A FACT-DRIVEN VOICE FOR MIDDLE WISCONSIN VIEWS

Information Technology Solutions

FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE STATE FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS

Middle Wisconsin News
www.MiddleWisconsin.com August 3, 2011

IN THIS ISSUE:

Recall Elections Loom in the Next Two Weeks
By Jim Mattes Recall Elections . . . . . . . .1 News and Notes . . . . . . . .3 Working Wisconsin ... . . . 5 Native Americans . . . . . . 6 The Essay Page . . . . . . . .7 Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 The Literary Page. . . . . . 10 Grassroots Wisconsin . . .11 Challenging the Myth . . .12 Beyond Wisconsin . . . . . 14

Six months after contentious legislation which stripped collective bargaining rights from most state public employees, the recall elections that have been requested by constituents in nine districts are about to take place, the results of which will determine the balance of power in the state Senate for the next year. Next week Tuesday, August 9th, the six Republican Senators who had recall petitions submitted as a result of their votes on the budget and other bills supported by Governor Walker will be defending their seats against Democratic challengers. The latest polling done by independent observers shows that the Democrats are leading in three of the districts (14,18 and 32). In district 14, polls show Rep. Fred Clark leading incumbent Senator Luther Olsen, chairman of the education committee, which has great power to allot funds to public education and voucher programs. Rep. Jessica King appears to have a narrow lead over Senator Randy Hopper in the Fond du Lac area, district 18. Hopper attracted national attention when it was discovered that he apparently has a mistress and does not reside permanently in the district he represents. In district 32 in the La Crosse area, Rep. Jennifer Shilling has a substantial lead over Senator Dan Kapanke, owner of the La Crosse Loggers baseball team. Republicans are holding on to narrow leads in the other three districts: In district 2 near Green Bay, Senator Robert Cowles has a small lead over Nancy Nussbaum. In district 8, Senator Alberta Darling has a small lead over Rep. Sandy Pasch in the suburban Milwaukee area. Darling, a powerful member of the Joint Finance Committee, has the largest war chest of any of the recall candidates, showing donations of over $1 million. Finally, Senator Sheila Harsdorf is in nearly a dead heat in the latest polls with teacher Shelly Moore in district 10 near Menomonie and Hudson. Moore seemed to make significant points in her two debates with Harsdorf recently, advocating for the position of standing up for the middle class.

Editorial Committee: Dave Svetlik, Jim Mattes,
© 2011Middle W is c ons in

(Continued on next page)

Middle Wisconsin News Recall Elections Continued . . . . .

August 3, 2011 Page 2

UPCOMING EVENT

Of the Democratic Senators up for recall the following Tuesday, August 16th, Sen. Jim Holperin in District 12 has been targeted by Republicans and Tea Party Northwoods leader Kim Simac. The other senator, Bob Wirch of Pleasant Prairie district 22 appears to be safely in the lead in his contest. Senator Dave Hansen of Green Bay already won his contest last month, as there was no primary. Who controls the Senate will likely be determined by the winners in those three races. Television spending is particularly hot in the Olsen race. As of July 22, conservative groups Club for Growth and Wisconsin Family Action had spent $415,000 on attack ads against his Democratic challenger Rep. Fred Clark, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group. In the Clark/Olsen race three debates were held in each assembly district in SD-14, contrasting the two candidates starkly. Topics included how to balance the budget, how to be responsible for care for seniors, and how to fund our public schools. Representative Clark and Senator Olsen disagreed on specific issues. Clark asserted that in tough economic times, cuts to technical schools would make it harder for the underemployed to adjust to a changing economy. Olsen defended his support for voucher schools, which send money from rural schools to private schools in Milwaukee. While Olsen claimed that tax cuts to large out-of-state corporations were intended to stimulate our economy, Clark reminded the audience all three nights that education is an investment in our future and is the only way to make sure our children can compete in a global economy. These elections are approaching next Tuesday. As Middle Wisconsin supporters, we have a duty to inform our family, friends and co-workers who live in these districts about the stances of the candidates running. The balance of power in the state Senate will be determined by the results of these six elections and the three held the following week on the seats held by three Democrats who were targeted for leaving the state during the budget debate back in February. The following site is the most up to date site in which readers can follow the polls, ads and money spent for each of the elections that are approaching. http://wispolitics.com/index.iml?Article=238683 (This has all the projections for victory for each race.)

