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VOTE: Walker's worst ideas? PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Tammy Baldwin, Senator from Wisconsin   
Sunday, 07 February 2016 12:23

scott-walkerMADISON - Wisconsinites have a celebrated history of progressivism. We value civic engagement and activism. We believe in the power of regular people and government’s role in improving and protecting the lives of citizens.

But after six years under Governor Walker’s failed leadership, many of the values Wisconsinites hold dear are being eroded and undermined.

Today we want you to tell us which of Governor Walker’s policies you think are the most harmful to Wisconsinites.

Was it his attempts to...

  1. Rollback worker protections
  2. Make it more difficult to vote
  3. Infringe on a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions
  4. Cut funding from our public schools and universities
  5. Weaken government accountability measures
  6. Other
  7. All of the above

It’s no secret that Governor Walker’s drastic departure from Wisconsin’s progressive traditions has negatively impacted people across our state. But if we’re going to return to our roots and fight back against his extreme right-wing agenda, we need you to speak out.

Make sure you answer our quick survey and let us know which of Governor Walker’s policies affected you the most.

Thank you for taking the time to fill out our survey.

Last Updated on Sunday, 07 February 2016 12:34
 
Watch Those “Issue” ads! PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Sunday, 07 February 2016 11:42

rebecca-bradleyRebecca Bradley is running to keep the seat Scott Walker gave her last fall on the Wisconsin Supreme Court and she's using video from the Bradley Foundation backed Wisconsin Alliance for Reform, run by former Republican operatives, in her campaign. This coordination, which Bradley previously said she wouldn’t engage in, is now legal in Wisconsin.


MADISON - You can tell election season is open in Wisconsin now because your TV screens and your mailboxes are starting to fill up with bogus “issue” ads.

The first group out of the gate is the Wisconsin Alliance for Reform, run by former Republican operatives. They’ve put together an ad that praises Rebecca Bradley, who is running to keep the seat Scott Walker gave her last fall on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. And they’ve even used video from Bradley’s campaign itself. This coordination, which Bradley previously said she wouldn’t engage in, is now legal in Wisconsin, by the way.

Group’s “issue ad” cribs from Supreme Court candidate’s campaign

And we just got a call today from one of our members who got a mailing from this same group that cast aspersions on Iowa County DA Larry Nelson, who is running for circuit court judge.

If you see an “issue” ad from any group, please contact us.

The best way to do so is to go to our Hijack Hotline on our website.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding the online reporting form or would rather discuss the details directly: (608) 255-4260.

Speaking of Larry Nelson, he’s one of the three district attorneys who recently joined the John Doe II case and is trying to appeal the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling in the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Now those who were being investigated by the John Doe are trying to block any such appeal, as we wrote here:

John Doe opponents try to block path to U.S. Supreme Court

One other issue we’re following closely is the outrageous effort to loosen the restrictions on high-capacity wells that factory farms use. The latest twist is that Speaker Robin Vos has urged AG Brad Schimel to intervene and overrule the DNR on this one. Turns out Schimel has gotten money from some of the biggest factory farm owners, as we show here:

Schimel to rule on wells after getting contributions from factory farms

You never know what they’ll come up with next! But you can count on us to expose it.

 
Walker Turns Back on Pardons PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Lena Taylor, State Senator, 4th District   
Sunday, 07 February 2016 11:12

scottwalker-dreamMILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Constitution states, “The governor shall have power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, after conviction…” Yet, the only person in the entire state who has the power to grant a pardon, Governor Scott Walker, has refused to do so. It is appalling that someone who has taken an oath to honor the constitution would deliberately evade their responsibilities as the leader of our state.

Republican Governor Tommy Thompson issued 148 pardons during his years in office. Democratic Governor Jim Doyle issued nearly 300 pardons. But it's not about how many people get a pardon. It's about the principle. The duty of the government is to serve its people first and foremost, and we cannot do that without first lending our ears. If we do not even listen to those who have served their sentence and repented their crimes, we deny them an opportunity for full rehabilitation and restoration of their citizenship.

I have recently introduced a bill to create an independent pardon council. This bill would create a panel of nine judges from around the state to consider each application for a pardon and make recommendations to the governor and the legislature. Although Walker has been neglectful to his people, this bill would allow hundreds to have their voice heard and allow them to get another chance.

