hearts and minds

December 14, 2016

“Proof of Residence” Requirements Prove only an Intent to Obstruct the Right to Vote

I was an Election Protection volunteer on General Election Day, 2016, trained by, and representing the NAACP, working at one polling location in the “inner city” of Milwaukee, Wisconsin from the time voting started in the morning until after voting ended that night. I was able to observe every individual entering the premises, and the experience of every person who came there to vote that day. And every person who I observed leaving the premises without voting (despite their motivation and intention to vote) did so for one and only one reason. That single reason was their inability to produce an acceptable so-called “proof of residence” document. (more…)

April 20, 2016

Geographic and Economic Racial Disparity in Wisconsin

Filed under: Class warfare,Economics,Halo of hubris,Race relations — Hearts & Minds @ 11:26 am
Tags:

Black people comprise 12.3 percent of the population of the USA, but only 6.3 percent of the state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin outside of the City of Milwaukee, is actually only 2.5 percent Black – less than one-fifth of the percentage of Black persons in the population of the USA as a whole. That’s the kind of statistic that harbors and attracts explicitly racist white enclaves. If, compared to other states, Wisconsin were a great place to live, with equitable opportunity for all, more people of color would be living here by now.

70 percent of all Black citizens of Wisconsin live in Milwaukee County. 94% of all Black residents of Milwaukee County live in the City of Milwaukee. Less than 6 percent of all white persons living in Wisconsin live in the city of Milwaukee. But two-thirds of all Black persons living in Wisconsin live in the city of Milwaukee. Are you getting the picture? Wisconsin has never been particularly welcoming to people of color, and has always kept the races separated, with people of color oppressed and in poverty.  (more…)

April 12, 2016

Racial Disparity, Mass Incarceration, and the New Jim Crow

Racial Disparity + Police Brutality + Mass Incarceration = Violation of Human Rights + Intimidation + Individual and Community Impoverishment and Disenfranchisement

first researched and published in Feb. 2005; updated in Dec. 2014

 

The USA now imprisons a higher percentage of her people than any other country on earth. This distinction, acquired around the turn of the 21st century, is largely due to a huge escalation in incarcerations caused by drug law enforcement. The escalation is not due to increased use of illegal drugs. It is a result of the so-called ‘War on Drugs’ waged selectively and with markedly different tactics in different communities, since the 1980’s.  (more…)

April 1, 2016

The Universal Invasive Species is bound for Planet “B”

From his brimstone bed at break of day
A walking the Devil is gone,
To visit his snug little farm the earth,
And see how his stock goes on.

Samuel Coleridge

[First published on Groundhog Day, 2016, this significant revision was posted in January 2017]

About a billion years or so from now, changes in the sun’s energy output will end the ability of the now 4.5 billion year old Planet Earth to support life. We don’t yet know how or if we can deal with that far-into-the-distant-future problem. But today we are facing an imminent threat to life on Earth and we’d better not put it off. The incessant, increasing activities of human civilization are rapidly depleting and despoiling existing ‘natural resources’, and are simultaneously accelerating the degradation of the ability of this beautiful planet to sustain life. These unprecedented changes include widespread continuing destruction of natural life and ecology; damaging alterations of the planet’s oceans, surface and ground water; and the ominous increase of human produced toxins and global warming “greenhouse” gases in the atmosphere. Despite that, human beings are not the universal invasive species, and we can stop and repair the damage. (more…)

April 15, 2015

Do Corporations Have Constitutional Rights? The Proof.

