Battleground Wisconsin

Attribute Bernie’s Success to a Failure to Educate

Steve Spingola published this article at Right Wisconsin. To see the content, please use this link:

http://www.rightwisconsin.com/perspectives/Attribute-Bernies–368379471.html

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Steve Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide lieutenant, an author, and an investigator for TNT’s Cold Justice.


The Democrat Party’s War on the Police

Steve Spingola published this article at Right Wisconsin. To see the content, please use this link:

http://www.rightwisconsin.com/perspectives/The-Democratic-Partys-War-on-Law-Enforcement-365602181.html

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Steve Spingola is a retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide lieutenant, an author, and an investigator for TNT’s Cold Justice.


Zoloft Needed for Newspaper’s Obsession with Walker

If questions concerning the biases of the union reporters and the editors at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel still remain, the newspaper’s over-the-top coverage of Gov. Scott Walker certainly has put those doubts to rest. Never, in the history of this state, has a newspaper assembled at 333 W. State Street been as obsessed with a politician as the Milwaukee Journal Democrat is with Walker.

Quite frankly, since journalists at the newspaper wrap themselves in the myth of objectivity, it is time for these so-called professionals to fully disclose their union ties. For obvious ethical reasons, absent full disclosure, reporters that are members of labor unions should be prohibited from covering the governor.

Moreover, absent full disclosure or a reporter/editor’s recusal, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-wide prescription of Zoloft for WDS (Walker Derangement Syndrome) is in order. Over the course of the past month, there has been very little difference between the content of the JS and a Democratic Party newsletter.

If current trends persist, the Milwaukee Journal Democrat, which has split from its former broadcasting company, will continue its slide into the subscription-less abyss. In the next five years, the possibility exists that the JS will become such a drain on its parent company’s resources that it will be sold-off or purchased for a charm during bankruptcy protection. Targeting candidates that disagree with the politics of their union reporters and editors will certainly cause the majority of the state’s voters to look elsewhere for anything that resembles objective news coverage.

Advertisers, take note.
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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2015


Romney 2016: Say It Ain’t So

Yesterday afternoon, on the Fox News show The Five, Bob Beckel predicted that Mitt Romney will again seek the Republican nomination for President in 2016.   For a number of reasons, SF believes another Romney run would equate to yet another loss to a Democrat Party challenger.

Mitt Romney is a class act, which is part of the problem.  Any serious candidate for President must be willing to take the proverbial gloves off to defeat an ethics-less Democrat Party candidate.   In the last election, Romney’s challenge to Obama was akin to taking one’s fists to a gunfight.  The goons from the Chicago political machine claimed the former Massachusetts governor was waging a war on women. Obama himself lampooned Romney for suggesting that Russian might be a geopolitical threat, while Harry Reid spread the big lie that Romney paid no federal income taxes.

With nine of ten members of the mainstream media voting Democrat, the Fourth Estate gave Obama and his operatives a free pass to campaign like the goons from the Chicago political machine that they are.

Meanwhile, Romney gave Obama — a President who makes Jimmy Carter look like Genghis Khan — a pass on the Iranian nuclear program.   Besides talking loudly while carrying a wet noddle, Obama has done little besides appease the Iranians.  Now, the mullahs are only months away from having nuclear weapons.  Instead of producing a Lyndon Johnson like daisy-ad depicting an Iranian nuclear weapon exploding in an American city or over the Middle East, Romney did little to call out Obama.

The Romney/Ryan ticket also refused to make Eric Holder a campaign issue.  In 2014, Holder, the most partisan Attorney General in American history, has sent dozens of FBI agents to investigate local police shootings and has sued states over voter ID laws, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld such laws in the past.  An author of a book about Holder insists that the AG had carried a card in his wallet for 30-years proclaiming his sympathies with the African-American criminal.

Because Mitt Romney refused to take off the gloves and fight like a serious political candidate, the nation is now saddled with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Russian invasion of the Crimea and the Ukraine, China threatening our Japanese and Filipino allies over islands, and a porous southern border that leaks to the tune of 1,100 illegal immigrants each day.

Quite frankly, if Romney was unwilling to take the good fight to Obama, why would Americans believe that the GOP standard bearer is willing to stand-up to the Iranians, the Russians, the Chinese, and ISIS?  No matter how the Republicans try to parse Romney’s failed campaign, weakness is a character flaw.  In a world full of despots, butchers, thieves and thugs, the timid soon become the trampled.  In 2016, the U.S. hardly needs a Soeren’s Ford nice guy as President.

Contemporary U.S. history shows that only a handful of Presidents, such as Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, could campaign and, then once elected, govern effectively.  Romney would have probably been a good President; however, politicians who run poor campaigns rarely get the opportunity to govern.  Others, like Obama, are great campaigners but are inept at governing.  In this respect, the 2012 race for President produced two duds.

What is clear is that this nation is in need of new blood with a fresh set of ideas.  Hillary Clinton with her Chinese manufactured Russian “reset” button hardly fits this bill.  On the other hand, Mitt Romney is not a candidate who has proposed bold ideas to fix a broken nation that, under Obama’s leadership, is in full retreat.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014


Police Use of Force: A Wedge Issue for Grievance Politicians

The use of force by law enforcement has been the issue du jour in the news lately.   While Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri has dominated national headlines, the shooting death of unarmed Dontre Hamilton, a troubled 31-year-old man killed by a police officer at Milwaukee’s Red Arrow Park in April, resulted in a smaller, yet similar, protest last Friday.

Some of the African-American political officials present brought a litany of complaints to the table: the high rate of joblessness in the black community, poverty, ignorance, and despair.  While serving in their public capacities, however, many of these same African-American officials have actually done little to pass laws that would significantly curb the use of excessive police force.