* FREE *

CONCERT FOR VOTERS
SUNDAY, AUGUST 14, 9 AM – 9 PM 400 BLOCK, DOWNTOWN WAUSAU

Promoting Voter ID Law awareness and Voter Registration Music, special guest speakers, vendors and more Performers & approximate times: Bart Hobson & Amy Raddatz (9:00) Tyler Vogt (10:00) Solidarity Sing-along (11:15) Orlow & the Chronically Wasted Band (12:15) Hometown Harmony Club (1:30) Sloppy Joe (3:15) The New Merry Pranksters (5:00) Doug Kroening & the Railers (6:45) Jam (8:15)

© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Middle Wisconsin News

August 3, 2011 Page 3

News and Notes
By Jim Mattes

State Redistricting Plan Passes both Houses A plan to adjust district boundaries based on population changes over the past decade passed both the Senate and House on strictly partisan voting lines last week. The plan is currently being challenged by Democrats in the Courts based on issues of the lack of contiguous voting district boundaries and the hardship caused for blocks of voters who will have to vote in new districts. The Republican-drawn plan passed the Assembly on a 57-40 vote with one Republican voting against it. The plan was not addressed by a single Republican on the floor before being voted upon. The State Senate passed the bill 19-14 on a strictly party line vote. Sen. Scott Fitzgerald was the only Republican to speak in defense of the plan. "I'm proud to announce that the new maps conform to constitutional and legal requirements. They are substantially equal in population, they are compact, they are contiguous districts, and there is a deference to our minority populations in our urban centers," the senator said during debate. "The senator from the 13th said all of that with a straight face," countered Sen. Spencer Coggs. "But this plan makes absolutely no sense." Coggs went on to claim, "That‘s not a competitive map, folks, that‘s a doover map...Voters are supposed to pick their politicians. Politicians are not supposed to pick their voters." There is already a federal lawsuit this year, even though Governor Walker has yet to sign the bill into law. The lawsuit filed last month by former Senate Democratic Majority Leader Judy Robson of Beloit and 14 other citizens asked for a federal three-judge panel to develop a redistricting plan if lawmakers do not put a constitutional plan in place in a timely fashion. Check out DefendWisconsin.org, July 20th and Dane101.com July 19th for further details.
© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Wausau Faces $1.1 Million Deficit The city of Wausau recently announced that it is facing over a million dollar deficit, due largely to state aid cuts that were not offset by anticipated savings. Remember that in the Governor‘s financial formula, he assured people that the cuts or ―tools‖ as he called them, would allow cities and county governments to deal with the financial realities they face. The cuts were supposed to be made up by the increased revenue from increased contributions from public employees to their health benefits and pensions. The amount of money generated from these contributions does not equal the $970,000 that was cut in state aid. In addition, the city anticipated a rise in personnel spending through increased wages, insurance and miscellaneous costs. One option the city has is to increase property taxes by 1.5 %, which is the maximum the state is allowing. This, however, would only generate a little over $300,000 in revenue. The City Council has suggested that there will be little choice but to make department cuts across the board. Parks and Recreation are among the departments suggested for the cuts. For more recent updates on this story, check the WDH July 16th issue.

August 3, 2011

Middle Wisconsin News

Page 4

News and Notes Continued . . . . .

