Libertarians Attempting to “Meddle” with Election!
They are at it again! They confess. The sneaky Libertarians are again attempting to grab political power in Madison from the two Old Parties and … give it back to the people of Wisconsin! No apologies.
Libertarians aren't alone. There has been growing discontent with the so-called “two-party system." For example, Gallup found that "60 percent of Americans say the Democratic and Republicans parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed. A new low of 26 percent believe the two major parties adequately represent Americans." Rasmussen Reports recently exposed the fact that "the majority of Americans no longer feel represented and no longer support the two party system monopoly of American politics.” According to a recent Marquette University poll, there are more “Independents” and Undecided voters in Wisconsin than either Republican or Democrat voters. [34%, 33%, 30%]
Most Wisconsin voters support more choices on the ballot and want all qualified candidates to be included in debates. Other polls have indicated that voters would prefer more than two choices, not less. That is not how the Wisconsin Association of Broadcasters sees it. As it has in previous years, the WBA is planning to exclude all candidates except the Democratic and Republican nominees from their televised debate for candidates for governor while still calling it a “Gubernatorial Debate."
Looking at those numbers, it is difficult to understand why in the world the so-called “news” media would choose to ignore such a large portion of the electorate. One might image that including news of interest to a third party and independents would increase the drama and interest in their political coverage.
In the case of the television news, BI-partisan news reports and televised “Gubernatorial Debates” look like free infomercials for the benefit of sponsors of millions of dollars of political attack ads (As if they needed any more advantages.) Follow the money.
Wisconsin voters expect and deserve political news coverage to be non-partisan, not bi-partisan.Will Libertarians “spoil” the election for the two Old Parties in 2018 or will voters send a message to Madison?
Jim Maas, Marathon County Libertarians
Back to the Graveyard of Empires
"Units of the 32nd Brigade have been called to active duty, not as a last line of defense to protect Wisconsin and the nation from foreign invaders, but to be deployed overseas for occupation duty in a bottomless quagmire. Wisconsin National Guard units belong in Wisconsin, to protect our ‘Homeland.” ~ Ben Olson, former Chair of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin—in 2009!
Deja vu all over again.
The Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs has announced, “Nearly 400 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry will deploy to Afghanistan this winter in support of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.
"The Appleton-headquartered infantry battalion and its subordinate companies, which are all part of the 32nd 'Red Arrow' Infantry Brigade Combat Team, will deploy as a security element for coalition forces operating in the region, who along with the Afghan security forces, are committed to containing and destroying terrorist safe-havens in Afghanistan and reducing the threat they pose to the world.”
We compliment the Wisconsin Guard’s public affairs staff for their vivid imagination and writing style. “… threat they pose to the world.” The only Americans who have been threatened, killed, or wounded by the Taliban are those who have invaded Afghanistan. So, to reduce that threat, if that is the intention, let’s bring our troops home from the “Graveyard of Empires,” as Afghanistan has been so rightfully referred to as.
“Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA.” Candidate Donald Trump tweet. Yes, on that we agree!
Note: the US Army has 470,000 members. To fight with the Taliban on the other side of the planet they need to call up a Wisconsin Guard unit. Mind boggling.
Studies in Wisconsin have found that teens are smoking tobacco less. We might assume that most government health bureaucrats would be excited about that. Well, they are, but maybe not in a good way.
"Local and state health officials expressed serious concerns with the swift and steady rise in teen vaping, and they see no reversal in sight without intervention. The concern is partly that electronic cigarettes contain nicotine which can harm brain development and metals which can irritate lungs — and partly that vaping is still so new researchers don't know what else it might do to young people's bodies,” according to a USA TODAY report.
Wait, what? They are concerned because they don’t know what it does so they want to restrict it?
Instead of smoking cigarettes, some teens have chosen to go smoke free by vaping, which is also often used by adults who want to quit tobacco smoking.
Vaping: Use of a battery-powered device that heats liquid solutions into an inhalable vapor to produce a sensation similar to smoking combustible cigarettes. The e-juices come in flavors and often contain nicotine, the highly addictive chemical found in tobacco.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services recently launched a "Tobacco is Changing" campaign supposedly intended to educate parents about the new tobacco products tempting children. They provide information about the different products and their health risks, and offer tips for talking to children about avoiding tobacco use. Note: There is no tobacco used in vaping.
Public health campaigns of the past connected nicotine, addiction and cigarettes tightly together to promote the risks of smoking. Apparently DHS doesn’t understand or doesn’t care that e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco. No tobacco smoke. No cancer. Wisconsin taxpayers are footing the bill for this propaganda.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, in a report sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration, concluded that "e-cigarettes cannot be simply categorized as either beneficial or harmful to health.”
To some that isn’t good news.