For instance, state legislatures can pass laws that expand the rights of individuals beyond those that are constitutionally protected.  One example is Wisconsin state statute 946.75, which criminalizes an officer’s denial of an individual’s request “…to consult and be advised by an attorney at law at personal expense, whether or not such person is charged with a crime” while in police custody.  From my experience, though, the most effective way to curb police abuse is not the criminalization of some forms of law enforcement conduct.   After all, how many officers have ever been convicted for violating § 946.75?  None that I know of, even though there have been documented instances of police officers violating this statute.

Some, especially civil rights attorneys, believe lawsuits are the answer, even though the vast majority of the monetary costs and damages associated with police officer lawsuits are absorbed by a municipality’s insurance.  Consequently, the only persons actually feeling any pain from police officer use of force lawsuits are the taxpayers.

Most law enforcement officers and district attorneys are going to cringe when they read this; nevertheless, the most effective way to marginalize the use of excessive force is the suppression of evidence.  The U.S. Supreme Court appeared to steer the nation’s courts this way in Graham v. Conner, 490 U.S. 386 (1989); whereby, the Court shifted the constitutional protection of an excessive use of police force (for those not incarcerated in jails or prisons) from the Fourteenth Amendment to the Fourth Amendment, in effect, making an excessive use of force tantamount to an unlawful seizure.

Defense attorneys soon realized that a remedy to an unlawful seizure might be the suppression of evidence, and cases began working their way through the courts.   In U.S. v. Watson, 558 F.3d 702,  the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals abruptly put the kibosh on such a defense by finding no casual connection between the evidence collected and the seizure of a defendant via an excessive use of police force, even though the sole purpose of suppression is to discourage police misconduct.  The Wisconsin Court of Appeals used the Watson decision as a catalyst to negate the suppression of evidence based on excessive police use of force in State v. Herr, 346 Wis. 2d 603.

Regardless of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling or a Wisconsin court’s finding in State v. Herr, the state legislature can — when it sees fit — offer more rights by law than the Constitution or the courts grant.  If the Milwaukee delegation in the state legislature is so outraged by what it sees as a pattern of excessive force on the part of the police, why is it then that not one Democrat has offered a bill to suppress evidence seized after a police use of excessive force, not even during the Doyle years when the Democrats controlled all three branches of government?

Some officers believe that the police use of force is being used by Democrats as a wedge issue.  In other words, African-American lawmakers use these protests to garner some street credibility and to gin-up their political base, but, when the rubber meets the road, they fail to propose legislation that would suppress evidence gathered as a result of an excessive use of police force.  In this way, the issue of excessive force stays alive for yet another day to be used whenever the grievance political community sees fit.

Unfortunately, based on the turnout at Friday’s protest at Red Arrow Park, it appears that Democrat lawmakers from Milwaukee are playing their base like a fiddle.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014


Clarke v. Baldwin? An Election for the Ages

After thumping his opponent in the Democrat Party primary Tuesday, there is a lot of speculation about the political future of Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke.  Some talking heads think the sheriff will enter the race for Milwaukee mayor.  Others believe that after this term, Clarke will simply ride his horse into the sunset and take a talk-radio gig.

From SF’s perspective, Clarke needs to think bigger.  The sheriff might want to consider backing Bob Donovan’s candidacy to knock-off Tom Barrett and, instead, finish his term, accept a talk-radio spot, and then challenge Tammy Baldwin, who critics have dubbed Wisconsin’s “do-nothing” U.S. Senator.

Clarke v. Baldwin would be a classic match-up.  The ultra-liberal Baldwin resides, of course, in the ultra-liberal city of Madison.  Clarke lives in Milwaukee, where residents of the metro area roll-up their sleeves and are not afraid to get their hands dirty.  Baldwin lends de facto support to those who belly-ache about racial disparities in the criminal justice system.  Sheriff Clarke makes no excuses for criminals, regardless of their skin color.  Baldwin supports President Obama’s gun control initiatives; Clarke supports thug control.

Tammy Baldwin is not up for reelection until 2018, a non-Presidential year election typically dominated by right-of-center voters.   And liberals probably gave Sheriff Clarke’s state-wide name recognition a huge boost by throwing a kitchen sink’s worth of political resources at him, including a $150,000 from New York City’s former Orwellian, nanny-state  mayor, Michael “Big Brother” Bloomberg.

Traveling the state prior to last Tuesday’s primary, I was surprised to see how many supporters Clarke had in rural areas of Wisconsin.   By raising the sheriff’s profile, the Democrat Party can thank Tom Barrett, Chris Abele, WEAC, and Michael Bloomberg, for a surge in Clarke’s  out-state appeal.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com  and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014


Don’t Get Flynn-Flammed by the Chief-of-Police

While one can argue that advocating on behalf of a law enforcement agency’s budget is well within the purview of the duties of the chief-of-police, in an interview with a reporter from the local newspaper, the thinly veiled political attack on the state legislature by Milwaukee’s chief-of-police—done under the guise of good government—illustrates that Chief Ed Flynn is all too willing to pony-up to the bar of the public trough in search of yet another free drink.

As the impetus for his tirade, Flynn cites the expiration of a $445,000 grant for SharpShooter—a computer program that can pinpoint an area where gunshots emanate, which has been funded by the state legislature.  Often times these awards, such as the COPS grants funded by the Clinton administration in the 1990s, cover the first three-to-five years of a program, at which time the agency receiving the grant money is expected to assume the cost.

The $445,000 needed to fund SharpShooter could easily be achieved by Flynn streamlining his already top heavy command staff.  The Milwaukee Police Department has three assistant chiefs-of-police.  Why a city the size of Milwaukee has more than one defies logic.  Two of these positions could easily be eliminated by placing just one assistant police chief in charge of the north, central, and south commands, since all three are currently overseen by an inspector of police. By eliminating the two assistant police chiefs’ positions, the Milwaukee Police Department could save nearly $300,000 in wages and benefits.

