NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Thursday, March 16, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


They still don’t have any declared candidates, but the 2024 Republican race for U.S. Senate got a lot more interesting this week.

Franklin businessman Scott Mayer, a longtime Republican contributor who serves on the boards of two influential business groups, is publicly weighing whether to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin next year.

And a source close to Rebecca Kleefisch said Wisconsin’s former lieutenant governor is “leaving the door open” to a potential run. Kleefisch lost in a bitterly contested Republican primary for governor last year.

The backstage moves come in the quiet part of primary season, as potential candidates consider mounting a race to take on Baldwin, who is expected to run for a third term.

Madison businessman Eric Hovde and former Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. have signaled interest in the race but have made no final decisions.

Mayer, chairman of the staffing and recruitment company QPS Employment Group, said Wednesday he is doing “due diligence” on whether to join the race and would make a decision by Labor Day.

“I can tell you if I do it I will be a very viable candidate,” Mayer said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Mayer started QPS Employment Group in 1985 but sold the company two years ago with the establishment of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. He’s also dabbled in the restaurant industry, opening up a New Orleans-themed restaurant in downtown Milwaukee that later closed, as well as a ping pong club in the Third Ward.

He serves on the boards of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin’s Glenn Grothman has joined one of the first efforts from House Republicans this year to scale back federal food assistance spending, signing onto a measure that would expand work requirements for low-income Americans to qualify for nutritional benefits.

“The government should not reward individuals who are not even looking for employment,” Grothman said on Twitter. “We should encourage people to be working, not staying home!”

The America Works Act, led by South Dakota Republican U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, would expand the age bracket of able-bodied adults without dependents required to work a minimum number of hours a week to qualify for continuous Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

It would specifically require those between the ages of 18 and 65 to work or participate in work-related education or training for at least 20 hours a week in order to qualify for the program formerly known as food stamps. Under current law, that work requirement applies to able-bodied people between 18 and 49. The legislation would also limit the federal government’s ability to waive work requirements for states that the Republicans say are abusing loopholes in the program.

Grothman in an interview Wednesday pointed out changes to the program sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, which included a suspension of the three-month limit on benefits for those who fail to meet work requirements and more flexibility on waivers for states. Many of those pandemic benefits from SNAP, which grew during COVID, are now ending.

He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel there are “jobs everywhere” now and that using the pandemic as an excuse for struggling to find work “doesn’t fly anymore.” And he echoed comments from Republicans like Johnson who indicated such work requirements are effective in getting people to work.

“If you want to work your way out of poverty, you’ve got to begin to work somewhere,” Grothman said. “And I think there’s some people who can get in a rut and take advantage of the system and not work.”

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

After the president unveiled stricter gun laws, gun rights groups threatened to take legal action against the Biden Administration.

On Tuesday, Second Amendment advocates argued that President Joe Biden’s new executive order would target legal gun owners, taking away a constitutional American right.

The National Rifle Association criticized Biden’s decision, pointing out that criminals, not guns, commit crimes and that the president focuses on the wrong things.

“Crimes are committed by criminals. Until President Biden and his allies decide to go after violent criminals, violence will continue to spiral out of control as it has. The focus of our laws and efforts should be on the criminal element and not on law-abiding Americans,” the NRA said in a statement.

Biden is expected to sign an executive order to expand background checks to more firearm sales by expanding the statutory definition of a firearms dealer. According to the White House, the executive order will bring the U.S. “as close to universal background checks as possible” without additional legislation.

Patrick Parsons, executive vice president of the American Firearms Association, said that the legislation benefits the criminal while diminishing Americans’ rights to protect themselves.


President Joe Biden made the unlikely claim Tuesday that it is Republicans who are pushing for “defunding the police,” despite near universal GOP support for law enforcement and the fact that cutting police budgets was his own party’s rallying cry in 2020.

Speaking at a recreation center in Monterey Park, California, the same community in which a gunman killed 11 and wounded nine inside a dance studio on January 21, Biden announced an executive order with new gun control measures. The order, which would increase background checks for gun purchases, promote “red flag” orders, and make public federal records on violations by firearms dealers, has been met with opposition from Republicans.

“Congressional Republicans should pass my budget instead of calling for cuts to these services or defunding the police or abolishing the FBI, as we hear from our MAGA Republican friends,” Biden said.

While it is true that some Republicans have called for abolishing the scandal-ridden FBI, calls for defunding police departments have been the exclusive province of Democrats ever since the George Floyd riots of 2020. Biden himself was not among Democrats calling to cut police budgets, but Vice President Kamala Harris praised then-L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti for planning to lop up to $150 million from his city’s police budget.

