Three out of every 20 Americans live in poverty in the United States today. It’s worse than that for kids – and it’s harder for families with children. More than five out of 20 American children under the age of five live in poverty today. And children of color are far more likely than so-called White children to be living in poverty. This essay focuses on Wisconsin, and I guarantee it will upset a fondly and very widely held applecart of belief. (more…)
April 7, 2013
July 25, 2012
A proposed Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to establish that (1) a corporation is not a person, that (2) money is not equivalent to speech, and (3) to clarify and explicitly protect and extend certain rights of the people under this Constitution.
Does a Corporation have Constitutional Rights? (Part 2 of 2) A Corporation does NOT count as a Person, under the U.S. Constitution
One of the two key citations in the Constitution bearing on whether a corporation is a ‘person’ under the Constitution is the 14th Amendment, which contains four sentences employing the word “person[s]” – (the two sentences that constitute section 1, and the opening sentences in each of sections 2 and 3). The 14th Amendment was cited by the Supreme Court in 1886 when it established a powerful and important but highly questionable precedent (opening up a massive reinterpretation of corporate law) by asserting that a corporation is a person.
Does a Corporation have Constitutional Rights? (Part 1 of 2) A Corporation is a Party, not a Person, under the U.S. Constitution
A single, all-but-forgotten sentence in Article IV section 2 of the U.S. Constitution provides a concise, clear, as yet unused argument that helps us conclusively determine the validity of the legal theory that a corporation possesses, by authority of the U.S. Constitution, any of the rights described there as being the rights of a person. (more…)
December 20, 2011
Wisconsin has abolished the death penalty longer than any other government in the world. Wisconsin blazed the trail and set the unwavering example that has since inspired the entire so-called civilized world. Wisconsin is no longer alone in that world. Wisconsin is now entirely encircled by states (Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and Canada) in which the death penalty has also been abandoned. Sixteen states no longer use the death penalty. Membership in the European Union is open only to countries that have abolished capital punishment. Today, 140 countries no longer impose the death penalty. And in December of 2012 the United Nations General Assembly will be voting on an unprecedented resolution to urge the worldwide abolition of the death penalty. Where will Wisconsin and the United States of America stand on that resolution?
October 27, 2011
What is Occupy Wall Street and the growing Global Occupation all about? In three words, I’d suggest that in the United States it’s about, “Wake Up, America!” It is up to the 99 percent to get up, stand up – take back our rights, our lives, the future, and all that we cherish.
“Who are the leaders of this protest demonstration and what are their demands?”
August 23, 2011
Following is a “spin” on the 2011 state senate recall process from a stubborn Independent, who has never been a member of either major political party, and who is not quite satisfied with the distortions and outright lies being presented ad nauseum by hack knee-jerk loyalists of both parties. Spokespersons from each Party weave a story which assures the public that their own Party won the recall battle, and we now must endure the battle of the spin-doctors. But the important question is not which Party won. It’s “Did the people win or lose?”
May 27, 2011
Have you ever wondered what possessed members of the Supreme Court to determine that a corporation is a “person”, according to the Constitution? Which passages in the U.S. Constitution (including Amendments) could certain Supreme Court Justices have construed to support their determination (in contrast to common understanding and general usage) that a corporation possesses the rights that are explicitly defined for a “person” in the Constitution? Having researched and written about the consequences of this determination several times over the last decade, I became interested and finally compelled to get to this root of the problem. And so I once again studied the Constitution and its Amendments. But this time, I searched in particular for an answer to the question of how in the world anyone can conclude that a corporation possesses the specific Constitutional rights that are described there as belonging to a “person”.
I began by locating and highlighting certain words in the text (such as “corporation”, “company”, “person[s]”, “citizen[s]”, and “people”). Then I studied the context in which those words appear. My search was productive, with results that were startling, informative, and actually simple to comprehend and to share with you.
April 1, 2011
My ol’ huntin’ partners, Sidney D. Complex and Jesse B. Simple, and I were enjoying a couple beers together this Spring. Jess had just boggled my mind with one of his astute observations on the human condition. So I was trying to appear calm, and in full possession of my faculties while feeling more than usually uncertain and unbalanced.
Sid handled the silence that followed by deftly changing the subject. ‘Know what?’ inquired Sid. ‘The word “Person(s)” appears in the U.S. Constitution 22 times. And that same word pops up 27 times in the Constitutional Amendments (which is more than once per Amendment). I know because I counted. But, the word “corporation(s)” doesn’t appear even once in the U.S. Constitution or in any Amendment. What the hell is all this noise about a corporation being a person? That’s just plain nuts.’
Smart-as-a-whip Jess came right back, without even pausing to take a deep breath or whet his whistle. (more…)
February 26, 2011
SOMETIMES THERE’S JUST SMOKE – AND MIRRORS
There is no credible evidence (and certainly no proof), and there is also no rational explanation of motivation, for the oft repeated theory that voter fraud has recently compromised our elections in the United States. (See the difference between voter fraud compared to election fraud.) Despite heavy pressure on mass media reporters and editors, elected officials, election officials, and appointed federal prosecutors around the nation, and despite constantly repeated distortions and outright lies throughout the last decade, no evidence has been found that any systematic or substantial individual voter fraud has been occurring. In fact, not a single instance of voter fraud that would have been prevented by a government issued photo ID has been discovered in this century in Wisconsin.
February 25, 2011
Federal, state, and local government budgets, and the lives of working people, across America, are in deep trouble for three dominant reasons:
(1) Federal and state policies, including tax policies, during the last three-plus decades have redistributed a consistently and drastically increasing percentage of the income and the wealth of the nation to large corporations and the super-rich. The consistently increasing tax cuts lavished on corporations and the very wealthy over this period have been substantially financed from the Social Security Trust Fund.
(2) Deficit financing of the military-industrial complex, the escalating cost of empire, and the undeclared wars waged, and continuing occupations, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere.
(3) The national economic crisis (which immediately expanded worldwide, and trickled-down to state, local, and family budgets) that was caused by the largest fraud and larceny ever perpetrated in world history.
This worldwide economic crisis, with its massive, tragic consequences, was intentionally perpetrated by decision makers in huge, transnational financial and insurance and investment and accounting corporations. Neither the government that is supposed to be of, by, and for the people, nor either major party, has taken the necessary steps to:
(a) prevent such an outrageous fraud from happening again,
(b) prosecute the looters, and
(c) recover the loot.
Instead, we have been expected to collectively dig the very crooks (and only the crooks) out from under the collapsed consequences of the disaster they initiated.
We must defeat efforts to scapegoat any portion of the people and force them/us to pay even more for this continuing economic crisis.
February 14, 2011
Wisconsin had just became a state, prior to the Civil War, when Joshua Glover was apprehended alone, by an overpowering number of men, and locked up in southeast Wisconsin in 1854, after putting up a terrible and valiant fight, charged with having escaped from slavery in another state. He was bound in irons and held, awaiting an armed federal escort platoon to return him to a cruel fate to be determined at the sole discretion of the “Party” that claimed ownership of him. (more…)
November 19, 2010
Russ Feingold’s re-election effort was defeated in November. Citizens of America and of Wisconsin who want clean, uncorrupted government that exists to serve the people, rather than to serve the profits of corporations and the super-rich, did not need that to happen. (more…)
September 6, 2010
Do not overlook the essential info available in “The Spirit Level”, by Dr. Richard Wilkinson and Dr. Kate Pickett, published in the United States this year. The message of this book (which is fully documented, peer-reviewed, footnoted, and with extensive bibliography) can be boiled down for your convenience as follows:
May 11, 2010
The people elect government officials, with each citizen’s vote counting the same as any other’s vote – that’s representative democracy. That’s the American way. It couldn’t be simpler. Unfortunately, that’s not how we elect the President and Vice-President of the United States. Fortunately, there is a brilliant, elegant solution.
April 12, 2010
by Claire Vanderslice
President – League of Women Voters of Ozaukee County, Wisconsin
As part of the US League of Women Voters delegation to Copenhagen in December 2009, I investigated REDD; “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation”, a mechanism originally conceived to reward “custodians” to keep the remaining tropical forests intact instead of cutting them down. Carbon dioxide is released when trees are cut and burned and the soil is exposed to oxidation. Living trees, on the other hand, convert CO2 to oxygen and sequestered carbon. So protecting forests reduces atmospheric greenhouse gases.
March 9, 2010
You and I and virtually everyone knows how important Medicare has been to the health and the economic well-being of every American family over the last couple of generations. Where would our families be without Medicare? Where would your family be? What would have happened to your elders, in this and in the previous couple of generations? What would have happened to your life style and to your children’s futures – if Medicare for elders and the disabled had not been signed into law some 45 years ago? Can you even imagine what your family life would be like without Medicare today?
February 24, 2010
I don’t know what else to write about the health care crisis. After seven years of study and writing and advocacy on the subject I am at a loss for more and different words. If I haven’t explained the issue adequately and completely by now, if I didn’t make the case clearly and compellingly in all those articles and leaflets, there is something deeply deficient in my intelligence and my skills, because the nature and dimensions of the crisis, and the simple, straightforward solution to it, couldn’t be more obvious, to anyone who has undertaken a careful, deep study of the problem. (more…)
February 1, 2010
The “Citizens United Inc. v. Federal Elections Commission“ ruling in the first month of 2010 represents “Strike Three” called against the U.S. Supreme Court.
January 9, 2010
The current proposals for health care reform that the Congress is considering are fatally flawed due to the massive harmful influence of the for-profit sickness industry conglomerates, including the insurance corporations. These corporations have controlled and dictated the reform legislation being considered by the Democratic Party. And these corporations have also fueled and controlled the virulent organized opposition to any meaningful health care reform that continues to be mounted by the Republican Party.
On Monday, January 4, from noon until mid-afternoon, Democratic Senator Feingold held a “Listening Session” in Ozaukee County, at the MATC-North Auditorium. It was packed, with virtually all seats filled. A “full house” is not at all uncommon at Senator Feingold’s “Listening Sessions”, and I have attended virtually all of them in Ozaukee County in the last ten or fifteen years. But there was something obviously different about this session from the previous sessions I have attended. (more…)
December 15, 2009
I’m not his only friend, by a long shot. Skip is respected and well liked by a whole lot of people. He was a fellow seaman and a millwright, a member of the Masters, Mates and Pilots Union, the Carpenter’s Union, an organizer for justice and human rights and the IWW. He loved family and friends, and he valued and respected life and people.
He was working as a millwright when he got sick, and the illness and treatment made him unable to continue working, which, of course, cost him the health insurance coverage he had at the time he became ill. Months of recuperation and healing followed, but when he experienced symptoms that caused him to again seek medical help, he was turned down flat due to his lack of private wealth and the lack of health insurance, which was caused by his lack of current employment, which was caused by his previous illness and treatment. (more…)
November 11, 2009
What has happened with regards to the deepening health care crisis is a symptom of what is deeply wrong with governance in America. Politicians of only two political parties occupy virtually all elected offices in state and national government. And corporations, with their PACs, simultaneously flood both major parties, and elected officials of both parties with massive campaign “donations” and, on top of that, billions of dollars, annually, for lobbying “access” and pressure on government officials.
The problem with that is that the two major political parties in the United States are in thrall to huge corporations and the super-rich, and have decided to depend, first and foremost, on their money and support.
In return, the corporations and the super-rich expect BOTH parties to defend and advance corporate interests.
And they understand and expect that the two parties will jockey for political advantage while doing so.
October 9, 2009
All of the grassroots efforts for the substantive, effective health care reform that is so needed by American families, have been attacked – for months, for years, and for decades – by insurance corporations, by their corporate allies, and now by crass strategists within both major political parties. Much of the lavishly funded incessant attack has been stealthy and subliminal. A health care crisis has thus materialized and been getting worse fast.
The words “public option”, have received overwhelming public support in national polls (be sure to see this article analyzing those polls) this year when contrasted with the status quo in health care. However, the proposed public option plan(s) proved vulnerable to certain attacks from the professional spin-meisters who are working to derail any substantive health care reform. Here are three of the most effective PR attacks recently made on “public option” health care reform efforts. The response that is necessary concludes this essay.
September 11, 2009
The President made an excellent and moving speech to the people and a joint session of Congress on September 9. However, following the money appears to be the only way to find an explanation for certain failures, omissions, and commissions in the President’s otherwise inspiring speech, in the speech and actions of the great majority of “our” legislators of both major parties, and in the news “coverage” by the mass media.
August 18, 2009
Public Option, Insurance Co-op, Mandatory Insurance Purchase – Who Cares about the Fine Print in a Health Care Reform Bill?
Probably the same sort of person who is not certain what the future holds for her family, or who worries at times about the fine print in whatever health insurance policy currently “covers” them.
There are 3 serious consequences of the huge mistake or betrayal made by “public option” spokespersons, exemplified locally by Wisconsin Citizen Action, and nationally by Move-On, among others, when they declared that the single-payer solution was “off-the-table”. (more…)
July 22, 2009
The healthcare your family needs is based on medical necessity, as determined by health professionals chosen by you, without interference from health care system administrators.
The healthcare your family member deserves (in today’s lingo) is based on the fine print in a contract with an insurance corporation, the business decisions made by an employer, and the money, status, and family assets remaining that are available to the person needing health care.
The question facing us is, “Should America’s health care system provide health care to families that they need, or should it provide health care that individuals deserve?”
Administration and management of our health care system by insurance corporations, based on business decisions made by employers, is irrational, inefficient, wasteful, and costly. It results in unnecessary suffering and loss of life. (more…)
June 17, 2009
There are 5 prevalent myths we need to overcome, and 3 basic principles on which we can agree, in order to stand solidly on the high ground while defending our health care rights. It’s now up to you and me. No one else will do it for us. We owe it to our family, our country, and ourselves. (more…)
May 12, 2009
Gung Ho (means: work together) America
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
- Mark Twain
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) issued its 2008 Congressional Report Card, and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) issued percentage ratings, on how U.S. Senators and Representatives voted regarding issues of direct importance to disabled veterans and recent combat veterans (and their families). Perhaps, like me, you are interested in how the legislators who represent you in Washington, D.C. and the two Senators who ran last year for President, were rated by the IAVA and the DAV.
May 4, 2009
In the United States, one in every six citizens has no health insurance, and at least as many more have inadequate insurance, and don’t know it. The lack of adequate insurance closes doors to proper health care here. Many of those that have insurance only discover how inadequate it is, when they really need health care. That’s when they find out (from clerks with little or no medical training) about exclusionary clauses, unavailable treatment, pre-existing conditions, bankrupting deductibles and co-payments, and lifetime, annual, or incident limits. There is finally something we can do about this crippling and too-costly system.
If you’re one of 100 million Americans without adequate or any insurance, whether by choice or not, you are playing a cruel game of Russian roulette with stakes the likes of which you better hope and pray you never learn about the hard way. (more…)
April 13, 2009
In Ozaukee County, Darcy McManus got 44 percent of the votes from the 23 percent of those registered who voted. Therefore, long-time District Attorney Sandy Williams will be the new Branch 3 Circuit Court Judge here. Ozaukee residents might be interested to learn about an earlier but unsuccessful candidate for election to be the Ozaukee/Washington County District Attorney, one Leland Stanford. Name sound familiar? (more…)
March 16, 2009
On Tuesday April 7, 2009 for the first time in thirty years, voters will have a choice in a contested election for judge for our Ozaukee County Circuit Court, which is the first stop in the judicial system for civil and criminal legal matters under state law. I urge that you help get out the vote for Darcy McManus. I have several reasons.
According to a story from long ago, a big man named Solomon was empowered to decide which woman was the mother of a child they each insistently claimed. In apparent frustration, he announced he would cleave the infant in two with a sword and give half to each woman. One woman immediately relinquished her claim to the baby, saying, “Give her the living child and in no wise slay it.” Solomon awarded her the baby, declaring that only the real mother would love her child so much as to give it up in order to save its life. The story is still told (Bible: 1 Kings 3), and it is asserted that this judicial decision demonstrated Solomon’s surpassing wisdom and cemented his reputation.
Actually, the convincing testimony came from the other woman, not from the tearful plea of the first to speak, don’t you agree? (more…)
March 15, 2009
The STATEWIDE, COUNTY, REGIONAL, and MUNICIPAL offices to be elected in contested elections in Ozaukee County in the April 7, 2009 Spring Election are shown in very condensed, convenient, voter-friendly format here:
November 8, 2008
The first page article in the Ozaukee News-Graphic on November 6 began by asserting that “… voters in Ozaukee County stayed true to their Republican roots.” Talk about beginning a news report with fallacies – this takes the cake. First, Ozaukee County’s roots, for the first fifty-plus years of our statehood, were deeply and entirely embedded in the Democratic Party. Despite the Republican Party having been founded in Wisconsin, and overwhelmingly the choice of Wisconsinites, before, during, and for many years after the Civil War, Ozaukee County always voted for Democrats to represent it, until WWI. And second, while, some Republican voters did vote the Party-line, certainly not all did, and not nearly as many as did in the recent past. Our local newspaper report of the election could not have been more factually incorrect (while being, of course, quite “politically correct”, as far as the current local ruling party establishment is concerned).
October 26, 2008
For the first time in a very long time – several generations, at least – we will have more than one name on the general election ballot in Ozaukee and Washington counties (for state Senate district 20 as well as Assembly districts 58 and 60, and for state Senate district 8 as well as Assembly districts 23 and 24). When there is only one name on the ballot, and no viable challenge, decade after decade, the legislators doesn’t have to worry about how you and I are going to vote. And if they don’t have to worry about how we’re going to vote, the only thing left for them to worry about is how the corporate donors, lobbyists, and anonymous ad sponsors with a grasp on their party, expect them to act in office. That does not give us government of, by, and for the people. That imposes on us a government by and for corporations and lobbyists.
That sort of government, both in Madison and Washington, has burdened us with the greatest transfer of wealth in history, (more…)
October 21, 2008
Two recent lead articles by the Shepherd Express about contested elections for the state legislature in Wisconsin have both omitted any mention of the unique historic (not merely newsworthy) facts about five grassroots progressive challengers to the Ruling Party’s unquestioned (until now) omnipotence and incumbents in Ozaukee and Washington counties.
“News and Views” by publisher Louis Fortis on October 9, page 7, stated in the opening paragraph of an article headlined, “State Senate Update: Who Is Going to Win? Eight districts are in play” that “Sixteen of the 33 state Senate seats are up for election this year, eight currently held by each party. Of the eight seats held by each party, four seats from each party are held by unopposed incumbents. That leaves eight seats – four held by Democrats and four held by Republicans – that will decide the majority for next session.”
Not true, Mr. Fortis. There are NOT eight contested senate seats. There are nine contested senate seats, and this fact has been clearly and unambiguously known and documented by the G.A.B. since early July, when all candidates officially qualifying for the ballot were listed. Why did you NOT mention the one Independent candidate – the one qualified senate candidate who is neither a Republican nor a Democrat? (more…)
August 6, 2008
The Wisconsin state legislature will have many contested elections in November. Three out of four Assembly seats will have more than one name on the ballot and be worth voting in, and nine of the 16 state senate seats listed in the general election will have more than one name on the ballot. In particular, the counties of Ozaukee and Washington, long dominated by the Republican Party (and long conceded by the state Democratic Party) have a unique and historic campaign season and election ahead. Fully SIX of the state legislature seats currently occupied by The Ruling Party in Ozaukee and Washington counties are being challenged in the general election. We haven’t had this kind of choice for generations. This is more than merely newsworthy. It is historic. What is fueling this upset of the status quo?
