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Middle Wisconsin NEWS
www.MiddleWisconsin.com September 2013

Whose Hands Will Your Money End Up In?
IN THIS ISSUE:
By John Spiegelhoff – Merrill Can the tide be turned against the damaging Supreme Court decision that has rapidly turned lawmakers into corporate puppets? In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in which the court held that the 1st Amendment prohibited the government from restricting indeMoneyed interests have high-jacked pendent political contributions by corthe Great Experiment called Democracy. porations. The aftermath that ensued was an onslaught of corporate money pouring into the political process the likes of which has never before been seen in this country. Do the people who are supposed to be represented by their politicians even have a voice in their governance anymore? The repeal of Prohibition (the 18th Amendment to the Constitution that banned alcoholic beverages in the United States on January 16, 1920) took essentially 13 years to achieve. It was accomplished by a national movement that educated people how the great crusade against alcohol actually caused increased crime, decreased revenue from the sale of alcohol, and generally was a failure. On December 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed and effectively repealed Prohibition. The history lesson from the passage of prohibition to its eventual repeal is: Bad laws CAN be changed. Here’s how you start a movement to repeal Citizens United through a Constitutional amendment: You need to convey a powerful message telling as many Americans as you can how too many U.S. representatives are being bought and sold. The people who hear your message need to be stirred into action and asked to share the message with others. Think of the masses of people you could reach with your message. Unlike your detractors, you don’t have big corporate money on your side. But what money you do have changes hands with countless people. So what better way to spread your message than to communicate via YOUR MONEY! I ordered my “Not to be used for bribing politicians” stamp (featured in the photo above) from www.stampstampede.org. I stamp every dollar bill that I spend. That’s my messaging tactic. It costs very little, is very effective at getting a conversation started, and I’ve found it to be loads of FUN. Order your own handy-dandy stamp to help spread the word about the damage Citizens United is doing to our country’s political process. It’s that easy to make a difference. So, what are you waiting for?

Whose Hands? .........................1 The Power of a March ..............2 War is Bipartisan .......................3 Legacy of 1776..........................4 Obamacare ...............................6 Making a Farce……………… ..7 Robert LaFollette.......................9 $5000 a Plate ..........................10 Challenging the Myth ..............11 Peace Picnic .….…...………...13 Penokee Education.................14

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

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Middle Wisconsin NEWS
The Power of a March
By Joyce Luedke – Hayward The power of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963, is captured in a masterful, moving tribute in Time Magazine (Aug. 26/Sept. 2, 2013). A black-and-white photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The Founding Father— Architect of the 21st Century, is outlined by the signature red border of Time.

September 2013 Page 2

The work is not finished for justice and equality for all.

