We Are Going Straight Down the Toilet

I am beginning to see little hope for Wisconsin. Hearts and souls have been replaced with vicious rebellion. I am not proud to call this my home.

At first when I heard about the recall signatures being posted online, I gave little consideration to the matter. I mean, many of us have bumper stickers and yard signs. Many of us speak freely about our stance on the issue. So, what is the harm, I thought – I am proud for having had signed.

But then I remembered that we don’t live in marshmallow land. I remembered that people can be evil and dangerous and really quite vindictive. I remembered the soda cans being thrown at protesters. I remembered an SUV trying to back over a petition circulator. I remembered anti-recall activists calling strangers at night in hopes to intimidate them. And that is when I came to my senses.

With 1.9 million signatures, I thought it to be a colossal waste of time and money to check every name. I mean, the chances of invalidating enough signatures to stop the recall would be near impossible. But, to avoid lengthy legal battles and endless denial – go ahead, check them.

But when it comes to putting the names and addresses online, that is nothing short of negligent and retaliatory. I think about the domestic abuse victim who has attempted to avoid her abuser. I think about the victims of stalking who go out of their way to make their addresses private. I think about the prison guards who may have dangerous criminals with an ax to grind. I think about employers who will use this database when choosing whom to hire.

In this country, our votes are private. We have that protection every time we step up to that booth. A recall should be treated no differently. Being validated by the powers that be is one thing and there can be arguments made for those policies. But for the private political choices of individuals to be made public in a time of such hostility and precarious possibilities, it is simply irresponsible and could have disastrous consequences.

And while the fear mongering on the right is often something that annoys me to exasperation, my fears about this are not unfounded. And I would think that Senator Van Wanggaard, being an ex-officer, would know better.

A mere three days ago there was a Facebook page called I Will Be Getting Your Info Off the Recall Petition which was deleted from the site after complaints were made. Prior to their ban, screen shots were taken. Their profile picture was a house surrounded in flames. One of the first posts stated the following,

”You know who you are. WE know who you are. This is gonna get FUN!!” The poster goes on to say,  “I’m sure as hell going to inform my employer about co-workers names that show up. He is a true Walker supporter. He was looking to let go of a couple of workers…now that decision is made that much easier.”

Here on Patch, commenter Steve says, “Can't wait for the first person to apply for a job, I search the signatures and pull up their name. Sorry, position has been filled. Payback bidges.”

A few months ago, a Milwaukee business owner (giving his full name) said the same – he would not hire anyone he knew to have signed the recall petitions. I have read this many times over the past months. I have also heard several threats of violence; even correlating the new conceal carry law with petitioners coming to their door.

I believe it is flawed and should not legally be made public. There are those who use CCAP to make decisions which affect the lives of others. Yet, the information on CCAP is not enough to form a complete decision. Not only that, but CCAP also commits someone to a life sentence. Once their dues are paid, they should be allowed to live as any other citizen without the scrutiny of opinions based on very limited information.

A matter of public record is one thing. If someone wants to take the time to file an open records request and pay for a background check, then so be it. But for there to be a searchable database available for the sole purpose of public judgment – that is simply wrong. This goes for CCAP and for these online recall petitions.

There is now a Patch blogger calling for her “comrades” to form some sort of coffee clatch with the intention to look up each signer on CCAP to prove whether or not they are a felon in attempts to invalidate their eligibility to sign a petition. Visions of a coven circling a virtual cauldron come to mind.

Perhaps we should gather volunteers to search the Delinquent Tax Payer website to see if any of the $12 million in donations to Walker were made by evaders. Perhaps we should scour CCAP with the names of locally known Republican, tea party or conservative group members to see if they are in a position to judge and validate.

Fact is, our state has lost its damn mind. We are out of control and seem to be wading through a jungle free from common sense or civility. The name calling, threats and vicious attacks are worse than any school yard I have seen. What are we becoming? How can anyone be proud to call themselves a respectable adult yet act in this manner? What are we teaching our children?

I used to write pieces which were often humor based. Dave Barry and Andy Borowitz were literary influences of mine. I laughed a lot and enjoyed making others laugh. This past year, I have had a hard time finding humor in much of anything. Our vicious climate has changed me. I do not like what I am becoming. I do not like what we are becoming. This is indeed a very sad time for humanity in Wisconsin.

