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Middle Wisconsin NEWS
www.MiddleWisconsin.com August 2013


Progressives ARE Conservatives
By Dave Svetlik – Mosinee The newsletter this month is, as usual, an eclectic mixture. Topics cover:  Divide & conquer  Broadcasting our message  Economic slavery  The liberal defense of freedom  Big Pharma  Conservation  Worker rights  Abortion A wide range of topics, indeed, but there’s a common thread that connects these articles together: All, in their own unique ways, defend the traditional American values of fairness, respect, and the good of the community. This bears repeating — It is Progressives who are defending traditional, American, and (in truth) conservative values. It is Progressives who are fighting for fair treatment of all Americans, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status resulting from birth . . . It is Progressives who are defending worker rights and an ethical contract between employers and employees . . . It is Progressives who are defending Americans against the unfair abuses of “Big Pharma” and “Big Money” . . . It is Progressives who are defending our traditional, American public schools . . . It is Progressives who are defending our traditional, American communities and traditional, American public resources against “privatization” and the predations of an immoral and truly parasitic financial industry . . . It is Progressives who are fighting for a return to the traditional “American Dream,” where the wealth of productivity is fairly shared for the benefit of all of our citizens. Remarkably, Progressives ARE Conservatives. And Conservatives ARE Progressives. We all share the same traditional, American values — and we are all being victimized by the ruthless tactics of “divide and conquer” being used by moneyed interests to drive us down.

Tradition.....................................1 Stereotypes ...............................2 Sounding Off .............................3 Comics and Truth......................4 Liberals Defend Freedom .........5 Big Pharma ...............................6 The Penokees and the Lorax ...7 Working Wisconsin ...................9 Voucher Schools…...………...10 Challenging the Myth ..............11 Thoughts on “Pro-life” .............12

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

There is great power in the human spirit. There is great power in community — in knowing we are together — in believing in the common good. When we, as a people, as united conservative Progressives, internalize this and make it part of our being as true Americans, we can return our nation to the home that we all once cherished. It’s not such a far-off dream.


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Middle Wisconsin NEWS

August 2013 Page 2

The Perpetuation of Stereotypes & Its Harmful Effects on Our Communities
By John Spiegelhoff – Merrill “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness….” —Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America in a unanimous declaration by Congress of the 13 United States of America July 4, 1776 Over 200 years ago, our Founding Fathers envisioned a country where all citizens would be treated with respect and equality. This far-reaching vision laid the foundation and guidance for how our country would treat its citizens. Although some of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were slave owners, our country evolved and has made strides for equality — most notably for minorities and women. Certainly, there is more progress to be made. As a country, we do subscribe to the Preamble to the Constitution, but the human condition is a far different matter. Lately, the issue of race and gender equality is forefront in the public consciousness. One cannot blindly ignore the conversation occurring over the Trayvon Martin case or the Supreme Court decisions overturning DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) or Proposition 8 in California. These cases are about equality and test the very foundations of our country. Are we all created equal as envisioned in the Preamble to the United States Constitution? Equally important is the national conversation related to the widening gap between the wealthy and the working class. This issue came to prominence during the Occupy Movement, which highlighted the inequities in this country between the 1% and the 99%. How corporations and financial institutions have tilted the playing field toward the wealthy. How Citizens United immediately corrupted the political process when the U.S. Supreme Court declared that “corporations are people” and can contribute UNLIMITED amounts of money to influence elections. In Wisconsin, we have a Governor who holds no bones about dividing and conquering workers within the State of Wisconsin. In January 2011, Governor Walker told a billionaire donor that he planned to employ a “divide and conquer” strategy to take away working peoples’ rights — a move that ultimately sparked historic protests and led to a historic recall election. What do all these issues have in common? The answer is simple: stereotyping of certain classes of people by race, gender, or socioeconomic status, which pits us against each other. When we fight with each other, we get distracted from the real root of our problems and digress from the Founding Fathers’ vision for our country. Our community ties begin to deteriorate from intolerance. We become closed minded. We isolate ourselves. We suffer. Embrace the notion that all men [and women] are created equal. Embrace the notion that we have more in common than we have differences. When this occurs, we will have returned to our roots, found in our Constitution.

