hearts and minds

March 20, 2017

Whitford v Gill – Wisconsin federal case – partisan gerrymandering of districts

The great majority of Americans are flat-out opposed to the bogus legal theory that a corporation is a “person” in the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. And when objectively polled, we overwhelmingly favor universal, comprehensive health care – basically Medicare for All as a solution to the health care crisis and to end the continuing epidemic of medically induced personal bankruptcy. Americans think that we should have government that is of, by, and for the people, rather than government that is by and for corporations and the super-rich. Despite this, none but a tiny handful of elected “representatives of the people” in government actually support these views. Why can’t we obtain legislative bodies which actually proportionally represent the views, the values and the opinions of the people? There are a few underlying reasons, resulting in several structural defects, which cause this dysfunction. This essay spotlights one of those structural defects.
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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…)

November 19, 2015

How a professional Ignores and Denies the Truth

You don’t have to be a rabid strict constructionist; you don’t have to believe that the wealthy, slave-owning, colonial “founding fathers” were invariably righteous and wise; you don’t have to believe that each word of the Constitution is sacrosanct and infallible; in order to be able to credibly refer to the actual text of the U.S. Constitution, and thus shed useful light on a question of Constitutional law that is terribly important to all of us.
(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…)

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…)

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.
(more…)

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.
(more…)

Whose Government Is It?

Corporations and the super-rich now control both political parties, and all three branches of government in the USA, both state and federal. The two parties have established and enforced rules and legislation, which give them an exclusive monopoly, but which also prevents the people from obtaining government that represents and serves us best, even though we the people should be sovereign in a democratic republic. The two party lock permits complete corporate control of government simply because all that extremely rich and powerful corporations and individuals (and their associations) have to do is control those two parties. And that is exactly what they do.
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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…)

May 30, 2013

Does a Corporation Have Constitutional Rights? – A PA judge says “No!”

A Note of Respect and Gratitude to Debbie O’Dell Seneca, President Judge Emeritus of the Washington County, PA. Court of Common Pleas, for her Ruling in a Case involving Damages Suffered by Families due to “Fracking” (Extraction of Natural Gas) done by a Corporation:

Please accept my congratulations for your recent courageous ruling that a corporation does not possess Constitutional rights, and for asserting that, if corporations could claim Constitutional rights, then corporations would become a “… legal fabrication superior to the law that created and sustains it”.

I share with many people a deep concern about the struggle that will define the 21st Century – Corporations v. Persons. I have studied and, from time to time, written about this struggle for more than a decade, and a little over two years ago I finally felt impelled to personally dig into the tap root of the problem and closely examine an underlying question: “What, specifically, is in the U.S. Constitution that would allow a Supreme Court Justice to conclude that a corporation legitimately possesses the rights that are defined there as being the rights of a person?” I found an answer that has been overlooked for too long, and to our peril.
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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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August 23, 2011

An Independent “Spin” on the Wisconsin State Senate Recalls

Filed under: Politics & elections,Wisconsin legislature — Hearts & Minds @ 3:30 pm

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?”
(more…)

February 26, 2011

Requiring a Gov’t Photo ID to Vote – is there fire in all that smoke?

Filed under: Constitutional Law,Politics & elections,Race relations — Hearts & Minds @ 4:11 pm

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.
(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.
(more…)

February 14, 2011

Slavery, the Civil War, and Early Ozaukee and Washington Counties (Wisconsin) History

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 terrific 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

Why Feingold is out in Wisconsin – and so what?

Filed under: Halo of hubris,Politics & elections — Hearts & Minds @ 12:46 pm

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…)

May 11, 2010

The People Shall Elect the President

Filed under: Bill of Rights,Politics & elections,Wisconsin legislature — Hearts & Minds @ 4:46 pm

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.
(more…)

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 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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Russ Feingold’s January 2010 Listening Session

Filed under: Health care crisis,Politics & elections — Hearts & Minds @ 6:03 pm

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…)

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.
(more…)

October 9, 2009

A Government Takeover of Health Care, with Higher Costs, and even Worse Care??

Filed under: Ethics & lobbyists,Health care crisis,legalized bribery — Hearts & Minds @ 12:03 am

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.
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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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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

Defend our Healthcare and America Now!

Filed under: Ethics & lobbyists,Health care crisis,legalized bribery — Hearts & Minds @ 3:36 am

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

Defend Your Health Care Rights – 5 Myths and 3 Principles

Filed under: Ethics & lobbyists,Health care crisis,legalized bribery — Hearts & Minds @ 6:00 pm

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

Support the Troops – veterans rate our Senators and Representatives in D.C.

Filed under: Iraq,Politics & elections,Sensenbrenner,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 11:30 am

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.
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April 13, 2009

Springtime in Ozaukee, Wisconsin – Election Report

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

Ozaukee County Circuit Court Judge – Contested Election Tuesday April7

Filed under: Courts and Justice,Politics & elections — Hearts & Minds @ 7:23 pm

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.
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Solomon’s Dilemma and the 2009 Judicial Elections

Filed under: Courts and Justice,Politics & elections,Womens rights — Hearts & Minds @ 4:47 pm

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 Contested April 7 Elections in Ozaukee County

Filed under: Courts and Justice,Politics & elections — Hearts & Minds @ 8:53 pm

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:
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November 8, 2008

Ozaukee and Washington County Election Result

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).
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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…)

October 21, 2008

Historic Election in Ozaukee and Washington counties is ignored by the Shepherd Express

Filed under: Media criticism,Politics & elections,Wisconsin legislature — Hearts & Minds @ 6:55 am

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

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?
(more…)

July 15, 2008

Races for Wisconsin Legislature in Ozaukee-Washington counties confound the MSM

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…)

June 5, 2008

How Wisconsin Legislators Voted on Ending Legalized Bribery

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.
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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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May 1, 2008

Supremely … Dysfunctional

Filed under: Courts and Justice,legalized bribery,Politics & elections — Hearts & Minds @ 11:52 am

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 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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April 3, 2008

How Wisconsin Legislators Voted on Conservation Issues

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?
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March 27, 2008

Louis Butler v. Michael Gableman, or Truth v. Fiction, et al

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.
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March 16, 2008

Appalling Votes of Glenn Grothman

Filed under: Environment,Glenn Grothman,Politics & elections,Wisconsin legislature — Hearts & Minds @ 1:22 pm

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.
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March 12, 2008

Coming Home, When It’s Over, Over There

Filed under: Iraq,Politics & elections,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 2:10 am

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.
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February 28, 2008

Power to the Voter

Do you know whether your state legislators voted (or intend to vote) to protect the integrity, independence, and impartiality of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and its decisions? This brief article has answers.
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January 28, 2008

Election Fraud or Voter Fraud – Which Threatens YOUR Vote?

Filed under: Glenn Grothman,Politics & elections,Wisconsin legislature — Hearts & Minds @ 8:57 am

When you take the trouble to study the issues and candidates, and then vote in an election, you damn sure don’t want your vote, or the election itself, stolen by fraud. What is the best way to prevent that from happening?
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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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December 13, 2007

How Wisconsin Legislators Voted to Protect Rights of Victims of Violent Crime

On December 12, 2007, the Wisconsin Assembly voted 56 to 41 in favor of the Compassionate Care for Victims of Rape bill. Since that bill was overwhelmingly approved last spring by strong majorities of both parties in the State Senate 27 to 6, it will finally become law after a final reading in the Assembly and the Governor signs it, following five years of obstruction by a small but powerful faction. Thanks to all of you in the grassroots who persisted in struggling uphill for years, and to you who contacted your legislative representatives, your media, and your family, friends, and neighbors and urged them to support this bill.
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November 12, 2007

The U.S. Constitution Can’t Defend Itself

AN OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESSMAN SENSENBRENNER:
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September 27, 2007

Assembly Fails to Protect the Rights of Victims of Violent Crime

AB 377, the Compassionate Care for Victims of Rape bill, is supported by over eighty percent of Wisconsin residents, and was passed 27-to-6 by clear majorities of both Republican and Democratic Wisconsin State Senators. It is a common sense bill to protect and restore the rights, the health, and the futures of victims of violent crime.

