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FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE STATE FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS

Middle Wisconsin News
www.MiddleWisconsin.com January 29, 2012

IN THIS ISSUE:

JANUARY 2012
Few would argue that 2011 was an extraordinary year, and 2012 promises to be just as remarkable. Our state of Wisconsin truly is the “Canary in the Coal Mine” for the rest of the nation as we fight for the rights of common people - for our kids and grandkids, for our friends and neighbors. It is an age old battle that has been fought many times before in the course of human history. In the months ahead Wisconsin citizens will be deciding between a democracy “of, by, and for the people,” and a plutocracy “of, by, and for” the corporation and the wealthy. We will be deciding if we believe in community, and fairness, and respect, or if we believe it is every man for himself, and winner takes all. We will be deciding if we want a society of opportunity for all, or if we want a society where only the most ruthless and selfish survive. We will determine if we wish to protect our environment and our home, or if the Earth is intended to be exploited for the gain of a few no matter how it harms all others or our surroundings. In the months ahead we will be deciding what kind of world we want to live in what kind of a world we wish to leave our children. In the months ahead we will be fighting a battle to reaffirm all that America has stood for throughout its short history. We will be deciding the future of our nation. Let us work together for the common good.

January . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Fighting Bob . . . . . . . . . . .2 American Health . . . . . . . 4 It’s Not Working . . . . . . . . 5 Working Wisconsin . . . . . 6 Progressive Festival . . . . 7 Republican Economics . . 8 Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Recipes .. . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Bradley Foundation . . . . 12 Challenging The Myth . . 13

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Middle Wisconsin News
FIGHTING BOB LAFOLLETTE A MAN FOR OUR TIME
By Virginia Kirsch

January 29, 2012 Page 2

“Corporations and individuals allied with corporations were invited to come in and take what they would. I determined that the power of this corrupt influence, which was undermining and destroying every semblance of representative government in Wisconsin, should be broken.”
-- Robert LaFollette, Sr.

Given the dysfunctional condition of state and national politics and our economy, it became apparent that it was time to review the life and policies of Fighting Bob LaFollette, Sr. The following report and quotations are from Nancy C. Unger’s book, Fighting Bob LaFollette: Righteous Reformer. LaFollette lived in a time similar to ours: too much wealth concentrated in too few hands, tax laws favoring the rich, government policies allowing corporations to do as they wanted, without restraint. So LaFollette helped form the National Progressive Republican League (NPRL). The NPRL was announced publicly on 21 January 1911. Following are the goals: 1. The election of United States Senators by direct vote of the people. 2. Direct primaries for the nomination of elective officials. 3. The direct election of delegates to national conventions with opportunity for the voter to express his choice for President and Vice-President. 4. Amendment to state constitutions providing for the Initiative, Referendum and Recall. 5. A thoroughgoing Corrupt Practices Act. La Follette became the Independent Progressive Candidate for the US Presidency and provided these planks: 1. A thorough “housecleaning” of the Depart. Of Justice, of interior and others. 2. The recovery of the naval oil reserves and the creation of a national “super-water -power” system. 3. The repeal of the Esch-Cummins law in favor of railroad rates based on actual, prudent investment. 4. A reduction of federal taxes on individual incomes and legitimate business. 5. A Constitutional amendment giving Congress the power to re-enact a statute over a judicial decision. 6. Abolition of injunctions in labor disputes and protection of the right of farmers and workers to organize. 7. Adjusted compensation for World War I veterans. 8. The construction of a waterway from the Great Lakes to the sea. 9. Nomination and election of the president by direct vote of the people. 10. Foreign policy to revise the Versailles Treaty and promote treaties to outlaw war, abolish conscription and reduce armaments.

