Black people comprise 12.3 percent of the population of the USA, but only 6.3 percent of the state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin outside of the City of Milwaukee, is actually only 2.5 percent Black – less than one-fifth of the percentage of Black persons in the population of the USA as a whole. That’s the kind of statistic that harbors and attracts explicitly racist white enclaves. If, compared to other states, Wisconsin were a great place to live, with equitable opportunity for all, more people of color would be living here by now.
70 percent of all Black citizens of Wisconsin live in Milwaukee County. 94% of all Black residents of Milwaukee County live in the City of Milwaukee. Less than 6 percent of all white persons living in Wisconsin live in the city of Milwaukee. But two-thirds of all Black persons living in Wisconsin live in the city of Milwaukee. Are you getting the picture? Wisconsin has never been particularly welcoming to people of color, and has always kept the races separated, with people of color oppressed and in poverty. (more…)
Racial Disparity + Police Brutality + Mass Incarceration = Violation of Human Rights + Intimidation + Individual and Community Impoverishment and Disenfranchisement
first researched and published in Feb. 2005; updated in Dec. 2014
The USA now imprisons a higher percentage of her people than any other country on earth. This distinction, acquired around the turn of the 21st century, is largely due to a huge escalation in incarcerations caused by drug law enforcement. The escalation is not due to increased use of illegal drugs. It is a result of the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ waged selectively and with markedly different tactics in different communities, since the 1980’s. (more…)
The current majority party controlling the Wisconsin legislative, executive and judicial branches has just enacted a law, which restricts voting opportunities in each municipality in the state to no more than one early voting location for each town, village, or city – regardless of size! The new law also further reduces the number of hours and days allowed for early voting – and entirely eliminates opportunities to vote on a weekend.
The difference in the election experience between, for example, the City of Milwaukee and the County of Ozaukee, which are neighbors, approximately the same size in square miles, illustrates how outrageously unfair this new state law is in practice. (more…)
Elections in America should be an opportunity for the people to choose their elected representatives. It does not do justice to the people of Wisconsin and of the United States for the legislators to be choosing their constituents. But the current system of partisan “redistricting” does just that – it allows politicians to carve out turf strictly for the benefit of their party and for the protection of incumbents. It hurts democracy, it makes elections-by-district non-competitive, and it takes choice away from the citizens.
Voting rights are basic to all human rights. Violations of voting rights are violations of the core principles of democracy, and of government that should be of, by, and for the people. Violations have become more widespread in the USA than just the states that were originally listed in the landmark, and essential 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was so (tragically) belatedly enacted to finally enforce the basic human rights provisions of the 14th and 15th Amendments a century after those Amendments were ratified.
A Note of Respect and Gratitude to Debbie O’Dell Seneca, President Judge Emeritus of the Washington County, PA. Court of Common Pleas, for her Ruling in a Case involving Damages Suffered by Families due to “Fracking” (Extraction of Natural Gas) done by a Corporation:
Please accept my congratulations for your recent courageous ruling that a corporation does not possess Constitutional rights, and for asserting that, if corporations could claim Constitutional rights, then corporations would become a “… legal fabrication superior to the law that created and sustains it”.
I share with many people a deep concern about the struggle that will define the 21st Century – Corporations v. Persons. I have studied and, from time to time, written about this struggle for more than a decade, and a little over two years ago I finally felt impelled to personally dig into the tap root of the problem and closely examine an underlying question: “What, specifically, is in the U.S. Constitution that would allow a Supreme Court Justice to conclude that a corporation legitimately possesses the rights that are defined there as being the rights of a person?” I found an answer that has been overlooked for too long, and to our peril.
