Tag Archives: Ann Althouse

Wisconsin is an example of how the liberals control the narrative

Sometimes it’s necessary to take a look at the big picture when it comes to political tactics, and that involves digging deep into the past. In this case, to understand how liberals control the narrative in general – on voter ID and the management of voter rolls in particular – it is a good idea to take a deeper look at Wisconsin. To get to the beginning of this particular part of the story, we need to go back to June 1, 2012. A woman named Ann Althouse wrote a blog post about a letter that she received from the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund.

annalthouseletter

The letter pictured above listed Althouse’s neighbors’ names, addresses, and their voting records, as in when they had taken the time to vote during the previous years. The point of the letter was to encourage neighbors to “get out the vote”, by cajoling people nearby to go to the polls if they hadn’t in some time. As Althouse pointed out, it was a solicitation to shame her neighbors into voting. Voter registration rolls have traditionally been made available to political campaigns and organizations for the purpose of creating mailing lists. Usually the names of people that hadn’t voted in a long period of time would intentionally be left off those lists, at the request of the people getting them, because there would be no point to wasting money on mailings to people that obviously weren’t interested in participating in the elections.

While this letter campaign in Wisconsin may not have been the first time that this sort of tactic had been used by either party, it is one of the first times it was brought to the public eye like this. And while it is disturbing by itself, it is even more concerning when one considers what ended up in the “Obama for America” smartphone app:

ofacanvass

While it is not a list of names and addresses of people that haven’t voted in a long time, like in the Althouse letter, it is essentially the same thing. That is a map that shows registered Democrats in a given neighborhood – obviously it used GPS technology, with voter information added in. It is one thing to have this sort of information for official campaign workers – individuals that are hopefully at least slightly vetted before they are sent out on the streets to knock on doors. But this was on a smartphone app, openly available on the web and in app stores. It’s unlikely that anyone would ever get the “Obama for America” people to own up to where they got this idea, but given that this feature was out after the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund letters were conceived, it is an interesting coincidence to consider.

Like many other states, Wisconsin has multiple political organizations that overlap in one way or another, whether it’s in key staff positions, or in funding. To understand fully what was happening when it came to the formulation of this particular tactic, one has to realize that there is at least a financial connection between the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund, and One Wisconsin Now. Both are obviously liberal organizations, but otherwise, One Wisconsin Now has received funding from the other, at least during the election season. Of course, One Wisconsin Now has been involved in more than just “get out the vote” campaigns like the one that caused the letter to end up in Althouse’s mail.

Richard Hurd (CC)

Richard Hurd (CC)


Now, the bone of contention for the liberals in Wisconsin remains voter ID, and the tenor of the discourse has been getting quite a bit less than civil. But, that is not surprising, since the current Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now, Scot Ross, isn’t known for civility. The organization in general has built a reputation for “in your face” politicking, and isn’t above name-calling. That tactic might be a little more effective if they weren’t delusional about it, like calling U.S. Senator Ron Johnson racist for supporting voter ID. It is unfortunate that conservatives aren’t adept at turning statements like this back on liberals, especially since the facts do not support their contentions. The current voter ID laws – passed and proposed – do not require anything that legal citizens cannot do easily. The contention by liberals that certain classes of people would have insurmountable difficulties acquiring ID is the truly racist commentary in this argument. But, we really can’t blame them for trying to play that card, because we already know that the vast majority of voter fraud that victimizes minorities and seniors is committed by Democrats. Ross still contends that his organization is working to protect voting rights for minorities. The implication, of course, is that the organization believes that minorities need someone to protect them, because they are incapable of dealing with paperwork that is less complex than what is needed to open a bank account – something people usually can’t do without ID, of course. The irony is that the people they’re claiming to want to support are the ones that would benefit the most from voter ID laws, because it would prevent anyone else from using their names illegally.

But we have dealt with debate ad nauseum already, to little or no avail. Or maybe not. When Ross was busy calling Sen. Johnson a racist, One Wisconsin Now was talking about Catherine Engelbrecht of the King Street Patriots and True the Vote.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) today released his latest taxpayer-funded video featuring individuals he believes have been “victimized” by the government. The so-called “victim” is Catherine Engelbrecht, head of the Texas -based King Street Patriots and True the Vote, Tea Party groups investigated for racially charged voter suppression campaigns.

“Promoting someone like Ms. Engelbrecht, who organized and engaged in racially motivated voter suppression campaigns, as a victim of government is nothing short of grotesque,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.

According to news reports, the sordid record of the King Street Patriots and True the Vote includes having ethics complaints filed against them for illegally coordinating with the Texas Republican Party and being the subject of a United States Department of Justice investigation of racially motivated voter suppression tactics in Houston polling places.

There are no citations for these news reports, and a Google Search only yields reports about Engelbrecht’s organization being targeted by the Obama administration. So, that’s just a fine point, or maybe the news stories that Ross is referring to are a bit old. Well, considering that for this piece there’s been a fair amount of digging in the past, perhaps it would have been better to actually bother to hunt down the news reports, and offer links. Maybe that suggestion would be deemed racist in itself. It’s a sad statement that conservatives cower from this sort of stunted nonsense, and allow organizations like One Wisconsin Now take even a portion of the political spotlight. They apparently engage in less-than-ethical behaviors to attain their goal of keeping the public from paying attention to anyone but them – keep the public from bothering to find out the truth.