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Middle Wisconsin News

January 29, 2012 Page 3

FIGHTING BOB CONTINUED….
Elements found in the 1924 platform that came to life in the New Deal include the following:

“The essence of the progressive movement, as I see it, lies in its purpose to uphold the fundamental principles of representative government. It expresses the hopes and desires of millions of common men and women who are willing to fight for their ideals, to take defeat if necessary and still go on fighting.”
-- Robert LaFollette, Sr.

Tennessee Valley Authority Relations Act Various aid programs to agriculture The Securities Exchange Commission The abolition of child labor. In 1998, Russ Feingold made the La Follette legacy a part of his successful bid for reelection to the U.S. Senate. Victorious despite being outspent by his Republican opponent, Feingold told supporters on election night; “Now we have the chance, one hundred years after the great Fighting Bob La Follette, to send a message to Washington. Out of the Upper Midwest will come political reform, will come political changes, will come the principle of one-person/one-vote again.” A year later, Doug La Follette, one of the founders of Earth Day and then serving in his fifth term as Wisconsin Secretary of State, credited Robert La Follette Sr., (his first cousin twice removed) as the inspiration for the lifelong activism of many Americans, including himself. In 1959 Robert La Follette Sr. was named one of the Senate’s five greatest members. He was governor of Wisconsin for six years and was a US Senator for 20 years. He served in the US Congress for a term. La Follette’s battle to more equitably redistribute the nation’s power and wealth continues to be waged. The true value of his political legacy may be yet to come. “Proud, uncompromising, shrewd, resourceful, and inspired, the righteous reformer Robert LaFollette was indeed one of the “dull tools” of Almighty God.”

“The battle against corporate takeover of government will be the longest and hardest ever fought for Democracy.”
--Robert LaFollette, Sr.
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January 29, 2012 Page 4

American Health
Reproductive Rights Update – January 2012
By Lon Newman – Wausau, WI

Seven Deadly Social Sins: Politics without principle Wealth without work Commerce without morality Pleasure without conscience Education without character Science without humanity Worship without sacrifice. ---Gandhi

Last week the Obama Administration made an evidence-based decision to require contraceptive insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The decision closely followed recommendations of the National Institutes of Medicine. It is a major victory in a long-fought battle to win access to this important primary preventive health care for families. Jackie Bodden, the president of the Wisconsin Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association said: "On behalf of family planning agencies throughout Wisconsin, which provide health services to more than 60,000 men and women each year, I celebrate the Department of Health and Human Services' decision that birth control will be covered as preventive service under the Affordable Care Act.” She added that; “Contraception is basic preventive health care and it has improved women's health in Wisconsin for generations. With this decision, it will continue to improve women’s and children’s health for generations to come.” Wisconsin’s own new Cardinal, Timothy Dolan, has led the bishops’ efforts to persuade the Obama administration to exempt Catholic institutions from the requirement. However, the prevailing view was a rejection of any broad exemption that would have denied employees the right to act on their own informed beliefs, by empowering their employers’ ‘institutional conscience’.” It’s important to emphasize that enabling religious employers to exclude or restrict access to contraception in their insurance plans, would also have denied fundamental rights to sexual privacy that has been protected under the constitution. Our citizens have an established constitutional right to privacy in reproductive health matters. Since many women use hormonal contraception for health reasons unrelated to birth control, it is unacceptable to invite employers and their religious beliefs into the exam room with the patient and her physician or nurse. The decision by the Obama Administration is an enormous victory for the health of men, women, and children and for individual rights over institutional control.
(Lon Newman is a Central Wisconsin Family Planning Director)

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Middle Wisconsin News

January 29, 2012 Page 5

It’s Not Working
By Joyce Leudke

“In 2012, it will be more difficult to vote in Wisconsin than in any other state including Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina-states with a history of denying many of their most vulnerable citizens their constitutional right to cast a ballot.
--Jay Heck, Common Cause in Wisconsin

Let’s consider these statistics and then consider these words: “it’s working” by the governor of Wisconsin.