Flynn also ripped the legislature’s decision to allow one of the state’s regional crime labs, currently located in cramped quarters near Lapham Blvd., to search for a new location, possibly outside Milwaukee.  Having worked closely with technicians from the crime lab in the past, the location of this building really has little to do with efficiencies within the Milwaukee Police Department.  For the sake of argument, if the Wisconsin Regional Crime Lab is moved from its current location to the Milwaukee County Grounds in Wauwatosa—near an area where the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee is constructing research facilities—how would this hamper the crime fighting efforts of Milwaukee police? Clearly, making the location of the crime lab an issue came directly from a Barrett administration talking points memo.

Yet even a low information voter could see through Flynn’s water carrying exercise as the chief feigns outrage over the elimination of the residency requirement for City of Milwaukee employees.  Of course, the reporter fails to ask the police chief how this change would affect the overall operation of his department. Why? Because this rule change, in the long run, might actually benefit the Milwaukee Police Department, as solid, young potential recruits, unwilling to raise their families in the confines of the city, might now be encouraged to apply.

The real hypocrisy, in my opinion, comes not from the state legislature, but from the chief-of-police himself. If Flynn believes so strongly in Milwaukee, why hasn’t he put his money where his mouth is and purchased a home in the city?  Instead, the chief has chosen to rent a condo in the trendy Third Ward. Moreover, Flynn’s family, specifically his wife, does not reside in Milwaukee.  Surely, once the chief’s contract expires or he chooses to retire, his lease on his Third Ward condo will lapse and, once his payroll checks from the City of Milwaukee stop coming, he will move out of state, probably back to the east coast or Florida, with his pension checks in tow.  As such, he will not feel the pain of any of the repercussions of the public policy positions advocated by his de facto boss, Mayor Barrett, like the $80 million 2.5 mile trolley.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.


Democrat Party Strategist: Neo-Conservatism is Dead. GOP’s Freedom-Wing Wave of its Future

In a recent memo, leading Democrat Party strategist Doug Sosnik spotlights public attitudes that might affect elections in the near future, including his party’s electoral abilities in a post-Obama era. He notes that the neo-conservative wing of the Republican Party is dying on the vine, as younger voters lean heavily towards the freedom-wing of the GOP (Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee), a group that focuses on Constitutional and fiscal matters.

On the Direction of the Nation

“Since the beginning of Obama’s second year in office, every NBC/WSJ poll has shown that half or more of Americans believed that the country is headed in the wrong direction, at one point reaching as high as 74%.  Their most recent April poll found that more than 60% of Americans believe the country is still on the wrong track.”

On Government Surveillance Initiatives

“Several Democratic Senators supported Rand Paul’s position against the government’s policy on drones, including Senator Wyden (D-OR), who joined Paul on the floor during his 13-hour filibuster on the issue. There is even more related activity at the state level, led by an alliance of Tea Party backers and the ACLU. A recent Politico analysis found that in more than three-quarters of states legislators from both parties are seeking to limit the use of unmanned drone aircraft.”

At the State Level, Republicans are the Party of Change

“Unlike the divided government at the federal level, there are now 37 states with one-party control. In many of these states, there is a veto-proof majority in the legislature. The Republicans currently control 30 governorships and the entire political apparatus in 24 of these states. Despite the fact that the Republican Party is largely defined at the national level as a congressional party, the real work of repositioning the party and putting policies into practice is happening in the states.”

On the Demographics of Voters

“Although Hispanics have overwhelmingly voted against Republicans since George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004, younger Hispanics feel less of an allegiance to the Democratic Party than their elders. A Gallup analysis of last year’s tracking polling found that Hispanic voters aged 18-34 are nine points less likely to self-identify as Democrats (50% v. 59%) than Hispanic voters 55 years or older. Young Hispanic voters are a disproportionately large share of the Hispanic electorate.”

Sosnik further identifies the party ID by age groups:

Millennials (born 1981-1994): Independents, 45 percent; Democrat, 31 percent; Republican, 24 percent.

The number of Millennials moving from Democrat to independent has increased since Obama’s second term. This group tends to favor the libertarian concepts of fiscal restraint and social tolerance.

Gen Xers (born 1965-1980): Independents, 42 percent; Democrat, 29 percent, Republican, 29 percent.

To read the memo in its entirety, visit the below link:

http://images.politico.com/global/2013/05/09/sosnik_memo_59_final.html

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest print edition only book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Volume-Steven/dp/0979683998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364048098&sr=8-1&keywords=best+of+the+spingola+files

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.


‘If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Buy ‘Em: Free Enterprise and the Media

Earlier this week, I was contacted by a person with some financial clout.  Like the 49 percent (those who voted against re-electing President Obama) he was extremely disappointed with the election’s outcome.  To his credit, however, instead of griping about the ‘economic illiterates’ that voted for high unemployment and $6 trillion in new federal debt, this individual is actively encouraging  those who advocate for limited government and the free enterprise system to put their money where they mouths are.  Instead of donating billions of dollars to Super Pac organizations, he argues, those who still believe in our nation’s founding principles need to use their savvy investment skills to purchase media outlets, especially newspapers, and turn them around by creating a product the makers, not the takers, might actually read.

The “maker-class,” as he describes it, consists of able-bodied Americans willing to pull their own weight free of government subsidies, such as food stamps, SSI, heat assistance, rent assistance, and free cellular telephones.  For the first time in our nation’s history, he believes, last week’s election made one thing clear: the mainstream media is in the tank for the Democrat Party, as the press has given a free pass to President Obama on several debacles.

During Operation Fast and Furious, ATF agents made high-powered firearms available to Mexican drug cartels. When one of the guns was later used to kill a U.S. Border Patrol agent, the scandal broke and the president simply claimed he was unaware of the operation.

The mainstream press, including the New York Times and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, simply swept any significant coverage of the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya under the rug until after the election.  With drones sending real time video to the White House situation room, the administration’s national security team watched as an Al-Qaeda affiliated organization attacked the consulate with rocket propelled grenades, started the building on fire, and dragged the U.S. ambassador through the streets.  Those in the White House stood idle as four Americans died.  Once again, President Obama claimed to have little real-time knowledge of the event, but then, for over the course of the next two weeks, claimed the attack was a spontaneous demonstration sparked by a YouTube video, even though his own CIA director alleges, that within 24 hours, the government was fully aware that a terrorist organization perpetrated the murders.

