Saturday April 29, 2017

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‘Alt facts’ Promote Fear of Foreigners

Posted by Laura Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Laura Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Laura Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive has not set their biography yet
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on Sunday, 26 March 2017
in Wisconsin

statue-of-libertyDon't let baseless fear and lies stand between us and our new neighbors and friends.


HOWARD - These days there are so many “alternative facts” being generated for the sole purpose of making people afraid. Especially troubling to me is the fear of foreigners. The belief that refugees and immigrants are dangerous. Although fears are not new, they are based on misinformation and lies. It’s untrue that refugees are not screened before entering the country, and that banning them will keep the U.S. safe from terror. Refugees undergo more rigorous screenings than any other individuals the government allows in the U.S. As a matter of fact, we know that in the past 30 years not a single death in the U.S. has been attributed to people from the countries covered by Trump’s unconstitutional executive orders banning Muslims.

It’s untrue that immigrants are violent or criminal. In actuality, immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than native-born citizens. Research shows higher levels of immigration may even have contributed to the historic drop in crime rates. It’s untrue that immigrants don’t want to learn English. Over 50 percent of first-generation immigrants speak English “well” or “very well,” and more immigrants want to learn English than classes can accommodate.

It’s untrue immigrants and refugees are somehow not like us. They’re students in search of an education. They’re families trying to make ends meet. They’re our neighbors, our friends.

They’re Americans.

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History of Gov. Walker's Record On Job Creation

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is a Founding Partner and Publisher of the N.E. Wisconsin - Green Ba
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on Saturday, 25 March 2017
in Wisconsin

walkerGovernor Scott Walker talks a lot about jobs, but the real record does not back up his rhetoric.


GREEN BAY - From the day he took office as Governor, Scott Walker has been talking about jobs. He wants to be seen as the jobs governor, taking credit here for the economic turnaround nationwide after the disastrous crash of 2008. It seems that every time somebody hires more than three workers in Northeastern Wisconsin, Walker shows up to give a speech.

When he ran in 2010, he promised to create 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin during his first term, and it was an elusive goal. His strategy was tax cuts for the rich and union busting, with his own state employes and public school teachers his favorite targets. Now, well into his second term, Wisconsin still flounders behind our neighbor states and his jobs goal has not been met.

So, what is the real record on Walker and jobs? Below is a brief history of Gov. Scott Walker's record on job creation, courtesy of Brandon Weathersby of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin 2nd in U.S. in job losses last month, new estimates show
Wisconsin was second in the nation in total job losses last month, a somewhat surprising development considering the state’s unemployment rate has reached its lowest level since November 2008. Employers in Wisconsin shed an estimated 9,500 total public and private sector jobs in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported late last week. Along with North Carolina (11,300 job losses) and Alaska (2,300 job losses), Wisconsin experienced a “statistically significant” decline in employment, according to a press release from the BLS.

Wisconsin suffers fourth-highest monthly job loss under Scott Walker in August
Even as its unemployment rate dipped to its lowest level since 2008, Wisconsin lost 4,300 private-sector jobs in August, according to preliminary estimates. It's the fourth-largest monthly jobs loss since Gov. Scott Walker took office in January 2011, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Employment Statistics program. The unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a point to 5.6 percent in August, but that figure and the monthly jobs change often can be disconnected.

Frustrated Wisconsin business owner moving company to Minnesota
The owner of a Wisconsin construction company said he's taking his business to Minnesota thanks to the passage of right-to-work. The Hoffman family has been in the Wisconsin construction business for a long time. "We like to say our company got started 100 years ago this year in 1915 when my great grandfather got his first road contract,” Jim Hoffman said..."I'm happy to offer the state of Minnesota a better alternative," Garofalo said. That alternative is a state that has no right-to-work law Hoffman said the move will keep his workers well paid and well trained.

Oscar Mayer plant in Madison will close; headquarters to move to Chicago
Madison’s Oscar Mayer plant — a fixture on the East Side for nearly 100 years — will close and its headquarters will move to Chicago, putting 1,000 employees out of work, parent company Kraft Heinz announced Wednesday. 
The loss of one of Madison’s signature companies is part of a plan by parent company Kraft Heinz to close seven factories in the U.S. and Canada, four months after the two food giants merged.

