Some become more conservative as they age. I did not.

I get it. The difference, I get it.  We are all good people who care about others, our families, friends, neighbors, community. It’s just that, as a Progressive, our sense of community goes so much further than that of Conservatives'. For Conservatives that sense of community only extends as far as their own interests. Progressives view our community as global.

Eilene Stevens 3869.60pc

Eilene Stevens

Eilene Stevens's activity stream


  • published Econ4Voters 2022-02-22 12:18:22 -0600

    Economics for Voters: Index of Articles

    Economics for Voters is a new feature of the Grassroots  North Shore website, a series of essays by Emeritus Professor and former Chair of Economics at UWM,  Bill Holahan.   These will be about your money, your economy, and your country. The essays will appear about once per week, the newest on top. Scroll down and enjoy.

    January 22, 2023, Fiscal Insurrection (The Freedom Caucus insists that the US must stop borrowing money it doesn't have and that President Biden has increased the federal budget deficit. Both assertions are false.)

    November 30, 2022, INSTANT RUN-OFF VOTING IN PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES: A PATH TO MAJORITY RULE AND INOCULATION AGAINST TRUMP (An essay showing why the current plurality-voting rules used in Presidential primaries can lead to nomination of fringe candidates,  a result cured by Instant-runoff Voting, aka Rank-Choice Voting) 

    November 2, 2022, DOES SUCCESS IN BUSINESS PROMISE SUCCESS IN PUBLIC OFFICE?  (This essay uses economic analysis to show why success in business does not connote a transferable skill to manage or even understand the public sector.)

    November 1, 2022,  WE NEED A CLOSER LOOK AT  SOCIAL SECURITY.  (This essay explains why the greatest threat to Social Security is misunderstanding how it works.)  

    October 11, 2022, GERRYMANDERING, DONOR-DRIVEN ELECTIONS, AND SOCIALISM FOR THE RICH  (An essay explaining why the same economic distortions that Republicans warn will accompany “socialism” will also, and for the same reason, accompany donor-driven non-representative government. Foxconn is a case in point.)

    September 28, 2022, ENGLISH AND MATH PREP CAN CUT COLLEGE COSTS  (Required expository writing and word-problem solving appear across the college curriculum. Rigorous preparation in these two disciplines during the high school years enhances success in college and reduces its financial burden.) 

    September 2, 2022, Is Joe Biden's Student Loan "Forgiveness" Inflationary? (This essay summarizes Joe Stiglitz' explanation that the annual cost of the loan forgiveness is too small to be inflationary and in any case is offset by the resumption of student loan repayments in January, 2023.)

    August 22, 2022, JOE BIDEN ENDORSES LARGE  TUTORING PROGRAM (On the importance of math in closing the occupational income and wealth gap, and the importance of math tutoring in President Biden's plan to support student achievement.)

    August 13, 2022, SENATOR JOHNSON STEPS ON THE POLITICAL "THIRD RAIL" (An explanation of the formulas currently used to calculate the Social Security payroll tax and retirement benefits.)

    August 5, 2022, CHIPS ARE DOWN FOR ROJO  (With a bi-partisan vote of 64-33, the "Chips and Science" bill passed the Senate to support domestic research and production of semi-conductors.  This essay discusses Senator Johnson's NO vote.)  

    July 25, 2022, If You Have a Business, Who Built What?  (An essay describing President Obama's full statement when he said, during a speech on infrastructure,  "If You Have a Business, You Didn't Build That.")  

    July 22, 2022,  THE FREE MARKET MODEL, "A SYSTEM OF NATURAL LIBERTY" (Contemporary conservatives espouse  "free markets." This essay presents the elementary logic of the free market concept.)  

    July 3, 2022, Will Social Security "Go Broke" in 2035? No. (The Social Security Administration trustees estimate that the system trust fund will run out of bonds in 2035. This essay shows that scheduled retirement benefits can continue with no increase in rates of taxes or borrowing.)

    May 23, 2022, URGENT: MAKE A CARBON TAX PART OF CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY NOW (An brief explanation of how a carbon tax could be part of a broader policy to limit climate change.)

    May 20, 2022, Roe v. Wade Repeal: Predicted  Economic Impact on Women and Families (A short review of an Amicus Brief by 154 prominent economists who summarized for the Supreme Court numerous peer-reviewed forecasts of the economic impact of overturning Roe v. Wade.)

    May 14, 2022, A FIRST LOOK AT MARKETS AND POLICY  (This is the first of several essays on how markets work, and the role markets play in public policy.)

    May 11, 2022,  THE ROLE OF STUDENT BORROWING IN COLLEGE FINANCE   (An essay that points out that education is a lifelong valuable asset and suggests ways to enhance the value of that asset net of  borrowing to pay for it.)

    May 10, 2022, EASING THE BURDEN OF STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT (An essay showing that the burden of student loan repayment could be reduced by extending the term of the loan to 30 or 40 years and capping the annual repayment to a small  percentage of annual earnings.)

    April 19, 2022, HITTING BACK WHEN CHARGED  WITH “SOCIALISM”  (This essay suggests ways to use economic reasoning to strike back when public investments are labeled "socialist.")

    April 18, 2022, ESSENTIAL WORKER PARADOX  (An essay showing why some workers -- caregivers, sanitation workers, food delivery workers -- produce great value but receive low pay, and suggests a few remedies.)

    April 6, 2022: CAPITALISM REQUIRES A WELL-FUNCTIONING PUBLIC SECTOR (An essay showing that infrastructure enhances productivity and reduces cost in the market system, but is a public responsibility.  Therefore, to label such investment "socialism"  reveals acute ignorance of economics.)

    March 30, 2022: EFFICIENT GOVERNMENT IS OFTEN COUNTER-INTUITIVE  (An essay introducing the counter-intuitive role of government in modern economics, with a special look at the often-heard claim that the government should be run like a business.)

    March 22, 2022: NO SENATOR JOHNSON: SOCIAL SECURITY IS NOT A PONZI SCHEME. (An essay in response to Senator Johnson's  false notions that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and that Social Security bonds are worthless.)

    March 20, 2022: PLEA TO THE JOURNALISTS, PUNDITS, AND POLITICOS:  DO THE MATH.  (An essay showing how essential, and easy, it is to express economic data in a rational form, and a plea to the journalists, pundits, politicians, and politicos to perform the simple math when they discuss the economy.)

    March 18, 2022: SENATOR JOHNSON STILL WANTS TO REPEAL THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT   (An essay responding to Senator Johnson's remark that Republicans should repeal the Affordable Care Act if they retake Congress in 2022 or 2024)

    March 6, 2022: BRING BACK DROP BOXES  (An essay in response to the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling that the use of ballot drop boxes is contrary to a clearly written statute. Because recent elections show that drop boxes add significantly to voter participation and do not detract from ballot integrity, change the law.)

    February 28, 2022: INSTANT RUN-OFF VOTING: A PATH TO MAJORITY RULE  (An essay that explains why current rules nullify majority rule in a primary season with a large number of candidates, and why Instant Run-off Voting (aka Ranked Choice Voting) cures the problem.)

    February 22, 2022: FEDERAL CONTRACTS BRING HIGHER-PAYING JOBS (An essay in response to Senator Johnson's public acceptance of sending truck production jobs to South Carolina because Wisconsin has a shortage of workers.)

    February 17, 2022: CRITICAL RACE THEORY AND THE SUBURBAN VOTE ( An essay which addresses the chief concern of parents: kids are slipping behind and  need  organized tutoring, especially in math and English.)

    February 10, 2022: INFLATION AS A REPUBLICAN GOLD MINE  (An essay in response to Senator Scott (R-FL) who claims that inflation will provide the basis for a Republican landslide in 2022.)

    February 10, 2022: IT TAKES PARENTS AND A VILLAGE  (An essay in response to Senator Johnson's comment about taking care of "other people's children."

     

     

     

     

     

     


  • FEDERAL CONTRACTS BRING HIGHER-PAYING JOBS

     

     FEDERAL CONTRACTS BRING HIGHER-PAYING  JOBS

             When Oshkosh Corp. landed a contract to produce delivery trucks for the United States Post Office, the company decided to split the tasks: 100 design jobs would be located in Oshkosh Wisconsin and 1000 production jobs would go to  South Carolina. Wisconsin Senator Johnson spoke approvingly of this division of labor, stating that Wisconsin has plenty of jobs already: "It's not like we don't have enough jobs here in Wisconsin. The biggest problem we have in Wisconsin right now is employers not being able to find enough workers."

             That is a rather odd thing for a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin to say, seeming to defy  market process.  Although this is a long-term contract, the labor shortage Johnson refers to is a temporary market adjustment to the hot national economy. In addition, the labor market has been further complicated by Covid and the concern for workplace safety, a complication lessened by the success of the vaccine and its distribution.   This USPS contract can contribute to the long-term process of capital accumulation essential for stable demand for well-paid workers.   

             In his statement, Senator Johnson ignores two additional, broader economic concerns.  First,  climate implications:  the federal government is anxious to modify the contract to build a truck fleet that is more climate-friendly. Wisconsin can become a major player in the burgeoning market for electric vehicles.

            Second, the construction contracts would put more federal dollars into circulation in Wisconsin,  stimulating economic development well beyond the initial contract. 

     Climate Implications

              The Biden Administration has set a national goal of net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050; meeting that goal will require the replacement of fossil fuel-powered vehicles with electric vehicles. The  Environmental Protection Agency has asked for a review of the contract, as it stands only 10% of the Oshkosh contract is for battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs). 

                The country has built its transportation infrastructure around the interstate highway system and the local and state highway grids.    The recently-passed bi-partisan infrastructure bill is a further commitment to that network.    The electrification of vehicles is imperative, especially large vehicles like buses and freight and local delivery trucks.  This will entail a multi-decade conversion; Wisconsin companies can gain a competitive position in a high-demand industry, rather than cede this high ground to other states and to China.  Large government truck-fleet contracts give the private market a jumpstart. A contract that provides both quantity and price per unit greatly reduces the risk of capital accumulation first to fulfill the contract for several thousand Postal Service trucks and later to compete in the market for other private-sector vehicles like delivery trucks sought by FedEx, Amazon, UPS, etc.          

    Economic Development Multiplier

             Federal money to build or convert postal delivery trucks will have multipliers far beyond that particular contract.   Like all of the 50 states, Wisconsin is in an economic federation.  When money enters the state from the federal government, it is initially spent on the initial purpose, in this case, payment in exchange for a manufactured good. But then that money gets paid out in salary and wages to the many individuals -- from CEO to line worker to janitor --who took part in the fulfillment of that agreement --  i.e., the design, capital installation,  manufacture, and delivery.  The money gets spent again in accordance with the preferences of all those people. They spend the money on rent, food, gasoline, pet supplies, for myriad other goods and services, supporting jobs and wages in those markets.  The people who supply the apartments, food, gasoline, etc. receive payments as income and re-spend the money according to their preferences.   The money is spent multiple times,  in each round stimulating more economic activity.

             Wisconsin has invested in its comparative skill advantage for fulfilling complicated long-term contracts: its experienced and educated workers,  graduates from the UW and private university engineering schools, as well as graduates from the vocational-tech schools and trade apprenticeship programs.     Steering federal contracts to state firms would boost not only the accumulation of capital in the private sector and the growth of labor demand but also the return on the taxpayer investment in the educational and skill development enterprise while contributing to the national goal of net-zero carbon emissions. 

     

    William L. Holahan is an Emeritus Professor and former Chair of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

     

               


  • published Election Day is TODAY in Newsletter 2022-02-16 11:08:19 -0600

    Election Day is TODAY

    In case you hadn't noticed, today is an election day. If you live in Bayside, Fox Point, Glendale, River Hills, Shorewood, or Whitefish Bay — and you have not already voted — please vote in this important primary election. Grasssroots North Shore recommends that you vote for Liz Sumner for Milwaukee County Supervisor in District 1.

    And if you live in the Cedarburg School District or the Mequon-Thiensville School District, you have an important primary too. In both cases, the lowest vote-getter will be eliminated from the April 5 ballot. In Cedarburg, we don't have a solid endorsement to give you. But various trusted voices have recommended that you vote for FOUR of these five candidates: Kate Erickson, Ryan Hammetter, Hani Malek, Mike Maher, and Jamie Maier. In Mequon-Thiensville, we know more because there was a recall election there in November 2021. The recall was handily thwarted but one of the defeated participants is trying again. To thwart her again, we are recommending that you vote for TWO of the following three candidates: Paul Buzzell, Maria Douglas, and Jason Levash.

    There's a lot of news, both in Wisconsin and in the national media. The Wisconsin Supreme Court temporarily ruled that while drop boxes could be used for the election happening today, they will not be an available avenue for returning absentee ballots in April. The ruling is temporary because the court has not yet held a hearing on the matter but will do so in time to make a general ruling before the partisan primary on August 9 and the November 8 general election. Here's the article in the Journal Sentinel.

    If you want the convenience of voting absentee for one or all of the remaining elections in 2022, you can request absentee ballots for them at MyVote.WI.gov. If we cannot use drop boxes in August or November, you have two additional choices to return your ballot: either put the envelope with your ballot in the US mails — at least a week ahead of election day — or deliver it in person to your municipal clerk's office.

    Our own Senator Ron Johnson is suffering what I hope is a disqualifying case of foot-in-mouth disease. Oshkosh Defense, Inc., won a large contract to build postal vehicles but announced that it would not be building them in Wisconsin. Instead, they're going to manufacture the trucks in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Senator Johnson has publicly declared that he will not urge the company to use a Wisconsin facility. "It's not like we don't have enough jobs here in Wisconsin," he said. It's hard to believe that our senator thinks good union jobs aren't needed here. Watch the short video about this matter that a More Perfect Union created to expose both the company and our just-plain-wrong senator.

    Our website just added a new featureMoney Talks — with articles from Bill Holohan, emeritus professor and former chair of the Economics Department at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. The pieces will give you a fresh understanding of the economy. Sort of like our own Paul Krugman.

    Finally, on the local front, Citizen Action is holding a virtual event called "In the Wash: A Virtual Workshop about Wisconsin Water Quality" on February 24. You can sign up for it here.

    The national news is pretty meaty too. The Trump Organization's long-time accounting firm has just divorced itself from the company and has concluded that nearly 10 years worth of financial statements it developed for TFG (that's the former guy, in case you're not up on the lingo) are unreliable. And the MyPillow CEO/coup advocate announced that his bank is closing his accounts by February 18 because he's a "reputation risk" to the bank. These guys can't get more love from companies that have served them for years! Both events both happened on Valentine's Day, yet another example of the upside down, alternate reality world the MAGA folks are drawn to.

    Today's Washington Post has two interesting stories on settlements reached in pending lawsuits, one by the Sandy Hook families who sued Remington Arms (the maker of the AR-15 style rifle used to kill their children) and the other by Virginia Giuffre who sued Prince Andrews for sexual abuse. The Sandy Hook case, ongoing for eight years, is a landmark: it's "the first instance in the United States of a gun manufacturer facing liability for a mass shooting."

    If you have time for a short read, I recommend Jamelle Bouie's column in today's New York Times. "Why We Are Not Facing the Prospect of a Second Civil War" offers an excellent, abbreviated history of the forces that produced the Civil War of 1860.


  • published Elections matter, all of them in Newsletter 2022-02-10 11:55:05 -0600

    Elections matter, all of them

    Let's begin with important election news. The February 15 non-partisan primary is just a week from today. You may already have requested an absentee ballot at MyVote.wi.gov. If you have not yet filled it out and turned it in, do so today. You can use a drop box located in your community or you can take it in person to your municipal clerk. Early in-person voting is going on now but it ends this Friday, Feb. 11. Find links to information about the candidates on our Elections page.

    The Democratic Party of Wisconsin is holding a Get-Out-the-Vote Weekend of Action on Saturday, February 12, and Sunday, February 13. They're using virtual phone banks so you can "go" in your jammies if you want. The virtual staging locations they are setting up will provide a brief training at the beginning of each shift. So SIGN UP and get a running start on what is going to be a GOTV-filled year.

    But the broader issues around voting just keep coming at us. Last week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted that the "Republican lawmakers rolled out a constitutional amendment banning the use of grant money to administer elections" while "Democratic lawmakers called for a state elections commissioner to lose his job after pretending to be an elector for former President Donald Trump." A constitutional amendment will take years to accomplish and will need to be put before the voters — perhaps as early as next year. Needless to say, Grassroots North Shore will mobilize around this issue. And those fake electors should at the least be investigated for pretending to be public officials and for forging state documents!

    The League of Progressive Seniors is holding an online workshop to grapple with efforts to suppress the votes of senior citizens and the disabled. State Assembly Leader Robin Vos apparently wants to prosecute members of the Wisconsin Election Commission for allowing residents of nursing homes to vote in 2020 even though Voting Deputies could not attend, as the law stipulates. And now they're trying to use the courts to prohibit the use of drop boxes for voting and to forbid friends or family of people with limited mobility from assisting them by delivering their absentee ballots for them. The program will take place on Friday, February 18, from noon to 1pm. To sign up, you need to email the League.

    In the nation as a whole, we've had some victories in the fight against gerrymandering in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. In all three states, maps rigged by Republicans have been rejected by those states' Supreme Courts. The ruling in North Carolina was especially pointed about the effort to lock in GOP control: the legislature violates the state constitution "when it deprives a voter of his or her right to substantially equal voting power on the basis of partisan affiliation," the order stated. We're still waiting for Wisconsin's Supreme Court to rule on our electoral maps but it could happen any day now.

    However, we may have suffered a grievous setback with the latest "shadow docket" ruling on a case about the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The court didn't actually rule on the case: it just stayed a ruling that a lower court in Alabama found discriminated against Blacks by failing to provide for a second congressional district with enough Black voters to enable — but not to guarantee — that they could elect a favored candidate. The Supreme Court's stay effectively restored the Alabama legislature's map, "suggesting that the court was poised to become more skeptical of challenges to voting maps based on claims of race discrimination," according to an article in the New York Times. Chief Justice John Roberts voted with Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor. But of course his vote left him in the minority as all five of the "conservative" justices voted to let the maps stand until the case winds its way through the court. So, justice delayed. It's likely the new maps with its one majority-minority district will be in effect for the November 8 election.

    Finally, you should catch up on some jaw-dropping news from Senator Ron Johnson. Of course he "refused Saturday to say whether the Republican Party was right to censure two members of Congress and whether it had properly characterized the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection as 'legitimate political discourse'" (JSOnline, Feb. 5, 2022). That he's a coward goes without saying. But he really topped his own record of saying stupid stuff when he said "he won't try to persuade a Wisconsin manufacturer to place more than 1,000 new jobs in his hometown." Here's quote: "It's not like we don't have enough jobs here in Wisconsin. The biggest problem we have in Wisconsin right now is employers not being able to find enough workers" (JSOnline, Feb. 7, 2022). I've paid attention to politicians and their campaigns since the 1960s. I've never heard one say that we don't need any more good jobs around here! Sheesh.

     

    Read more

  • published IT TAKES PARENTS AND A VILLAGE in Econ4Voters 2022-02-10 11:33:30 -0600

    IT TAKES PARENTS AND A VILLAGE

             “I’ve never really felt it was society’s responsibility to take care of other people’s children.”  So says Ron Johnson, currently a candidate for a third term as US Senator from Wisconsin. In his view, the care of children should be the sole responsibility of the family. All payments, whether consumption items like food, clothing, nutrition, or investment in education, skill development, housing, are all the responsibility of parents.

             His sentiment surely is a long way from "it takes a village to raise a child!" It is also contrary to long-established policy: government does complement the economic well-being of virtually all children through its taxation and spending authorities (just as it does for virtually all businesses, including Mr. Johnson's). Some expenditures in support of children are long-standing: public financing of K-12, community colleges and state universities being the most obvious.  Other examples include public health services, the Supplemental Food and Nutrition Program (SNAP), rent subsidy, investments in hospitals, research universities, disease control, vocational schools, and polytechnics, to mention just a few ways in which taxpayers assist in  "taking care of other people’s children."

    DIRECT PAYMENTS TO PARENTS

             Johnson's current objection is directed at government assistance to children via direct payments to their parents, either by a tax credit or rebate.  For example, he opposes extension of President Biden's child tax credit (CTC), a key element of the American Rescue Plan that lifted approximately 30% of poor children above the federal poverty level during the pandemic.  That subsidy expired in December but its revival is included in the now-stalled Build Back Better plan, along with additional assistance to children that Johnson opposes, including a proposed subsidy for child care, and universal pre-K, which would enable more parents to go to work knowing their kids are safe and in productive learning environments.    

             The United States economy is primarily a decentralized market system that guides economic activity via price incentives. But all modern market systems require a strong public sector to produce goods and services which benefit society but which will not be produced in the market due to insufficient incentives. Modern democracies have devised public policies to assist parents rather than rely solely on the powerful but inadequate forces of the market.    

             The prominent "conservative" and Nobel-prize-winning economist Milton Friedman reasoned that some government assistance on behalf of children is best managed by their parents; better to enhance parental ability to pay than to make choices for them.   For example, addressing a national goal of better nutrition requires both money and decision-making. Rather than have government deliver pre-determined food packages, the SNAP program provides a debit card to pay for food, leaving the food choices up to the parents.    

              Another example promoted by Friedman and implemented by President Reagan was the earned income tax credit (EITC). This program adds to after-tax hourly wages which, in turn, enables lower-income workers to provide more for their children. A third example is the child tax credit (CTC), which pays parents $3,000 per year per child under age 17; $3,600 if under age 6.

    WHY DOES IT TAKE A VILLAGE? 

             If investment in children is so vital to the performance of the economy, why won't the free market make those investments?   Investments are inherently intertemporal:  spend money now for benefits later.  To support the upbringing of children, parents can spend out of current income or via borrowing, but only if those resources are available to them; the parent with no access to investment funds can at best meet immediate needs. The market provides investment funds only through loans with expected repayment plus interest, an impossibility for people who cannot make those assurances.  In the world that Johnson envisions,  cycles of poverty will not be broken.        

             The US is designed as a market system guided by representative-government rulemaking. Both function better with full development of their people. Thomas Jefferson instructed us that the benefit of investment in people extends beyond the individual to benefit society as a whole; democracy is strengthened when its populace is educated. We the people have to invest to produce that public good.

    William L. Holahan is Emeritus Professor and former Chair of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

  • published INFLATION AS A REPUBLICAN GOLDMINE? in Econ4Voters 2022-02-10 11:26:13 -0600

    INFLATION AS A REPUBLICAN GOLDMINE?

