, the MATC board voted 5 to 4 against my plan. Former State Representative Pedro Colon, and Peter Earle, voted against this plan to save Esperanza Unida. Even after they were briefed about what we were trying to achieve for the community.

Why did these people turn against a plan to help our community? Ask them.

Open Letter to Milwaukee Aldermen

I am asking that you consider an important safety issue regarding streetcar rails.

My question is: Could the Milwaukee streetcar pose hidden hazards to motorcyclists?

Indeed, did you know that wet or oily rails (streetcar rails) add to motorcycle riding danger. The article link I’m providing you below gives an outstanding overview of the dangers motorcycle riders face when riding in roads that have rails.

Streetcar tracks present a danger when motorcycles run on the roadway in the direction of traffic, and even more so when they cross the roadway in a curve or at an angle. A cycle wheel can easily get caught in the space between rail and road, throwing the motorcyclist down or sideways into a motor vehicle.

If tracks run in the direction of traffic, or cross on a curve or at an angle, they can present a danger to motorcyclist.

The City of Milwaukee, unlike other cities with streetcar, is unique in this respect.

Home to Harley- Davidson, where annually and in key anniversary years, Milwaukee host ten of thousands of motorcycles coming into the downtown area, rails present an added danger to motorcycle riders visiting our city.

The public is on the hook annually when our city is visited every year by these tens of thousands of riders.

Are taxpayers on the hook for additional insurance costs? Will motorcyclist avoid our city in order to avoid dangerous rails?

As vice-president of the Latin American Motorcycle Association, I have serious concern about these rails for my riders and for the tens of thousands of riders that visit Milwaukee every year.

I ask that you please consider these issues.

Support Call For Streetcar Referendum


Streetcar boondoggles are not that popular because they’re slow and expensive (general public cost), they make infrequent trips and make frequent stops, unconventional and inconvenient too. Not only are they slow, they cause vehicles to increase auto emissions due to the more frequent stop n go traffic they will cause downtown. Yes! More pollution in the air because traffic build up.

Streetcar debates usually use terms broadly to refer to the same technology as light rail. But the length of the corridor, and the speed it requires, usually determine whether we’re talking about rapid transit, in which case this technology is called light rail, or more local-stop service, in which case this technology is called streetcar.

In addition, Milwaukee’s streetcar plan fails to address a fundamental city issue and that is to increase public transportation in areas of the city to people living in high unemployment areas of the city, opening routes to employment. Milwaukee’s boondoggle plan fails miserably to achieve that.

The streetcar project states that “Milwaukee’s initial route is approximately 2 route miles. It has been carefully designed based on ridership projections, economic development opportunities and public input. It connects the Milwaukee Intermodal Station with downtown’s employment and commercial areas, dense housing on the lower east side and Third Ward, and entertainment and redevelopment areas on the west side (near the Milwaukee River) and the lakefront”.

That’s why this streetcar is nothing more than folly. It’s transportation for fun in the sun. Nothing to do to make the lives of hard working people without transportation easier to get to work or meet other important needs of their daily lives.

Oppose the streetcar boondoggle

A diverse coalition of Milwaukee residents, organizations and community groups is banding together to gather signatures in a petition drive to force direct legislation on The Milwaukee Streetcar.

Those who support the Streetcar will scream and yell that the opposition to the Streetcar is an orchestrated campaign organized by right wing Tea Party nut jobs and their supporters, leading a bunch of blind mice.

The reality is that those who are behind the Streetcar project are the same tired ass lame usual suspects who have held power in this city for over forty years, keeping this city as America’s most segregated city and one of America’s most poorest communities for Black people.

The time to revolt against these people has come. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Use that money to fight poverty and build business in communities decaying because of poverty.

Be part of the force to STOP the Milwaukee Streetcar; join the petition drive to require a vote by City of Miwaukee residents. Let there be a referendum.

Stop the arrogance of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and his developer friends in pushing for a BILLION dollar streetcar system Milwaukee doesn’t need or want!

You can go to this URL link to download the petition:


Listening to the arguments justifying the costs associated to the construction of the Milwaukee Streetcar project and the benefits it will bring to the residents of Milwaukee, is like watching a shell game and reliving the economic trickle down promises of former president Ronald W. Reagan.

As the debate regarding its benefits  begins to grow, it’s anybody’s guess what reason will turn up next that makes this boondoggle of a project a necessary development issue: mobility, congestion relief, economic development, environmental benefits or tourism. Only the naïve would place a bet.

Not long ago, before the tens of millions of dollars in federal grants were sought for the streetcar, it was said that the city  would reduce automobile congestion  because more travelers will be using the streetcar instead of traveling by automobile.

That the streetcar could possibly be a way for the city too turn out tourist seeking to ride the street car gazing at our downtown sites. There are others who say that the streetcar would be an intrinsic part of our public transportation system. Frankly, the streetcar is impractical as a mode of transportation.

It’s disingenuous for proponents to describe the project as a critical piece of Milwaukee’s transit needs [with] a ripple effect that can influence developments elsewhere across the city.

If they made sense, streetcars would be thriving in every city across the country. There’s a reason these boondoggles are not that popular, they’re slow and expensive, they make infrequent trips and make frequent stops, unconventional and inconvenient too. Not only are they slow, they cause vehicles to increase auto emissions due to the more frequent stop n go traffic they will cause downtown. Yes! More pollution in the air because traffic build up.

The streetcar project states that “Milwaukee’s initial route is approximately 2 route miles. It has been carefully designed based on ridership projections, economic development opportunities and public input. It connects the Milwaukee Intermodal Station with downtown’s employment and commercial areas, dense housing on the lower east side and Third Ward, and entertainment and redevelopment areas on the west side (near the Milwaukee River) and the lakefront”.

So where does this route really benefit those in need of jobs? People living in areas of the city where unemployment reaches double and triple the percentages in our surrounding suburbs do not appear to be benefactors, especially when they will be taxed to pay for this streetcar.

Voters understand the need to fund congestion relief and mobility; taxpayers and commuters want to improve transportation. But they expect sound transportation policy. Streetcars are neither smart nor visionary. Milwaukee is committing transportation funds to a transit relic; bus service – even shuttle service – would have improved mobility and provided flexibility at a far lower cost.

Other governments worth their salt will give serious consideration to the economics and effectiveness of the streetcar project.

The people deserve to be heard on this matter. The city should have a referendum and it should be held before this boondoggle is voted upon by the common council.

Choice School/privatization supporters are prepared for what they think will be a banner few years of expansion for their cause. However, pockets of resistance around the state continue to grow as unbiased studies and reports show that privatized-Choice Schools are not producing the kind of results that would warrant expansion.

Milwaukee could have been the strongest center of resistance today against Choice School/privatization had progressive education activist leaders supported grass roots actions in the early 1990s standing against privatization of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) led by former MPS Superintendent Howard Fuller.

Indeed, had leaders of the progressive group Rethinking Schools joined with the grass roots group called United Spiritual Soldiers (USS), and former MPS School Board Director, Leon Todd, who was the strongest voice on the board standing against the Fuller privatization doctrine between 1992 and 1996, a broader more solid unified base of grass roots groups and professional advocates could be in place today, dedicated to fighting for public schools.

In 1993, USS, a group of grass roots activists from the streets of Milwaukee and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students, organized against privatization with pro-public education notables David Noble, Leonard Minsky and Ralph Nader, of the National Coalition for Universities in the Public Interest. Their efforts were joined in by Director Todd.

