One Wisconsin Now Blog
November 2009 Archives
One Wisconsin Now heard that teabaggers were going to be teabagging their way to the state capitol Monday to convince themselves that members of the state legislature give two flying snorts about whatever gripe these bitters have.
We decided to greet the dozen or so (or in teabagger math "eleventy thousand") with the kickoff of the One Wisconsin Now Sarah Palin "Goin' Nowhere" book tour. Look for upcoming opportunities to take your photo as the cover model of the "American Quitter's" missive.
Here's the latest WisOpinion feature with One WI Now's Scot Ross going head-to-head against right-winger Brian Fraley on the Recovery Pacage
A new study out today shows that poor and middle class families are hit much harder by taxes in Wisconsin than the wealthiest taxpayers. In Wisconsin, its the working families that are asked to carry the burden. Individuals making between 20k and 88k all pay about 11% of their income in sales, property and income tax. The top 1% of income earners, that is, those folks making more than $388,000 per year, only pay in 8% of their income. The top five percent (159,000 and up) average about 8.6 percent of income paid in taxes.
Heres a link to the Wisconsin specific fact sheet: http://www.itepnet.org/wp2009/wi_whopays_factsheet.pdf
One thing is abundantly clear: the wealthy arent paying their fair share, not by any measure. The people in Wisconsin who have the most breathing room in their finances are paying less than those of us living paycheck to paycheck.
How do I love thee?? Let me count the ways. I love thee with these yellow ribbons all over my soccer vehicle and SUV. I love thee with the multiple flags stuck all over my car and flying from the back of my motorcycle. Yes, I love thee in my sports reporting where I mention the troops and constantly call them heroes. I love thee in my speeches on the floor and to the news media about how you need to be supported by sending more and more troops to join you (without indicating any willingness, of course, to see my own family make such sacrifices or draft the necessary resources). I love thee by introducing bills to honor you (while, of course, opposing additional funding for the VA and for veterans housing, mental health, and educational benefits that might increase the debt created by the war in which I served).
The problem is, the Bush/Cheney/Neo-Con/Fox consortium that pushed these wars had no idea what war or the military is all about and the type of war monster they created. How could they? The whole batch of them did everything in their power to avoid real service in real war zones either by deferments or prime assignments that kept them from combat.
So ignorant of the consequences of war were they that they built a false dynamic of fear around a nuclear attack that was both absurd and unsubstantiated and in fact debunked by the available evidence. They did it by lying to Congress and outing CIA agents. They did it by estimating the War to take a few minutes and a few million dollars. They did it with the army we have. And, baby, the chickens have been coming home to roost ever since. How? Let us again count the ways.
First, we took a secular nation, on its knees from sanctions and inspections, and turned it into a petri dish for terrorists, who have been flowing over the sides of the dish ever since and spreading out across the nations of the Middle East. Second, we sent our sons and daughters to a war too eerily similar to the one we fought in the 60s, where the enemy cannot be distinguished from the rest of the population, is frequently hiding among them and is almost always a friend or a neighbor of the non-combatants, creating the maximum war time stress and a major amount of hostility amongst the population were supposedly there to help. Third, we implied to the military and CIA that we needed better intelligence and if they could get it through tougher means (knowing it implied torture) so be it.
Next we took military units made up of men and women who never expected to be used in anything more than a flood or other national emergency and made them front line combat and support units. Then to cap off the maximum amount of damage we can do them, we sent them on multiple tours to war zones, while their jobs disappeared, their families suffered from their absence and shortages of income, and their psyches got short circuited by this repetitive combat experience.
These men and women are suffering from PTSD at record levels, killing themselves at levels way above the civilian populations, and bringing violence and heartbreak back with them to their civilian lives if they are lucky enough to come back at all. They dont need false patriotism in the nature of yellow ribbons and flags signifying support for our wars. They dont need resolutions and phony speeches. And frankly Mr. and Mrs. America these things do not amount to patriotism.
You want to be patriotic? Then give our troops a war that makes ultimate sense or bring them home. Bring them home to the services and benefits they need. Provide the dollars and the commitment for:
1. A draft or other substitute for being sent into a combat zone over and over at the complete cost of a sane life and the security of their families;
2. Significant resources dedicated to the families left at home so they are not confronted with bankruptcy and other horrors in addition to the loved one at war;
3. Veterans benefits that are adequate to allow for housing, education and therapy upon their return home;
4. A substantial increase in funding for the Veterans Administration to be spent on health care of all kinds, not only for recently returning veterans but all veterans who cannot afford health care in this cost prohibitive insurance health system;
5. A Commander in Chief who doesnt just don a flight jacket and pretend he knows the missions accomplished. A Congress and President who know what the hell the mission is; how much it will cost in dollars and human misery; and whether it is worth the cost to our treasury, our citizens, our troops and the thousands of non-combatants who will be bombed, killed, maimed and routed from their homes as collateral damage; the specific goals to be accomplished; the time frame to accomplish them and the likelihood of doing so; and finally
6. A media willing to evaluate all of these things for the public, discuss them and demand the Congress discuss them before bowing to hinted troop levels and win or loss pronouncements by pundits who have proven themselves wrong so many times they should be ashamed to show themselves in public.
Yes, America, when youre ready to provide us these things, let us know. Perhaps then well start to believe that you give one damn about the men and women yesterday, today, and tomorrow who will wheel their broken bodies and minds back into your temporarily cheering midst, to face the following day and the days thereafter alone with their soldiers memories.
Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG) is running radio ads right now against a couple members of the Milwaukee Board of Supervisors, one of whom who earlier this week voted against the Board’s budget.
Despite her vote against the budget, Patricia Jursik is apparently being targeted because of her support for spending in the past. Theo Lipscomb voted for the board's budget and backed a local sales tax increase to fund transit and parks that passed in a referendum last year.
There's another reason, I suspect, for these attack campaigns: both of these Supervisors have been vocal critics of CRG and their thuggish tactics, one calling them outright “bullies” and the other inconveniently pointed out lies and inaccuracies in CRG radio ads back in October.
I think these two quotes from CRG frontman, Chris Kliesmet say it all:
"At the end of the day, [supervisors] have to do what they are told, not what they feel like doing," said Kliesmet. MJS 11/11/09
"If they are not willing to do that, you use the power of the electorate to see that they will," Kliesmet vowed. "That has been our modus operandi." MJS 10/12/05
If CRG actually was FOR responsible government and not merely a front group pushing Scott Walker for governor, they would have come out guns blazing against Walker’s 2010 “credit card” budget, which actually INCREASES spending from 2009 by 6.3% -- twice the rate of inflation.
As pointed out by Eye on Wisconsin: From 2003 to 2010, Walker has increased county spending by 35%, and raised the levy 18% -- that’s a $40 million dollar increase.
But then again, what can you expect from a group created to get Walker elected and push his policies at any cost?
We hold these truths to be self evident ... Rights, that among these are lying, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
What's that? You don't remember the right to lie being enumerated? A panel of three Wisconsin judges took care of that oversight today. Candidates for public office -- specifically one Michael Gableman -- have a constitutional right to lie.
Judge Ralph Adam Fine explains, beginning on page 20 of this ruling.
Is this a great country or what?
Hat tip: Illusory Tenant.
IWF, one of Wisconsin’s few think tanks that doesn’t hock regressive tax policy, was criticizing the Tax Foundation for a garbage tax plan that would stick it to the middle class in the name of more George Bush tax policies that benefit the rich and corporations.
Once again despite the efforts of the states most notorious corporate tax loophole lobby group, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, more jobs are coming to Wisconsin.
This isnt the first company to do so either " as I pointed out earlier, there have been quite a few companies relocating to the state, bringing good paying, family-supporting jobs.
Across the country, and in Wisconsin, there's a movement quietly taking shape to reclaim November 11 as a day of peace.
What is now called Veterans Day was originally designated in the US as Armistice Day, the day that World War I ended at 11 a.m. on 11/11. In the UK and elsewhere, it is also known as Remembrance Day or Poppy Day.
President Woodrow Wilson declared Armistice Day:
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the countrys service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations"
and Congress adopted a resolution endorsing Armistice Day which said:
...it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations...
But somewhere along the line, after World War II, those sentiments were replaced with flag-waving, fly-overs and military-style parades that seemed to celebrrate war more than peace, in the name of honoring American veterans. The day was changed to Veterans Day.
This year, from Bellingham, WA to St. Augustine FL, from Burlington, VT to San Diego, Veterans for Peace and others are sponsoring events to reclaim the day as a time to celebrate peace, while honoring those who helped win and keep the peace. Here's a full list.
It is in the spirit of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, with its motto of "Honor the Warrior, Not the War."
Others are participating in official Veterans Day events, like the Santa Fe parade, which has welcomed Vetersns for Peace members for four years. Some VFP chapters reportedly get the most applause of any group in the official parades. In Milwaukee, where I live, we are still barred from the parade as being "political," while pro-war groups and non-veteran politicians are welcome to march.
The Milwaukee parade was last Saturday, so Veterans for Peace members, barred from marching, wore VFP vests and walked the parade route with cans to collect donations for the chapter's Homeless Veterans Initiative, to find homeless veterans and help them get veterans benefits, food, clothing, medical care, transportation. and eventually housing and jobs. The response from parade-goers was remarkably positive, and donations were plentiful, with some 10s and 20s as well as many, many one dollar bills.
We encountered no hostility. One utilities-clad member of Vietnam Veterans of America broke ranks to come and shake our hands and thank us for being there before rejoining the parade. The only hostility comes from the parade committee, made up of more traditional veterans organizations. We will keep working on them.
In the meantime, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War and Vietnam Veterans Against the War will sponsor a Veterans Day observance in the rotunda of Milwaukee City Hall at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 11. The bell atop Milwaukee's City Hall will toll for peace on Veteran's Day as part of the ceremony. Madison and Janesville will hold Veterans Day vigils, and many will join at 11 a.m. in observing the traditional two minutes of silence in honor of those killed in warfare, miilitary and civilians, and pray or express their hopes for peace,
The rules were clear: No video recording, no audio recording, no strollers (why does Sarah hate children?), no phones, nada. Anyone coming to the event had to buy a ticket online ahead of time, and audience members had to pass through metal detector wands to ensure no one snuck in a contraband recording device. Or a stroller.
News last week the unemployment rate nationwide is up over 10 percent for the first time since the Reagan administration. And of course, the Dow is back up over 10,000, because these days, when Wall Street gets rich, real Americans get screwed. Perhaps a different post for a different day.
As weve been told so many, unemployment is a lagging indicator, meaning job numbers will bounce back more slowly than other economic numbers. So even though President Obamas policies have GDP on the rebound, officially ending the recession, its going to take some time for national unemployment increases to subside.
Here in Wisconsin however, unemployment has been dropping consistently since hitting 9.2 percent back in June.
One might ask Walker to join the 21st century or stop taking benefits on the government teat. Ask him loudly, in fact.
Again, Walker if Milwaukee can give your family health care benefits, so should domestic partners have the same right. In fact, Walker, what makes your wife, or your two kids more worthy of reasonable benefits than a domestic partner in a committed same sex relationship?
Cory Liebmann offers a much more eloquent response to Walker's ridiculousness.
Dropping to new lows of complete and utter disdain and abuse of workers, on Monday Walker told a radio DJ that the layoff notices mailed to Milwaukee County workers were just a "political ploy" to force the Supervisors to approve cuts to rectify a budget deficit created by the idiocy and mismanagement of yet another Walker appointee.
With the holidays coming up, county unemployment levels hovering at 10%, and an “economic development” plan that's too little too late, you’d think Walker might get a little more creative than sending pink slips to 180 workers and adding to the unemployment rolls. But that would require more compassion and ingenuity than Walker apparently has.
Adding insult to injury, Walker hasn’t sent a pink slip to the moron who created the $3.6 million budget deficit that resulted in the layoffs Walker's heartless political gamesmanship. Apparently he gets to stay while workers who didn’t massively screw up get the can.