“I don’t dwell on hatred anymore. It’s too much of a burden. It’ll destroy you.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Middle Wisconsin NEWS
Sounding Off
by Virginia Kirsch – Wausau Let’s sound off… about progressive values. We have much to be proud of and tell others about: equal opportunity for all workers, equal voting rights, universal health care, protection and care of our Earth, quality education for all, maintenance of our infrastructure, womb-to-tomb learning, maintenance of our community and democracy, and more.

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“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”  “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”
— Edmund Burke Irish Statesman

LETTER WRITING works in rural areas. It’s been proven! The opinion page is read as often as the front page and sports pages. There are circles of letter writers throughout Wisconsin. Al Kruger has designed the RURAL CAUCUS DEMOCRATIC WRITING PROJECT. This is how you can get started: Pick an area to work and inform Al Kruger via email: akruger@centurytel.net or phone: 715.483.9522.  Pick any paper in your area.  Ask for copies of all letters to the editor in the previous year.  Read each letter to determine progressive writers.  List each writer’s name, and research phone numbers.  Call them and invite them over for conversation about issues.  Plan a night of “Food & Fun” or “Pie & Politics.” SIGNAGE is another effective tool for getting out the progressive message. There are various groups throughout Wisconsin that have created signs for issues and for candidates. Placing these signs along busy highways are an easy and effective way to reach many people. Once again, the key is organizing people who can make signs, find locations, and place the signs. Progressives need to work with the Democratic Party, as well as with unions and other kindred souls, to accomplish this task. For more information, contact Nate Timm of Mazomanie, WI, at 608.220.0139 or nptimm@chorus.net. Working on a signage project is a great way to expand the grassroots networks. LOCAL COMMUNITY RADIO is another way to reach people. Today it’s possible to get your own radio station! You can thank a freelance group of young activists known as the Prometheus Radio Project. This nonprofit group has worked for the past 15 years with Low Power FM (LPFM). Local progressives set up unlicensed stations that operate on only 100 watts of power (a light bulb’s worth). The signals of these broadcasters have a range of up to 10 miles in diameter — enough to cover a town or an urban neighborhood. It’s a very localized, democratic, and inexpensive way for communities to put their own voices, issues, music, and stories on the radio for all to hear. But that isn’t the whole story. . . Corporate chains shut down the tiny units. Prometheus continued to battle the giants with a grassroots campaign to legalize and license LPFM nonprofit stations. It took 10 years of hard work, but it brought great results: In 2011, President Obama signed the Local Community Radio Act. With rules and staff now in place, thousands of low-power noncommercial FM licenses will be available this October.

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Middle Wisconsin NEWS

August 2013 Page 4

Sometimes the “Comics” Aren’t Funny
They Simply Capture the Truth
By Tom Ivey – Wausau In a recent Dilbert cartoon, the pointy-haired boss tells Dilbert, “The best I can give you is a 2% raise.” Dilbert replies, “No problem. I’ll just lower the quality of my work until my pay feels fair.” Scott Adams’s cartoon characters offer a stark reminder that the relationship between employers and employees is interdependent and not that of master and slave. Businesses need employees to produce and market their products. Their success depends upon their employees. In exchange, employees trade their skills and effort for wages and benefits. Theoretically, there’s a balance between the skills and effort of the employee and the value of such to the employer, but this balance depends on both employees and employers being equal counterparts. Our economy is strongest when there is an appropriate balance between the needs of employers and those of employees. Unfortunately, that balance is under attack from wealthy corporations coordinating legislative attacks on employees through front organizations such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC writes legislative bills that are submitted in multiple states under local legislators’ names. Each bill is intended to tip the balance and make workers more dependent on the whims of their employers. Legislative attacks on unions, minimum wage, healthcare, foodstamps, and voter rights are all examples of moneyed power attempting to reduce the power of working people. These attacks are all pieces of the ALEC Legislative Puzzle to move working Americans toward economic slavery. Economic slavery is not a new concept. Less than 10 years after the Civil War and the abolishment of slavery, former slave states passed laws effectively making minority Americans second-class economic citizens. State Legislators took away their right to vote, limited educational opportunities, and left many without the ability to earn enough money to own property. It took over a 100 years to reinstate their right to vote and to attend public schools alongside White children. Today, the rights of minorities and less affluent Americans are being attacked again. ALEC legislation is aimed at privatizing public education (economic segregation of schools), moving family-supporting jobs out of the country, attacking minimum wage laws, restricting voting, denying healthcare to those who cannot afford our increasingly expensive private system of healthcare, and more. We can stop these attacks, but we have to learn what to look for. Ask yourself these two questions: 1. Does the proposal have a disproportionately negative effect on women, minorities, and those who have lower incomes? 2. Does this legislation financially benefit corporations and those of wealth by privatizing essential government responsibilities that support our community’s well-being?
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Just How Low Can Your Salary Go? At least 117 bills introduced in 2013 fuel a “race to the bottom” in wages, benefits, and worker rights and resemble “model” bills from ALEC. Log on to the Center for Media and Democracy’s “PR Watch” website www.prwatch.org for detailed information about ALEC’s Legislative Agenda on topics like:
      

