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Blue Jean Nation "First things first" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Monday, 27 February 2017 10:45

spicer-fbOur freedoms guaranteed under the First Amendment have never been more threatened than they are today. We have to stand up for a free press, and a first step is seeing through false choices.


ALTOONA, WI - Forty-five words. That’s all it took for our nation’s founders to grant us five bedrock freedoms. In just 45 words, they gave us freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to petition our government.

These five freedoms guaranteed under the First Amendment have never been more threatened than they are today. Press freedom is under assault as the president brands the news media an “enemy of the American people.” Both of the First Amendment’s religious freedom clauses are being ignored as non-Christians are subjected to increasing discrimination and even targeted for deportation. The first of the two, namely the establishment clause, is disregarded as more and more American taxpayers are being forced to fund religious schools.

Free speech has become anything but free as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that money is speech and corporations are citizens with speech rights, thereby blessing unlimited corporate election spending. Lawmakers in states all across the country are now trying to criminalize freedom of assembly and peaceful protest.

These are dangerous and threatening times for the First Amendment. The rise of fake news is a serious threat, but not the only one or even the biggest one. It’s not just that lies are being widely and quickly spread, it’s that a highly organized effort is being made to persuade the public that no news can be trusted, that no one is telling the truth. Journalism is being delegitimized.

Read more...
 
Senators Gave Themselves a Raise! PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Saturday, 25 February 2017 17:57

matthew_rothschildMatt Rothschild of the Democracy Campaign comments on Wisconsin State Senator who gave themselves a 31% pay bump, Walker and for-profit colleges, and Ed Garvey.


MADISON - I can’t give myself a raise. Can you?

But if you’re a leader in the Wisconsin State Senate, you can give yourself and your fellow Senators a nice bump – without any input from us lowly constituents. Here’s how they did it this week:

State senators raise their expense reimbursement by 31 percent

You may have heard that Scott Walker wants to get rid of the board that oversees for-profit colleges. It just so happens that he’s been raking in big bucks from the executives at these colleges:

The money behind dumping the state’s for-profit college watchdog

Finally, I’m in mourning this week over the crushing news that Ed Garvey passed away. Ed was a friend of mine, and a towering figure in the battle for democracy here in Wisconsin and across the country. I wrote a tribute to him that I’d like to share with you:

Ed Garvey, corporate dragon-slayer

I’d love to hear your own thoughts on Ed, so feel free to write me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Best,

Matt Rothschild

****

P.S. Tuesday, March 7, is The Big Share -- a day of online giving to support more than 60 member nonprofits of Community Shares of Wisconsin. #CSWBigShare is yet another amazing way to support a collective fight for social justice in our communities. You can support the good work of the Democracy Campaign in this exciting collaborative fundraiser -- give BIG and help lift our voice in the fight for real democracy in Wisconsin!

Last Updated on Saturday, 25 February 2017 19:25
 
Ed Garvey Is Gone But Not Forgotten PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Buzz Davis, Army Veteran & Activist   
Wednesday, 22 February 2017 16:27

ed-garvey-goneEd Garvey, Wisconsin Progressive, labor attorney, Director of the NFL Players Association, and Democratic leader died this morning at a Verona nursing home. He was 76. He had been battling Parkinson's disease, which led to his retirement in 2013.


TUCSON, AZ - Ed Garvey, the friend of many, the leader of "what could have been" and a good man has died and I am saddened.

When he and Barbara Lawton ran for governor and lt. governor in 1998, they were a fantastic team that offered hope and moxie to the people of WI. But big money talks. Gov. Thommy Thompson was running for his fourth term and as the ALEC (Am. Legislative Exchange Council) representative in the race, Thompson had most of the money.

Schools and local governments were already being financially strangled and local control had disappeared with the 1993 cost controls to rein in unions and stop local spending.

Here we are decades later and local control has been killed along with public unions. Barbara and Ed were right. We could have and still can create a WI good for families and the environment but not under Gov. Walker, a dour ALEC replay in some respects of Thompson.

I will not forget Ed in the drizzle.

US Rep Dennis Kucinich was running for president in the WI primary and Ed and I invited him to speak in Madison. The rally is set up at the small private airport in Madison early in the evening. A good crowd waited. Kucinich's plane is late. We had a speaker's platform set up, it's getting dark, looks like rain. I ask Ed to talk to take up time. Plane lands, drizzle starts, ends up Kucinich is exhausted, needs to eat, and we find some one to go get a vegan dinner while he rests!

