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Sunday, November 19, 2017

What to do this week (Nov. 20-26)

4:30 p.m.  Fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate, Mahlon Mitchell at the Bodega.

6:00 p.m. Holy Trinity-Longfellow Neighborhood Association monthly meeting at Holy Trinity Church

6:30 p.m. La Crosse County Dems monthly meeting including elections for 2018 board at the Ho-Chunk Three Rivers House (8th and Main).

6:30 p.m. Hintgen Neighborhood Assn  monthly meeting at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

6:30 p.m. Grandview Emerson Neighborhood Association monthly meeting at Emerson Elementary School

10 a.m. Friends of the Refuge Bake Sale at the Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge

By the way, the Coulee Region Sierra Club is offering environmental education grants for teachers and organizations in the Coulee Region (Crawford, Grant, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, Trempealeau, and Vernon counties) . The application is due in early January.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Big Events to start 2018

Seeking volunteers, organizations, help spreading the word about:


Please help spread the word about this January 20 event being planned for our area. There are many aspects to industrial operations in sensitive areas from environmental pollution to health issues to infrastructure degradation. Organizers are seeking co-sponsors and organizing volunteers. Post forward, publish.


Across western Wisconsin industrial operations in rural areas threaten vital resources and ways of life for towns, farms, families, and small businesses. Industrial animal feedlots (CAFO) manure spills have killed thousands of fish and polluted countless wells. New industrial hog slaughter facilities are planned in sensitive geological areas. Hog manure pits are sited on top of sinkholes. Other proposals threaten our rural water and air.

A Driftless regional conference on how ordinary citizens feel about the industrialization of our communities and lands and what we can do to organize and have our voices heard is being planned for JANUARY 20, 2018. We need help from organizations, businesses, and groups. We are seeking volunteers and help getting the word out to all groups, from environmental protectors to fishing and hunting advocates, from small towns who have lost local control to small businesses and tourism operations depending upon clean air and water for their livelihoods.

If you can help in any way, please contact Crawford Stewardship Project (fjahnke at crawfordstewardship dot org) or Coulee Region Sierra Club (crsierraclub at gmail dot com) An organizing call will be arranged for late November.


2. (working title) FOSTERING an ECOSYSTEM of ACTIVISM - PROGRESSTIVAL 2018 on FEBRUARY 3 from 2 to 5 at the Concordia

Please keep this date open so you can attend, network, share ideas, sign up, listen, discuss, and be ready to make 2018 a very active year for progressive issues. We have secured the Concordia Ballroom and will provide regular updates as more details are finalized. If your group, organization, or agency would like to table at this event, please email couleeprogressive at homail. The plan is for tablers to set up between 1 and 2, and for activist networking to occur between 2 and about 4 p.m. We'll end the event with a speaker (to be determined) followed by a quick group clean up. Because there are so many candidates and a limited number of tables at the space, we will have a CANDIDATES' CORNER (spelling TBD) table for candidate literature but we are saving tabling space for the many great groups and organizations wishing to bring in new volunteers ideas, and energy.


If you know of other major events we should let people know about, please email couleeprogressive at homail.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Your action required - health care and smears

First, from MoveOn:

We are in a red-alert moment on the tax fight—which is now also a fight to save health care for millions of Americans.

Just yesterday, Republicans inserted a repeal of the health care individual mandate into the Senate bill—which would unravel the Affordable Care Act, resulting in 13 million more Americans without health insurance and premiums skyrocketing for everyone else.

And as soon as tomorrow, the House could vote on its own version of this tax scam—which Senator Bernie Sanders called "destructive, obscene, and immoral" in a recent email to MoveOn members. It would raise taxes for 36 million middle-class families, just to pay for giveaways to corporations and billionaires.

It's critical to join the tax fight now—and tonight, you can take part in a national organizing call with Sen. Bernie Sanders and other special guests to learn what actions we can take together to stop this GOP attack on tens of millions of families' livelihood and health care.

Click here to RSVP for the Ready to Resist call with Sen. Bernie Sanderstonight, Wednesday, November 15, at 7 p.m. Central Time


And now, a story about a non-story in the land of the right wing echo machine.

Who among us has not said, FB posted, Tweeted or otherwise conveyed our heat-of-the-moment thoughts about our parents, colleagues, friends, loved ones, pets, teachers, physicians, favorite band, elected officials, or other generic group? And who among us has then awakened to those thoughts highlighted in a FRONT PAGE La Crosse Tribune article similar in look and tone to those about murderers or other notorious criminals?