Jobs The economy Women & children Education Healthcare Privatization of public services The environment

If the answer is yes to one or both, contact your representatives and let them know you do not support the legislation. And, please, make sure you vote every chance you get.

Middle Wisconsin NEWS
Liberals Defend Freedom
By Philip Anderson – Maple

August 2013 Page 5

“Who are the true patriots of today? Not the flag-wrapped politicians who send other people’s children off to be killed or disabled in wars to make the world safe for big businesses. Not the flag-waving profiteers who view their successes as their due. Not the crowds who chant USA, USA, USA, upon learning of the death of Osama bin Laden.”
— Bill Quigley Author “Twelve True Patriots for July 4”

In prior articles, I’ve stated that our freedoms were created and defended by social justice activists, not by our numerous military actions and wars. This article provides further documentation, from some of my recent reading, that liberal activists are the real defenders of freedom. “Twelve True Patriots for July 4,” an article by Bill Quigley, makes this point. Mr. Quigley reminds us that the signers of the Declaration of Independence were engaged in civil disobedience. He then talks about contemporary activists — including Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, Transform Now Plowshares nuclear weapons protesters, and the Occupy Movement — who are examples of the “thousands who are courageously resisting illegal and unjust government actions” and are the “true patriots.” Read the whole article published by Common Dreams by clicking here. The Untold History of the United States, a book by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, is a great read for understanding the “American Century.” It covers the rise of the American Empire and the wars, diplomacy, military, and covert actions that sustained it through the 20th century. By discussing the little known people, facts, and stories that include the “darker side of U.S. history,” the authors “challenge the basic narrative of U.S. history that most Americans have been taught.” They believe our country has betrayed its ideals of freedom, equality, and rule of law. To balance our lack of historical knowledge, the authors “highlight some of the forces and individuals who have endeavored, sometimes heroically, to put the country back on the right track.” This is the story of the military misadventures and crimes I have discussed in prior articles. It is the story of the social activists who created, defended, and expanded our civil liberties. John Nichols, in his book The “S” Word: A Short History of An American Tradition . . . Socialism, discusses how socialists and communists not only worked for advancing liberal pluralistic democracy and social reforms but were successful in having some of these ideas eventually adopted by mainstream politicians. Socialism and social democracy have been a part of our political life since Thomas Paine. The openly socialist majors of Milwaukee (1910–1960) were examples of clean, efficient government that advanced the common good. Rather than being a threat to our “American” way of life, socialism has been one of the positive forces that created what we now enjoy. These authors are not anti-American. They are concerned about the erosion of our civil liberties and the negative consequences of a century of militarism. They believe we must honestly face our history if we are to learn from it and create a more prosperous, secure, and just future. Will we ever learn this lesson?

