Legislation for the Rich

Legislation for the Rich
It is time that the citizens of Wisconsin become more aware of legislation favoring the wealthy enacted by the Republican controlled legislature and signed into law by Governor Walker.Most of the legislation passed from 2011 through 2013 was written with “help” from special interests.Three examples:1. Republican Representative Joel Kleefisch introduced legislation written especially for a campaign donor, Michael Eisenga. Eisenga, a millionaire, along with his attorney directed Kleefisch’s office to design legislation that would reduce the amount of money ...

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Separation of Church and State

My strong Christian heritage has supported the Constitutional Amendment that separates church and state. My ancestors passed on the wisdom that this separation is necessary. Let me tell you why.My family left their homeland because wealthy “people of faith” had taken over all religions, public services, the people’s money and their land. Those who resisted were killed in the name of The Church. Sadly, my uncle of several greats was beheaded before crowds. He had dared to stand up for fairness, respect for his neighbors and the common good.Today we see some of ...

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Remembering Global Warming Lessons

Global Warming
“Why don’t people remember?” my old friend asked. We talked of how we learned about global warming through our grade school Weekly Reader in the 1950’s. We remembered global warming being discussed in our Sunday school classes because we all wanted to help God save his living creations on earth.Over 55 years ago global warming was taught in our schools. Real data was used, with the application of scientific methods, to predict what could happen. We looked at different scenarios if actions weren’t taken, like heating or cooling from the “greenhouse effect....

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Money Out….Voters In

Money
In January 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Citizens United vs FEC (Federal Election Commission). The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5 to 4 decision ruled that corporations are persons and have the same rights to free speech.This allowed corporations and foreign countries to give unlimited amounts of money to any candidate without being identified. In the past four years, a wealthy few people and many corporations have been buying our democracy on all levels: local, state and national.Many groups have been working toward amending the US Constitution to overturn the ...

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The Community of Man

Community
We seem at a pivotal point in history - a time of moment, of decision making. This was eloquently captured by Aldo Leopold in his classic “A Sand County Almanac,” when he wrote of human paradox: “man the conqueror versus man the biotic citizen; science the sharpener of his sword versus science the search-light on his universe; land the slave and servant versus land the collective organism.”Leopold was speaking of our vision of ourselves: egocentric users in a game of “survival of the fittest” and “every man for himself,” or responsible members of a ...

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Somewhere near Detroit…

Near Detroit
…a World War II veteran lies in a nursing home. Thoughts brighten and fade. The war predominates. “Jimmy and I made friends right away when we met in basic training. We ended up going to Europe together. Jimmy was always there by my side. We liberated Dachau. All that death. They told us we were fighting for democracy, our rights and freedoms. It seemed right. It seemed just. Besides, we had to do it.”“I’ll never forget that morning. It was cold, real cold. I said ‘morning Jimmy!’ There was no answer. I said good morning again. Jimmy didn’t answer. I ...

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Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare) Fiction versus Fact

Affordable Care Act
1. Fiction: A mass email circulating since 2010 claims under the ACA, Medicare Part B premiumswill reach $247 per month by 2014.Fact: News from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services disproves that email. Standard premiums for Medicare Part B, covering doctors' services and outpatient care, remain at $104.90 per month for 2014, the same as 2013. People who pay surcharges because of higher incomes will see their rates stay flat. The annual Part B deductible stays unchanged at $147. Officials say the premium, calculated as 25 percent of the program's costs in ...

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New Year’s Resolution: Be Involved

New Year's Resolution
Good government requires more than just voting. As any good manager knows, employees have to be supervised and their performance monitored. Our political representatives are no different. They must be held accountable. Citizens have to stay informed on issues. They have to know enough to sort through misleading sound bites and talk show bombast. They have to communicate with their representatives.Yes, politics is dirty. There is too much money and mudslinging. But maybe politics would be more civil if citizens were more involved. Maybe our belief that we can't discuss ...

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The Nuclear Weapons Vortex

Nuclear Weapons
In the weather news a “polar vortex” has brought winter back to much of the country. In other news there have been a number of nuclear weapons related stories suggesting we have a nuclear weapons vortex threatening us.For decades the nuclear weapons industry has purported to keep us free and safe. It is a very expensive, giant whirlpool sucking our tax dollars. Between 1946 and 1996, we spent an estimated $8.66 trillion on them.  But is it necessary? Not according to Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, Jr. (US Army Ret.). He works for the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proli...

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Three Solutions to the Federal Budget Deal

Washington D.C.
The recent federal budget compromise, although representing some minor breaks in the Washington gridlock, is a bad deal for the country. It is bad because it doesn’t address the real budget problems. It is bad because it does not establish needed budget priorities.As widely reported in the media, the budget plan fails to extend unemployment benefits, protect food stamps, and other programs that benefit middle and lower income people. On the plus side it does limit the irrational, automatic sequester cuts. And it doesn’t immediately cut Social Security or Medicare. ...

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