 
Is what’s good for your 401K good for democracy? PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Monday, 01 February 2016 16:50

money-hording

Are the strategies we’ve employed for building retirement nest eggs transferable to self-government? Is a democratic republic compatible with the political industrial complex? Is it possible for the ordinary citizen to reclaim a meaningful and influential role in the political system?


ALTOONA, WI - Mutual funds exist for good reasons. When people are saving up for retirement, if they are lucky and if they are smart they have something more than what they’ve paid in to Social Security. Maybe they have a 401(k). Or maybe a 403(b). Or an IRA of some kind. Or a SEP. Whatever they have, they typically don’t have enough time on their hands to research where best to invest the funds or to execute the transactions. Nor do most of us feel qualified to manage these accounts.

mike-mccabeSo we put our money in a mutual fund, in the hands of professional money managers. This way, you can invest your money without the time or the experience needed to invest wisely. Theoretically at least, you should get a better return by giving your money to a professional than you would if you chose investments yourself. There is still risk. There’s always risk. But it beats stuffing your life’s savings in a mattress.

For roughly the same reasons, politics has largely been handed over to professionals. As populations continue to grow and life gets more complicated and communications technologies become more advanced and demanding, it is more and more challenging for someone with a life outside of politics to be an active and involved citizen. Increasingly, people who don’t practice politics for a living feel they have neither the time nor the qualifications to be actively engaged. Consequently, democracy has been outsourced to professional managers. A vast political consulting industry has  enveloped our political system, and it has become a multi-billion dollar racket.

There are survey research professionals to measure public opinion. There are messaging professionals to write scripts and put words in the mouths of candidates for office and elected officials. There are marketing professionals who sell policies and politicians the way beer and potato chips are sold. There are electioneering professionals who turn voter identification, persuasion and turnout into an intricate, algorithmic science. There are policy professionals who sit in offices on one coast and write laws for states and local communities on the other side of the country and all points in between. And, of course, there are the professional money managers who make sure all the consulting fees get paid and the obscene profits get turned.

All of this begs a number of questions:

Are the strategies we’ve employed for building retirement nest eggs transferable to self-government?

Is a democratic republic compatible with the political industrial complex?

Is it possible for the ordinary citizen – the amateur – to reclaim a meaningful and influential role in a political system presently overrun by professionals?

My answers:

No.

Absolutely not.

It has to be. The alternative is too dismal a fate.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2016 17:06
 
Attacking Planned Parenthood Is Attacking Women PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Chris Taylor, State Rep. 76th Assembly   
Monday, 01 February 2016 10:42

women's healthThe Wisconsin Senate passed SB 238/AB 311 last week, a bill that could effectively shut down one of Wisconsin’s oldest and most trusted women’s health care centers, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. Republicans fueled their arguments with misleading and untrue videos released last summer, but this is really about women having the ability to control their own destiny, free from intrusive politicians who think they know better.


MADISON - Last week, the Wisconsin Senate passed yet another bill, SB 238/AB 311, aimed at shutting down one of Wisconsin’s oldest, largest and most trusted women’s health care centers, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI). This most recent attack on women’s health care will make it more difficult and expensive for health centers to provide birth control and other critical health care services to Wisconsin’s women. This disastrous legislation creates a double standard among health care providers and treats the women they serve as second-class citizens.

SB 238/AB 311 requires certain reproductive health centers to bill Medicaid for the actual acquisition costs and dispensing fees for prescription drugs. In Wisconsin, there are over 700 hospitals, clinics, hemophilia centers, and HIV/AIDS organizations that are 340B covered entities. Of those 700 hospitals and clinics, PPWI is the only health care provider who will experience a slash in reimbursement prices.

Though Republicans attempted to fuel their obsession with shutting down Planned Parenthood with heavily edited and misleading videos released this summer, reality struck this week when a Texas grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing and indicted the creators of the videos for paying money for fetal parts. In fact, officials in 10 other states have cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing and another 8 have declined to investigate due to a complete lack of evidence.

Make no mistake, when this legislature attacks PPWI, they are really attacking women’s ability to access life-saving health care, to plan and space pregnancies, and to decide for themselves if and when they become parents. At the end of the day this struggle over reproductive health care is really about women having the ability to control their own destiny, free from intrusive politicians who think they know better.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2016 11:17
 
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