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Middle Wisconsin NEWS
Big Pharma Gouges
By Jeanne Larson – Phillips When the Medicare Modernization Act was passed in 2003, lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry pulled off an incredible stunt — In that legislation, Big Pharma saw to it that taxpayers no longer paid the lowest governmentnegotiated prices for dual-eligible beneficiaries — those eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Starting in 2006, when the law took effect, the government no longer received discounts on drugs for low-income seniors and disabled folks, but instead paid higher prices under the Part D program. The Medicare Drug Savings Act — Senate Bill S740 and House Bill HR1588 — introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) proposes to reduce Medicare Part D drug costs for taxpayers by simply reverting to previous laws which required drug companies to pay rebates for all low-income Medicare beneficiaries. It is estimated that the Medicare Drug Savings Act will save taxpayers $141.2 billion over the next 10 years.

August 2013 Page 6

“Total health spending in the Wisconsin Budget increased by $2 billion. Better decisions would lower medical costs to the state and increase the number of people who receive services.”

— State Senator Kathleen Vinehout 31st District

This legislation takes one small step toward controlling price gouging by the drug industry, and it will strengthen Medicare by producing budget savings without harming beneficiaries. According to Steven Brill, “Studies show that drug prices in the U.S. are, on average, 50% higher than in other developed nations.” Please contact your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators Baldwin and Johnson (see contact information below) to urge them to stand strong for their constituents and against the powerful pharmaceutical industry special interests by co-sponsoring the Medicare Drug Savings Act. It only takes a minute of your time to make a difference. Please call or email them today! U.S. Representative Sean Duffy Washington, DC | 855-585-4251 (toll free) or 202-225-3365 Wausau | 715-298-9344 Email available through website | duffy.house.gov U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Washington, DC | 202-224-5653 Email available through website | baldwin.senate.gov U.S. Senator Ron Johnson Washington, DC | 202-224-5323 Email available through website | ronjohnson.senate.gov

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Middle Wisconsin NEWS
The Penokee Hills & The Lorax
By Joyce Luedke – Hayward Have you ever read (or seen the movie of) Dr. Seuss’s book The Lorax — a story of greed, destruction, and hope? It’s one of my favorite books. As I look over the torn and worn pages, I remember the many times I read it to my son and daughter and now to my grandchildren . . . The Once-ler, the narrator of the story, describes this wondrous place to a young boy: “Way back in the days when the grass was still green and the pond was still wet and the clouds were still clean, and the song of the Swomee-Swans rang out in space, one morning I came to this glorious place. And I first saw the trees! The Truffula Trees! The bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees! Mile after mile in the fresh morning breeze. And, under the trees, I saw the Brown Bar-ba-loots frisking about in their Bar-ba-loot suits as they played in the shade and ate Truffula Fruits. From the rippulous pond came the comfortable sound of the Humming-Fish humming while splashing around.” To this day, I love the way the words roll off the tongue and the wonderful, happy pictures that those words describe. The Once-ler saw this “glorious” scene with greed in his heart. As quickly as he could, he started chopping down the trees to make “Thneeds that everyone needs.” {Yes, that’s spelled correctly: thneeds.} As he chopped down the trees, the Lorax popped out of the stump and said, “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees” and continues throughout the story to point out the destruction of this glorious place at the hand of the Once-ler: The trees are whacked to the ground; the air is filled with “smogulous smoke;” the “Brown Bar-ba-loots are “all getting the crummies;” the “poor Swomee-Swans” “can’t sing with smog in their throat;” the “Gluppity-Glupp and the Shloppity -Sclopp are glumping the pond where the Humming-Fish hummed.” Eventually, all that was good about this pristine place is destroyed. And everyone leaves except the Once-ler.

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At the end of the story, a remorseful Once-ler says to the boy: “Now that you’re here, the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, It’s not. “SO… Catch! calls the Once-ler. He lets something fall. It’s a Truffula Seed. It’s the last one of all! You’re in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds. And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs. Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care. Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air. Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack. Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back.” My sorrow spills over to the truth of the story when I think of the pristine, indescribable beauty of the Penokee Hills being destroyed by mining. I envision the tops of those tree-covered hills being blown to bits; the birds, deer, bear, and God’s creatures taking flight to escape; the trout streams, lakes, and clear waters being choked to death with rock and fill; the rice beds that have been a staple of the Ojibwe for hundreds of years — disappearing forever; the noise of thousands of blasts filling the air with millions of particles that everyone in the vicinity will inhale into their lungs. Continued on p. 8

Middle Wisconsin NEWS
The Penokee Hills & The Lorax — cont’d
And later, the people in the area will be left with the destruction from Gogebic Taconite’s (GTAC’s) mining: babies born with toxic levels of mercury in their blood and birth defects, mesothelioma, brain cancers, hearing loss, polluted streams, ground water unfit to drink, huge uninhabitable areas, and a chasm in the ground — possibly 20 miles long, four and a half miles wide, and 1,000 feet deep — completely surrounded by the “guts” of the hole. Lake Superior, Gitche Gumee the gem of the earth, will also bear witness to the destruction. And as GTAC says good-bye with their pocketbooks full, the people will once again be left. We are like that young boy who has the Truffula Seed dropped into his hand. Care, preserve, and love the earth for the next seven generations and beyond. Visit, with awe, the beautiful places of Wisconsin. As we know the greedy and the powerful like those in the story of the Lorax will do everything in their power to destroy the Penokee Hills. How will the real-life Penokee Hills version of The Lorax end? Several groups are taking on the Once-ler’s challenge to treat the Penokee Hills with care. The mission of the Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, through the LCO Harvest and Educational Camp (LCOHEC) is to have a presence in and do research in the region. The inhabitants of the Camp want to become part of it: to breathe the air; experience the open wilderness and natural beauty; to host tribal members and other guests doing an inventory of resources, trail blazing, archaeology studies, and harvesting. The LCOHEC Camp is on county land within the Chippewa ceded territory. The Chippewa have treaty rights in this region to hunt; fish; harvest foods, berries, herbs, medicinal plants, maple syrup, ginseng, ironwood, and birch bark; and use blown-down trees to build shelters and other items that continue the traditions of the Chippewa. The land is open to the public because it is in the “State Forest Management Tax Credit” program. Research and archaeology involve mapping 200 land allotments that were stolen or deceptively removed from the ancestors of present-day tribal members during the first shaft iron-ore mining done in the late 1800s.

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The Penokee Hills Education Project (PHEP) is educating the public about the risks to the Bad River watershed and the Penokee Hills from the devastation that will take place by GTAC through the mining process. The following groups are requesting monetary donations to support their work: LCO Harvest and Educational Camp https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/eWrS7 Penokee Hills Education Project http://www.miningimpactcoalition.org/donate.html Bad River Defense Fund http://www.badriver-nsn.gov Online sources for more info: http://www.savethewatersedge.com/camp-plumerupdates-lco.html http://www.savethewatersedge.com/maps-of-thewaters-that-nee/ Directions to LCOHEC http://www.lconews.com/2013/04/lco-to-establishharvest-camp-at.html Contact: Frank Koehn Phone: 218-341-8822 Email: savethewatersedge@gmail.com

Middle Wisconsin NEWS
Working Wisconsin

August 2013 Page 9

Why We Work

By John Spiegelhoff, Merrill American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Have you ever contemplated why we get up each morning and go to work? If you would ask an ordinary citizen in your community why they work, you would probably get a response like: “Well… I have to pay the bills and feed my family.” There’s something deeper that drives us to get up, don our work clothes, leave our family, and depart to our place of employment — and that is illustrative in the Homestead Steel Strike of 1892. In 1892, negotiations between the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers (AA) and Pittsburgh Bessemer Steel Works-Homestead plant broke down. Industrialist Andrew Carnegie and his plant manager Henry Clay Frick vowed to break the Union. Employees belonging to AA went on strike and, as a result, shut down the Homestead plant. During the next few months, violence erupted and 10 people were killed — seven of them strikers. But the most amazing thing about the Homestead Strike was that workers barricaded themselves inside the steel plant and surrounding grounds. They believed that because of the all the blood, sweat, and tears they shed in their workplace, they owned the steel mill. They built the plant and made the steel. Without them, the plant would not operate. The plant wasn’t just a place of work; it was more than that. Their fellow employees were like family, and they were proud of what they did. They had ownership in their place of employment. This is evident in the AA strike declaration:

The employees in the mill of Messrs. Carnegie, Phipps & Co., at Homestead, Pa., have built there a town with its homes, its schools and its churches; have for many years been faithful co-workers with the company in the business of the mill; have invested thousands of dollars of their savings in said mill in the expectation of spending their lives in Homestead and of working in the mill during the period of their efficiency. . . .

Therefore, the committee desires to express to the public as its firm belief that both the public and the employees aforesaid have equitable rights and interests in the said mill which cannot be modified or diverted without due process of law; that the employees have the right to continuous employment in the said mill during efficiency and good behavior without regard to religious, political or economic opinions or associations; that it is against public policy and subversive of the fundamental principles of American liberty that a whole community of workers should be denied employment or suffer any other social detriment on account of membership in a church, a political party or a trade union; that it is our duty as American citizens to resist by every legal and ordinary means the unconstitutional, anarchic and revolutionary policy of the Carnegie Company, which seems to evince a contempt [for] public and private interests and a disdain [for] the public conscience.” We work not only to feed our families. We also have pride in the work that we do. I’ve heard some employers declare to workers, “Just be lucky to have a job.” My hands clench when I hear this. You should reply, “You’re lucky to have me as an employee.” Never accept the premise that reductions in wages, benefits, and working conditions is the new norm and you’re helpless to do anything about it. The brave Homestead strikers of 1892 certainly didn’t.

Middle Wisconsin NEWS
The Real Cost of Voucher Schools
By Joyce Luedke – Hayward

August 2013 Page 10

“We spent months touring the state holding listening sessions. Not once did anyone ask me to expand the voucher system statewide. Every conversation was about how to stop the decimation of public schools.”
— Sondy Pope State Representative of the 80th District and ranking Democrat of Assembly Education Committee 1. Wisconsin parents, regardless of income, who send their children to a private/religious school are now entitled to a tuition tax deduction. 2. This tax deduction will be applied to nearly 100,000 students who attend a private/ religious school. The great majority of these private/religious schools are also funded with taxpayer money. 3. Parents will receive a tax deduction of $10,000 for each high school student and a $4,000 tax deduction for K–8 students attending a private/religious school. 4. These tax deductions are expected to reduce Wisconsin’s revenue by $30 million in 2014 –15. In the next biennium, the reduction will at least be doubled. 5. This tax break is in addition to the expansion of the state’s voucher/choice program in which the state and state taxpayers pay part or all of the private school tuition for these 100,000 students. 6. Voucher/choice schools are private/religious schools that receive taxpayer funding to pay for the student’s tuition. These voucher schools will receive $7,210 per K–8 student and $7,856 per high school student for the next two years. These amounts are guaranteed. 7. When voucher limits are lifted, it will cost over $700 million annually to fund the education of students already attending private/religious schools. 8. Milwaukee was forced to levy more than $50 million in taxes in 2011 to subsidize schools in the voucher program over which MPS has no authority or control. This “voucher tax” will be more evident across the state as public school districts deal with cuts to pay for these private schools. 9. Students in the private/religious, taxpayer funded schools do not perform any better and usually worse than public school students when tested using the WKCE test. 10. Voucher schools are now exempt from releasing students’ test scores under the budget signed by Governor Walker. There is no statewide accountability system that would hold private, taxpayer-funded schools to the same standards as public schools. At this time, we have no means to compare voucher students’ performance to public school students’ performance. 11. Voucher schools are exempt from opening their business records and do not have to comply with open-meeting laws. Consequently, taxpayers have no clear picture of how our tax dollars are being used.
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It is our duty as citizens and taxpayers to be aware of the impact these changes will have on our public schools.