Republicans Continue to Rail Against Poor and Middle Class Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) has compared Pell Grants to ―welfare‖. "So you can go to college on Pell Grants — maybe I should not be telling anybody this because it‘s turning out to be the welfare of the 21st century," Rehberg told Blog Talk Radio in April. "You can go to school, collect your Pell Grants, get food stamps, low-income energy assistance, Section 8 housing, and all of a sudden we find ourselves subsidizing people that don‘t have to graduate from college.‖ From the GOP-Is-Out-Of-Touch-With-Real-America Department: more proof that the Republicans cannot comprehend what life is like for most Americans, Montana Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg told a town hall audience that he feels their pain, because he is "cash poor" and "struggling" as a small businessman, just like they are. Except: While Rehberg calls himself poor and complains that he‘s struggling, the fact is that he is, as of 2009 records, the 14th richest member of the House of Representatives. Opensecrets.org estimates that his average net worth in 2009 was $31 million. If he‘s struggling on that, one has to wonder if he‘s really a good arbiter of what‘s fair for Main Street America. To read more about this topic, check out (Amanda TerkelHuffington Post 4/1/11) and http:// blog.alfranken.com/2011/07/22/kaal-sen-franken-looks-toprevent-pell-grant-cuts/ and http://www.a2politico.com/? p=8956 Pell Grants

While at first it was speculated that the maximum available Pell Grant amount was going to be significantly reduced, along with the overall reach of the program, neither of these reforms were passed, although the average award amounts for the 2011-12 school year will be significantly reduced across the board. Along with these reduced award amounts, the other major change brought upon by this Congressional vote will be the elimination of a student‘s ability to obtain more than one full Pell Grant award per school year, as no longer will students be able to get two Pell Grants per academic year. After comparing the new 2011-12 award schedule with the 2010-11 award schedule, it seems like on average award amounts are lower by about seven hundred dollars across the board. The minimum amounts for each enrollment status have also been significantly reduced to a uniform rate of five hundred fifty dollars. Overall this recent Congressional vote is a lose-lose situation for students, as they will not be able to access the same kind of funding via the Pell Grant program as they could in 2010-2011. That being said, it could be a lot worse, as the maximum Pell Grant amount, and the maximum EFC cutoff threshold were left untouched, while they were originally thought to be in jeopardy.

Due to an unexpected shortfall in funding for the federal Pell Grant program for the 2011-2012 school year, Congress (Reference source: http//:pellgranteligibility.net/pellvoted to reduce funding by several billion dollars in the grant-cuts-for-2011-2012/ Spring of 2011.
© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Middle Wisconsin News Information Technology Solutions

August 3, 2011 Page 5

Working Wisconsin Labor News and Views
By John Spiegelhoff February 11, 2011-a day that will live in infamy. On this day, Scott Walker with the support of Republican think tanks and the likes of the Koch Brothers, waged an all out assault on the working and middle class of Wisconsin. What is commonly referred to as the ―Budget Repair Bill‖ is truly a misnomer. It truly was a Budget Depair Bill as it stripped away 50 years of collective bargaining rights for public employees in Wisconsin. His Majesty Walker opined that ―Wisconsin was broke‖ and eliminating collective bargaining rights would right Wisconsin‘s economic ship. But it was more nefarious than this simple uneducated rationale for initiating such measures. We soon found out that the attack on public employees was part of a greater plan to create a Wisconsin where corporations and the wealthy were the ―haves‖ and ordinary working families would be the ―have-nots.‖ The radical Republican legislature soon after rapidly passed a biennium budget in June 2011 which raised taxes on the middle and working class and cut 800 million to schools while simultaneously giving tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy to the tune of 2.3 billion and counting. This was done under the false pretenses that jobs would be created by the wealthy and corporations. If this was so, then the Bush tax cuts should have had our economy humming along like a fine tuned Indy car. The biennium budget can only be characterized as ―Robin Hood in Reverse.‖ The radical Republicans in the great State of Wisconsin value corporations over communities and profits over people. The only way to get the economy on track is Trickle Up economics-getting money into the hands of the working and middle class while requiring the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share. Instead Scott Walker and his minions pander to big business and are financially rewarded by their corporate masters for attacking the working and middle class. It is time to take back Wisconsin from those who aim to hurt us. Recall elections are occurring all over the State. This is our opportunity to fight back and restore worker‘s rights and the middle class to their rightful place at the table instead of being treated as indentured servants. ―There’s class warfare, alright,‖ Warren Buffet, the world’s third richest man, said in 2006, ―but it’s my class, the rich class that’s making war, and we’re winning.‖
© 2011Middle W is c ons in

ONGOING INVITATION
Mondays 5 pm Day’s Bowl-A-Dome Wausau Bring a friend or two and join Middle Wisconsin members Monday nights to talk current events & have some fun.

