Uppity Wisconsin

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Residents Question Public School Money Going to Private Schools

Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“I am paying for private schools with my taxes?” the women from Pepin asked following my presentation at a recent Town Hall meeting. “Yes, you are,” I told her.
Residents were surprised at the sharp increase in the state spending on private schools – nearly a doubling in seven years. At the same time, Pepin School District lost nearly half of its state support. With less state money, property taxes made up a larger share of school support.
Wisconsin has funded private schools in Milwaukee by taking money from local public schools for a long time.
With passage of the last state budget, private and independent charter schools in southeast Wisconsin cost state tax coffers $645 million.

Dark Money Floods Water Wars in Central Wisconsin

Dark money is now dominating targeted mailings aimed at water warriors Jule Lassa and David Gorski. But destroying communities, which is the result of Republican-enacted schemes, is too much to ask from conservative enclaves now supporting water warriors.

Court rejects Walker pee-in-a-cup plea

A federal court has stymied the state of Wisconsin’s effort to drug test food stamp applicants.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) championed the drug test policy as he launched a doomed presidential bid in 2015. The Obama administration said federal law doesn’t allow states to drug test food stamp recipients, so the Walker administration asked a federal court to decide.

And they decided.  Once again proving that the current administration has very little concept of how federal law works, the court basically said that you cannot ask for a test on a law you have not written yet. This is  not quite the same as rejecting the plan to drug test benefit recipients, just that the Walker administration would need to first have their law be rejected, and then appeal. One more case of our govrernment's time and money being sucked up by legal posturing for pointless ideological purpooses.

Video: Water Warriors in Central Wisconsin Fight for Dave Gorski; Water Is Life

Water is life. Right on.

Can a cause in central Wisconsin get some 75 people to show up on a Monday morning with 30 hours notice?

Yes, clean water, stopping the proposed Wysocki Inc.'s factory farm, and electing Dave Gorski over Big Ag man, State Rep. Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa) gets people out in the streets.

Inspiring video by Eric Peterson:

Charlie Sykes leaving the air in Dec.

News this morning --- Charlie Sykes will be leaving the air at the end of the year.  Which leaves me two questions:

1.  What is Sykes really up to

2. What kind of fresh new Conservative hell will WTMJ use to replace him?

Water Warrior David Gorski Nails Polluter Scott Krug

The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters held a press conference in Wisconsin Rapids along the Wisconsin River this afternoon. The purpose is to refute claims by Scott Krug that the League had endorsed Krug for the 72nd District Assembly seat. In fact the WLCV has endorsed David Gorski. With avowed dedication to fair water usage laws and renewed attention to Public Education, David Gorski IS the Krug Krusher !

Taking Credit for the Sun Coming Up

Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“Wisconsin lowered taxes and reduced regulation and that increased jobs in the state, right?” A journalist from a national newspaper asked about the state of our economy for a story he was writing.
“The assumption you are making is that the only thing holding back growth is taxes paid by business,” I told the reporter. “And regulation,” he added.
I explained to the reporter that economic growth depended on many factors. Business needs a skilled workforce.

John Doe II - it's dead

This morning the US Supreme court rejected the appeal on the John Doe II case. The case, which was brought by three county district attorneys, was the last hope for continuation of the John Doe probe in Wisconsin. We can now assume that the investigaition is officially dead, and that the corruption, pay-for-play, and flow of dark money into the state will continue. 

School Privatization Group Throws All-in for Rep. Scott Krug

A far-wing group, American Federation for Children (AFC) Action Fund, Wisconsin Committee, working to privatize public schools has dumped more money in its campaign elect State Rep. Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa). Krug is facing water warrior, David Gorski, the Democratic Party nominee for assembly district 72 in central Wisconsin.

CAFO petition in Dunn County

The Citizen Action Western Wisconsin Organizing Co-op is continuing to fight the new CAFO in Dunn County. If you want to help to stop large dairy operations with uncertain controls over their pollution, please sign the petition against the CAFO expansion.