Conservative data and analysis holds that three out of every 20 Americans live in poverty in the United States today. It’s worse than that for kids – and it’s toughest for families with children. More than five out of 20 American children under the age of five live in poverty today. And children of color are far more likely than so-called White children to be living in poverty. I guarantee this essay will upset a fondly and very widely held applecart of belief. (more…)
Wisconsin has abolished the death penalty longer than any other government in the world. Wisconsin blazed the trail and set the unwavering example that has since inspired the entire so-called civilized world. Wisconsin is no longer alone in that world. Wisconsin is now entirely encircled by states (Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and Canada) in which the death penalty has also been abandoned. Sixteen states no longer use the death penalty. Membership in the European Union is open only to countries that have abolished capital punishment. Today, 140 countries no longer impose the death penalty. And in December of 2012 the United Nations General Assembly will be voting on an unprecedented resolution to urge the worldwide abolition of the death penalty. Where will Wisconsin and the United States of America stand on that resolution?
Have you ever wondered what possessed members of the supreme Court to determine that a corporation is a “person”, according to the Constitution? Which passages in the U.S. Constitution (including Amendments) could certain supreme Court Judges have construed to support their determination (in contrast to common understanding and general usage) that a corporation possesses the rights that are explicitly defined for a “person” in the Constitution? Having researched and written about the consequences of this determination several times over the last decade, I became interested and finally compelled to get to this root of the problem. And so I once again studied the Constitution and its Amendments. But this time, I searched in particular for an answer to the question of how in the world anyone can conclude that a corporation possesses the specific Constitutional rights that are described there as belonging to a “person”.
I began by locating and highlighting certain words in the text (such as “corporation”, “company”, “person[s]”, “citizen[s]”, and “people”). Then I studied the context in which those words appear. My search was productive, with results that were startling, informative, and actually simple to comprehend and to share with you. https://clydewinter.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/666-word-proof-that-a-corporation-is-not-a-person/
SOMETIMES THERE’S JUST SMOKE – AND MIRRORS
There is no credible evidence (and certainly no proof), and there is also no rational explanation of motivation, for the oft repeated theory that voter fraud has recently compromised our elections in the United States. (See the difference between voter fraud compared to election fraud.) Despite heavy pressure on mass media reporters and editors, elected officials, election officials, and appointed federal prosecutors around the nation, and despite constantly repeated distortions and outright lies throughout the last decade, no evidence has been found that any systematic or substantial individual voter fraud has been occurring. In fact, not a single instance of voter fraud that would have been prevented by a government issued photo ID has been discovered in this century in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin had just became a state, prior to the Civil War, when Joshua Glover was apprehended alone, by an overpowering number of men, and locked up in southeast Wisconsin in 1854, after putting up a terrific and valiant fight, charged with having escaped from slavery in another state. He was bound in irons and held, awaiting an armed federal escort platoon to return him to a cruel fate to be determined at the sole discretion of the “Party” that claimed ownership of him. (more…)
In Ozaukee County, Darcy McManus got 44 percent of the votes from the 23 percent of those registered who voted. Therefore, long-time District Attorney Sandy Williams will be the new Branch 3 Circuit Court Judge here. Ozaukee residents might be interested to learn about an earlier but unsuccessful candidate for election to be the Ozaukee/Washington County District Attorney, one Leland Stanford. Name sound familiar? (more…)
The April Fool 2008 Wisconsin Supreme Court election campaign was publicly conducted as an anti-criminal crusade. The contest was framed as between a law-and-order challenger and a liberal, criminal coddling incumbent. But honest, intelligent people across the political spectrum who have closely observed recent Supreme Court elections know that the real contest was about something else.
There’s a wonderful, little heralded landmark in the rapidly changing surroundings of downtown Grafton, Wisconsin. (more…)
Does your family celebrate Columbus Day? Or did it slip by without notice? Columbus Day is usually noted in school classes (well before college) and after that it is all but forgotten. But the four voyages of Columbus represent an incredibly important “first” in world history, in the history of the Western Hemisphere, and in the USA, that we should not forget.
It doesn’t get any better than this!
The Annual Ozaukee County NAACP summer barbecue will be held Saturday afternoon August 18. You can find out about the Ozaukee Branch NAACP, and about the BBQ, and download a reservation form and directions to the BBQ (which will be held again this year at our Cedarburg farm) by clicking on the links above to the new Ozaukee Branch NAACP website. If you’re interested, please do it now, because we need reservations back by August 10.