Is there truth in the legal theory that a corporation possesses the unalienable rights of a person, which are explicitly protected by the Constitution of the United States? Does the Constitution confer the rights of a “person”, or of “the people”, upon artificial legal entities we now know as “corporations”? What exactly does the U.S. Constitution consider to be a “person”? If corporations possess the Constitutional rights of a “person”, then corporate power rules our lives and our future. If, on the other hand, the people are sovereign in our government, and only the people have Constitutional rights, then we the people, in compliance with our Constitution, have full legal authority to determine the rules and the policies that organize and shape our lives. (more…)

September 10, 2014

Is Half a Loaf Better than No Loaf? – A Deceptive Argument

The MOVI Group and the DNC are actively promoting this summer (in Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin this week, and throughout the United States) a Constitutional Amendment that waves the flag, Money is Not Speech before our eyes and the media cameras, but has completely disappeared the flag, A Corporation is Not a Person. Yet our non-partisan Movement of the People, based on both of these principles and demands, has been growing and strengthening for years (despite a near complete corporate media blackout). (more…)

August 7, 2014

Stop the Partisan Divisiveness and the Bi-Partisan Deception

For a pioneering revolutionary document that established a democratic republic ten or 12 generations ago, it is surprising how little the U.S. Constitution explicitly talks about “the People”. This founding document shaped the clear outlines and principles of a new and independent government that was to be of, by, and for the people, while hardly mentioning the word, “People”. The key word People appears once in the single ringing sentence known to all as the Preamble. And then it appears only one more time in all of the seven Articles which follow the Preamble sentence. (more…)

July 15, 2014

Is Even the Truth Unsustainable?

Why do words fail us? Why is demonstrable truth so widely and persistently disdained and ignored? Effective communication with integrity is essential for the people – you and I – to become informed and to take action necessary to establish, maintain and strengthen a democratic republic. But effective communication with integrity, even on a personal, one-to-one level, is very, very difficult in modern times.
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June 22, 2014

Declaration of Independence from Corporate Rule

On the historic occasion of Independence Day and Juneteenth, 2014, with honor and deep respect for the U.S. Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, the Abolition of Slavery, the Equal Rights of all Persons, and the Planet of our birth which has nurtured life and beauty for so long, here is submitted a statement of truth bearing importantly on the evolution and development of government that is of, by, and for the people. May we today be equal to the great task now before us of ensuring that that government shall not perish from the earth. And may we also, and thereby, become equal to what is likely the most dangerous challenge that humankind has ever faced thus far during our entire existence on Earth – a challenge that we ourselves have created, through technology and civilization – the consequences of our own cleverness and industry.
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March 14, 2014

New Law Restricts Early Voting in Wisconsin

The current majority party controlling the Wisconsin legislative, executive and judicial branches has just enacted a law, which restricts voting opportunities in each municipality in the state to no more than one early voting location for each town, village, or city – regardless of size! The new law also further reduces the number of hours and days allowed for early voting – and entirely eliminates opportunities to vote on a weekend.

The difference in the election experience between, for example, the City of Milwaukee and the County of Ozaukee, which are neighbors, approximately the same size in square miles, illustrates how outrageously unfair this new state law is in practice. (more…)

March 11, 2014

Fair Representation of the People in a Real Democratic Republic

Instead of the absolutely corrupted election process that has evolved in Wisconsin and the nation, selection of state and federal legislators by lottery from among qualified electors would far better serve our state and country. (more…)

December 14, 2013

Socialized Health Care vs Gov’t Mandated and Subsidized Corporate Profiteering

Filed under: Class warfare,Health care crisis,History,legalized bribery,move to amend — Hearts & Minds @ 5:05 pm

The corporate controlled government, those in charge of both corporate controlled political parties, and the corporate controlled mass media, all continue to refuse to even make a pretense of discussing publicly, much less seriously considering, the obvious, clear and simple solution to the health care crisis in America. (more…)

September 2, 2013

Partisan Re-Districting Disrespects and Misrepresents the People

Elections in America should be an opportunity for the people to choose their elected representatives. It does not do justice to the people of Wisconsin and of the United States for the legislators to be choosing their constituents. But the current system of partisan “redistricting” does just that – it allows politicians to carve out turf strictly for the benefit of their party and for the protection of incumbents. It hurts democracy, it makes elections-by-district non-competitive, and it takes choice away from the citizens.
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August 31, 2013

