May 16, 2017, Yet More Shock and Awe :-(

Every week is a stunner, isn't it? So much sturm und drang, so little time or energy to try to respond in a meaningful way to all of it. The key, I think, is to focus: one or two national issues/opportunities and one or two state issues/opportunities. Everyone will have her own set — I certainly have mine — so this week, instead of including a piece on a specific issue, I am offering a range of political actions individuals can take on a variety of issues.

Let's start with local issues. As the budget battles loom, there is no end of issues to address. So here are three that have been in the news lately: gas tax v. wheel tax v. bond issues; funding university scholarships with money diverted from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program; eliminating the Manufacturing and Agricultural Tax Credit and taxing investment income just like other income to free up funds for important investments.

Your job? Call your legislators, write letters to the editors, talk about these issues with family, friends, and on your social media outlets. You could also speak up at town hall and listening sessions in the area. As it happens, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald is holding some "office hours" in locations that aren't too far from the North Shore! On Thursday, May 18, he'll be at the Horicon Marsh Visitors Center, N7725 St Road 28, Horicon, at 11:30 AM. On Monday, May 22, he'll be at the Johnson Creek Village Hall (Johnson Creek Village Hall, 125 Depot St, Johnson Creek) at 10:00 AM and at the Public Library in Oconomowoc (200 W South St., Oconomowoc) at 12 noon. Road trip anyone?

Even closer to home, Represenative Joe Sanfelippo will be at the New Berlin Public Library (15105 West Library Lane, New Berlin) at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, May 23, and at the West Allis City Hall (7525 West Greenfield Avenue, West Allis) on Wednesday, May 24 at 7:00 PM.

National issues take up a lot of the oxygen these days. We have a completely dysfunctional (and terrifying) executive branch coupled with a crassly self-serving Republican Congress. Just keeping up with the daily events is exhausting, so FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS. Indivisible offers help. It's promoting some top priorities for this week:

  1. Call for an independent prosecutor to investigate Trump's ties to Russia. Last week, Trump not only fired FBI Director James Comey, he then went on national television and admitted that the Russia investigation was part of his reason for doing so. The American people deserve to know just how serious this administration's ties to Russia are, but it's clear that Republican Members of Congress aren't in a hurry to find the answers. And we can't trust whoever Trump nominates as the next FBI Director to take this seriously either.
  2. Keep defending the ACA. From Virginia to California, you made the most of Payback Recess at town halls and die-ins across the country to hold the House accountable for the shameful vote to pass TrumpCare. Now it's time to start making sure your Senators know that if they pass this bill, they can expect the same constituent outrage the House saw this recess. Need a refresher on the rest of the AHCA's path to becoming law? Read up on TrumpCare Passed the House: Now What?
  3. If you want to prevent the next financial crisis, this week could be your chance. Once they are back from recess, the House is planning to vote on the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10), a bill that will deregulate Wall Street. Here's your script for making calls.

A "feature" of the American Health Care Act proposes to "help" people with pre-existing conditions by allowing states to set up so-called high-risk pools. Wisconsin had one of those before the ACA (Obamacare) made it unnecessary and Speaker Ryan is touting it as an example of the concept's success. The Journal Sentinel did a good job of explaining the issue (and hinting at its inadequacy) yesterday. So, if you applied for coverage under the high-risk program that preceded Obamacare and were denied or found the premiums to be way out of reach, write a letter to the editor or send me your story. I will use what you send me without attribution so that we can get these stories out to push back against the idea that high-risk pools are an adequate substitute for mandated coverage of people with pre-existing conditions without higher premiums. That's what Obamacare provides now and we must insist that these protections remain in any "replacement" the GOP enacts into law!

Finally, get beyond marching, calling, writing, and wringing your hands! Apply for an Organizing Fellowship with the Wisconsin Coordinated Campaign. The volunteer positions begin June 10th and run through August 25. Full-time fellows will commit to a minimum of 40 hours/week. Part-time fellows will commit to at least 20 hours per week. Deadline for application is Friday, May 26. This is a great opportunity for people who want to become a critical member of the next generation of community organizers. You will help our movement expand its outreach in neighborhoods across Wisconsin, and learn the skills and tools necessary to become a campaign operative.