2. SWEET CORN!
Our delicious sweet corn, free of synthetic chemicals, is here. (more…)
When citizens in Ozaukee County go to the polls this November, we will be confronted with three issues of historic importance. We will be asked whether Wisconsin should install and use the death chamber here. We will also be asked to cast an up or down vote on a proposed Amendment to our state Constitution that would prohibit granting basic rights to civil unions other than government-approved marriages. And we will be asked to decide, by a non-binding referendum, whether we support America waging war “throughout the world … until … terrorism is eliminated and citizens of all countries can be assured of their safety… ”.
James Cameron, born 92 years ago in Wisconsin, died peacefully this week. Mr. Cameron was the only known living survivor of a lynching in America. Those in the mob of 15,000 who did the beatings and killings that day were never charged with a crime. But Cameron, the lucky, terrorized survivor, was charged, basically with being a friend of the other two who were murdered by the mob, and he was imprisoned.
“Outside The Box” was an arresting and moving display at the Cedarburg Cultural Center of “Artwork by Prisoners in Wisconsin Correctional Institutions”.
America now imprisons a higher percentage of her people than any other country on earth. This recently acquired dubious numero uno distinction is due largely to a huge escalation in the number of incarcerations for drug violations. The escalation is not due to increased use of illegal drugs. It is due to the ‘war on drugs’ waged selectively and with varied tactics in different communities since the late 1980’s.
The week before the 2004 election, I went to Town Hall to take advantage of the right we now have in Wisconsin to absentee vote early, in person. It was quick and easy. There were three voting booths with a total population of about 6000. Every other town, village, and city hall in this suburban county adjoining Milwaukee provided early voting this year. That’s about 15 different early voting locations to serve a total population in this one county of 85,000.
I attended the entire day and a half long inquest into the death in police custody of 20-year-old Mequon resident Matthew Sheridan, and was perhaps the only person who did so who was neither a friend or family member, nor a police officer, nor paid or required to be there. I was the ‘public’ referred to in the term ‘public inquest’. I heard the evidence presented to the jury, and I had never met any of the people who caused or were affected by this tragedy. But I was not a disinterested observer. Two months ago I had written in this column about Matthew’s demise. Because of that involvement, I am compelled to comment on the inquest.
A plastic bag, designed to be impermeable and to prevent any (potentially toxic) air from getting inside the bag and then to the lungs, was yanked roughly over his head.
He couldn’t get the bag off, or tear it open, or even make a little opening to let some air in, because his ankles were bound and his hands were bound behind his back, and he was shackled where he was seated. He said over and over, “I can’t breathe”, and he begged for help. He was terrified, he struggled, and he desperately needed help to live. But no help came. He lost consciousness. And then he died, not old enough to count yet as an adult, in the back seat of a Mequon police car.
50th ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATIVE ESSAY – Awarded first place in the national essay contest sponsored by the NAACP in the open, adult division.
A tribute to the generations that struggled for, the legal team that formulated, and the democratic principles that were represented in the most important Supreme Court decision of the 20TH century.
. The significance for educational opportunity and survival.
. The historical importance of the decision to reject segregation.
. Opposition to, and supporters of the struggle, and victories.
. Problems not solved and yet requiring our attention.
Forty years ago a benchmark moment of the modern civil rights movement known as the March on Washington occurred. I truly regret that I was otherwise engaged and did not join that history making event. When I was very young there were people yet alive who had been slaves before Abe Lincoln proclaimed Emancipation. While still a teen I joined the Army paratroopers and was among the units sent to Oxford, Mississippi to protect the Constitutional rights and the person of James Meredith, a veteran and the first African American to enter the University of Mississippi. Soldiers identified as “colored” were kept separated from their comrades-in-arms and held in an isolated cantonment area while the rest were deployed in the enforcement action. Even today there are those who would rationalize and excuse that segregation order by our military commanders.