—The Daily Wire

A week after the second-largest bank collapse in U.S. history, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is set to tell the Senate Finance Committee that the nation’s banking system “remains sound” and Americans “can feel confident” about their deposits.

Yellen will be the first Biden administration official to face lawmakers over the decision to protect uninsured money at two failed regional banks, a move that some observers have criticized as a bank “bailout.”

“The government took decisive and forceful actions to strengthen public confidence” in the U.S. banking system, Yellen says in prepared testimony released before her appearance. “I can reassure the members of the Committee that our banking system remains sound, and that Americans can feel confident that their deposits will be there when they need them.”

In less than a week, Silicon Valley Bank, based in Santa Clara, California, failed after depositors rushed to withdraw money amid anxiety over the bank’s health. Then, regulators convened over the weekend and announced that New York-based Signature Bank also failed. They ensured all depositors, including those holding uninsured funds exceeding $250,000, were protected by federal deposit insurance.

—Associated Press

A majority of Americans are afraid to express political or religious views in the workplace, according to an Ipsos poll released Tuesday sponsored by the conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

More than 60% of respondents said that expressing political or religious views at work would result in negative consequences, while approximately 25% admitted to knowing someone who experienced negative responses for expressing such views, according to the results. Respondents are also hesitant to post political content on social media and would prefer companies include a wide range of beliefs in its commitment to diversity, according to the results. A plurality supports companies adopting policies that protect viewpoint diversity.

“Corporate America needs to respect the diverse viewpoints within their workforce if they hope to retain and recruit top talent,” Jeremy Tedesco, ADF senior counsel and senior vice president of corporate engagement, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The results clearly show that they’re alienating their workforce and even making it more difficult for them to recruit people, because there were plenty of folks on the survey who said they feared consequences and that they’d even move out of state or accept lower pay to find a tolerant workforce.”

A plurality of respondents said they do not support employers taking a stance on a topic opposite of their employees, and 64% said that “companies should not be able to coerce their employees to affirm or celebrate social or political views that violate their personal beliefs.” Several major companies including Apple, Target and Starbucks signed a Human Rights Campaign statement opposing bills considered “anti-LGBTQ legislation” proposed at the state level.

Respondents also said to be more uncomfortable expressing their values after participating in bias trainings and that they “divide” colleagues.

Companies should adopt several policies to bolster freedom of speech, Tedesco argued. He suggested companies implement religious accommodations, viewpoint diversity and freedom of thought policies and those “that ensure that employees are not going to be punished for their religious or political views at work.”

—The Daily Caller

On Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, said in remarks that the hatred that led to the Holocaust is “interconnected” to the “hatred” from parents who are speaking out in the United States at school board meetings.

Emhoff made the remarks in a panel with Harris’ former staffer, Symone Sanders-Townsend, at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. Emhoff was discussing antiSemitism and recalled meeting Ukrainian refugees and survivors of the Holocaust during a trip to a concentration camp.

“I met one woman who was saved in the Holocaust in Germany, settled in Ukraine and is now a refugee again back in Berlin where she originally left as a Jew in the Holocaust,” Emhoff said at the conference.

“These are the stories that are happening out there, and so, this stuff is so important. This hate is interconnected, you see it in the discourse in the country right now. You see it in the divide that we have,” he continued. “Just going to the school meetings, you see that hate that is out there. We’ve got to step up and speak out and we’ve got to call out the cowards out there, people as my wife likes to say ‘these-so-called leaders,’ but she’s right. ‘Cause you can’t be in leadership if you’re not going to lead.”


A University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) professor, in a presentation on “Reproductive Justice,” recently made the assertion that abortions are necessary because, without one, a woman is left with an “economic hardship and insecurity which lasts for years.” The presentation came as part of UIC’s “Epidemics of Injustice” lecture series.

Professor Julie Maslowsky, who made the comments, works in the School of Public Health at UIC.

During her February presentation, Maslowsky focused not only on abortion in general, but also on abortion access for adolescents specifically.

She began by displaying news headlines regarding laws that restrict abortion access and gender-affirming care for adolescents, developing a “theme” to address “threat[s] to the bodily autonomy of young people.”

Later, Maslowsky referred to this pattern as “Adultism,” or the “prejudice and accompanying systematic discrimination against young people.”

Campus Reform reported on the notion of “adultism” previously when another UIC professor made comments critical of the field of psychology because it was developed by “white adults.”

Other points she brought up against abortion, in both youth and adults, were that “[t]he financial wellbeing and development of children is negatively impacted when their mothers are denied abortion” and that women who are denied abortion are “more likely to raise the resulting child alone.”

