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Wisconsin Democracy Campaign "What just happened???" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Wednesday, 09 November 2016 15:37

trump-clinton-debateWhy Hillary Clinton lost, what we should do now, and how to share your thoughts on our website.


MADISON - I was on the local CBS affiliate last night when the news rolled in of Donald Trump’s improbable victory, and I wanted to share with you my thoughts on the meaning of this election.

matthew_rothschildMy first response was one of shock and horror:

Good night, America!

Then I put my analytical hat on to try to figure out why Hillary Clinton lost:

What happened??? 10 reasons why Donald Trump won

And finally, I gave some thought to what we should do now:

Where to from here?

Please feel free to share your own thoughts on these subjects on our website, or you can always email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director

***

P.S. If you’re in the Madison area tomorrow night, we’re having a post-mortem at Marigold’s Kitchen from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., 118 S. Pinckney St, right off the Capitol Square. Congressman Mark Pocan and former State Senator Dale Schultz will be speaking, as will Dana Schultz of Wisconsin Voices, and I’ll be sharing my thoughts, too. It’s a fundraiser--$100 donation per person (note your attendance at the fundraiser in the donate form's comment box). Hope to see you there.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
203 South Paterson Street, Suite 100
Madison, WI 53703-3689
608-255-4260 ~ www.wisdc.org
Join us on Facebook ~ Follow us on Twitter

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 November 2016 16:05
 
Joining Hands and Respecting Difference PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District   
Monday, 07 November 2016 16:28

hands-joinedSen. Kathleen Vinehout writes about the need for a divided state and nation to join hands with people whose beliefs are different from our own to the challenges we face.

Last Updated on Monday, 07 November 2016 17:17
Read more...
 
Keeping the Faith in Troubled Times PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Buzz Davis, Army Veteran & Activist   
Sunday, 06 November 2016 08:04

voteSTOUGHTON, WI - These are troubled times. The glass is half empty and democracy is draining out of America. In a democracy the main power is the power of our vote – to throw the bums out OR to vote in folks we hope do NOT become bums. But our vote is becoming meaningless because swindlers are on the loose in both parties, while the prosecutors and courts along with elected officials sit on the side lines wringing their hands or stuffing handfuls of money in their pockets. Money dominates state and national politics – big money that expects big profits from the winners.

If you are not depressed and outraged by the last year of this pathetic democratic circus, you are not paying attention. We have two main candidates for president consumed by the greed for power and money. Everyone is a fool but them. They apparently believe the public can always be conned if big lies are repeated often enough. Many US papers read like Pravda, full of lies, during the height of the USSR empire.

But I think Studs Terkel’s book Hope Dies Last: Keeping the Faith in Troubled Times is right. We must live with hope for without it we will wither and die – emotionally, morally or physically. Only by fighting back can we sustain hope for the future. No fight – then maybe no future.

Most Americans have a great capability to say well that didn’t work, let’s try this. They hope things will be better for their kids and grandkids than they were for themselves.

Right now a couple of days before the election we can see that we have major candidates who are duds as leaders. We have an option on the ballot. We can start fresh with Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Will she win? Let me ask, would you have voted for Fighting Bob La Follette in 1924 or Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 if one of them was on the ballot as an independent next week? I would. They both fought against their own corrupt Republican Party though the Democratic Party was just as corrupt and controlled by Wall Streeters and corporations.

Many voters may have thought La Follette or Roosevelt would lose but vote for them they did. Would you be voting for Bernie Sanders as a Green Party candidate if he had chosen to join the Greens? I bet many of you would. Both Clinton and Trump are pro war. Obama was anti-war until he sat in the Oval Office. Sanders now says vote your fear of Trump by voting for Clinton. Then after she’s in the White House we’ll pressure her to change her policies which will be like pressuring a tiger to change its stripes.

If you wish to live by fear and false hope, the choice is yours.

But if you wish to make a positive statement on the direction America needs to go, then vote Green. Help build a third party that will hopefully in 2020 and beyond start actually building a new America rather talk about doing so for decades. Who knows America with a Green president may even stop all the illegal wars, killing, destruction, torture and spying Bush, Cheney and Obama became ‘so good at’ or should that be ‘so bad at”?

In this election November 8th, as in life, you can choose to do nothing, to go with the crowd or to fight back to protect your principles. The choice is yours, so please vote while you still HAVE the right to vote in this county.

 
How Vets Vote Will Determine Whether VA Healthcare is Privatized PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Buzz Davis, Army Veteran & Activist   
Monday, 31 October 2016 10:43

veteransIt Depends on Whether Republicans Maintain Control of Both House & Senate! Republican Congressional members are interested in PRIVATIZING the VA, veterans are NOT.