Wisconsin ranks dead last in startups
According to a report issued last week by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Wisconsin is now last in the nation in new startup activity. The state fell five spots, from 45th to 50th, the report said, putting it behind West Virginia, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Alabama among the bottom five states. The top five states on the Kauffman list were Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Colorado, and Vermont.

Uncertainty growing after several Wisconsin companies announce job cuts, relocation
Almost 200 jobs are about to leave a company that has been a staple in Racine for generations. S.C. Johnson announced, Thursday, it is relocating 175 positions to Chicago. This comes after a number of other companies across the state recently announced layoffs. Joy Global in West Allis announced in September that more than 100 union and non-union workers would be temporarily laid off. Oscar Mayer is cutting nearly 1,200 jobs in Madison and General Electric announced in September it's plan to cut hundreds of jobs. When you have job loss anywhere, it's always a little uncomfortable at the onset. While not everybody is losing sleep, they may be feeling a little uncertain. Some of that uncertainty is growing in Racine after people learned of the jobs at S.C. Johnson moving to Chicago.

Wisconsin layoff notices topped 10,000 in 2015
Wisconsin employers notified the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) of 10,104 planned layoffs in 2015, a new high for Gov. Scott Walker's administration and the most in the state since 2010.

Manitowoc Company Moving To Pennsylvania, 528 Jobs Leaving Wisconsin
A major employer is closing its plant in Manitowoc, putting more than 500 employees out of work when it moves its crane manufacturing operations out of the state. The closure of Manitowoc Crane is the latest in a string of factory shutdowns that have affected the city. The company will remain open until it completes its current projects. It’s expected to close the manufacturing facility in stages beginning this year until it fully closes in 2017 when it moves. The company said it can save up to $30 million a year by leaving. It has been in Manitowoc since 1902.

Wisconsin lost 8,500 private sector jobs in September
Wisconsin lost more than 10,000 non-farm jobs in September, including 8,500 in the private sector. But the state’s unemployment rate also declined to its lowest level since early 2001, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state lost a seasonally adjusted 10,500 nonfarm jobs in during the month, including both the public and private sectors. Many of the jobs lost were in the leisure and hospitality industry with a drop of 4,000. The non-seasonally adjusted figures show the state losing 22,100 jobs in that sector alone as the summer tourism season came to an end. Labor force participation increased slightly to 68.4 percent with 3,132,300 people in the civilian labor pool. The unemployment rate was down from 4.2 to 4.1 percent, the lowest level since February 2001, according to the state Department of Workforce Development.

Why does Wisconsin lag at job creation?
It's a question that's dogged Scott Walker for years, and one that's sure to keep nipping at his heels as he runs for president: Why is Wisconsin in the bottom third of states when it comes to creating jobs? It's a perplexing question, and one that has had many observers scratching their heads. Unemployment is down, labor force participation is in line with other states. But despite his promise to create 250,000 jobs during his first term, Walker was only able to deliver about half that, leaving the Badger State with a dismal 35th place in private sector job growth rankings over the course of his first four years in office.

Wisconsin ranks 38th in private-sector job growth in 2015
Wisconsin has fallen to 38th in the country in yearly private-sector job growth. Preliminary, seasonally adjusted estimates for December, released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed that Wisconsin added 23,600 private-sector jobs in 2015 for 0.96 percent growth. By percentage, 37 states did better between December 2014 and December 2015, including all but two other Midwest states. Only Illinois at 45th (loss of 2,800 jobs, minus-0.06 percent growth) and North Dakota at 50th (loss of 18,700 jobs, minus-4.8 percent growth) were lower among the 10-state Midwest group.

Wisconsin ranks last again for start-ups
According to the report released Thursday by the respected Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, start-up activity in the U.S. overall rose in 2016 for the second year in a row. But among the 25 largest states, Wisconsin came in either last or second-to-last in each of the three categories the foundation evaluated.

