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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ignorance is Bliss, but What is it Costing YOU?

Again, I am writing about ALEC - the American Legislative Exchange Council. That secretive organization.

Again - and I will continue to do so.

People, we need to be aware of this organization - I don't care what your political leanings are; you need to know this. It HAS IMPACTED YOU - your finances, your life. IT WILL IMPACT YOU.

I have provided the source of this information below - THEIR OWN WEB SITE from 1999, which is still available courtesy of the Wayback Machine, a web archive service.

You will recognize much of this legislation, its effects on you, and its effects on the corporations heavily vested in getting this legislation enacted (read: huge, some would say obscene, profits).
 
This was 1999, and some of the "model legislation" was proposed, and in many cases enacted, in earlier years, though this is the earliest web archive I could find.

Much of this legislation has been enacted or is on the table.

You need to be aware, and I know I am being repetitive, that:

ALEC is an organization comprised of corporations AND (virtually all Republican)state legislators, who write these proposals for legislation. It will not take a mental giant to figure out that these corporations - those who provide privatized services, those who sell anything related to health care, and many others - HAVE, ARE, or WILL PROFIT from these legislative proposals.

Many of these state legislators are later/have been/will be elected to federal office or appointed to federal positions and continue to propose/vote for these and similar pieces of legislation on a federal level. Their campaigns are financed by these corporations!

Individuals (you and I)are NOT allowed to join ALEC, and thus cannot be privy to all of this "model legislation".

CURRENT "model legislation" disclosure on their web site is much more limited - only members can access it.
 
So, the year was 1999, and their proposals included (but were by NO MEANS LIMITED TO)the following:

Tort reform, limiting damages individuals can receive in suits (chiefly against corporations)


Product safety reform, making it more difficult for individuals to recover damages due to injuries sustained from consumer products

At-will employment act, meaning employers can fire employees for "any reason or no reason"


Civil rights act, negating Affirmative Action

Minimum wage repeal act - enough said


Resolution Opposing Ergonomic Regulations Based on Unsound Science - eliminating requirements for businesses to provide equipment that prevents repetitive strain injuries; calls it "unsound science"

Resolution In Opposition To Any Increase In the Starting (Minimum) Wage - obvious

Numerous pieces of legislation that serve to make it more difficult for unions to operate (essentially  this led to destroying private-sector unions, lowering wages and benefits for ALL of us, and now of course public-sector unions are being attacked)

Resolution on the State Regulation of Insurance - opposes any federal legislation that regulates insurance companies

School Board Freedom to Contract Act - encourages outsourcing of school services - crossing guards, food services, custodial services, etc. to for-profit companies

The Environmental Buffer Disclosure Act - negates obligation of companies whose facilities lower property values to reimburse homeowners, etc. for "alleged" said property values

Environmental Audit Privilege and Qualified Disclosure Act - companies that self-audit to correct environmental harm their practices are/will cause are not required to disclose any reports of damage or corrective measures taken

The Environmental Laboratory Privatization Act This Act requires that the state contract its routine environmental testing to private laboratories. It prohibits this state from using taxpayer dollars for the construction of new laboratories.

Interstate Ozone Transport Oversight Act - essentially eliminates corporations' liability for practices that result in harm to the ozone layer in other states

Property Owner Disclosure Act - eliminates requirements of environmental agencies to provide identification of land/owners when violations of environmental damage protections are discovered. Also prohibits action if an environmental violation is discovered which is not related to original reason for investigation.

Wildlife Information Disclosure Act - This Act limits the disclosure of environmental information, specifically data on fish and wildlife, that is collected on private property. (In other words, if a company owns land - and its practices (pollution) kill off all the fish or wildlife - that information will not be disclosed to the public.)

Resolution to Freeze CAFE Standards - Freezes fuel economy requirements for cars/light trucks at current (as of that time) levels. (Check availability of vehicles in other countries that get MUCH better mileage than those available here in the US - you may be amazed and likely, mad as the dickens, given current fuel prices.
As an aside, I'll tell you that if you believe the lie that the Democratic Party is the cause of these high fuel prices, you are being duped.)