STOUGHTON, WI - Within days over 22 million veterans will have the opportunity to vote in America. How veterans vote for Congressional candidates will be a key factor as to whether the House or Senate flips from Republican control to Democratic control.

Why? Because in 2014 over 54%, or nearly 12 million, vets voted. This is a far higher percentage than the number of non-vets who voted (41%). It is likely that the 12 million vets and their 12 million or more voting family members comprised over 26% of all the votes cast in 2014! Vets and their family members count big in American politics.

In 2014 6 out of 10 vets voted Republican. With the help of veterans, Republicans expanded their majority in the House and gained control of the Senate with the result bringing near political grid lock for the last two years.

What is stunning is that most of those Republican Congressional members are interested in PRIVATIZING the health care vets receive from VA hospitals across America.

Yet veterans themselves DO NOT WANT THEIR VA HEALTHCARE PRIVATIZED.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 November 2016 11:28
Read more...
 
Blue Jean Nation "An election without winners?" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Friday, 28 October 2016 14:18

sick-partiesThis election may end with both of the parties in splinters, leaving American politics more up in the air than it has been in living memory.


ALTOONA, WI - Someone will be elected. But it’s possible no one will win.

In a presidential election featuring the two most unpopular major party nominees ever, it looks increasingly likely that Hillary Clinton will become our next president. It’s just as likely that winning the White House will actually hurt the Democrats’ overall standing with the public.

Some hate Hillary. Some can’t stand Bill. Some don’t care for political dynasties and resent another Clinton presidency. Some despise Democrats in general. Some are turned off by how the Democratic establishment treated Bernie Sanders’ candidacy as an unwelcome intrusion and stacked the deck to assure Hillary got the party’s nomination. Some are just exasperated by the choice they were given, between two intensely disliked celebrities. Some are in an anti-establishment mood and see Hillary as the living embodiment of the political establishment. All will hold it against the Democrats for not showing any respect for these kinds of feelings.

There is a very real possibility either or both of the parties could splinter.

Today’s Republican Party has become an uneasy alliance of wealthy capitalists, the religious right and working-class whites. What these three factions want the party to be is very different, and keeping any of them satisfied without granting them their every wish is growing more challenging by the day. Lose any of them and the party’s governing majority across the country starts to crumble.

In cobbling together this fragile coalition of strangers, Republican leaders and right-wing media personalities created a monster that has gone on a rampage and is tearing their party limb from limb. Both Wall Street and Main Street Republicans have to be hoping and praying for Trump to lose. It will be hard enough to stitch the mangled body back together if Trump goes down to defeat. If Trump wins, it’s his party. That would be the death of it.

The Democratic Party has lost much of its blue-collar following and is now left with a composite of highly educated professionals, racial minorities and progressive populists. The party’s leadership clearly has cast its lot with the professional class, as evidenced by the favored status of corporate Democrats like the Clintons within the party, and has actively sought to snuff out populist impulses. The teens and twenty-somethings of the millennial generation — the party’s future — were outraged by what party insiders did to sabotage the Sanders campaign. Sanders won far more votes from millennials than Clinton and Trump combined, and these young voters will not soon forget how the skids were greased for Clinton. Minority voters are taken for granted, but young black millennials in particular appear to be increasingly questioning their elders’ loyalty to the Democrats. All of this leaves the Democratic Party vulnerable to upheaval or even disintegration as well.

All of this leaves American politics more up in the air than it has been in living memory.

— Mike McCabe

****

Mike McCabe is the founder and president of Blue Jean Nation and author of Blue Jeans in High Places: The Coming Makeover of American Politics. Mike wants to hear from you.
Blue Jean Nation, P.O. Box 70788, Madison, WI 53707
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Phone: 608-443-6086
http://www.BlueJeanNation.com/

Last Updated on Friday, 28 October 2016 14:36
 
A Crucial Vote You Haven’t Heard About PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Tuesday, 25 October 2016 09:09

mta-madisonMADISON - For a while now, I’ve been trying to interest reporters in Wisconsin in one of the most under-covered story of the last year: the fact that we now have 78 communities – second only to Massachusetts – that have voted overwhelmingly that they want to amend the U.S. Constitution to proclaim that corporations aren’t persons and money isn’t speech.

On Nov. 8, Wisconsin citizens in 19 more communities can express themselves on this vital idea. Check it out here:

A crucial vote November 8 you haven’t heard about

In another promising development on the reform front, Assembly Democrats held a press conference last week laying out their ideas for redoing the disastrous campaign finance bill that passed last fall. We’ve added a couple of our own ideas, as you’ll see here:

Assembly Dems point way toward reform

Meanwhile, we keep reporting on the role of big money here in Wisconsin.