USS was the grass roots group at the forefront of exposing the underbelly of the so-called “reform” movement’s campaign to introduce privatization that Superintendent Fuller was advocating.

Provide Equal Education for All of Our Children

As a student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at the time, I was the Education Minister for USS.  I knew that the political beast we were up against was not interested in improving MPS. I believed then, and still do today, that the profiteering and privatization of our public school resources is slowly taking the breath out of a system of education that can provide equal education to all of our children, and keep our national commitment to democracy alive.

USS organized teachers, staff, students, elected officials, community and union leaders and fellow activists to improve MPS. In fact, we established a strong working relationship with former Milwaukee Teacher’s Education Association (MTEA) director, Sam Carmen and staffer at MTEA, Bob Anderson. It was through these relationships that I learned of the duplicity of so-called progressive education leaders who covertly worked to discredit and undermine our grass roots mobilization.

In 1993, to draw support from the community to become partners with USS, we went to work at South Division High School, a school at the time falling apart and targeted to be closed by Superintendent Fuller.

That year, a community meeting was held at the United Community Center. The meeting was called after newspaper accounts in the Milwaukee Journal and Milwaukee Sentinel began to report on our effort to rename South Division High School to Cesar E. Chavez University High School. In addition to renaming the school, a plan to improve the school was prepared by South Division parents, community leaders and teachers. The plan outlined a way to change the curriculum towards a college preparatory school with a bilingual emphasis.

To my surprise, the plan to change South Division’s name and curriculum met resistance by progressive leaders such as Luis “Tony ” Baez and groups like Rethinking Schools. Progressive groups Rethinking Schools and Progressive Milwaukee stayed away from our campaign and covertly spread the word to others to avoid our cause.

The campaign to improve the school brought many people together. Our great friend and longtime journalist in the Milwaukee Latino community, the late Al Stergar often times covered our efforts in the local community newspaper, Latino Community News.

Leon Todd provided support and leadership on the board. Jose Martinez, a young politically conscious South Division High School student, created the Latino Student Union at South Division and began organizing students to support the name change. LaMonte Harris, Dawn Miller and a brother who simply called himself Dino were just a few of the grass roots USS leaders who led organizing efforts in the streets to expose the threat privatization presented to our public school system.

Later, we would find out that our efforts were not supported because, at that time, many progressive leaders had close ties to Superintendent Fuller, and did not want to interfere with his initiative at South Division High School, which was targeted for closing to be reopened as an Edison Project experiment, a privatized school.

Another reason progressive leaders distanced themselves from our efforts is that every person of color involved with USS was not influenced or controlled by any of the urban white progressives who have had longstanding ties with activist leaders in the Black and Latino community. Without a nod from their progressive Latino and Black progressive partners, White Progressives Turned A Blind Eye to the growing grass roots fight USS was organizing against privatization.

Nevertheless, we knew that if we continued our efforts, they would stop any attempt to place South Division High School in the control of the Edison Project. We understood that if South Division High School began to show signs of improvement and community support, we could derail Superintendent Fuller’s plan. Hence, we continued the fight without Rethinking Schools and the white progressives they influenced.

Leon Todd Stands Firm

Our biggest ally on the MPS School Board at that time was Leon Todd. Director Todd was outspoken and often stood in opposition to Superintendent Fuller’s privatization initiatives.

In fact, it was Director Todd who shared with USS a manuscript authored by Dr. Paul T. Hill entitled, “Reinventing Public Education”. This manuscript was passed on to every MPS School Board member by Superintendent Fuller.

The manuscript is a blueprint for undermining public education and the teacher’s union from within MPS and provided strategy to use politicians to help bring about establishing privatization.

Leon Todd was very keen to Superintendent Fuller’s effort and worked closely with USS. In turn, USS worked closely with him and Sam Carmen of MTEA. In fact, our efforts exposing Fuller’s plan were so successful, that Sam Carmen and Bob Anderson helped to organize a meeting with Charles Lentz, former president of Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) and other education union leaders with myself and Lenard Minsky. The meeting went very well.

Conversely, a similar meeting attended by myself and Lenard Minsky at the home of Rethinking Schools leaders Barbara Miner and Bob Peterson went terribly bad.  Other Rethinking Schools representatives were in attendance as well. When we began to speak about Fuller’s efforts, the meeting was cut short by Miner and we were practically thrown out of the house.  Minsky looked at me and said, “I thought we were having dinner with progressives.”

Realizing where we stood with Milwaukee progressives, our work proceeded in support of Leon Todd’s effort to stop Fuller.

The price for Leon Todd’s resolve to work with the community was high. During his reelection campaign, rather than support the strongest opponent to Fuller’s privatization efforts, progressives threw Leon Todd under the bus, and he lost his campaign.

Had progressive education journalists and activists joined the fight to oust Fuller and his allies from MPS, the privatization movement in Milwaukee could have been dealt a serious set-back with Leon Todd leading the campaign to protect public education.

What are the lessons learned? The biggest lesson learned is that, no matter what the reason for not supporting and partnering against Dr. Howard Fuller and his privatization campaign in the early 1990s, those reasons were elementary to the struggle to keep our public schools strong and keeping them as the cornerstone notion to our mutual efforts to fight against segregation of the races in our democracy.

Cuba and the United States have been at odds since Fidel Castro seized power in 1959. While successive U.S. administrations have employed tough measures, including prolonged economic sanctions and the designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism, none have substantially weakened the government.

In recent years there has been some softening in U.S. policies toward Cuba since Castro formally transferred the Cuban presidency to his brother Raúl in 2008 and Barack Obama became U.S. president. The continued imprisonment of U.S. citizen Alan Gross, accused in 2009 of trying to destabilize the Cuban regime through a U.S.-sponsored program, and the detainment of Cuban nationals in U.S. prisons were significant sticking points in the establishing diplomatic ties.

Historical Background

In 1959, Fidel Castro and a group of revolutionaries overthrew the government of President Fulgencio Batista. As the new Cuban regime began forming trade deals with the Soviet Union, nationalizing U.S.-owned properties, and hiking taxes on American imports, the United States responded with escalating economic retaliation.

Eventually, Washington instituted a ban on nearly all exports to Cuba, which President John F. Kennedy expanded into a full economic embargo that included stringent travel restrictions.

By the early 1960s, the United States had severed diplomatic ties with Cuba and was pursuing covert operations to overthrow the Castro regime.

In 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, a botched CIA-backed attempt to topple the government, further inflamed Cuban mistrust and nationalism, leading to a secret agreement allowing the Soviet Union to build a missile base on the island. The United States discovered those plans in October of 1962, setting off a fourteen-day standoff. U.S. ships imposed a naval quarantine around the island and Kennedy demanded the destruction of the missile sites. The Cuban Missile Crisis ended with an agreement that the sites would be dismantled if the United States pledged not to invade Cuba (and a secret deal in which the United States agreed to remove nuclear missiles from Turkey).

After the Soviet Union’s collapse, Washington strengthened the embargo with the 1992 Cuba Democracy Act and 1996 Helms-Burton Act, which state that the embargo may not be lifted until Cuba holds free and fair elections and transitions to a democratic government that excludes the Castros. Since then economic embargo and diplomatic isolation have been the major prongs of U.S. policy toward Cuba.