Singers at the Capitol, The People’s House, in Madison are being arrested for singing This Land Is Your Land and We Shall Overcome. Thousands march and get arrested on “Moral Mondays” in South Interviews with the organizers and participants shed light on and North Carolina. the magnitude of the undertaking of a massive, non-violent The Supreme Court, under John Roberts’s leadership, has march on Washington, DC, 50 years ago. declared that “Corporations are people,” allowing the un“It was a procession of church. It was never, ever a march. It precedented “bribery” of elected officials. The Roberts Court was a congregation that was answering the call.” struck down the important Section 4 of the 1965 Voting — John Smith, Freedom Rider Rights Bill. Immediately after the decision, states controlled by Republicans enacted or are enacting laws restricting the “I was overwhelmed with the sense that I was in the presright to vote. Fifteen states have already done so. ence of Courage.” — Nan Orrock, Attendee and Georgia State Senator People might not be beaten or killed for trying to vote as in the 1960s, but many voters today wait up to 12 hours to cast “It really has to be a moral crusade for the country.” their vote — the one way we all are equal. — Bob Zellner, Field Secretary, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Millions of people, and far too many of them children, live in abject poverty, go hungry and homeless, and struggle for “It went beyond Joy. It was hard to describe, but it was the their daily existence. Millions are unemployed or underemantithesis of fear and it propelled us all into another chan- ployed and still struggling to survive on a minimum wage. nel in our lives.” “This moment belongs to us together. Millions work in the fields, a subgroup with no rights. MilThat’s what singing can do.” lions go without health care. All the while, the people at the — Peter Yarrow, singer/activist top — the “1%” — grow ever more wealthy and isolated As Martin Luther King, Jr. began from the realities of life of the 99%. Inequality is the most crucial issue of the time, according to many commentators. his speech, he heard Mahalia Jackson say, “Tell ’em about the dream, Martin.” King set aside his prepared text. “The moments of ensuing oratory lifted King above the tumult of history and made him a figure of history — a ‘new founding father’ in the apt phrase of the historian Taylor Branch.” “King projected an ideal vision of an exceptional nation.” — Jon Meacham “The ‘I Have a Dream’ speech was a summons, a call, to the collective conscience of America that we can do better than this.” — Clarence B. Jones, Speechwriter for King Congressman John Lewis exhorts us (On Point Interview, with Tom Ashbrook, August 21, 2013, 9:00 a.m., WPR): “Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t be quiet. Stand up and be heard. Expend moral energy.” Let us live up to the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his call to action: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

Middle Wisconsin NEWS
War Is Bipartisan
By Philip Anderson – Maple In the strange world of Washington, DC, only one government function has enjoyed consistent bipartisan support: WAR. Our political leadership cannot agree on much of anything, no matter how critical the need nor obvious the benefit to the public. Desperately needed action on education, health, employment, taxes, or sensible budget priorities is deadlocked by partisan ideology. Yet, war — and the preparation for war — has always been enthusiastically supported and generously financed by both parties.

September 2013 Page 3

If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.”
— Eldridge Cleaver Author (1935–1998)

War, the Pentagon, and all the related national defense spending are the number-one expenditure of the federal government. The total costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are estimated to exceed $4 trillion. Total defense related spending for the 2013 budget is $851 billion. The military-related interest on national debt is estimated to be 80% of the total. When veterans’ benefits and militaryrelated expenditures in other departments (e.g., Homeland Security, NASA, Department of Energy, and the State Department) are counted, war is 57% of the discretionary budget. We spend more on “defense” than does most of the rest of the world combined. The numbers and percentages may vary (and many spin the numbers differently), but the pattern is clear and consistent. Since WWII, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, war has been the number-one national priority.* Yet we have no enemy capable of invading or conquering us. Yes, we could be attacked by terrorists, most of whom we have created with our militaristic, hypocritical foreign policy. Our only real danger comes from thousands of nuclear weapons laying around waiting for an incident, accident, or misunderstanding to turn the world into a Chernobyl wasteland. We should be leading the world in abolishing these weapons of mass destruction. But we are not. How can we change this? It’s painfully obvious that voting for Democrats or Republicans will not produce change. Change will only come when the people demand it. First we must change ourselves. We must change our beliefs . . . We must abandon the mythology regarding the military and its benefits. War has not protected our “freedom.” War is not good for the economy. War does not protect us from the “other” (communists, socialists, terrorists, or immigrants). War is not necessary or inevitable. War kills, destroys, and consumes money. Period. We must also abandon the belief that individuals are small and powerless (“I am only one person” or “I don’t have much money” or “I can’t change the world”). Change won’t come by itself. There are many ways to work for change and many organizations to channel your efforts. As in the 60s slogan, “If you are not a part of the solution, you a part of the problem.” Be a part of the solution! *Many Internet sources document these figures including The National Priorities Project, The War Resisters League, and the Friends Service Committee.