EVENTS

Tue May 16, 2017

Food-Energy-Water Workshop, 8am - 3:45pm 
Marquette University, Eckstein Hall, 1215 W. Michigan St., Milwaukee 
An interdisciplinary workshop, Innovation at the Food-Energy-Water Nexus, drawing from engineering, legal, scientific, and policy spheres to offer a unique perspective on the food-energy-water nexus. The workshop format and accompanying discussions will (1) provoke conversations about overcoming barriers to the implementation of innovative water solutions, (2) stimulate ideas for focused academic research in the nexus, and (3) drive the development of organizational policy and technology roadmaps. The event incorporates sessions on energy use, recovery, and minimization at water and wastewater utilities; on groundwater; on agricultural sustainability and food waste; and on ethical considerations for stakeholders, a topic often absent from similar events. A working lunch and roundtable discussion as well as breakout sessions will invite and encourage broad-based attendee participation. Attendees will also have numerous opportunities to network with experts, researchers, and students. This event is sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Water Equipment and Policy. More information. Early registration is suggested to secure a seat.

Drinking Liberally Shorewood, 6pm - 8pm 
Camp Bar, 4044 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood 
Progressives meet monthly in Shorewood to socialize, talk about politics, and hear invited speakers. All are welcome.

Sup. Sequanna Taylor Town Hall, 6:30pm - 8:30pm 
Barack Obama School, 5075 N. Sherman Blvd., Milwaukee 
County Superintendent Sequanna Taylor invites you to join her at a town hall meeting to discuss concerns and hear about the positive things that are happening in District 2.

Wed May 17, 2017

Refuel the Resistance, 5pm - 8pm 
Bounce Milwaukee, 2801 S. 5th Ct., Milwaukee 
Weekly gathering at Bounce Milwaukee's mezzanine bar for networking, inspiration or just to vent. Bring along any evidence of positive effort from the last week -- a selfie in the capitol, protest sign, email you sent to an elected official, whatever you have -- and get a coffee, tea, soda, wine, beer or cocktail (up to $7) on the house, and compare notes with other individuals and groups working to make things better. More information.

Drinking Liberally Wauwatosa, 6pm - 8pm 
Cranky Al's, 6901 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa 
Come join fellow Wauwatosa progressives for good conversation and good beer at one of Tosa's most gemütlich establishments, Cranky Al's. DLW meets monthly on the 3rd Wednesday at 6 pm.

Thu May 18, 2017

Jobs and Inner-city Milwaukee, 11:30am - 1pm 
Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts, 2419 E. Kenwood Blvd., Milwaukee 
Wispolitics presents a lunchtime panel discussion: Focus on UpLift MKE: Jobs and Inner-city Milwaukee. The panel includes: County Exec Chris Abele; Dr. Eve Hall, leader of the Milwaukee Urban League; and Alex Lasry, senior vice president with the Milwaukee Bucks. Check in begins at 11:30 a.m. Program goes from noon to 1 p.m. Cost is $15 for program and lunch if paid in advance; payment at the door is $20. More information and registration (required). For questions please contact Colin D. Schmies, 608-206-0476.

OFA Meeting, 5:30pm - 7pm 
Waukesha Public Library 
Paul Geenen will be the speaker who will be sharing state and national issue updates and calls for action.

Green Drinks Milwaukee, 5:30pm - 7:30pm 
Good drinks, good conversation and a chance to network with other environmentally minded people. For More information .

A State Budget for All, 6:45pm - 8:30pm 
Plymouth Church, 2717 E. Hampshire St., Milwaukee 
For too long, we've all been told that there's not enough money in the budget to help our communities thrive. That is not true. Making a budget is about making choices. Lawmakers can choose to help private special interests that rig the system, or lawmakers can choose to promote the common good. Closing two tax loopholes for the wealthy can restore nearly $900 million to the budget to invest in crucial priorities for the community. Join Citizen Action to find out how you can make a difference. RSVP.

Waukesha County Democratic Party Meeting, 7pm - 9pm 
336 Wisconsin Avenue, Waukesha 
The Waukesha County Democratic Party meets the 3rd Thursday of every month.

Sat May 20, 2017

NAMI Walk, 9:30am – 12:00pm 
Veterans Park, N. Lake Dr., Milwaukee 
Join the Greater Milwaukee Community for the 2017 NAMIWalks at Veterans Park. Help to raise funds to support those living with mental illness and their loved ones. More information and registration.

NAACP Monthly Meeting, 11am - 1pm 
2745 N. Dr Martin Luther King Dr., Milwaukee 
Monthly membership meeting of NAACP Milwaukee Branch. The meeting is held in the basement conference room.