Obama is now lifting all these barriers in the hopes of starting a new path with Cuba.

The United States and Cuba will now have formal diplomatic relations, and tough sanctions will be removed. U.S. restrictions will be loosened such as allowing U.S. citizens to send remittances to nonfamily members in Cuba and to travel there.

Cuba in turn has released Alan Gross, a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) subcontractor who was arrested in Cuba in 2009. Gross traveled to the country to deliver communications equipment and arrange Internet access for its Jewish community. Cuban authorities alleged he was attempting to destabilize the Cuban regime through a USAID-sponsored democracy-promotion program and sentenced him to fifteen years in prison.

I believe the move to begin normalizing diplomatic relations with Cuba is the kind of bold, forward-thinking action that so many of us elected President Barack Obama to take.

Like his moves on immigration a few weeks ago, President Obama’s action today sets in a motion a chain of events that could bring tens of thousands families together and finally begins heeling decades-old wounds in our hemisphere.

Our President has taken the mold-breaking, progressive action that so many of us always hoped he would and for that he deserves our collective salute.

takingsidesThe outrage that many Americans feel over the unpunished police killing of Eric Garner is understandable and genuinely felt.

Like the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and 12-year-old Tamir Rice, gunned down by police while playing with a pellet gun in a park in Cleveland, the death of Dontre Hamilton, the mentally ill unarmed black man at the hands of a white police officer at Red Arrow park in Milwaukee are tragedies and a sign that something in our law enforcement culture is profoundly broken.

This is why demonstrations have gone on since Thanksgiving from New York to California. It’s also why, in general, protesters have had no trouble peacefully getting their point across.

Peacefully getting the message to the general public: “PEACEFULLY” is the operative word here.

Which brings me to question what were demonstrators thinking in Berkley, California when a Bay Area protest degenerated into a round of vandalism and looting?

Read more here:

Watching news reports from the area, where downtown merchants swept broken glass from the college town’s sidewalk, at least two officers and one protester were nursing minor injuries from the ruckus, and five people had been arrested, leads to question what what end result do they think they’re going to achieve mixing violence and destruction in their quest to have the criminal justice system reformed?

Martin Luther King Jr. held peaceful protests that bolstered civil rights

from 1955 until his death in 1968.

Martin Luther King Jr. was the dominant leader of the US civil rights movement. Following the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, the Rev. Dr. King believed that nonviolent protest is the most effective weapon against a racist and unjust society. Here are some of the most revolutionary peaceful protests King led, hopefully, future tactics of peaceful demonstration in the call for justice against police brutality can be employed.

The Albany movement, 1961

The Albany movement was a coalition formed in November 1961 in Albany, Ga., to protest city segregation policies. Dr. King joined in December, planning only to counsel the protesters for one day. Instead, he was jailed during a mass arrest of peaceful demonstrators, and he declined bail until the city changed its segregation policies.

The city made several concessions, and King left jail and then Albany. But he returned the next year to find that little had actually changed. Upon his return, he was convicted of leading the prior year’s protest and sentenced to 45 days in jail or a $178 fine. He chose jail. Three days into King’s sentence, an Albany police chief arranged for his release. The movement eventually dissolved, with few substantial results after nearly a year of continued peaceful protests, but the campaign tested tactics that would shape future protests in the national civil rights movement.

The Birmingham campaign, 1963

Lasting about two months in 1963, theBirmingham campaign was a strategic effort started by Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference to end discriminatory economic policies in theAlabama city. Some of the protests included boycotting certain businesses that hired only white people or that had segregated restrooms.

When businesses refused to change their policies, protesters held sit-ins and marches, with the aim of getting arrested. King encouraged these nonviolent tactics so that the city’s jails would overflow. Police used high-pressure water hoses and dogs to control protesters, some of whom were children. By the end of the campaign, many segregation signs at Birmingham businesses came down, and public places became more open to all races.

Of the tactic used in the Birmingham campaign, King said, “The purpose of … direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation.”

Bloody Sunday, 1965

Dr. King and several other civil rights leaders organized three marches fromSelma, Ala., to the state capital of Montgomery, in a bid for voting rights for all.

The first, on Sunday, March 7, 1965, involved nearly 600 protesters who marched east from Selma on US Highway 80, led by Jon Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Rev. Hosea Williams of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King was not present because he had church duties. But days before, King had met with government officials to try to ensure the marchers would not be impeded. Even so, mob and police violence caused the march to be aborted on that “bloody Sunday.” When film footage of the police brutality was broadcast around the country, it sparked widespread public outrage and helped to boost support for the civil rights movement.

Of the event, King later wrote, “If I had any idea that the state troopers would use the kind of brutality they did, I would have felt compelled to give up my church duties altogether to lead the line.”

King tried to organize another march, but protesters did not succeed in getting to Montgomery until March 25. The speech he delivered that day, on the steps of the state capitol, has since become known as “How Long, Not Long.”

Bloody Sunday was a turning point for the civil rights movement, building public support and clearly demonstrating King’s strategy of nonviolence.

Chicago, 1966

After successful demonstrations in the South, Dr. King and other civil rights leaders sought to spread the movement north. They chose Chicago as their next destination to take on black urban problems, especially segregation.

To show his commitment to the northern campaign, King rented an apartment in the slums of North Lawndale on the city’s West Side. One Friday afternoon in August, King led about 700 people on a march in Marquette Park on Chicago’s Southwest Side, a white enclave, to protest housing segregation. Thousands of white people gathered, taunting King and the other protesters. At one point, a brick hit King in the head, but he continued the march as onlookers hurled rocks, bottles, and firecrackers at the marchers. Thirty people, including King, were injured.

Of the Chicago protest, King later said, “I have seen many demonstrations in the South, but I have never seen anything so hostile and hateful as I’ve seen here today.” He continued, “I have to do this – to expose myself – to bring this hate into the open.”

The path of peaceful demonstration is not sexy or dramatic, but it is effective. It works. Violence only weakens the value of the message.

takingsides12-year-old Tamir Rice of Cleveland, Ohio is dead after police officers mistook a toy pellet gun for a real one, an incident that has sparked an investigation into why officers chose to fire their service weapons rather than a Taser.

Officers arrived at a Cleveland playground after a man called 911 to report a boy waving a gun he thought was “probably fake” — but the officers weren’t informed that witnesses thought the weapon wasn’t real. NBC reports:

Police said officers responded to a report of a person waving a gun around at a playground and that Tamir was shot after he allegedly refused to put his hands up and reached in his waistband for what appeared to be a handgun. The handgun turned out to be an “airsoft” replica toy gun, which shoots pellets in a similar way that a BB gun does. Cleveland police said in a statement that an orange marking designed to make the toys distinguishable from real firearms had been removed.

Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba defended the actions of the two officers, but both have been placed on a standard administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.

“We are going to conduct our own investigation,” Rice family attorney Tim Kucharski told WKYC. “We are going to talk to witnesses. We will get all the 911 tapes, the radio dispatch records as to what was said to the police, what the officers knew and then after we have conducted a thorough investigation we will make a determination after talking with the family with what we will proceed with legally at that point.”

Tamir’s death under questionable circumstances isn’t the only controversy surrounding the Cleveland police department, which is currently being investigated by the Department of Justice for allegedly loose use-of-deadly-force policies and systemic disregard for civil rights. Six officers were recently indicted for their role in a November 2012 high-speed chase that ended in 137 shots fired and the deaths of two unarmed men.

Nationally, police kill black suspects at many times the rate as white ones. ProPublica estimates that black suspects are approximately 21 times as likely as white ones to end up dead at the hands of cops.

Local police reported killing around 400 people a year to the FBI over a seven year period ending in 2012.USA Today reported an average of 96 a year could be confirmed to involve white officers and a black suspect. University of South Carolina criminologist Geoff Alpert commented in the article that thanks to the lack of a national database on police violence, it’s difficult to tell just how often questionable shootings occur.

“I’ve looked at records in hundreds of departments and it is very rare that you find someone saying, ‘Oh, gosh, we used excessive force,'” he said. “In 98.9% of the cases, they are stamped as justified and sent along.”

Why you should care: Another day, another tragic death of a black child at the hands of police. The fate that befell Tamir is part of a larger national pattern in which cops are quicker to shoot and kill minority suspects than white ones. And last week, an officer in Brooklyn, New York, shot and killed an unarmed man in a housing-project stairwell who was not a suspect.

A recent Huffington Post/YouGovpoll found that 38% of black respondents thought calling the police to intervene in a dispute would “make the situation more volatile,” compared with just 23% of whites. Nearly 60% of black people claimed there was police brutality in their area; just 25% of whites did. Another poll in August found that 42% of black respondents thought that blacks’ relationship with police has gotten worse in the past two decades.

“Unfortunately, the patterns that we’ve been seeing recently are consistent: The police don’t show as much care when they are handling incidents that involve young black men and women, and so they do shoot and kill,” John Jay College of Criminal Justice professor Delores Jones-Brown told Mother Jones. “And then for whatever reason, juries and prosecutor’s offices are much less likely to indict or convict.”

Meanwhile, there’s an easy way to help prevent at least some future mistakes involving fake guns: making sure they can’t be mistaken for real ones. The Independent reports that Ohio State Rep. Alicia Reece from Cincinnati has already introduced legislation requiring “all BB guns, air rifles and airsoft guns sold in Ohio to be brightly colored or have prominent fluorescent strips.”

takingsidesThe face-off between Milwaukee County Supervisor Deanna Alexander and Georgia Pabst of the Pulitzer Prize winning for local reporting Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ignited a couple of weeks ago, when Supervisor Deanna Alexander accused reporter Georgia Pabst of publishing an article with a “misleading title and context”.

Supervisor Alexander stated in a prepared statement that was released to the public that Pabst called Supervisor Alexander twice to ask about a newsletter sent to her constituents in October.

The newsletter alerted voters for the fall elections that they would need to show a photo ID to vote. Supervisor Alexander contends that the newsletter was accurate at the time she sent the information to her constituents, but that after the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Voter ID requirement for the November election, Supervisor Alexander used “email, social media, and a second mailing—a bold post card—to update voters with the new information that electors would not need to provide an ID in order to vote”.

Supervisor Alexander wrote in her statement:

“Ms. Pabst knew all of this, yet continued to publish an article falsely proclaiming that the notice was a mistake,” Supervisor Alexander said.  “This irresponsible report has increased confusion by leading voters to believe that I either didn’t notice the error or purposely sent untrue information.”

“Ms. Pabst knew on Friday that I had provided voters with two rounds of information and that each were accurate at the time I published them; there was no mistake.  Her article is disappointing and sloppy journalism.” Supervisor Alexander concluded.

Supervisor Alexander’s statement that “Ms. Pabst knew all of this, yet continued to publish an article falsely proclaiming…,” is analogous to an incident involving community advocate and former State Assembly candidate Laura Manriquez.

In 2010, candidate Laura Manriquez challenged then candidate JoCasta Zamarripa for the open 8th Assembly seat vacated by former State Representative Pedro Colon. It was Manriquez’s second attempt at a seat that was then without an incumbent.

The Manriquez campaign was going smoothly until it was derailed by an article written by Georgia Pabst of the just received Pulitzer Prize winning for local reporting Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In her article Georgia Pabst defamed Manriquez when Pabst wrote that Manriquez had State of Wisconsin warrants issued against her for not paying over $70,000 in state taxes. Pabst also added that Manriquez was married and that Manriquez and her husband were under severe financial troubles.

Pabst sent Manriquez an email requesting verification of the information before publishing the story. Manriquez replied to Pabst by stating she did not know what Pabst was talking about. I recently reviewed those email exchanges and I can confirm these communications between Pabst and Manriquez did happen.

The Manriquez response probably did not sit well with Georgia Pabst. After the email exchanges, Pabst published the story exploding the Manriquez campaign and ultimately helping to give Zamarripa the victory.

Later it was verified that there were never any tax warrants issued by the state against Laura Manriquez. In addition, Laura Manriquez was never married, so she did not have a husband.

The Pulitzer Prize winning for local reporting Milwaukee Journal Sentinel issued several corrections to what Pabst wrote, but these corrections are small and most often over looked by readers.

Nevertheless, the damage was done.

“When that article was released, all the work I did during the campaign went for nothing. Many voters contacted me and told me they were not supporting me. Even after I explained that it was not me, many voters asked why would MJS publish information about me like that without checking it out first”, Manriquez said.

“To this day, four years later, I still have people asking me about that article and who have been wondering if I paid my taxes yet”, continued Manriquez.

The scar the article left to the name of Laura Manriquez carries to this day.

This is the kind of sloppy journalism Supervisor Alexander is referring to. The kind of payback reporting that can scar the reputation and charter of a good name.

When asked if Georgia Pabst apologized for what she wrote, Manriquez replied, “No, and this is pretty messed up that she not only damaged the campaign and my good name, but more importantly to me she tarnished my father’s name who I have always shared with individuals that I use as my first name in order to honor him since he never had any sons.  Apologize?  Yea right, like she really cares.”

takingsidesOver the past couple of weeks I’ve been pointing out that Georgia Pabst of the Pulitzer Prize winning for local reporting Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a habit of not giving the whole story writing articles for Wisconsin’s largest daily.

Pabst’s history of leaving out pertinent information in her articles are documented in several columns I’ve written about her reporting on matters from Esperanza Unida to Palermo’s Pizza.

But I’m not the only one raising issue about this reporter for this Pulitzer Prize winning for local reporting newspaper, it turns out that there are others who feel that Pabst has taken liberties by reporting half-truths for Wisconsin’s largest newspaper.

In recent weeks Pabst finds herself face to face with Milwaukee County Supervisor Deanna Alexander. It seems that Pabst decided to write a piece calling to question Alexander’s solicitation of Facebook funds to help pay for the funeral expenses of her father, who passed away last month.  The solicitation sought $10,080.

At the time Pabst wrote her article Supervisor Alexander had collected $2,345, including a $1,000 anonymous donation.

The article Pabst wrote gave two distinct impressions to the reader. One, that there seems to be some kind of an ethical issue surrounding this request for donation to help bury Alexander’s father and two, the irony that a supervisor who earns $50,679 a year (you’ll note that Pabst does not mention that the salary for supervisors goes down under $26,000 a year next year) voted to prevent the county paying for indigent funerals.

Well, to counter the articles the Pulitzer Prize winning for local reporting Journal Sentinel reporter Georgia Pabst has published against Alexander are several articles written by conservative bloggers, one of whom has labeled the article published by Pabst as “vile”, witch hunt” and  “disturbing”.

