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We, the Irrelevant

Formerly known as We, the People

Nov. 22, 2017: Are the people of Wisconsin still in charge of their government?

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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:

Nov. 22: Here's the link to a piece by Dave Zweifel in the CapTimes about government secrecy in Wisconsin. We the Irrelevant's unique visitors now number 87,191! Thank you.

Nov. 21: I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving.

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