Wednesday October 18, 2017

Always Foward with Education & Reason

FacebookTwitterYoutube
Newsletter
Feeds:

Progressive Thinking

Looking forward with education and reason.

Subscribe to feed Latest Entries

Blue Jean Nation "The football game that never ends"

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
User is currently offline
on Friday, 16 June 2017
in Wisconsin

ProtestThe pro-life, pro-choice issue is a political football that both major party's use to whip up their base. What if we stopped taking the bait, and focused instead on solving this incredibly sensitive issue that the ruling elite clearly do not want to see resolved?


ALTOONA, WI - Here’s a truth about American politics that never seems to get acknowledged much less discussed: No major party in this country actually wants to outlaw abortion.

One says it does, but its actions tell a different story. Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House, so they could make a law banning abortion across the nation. The law surely would be challenged in court but the ideologically conservative Republican appointees who have made up the majority on the U.S. Supreme Court since 1971 would have the final say. You’d expect them to uphold the law because Republican presidents have consistently considered an anti-abortion judicial record a key litmus test of the fitness of any judge to serve on the nation’s highest court.

For that matter, those Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices needn’t have waited for an act of Congress. At any time during the past four decades, the court could have taken up any number of abortion cases, overturned Roe v. Wade, and outlawed abortion. They have that power. Year after year, they have chosen not to use it.

In Wisconsin, Republicans control both houses of the state Legislature as well as the governor’s office. There’s nothing stopping them from making a law prohibiting abortion. A state Supreme Court controlled by Republican-backed justices would presumably bless such a law. Like their national counterparts, Wisconsin Republicans have had the power to outlaw abortion. They have repeatedly chosen not to do so.

It appears they realize that outlawing abortion won’t make the procedure disappear, it will only make it far more dangerous and even deadly. So they concentrate on obstructing and inconveniencing the women who seek abortions and the medical professionals who perform them. But most of all, they focus on using this deeply personal and intensely emotional issue as a political football, which they have kicked around for more than 40 years. They have used it to divide people and then harvest the votes these divisions produce. They have shown over an extended period of time that they have every intention of keeping this game going indefinitely.

There is glaring irony and hypocrisy here. The Republican Party has gone to the greatest lengths to market itself as the party of limited government and personal freedom. When it comes to the private lives of Americans, Republicans favor a very intrusive and meddlesome government. They don’t trust the choices Americans make in the bedroom and the bathroom and the doctor’s office. They want government to have a looming presence in those places.

More than anything, they want to keep people at each other’s throats. They want to keep us arguing about whether abortion should be legal or illegal. For 40-some years, we’ve kept kicking their football. We’ve screamed at each other, we’ve harassed and attacked each other. Sometimes it’s led to unspeakable acts of violence. All done to try to settle a matter that those in power have proven to be keenly interested in keeping unresolved.

Imagine where we would be on this issue if we had instead spent all this time looking for common ground on how to make abortion unnecessary. We would have talked so much more about how best to deal with sex education, how best to promote birth control and family planning, how best to combat poverty. We might have even hashed out some differences by now.

Think about what might be possible if we now chose to stop kicking the political football, and focused on starting a conversation on this incredibly sensitive topic that the ruling elite clearly do not want us to have.

Tags: Untagged
Rate this blog entry
0 votes

Will Wisconsin’s Future Children Receive an Equal Education?

Posted by Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District
Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator 31st District
Kathleen Vinehout of Alma is an educator, business woman, and farmer who is now
User is currently offline
on Monday, 12 June 2017
in Wisconsin

teaching-studentsSen. Kathleen Vinehout argues the current budget stalemate is due in part to competing education funding proposals that do not address the needs facing school districts across the state. Legislative leaders know the school funding formula is broken, but they choose to ignore State Superintendent Tony Evers’ plan to change that way Wisconsin funds schools.


MADISON - Progress with the state budget is at a standoff in the Capitol. Behind closed doors, leaders are talking details and trying to find votes.

Openly, legislative leaders point to a lack of agreement on public education. They say no progress can happen until they round up necessary votes for the education portion of the budget. Privately, some GOP lawmakers are also angling to spend money on a big change to business personal property taxes. However, changes to taxes could take away money promised to schools.