35,600 jobs lost in the last six months (July-December). 1000 jobs will be lost in the Wausau area alone in the coming months with the closing of Brokaw Paper Mill and SNE (a manufacturer of windows and doors).
How are these job losses working for the families affected by the job losses and for the small businesses throughout the state that depend on working people to support their businesses?

Twenty five percent of the elderly/disabled do not have a Photo ID. 43% of African Americans and Latinos do not have a Photo ID.
How is Act 23, the Voter/Photo ID law, working for the above populations? How is putting up barriers to voting--our most sacred right--working for the people of Wisconsin and democracy as a whole? How is spending over $7 million to implement Act 23 working for the taxpayers of Wisconsin?

$1.6 billion has been cut from education in the two-year budget with more cuts to come in 2012.
How are larger class sizes, cuts in class offerings, cuts to staff, and other cuts to education working for our children and grandchildren? If your business lost $1.6 billion in two years, would you say “it’s working”?

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65,000 will be affected by cuts to Badgercare--29,000 are children.
How are the cuts to the most vulnerable in our state working for them?

How is the tax increase on the low-income WORKING families through cuts to the Earned Income Credit working for this population? How is the tax increase for low-income homeowners and renters (The Homestead Credit) working for this group of people? When we should be “working” for the BETTERMENT of EVERYONE in the state, how is creating this huge divide among the great people of Wisconsin ever going to “work” for Wisconsin?

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Middle Wisconsin News

January 29, 2012 Page 6

Working Wisconsin - Labor News and Views
ONE BIG UNION
By John Spiegelhoff

”The future of our

nation will be determined this year. Not between Republicans and Democrats or blue states and red states, but between “we, the people” and “they, the corporations.”
from Common Cause brochure, Washington D.C.
.

There is an outstanding grass roots organization operating in Rhinelander, Wisconsin whom I came to know through my travels in the Wisconsin Northwoods. The group is called The Northwoods Grassroots Labor Activists. The mission of this organization is to promote worker’s rights and progressive values in Wisconsin. It is a wide and eclectic group of committed individuals. I sent out an e-mail the other day and used the phrase “One Big Union” in the body of the e-mail. I encouraged people to attend a rally at Lincoln Hills School for a worker who was mistreated. My intent in using this phrase was to simply inform people that a harm to one is a harm to all and we need to give our support to whatever issues affect the working class. Within a short period of time, I received a reply from a member of the Northwoods Grassroots activists who simply stated “Hey-the OBU. That’s great!” I again responded to this person and wrote “What is OBU?” I received a reply stating “One Big Union” along with a hyperlink explaining what it historically meant. Needless to say, I had to look up One Big Union or OBU on the internet to learn what the origins were. Now you can be educated as well: The concept of One Big Union emerged in the late 19th and early 20th century amongst working class trade unionists. The International Workers of the World (IWW) envisioned combining in such a way that they could most successfully fight against corporate monopolies and protect the interests of workers. Moreover, this concept would unite workers, for example to not scab against each other. The One Big Union concept was intended to achieve working class control over the means of production, wages and conditions of employment and reverse course on the turn of the century Robber Barons. Members of the IWW historically signed letters with the closing OBU. Sadly, the One Big Union organizations were resisted by government and industry and subverted by existing trade unions. Oh how history repeats itself. We are now in an age of neo Robber Baron-privateers who aim to subjugate the working and middle class. It is imperative that all workers unite and rise up against the forces which aim to harm us. We are all workers. This is not about union versus non-union. It is about the future of our country. We must support one another. The Preamble to the IWW constitution sums up the issue that we currently face and what must be done: The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life. Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth

OBU
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January 29, 2012 Page 7

FOURTH ANNUAL WISCONSIN PROGRESSIVE GRASSROOTS FESTIVAL Our Wisconsin - The Canary In The Coal Mine
Saturday February 18, 2012 Wisconsin Heights High School 10173 State Hwy 14 Mazomanie, WI 53560 Registration 8:30 to 9:20 $14 Donation includes lunch 9:15am to 10:50 The Raging Grannies~ Matt Rothschild~Mike McCabe~Corliss Olson Session One 10:50am to 11:50am Stop Election Theft Presenter’s Forum How 2011 Legislation Affects the Rights of Wisconsin Consumers Mining in Wisconsin Establishing Grassroots Action Groups Progressive Perspective on Small Business LUNCH 11:50 am to 1:00pm MUSIC~PIE AUCTION~SILENT AUCTION Session Two 1:00pm to 2:00pm Building a Successful Community Think Tank A Farmer/Urban Sustainable Alliance Maintaining or Rehabbing Your Grassroots Group Politics and Social Justice and the Faith Community But I Don’t Belong to a Union! The Impact of Weaponizing Our Community Session Three 2:10pm to 3:10 pm Alternative Media ALEC and Our Democracy Being Heard But I Don’t Belong to a Union How to Run for Office Move to Amend - Update Meet the Gubernatorial Candidates 3:15pm to 4:40pm The Old Feed Mill 114 Cramer St. Mazomanie Social hour 5:15pm to 6pm~ Dinner,6pm to 7pm Three Dinner Choices $12.50 All Inclusive For More Information: 608-220-0139, nptimm@chorus.net Sponsored by: Wisconsin Grassroots Network

The Fourth Annual Progressive Grassroots Festival will be held in Southern Wisconsin on Saturday, February 18, 2012. This event is a mini winter BobFest with a greater emphasis on educational offerings. Two of this years fifteen educational offerings will feature people from Wausau. A session entitled " Building a Successful Think Tank " will feature Tom Ivy and Phil Keller from the Middle Wisconsin Grassroots Group. Another session, which features Barbara Keller, will focus on election integrity under the title " Stop Election Theft Through New Actions ." In addition to the break out sessions and the three key note speakers, Matt Rothschild, Mike McCabe, and Corliss Olson, the day will conclude with a candidate forum for the potential gubernatorial candidates. After the events of the day everyone is invited to a social time and dinner at the Old Feed Mill Restaurant. --Nate Timm
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Middle Wisconsin News Information Technology Solutions

January 29, 2012 Page 8

THE CASE AGAINST REPUBLICAN ECONOMIC POLICIES AND WISCONSIN’S GOVERNOR WALKER
By Nate Timm

Mere passive citizenship is not enough. Men must be aggressive for what is right if government is to be saved from men who are aggressive for what is wrong.
--Robert LaFollette, Sr.

It’s overwhelming. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney came into office with a robust economy, and budget surpluses strong enough to anticipate actual payoff of the U.S. national debt. They left with employment and financial markets collapsed, the TARP Bank Bailout Bill already signed, and the U.S. economy pointed straight at another Great Depression. After Barack Obama’s election as President Republicans in Congress did no lifting on economic-recovery and jobs legislation, and opposed any further aid beyond what President Bush had already given to the U.S. auto industry, happy to let it die. They opposed Wall Street/Banking and consumer protection reform. Republicans’ sole verbal output after President Obama’s inauguration was badmouthing the U.S. economy at every chance possible. They screamed about the national debt, pretending it came from outer space or President Obama instead of the Bush/Cheney economic collapse. The very word “Republican” has come to mean people who actively work against the recovery of the U.S. economy in pursuit of a stated primary objective of making President Obama be a one-term President. Wisconsin’s Governor Walker and Republicans imposed similar economic wreckage on the Badger State with thoughtless and astonishing speed. They rejected almost a billion dollars in federal aid for a new transportation system linking Madison and Milwaukee (with arguments even the pro-Walker Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said don’t add up), and they continue to enthusiastically reject other federal money for projects in Wisconsin. They have effectively put a halt to wind-farm development in a state which sends its dollars out of state and out of country for its energy every year. Walker and the Republicans have raised taxes on the poorest homeowners by slashing homestead credits. They are saddling the state with the cost of new highway projects and their upkeep as gas tax revenues fall with improved gas mileage in cars and trucks. Big road builder bucks to Governor Walker’s campaign bought Cadillac road contracts.

