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Middle Wisconsin NEWS
www.MiddleWisconsin.com June 2013


to celebrate PUBLIC SCHOOLS

FREE CONCERT .....................1 School Tax Credits....................2 Privatizing the Public .................3 Choosing Not to Choose...........4 War and Freedom .....................5 Telephones ...............................6 State of the Tribes .....................7 BadgerCare...............................8 Working Wisconsin ...................9 Local News..............................10 Help Wanted ...........................11 Challenging the Myth ..............12

Saturday, June 15
Noon to 5 pm
The 400 Block | Downtown Wausau
Middle Wisconsin is hosting a Concert Celebrating Public Schools. We’re gathering on Wausau’s 400 Block at noon on Saturday, June 15, to celebrate Wisconsin’s proud tradition of public education; to seek support from citizens and our government officials; and to help promote fairness and stability for our public schools, teachers, and students. Come hear these bands: NEATO FANEATO THE REMNANTS ORLOW & THE CWB LIMITED METHODS There will also be kids’ activities, guest speakers, food vendors, information booths, & more.

Why Celebrate Public Schools?
   
They guarantee every child access to a free education They unify our diverse population They assure equal opportunities for all our children They prepare our children to be responsible citizens

Middle Wisconsin News welcomes letters, articles, and essays on relevant topics. We ask that you limit submissions to 600 words and provide sources when appropriate. Submissions may be edited for length, clarity, and taste. Emailed submissions should be sent in plain text or Microsoft Word attachments to: dave@middlewisconsin.org

Two years ago, Middle Wisconsin was successful in raising awareness about changes to Wisconsin’s voting laws through our Concert for Voters. It’s time to come together again. We need friends to stand shoulder to shoulder with us in the fight to preserve our public schools. From freezing the amount of per pupil support for local school districts to expanding voucher schools and increasing local property taxes, Governor Walker’s budget will force our public schools to make difficult decisions that don’t reflect our values. Your contribution of $100; $50, or any amount you can afford will help make this concert possible. You can donate by sending a check made payable to Middle Wisconsin P.O. Box 1901 Wausau, WI 54402 or by donating securely online through PayPal. You’ve always been here to help Middle Wisconsin and to promote progressive values in Central Wisconsin. Please come and celebrate Wisconsin’s public schools!


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Middle Wisconsin NEWS
Tax Credits
(the ultimate goal of School Choice promoters)

June 2013 Page 2

SLINK out of the Woodwork
“When you wage war on the public schools, you’re attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You’re not a conservative, you’re a vandal .” — Garrison Keillor
By Tom Ivey – Wausau School Choice Wisconsin and their “We want to profit from every tax dollar” and “Privatize our public schools” promoters have finally come clean. They are demanding to expand private and quasi-public “school choice” statewide, regardless of income level — all funded by income tax credits. Of course, if you don’t earn enough to take advantage of a tax credit worth $1,000 to $1,500 per child, well… too bad. School funding is a hot topic of debate in the Joint Finance Committee. Senator Luther Olsen, chair of the Senate Education Committee, thought he and others had an agreement on education funding. But then Jim Bender, president of School Choice Wisconsin, along with the organization’s wealthy corporate backers and their lobbyists from the Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools (WCRIS) descended upon Madison. They demanded tax credits of $1,000–$1,500 for the 100,000 students who attend private schools in Wisconsin, but don’t participate in Milwaukee’s or Racine’s school choice programs. They dropped the pretense of “school choice” vouchers for low-income families in Milwaukee, Racine, or elsewhere to go after tax credits for the wealthy! According to Sen. Olsen, the tax credit issue was not discussed as part of the May 29 deal regarding the expansion of the voucher program. Why tax credits? Because the “school choice” agenda is not about helping low-income students improve academically through vouchers. Over and over, peer vetted research proves these students get a better education in our public schools. Additionally, “vouchers” don’t generate enough money to allow the “private market” to make a profit from our public tax dollars. Like any business, private and parochial schools need customers with money to buy their services. That’s a rule of the market – “No customers, no business.”
Tax credits allow well-to-do families, who don’t want their children in public schools, to be reimbursed by tax payers to send their kids to PRIVATE schools.

Please contact your legislators and members of the Joint Finance Committee. Ask them to: 1. Focus on funding our public schools; remove privatization proposals from budget consideration. 2. Increase revenue limits by $275 per public school student.

