NEWS/OPINION BRIEFS – Thursday, May 11, 2023

Briefs are posted every weekday morning, M-F


Officials from the non-Native town of Lac du Flambeau on the Lac du Flambeau Reservation in northern Wisconsin are considering a special referendum to ask voters if they would pay an additional levy for the use of four roads on tribal property.

Tribal officials had barricaded the four roads on the reservation Jan. 31, stranding non-tribal residents of some 65 properties by cutting off the only access for vehicle traffic to their homes.

Tribal officials said the easement agreement for the roads expired more than 10 years ago and the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs and the title insurance companies that handle the properties had not negotiated in good faith to extend the agreements.

Tribal officials said the fees to reopen the roads would cost $20 million after lawyer fees, easement costs and repayment for 10 years of trespassing were tallied.

Town officials held a special meeting March 11 and accepted the tribe’s offer to remove the barricades for 90 days in exchange for $60,000 while negotiations for a more permanent solution continue.

The referendum would ask for an additional $1 million a year, payable to the Lac du Flambeau Tribe, in exchange for all the roads remaining open to the public.

—Green Bay Press Gazette

A plan to require Milwaukee Public Schools officials to hire about two dozen police officers could cost the district an additional $1 million per year, according to a new state estimate.

Republican lawmakers have put forward a sweeping bill aimed at increasing state funding for Wisconsin’s local communities that also includes other provisions that would make extensive policy changes for schools, policing, elections, hiring practices and quarries, among other areas.

One measure within the bill would require Milwaukee Public Schools to hire 25 school resource officers — a proposal lawmakers say will curb fights, criminal activity on school grounds and boost teacher recruitment. The district already employs 231 unarmed school safety staff members.

“They like the idea of having people who are there in the schools to maintain order and to make sure that kids are safe,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, told reporters Friday at an event hosted by the Milwaukee Press Club.

But the idea is opposed by many in the Milwaukee Public School community, including MPS board president Marva Herndon, who said Friday the bill would “destroy Milwaukee’s right to self-govern.” MPS Superintendent Keith Posely has not said whether he supports the proposals.

“It clearly has racist overtones, as Milwaukee has the largest minority population in the state,” Herndon said. “… we will not stand for that.”

—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The fight over racial equity and free speech on Wisconsin college campuses is intensifying, mirroring a national battle as Republicans work to close campus diversity offices and demand students and faculty treat conservative speakers with respect.

In just the past two weeks, the state’s top Republican announced a push to defund the University of Wisconsin System’s diversity efforts — a move the Democratic governor lambasted as ridiculous. A student from UW-Madison posted racial slurs online, triggering bitter protests but no announced discipline. And a state medical college canceled a diversity symposium featuring Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson out of concerns the discussion would be too disruptive, resulting in cries of bias from conservatives.

Amid that backdrop, Republican legislative leaders are set to hold a hearing Thursday with only invited speakers to discuss “how the lack of free speech and intellectual diversity on college campuses affects the quality of higher education.” The speakers include John Sailer, policy director at the National Association of Scholars, a conservative group that advocates against diversity policies, and Tim Higgins, a former UW regent appointed by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

“I think people are talking about viewpoint diversity as being as important or more important than other types of diversity,” said Republican Rep. David Murphy, chairman of the state Assembly’s colleges committee, who will preside over the hearing. “And I think (diversity efforts aren’t) showing any benefits.”

—Wisconsin AP

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday presented his vision for the country as he fielded questions from voters and a CNN moderator for a town hall in New Hampshire.

Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, shared what he’d do if he is reelected in 2024 to address what his campaign calls the “Biden decline” currently taking place in the United States.

Republicans and undeclared voters were at the event, held at Saint Anselm College. It marked Trump’s first appearance on CNN since before he became president in 2016, and was also the first major televised event of the 2024 presidential campaign.

“[President] Joe Biden has turned everything into a disaster: inflation, the economy, the border, crime, energy, China, Russia, and wokeness in schools,” Trump’s campaign said in a statement shortly after the town hall.

“President Trump will save the economy, bring down inflation, secure the border, crush the Deep State and prevent World War 3.

“President Trump is the only one who can stop the forces from destroying our country—anyone else will be ripped to shreds.”

—The Epoch Times

he House Oversight and Accountability Committee on Wednesday directly challenged President Joe Biden’s claims about his family’s overseas business deals, providing fresh evidence son Hunter Biden got money directly from China and was involved in a business deal with a Romanian figure accused of corruption.