James R Hoffa February 04, 2012 at 04:51 AM
In HRG's defense, she's admitted time and again that she's not perfect and sometimes even a bit of a hypocrite - but aren't we all at some point in our respective lives? However, the environment of a year ago also included death threats, economic boycotts, and hateful vitriol towards the right and specifically to those that were listed by HRG and others on liberal blogs, which is now the subject of patchreader 123's argument. So, just because HRG didn't personally see or witness the negativity coming from the left at such time doesn't mean it wasn't happening, as clearly the consensus reality agrees that it most certainly was. So to suggest that somehow it was different back then as compared to now isn't being wholly forthcoming or genuine on the issue is it? But at the same time, it's not worth or even fair to beat up HRG over such point, is it? After all, no one's perfect, except maybe Hoffa ;-)
James R Hoffa February 04, 2012 at 04:56 AM
@CowDung - I agree that the blog articles themselves are productive, but I sometimes wonder about the discussions that follow, as most of the time, and is par for the course around here, it just turns into a heated flame war, until Angry White Dude shows up and graces us with a nugget of true wisdom :-)
James R Hoffa February 04, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Thanks mau, I try! What I can't figure out for the life of me is how we can sit here discussing the same old crap regarding the current political landscape day in and day out, but most Patchers don't give the time of day to the non-political stories or blogs, such as 'Hoffa's Retro Cinema Club,' which by-the-way I'd like to personally thank you for following! I mean honestly, how many different ways can we continue to say the same things over and over? It just boggles my mind sometimes. Oh well. I guess that's life my friend!
Randy1949 February 04, 2012 at 05:14 AM
@Cynthia -- No, I haven't read the audits and reports on various programs. All I know is that BadgerCare Plus would have been a godsend for me, because I'm one of those people who fall into the cracks between Medicaid and having enough income to purchase private health insurance. The last time either of us had health insurance through employment was in 1996. We pay for office visits and other tests out of pocket and hope no one gets seriously ill. You seemed to disapprove of this program in particular, so it made me curious.
Stormy Weather February 04, 2012 at 06:10 AM
HRG - I don't recall you complaining/blogging about bad behavior when the Gifford teacher posted vile images of Wisconsin being gutted with a butcher knife or bloody decapitated people on a blog that his choir students had access to last year. If people want to talk about over the top political craziness, they should look at these images and ask why RUSD only shifted this liberal teacher to another school... http://theundergroundconservative.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/racines-own-hate-left/ I'm well aware that you know who this teacher is and what he did. Yet, because he was a liberal teacher from Gifford, you turn the cheek and pretend it didn't happen... So when I see you hyperventilating because you are upset about the way people are behaving, I wonder why you conveniently forget to look around at the people who started this in the first place?
James R Hoffa February 04, 2012 at 07:02 AM
@Rees - Some of us though, like myself, take great pride in our screen names and do nothing different just because we're using a nom de plume as opposed to our real names. Randy1949, patchreader 123, Bren, mau, etc are all great examples of this point. I'll let my record of civility speak for itself here on Patch, as all my comments are publicly viewable. The only reason I don't use my real name is because last year, my family business was the target of a threatened union boycott for refusing to display a solidarity poster in our storefront window during the height of the Capitol occupations. With the threatened boycott came individual and personal threats made against my family by radical activists, merely because we hold a differing political opinion. They even threatened that something bad might happen to my cat, if you can believe it. After living through that once, I don't want to have to live through it again if I don't have to. So, to prevent me from using a screen name would effectively keep me from using Patch in the future, thus silencing my voice on this forum. I'm sorry, but I will not risk the safety of my family or our livelihood again just because some people don't know how to behave themselves properly. And until you can unconditionally guarantee that something like we experienced won't ever happen again, the screen names stays or I go.
James R Hoffa February 04, 2012 at 07:02 AM
Trust me, I'm not happy about it, but that's the unfortunate reality of the situation.
morninmist February 04, 2012 at 12:04 PM
@Heather I thought of your post as I ran across this tweet. The Recall has lots of people behind and pulling for its success. We will succeed despite all-that I believe. Progress2day America United There's a crucial arena in which Walker can't hope to compete with his opponents: people bit.ly/yfm7ez #wirecall #wiunion #p2 http://worleydervish.blogspot.com/2012/02/wisconsin-recall-shooting-moon.html
Thomas Wentworth February 04, 2012 at 02:06 PM
This article made my nose bleed. Seriously, it's bleeding, this sucks.