How could this happen? Welcome to the echo chamber of the right wing smear machine (RWSM)

As the Tribune tells it, "The tweets caught the attention last week of conservative Milwaukee radio talk show host Mark Belling and the conservative media outlet Campus Reform ..." In other words, billionaires' right wing smear machine reads a college student's personal tweet, tweet gets spin treatment, spin story goes out to clone media outlets (I guess including the LaX Tribune (and we do mean LAX in this situation)), and presto: college student tweeter = major criminal with front page headlines.

This isn't new (see this 1996 article, or this 2007 Nation Magazine article about "The New Right-Wing Smear Machine") and it's not just a Wisconsin phenomenon. Last year's "Anatomy of a Smear," by famous climate scientist Michael E. Mann writing in Huffington post describes how a bit of his testimony before the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee was spun into propaganda gold by the national RWSM.

In Wisconsin, apparently, a smear campaign often starts with Media Trackers whose purpose seems to be blasting out "fake news" (we used to call this LIES) about their enemies. A similar non-story about Tony Evers was amplified by Wisconsin media recently (one hilariously headlining their FRONT PAGE piece, "Middleton teacher case becomes focus of governor's race" Well, no it didn't) but was so false that it failed to ignite (but probably had the desired effect to ignite the Republican base who may not bother to find out if the story is true or not).

At least the student targeted here is in good company. The RWSM is hard at work in Alabama, smearing women who are finally reporting their experiences with Creepy Clown Cowboy Roy Moore, and smears have long been used to silence environmental and peace activists.

This is one reason social media is so dangerous to our political health. We may think we are immune, too well educated or whatever to fall for their fake stuff, but just the act of seeing something over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, breaks people down, even people who know better. ("New research finds repeated false statements are more likely to be perceived as truthful, even when we have enough knowledge to contradict them.") Just one little crack or hole can let in a whole campaign's worth of polluted thought. And forget the Russians, the RWSM has whole organizations dedicated to bringing up fake new, false accusations, unfounded rumors, and much much more. Diane Ravitch lists some of the Bradley Foundation funded Wisconsin organizations that are the mirrors that concentrate the smears based on One Wisconsin's investigations into the funding and leadership of these groups.

But to get back to little La Crosse, what can we do to keep our only newspaper, our monopoly on printed news, from falling into the spin machine? Well, I think - FEED BACK. Call and write. Tell them how this is undermining their credibility and the good work of the great reporters who work at the Tribune and report on important stuff. Ask them why a college student's tweets belong on their front page? Do you have a subscription? Cancel it. Don't let this slide because it will just grease the skids for more and more RWSM crap masquerading as news. And really we can't afford that,

More links I couldn't fit in above (for your consideration):
Facebook is dangerous for democracy - and here's why
Social media and democracy: optimism fades as fears rise
Is social media destroying democracy?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Thursday - more events

Here are a few more events for Thursday, in case you couldn't decide before ...

4:00 p.m. Wave signs for McCabe for Governor at the corner of Losey and La Crosse Street

4:30 p.m. Sustainable La Crosse Commission meets to continue discussing goals for 2018. If you have an interest in pushing our community to be more sustainable, consider attending in the fifth floor conference room at City Hall

6:30 p.m. La Crosse Citizens Climate Lobby will hold its monthly meeting at 401 West Avenue South. Please visit the link and watch or listen to this month's recording before the meeting if possible.

Also, we are working on a Run for Something page for those considering running for city council, school board, or county board. Some info is up already. School board and county board candidates can start working on their papers (which includes getting signatures on nomination papers) on December 1. Most papers need to be returned in early January 2018. The spring election will be on April 3 with primaries on February 20 if needed. There will also be a candidate training on December 2 in Tomah presented by Wisconsin Progress.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

This week (November 13-19)

Last day for Martin Luther King, Jr Leadership Award nominations

noon La Crosse Interfaith Justice and Peace Coalition meeting at 420 West Ave S.

6:00 p.m. PUBLIC HEARING on La Crosse County Budget for 2018 including plan to end County's mosquito control, possibility of dropping our of local CofC, a conservative Republican-connected group (in fact, there are good arguments for many businesses and non profits to disconnect from this group), and more in County Administrative Building, 6th & State. 

6:30 p.m. Weigent-Hogan Neighborhood Association monthly meeting at 401 West Avenue South

noon League of Women Voters - Neighborhood Perspectives on Poverty (lunch registration is closed but you may go for the program) at Moxie's, 1835 Rose Street

4:00 p.m. Indoor Farmers' Market at the La Crescent Community Center

5:00 p.m. International Coffee Hour - gender roles at UWL's Hall of Nations, Centennial Hall

6:30 p.m. Storytime for Adults hosted by La Crosse Public Library at Turtlestack Brewery,  

7:00 p.m. Indivisible/New Directions meeting at 401 West Ave S

10:00 a.m. Habitat for Humanity Info Session at the ReStore between Woodman's and West Salem off of Highway 16 (Public transportation available for La Crosse, Holmen, Ona, West Salem)

4:30 p.m. La Crosse Area Planning Committee (many transportation issues will be discussed) public may speak at Rm 1107 County Admin Building (6th and State)

5:30 p.m. Fundraiser for Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Tim Burns at 3039 Edgewater Lane (French Island) (or donate online)

6:45 p.m. Powell-Poage-Hamilton Neighborhood Assn monthly meeting at Southside Neighborhood Center

7:00 p.m. Driftless Reader Publication Party at Driftless Books and Music, Viroqua

7:00 p.m. Photographic History of the La Crosse River Marsh in Room 1400 Centennial Hall, UWL 

10 a.m. Trans Day of Remembrance exhibit opens at UWL Hall of Nations

5:30 p.m. Driftless Reader readings at the Root Note

6:00 p.m. Habitat for Humanity Info Session at the ReStore between Woodman's and West Salem off of Highway 16 (Public transportation available (but ends at 7 p.m.) for La Crosse, Holmen, Ona, West Salem)

7:15 p.m. Trans Day of Remembrance vigil at the UWL Clocktower 

1:00 p.m. Planning meeting for 2018 La Crosse Juneteenth Celebration (in September 2018)

3:00 p.m. Habitat for Humanity Info Session at the ReStore between Woodman's and West Salem off of Highway 16 (Public transportation available for La Crosse, Holmen, Ona, West Salem)

10:00 a.m. Habitat for Humanity Info Session at the ReStore between Woodman's and West Salem off of Highway 16 (Public transportation available for La Crosse, Holmen, Ona, West Salem)

7:00 p.m. A Chef's Story at the Uptowne, 1217 Caledonia (MUST RESERVE at link) 

10:00 a.m. Winter Farmers' Market at Myrick Park Center

5:00 p.m. Vernon County Dems annual board elections at 120 N Rusk, Viroqua

Also coming up on Monday, November 20 - La Crosse County Democratic Party board elections. You MUST be a party member by November 14 (ok, it's really the 15th, but do it by the 14th, ok?) We need everyone who works for, donates to, and votes for Dem candidates to join the party so its candidates and priorities are those of the people. 

And Guy shared this opinion piece by Winona LaDuke, I Am Tired of Being Invisible to You All. For some reason, only November is designated as Native American Heritage Month, but really, every month should be Native American Heritage Month or Native American Real True History Month and What are we going to do about it. At the very least. Please read and consider, how can we start to make needed changes?

Here's a short except. Please read the whole thing.
November is Native American Heritage month. Before that, of course, is Halloween. Until about three years ago, one of the most popular Halloween costumes was Pocahontas. People know nothing about us, but they like to dress up like us or have us as a mascot.

We are invisible. Take it from me. I travel a lot, and often ask this question: Can you name 10 indigenous nations? Often, no one can name us. The most common nations named are Lakota, Cherokee, Navajo, Cheyenne and Blackfeet—mostly native people from western movies. This is the problem with history. If you make the victim disappear, there is no crime. And we just disappeared. When I travel, I get this feeling someone has seen a unicorn in the airport. That would be me, in my Pendleton jacket. I often get that awkward question if I am Navajo or Cherokee. But here's what I want people to know today about native Americans: There are over 700 indigenous nations in North America. In Guatemala and Bolivia, we are the majority population. Two indigenous presidents have been elected—Evo Morales in Bolivia and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. We are doctors, lawyers, writers, educators, and we are here. We are land-based, and intend to stay that way. I hear Minnesotans talk about how the Americans gave us land. America was stolen or purchased for a pittance. President Andrew Jackson forced the removal of thousands of our people, and then sold our land. Historians point out that Jackson's Louisiana Purchase knocked U.S. debt from $58 million in 1828 to $38,000 in 1834. Good deal, except for us.