Friday, March 25, 2011

The Republican Party will hunt you down! (by anon)

So if you are thinking about writing a not-so-flattering post about the Republican Party and you are a UW professor, you better watch out!!

for scary news - click here

Evidently UW history professor William Cronon wrote a blog post about some shadow group behind the Wisconsin Republican Party, and they are not happy.  Within only a couple of days of Cronon posting about the influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (a shadowy kind of group) on Gov. Scott Walker's legislative agenda, Cronon got a formal request by the Republican Party to hand over all emails he sent from his UW email account regarding Republicans.  I guess they got pissed!

I have one thing to say to Republicans: GO BACK TO YOUR HOLE!

With all their talk of less government and less oversight, this smacks of hypocritical double-standards.  WTF

Watch, I'll probably get arrested for sending in this post!


  1. This use of FOIA is clearly intimidation and retaliation. It is a smear tactic that further demonizes academics. I think it works to further erode academic freedom. Having said that, I think Dr. Cronon must turn over the emails or risk putting himself above the law. This is a despicable move on the part of Republicans. The only bright spot in the whole mess is the widespread attention ALEC will be getting.

  2. And yet, when Evan Wynn and Joe Knilans appeared on campus for their tongue bath with Paul Ryan, nobody on campus said a peep. When the Know Nothing Nativist Steve Nass posed for holy pictures in front of the UC thousands of potential voters blithely walked by, unaware of the potential these men had for wreaking havoc on the education system of Wisconsin.

    In the grand scheme of things this attack on Professor Cronon is a trifling thing. Far more damge ccan be done by the lege than by the pipsqueaks in the party roles.

  3. First, this is not a despicable law and it swings both ways. This law is the Wisconsin Open Records Law, and it was this law that obtained all of Walkers emails regarding the budget bill and one of the emails was from the right wing Assistant States Attorney in Indiana, who wrote to Walker and said that he should hire a thug to fake an attack on him. The Open Records Law is a good law! It promotes transparency. There is a simple way to side step this law. Do not use a state owned computer, network, or email to conduct political business. You will not get arrested for sending your comment, but if you sent it via your university owned computer or via the campus email network then your message is considered to be a public record and has to be retained for a certain period of time. DO NOT USE UNIVERSITY EMAIL. My advice to the UW Faculty protesting Walker's budget bill was to avoid using campus email for organizing because it is against the law. The state has an Internet Usage Policy preventing using their systems for political work. I don't believe using the Open Records Law erodes academic freedom, as the prof does not have to turn over his emails, the Univ of Wisconsin Madison has to turn them over. The prof is an agent of the entity, UW System and therefore they are legally responsible for complying with the law on his behalf. He will have four UW System lawyers and a bevy of State Attorneys working with him should he be sued. I am getting too legalistic here but ALL law suits, including open records requests, are routinely handled by the Office of the States Attorney. However, Madison has its own legal department so he is covered. BTW, you can submit an open records request on any public official and your request can be anonymous. They have to comply, however they can charge you for the copying, etc. Be safe, use yahoo or google.

  4. I agree with the value of transparency, but this wasn't a request done for the sake of transparency. It was a request out of backlash or intimidation. The request for Walker's emails is a different kind of case since people were really curious as to what email were coming in, and not really the emails going out. No one was trying to catch Walker sending something he should not have.

    But, yes, one should use his or her university email account. I personally don't want to associate my name with anything political. That is why I like this site. Anonymity rules.

  5. Yes, we always place own actions or the actions of those we like or support on the higher moral ground. So the open records request made on Walker was justified because people want to know, and the request made on Cronin was just gut bucket intimidation. I understand your feelings, you believe that you occupy the moral high ground here. Wake up, the GOP did not break the law, nor did Walker. You may not agree with their actions but they were elected. I do not support the GOP and Walker but I do not demonize them. The classic definition of politics is who get what, when, and how. In short, politics is war without bloodshed. So as my fellow ball players used to say to me when I complained about a flagrant foul, shut up and play the game!