Like the original “voucher program,” the proposed tax credits are only $1,000–$1,500 per child, but such caps never last. Wisconsin history confirms that caps are always extended. What today looks like $100 million to $150 million in Wisconsin tax credits, looks like a national gold mine of future profit. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Burlington, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, who are both recent Wisconsin State chairpersons for ALEC1, and spokespersons for Gov. Walker are not commenting on the discussions about education funding. Establishing tax credits for private school tuition is an ALEC agenda.

© 2013 Middle W is c ons in

“ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wish lists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces, where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy’s ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on PRWatch.org.”

Middle Wisconsin NEWS
The Consequences of Privatizing Public Services
By John Spiegelhoff – Merrill When I woke up this morning, I was grateful for the public services that I receive because of the taxes that I pay. I believe that paying my fair share of taxes is PATRIOTIC, and I know that a civilized society has a moral mission to provide essential services to its citizens.

June 2013 Page 3

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country. ”
— Thomas Jefferson
(letter to his friend in 1816)

This morning, I brushed my teeth and made my coffee with clean drinking water provided by tax dollars. If my water services were privatized, a predictable result would occur:

 A CEO would make decisions about what should or should not be allowed in my  I would not be sure whether the private water corporation would be subject to any  I couldn’t hold the CEO accountable by voting him/her out of office if I didn’t like  My water rates would likely increase to ensure they showed a profit every quarter.  I’d have no input into what a fair compensation package would be for the CEO.
This is only one small example of the potential dire effects if public services are privatized. It strikes me that most citizens would take issue with our water services being privatized since it’s a resource affecting everyone’s daily life. There are other public services that have been privatized or considered to be privatized by our elected officials. These stealthy incremental steps should be concerning to citizens. For example, when the Department of Commerce was recently privatized and renamed the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC): WEDC board members had lavish parties, bought Milwaukee Brewers tickets, and could not account for MILLIONS of taxpayers dollars. It’s malfeasance bordering on a criminal offence, and it happened because there is NO public oversight anymore. Other predatory privatization ideas have emerged, such as paid toll ways and, of course, voucher schools. Progressives have a duty to promote public discourse with the following ideas: decisions being made. regulations created to keep me, my family, and my community safe. drinking water — with no public oversight.

 Government has a moral duty to protect and empower its citizens. Private corporations
have no such duty.  Privatization of public services results in higher costs as private companies seek to maximize profit. The public is not concerned with making a profit; it’s concerned with doing what’s best for society as a whole.  Smaller government often means making the public good secondary, which abandons the moral mission of government.
© 2013 Middle W is c ons in

It is only when Progressives take action to change the public discourse that Wisconsin will return to its venerable and historical progressive status. Join me in being BOLDLY progressive!

Middle Wisconsin NEWS
Choosing Not to Choose
By Greg Wright – Stevens Point Blog: WrightAndLeft

June 2013 Page 4

“There is something fundamentally antidemocratic about relinquishing control of the public education policy agenda to private foundations run by society's wealthiest people; when the wealthiest of these foundations are joined in common purpose, they represent an unusually powerful force that is beyond the reach of democratic institutions.” ― Diane Ravitch Author, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education

I don’t feel old enough to wax nostalgic, but, as my friends and siblings recently started navigating the public schools for children of their own, I found myself often enough falling with them into this reverie:


o you remember the good ol’ days, when our parents just sent us to the school down the street?

Nowadays, enrolling your rug rat in 4K is a complicated process of research and testing and professional evaluations and letters from doctors and applications and lotteries and stringpulling, all in hopes of setting into motion the proper Rube Goldberg school sequence to get your baby into the right college. This is the unspoken side effect of the school choice initiative: The burden of providing an adequate public education is no longer the state’s to shoulder. The government has absolved itself of the guilt it should feel when neighborhood schools are subpar by shifting that onus onto parents instead, ceding much of the responsibility by giving parents the “power” to choose other options—even if at a severely limited capacity—through open enrollment or charter schools or vouchers. Criticism, when a student receives a poor education, then, falls not on the provider, who fails to meet the total demand, but on the consumers, who fail to negotiate that limited demand successfully. This shifted power is doubly problematic because what is best for school systems as a whole often appears to conflict with the goals we have for our own little darlings . Research supports balance and equity as key ingredients to a strong school system. A district that equalizes its schools, seeking to create the maximum number of average schools is more likely to maximize aggregate student success than a district that clusters its schools by ability. In truth, gifted programs offer minimal benefits to students, especially when compared with the deficits for those students left behind. But, what parent is going to consider system-wide equity when selecting a school for their child? Informed parents are instead fighting to get their kids into those schools with exceptional test scores, which only creates token exemplar schools amid a sea of neighborhood schools that become increasingly drained of resources. The impact of such choices, however, is not limited to our own children. By participating in choice programs, parents endorse the very policies that have undermined investment in their neighborhood schools. If we made choices for the greater good, well-educated, involved parents would send their kids to high-need schools in hopes of providing those schools with the advocacy necessary for adequate support and resources. If we can’t muster such broadminded generosity, at the very least, we can continue to support our own neighborhood schools and, accordingly, the concept of universal access that once defined them.