Education is the largest part of the general fund budget (the portion of our budget paid for with mostly income and sales tax). Local school funding is made up of a combination of state aid and local property taxes. The two sources of money interact a bit like a teeter-totter – as one source drops (state aid), the other source goes up (property taxes). For example, property taxes go up school districts pass referenda to fund needs left unserved by declining state aid.

Wisconsin pays for schools through an Equalized Aid formula, which is meant to equalize resources to children no matter where they live in the state. The idea of equal opportunity for children regardless of their zip code is deeply rooted in our state. Principles enshrined in Wisconsin’s Constitution include public education as a state function that is free with reasonable equality of education opportunities for all children and without excessive reliance on property taxes. Lawmakers must grapple with meeting those principles.

Under the Governor’s proposal, school funding through equalized aid would be lower in the 2018-19 school year than it was thirteen years prior. The effect of these decisions will intensify the inequalities schoolchildren across Wisconsin face.

Progress with the state budget is at a standoff in the Capitol. Behind closed doors, leaders are talking details and trying to find votes.

Openly, legislative leaders point to a lack of agreement on public education. They say no progress can happen until they round up necessary votes for the education portion of the budget. Privately, some GOP lawmakers are also angling to spend money on a big change to business personal property taxes. However, changes to taxes could take away money promised to schools.

Education is the largest part of the general fund budget (the portion of our budget paid for with mostly income and sales tax). Local school funding is made up of a combination of state aid and local property taxes. The two sources of money interact a bit like a teeter-totter – as one source drops (state aid), the other source goes up (property taxes). For example, property taxes go up school districts pass referenda to fund needs left unserved by declining state aid.

Wisconsin pays for schools through an Equalized Aid formula, which is meant to equalize resources to children no matter where they live in the state. The idea of equal opportunity for children regardless of their zip code is deeply rooted in our state. Principles enshrined in Wisconsin’s Constitution include public education as a state function that is free with reasonable equality of education opportunities for all children and without excessive reliance on property taxes. Lawmakers must grapple with meeting those principles.

Under the Governor’s proposal, school funding through equalized aid would be lower in the 2018-19 school year than it was thirteen years prior. The effect of these decisions will intensify the inequalities schoolchildren across Wisconsin face.

Tags: Untagged
Rate this blog entry
0 votes

Proponents of Constitutional Convention Should Try Governing Instead

Posted by League Women Voters WI, Andrea Kaminski
League Women Voters WI, Andrea Kaminski
League Women Voters WI, Andrea Kaminski has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 07 June 2017
in Wisconsin

lady-liberty-holding-noseWisconsin Assembly scheduled to call next week for a federal constitutional convention to add a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It's a bad idea, says League of Women Voters.


MADISON – The Wisconsin Assembly is tentatively scheduled to vote next week on proposals calling for a federal constitutional convention for the purpose of adding a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We respect people’s concerns about the federal debt, but this is the wrong way to tackle that problem. It is also a particularly dangerous path to take.

First, a balanced budget requirement would weaken our ability as a nation to respond to unforeseen emergencies, such as a natural disaster, attack from the outside or economic recession. The federal government would not be able to respond without increasing taxes – just at a time when fewer people might be working.

Second, a constitutional amendments convention could go in many different directions. It would put at risk every citizen right currently protected in the Constitution, including such things as voting rights and freedom of speech.

Proponents note that one of the proposals before the Assembly would restrict the role of our own state’s delegates to voting only on a budget amendment at the convention, but that ignores the fact that our state would be only one of fifty at the convention. Besides, some constitutional experts say that such rules could easily be considered irrelevant once the gathering convenes.

Proponents of these disastrous proposals say that a constitutional convention is needed because we can’t count on Congress to pass a balanced budget. They point out that the elected representatives of the people, including many who are all for a balanced budget when they are running for office, shy away from enacting it once elected. Come to think of it, that seems to happen at both the federal and state level.

It is ironic that these proposals are being promoted in Wisconsin by the party that is in the majority in both Congress and the state legislature. Why should the U.S. Constitution be at risk for complete revision just so these politicians can accomplish what they already have the power to do legislatively?

voter-usI would like to believe there are enough members among their ranks who know that a balanced budget requirement is not a responsible measure for protecting the safety and economic security of our nation or state. But if they are that wise, why would they risk what could be a catastrophic assault on our Constitution?

Maybe they think it would never really happen. However, if the Wisconsin legislature passes these proposals, our state would be number 30 out of the 34 states needed to force a constitutional convention.