In fact, Ashley Schultz, who writes for Purple Wisconsin, a blog page that publishes articles for a collection of community bloggers hosted by the Pulitzer Prize winning for local reporting Journal Sentinel, and whom describes herself as a freelance political writer and senior consultant at St. Anthony School of Milwaukee, wrote that in publishing the article regarding Supervisor Alexander, “Pabst is using her position to play some twisted game of political payback’.

Schultz wrote in an article that:

“Just a few weeks ago Pabst published a piece on Alexander, pointing out an error in her newsletter. Alexander responded, saying Pabst’s article lead readers to think she had purposely misinformed them. It looks like Pabst didn’t take too kindly to the criticism.”

Serious accusation indeed, especially when you consider that the person being accused writes for a Pulitzer Prize winning for local reporting newspaper.

Another conservative calling to question the articles attacking Milwaukee County Supervisor Deanna Alexander is Aaron Rodriquez, who also writes for Purple Wisconsin and whom describes himself as a volunteer board member of Hispanics for School Choice. He runs The Hispanic Conservative, a blog he created in 2008 to advocate for conservative Latino values.

Now, Rodriquez writes that “contrary to Pabst’s story, Alexander didn’t use her Facebook page to solicit funds. She posted a link to her father’s obituary, thanking people for their condolences.  Even the obituary page didn’t directly solicit money”.

Interesting point. Pabst omitting pertinent information that is. A point that I can relate to, after witnessing Georgia Pabst write articles about Esperanza Unida.

Pabst seems to have a habit of omitting key elements of a story. Case in point. In every article Georgia Pabst has written about Esperanza Unida, Pabst has always reminded the readers about taxes the agency owed, the facility problems at the agency and the fiscal chaos the agency was in.

Not once did Pabst mention in her articles that the agency was in fiscal hardship long before I got there because of over $700,000 in loans solely signed out for by the founder and former executive director, Richard Oulahan.

Loans I’ve pointed out to her that were questionably given to the agency and that even the current executive director of Esperanza Unida and former Secretary of the Department of Workforce Development for the State of Wisconsin, Manny Perez is rumored to be seeking the involvement of the FBI into these loans which he also agrees were inappropriately released to Richard Oulahan. Loans that Manny Perez mentioned to her himself.

Whatever the final outcome regarding Pabst’s latest hack job, two things are certain.

One, do these conservatives have an issue with the way Pabst is reporting facts? If you ask me, from what I have experienced from this reporter, you damn right they do. And two, does anyone take the articles that Pabst writes seriously, well, Alexander sought $10,080 to pay for her father’s funeral. At the the time Pabst wrote her initial article about the matter, $2,345 was already collected. After the Pabst article was published, over $14,500 was donated with a $6000 anonymous donation. Hmmm…I guess readers don’t take Pabst seriously.

A couple of weeks ago I arrived at the Milwaukee County Courthouse to receive my sentence for a misdemeanor obstruction charge. Upon my arrival I noticed a rackety looking crooked broom stick double parked near the east entrance of the building. I didn’t think anything about it so I continued on my way into the courtroom.

Once I arrived at the courtroom I realized to whom that broom belonged to. Waiting in the courtroom for me was Georgia Pabst of the Pulitzer Prize winning for local reporting newspaper, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Ok. I don’t have any evidence that the broom that was double parked outside was hers, but I have a gut feeling that it was.

Anyway, Pabst didn’t bother to turn her head to look my way, but it was clear she was waiting for my case to be called in the courtroom.

Unfortunately for the Journal Sentinel hack reporter the court hearing had to be rescheduled. So I will have to wait another month to put this misdemeanor charge of obstruction behind me once and for all.

On the other-hand, seeing Georgia Pabst got me to think, wow! I have my very own paparazzi reporter from a Pulitzer Prize winning for local reporting newspaper. In fact, the largest newspaper in the state finds it important enough to send one of it’s most experienced reporters to cover my misdemeanor obstruction hearing.

But then I 

thought again! 

“Wait a minute”, I said. “Is it that important for the city? Wait! The state! No! The nation….yea! The nation has to know I was sentenced for a misdemeanor charge”, I thought.

Then it came to my mind. Why would this huge multi-Million dollar corporation want to report on something as insignificant as my case?

Then I realized. Could it be that the executive editors of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel are sending their reporter to trash me in their newspaper as retaliation for taking $5,000.00 from them a few years ago?

I sued Journal Communications and received $5,000.00 for a slander article their employee Charlie Sykes wrote about me. This has to be a sore issue with the paper, the case I had against them is also a case study for law students taking law classes in digital law courses.

Surely, this reporter, representing Wisconsin’s largest newspaper didn’t come stalking me to write about me and my court experience because I’m that important of a news story in this city? I mean, if that’s the case why doesn’t she come over and cover other things I do, like the sleep out for the homeless at Clarke Square park I participated in last week.

If that doesn’t trip her trigger, then why isn’t she writing about the $700,000 in improper loans her friend and Esperanza Unida founder/former executive director Richard Oulahan left the dying agency to deal with. Surely there’s some juicy nuggets to be nibbled on regarding that topic. I mean, that would be a more interesting story than covering me. Besides, Georgia already has the documents she needs to get started covering that story. She’s had them now for some time.

Thinking that she would need something to write about me since the hearing was rescheduled, I waited for Georgia Pabst to give her an opportunity to speak to her star story topic, me.

She came out of the courtroom and walked right pass me without so much as a question. Boy, talk about getting ready to write a slanted one sided story. I can honestly say I have my very own papa paparazzi. At least I was able to snap a picture of her as she hurried away to her next assignment.

Look for Georgia Pabst’s latest smear piece about me coming soon in the Pulitzer Prize winning for local reporting Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sometime in December.

In the meantime, as Lady Gaga would say: “Baby, there’s no other superstar

You know that I’ll be your


Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter Georgia Pabst is being charged with unethical journalistic practices by Milwaukee County Supervisor, Deanna Alexander.

Supervisor Alexander points out that Pabst published an article with a misleading headline and distorted facts after Pabst called Supervisor Deanna Alexander twice to ask about a newsletter sent in October.

Alexander states in a news release that the “newsletter, accurate at publication, alerted fall general election voters that they would need to show a photo ID to vote.”

However the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the voter ID requirement for the November election, that decision forced Supervisor Alexander to correct her newsletter release by sending an update via “email, social media, and a second mailing—a bold post card—to update voters with the new information that electors would not need to provide an ID in order to vote”.

“Ms. Pabst knew all of this, yet continued to publish an article falsely proclaiming that the notice was a mistake,” Supervisor Alexander said.  “This irresponsible report has increased confusion by leading voters to believe that I either didn’t notice the error or purposely sent untrue information.”

“Ms. Pabst knew on Friday that I had provided voters with two rounds of information and that each were accurate at the time I published them; there was no mistake.  Her article is disappointing and sloppy journalism.”  Supervisor Alexander concluded.

Supervisor Alexander is not the only one pointing out the recklessness and total disregard for truth in articles published by Georgia Pabst.

I have pointed out on many occasions that Pabst has written half-truth articles about Esperanza Unida. Her consistent omission in her articles regarding loans totaling over $700,000.00 being a vital factor in the agency’s collapse is one of the most glaring unethical reporting practices Georgia Pabst has perpetrated.