Cynthia February 04, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Randy, it is a good program..... I don't disagree with it... what I disagree with is the dems did NOT structure it correctly and it is not working as designed. It is sucking money from other medicare programs to survive.... It's supposed to be a self-funding arm but it is a severely damaged limb that is not 'fixed' will need to be amputated. But any changes to help this program succeed you anti-Walker people scream and throw a fit. Like many of our social programs...... I'm telling you to do yourself a favor and start reading the audits and reports of how an entitlement program is preforming....
Randy1949 February 04, 2012 at 05:02 PM
@Cynthia -- "But any changes to help this program succeed you anti-Walker people scream and throw a fit." Perhaps it would be better not to characterize our concerns as 'emotional', 'screaming', and 'throwing a fit'. The people who would be removed from eligibility under the Governor's re-structuring would be understandably emotional about it, since for many it's a matter of survival. Quite pragmatically, I can point out that every person who visits an emergency room or becomes seriously ill and can't pay for it will have the costs passed on to the rest of us anyway in the form of even higher insurance premiums and higher hospital costs. We might as well handle it intelligently.
mau February 04, 2012 at 06:24 PM
@JRH, "After all, no one's perfect, except maybe Hoffa ;-)" Me too Me too :) The bloggers on the Patch, for the most part, are mild. If it weren't for the bloggers, what would the Patch be but a boring, one person's opinion, news outlet. I for one have learned much from the stories and opinion pieces, as well as from the bloggers. Some of the rather sarcastic comments and accusations in reply to my comments, has led me to actually do further research on some of the names thrown around like Koch and JBS. If the comments, in my mind, get out of control, then it's time to quit responding or quit following the blog. This is far more entertaining and enlightening than Facebook.
mau February 04, 2012 at 06:34 PM
@JRH, when my brain tires of the political comments then I search out something more refreshing. I want to comment to your last cinema about the farmers but the movies you mention are only available by dvd on Netflix. The subject matter, and the comments I would make with my experience growing up on a farm, could turn that political. So I've stayed mum on that one. I wish there was an easy way to follow your cinema and What's Cooking at Sofia's.
James R Hoffa February 04, 2012 at 07:28 PM
@mau - Nicely said! And ditto your sentiments regarding facebook!
James R Hoffa February 04, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Sofia's blog is great, isn't it? I can't wait to try her latest recipe! Sorry that the movies I review and recommend are kind of hard to come by, but that's kind of the whole point of the blog. I'll try and feature one that's easier to locate this coming week! The best way I've found to follow other's blogs is to bookmark our blog page on Patch and then check it every now and then if you happen to miss our entries when they're featured on the home page. I also know that Heather A is most excellent about promoting our blogs on facebook as well, and I'd like to give a big shout out for her efforts on that front!
rudi wendt February 04, 2012 at 10:04 PM
HRG,nicely written.This evilness,dangerous and vindictiveness I can speak from first hand experience.This posting of the names on line really is a bunch of CR__P.Why bother having voting booths then.Think of the money that could be saved. For myself, I really don't care because I'm being and been harassed for 4 years now because of some company expansion.I won't mention any names lets just say they are one of Wisconsins largest POWER PLANT.SHAME ON THEM.So when it comes to EVILNESS and the other two evil doings I know exactly what your saying HRG.I'm noboby but keep up the good writings.
rudi wendt February 04, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Living here in Caledonia at the same house for 50 years,I used to look out of our living room window when I was little kid admiring the power plant off in the distance enjoying all the open space(GREEN)and wildlife.Now that has been replaced by a ASH WALL.So the only enjoyment(NOT)I get now is the loud sounds of HARASSING NASCAR EXHAUST AND DIESEL TRUCKING AIR BRAKES as they go by.Also these little 4 bangers sounding like loud single engine airplanes.And it is all for free, cool(NOT).Anyone is welcome to listen no problem,COPS won't bother you because here they don't exist.
BetterTimes February 04, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Heather - you speak the mind of MANY of us out here in Crazyland (formerly known a Wisconsin). Thanks for that!
morninmist February 04, 2012 at 11:47 PM
A Road raged Walker fan! https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150535312148937 Open Letter to the lady with the "Scott Walker is my hero" bumper sticker on her yellow VW by Molly Ann Magestro February 4, 2012 Dear Lady with your cute yellow Bug and ugly "Scott Walker is my hero" bumper sticker: When I passed your car with your bumper sticker that so clearly contradicts mine ("Recall Walker"), I felt sad. Because I feel that you have been misled or misinformed. But I maybe I am wrong. Maybe you are just as malicious as your actions yesterday suggest. Your response to my bumper sticker was confrontation. Sure, we were in separate vehicles moving at about 65 miles per hour. The fact that we had absolutely zero physical contact does not make your actions any less confrontational or potentially violent. And I'll admit that at first, I thought I had to be wrong, paranoid due to the stories I keep hearing from friends and colleagues who experienced violent confrontations incited by individuals who support Scott Walker. But I thought you slowed your vehicle, switched lanes, and flashed your brights on so they would shine in my rear view mirrors. But no, that's crazy, right? I mean, who would do such a thing that might potentially blind a driver, endangering all the people on the road on their ways home from work? But then it happened twice more, even after I switched lanes then slowed down to allow you to pass...