The information also appears to show the first son helped arrange for one of his foreign business associates to meet with his father’s vice presidential office.

In his second interim report, committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., said his panel was increasingly concerned that Hunter Biden and his partners engaged in a pattern of making lucrative business deals with foreign figures suspected of corruption in countries for which his father had official U.S. policy responsibilities.

That pattern was first exposed years ago with a deal with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings that U.S. officials deemed corrupt.

“The committee has uncovered evidence indicative of influence peddling and financial deception warranting further investigation and legislative solutions,” Comer’s panel wrote in a 36-page report.

—Just the News

On a day when news coverage was dominated by New York GOP Rep. George Santos’ indictment and the House Oversight Committee’s latest report on the Biden family’s foreign business dealings, one development related to the panel’s Hunter Biden investigation received little attention.

The FBI didn’t deny it has the confidential human source document sought by Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, even as it missed the subpoena deadline to turn it over to Congress.

“While the FBI has failed to produce the specific document by the subpoena deadline, their offer to provide an accommodation process in response to our legitimate request indicates the document is real,” said Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley.

“So the question remains,” he said, “what did the FBI do to investigate very serious allegations from an apparent trusted FBI source implicating then-Vice President Biden? Today’s letter from the FBI raises additional questions, including whether the FBI has an open investigation based on these allegations. The American people pay the FBI’s salaries, and they’re entitled to a fulsome response.”

According to a statement from Comer’s office, the key document “details a bribery scheme involving then-Vice President Joe Biden and a foreign national.”

In a letter responding to Comer’s request, the FBI outlined its process for protecting confidential human sources behind FD-1023 documents but said the agency “would be pleased to coordinate with your staff to discuss whether and how we can accommodate your request without violating our law enforcement and national security obligations.”

The FBI’s response shows that “the unclassified record the Oversight Committee subpoenaed exists, but they are refusing to provide it to the committee,” said Comer.

“We’ve asked the FBI to not only provide this record, but to also inform us what it did to investigate these allegations,” he added. “The FBI has failed to do both. The FBI’s position is ‘trust, but you aren’t allowed to verify.’ That is unacceptable. We plan to follow up with the FBI and expect compliance with the subpoena.”

Sen. Ron Johnson shared his reaction to the latest development in the Biden probe.

“There’s a much larger story here,” said the Wisconsin Republican. “It doesn’t surprise me that the FBI is not going to turn over all those documents, and sounds like they’re willing to provide some measure of accommodation, I guess, I’m not going to hold my breath on that.”

—Just the News

Inflation has lowered Social Security benefits’ buying power by a substantial 36% since 2000, according to The Senior Citizens League.

The average senior citizen relying on Social Security benefits would need $517 more per month to cover the cost of daily items that have risen at higher rates than Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), CNN reports.

This has hurt many older Americans living on a fixed income who depend heavily on their monthly Social Security checks.

The Social Security Administration gave beneficiaries COLAs of 5.9% in 2022 and 8.7% in 2023, the highest annual boosts since the early 1980s — but the cost of food, medicine, transportation, gas, heating oil, housing and other essentials has increased at far higher rates, the league says, citing U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Eggs are 110% more expensive in the past year; bread is up 18%; and dental visits cost 16% more. Electricity bills have spiked 13%, and car repairs have also become that much more costly.

In the aggregate, goods and services that the typical retiree buys have increased by a whopping 141% between January 2000 and February 2023 — far outpacing the 78% increase in Social Security benefit checks in that time.


A Kansas City suburb’s rule prohibiting more than three unrelated roommates from living together is being challenged in court.

A property management company that wants to be able to rent homes to several roommates and a homeowner who said that Shawnee’s ban made her living arrangement illegal last year because her son’s girlfriend was living with the family at the time filed the lawsuit, according to the Kansas City Star.

The rule that Shawnee passed last year prohibits more than three unrelated people from living together in a single residence. The only exception for more people living together is if they are all related. If even one person in a home isn’t related to everyone else in the household, the city considers everyone in the household to be unrelated.

“As Americans, who we choose to live with is none of the government’s business,” David Deerson, attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, said in a news release. “There is a serious housing affordability crisis and Shawnee is making it worse. This unconstitutional ordinance would even outlaw the living arrangement of television’s ‘Golden Girls.’ ”

City officials declined to comment on the lawsuit and said they haven’t yet received a copy of it.

But when Shawnee approved the ban last year, officials said they were trying to eliminate situations where homeowners were treating their homes like apartment buildings and renting rooms to several people.

Critics of the ban said the rule just made it harder for people to afford to live in the upscale suburb.

—ABC News

Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh is lamenting the lack of initiative in America today as kids have stopped going door-to-door asking to mow people’s lawns for pocket cash.

Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Harbaugh spoke of the joy he derived from cutting lawns and even insisted that if he had not gone into sports, he might have started a lawn care business, Fox News reported.

“A lawnsman!” Harbaugh said about his love of lawn care. “That’s what I do. Mowing the lawn is one of the great feelings I have in life.”

Harbaugh added that there are several specific benefits to the task.

“It accomplishes three things,” Harbaugh said. “I’m clearing my mind or thinking of new plays; I feel good about what I accomplish; and I either make money or I save money.”

Harbaugh also worried that too many youngsters today don’t go out and solicit neighbors for pocket cash anymore.

“It makes me sad sometimes when I drive around Ann Arbor. It used to be kids mowing the lawns. I was that kid out mowing lawns, earning some money. Now it’s a truck and a crew at every house,” he said.

During his eight seasons with Michigan, Harbaugh has earned a 74-25 record. The Wolverines were 13-0 this year before losing to TCU in the College Football Playoffs.

—Breitbart News


Trump is going nowhere. Thirty-four indictments, being found liable for sexual abuse and defamation against E. Jean Carroll, and all the weeping and gnashing of teeth from Never Trumpers, RINOs, Democrats, and the Left matters little, and cannot prevent the Trump Train from leaving the station.

CNN hosted Trump’s first town hall since he declared for 2024, and it is pretty well established that the train had already left and it was full steam ahead. As RedState reported, Trump set the tone and showed host Kaitlan Collins who was driving the conversation. It definitely was not her.

Of course, Collins began with the 2020 election and January 6. Trump immediately batted down Collins’ contentions about his influence over the January 6 kerfuffle and the violence that ensued, then raised hackles when he called Capitol Police officer Michael Byrd, who shot veteran Ashli Babbitt, a “thug.”

The audience, made up of Republican and Independent voters, absolutely loved Trump—much to the chagrin of Collins. Trump received a standing ovation at his introduction, and his appeal only increased from there.

When Trump related (in semi-mocking fashion) E. Jean Carroll’s rape allegations against him, the crowd was animated and laughing at Trump’s funny delivery. If CNN was hoping Collins’ line of questioning would make Trump come off as unlikeable or misogynist, then they failed miserably. If there were any skeptics in that crowd, Trump had won them over at the end.

A few other Trumpisms dropped during the 60-minute Town Hall:

When questioned on the debt ceiling:

The Country is being destroyed by stupid people, by very stupid people.

To another question, “If elected president again, what is the first thing you would do to help bring down the cost to make things more affordable?” Trump invoked Gov. Sarah Palin’s rallying cry:

Drill, baby, drill.

At the end of the questioning by Collins, Trump said to her,

You are a nasty person, I’ll tell you.

One of Trump’s finer moments was a full-throated and very well-received response to the question, “Will you pardon the January 6 rioters who were convicted of federal offenses?”

I am inclined to pardon many of them. I can’t say for every single one because a couple of them, probably they got out of control. But you have two standards of justice in this country. And what they’ve done, and I love that question, because what they’ve done to so many people is nothing, nothing! And then what they’ve done to these people—they’ve persecuted these people!

And yeah, my answer is, I am mostly likely, if I get in, I will most likely, I would say it will be a large portion of them. You know, they did a very [applause by the audience] … and it will be very early on. They are living in hell right now. They’re living in hell. And they’re policemen, and their firemen, and their soldiers, and their carpenters, and electricians. And they’re great people, many of them are just great people.

Whether Florida Governor Ron DeSantis enters the 2024 race or not, this savvy move by Trump to be first out the gate with a one-on-one with a legacy media station with whom he has been combative has left its mark. Trump is still a formidable candidate and will be the one to beat for the Republican nomination and for the presidency.

—Jennifer Oliver O’Connell is a contributor at RedState and other publications

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY – In 1997 IBM’s chess-playing computer Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov in the last game of a six-game match to claim a 3.5–2.5 victory (it won two games and had three draws); it marked the first time a current world champion had lost a match to a computer under tournament conditions.

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