Resolution on Global Climate Change-Eliminates requirements to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Medical Savings Account Bill - promotes use of pre-tax dollars for medical savings accounts. (Studies show that this is of benefit chiefly to those who don't really need it, presumably not your nor I)

Resolution Calling for the Reform of the Food and Drug Administration - cutting down time required for research into long-term effects of drugs - allowing pharmaceutical companies to release new drugs earlier. (We have seen the results of that - individuals have suffered and died due to inadequate testing of drugs and devices)

Resolution on Federal Health Insurance Reform Legislation - prevents federal government from interfering with insurance company policies that allow them to deny coverage for any reason, like pre-existing conditions, and to impose higher rates based on location

Resolution on Stop-Loss Insurance Prevents interference with ability of employers' self-funded insurance to set a cap on lifetime limits (now extending to non-self-funded insurance companies as well)

Time Limits on AFDC Benefits Act - Limits AFDC and all other welfare benefits to 24 months.

Resolution on Federal Medicaid and Welfare Block Grants - Issues "block grants" to states to use as they determine best to implement their own Medicaid/welfare programs.

Super-Majority Act Makes it much more difficult to raise taxes - not only on individuals, but on corporations, by requiring congressional super-majority vote for passage (think your congressperson is going to promote tax increases for corporations, when corporations have such leeway in making campaign contributions?)

And so much more, which, were I not in danger of exacerbating my carpal tunnel syndrome, I'd type here... but if you care, you can access it at the link I'm providing - IF ALEC does not get wind of it and attempt to "scrub" it from the 'net. .

http://replay.web.archive.org/19980209003957/http://www.alec.org/alec/an-ind.html 
 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

For Sale: The Sunshine State

Ah, Florida. A state near and dear to my heart - I lived there as a child. It is said that once you get Florida sand in your shoes, you'll always return - and I'd love to go back some day!

Remember ALEC? I've blogged about this organization before. I've written about the "cookie cutter" legislation that they espouse for states, about state legislators being involved in this organization - the American Legislative Exchange Council.

If you have not read previous blogs and do not know of ALEC, it is a secretive organization that was started in 1973 by large corporations and extreme right-wing groups - many of them funded by the Koch brothers.

Large corporations - household names. General Electric. General Motors. Walmart. Pfizer. Koch Industries (in fact, the Koch brothers were among the original members). Exxon. BP. Wackenhut. I could go on, but I think you get the drift. These corporations pay various amounts of money to be members of ALEC - $5k to $25k, plus additional amounts for other privileges. The amount they pay determines how involved they can be in crafting legislation that will result in more profit for them. They fight against any legislation that protects the environment, if it requires them to spend money. They fight against alternative energy such as wind energy - oil and coal mining companies obviously do not profit from these. They fight against legislation that would curb the pharmaceutical companies' current ability to charge whatever they wish for drugs. Many members will directly profit from privatization of services currently provided by government: prisons, health care, public schools. There is much, much more that they are promoting - all of which will support their interest.

They sit down with state legislators, the vast majority of whom are Republican, and together, they write "model legislation".

If you smell a rat - if you have concluded that corporate agendas are not concerned with anything but profits - you are in good company. The public is slowly coming to realize the extent of their agenda.

Florida is among the states whose legislators and governor are implementing their "model legislation".

Some of this will sound VERY familiar to those of us who live in Wisconsin and other states -

Florida has turned down a federal grant that would create high-speed rail service between Tampa and Orlando... just as Wisconsin has. This would impact oil companies - less dependence upon gasoline. Many jobs would be created by high-speed rail service, but that is not part of the ALEC agenda - the oil companies are not considering that a priority; their only motivation is profit.

Florida is enacting legislation that heavily impacts public education. Members of ALEC include companies that run private schools - of course, they don't want the public schools, K-12 or publicly funded universities - to survive. State governments cut funding to public schools... enact legislation that will serve the interests of private, for-profit schools.

There are many other things that Florida is doing that you'd recognize, if you live in Wisconsin or other ALEC (read: big business) -run states.

Democrats, as a whole, don't think that corporate interests, solely interested in profits at the expense of living-wage jobs, environmental protection, development of alternative energy sources - serve the people of their states or our country. Notsomuch.

Now I'm going to focus on perhaps the most damaging legislation that Florida is doing. They are introducing legislation that will serve to disenfranchise voters. Yes, Wisconsin is doing the same - our legislators are, as I write this, considering a bill that will enact the most stringent voter ID requirements in our country.

Florida will doubtless go there, as well... but right now, what they are doing is a bit different.

In Florida, there are groups that get together to help folks to register to vote. The groups include Boy/Girl Scouts and others. They can pick up voter registration documents and set up stations in public areas, at retail establishments, etc. and encourage unregistered folks to get registered. They then drop these off at government offices for processing.

The new law will severely hamper any of these efforts. There will be a 48-hour requirement: if the registration forms are not dropped off within 48 hours they will be invalid. In addition, the organization running the drive for registration will be fined for each individual who registered and whose forms were not turned in during that 48 hours - $50 per individual, up to a max of $1000.

The new law will also make it a very onerous task for people who move to a different district to change their address and re-register under their new address. Certain groups (some of whom are listed below) are more mobile than others.

The effects of this are obvious to any thinking person. People who have not registered to vote - students, young people, minority groups, the homeless - tend to vote on the Democratic side of the political spectrum.

The side that thinks that corporations should NOT run our government, our states, our country.

All of this serves only to lessen the chances that these groups have an opportunity to cast ballots that may not be supportive of the ALEC/corporate agenda. To exercise their right and privilege to have their voices heard.

Our country was founded on principles that enable all voices to be heard. Democracy.

Any attempt to hamper those voices is an affront to everything that our country stands for. It is wrong. I will go out on a limb here and say that if you think this is okay, you are supporting a corporate takeover of our states and our country.

In the end, if you are not part of the upper crust of our nation, it will hurt you, your friends, your family... your children.

The Sunshine state has fallen to the ALEC agenda.

Will you allow that to happen in YOUR state without a fight?

I hope not. I truly hope that you will contact your legislators and your governors to tell them that your state is NOT FOR SALE.  Not on your watch.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

President Obama Suspends Decision-Making Powers of Wisconsin Elected Officials

Bet THAT got your attention, didn't it?

Relax. A little. For now. It's not true. Can you imagine the outrage, if it happened? If suddenly we woke to find that the only rights that our elected officials had left were as follows...

"Call meetings to order, adjourn them and approve minutes of meetings."

Everything else - EVERYTHING ELSE - would be handled by an "Emergency Manager" - in my  AGAIN, untruthful "headliner" for today, that means an "Emergency Manager" appointed by President Obama.

I think that every citizen in our state would take to the streets, if this UNTRUTHFUL headline were true - Democrat, Republican, Tea Party, Coffee Party, Independent, Progressive.... the outrage would be near-unanimous.

Preposterous, you think? Outrageous? Impossible, in our country?

Think again, folks.

IT HAPPENED THIS WEEK IN MICHIGAN.

At first, I didn't believe it. I didn't WANT to believe it. I had a rather fuzzy notion that some sort of legislation had been proposed in Michigan that would do something of this sort, but I confess I hadn't followed it closely enough to even be aware that it had, indeed passed. A few tweets came out, and I did some digging to try to uncover the truth, as did others - it all seemed just too surreal to possibly be true.

Well, it was, it is, and it is among the most frightening pieces of legislation I've seen. I've only begun to try to wrap my mind around the implications.

Here's a good (okay, let's be honest - by "good" I mean "easily found on Google at 3:30 am and seems to make sense") link to some information published BEFORE the bill passed:

http://michiganmessenger.com/47909/momentum-builds-for-repeal-of-emergency-manager-bill

Um, yeah, if you actually read this, you will see ALEC in there - the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Well, it's not only passed, but it has been used to take over Benton Harbor, Michigan. I'm not kidding, folks.

I still want someone from Michigan to tell me that this information is wrong, that this didn't happen, and I promise you that if that is the case I will retract this immediately, apologize, do whatever I have to do to get the truth of the situation out.

Here it is, though.

http://michiganmessenger.com/48278/benton-harbor-emergency-manager-strips-power-from-all-elected-officials

Just an aside: I find it amazing that this is not bigger news in Michigan. The Detroit News web site has a little blurb on it - a small AP piece and you have to dig for it. I searched the Lansing State Journal site for "Benton Harbor" and it doesn't show up. Frankly, that still gives me hope that it isn't true, that this has not happened, that it's some sort of hoax-gone-viral!

Oh, and I probably owe President Obama a huge apology for the title of this blog, but I think he'll understand why I did it!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Think All Politicians Are Really Interested in Creating Living Wage Jobs? Think Again.

Many of us have lost jobs and seen our wages and benefits decreased.

We blame unions. We blame "big government". We blame those commie socialist tree-hugging liberals. We blame whatever and whomever we are told to blame.

Some of us believe politicians - on a state and national level - who spout various iterations of  "Open For Business".

I want to believe that we as citizens of our states and nation are smarter than to believe all of this, motivated enough to seek out the facts, have sufficient critical thinking skills to sort through the hype and disinformation that is being spoon-fed to us. Believing otherwise is too frightening, frankly.

Don't get me wrong. I believe that jobs WILL be created. The question, then, in my mind and the minds of many others, is this: will these be "living wage" jobs? Jobs that will allow us to take the occasional vacation, educate our children, save for our futures?

What if I told you this - would you believe it?

Very likely, things are going to get WORSE - not better.

Today I am going to provide you with a link to some information that may shock you. I hope and pray that it will open eyes to what is really going on. I hope, if you are even a little concerned about jobs being created, you will take the 5 minutes it will require to read it.


Thank you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Blood on Their Hands: Letter to My Governor and Legislators

The cookie-cutter legislation that is permeating many states' governments is horrifying.

The tax cuts benefit only the wealthy. The cuts to programs that help people, and indeed sustain some of our citizens' lives, hurt all of us. I would venture to guess that most of our citizenry will either be direcly impacted or know someone who will be impacted by these cuts.

I fail to understand how any human being with a modicum of compassion can support legislation that, mark my words, will drastically reduce the quality of life for so many. For our most vulnerable of citizens. It is an outrage.

Mark my words: some of these people will DIE, if this continues. Do you want their blood on your hands?

I implore you to stand against this agenda. The people of Wisconsin deserve so much better.

And yes, I will ask you outright: are you currently a member of, or are you planning, to join ALEC?

Some of this, myself included, will do all that we can to fight for these individuals. We will refuse to be apathetic. We will do everything in our power to spread information regarding the ALEC agenda for our state and nation.

It is unconscionable for some of us to do otherwise.

Again, I implore you to muster up the courage to do the right thing. To stand up and fight. To refuse to allow our state to be run by Walmart.

Sincerely,
Nancy Ames

(address and phone number were included, of course; we'll see who responds)

*************
RESPONSE received from Representative Kathy Bernier:

Ms Ames,
Thank you for your e-mail.
There appears to be some misconception over what ALEC is and does. ALEC is a group made up largely of state legislators from around the country. I am a member of this organization, because I think it will be helpful to be able to talk to legislators not just from Wisconsin but from around the country to take a look at what they are doing in their states and what best practices we can use here in Wisconsin. There are about 1,800 legislative members from all across the U.S., and I think it can be an opportunity to learn from these individuals.
Please let me know if you have any other questions I can help you with.
Sincerely,
Kathy Bernier
 

Monday, April 11, 2011

US Citizens Losing Jobs to "Illegals" (thanks, GOP!)

Worried about illegal immigration? Worried about jobs being outsourced to non citizens, and that non citizens are being hired to fill positions that our country's own citizenry badly needs?

 
You should be.

 
It may shock you to know that all of this is coming to us via the folks that have made "JOB CREATION" their mantra du jour. That it's been happening right under ours noses - not in Mexico, not in Asia.

 
Our own citizens are also working these jobs - most of which pay them mere dollars a day. Legally.

 
You'll recognize many of the corporate names, I think. IBM. Motorola. Boeing. Victoria's Secret. Many, many more. Many ALEC members among 'em, too.

 
Who are these workers? How are they managing to stay so off-the-radar that most of us are not even aware that this is happening?

 
They are those who are in our prisons. The prisons that have, since mandatory sentencing, three-strikes-you're-out, and other legislation - including a lot that is pending in my beloved Wisconsin - been steadily increasing in population for well over a decade.