Also, if you would like to support political organizing in Western Wisconsin, and become a part of actions such as this, please consider signing up to become a member of the Co-op. They have been effective already on several fronts, including promoting fair living wages, environmental issues such as this, and fighting against Payday Lending - they could use your support, both financially by becoming a member, and by volunteering to help out.

The Choice 2016

If you want to know the background of both of the presidential candidates - warts and all - I think you could do much worse than the recent Fronttline episode - The Choice 2016. It's available on-line for viewing now at pbs.org. 

Ever-Changing VoterID implementation leaves potential voters out in the cold

Update -- On Friday federal district court Judge James Peterson demanded the state investigate the DMV's implementation of Voter ID and the ID process. The state must produce a report by Oct. 7.  At the same time the state ACLU filed a motion in the 7th District Court alleging that the state is not giving ID's to people who request them. This is a lot of litigation and expense to solve a problem that does not exist.

I try to keep track of these things - but if you were to ask me exactly what the status is of getting an ID to vote in Wisconsin if you cannot come up with, for example, a birth certificate, I'd have trouble remembering what today's story is. The state has been scrambling to find some sort of way to more-or-less conform to court rulings on voter ID while still managing to in practice make it hard to get those ID's.

According to a new story in The Nation, it sounds like they are succeeding admirably as people try to continue to go through the voter ID hoops, only to find that apparently nobody at the DMV offices actually understands the current rules, and even if they do understand the rules they are not very good at carrying them out.

Legal experts say they’re extremely troubled by the state’s continued failure to fairly enforce the voter-ID law. “Wisconsin has promised the court that voters would be able to get an ID with whatever documents they have,” says Sean Young of the ACLU. “They’ve completely failed to live up to that promise.”

Assembly Race in Northeastern Wisc Is Eye of Water Wars

A banking executive serving as Chair and CEO of a publicly traded bank in northeastern Wisconsin may have joined forces with a Big Ag polluters' front-group. Robert B. Atwell, the founder of the Green Bay-based Nicolet National Bank (publicly traded as Nicolet Bank Shares Inc.), used to give a community lecture entitled "Water, Money and Community," intended to stimulate solutions for a region heavily polluted by industrialized agriculture. Now, northeastern Wisconsin residents are wondering if the banker Atwell is working with the industry-derived Big Ag PR initiative, Peninsula Pride, as a closely watched area state assembly race accelerates. The race features Big Ag's State Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) against Lynn Utesch, a farmer and clean water activist living in Kewaunee County.

Tonight's debate - Live

Here you go - this is more or less an experiment but you can watch the debate here.

Audit to Investigate King Veterans Home

Audit to Investigate King Veterans Home
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“There used to be a real nice coffee shop. But they turned it into vending machines,” David Wedde told the Joint Committee on Audit.
To many it might seem like an insignificant thing but it was not just a coffee shop. It was a symbol of comradery at the Veterans Home in King. Everyday veterans gathered in the shop to trade stories. Now impersonal machines have replaced the shop – a victim of budget cuts.
Tim Michael added, “Shouldn’t be so hard to get treatment for PTSD. Why do we have a surplus when we need these things?”

Walker threatens to cut off all our noses to spite the court's face

So - the never-ending political circus in Wisconsin continues. If you've been following from home, the US Supreme court will soon consider whether they will hear a case to re-open the John Doe investigation in Wisconsin.  Call it John Doe III. Yup, worse than the Rocky films.  The point of contention here basically is that the state Supreme Court had a conflict of interest when ruling to shut down the John Doe because several of the court justices had received donations from groups with an interest in the outcome.

The recent cache of documents from the investigation that was released by The Guardian has made this more interesting, since it's now a lot clearer that the suspected coordination between the Walker administration and the Wisconsin Club for Growth was much more real than imagined, and possibly included some extra pay-for-play that nobody seems to have been aware of. But hey, it just involved kids and lead poisoning, so - what the hey.

But in a particularly bizarre turn of events, the Governor has apparently decided that rather than just lie low and wait for the outcome, he was going to start throwing his weight around. Walker is adopting a "there's nothing to see here, and if you look I'm going to cause you a world of hurt" attitude.

