Guns and violence

By Sam Pocernich

In February Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Governor Scott Walker, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, and Speaker Robin Vos urging them to pass bills related to guns and violence.

According to the Cap Times on February 20th 2018, ‘Vos dismissed the move as a media stunt, arguing Democrats could have called him personally if they were serious. “This is all about politics, and I think it’s really sad and it’s really cynical because they are preying on the fears of some Wisconsinites and asking it for their own political purposes, “ Vos said.’

Then the Republicans shot down a background checks bill. Representative Kathleen Bernier, a Republican, said she didn’t necessarily disagree with the proposal but she objected to the process by which the Democrats brought the bill to the floor.

So our legislators are not voting on the issues per se, but they are voting based on how they feel. If this is what passes for leadership in Wisconsin, then fill in the blank.

We already know Congress and the White House are dysfunctional. If we can’t start by cleaning up our own state this year, then we certainly get what we deserve and demanded.

Speak softly, but carry a big stick

By Peter J. Vedro, Sauk County Board Supervisor, District 15, Baraboo

Although Theodore Roosevelt advised, “Speak softly, but carry a big stick,” the time has come to use that stick — and that stick is your vote. For too long, the Sauk County Board has been, by design, a rubber stamp to chair Marty Krueger. By filling vacancies on the board, assigning committee memberships and determining major personnel choices of senior administrators, he has been able to rule as an unquestionable county executive rather than one of 31.

In January, he along with the Executive and Legislative Committee, enabled by the co-opted interim corporation counsel, denied you your statutory right to have a Citizens Advisory Referendum placed on the April 3 ballot, seeking your voice on ending the corrupt practice of gerrymandering. And now, Krueger wishes to combine the two major committees of Finance and Personnel and have his vice-chair appointed to run it.

This must be stopped; and the only people who can do that are you — the Sauk County voters. Your individual vote is critical. If you, like many of us, are fed up with the lack of democratic process, your vote is essential to a new beginning for Sauk County governance.

Vote on February 20

by William Dagnon

Sticker image with USA flag and text "I Voted"“…perhaps our most essential freedom is the ability to participate in government.” Alex Marshall

We are free to govern ourselves! Our founders realized we didn’t need a king, emperor, or strong man to rule over us; therefore, all citizens have a grave responsibility to actively participate in our self-government.

February 20th is the Wisconsin Supreme Court primary election, all citizens need to ask of the candidates:

Do you support the:

Wisconsin Constitution’s requirement that we provide free and uniform public schools for all children?

Wisconsin Constitution’s requirement that our state protect Wisconsin waters under the public trust doctrine?

State government’s obligation to protect and facilitate every citizen’s freedom to vote and have their vote count?

Freedom of local, democratically elected government officials to determine their local government?

Freedom of citizens to form associations to advocate for fair wages, hours, working conditions of their employers?

Rights of human beings over that of corporations and wealth?

And your own questions about your government protecting your freedom & rights.

Do your duty as an American citizen. Learn about the candidates for Supreme Court, research their qualifications and views, decide on who will best uphold our American values and vote on February 20th.

The greatest threat

by Dave Wester

The greatest threat to the United States is our conservative Congress.

We know that Russia interfered with our 2016 presidential election.  Several members of President Trump’s campaign have admitted to, or been indicted on, charges involving Russian contacts.  The Trump campaign may have colluded with Russia.

Conservatives, who used to accuse liberals of being soft on Russia, are not only ignoring Russian involvement but are trying to stop Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.  What are they covering up, and why?

Greedy conservatives ignore Trump’s sins—lying, racism, harassment of women, failure to acknowledge Russian involvement, etc.—because they are making money.  They ignore the facts that the United States was recovering from the Great Recession long before Trump took office, and that stock markets around the world are doing better than ours.

We must restore our system of checks and balances.  Our conservative Congress has been derelict in its duty to check our apparently unbalanced president. We need a more mature president than one who claims, “My button is bigger than your button,” and “I am a very stable genius.”

Now it is the conservative swamp that needs to be drained.  We can do it in November.

The GOP tax bill

by Allegra Zick

Persons of middle and lower incomes are in for a big disappointment because of the provisions in the tax bill fabricated by the GOP without input from Democrats.  Only those of wealth, including Trump will benefit. The tax cuts to the wealthy will add $1.5 trillion to the federal budget that will mean cuts, cuts, and more cuts. Where once the GOP had an aversion to debt, now they see it as an opportunity to roll back Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, not recognizing that workers have paid into those programs with every paycheck. Another onerous and damaging provision calls for the tuition assistance for graduate assistants to be taxed as income. This will ensure that advanced degrees become exclusive for the very rich who do not need assistance to finance their education. It will worsen the already significant racial disparities and be a direct shameful attack on student loan borrowers. Universities will be hampered from having the researchers who will develop ways to better the health and welfare for all. Even employers who care about a well-trained workforce will find their employer-provided aid would become taxable. Why are GOP legislators at war against educators? Could it be because most vote Democrat?

The Republican tax bill

by Allegra Zick

To quote Bernie Sanders, “At a time of massive inequality, this budget provides $1.9 trillion in tax breaks for the top 1%. This is not a bad budget bill, it is a horrific bill.” Why? Over the next decade $1 trillion is cut from Medicaid  and $47.3 billion from Medicare. Only Republicans supported it.  Tammy Baldwin’s and Sanders’ proposed amendments were blocked by the Republicans who did not want it exposed that the tax bill benefited the Koch brothers, Donald Trump, and their billionaire friends. Baldwin’s amendment to prevent increasing the deficit in order to fund tax cuts for millionaire and billionaires was also blocked. This budget will cut health care, food stamps, the earned –income credit, child tax credit, supplemental security for disabled and children, and Pell grants for education harming the most vulnerable, and working families will pay in order to keep taxes low for the 1% for the next ten years.

There will be stunning cuts to everything outside of the military, not seen since the time of Herbert Hoover which includes services that contribute to our safety, health, environmental and water and sewage protections, medical research, modern infrastructure, and education.

Moral responsibilities to our fellow Americans

by Bill Dagnon

Americans are suffering, you have heard of the hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, fires in California. Thousands lost their homes and some their lives.

But we Americans help each other! People dropped their normal life and helped in person or through contributions. Congress has approved $51.8 billion to help those suffering from these disasters and expects to approve more.

Addiction is ruining millions of American lives! The Center for Disease Control estimated over 64,000 deaths from drug overdoses in 2016, 35,000 from opioids. The President declared a health emergency. Fifteen Senators introduced the Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act providing $4.5 billion/yr. for substance abuse programs and research.

These are responsibilities we must meet through our government. However in a country founded on the self-evident truth that all human beings are created equal we must always work together, not just in emergencies. Yes, financing our government to assist each other is our responsibility as American citizens.

Call and/or email your congressional representative and Senators and tell them to only vote for bills that require a greater contribution of the people and corporations who benefit most from our public resources to help fund our moral responsibilities to our fellow Americans.

The sins of the father

by Nick Kelly

There are some flaws in the behavior of our current president and his attitude toward people who are different than he is. For example: blacks, gays, Jews, Muslims and a host of others.

Donald Trump was raised in a household that did not value the lives of these minorities. His father, Fred, was arrested in 1927 for attacking black demonstrators during a KKK rally in Queens, New York. His name and criminal behavior appear in New York Times, June 1, 1927.

Later, when Fred had established a real estate empire, he and Donald were sued by the Justice Department for allegedly barring blacks from the rentals they ran as chairman and president of Trump Management. An investigation later found a long history of racial bias in the firm’s properties according to the Washington Post, Jan. 23, 2016.

These examples of discriminatory behavior in the Trump family have been refuted by the current White House occupant as “fake news.” He says “it’s a completely false, ridiculous story,” when responding to accusations against his father.

Yet another Trump lie to cover up the racist bigotry of his father and himself. Unfortunately we are stuck with this man as President of our country.

Changing things in America

September 26, 2017

Letter to the Editor
Baraboo News Republic
714 Matt’s Ferry Road
Baraboo, WI 53913

Dear neighbor:

Looking for something to personally change things in America? How about a look at the company’s you support and buy products from? Have they provided support to our neighbors in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico? Do they offer support to the local food pantry, boys and girls club, senior center? Do they pay a decent wage and full-time employment? Are their products quality, with no need for an insufficient one year warranty? Have you contacted a board member to communicate what’s needed in your community? WAL-MART, Menards, or Festival Foods can all benefit from your experiences and knowledge about what is important in your hometown. Providing a product isn’t just about price, there is a larger picture for America.

Equifax has left 143 million Americans with a data breach. What were the board of directors doing while their company was failing to provide responsible security? Were they looking out for shareholders, or their customers? Is it time to suggest customers elect the board and the CEO, instead of stock holders?

Get informed and get involved! Turn off the texting and selfies, contact a board member or CEO about something positive you want done in your community. And, remember to VOTE!

Beverly Simonds
537 Carignan Court
Baraboo, Wisconsin

Fired up for Tammy! Picnic

We’re having a Fired Up for Tammy picnic on Saturday, July 8 at Steinhorst Park shelter, 1700 Parkgate Drive, Baraboo. (At Jose’s, go north up the hill on Jefferson, past the assisted living facility, turn right onto 15th Street and you’re almost there.)

We’ll have the grill going from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Bring a dish to share! Sodas and water provided. Live music by the Hoot Owls and bluesman Mark Tully. Special guest Rep. Dave Considine. Drop in for a few minutes or a few hours.

This is a rain or shine, family-friendly event. Bring your own folding chair just in case!