Awesome leadership. Awesome.
So, let me get this straight: Inviting non-veteran Scott Walker to march in the Veterans Day parade is not political, but having the word "peace" in an organization's name is?
Members of Veterans for Peace have again been barred from participation in Milwaukee's Veterans Day Parade.
Although the parade website says the event is Honoring all Americans who have served, it has refused to allow Veterans for Peace members " many of whom are combat veterans with Purple Hearts " from taking part in the observance on Saturday, Nov. 7.
The parade committee said Veterans for Peace is a politically motivated group, and therefore not welcome to be in the parade.
So much for honoring all Americans who have served.
Chapter 102 members (I am one) did not ask to participate in the parade to make a political statement, but to take our rightful place in the annual event saluting all who served our country in uniform.
Yet the committee, which finds us political, invites non-veteran politicians -- Scott Walker, Gwen Moore, Tom Barrett -- to march in the parade, and welcomes veterans groups which are outspoken in support of military action and war.
The committees reply, from Chairman David Drent, said,
There is no doubt that your organization is a politically motivated group. One visit to the organizations website makes your views perfectly clear.
We dont make judgment on your purpose. End the war or escalate it carries the same weight with the board. A political statement is being made and there is no room in the parade for it.
We thank you for your service in our Armed Forces, but our goal has always been to have a day of honor that is 100% politically free.
The committees decision was unanimous, he said.
Yet the Veterans of Foreign Wars is welcome to march in the parade, even though its commander, Thomas Tradewell of Sussex, WI, recently called on President Obama to heed the assessment and advice of his military leaders and send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan, suggesting that as commander-in-chief Obamas job is to do what the generals recommend.
And politicians, some of whom are not even veterans, are invited to participate in the parade.
Apparently the parade committee doesnt consider pro-escalation positions or even politicians to be political." Veterans for Peace is in a class by itself.
In his letter to the committee, Chapter 102s Mark Foreman wrote:
We share your pride in having served this nation, whether during time of peace or war. We are a part of the Milwaukee community and of the veterans community.
Our major project is a Homeless Veterans Initiative, which has been operating for a year, to find and assess homeless and at-risk veterans and help them get the services they need to reach their highest possible level of independence. It is work we do on a daily basis with the estimated 3,900 to 5,200 veterans who are homeless in Milwaukee every year.
We do not ask to participate in the parade to make a political statement, but to take our rightful place in the annual event saluting all who served our country in uniform. Veterans cover the political spectrum, as they represent the diversity of this country with a mix of race, gender, religion, economic status, and other characteristics.
What we all have in common is our service, which is what Veterans Day celebrates. We respect other veterans and other veterans organizations. All we ask is that your committee pay us the same respect.
We have been told in the past that the very name of our organization, Veterans for Peace, is political and therefore cannot be part of the parade.
But we believe all veterans who have experienced war share a desire for peace. As U.S. Senator John McCain, a decorated war veteran, has said, "Only a fool or a fraud talks tough or romantically about war "I hate war, and I know how terrible its costs are. Senator McCain also said, Veterans hate war more than anyone else.
Many Veterans for Peace chapters across the country are welcomed and march in Veterans Day parades in other cities. We hope Milwaukee will reconsider its previous position and welcome Veterans for Peace in its 2009 parade.
Chapter 102 members will attend the parade to collect donations along the route for our Homeless Veterans Initiative, and distribute flyers explaining that VFP is not welcome in the parade itself.
VFP will continue to press the committee to do the right thing in the future. You can help, by expressing your views to the committee. Write: Veterans Day Parade, Box 684, Milwaukee WI 53201. Call 414- 414-453-8753. Or email: email@example.com
Sponsors of the parade listed on the website are: Batteries Plus, Tropic Banana Co., Meyer and Wallis, Budweiser, Radio Station FM 106.1, Paul Conway Shields and Equipment, WISN Radio, and the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center.
Drent, the parade committee chair, is also executive director of the War Memorial Center, which receives $1.5-million a year in support from county taxpayers.