Veterans for Peace www.veteransforpeace.org U.S. Labor Against War www.uslaboragainstwar.org United for Peace and Justice www.unitedforpeace.org Code Pink, Women for Peace www.codepink4peace.org Grandmothers for Peace www.grandmothersforpeace.org Women's International League for Peace and Freedom http://wilpfus.org
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Middle Wisconsin NEWS
The Legacy of 1776
By Tom Ivey – Wausau

September 2013 Page 4

INALIENABLE RIGHTS:
“The Protection of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”
—Thomas Jefferson The Declaration of Independence, 1776

“Remember the Ladies.... Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could.”
Abigail Adams’s advice to John Adams, 1776

Voting, Education, and Health Care… 3 Basic Foundations of Freedom Those who signed the Declaration of Independence were students of history and knew of the chaos that pure “democracy” brought to the people of ancient Athens. They were determined not to repeat those problems. When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he described three basic rights: The right to live, be free, and find the kind of life that makes us happy. America’s founders believed that governments were for the benefit of the people being governed. Governments were not there merely to serve “kings”. . . or in today’s jargon, “the wealthy.” As Abraham Lincoln said at Gettysburg, Governments are created “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” The leaders who created this country understood that if America was to thrive, individual rights have to be considered in context with the common good of other citizens and the well-being of our communities as a whole. Limiting our right to vote, undermining our public schools, and restricting health care based an individual’s wealth undermines our pursuit of the “American Dream.” Our rights to vote, attend public schools, and maintain our health and the health of our families are three important pillars of freedom. Unfortunately, these rights are under assault from those who seek power and wealth. In state after state, our rights are being manipulated by ALEC-affiliated legislators* and supported by huge amounts of corporate money. The right of every citizen to vote is at the core of our freedom. Our democracy is threatened when:  Phony claims of voter fraud are used to justify voter ID laws  Precinct voting locations are manipulated to make it difficult for some citizens to vote  Partisan redistricting eliminates real voter choice by creating a monopoly for a single political party or ideology

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(Continued on p. 5)

Middle Wisconsin NEWS
The Legacy of 1776 — Continued

September 2013 Page 5

When Given a Choice…
Wisconsin Rapids, Nekoosa, Port Edwards, and Pittsville

Voting restrictions harm every citizen of every community, in every state in the United States. Voting restrictions do not just affect minorities, women, the elderly, students, or members of the opposing political party. These restraints attack the very core of American Democracy – the right of citizens to elect its representatives in free elections. Our country has not seen such an attack on our right to vote since the “Jim Crow” laws passed after the Civil War impeding Black citizens’ ability to vote and exercise their rights as free Americans — Laws that we thought we’d abolished! Public education is key to America’s success. Americans have long recognized the role of tax supported, non-secular, public education in creating a strong democracy. Parents and communities like their public schools. They know their public schools provide a quality education for their children. Parents are not clamoring to send their children to private/parochial schools. When given a “choice,” Wisconsin families with children in public schools, overwhelmingly “choose” to keep their children in public schools. It is primarily those families who already send their children to private/parochial schools who are taking advantage of “free” tax money to fund their “choice.” But, our tax money is not free: It comes from our hard work. We already provide quality education through our public schools. We don’t need to spend more money subsidizing private/parochial schools. We cannot be “free” if we are not healthy. If a person is not healthy, every aspect of their life, and the lives of those around them, is affected. Our “Pursuit of Happiness” becomes nothing more than a fantasy when citizens are experiencing health problems. Under the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), we have the opportunity to expand medical coverage to millions of citizens who now go without health care. We have the opportunity to allow more individuals and families to achieve the American Dream. Learn more about the ACA at https://www.healthcare.gov/how-does-the-affordable-care-act-affect-me/ Today, we are privileged to continue the Legacy of 1776. Contact your legislators and call (608.266.1212) or email Governor Walker. Ask what they are doing to advance the “Legacy of 1776.” Demand support to:  Expand voting procedures to ensure an easy voting process for all citizens to cast their vote.

Parents Choose PUBLIC SCHOOLS for Their Children.

In spite of a huge recruiting effort by local private/parochial schools in the area, Parents with children in public schools “chose” to keep their children in their public schools. Over 90% of the new private/parochial school vouchers for students in the Wisconsin Rapids/ Nekoosa/Port Edwards/ Pittsville area went to parents of students already enrolled in private/parochial schools..

Ensure our children go to the best public schools possible. Ask them to stop diverting our tax dollars to private schools. Instead, provide fair funding to our community public schools. Guarantee that our citizens have access to affordable health care so all of us can have the freedom to pursue happiness and experience the liberty of health.


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ALEC’s Wisconsin Politicians: www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Wisconsin_ALEC_Politicians

Middle Wisconsin NEWS
By Jeanne Larson – Phillips Kevin Kane, health care organizer for Citizen Action of Wisconsin, presented information on the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare), which was signed into law March 23, 2010, to groups in Price County on August 8, 2013.

September 2013 Page 6

What Can Obamacare Do for You?

The health of a society is truly measured by the quality of its concern and care for the health of its members . . . The right of every individuals to adequate health care flows from the sanctity of human life and that dignity belongs to all human beings . . . We believe that health is a fundamental human right which has as its prerequisites social justice and equality and that it should be equally available and accessible to all.
— Imam Sa’dullah Khan The Islamic Center of Southern California

Kane listed some provisions of the ACA already in effect:  Young adults under 26 can obtain health insurance coverage under their parents’ insurance.  Children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage or have benefits limited.  Insurance companies cannot set lifetime limits on essential health benefits.  Many preventive measures and screenings (such as birth control, mammograms, and colonoscopies) must be covered by insurance without charging coinsurance or copayments.  The Medicare prescription drug donut hole is being shrunk, scheduled to be closed by 2020. On October 1, 2013, the Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment period begins, with coverage starting no earlier than January 1, 2014. Since Governor Walker chose not to create Wisconsin’s own Marketplace, Wisconsinites will use the federal government’s Marketplace at www.healthcare.gov. Assistance will be available for those not able or willing to use the internet. (Note that the Marketplace does not deal with Medicare supplements or Part D plans.) Kane discussed some provisions of the ACA effective January 1, 2014:  Insurance companies in the Marketplace must offer plans that provide minimum standards of coverage that can be compared “apples-to-apples” with competitors’ plans, with no fine print.  Insurance companies cannot deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions; Wisconsin’s Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan (HIRSP) will no longer be necessary.  Applications take an average of 7 minutes to complete; no health history is required.  Premiums for applicants aged 60–64 are capped at three times what 20-year-olds pay.  Depending on income, family size, and the type of plan, enrollees may qualify for reduced monthly premiums or out-of-pocket costs. Misleading information is being spread in the media by opponents of Obamacare. One scare tactic being used claims implementation of the law will result in rate hikes. MIT health economist Jonathan Gruber, a leading expert on health economics and actuarial science, says the new competitive health insurance marketplace will benefit Wisconsin consumers. Dr. Gruber’s research estimates that while many on the individual market will see rate increases, after figuring in tax credits and rebates, average insurance premiums will fall, not rise. Gruber says individuals experiencing insurance discrimination, such as denials or higher rates — including women, older adults, and those with pre-existing conditions — will see insurance premiums fall dramatically. Chances are you or someone you know already has or could benefit from the ACA’s provisions that restrict the discriminatory, abusive practices of insurance companies. For accurate information on what Obamacare can do for you:  Visit the healthcare.gov or citizenactionwi.org websites.  Contact Kevin Kane of Citizen Action of Wisconsin (414.550.8280) to schedule a factbased presentation for your group.  Call the Insurance Marketplace (1.800.318.2596) for answers to your questions.

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Middle Wisconsin NEWS
Making a Farce of Wisconsin’s MANAGED FOREST LAW
By Susan Sommer – Phelps

September 2013 Page 7

The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land... In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the landcommunity to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such.”
― Aldo Leopold

How many of us hunt on open Managed Forest Lands in our state? How many of us fish, hike, sight-see, or cross-country ski on these lands? As of June 2013, our state had approximately 1.1 million acres of open managed forest lands1 — open to us all. Yet, in less than two weeks, our State Senate may be asked to vote on a bill that will deny us the privilege of accessing these open lands if the lands are within a proposed iron mining site. Senate Bill 278, authored by State Senator Tom Tiffany, will make a farce of a well-respected program that was created in 1985 to promote sound forestry practices and open more land to the public for recreation. According to our current law, the purpose of the Managed Forest Land (MFL) program is to “encourage the management of private forest lands for the production of future forest crops for commercial use through sound forestry practices, recognizing the objectives of individual property owners, compatible recreational uses, watershed protection, development of wildlife habitat, and accessibility of private property to the public for recreational purposes” (WI Statute § 77.80). Landowners with at least 10 contiguous acres, at least 80 percent of which is forested, can apply to have their property placed in the Managed Forest Lands (MFL) program. The advantage to the landowners is that they pay a substantially lower tax rate on their land per acre. Landowners can choose to have their land closed or open to the public. If they choose to “close” their land, they cannot close more than 160 acres per municipality. Landowners who close their lands pay a higher tax rate than landowners who choose to have “open” lands. “Open” lands require the landowner to permit public access for hunting, fishing, hiking, sight-seeing, and cross-country skiing. Under the Managed Forest Law, landowners commit to a 25- or 50-year sustainable forest management plan. Pursuant to the law, landowners can voluntarily withdraw from the program at any time prior to the expiration of the plan. At the time of withdrawal, the landowners are assessed a withdrawal tax and withdrawal fee. The withdrawal tax is the higher of either the amount the landowner would have paid in taxes over the previous years the land was in the MFL program or five percent of the stumpage value of the merchantable timber on the land. The taxes paid already by the landowner, under either option, are subtracted from the higher amount (WI Statute § 77.88[a]).

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(Continued on p. 8)

Middle Wisconsin NEWS
Making a Farce — Continued

September 2013 Page 8

Our government seems insistent on taking away privileges we share as citizens of Wisconsin by drafting new laws that benefit special interests. If GTAC is sincere about protecting its workers at the potential mine site, the solution is simple — voluntarily withdraw the lands from the MFL program. Then these private lands will be closed automatically to the public.

Senator Tiffany authored SB 278 to promote the interests of one out-of-state mining company, Gogebic Taconite (GTAC), over the interests of the public. According to its Preapplication Notice to the DNR2, dated June 17, 2013, GTAC’s proposed mining site boundary along the Penokee Range encompasses 6,744 acres. The lands are owned by RGGS Land & Minerals, LaPointe Iron Company, and Chester Co. Limited. The lands are in the MFL program and are designated “open.”3 Under the ruse of drafting legislation that will protect workers on the mine site from protestors, SB 278 will allow GTAC to close to the public these legally mandated “open” lands. Our government seems insistent on taking away privileges we share as citizens of Wisconsin by drafting new laws that benefit special interests. If GTAC is sincere about protecting its workers at the potential mine site, the solution is simple — voluntarily withdraw the lands from the MFL program. Then these private lands will be closed automatically to the public. Of course, the company landowners would be responsible for deferred taxes on the land withdrawn from the program. News sources4 indicate The Town of Anderson in Iron County could receive as much as $400,000, for example, if the land were withdrawn from the MFL program. But rather than follow Wisconsin law, GTAC once again has lobbied our legislators to change our laws to its favor and our detriment. If you hunt, fish, hike, sight-see or cross-country ski on open Managed Forest Lands, become informed. Then contact each of our State Senators and let them know whether you oppose or support SB 278. Do it soon . . . Your privilege to access open managed forest lands is at stake.

SOURCES
1

From the Wisconsin Council on Forestry, The Managed Forest Law, A Summary of Recommended Program Revisions, June 19, 2013. Pre-Application Notice to the DNR dated June 17, 2013, p. 4–5. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Mines/ Gogebic.html See DNR website interactive map, Private Forest Lands Open for Public Recreation. Also noted in Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative, 9/2/2013, Senators Tiffany and Grothman Shill for Mining Company, by Bobbi Rongstad. www.wcmcoop.com/2013/09/02/senators-tiffany-and-grothmanshill-for-mining-company/ From Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative, 9/2/2013, Senators Tiffany and Grothman Shill for Mining Company, by Bobbi Rongstad, www.wcmcoop.com/2013/09/02/senators-tiffany-andgrothman-shill-for-mining-company/

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Middle Wisconsin NEWS
Working Wisconsin

September 2013 Page 9

Robert LaFollette, Sr.
By John Spiegelhoff – Merrill American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)

God, how patient are Thy poor! These corporations and masters of manipulation in finance heaping up great fortunes by a system of legalized extortion, and then exacting from the contributors — to whom a little means so much — a double share to guard the treasure.
— Robert LaFollette

Robert M. La Follette, Sr. (1855–1925) was unquestionably one the most influential progressive leaders in Wisconsin history. He was born on June 14, 1855, near New Glarus, Wisconsin, and eventually moved to Madison, enrolling at the university. After receiving his law degree from the University of Wisconsin, he was elected as Dane County District Attorney, served three terms as a Congressman, Governor of Wisconsin, U.S. Senator, and also ran for President of the United States. La Follette is best remembered as a proponent of progressivism championing such causes as eliminating patronage/bribery in public office, minority rights, and women’s suffrage. His public policy goals/ideals were to give citizens a more direct role in government. He often was a lightning rod for derision due to his progressive views. He was nationally recognized for making public impassioned speeches and oft time in the back of a buckboard wagon. While a U.S. Senator, La Follette was so incensed by the patronage and bribery rampant in the Republican Party at the time that he vowed to reform the party from within. As a result, the party dissidents who joined La Follette became known as the Insurgents and the opponents were called the Stalwarts. As Governor of Wisconsin, he championed numerous progressive reforms, including the first workers’ compensation system, railroad rate reform, direct legislation, municipal home rule, open government, direct election of U.S. Senators, and progressive taxation. Wisconsin’s proud progressive heritage endures despite the current high-jacking by extremists in power both at the state and national levels of government. We often times forget that direct election of U.S. Senators, women’s suffrage, and Wisconsin’s Open Records Law (government transparency) were a direct result of La Follette and others’ struggles. These reforms were not easy. We take for granted that these now commonly accepted public policies will never be changed. The current legislation being enacted into law in Wisconsin are not “reforms” and do not comport to the progressive Wisconsin values that Robert La Follette fought for. Moreover, history teaches us that progressive change can only happen when citizens are engaged and are willing to speak up. Certainly, there are risks when one speaks to power, but Wisconsin’s progressive history and values urge us to rise up and act.

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Middle Wisconsin NEWS
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September 2013 Page10

5,000-a-Plate Fundraiser
By Joyce Luedke – Hayward

During the five-week August recess, Congressman Sean Duffy refused to meet his constituents — no office meetings, no town halls. One needs to remember that taxpayers pay Duffy $174,000 and 75% of his generous benefits, as well as all office expenses, staff, and any other expenses accrued. Out of 181 days in the first half of 2013, the House worked just 84 days. Less than 36 bills have been passed by the 113th Congress. On August 14, 2013, Sean Duffy did have plenty of time to meet with House Speaker John Boehner and other wealthy funders for a $5,000-a-plate fundraiser for Duffy in Hayward, Wisconsin. A reporter for the Sawyer County Record interviewed the observers as they watched the HUGE SUVs pass by (HaywardWI.com). In an opinion piece, John E. Porter, who served as a Republican Congressman from Illinois for 21 years, wrote about the present 113th Congress: “A Do-Nothing Congress Isn’t Healthy.” Excerpts from his piece include: “Many commentators have noted that the 113th Congress is on track to be the least productive in recent history. Fewer than three dozen bills have been passed by this Congress and signed into law.” Porter speaks of the obstructionists on Capitol Hill and asks: “Is this the Congress you elected?” He goes on to say: “If the head of a Fortune 500 company performed in this manner, he would be given the boot.” So, who are the “obstructionists” Porter speaks about in his piece? They are members of the GOP. Republicans control the House of Representatives with “leadership” by Speaker John Boehner. All spending bills must be passed by the House before sending them on to the Senate. In the Senate, Harry Reid, Majority Leader, must have 60 votes to pass or even introduce a bill. On the night of November 4, 2008, when President Obama was elected, a group of Republicans met for dinner and vowed to bring Congress to an “absolute standstill.” This standstill would be implemented by pledging to obstruct, filibuster, and block any legislation that President Obama approved of, knowing that the obstructionist tactics would hurt the American people and the economy (The Daily Take, the Thom Hartmann Program, July 8, 2013). Congressman Sean Duffy is a member of the “Do-nothing 113th Congress.” And while he lines his pockets with donations, we, the taxpayers, continue to foot the bill: $174,000 a year and 75% of his benefits. Are you mad yet? You should be.
© 2013 Middle W is c ons in

“Activism begins with you, Democracy begins with you, get out there, get active! Tag, you're it!”
— Thom Hartmann Political activist Radio commentator

Call Duffy and let him know you don’t approve of his obstructionist tactics: Wausau Office (715.298.9344) Washington, DC (855.585.4251 toll-free).

Middle Wisconsin NEWS
CHALLENGING THE MYTH...

September 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 of the Two-Party Political System
By Dave Svetlik – Mosinee No one would argue that there are NO differences between the Democratic and Republican parties. There are. But from a historical perspective, party actions often blur, common trends become visible, and the people of America — Conservative or Progressive — appear to have few friends in Washington. A look at presidential terms can shed some light . . . Under Republican President Ronald Reagan (1981–1989), the Berlin wall fell and the Soviet Union dissolved. But for the people of America, a simple phrase did more to change their world than any historic event. With his now famous statement, “Government isn’t the solution to the problem, government is the problem,” Mr. Reagan set the tone for the ensuing 30 years and laid the groundwork for the dismantling of America. A government that had been the envy of the world was condemned for creating democracy. Trickle down economics began transferring wealth upward, and deregulation drove the well-being of citizens downward. Republican President George H. W. Bush (1989–1993) ended the cold war, drove Iraq out of Kuwait, and initiated the development of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). But equally important are his activities before and after his presidency: After working as a U.S. Representative in Texas from 1966 to 1970, Bush served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, U.S. envoy to China, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and vice president under Ronald Reagan. He was an expert in U.S. foreign policy and intelligence. After serving as president, Mr. Bush became a senior advisor to the Carlyle Group, one of the largest private equity firms in Washington, D.C., invested in the defense industry. Headlines were made when it was found that Bush was brokering arms contracts for the Carlyle Group in Saudi Arabia that included the wealthy family of Osama Bin Laden. Acceptable political behavior evolves. In the 1950s, President Dwight Eisenhower, the five-star general who had served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces during World War II, repeatedly warned about the dangers of the military/industrial complex. Fifty years later, a former president was actively promoting and profiting from this complex. (It should be noted that James Baker, Bush’s Secretary of State, was a senior advisor for Carlyle from 1993 to 2005; Richard Darman, Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget under Bush, has been a Senior Advisor and Managing Director of Carlyle from 1993 to the present; and Frank C. Carlucci, Secretary of Defense under President Reagan, was Carlyle Chairman and Chairman Emeritus from 1989 to 2005.) If Reagan and Bush planted ideas, Democratic President Bill Clinton (1993–1991)brought them to fruition. It was Clinton who signed NAFTA into law and sounded the death knell for working Americans. Outsourced jobs, tumbling wages, and broken unions followed. Cheap, subsidized grain exports from the U.S.A. drove Mexican farmers out of business and led to the immigration problems we face today. Clinton’s Wall Street “Wrecking Crew” — Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Timothy Geithner — guaranteed the financial collapse of 2008 and the “Great Recession” which is still causing Americans to suffer. Working with then Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, Alan Greenspan, these men killed the regulations developed after the “Great Depression” to limit a predatory financial industry and the union of commercial and investment banking. (Continued on p. 12)

Middle Wisconsin NEWS
A few thousand OLIGARCHS

September 2013 Page 12

The Myth — Continued
It insured the loss of homes and jobs for millions of American families, and opened the door to the bailout and continued enrichment of criminal bankers and their “too big to fail” institutions. (It should be noted that William Kennard, Chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission under Clinton, has been Carlyle’s Managing Director in Telecommunications & Media from 2001 to the present; Arthur Levitt, Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under Clinton, has been a Carlyle Senior Advisor from 2001 to the present; and Mack McLarty, White House Chief of Staff under Clinton, has been a Carlyle Senior Advisor from 2003 to the present.)

3oo,ooo,ooo+ of US

Republican President George W. Bush (2001–2009) is, of course, best known for the terrorist attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the “Bush tax cuts.” All have devastated America. For the first time in history, America went to war and not only refused to raise taxes to pay for it, but actually reduced them. The resulting government indebtedness has been a dream come true for Wall Street and the rich. It has opened the door to privatization of all things public, attacks on Social Security and the social safety net, assaults on public workers and their pensions, and a steady transfer of wealth to the top. (It should be noted that George W. Bush spent 3 years as a board member of the Carlyle Group before becoming president.) Democratic President Barak Obama (2009–present), because he is Black, is history himself. The existence of blatant racism must certainly temper his decisions. Known best for stemming the economic collapse, the Affordable Healthcare Act, and winding down the war in Iraq, Obama must also be remembered for choosing the Clinton “Wrecking Crew,” Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner for his economic team. He is now attempting, against full-spectrum opposition, to nominate Summers as Chairman of the Fed. To appease the austerity ideologues, Obama, a Democratic President, has made it clear he is willing to cut Social Security rather than raise the payroll tax cap or impose a financial transaction tax on the wealthy. Even more alarming, he is working to “fast track” legislation enacting the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a corporate trade and governance agreement making NAFTA look like a gift to the poor. Let us also remember, Obama, the Noble Peace Prize winner, is doing everything in his power to lead us into another war in the Middle East. (It should be noted that the majority ownership of Booz Allen Hamilton, the contractor conducting the worldwide government surveillance for the NSA that was exposed by Edward Snowden, is held by the Carlyle Group. It should also be noted that in the 2012 election, the Carlyle group gave $173,000 to Romney and $109,000 to Obama — they preferred Romney, but Obama would do.) It should also be noted: Hillary Clinton’s speaking engagement on September 9, 2013, for which she is to be paid $2oo,ooo, is with the Carlyle Group. Please understand, this is not about conspiracy. There is no such thing, and the Carlyle group is one among many. This is the story of how over a period of 30 years, both Republican and Democratic legislators, knowingly or unknowingly, openly or behind closed doors, have given America to the rich and corporations. We no longer have a democracy. But we do actually have two political parties. They are the party of the 98% and the party of the 2% — the party of US and the party of the OLIGARCHS. There are over 300 million of US, but only a few thousand OLIGARCHS. The day we choose to return America to a democracy, we will.

ol·i·gar·chy \ˈä-lə-ˌgär-kē, ˈō-\ noun. A government in which a small group exercises control, especially for corrupt and selfish purposes

Middle Wisconsin NEWS

September 2013 Page 13

A Great Event in Northern Wisconsin . . .

Middle Wisconsin NEWS

September 2013 Page 14