Laughing Liberally Milwaukee, 8pm - 10pm 
Comedy Sportz Theater, 420 S. 1st St., Milwaukee 
Laughing Liberally Milwaukee presents a night of progressive political comedy. In addition to some of the finest progressive comedians Milwaukee has to offer, each Laughing Liberally Milwaukee will feature a special interview with a local political figure, journalist or activist. This month's guest is Alan Schultz. Alan is a formerly incarcerated activist and advocate with EXPO - Ex Prisoners Organizing and the Milwaukee's IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. Advance tickets ($8).

Sun May 21, 2017

A State Budget for All, 4pm - 6pm 
MTEA, 5130 W. Vliet St., Milwaukee 
For too long, we've all been told that there's not enough money in the budget to help our communities thrive. That is not true. Making a budget is about making choices. Lawmakers can choose to help private special interests that rig the system, or lawmakers can choose to promote the common good. Closing two tax loopholes for the wealthy can restore nearly $900 million to the budget to invest in crucial priorities for the community. Join Citizen Action to find out how you can make a difference. RSVP.

Mon May 22, 2017

Realities for Immigrants, 7pm - 8:30pm 
Carroll University, Campus Center Ballroom, 101 N. East Ave., Waukesha 
Join WUWM and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for a community conversation on immigration policy from three distinct perspectives – law enforcement, a Dreamer, and the legal community. "Across theDivide: New Realities for Immigrants" will bring together Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling, Marquette University graduate Valeria Navarro-Villegas and immigration attorney José A. Olivieri. Doors openat 6 pm. Free tickets (required).

Tue May 23, 2017

Evicted: Povery and Profit in the American City, 7pm 
Congregation Sinai, 8223 N. Port Washington Rd, Milwaukee 
Please join us for a book discussion of Matthew Desmond's Pulitzer Prize winning book with special guests Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Ellen Brostrom and Legal Action of Wisconsin Attorney Raphael Ramos. Judge Brostrom and Raphael Ramos will share challenges of low-income housing, instability in the lives of people facing housing challenges, and how all this works "on the ground" in small claims court. Sponsored by the Congregation Sinai Social Justice Committee and Tikkun Ha-Ir.

Wed May 24, 2017

On the Issues: Public Safety Assessment, 12:15pm - 1:15pm 
Marquette University, Eckstein Hall, 1215 W. Michigan St., Milwaukee 
Last year, Milwaukee County began using a risk assessment tool, the Public Safety Assessment, designed to provide judges with research-based, predictive information about the risk that a defendant released before trial will engage in violence, commit a new crime, or fail to return to court. Guest speakers Milwaukee County Chief Judge Maxine White, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, and Wisconsin First Assistant State Public Defender Tom Reed will discuss the reasons for the PSA initiative, its implementation, and its early results. This event is now sold out. Sign up for the waiting list.

Refuel the Resistance, 5pm - 8pm 
Bounce Milwaukee, 2801 S. 5th Ct., Milwaukee 
Weekly gathering at Bounce Milwaukee's mezzanine bar for networking, inspiration or just to vent. Bring along any evidence of positive effort from the last week -- a selfie in the capitol, protest sign, email you sent to an elected official, whatever you have -- and get a coffee, tea, soda, wine, beer or cocktail (up to $7) on the house, and compare notes with other individuals and groups working to make things better. More information.

Thu May 25, 2017

Mayor Barrett Spring Symposium, 7:30am - 9am 
Italian Conference Center, 631 E. Chicago St., Milwaukee 
Mayor Tom Barrett's Spring Symposium: A discussion on why non-partisan redistricting is needed in Wisconsin. Doors open at 7 am. Sponsorship levels: Premier Table Sponsor: $2,500 Table Sponsor: $1,000 *table seats 10 Mayor's Club Membership: $400 Attendee: $100 To Sponsor and RSVP More information: Zach, (414) 271-8050.

Waukesha Writers Club, 6:30pm - 8pm 
336 Wisconsin Ave, Waukesha, WI 
The "Letter to the Editor" section is one of the most widely read parts of the newspaper, offering a chance to reach a broad audience. Letters to our legislators are also an effective way to let them know what we expect of them. Working together gives us the opportunity to discuss the current issues, improve writing skills, develop persuasive techniques that target intended readers, and help each other with ideas and suggestions. Sponsored by Grassroots Waukesha (carlwauk@gmail.com)

Sat May 27, 2017

Community Brainstorming, 8am - 11am 
St. Matthew CME Church, 2944 N. 9th St., Milwaukee 
Community Brainstorming Conference Breakfast Forum Breakfast: 8 am, Program: 9 am. All Are Invited, Come and Participate Details.


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