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January 29, 2012 Page 9

THE CASE AGAINST REPUBLICANS CONTINUED . . .

“In the course of every attempt to establish or develop free government, a struggle between special privilege and equal rights is inevitable.”
--Robert LaFollette, Sr.

Walker and the Republicans continue trying to sell state owned power plants on a no bid basis after receiving six figure campaign contributions from the billionaire Koch brothers whose financial interests already include other power plants in Wisconsin. They are devastating K-12 and university education with the biggest cuts in the country (based on both state population and per student basis.) Wisconsin has lost private sector jobs every month from July through December 2011, the same months in which the nation added private sector jobs. The Republican Party’s devastation of the American economy is mindless, deliberate and ideological and Walker reads the same playbook. By contrast, Governor Jim Doyle came into office facing a $ 3.2 Billion deficit and left office eight years later with a state unemployment rate averaging 2 % below the national rate. The1.9 million signatures on Recall Petitions have it right. The case against Republican economic policies and Walker is overwhelming. No amount of slick billionaire-paid TV ads (or glossy postcards at 50 cents each) will change the Republican economic devastation.
(Nate Timm is Chair of the Wisconsin Recall Task Force)

“There is never a time in our American Democracy that we must ever think we are wrong when we protest. We reserve that right. When labor all over this nation came to see that it would be trampled over by capitalistic power, there (is) nothing wrong with labor getting together and protesting for its rights.” --Martin Luther King JR.

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January 29, 2012 Page 10

Letters . . .
Soup Lines
The only good result of enduring many, expensive commercials - bought by the wealthy who don’t even live here - is that we know Walker has apparently had practice so that he can help serve our citizens soup on the poverty lines that have already begun for many in the state of Wisconsin. However, these soup lines are the result of Walker’s policies! We know that almost 50% of us now live in poverty. The fact that we’ll have many more public employees in poverty, as districts use up their stimulus monies this year, adds to a shocking reality of the effects it will have on us all. Our state now leads the nation in having lost more jobs than any other state in the union. Walker and colleagues gave millions of our tax dollars away. This is outrageous and unnecessary and an outcome of Walker’s failed laws and policies! When we should be doing everything we can to build up our public schools, we see huge amounts of our education dollars given to privatized schemes that don’t have to meet the high standards that we’ve been known for around the world. This is the saddest of all the outcomes of Walker’s policies that we’ll see. Our most precious resource – our children – won’t have the means to succeed as their education and future is given away. Citizens must act quickly to get our government back. Remove Walker now! Joyce Chekouras

“When there can be no difference in labor costs, I am for free trade. But the difference must be determined by real experts who understand the use and limits of statistics.”
--Robert LaFollette Sr.

“While it is true that morality can’t be legislated, behavior can be regulated. It may be true that law cannot change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless.”
--Martin Luther King Jr.

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Middle Wisconsin News

January 29, 2012 Page 11

Recipes
Submitted By Mandy Wright

This recipe is submitted in honor of my father, the most dedicated protester/signature collector/deer hunter I know. Thanks for all your efforts Dad, you're an inspiration!

Recall Venison and Little Balls Burritos Several pounds of venison pieces (frozen or thawed) 1-2 jars salsa verde (depending on the amount of venison) 1 can chickpeas (Dad asked, "what are all these little balls?") Cook in a crockpot on high for at least 8 hours. Serve with greens, shredded cheese, rice, and sour cream or plain yogurt, wrapped in a tortilla.

©

Middle Wisconsin News

January 29, 2012 Page 12

GOVERNOR WALKER CONNECTED TO BRADLEY FOUNDATION
Reported by Virginia Kirsch The connection between Governor Walker and the Koch Brothers is well known. But few of us are aware of the connection between Michael W. Grebe and Governor Walker. Michael Grebe is the president and chief executive of the Bradley Foundation. He served as campaign manager for Walker’s run for governor. He will be managing Walker’s campaign in the recall election as well. Why is this significant? The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (headquartered in Milwaukee) spent as much money on grants, gifts and other donations as the Koch Brothers and Scaife foundations combined from 2001 to 2009. The Bradley Foundation spends millions each year to advance conservative public policy changes. It has supported welfare reform, public vouchers for private schools, and this year, cutbacks in public employee benefits and collective bargaining. Michael Grebe says there is nothing secret about the Foundation or its goals. “We’re going to run off tackle, right over there, and we’re telling you we’re going to run there and we’re going to knock you on your butt and carry the ball down the field. There are no surprises.” The Bradley Foundation gave more than $350 million in the past ten years. Recipients were arts organizations and school choice groups in Wisconsin to national policy organizations. The Foundation supplies “the intellectual justification for conservative causes. They have funded the think tanks and university programs that provide this intellectual foundation for their policy positions.” The Foundation has also supported 3 conservative online outlets in Madison and Hollywood film companies. The Foundation started the Bradley prizes, rewarding right-wing pundits and opinion leaders. It also supported a website, Teachers Union Exposed, criticizing Wisconsin teachers unions. Grebe said, “We’re part of the right-wing movement. I don’t think it’s conspiratorial. We’re out there. People know what we’re doing. We don’t hide it.” He is also upfront about his leadership in Walker’s campaign. Grebe said, “I’m very careful here. I don’t use foundation resources for any of my outside activities. I have a separate email address that I use for politics. I do my political work on my own time.” State Rep. Kelda Helen Roys (D-Madison) comments, “I think it’s emblematic of the very cozy relationship between the Walker administration and very powerful corporate interest and ultra-conservative groups whose issues Walker has championed and pushed, in some cases, over the loud objections of Wisconsin families.”
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(Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Nov.20, 2011

Middle Wisconsin News

January 29, 2012 Page 13

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 Myth of the Self Made Man
By Dave Svetlik

Hold a ball point pen in your hand. Take a long look at it. Of all the gadgets in our daily lives, the ubiquitous pen is probably one of the most simple. Now, go manufacture one from scratch with no help or information from others while using no technology developed by others. You will not complete the task in your lifetime. To manufacture the body of the pen you will need to develop the chemistry of plastics that has taken the research of universities, corporations, and chemists over 70 years. To produce the brass tip you will need to learn how to mine and refine the correct metals. You will need to learn the science of metallurgy and what metal alloy will perform most effectively as a pen tip. You will need to learn how to machine the pen tip, but first you will need to invent and develop the machine tools required. To manufacture the pen you will be required to develop injection molding equipment. You will need to invent the computer to control the injection molding equipment and all other required machine tools. You will be required to invent transistors and integrated circuits. You will need to discover the science of electricity and learn how to build a power generation plant. You will need to discover all that Thomas Edison accomplished in his lifetime. To manufacture the pen you will be required to develop the science of inks. You will need to discover the precise combination of chemicals that result in the proper, most durable colors. To manufacture the lowly pen you will need to develop all of the knowledge accumulated by literally millions of humans over thousands of years. Now try building a car. We all take so much for granted in this world - perhaps especially so in America. It is easy for any of us to over estimate our own ego or sense of self importance. Maybe it is simply human to do so. But it is critical to understand that absolutely everything we have is the result of all those who have gone before us. We survive because of the blood, sweat and tears, shed over the eons, that manifests itself in the collective knowledge of the entire human community. The concept of the “self made man,” who feels he did everything for himself and owes nothing to his society, is utterly breathtaking in its ignorance and arrogance.