 
This all ties together: increasing prison populations is a good thing for these corporations, who can then keep jobs (?) stateside for much less than it costs to take 'em out of the country. Lay off workers who have to be paid minimum wage or above, replace them with a reliable, captive workforce. While they're at it, they can scratch the backs of other ALEC members - the for-profit prisons that are expanding nationwide, who directly profit by keeping inmates incarcerated.

 
It's win-win, for those who stand to profit - and make no mistake about it, the driving force behind this is PROFIT.

So what are the pieces of this puzzle? What has to be in place, for it to work?

  • A readily available "workforce". Prison populations must remain high, stable, and must be comprised of people who are capable of performing the jobs offered.
    • Legislation designed to incarcerate and keep more, and more nonviolent, offenders has been proliferating for years and is now on the table in many states. This includes immigration laws - it is no coincidence that we are trending toward a system that will focus less on keeping illegals out than on keeping them here, in prisons. We won't send them home - we will "hire" them.
  • Capacity to house and care for this rising population.
  • Corporations willing to exploit these populations
    • Corporations? Exploit? d'ya think?
    • In addition to the above, Kmart, JCPenney, McDonald's, Eddie Bauer, even Honda for a time (you will have no problem finding more - just Google "prison manufacturing", "prison labor", etc.)
  • Some facility or organization that can bring all of these together and make 'em work.
    • ALEC - the American Legislative Exchange Council - includes in its membership rolls "all of the above". I challenge you to find one company that is profiting from this, one company that will profit from this, that is NOT an ALEC member. One piece of supporting legislation that is not endorsed by and likely crafted by ALEC members. One lawmaker who's introducing this agenda  on a state or national level who has not been indoctrinated by ALEC.
Of course, it also requires the cooperation of the public. In most cases, those of us who are supporting this agenda are doing it unwittingly. We believe in America, we believe that our Grand Old Party is really trying to create jobs for "real" Americans, we believe that, unregulated, corporations will use their profits to create those jobs and help our country out of its economic doldrums. We believe that illegal immigrants, unions, and those #%#% liberals are what's bleeding our country's coffers dry.

Big dollars are being spent to keep us believin'. To put a spin on this that many Americans are willing to buy.

To keep us focused on ANYTHING but the real problem, anything at all.

I want to believe that there is still hope, that our citizens are intelligent enough to figure out what's going on and not so beaten down that they won't rise up and fight, but I confess to having my doubts. Prove me wrong - PLEASE.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Our Balloting Systems are BROKEN

No links today - just my thoughts. If you want links, please use your search engine of choice - a plethora of links is available.

Accusations are flying right and left :-/ regarding our most recent crisis in Wisconsin regarding the Supreme Court election.

Fraud? Incompetence? Simple human error? I don't know that we will ever have a definitive answer.

Ultimately, it is a crisis that has developed because of a flawed SYSTEM.

I don't claim to know the exact details regarding how this could happen in Waukesha County. It sounds like some sort of homegrown hodgepodge of software was, and is being used to count precious votes. Your vote. My vote.

If that is the case, it's doubtless happening EVERYWHERE, in some form or other.

If that is the case, if every county in the United States is off doing their own thing, it casts doubts on the veracity of EVERY election, not just this one.

If that is the case, it needs to be fixed. NOW.

We need a standard. We need a system with built-in audits, controls. Right now, with some votes being cast electronically, some on paper - it's a system that is fraught with potential for error, abuse, fraud.

Obviously, Florida did not wake us up to the gravity of this situation, because it did not lead to development of a standard system that would - if not PREVENT this crisis - at the very least, reduce the likelihood of its happening again.

Will Wisconsin wake us up?

Much better minds than mine will need to come together to fix our balloting system.

If reform and rebuilding of that system does not occur, we can never be assured that our tallies are ultimately accurate and that our voices are heard. It is pure illusion.

That is unacceptable.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why No Renewable Wind Energy in Wisconsin?

You may have read (hope you have!) about the demise of wind energy plans in Wisconsin. I've been curious about that.

Now, you may fall on one side or the other or somewhere in the middle, on the global warming debate. Put that aside for now, because I think that no matter what our various differences regarding that matter, we can all agree on a few things:

  • We need jobs, as a state and as a country.
  • Building those turbines and using them to create and maintain renewable energy would create jobs.
  • NOT building them means that we lose out on those jobs.