These loans were inappropriate and questionably released to founder and past executive director, Richard Oulahan. Even the current executive director of Esperanza Unida and former Secretary of the Department of Workforce Development for the State of Wisconsin, Manny Perez is rumored to be seeking the involvement of the FBI into these loans which he also agrees were inappropriately released to Richard Oulahan.

An initial $600,000.00 in loans was signed for only by Richard Oulahan, without a second signature by past board of director chairperson of Esperanza Unida, or even a witness is highly unusual, reporter Pabst never bothered to reveal this in her articles because it would raise an eyebrow of suspicion on her friend Richard Oulahan’s reputation and work in our community.

Esperanza Unida is not the only victim of Pabst’s half truth reporting style.

If one is not part of a network of people Pabst favors, one does not get fair reporting by Pabst.

Case in point. In 2010, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had to issue three separate corrections of an article Georgia Pabst published about Laura Manriquez, a former chairperson of Esperanza Unida.

Manriquez ran against JoCasta Zamarripa for the 8th Assembly District seat. Zamarripa is networked with leftest radicals Pabst favors in the southside, such as Voces de la Frontera.

Pabst contacted Manriquez via email to ask her about tax warrants of over $70,000.00 and asked Manriquez about being in serious financial trouble along with her husband. Manriquez is not part of leftist radical networks. Manriquez is more of an independent minded spiritual political leader.

Manriquez responded to the question by sending Pabst an email informing Pabst that she “did not know what she was talking about”.

However Pabst proceeded to published the article knowing full well that Manriquez told Pabst that she did not know what she was talking about.

MJS had Pabst rewrite the article and issued several corrections after the Manriquez campaign complained to MJS editors. It was proven that Manriquez was not married and that the tax warrant was for another Laura Manriquez living on the Southside. 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.

Another example of Pabst half truth reporting is the reporting about the Palermo’s Pizza campaign her favorite group Voces De La Frontera unjustly attacked for several years.

Not that I need to rehash the entire campaign that Voces orchestrated against the locally owned national frozen pizza chain, but just look at the aftermath of this intensely reported on effort by Pabst.

The whole matter centered around the injustice taking place against over 75 undocumented workers trying to unionize.

After the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) dismissed the Voces complaint that over 75 undocumented workers rights to unionize was violated by Palermo’s Pizza, the articles Pabst wrote in the matter trickled down to eventually nothing, despite the fact that a national boycott of Palermo’s Pizza was still being actively engaged in by the AFL-CIO and Voces.

In July of this year, the unions pulled out of Palermo’s pizza before the worker’s could even vote on the matter to unionize in August. Pabst made no mention of this development. The news broke in October because the Business Journal and Business Times wrote about the unions leaving before the August vote.

Pabst failed to simply ask the question: what happened to the 75 undocumented Palermo’s workers? The workers Palermo’s Villa says it asked Voces de la Frontera to come help out.

Pabst has written no articles giving information regarding the plight of those 75 undocumented workers. Where are these workers now? The fate of those 75 workers is still unknown and Voces will not comment on the outcome of those workers.

A recent article published by Bruce Murphy in the Urban Magazine pointed out that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel would probably be letting go some of its reporters. The article listed Georgia Pabst as one of those who was on the list to be let go, for the sake of some fair reporting by this giant newspaper, they’d be doing our community outside of Georgia’s favorite community networks a service replacing her.

takingsidesIf the Democrats lose this governors race next week, the party will have ceased to be relevant.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker is in a tight race with Democratic contender Mary Burke, and there is less than a week before voters hit the polls.

Walker has a long list of vulnerabilities the Democrats can’t seem to capitalize on. From high level staff members going to prison for theft, among other things, to leading the effort to repeal equal pay rights for women. Walker is a poster child for candidates with skeletons in their closets. Yet the Dems are unable to take advantage of Walker’s weakness.

Walker’s ability to survive may stem from a patten that was illustrated in a New York Times/CBS poll that spelled it out for Democrats nationwide.

The poll showed that 45 percent of “all likely voters” throughout the country would put a Republican into the United States House of Representatives. Only 39 percent would vote Democratic. The poll indicated that even 10 percent of Democrats planned to vote for Republican congressional candidates, compared with 2 percent of Republicans willing to vote for Democrats.

Among all-important independents,

41 percent would vote Republican and

31 percent would vote for Democratic congressional candidates. Democrats have lost any significant lead among women, with 42 percent saying they’d vote Republican and 43 percent leaning Democratic. The poll showed Republicans trouncing Democrats in nearly all categories, even among young voters 18-44.

I asked a longtime Democrat why did the numbers show Democrats being slapped around by a party clearly lacking leaders with integrity. His response was interesting. He blamed President Barack Obama, saying “the American public’s frustration with Mr. Obama has hurt our Party and there seems to be nothing we can do to reverse that tend”.

If this is true this could probably mean trouble for Mary Burke. She recently made when Obama came to Milwaukee campaigning for her.

Walker has no momentum. The closeness of this race is a result of public frustration with the other party, which has lost the confidence of its base constituents to make the real economic changes needed that its party leader Obama promised in 2008.

The vast American middle has no strong loyalty to either party and has bad vibes about each. They want good governance, in which the controlling party listens to all and acts in the interests of liberty, prosperity and national security. Americans deserve a government of, by and for the people — not of, by and for one party.

takingsidesIt’s been over two months since the unions pulled their petition to unionize workers at Palermo’s Pizza. Indeed, two months since Voces de la Frontera quietly walked away without even a whimper regarding the unions decision to do so.

Over two months without a news release or some kind of a statement explaining why they decided to drop the matter in July, weeks before Palermo’s workers were to vote on whether to unionize or not on August 14.

Speculation is that they realized they did not have the votes, due to new workers being hired by Palermo’s to replace the over 75 undocumented workers the company was forced to fire due to an audit of its work force by the federal government.

All the hoopla and marching and national boycotting of the company, designed to continue putting Palermo’s Pizza on the pages of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MJS), was all peachy keen before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided that Palermo’s Pizza did nothing wrong regarding the rights of the 75 undocumented workers Voces de la Frontera (VDLF) was so concerned about.

After the NLRB decision, media hounding by VDLF started to slowly wind down.

In July of this year, the petition calling for the workers to vote was pulled without a press conference or news release. Heck, even MJS reporter, Georgia Pabst was out scooped by the sneaky effort of VDLF to let this whole matter just fade away.

The Business Journal and Business Times newspapers broke the story that the unions seeking to unionize Palermo’s workers pulled out.

Frankly, Pabst has always been on top of this story. So for her to miss this development was nothing more than her practice of protecting a friend who passes on information she relies on for her so-called articles covering the Hispanic community. Why risk losing a reliable news source who tips you off with information, if you’re going to write things that don’t make them look good.

Clearly, on this matter, VDLF does not look good.

Especially, after supporting the calling off of the vote, but not calling off the national boycott of Palermo’s Pizza.

Aside from the fact that nothing has been reported on the status of the 75 undocumented workers VDLF has been “protecting”, nothing has been said about the status of the national boycott of this Milwaukee company.

In an article recently published by a local blog, Hispanic News Network U.S.A., Primitivo Torres, the spokesperson for VDLF, affirmed that the boycott was still in effect.

Is the boycott still on? 