Wisconsin’s “justice system” is unjust! It has become more of a “vengeance system” than a justice system in recent decades. Wisconsin puts almost twice as many of our fellow citizens behind bars than neighboring Minnesota, with a similar population. That means that Wisconsin taxpayers pay more for prisons. Either we have more bad people in Wisconsin or more bad laws. And, more prisons doesn’t seem to have helped, unless you are employed by one. This should be a campaign issue in Wisconsin. (Thank you Scott Walker for attacking those who have advocated for reforms.)
Wisconsin prisons are over crowded. Still over crowded! Public buildings have an occupancy limit and so do prisons. Wisconsin’s prison population has more than tripled since 1990. Our prisons were built to hold about 16,000 people but there are now over 23,000 prisoners. . What happens when a prison is over capacity? Why is it okay to exceed the capacity of a state building? Why is no one held accountable for overcrowding a prison?
Wisconsin laws have a mean, vindictive streak in them. Minor children can be judged as adults. There are heavy penalties for low-level drug offenses and other victimless crimes. Wisconsin has the highest incarceration rate for African American men in the country. (We’re number one!) Concerned citizens would like some answers.
Furthermore, once a prisoner does their time, their criminal record remains, presenting barriers to such positive activities to get them back into society such as finding a job, housing, and higher education. Even such positive things such as voting and hunting may be banned.
Libertarian candidates say enough is enough. Phil Anderson with Patrick Baird for governor and lieutenant governor [www.teamguv.org] have made a promise to Wisconsinites:
“The Republican Party of Wisconsin has turned license revocation into an issue in the governor’s race between Evers and Gov. Scott Walker, spending roughly $1 million on TV ads over a two-week span featuring three of those 88 cases in which the department didn’t revoke a license.” Wisconsin State Journal
Isn’t it odd that the GOP thinks it is effective to run attack ads claiming that Evers didn’t “protect our children” rather than focusing on the many current issues facing Wisconsin? “Our children”? My children are in their 30s. Or, have Republicans now gone over to the Hillary Clinton philosophy that “It takes a village to raise a child”? Don’t Republicans still favor local control over mandates from Madison?
If parents become dissatisfied with their public school, where do they turn? The State Journal also reported, “Tens of thousands of Wisconsin students attending private schools using a taxpayer-funded voucher could be the last generation to do so if proposals from most of the Democratic candidates for governor become law. … If enacted, the proposals to end the state’s four private school voucher programs would dramatically upend the school system in Wisconsin, where the nation’s first voucher program was born in Milwaukee 27 years ago.” (Authored by the late Annette Polly Williams, recipient of the LPWI Torch of Freedom Award.)
Libertarian Phil Anderson’s education plank is that, “Any revenues raised to pay for K–12 education should be controlled by parents, who may use the funds for public schools, private schools, or home schooling.” (https://www.teamguv.org)
Their kids are not “our children.” Let parents choose.
Jim Maas, Chair
Marathon County Libertarians
Something interesting, but disturbing, happened last week in Wisconsin.
“A new Marquette Law School Poll of Wisconsin voters finds a tight race for governor … Among likely voters, incumbent Republican Scott Walker receives 46 percent, Democrat Tony Evers receives 46 percent and Libertarian Phil Anderson 6 percent.” [Marquette University Law School]
That was the interesting part, especially since it has sometimes been difficult in the past for the Marquette Poll folks to pay attention to Wisconsin’s third largest political party, the Libertarian Party. The disturbing part is that almost all of the Wisconsin news media reported on the poll but edited out poll results for Phil Anderson! [https://www.teamguv.org] Following the refusal of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association to invite Phil Anderson to their exclusive, bi-partisan, so-called, “Gubernatorial Debates,” something starts to smell funny, but not in a funny way.
Typical was a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel which announced that, “Wisconsin couldn't get any more 'purple' in the latest election polling.” It appears that the Journal Sentinel political coverage couldn’t get any more purple either since the author ignored the Libertarian numbers entirely. Clearly, reading newspapers and listening to the news in Wisconsin won't make you an informed voter.
However, somebody in the newsrooms and editorial boards might want to start paying attention. According to the Journal Sentinel, (See graph) there are more “Independents” and Undecided voters in Wisconsin than either Republican or Democrat voters. Other polls have indicated that voters would prefer more than two choices, not less. (For this graph, the newspaper apparently decided that Libertarians are “Independents.”)
Looking at those numbers, it is difficult to understand why in the world the so-called “news” media would choose to ignore such a large portion of the electorate. You might image that including news of interest to a third party and independents would increase the drama and interest in their political coverage.
In the case of the television news, bi-partisan news reports and televised “Gubernatorial Debates” look like infomercials for the benefit of sponsors of political attack ads. Follow the money.