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Middle Wisconsin NEWS
On War and Freedom
By Phillip Anderson – Maple
Editor’s Note: This article by Phillip Anderson, a 20-year military veteran, is the second in a series of two articles on the U.S. military. The first appeared in the May edition of Middle Wisconsin News.

May 2013 Page 5

In this country, we have a widely ac cepted belief that our democracy and civil liberties have been secured and protected by military action — that the sacrifice of our troops gave us the freedom we enjoy. The truth is that most of our military conflicts had nothing to do with establishing or preserving “freedom” for anyone. With the exception of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars (and even  these are debatable), most were about protecting commercial interests and gaining territory. A partial list of wars and other actions will illustrate this point.

WWI was about the European powers fighting over colonial and commercial interests. Woodrow Wilson’s famous 12 Points (one of the few times our foreign policy made human rights an objective) were not the primary reason for our involvement. Protecting commercial shipping was the issue that got us involved. WW2, the “good war,” is more complicated. We did establish democratic governments in Japan and Germany following the war. But war in the Pacific happened because of commercial interests, and our colonies in Hawaii and the Philippines put us in conflict with Japanese empire building.

reasons we are a target for Islamic terrorists. In 1954, the CIA overthrew a democratically elected government in Guatemala. This led to a series of repressive military dictators and tens of thousands deaths for native Guatemalans. The same thing happened in Chile in 1973. Death squads and military dictatorship were supported in El Salvador in the 1980s. We have seldom supported democracy, civil rights, or “freedom” in other countries.

The conflicts with Native Americans were a sad history of lies, broken treaties, genocide, and land grab. The conflicts may have secured safety for those acquiring the land, but were not about creating “freedom.” The Mexican American War (1848) led to the acquisition of Texas and California. It was openly advocated at the time as a way to expand our territory and even to conquer all of Mexico. The Spanish American War (1898) was also about seizing territory. We occupied Cuba and acquired Puerto Rico and the Philippines. From 1899 to 1922, we fought a bloody war to suppress local Pilipino resistance to our “liberation” of their country.

In Vietnam, we began supporting the French in re-establishing their colony after WW2. Our involvement (1955– 1975) supported corrupt dictatorial governments and produced civil war, genocide, and disaster for the entire region. Communist Vietnam never represented any threat to our nation or The Korean War (1950) was about our personal freedoms. containment of communism. Although South Korea today is a capi- The two wars in Iraq were about actalist economy and nominally dem- cess to access to oil, lies about weapons of mass destruction, and establishocratic, it suffered many years of ing bases to dominate the region. Iraq repressive dictatorship following was not a threat to the Untied States. the war. The war did not secure freedom for the Korean people. Afghanistan was about revenge for Communism was a paper tiger and 9/11 and the political necessity to eventually collapsed on its own. appear to do something. But war was Currently, “communist” China is not the only way, nor the best way, to our manufacturing center. deal with these crimes. In over 10 years of war, we have over 3,000 dead, lost international respect, spent $1.5 trillion, and terrorism is proliferating. Given the history, why do we still GLORIFY the military? Why do we cling to the mythology?

Our numerous military interventions in other countries were about protecting commercial interests. Examples include the CIA-assisted overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iran (1953). Few Americans know this history, but it is one of the many

Middle Wisconsin NEWS
Are Telephones Needed?
By Jeanne Larson – Phillips Of course, telephones are needed. However, Rush Limbaugh and Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Arkansas), call the longstanding Lifeline program (a telephone program for rural areas) wasteful, and they target it for elimination.