Middle Wisconsin News

August 3, 2011 Page 6

Native American Outlooks
The American Indian Resource Center Of Marathon County

~~~~~~

Treat the earth well, It was not given to you by your parents, It was loaned to you by your children. Indian Proverb

The American Indian Resource Center of Marathon County has been up and running since March 15th, 2011. Wausau previously was the home of an Indian Center, but had to shut its doors in 2004. The center was founded by Kelly Knudson of Wausau. Knudson is the mother of a Native American teen and decided it was time that Natives had a place they could go to for help. She did some research and formed a board of directors and started writing grants. Soon the center received a grant from the Forest County Potawatomi Foundation in the amount of $15,000. The grant helped us open our doors. The Resource Center gives inner city and off reservation Native Americans a place to go for help or guidance. The Center is also a great place for non- Native Americans as well, as it gives them a place to learn more about the Native American culture first hand. Native Americans make up less than 1% of the United States population today. The Resource Center provides many services. The Career Services helps with anything from helping writing resumes, volunteer opportunities, and assistance. College applications and financial aid forms are also a service the employees at the center can help with. Our youth service consists of tutoring, mentoring, and socializing with other Native American youth. Cultural guidance and awareness is also one of the most important aspects of the center. The youth are split up into two separate groups; the senior youth and the junior youth. The senior youth run their own youth council and are involved in many activities throughout the year. The Women‘s Wellness Department, part of the A.I.R.C. runs a program called the United Natives Women‘s Society. This is a group of ladies who meet every Monday @ 6:30 at the center. They work on building positive relationships with one another as well self-improvement and spiritual growth. The A.I.R.C. consists of four board members. The director is Dylan Prescott, Vice President Kelly Knudson, Treasurer Joey Daniels and Naomi Peters as the Secretary. The center is conveniently located downtown Wausau. See us at : indiancenterwausau.org

© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Middle Wisconsin News Information Technology Solutions

August 3, 2011 Page 7

The Essay Page Changing…
By Nathan K.

COMMITMENT
Things are changing. The old ways are becoming ineffective....the shell of the current system is crumbling. The media are fast becoming a dead-end. Unified groups of Arab youth and workers, toppling their corrupt rulers, are shown on the 'news', but the protests in our own city squares are not being heard by our own citizens because of a media system that has money as its prime motivator. The consumerist, capitalist system leads you to believe that you have the power of choice, but in reality it only tips the balance of money and power away from the many and toward the rich and powerful few. The old two-party system is ineffective, and is only a vehicle for further division amongst those who would be gathered under the banner of the common man. The rich and powerful seek to pit brother against brother, to sow confusion and animosity amongst us, in order to muddy and obscure the truth, to weaken our struggle for unity, and to then take everything for themselves. And yet, we are on the cusp of a new dawn. The time is right for reform and change...the people are ready for real reform and real change, not empty platitudes and empty promises.

―Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back - Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manor of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.‖ Goethe/W.H. Murray

for real change. They will join us when they see that we are their neighbors, that we are even-keeled, that we are fairminded, that we are many, that we are strong, that we control our own destiny, and that we can affect real change. As members of the working class, as the everyday citizens of this state, this country...we are the majority, and if we stand together and act together, we can make these things happen.

Here and there, we may have to work within the shell of the old system in order to achieve our first victories, but eventually we will break free of this shell and transcend the boundaries and divisions that have been made for us and have kept us down. We can break the old system, we can break the power of the masters, we can make new ways and new We must become the new media, the connections, we can create a new system new broadcasters, the new journalists, to replace the corrupt and broken system and spread the information that the corpo- of old. We can create something new that rate-run media will not. We must become is built on truth and goodwill, on hard a positive movement of real people, work and on positively fueled ingenuity. spurred by what is fundamentally right We can build a new society, a new comand good, and not spurred by corporate munity...one that serves the best interests cash and lies. We must rally others to our of mankind, and that values what is right side...those who are afraid to speak out, and good over what can be bought and those who are unsure, but who are ready sold.
(Continued on next page)

© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Middle Wisconsin News Information Technology Solutions

August 3, 2011 Page 8

Changing Continued. . . . .
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Middle Wisconsin News is Middle Wisconsin News is seeking submissions. We are looking for letters to the editor, articles on relevant topics, and reports from people on the street (rallies, visits with politicians, school board and city council meetings, etc.) We ask that letters be limited to 600 words and that references be cited where appropriate. Please provide author name, municipality, and phone number for purposes of verification. Feel free to contact us with your ideas for articles. We are seeking people who wish to submit occasional work and those who would like to be regular contributors. Topics can include politics, social issues, economics, education, local business, unions, events, and other appropriate topics. We hope to represent the broad spectrum of people: blue collar and white collar workers, public and private employees, union and nonunion members, business owners, farmers, and more. Submissions may be edited for length, clarity, accuracy, and taste, but we will seek the author’s approval before publication. Emailed submissions should be sent in plain text or as Microsoft Word attachments. If you would like to contribute, contact:
davesvetlik@yahoo.com

We can overcome the machinations of the powerful and reveal their messages as lies. They know that we are many and that we can bring them down if we are united. They fear us, and that is why they are redoubling their efforts to buy off all avenues of power, to divide the people and to distort the truth. We must strike while the iron is hot, we must act while time and momentum are on our side. They have great quantities of money, but we have great quantities of people. They have unquenchable greed, but we have unquenchable heart. They sow fear, but we can sow hope...and when we nourish that hope, we can reap strength from that hope in order to break down the doors that are shut to us and the walls that divide us. They seek to burn our government down, our society down, but we are made up of people who rescue, who investigate, who have the know-how to keep things working. They have never learned how to build, only destroy, as they have never given, only taken. but we can build...we are made up of people who build, who repair, who imagine, who teach, who create. They seek to divide us through our differences, but we can instead unite and make a difference. We must!

sage of change, spread the information that would be suppressed by the fear mongers, and spread the powerful and positive feeling of solidarity and goodwill to our neighbors. If we do these things, we will prove that we really do share common ground despite what the powerful would have us believe, and we will become the vehicle for change itself. We can do this, and we must do this.

Our children are counting on us to make these changes happen. their future depends on what we do now, in the face of this great and terrible power rising up before us. The earth calls out to us, its stewards, to protect it for generations to come. Our ancestors beckon us from beWe can buy locally, from our neighbors, yond the grave, to build upon the lessons instead of buying from conglomerates that they learned the hard way, to continue the exploit cheap labor who toil in deplorable struggles they fought hard for and died conditions halfway around the world. We for, so that they shall not have done so in can demand that our elected officials act vain. We must stand up, we must act, we in our best interests, by communicating must fight! We will undoubtedly suffer setwith them and making sure that they un- backs, and we will lose ground from time derstand what we want and need. If they to time. But, we must share strength with refuse to listen, or refuse to act, we must one another, and pick each other up. Ultireplace them with representatives that will mately we will persevere...if we stand tolisten and act. We must spread the mes- gether we can never be defeated.

© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Middle Wisconsin News Information Technology Solutions

August 2, 2011 Page 9

Letters
An Open Letter to: Congressman Duffy Senator Johnson Governor Walker

―I Pledge Allegiance to Grover Norquist and to the Wealthy for Whom He Stands . . . . .‖

DID I mention that I’ve signed a pledge — just like those Republican congressmen who have signed written promises to different political enforcers not to raise taxes or permit same-sex marriage? My pledge is to never vote for anyone stupid enough to sign a pledge — thereby abdicating their governing responsibilities in a period of incredibly rapid change and financial stress. Sorry, I’ve signed it. Nothing more I can do. (Thomas L Friedman)