For instance, we discovered that outside groups – from the left and the right -- are outspending the candidates themselves by a long shot:

Special interest electioneering groups outspending legislative candidates

We also found out that an outside group that was created for Gov. Walker’s failed presidential run is still bringing in money, including $100,000 from one New York company:

Who’s still donating big bucks to Walker’s presidential support group?

And we noted that the vast majority of Republican legislators received a 100% on their report cards from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce:

WMC honors legislators in its pocket

I hope this info is useful – or at least mildly interesting – to you.

Talk to you soon.

****

Matt Rothschild is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a non-partisan nonprofit watchdog group now in it's third decade of working for clean, open and honest government and reforms that make people matter more than money in politics.
Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, 203 South Paterson Street, Suite 100, Madison, WI 53703-3689, 608-255-4260, http://www.wisdc.org

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 October 2016 09:35
 
What Do Rigged Elections Really Look Like? PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by John N. Powers, Wittenberg   
Monday, 24 October 2016 10:15

capitol-nightPower to draw new legislative district boundaries after 2010 election gave GOP 60% of State Assembly seats with only 46% of the votes and resulted in restrictive voter ID laws, environmental laws written by corporate lobbyists, John Doe changes to protect politicians and attacks on labor.

Read more...
 
Blue Jean Nation "So long Abe" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 11:48

lincoln-walks-awayLincoln defined government as “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We need Lincoln’s spirit now more than ever.


ALTOONA, WI - No dictionary ever captured the essence of democracy’s meaning better than Abe Lincoln did in his legendary Gettysburg Address. Lincoln defined it as government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

For a century and a half after the Civil War the Republican Party was the party of Lincoln. Today’s GOP, however, has separated from Lincoln and the relationship seems destined to end in divorce. Modern-day Republicans have rejected Lincoln’s commitment to equality as they flirted for decades before eventually jumping in bed with white supremacy. They also have renounced Lincoln’s idea of democracy. For years now the likes of Rush Limbaugh have been saying over and over again that America is a republic, not a democracy. And dittoheads across the country dutifully repeat the mantra.

It’s silly to argue over whether America is one or the other when we were so obviously intended to be both. The U.S. was set up to be a democratic republic. The republic the founders gave us also can accurately be described as a representative democracy or a constitutional democracy. The founders wisely and ingeniously struck a balance between majority rule by elected representatives of the people and protection of individual and minority rights by rule of constitutional law. To say we are a republic but not a democracy is to not only disregard the true meaning of these words but also to disrespect the founders’ delicate balancing act.

They understandably wanted no more to do with monarchy and sought to replace a king’s rule with democracy. But they also were rightly fearful of mob rule and felt the need to temper the democratic will with “inalienable” rights for individuals that could not be voted out of existence. They did a better job designing the system than we have done taking care of it. While some among us waste time bickering about whether America is a republic or a democracy, evidence mounts that we may no longer be worthy of either name.

At a time when the republic faced perhaps the greatest threat to its continued existence, Lincoln gave the country not only the perfect definition of democracy but also reason to believe a new birth of freedom in America was possible. In our time, all of us — whether Republican, Democrat, independent or something else — need to channel our inner Lincolns and dedicate ourselves to a new birth of democracy and equality. We need to figure out how to restore government of the people, by the people and for the people. We need to imagine an economy that is of the people, by the people and for the people and strive to make it so.

We need Lincoln’s spirit now more than ever. The party of Lincoln has waved goodbye to Abe. The rest of us need to summon him back.

— Mike McCabe

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 October 2016 12:01
 
Lying In The Bed You Made - Blue Jean Nation PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Friday, 14 October 2016 11:08

bed-nailsConservative Republicans and talk radio hosts are falling over each other in their effort to distance themselves from Donald Trump, but as parents have been saying for generations, you made your bed and now you’ve got to lie in it.


ALTOONA, WI - A weird political year got weirder still when the flamboyant conservative radio and TV personality Glenn Beck said voting against Donald Trump is the “moral, ethical choice” even if it means Hillary Clinton is elected president.

Charlie SykesBeck is hardly alone among conservative pundits having pangs of conscience about what the Republican Party is turning into. Milwaukee’s conservative radio host Charlie Sykes recently owned up to his role in creating an environment where the likes of Trump could thrive, acknowledging that he and other right-wing media personalities have “created this monster.” And then Sykes announced he is ending his radio show.

Most of Sykes’ conservative media peers have gone to great lengths to deflect responsibility. Acting as if he and right-wing commentators like him had no hand in making the Frankenstein that is now laying waste to the GOP, Jonah Goldberg self-righteously proclaims Donald Trump’s supporters “oblivious to the fact that he needs more than his base to win. And once again, conservatives who’ve made a career thumping their chests or their Bibles about the importance of character and morality found themselves making excuses for a man who personifies everything they claimed to oppose.”