June 2013 Page 6

News editor Jamilah King reports in colorlines.com that the Lifeline program began under President Reagan and the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1985. The goal was to make basic telephone service — considered a necessity, not a luxury — available to the vast majority of U.S. residents. If you couldn’t afford landline phone service, you filled out an application. If approved, the local phone company received a federal subsidy to provide service.

“Compassion is not weakness. Concern for the unfortunate is not socialism.”
— Hubert H. Humphrey

In 1996, Congress revised the Telecommunications Act to:

 Change from landlines to cell phones  Ask companies offering phone service across state lines to give a portion of their
profits to the Universal Service Fund, creating a subsidy that pays for itself  Have telecom companies pay a portion of their profits into the Fund and extend service to low-income and rural households to have money returned to them in the form of a federal contribution TracFone/SafeLink Wireless has made huge profits by aggressively marketing their services. In 2009, TracFone/SafeLink received $189 million from federal subsidies to service lowincome subscribers. TracFones offer basic service, not Internet, with a limited number of minutes per month. Last year, in response to some complaints of subscribers who were ineligible, the FCC set up reforms to curb fraud. Applicants must now provide paperwork and reapply for the program every year. This makes it more difficult for the homeless, elderly, and rural folks to qualify. Early in Obama’s first term, conservatives started calling the program “phone stamps” and calling Lifeline prepaid cellular units “Obama phones,” pointing to it as some sort of Obamaled socialist expansion. Today 13.5 million households rely on Lifeline subsidized phones to help them find housing and work and to access emergency and medical services. The money spent on Lifeline is small compared to the trillions the government spent on big banks in 2008 when their greed nearly brought the world economy to ruin, the billions that big corporations avoid paying in taxes by siphoning profits to foreign subsidiaries, or the billions of extra dollars spent on Medicare drugs because Congress did not allow the government to negotiate discounts from drug companies in the Part D Drug Law. Contact your representatives in Congress and ask them to quit picking on the poor and start to solve serious problems caused by too-big-to-fail banks, tax-dodging corporations, and obscenely overpaid drug companies.
Ms. Jamilah King’s report was featured on the radio show “Counterspin,” which Hayward’s OWJB FM 88.9 Woodland Community Radio airs on Sundays 11:30 a.m. to noon, and again on Mondays 5:00 to 5:30 p.m.

Jamilah King News editor of colorlines.com

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Middle Wisconsin NEWS
State of the Tribes Address (SOTA) 2013
By Joyce Luedke – Hayward

June 2013 Page 7

The State of the Tribes Address to the Wisconsin State Legislature is an annual event. On April 9, Gordon Thayer, chairman of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, delivered the address. Chairman Thayer recognized the many distinguished guests in the audience. Dennis White gave the invocation in Ojibwe. (I have had the honor of hearing Dennis White speak at several events. I am always touched and moved by his eloquence.) The Lac Courte Oreilles Youth Council representatives Josh Martin, Ryan Bunker Jr., Nicolette Trepania, and Heather Martinson were recognized for leading the gathering with the Pledge of Allegiance. The Inter-Tribal Drummers (comprised of performers from all 11 tribes) were recognized for the Honor song. Veterans from the 11 tribes in Wisconsin were honored and recognized. Chairman Thayer reached out to all to “share common ground” stating:


LCO Chairman Gordon Thayer

must do our best to build strong vibrant communities.

Thayer then addressed the following issues: 1. Prescription drug abuse and narcotic abuse: This as a growing problem all across Wisconsin. The Lac Courte Oreilles tribe has taken “drastic measures to curtail the epidemic.” 2. Education: The Lac Courte Oreilles formed the K-12 school system in the mid-70s. The Waadookodaading, an Ojibwe language Immersion Charter School, was launched 12 years ago as a partnership with community members and the Hayward School District. The school has earned a widespread reputation for fulfilling its name: “A place where we help each other.” The Lac Courte Oreilles Community College (LCOCC), fully accredited through the North Central Association’s Higher Learning Commission, was founded in 1982 and serves the surrounding communities and four satellite sites. At present, the LCOCC enrolls 875 students and has served over 10,000 since its inception. The state of Wisconsin provides the University of Wisconsin system schools almost $12,500 per student. The state provides $0 for students attending the LCOCC or the College of the Menominee Nation. Act 31 is designed to build relationships between tribes and local communities. It is supposed to illustrate the history that is centuries old between tribal members and non-tribal members. The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Council and the Hayward School Board are meeting with Superintendent Craig Olson to discuss mapping an education plan for the children in their respective schools. 3. Economic Development, Jobs, Taxes, and Tourism: In 2012, Lac Courte Oreilles employed 1,005 individuals with a payroll of $29.2 million. Payroll taxes to state and federal governments was $5.1 million, and the total purchase of goods and services equaled $12.3 million. The Lac Courte Oreilles gave $467,233 in donations to local organizations. In FY 2011–12, the State received $52.1 million from tribes under the revenue-sharing provisions of the negotiated gaming compacts. A distribution of $24.9 million was made to 16 state agencies and boards that benefit Wisconsin. More information can be found at either the WI State of the Tribes rebroadcast or the WI State of the Tribes transcript.

Middle Wisconsin NEWS
BadgerCare Immorality

June 2013 Page 8

“As I have said before, we need to challenge the notion that direct health care should ever be provided, or that medicine ought to be practiced by forprofit corporations. I submit that we will not be able to have good quality, accessible health care at an affordable price until we restore physicians as independent, ethical health care professionals, and until we restore small, independent, community responsible, non-profit hospitals as the locus for inpatient care.”

Editor’s Note: The following is a press release from Citizen Action regarding BadgerCare expansion, or lack thereof. Governor Walker and crew are willing to dump another $119 million of our tax dollars to avoid accepting billions of dollars allocated by the Affordable Care Act for the expansion of BadgerCare.


Possible BadgerCare Budget Deal Admits Walker Plan Spikes Numbers of Uninsured Wisconsinites
Joint Finance Committee majority developing plan over the weekend to pay hospitals more for impact of forcing Wisconsinites off health coverage.
As a consequence of months of intense public pressure on the Legislature to reverse Governor Walker’s rejection of billions of enhanced federal dollars for the state’s BadgerCare program, the conservative majority on the Joint Finance Committee may be working on a deal that would pay Wisconsin hospitals more to make up for the cost of increased uncompensated care. Interviews with Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) by Milwaukee Business Journal, and Sen. Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls), a key GOP proponent of taking the federal money, by Wisconsin Reporter, describe a deal that would still reject the federal money but would spend more state money to compensate hospitals for the impact. This would add to the $119 million state price tag in this budget alone for turning down the federal health care reform dollars. “By conceding that hospitals will be damaged by an increase in uncompensated care, such a deal would be an admission that Walker’s plan will cause tens of thousands people throughout Wisconsin to lose health coverage. This has been denied by the Governor and his allies in the Legislature up to now,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “It would be a stunningly callous and immoral act to compensate hospitals for the impact of forcing people off health coverage, when it would be easy to prevent this tragic result in the first place by taking the federal health care dollars that are on the table. If such a deal came to pass, it would show that leaders in the Legislature care more about hospitals than their own constituents, who need guaranteed access to affordable health coverage to prosper and succeed.”

— Roy M. Poses MD
Corporate Medicine Marches On — Putting Revenue Ahead of Patients

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Middle Wisconsin NEWS

June 2013 Page 9

Working Wisconsin – Labor News & Views

Just Cause
By John Spiegelhoff – Merrill American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

When Unions first organized in mines, plants, shipyards and other businesses, strikes were sometimes called when a worker was fired. This shut down the business, and the owner lost money. Such strikes caused workers to lose pay. Companies wanted the Union not to strike. Unions wanted to make sure that companies didn’t fire workers without a good reason. Slowly, the practice of trading a no -strike clause for an arbitration clause grew. During World War II, the government banned strikes because of the war effort. Then the government sent trained industrial experts to hear discipline cases. In this way, the practice of arbitration of discipline grew. Unions bargained for and, in most cases, received contracts with just cause (the employer could not discharge or discipline employees without just cause).

“Workers are more productive when they know that they are respected and treated fairly in the workplace.”
-— John Spiegelhoff Wausau District Staff Representative AFSCME

