hearts and minds

September 8, 2006

Government of, by, and for the FAT CATS

F. James Sensenbrenner has been a professional politician since college. He’s been a state senator and our Representative from the 5th Congressional District since then. And he has accumulated a personal fortune of more than ten million dollars. He has very large holdings in drug and insurance companies, as well as in banks, military contractors, the oil industry, and media conglomerates. His largest holdings, not counting Kimberly-Clark, are in three giant pharmaceutical manufacturers.

James always collects great sums of corporate PAC ‘campaign contributions’, even when he has run unopposed. His re-election campaign has already spent over a third of a million dollars and currently has over 3/4 million dollars “on hand”. Much of it is from corporations in which James owns substantial stock, and in whose interest he votes.
Two-thirds of James’ campaign “contributions” comes from “Political Action Committees”. Since 1989, 97 percent of that PAC money came from corporate PACs (and 3% from “ideological/single issue” PACs). James’ continuing job and power in the Congress is paid for by corporate political action committees. It’s that stark and simple.

Our Congressman has received a third of a million dollars (for his re-election ‘campaigns’) from drug and medical and insurance corporations and PACs. And he keeps repeating the falsehoods that the problems causing our national health care crisis are that you and I have the right to sue if our health care is botched, and that we (not his family or friends, of course) don’t pay enough money up-front to discourage us from seeing the doctor unless we are really positive we have to see the doctor.

He sees no problems caused by the overlapping, unnecessary bureaucracies and administrative costs caused by the insurance industry, or the bloated profits of the drug companies and HMOs, or the outrageous corporate CEO salaries, stock option, and retirement plans. The American people know that America needs universal single-payer health care, and that it would cost less and work better than our current diabolical game of chance, employer’s choice, fine print, and pre-existing conditions.

Congressman Sensenbrenner has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in “contributions” from the oil and energy industry, including ExxonMobil, BPAmoco, Halliburton, the National Mining Association, and WE Energies, and also owns lots of their stock. And he has voted to give the oil, mining and energy industries tens of billions of dollars in corporate welfare tax credits, courtesy of you and me, while their obscene record profits soar. How’s that for spectacular, double return on investment?

James was one of only five out of 435 representatives in Congress who voted against the ‘Clean Lakes Program’ of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. His latest environmental voting record, as tabulated by the League of Conservation Voters is a dismal 17%. James even had some excuse to vote against help for Katrina victims.

James has always voted for the so-called ‘free trade’ or ‘fast track’ agreements like NAFTA and GATT and GATS, and has never voted for a ‘fair trade’ amendment. We have lost tens of thousands of Wisconsin manufacturing and technical jobs as a result.

James has voted for all the Bush tax cuts beginning in 2001 that heavily favored big corporations and the super-rich, and irresponsibly drove the federal budget directly from back-to-back surpluses at the turn of the century to record high and increasing structural deficits. And he has hypocritically continued to claim, without blinking an eye, that he’s the champion of a “Balanced Budget Amendment”, while voting time after time to completely destroy the budget surplus legacy of the Clinton Administration.

Contrasting his public ‘support the troops’ façade, James voted against adequate funding for veterans medical care, voted against funding a life insurance policy for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, voted against a $1500 bonus for troops serving in combat zones, and against making the Earned Income Tax Credit permanent for military personnel.

Bryan Kennedy is running against James Sensenbrenner, and provides a real contrast in ethics and values and programs.

Bryan Kennedy has only one-tenth of the money on hand that incumbent Sensenbrenner has for the election battle ahead.

Two-thirds of Kennedy’s campaign funds come from individuals (not PACs and corporations) and 13% is actually his own savings put on the line. But only one-third of Sensenbrenner’s campaign funds comes from individual donors, and he invests none of his own vast fortune in his own campaigns.

Contributors from Wisconsin provide two-thirds of Bryan Kennedy’s campaign funding. In stark contrast, Sensenbrenner gets less than one-third of his campaign funding from sources in Wisconsin. Didn’t know that, didya?

The 5th U.S. Congressional District currently held by Sensenbrenner includes Ozaukee, Washington, most of Waukesha, and part of Jefferson and Milwaukee Counties. Without vigorous electoral competition, there is no check, and no balance. No one is watching for mistakes, cronyism, or corruption. No alternative vision or policy is articulated. When one party holds too much power in a democracy, government competence deteriorates, official arrogance mounts, and dangerous policies begin to take hold. We are at that point in Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha Counties, and in America.

The time has come for a change in the 5th U.S. Congressional District.