Congressman Duffy, Senator Johnson, Governor Walker: This letter is about Grover Norquist‘s Pledge: ―I____________pledge to the taxpayers of the (district) state of ____________ and to the American people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and businesses; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.‖ This pledge should be unconstitutional. You are signing a pledge to one man, Grover Norquist, and American Tax Reform. You are not signing that pledge to me, your constituent. I totally disagree with the pledge. You have taken the oath of office and this pledge conflicts with your oath of office. Needless to say, I am deeply disappointed (to put it mildly!) to see that you have signed this pledge. This pledge is meant to protect the Rupert Murdoch‘s ($4.8 billion in tax refunds paid for by us, the American taxpayer) of this country. What has happened to your loyalty to this great country of ours and to the people of US? What has happened to representing us, the little guy? The Recession was created by greed/ risk taking by Wall Street and other wealthy individuals. This pledge is one more ploy to dupe the American people into believing that taxes and what they are used for--education, infrastructure, defense, and the list goes on and on-is the evil in this country. Taxes are not the cause of the problem--greed, a dysfunctional government, partisanship, ―winner take all politics‖, and the list goes on as to what has brought us to this point in history and the problems we face. Personally, I feel you need to remove your name from the pledge and start working for me and all Americans--not Grover Norquist. Sincerely, Joyce Leudke

© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Middle Wisconsin News

August 3, 2011 Page 10

The Literary Page
A Book Review by Mandy Wright Don’t Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate by George Lakoff. For the truth is that I already know as much about my fate as I need to know. The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze." Richard Bode. First You Have To Row a Little Boat (Published 1993) If you have ever asked yourself, ―Why do so many people vote against their own self-interests?‖ this book will help you embark upon the journey of solving that puzzle. Here George Lakoff, a professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics, presents a series of essays outlining the vision and values of progressives, how they are framed politically, and what action can be taken to strengthen the progressive cause. Lakoff emphasizes the nurturing values of progressives, namely empathy and responsibility. He takes a look at how these values unite us, but also how there are divisions within the philosophies of progressives that keep us from uniting and becoming more powerful. These divisions fall into six categories: socioeconomic, identity politics, environmentalists, civil liberties, spiritual, and antiauthoritarians, and all have the same basic value system. The GOP has been able to emotionally frame the issues to pull votes away from progressive policies and values, but there are steps we can take. The advice Lakoff gives that is particularly relevant, even without reading the book includes ―the truth alone will not set you free, you need to speak to your moral perspective at all times, remember that voters vote their identity and their values which need not coincide with their self-interest, unite and cooperate, be proactive not reactive, and finally, speak to the progressive base in order to activate the nurturant model of ‗swing voters‘ – don‘t move to the right‖. These are some ideals it would behoove our elected progressives to adhere to. Specific political battles are named to provide examples of the language and framework that have been used against progressives. Nixon, the war in Iraq, gay marriage, Schwartzenegger, Medicare, abortion, and Afghanistan are all given as examples that, with proper framing, the progressives could have won since most people do stand for family and community values. But the Republican Party has hijacked even these basic ideas to turn issues from actually benefitting our communities and families to depleting them, while trumpeting ‗family values‘. Part Two, ―From Theory to Action‖, helps take the reader from frustration to action. Despite the publication date of 2004, Lakoff‘s predictions on the current Medicare debate are spot on. His newest book, The Political Mind, delves deeper into cognitive science to further reveal how we function socially and politically, and also comes highly recommended. If you are trying to wrap your mind around just how we ended up in this political mess, take the time to invest in this short and very easy read.

© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Middle Wisconsin News

August 3, 2011 Page 11

Grassroots Wisconsin
A Call to Members of Middle Wisconsin:
―Grassroots Wisconsin‖ is a new addition to Middle Wisconsin News that we are hoping to make a regular monthly feature. The goal of this page is to focus on local activities, business developments, and organizations that are having a positive effect on our lives and communities. In a world that seems increasingly controlled by outside forces, it seems imperative that we grow and nurture our local economies and support systems. We are looking for stories on: Local church developments and activities New programs and activities being implemented in our schools Locally owned businesses that are dedicated to improvement of our communities New locally owned business start-ups The Farmers Market Community Supported Agriculture Locally owned restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores Locally owned credit unions and banks Locally owned manufacturing activities and start-ups

Please feel free to contact us at: davesvetlik@yahoo.com be a force for goodness and decency in our communities.

Your thoughts and contributions can

Middle Wisconsin News

August 3, 2011 Page 12

CHALLENGING THE MYTH...

“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 Fallacy That America Is “Broke”
By Dave Svetlik

We are told that America and Wisconsin are broke - that austerity budgets targeting the middle and lower classes are required to pay for our profligate ways. However, there is a disconnect between wealth and money that is contributing to the problem. Adding simple definition to these concepts may shed light on our predicament. We could say that wealth is all of the goods and services that improve the physical human condition. It is housing, food, clothing, transportation and communication systems, and countless other commodities and services that contribute to our physical well-being. The late visionary, R. Buckminster Fuller, defined wealth as available physical resources, in the form of matter and energy, multiplied by the scientific and technical capability to most effectively use these resources to man’s advantage (currently accumulated human knowledge). Stating this as an equation, Fuller concluded that: WEALTH = RESOURCES X EVER GROWING HUMAN KNOWLEDGE. Based on the laws of physics, wealth is incorruptible and inherently global. Knowledge and resources are worldwide and the greatest multiplication of wealth can only be realized through the synergies of universal cooperation. Money at its best is a medium of exchange for the fair transfer and trade of wealth. But money is not wealth. It is a legally sanctioned claim to wealth - a system of indebtedness wherein the holder of $100 is owed that amount of wealth in goods or services by his society, until this individual chooses to ―spend‖ the money. Money is based on manmade rules and, unlike wealth, is infinitely corruptible. It is this corruptibility that lies at the heart of our economic woes. Now, all of this seems uselessly theoretical until we realize that in 2011 there are 18.6 million (1 in 9) empty homes in America and 3.5 million homeless people, and that an estimated one billion people around the world live in near starvation while we produce one and one half times the food needed to feed everyone. Clearly, the laws of physics and Fuller’s wealth equation are telling us that we can afford to do whatever is necessary to care for humanity, while the manmade rules of ―money‖ are telling us we are broke. Further clarification might be of value. Wealth is that which physically supports the human condition. Money is an exchange mechanism for trading wealth. But money can also be invested to make money. In the case of legitimate interest bearing loans to individuals or businesses, or through the purchase of stocks or bonds in private or public enterprises genuinely improving the human condition, this investment can usefully lead to a tangible increase in true wealth. But let us take using money to make money to an extreme. We will call this methodology, used by the financial industry, something like ―exotic financial instruments.‖ (Continued on next page)

Middle Wisconsin News

August 3, 2011 Page 13

CHALLENGING THE MYTH…
(continued from page 13)

“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)

Exotic financial instruments do not create wealth. They transfer the claim to wealth (increase the indebtedness of society to the holder) by the manipulation of money. Through game playing and deceit, money is moved upward, and society falls farther into debt. To make matters worse, money is power. Through the efforts of well paid lobbyists, the legal system and tax codes are altered to further favor the game players. The money - the claim to the wealth – is methodically removed from average Americans. We are told that infrastructure, public education, social security and Medicare are unaffordable. After all, America is ―broke.‖ But let us rephrase some questions: Do we have sufficient cement to rebuild our bridges? Yes. Do we have sufficient structural steel? Yes. Do we have the technical knowhow? Yes. Do we have sufficient manpower? Yes – we have high unemployment. Are we capable of growing enough food to feed these people? Yes - excess food is wasted in America. Can we house these workers? Yes - obviously. ―Oh, but wait‖ say Wall Street and their Washington servants, ―You people can’t build these bridges. You forgot – America is broke. You don’t have any money. And besides, you cannot afford enough clean water to mix the cement because, don’t you remember? You had to sell us (privatize) your public water utilities because - - you’re broke. We hedge fund managers and Wall Street bankers and corporate CEO’s have simply been savvy businessmen. It’s nature’s way, and now you Americans - - well, you’re broke.