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.
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.
"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
Wisconsin is home to thousands of military veterans. Unfortunately, veterans have a disproportionately high rate of certain debilitating medical conditions as compared to the general population.
The Veterans Health Administration treats many of the veterans dealing with health issues with opioid pain medications. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to abuse, addiction and even fatal overdose. But, the VA and Attorney General Brad Schimel recently announced that they will give veterans a “Dose of Reality.” A rather ominous name for this campaign, and rightly so.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice may not know much about pain management but they intend to work with the VA to “give military veterans and active service members, and their families, the tools and resources to prevent opioid abuse.” They boast that the VA has made significant progress in reducing opioid prescribing. Unfortunately, the VA has resisted making all recommended alternative treatments available to veterans.
Cannabis has been found to help many patients suffering from conditions that can afflict veterans as a result of their service, including chronic pain, cancer, ALS, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorders, and phantom limb pain. In 2017 all major veterans service organizations in Wisconsin passed a number of resolutions on health care, including one supporting medical cannabis for veterans with a doctors recommendation. AG Shimel and Wisconsin government continues to ignore the veterans' position.
“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.
Things in our state capitol are not always what they seem to be. April has been no exception.
A bill described by opponents as an assault on free speech, democracy, and on our constitutionally protected rights passed the Legislature, barring the state from contracting with companies that participate in an economic boycott of a repressive, apartheid government, Israel. Opponents argued at a public hearing that the bill was dangerous and anti-democratic. [Note: Norwegian MP Bjørnar Moxnes has nominated the international protest movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions for the Nobel Peace Prize!]
On the Easter weekend, following passage of the Wisconsin bill, a thousand unarmed Palestinian protesters were shot, injured, or killed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza. Where was the outrage?
There was no outrage. On the following Monday, Governor Walker signed legislation making it illegal for Wisconsin companies to participate in an economic boycott of what South Africa calls, “the only state in the world that can be called an apartheid state”
Further doubling down on the anti-democratic theme of the law, it also prohibits state agencies and local governments from establishing their own policies on boycotting Israel.
“As governor, I will restore local control to counties and municipalities.”
Gov. Scott Walker on the campaign trail.
In contrast to his campaign rhetoric, time and again, Governor Walker has signed legislation into law which has either restricted the authority of local elected officials or imposed burdensome mandates on local governments.
The right to organize boycotts, to marshal economic pressure to effect political change, is protected under the First Amendment,” explains the National Lawyers Guild.
The American Civil Liberties Union has argued that a similar Arizona law violates the First and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution by forcing contractors “to disavow their participation in political boycotts.” Wisconsin taxpayers must now be prepared to pay to defend restrictions on civil rights in Wisconsin!
Human Rights Watch reports that fifty years after Israel illegally occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, “it controls those areas through repression, institutionalized discrimination, and systematic abuses of the Palestinian population’s rights.”Read more