September 9, 2006


  1. I can not vote him out, as I live in another state. But I urge the 5th district to vote him out! I support H.R. 3072 the reinstatement of parole for federal prisoners, which as head of the Judiciary Committee, the congressmen blocks each and every session. Polls show that the majority of Americans support parole for our citizens/inmates who have earned they way out, as we are the land of opportunity and second chances. The federal prison system is busting at it’s seams, costing us as taxpayers. The federal sentences are extremely lengthy, especially for first time non-violent offenders. It makes no sense to continue to house people when they have proven to be rehabilitated and those supervising them have recommended that they be released as they no longer pose any threats to public safety. It has been shown that after lengthy prison stays, an inmate becomes more disenfranchised and loses family support and family structure that may have been in placed previously. It’s time for the passage of the federal parole bill. It’s been 20 years since parole has been abolished in the federal system. As a result, the jails are 40% overcrowded with people who do not necessarily need to be there, wasting away serving 10, 20, and 30 years for what would be 3-5 in the State systems. It’s over 190,000 to date. Do not get me wrong, some should not be released, but those who have earned their way out with good behaviour, educating and rehabilitating themselves through course work and counseling, should be given the chance to become productive citizens. This in not a 3rd world country, this lock them up and throw away the key mentality is disturbing because eventually most will be returned to society anyway. For instance, if someone is sentenced to 10 years in the federal system, and this happens to non-violent first time offenders every day in the feds… well with only 54 days of good time per year, that person will serve 9 years. Some rapist get less than that in the states! Lets say this person has gone into the system and has good instititutional conduct, and takes class after class to improve himself and has remorse for his or her bad decision. Under the current system, that person is going to serve 9 years just like the inmate who sleeps next to him who does absolutely nothing to improve himself. Where is the justice and morality in that? Under the proposed parole bill, this improved person would be able to go before the parole board and have his record and accomplishments reviewed, with the recommendations of the counselors in prison who have worked with the inmate throughout his or her stay. Someone who has not truely been rehabilitated will not and can not fake true remorse and show through action that he or she is ready to return. They just won’t have that drive and initiative in them. It’s my understanding that Mr. Kennedy supports the parole bill and FEDCURE’s efforts. FEDCURE is the leading advocate for federal prisoners.
    The bill will once again die in the House, but its sponsor will reintroduce it again, in the 110th congress if that happens. Let’s do the right thing! Several years ago, President Clinton pardoned a young woman after several years of her incarceration, who was sentenced to 24 years in prison because she made the mistake as a 19 year old college student, of getting involved with an abusive drug dealer. Surely it would not take 24 years to rehabilitate this young woman. After the pardon, she went back and completed her degree and will become an attorney now. There are countless stories like this. Finally, FEDCURE and others say they can show that by reinstating parole it will save us taxpayer billions of dollars. That’s you and me. Why are we paying $25,000 or more a year to house an individual who has shown to be rehabilitated and ready to return to society? Why? because people like Sensenbrenner want to appear tough on crime, instead of being smart on crime. Vote him out please!

    Comment by Natonya — September 15, 2006 @ 9:33 am | Reply

  2. I have heard you complain about Jim and all of his support in this area. No matter where he gets the money he has loyal people in his district that love him. Writing some stupid articles in a small newspaper that won’t even put them on-line is doing nothing. You are the typical liberal, and are too afraid to get out to his local public meetings and question and harass him. They do have people at his meeting that sometimes disrupt him. We need more soldiers and less people like you doing nothing to get that evidence out to those who think Jim is the best candidate. You have to change minds of those people who’s minds need changing, and stop preaching to the converted. Fact is that again, you are lazy and crazy. You cannot lead liberals in this area. Please you are doing us more harm than good. Most people meet you and think you are a crazy person. You have no standing in the community. Have you run for any public office? I have not seen you at Jim’s rallies demonstrating. You come up with strange excuses as soon as you have to go out in public and defend your little rants and turn them into leadership. Please quit your job. Everyone in this county that has met you knows you are a nut case. Strange and reclusive.

    Changing hearts and minds – how do you change someones heart? Surgery maybe. The butterfly’s are pretty, but we need swords (another words, leadership). You have none of those qualities. Makes one wonder who you do work for …

    Comment by Doug M — June 5, 2007 @ 2:11 pm | Reply

  3. My husband was sentenced to 15 years in a federal prison for a non vilont crime. He made some bad choices and he has truly learned his lesson. he is getting rehabilitated and is taking courses to get a degree and he never wants to see prison again. He has learned . He just wants the chance to come home and raise and support his children and prove that he can be a productive member to society. By the time he is released his kids will be grown and on their own. I will still be here for him because I love him and I know that he is learned and rehabilitated. Why cant people believe that. People can change . Not everyone that commits a crime is BAD. We have all made mistakes, some worse than others, alot of people just havent got caught either, but my husband is glad he was caught because now we can put this behind us and move on with our lives. No one was hurt and no one suffered, just my husband , myself, and our children but I’m pretty sure that my cousin that was raped and molested by her uncle still is scared to death until this day because see , the man that did these things to her only served a couple of years and now he is out and he is NOT a productive member to society because he never got rehabilitated , he got a slap on the hand. My husband deserves to get out on parole after he serves some of his time. Thanks

    Comment by heather scruggs — August 7, 2007 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

  4. […] But what they fight for is the political advantage of their party. They never fight for the people when that means fighting against the corporations and the super-rich. […]

    Pingback by Governing People for Profits « hearts and minds — November 14, 2009 @ 10:13 am | Reply

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