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After 6 days without a functioning computer, I feel stupid.  I get my news and information plus streaming progressive radio programs almost exclusively online.  I would have been unaware of the Kelly Reindfleisch sentencing and Scott Walker proposal to eliminate same day voter registration if I hadn't had my car in for routine services and read about it in the actual paper version of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  I anguished at being totally powerless to post about it.

Some of you are aware that my less than 6 month old computer has had it's share of troubles.  The most recent trouble, a total and completely unexpected loss of power happened last Thursday afternoon.  For now, after 2 attempted repairs, it's now up and running again.  This is the second new motherboard (and it's had the hard drive erased and reloaded, a new hard drive, a new hard drive with motherboard, and a stripping of most of the programs it was supposed to have).  Hopefully, I'm back for good, but who knows.  Frankly, I think this puter was dropped on it's head shortly after it was born at the Dell factory, but they have refused send a replacement for this bad boy.

I do see that you had the news posted here.  Yes, Kelly Reindfleisch, former top aide to Scott Walker when he was Milwaukee County Executive, was sentenced after her plea deal with John Doe Prosecutors.

Gov. Scott Walker and his top campaign and Milwaukee County aides were named Monday as part of a team that routinely commingled political and official county business.

The disclosures came during the sentencing of a former aide to Walker during his last year as Milwaukee County executive. Kelly M. Rindfleisch, 44, was sentenced by Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David Hansher to six months in jail and three years of probation on a single felony count of misconduct in office. The judge stayed the sentence pending Rindfleisch's appeal to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals or the state Supreme Court.

The revelations were brutal:
Repeatedly, Landgraf argued that Rindfleisch knowingly broke the law by doing campaign work at the courthouse. In a new development, the prosecutor made clear - without saying it was illegal - that top Walker campaign officials influenced, even directed, county strategy.

"You guys are in the driver's seat," Rindfleisch wrote in one message to Keith Gilkes, Walker's then-campaign chief of staff.

At another point, Rindfleisch said in an email regarding an effort by the campaign to plant stories about problems at the state Mendota Mental Health Institute: "This needs to be done covertly so it's not tied to Scott or the campaign in any way."

Landgraf said "The Campaign Group" included Walker, Gilkes, campaign spokeswoman Jill Bader and campaign adviser R.J. Johnson. It also included several top county aides to Walker: Cindy Archer, who was county administration director; county chief of staff Tom Nardelli; spokeswoman Fran McLaughlin; housing director Timothy Russell; and Rindfleisch.

Rindfleisch served as Walker's policy adviser and later his deputy chief of staff at the county.

(bolding is mine)

He outlined the entire seedy operation showing the close contacts and coordination between the Walker gubanatorial campaign and his official Milwaukee County office.  

Despite the plea deal, Reindfleisch was sentenced severly, including a 6 month incarceration, due to the fact that she was fully aware that what she was doing was a criminal offense that she avoided being charged with before only with an immunity deal.  And, as I feared when I heard about the plea deal which didn't include a requirement to cooperate, she's not coughing up any information either:

Landgraf, in a sentencing memo, said Rindfleisch's loyalties to the Republican Party and Walker's campaign were "so strong that I have not approached her to provide testimony against Brett Davis, the most conspicuous person by virtue of the fact that he remains uncharged."
(bolding is mine)

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, noted "newspaper" water carrier for Scott Walker, had no choice but to carry the story, however, they attempted to mitigate the damages in an editorial today:

While there may be nothing illegal about any of what Landgraf says happened, the alleged activities inside the courthouse are the antithesis of good government. And they appear to violate Walker's pledge to separate his work as county executive from the campaign.
"There may be nothing illegal"?  Seriously?  Kelly Reindfleisch was sentenced because doing political or campaign work out of a public office is illegal.  Not "may be".  Illegal.  A crime.  A felony, in fact.

They conclude the editorial:

We have no idea if there is more here than meets the eye. But what's clear from the emails is that Walker's campaign staff was helping to manage county government for the benefit of only one citizen - Scott Walker. How is that acceptable conduct?
It's not only "not acceptable", it's criminal activity.  

The Milwaukee "Urinal" is once again trying to downplay what was done.  And that's a major reason why Scott Walker was elected Governor in 2010 and survived recall earlier this year.

I'm not sure if this was posted, but Scott Walker wants to eliminate Same Day Voter Registration in Wisconsin.  It's only surprising because it wasn't part of his 2011 voter supression bill which required Voter ID (held up by the courts until the case against it is ruled upon), shortened early voting, required voters to sign poll books (adding to the delays and increasing the lengths of lines), and closing down DMV offices to make it harder for the mandatory ID to be obtained (later overturned).

Gov. Scott Walker has joined one of the Legislature's most powerful Republicans in saying he's considering ending the state's same-day voter registration law, drawing quick criticism from leading Democrats, including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

The idea was part of the agenda that Walker put forward Friday in an appearance before a sold-out crowd at the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum near Los Angeles, a traditional venue for Republicans looking to run for president.

We've had same day registration since 1976 and it has led to better turnout for our elections, which ought to be a good thing in any country claiming to be a democracy.  However, the GOP, knowing that it's bigotry and misogyny are increasingly unpopular and that it's normal "base" of white men is shrinking, has decided that their only path to victory is gerrymandering and voter suppression and reaction to such a proposal was swift:
The comments drew a harsh reaction from Democrats such as Barrett and state Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate. Democratic candidates tend to perform better in presidential election years such as this one, when less frequent voters such as minorities and the young show up at the polls in larger numbers.

In the city of Milwaukee, for instance, 48,000 voters, or 17% of the total, registered to vote on the day of the Nov. 6 election, according to the city election commission. That helped boost turnout in the city to a whopping 87%.

Milwaukee Election Commission executive director Neil Albrecht said in an email that the state should take pride in its high voting rates. He said changes to the registration law would affect young people and renters the most.

"For example, students and people in poverty (particularly those with foreclosed homes or other residency hardships) move frequently, sometimes even monthly. We would be doing a terrible disservice to young people and people that are currently economically challenged to base access to voting on anything other than a great spirit of a participatory democracy," Albrecht said.

Albrecht sharply disagreed with Walker's characterization of retirees and other poll workers as unable to handle their work on election day, calling it a "gross misrepresentation."

"I question the motives of any person suggesting unnecessary changes (to voting laws) based on making things easier for election officials," he said.

Last year, Kevin Kennedy, the director of the state Government Accountability Board, said eliminating election-day registration would be a mistake. Because Wisconsin allows such registration, the state is exempt from a federal law requiring states to allow people to register to vote at motor vehicle centers and welfare offices.
I'll be watching this closely.  The gerrmandering done by the GOP here resulted in Republican majorities in both legislative branches again so ramming through legislation is again a concern.

Again, apologies for being away, but it was unavoidable.  I've missed my news and progressive radio and, of course, all of you.


MORE:  Bad news.  It turns out that my favorite local show host, Sly, and the entire staff, have been fired without warning.  While I can't listen to his morning show (Madison radio doesn't carry to Milwaukee), I make it a habit to listen to his free podcasts (many thanks to Giles Goat Boy for turning me on to that site).   He was the only progressive radio show host on the station which has now turned to Christmas music.

According to Jud Lounsbury at Uppity Wisconsin, who has provided the ONLY reporting on this (appropriately terming it the "Thanksgiving Massacre"), Sly sent out a statement:

This is a message Sly just sent out:

 Message to everybody: I just want to inform you that today was my last day of employment at WTDY. After 15 years, I was told that my services were no longer needed. I would like to thank everybody that's supported my program. It's been a pleasure to share this wonderful experience with you. I need to take a big deep breath this weekend and figure out what my future plans are. But, old Winter Soldiers NEVER DIE, and I look forward to letting you know what lies ahead. Solidarity!


Sly is a progressive, had an excellent show, and was the only progressive on the station that normally broadcasts RW talkers.

With the loss of Portlands KPOJ to sports coverage and the impending changes to Seatles KPTK, progressives are losing their radio stations whether locally or streaming.

It's a sad day and I fear it will be getting worse.


Originally posted to Puddytat on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 11:39 AM PST.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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