The truth is that there was a time when voter registration rolls were treated as sacred, and rightfully so. Only trusted members of campaign staffs would compile mailing lists, and street lists for pollsters knocking on doors. That’s still the case for many GOP campaigns at least. In the current atmosphere of governmental spying on the public, fighting over the concept of “one vote, one citizen” is bluntly ludicrous. This is something that was managed aptly enough in Iraq, with the use of ink. Given the virulent nature of liberal arguments against the simple concept of people actually verifying who they are before casting a ballot, it is difficult to think that they would be satisfied with even that rudimentary device to prevent fraud. And yes, voter fraud does exist. The problem is that what the courts require to prove it cannot be carried out, because we do not require voters to present ID when voting. But, that isn’t something liberals like to have anyone point out. They just prefer to engage in their own style of racism that implies that minorities are not mentally capable of following simple instructions to acquire ID. Of course, that’s making the assumption that there are vast numbers of people out there without ID. Given the fact that it’s gotten to the point where one needs ID to purchase alcohol, tobacco, cold medication, and in many stores, media like DVD’s that are deemed to have “mature” content, it’s difficult to understand why anyone is believing the liberal argument on this issue. They keep repeating their racist contentions, claiming that they are protecting people from racists. It is a vicious cycle, and the end of it remains in the hands of conservatives. We need to control this narrative, and point out that liberals are using minorities – to win elections, through false statements claiming that they are allied with minorities, when the reality is that they are relying on minorities remaining in a permanent underclass, dependent on liberals in government for their very existence. If that isn’t racism…..

Tiananmen Square and Wisconsin

As a rule, these two places should have absolutely nothing in common. But, for the 5th of June, they both hold a place in history now – Tiananmen Square will live in infamy for the massacre in 1989, and Wisconsin for the first time a Governor survived a recall vote. I am not suggesting that there is any real way to compare these two events, other than the fact that they share the same date. Just an oddity, that was brought to my attention over the past several hours.

Tiananmen Square

mandiberg(CC)

Before the euphoria over the Walker victory, there was a little story about questionable tactics employed by a leftist organization in Wisconsin. Greater Wisconsin Political Fund apparently decided it was a good idea to send letters to voters letting them know which of their neighbors had bothered to vote in previous elections. Presumably, this was to promote the concept of peer pressure to get out the vote – the whole “keep up with the Joneses” kind of deal. Of course, they probably didn’t vet their recipients very well, because one ended up being mailed to a law professor named Ann Althouse, and she blogged about it. Of course, it also ended up on FoxNews as well, but the fact that a law professor ended up with this is far more amusing!

No, it probably isn’t illegal. Voter records are public, at least to the extent that the public can know who is registered, and who actively votes. Where do you think pollsters get their information? However, outside of potential candidates hitting the streets to get their petitions to run for office signed by registered voters, and later creating mailing lists for their junk mail, there isn’t much call for knowing voters’ personal information. And, there certainly isn’t a good reason to publicize potential voters’ past activity (or inactivity) at the polls. It’s a calculated risk, and honestly not worth the gamble. People don’t like other people prying into their business. It happens far too much already. But, hey, who am I to complain about Democrats ticking off voters?

But, I know someone from Wisconsin – a liberal who works in the political arena there – so I bothered to ask about this. I’ve known this gentleman since 1986, and he probably did play a fairly big part in making me what I am today, if only because he did influence me way back then. But, I probably had more words with him in the past 24 hours than I have in that many years. After that recent exchange, I realized very clearly that his influence was purely from the person I thought he was then, as opposed to the man he really is. I think we all have those – people we have frozen in time in our own minds, in spite of reality. The real him was highly concerned with potential voter suppression, and had no problem with using voter records in mass mailings. I almost talked myself into thinking it wasn’t a big deal because of him, until I thought about it on the larger scale. What if that same tactic was used in a national campaign? What if the Obama camp picked up on it? I have no doubt that gentleman still wouldn’t have a problem with it, but I would.

That sort of tactic is an invasion of privacy. Althouse, the law professor in Wisconsin, is right. It is disgusting. More importantly, it is not unlike the sort of thing that the students in Tiananmen Square were protesting back in 1989. I am not suggesting that one can directly compare the two by any stretch of the imagination. China has suffered under tyranny since before I was born. A nation gets to that point one of two ways – through quick and radical change, or over time by degrees. We’re not close to where China is, but we are closer to it than we were in 1989. We have been conceding little freedoms, mostly out of fear after 9/11. I’ve had liberal and conservative friends alike complain of apathy and complacency. It frustrates me the most when it comes from the liberals, since they cry that the government doesn’t do enough for the “little guy” right after they complain about the apathetic masses.

But, I had one friend on Facebook bother to mention Tiananmen Square today. Ironically enough, he was from the same era as the one now in Wisconsin, and from the opposite side of the political spectrum. His observation was that we should be ashamed of ourselves because we have not properly memorialized the deaths on June 5, 1989. These were students, seeking change in their government, and expressing a desire to have their voices heard. It took years for it to come out, but apparently they did not want to topple the party in China. They just wanted to be heard. They wanted what we have, at least in part.

So, what is a fitting memorial for that? Should we stop everything, and have a moment of silence? Should we write pages upon pages on this historical moment?

I spent the day reading back stories on the Wisconsin election. I looked up the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund, and looked up that organization’s connections with other groups like One Wisconsin Now. The election is over in Wisconsin, but there’s still November to consider. And what can be lost then? We can lose a few more freedoms, end up relying a little bit more on government, and go a little farther down the road away from remaining a free country. Tiananmen Square was a tragedy. The bigger tragedy would be to allow this nation to end up remotely similar to China as far as personal freedoms are concerned. What is the fitting way to memorialize the deaths of those brave students? Fight to keep the freedoms we have, fight to regain the ones we have lost, and never stop – even if it is to take a few moments to remember the deaths of others that have died for freedom.