—Campus Reform


Jan 6 has become, as the DNC intended it to become, after the fact, a “third rail”; a shorthand used to dismiss or criminalize an entire population and political point of view.

Peaceful Republicans and conservatives as a whole have been demonized by the story told by Democrats in leadership of what happened that day.

So half of the country has been tarred by association, and is now in many quarters presumed to consist of chaotic berserkers, anti-democratic rabble, and violent upstarts, whose sole goal is the murder of our democracy.

Republicans, conservatives, I am sorry.

I also believed wholesale so much else that has since turned out not to be as I was told it was by NPR, MSNBC and The New York Times.

I believed that stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop were Russian propaganda. Dozens of former intel officials said so.

I believed this all — til it was debunked.

I believed that President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia — until that assertion was dropped.

I believed that President Trump was a Russian asset, because the legacy media I read, said so.

I believed that Pres Trump instigated the riot at the Capitol — because I did not know that his admonition to his supporters to assemble “peacefully and patriotically” had been deleted from all of the news coverage that I read.

Because of lies such as these in legacy media — lies which I and millions of others believed — half of our nation’s electorate was smeared and delegitimized, and I myself was misled.

It damages our nation when legacy media put words in the mouths of Presidents and former Presidents, and call them traitors or criminals without evidence.

It damages our country when we cannot tell truth from lies. This is exactly what tyrants seek — an electorate that cannot know what is truth and what is falsehood.

Through lies, half of the electorate was denied a fair run for its preferred candidate.

I don’t like violence. I do believe our nation’s capitol must be treated as a sacred space.

I don’t like President Trump (Do I not? Who knows? I have been lied to about him so much for so long, I can’t tell whether my instinctive aversion is simply the habituated residue of years of being on the receiving end of lies).

But I like the liars who are our current gatekeepers, even less.

The gatekeepers who lie to the public about the most consequential events of our time — and who thus damage our nation, distort our history, and deprive half of our citizenry of their right to speak, champion and choose, without being tarred as would-be violent traitors – deserve our disgust.

I am sorry the nation was damaged by so much untruth issued by those with whom I identified at the time.

I am sorry my former “tribe” is angry at a journalist for engaging in —- journalism.

I am sorry I believed so much nonsense.

Though it is no doubt too little, too late —

Conservatives, Republicans, MAGA:

I am so sorry.

— Naomi Wolf is an American feminist author, journalist and conspiracy theorist

Here’s a story for those social studies students who complained about having to take a geography quiz because they would never need such “time wasting” information. Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Ras Baraka was recently humiliated after, as CBS News put it, he invited “what he thought was the Hindu nation of Kailasa to Newark’s city hall for a cultural trade agreement.” The problem is, Kailasa doesn’t exist. It is a fake nation creation by hoaxers. We’re betting Baraka, who was an educator in the city’s public school system before becoming mayor, wishes he had spent more time looking at a world map.

—The Patriot Post

I was born into a family of athletes. Encouraged by my parents and siblings, I competed in sports from a young age, and I followed in my sister’s footsteps, climbing the ranks to become an elite cyclocross racer. Over the past few years, I have had to race directly with male cyclists in women’s events. As this has become more of a reality, it has become increasingly discouraging to train as hard as I do only to have to lose to a man with the unfair advantage of an androgenized body that intrinsically gives him an obvious advantage over me, no matter how hard I train.

I have decided to end my cycling career. At my last race at the recent UCI Cyclocross National Championships in the elite women’s category in December 2022, I came in 4th place, flanked on either side by male riders awarded 3rd and 5th places. My sister and family sobbed as they watched a man finish in front of me, having witnessed several physical interactions with him throughout the race.

Additionally, it is difficult for me to think about the very real possibility I was overlooked for an international selection on the US team at Cyclocross Worlds in February 2023 because of a male competitor.

Moving forward, I feel for young girls learning to compete and who are growing up in a day when they no longer have a fair chance at being the new record holders and champions in cycling because men want to compete in our division. I have felt deeply angered, disappointed, overlooked, and humiliated that the rule makers of women’s sports do not feel it is necessary to protect women’s sports to ensure fair competition for women anymore.

—Former cyclocross champion Hannah Arensman. Her statement was included in a package of briefs in a March 13 legal filing to the US Supreme Court

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY –- On this day in 1968, during the Vietnam War, U.S. soldiers dispatched on a search-and-destroy mission killed as many as 500 unarmed villagers in the hamlet of My Lai, considered a stronghold of the Viet Cong.

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