‖ So we sit and look at the unused cement, the rusting steel, the wasted food and crumbling homes, our unemployed workers, undereducated children, and poverty stricken elderly, because of course, ―we’re broke.‖ We are being made to suffer in a land of near-endless wealth, because money is infinitely corruptible. Neither America nor the world are ―broke.‖ However, we continue to operate planet Earth under the now scientifically and technologically disproved Malthusian belief that there is not enough to go around - someone must suffer and go without. This is at the root of the hoarding behavior of Wall Street and the mindless wars over oil resources in the Middle East. The tragedy is that continuing this false, reflexive belief makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our greatest efforts are dedicated to subverting one another, rather than developing the technologies and systems thinking that would enable mutually assured human success..

Native American Thoughts On Privatization Our land is more valuable than your money. It will last forever. It will not even perish by the flames of fire. As long as the sun shines and the waters flow, this land will be here to give life to men and animals. We cannot sell the lives of men and animals: therefore we cannot sell this land. It was put here for us by the Great Spirit and we cannot sell it because it does not belong to us. You can count your money and burn it within the nod of a buffalo’s head, but only the Great Spirit can count the grains of sand and blades of grass of these plains. As a present to you, we will give you anything we have that you can take with you: but the land, never. Unknown chief of one of the bands of the northern Blackfeet upon being asked by U.S. delegates for his signature to one of the first land treaties in Montana (1800’s)

Middle Wisconsin News

August 3, 2011 Page 14

Beyond Wisconsin
By Dave Svetlik

Welcome to the ―Beyond Wisconsin‖ page. We are introducing this page as a new regular feature of the newsletter at the suggestion of Ben Swanson, one of the leaders of Middle Wisconsin. The purpose of this page is to look at the larger issues - national and global - that are impacting all of our lives. We are all aware of the problems we face in Wisconsin, but we also all know we are no island unto ourselves. We begin this first issue by (hopefully) thinking as universally as we can. When the poet Edwin Arlington Robinson wrote the following verse about a Medieval Knight, he could well have been speaking to all of us:

You do not belong to You, You belong to The Universe
R. Buckminster Fuller

Whether you will or not You are a King, Tristram, for you are one Of the time-tested few that leave the world, When they are gone, not the same place it was. Mark what you leave. Whether we ―will or not,‖ all of our lives have an impact. It is not optional. We will seldom know how, or in what large or small ways, but none of us leave the world the same place that it was. We must all ―Mark what you leave.‖ But taking this concept farther, we are all also passengers aboard the same lonely planet, hurtling through space, and whether we ―will or not‖ - whether we like it or not - we are all citizens of the world. It is not optional. It is critical that we now begin thinking of ourselves in this way. When we begin visualizing ourselves as citizens of the world, the process becomes transformational. As citizens of the world we begin to understand that Earth is our home - our ship - the only one we have. We must care for her. As citizens of the world we begin to understand that we as individuals, or as nations, are no special ―Children of God.‖ All humans are. As citizens of the world we begin to understand that if we and our children and grandchildren are to survive, all humans must survive. A ship stays afloat or goes down with all hands. As citizens of the world we begin the systems thinking, now made possible through computer technology, required to overcome the ancient ―you or me - not enough for everyone‖ false belief, that continues to undermine universal human success. Perhaps one of the most universal thinkers ever to grace our world was R. Buckminster Fuller, author of ―Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth.‖ At one of the lowest points in his life - some say near suicide - it occurred to Fuller that ―You do not belong to you, you belong to the Universe.‖ This became the guidance system for rest of his life. And so a hope, an ideal, a meditation if you will: ―I do not belong to me, I belong to the Universe. I am a citizen of the world, and my life will make a difference.‖

© 2011Middle W is c ons in

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful