By The Progressive on February 21, 2014

Editor's note: Upon further research, the emails referenced in this story appear to relate to the use of software called "Complete Campaigns," which is a "back office" program for processing campaign donations, and not a voter "caging" scheme. The Progressive regrets this error.

Emails released this week appear to show Governor Scott Walker's top aides possibly engaging in an illegal scheme to "cage" Wisconsin voters in the weeks ahead of the 2010 gubernatorial election.

Voter caging is an illegal campaign practice used to purge voters from the rolls. Neighborhoods with large minority concentrations are most typically targeted by caging operations.

On page 15,037 of WalkerDocs 1, an email exchange between Walker staffers Kelly Rindfleisch and Nicole Simmons spells it out pretty plainly.

"If you come this Saturday I can show you how to cage," Simmons writes. "That will be priority on the weekend."

Another email, on page 1,321 of WalkerDocs 2, shows Walker's chief of staff Keith Gilkes ordering Rindfleisch, Fran McLaughlin and Dorothy Moore to bring friends who can help with the caging effort. Here's a screenshot.

"We need cagers for this Saturday, we will have plenty to get caught up on," he wrote in an email sent Oct. 21, 2010. "Please bring friends that are detail oriented and can put in some solid hours."

Walker's aides were also following news about the voter caging efforts, illustrated on pages 14,565 and 14,936 of WalkerDocs 1. They shared one article in particular: The Milwaukee Courier's Oct. 2, 2010 article titled, "GOP joins with Tea Party in illegal effort to steal election."

Outside tea party groups bragged in 2010 that they were joining RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Wisconsin Republican Party to cage voters for Scott Walker, although Priebus denied the charge.

Photo: "Senior man stealing a ballot box," via Shutterstock.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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