Then the Oral Roberts University graduate who is the Speaker of the Republican majority Wisconsin State Assembly (Michael Huebsch) assigned the bill to the Assembly Judiciary Committee, headed by far-out wrong-wing-Republican Mark Gundrum. (more…)

August 30, 2007

Assembly Runs the Budget Ball the Wrong Way

The Wisconsin state Assembly budget proposal cuts needed services while simultaneously increasing the state deficit, compared with the Senate budget proposal. The Assembly increases taxes on individuals, at the same time it disdains an opportunity to save Wisconsin businesses and individuals over one billion dollars annually while mounting a significant reform to correct the health care crisis. (more…)

August 13, 2007

Big Bucks Talk and Health Care Walks, part II

“It never ceases to amaze me, the amount of energy that can go into a project just to avoid doing the right thing… But follow the money and you’ll find why the politicians don’t like it.”
Jack Lohman, retired Wisconsin business owner and author.

The proven fact that single-payer comprehensive universal health care costs LESS than does our current method of administering and managing health care carries an important and unsettling implication. Those who oppose single-payer universal health care cannot claim they do so on the grounds that we can’t afford it. Politicians and media pundits who imply or state that are either inexcusably ignorant (and they should be tossed out of the responsible job they have), or they are simply lying (and should be imprisoned for fraud).
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August 5, 2007

Big Bucks Talk and Health Care Walks, part I

There is no doubt about it. Our health care in the USA was once the best in the world. But now we’re way back in 30-something place, behind almost every other modern industrialized nation. Yet, we as a nation pay about double, per capita, what it costs for health care in those other countries. And those nations provide health care for everyone, with better health care outcomes, across the board.

For most everyone, there is no security in clutching whichever of the thousands of different insurance policies your employer has chosen for you (if any). Your employer, after all, may decide to get rid of that policy – or maybe get rid of your job. You, or someone in your family, may have a “pre-existing condition” or fall through the loopholes, or just not qualify. Maybe your fate has an unwelcome surprise in store. Medical “surprises” are implicated in half the personal bankruptcies that occur in the USA.

Something is very wrong. Sick, even. But the cure is simple, common, and well known.
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June 6, 2007

Compassion for the Victims of Sexual Assault

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality” – Dante Alighieri

The Compassionate Care for Victims of Rape Bill (SB129/AB377) before the Wisconsin legislature, would require any hospital in Wisconsin that provides emergency medical services to victims of rape or incest to provide such victims accurate unbiased information about emergency contraception. And if the victim requests, the hospital must provide immediate access to such treatment. Why is this Bill in trouble?
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April 12, 2007

Cedarburg School Board Election Post Mortem

Filed under: Education,Media criticism,Politics & elections — Hearts & Minds @ 2:10 pm

“You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all the time.” – Abraham Lincoln

Three incumbents ran as a bloc for three positions on the Cedarburg School Board in the election. Their campaign stance was to re-elect all three, and keep challenger Dan Carr off the school board. Each voter had the opportunity to “vote for not more than three”, but no more than one vote could be cast for any one candidate. With this election rule, those who wanted Carr on the School Board voted directly against that intent if they cast more than one vote. But it’s safe to assume that all supporters of the three incumbents cast three votes each.
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March 29, 2007

Cedarburg’s Lone Ranger vs the Three Musketeers

Filed under: Education,Politics & elections — Hearts & Minds @ 3:06 pm

Whether you and I agree on everything, or even anything, one thing I’m sure we both believe in is that uncontested elections do our communities a disservice. Good governance and democracy, both need oversight, alternative points of view, diversity of experience, and occasionally a bright spotlight, to avoid both tunnel vision and corruption. Accordingly, I have supported Dan Carr’s candidacy as the lone challenger for the three School Board positions in the troubled Cedarburg School District that would otherwise be uncontested. I support Dan Carr, in spite of the fact that he and I apparently have different points of view on many issues.
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March 22, 2007

Emergency Contraception for Victims of Rape

There is an important bill under consideration in the Wisconsin legislature that would require that all hospital emergency rooms provide information about, and access to, emergency contraception for victims of sexual assault. Any questions you have about this proposed law are answered in the Fact Sheet provided by the Compassionate Care for Victims of Rape Coalition.
AB377/SB129 is endorsed by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin among many others.
Click here for a quick summary of the story.