Other conservative heavyweights like George Will and David Brooks also have expressed horror in recent days at the ugly turn American conservatism has taken. Brooks says “Trump breaks his own world record for being appalling on a weekly basis” and his “performances look like primate dominance displays — filled with chest beating and looming growls. But at least primates have bands to connect with, whereas Trump is so alone, if a tree fell in his emotional forest, it would not make a sound.”

Brooks concludes: “It’s all so pathetic.”

Will calls Trump an “arrested-development adolescent” with “feral appetites and deranged sense of entitlement.” He goes on to say Trump is a “marvelously efficient acid bath, stripping away his supporters’ surfaces, exposing their skeletal essences” without displaying a hint of awareness of his own culpability as an intellectual architect of modern “conservatism” that has now morphed into Trumpism.

Will then grasps for straws, wishfully speculating that maybe “Trump is the GOP’s chemotherapy, a nauseating but, if carried through to completion, perhaps a curative experience.”

As parents have been saying for generations, you made your bed and now you’ve got to lie in it.

That would be all well and good, if not for the fact that the rest of us are going to have to suffer the side effects of their sleep disorders.

— Mike McCabe

 
Paul Ryan, Donald Trump Push Ayn Rand Philosophy Of Selfishness, Divisiveness PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Solen for Congress, Lauren Young   
Friday, 07 October 2016 12:20

donald-trump-thumbs-upDownplay service, sacrifice. Decisions made from Rand’s selfish philosophy that the “noblest activity” is to “pursue your own happiness as your highest moral aim.”


MOUNT PLEASANT, WI - Dorothy Parker wrote that Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, “is not a novel that should be thrown aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

Unfortunately, Paul Ryan did not hurl the poorly written Atlas Shrugged with great force. Every decision he makes comes from Rand’s selfish philosophy: that the “noblest activity” is to “pursue your own happiness as your highest moral aim.”

paul-ryan-speakerPaul Ryan thinks his noble purpose is Paul Ryan, something exemplified by his gathering of political power at the expense of both his constituents in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District and the rest of the Americans who have been denied important legislation because of the Speaker’s commitment to party politics and obstructing Democrats in general and President Obama in particular.

ryan-solen-in-armyOn the other hand, Ryan Solen, Paul Ryan’s Democrat opponent, has made his way in the world trying to do good for others. Solen served his country for eight years in the United States Army, including a deployment to Iraq. He puts his wife and four children ahead of himself and he is running for Congress not for political power but to help the nation in a meaningful way. In fact, his promise to the voters in the district is to work to enact term limits in Congress to prevent career politicians who legislate as a means to getting reelected. Solen proposes that House members serve six two-year terms for a total of twelve years and that Senators serve two six-year terms for the same total of twelve years. Ryan Solen has pledged to serve only twelve years in the House regardless of whether he is able to pass term limits.

Paul Ryan’s devotion to Rand is not news. What is news is that Donald Trump, too, describes himself as an Ayn Rand fan. He said The Fountainhead, “relates to business (and) beauty (and) life and inner emotions. That book relates to … everything.” That book that is, incidentally, shelved in the Fiction section.

Paul Ryan and Donald Trump’s perception of people are sadly identical. They believe in the divisive idea that there are only “looters” and “makers.”

Paul Ryan now tries to distance himself from Rand. He can’t. His most recent budget proposal is to cut food stamps to people in job training programs and higher education. He wants to cut benefits to the “looters”— veterans, the poor, the elderly, and the disabled. This is the opposite of how Ryan Solen plans to legislate. Solen is more concerned with, among other things, balancing the federal budget so that we can use the interest we had been playing towards improving our education system from kindergarten through college.

Paul Ryan wants to give the money to those who need it the least: the “makers”—the wealthy and his political donors.

Like Donald Trump, Paul Ryan cares only about Paul Ryan. The most important question in the November 8 election is not, “Who is John Galt?” Nor is the question, “Who is Donald Trump?”

The question is, “Who is Paul Ryan?”

Voters should consider that carefully and choose Ryan Solen who supports everyone.

***

Ryan Solen is an Army veteran of the war in Iraq and is seeking to represent Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District. He is a Digital Forensic Specialist and Computer Security Analyst. He is a married father of four and enjoys reading, writing, doing karate with his family, and relieves stress with his vintage Lego collection.

He is the Wisconsin Democratic Party’s Nominee to run for the U.S. House of Representatives to replace Paul Ryan. For more information, please visit www.solenforcongress.com.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 October 2016 12:54
 
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