Middle Wisconsin NEWS

August 2013 Page 11

“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 “Pro-Life” Legislation Is Intended to Reduce Abortions
By Dave Svetlik – Mosinee The irreconcilable abortion debate is once again in the news. At a personal level, it represents the heartfelt moral quandary of caring people on both sides of the issue. All are to be respected for their genuine concern. Unfortunately, the operative word in this debate is “irreconcilable.” For decades, this has enabled an agenda that has little to do with reducing abortions. By falsely framing the debate as conservative vs. liberal, the word “irreconcilable” is exploited to keep us permanently divided as a people. There will never be an agreement between pro-life and pro-choice advocates. What is UNARGUABLE is the obvious: Abortions result from unwanted pregnancies. Reframing in this context represents our only realistic hope of actually reducing abortions. Many factors lead to unintended pregnancies, but three stand out:  Educational attainment — Women with the fewest years of education have the highest unintended pregnancy rate.  Income level — The unintended pregnancy rate for women at or below the poverty line ($19,530 for a family of three) is four times the rate for women 200% above the poverty line.  Contraception — When women have access to long-acting, reversible contraception, unintended pregnancy and abortion rates drop substantially. This is a function of income level and the availability of medical insurance. It is no coincidence that the “model” legislation passed in Wisconsin, Texas, Mississippi, and other states over the past few years is virtually identical. Nearly all of it is the work of the corporately funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) or its cousin organization Americans United for Life (AUL). All of it deliberately avoids addressing the root causes of abortion, and most of this legislation is likely to exacerbate the problem. We must all ask ourselves — Do we wish to moralize and condemn, or do we wish to actually reduce abortions? Because the two are not the same. If we truly wish to reduce abortion, we must address the gross inequity in wealth and income that is driving ever more Americans and our states and communities into poverty. If we truly wish to reduce abortion, we must take the moral stance that access to healthcare is a human right and establish universal healthcare as exists in virtually every other capitalist, industrialized nation. If we truly wish to reduce abortion, we must strengthen public education at every income level. Not surprisingly, all of these actions are opposed by the self-serving wealthy interests profiting from the status quo. These individuals and corporations use abortion as a tool to divide us, and every time that we allow the discussion to devolve into a conservative/liberal battle, we play right into their hand. We also minimize our ability to actually reduce abortions. Each of us is blessed with an intellect. We can solve the abortion issue. But it is not going to be accomplished through baseless ideology or frightened emotional reaction to manipulative messaging. It is going to be accomplished by intelligently, ethically, and fearlessly seeking solutions to the social and economic issues we confront.

Middle Wisconsin NEWS Thoughts on “Pro-life” Legislation From Around the Country
Heather Busby | Attorney & Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Austin, TX “Next time, rather than wasting time and money on a bill that is so unlikely to survive a court challenge, Texas lawmakers should focus on provisions that would actually reduce the number of abortions: increased access to contraception, sex education in our schools and expanding quality, and affordable health care for the nearly 2 million Texas women who lack health insurance. And they should focus on legislation that benefits women and their families, like the Fair Pay Act that Perry recently vetoed, expanding Medicaid and fully funding education. We can and should reduce the number of abortions and unwanted pregnancies in Texas, but that will only happen if Texas conservatives choose science and law over politics.” http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Busby-Laws-that-benefit-women

August 2013 Page 12

David Frum | Author-Journalist, Washington DC “If you're serious about reducing abortion, the most important issue is not which abortions to ban. The most important issue is how will you support women to have the babies they want. As a general rule, societies that do the most to support mothers and childbearing have the fewest abortions. Societies that do the least to support mothers and childbearing have more abortions.” “So maybe at the next candidates’ debate, a journalist will deflect the discussion away from “what if” and instead ask this: Rather than tell us what you'd like to ban, tell us please what you think government should do to support more happy and healthy childbearing, to reduce unwanted pregnancies, and to alleviate the economic anxieties of mothers-to-be? Those are the questions that make the difference. It’s amazing how little we talk about them.” http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/29/opinion/frum-abortion-reality

Dr. Jen Gunter | Obstetrician Gynecologist (OB/GYN), San Francisco, CA “...the whole thing smacks of hypocrisy. Because, in Texas and Ohio, and all these states, if they really wanted to prevent abortions, they would make long-acting, reversible contraception free. Study after study after study shows that when women have access to long-acting contraception like IUDs, and when they don’t have financial or access barriers, their risk of abortion just plummets. The irony is that this is all just posturing. Because the answer is right there. If you actually wanted to make abortion very rare, the answer is there. It’s long-acting, reversible contraception.” http://boingboing.net/2013/07/15/a-gynaecologist-on-how-abortio.html