Government


MUELLER REPORT FINDINGS

Have you read the Mueller Report or the summaries? Here are some highlights: The Mueller Report did not exonerate Donald Trump. Mueller said: “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly didn’t commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.” Mueller also said, “…while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it does not exonerate him.” Mueller’s Report did not indict Donald Trump because of a Justice Department policy that a sitting president ...

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Questions About Patriotism

Tell a lie a thousand times and it becomes truth. Repetition is essential to influencing people. Repetition of lies and half-truths is used to manipulate and control people. Advertisers, dictators, and politicians understand this strategy. But repetition is also essential for learning. Truth also needs to be repeated if we are to learn and avoid repeating past mistakes. It is in this spirit that I repeat last year's 4th of July article. ********************************************************************************************************** “...

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WHO WRITES WISCONSIN LAWS?

I always thought that laws came from suggestions from the citizens and then written by legislators for public hearings and committee review. The bills were then presented to the Wisconsin Assembly and State Senate for voting.However, not all Wisconsin laws are created this way. Four dozen Wisconsin laws since 2009 came from “model” bills. These bills were often from outside of Wisconsin and frequently backed by powerful business and ideological interests, according to a Wisconsin Democracy Campaign review.Last month, USA Today reported the use of model bills in all ...

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KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

How many times have you heard the expression, “Knowledge is Power?” I heard it from an unexpected source last week during one of our public hearings in the Senate Government Operations, Technology and Consumer Protection Committee.Who could disagree with the statement that knowledge is power? In fact, when someone used that line representing the conservative group, Americans for Prosperity, I thought it might be an opportunity to find agreement. The person testified in favor of a bill (Senate Bill 179) to force gas stations to post a sticker on each gas pump stating ...

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Shared Prosperity and Taxes

“...building broad-based prosperity requires investing in what works – and we can’t do that without taxes.” Tamarine Cornelius, Wisconsin Budget ProjectToo often we refer to taxes as a “burden.” Taxes are not portrayed as an opportunity, a public investment, a responsibility of patriotic citizenship. This limited vision does not serve us well.The Wisconsin Budget Project is a non-partisan organization that analyses these issues. Referring to the tax cuts and budget choices that cut public investments in people, they say “Not only have past tax cuts ...

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Fixing Deficits With Better Priorities

“Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.” Ambrose BierceConservatives supposedly are for fiscal responsibility. We should live within our means. The government should not, according to them, spend more than it takes in taxes. As a corollary, taxes hurt the economy and must always be cut. These pious platitudes superficially sound good but are misleading and destructive in many ways.Actions speak louder than words. The historical record shows that since 1980 federal deficits and ...

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ORIGINAL INTENT, SUPREME COURT ELECTIONS, AND THE 2ND AMENDMENT

Wisconsin has a Supreme Court election on April 2nd. If you have been following this race, or paying attention to any of the U.S Supreme Court nomination hearings, you have heard a lot of noise about judicial philosophy and “original intent.” What does this mean? Is it important?Original intent is the idea that the Constitution and other laws must be interpreted based on the original intent or meaning of the authors. This view sees the Constitution as a static document frozen in time. It can only be changed by the formal amendment process. This is in contrast to a ...

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FIRST GLANCE AT GOVERNOR EVERS’ BUDGET

Governor Tony Evers presented his first budget to the Legislature on Thursday evening last week. It was a uniquely crafted budget. It contained encouraging policy for Wisconsin’s future. And many of the Governor’s budget provisions were long overdue.The Governor’s comments highlighted his goal to present the people’s budget to the Legislature: “It’s about creating a Wisconsin that works for everyone — a Wisconsin for us. This isn’t the Tony Evers’ budget, the Democratic budget, the speaker’s budget, or the Republican budget — this is the people’s ...

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WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT

“Get involved. The world is run by those who show up” - Bumper stickerWisconsin has another important Supreme Court election on April 2nd. This is an election that people need to take seriously. Who gets elected can make a difference to people's lives. People need to show up!This year's election is similar to the Supreme Court race in 2018. The choice is between two sitting judges and the qualifications of the two candidates varies significantly. Judge Lisa Neubauer is an experienced, qualified, non-partisan, candidate. Judge Brian Hagedorn has limited experience, ...

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SPEED AND SECRECY…THE LAST ACT

If you were a legislative leader in Wisconsin, and had an opportunity to pass new laws before your party’s governor left office, what would you do? What would you fix as your last act in power?As I face my last Senate votes, I am working hard to understand what laws my Republican colleagues choose to pass before the new Democratic Governor takes office.Late last Friday night, after Senate staff went home for the weekend, Republican leaders released their last act. Five bills detailing changes to over 400 sections of state law. I learned late Friday, there would be ...

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