Last week, after CIA Director David Patraeus resigned due to an extra-marital affair, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI uncovered the affair in May, but the administration permitted Patraeus to stay on the job until after the election. Once again, President Obama claims he had no knowledge of the matter, even though Patraeus’ mistress was alleged to have classified documents in her possession.

Obviously, there is a pattern here, but those in the mainstream media, still feeling the tingling running-down their legs, are once again giving the President the benefit of the doubt.  Just look at all the softball questions lobbed to Obama at last week’s so-called press conference.

In the interim, the federal deficit just for the month of October was up 22 percent; Boeing is slated to lay-off 25 percent of its management team; Hostess has laid-off 18,000 employees; and GE Medical, with a sizeable presence in Pewaukee, will let 125 highly-paid employees go at the end of the year.  With third quarter corporate profits flat or on the decline, the stock market—an indicator of what the economy will look like six months to a year down the road—is down almost four percent since Election Day.  To make matters worse, some respected analysts, such as Marc Faber, predict a 20 percent decrease in overall stock values will soon occur.

Yet a lead story in the November 17, 2012, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (JS) is that one major reason Americans voted to reelect the President was the overall performance of the economy—not the checks or the subsidies that the “taker-class” receives. This JS article illustrates how out-of-touch the media and many consumers of the mainstream press are about economics, finances, and the state-of-the nation.  In a sense, though, a lack of financial acumen by such a large percentage of the American populace should not come as a surprise, since a recent survey, conducted by CreditDonkey.com, indicates that over 45 percent of American adults have less than $500 in total savings.

So, what would it take for the “maker-class” to procure a piece of Wisconsin’s mainstream press? The crew at SF spent the better part of a week crunching the data.  The research team discovered that just two newspapers dominate the southeastern and northwestern portions of the state: the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the privately-held Eau Claire Reader-Telegram.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is owned by the publicly traded Journal Broadcast Group (Stock symbol: JRN), which operates 35 radio stations and 14 television stations in 12 states, but only one major newspaper—the one component that is bleeding the group dry.  To date, the desks’ of reporters at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel are growing increasingly fewer with another round of employee buyouts.  Moreover, the local news section is so lean that reports of homicides receive just a paragraph of coverage. The what, how, and why questions—standard fodder to note when writing an article—are rarely answered, unless it is explained by a government bureaucrat.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is bound to fail because its business model is extremely flawed.  The paper seems intent on targeting city dwellers—the so-called ‘urban demographic’ of younger, supposedly upwardly mobile-types, as well as inner-city readers. The problem is that those under 30-years-of-age rarely read newspapers. They get their information from social networking sites or Web sites operated by People or US magazines. This is precisely why the Obama campaign dispatched the president to cable network shows and radio stations that target younger voters.  Moreover, one-out-of- three of the JS’s other target audience, inner-city residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, have incomes below the poverty line, making it difficult to attract substantial advertisers.

The JS’s other mistake is giving much of its content away for free at its Web site, www.jsonline.com Simply displaying a headline and then charging per-article or offering the alternative of an annual subscription would raise revenue.  That being said the only way the JS will become profitable is targeting an audience that is interested in its content and has the resources to purchase its advertisers’ products. Hence, targeting suburban readers, focusing on matters of finance, and establishing an editorial page that champions free enterprise and constitutionally limited government, are the keys to success.

Looking at the numbers, SF believes, that sometime in the near future, the Journal Broadcast Group will quietly shop its newspaper operation.  Eventually, shareholders will demand that the company do so.  With the stock market set to tank, SF predicts that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel could be had for a charm within the next five years.

So how long will it be before Wisconsin’s version of Rupert Murdoch opens his or her check, purchases the JS, and then uses their business and marketing skills to make the operation profitable? Only time will tell.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I, is available at Amazon.com

Spingola’s soon-to-be-released book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is set for release in December 2012.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, please visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


SF’s Analysis: How the GOP Lost the Presidential Election

Over the course of the past few days Republican strategists have engaged in some soul searching regarding their party’s chances of again winning a Presidential election.  In hindsight, some pundits blame former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s ‘play it safe’ campaign strategy.  Behind the scenes, there is some talk that hundreds-of-thousands of evangelical voters failed to vote for the GOP candidate because of his Mormon religious beliefs. Others charge that the GOP’s refusal to grant de facto amnesty to illegal immigrants—by way of what the Democrat Party calls ‘comprehensive immigration reform’—cost Gov. Romney the votes needed to win the election.

To some extent, empirical data exists to support these arguments.  Romney did receive 3 million fewer votes than John McCain, which suggests some former GOP voters shied away from the Romney/Ryan ticket.  Meanwhile, Hispanic-Americans cast 50 percent fewer votes for Romney than George W. Bush, who supported a pathway to citizenship for those in the country illegally.

Another explanation for a Romney loss is the candidate’s unwillingness to roll in the mud with those from the Chicago political machine.  Many believe that in the third debate, Romney gave President Obama a free pass on the tragic loss of life at the U.S. Consulate in Libya. Former GOP standard bearer John McCain has called the Obama administration’s actions in the aftermath of this attack a “cover-up.”

Having spent the last few days looking over the data with the SF staff, I believe two factors contributed to Romney’s defeat: a sizable loss of Hispanic votes and the Republican Party’s abandonment of libertarian principles.

Exit polls indicate that 11 million Hispanic-Americans cast ballots in the 2012 Presidential election but only 2.3 million voted for Romney.  Had the Republican candidate received the same percentage of Hispanic support as George W. Bush, Romney would have garnered another 2.3 million votes, leaving just 700,000 votes between himself and President Obama.