             Inflation is both a financial and psychological issue, particularly for older people who experienced the "double-digit inflation" of the early 1980s, and the tough monetary policy that drove up interest rates to near 20%. They recall how inflation crushed the markets for long-lived assets like cars and houses and squeezed savings, wages, and living standards. The recently reported annualized inflation rate of 6.8%, well above the Federal Reserve target of 2%, provides rueful reminders of those high-inflation years, threatening to erode public support for spending on Joe Biden's initiatives.  Initially, it was hoped that this rate of inflation would be transitory, i.e., at least partially self-correcting, but increasingly it looks more permanent and dangerously upward spiraling, prompting Fed chair Jerome Powell to announce a plan to rein in inflation by raising interest rates beginning in March, although in a far less draconian pattern than was imposed in the 1980s. 

             Meanwhile, Republicans see this as an opportunity to gain seats in Congress and the White House in 2024. Senator Rick Scott of Florida proclaimed, "We're going to continue to have inflation. And then interest rates will go up. This is a goldmine for us."  

     COVID AND TODAY'S INFLATION ARE LINKED

              The linkages between the ravages of Covid and the performance of the economy are by now familiar. Workers feared unsafe working conditions. Understaffed businesses reduced hours and some closed, temporarily for some, permanently for others.  Meanwhile, consumer preferences shifted from services to goods, increasing the pressure on already-bottlenecked ports, freight rail and long-haul trucking. All of these factors raised costs which were passed on in the price level.

              Fortunately, the supply chain blockages that developed due to Covid are being moderated by policy. Extended hours of operation in the major ports of Savannah, Long Beach, and Los Angeles as well as enhanced fees and bonuses for on-time delivery seem to be loosening up the blockages. Worldwide, however, the pandemic continues to slow manufacturing and freight operations, further affecting global price levels.   

     RAPID RESPONSE

             The strategic republicans will find a "goldmine" in any negative factor they can associate with President Biden. In response, Democrats can point out that inflation is only one indicator of economic performance. Other major measures are unemployment, wage growth, unemployment and wage growth among minority groups, child poverty, food insecurity, job insecurity, and many others, all improving during 2021. Growth of the economy during 2021 was 5.7%, the highest rate since 1984. Most strikingly, nearly 6 million jobs have been added during that time, a record for the first year of a presidential term, accompanied by the fall in the unemployment rate to 3.9%.

             Because inflation and covid are linked, Republicans could better serve the nation by admitting that the evidence is in; vaccines and masking work. Moreover, as NPR reported recently, for example, counties that voted most heavily for Trump in 2020 have 5.5 times more deaths per 100,000 from Covid than did counties that voted most heavily for Biden.  To save lives, and reduce economic uncertainty, all leaders should promote the Covid-fighting measures that the scientists tell us will help get and keep the pandemic under greater control.   

    William L. Holahan is Emeritus Professor and former Chair of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

     

     

     

     

     

     


  • published Voting Info for the primary in Newsletter 2022-02-01 14:33:23 -0600

    Voting Info for the primary

    February has begun! And you know what that means: a non-partisan election is a mere two weeks away. There are primary elections in most of our North Shore and Ozaukee County communities (except Brown Deer). And we can't afford for you to miss it. So be a voter: go to myvote.wi.gov to request your absentee ballot today! Also, visit our 2022 elections page. You will find information about early in-person voting, which begins today, and drop box locations for your community. Drop boxes can be used for this primary but their fate for future elections is uncertain. The WI Supreme Court will rule on the issue before the next election on April 5.

    Key Voting Tips

    There are primaries for the Cedarburg School District and the Mequon-Thiensville School District. You'll find links and information on our school boards page. In both cases, the candidate with the lowest vote total in the primary will not appear on the April 5 ballot.

    For the Cedarburg SD, we don't have a firm recommendation. We can tell you, though, that the current president of the board, Rick Leach, is a gun enthusiast and Laura Strobel is the wife of a Republican Assembly Representative.

    Having handily defeated the recall election in the Mequon-Thiensville SD, Grassroots North Shore has a lot more information about those running in that election. Scarlett Johnson and Jill Chromy are both on our "do not vote for" list. So vote for the other three — Paul Buzzell, Maria Douglas, and Jason Levash. Skip making a fourth choice.

    On the North Shore, the key primary is in the race for County Supervisor for District 1. The district has been redrawn as a result of the 2020 census. Shorewood and Whitefish Bay used to be in District 3 (Sheldon Wasserman is the incumbent) but are now in District 1. The other communities in that district are Glendale, River Hills, Fox Point and Bayside. If you live in these six communities, this primary will affect you. See the new map on our Milwaukee County Supervisors page.

    There are three candidates on the ballot for the county supervisor primary, which will eliminate one. This race pits our preferred candidate — Liz Sumner, the incumbent — against two newcomers. We urge you to vote for her and simply skip a second choice.

    Little is known about one of the candidates — Karen Gentile. She's a member of the Republican party, we hear; apparently is not campaigning; and does not want to be contacted (we've tried repeatedly to no avail). She does have a personal Facebook page, though, which will give you some idea of what she's about.

    The third candidate in the race — Peter Tase — is much more worrisome. He has no website or Facebook page, but he has recently published an essay supporting the former guy's "Big Lie." A video of a campaign event showcasing his noxious views has apparently been removed from vimeo. However, Daniel Bice published an extensive piece on his views: it's definitely worth a full read.

    Local Notable News

    COVID 19 remains a huge headache. Now a subvariant of omicron has already been detected in Wisconsin. Its claim to your worries is that it may spread even more easily than omicron.

    According to the Wisconsin Examiner, "Assembly Speaker Robin Vos struggles to maintain control" of the legislative body and messaging. The article pokes at his latest press conference and the "review" of the 2020 election he hired Michael Gableman to conduct — an expensive boondoggle, "which numerous observers including newspaper editorial boards, nonpartisan watchdogs and legal experts have labeled a fiasco."

    National Notable News

    The New York Times has purchased Wordle! Earth-shattering news indeed. And oh yeah, tRump has now admitted, in writing, that he wanted former Vice President Pence to OVERTURN (his exact word) the 2020 presidential election. Today he wants to walk that felonious claim back. And in shocking, but not surprising, revelations, it turns out that he was deeply involved in the plot to seize voting machines, instructing his minions to request three cabinet departments to take action: Justice, Homeland Security, and Defense. All turned him down. So is it time to indict him for seditious conspiracy?

     

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  • published 2022 Annual Meeting Resources 2022-02-01 14:00:48 -0600

    YOU CAN HELP GRASSROOTS NORTH SHORE

    Keep up to date on issues that need to see the light of day within your community.
    When you contact a GRNS representative (see list below) about a candidate or issue, we can find out more and try to alert our membership in your village/city/town.
    This is not intended to repeat smears or hearsay about candidates, but to make sure that community elections or board votes cannot be commandeered by a small group of people without anyone really knowing about it until it happens. Here are a few examples:
    (1) Whitefish Bay School Board Tax Levy where emails were sent to round up people to vote "no" to the levy as leverage against books they did not approve of in the school library - we were able to alert residents and get a good showing to support the levy;
    (2) The Mequon-Thiensville School Board recall, where we helped disseminate information about candidates;
    (3) Current primary for Supervisor in District 1, in which one of the candidates has made unsubstantiated accusations against the incumbent and has also revealed right-wing positions. We have been able to let people know where he stands.
    Community Volunteer email
    Bayside Eilene Stevens [email protected]
    Brown Deer Emily Siegrist [email protected]
    Fox Point Shirley Horowitz [email protected]
    Glendale Linda Deskalo [email protected]
    Mequon Kath Michel [email protected]
    Shorewood Kathy Kean [email protected]
    Whitefish Bay Shirley Horowitz [email protected]

    Resources from Barbara Miner and Bob Peterson

    Websites:

    https://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed by The Center for Media and Democracy

    http://www.unkochmycampus.org/ Focuses on Koch and the attacks on higher education and K-12. See their recent report

    “Koch Funded Moral Panic: Ultra Right Think Tanks and Critical Race Theory,”

    Books:

    Lessons from the Heartland: A Turbulent Half-century of Public Education in an Iconic American City, by Barbara Miner, New Press, 2012

     A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School, by Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire, New Press, 2020

     Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s  Stealth Plan for America, Nancy MacLean, Viking 2017.

     The Privatization of Everything: How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed American and How We Can Fight Back, by Donald Cohen and Allen Mikaelian, New Press, 2021.

    Articles:

    A recent New Yorker article, “The Big Money Behind the Big Lie” 

    New York Times opinion, The Real Roots of the Debate Over Schools During Covid, by Tressie McMillan Cottom.

    Link to video of the event.

    Remember to vote on Feb.15; see our Endorsement of Liz Sumner for District 1 Supervisor

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  • published what's happening to our elections in Newsletter 2022-01-25 17:48:12 -0600

    what's happening to our elections

    The most important news item today is the ruling the District 4 Court of Appeals issued yesterday. It restores our ability to use drop boxes for the February 5 non-partisan primary. (See the story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online or one in the Wisconsin Examiner.) It also allows people other than the voter to return absentee ballots. Both issues are addressed only temporarily. That's because there's a general rule that changes to voting procedures should not be issued too close to an election to avoid confusion and possible disenfranchisement of voters who have not learned the new rules. Absentee ballots are already being mailed to voters. So if you have not yet done so, you should request your absentee ballot NOW. You can use myvote.wi.gov or you can send an email request to your municipal clerk. You'll find phone numbers for most of our municipalities on our early voting information page.

    While I'm on the subject of elections, Grassroots North Shore has gathered information on the candidates running for non-partisan local offices. We know, or should have recently learned, how vital these offices are. So visit our 2022 Elections page. We have a page for early voting information, one for Milwaukee County Supervisors, one for school boards, one for municipal elections, one for the District 2 Court of Appeals, and one for Milwaukee County Judges. The page on drop box locations (as of the 2020 election) is also up.  Drop Boxes are available for ballots at least for this first election of 2022. And make a plan to vote!

    Also, don't miss the Grassroots North Shore Annual Meeting, coming up on Zoom on Sunday, February 6, at 7pm. We're presenting speakers knowledgable about attacks on school boards — Wisconsin-based education journalist Barbara Miner, and Milwaukee Public School Board President, Robert Peterson. (So RSVP already!) As you might remember, there was a recall election for the Mequon-Thiensville school board in November, 2021. It failed! And it failed big-time because people came out to vote. Now we have to do it again. One of the people running for a seat in the primary is trying again. And she has company. Both Scarlett Johnson and Jill Chromy have major backing from the fringy right of the Republican party. The primary will eliminate one of the five candidates, leaving four contenders for the April election. Talk to your friends, co-workers, family who live in the district and urge them to vote for the other candidates so we can try to repeat our success from last fall.

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard oral arguments on proposed legislative maps from the parties to the lawsuit and from various groups who sent amicus briefs in support of various maps. The court had earlier ruled that it would not look at partisan gerrymandering in selecting a map and that it would really only consider so-called "least change" maps. Conveniently, however, the court failed to define what "least change" means. And sure enough, there was plenty of argument about whether to consider how many voters would have to be moved to new districts — the governor's map was most successful at meeting this criterion — or whether the key would be districts that contain equal numbers of voters. Oddly enough (heavy on the snarkiness), the lawyer representing the GOP legislature argued vociferously for the latter standard, even though it would not preserve the present maps as much as possible. A ruling on the maps should be issued soon.

    In the flurry of redistricting happening in all 50 states now, Democrats and progressives have feared that Republican-controlled states would use as much power as they could muster to gerrymander the heck out of the maps to maximize their advantage. And in a few states, like Ohio and North Carolina, they have indeed tried to do that. But the Ohio maps have been struck down by the state's Supreme Court, and there are lawsuits over the North Carolina maps also. It turns out that our fears may be a tad overblown. See a succinct account of it on Rick Hasen's Election Law Blog. And Marc Elias's Democracy Docket has a nifty round up of the redistricting process for each state. You can find that article here.

    Making the Most of Infrastructure Dollars, 8:00am
    American Family Field Restaurant, Milwaukee

    Join WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com for a special breakfast on the topic: “Making the Most of New Federal Infrastructure Dollars.” Doors will open at 8 a.m. at the restaurant and a moderated panel discussion will start at 8:30 a.m. Registration is open until January 27 and cost is $20. Registration and more information.

    WISDON: Transformational Justice Campaign, 6:30pm — 8pm
    Zoom

    Taking On Mass Incarceration in Wisconsin. This event occurs every Thursday until February 24, 2022 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. via Zoom. The Zoom information is the same for all sessions. Session 1: January 24, Session 2: February 3, Session 3: February 10, Session 4: February 17, Session 5: February 24. For questions, email. Register here.

    Saturday, February 5

    Stand for Peace, 12:00 – 1:00pm
    Capitol Drive & Teutonia Avenue, Milwaukee

    Stand for Peace has resumed in-person events with masks and social distancing. Check for more information. Organized by Peace Action Wisconsin.

    Sunday, February 6

    Grassroots North Shore Annual Meeting, 7pm — 8:30 pm
    Zoom

    School Boards Under Attack. Who’s behind these attacks, and why? Are the abusive rhetoric and challenges to school board incumbents a grassroots phenomenon, or do shadowy backers provide the funds and pull the strings? After a brief business meeting, Wisconsin-based education journalist Barbara Miner, and Milwaukee Public School Board President, Robert Peterson, will help us peek behind the curtain. RSVP.

    Notable Upcoming Event

    Saturday, February 12

    UN Association of Greater Milwaukee, 10am — 12pm
    Zoom

    Pushing Peace in the 2022 Elections: Join the Planning! Featuring Four Milwaukee Peace Activists Discussing How To Bring Foreign Policy Issues To The Candidates And Voters. A Virtual Zoom Program – Free & Open to the Public – Preregistration is Required. The activists include Jim Carpenter, Steve Watrous, Pam Richard, and Sharaka Berry. Advance registration is required. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the meeting. For more information: Contact Steve Watrous at 414.429.7567 / [email protected].

    Read more

  • Let's get loud for Fair Maps and safe elections

    The issue of Fair Maps — i.e., getting rid of rigged and gerrymandered election districts — is very much in the news. In fact, Wednesday, January 19, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will hold a lengthy hearing on the case, beginning at 9am. It can probably be viewed, or at least heard, by accessing Wisconsin Eye. You can also watch Lisa Pugh's interview with Barry Burden, political science professor at UW Madison, for a review of how the case got to the WI Supreme Court and what the complicated case entails.

    Concerned Citizens of Wisconsin, a group of folks who have been meeting regularly with North Shore Fair Maps, collaborated with fair maps activists around the state, including Western Wisconsin for Nonpartisan Voting Districts and Wisconsin Map Assessment Project (WIMAP), to file an amicus brief — that's a "friend-of-the-court" brief — with the Wisconsin Supreme Court in the Johnson v. Wisconsin Election Commission redistricting case on behalf of voters representing all 33 Senate districts in the state. You can read the brief here. (Shoutout to Laffey, Leitner & Goode for providing pro bono legal services.) A group of legal scholars from across the country also filed an amicus brief, which you can read here. Sign up to show your support, and to make sure you get invited to the follow up meetings where you will hear all about it! Finally, you can access all the documents in the case.

    ACTION ITEM: Rallies to demand Fair Maps are taking place all across the state on Friday, January 21, at 12 noon. In Milwaukee County one will take place outside the Milwaukee County Courthouse, 930 W. Wells St, Milwaukee, WI 53204. You can sign up here . In Ozaukee County, the rally will take place at the Old County Courthouse, 109 W Main St., Port Washington. You can use the same link to sign up: just choose the Port Washington site as the one you plan to attend. These rallies are sponsored by WFP, LIT (Leaders Igniting Transformation), HAWA (Hmong American Women's Assn), Democracy Campaign, Citizen Action of WI, WI Fair Maps Coalition, and other groups.

    The attacks on our election systems are relentless. Not only are the maps the GOP-dominated legislature wants the Supreme Court to bless truly an awful partisan gerrymander designed to keep Republicans in power and mere voters powerless to affect what they do. No, now they have found a judge in Waukesha to rule that municipal drop boxes can no longer be used as receptacles for absentee ballots. The ruling is, I believe, being appealed. But meanwhile, if you want to vote by absentee ballot for the February 15 primary, you need to request your ballots for the whole year NOW! And you need to turn your ballots around quickly so they will be sure to arrive on time. Either that, or plan to take your ballot to your municipal hall and turn it in there. Here's the story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online (published January 13). And of course, it's national news too. The Washington Post published a news item about it the next day.

    Our Grassroots North Shore election coverage is now available but still lacks lots of significant information about local candidates and in-person early voting. However, there will be several important primaries in some areas. In the North Shore communities in Milwaukee County, the County Supervisor districts have, naturally, been redrawn. So there are new district lines for supervisor district 1, whose current incumbent is Liz Summer, and district 3, whose current incumbent is Sheldon Wasserman. You can visit our page for these elections to get maps of the new districts and, eventually, for links to candidates' campaigns. There will be primary elections in both districts.

    In Ozaukee County, two important school board elections have primaries on February 15: the Cedarburg School District and the Mequon-Thiensville School District. If you can vote in either of those districts, please visit our page for school board elections to learn more about what's going on. And again, we will have more links to the candidates' campaigns soon.

    School board elections have traditionally been both low-key and primarily of local concern. But not any more. The members of school boards have been personally attacked. As you may remember, the Mequon-Thiensville School District just went through an acrimonious — and I'm glad to report unsuccessful — recall election over mask mandates, critical race theory, and other political issues. Although they were soundly defeated, some of the challengers in that recall election are trying to run in the spring election, hoping to win a seat on the board. And two of the incumbents who were challenged in the recall have decided not to run again. Our upcoming meeting on February 6 will focus on "School Boards Under Attack." The program will feature Barbara Minor (education journalist in Wisconsin) and Robert Peterson (Milwaukee Public School Board president). You won't want to miss it. Sign up to get the Zoom link.

    SAVE THE DATE: For recipients of this newsletter who vote in the city, Citizen Action is holding an online Milwaukee mayoral forum ahead of the February 15 primary on Saturday, January 29, at 9am. The next Milwaukee Mayor must be someone who works with the people of Milwaukee to make progress on racial justice, to address climate change and the energy burden put on communities of color, to ensure that everyone has access to a well paying job and the transportation to get to that job. Join the top Citizen Action candidates to hear their vision for the future of Milwaukee. Sign up here.

    And a brief word about COVID-19 in our area. Cases continue to be quite high in Milwaukee County. According to the Department of Health Services, Milwaukee county ranked 4th in cases per 100,00 people and Ozaukee County ranked 15th. In both counties, transmission severity is high. Vaccinations with boosters continue to be the best way to avoid serious illness. And masking with a K95 or KN95 remains the best way to protect others, too.

    The events list is strangely skinny this week. And that's probably because one of the calendars we use for tracking events has been recently changed and the old one is no longer being updated. But the new calendar is inaccessible, as far as I can tell. So there are undoubtedly events in the offing that I don't know about. I've alerted the relevant people and hope it will be fixed soon. Meanwhile, I hope you'll engage with the Fair Maps rallies in your area and will stay tuned to future Grassroots North Shore newsletters.

    EVENTS

    Wed Jan 19, 2022

    Ozaukee County Dems Meeting, 7pm -7pm
    Zoom

    The next regular monthly meeting of the Democratic Party of Ozaukee County will be Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held virtually on Zoom.

    Suspended: Southwest Region Dems Meeting, 7pm - 7pm
    Suspended

    Southwest Dems (Region 5) cover Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Milwaukee (Southwest), West Allis, West Milwaukee. For information on when a meeting may be held check here or contact [email protected].

    Sat Jan 22, 2022

    Suspended: Community Brainstorming, 8am - 11am
    Suspended

    Community Brainstorming Conference will suspend its monthly breakfast forums until further notice. More information.

    Rally for Fair Maps, Milwaukee County, 12pm
    Milwaukee County Courthouse, 930 W. Wells St, Milwaukee
    You can sign up here.

    Rally for Fair Maps, Ozaukee County, 12pm
    Old County Courthouse, 109 W Main St., Port Washington
    Use this link to sign up for the rally in Port Washington.

    Thu Jan 27, 2022

    Mental Health Board Meeting, 9am - 9am
    Teleconference

    This is a teleconference meeting (see Agenda for details). Public Comment: none. More information.

    WISDON: Transformational Justice Campaign, 6:30pm - 8pm
    Zoom

    Taking On Mass Incarceration in Wisconsin. Register here.

    Mon Jan 24

    MKE County Dems Meeting, 6pm - 7:30pm
    Zoom

    The next Members Meeting, on Zoom, is rescheduled for Monday, January 24, at 6pm (to honor MLK Day). Due to the community spread of COVID-19, we will need to assess the situation month by month. When you RSVP, you will receive an email with the Zoom link in it.

    Read more

  • published And here we go! in Newsletter 2022-01-12 12:47:43 -0600

    And here we go!

    Grassroots North Shore's Annual Meeting

    On February 6 (7pm - 8:30pm), Grassroots North Shore will hold an informative virtual event — School Boards Under Attack — featuring Barbara Miner (Wisconsin-based Education Journalist) and Robert Peterson (Milwaukee Public Schools Board President.) Joining the featured speakers will be residents of communities that have recently succeeded in containing the siege on school board members and programs. Sign up and plan to attend!

    Two school boards in Ozaukee County — Cedarburg School District and Mequon-Thiensville School District — are experiencing this kind of attack right now. Both will have will have primaries on February 15 and a general election on April 5. If you live in one of those school districts, it is especially important that you come to this event. AND YOU MUST VOTE. Actually, that goes for everyone this newsletter reaches. You can request absentee ballots (i.e., ballots to be mailed to you) for the whole year at myvote.wi.gov.

    Before the start of the main program, the Annual Meeting will begin with a short presentation reviewing the work of the past year, outlining our plans for this year, and voting to affirm the selection of steering committee members for 2022. Anyone who has paid their membership dues in 2021 or 2022 can vote for the slate. If you have not yet become a member, now would be a perfect time. You can do it online or mail a check to Grassroots North Shore, 5600 W. Brown Deer Rd, Suite 116, Brown Deer, WI 53223. Memberships are $5 for students, $20 for an individual, and $30 for a family. Up your political game and become a member!

    Wisconsin in the News

    Senator Ron Johnson has at last announced that, despite his original vow to resign from the Senate after two terms, he's going to run for re-election this year. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel covered Johnson's announcement, and also included brief responses from four key opponents. A lot of national media considered his announcement an important story too. NPR coverage is here. Here's the Washington Post's take. And here's the New York Times's piece. The last two of these outlets use their subheads to note that Johnson tells numerous lies about the 2020 election and covid. Meanwhile, Kathy Bernier, a Republican state senator who has "stood up to attacks on the 2020 election results from other Republicans", has announced that she will not run for re-election. Aside from Talking Points Memo the story was not generally picked up. News of the Big Lie and its impact is everywhere, but vocal opposition is not.

    And you should take the time to read an Ezra Klein op-ed in the New York Times and a Greg Sargent post in the Washington Post, both about election strategies and both with quotations from Ben Wikler, Chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party.

    COVID News

    WISN is reporting that the positivity rate for Milwaukee County from December 31, 2021, to January 6, 2022 was 36.2% while in the city of Milwaukee, over approximately the same time period, it was 41.2%. These are extremely high percentages. And it means your chance of encountering an infectious person is also extremely high if you are out and about. The director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, made the bad kind of news when she went on Good Morning America on Friday and "said that the majority of Omicron fatalities had occurred in people who already had other medical conditions at the same time — known as comorbidities" (Newsweek, Jan 10, 2022). She implied that those who have died were sick anyway, so.... Not what she meant, apparently, but that's the way it came across.

    Spring 2022 Election Information

    As we always do, Grassroots North Shore will provide you with the information you need about upcoming elections on our website. This year for the first time, we will be including links to candidate information — or at least such online information as we can find — for school board, municipal, and judicial elections in the North Shore and Ozaukee Counties. You will also find links to information about drop boxes (unless the GOP succeeds in outlawing them!) and in-person early voting. Many communities and school boards will not have primaries on February 15. The Cedarburg School District and the Mequon-Thiensville School District are the only two we currently know about. Information about what's at stake and who the candidates are (with links to the online information that's available) should be up by Monday, January 17.

    You can request absentee ballots for the whole year by going to myvote.wi.gov. And you should. Do it now while the link is in front of you. Unless you've moved since you last voted, you should be registered to vote. But you can check that too when you're on the site. As we get closer to an election date, you can also see a sample ballot for your voting district.

     

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  • 2022 GRNS Annual Meeting-School Boards Under Attack

    The event may be over, but the work continues. If you want to find your community's volunteer who has agreed to receive notices about shady doings in your town or village.  Just click the link to see the list.

     


  • published Welcome to a big election year! in Newsletter 2022-01-06 12:21:59 -0600

    Welcome to a big election year!

    Now that we're a few days into 2022, there's lots of stuff you should do. Not so much on the Events List, but in a group of urgent action items.

    ACTION ITEMS

    As we approach the anniversary of the attack on our Capitol, people all over the country are organizing remembrances and other activities. Here in Milwaukee, there are three January 6 events you could join:

    1. Defend Democracy voter registration drive from 10am — 1pm CST, starting from El Rey, 916 S Cesar E Chavez Dr, Milwaukee 53204.
    2. We the People candlelight vigil, 2:30 — 6pm CST at the Milwaukee Federal Building, 517 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee 53202.
    3. Textbanking with Field Team 6, a virtual event from 6pm - 7pm CST. To join this action, you will need to do some prep work first. So read the instructions before you join.

    Contact Senator Johnson and Senator Baldwin to urge both of them to vote for the two voting rights acts pending in the Senate: the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. If you've already done this, do it again. If you haven't, do it for the first time.

    Send email to Assembly Speaker Vos and Senate President Kapenga to object to the Gableman sh*t-show: you know, the effort to "audit" the 2020 election in Wisconsin. You can download and send a drafted letter (feel free to edit) or you can concoct your own.

    Contact Paul Geenen to work on Criminal Justice Reform and the new bill to set up a systematic data collection to help us better understand what needs to be done. Paul is arranging for a meeting with Senator Alberta Darling to discuss the recently drafted bill and to get Senator Darling's support. He's holding a preliminary meeting with participants on January 6 via Zoom at 12pm. The zoom link is https://us04web.zoom.us/j/79639787210?pwd=ejllSmFpd1I3TFNEOVQvd2V6RVJQdz09 Or you can use the Meeting ID (796 3978 7210) and passcode (A3Z7uR).

    Catching Up with the News

    Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has declared that the US Senate will debate and vote on changes to the filibuster (mis)rule on Martin Luther King Day (January 17) so that voting rights legislation can pass with only 51 votes. He has not specified what his changes to the filibuster will entail, but a smart leader would not make such an announcement without some degree of certainty that he will have the necessary votes. Talking Points Memo has a good piece on this. As does the the Washington Post.

    The Omicron variant apparently has an R0 number of 10! (The R0 number specifies how many people an infectious person is likely to spread the disease to.) To put that in perspective, here's a snippet from The Lancet, published December 17, 2021: "The original strain of SARS-CoV-2 has an R0 of 2·5, while the delta variant (B.1.617.2) has an R0 of just under 7. Martin Hibberd, professor of emerging infectious diseases at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (London, UK), reckons omicron's R0 could be as high as 10." Although fully vaccinated and boosted individuals may experience breakthrough infections, they are less likely to be hospitalized or to die from COVID-19. Still, it's best not to get infected at all.

    It's difficult to get up-to-date information about the spread of COVID-19 in our area and state, but on December 31, 2021, WKOW released some data from the state's Department of Health Services. And the picture is pretty grim. The DHS dashboard, with data up through January 2, 2022, shows the beginnings of a steep spike in cases and positive test results. You can see that high transmission is occurring throughout the state by looking at their map of Wisconsin. The DHS offers several ways of looking at the data — by county and census tract; by city, village and town; by school district; and by zip code tabulation area — though some of the breakdowns are not up-to-date. Only "58.2% of residents have completed the vaccine series." But it's not clear whether the statistic includes those who have received vaccines but not boosters.

    Our electoral maps are in the news again. In case you missed it, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had an important piece on the state of play in the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday, January 3, 2022. The article looks at what the "least changes" decision the Court issued in November might mean. In particular, the map the GOP-dominated legislature adopted puts more Wisconsin voters into new Assembly districts — about 16% of voters. Governor Evers's map moves only about 14% of voters. So by this measure, the Governor's map should be preferred. Bottom line, though: "least change" is hard to define and the Wisconsin Supreme Court failed to do so in its November ruling.

    And in a little bit of sports news: the Green Bay Packers clinched the #1 seed in the NFC. That means the team gets a bye (i.e., won't have to play on the first weekend of the playoffs) and will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Packers fans already know that the team has not lost a home game this season. Go Pack Go!

     

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  • published 2021 rolls into 2022 but we're stuck in Newsletter 2021-12-29 15:35:45 -0600

    2021 rolls into 2022 but we're stuck

    I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday break. Starting next week, though, there will be an increasing volume of important stuff to do. And Grassroots North Shore is counting on you to help win the elections that will be coming our way in 2022.

    There is no Events List this week. So I'm using the newsletter to cover four important topics: the criminal justice reform work being undertaken by a Grassroots North Shore Issue Team, gerrymandering, the pandemic, and the Jan. 6 Select Committee in the House of Representatives. I hope you'll find the information helpful.