Our country has a long history that gave rise to a fair method for employees and employers to resolve disputes over discipline in the workplace. This did not happen in a vacuum. Workers organized when one of their own was harmed by the company. They gave up the right to strike when they believed workers had a fair system to resolve discipline matters. They simply wanted fair treatment. So what does just cause mean in the workplace? 1. Just cause protects employees from arbitrary or unfounded disciplinary action. 2. Honest, hardworking employees deserve protection. 3. A disciplinary standard with due process and fair treatment of employees helps management by giving structure and guidance to disciplinary decisions. 4. A fair system legitimizes discipline in the eyes of employees. 5. The employer and its employees all benefit when the workers have faith in the system. 6. Workers are more productive when they know that they are respected and treated fairly in the workplace. 7. Just cause is consistent with the American values of due process and the concept of innocent until proven guilty. In the State of Wisconsin, workers have been relegated to second -class citizens since Governor Walker took office. Just cause has been stripped from workers, which has created a workplace of fear and apprehension. They can be fired for virtually no reason without any substantive recourse and are considered guilty until proven innocent. Citizens charged with crimes have more due process rights than ordinary workers. Wisconsin has always been a progressive state with the motto “FORWARD.”

© 2013 Middle W is c ons in

How long before we return to what our founding fathers envisioned?

Middle Wisconsin NEWS

June 2013 Page 10

Letter from Senator Dave Hansen
Dear Middle Wisconsin, Thank you for writing to me and for providing me with a copy of Middle Wisconsin News. I really enjoyed it. A newsletter is an excellent way to disseminate news and information and it looks like you, with Middle Wisconsin News, are making a significant contribution to Wisconsin’s public debate on the important issues that affect us. I appreciate that your newsletter gets its material from sources throughout the state. It’s important for residents and lawmakers to get alternative views on important topics. Thanks again for providing me with Middle Wisconsin News. If you have additional comments or if I can be assistance in the future, I hope you will let me know. I can be reached at home at 920-391-2000 or at my office, toll free, at (866) 221-9395. Sincerely, Dave Hansen State Senator

March Against Monsanto in Wausau

March Against Monsanto happened Saturday, May 25, around the world. One hundred people from the Wausau Area met on the steps of the Marathon County Courthouse. Over 2 million people in 436 cities around the world marched against Monsanto to demand labeling of GMO (genetically modified organism) food. GMOs harm the human body as well as the environment. The European Union banned GMOs years ago. You can watch the video here.

D.C. Everest Senior Wins Top Prize in the World
Brandon Dively, D.C. Everest Senior High School senior, took first place in the world in the Professional Selling Event at DECA’s annual Career Development Conference in Anaheim, California, April 24 to 27. Dively took a marketing exam and presented a sales demonstration. Ten other students from D.C. Everest also attended the event. Dively is D.C. Everest’s first student to win at the International level. There are a total of 47 events, and therefore, only 47 winners among the 16,500 DECA members from around the world. The DECA Depot, the school store, was recognized for achieving the Gold Level School Based Enterprise. This is the highest honor for a school store. DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in areas of marketing, finance, hospitality, and management at the high school and college level around the world. Source: Wausau Daily Herald