Our nation is changing, and that change is taking place in every state and every district. With a provision to add amendments individually as needed, the U.S. Constitution has afforded us the flexibility for more than 200 years to keep up with the ever-changing needs of the American people.

Assembly lawmakers who take their responsibility of governing seriously should reject these foolhardy proposals, which would endanger our citizen rights and our nation’s ability to respond to emergencies.

Tags: Untagged
Rate this blog entry
0 votes

Tax Credit Pays Off For Job Cutters

Posted by Janet Bewley, State Senator Dist 25
Janet Bewley, State Senator Dist 25
Janet Bewley, State Senator Dist 25 was elected to the Senate in the fall of 201
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 07 June 2017
in Wisconsin

walker-open-businessHandouts to so-called "job creators" under the manufacturing tax credit not working. It’s time to put working taxpayers first, says Sen. Bewley.


MADISON - “It’s quiet… too quiet.” We’ve all heard that line in one movie or another. The halls of the State Capitol can have a ghostly quality when it’s quiet. This makes the sounds of lobbyists’ footsteps all the more noticeable as they make their way from one back room to another – especially the distinctive patter from pricey loafers often chosen by special interest lobbyists.

With the Legislature’s budget committee taking time off from public meetings, these lobbyists are working on deals as the process winds down. An alarming and costly deal that was slipped into an earlier budget took full effect last year.

The so-called manufacturing tax credit was touted as a tool to create jobs but actually pays out when jobs are cut. Nothing in the credit required job creation. Worse, investors can still qualify for the credit even when jobs are eliminated.

The results? Wisconsin LOST nearly four thousand manufacturing jobs in 2016. Adding injury to injury, the GOP is forcing workers to pay off the insiders who eliminated the jobs with 300 million hard-earned tax dollars every year.

At the national level, last year marked a sea change for Republican politicians. After years of cuts to workers and handouts to job-cutters, Republican voters chose a candidate who pledged to put work and workers first.

Unfortunately here in Wisconsin it’s more of the same.

Career Republicans on the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee voted to punish workers who lose their jobs by cutting their access to Homestead property tax credits. After the GOP raised taxes on workers who’ve lost jobs, they rejected cutting tuition for technical colleges so they could keep handing $300 million of your hard-earned tax dollars a year to wealthy insiders who eliminated manufacturing jobs.

In 2010, well before the state was providing the manufacturing tax credit, Wisconsin gained 12,000 new manufacturing jobs. That was the 4th largest manufacturing job gain in the nation.

In 2016 the GOP took $300 million from those workers’ pockets and gave it to insiders who cut nearly 4,000 manufacturing jobs. Wages in Wisconsin that were already too low fell in 2016. The Wisconsin GOP economic plan trailed the national recovery for another year and suffered its worst overall private sector job performance since the depths of the Great Recession.

And the Wisconsin version of the GOP hauled out an old line about people who work for living needing to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Only people who spend their time in back rooms with loafers think that’s what bootstraps are for. And only special interests getting the handouts think this is a job creation plan.

It’s not working. Not because they’re out to get us, but because the special interests simply don’t care what their plans do for – or to -- anyone on the outside. As the Wisconsin GOP continues to defy the national tide, the people doing better are the less than ½ of 1 percent of taxpayers who got a handout for eliminating jobs.

It’s time to stop putting lobbyists in loafers ahead of working taxpayers who know what bootstraps are actually for. It’s time to put Wisconsinites who do the work and pay the bills first.

Tags: Untagged
Rate this blog entry
0 votes

After 16 Year Afghanistan War, Let's Admit Defeat & Switch to United Nations

Posted by Buzz Davis, Stoughton
Buzz Davis, Stoughton
Buzz Davis, now of Tucson, AZ, a member of Better With Bernie Gone Green and Tre
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 06 June 2017
in Wisconsin

afghanistan-war-deadWe have bled our soldiers and other peoples of their blood, spent trillions of dollars that should have gone to building a better life for all Americans. A Vietnam War era and Korea veteran says it's time to stop.


TUCSON, AZ - Generals want another surge in Afghanistan. Only 5,000 will do the trick to help the peace process they say. Kill and bomb more people to encourage people to negotiate for peace. Do you believe it? The generals don’t say they need more troops in Iraq or Syria or Libya or Africa ---- YET.