At the Republican National Convention, the neo-conservative wing of the GOP—a group with several advisors in the Romney camp—went out of their way to isolate Ron Paul, whose candidacy received a large chunk of its support from voters between the ages of 18-29.  Had the Romney camp incorporated some Paul’s libertarian philosophy, the GOP might have eliminated Obama’s 700,000 vote margin in the popular vote.  Here are two examples: what if the GOP platform would have included planks that agreed to explore the impact of legalizing marijuana and strict controls on government surveillance?  The numbers suggest that support for such language would have likely resulted in Romney winning Colorado and possibly other states, like Wisconsin, where Democrats campaigned almost exclusively on college campuses.

Meanwhile, the Obama team did what patronage politicians from Chicago do best: make empty promises to key demographic groups. For Hispanics, President Obama allegedly championed immigration reform, although when the Democrat Party controlled both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate during the first two years of his term, Obama ignored Hispanic concerns.  To the gay community, Obama claimed to support gay marriage, but said this was an issue the states should consider. In other words, he would do little if anything as president to change federal law.

On the other hand, the 2012 election did make one thing perfectly clear: the neo-conservative wing of the Republican Party—at least at the national level—is dead.  If the GOP is sincere about ever again occupying the White House it needs to make amends with Hispanics—the vast majority of whom are family oriented, socially conservative Catholics—and once again incorporate a truly constitutionally sound, limited government philosophy into its core set of principles.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I, is available at Amazon.com

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, please visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Before Casting Your Vote on Tuesday…

Tuesday is Election Day. Unlike many major newspapers, political hacks, and partisan bloggers, the Spingola Files (SF) is not in the business of telling Americans how to vote.  That being said SF is a site that focuses on law enforcement issues and the rights of the citizenry to live free from excessive government intrusion.

But no issue is larger than the fiscal health of the United States government.  Even though our national debt is quickly approaching that of Greece’s as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, the German economy is not large enough to bail us out.

Right now, one of every three tax dollars collected by the federal government is used to pay just the interest on the national debt.  This amount is sure to rise even if the federal government does not borrow another penny. Why? The Federal Reserve has kept interest rates artificially low.  Those who buy Treasury bills or U.S. bonds, get a return of about 1.5 percent. However, when interest rates increase to traditionally modest levels of 5 to 7 percent, at current debt level, almost four of every tax dollars collected will go just to pay the interest on the debt. The Obama administration’s policy, pursued through the Federal Reserve, is to print more money to make these interest payments, which devalues the dollar and causes prices for commodities to rise.  This is why food prices are up 30 percent over the last four years and the cost of gasoline has nearly doubled, even in a low-growth economy.

President Obama’s 2013 proposed budget—one that would add another $1.2 trillion to the national debt in the next fiscal year—was voted down 99-0 in the U.S. Senate and 414-0 in the U.S. House of Representatives.  In other words, not one member of Obama’s own political party voted for his budget that would lead the country off the fiscal cliff.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2012/may/16/obama-budget-defeated-99-0-senate/

President Obama claims he can solve the budget crisis but modestly cutting spending (although he has never specified a single cut) and raising taxes on those who make over $250,000. This plan is nothing more than smoke-and-mirrors.  If every penny of those who made over $250,000 were taxed, the revenue raised could only fund the federal government for 98 days.

SF believes the only way to prevent an eventual federal government default is reforming entitlement spending, streamlining and prioritizing the defense budget, and dramatically reforming programs that provides checks to abled-bodied non-retirees to sit at home.

The fundamental rule of Economics 101 is if policy makers want more of something subsidize it; if they want less of something tax it.  But the policy of the current administration is to tax success—those who run small businesses, work overtime, and create innovative products—while subsidizing a growing underclass by elaborately spending billions of dollars on wasteful programs like food stamps, SSI, and free cellular telephone program giveaways.  Our federal lawmakers already use the tax code to punish success in order to underwrite handouts.  With the Obama administration advocating even higher taxes on producers, is it any wonder why our nation’s economic productivity has decreased each of the last three years while the number of those on the dole has increased exponentially?

As things currently stand, over 46 million Americans are on food stamps, an increase of nearly 47 percent since Obama took office.  Since 2009, food stamp growth is 75 times higher than job creation.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2012/may/16/obama-budget-defeated-99-0-senate/

Cleary, if the status quo stands, the United States government is an unsustainable operation.  What does this mean? In Greece, their retiree’s version of Social Security checks decreased 50 percent and their minimum wage was cut by over 20 percent.  The Greek unemployment rate is now over 25 percent, even though Germany, through the European Union, has agreed to bail them out.  No nation is large enough to bailout the United States.  If our government misses a single payment to bond holders, the global economy will collapse.

If you’re a police officer, firefighter, a member of the Teamsters Union pension fund, and the bond market collapses, you can kiss your current pension promises goodbye.  As the lyrics to that old Billy Preston song correctly surmise, “Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’.”

But besides reprioritizing defense spending, dramatically reforming poverty programs, and entitlements, the federal budget is full of pork that could be easily slashed. Let’s start with the nearly $80 billion that the federal government is spending each year constructing the American surveillance state. Have you noticed all those cameras on the Interstate or mounted at the top of poles at busy intersections, as well as the chemical sensors at weigh stations? These programs are paid for with borrowed money.  In the interim, these high-tech gadgets have done little to improve clearance rates for major crimes. Instead, over 1,100 private corporations that make-up the security-industrial complex profit from this wasteful spending that a nation at the edge of the fiscal cliff can no longer afford.

So, before casting your ballot look past the rhetoric.  As this clip from YouTube, during the 2008 campaign, suggests, pay close attention to what President Obama and Gov. Romney have done, not what they’ve said.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kuTG19Cu_Q

In other words, hold those who break their promises accountable on Tuesday.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I, is available at Amazon.com

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, please visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Ask the Cop on the Beat: Joe Biden Knows Better

 

To view this article, checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You coming to Amazon.com in December 2012.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

or

www.badgerwordsmith.com/books.html

© Steven Spingola,Wales, WI, 2012


Ads on Crime and the Recall

Over the course of the past week, a handful of people have inquired about the validity of some of the political ads bombarding the airwaves in the final days of Wisconsin’s gubernatorial recall election.