Don’t ask Georgia Pabst, she has things to do like keep reminding people that Esperanza Unida owes taxes. And don’t ask VDLF, apparently, no one knows anything about any boycott or the whereabouts and status of 75 undocumented workers this whole affair began with.

So. Is the national boycott against Palermo’s Pizza still in effect, or is it not?

Boycott for what?

takingsidesThe unions seeking to unionize the workers at Palermo Villa Inc. have withdrawn their petition for union representation with the National Labor Relations Board, according to Ben Mandelman, Milwaukee officer-in-charge.

Spokespeople for Voces de la Frontera, which was representing the workers trying to form the Palermo Workers Union, have yet to release a statement. The Palermo Workers Union’s website has been taken down.

Over 75 undocumented workers and their families were manipulated by Voces de la Frontera to form a union.

Now that the effort has failed, it seems Voces de la Frontera is trying desperately have this issue fade away into obscurity. Even Georgia Pabst of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel failed to cover this story after devoting many articles about the matter during the height of the campaign. The matter to withdraw unionization was done in July. Pabst had part of July, August and September to report the latest news, she didn’t.

The news was scooped by the business newspapers in Milwaukee. Why did Pabst refuse to cover this new development in a story she’s been covering closely for more than a year?

What about the 75 undocumented workers and their families? Did Voces de la Frontera help those workers find work or were they deported.

Pabst is taking great care to not report the failure of Voces de la Frontera’s Palermo’s Pizza campaign. In addition, Pabst is engaging in an injustice by failing to report what did Voces de la Frontera do to help those 75 undocumented workers and their families find peace and stability now that their efforts have failed.

Our community needs another Latino reporter. One that is willing to dig into news stories at all levels, just not selectively choose who will get good press and who will get bad press.

It’s been since July that the unions involved at Palermo’s Pizza pulled the plug on their efforts there, and nothing has since been reported on the where about of 75 undocumented workers and their families.

During the height of the Palermo’s campaign, Pabst would give coverage to the workers and their struggle for fairness, now that the campaign has failed, these same workers that everyone kept crying about, are left without a job and after two months since the unions pulled their petition, not one statement or news article has been done to report in their status.

takingsidesMilwaukee Journal Sentinel (MJS) reporter, Georgia Pabst continues to selectively report  the facts about Esperanza Unida (EU) in an MJS article on October 3, 2014. Her attempt to protect her long time friend, founder and former EU executive director Richard Oulahan is clear.

In this article, once again, Pabst refuses to bring forward the facts about mortgage loans Oulahan signed, totaling $700,000.00. If you read Pabst’s latest piece on EU you’ll notice she avoided to mention the $700,000.00 in loans Oulahan signed for before having to leave the agency  2003.

In fact, BMO Harris Bank, the bank that bought out M&I Bank, and who now owns the mortgage loans, recently verified that up until 2002 Oulahan was the sole signer of these mortgage loans.

Manny Perez, current executive director of EU, said that during the interview with Pabst he explained to her that the loans were toxic, improper and unaccounted for and that these loans were made before he got there. Pabst knows this to be true. However, she did not even mention these loans as part of the EU debt in her article above. Why?

Because questions asking why were these loans made will arise, that’s why. Questions like:

1. With these loans why weren’t the HVAC systems replaced and repaired at building 611 and 1329 West National Ave.?

2. Why weren’t the fire sprinklers replaced and fire alarm system modified at 611 building and EU building 1329 West National Ave.?

3. Why wasn’t the roof replaced at 611 and1329 West National Ave. buildings?

4. Where did the money go?

As former EU executive director, I presented these points to Pabst on many occasions. She always failed to even mention these loans in past articles about EU. She never reported the fact that I had to work to pay over $12,000.00 a month to get these loans under control. Spending this kind of money on these loans prevented EU from doing the infrastructure repairs the agency’s buildings desperately needed in order to stop the penalties and fines the City of Milwaukee levied on EU because these issues were not being addressed.

The inability to pay for these repairs was the main reason tenants moved out of the building starting in 2012 and prevented EU from asking for higher rent for this prime real estate.

In addition, when I first arrived in 2006 the City of Milwaukee was foreclosing on EU because of property taxes Oulahan did not pay. We managed to broker a deal with the city with the help of Alderman Jim Witkowiak to pay the city the taxes owed. We were successful in making that happen. It’s to bad we have a subversive, deceptive, underhanded, unprincipled, crafty, hoodwinking, perfidious Alderman in office today, otherwise, I believe Manny Perez would have been able to broker an agreement with city officials had the current thug Alderman sitting in office would have cooperated with him.

But lets not forget about the plan to turn Esperanza Unida around before former State Representative Pedro Colon, labor lawyer and Voces de la Frontera Action board member, Peter Earle and Voces de la Frontera Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz teamed up to block EU’s plan at a MATC meeting in March 2007 to bring a $1 million welding jobs trying program into our community.

Pabst never did tell the story about how these obstructionists; Colon, Earle, and Neumann-Ortiz; interfered with Esperanza Unida plans to bring MATC, Bucyrus International, the City of Milwaukee and the country of Turkey together and into our community in order to develop a welding program that would not only train workers in our community to be welders, but too further provide them with jobs once they are trained at Esperanza Unida with MATC support.

Pabst never wrote about the fact that after getting all these players together and establishing a sister city economic prosperity plan with the City of Manisa, Turkey and the City of Milwaukee, with the help of Aldermen Joe Davis and Jim Witkowiak, that this effort needed MATC board approval to move forward.

And what do you think former State Rep. and now irrelevant Judge Pedro Colon, labor hustler Peter Earle and Palermo’s Pizza extortionist Christine Neumann – Ortiz did?

Well, Colon and Earle who sat on the MATC board at the time led three other progressive board members to vote against the Esperanza Unida effort while Neumann – Ortiz sat at the table professing herself to be representing the community standing in solidarity with Colon and Earle in their opposition to this job training project being placed at Esperanza Unida in our community.

In closing, Georgia Pabst can only hide the truth for so long. A truth that I will now bring forward. My silence in this matter ends today! The truth will come out about Pabst’s friend Richard Oulahan, and many will be heartbroken to know that EU was not the efficiently run agency it’s predecessors want many to believe.

The war against Islamic extremism continues now with Barack Obama’s bombing of the “Islamic State” in Syria. The bombing of Syria guarantees Americas commitment to waging an unending war against terror organizations.

Obama’s Syria war is not against a particular enemy in a particular place, it’s against global thugs who use religion as cover for their barbarism. Bombs will not stop it.

Rather than bombing these barbarians back to the stone age, the US could have moved its allies to move a policy of containment.

Acting to find the funding sources of these thugs to cut it off must be cut off would have been a more cost effective way of degrading ISIS, instead of using million dollar cruise missiles and war planes. Influencing the major powers in the region (Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey) too take primary responsibility for the war that has to be waged against the extremists could have saved our country some money. Targeting students and other young people who are being recruited or bribed into joining the extremist thugs from joining these thugs could be an option.

Which brings me to another point I wish to make. This war against ISIS that we’re now engaged is yet another distraction from domestic problems Republicans don’t want to deal with and Democrats are afraid to address.

The percent of working-age Americans in jobs is the lowest in over three decades. More of the nation’s income is going to corporate profits and less to wages. Almost all the gains from economic growth are flowing to the top. Congress is so gridlocked and won’t raise taxes on the rich to pay for better schools for our kids.