July 15, 2008
The July 13 OZAUKEEWASHINGTON section lead article in the Journal-Sentinel, “State Races Attract Attention”, is appalling journalism. The errors, misinformation and irrelevancies in this article are too many, and it needs major revision or a fresh start from scratch.
Half of the Senate and the entire Assembly is up for election every two years. There is no news there. But it is news that three-fourths of the Assembly (74 seats) and over half of the Senate offices up for election (nine seats) will be contested elections this November, where the voters will have a choice. (more…)
July 5, 2008
I b’lieve in the U.S. Constitution and all its amendments (so far, anyway). Including the second. And the Second Amendment means individual people have the right to keep and bear arms, not just people wearing a uniform or under orders.
June 5, 2008
Let’s spotlight two cases where the U.S. Supreme Court legislated from the bench and violated common sense and our shared values. Next we’ll see what our state legislators have (or have not) done recently to arrest and restrain the government corruption that resulted. We’ll look at where the problem is most festering. And there is one important legislative step that is needed right now. Let’s get er done. By the way, there’s a scoop here, too, with news of three grassroots candidates for election to the state legislature, working to expose and unseat some of the very worst of the “Public Enemies” to be described below.
May 24, 2008
“The GI Bill gives emphatic notice to the men and women in our armed forces that the American people do not intend to let them down.”
(Franklin Delano Roosevelt, on signing the original G.I Bill for returning veterans)
The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is leading an effort to pass a new GI Bill of educational benefits for veterans. What is the bill, what will it cost, and where do Wisconsin’s U.S. Senators and Members of Congress stand?
May 14, 2008
There is an unfortunate, unintended, inherent contradiction between two government agricultural policies, or their administration, in Wisconsin. This interaction acts to defeat the intention of both policies, and it fleeces the average taxpaying citizen in the process.
May 1, 2008
The recent Wisconsin Supreme Court election holds great portent for the integrity, impartiality, and independence of the judiciary, not only in Wisconsin, but throughout the country, in both federal and state systems. Anonymous phony issue ad groups have dominated recent Supreme Court elections and appointments. These groups have found a loophole that defeats and makes a mockery of laws intended to prevent the courts from becoming partisan political battlegrounds, and intended to prevent big moneyed interests from determining who can become a judge in America. (more…)
April 17, 2008
A discussion has been proceeding for the last month in the Ozaukee News-Graphic regarding the continuing occupation of Iraq. This column continues that important discussion, and asks that you contribute to it, as well.
April 6, 2008
The April Fool 2008 Wisconsin Supreme Court election campaign was publicly conducted as an anti-criminal crusade. The contest was framed as between a law-and-order challenger and a liberal, criminal coddling incumbent. But honest, intelligent people across the political spectrum who have closely observed recent Supreme Court elections know that the real contest was about something else.
April 3, 2008
44 bills introduced to the Wisconsin legislature during the last ( 2007-2008 ) legislative session were tracked by the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters (LCV). Now that the legislature has adjourned until 2009 (long after the November general election will be over) what has been the fate of those bills?
March 27, 2008
The Wisconsin Supreme Court election Tuesday, April 1, pits incumbent Justice Louis Butler against challenger Judge Michael Gableman in a critically important election. But it’s being smeared with distortions and misrepresentations. And secretive groups with very deep pockets threaten to take control of justice.
March 16, 2008
See how Glenn Grothman, one of 33 Wisconsin State Senators, voted during the 2007-2008 legislative session. This is just a short page, a concise quick read, and packed with links to further information if and when you need it.
March 12, 2008
The next few months will see Wisconsin citizens and all Americans, and those standing for elected office in our Congressional Districts, grappling with or evading several big issues. Among them, none is more important than the continuing occupation of Iraq, which began with the victorious invasion five years ago on March 20.