Wisconsin ranks 33rd in job creation
As employment in Wisconsin's massive manufacturing sector switched into reverse, the state continued to lag the nation in the latest quarterly census of job creation. Wisconsin added 37,166 private-sector non-farm jobs in the 12 months from March 2015 through March 2016, a tally that includes non-manufacturing as well as manufacturing positions, amounting to a 1.58% increase that ranks the state 33rd among the 50 states in the pace of job creation during that period.

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Trump-Ryan Care Suffers Stunning Defeat

Posted by Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Robert Kraig
Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Robert Kraig
Robert Kraig is Executive Director, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, 221 S. 2nd St.,
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on Saturday, 25 March 2017
in Wisconsin

paul-ryan-sadMILWAUKEE - It was one of the greatest victories for American democracy in years when Donald Trump and Paul Ryan were forced to pull their dangerous health care replacement bill just minutes before the scheduled vote.

Against all odds, and without power in Washington, average citizens stopped Trump and Ryan dead in their tracks!

A few short months ago, pundits thought that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act was a foregone conclusion. If it was not for the unprecedented democratic resistance in Wisconsin and across the country, they would have been right.

Right-wing talk show hosts are already spinning that the crash and burn of Trump-Ryan Care had nothing to do with grassroots protests. But it is well known the Republican leadership was trying to rush the bill through because they were afraid of coming home to face their own constituents during the next Congressional recess.

While this victory should renew our faith in the potential of American democracy, we need to understand that we won a major battle, but have not yet won the war.

I am proud to say that Citizen Action of Wisconsin is leading the charge against the unthinkably cruel attack on health care rights. We turned up the pressure on House Republicans this week by holding 10 major organizing actions across Wisconsin.

This is far from over. We must gather our energies for the next stage of the fight. We need to keep on fighting until we have established health care as a fundamental right in America--once and for all.

******

We need your help. We can continue to organize a powerful opposition if we have the resources.

Make an express donation to fund this effort by clicking here.

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Blue Jean Nation 'Casualties mount in the water wars'

Posted by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation
Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation
Mike McCabe is the founder and president of Blue Jean Nation and author of Blue
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on Friday, 24 March 2017
in Wisconsin

kewaunee-countyWisconsin sits on the greatest natural resource left in the world, clean fresh water, but the lawmakers who currently control the Capitol allow a privileged few to take as much water as they want and pollute as much as they want, even if it makes us sick.


ALTOONA, WI - Water is the new oil. Plenty of old skirmishes — both political and military — broke out around the world over oil. Water will be the cause of more and more new ones.

Pressure to divert water from the Great Lakes is intensifying. The mighty Colorado River is being siphoned to irrigate cropland and supply thirsty cities from Denver to Phoenix to the point where it now runs dry at its end, no longer reaching the ocean at the Gulf of California as it did for millions of years.

water_drinkingToxic tap water produced human tragedy and a white-hot media spotlight in Flint, Michigan. Far less attention has been paid to the fact that excessive lead levels are found in almost 2,000 water systems across America, including more than 80 communities in Wisconsin. Not many people know that the incidence of lead poisoning of children in Wisconsin is almost exactly the same as the rate found in Flint. Milwaukee’s lead poisoning rate is nearly double Flint’s.

Wisconsin is one of the most water-rich states in the nation. Yet the state’s groundwater is imperiled. Lakes and streams are drying up because of an unchecked proliferation of high-capacity wells for massive animal feedlots and large-scale crop irrigation. Water quality protections have been stripped away due to politicized resource management, resulting in indiscriminate manure spreading by factory farming operations that produces contaminated drinking water in places like Kewaunee County.

It boggles the mind that lawmakers who currently control the Capitol are responding to all of this with efforts to further weaken water protections and make it even easier to get permission to drill high-capacity wells. And it’s hard not to notice that the wealthy interests who want to do all the drilling have been showering large political donations on the governor and state legislators.

Here we have a privileged few being allowed to take as much water as they want, even if it makes lakes and streams and neighbors’ wells dry up. We have a politically connected few being allowed to pollute as much as they want, even if it makes others sick.

