Saturday August 17, 2019

Forward with Education & Reason

FacebookTwitterYoutube
Newsletter
Feeds:
Commentary
Wisc Democracy Campaign "Judges for Sale" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Friday, 13 January 2017 14:06

judgementJudges weigh in on Supreme Court recural rules, judicial raises, ALEC bill to protect special interests, and GOP efforts to repeal state’s mining moratorium.


MADISON - The corruption in the Wisconsin court system has gotten so bad that 54 former judges this week wrote the Wisconsin Supreme Court, urging the justices to change their permissive rule on recusal. Here’s what they said:

matt-rothschildDozens of retired judges ask Wisconsin Supreme Court for new campaign donor recusal rules

Ironically, the major political players in Wisconsin’s business community, having spent millions of dollars to elect conservative judges, now want you, the Wisconsin taxpayer, to give them a big raise. Talk about chutzpah! And remember, these bigwigs oppose raising the minimum wage for working people.

Here’s what we wrote on this:

Big money groups back pay raise for judges

Wisconsin GOP lawmakers, in hoc to these same bigwigs, have just proposed a new bill that would make it even more difficult to regulate businesses in Wisconsin. This bill is – surprise, surprise! – modeled after one by the American Legislative Exchange Council:

GOP lawmakers offer ALEC bill to protect special interests from regulations

And Senator Tom Tiffany, one of big business’s best friends in the legislature, is proposing a bill to lift the mining moratorium in Wisconsin:

GOP lawmaker wants to repeal state’s mining moratorium

Those in power in Wisconsin are moving fast to reward their campaign contributors and impose their ideology, which says, “Everything private is good, and everything public is bad.” And in Washington, Trump may do to the country what Walker has done to Wisconsin. (Walker has actually urged him to do exactly that!)

So for believers in democracy and clean government, like you and I, this is a trying time.

But I remain hopeful because I know history is not static, and I see so many good people, right here in Wisconsin, doing so much good work behind the scenes and in the streets.

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

*****

P.S. Tomorrow I’ll be going to the Rally for Immigrant and Refugee Rights in Milwaukee, starting at 11:00 a.m. at 1027 S. 5th St. If you’re near there, I hope you can make it.

Last Updated on Friday, 13 January 2017 14:30
 
Blue Jean Nation "A canary in the castle" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Wednesday, 11 January 2017 16:37

canary in coal mineWe have a new president who modeled his gold-plated New York City penthouse after Versailles. Wisconsin is a shadow of its former self. We’ve got so much more in us than we are showing today.


ALTOONA, WI - Heard it said the other day that America is about to have its 45th president and first king. What’s undeniable is a new Gilded Age has dawned. Literally. We have a new president who modeled his gold-plated New York City penthouse after the Palace of Versailles in France, making a mansion as grand as the White House a big step down in terms of luxury.

melania_trump_gold_trump_towerMeanwhile, large segments of the nation’s population are feeling left behind, struggling to make ends meet and watching their standard of living erode. Places like Wisconsin have more than their share of people in this predicament. Wisconsin is to the nation what canaries are to coal miners. What’s been happening to Wisconsin is a signal that there’s something toxic about current conditions in our country.

Wisconsin is a shadow of its former self. Once known as a beacon of clean and open government, that reputation is no longer deserved. Once an industrial powerhouse, the state now leads the nation in shrinkage of the middle class and is dead last in new business start-ups. Long known as “America’s Dairyland,” the state continues to lose farms at an alarming rate. Wisconsin ranks 49th in the nation in Internet speed and has crumbling roads, yet foolishly turned away well over a billion dollars in federal money that could have been used to modernize transportation in the state and expand access to everything from health care to 21st Century information and communications technologies.

Wisconsin proved crucial to Trump’s election, providing him with a narrow victory in a state that hasn’t gone for a Republican for president since 1984. Wisconsin voters didn’t choose Trump because they liked him. He is deeply unpopular in the state. People in these parts have a reputation for “Wisconsin nice.” Nobody is too big for their britches. Nobody acts the way Trump acts and nobody treats people the way Trump treats them.

People here know there is something the matter with the man, something seriously wrong with him. They voted for him anyway because they are desperate. They chose him because they intensely disliked their choices in the election and voted for the candidate they believed was most likely to violently shake up a system they feel is rigged against them. They are hoping against hope for change.

Wisconsin has lost a lot, and its people are starving for a vision of what it can become. The kind of vision that invokes rural traditions like barn raisings to make the point that we are all in this together and need to be there for each other. A vision that speaks to the need to create an economy that is of the people, by the people and for the people . . . an economy where if you work you won’t be poor. A vision that rejects failed feed-the-rich policies that make up what has been described as “trickle-down economics” but should rightly be called “golden shower economics.”