Yet all we’re hearing about is ISIS (or ISIL), and bombing them.

Then again, bombing people to make the Military Industrial Complex CEOs richer is the best political thing to do for more reelection campaign money.

Mainstream Media Ignores Climate Change Protestors

Not much was said in mainstream media about the protesters around the United States converging on Manhattan in the largest mobilization against climate change to demand global leaders take action to stop the pollution of the world causing the world’s climate to change.

But what can be done?

Northern Europe is already making wind power nearly as cheap as carbon-based power, and China is doing the same with solar, but the United States is wedded to oil and natural gas, and without American leadership there’s little hope. And who is lobbying most intensely in the U.S. against any shift to non-carbon energy sources? You got it! Koch Industries. The Political corporation buying up politicians in Washington DC.

Bilingual Poll Workers Needed

The City of Milwaukee is looking for bilingual, professional, and dependable Election Inspectors (Poll Workers) for the November 4, 2014. If individuals meet the requirements, they will undergo a screening process followed by paid training. The candidate will receive $15 for training and $130 for the full election day or $65 for a half day.

If you or anyone you know might be interested in applying for the position please get in contact with Jesus Hernandez through email or phone.

The candidate must be:

* Bilingual in English and Spanish (preferred)

* Qualified to vote in the City of Milwaukee

* At least 18 years of age

* Must be a resident of the City of Milwaukee

* A U.S. citizen

* Never have been convicted of a felony

* Not be a candidate for office in the election

Believe In Yourself

Got a call from a friend the other day. He needed to talk to someone. He privileged me with his conversation. He’s going through some hard times right now, and I could tell he was feeling low. I’ll skip the details of his despair but what I said to him was that he should never give up on himself. Indeed, to all my dear brothers and sisters and those who are my friends. When times are hard you have to believe in you.

You must trust in the man or woman that you are. When you run into a bad string of luck the one person who can change the way things are is you. Believe in your courage to face adversity. Believe in your heart that you are good and that you matter. Believe that when you feel that everything is against you, it is you who must stand above the negative around you.

Seek from within you that strength that has lifted you from despair in the past and moved you forward to the positive side of life. Change your environment and rid it of the pollution that is causing your despair.

Trust in your family and loving friends to help lift your spirits. Motivate yourself to move away from the poison that is weakening your soul. Trust in your ability to make the changes in your life that will bring back happiness. And never abandon the power of prayer to help you move forward with confidence.

Keep your faith in God and in yourself. You may feel all is lost, but in reality you have all the power in you to bring yourself back from the abyss. And if there is just one person, just one person, in your life who you feel can help you rise up again, by all means reach out to that person. The love he or she has for you will help you energize to defeat the darkness encircling you.

You have it in you to light the path towards success and happiness once again. Enjoy your life.

takingsidesGovernor Walker says that he will push to require drug testing at an undisclosed cost for able-bodied people receiving benefits under FoodShare, the successor to the food stamps program.

Jon Peacock, research director for the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, said “drug testing carried with it costs but had turned up only a modest number of substance abusers in other states that have adopted it”.

In other words: it don’t work

If Walker wants to appear as a compassionate conservative, he’s not doing so with this action. The proper way a compassionate conservative would deal with this matter is to implement the drug testing policy, but instead of kicking those on food stamp off for drug use, have them choose between treatment or losing their food stamps.

But compassionate conservatism in Wisconsin is not part of the political fabric of this state.

Qatar is a member of the coalition to fight ISIS–with what?

Cake and Foreign Workers?

President Obama tours that Qatar is part of his Collation to fight ISIS. Interesting since the tiny and über-rich Gulf emirate has increasingly come under scrutiny for its failure to protect the human rights of its huge foreign workforce as reported by the Nation magazine.

The Nation reports that Qatar’s 1.8 million foreign workers—vastly outnumbering the country’s 300,000 native citizens—”are frequently deprived of wages, trapped into permanent debt, exposed to hazardous working conditions and denied the right to unionize”.

Qatar’s traditional royal elites, businesses and private individuals have accrued high levels of wealth despite having a small domestic workforce. Qatar has the highest gross domestic product per capita of any country in the world. Meaning these are some pretty soft handed kind of people.

So who are they going to send to fight ISIS? Foreign workers?

Walker, Burke in neck & neck race

Latest poll shows that the candidates running for Wisconsin governor damn near tied among registered voters, with Walker leading 49%-46% among people likely to vote.

Marquette released its survey poll, two weeks after the last poll. In the last poll Marquette’s result gave Walker a slight edge with registered voters, while Burke had a slight lead among people who say they’re likely to vote.

The latest poll was conducted between Sept. 11 and Sept. 14 and included 800 registered voters.

Five percent of them say they are undecided in the governor’s race.

According to pollster Charles Franklin, there continues to be no evidence of a front runner, seven weeks before the election. Walker and Burke have remained in a virtual tie, since May.

This is going to get interesting real soon.

Boots on the ground or no boots on the ground? That is the question

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told members of Congress yesterday that he hasn’t ruled out recommending U.S. ground forces attack ISIS if the current air campaign in Iraq fails. “If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the President,” Dempsey said. Sources say the White House okayed Dempsey’s remark beforehand.

Translated: The President has promised for weeks that no combat troops would be sent to fight ISIS, but public opinion is shifting in light of the recent ghastly beheadings, and the military wants to move in. So Dempsey’s remark is a trial balloon. The war with ISIS is about to escalate, one way or another. History will show that George W. Bush’s toppling of Saddam Hussein unleashed the barbarians, and Obama couldn’t contain them. The job will ultimately fall to the next president, but how many more American lives will be lost?

More NFL Issues

As if the NFL didn’t already have enough trouble with women, it turns out the most powerful sports league in the U.S., with $9.7 billion in annual revenue, pays its cheerleaders less than McDonald’s workers. The Dallas Cowboys, who pioneered the modern day NFL cheer squad — including choreographed dances and skimpy outfits — pay their cheerleaders $150 per game, which, figuring in rehearsal time, comes to under $7 an hour.

The Buffalo Bills don’t even pay that. The Raiders just announced their cheerleaders will be getting $9 an hour, the California minimum wage. The minimum salary for a single player in the NFL is $420,000. League Commissioner Roger Goodell was paid $44 million in 2012. Do you think the NFL could possibly afford, say, $15 an hour for its cheerleaders?

These some really greedy ass mofos.  Bill Clinton Agrees Netanyahu “Not the Guy” to Reach Peace with Palestinians.

Former President Bill Clinton has been caught on tape agreeing that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “not the guy” to reach a long-term peace deal with the Palestinians. At a Democratic fundraiser in Iowa, C-SPAN recorded Clinton defending his own record in past negotiations as he chatted with a member of the public, who criticized Netanyahu.

Man: “If we don’t force him to make peace, we will not have peace.”

Bill Clinton: “First of all, I agree with that. But in 2000, Ehud Barak, I got him to agree to something that I’m not sure I could have gotten Rabin to agree to, and Rabin was murdered for giving land to the Palestinians.”

Man: “I agree. So, but Netanyahu is not the guy.”  Bill Clinton: “I agree with that.”

Bill Clinton’s comments differ sharply from the public stances of his wife, potential Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has defended Netanyahu, including over this summer’s Israeli assault on Gaza.

Well, we know why she’s saying something different. I wonder if it has to do with $$$$$$$$$$.