I think it's time to take our case to the sponsors and elected county officials, to let them know the self-appointed committee,including a tax-supported sponsor, is excluding military veterans from what should be a community-wide observance honoring those who have served, as the parade website claims.
>Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and Vietnam Veterans Against the War will sponsor a Veterans Day celebration on the day itself, Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. in the rotunda of Milwaukee City Hall, 200 E. Wells. The public is invited -- even war hawks.
He also casts away those who's work doesn't enrich his coffers, for instance the many Milwaukee County citizens forced to endure his endless and ill-advised cuts to critical programs that provide a safety net for those in need.
But in the three-legged stool of Walker's incompetence, venality and corruption, there is nothing as unseemly as his willingness to use his authority to punish those he sees as enemies.
From Madison Area Peace Coalition:
BOOKS, NOT BOMBS !
Peace Demonstration for Obama's Visit to Madison
Wednesday, November 4th
President Obama is coming to Madison this week, and peace activists will assemble to call for an end to war and for shifting government spending priorities from the military to education and other needs.
LOCATION: Intersection of Fish Hatchery Road and Wingra Drive
TIME: 10 AM - 12 Noon Wednesday, November 4th
President Obama will be speaking at Wright Middle School in Madison on educational policy on November 4th. Our message will be that funding schools must take a higher priority over funding wars. After nine months in office, President Obama has continued to stall on his most critical promises, such as: full withdrawal of US troops from Iraq; health care for all Americans; and restoring civil liberties by repealing the US PATRIOT Act.
Obama never promised to withdraw from Afghanistan, but we know it is necessary. Earlier in 2009, President Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan by sending in 20,000 more troops and is now considering sending up to 40,000 more. This is a key moment to influence the Administration's decision on escalating the war in Afghanistan, as well as the many other pressing issues of U.S. military involvements around the world.
Continuing to direct over half our federal discretionary funding toward defense (and only a tiny fraction toward education) is not just. We need to prioritize education, health care, and other human needs, and re-think our military-oriented foreign policy.
Large-sized banners and signs are encouraged for visibility at a distance. Please bring one if you can. Messages that are especially encouraged include:
"Books not Bombs"
"Education not Occupation"
"Bring the Troops Home Now"
"U.S. Out of Afghanistan"
"Real Change is an End to War"
"Healthcare Not Warfare"
Organizers of this event include representatives from Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace, Democrats for Peace, Madison Area Peace Coalition, the Madison Rafah Sister City organization, WNPJ, and the Wisconsin Impeachment / Bring Our Troops Home Coalition.
Why don't we listen to the naysayers who urge us to get a life -- or get a job? (Heard that lately when you're out on the corner?)
This certainly isn't the last word on the subject, but here's one suggestion: Activism is it's own reward. Whether you succeed in achieving your goals or not, you'll enjoy life more because you tried. Skeptical? Here's what the Boston Post reports:
Activists are dissatisfied with the drift of the times and outraged at the misdeeds of their ideological enemies. But they are also, it turns out, enjoying their lives more than the rest of us. At least if recent research is to be believed, political activism, no matter the cause, seems to make people happy - even if they don’t win an election or triumph in a ballot initiative. Psychologists curious about what fuels human happiness have looked at political engagement and political activism, and they’ve found that it provides people with a sense of empowerment, of community, of freedom, and of transcendence. Political activists, in other words, are all happy warriors.The paper suggests that's true whether you're a liberal or conservative, whether you're screaming at a tea party protest or marching to end the wars.
On its face, that seems dubious. Maybe it's just how it looks on television, but I'd say a lot of tea party types are hyperventilating and raising their blood pressure. But who's to say what makes people enjoy life?
The Political Environment
PolitiScoop Left on the Lake
Water Blogged in Waukesha
The Other Side Of My Mouth
Eye On Oshkosh
Pretty Important Politics
WI Council on Children & Families
WI AFSCME Council 11
Citizen Action of WI - No Sacred Cows
Tea Party Pledge
Wisconsin Budget Project
The Wisconsin Happy Farm