This post is a verbatim record of the communication I have had with State Senators Glenn Grothman and Alberta Darling, and Assemblymen Mark Gottlieb and James Ott, (all representing Ozaukee County), regarding this legislation to require “Compassionate Care for Victims of Rape”.
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February 10, 2007

Thanks, Molly Ivins

Filed under: Media criticism,Politics & elections — Hearts & Minds @ 2:38 pm

Molly Ivins, Texas born and raised, closely observed local and national politics and edited and wrote for newspapers. She died last week, just before her last column appeared in print. Pretty tough lady, to keep creating her astonishingly witty column right through the last days of battling “a scorching case of breast cancer”. Most people never saw her stuff. Too bad. She was real smart, and she’s real fun to read.
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January 10, 2007

Gratitude Owed the Deep South

Filed under: Hurricane Katrina,Politics & elections — Hearts & Minds @ 11:51 pm

Do you think nothing good came out of Hurricane Katrina? You may be wrong.

Had Katrina dissipated her awesome energy at sea rather than visiting her fury of sustained winds up to 140 mph on Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana, leaving millions without homes, infrastructure, or basic services, spawning over 60 tornadoes in eight states, and causing at least 2500 confirmed dead and missing persons, there would have been no national emergency.
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December 4, 2006

The People’s Choice

Filed under: Conversations with Sid D. Complex,Politics & elections — Hearts & Minds @ 11:54 pm

“Hey, partner, you got a lot to be thankful for. How was turkey day?” Sid had slipped up on me while I was butchering the second of the two whitetail deer I had been so fortunate to bag this beautiful but unusual fall.
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October 31, 2006

October Surprise

“Hey, Slick, you got an October surprise for us?” Sid D. Complex greeted me.

“Matter of fact I got a couple, Sid. Where you been keeping yourself?”

“Nose to the grindstone, ol’ buddy, you know how that goes”, declared Sid.

“Are you down with this election?” I asked.

“No point in voting”, said Sid. “As usual, nobody’s running against the local incumbents. Voting here ain’t worth losing time, and catching the boss’s frown.”
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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

Mea Culpa

Filed under: Chickenhawks,Iraq,Media criticism,Politics & elections,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 7:23 pm

Several sharp-eyed readers caught an error of fact in my last column, Call the War Question. These politically astute persons spotted a glaring mistake when I noted the political affiliation of Congressman Jack Murtha. Probably a minority of News-Graphic readers would know the political affiliation of all members of Congress from Wisconsin, let alone their names. And even fewer would know the party of a Congressman from Pennsylvania. But if you write a column or a blog, it better be your business to dispense accurate information, or none at all. Guesswork and playing loose with the facts is maybe OK, and often done, across the fence line, or over a bump and a beer, or on shock talk radio and TV, but it has no place in a good newspaper or blog.
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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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Marriage Means Love Ye One Another

The proposed Wisconsin Constitutional Amendment on the November ballot declares that marriage is between one man and one woman. We’re all kinda used to that idea. And it’s been in Wisconsin law for a long time. So what’s wrong with that?

What’s most wrong is the proposed amendment does not only re-define marriage. It also prohibits granting rights to civil unions. It is reasonable to have some legislative restrictions on private contracts. But it is a foul perversion and an intolerable injustice, to promote a constitutional amendment that prohibits so many of our loving, functional families from exercising basic, necessary, rights and responsibilities such as visitation, inheritance, insurance protection, survivorship, child custody, and protection from domestic abuse.
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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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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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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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Programming People for the Election

Filed under: Chickenhawks,Impeachment,Iraq,Politics & elections,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 3:53 pm

Are we just wired different? That’s how some explain the widely disparate opinions and beliefs of people. But, of course, it’s not hardware that explains the political differences in the electorate. It’s software. And even my software is not that different from yours. Modify the program a bit or plug in some new or different data and maybe I’ll think like you.

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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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August 5, 2006

Here’s looking at you, Congressman Jim

Representative Sensenbrenner’s annual questionnaire has again arrived in our mailboxes. There is not space for a proper critique, so I will make my limited case here by quoting just five “questions” he asks, and following each with a re-phrasing that allows for a wider response or focuses on the issue he hides.

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Uncontested Elections Do Us Disservice (first published in July, 2002)

We have been taught since childhood to disrespect governments that hold meaningless elections, marked by intimidation, in which officials are unopposed for “re-election”, there is only one viable political party, and the citizens, especially the youth, are fed monochromatic propaganda and are never exposed to a vigorous debate on the important issues of the day. When this situation obtains in other lands, we call it a sham of democracy and a hallmark of despots. What about when it occurs here in Ozaukee County?
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