hearts and minds

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
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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…)

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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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April 12, 2010

Forests, Money, and Rights at Copenhagen Climate Talks

Filed under: Economics,Environment,Freedom and free trade — Hearts & Minds @ 12:00 pm

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.
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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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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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May 1, 2007

Paying for Health Care – But Not Getting It

Filed under: Economics,Health care crisis — Hearts & Minds @ 2:36 pm

“This ongoing experience of startling significant inequities in our society, particularly brought to my attention in the field of health care, but also evident in education, employment, criminal justice, finance, and other areas, has revealed to me a society and its leaders pathologically unable to face their responsibilities and take effective action, and who instead persistently seek to deny responsibility, hide problems, and blame the victim.” – Glenn Winter, M.D. “Caring for the Uninsured and Underinsured – A Communication from the Front Lines”

The Health Care Crisis in America is getting worse, and all of the legislators representing Ozaukee County (except Senator Russ Feingold) stand directly in the way of the health care Wisconsin and America needs. Our elected Rip Van Winkle representatives ask, “What crisis?” When pressed, they deny and fail to discuss the cause of the crisis.
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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 6, 2006

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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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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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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Saving the Farm – With Use Value Assessment

Mathias and Anna Maria, born in the late 1700’s, and their son and his wife homesteaded their Cedarburg farm in 1848, and a farm it’s been ever since. They were my great, great, great grandparents, and we live in the log cabin hand built by them and cared for and modified by their descendants, right down to my parents who were able to retain the farm in family ownership.
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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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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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