The times cry out for an unwavering commitment to creating living wages, making education as affordable and accessible for our kids and grandkids as past generations made it for us, and bringing high-speed Internet and mobile phone service to every doorstep in Wisconsin. A bright future for Wisconsin is one where no community should have to close a local school, where no small town should have to consider turning paved roads back into gravel because it can’t afford to maintain the pavement, where no one anywhere should turn on a water faucet and be afraid to drink what comes out.

Wisconsin needs to dream. Dream about how to become America’s renewable energy capital. Dream about being a laboratory of democracy again. Dream about how to be first in the nation, like we’ve been so many times before.

Wisconsin is a shadow of its former self. Becoming great again will require the pioneering spirit we used to be known for. That spirit has been missing for some time now. We’ve got so much more in us than we are showing today.

— Mike McCabe

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 January 2017 16:54
 
Have Veterans Damaged Their Future Health by Voting for Trump? PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Buzz Davis, Army Veteran & Activist   
Saturday, 07 January 2017 14:00

veteranAcross the country, 61% of veterans who voted chose Trump over Clinton. But how will a Trump - Republican administration affect the VA healthcare system which 7 million vets depend on for all or part of their medical care?

Last Updated on Saturday, 07 January 2017 15:00
Read more...
 
WI Democracy Campaign "Betsy DeVos in Wis!" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Friday, 06 January 2017 16:29

matthew_rothschildMADISON - Happy New Year! I hope you had an enjoyable holiday.

We got right back into the swing of things here, posting some interesting articles for you, which I hope you’ll like.

betsy-devosOur “Influence Peddler of the Month” is none other than Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee to head up the Department of Education. You can see how she’s been trying to destroy public education in Wisconsin here:

Influence peddler of the month - Betsy DeVos

We also uncovered some news about a timber company, based in Atlanta, that’s gobbling up land in Wisconsin and throwing its weight around:

Meteor Timber's power game in Wisconsin

And I wrote a column denouncing Sen. Tom Tiffany and Rep. Adam Jarchow for a recent tirade they wrote about “so-called environmentalists”:

Tiffany and Jarchow’s bad defense of their pro-polluter records

As far as good news, Sen. Dave Hansen has floated a legislative proposal that would end the practice of partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin:

Dems to offer proposal for new redistricting process

I’m sure we’ll have more for you next week.

Till then, all the best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Friday, 06 January 2017 17:37
 
Blue Jean Nation "The data trap" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Thursday, 05 January 2017 11:47

voter-dataTo hear professional political operatives tell it, winning elections is all about data. They're wrong. There is a human dimension computers can't account for.


ALTOONA, WI - To hear professional political operatives tell it, winning elections is about nothing more or nothing less than mathematical calculations. It’s all about data and it’s algorithmic. You gather all kinds of data about voters, use that data to target those most likely to vote for your candidate, write a formula for reaching your “win target,” plug all the data into your formula, and out pops a victory.

Sounds great, all scientific and everything, until what pops out is a loss. The latest and most glaring example of data gone wrong is the 2016 presidential election. Clinton headquarters had the math all figured out. They shunned “persuasion” campaigning, meaning they didn’t want to waste time trying to win over voters their computers told them were not likely to support the Democratic nominee. They saw it purely and simply as a “base turnout” election. In other words, their data told them that if those identified as core Democratic supporters went to the polls and voted as expected, Hillary Clinton is elected president. In the places that mattered most, places like Michigan and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, that didn’t happen.

What they didn’t factor into their equation was Clinton’s unpopularity and her inability to persuasively communicate reasons to support her. That left her base unenthusiastic and her opponents energized.

This is not the first time voters have confounded the political mathematicians armed with all their data and their computers, nor will it be the last. In 2014, I repeatedly heard from Democratic operatives in Wisconsin that if turnout was high in the election for governor, Mary Burke would win, and if turnout was low, Scott Walker would be reelected. Voter turnout ended up being a record high for a regular election for governor in Wisconsin, and yet Walker won.

Like Team Clinton in 2016, Wisconsin Democrats concentrated on turning out their base for Burke in 2014. If their computers said you were a likely Burke voter for one reason or another, you were hounded. You got phone calls, you got emails, you got texts, you got junk mail, people knocked on your door. You got so many reminders to vote that you were ready to scream. If the Democratic algorithm didn’t have you down as a target, you were left alone. You were given no reason to think about voting for Burke. Turns out their algorithm was wrong.

There’s good reason why political algorithms are unreliable. Elections aren’t algorithmic. Politics is more art than science. How voters make decisions can’t be reduced to mathematical equations or scientific formulas. There is a human dimension computers can’t account for.

Elections are about representation. Voters are looking for someone who gets them, someone who is saying what they are feeling, someone who reflects their own thinking and will be at least somewhat likely to act accordingly. They look at candidates differently than computers do. They look at who a candidate is, where they’re from, what they stand for. They look for someone they can relate to, someone they feel a connection with.

No algorithm can be written to produce that.