I go back outside and get Ed's attention. I ask, "Can you speak some more while they get Dennis rested and fed?" Ed says "I already talked for 20 minutes," goes back to the mic and explains what is going on, laughs and says something like Buzz wants to know if I can speak some more. Crowd laughs, we held the media there, Kucinich gave a great speech and made the news.

Oh, Ed, you could talk, think, had no fear and you gave hope! Thank you! Your were and are an inspiration to many! You fought for progressive ideals for decades as we have to do now.

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Blue Jean Nation "More scaffold than platform" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation   
Friday, 17 February 2017 10:09

dems-v-repubThe platforms created by both the Republican and Democratic Parties last year are excessively wordy campaign advertisements with nothing enduring or permanent to say. Neither is likely to satisfy the strong yearning Americans have for a government that serves them for the benefit of all.


ALTOONA, WI - For one week a year, party platforms are relevant . . . to a few thousand people who are delegates to their party’s convention. More than 300 million other Americans pay them no mind that week or any other. The Sunday morning TV news programs don’t examine them. The radio talk show hosts don’t discuss them. After all the balloons and confetti have dropped and the conventions have broken up, even party insiders stop paying any attention to their own platforms. Candidates don’t follow them. Neither do elected office holders as they conduct the public’s business. Anyone willing to actually read the major party platforms can see why.

Reading the platforms is a painful exercise. They are dreadfully long. Page after page induces the gag reflex. They are excessively wordy campaign advertisements aimed at influencing who knows who. What becomes clear as you plow through them is that there is nothing enduring or permanent about them. They really are scaffolds, not platforms.

The Republican scaffold drones on for nearly 60 pages and in it the party declares itself the “Great Opportunity Party.” It takes repeated swipes at President Obama, insisting that for “the past 8 years America has been led in the wrong direction” but making no acknowledgement that Republicans held a majority of seats in Congress and controlled most of the nation’s statehouses for nearly that entire time.

The authors boast the document “lays out — in clear language — the path to making America great and united again.” It goes on to call for everything from “protection against an electromagnetic pulse” to “confronting Internet tyranny.” There’s a section on Africa that touts “AIDS relief under PEPFAR” without explanation. There is a reference to the “Dodd-Frank law, the Democrats’ legislative Godzilla” with no description of what the law is or does or fails to do. In another whack at Obama, it refers to the “Solyndra debacle” and assumes readers remember what that was.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 February 2017 14:33
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Wisconsin Democracy Campaign "Take Action: No blank checks!" PDF Print E-mail
Commentary - Commentary
Written by Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign   
Thursday, 16 February 2017 15:57

capitol-night-wiscMADISON - It’s outrageous that the Republican leadership in Madison gave a blank check to two pricey law firms to contest the ruling from a panel of federal judges ordering them to redraw the district maps they rigged last time around. I’m asking you to contact your legislator, or the Speaker and Senate Majority Leader, and demand that they not waste your money this way:

Take Action: No blank check!

Amid all the budget proposals he made last week, Gov. Walker snuck in a couple items that will further chip away at clean and open government, which has been one of his favorite targets. Here are the latest assaults:

Walker slashes good government boards

On the special interest front, we’ve discovered that some of the big vegetable growers donated tens of thousands of dollars to the legislative campaign committees—donations that, until November 2015, were illegal:

Mega farms slather legislators, fundraising committees with cash

Hey, don’t forget! Tuesday is Election Day, and the big statewide race is for superintendent of schools. Here are the largest individual donors to the candidates:

Campaign 2017 updated

You may have other races in your area. For instance, there are primaries for circuit court judge in Manitowoc, Polk, and Trempealeau counties. For information about what is on your ballot, visit https://MyVote.wi.gov.

Before I sign off for this week, I’d just like to say that I’m encouraged by all the displays of nonviolent resistance across the country to the authoritarian moves coming out of the White House. These give me – and I hope they give you – hope that our democracy will withstand the current threats.

Best,

Matt Rothschild
Executive Director
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

*****

P.S. Please send us a tax-deductible donation today so we can press on with our urgent work in defense of democracy. Just click here. Thanks!

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 February 2017 16:31
 
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