Middle Wisconsin NEWS

June 2013 Page 11

Help Wanted: Sand Mine Inspectors
We really need concerned citizens to be our eyes and ears,” wrote DNR Storm Water Specialist Ruth King in response to citizen complaints about frac sand mines. “I am only a half-time employee and cannot be everywhere at all times.” Ms. King’s appeal was reported in an article written by Kate Prengaman of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism who closely follows the growing sand mine industry. “Nearly a fifth of Wisconsin’s 70 active frac sand mines and processing plants were cited for environmental violations last year,” wrote Prengaman. She quoted Air Management Specialist Marty Sellers, who said he sent letters of noncompliance to “80 to 90 percent” of the sites he visited. The DNR’s limited resources means some frac sand mines are not inspected or only inspected when citizens complained about the mine. To address the staff shortage, the state budget includes two positions as dedicated sand mine monitors. However, additional positions were recently considered by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee. Monitors are needed to oversee air quality during mine construction and operation. New inspectors would monitor compliance with storm water rules, high capacity wells, wetlands and endangered resources. Inspectors review permits, blasting and fugitive dust control plans, discuss best management practices with the operator, inspect equipment and review company operation reports. The Joint Finance Committee was informed about the sand mine industry through a paper written by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB), which provided detailed information on the industry that has exploded in western Wisconsin. “Three years ago there were 5 industrial sand mines and 5 industrial sand processing plants in the state,” wrote LFB analyst Kendra Bonderud. “DNR officials recently estimated that as of April 1, 2013, there are 105 industrial sand mines and 65 industrial processing plants in the state, which is two to three times the number the Department was aware of in the summer of 2012.” The LFB paper noted last summer the DNR reviewed staffing needs for permitting, compliance and monitoring of frac sand operations. At that time, the Department estimated 10.2 full -time positions were needed to oversee the 54 known sites. The fast growing industry now needs two to three times more inspectors. Joint Finance Committee member Senator Jennifer Shilling offered an amendment to fund at least those 10 positions. Still, the majority of Finance Committee members voted down Shilling’s amendment. Adequately funding sand mine monitors is important for neighbors, local government, and the mine owners and workers. I receive many calls of neighbors concerned about mine operation. Local government officials are stretched thin and are often unable to monitor the mines. Most counties have few staff dedicated to the inspection of mines. Workers need necessary health and safety protections. Owners that do follow the rules are at a competitive disadvantage with those who do not. Citizens are rightly concerned when the state relies on them to monitor mine safety. It was from citizens that I learned of one of the most serious violations. Last year Preferred Sands’ mine in Trempealeau County had a mudslide that affected a neighboring property. The WI Center for Investigative Journalism reported this mine also had “multiple violations of its air quality permit.” The violations are now being considered by the Department of Justice. Trempealeau County is the epicenter of sand mining. With 28 mines, there is no higher concentration in the state. Recently, citizens delivered to Trempealeau County Board Supervisors petitions with 821 signatures in favor of a year -long sand mine moratorium. Petitioners were upset when supervisors ignored the stack of signatures and instead failed to pass the moratorium on new county mines. Citizens should not be charged with the monitoring of mines in their neighborhoods. If Wisconsin allows sand mining, Wisconsin must invest in staff to monitor compliance with the law. Not all 170 mines and processing plants are up and running. But it is reasonable to expect they will be by June of 2015, the end of the upcoming state budget. The Legislature should act to phase -in the funding for all 32 needed positions before the final passage of the two-year state budget.

Reprinted with permission.

Middle Wisconsin NEWS

June 2013 Page 12

“And if all others accepted the lie which the party imposed— if all records told the same tale— then the lie passed into history and became the truth.”
— George Orwell 1984 (published in 1949)

The Myth That We Are a People Divided
By Dave Svetlik – Mosinee It is said that Americans are divided, that conservatives and progressives have irreconcilable differences represented by the Republican and Democratic parties. But perhaps a more accurate assessment is that we have been deliberately divided and are no longer represented by either political party. Perhaps we are not as divided as we think. Conservatives and Progressives alike feel anger for the looting of Americans that occurred in the bailout of Wall Street banks. We are united in our belief that there should be criminal prosecutions at the highest levels of the financial sector — that “too big to fail” banks must be broken up and reregulated. We are united in our desire for a financial transaction tax limiting the casino capitalism of hedge funds that buy and sell the lives of working Americans like so much fodder. We are united in our belief that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy should have been terminated, and that offshore tax havens for the richest Americans and corporations must end. Virtually all but the wealthiest Americans feel hatred for the Supreme Court “Citizens United” decision giving personhood to corporations. We are disgusted that elections are sold to the highest bidder. Americans of all political stripes oppose cuts to Social Security. We understand there is no true lack of funding for this vital earned benefit and that future shortfalls can be easily corrected by raising the payroll tax cap to a level reflecting decades of inflation. President Bush’s effort to privatize social security for the benefit of Wall Street was universally opposed, and President Obama’s attempt to link cost of living adjustment to the Chained CPI is meeting similar resistance. Conservative and progressive citizens are united in their disgust at the current level of income inequality. In 2011, hedge fund manager Raymond Dalio of Bridgewater Associates made $3.9 billion. Assuming he has a 40-hour work week, he makes $1.9 million per hour. In 2012, average CEO pay for typical corporations was $9.6 million, or $185,000 per WEEK. Few average Americans feel such income levels are legitimate. The list of issues uniting us goes on, and Americans of all persuasions are beginning to realize that their neighbor is not their enemy. They are realizing they have been the victim of divide-and-conquer strategies pitting us against one another while hiding the true culprits responsible for our economic woes. Americans are realizing there is no longer a level playing field — that “government debt” and “sequester cuts” are rigged games used to plunder the public domain through “privatization” and cut social programs vital to hard-working Conservatives and Progressives alike. They are realizing their government has been abducted, and that it has become the servant of money. Two words must become familiar to all Americans: Plutocracy (government by the wealthy) and Oligarchy (government by the few, or government in which a small group exercises control for corrupt and selfish purposes). There is a divide in America, but it is NOT between Conservatives and Progressives.