So why in the world aren't we doing it?

Let me restate that: WHY IN THE WORLD AREN'T WE DOING IT???????!!!!!!!

Remember ALEC - the American Legislative Exchange Bureau? That organization has an agenda for our state and nation - all one needs to do is look to their own web site to see that; they don't hide that fact (though they DO hide a LOT - you will not be able to access much of their information without being a member. Odds are, if you are reading this humble blog, you would not qualify for membership - reserved for legislators and VERY big business).

Remember the Koch brothers? They certainly qualify as heavy investors in big business, and much of their wealth derives from NON-renewable energy sources.

ALEC members include many businesses that are based, in whole or in part, upon non-renewable energy sources - oil, coal, nuclear energy (okay, nuclear energy is kinda sorta "clean", but the situation in Japan should give all of us pause regarding building more nukie plants). Big businesses. Household names.

They do NOT profit from wind-generated energy. Not the oil companies, not the automakers, not those involved in coal, not those who build the pipelines.

This article says some things about the subject much better than I can. You may or may not approve of the source, but again, just focus on the facts, setting aside your political bent for now:

http://planetsave.com/2010/11/11/koch-brothers-clean-energy-cartoon-cartoonicle/

We in Wisconsin, and we as a nation, are about to get some legislation passed that will greatly reduce our current standards for slowing down (I won't say preventing; don't know if that is possible) the pollution of our natural resources - land, water, air. Future generations will have to clean up whatever messes we leave in our wake. The likes of the Koch brothers will profit - we and our children and grandchildren and... will not, at least insofar as we have to foot the bill for this cleanup, eventually, or suffer dire consequences.

It doesn't take a genius to follow the money on this 'un.

So we won't get those jobs. We won't get that source of renewable energy. We will continue our reliance on fossil fuels. We will accelerate the destruction of our natural resources. We will pay for the privilege of doing so - whenever we pay our Excel Energy bill, pump liquid gold into our SUV's.

Thanks for reading. If you're interested in more, here are some further resources - some directly from the horse's mouth, even.

http://www.alec.org/AM/PDF/InsideALEC_March2011_FINAL.pdf
(Nice that they are commending our very own Governor Walker for his promotion of their agenda, dontcha think? And I'd encourage you to, at the very least, scan the subject included in this document.)

http://ecolutionist.com/2011/03/21/protect-democracy-protect-the-planet/

And the biggie, in case you REALLY want to know what's behind all of this "cookie cutter" legislation being introduced and passed in many states of our nation:
www.alec.org

Of course, you won't be able to find many specifics on this site. Likely, you are not a member and could not afford to be a member. They are fairly secretive about their membership rolls, as well.

I hope that the entire agenda of the ALEC organization comes to light - sooner, rather than later.

Knowledge is power, folks.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

And The Winner Is... (to be continued)

I'm finally finding time to do a bit o' blogging, and running into problems with an internet connection that's going up and down like a yo-yo - and when it IS up, it is slooowwww... so bear with me!

The past few days have been amazing. Anyone hear that we had a bit of an election here in Wisconsin? Just one of those little spring-fling elections that no one really much about - a few school board referendums, maybe a mayor or a town board member -<yawn>! Maybe the polling places expected a bit more turnout than usual - 20% or so would be about right, and extra ballots were ordered in case it went a bit over that.

Rod and I got up very early so as to be near first in line at our little polling place in the tiny township of Seymour. We arrived at 7:00 am. I had to register, but that took about two minutes. By the time I got through the line and could vote, I was voter number 54. The poll workers' comments about the enormous turnout :-D were wonderful to hear. Rod chatted with a few people he knew while he waited for me to finish doing my civic duty, and everyone was smiling.

It was going to be a good day for Democracy!

I spent some time making GOTV phone calls - "Hi, my name is Nancy, and I'm a volunteer calling folks today to remind and encourage them to get out there and vote today! This is predicted to be a close race, so your vote is definitely going to count!"

At the time, there's no way I could have imagined how true those words would prove to be.