Wisconsin voters expect and deserve political news coverage to be non-partisan, not bi-partisan.Will voters find out who the candidates are and what they stand for before they enter the polls in November? We shall see.
James Maas, Chair
Marathon County Libertarian Party
The following complaint with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission by gubernatorial candidate Phil Anderson:
"The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association has colluded with the Democratic and Republican parties both directly and indirectly through their gubernatorial debate participation criteria to exclude candidates of other parties appearing on the ballot. Based on the fact that the WBA announced its series of gubernatorial debates less than 24 hours after the polls closed on the August 14 primary election, it is clear they had already decided to include only the Democrat and Republican candidates. They did not even follow their own stated participation criteria of candidate fundraising minimums of $250,000 and at least 10% in a recent poll. No other parties were included in the polls previous to the primary election, so this criterion was impossible for any candidate other than Democrats or Republicans to meet."
Anderson contends that that this active collusion with Democrats and Republicans to exclude third parties from the debates constitutes an illegal in-kind donation to the campaigns of their parties’ gubernatorial committees. The value of primetime exposure on statewide television is significant and of concrete monetary value to the candidates’ committees. "Consider how much either or both candidates would have had to spend to obtain an hour of primetime advertising."
According to Section 11.1112, “No foreign or domestic corporation, no association organized under ch. 185 or 193, no labor organization, and no federally recognized American Indian Tribe may make a contribution to a committee…” By providing valuable primetime exposure to the Democrat and Republican candidates and by excluding all others, the WBA has made an illegal in-kind donation to both campaigns, say Anderson.
"This collusion is further evidenced by a special tax break provided in the 2017 Act 59, the 2017-19 biennial budget. This provision, page 283, item 33, would reduce broadcasters’ net taxes by $147,437,800. Combined with the millions in advertising revenue that Wisconsin broadcasters receive from the Democrat and Republican parties every election year, the mutually beneficial financial relationship between these parties is clear.
One of the things I’ve encountered occasionally while behind the Libertarian Party booth at the County Fairs the last two weeks is “I think Libertarians should just run as Republicans and Democrats and change the party from within.” Here are a list of reasons why this is a bad idea and ultimately doesn’t work:
-Libertarians are not Republicans and Democrats. This is the most obvious reason. I could simply end this blog here, but I won’t. Time and time again, the two major parties has constantly rejected actual free market ideals, even if Libertarian-leaning Republicans win their respective seat. Libertarian-leaning people in Congress and Senate are either out-voted by the establishment majority of their party, or even (like Rand Paul), outright support the establishment majority shortly after criticizing it. Elder Republicans come from the Reagan-era drug war days and others are salivating over another excuse to bomb (aka “liberate”) another country. And now, more Republicans than not have sided with Trump’s tarriffs, starting a trade war with China, and the white nationalists have embedded themselves too far inside to EVER accept the “open borders” or “Ellis Island” concept most small-l libertarians endorse. Democrats abhor the term “free market” like the plague and, despite any criticism toward Republicans over their foreign policy, still endorse military interventionism, they just want a different approach. If you are concerned with the military-industrial complex’s hold on America’s wargames, it won’t end with a Democrat in office.
-Running as part of the two-party system does not shine a light on the core problems and policies that created the two-party system in the first place. Example: The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association has a rule stating that any candidate to participate in their televised debates must have over $250,000 raised in their coffers to be considered. Not just to be in the debates, but just to be considered in their debates. This also applies to Senate candidates - which made this all too ironic when, in 2016, Libertarian candidate Phil Anderson wanted to debate Republican Ron Johnson and Democrat Russ Feingold - you know, the guy who co-authored the McCain/Feingold act, supposedly to “get money out of politics?” Strangely we didn’t hear a peep from the Feingold camp about this requirement. Can’t imagine why - the two-party system doesn’t want to give voters a choice. This is why some people call the two parties a “one party system.” Just like how big corporations will regulate smaller competitors out of business to line their pockets, so do Republicans and Democrats - all the while claiming they are looking out for your interests.
Some states like Ohio require signatures equal to 1 percent of the last presidential or gubernatorial vote - which equaled to about 56,000 votes in the 2012 general election - to win party recognition on the ballot. In Tennessee for example, independents only require 25 signatures for Governor, but third parties actually require over 33,000 signatures to be recognized. Republicans and Democrats, though? Far, far lower requirements for signatures - or maybe even none at all, depending on your state. Just about anyone running for office will tell you that collecting signatures is the hardest part of the campaign.
Running as a third party candidate will expose these problems so we may start putting either market pressure on media outlets, or petition the government to lower signature requirements - or perhaps increase the signature requirements for the two parties to even the playing field.