An ad run by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s campaign committee attempts to tar Gov. Scott Walker with the guilt by association brush linked to an ongoing Joe Doe probe in Milwaukee County.  Barrett’s ad claims that an aide to Walker will soon be “indicted”

In Wisconsin, persons accused of criminal misconduct are not “indicted,” they are charged in a criminal complaint. Moreover, John Doe investigations are secretive inquires conducted in a closed courtroom.  The participants are sworn to keep information provided to either the court or to investigators confidential.  So either Barrett’s campaign is working hand-in-hand with an operative that is violating a judge’s secrecy order or the ad is fabricating information. If the former is true, the ad  itself calls for an investigation.

Gov. Walker’s campaign is running a spot accusing Mayor Barrett of purposely misrepresenting Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) crime statistics.

But unlike other departments within City of Milwaukee government, the police department is a semi-autonomous organization.  In other words, at least on paper, the mayor does not directly oversee the activities of the chief-of-police. That is the job of the Fire and Police Commission (FPC)—a civilian oversight board appointed by the mayor. Since the FPC’s members are close enough to the mayor to receive appointments, when the mayor whispers in their ears, they are likely to support Barrett’s policies. Nonetheless, Mayor Barrett’s office likely had little if any involvement in the collection and reporting of MPD crime statistics. 

In the past, however, Mike Crivello, the President of the Milwaukee Police Association (MPA), appeared in front of the Fire and Police Commission and questioned the MPD’s crime stats. Having read through minutes of the FPC’s meetings, it appears the board did little, if anything, to independently verify or debunk Crivello’s complaint.  For example, the FPC might have requested an audit by the city comptroller.

SF’s advice to recall election voters: look for the candidate that runs on and stands by his record. After all, these campaign ads illustrate that politicians say an awful lot of things, but, at the end of the day, it is what they do that affects our daily lives.

Just Released: Cozen Protocol Shortcut Guide for Readers

In the fast-paced age we live-in, finding the needed time to delve into a 328-page novel is sometimes impossible. Now, there is some good news for time conscious readers.

Last Friday, R & G Readers released the shortcut version of The Cozen Protocol—the crime novel that uses the city of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Police Department as its backdrop, while blending—what some MPD veterans believe—elements of real incidents with fiction.

For more information, visit:

http://www.amazon.com/kindle/dp/B00888DZYY/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_eos_detail

The shortcut version provides a chapter-by-chapter summary of The Cozen Protocol, provides a list of characters, and explains the novel’s vernacular.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit: 

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Justifying the unjustifiable: the Cancer Killing Wisconsin Politics

Over the course of the past week, I received a communication from an individual—a person I will not name—who is associated with the Milwaukee County DA’s office.  Based on some terse, yet pointed comments that I have made, this individual wanted to know why I wasn’t standing with assistant district attorneys by supporting the recall of Gov. Scott Walker.  Apparently in possession of the Barrett campaign’s talking-points memo regarding the mayor’s failure to obtain the endorsement of the labor union representing his city’s rank-and-file police officers, this person said “residency” was the only reason that the Milwaukee Police Association has endorsed Gov. Walker in the recall election.

To set the record straight, neither I nor anyone else affiliated with SF have publicly endorsed any candidate in the recall election.  In the past, I have taken the Wisconsin Professional Police Officers Association (WPPA) to task when their members identified themselves as public officials, and then cited their agencies, while making partisan political statements. I have also criticized the WPPA’s executive director, Jim Palmer, for signing a letter threatening a Milwaukee business leader with a boycott unless this citizen renounced his First Amendment right to support Gov. Walker.

http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/spingolafiles/2011/03/13/letter-from-state-police-union-executive-draws-fire/

Moreover, anyone who has taken a few minutes to view the contents of this Web site would quickly realize that the Spingola Files has a noticeable libertarian bent when it comes to matters of government surveillance—hardly an issue championed by neo-cons and right-wingers.

Back to the comments of the person associated with the Milwaukee County DA’s office.

Since I retired from the Milwaukee Police Department and now reside outside Milwaukee County, residency is not an issue that affects me. 

I do throw an occasional dart, however, when hypocrisy raises its ugly head.

So why is it then that Darlene Wink, a former low-level aide to then Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, was charged and convicted for campaigning on government time while using a taxpayer funded computer network, while the anti-Walker folks (particularly this person associated with the Milwaukee County DA’s office) downplay e-mails sent by Kris Barrett, Mayor Barrett’s wife, advocating political action during her tenure as a teacher for the Milwaukee Public Schools?

This type of attitude—that the misconduct of a particular individual should be marginalized as long as this person is ‘on our side’ politically—is the cancer that is killing Wisconsin politics.

After all, there are a plethora of reasons why rank-and-file Milwaukee police officers would vote against Barrett and the Democrats. 

Just a few years ago, former Governor Jim Doyle and his Democrat Party cohorts in the state legislature—with the support of Mayor Barrett—changed state law, which now gives the chief-of-police in the city of Milwaukee the authority to subjectively and arbitrary fire an officer for a rule violation, while denying this officer his or her pay absent a due process hearing with the Fire and Police Commission.   In every other jurisdiction in the state of Wisconsin, a police chief can only recommend termination, at which time an officer continues to be paid until the charges against him or her are substantiated by an oversight board.  

Furthermore, Doyle and Democrats in the legislature, specifically those from the Milwaukee delegation that should know better, granted early release to thousands of felons from Wisconsin prisons.  Almost half of these felons reside in one of Wisconsin’s 72 counties—Milwaukee, which means, unlike the vast majority of the rank-and-file officers represented by the WPPA, Milwaukee police officers bore the brunt of the Democrats so-called criminal justice reforms.

