We, the Irrelevant

Formerly known as We, the People

May 17, 2017


Are the people of Wisconsin still in charge of their government?

July 13: Today, I published an updated list of all of the communities represented by We the Irrelevant's followers. It's an impressive list. You can see it here.

June 29: Records languish as I struggle to get my life in order. Meanwhile, here are links to two important pieces related to open government.

       1. Bill Lueders' Your Right to Know column about WI legislators' self-exemption from the requirement to preserve records.

       2. Marc Dacosta's NYT op ed piece regarding the White House prohibition of video and audio during press conferences.


May 17: New data is available for both the DNR changes and water protection. Click here to access it. There is much more to come, but We the Irrelevant will be on hiatus for a few weeks. Some much needed R&R awaits! The total of unique visits to this website topped 70,000 this week! Thanks so much for your patience and support. 

April 14:

Click here to see selected results from the Conservation Congress votes taken in each of WI's 72 countines on April 10, 2017. 

April 13:

New data is available for both water, changes to the DNR, and all of the ORRs in aggregate by district

March 29:

These are records waiting to be reviewed. I'm currently going through 3,089 digital records supplied by Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milw). I'm on #1669, and so far, I've recorded 7,505 comments in opposition to the drastic cuts to the DNR proposed in the 2015 budget, and 1,435 comments in opposition to defunding WI state parks. Stay tuned. These numbers are going to be epic!

March 26:

New data is available regarding how Wisconsin citizens reacted to cuts and changes to the DNR. Open records requests were sent to the 58 legislators on relevant committees and, for the first time, to Gov. Walker. There are thousands of records waiting to be tallied. Click here to see what's been counted to date.

March 6:

As of March 5, We the Irrelevant reached its Kickstarter goal of $2,000! Thanks to the 44 online backers as well as the 7 others who donated in person. I'm currently tallying data from my recent open records request to 58 legislators and the Governor about the multiple changes made to the DNR. There are literally thousands of records to review. Thanks for your patience. 

Previous posts may be found here.


As tyrants take control of democracies, they typically:

1. Exaggerate their mandate to govern -- claiming, for example, that they won an election by a landslide even after losing the popular vote.

2. Repeatedly claim massive voter fraud in the absence of any evidence, in order to restrict voting in subsequent elections.

3. Call anyone who opposes them "enemies."

4. Turn the public against journalists or media outlets that criticize them, calling them "deceitful" and "scum."

5. Hold few press conferences, preferring to communicate with the public directly through mass rallies and unfiltered statements.

6. Tell the public big lies, causing them to doubt the truth and to believe fictions that support the tyrants' goals.

7. Blame economic stresses on immigrants or racial or religious minorities, and foment public bias and even violence against them.

8. Attribute acts of domestic violence to "enemies within," and use such events as excuses to beef up internal security and limit civil liberties.

9. Threaten mass deportations, registries of a religious minority, and the banning of refugees with particular religious beliefs.

10. Seek to eliminate or reduce the influence of competing centers of power, such as labor unions and opposition parties.

11. Appoint family members to high positions of authority and power.

12. Surround themselves with their own personal security force rather than a security detail accountable to the public.

13. Put generals into top civilian posts.

14. Make personal alliances with foreign dictators.

15. Draw no distinction between personal property and public property, profiteering from their public office.

These warning signs should be of concern to everyone, regardless of political party. In fact, historically, conservatives have been especially vigilant against potential threats to our constitutional rights.

All Americans must join together to protect American democracy against tyranny.

Consider yourself warned.

Robert Reich


This site houses data compiled from multiple Open Records Requests (ORRs) sent to Wisconsin's Republican state legislators beginning in October, 2015. We asked for citizen correspondence concerning the dismantling of the independent Government Accountability Board. We got more than we asked for.

Volunteers combed through hundreds of pages of documents furnished by the legislators. Each time a citizen mentioned the GAB, whether for or against dismantling it, a tally mark was made on a specially designed spreadsheet. Frequently, citizens included their feelings about two other concurrent bills - exempting politicians from secret John Doe investigations and changing campaign finance laws to allow coordination between candidates and special interest groups. These comments were also tallied. 

Every effort was made to keep accurate tallies. Most records remain with the legislators. The volunteers would have had to pay hundreds of dollars in aggregate to have copies of all of them in order to document their results. 

Anyone wanting proof of accuracy will have to submit their own ORR, asking for the same records within the same time period and be prepared to review records in the respective Chief Clerk's office or pay for the cost of searching, printing, and perhaps mailing them.

You can use the site in several ways: