Follow by Email!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Stop the VA MISSION Bill

This is the first part of a fairly long post from former Wisconsin progressive and vet activist D Buzz Davis. This bill is another step toward privatizing the VA. The National Nurses Union opposes it as do many progressive vet groups. This Newsweek article gives background on which Koch brothers related astroturf groups are pushing it. ("in 2015 CVA received nearly $16 million in contributions and grants. Nearly all of that money, $14 million worth, came from the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, another non-profit group that doesn’t have to disclose its donors, but has been called the Koch network’s ATM because it has dispersed hundreds of millions of dollars to Koch organizations.")

Make some calls.


Seven (7) million veterans are in trouble.  We use the VA hospital system for our healthcare and Congress and President Trump are privatizing the VA out from under us.

Already 40% of the vets using the VA are being pushed into private sector healthcare where the waits for doctor's appointments are just as long or longer than at the VA.  And we many time receive lower quality care that at the VA.  And you as taxpayers have to pay about 30% higher cost for vets using private care than vets getting their care at the VA.

Special interests, like the billionaire Koch brothers are spending hundreds of millions to destroy VA healthcare because it is a high quality, cost effective Single Payer Single Provider system.  The Koch boys can't stand a government program that works!

In survey after survey 70% to 80% of the 7 million of us using the VA say We Want the VA Fixed, Funded & Fully Staff -- NOT Privatized.

But who listens to vets - not the President and most of Congress.

Thank fully we had 70 Democrats who had the political courage to vote no in the House but the MISSION bill passed anyway.

Now as early as Tues. the Senate may vote on the MISSION bill.  Trump demands passage so he can sign it on Memorial Day.


Can you give 7 million veterans a half hour of you time?

1.  HERE IS THE PLAN.  Each senator represents the millions of people in her/his home state.  But they also represent ALL Americans – that means you.

YOU have a right to call and urge/demand that each senator votes your way!

Here is what you and I need to do starting now.

Call each of the 47 Democratic and 2 independent senators and urge them to vote NO on the VA MISSION bill this week.  Just say:

Hello this is ______ and I am a veteran (or I have friends who are veterans).  I am calling to urge Sen. ____ to vote NO on the VA MISSION bill this week.  It is a terrible bill.  It will privatize the VA.  I urge the Senator to do what vets want.  We (they) want  the VA Fixed, Funded and Fully Staff.  Pls. vote NO on the MISSION bill.  Thank you!

That’s all you have to say.


A.  Use this number 202-224-3121 to call the Congressional operator in Washington 24/7.  You will get a recording.

Now you have a picture of each senator and their name.

C.  Click on the picture and you have their name and state.

D.  Call the Wash. Operator 202-224-3121 say the state and then say the person's name.  E.g.  Wisconsin    Baldwin   Then her office will answer and YOU leave a recorded message urging her to vote NO on the VA MISSION bill this week.  Hang up.

F.  Click on next senator’s picture and repeat.  After one or two calls you will a pro.


Thank you for however many calls you can make before they vote.

TIP  If your last name starts with the letter A thru J START your calling with Baldwin and work downward.

If your name start with K thru Z start calling with Wyden and work up the list.

After the vote on the MISSION bill (which will probably pass) we will inform you how many Democrats you helped vote NO.

And IF THE SENATE BILL PASSED IS NOT EXACTLY LIKE THE HOUSE BILL PASSED, then a “Conference Committee” will be appointed, compromises will be made, the bill will be changed and report out to both houses.

THEN THE HOUSE AND SENATE WILL EACH HAVE TO VOTE AGAIN BEFORE THEY LEAVE THURS. OR FRI.  If this happens we will be back at you for another round of calling.

So start burning up those phone lines to D.C.  And you may wish to forward this message to your friends who you know want to help veterans.

Want more detailed information on this issue?  Here it is from a group of us working to Save Our VA.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Senate yes on net neutrality. Now the house.

From Battle For the Net:

BREAKING NEWS: The Senate just voted to save net neutrality. Now we need the House of Representatives to do the same, or else the FCC will let ISPs like Comcast and Verizon ruin the internet with throttling, censorship and expensive new fees. Write your lawmakers now!

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Get involved!

Two events on Thursday offer citizens the chance to share ideas and learn from elected officials how they are using our ideas to improve our community.

From 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Mayor Kabat will host a "Coffee with Kabat" at the Southside Neighborhood Center, 1300 Sixth St. South. "Meet the mayor, learn about city business, and offer your thoughts and ideas on how to improve our city. Coffee will be provided."

Beginning at 6 p.m. the Sustainability Institute will host a Relience Think Tank at the La Crosse Public Library, 8th and Main. "Help us develop community projects that can focus in on community resilience here in La Crosse.  Join community leaders like Grow La Crosse and other organizations to develop projects based on the needs and ideas spun from the Resilience Symposium in November. If you were unable to attend, no problem! simply review and layout the ideas that came from the symposium and then allow time to build on those ideas."


Driftless Voter Coalition is looking for people who would be willing to get training in May on helping people register to vote. You may also sign up to volunteer at upcoming events to make sure everyone eligible is registered and ready to vote in the August primary and November elections. "If you are interested in training and volunteering at events with us this summer and fall please send an email to with your name, organization, and phone number. Training sessions will be in May, please indicate if you prefer weekdays, weeknights, or weekends. Please send us an email by April 24, 2018."


The La Crosse County Democratic Party will begin canvassing in our area to build upon growing support for Medicare for All legislation. Join their Medicare for All Canvassing Kickoff at noon on Saturday, May 19. In fact, if you really want to have some say in the candidates we vote for, JOIN THE PARTY! and get involved.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Voter registration training

The Driftless Voter Coalition is teaming up with the La Crosse Area League of Women Voters to help people register to vote!

In the months leading up to the November election, we have many non-partisan community events. In an effort to provide voter registration at as many events as possible, LWV will host training sessions for the online voter registration process.

If you are interested in training and volunteering at events with us this summer and fall please send an email to with your name, organization, and phone number. Training sessions will be in May, please indicate if you prefer weekdays, weeknights, or weekends. Please respond by April 24, 2018!

People power prevents pork processing plant

Congratulations, Viroqua Concerned Citizens for Smart Growth.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Let's maybe not bomb Syria: Protest at the clocktower, 5 pm Thursday 4/12

Some local folks are throwing together an ad hoc protest opposing bombing Syria.  Anyone who thinks bombing Syria is a bad idea right now is invited, regardless of other political opinions or affiliations.  It'll be at the UWL Clocktower at 5 on Thursday, April 12th (sorry for the short notice, but events are moving fast).

Facebook event:

Monday, April 09, 2018

Just in case

If Trump fires Mueller, La Crosse action will be at West Ave & Main.  Sign up at MoveOn link. (Thanks, Megan).

In the meantime, be prepared.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Monday - Conservation Congress

On Monday evening at 7 p.m., every Wisconsin county will host a Conservation Congress spring hearing. The Wisconsin CC is, "the only statutory body in the state where citizens elect delegates to advise the Natural Resources Board and the Department of Natural Resources on how to responsibly manage Wisconsin's natural resources for present and future generations. The Congress accomplishes this through open, impartial, broad-ranged actions."

A hold over from the days when Wisconsin government was tasked with protecting public resources, this body is still very active around that state and individuals can help guide policy.

The La Crosse meeting will be held in the Onalaska High School Fine Arts Center. If you go, you will get a questionnaire (it's pretty long - you can read it in advance here) which is really a ballot. Questions concerning everything from hunting seasons to water quality management will be on the form. In addition, attendees may introduce resolutions. This is a way to participate and make clear what we expect the DNR and state to do, enforce, monitor, protect, and prioritize. 

See the Spring Hearing link for more details. And if you are interested in how the John Muir Chapter Sierra Club recommends voting on some of the most important issues, read about their endorsements on page 4 in their spring newsletter.

Friday, April 06, 2018


The hate group did not have the insurance required by the venue so they have cancelled their event and the protest is also cancelled.

Call to action ASAP - CANCELLED

  UPDATE: The group holding the event has cancelled because they do not have the insurance required by the venue. So tonight's protest is cancelled. 

But this was a good test of the network AND possibly points to a community discussion we should have about the First Amendment, hate speech, etc. I hope that one or more community groups might consider putting together something like this. It's a very complicated issue. Government censorship has been used in the past against those advocating for peach, justice, and progress. Where is the line? Who decides?

An anti-Muslim hate group is planning an event at the Omni Center tonight. SURJ requests our immediate action. See link for details. 

UPDATE: The city will not cancel the event (no standards that a bona fide hate group would violate, I guess) so Shoulder to Shoulder La Crosse asks us to
  • Show up at the event at the Onalaska Omni Center at 6:00 p.m. (wear WHITE if you can to symbolize peace, they say) 
  • Bring peace promoting signs (some will be there)
Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that. 
Hate multiplies hate,
violence multiplies violence, 
and toughness multiplies toughness 
in a descending spiral of destruction.... 
The chain reaction of evil -- 
hate begetting hate, 
wars producing more wars -- 
must be broken, 
or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation. 
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength To Love, 1963

Wednesday, April 04, 2018


Congratulations to all who voted for the right candidates and issues yesterday. The Republican-backed WI Supreme Court candidate lost (not sure we should be calling new Justice Dallet a progressive or even a liberal, but she's not a Republican puppet at least.)

We get to keep our State Treasurer's office - ready and waiting for real and important duties after we awake from the Walker nightmare later this year.

La Crosse United to Amend scored HUGE, with 88% of city residents backing a constitutional amendment to restore human (not corporate) rule to government.

Many good local candidates retained or gained seats including a new progressive mayor in Viroqua.

It's a good turn, but the public good and good government are still being dismantled and endangered (check out today's forum on the university system for example).

There's lots to do to continue turning the bus from the cliff. Let's do it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018


If you aren't yet registered, you can do it at the polls. Make sure you take the correct PROOF OF RESIDENCE in addition to the correct VOTER ID. For questions about where to vote, what's on your ballot, what to bring, etc. please visit

Rebecca Dallet is the only Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate NOT ENDORSED BY THE NRA.

Scott Walker approves of the ballot initiative to get rid of the office of State Treasurer (who will follow the money then?)

La Crosse United to Amend would like you to agree that corporations are not people and money is not speech.

Plus there are other local elections and a school referendum on the ballot. 

Do the right thing. Vote. Make sure everyone you know votes. Then join the party so we can make the changes needed in the future.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Third Annual Social Justice week begins April 2 at UWL

A week of presentations - with afternoon and evening sessions led by experts from across the country - will raise awareness of different kinds of social justice issues during the third annual Social Justice Week at UW-La Crosse, April 2-6.

A full schedule of daily brown bag lunches, research sessions, roundtables, panel presentations, and featured speakers who highlight the collaboration and dedication to social justice topics are planned. This year's theme is, "Building Revolutionary Communities." Many events feature UWL students', faculty, and staff research and expertise. Other presentations will tap educators and activists from around the country - along with a social justice rapper.

Among the evening plenary sessions are:
  • April 2 - 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. - Victim to Victor by Vanessa McNeal, director and producer of "The Voieless," Hesprich Auditorium, Graff Main Hall
  • April 3 - 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. - Products of a Revolution by Gwen Brown and Ronald Smith, president and director of Something New, Hesprich Auditorium, Graff Main Hall
  • April 4 - 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. - Native Appropriations, Indigenous Social Media, and Responding to Racism by Adrienne Keene, assistant professor at Brown University, Hesprich Auditorium, Graff Main Hall
  • April 5  - 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Challenges to First Generation College Students in College by Annette Lareau and Stanley I. Sheerr, professors at the University of Pennsylvania, 1400 Centennial Hall
  • April 6 - 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Social Justice Concert - We Can Mend the Sky with the UWL Concert Choir, Annett Recital Hall, Center for the Arts and 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. G. Yamazawa, social justice poet, rapper, and comedian, Entertainment Cafe, UWL Student Union
View complete daily schedules and get more information at

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Moms Demand Action - next steps

From Moms Demand Action - La Crosse:

We were thrilled to see such a turnout for the March For Our Lives! What an inspiring day! It was a testament to what we can accomplish working together. 

Next up - complete the rest of our Asks! As discussed, some of us are shy on the phone. Sundays are a great time to call if you prefer leaving a message. A sample script for Ron Kind would be: "Hello, my name is x and I'm calling from La Crosse, WI. I am calling today to ask Ron Kind to return his NRA donations. I have voted for Representative Kind in the past, and I have been proud to do so. However, I cannot in good conscience continue to vote for anyone with blood on his hands. Please return the money, and do not accept more in the future. Thank you for listening." Of course, you can tweak the script to make it more personal! One office call is GREAT, but a call to all three numbers would be EVEN BETTER! We hope this script for Ask 5 gets your creative juices flowing for Asks 6 and 7! 

If you have questions, please email Moms Demand Action La Crosse leaders.

What can you do??
  1. Sign up for Mom's by texting "act" to 64433*
  2. Join our Facebook group, Moms Demand Action-WI. WE WILL BE DISMANTLING OUR LA CROSSE PAGE VERY SOON.
  3. Ask friends outside of La Crosse to join our meetings. We are located in La Crosse, but are happy to include smaller communities nearby.
  4. Ask our Representative, Ron Kind, to return his NRA donations. [Editor's note: According to Open Secrets, a campaign contribution database, Kind's last donation from the NRA, $4,900, came in 2010. His last donation from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, $2,500, came in 2016.] He can be reached at: (La Crosse phone) 608-782-2558 (fax) 608-782-4588 . His D.C. Phone number is (202) 225-5506 and fax is (202) 235-5739. His Eau Claire office phone number is (715) 831-9214*and fax is (715) 831-9272. A petition can be found at
  5. Contact our senators about the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. This has already passed in the House, and is very dangerous! It would allow concealed carriers in one state to travel and conceal in another, essentially turning the weakest state laws into nationwide laws. Our Senators are Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin.     
Ron Johnson's D.C. Office phone is (202) 224-5323 and fax is (202) 228-6965
Milwaukee office phone is (414) 276-7282 and fax is (414) 276-7284      
Oshkosh office is (920) 230-7250 and fax is (920) 230-726.     

Tammy Baldwin's D.C. office phone is (202) 224-5653 
La Crosse office phone is (608) 796-0045 
Madison office phone is (608) 264-5338 
Milwaukee office phone is (414) 297-4451 
Green Bay office phone is (920) 498-2668 
Eau Claire office phone is (715) 832-8424 
Wausau office phone is (715) 261-2611

She does not have fax numbers listed for any of her offices per her website. 

Both Johnson and Baldwin have Facebook pages.

7.  Ask the chairs/members of the State Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety to immediately schedule a hearing on Assembly Bill 428. This bill would require the owner of a lost or stolen gun to report it missing within 24 hours of discovery. The Assembly Republican leadership has said that they are done and will not be coming back to session. If that is the case, this bill is dead for this session. They CAN come back, they just may not want to.
  Telephone numbers: (608) 266-1182 and (888) 534-0086
  Fax: (608) 282-3686

Telephone numbers: (608) 266-9175 and (888) 534-0059

Other members are: Ott, Jacque, Horlacher, Novak, Bernier, Krug, Goyke, Kessler, Zamarripa, and Crowley. Their contact information may be found at

8. Join a March for Our Lives on March 24. ✔️

9. Advocacy Day in the Capital is April 5! This is a chance to meet with our lawmakers to talk about gun legislation we do, and do not, support. Schedule is roughly from 8:45am- 2:30 pm, and includes training before you're expected to meet with lawmakers. Please talk to a Leader if seriously interested. There are ways to help remotely if you cannot physically be there.

We will send an email out when next month's meeting date/venue is secured! 

Thank you!
- La Crosse Leads

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Next steps

"A moment is different than a MOVEMENT. Every great movement is about sacrifice," of time, of energy, of effort, and more. People need to make today's moment a sustained movement. - Joe Madison, Civil/Human Rights activist

Hundreds turn out for a rally in Cameron Park after the La Crosse March for our Lives on March 23
More than 800 rallies around the country gave students, parents, teachers, veterans, elected leaders, survivors, and others an opportunity to voice their determination to end the rule of the NRA. Speakers at the La Crosse rally included students and teachers, those who have lost friends and loved ones to gun violence, elected officials urging people to take action by voting, and health workers who understand the links between lax gun laws and domestic abuse, suicide, at-risk families, and other dangers in our communities.

The Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort (WAVE) is encouraging those wishing to, "make sure the March For Our Lives keeps moving forward," to sign up for more information at their web site

In addition, a very important election is happening right now in Wisconsin
State Supreme Court - the court is currently dominated by Republican-backed judges. Rebecca Dallet is the only candidate left in the race not endorsed by the NRA. If you'd like to work to make sure at least one of the Wisconsin Supreme Court justices is not backed by the NRA, you may wish to help the Dallet campaign by volunteering to canvass (knock on doors) in your neighborhood, making calls from your home, and/or voting. See the ACLU's Wisconsin Supreme Court scorecard for more.

Corporations are not people - in La Crosse County, voters may support an advisory referendum that will add our county to the list of those supporting a constitutional amendment that would clearly state money is not speech and corporations are not people. There's been a huge increase in "dark" money to candidates after the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling granting "free speech rights" (reduced restrictions on the spending of money) for corporations. The NRA has taken advantage of this new climate, donating big to candidates, and, more importantly, in outside spending. Some research shows that illegal contributions from outside the country have been passed through groups like the NRA because of this ruling.

VOTE! In most area Wisconsin municipalities, voters may vote "absentee in person" in their clerks' offices this coming week (Monday, March 26 through Friday, March 30). Contact your clerk for hours. Otherwise, vote on Tuesday, April 3. MyVote Wisconsin will tell you how to register and vote, what's on your ballot and more.

When it comes down to it, marching but not voting (and engaging and speaking out and organizing and paying attention) is like thoughts and prayers. It sounds good but it won't make change. As US Representative and "people's politician" Shirley Chisholm once said, "You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas."

Today's organizers, Ken Tschumper, Jacob Sciammas, Ben Morris, Gretchen Guinn Paquette, and others, deserve great credit for making this event happen in a very short time. Today's speakers (see list below) made clear how many lives and communities this issue touches. Thanks to them and to all the others individuals and organizations that helped spread the word.

If your group or organization would like to post or blog at this site, please email couleeprogressive at hotmail. We need to get together, work together, and stick together to make needed changes.

Let this be one of the first steps.

Today's speakers included:
  • Pastor Ben Morris: We can end gun violence and still be hunters.
  • Mayor Tim Kabat: There is no place for gun violence in La Crosse
  • Betsy Riling: I want to teach in a safe school not an armed bunker
  • Father Konopa: What Catholicism teaches us about gun violence
  • Marley Richmond: I go to school to learn not to be shot at
  • Prof. Richard Breaux: Guns, civil rights and race relations in America
  • Libby Miller: Please keep guns out of schools
  • Cheryl Hancock: It’s a bad idea to arm teachers
  • Tara Johnson: Guns cost La Crosse taxpayers, families & children
  • Bishop Jim Arends: A little religion can go a long way to end gun violence
  • Rep Jill Billings: Democrat proposals for gun safety in the Wisconsin Legislature
  • Sister Laura Nettles: Gun violence hurts us in many ways
  • John Havlicek: Teachers do not want to be armed
  • Kate Nelson: Stop blaming people with mental health problems for gun violence
  • Prof. Mike Smuksta: A little history on gun control in America
  • Chris Clair: The truth about the Heller Decision and the Second Amendment
  • Dr. Mark Neumann and Dr. Bob Freedland: Guns and public health.
  • Sen Jennifer Shilling: Welcoming new voices and leaders on gun issues
  • Bishop Jay Lambert: The moral imperative for ending gun violence
  • Gretchen Guinn Paquette: Moms Demand Action and you can too

Friday, March 23, 2018

African American Living HIstory Tour

The African American Mutual Assistance Network, Inc. (AAMAN) and The Enduring Families Project and
The La Crosse Historical Society
proudly introduce the
African American Living History Tour
of La Crosse
Saturday, June 23, 2018
Seating is limited to 24 passengers per tour. There will be four tours leaving at different times starting at 11:30 a.m. Registration is first-come-first served. If necessary, a waiting list will be created.
Register NOW! It FREE and open to the public. A Goodwill Donation is encouraged to cover expenses, such as bus rental, costumes, programs, etc.