-If a small-l libertarian runs as a Republican and loses (like Austin Petersen in Missouri’s Senate primary), that candidate will not be on the ballot. That means less choice for you, the voter, unwittingly putting you further in a situation to possibly hold your nose and vote the lesser-of-two-evils, all over again - and then ironically complain about how bad our election system is.
People want choice. A very simple question I ask people in person at County Fairs is, “Do you feel the two party system is working for you?” And I get the immediate reply of “No.” I have encountered people who don’t vote because they feel their views are not properly represented by the candidates shown, and are brow-beat by the two major parties to think any effort to make a change by their single vote will mean nothing. As it’s been said, the strongest voices in America aren’t the ones who voted for the winning candidate - it is the ones who didn’t vote. The Silent Majority. We can curse them and say “You don’t have any right to complain then,” but that’s not going to solve the issue. What’s going to solve the issue is giving people opportunity to have their voice heard on the ballot. This means making it easier for third parties to have ballot access, this means putting pressure on media outlets to pay more attention to third parties, this also means abandoning the two-party system and being a part of something that accurately reflects your views better.
Looking at small-l libertarian Republicans who win a race here and there, and declaring that they are changing the two-party system from within, is much like spotting a plant that found its way through a crack in a cement parking lot and saying "See? We can still have a garden, it just takes time." Instead, we should crack the cement open, and plant our own seeds. If you’re a small-l libertarian but vote Republican or Democrat - the revolution starts with you. Come join us at the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin, say goodbye to a system that has done such a toxic disservice to your county time and time again. We need you now!
Brian Defferding is on the Winnebago County Board for District 6 in Wisconsin. He serves on the Planning and Zoning Committee.
"God grants liberty only to those who love it and are always ready to guard and defend it.” ~ Daniel Webster
Today we celebrate the Fourth of July, formerly known as "Independence Day." I say, “formerly known as" because July 4 may be a popular celebration but not so much for our "independence."
When the American colonies declared their independence and gained their freedom from one of the largest empires in the world, it was a momentous occasion. Ours was the first nation on the planet in which the individual was considered more important than a government. Furthermore, the government was restricted by a written constitution, so they couldn't make the rules up as they wished.
Today, we aren't as free as we once were or as we should be. More than ever, Wisconsinites love our country but fear our government.
The wisdom of our Founding Fathers was written down. The powers of the national government were designed to be limited and the ratifying states would not have approved the Constitution without a written Bill of Rights. Article Ten says quite clearly that, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." What a gift that was! The problem is, we can't depend on politicians to honor it, even though they take an oath of office to do so.
If our state government is merely an administrative zone for Washington, what is the point? The Environmental Protection Agency is after Wisconsin power plants that burn economical coal fuels. (Where is the Office of Energy of our DNR?) This will increase energy costs for Wisconsin industry and other consumers. Wisconsin jobs and industries are threatened by trade policies imposed by Washington.
The Agriculture Department is issuing "guidelines" which may restrict cranberry juice drinks in our schools. Who should be issuing guidelines for our schools?Read more
“With another record year of opioid overdose deaths, Wisconsin eyes fixes” (Wisconsin State Journal headline, 5/9/2018) So, Wisconsin still needs a “fix” after all these years?
Does the State Journal (and other papers) simply re-write press releases put out by the Governor’s office or does a reporter actually have an opportunity to ask challenging questions so a news article provides some facts which might be useful for a reader to put the Governor’s words in perspective?
Governor Walker is, ironically, quite proud of his “Fight” on this government induced “health emergency.” His office has published lists of numerous bills he has signed, executive orders issued, and cites millions of dollars spent. There is a campaign television ad focusing on how he has fought opioids coming to a station near you.
Keep in mind that, last year there was only a 7% increase in fatal opioid overdoses over 2016 in Wisconsin. Emergency room visits for suspected opioid overdoses increased by only 109%, the greatest rise among sixteen states closely tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Wisconsin is #1!) Undeterred, the Walker Administration prescribes more of the same; more laws, more bans, more record keeping, more prisoners, and more spending.
Unfortunately, simply banning or restricting opioid prescriptions has had some unintended negative outcomes, namely increased use of heroin or other drugs with uncertified purity and potency. The Journal of Internal Medicine published two studies that conclude that medical marijuana (or medical cannabis) laws have the potential to reduce opioid prescriptions.
“Reducing the supply of legal prescriptions for opioids is pushing people into black market heroin/fentanyl abuse,” pointed out Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer, a Phoenix surgeon and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “The number one cause of drug deaths is drug prohibition. We need to change our focus to harm reduction. We need to change from a war on drugs to a war on drug deaths.”
Even though legislation was introduced in 2017 to permit Wisconsin doctors to prescribe safe, non-addicting medical cannabis, the bills never got out of committees. Wisconsin is almost surrounded by states where patients can get safe medical cannabis. “Wisconsin is open for business;” the pharmaceutical business.