I watched Twitter much of the night and well into today. I watched an AP web site that was updating numbers by county pretty regularly. I watched as the numbers waxed and waned on one side, then another. I watched the news from various sources on television and online - and Wisconsin was BIG news, despite several wars going on and a national budget crisis, we were NEWS. I've never watched an election more closely - and I heard that sentiment echoed over and over from people around the state, country, and world.

It came down to the little town of Lake Mills, WI. They didn't get their 700 votes completely tallied 'til around noon today, and results were rather long in coming.

The results?

1479976 total votes.
740,090 to 739,886.
A difference of 204 votes.

Two. Hundred. Four.

There will be recounts, absolutely - as there should be in any situation like this.

I'm proud of my state today. Six weeks ago, I and most of my fellow citizens asked, "Jo Anne WHO?" The vast majority of us had never heard of her - and had little knowledge of Prosser, either.

Today, they're household names - in Wisconsin and across the nation. "The World is Watching" is not just a slogan scrawled on a sign; it is truth.

I don't think either "side" can claim victory in terms of who will ultimately sit on the Supreme Court, but it's my firm belief that this *is* a victory in terms of what happens when people see a wrong, and unite in a big way to try to right it.

That's all for today. I had wanted to do something with some new Koch information I stumbled across, but this internet connection is making it very difficult to do the necessary research, so I am going to leave it for another day.

To all of you who voted yesterday, THANK YOU. To those of you who may not have - for whatever reason - here's your opportunity to realize how important your vote really is.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Greed, greed, and more greed...

A couple of great reads about the Kochs.
 
Want to know about the original Tea Party? This video is long, at about 15 minutes, but well worth it. I hope a few of today's "Tea Party" members watch it, because they have it ALL wrong...
 
This one will leave you shaking your head. Remember a certain oil spill crisis last year? Can you think of better uses for the dollars mentioned in this article? Like maybe cleaning it UP? Or helping the people whose lives and livelihoods were directly impacted?
 
I leave you with this wonderful quote, which a Twitter friend shared...
Curst greed of gold, what crimes thy tyrant power has caused! - Virgil

Friday, April 1, 2011

Let's You and Him Fight!

First, some of the news...

Fox News viewership is down. Are people waking up? We can only hope and pray!
http://www.businessinsider.com/glenn-beck-ratings-fox-q1-2011-3

Applause for former governor Patrick Lucey... he's resigned from the Prosser campaign.
http://www.channel3000.com/politics/27392391/detail.html

MUST READS! I'd never heard of a "Behavioral Economist" before, but this 'un has some great insights. I encourage you to read what he has to say. I'm a bit surprised that Marketwatch would publish these columns, but I'm glad they did.
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tax-the-super-rich-now-or-face-a-revolution-2011-03-29
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-civil-war-erupts-led-by-super-rich-gop-2011-03-22?pagenumber=2

Some of us remember "Games People Play", by Eric Berne. If I remember correctly, it was written in the 70's. His concept of "Let's You and Him Fight" is relevant today.

It seems to me that the "Powers that Be" are playing this game, and have been for a while - creating division amongst the rest of us. If we who have notsomuch are encouraged to fight among ourselves, we cease to fight against those who are attempting to deceive us into doing so.

Unfortunately - sadly - they are succeeding. We are falling for their lies. Some of us really believe that unions are the problem. Really? How can we really BELIEVE that?

We are being spoon-fed encouragement to indulge in a false "class envy" - pitting those who would LOVE to have a job with some stability and some benefits (previously commonplace!) against those who have been fortunate enough to hang onto them.

Who is doing this? Those who will never have to worry about the price of a decent steak, put off going to the dentist, or lie awake at night worrying about how they'll fare after retirement (if, indeed, we can ever retire!). 

Why are those of us who struggle to get by on $25k indulging in what borders on hatred of those of us who struggle to get by on little more?

When will we realize that we are ALL pawns in the current crisis, and join together to fight a system that has destroyed our hopes, our dreams, our confidence in the future?

How can we fix this? I don't pretend to know, but I fear for our communities, our states, our country, our world.

Falling for "Let's You and Him Fight" - we cannot afford to play along with this ruse, in a time when we need to work TOGETHER and come up with some real solutions.

As always - I welcome your thoughts, input, comments, and respectful discourse.