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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The revolution comes around again

Reminder - tonight is the Bernie Revolution live stream event. You can join the Vernon County Dems for a group watch party in Viroqua starting at 7:30 p.m. or you can stream it yourself. The local feed begins at 8 p.m.

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Congratulations to the folks of the Save Memorial Pool group. They have taken the preservation of their neighborhood seriously and worked on their (and all La Crosse residents') behalf to make sure this historic landmark of a neighborhood anchor will not go gently. They have kept people informed about what's happening, have organized informational events, have challenged bad information, even hired their own consultant, and overall have been the very highest example of positive community action. If you haven't already connected with this exemplary effort, please do because the struggle isn't over. If you want to help right now, please contact planning commission members and tell them to budget for a new memorial pool in 2017.

Taking part in a recent SMP letter writing campaign, I learned from a City employee that they have spent $150,000 on this pool over the years. Consider that the pool is more than 80 years old and has served countless thousands of area residents (who have always paid admission to use the pool), has provided a stable anchor for the neighborhood, helped area businesses, and served as an example of the foresight of our depression era ancestors. Also, consider that the city routinely budgets MILLIONS of dollars (most recently $15 million) to build, maintain, and add onto parking ramps that serve mostly people who live out of town.

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Do you know about the Showdown at Standing Rock? It's not a new western movie, it's a real live, life or death struggle going on right now near the Standing Rock Souix Tribe's home in North Dakota where a giant Bakken oil pipeline (similar to the stopped Keystone XL) is under construction. Why haven't we heard about this on the news? We know more about Ryan Lochte's drinking habits than about a growing people's resistance to more fossil fuels, more environmental degradation, more ignoring people for corporate profit.

Thank goodness for Democracy Now! and other alternative media. Maybe those network stations need to hear from the people about what WE think is important to cover. Email or call their corporate offices and demand coverage. And consider contacting local television stations demanding that THEY cover this issue. It affects all of us.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

What is wrong with this picture?


Today I got an email requesting that I sign an online petition asking TV networks to include Green Party presidential candidate, Jill Stein, and Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson in the fall presidential candidate "debates." (Really, I think this term is debatable.)

As you probably know, the official sounding Commission on Presidential Debates is nothing more than a gang of Democrats and Republicans who, in the mid 80s, grabbed control of presidential "debates"  from the League of Women Voters in order to make sure only approved candidates would be able to participate and only in approved ways with approved moderators.

For years, the CPD has maintained that only candidates who poll well in select media can be included in the candidate shows. Conveniently, as has been demonstrated pretty clearly with the DNC emails and the current FOX News soap opera, the major media corporations are closely intertwined with the two parties and so (CNN's Green Town Hall notwithstanding) it has been pretty easy for them to provide poor and sometimes misleading coverage of the "lesser" party candidates so that people answering polls often don't know other parties exist.

So, we, the citizens who are supposed to be controlling things, are left to beg news corporations and the elites in the Democratic and Republican parties to let us hear from and about people who want to be president. (We are not talking about Pat Paulson here.) And candidates' outreach to voters (except for D. Trump who received about 2 billion dollars worth of free advertising) depends upon the money they raise from the wealthy for the most part.

Thankfully, I guess, the internets now provide other ways for people to communicate around the official pipeline. During the primary season, Bernie Sanders (who had called for two party primary debates) successfully inserted himself into the Republican debates using Twitter, for example.

But it just seems, IF voters are supposed to be the ones ultimately calling the shots, that voters shouldn't have to beg to be able to hear from legitimate presidential candidates. In fact, as this recent article notes, voters who will have to live with the environmental, war, trade, health care, and other major policies the next president will back feel as if their current choices (Trump or Clinton) are a joke

Sign the petition if you think it will do any good. But really, we should not have to beg for this.

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In the meantime, the Vernon Dems are hosting a Letter to the Editor writing workshop on August 24 and an Our Revolution watch party on August 24.

The La Crosse County Dems will hold elections for officers in November. Candidate slates will be released in October and those running for positions on the board must join or be members in good standing by, I think, September. Leadership of a county party can make a big difference.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Civil obedience is the problem

This article, The People of Vermont versus Monsanto and the Feds by Paul Cienfuegos, was recommended by Minnesota activist friends.

The conclusions of the Princeton "oligarchy study," that there is really no correlation between what most voters want and what laws are passed (cartoon version here), is perfectly represented by the passage of the DARK act. What human in her/his right mind would NOT want to know what's in the food we buy and eat? 

What human wants a secret trade court to decide who has jurisdiction over our lives - a foreign corporation or our state and federal laws? Yet the Trans Pacific Partnership (pushed by newly re-elected Mr. 10.5 percent*) will probably pass in the lame duck session. What human wants more fossil fuel development as our planet burns to a cinder? Yet the Obama administration is poised to approve new Gulf oil leases. The list is endless as anyone with an email address knows.

* Ron Kind got about 81 percent of the votes of the 13 percent of voters who showed up on August 9. So, about 89.5 percent of voters did not vote for Ron Kind.

But, back to the issue at hand. The People of Vermont vs Monsanto and the Feds

Beloved historian Howard Zinn once said, “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. … Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running and robbing the country. …”

We all know he was right. One of the more tragic current examples of how American social movements continue to fall into this trap of civil obedience is how our anti-GMO organizations have responded to Monsanto Corporation’s proposed DARK Act, which bans states from requiring the labeling of GMO foods, and which our Congress, Senate, and President Obama all passed into law over these last few weeks, even though it was opposed by 90% of Americans. Because the DARK Act is now law, Vermont’s existing law that requires all foods containing GMOs to be labeled, has been struck down and can no longer be enforced.

For years now, the Organic Consumers Association, Center for Food Safety, Food Democracy Now, and other national and state organizations, have been leading the American people down a path of civil obedience, consistently claiming that if they can just get more signatures on their online petitions, if they can just get another wave of donations from their millions of supporters, that they will continue to win against Monsanto Corporation and its allies. If that were actually true, the DARK Act would not have been passed by an overwhelming majority of both Democrats and Republicans, Obama would have vetoed it, and numerous states would have already successfully banned, not labeled, GMO foods. So clearly, something is terribly wrong with the strategy that these anti-GMO groups are asking us to follow. Is there a better alternative? Of course there is!

Please continue reading at CounterPunch.org

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sen. Tammy Baldwin fundraiser in Viroqua Friday/Visit in La Crosse Saturday

You're invited to join
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin
at a reception in support of her campaign
Friday, August 19th, 2016
5:30pm - 7:30pm
Driftless Cafe, 118 West Court Street, Viroqua, WI

Become a Sponsor!
$1000 Host, $500 Sponsor, $250 Friend

RSVP or become a sponsor by responding to me directly, or you can go online to: www.TammyBaldwin.com/Viroqua

If you prefer to contribute by mail, please make your check out to:
Tammy Baldwin for Senate
PO Box 696
Madison, WI 53703
==============================
Sen. Baldwin will visit La Crosse (Dem HQ - 117 Fifth Ave. S) at 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, August 20. (Not a fundraiser)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Host a screening - The Brainwashing of My Dad

Is anyone interested in hosting a screening of this film about the effect right wing media has had on our politics?

From Democracy for America:

Ever wonder how we ended up with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump?

Trump is a product of decades of hate and fear-mongering spread through right-wing media -- with Fox News leading the way. No film does a better job exploring the personal implications of this dangerous propaganda than "The Brainwashing of My Dad," which has received excellent reviews from critics and audiences alike.

In "The Brainwashing of My Dad," filmmaker Jen Senko examines the rise of right-wing media through the lens of her father, whose immersion in it radicalized him and rocked the foundation of their family. She discovers this political phenomenon recurring in living rooms everywhere, and reveals the consequences conservative media has had on families and a nation.

As Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren know, it's not enough to just fight the hate of the right-wing media -- we need to offer an alternative vision for America. With less than a hundred days left until Election Day, Democracy for America is organizing "The Brainwashing of My Dad" watch parties across the country on September 15 as a unique opportunity for DFA members to get together, get organized, and get to work building the political revolution to defeat Donald Trump and change the Democratic Party in the critical years ahead.

Will you host a viewing of the film "The Brainwashing of My Dad" for your family and friends -- and anyone else you want to invite -- on Thursday, September 15?

YES! I'll watch a trailer for "The Brainwashing of My Dad" and sign up to host a watch party on September 15!
No, I'm not able to host a watch party, but I can chip in $3 or more to support these grassroots events across America.
If you've ever argued with a friend or co-worker who relentlessly regurgitates Fox News talking points, you'll want to see this movie. Click the video below to check out the moving film trailer about how right-wing media poisoned the mind of filmmaker Jen Senko's father -- and what Jen and her family did to bring him back from the hateful brink:
Enjoy the trailer? Great. It's easy to get started as a watch party host!

As a party host, all you’ll need to do is locate a comfortable place for your friends and family -- and fellow DFA members, if you want to use our event tools to invite them -- to watch this important film. We’ll provide materials and resources for all hosts, including a free DVD of "The Brainwashing of My Dad" (or you can stream it over the internet), helpful prep and planning calls for hosts, and an important strategy call with a VIP on September 15.

Sign up now to host a watch party to experience "The Brainwashing of My Dad" -- it can be a small showing with just your family and friends or a larger gathering of people in your community who want to build the political revolution to defeat Donald Trump in November and change the Democratic Party in the months and years to come.

YES! I'll watch the "Brainwashing of My Dad" trailer and sign up to host a watch party on September 15!
No, I'm not able to host a watch party, but I can chip in $3 or more to support these grassroots events across America.
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Monday, August 15, 2016

Citizen Action webinar on Voter ID

From Citizen Action of Wisconsin:


You are invited to a special webinar/conference call on the new election law changes taking place this November in Wisconsin hosted by Citizen Action's own Anita Johnson. Anita has been featured in national articles for her years of work protecting the right to vote, and most recently for successfully joining the lawsuit that threw out many Wisconsin election restrictions.

In the last few months, judges have thrown out, overruled and upheld numerous changes to Wisconsin election law - from Photo ID to weekend voting to residency requirements and more - and it has left many people unsure of the current state election laws in place for this November. We want to help.

Join Citizen Action's Anita Johnson as she covers changes in:

  • Photo ID
  • Student voting
  • Early and weekend voting
  • Residency requirements
  • and more!
With the election less than 3 months away, you cannot afford to miss this important primer on the state of current Wisconsin election law!

WHAT: Webinar on Voting Law Changes for 2016 w/ Anita Johnson
WHEN: Tuesday August 23rd, 2:30pm
You can join by computer or phone
Click here to RSVP for this webinar/conference call

-- 

Kevin Kane
Organizing Director
Citizen Action of Wisconsin


PS: Can't make this event? RSVP anyway to receive the details of election rules after the webinar!

FINAL EDITION - La Crosse for Bernie News #52

It’s been a little more than a year since we started reporting on La Crosse area efforts to elect Bernie Sanders as the Democratic party nominee for president. What a long strange trip it’s been, to quote the Grateful Dead.

This is our last issue of La Crosse 4 Bernie News. Last Tuesday, about thirteen per cent of eligible voters turned out to give pro-TPP corporatist Ron Kind another term in Congress. Challenger, Myron  Buchholz received about 18.7 per cent of the vote total (unofficially fewer than 41,000 votes total).

We will try to keep information about local, regional, state, and national progressive events going at couleeprogressives.org. If you would like to blog there, please email Cathy.

In the meantime, here are some events coming up that you may be interested in:
Tonight the La Crosse County Democratic Party is meeting at their HQ (117 Fifth Avenue South).  Socializing begins at 6:30 and at 7 p.m. Ismael Ozanne, District Attorney of Dane County, will speak on recent Federal Court decisions on redistricting.

Wednesday, August 17CNN Town Hall with GREEN PARTY candidate, Jill Stein. Streaming live on CNN and online (CNNgo). Some communities are hosting watch parties – is there one in La Crosse? I don’t know.

Now that they’ve done away with Bernie, the corporate media is turning on Dr. Jill Stein, according to this Counterpunch article. “Jill Stein, the Green Party’s nominee for president, has been the sudden target of attacks from all corners of online media since the official end of Bernie Sanders’ campaign at the Democratic National Convention. Outlets like the Washington Post, New York Magazine and Gizmodo have assaulted Stein by using out-of-context quotes to assail her, wrongly, for being anti-vaccination and anti-WiFi, which is a code for being ‘anti-science.’ This allows us a unique opportunity to confirm the structural role of the media as hypothesized by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman in Manufacturing Consent: that the media is a propaganda arm for the elite and powerful, and is used to condition us to accept the bounds of socio-political discourse as set by the ruling class.”

Don’t expect to see any third party candidates in the “debates” either, since the Dem/Rep parties control who can get in.

Wednesday, August 24 – Bernie Sanders live stream – OUR REVOLUTION kick off. The Vernon County Dems are hosting a watch party.

Friday, August 26 – La Crosse City Clerk will offer TRAINING FOR SPECIAL (VOTER) REGISTRATION DEPUTIES at 10 a.m. in the 3rd floor conference room at City Hall.  There will be more trainings in early fall, but this is the only one set so far. Please RSVP to lehrket@cityoflacrosse.org or call 608 789-7556 with questions.

The League of Women Voters is seeking SRDs to help register students during move-in week at UWL If you are an SRD and available, please email Mary.
  • Friday, September 2, from 11-3 at Cartwright Port-O-Call
  • Saturday, September 3, from 11-3 at Cartwright Port-O-Call
  • Sunday, September 4, from 11:30 – 1:30 at Whitney
  • Monday, September 5, from 11:30 – 1:30 at Whitney
Saturday, September 17Fighting Bob Fest in Madison

Glen Greenwald has a great article about how McCarthyism is coming back in spades. A very thorough and thoroughly disgusting description of how the Democrats are operating. “A frequent weapon for Democrats in the 2016 election is to publicly malign those they regard as critics and adversaries as Russia sympathizers, Putin stooges, or outright agents of the Kremlin. … But this smear tactic extends far beyond Trump. It is now used to vilify anyone perceived to be an impediment to Clinton’s victory. When WikiLeaks published thousands of DNC emails shortly before the Democratic Convention, which ultimately forced the resignation of four top officials, it was instantly asserted that it was The Russians who gave them those emails (even though The Washington Post cited an intelligence official as saying that “the intelligence community . . . has not reached a conclusion about who passed the emails to WikiLeaks” … On Saturday, it was Jill Stein’s turn in the Kremlin seat. As the Green Party candidate rises in the polls, it was only a matter of time before Democrats turned their Russia-smearing eyes toward her.”

Here’s a new article that describes what really happened to some Bernie Sanders delegates at the convention and, more importantly, why they felt that booing and “misbehaving” were the only options left for them. This is a very detailed article about why some delegates took the steps they did – not following sit-down-shut-up orders from the top when the promised contested convention did not happen. “So here we were going into the convention with nothing to fight for. In fact, the campaign had done nothing to prepare us for any role at the convention at all. There was one staffer assigned to our delegation, and all he did was pester us to stay at the $700-a-night hotel, a severe hardship for Sanders delegates. We were told we had to stay there, so Sanders could confer with us each morning and each night. None of that happened. There was one conference call before the convention. However, it was more to explain Sanders’ endorsement and the future of the political revolution. And no one from the campaign met with us the first morning, either.”

Thomas Frank says, with Trump fizzling, kiss progressivism in the White House good-bye. “My leftist friends persuaded themselves that this stuff didn’t really matter, that Clinton’s many concessions to Sanders’ supporters were permanent concessions. But with the convention over and the struggle with Sanders behind her, headlines show Clinton triangulating to the right, scooping up the dollars and the endorsement, and the elites shaken loose in the great Republican wreck.”

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

VOTE TODAY!! / ACT TOMORROW

Today is the day! We're never going to have such an opportunity to overturn the status quo, send Ron Kind to his next career, and get a real progressive in Congress. With no Republican running, TODAY IS THE DAY. If Myron wins today, he is in! And this year is the year because the Bernie backers are motivated to make a change. If you need more info about voting, check myvote.wi.gov.


There will be an election party at BIG AL'S on Third Street in La Crosse starting at 7 p.m. tonight for everyone who has worked or voted for Myron.

Bernie is inviting people to sign up to host an OUR REVOLUTION KICKOFF PARTY on August 24. If anyone is interested locally, please make sure to let us know.

Oh, and regressive Indiana governor and Donald Trump running mate, Mike Pence will be in La Crosse on Thursday. Get your tickets here: www.donaldjtrump.com/schedule