Bill Iwen Tips Hat to Water Warrior, Lynn Utesch

William Iwen is a retired dentist living in Algoma in northeastern Wisconsin. Iwen penned a letter endorsing water warrior, Lynn Utesch, candidate for the First assembly district. Utesch is running against a pretender, a front-man for the polluters. From the Capital Times: The CAFO industry relies on free water from our aquifers and when millions of gallons of aquifer water is polluted with animal waste and unknown, unmeasured, undisclosed chemicals, hormones and antibiotic residuals, this dangerous waste is dumped back on karst countryside. Lynn Utesch, who is running to represent District 1 in the Wisconsin Assembly, is a small organic farmer who does not need high-capacity wells or monocultures of chemical-dependent GMO corn, soy and alfalfa. He does believe in job creation for young people yearning to get back to the land as sustainable farmers on the land they love.

How to Fund Roads: A Balancing Act

How to Fund Roads: A Balancing Act

       By Senator Kathleen Vinehout


Funding roads is an important job for state leaders. Nine cents of every state budget dollar goes towards transportation. In the vagaries of Wisconsin state budgeting, this includes dollars the feds send Wisconsin (about forty cents of every road dollar comes from Uncle Sam).

A prudent fiscal manager must balance several factors to make wise transportation decisions. He or she must maintain our current investments, plan for future growth, pay scrupulous attention to efficiencies and quality construction, and reconcile spending with revenue.

In short, a prudent transportation budget is a balancing act.

Republican Labor Platform of Sixty Years Ago

If you really want to know how corupted the Republican party has become over the past sixty years, take the time to read the Republican Platform from 1956 as Eisenhower was running for a second term.  This is the America I grew up in.  This isn't the America Trump and the Republicans want now.  "Make America Great Again?"  How about including the 1956 labor plank in the the 2016 party platform.

Here is the Labor Platform of the Republican Party in 1956...read it and weep!

David Gorski Hits Republican Krug's Sellout to Anti-public School Extremists in Dist 72 Race

Water warrior fights for Wisconsin public schools Said water warrior, David Gorski, "Scott Krug sold out to extremist, school-privatization ideologues to get reelected. This betrays our public schools and the families our schools serve. More than ever we need healthy, fully funded public schools for the sake of our children, our future."

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Today, October 19

  • Steve Hanson

    Nineteen states have called for a Constitutional amendment that would overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision. Representative Scott Allen won't even allow a public hearing on a resolution that would let Wisconsinites vote on this core issue of our timeWhile many politicians may like unlimited and often undisclosed campaign contributions, the rest of America is disgusted by it.

    Last week, Allen refused a request to have AJR 53 placed on the public hearing agenda, calling the advisory referendum, “politics at its worst”. Wisconsin law provides for advisory referendums. There was a statewide referendum in 2006 pertaining to the death penalty.

    "Politics at its worst"...really?? This is a cross-partisan issue. There are plenty of billionaires on both sides of the aisle. Both parties are raking in campaign cash. Money talks and the rest of us have no say.

    It’s outrageous that Chairman Allen won’t even allow this to be put on the agenda. This is the Constitution and Ethics Committee, after all. And Citizens United has torn a hole into our Constitution, drowning out our free speech rights as citizens, and ushering in all sorts of ethical problems.

    These resolutions (AJR 53 / SJR 54) were introduced by Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) and Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). Polls show a vast majority of Americans view our election system as corrupt. Special interest money has enormous political influence and everyday citizens feel they are getting no representation.

    “It is stunning that Republican Representative Scott Allen considers giving the average Wisconsinite the opportunity to have their say at the ballot box to be ‘politics at its worst,’” said Rep. Subeck. “Wisconsinites are fed up with the massive corporate and special interest spending Citizens United has ushered into our elections, and it is time to let them be heard.”

    Matt Rothschild, executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, summed it up succinctly: “People across the ideological spectrum get it: All of our voices are being drowned out by those with big money.”

    Please contact ...

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