We Americans are persistent. But when it comes to wars, we exhibit perseveration defined as “…the inappropriate persistence or repetition of a thought or action…”

“Repetition of thoughts” – example: war is the answer to all diplomatic problems. “Repetition of actions” – example: we accept lie after lie from our presidents pushing us into wars.

obama-trumpIn Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, tens of thousands of Americans have died along with millions of Asian and Middle Eastern peoples. One lying president after another tells us the sky is falling. It’s the commies, the horrible dictators, the treacherous religious terrorists. By late 1967 when the surge of American troops was really building in Vietnam, Pres. Johnson knew the war was a loser, as did Sec. of Defense McNamara, but both continued to lie and lie. And people continued to die and die. For what? Pride? Corporate empire? Presidents prey on our fears. We citizens accept the lies and off our youth go to war after war.

These politicians aren’t really interested in communists or terrorists. Politicians want the oil, gas, copper, tin, titanium, or markets for their 1%er corporate friends. They know war is good for their political career. And they will be rewarded by a grateful military industrial complex. WalMart, GM and so many others do hundreds of billions of business with the “commies” in China and Vietnam without a blink of the eye.

The oil soaked Middle East dictatorships like Saudi Arabia and Qatar fund the schooling, training and operations of religious terrorists yet these dictators are our buddies -- buying billions in American weapon systems. Simultaneously, we send our youth to fight the religious terrorists our CIA and these dictatorships created. And our military/industrial complex makes money providing weapons to both sides.

We have bled our soldiers and other peoples of their blood. We have bled our Nation of trillions of dollars that should have been spent building a better life for all Americans. War profiteers, CEO’s and share owners make hundreds of billions while the under funded Veterans Affairs hospitals try to take care of all our physically, mentally and morally crushed soldiers. And military families pay the highest price of all - dead and damaged loved ones.

The CIA with its mercenaries, billions and bags of tricks is forever starting wars saying it is trying to “save” a democracy or promote democracy or freedom. Then, American soldiers step into the quicksand of war. Wars don’t create peace. They create the silence of death. Bullets, torture or assassinations kill people but cannot kill ideas.

These are illegal wars of aggression - illegal under our Constitution and the United Nations Charter. The reason starting an illegal war is the greatest crime is because all other crimes will then be committed: murder, torture, rape, starvation, theft, religious, political or sexual persecution, genocide, repression… Everything imaginable takes place during war. Military leaders know wars are easy to start. They also know -- no one knows how to stop them.

And now Pres. Trump is supposed to decide if we need another surge of 5,000 American troops in Afghanistan. AFTER 16 YEARS OF DESTROYING AFGHANISTAN, WE NEED TO GET OUT!

We must admit that in the present wars, we are on the side of the gangsters, drug kings, murderous militias, dictators, torturers and power hungry religious fanatics.

What we’ve done in these countries has NOT worked. Our wars and weapons have pushed these countries from bad to worse. Millions are homeless and refugees. Their hatred will last decades or centuries.

We need to admit to the United Nations our failures and ask the UN to conduct peace negotiations in each nation. We must support those negotiations, pay the costs, withdraw all our troops and military equipment, stop the bombings and drone attacks and stop the surveillance and training assistance.

There has been too much killing to feed the unsatiable greed of our military/industrial/politician complex.

Citizens, we must prove we support the rule of law rather than the rule of empire or whim. We must prove we will NOT accept more lying and corruption.

We must impeach those presidents and generals who have led these illegal wars! We must make them examples of what America will do when elected leaders and generals forsake their oaths to preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and when they betray the American people.

Between 45 million and 85 million died in WWII. In a nuclear war with nations using just 1% of their nuclear weapons, it’s estimated tens of millions would die in the first hour. Millions would die afterwards from radiation effects and firestorms. Those firestorms, sweeping large areas creating dark dust clouds, would cause a worldwide, extended winter of possibly 10 years with drastically shortened food growing cycles. Two billion would be threatened with famine. Life on earth, as we know it, would be gone.

We must stop the wars. Stop creating wars. And stop supplying weapons to all sides.

We must request the UN take leadership in trying to peacefully resolve the quagmire we have helped create. Or, our posterity will eventually suffer the same cruel fate millions of families are presently suffering in the Middle East.

Tags: Untagged
Rate this blog entry
0 votes

Who's Online

We have 91 guests online

Follow on Twitter

Copyright © 2017. Green Bay Progressive. Designed by Shape5.com