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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tax the Rich

Republican whiners, in the form of the Wisconsin Taxpayer’s Alliance (WTA), complain that public employees’ benefits cost too much.

At the same time, Wisconsin is giving credits worth $1.75 million of taxpayer’s money to Logistics Health (LHI). LHI has received many taxpayer gifts and subsidies and does much of its business with government agencies, especially the Defense Department. (It's no accident that LHI's rise came in with the "Reagan Revolution.")

So, in addition to subsidies, taxpayers pay LHI to do things government could do itself.

A study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities confirms that public insurance is much less expensive than private. This public/private cost difference carries into many other areas. Why pay more for privatization?

Top officers in private business are usually well compensated. Many contribute large sums to political candidates who oppose taxes and to "the public good" as they see it. Even if there’s a crying need for more teachers or updated jail facilities or student financial aid, if a rich donor decides a football stadium is the way to go, that’s the way we go.

This is nuts. We are giving over essential services to profit-seeking private business and decision-making authority to profiteers. Our schools and public programs hold bake sales and raffles to fund essential services but the WTA and their Republican allies block progressive tax increases.

This is what happens when you put people who believe that "government is the enemy" in charge of government. Public employees, always trying to do more with less, are scorned and private businesses, who often get lots of public money, support those who scorn them.

Monday, September 24, 2007

October 27


On Saturday, October 27, people from all walks of life will gather at sites around the country for 11 regional demonstrations against the ongoing occupation of Iraq. George Bush doesn't care what millions of voters and citizens of the world think, but maybe our Congressional representatives do.

From United for Peace: "With each passing month, nearly 100 service-people and countless more Iraqis are killed, some 12 billion of our tax dollars are spent, and the death and destruction continue. Our communities – from New Orleans to Minneapolis – are neglected and suffer the consequences."

Regional demonstrations will be held simultaneously in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Boston, New Orleans, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Jonesborough, Tennessee.

After every demonstration, news commentators (if they discuss it at all) say, "Well, there were only 500,000 people at that event!" But what if there were 500,000 people at 11 simultaneous events?

YOU can go to the Chicago event. It starts and 1 p.m. and ends at around 5 p.m. Buses are going from all over Wisconsin, including Madison and Prairie du Chien. Milwaukee will send at least 15 buses. Amtrak's a possibility but you'll have to stay overnight. Carpooling in an efficient vehicle makes sense, too.

What about La Crosse? We CAN do it. Won't you give up ONE DAY to demand an end to a war that is costing us about $10 BILLION per month? Email me if you plan to go. If you would like to help secure a bus, let me know that. If you can drive others, tell me how many. I will add all names to a temporary e-list so we can coordinate as many people as possible getting to this important event.
For more info about buses from Madison, Milwaukee and other sites around the state, visit Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice. We will post info about local transportation options as they are finalized.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This has got to stop!


The half-trillion dollar war just keeps going and going. Tonight, by four votes, a resolution to allow down time at least equal to deployment time failed in the Senate. Republicans keep voting to exhaust our military by continuing the brutal occupation of Iraq. Democrats keep voting to fund it.

IraqMoratorium says, "On the Third Friday of every month, starting this Friday, Take Action! The Iraq Moratorium will be an escalating monthly series of actions demanding an end to the war. Starting on Friday, September 21 and on the third Friday of every month thereafter, we will take the time to show our President and Congress that our troops must be brought home, now! Call Congress today! 202-224-3121."

More info at iraqmoratorium.org/

Monday, September 17, 2007

Prometheus Now

Over the weekend I chatted with Peg Nolan, formerly of the People's Food Co-op, now living in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area of North Carolina. Peg told me about their fantastic Low Power FM station, WCOM-FM, community radio.

This is what we desperately need in La Crosse!

When Wisconsin Public Radio ate the local public radio station, WLSU many years ago, we lost a lot. Few stations have a local focus. WIZM-AM provides local programming and talk in the mornings, but most of its programming is canned right wing propaganda, from Rush to Hannity and some nutso religious money guy who castigates callers for having credit card debt in the evenings. (But do listen to Coast to Coast AM at midnight.)

WLSU provides a few local programs in the mornings and volunteer DJ jazz on weekends, but there's hardly anything about the local music scene and few programs about local issues. Other radio stations provide mostly canned music or sports talk.

I've been trying to get Democracy Now!, an award-winning daily news program, on the free airwaves in La Crosse for years. No go. Not enough break time to make money, said one commercial station (they weren't interested in play for pay, either.) I won't air anything that doesn't "support the troops," said another local broadcaster (code for "buy into rightwing newspeak").

BUT, with a local LPFM station, not only could we broadcast DN! daily to thousands in La Crosse, but we could broadcast other free speech programming, news and analysis kept off the commercial airwaves, programs about local music, local youth issues, events, history, women's issues, health issues, recreation and sports, ... the sky's the limit.

A few years ago, the La Crosse School District was granted a LPFM license, but because they didn't construct the required facility within 18 months of the granting of the license, they lost it.

The Prometheus Radio Project provides help for local groups wishing to apply for licenses. Their online document, Organizing Your Station, gives a good overview of equipment needed. There's a lot more info out there.

Anyone interested in getting a start on an LPFM community radio station? Email me.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

EMERGENCY!

[Update: Well, don't bother contacting Russell Feingold. You'll get a rehash of all the reasons Iran is a bad guy but no mention of the Bush administration's plans to bomb the hell out of it. Another Senatorial non-answer.]

Floods, mudslides, resignations, revelations ... summer closes with a bang and fall begins with a bang.

A Wisconsin Public Radio program on August 29 featured retired CIA officer, Robert Baer, whose book, See no Evil, was made into the film, Syriana. Baer says he is certain the US will attack Iran within the next six months. Listen here.

Shortly after, several diaries and articles have appeared, including


You get the picture.

And, according to one diarist, it's all set up with the news rollout by Admin. friendly media. And they are already rolling out the "why".

This is an emergency. Call or email Feingold, Kohl and Kind. Do it now.