rudi wendt February 05, 2012 at 07:48 AM
Morninmist,watch and speak your mind!!!!When your dead, it is TOO late.Good for you to speak up!I don't care what other people think,as long as you speak the truth.That is all that matters,SCREW EVERYBODY ELSE.
Gregory Kluck February 05, 2012 at 07:56 PM
@morninmist, this is why I do not put bumper stickers on my car except for the few on the rear glass that call out my car club. We can agree that there are nutbars on both sides of this issue. I know of one car owned by a Walker supporter that had his paint work keyed with swastikas and "Walker Sux". I certainly wouldn't want my car keyed or myself harassed by another driver of differing opinion. Problem with the internet and bumper stickered cars is they think they are gaining some sort of anonymity behind the screen or wheel. As for Dr. Magestro's experience, I'm hoping it's the exception and not the rule. People when by themselves are pretty much tame, but that 2 and a half ton car and that monitor give them super powers. "Look! In the sky! It's a car! It's a blogger....no it's some guy/girl living in his/her mom's basement with access to the interwebs!
rudi wendt February 05, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Mr.Kluck,you're right about people behind the wheel.Although I call it hiding behind the wheel.For 4 years I've been harassed with people thinking they are Mr. NASCAR or Mr.DRAGRACER.I wonder how long I could get away with disrupting their home,if I only knew who these TURKEYS are.A very good friend of mine used to HOTDOG on the highway,his dad being a MIDGET RACER,told my friend if you want to drive like that then GO TO THE RACETRACK.And if you've noticed I do use my real full name because I have nothing to hide,and don't need to lie.
Randy1949 February 05, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Thank you JRH. I've been on the internet long enough to know that it's simple prudence to guard your privacy behind a screen name for your own safety and that of your family. That's in a national/international setting. It's so much more important in a local political venue, where disturbed individual really could show up on your doorstep. That said, I use the same screen name pretty much all over, and I'd never think of trashing my credibility by behaving badly.
misterz February 06, 2012 at 05:16 AM
I agree. Thank you. And I believe posting the recall signatures, though probably legally the right thing to do, has brought out the worst kind of cyber-bullying, and I fear in the end, actual retaliation and harrassment of people who signed it. Even before the signatures were posted, my 85 year old aunt had a sign on her lawn set on fire and her front door window broken by a large rock thrown through it. We all hope whoever did those things acutally didn't understand that an elderly person lived there alone and now is so frightened that she no longer feels safe in her home. Or maybe that was what they were trying to do. I really hope not. This woman has worked hard all her life and raised her kids alone after her husband died, has voted in every election since she was old enough and has done years and years of volunteer work in our community. But she has been harrassed for exercising her right to express a poitical opinon and lawfully sign a recall petition, a right granted to all people in our state. Sad what has happened to Wisconsin in the past year and a half.
morninmist February 06, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Since Walker is all lawyered up with his criminal defense team of criminal lawyers, I wonder what, if anything, will be leaked. Talking points from Walker's team no doubt. hershinmad john hershberger Good Morning #WiUnion #WiRecall #RecallWalker scooters all lawyer-ed up, & ready to obfuscate, er cooperate in the John Doe probe. 42 minutes ago
Gregory Kluck February 07, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Who's the new guy who announced his intent of running in the gubernatorial race after last night's football game?
morninmist February 07, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Lucky Scooter-- http://www.bluecheddar.net/?p=18314 Golden throne to follow Scott Walker across America February 6, 2012 By bluecheddar Now that is one classy toilet. If you watch this brief video and wonder why the woman is vowing to send that toilet to Florida, it’s because Walker will be in Naples courting the people of large wallets on yet another fund raising junket. More on that in Scott Walker’s “If you got the money” tour hits Milwaukee, Naples, and Washington D.C. See the golden toilet video.
James R Hoffa February 07, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Jamie McCluskey February 07, 2012 at 02:29 AM
The other night I said that I just wanted to go back to not giving a crap. I wanted to know HOW...how does one stop caring and just go back under the covers. Because you know what - I would be MUCH happier. So if someone can tell me how - I would really appreciate it.---------> This is easy stop typing away and don't watch the news you will live a happier life! Also I promise the sky will not fall and the world will not come to a end under Walkers watch! :)
am83 February 07, 2012 at 02:35 AM
In Honor of ronald Regan " Democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. "


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