That our government is no longer adequately protecting everyone’s right to clean drinking water is a telltale sign of how government has been captured by powerful interests. That politicians are allowing a few big industries to hog all the water or to poison it for others is a measure of how sick our democracy has become.

Oil and water don’t mix, but they do have a lot in common. Both are precious natural resources and both have a way of bringing out the worst in us. Both inspire greed, and both can corrupt. As the water wars escalate, the question is whether greed will govern us or will we summon the wisdom and resolve to make sure what government does when it comes to water is done for the good of the whole of society.

— Mike McCabe

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Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform schedule secretive paper ballot vote

Posted by Criste Greening
Criste Greening
Small business owner, public school teacher, and now citizens water activist. A
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on Friday, 24 March 2017
in Wisconsin

Submitted on behalf of Sustain Rural Wisconsin Network

Mary Dougherty - President


Sustain Rural Wisconsin Network Opposes SB 76/AB 105 ‘Death By 1,000 Straws’ and the Senate’s Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform Secretive Paper Ballot Vote on March 28th


On March 15th, citizens and organizations from around Wisconsin spent more than 9 hours testifying in opposition to SB 76/AB 105. Yet, the Senate Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform has scheduled a secretive paper ballot vote for SB 76 on March 28th which moves the democratic process from public oversight and places it behind closed doors at the Capitol in Madison. Brett Healy, president of the MacIver Institute, a conservative think tank, had this to say about paper ballots in a February 13, 2013 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, “If it's being used by politicians to avoid questions from the public or the press, that's a concern for everyone in Wisconsin." SRWN believes that secretive paper ballots should not be used for controversial or significant actions like SB 76/AB 105 because it removes a key component of the democratic process: discussion and debate in full view of the citizens of Wisconsin.


SRWN is in opposition to SB 76/AB 105. This bill will cause irreparable damage to Wisconsin’s existing lakes, rivers, wetlands, and streams. In addition, it will intensify existing conditions in sensitive resource areas that have been critically damaged due to the over pumping of high capacity wells. This legislation is an attack on the Public Trust Doctrine, which declares that the waters of Wisconsin are held in trust by the Department of Natural Resources for citizens. The Public Trust Doctrine states that the public interest, once primarily interpreted to protect public rights to transportation on navigable waters, has been broadened to include protected public rights to water quality and quantity, recreational activities, and scenic beauty.


Finally, undue industry influence is driving the fast-tracking of SB 76. The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign states, “Large potato and vegetable growers doled out about $152,000 in individual and corporate campaign contributions to all legislative and statewide officeholders and candidates in 2016. Most of those contributions were made during the last six months of 2016, and more than half, about $78,500, came from nine of the Potato and Vegetable Growers Association’s officers and board of directors. Most of the contributions to current legislators, about $126,300, went to Republicans, and $10,250 went to Democrats.” SRWN is alarmed that the blatant lobbying efforts of agribusiness is putting the waters of Wisconsin at risk.


The following amendments should be considered and acted upon on behalf of Wisconsin citizens:


  • Due to the unique geological conditions involved, study and groundwater modeling should incorporate the entire Central Sands region and not the limited areas proposed in SB 76/AB 105.

  • Automatic transfer of a high capacity well permit with the sale of property without periodic review is unacceptable. Transfer of land from property owner to another entity which plans to pump in excess of previous records of well pumping or is in a region where high capacity wells are already demonstrating impacts MUST require a periodic review.

  • Wording that denies a citizen’s right to request a contested case hearing MUST be removed in its entirety; this clause is in complete contrast to the democratic process. Citizens should have the right to contest the decision before a permit holder is allowed to operate, based on studies or evidence that shows the potential risks and/or imminent impacts to ground and surface waters.


As Wisconsin residents, we demand that our elected officials enact legislation that will ensure our surface and groundwater will be here for generations to come. We expect them to uphold the Wisconsin State Constitution and oppose any legislation that endangers the Public Trust Doctrine.

We expect our representatives will protect citizen interests over big industry donors who are attempting to buy preferential legislation.


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