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…)

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…)

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?
(more…)

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 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…)

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…)

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…)

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).
(more…)

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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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?
(more…)

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.
(more…)

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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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?
(more…)

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?”
(more…)

December 20, 2007

Cure the Health Care Crisis in the USA

All people need health care to achieve, maintain, and (if necessary) restore health. Health insurance is not health care.
The problems we have with our health care system (high cost, and gatekeepers that deny treatment, restrict choice, and discourage proper care) cannot be corrected with our current health insurance apparatus.

Just as private mercenary corporations have no incentive to prevent or end war, and private prison/security corporations have no incentive to reduce crime and recidivism outside their walls, so private health insurance corporations have no incentive to approve needed health care. The primary competitive incentive of the health insurance industry is to cut costs and increase profits by restricting and denying health care to those that will or do need it.

We can no longer afford, private health insurance corporations controlling health care and deciding who can and cannot get what treatment, when, and from which doctors. Keeping the insurance apparatus we have results in the U.S. having by far, the highest per capita cost of health care, and the worst health care outcomes in the industrialized world. It’s incredible, but true, that we all pay more than universal comprehensive health care would cost, in order to let the insurance and managed care corporations “just say no” to needed health care. Letting those profiteering gatekeepers say “No” to health care for some doesn’t save us money. It costs us money – and it harms our health.

It’s about values
marketplace values and the value of certain investments, versus human values, family values and the value of life and health. Which side are YOU on?
(more…)

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.
(more…)

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).
(more…)

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.
(more…)

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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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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March 2, 2007

Health Care Crisis Solution

Filed under: Glenn Grothman,Halo of hubris,Wisconsin legislature — Hearts & Minds @ 1:10 am

“The well-off and the secure have too often become indifferent and oblivious to the poverty and deprivation in their midst … We cannot be content to see … people victimized with ill-health, when we have the means to help them. In the final analysis, … the agony of the poor unheeded impoverishes the rich…” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

This post contains verbatim correspondence this spring, about the worsening health care crisis, with four state legislators representing Ozaukee County, Wisconsin. Their responses are typical of the obfuscations, distortions, and prevarications that are maintaining the dysfunctional and worsening insurance industry controlled, and managed-for-profit, health care “system” in the USA.

Read ’em and weep. Or, better yet, read and then help make an impact.
(more…)

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

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.
(more…)

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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Art and Disparity in Prison (first published in Feb. 2005)

“Outside The Box” was an arresting and moving display at the Cedarburg Cultural Center of “Artwork by Prisoners in Wisconsin Correctional Institutions”.

America now imprisons a higher percentage of her people than any other country on earth. This recently acquired dubious numero uno distinction is due largely to a huge escalation in the number of incarcerations for drug violations. The escalation is not due to increased use of illegal drugs. It is due to the ‘war on drugs’ waged selectively and with varied tactics in different communities since the late 1980’s.
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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.
(more…)

August 5, 2006

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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