And, of course, I related these points to the person associated with the Milwaukee County DA’s office, who basically, in not so many words, accused me of being a sellout for simply pointing out the hypocrisy of those poo-pooing Kris Barrett’s taxpayer funded use of a computer network for political action purposes, but have yet to receive a reply.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4bI5ddrg9A

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Two Major Police Unions Make Endorsements in State-Wide Recall

With this summer’s state-wide recall elections quickly approaching, two major police unions have made their endorsements in the race for governor.

The Wisconsin Professional Police Officers Association (WPPA), an umbrella group that represents officers from smaller police agencies, has endorsed Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.  This is an interesting decision, especially since Barrett figuratively put a gun to the leadership of the Milwaukee Police Association (MPA)—a group whose members were exempted from Gov. Walker’s Act 10 budget repair bill—and threatened furlough days for Milwaukee police officers if they refused  to accept Act 10 provisions.

So how can Barrett advocate for the repeal of Act 10 and then demand than his city’s police officers, who received an exemption, comply with the provisions of this act for the purposes of trimming millions of dollars from the City of Milwaukee’s budget?

“At a news conference at WPPA headquarters,” Real Clear Politics reports, “Barrett insisted he supports collective bargaining rights for all public workers. He said he made the request to expand the law to Milwaukee police and firefighters because he realized Walker was trying to “divide and conquer” public workers and he couldn’t afford to pit city workers against one other.”

But other labor leaders are suspicious of Barrett, as they believe the mayor gladly used the provisions of Gov. Walker’s budget repair bill. One of the state’s largest public employee unions released a video highly critical of the Milwaukee mayor.

 http://fox6now.com/2012/04/09/afscme-video-attacking-tom-barrett-was-over-the-top/

Moreover, one has to challenge the wisdom of Jim Palmer, the current WPPA Executive Director.  Why would a police union endorse Barrett—a politician who insists that police officers, who received an exemption from Act 10 by Gov. Walker, lose their exemption?  Why not endorse Kathleen Falk, who has made a quid pro quo deal with state unions to repeal Act 10 or support Gov. Walker, who exempted Palmer’s members from Act 10?

Some of you might recall that Palmer from this prior SF post.

http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/spingolafiles/2011/03/13/letter-from-state-police-union-executive-draws-fire/

On the other side of the coin, the two public safety unions that know Barrett best—the Milwaukee Police Association and the Milwaukee Professional Firefighters Association—have endorsed Gov. Walker.

“Gov. Walker has a strong record of supporting public safety with an unwavering commitment to first responders,” said Michael Crivello, president of the Milwaukee Police Association.

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/govt-and-politics/capitol-report/capitol-report-milwaukee-public-safety-unions-again-endorse-walker/article_6f06c8f4-7d08-11e1-907d-0019bb2963f4.html

As the recall election quickly approaches, it remains to be seen how these law enforcement endorsements will affect the outcome.  However, if the last state Supreme Court race is a barometer, a few hundred votes might decide who wins or loses.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Freeing Barabas is Not the Answer

A few days ago, a tipster alerted SF that the Madison Professional Police Officers Association—the union representing rank-and-file Madison police officers, sergeants and detectives—had endorsed the candidacy of Joanne Kloppenburg for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. 

“Why,” the tipster asked, “would a police union put dollars over sense and endorse a candidate likely to give the benefit of the doubt to criminal defendants?”

This reader’s concerns are similar to those echoed by retired Milwaukee Police Officer Rick Sandoval in a television ad supporting the 12-year incumbent, Supreme Court Justice David Prosser. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzoW_uj80yk

Researching the matter, SF located a news release, posted at WisPolitics.com, pertaining to the Madison Professional Police Officers Association’s endorsement of Kloppenburg. 

“We value the importance of a non-partisan judge, who will offer an independent opinion when evaluating cases,” said Brian Austin, MPPOA board member, in the news release. 

I am more than a little disappointed that Mr. Austin—a former Milwaukee County assistant district attorney—signed-off on the endorsement.  One would think that after charging cases in a county that nearly half the state’s prison population calls home, Austin would have some empathy for his police officer colleagues in Milwaukee, where a state Supreme Court’s willingness to give criminal defendants the benefit of the doubt will, sooner or later, wreak havoc on the city streets.   

To clarify matters, SF reached out to Dan Frei, the President of the Madison Professional Police Officers Association, who a good source described as a “straight-shooter” and a “cop’s cop.”

“I’m not sure anyone has made a convincing case that Kloppenburg will be anti police or pro defendants,” Frei wrote in an e-mail. “Just because she once worked under [liberal State Supreme Court Justice Shirley] Abrahamson doesn’t mean that she will be in lockstep with her.”

The available data, however, leads SF to believe that, if elected, Joanne Kloppenburg may actually become the most liberal justice on the court.

Consider Kloppenburg’s remarks made during a debate with Prosser at Marquette University Law School. 

“I never said I was tough on crime,” Kloppenburg told the audience.  “Being tough on crime was not my message.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9lUkpdIPEE&feature=player_embedded

Instead, it appears Kloppenburg’s message is that of an eco-warrior crusader. As an attorney with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, she hassled farmers for run-off into streams and challenged the property rights of landowners receiving local zoning variances.

One example is that of a Kaukauna couple, William and Lynn Gerrits, who did not wish to spend $50,000 to relocate their home an additional 18 feet from a creek.  The Gerrits’ received a variance from a zoning law requiring buildings to be 75 feet from the water.  The county board granted the couple a variance because it determined that a local government entity failed to inform the landowners that the house was too close to the creek during the building permit process.  Acting on behalf of the DNR, Joanne Kloppenburg argued that the couple did not deserve a variance, even though government regulators were at fault. 

Even more troubling is the Kloppenburg endorsement of Wisconsin Green Party candidate Ben Manski during last fall’s race against a Madison area Democrat, Brett Hulsey.  Manski is the executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation, a left wing organization that supports Wisconsin Assembly Bill 203—restricting the ability of the President of the United States to deploy members of the Wisconsin National Guard overseas in times of crisis. 

If Kloppenburg’s support for the Green Party candidate is any indication of where Wisconsin is headed if she gets elected to the state’s highest court, hang on to your wallets. The Wisconsin Green Party platform calls for new “gas guzzler” car taxes, expensive and heavily subsidized light-rail projects, and Wisconsin’s unilateral implementation of the Kyoto accords on global warming, which would—using conservative numbers—easily double the average family’s electric bill and significantly damage Wisconsin’s electricity-driven manufacturing base.

However, at the end of the day, many of SF’s readers primary concern is the safety of law enforcement personnel, which is why some find the Madison police union’s endorsement of Kloppenburg troubling. 

“The vast majority of our union,” writes Frei, “does have an issue with what he [Governor Walker] has been doing and we would naturally make endorsements with that in mind.”

But is putting “dollars over sense” really a reason to give a candidate clearly out of touch with mainstream Wisconsin a 10-year term on the Wisconsin Supreme Court? 

During this season of Lenten reflection, the Madison police union’s call to end the career of David Prosser—even though that union has not made an issue of a single Prosser decision from the bench—is eerily reminiscent of the events of Holy week.   

From his chair in a courtyard, Pontius Pilate brought a beaten Jesus in front of the crowd.  In an attempt to dissuade the followers of the high priest Kaphus, Pilate gave the mob a choice, which man should go free: Barabas, a man in prison for a riotous murder, or Jesus?  The mob sided with their leader and freed the murderer while demanding that Pilate crucify an innocent man.   

The freeing of Barabas was a decision made out of spite by a mob looking for political vengeance.  

On the dangerous streets where those wearing blue and brown uniforms labor, organizations representing law enforcement officers should not cut-off their noses to spite their faces. The perpetrator discussed in the Rick Sandoval ad for Justice Prosser came just one Wisconsin Supreme Court vote away from escaping justice for the shooting of Police Officer Mike Lutz.  

And, regardless of what her supporters claim, it is not rocket science to deduce which side Joanne Kloppenburg would have ruled with. After all, being tough on crime, as she admitted, isn’t her “message.”

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI 2011


Has the Cap of Law Enforcement Professionalism Come Off?

“Politics is war without guns,” former Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong once said.  “War is politics with guns.”

Mao’s pointed but extremist view of the political arena is an illustration of why politics—even in the United States—is often referred to as a ‘blood sport.’

As such, observers of the political theater better known as Battleground Wisconsin should not be all surprised by heavy-handed tactics and dirty tricks. 

Yet Ian Murphy, a kook-blogger from Buffalo, New York, recently reached a new, Nixonian-type low last week when he telephoned the office of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. During a secretly recorded telephone conversation, Murphy falsely assumed the identity of industrialist David Koch and then attempted to bait the governor with over-the-top rhetoric.  The strategy behind the the call proved unsuccessful, although the lack of due diligence by the governor’s staff in vetting the imposter is glaring.

Of course, politicians with vicious dogs in this fight, as well as those carrying water for their partisan bosses, are interpreting Walker’s remarks to benefit their side’s agenda.

In comments made to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Madison Police Chief Noble Wray took issue with Gov. Walker’s response to Murphy’s baited question about placing “troublemakers” in the crowd of protestors. 

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/116828353.html

But what is the definition of an actual “troublemaker”?

Is it an elected member of Congress telling others that, in reference to events in Wisconsin, “Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary”? 

http://nhjournal.com/2011/02/23/dem-rep-to-unions-time-to-get-‘bloody’/#

Is it trespassing and then, for all practical purposes, taking over the private property of another?

http://theundergroundconservative.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/thugs-take-over-rpw-offices/

Is it acting like a group of spoiled, out-of-control teenagers who couldn’t get their way on the floor of the State Assembly?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5f0VProvuAo

 Or, worse yet, is it committing felony? 

In this instance, Chief Wray is not only selective in whom he publicly chides as instigators — he has it all backwards.  It is not Walker’s vague comments that are troubling, but rather Ian Murphy’s use of David Koch’s “personal identifying information” that points to evidence of a serious crime. 

According to Wisconsin state statute 943.201(2):  Whoever, for any of the following purposes, intentionally uses, attempts to use, or possesses with intent to use any personal identifying information or personal identification document of an individual, including a deceased individual, without the authorization or consent of the individual and by representing that he or she is the individual, that he or she is acting with the authorization or consent of the individual, or that the information or document belongs to him or her is guilty of a Class H felony: 

(a) To obtain credit, money, goods, services, employment, orANY other thing of value or benefit;

(b) To avoid civil or criminal process or penalty;

(c) To harm the reputation, property, person, or estate of the Individual.

Wisconsin state statute 943.201(1)(b)(1) describes “personal identifying information” as “an individual’s name.”

Now if Murphy made this call out-of-state, a prosecution for violating state law maybe problematic; however, persons involved in the commission of crimes that occur in Wisconsin face the possibility of charges if they conspired to commit the crime in another state.  Wisconsin state statute 939.31 describes a conspiracy as follows:

“Whoever, with intent that a crime be committed, agrees or combines with another for the purpose of committing that crime may, if one or more of the parties to the conspiracy does an act to effect its object, be fined or imprisoned or both not to exceed the maximum provided for the completed crime; except that for a conspiracy to commit a crime for which the penalty is life imprisonment, the actor is guilty of a Class B felony.”

Ethically, Chief Wray’s department needs to put politics aside and investigate if an actual felony may have occurred during Murphy’s conversation with Gov. Walker; otherwise, Wisconsin’s attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen, has the authority to step in and do so.

During heated political discourse, labor unrest, or civil strife, law enforcement agencies become—like it or not—the uniform arbitrators of fairness.  One section of The Law Enforcement Code of Ethics reads, “I will never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, animosities or friendships to influence my decisions.”

Could it be that Chief Noble Wray has checked his cap of professionalism at the door and is simply walking in lock step with his city’s mayor, Dave Cieslweicz?

http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/116946593.html)

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Steve Spingola is an author and former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2011