— Mike McCabe

 
What it is Like to be a New State Legislator PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
Tuesday, 03 January 2017 15:47

wisconsinVeteran Senator Kathleen Vinehout writes about what it is like to be a newly elected legislator. Newly elected individuals sworn in as members of the Wisconsin State Senate and State Assembly face a daunting task preparing to make all the critical decisions that are required.

Read more...
 
Blue Jean Nation "Gators don’t drain swamps" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Monday, 02 January 2017 09:19

donald-trumpPresident-elect Donald Trump promised to “drain the swamp” during his campaign, but his cabinet picks represent a who's who of billionaires, conservatives, and Wall Street insiders.


ALTOONA, WI - America’s president-elect famously promised to “drain the swamp.” Surrounding himself with alligators is a curious way of going about making good on that promise. Alligators like swamps.

Donald Trump hasn’t made all of his appointments yet, but the cast of characters he’s pulled together so far has more wealth between them than the poorest one-third of American households. That’s 17 men and women who have more money than 43 million families combined.

There’s oil tycoon Rex Tillerson. Trump wants Exxon Mobil’s chief executive in charge of international diplomacy as Secretary of State.

The “king of bankruptcy” Wilbur Ross is being put in line to become Commerce secretary. If Trump gets his way, Ross’s deputy at Commerce will be Todd Ricketts, the billionaire son of the billionaire founder of the brokerage firm Ameritrade.

Linda McMahon, the billionaire co-founder of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is being tabbed to head the Small Business Administration. McMahon is Trump’s biggest single political donor, having given $7.5 million to a pro-Trump super PAC, which was more than a third of the money collected by the political action committee.

Betsy DeVos, the daughter-in-law of the founder of the home care and beauty product distributor Amway Corporation (since renamed “Quixtar”), is Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education. DeVos’s brother, Erik Prince, started the shadowy soldier-for-hire company known as Blackwater. Her qualifications to oversee the nation’s schools pretty much begin and end with her family’s lavish spending to push taxpayer-funded subsidies for private and religious schools. Anyone paying careful attention to elections in Wisconsin should be familiar with DeVos’s political handiwork. Her front group known as the American Federation for Children has poured more than $5 million into Wisconsin just since 2010 to sway state legislative races and cement legislative majorities favoring privatization of education.

Then there’s Goldman Sachs.

Trump told South Carolina voters “I know the guys at Goldman Sachs” when he was trying to talk them out of supporting Texas Senator Ted Cruz. “They have total, total control over him. Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton.”

That was then. This is now. Trump picked Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn to head up his White House National Economic Council. His choice for Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, spent 17 years working at Goldman Sachs. Trump’s chief strategist and White House counselor, Steve Bannon, started his career at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker.

Quite a crew being put to work draining the swamp. Alligators all of them.

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 January 2017 11:43
 
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign 'Shortfall!!!' PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Tuesday, 27 December 2016 11:22

wis-democracy-campaignAs we approach the end of 2016, our friends at the Democracy Campaign need your support to continue their good work.


MADISON - I hope you had a nice holiday weekend.

I’m back at work today, going over our fundraising figures for 2016, and I had hoped that we’d be further along than we are in meeting our budget, but I see that we’re $10,000 shy.

So if you and our other faithful supporters could send us a tax-deductible gift right now, we’d be in a much better position at the start of 2017 to throw our energies into the urgent task of defending our democracy, which is in peril both here in Wisconsin and now in the country. Note: Walker has actually been telling Trump to do to the country what Walker did to Wisconsin!

With your support, we’ll expose the corruption, the power grabs, and the dangerous policies, and we’ll campaign for a real democracy, where everyone has an equal voice and an equal chance.

You can send your tax-deductible gift electronically when you click here or you can mail it in, as I usually do with my own donations. Our street address is 203 S. Paterson St, Suite 100, Madison WI 53703.

I look forward to hearing from you in the next few days, and to working with you in the year ahead.

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

****

The Democracy Campaign is working for a real democracy that allows the common good to prevail over narrow interests. We specialize in tracking the money in state politics and work for campaign finance reform and other democracy reforms. WDC is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and charitable contributions supporting our work are fully tax deductible.

 
Looking Back on 2016 PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
Monday, 19 December 2016 22:07

trump-clinton-debateSen. Kathleen Vinehout hopes to find common ground on the issues of concern to Wisconsinites. For the residents of the 31st Senate District, most of were related to water. People were also frustrated with the negativity of the past election cycle.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 December 2016 10:40
Read more...
 
Blue Jean Nation 'We are better than this' PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Tuesday, 13 December 2016 13:54

Franklin Delano RooseveltFDR and the greatest generation of WWII had the courage to expect freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear for the whole world. Today's Americans are just afraid.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 December 2016 14:30
Read more...
 
<< Start < Prev 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 Next > End >>

Page 46 of 60
Copyright © 2019. Green Bay Progressive. Designed by Shape5.com