Protection of Voting Rights in 21st Century America

Voting rights are basic to all human rights. Violations of voting rights are violations of the core principles of democracy, and of government that should be of, by, and for the people. Violations have become more widespread in the USA than just the states that were originally listed in the landmark, and essential 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was so (tragically) belatedly enacted to finally enforce the basic human rights provisions of the 14th and 15th Amendments a century after those Amendments were ratified.
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July 2, 2013

Pitfalls to Avoid in Our Struggle to Obtain Democracy

“Corporations v. Persons : The Struggle that Will Define the 21st Century”
Actually, the struggle is even more serious than that.
It is corporations v. life as we have come to know it on Planet Earth.
It is corporate rule v. democracy and a bright future.

The central objective of “Move to Amend” is to amend the U.S. Constitution to establish that:
(1) Corporations do not have Constitutional rights – a corporation is not a person in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution; and
(2) Bribery will no longer be legalized in the USA – Money used to influence government policy, actions, officials, and elections is not protected as “free speech” and can be regulated.

Certain groups and individuals have attached to this Movement of the People, while simultaneously diluting and compromising it by instead asserting that the objective is to “defeat citizens united” and to “get money out of politics”. They seek to return to the status quo and restore certain inadequate “campaign finance reforms” that existed prior to 2010. That objective can do no more than return America to the corruption, the legalized bribery, and the corporate control of government that already prevailed then, and had long been frustrating our best efforts. (more…)

April 7, 2013

Child Poverty and Race in Wisconsin and the USA

Filed under: Class warfare,Race relations — Hearts & Minds @ 2:29 pm
Tags: , ,

Conservative data and analysis holds that three out of every 20 Americans live in poverty in the United States today. It’s worse than that for kids – and it’s toughest 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. I guarantee this essay will upset a fondly and very widely held applecart of belief. (more…)

July 25, 2012

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT to end legalized bribery and to protect the rights of the people

A proposed Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1) to establish that a corporation is not a person, in the meaning of the Constitution, and (2) to establish that money is not equivalent to Constitutionally protected speech, and (3) to protect the sovereignty and the unalienable rights of the people under this Constitution.
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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 in the preface to an 1886 Supreme Court case. This preface was later exploited to massively rewrite corporate law using the unjustifiable legal theory that a corporation is a Constitutional ‘person’.
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Does a Corporation have Constitutional Rights? (Part 1 of 2) A Corporation is a Party, not a Person, under the U.S. Constitution

Is there any truth in the legal theory that a corporation possesses, by authority of the U.S. Constitution, any of the inherent, unalienable rights of a person? (more…)

December 20, 2011

Wisconsin Showed the World What Democracy Looks Like

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?
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October 27, 2011

Life Shall Overcome Corporate Power – Occupy Everything

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?”
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May 27, 2011

Corporations v. Persons – the struggle that will define the 21st Century

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 Judges 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 youhttps://clydewinter.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/666-word-proof-that-a-corporation-is-not-a-person/
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April 1, 2011

The Difference Between a “Person” and a “Party”

My ol’ huntin’ partners, Sid 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 averages 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 the Supreme Court declaring that a corporation is a person? That’s just plain nuts. A corporation doesn’t bleed, it can’t have kids, a corporation ain’t a person, anybody knows that.’

Smart-as-a-whip Jess came right back, without even pausing to take a deep breath or whet his whistle. (more…)

February 25, 2011

Block the Koch Party Attack on the Working Class

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.
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September 6, 2010

The Spirit Level

Filed under: Class warfare,Economics,Taxes — Hearts & Minds @ 5:35 pm

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:
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March 9, 2010

The Solution to the Health Care Crisis is Staring Us In The Face

Filed under: Class warfare,Ethics & lobbyists,Health care crisis — Hearts & Minds @ 4:30 pm

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?
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February 24, 2010

Two Doc’s Heartfelt Words from Long Experience about the Growing Health Care Crisis

Filed under: Class warfare,Health care crisis — Hearts & Minds @ 7:00 pm

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

Citizens United Incorporated v. Federal Elections Commission – the Supreme Court Strikes Out

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.
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January 9, 2010

A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

Filed under: Class warfare,Health care crisis,legalized bribery,Politics & elections — Hearts & Minds @ 6:05 pm

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.
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December 15, 2009

DON’T MOURN – ORGANIZE

Filed under: Class warfare,Health care crisis — Hearts & Minds @ 5:30 pm

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

Governing People for Profits

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.
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September 11, 2009

President Obama’s Inspiring and Historic Speech on the Health Care Crisis

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.
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October 26, 2008

Choice for a Change – a Change that is Necessary

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…)

August 6, 2008

Choice for A Change in Ozaukee and Washington counties

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?
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May 24, 2008

Support the Troops! Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation and the New G.I. Bill

“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?
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April 6, 2008

Wisconsin Supreme Court Elections, Past and Future

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.
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January 2, 2008

Pay for Elections – Low Cost and Up-Front, or High Cost and Under-the-Table?

Sid. D. Complex was skinning and butchering the deer carcass that had frozen while hanging in his shed, when I stopped by for a visit, and that perennial sheepshead champ, Jess B. Simple, was being careful not to needle him for his procrastination.

“So,” I opened, deftly avoiding controversy, “who d’ya wanna see win the elections this year?”
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October 11, 2007

Christopher Columbus’ Firsts

Filed under: Christopher Columbus,Class warfare,Economics,Education,History,Race relations — Hearts & Minds @ 2:28 am

Does your family celebrate Columbus Day? Or did it slip by without notice? Columbus Day is usually noted in school classes (well before college) and after that it is all but forgotten. But the four voyages of Columbus represent an incredibly important “first” in world history, in the history of the Western Hemisphere, and in the USA, that we should not forget.
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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.
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August 12, 2006

Dealing Death off the Bottom of the Deck

When citizens in Ozaukee County go to the polls this November, we will be confronted with three issues of historic importance. We will be asked whether Wisconsin should install and use the death chamber here. We will also be asked to cast an up or down vote on a proposed Amendment to our state Constitution that would prohibit granting basic rights to civil unions other than government-approved marriages. And we will be asked to decide, by a non-binding referendum, whether we support America waging warthroughout the world … until … terrorism is eliminated and citizens of all countries can be assured of their safety… ”.
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August 6, 2006

Call the War Question

Filed under: Class warfare,Hurricane Katrina,Iraq,Politics & elections,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 7:16 pm

By a very narrow, reconsidered vote, the Ozaukee County Board of Supervisors has placed a question about war on the November ballot. Some say it shouldn’t be there. After all, this County Board just refused to place a question about the health care crisis on the ballot on the strange grounds that health care is a local issue, and asserting, unaccountably, that health care is a battle we can’t win. But I’m glad for an opportunity to send a message on war from the people straight to the top. Since the true cost of war is always and primarily borne by the people and their local communities, there is no good reason why we shouldn’t express our opinion on such an important single issue.

The question asks if you support the U.S. military in waging war “throughout the world…until…terrorism is eliminated and citizens of all countries can be assured of their safety”. Every good American supports our troops, nobody is in favor of terrorism, and everybody wants to be safe, so what’s not to like here? There are three things not to like.
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Cheney visits Chappaquiddick

No doubt you recall my old friend, Sid D. Complex, who’s visited with us before in this column, on rare occasions over the last four years. Well, he and I decided to take a final winter opportunity to do some small game hunting. My mouth has been watering thinking about hasenpfeffer, and Sid, as you know, has his own preferences, which don’t usually coincide with mine. But we are both keen on joining the many other carnivores in the predatory pursuit of rabbits. C’mon along, if you like, but keep your safety on when you’re busting brush, and mind where your muzzle is pointed.
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Pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps

Filed under: Class warfare,police and the people — Hearts & Minds @ 6:52 pm

It’s likely you and I never use “rapid transit” to get around. Or experience that strange feeling of being lonely while in a crowd of people we don’t know, who are doing the very same thing that we are. And we aren’t particularly familiar with the sights and sounds of a subway. Not using it daily, it’s likely that when we hear the word “subway”, we shudder and associate it with images of thugs and gang tags and warnings of terrorists and close proximity to people we haven’t even met and think we’d rather not have to meet. All this came to mind when I ran across this very recent back pages news item.
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Fixing the coop, or covering up the raids?

The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute introduced its latest citizen survey with a big bang. Only 5% of Wisconsinites now believe that the ethics of our state legislators is better than in the past, while 42% believe that our state legislators ethics have gotten worse. Only 6% of Wisconsinites believe that elected officials represent the actual interests of their constituents, while 87% believe that elected state officials represent their OWN interests and/or what WPRI termed “special interests”. The percentages represented by 5 and 6 percent have never been so low, and the percentages represented by 42 and 87 percent have never been so high. The report concludes, “Unfortunately, Wisconsin citizens are clearly saying that they think lobbyists have much more influence than they (citizens) do, and that is negatively affecting the ethics in state government.”
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Need a lawyer? Why not get a judge?

“That ain’t a bad way to open the bow hunting season.” I was admiring the nice deer my ol’ buddy, Sid D. Complex, had just cleanly killed. “How much you judge it’ll dress out to?” That was the wrong way to phrase my question.

“Don’t ask me about judges.” Sid was annoyed. “I’m tired of hearing about judges. I steer clear of ‘em. I don’t know any, and don’t care to. How ‘bout you? Who you voting for to join the club with all those liberals in the Supreme Court?”

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America at the Crossroads

Filed under: Bill of Rights,Class warfare,Hurricane Katrina,Impeachment,Iraq,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 5:55 pm

She was a nurse who set up field hospitals and then worked beyond exhaustion in them. These hospitals were loaded with waves of wounded and dying from the war in Europe. Her hardest work came during the Battle of the Bulge. Through her life, she has always hated war with an unrelenting and growing intensity. And, with history in the marrow of her bones, she was there, and had been at many other vigils and marches during her subsequent full and rewarding, but haunted life.

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Social Engineering for Wealth

Filed under: Class warfare,Economics,legalized bribery,tax source info,Taxes — Hearts & Minds @ 5:41 pm

From 1970 thru the turn of the century, the United States economy more than doubled, adjusted for inflation, while the population increased less than 40%. For each dollar generated per person in the 1970 economy, about $1.40 was produced in 2001. In spite of that, the average family today does 20 more weeks of paid labor than it did in 1975, and eighty percent of America did not get ahead during the last three decades. A person under 25 years of age at the turn of this century made about $2 less per day, on average, than someone the same age did way back in 1973. (All comparative figures in this column are adjusted for inflation.) Over the last 30 years, the average American salary has just kept pace with the official rate of inflation. So what’s going on? Where did that 40% per capita increase in the U.S. economy, that productivity go?
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With Respect to Fallibility

Admitting and correcting our mistakes keeps us in our own good graces, as well as of those we love and care for. It returns us to the proximity of perfection. Part of the burden of leadership is that the circle of people to whom we bear responsibility for mistakes is wider. Leadership requires us to love and care for those within that circle, and to admit and correct our mistakes. Or else we do not deserve that mantle.

The White House presumes that its current occupant and advisors are infallible. It refuses to admit, much less accept responsibility for or correct any mistakes whatsoever. The buck is passed, the fall guy is a private, and private citizens pay the piper.

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The King’s Rook Social Security Gambit (part 2)

In a previous column I described the intended purposes of the seventy-year-old Social Security system, and criticized the lavishly funded, ideologically and greed driven propaganda that willfully confuses the Social Security insurance program with the volatile, risky portion of an affluent investor’s portfolio. This column will highlight the nature of the crisis that threatens this vital program that insures almost all American workers and their families against consequences of loss of income when a worker dies, or becomes disabled or attains retirement age.
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The Piratical Heirs of Ebenezer (part 1)

The advocates of privatization play fast and loose with language and the truth, in the pursuit of their goals. A case in point is Social Security. Privateers sneer at what they deride as a paltry ‘return on investment’. But they disregard and refuse to count the most important returns, while evaluating a critical insurance program as though it were an investment scheme.
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An Election Tale of Two Cities

The week before the 2004 election, I went to Town Hall to take advantage of the right we now have in Wisconsin to absentee vote early, in person. It was quick and easy. There were three voting booths with a total population of about 6000. Every other town, village, and city hall in this suburban county adjoining Milwaukee provided early voting this year. That’s about 15 different early voting locations to serve a total population in this one county of 85,000.
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Saving a Buck on Tolls and Taxes

How come are there freeways in Wisconsin, and tollways in Illinois? Anytime I go down to Chicago or beyond, as soon as I get south of the border I get dinged six bits. Coming back, I get held up again right before I cross back into the land of freeways. Any ideas Sid, what’s the reason for this?

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Talking Turkey with Sid. D. Complex (published August, 2003)

I was checking the sweet corn, and wondering if the raccoons would leave any for us when Sid D. Complex stopped by to scout deer. “Seen any bucks?” he queried.

“I saw a young one on crabapples yesterday, but I’ve been busy. Don’t think I’ll be hunting this fall,” I told him.

“Right…I’ve heard that one before. It depends on how you define the word ‘hunting’.” Sid’s sarcasm could be vicious.

I knew what he meant. Seems too many politicians can’t come up with the simple truth if it’s handed to them. Sid says, “They’re just like con artists…what you call invertebrate liars, ain’a? Not George Dubya though. I voted for him and glad I did. He’s been like a tiger on them terrorists. On the TV he’s four-square supporting our troops. I say it’s about time.”

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Have We got a Tax Cut for You!!

Taxes are a compelling topic for most of us…First, who got the bright idea of cutting taxes, just when the budget is leaping deep into deficits, the economy is bouncing downhill, and hundreds of thousands of American troops are committed to worldwide preemptive war? Tax cuts during wartime? That’s a new one. This idea was obviously not concocted by a fiscal conservative, unless he wandered through the Looking Glass after winking and cooking the books at Enron or Harken.

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Cost, Quality, and Choice in Health Care in the U.S. (part 1)

Filed under: Class warfare,Health care crisis — Hearts & Minds @ 8:44 am

While legislators, judges and politicians and their families enjoy at no cost, for the rest of their lives, the finest comprehensive medical care benefits taxpayers can provide, one out of every six Americans has no medical care insurance. Over 30% of workers in agriculture, construction and household services are uninsured. One out of nine health care workers has no medical insurance. Two-thirds of all uninsured persons are employed workers and their families. Half of all bankruptcies in the United States involve illness or medical debt. The uninsured die at a 25% higher rate and thousands die yearly from lack of coverage.
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August 5, 2006

The Estate Tax Scam

Most people working for a paycheck assume that whenever money changes hands, it’s taxed. Each dollar of wages is taxed at least three times before we even get it – once for payroll tax, once for federal income tax, once for state income tax. Businesses pay tax after expenses are deducted. Workers pay tax before expenses. Most expenses a worker has are not deductible, and those that are deductible are computed at a lower rate than business expenses. For example, farmworkers are not allowed to deduct work related travel expenses to follow the crops, while corporate directors and executives can deduct lavish expenses for meetings in exotic settings. That’s downright mean policy.
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