December 20, 2022 | By MacIver Staff
Policy Issues
Accountable Government Constitution Crime & Safety Culture Economy Education State Budget

Top 10 Lies Of 2022

So many whoppers this year it's hard to pick just 10!

2022 was an election year, so it stands to reason it produced a bumper crop of lies.

Today we’re bringing you The MacIver Institute’s Top 10 Lies of the Year, with a Wisconsin focus. There were many contenders, and some barely missed making the cut, but these were the whoppers we thought worthy of the list.

#10 – Senator Jeff Smith’s bizarre claim that “There were no protests, there wasn’t any violence, there wasn’t anyone out there on TV everyday spouting that the election was stolen.”

Of course, this is revisionist history. Immediately after the 2016 election, protestors took to the streets to declare the election invalid and that Trump was not the US President. Then, protestors had to be escorted from the vote of Wisconsin’s electors. Proud protestors posed for photos while protesting. to provide proof of their passionate protests for posterity.

The mainstream media kept up a steady stream of commentary – as did the defeated Clinton – about how the election was stolen for months. Smith’s nonsensical assertion is nothing more than one more instance of the left rejecting reality whenever it conflicts with their narrative. Many data points over the past 6 years show continued “spouting” in the months and years following the 2016 defeat of Hillary Clinton.

  • Hillary Clinton said – even as recently as October 2020 – that Trump “knows he’s an illegitimate president.”
  • In 2019, former president Jimmy Carter said that if the election were “fully investigated (it) would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016.”
  • In 2017, Bernie Sanders refused to say if he believed Trump was a legitimate president
  • Congressman John Lewis said in 2017, “I do not see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”
  • A Rasmussen poll in 2022 (!) showed that 72% of Democrats believe the 2016 outcome was tainted by interference.
  • In 2017 Democrats objected to electoral votes being cast by 9 states. In 2021, Republicans objected to 6 states’ votes.

And 2016 is not the first time Democrats have protested the election of a Republican President – good heavens, even PolitiFact says it’s true that every time a Republican has been elected president over the last few decades, House Democrats have objected to the result.

Smith’s problem isn’t a selective memory, it’s a desire to mislead.

#9 – Tony Evers: “The parole commission is the parole commission. It’s not something I have control over.”

Evers ran on a platform of releasing half the prison population (more than 2/3 of which are violent criminals) and exercising gubernatorial pardon authority eschewed by Governor Walker. Evers made solid headway on emptying the prisons and has pardoned more felons – restoring gun rights to hundreds of convicted criminals – than any governor in history.

And he put in place a parole commissioner who was dedicated to paroling more felons than the law required.

And Evers’ appointee John Tate did just that. Notably, he granted early parole to a man who murdered his wife with their little children in the house, and who had left the toddlers with their mother’s bleeding body to get Taco Bell.

As Wisconsin Right Now reported on extensively, Evers took heat from the family for being stonewalled by his Parole Commission, denied information and records, and not being appropriately notified about the early parole of Douglas Balsewicz. In an election-year panic, Evers agreed to intervene, pressing Tate to reverse his decision, which he did. Then, Evers posed for holy-selfies by firing Tate for doing exactly what had been expected of him.

Both Evers’ push to rescind the parole, the commission’s recision, and the firing of Tate prove Evers DOES have control over the commission.

#8 – Representative Evan Goyke’s claim that pretrial release in Milwaukee is “proven to work” and “reduce crime.”

Goyke’s impassioned claim that pretrial release and monitoring work to reduce crime – after the Christmas Parade Massacre where Darrell Brooks mowed down children and elderly alike while out on pretrial release – is entirely disconnected from reality. Even if there were not hundreds of other examples of how it does not work, the 6 people who died at the Christmas Parade prove Goyke’s statement false.

#7 – Nuh-uh, Critical Race Theory Is Not In Wisconsin Classrooms

We’ve heard it thousands of times from the education establishment liberal politicians and the media: Critical Race Theory is not in any Wisconsin Public Schools.

But as we’ve reported, taxpayers are funding curriculum that teaches children that skin color dictates character content. Curriculum teaches students that equality is bad, and white people are racists, born to lives of privilege, who exploit non-whites through racist concepts like meritocracy, and who must experience guilt, shame, and discrimination to atone for a skin color that renders them oppressors.

DPI considers it critical that teachers are trained on how to emotionally abuse children based on their skin color and have prioritized teacher training in how to – as CRT scholar Ibram Kendi puts it – practice “present discrimination” against them.

Student achievement scores show our kids are losing ground academically, but DPI is focused on indoctrinating kids to believe in the morally repugnant concept that their skin color alone dictates their worth and behavior. It’s more important to DPI that white kids believe they were born white supremacists than it is that kids of every race can read or do math.

And that’s CRT in a nutshell.

#6 – Tony Evers is a unifying tax-cutter who brought Republicans and Democrats together to deliver tax relief.

Tony Evers is consistent on three things: he wants more criminals on the streets, he wants more money dumped into failing schools, and he wants to raise taxes – gas taxes, income taxes, property taxes, you name it. All. The. Taxes.

The first bill he vetoed – literally – was a middle-class tax cut. Republicans reached across the aisle to deliver tax relief, perhaps naively believing Evers was serious about tax cuts to Wisconsin families. Evers smacked back on that misguided assumption hard. And followed the veto with a budget that raised general fund taxes $1.3 billion. He said that the hikes were “small” and patted himself on the back for being “pretty close” to his no tax hike pledge. And two years later, Evers pushed out another $2 billion tax hike.

That’s what makes his whole claim to tax-cutting fame preposterous. But he goes even further, saying be brought both parties together to do so. We’ve already fact-checked this patently absurd claim, but the largely non-existent relationship between the governor and legislative leaders was common knowledge, and widely reported.

Evers vetoed a third of the bills sent to him, many of them bi-partisan. The governor is nothing if not a rank partisan, and the contention he’s a tax-cutting uniter is nothing if not a blatant falsehood.

#5 – Mandela Barnes claiming he never supported defunding the police or abolishing ICE

All the instances where Barnes expressed his support for defunding police and abolishing ICE would take up all the column space available for this Top 10 list. And then some. They netted Barnes huge support from wealthy donors who want to upend law and order in the US.

It wasn’t until those views became a liability with voters that he (or perhaps his handlers) started to nuance/fudge his position.

Barnes made clear his support for defunding the police: he called police an “occupying force” and said police defunding wasn’t necessarily aggressive, and that the money could be better spent elsewhere, like social workers.

On ICE, Barnes used social media to beg for Abolish Ice swag from the Socialist party, and praised social media posts calling ICE ‘modern-day slave catchers’ and calling for its abolition. He told his supporters in Voces de la Frontera (who favor abolishing ICE) that he was “bringing science back,” because the “wrong ICE is melting.” And he went out of his way to attend an Abolish Ice protest.

More than just lies, Barnes’ strong denials of his obviously deeply held convictions reveal a politician who will say whatever he thinks his current audience wants to hear.

#4 – Wisconsin Election Commissioner Ann Jacobs’ assertion that local clerks could continue to alter information on previously certified and witnessed absentee ballot envelopes.

The Wisconsin Election Commission (WEC) had put out guidance that conflicted with the statute, advising clerks they could unilaterally make alterations to certified absentee ballot envelopes. The legislative committee charged with overseeing agency compliance with state law voted to suspend WEC’s guidance stating otherwise, and immediately afterward, Commissioner Jacobs – an attorney – took to social media.

Jacobs not only claimed that state law has no effect if a state agency decides otherwise, and to demand reporters alter their stories to reflect Jacob’s mindboggling claim that local election clerks may violate state law and alter ballot certifications.

It took a court order to stop the attorney and commissioner from inciting local clerks to violate the law, compromise the fairness and integrity of absentee voting, and bullying the press to print her flawed interpretation of statutes as fact.

#3 – Superintendent Jill Underly’s Lies of Omission

Superintendent Jill Underly, the woman who put her own children in private schools when the public school district they moved to was diverse but had dismal performance, has spent her tenure pushing diversity and ignoring performance in public schools.

Now, after secretly rigging the school report card scores to make failing schools get a passing grade, pushing CRT principles and curricula into classrooms while claiming CRT is imaginary, and presiding over the plummeting of student achievement scores, she refuses to acknowledge declining achievement and says parents shouldn’t meddle with the education “experts” who knows what is best for kids.

Underly’s 2022 State of Education Address mentioned the racial achievement gap, but not low overall student achievement. She mentioned test scores twice, only to say they were meaningless. She mentioned diversity 3 times, the LBBTQ+ community 3 times, affirming “identities” 3 times, and equity 4 times, but never once mentioned learning loss.

Underly referenced racism, but not math; libraries, but not the inability of the majority of students to read at grade level. Underly clearly revealed her priorities for our kids, and they do not include basic subject matter proficiency.

The speech was kicked off with a statement read to the crowd acknowledging that the state capitol is occupying land forcibly and violently taken from native Americans centuries ago, centuries of racism, colonization, and oppression, and policies that currently affect tribal nations. But there was no acknowledgment that DPI and the education establishment, led by Underly, are forcibly destroying the future of our children through politicized policies of educational violence that deprive children of literacy in basic subjects.

#2 Tony Evers claims Wisconsin’s education system has improved under his administration and is now 8th best in the nation.

The truth: When Evers became governor, student achievement wasn’t anything to brag about, and since then it got much, much worse. The majority of Wisconsin students cannot do grade-level work in basic subjects of reading and math. Nearly 60% of Wisconsin students are failing in reading, and 58% are failing in math.

Yet despite this reality, Evers has persisted in bragging about how he is personally responsible for the awesome state of our schools. He cited the discredited US News rankings to support his ‘Education Victory Tour’ brags – rankings so flawed that Ivy League colleges are refusing to participate in the ranking schemes.

Student achievement was the centerpiece of Evers’ campaign, ad after ad touting how great our kids are doing, all because of Tony Evers.

But the reality is that our kids are falling farther behind. And our governor is content to ignore how the school system is failing hundreds of thousands of kids, impacting their future careers because acknowledging the problems might hurt his political career.

#1 – Evers’ Department of Veterans Affairs claims that “our Veterans Homes are among the best in the country, boasting an excellent safety record and the highest quality of care ratings.”

Alarming stories of risks to the health and safety of Wisconsin veterans and staff at the state’s Union Grove Veterans home exposed chaos and mismanagement in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans have fled the home in the wake of Evers’ inability and unwillingness to address the urgent pleas of staff, veterans and their families about conditions at the home.

Internal emails expose a deeply toxic workplace being run on forced overtime, reliance on high-cost temporary staffing, and neglect of residents. While contract nursing assistants were contracted for at $90 per hour, and families are suing the department for substandard care, agency leadership was making plans to use federal pandemic funds allocated specifically to veterans’ homes to tear down buildings on the campus.

The Union Grove home is among the worst veterans homes in the nation with among the top 5 homes with the most violations and fines, from regulators. Evers’ DVA rejected federal assistance from the Trump Administration early in the pandemic, putting veterans at risk. His Secretary and leadership team at the department have ignored the needs of the veterans, leading to the census declining by half, taxpayers footing the bill for huge fines, and our veterans suffering substandard care.

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