    Action in the Criminal Justice Reform team is about to heat up. And I encourage you to get engaged. Paul Geenen, who is spearheading this group, is arranging for a meeting with Senator Alberta Darling to discuss a bill that has recently been drafted. Here are its main provisions:

    • Establishes a statewide criminal justice data system that closes the gaps in our state’s information silos.
    • Costs $3 million over two years, funding a full time data analyst, and ensuring 4-5 years of continuity.
    • Data would be used to address a number of justice issues in our state, including opioid and meth usage, alternatives to incarceration, violent crime, racial disparities and bail bond practices.
    • It will be housed in DOJ Criminal Justice and Data Council, with the data sharing sub-committee from DOJ, DOC and state courts providing guidance.
    • Includes language that protects Personal Identifiable Information (PII) as an incentive for local agencies to be more comfortable in sharing data.

    To prepare for the meeting with Senator Darling, Paul has set up a Zoom for everyone interested in lobbying on this issue. This pre-meeting will be held on January 6 at 12 CST. Please contact Paul directly for a full copy of the bill and for the link to the pre-meeting Zoom.

    Gerrymandering Action: Electoral maps can have enormous influence on both national and state election outcomes. Because states must redraw their maps to account for shifts in population revealed by the US Census conducted in 2020, gerrymandering (i.e., rigging electoral district maps to favor one party) is now going on all over the country. Although there has lately been some argument about the proposition, Democrats generally fear that Republicans can and will gerrymander their way to a majority in the House of Representatives. Professor Hasan's Election Law Blog has a thorough discussion of a column by Eric Levitz that claims the new maps are not as skewed as all that. So why does this question matter? Aside from the fact that Republican redistricting is resulting in significant impacts on minority representation at all levels of government, that is. Hasan concludes with a paragraph making a strong case for the reforms embedded in the two voting rights acts currently stalled in the US Senate by the filibuster. It's worth taking a small amount of time to write our senators — Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson by email. When there is enough of it, public pressure — can have an effect.

    Ditto at the state level. Matt Rothschild of the Wisconsin Democracy Project has the TAKE ACTION initiatives we need. He urges people to write letters to the editors of media outlets (while offering help and training), to contact your state legislators to support Senate Bill 389 and Assembly Bill 395, and to contact the chairs of the Senate and Assembly committees that should hold hearings on the bills to establish a "fair, independent, nonpartisan and transparent way to draw new voting district maps." You can also find a succinct summary of the three court cases about electoral maps filed in 2021 on the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign's website.

    Pandemic information: As you are certainly aware, the COVID-19 pandemic is raging in Wisconsin, and will likely be exacerbated by gatherings for Christmas and New Year's celebrations. The spread of disease has seriously disrupted some major sporting events: college bowl games cancelled, the National Hockey League "paused," and the NFL postponing games. Broadway shows have also gone dark. Several Milwaukee events have also been cancelled. And we're just at the beginning of the Omicron wave here. According to today's news, "roughly 2 in 5 recent Wisconsin cases sequenced in a lab have been the fast-spreading omicron variant." Masks are an important part of your efforts to reduce the spread and protect yourself and others, but not all masks offer adequate filtration and apparently there are lots of counterfeit masks around. To make sure you get bona fide N95 masks, consult Project N95, a site that evaluates sellers of masks so that you can order the genuine articles.

    The severity of the Omicron variant is STILL not conclusively measured, but today's New York Times has a particularly helpful analysis, complete with easily understood graphs, about who was dying from COVID in late fall. "[W]hile for much of the pandemic, older Americans and people of color were more likely to die from the virus, the demographics of those dying from Covid have shifted too, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How the arrival of the highly transmissible Omicron variant will affect these trends remains to be seen, since the current data on deaths is reliable only through late November." The article notes that "Covid-19 now accounts for a much larger share of all deaths for [middle-aged white people] than it did before vaccines were widely available." Wisconsin fares reasonably well compared to such hotspots as West Virgina, Kentucky and much of Florida. Still, three weeks ago, Wisconsin NPR reported that "Wisconsin hospital leaders are sounding the alarm as the state endures another COVID-19 surge. The seven-day average of new infections is over 3,500 — the highest it's been in a year." The current data shows 1,672 currently hospitalized (up 39 from a week ago) with 405 in a Wisconsin ICU right now.

    Investigating the Insurrection: The House Select Committee on the January 6 insurrection was a major news story before the holidays and promises to be so again as it resumes work next week. Some aspects of the events leading up to and on that day have been well covered, especially the rallies on Jan. 5 and 6, but Talking Points Memo has striking new information on a third rally that was planned for 2pm on Jan. 6 in front of the Supreme Court building, right across the street from the Capitol Building. That rally was scuttled once the assault on the Capitol began to unfold. In a second essay in TPM, Josh Kovensky takes a stab at explaining why the planners might have wanted a rally there. The context, he writes, includes a lawsuit Sidney Powell filed in Texas in hopes of prompting Justice Alito, who covers emergency filings there, "to halt Biden’s certification. Had there been more of a delay, Powell suggested, Alito might have had time to intervene."

    And the Jan. 6 Select Committee "has signaled it intends to explore potential criminal wrongdoing by former President Drumpf, marking a significant escalation for the investigation" as reported in The Hill on Dec. 26. As an article in the Washington Post explains, "Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) said in an interview that of particular interest is why it took so long for him to call on his supporters to stand down, an area of inquiry that includes obtaining several versions of a video Drumpf reportedly recorded before finally releasing a message 187 minutes after he told his supporters to march on the Capitol during the rally that preceded the attack." Criminal referrals from Congress don't carry any special weight with the Department of Justice, but "Drumpf’s actions could amount to criminally obstructing Congress as it sought to certify the election results."

    Finally, just FYI, since most of you will not be able to vote in this race: there seem to be eight current candidates to become the next Mayor of Milwaukee:

    State representative Dan Riemer originally declared his candidacy but recently dropped out. And today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Senator Chris Larson is seriously considering a run. The candidates' websites will undoubtedly have links to their donation pages as well as their Facebook and Twitter accounts. The primary will be held February 15 with the election on April 5, 2022.

    May 2022 bring a healthier, happier New Year.


  • published Winding up the year in Newsletter 2021-12-21 16:38:24 -0600

    Winding up the year

    There's a lot of big, consequential news to cover this week. Senator Joe Manchin has provoked outrage by going on Fox News Sunday to tell the world that he cannot vote for the Build Back Better Act. Only maybe that's not the end of the story? The Washington Post reported that he had "made the White House a concrete counteroffer for its spending bill, saying he would accept a $1.8 trillion package that ... excluded an extension of the expanded child tax credit," even though it apparently included various pieces to combat climate change. That issue had been part of what the pundits had been considering an obstacle to Manchin's support for the bill. ABC News is reporting that he objects to the Child Tax Credit because he feared "parents would misuse Child Tax Credit payments to buy drugs." As Jennifer Rubin, columnist for the Washington Post, observed, "the senator’s take on poor children and their struggling parents is appalling — even more appalling than misleading his colleagues and the White House about his support for the bill."

    In other aggravating news, the Omicron variant of the coronavirus accounted for 73% of new cases as of December 18 (CNBC.com, December 20, 2021). Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo includes a mind-boggling chart from the CDC showing how quickly Omicron has taken hold. But it's still too early to say definitively that Omicron produces milder illness. Marshall goes on to observe that even if the severity of illness it causes is reduced, "the sheer scale of this wave will still land tens of thousands in hospitals and kill a lot of people. So at a population level, it’s still a big deal even if the threat to people individually, especially if they’re vaccinated and boosted, is much less." For those of us who are more vulnerable to severe illness — those who have underlying conditions, those who are immuno-compromised, and those who are just older than 65 or 70 — this outbreak is bad news. But it's even worse for the country as a whole. The case load is already overwhelming health care systems across the nation, making it more difficult to be treated for any number of ailments, including COVID-19. For many of us, then, the safest thing to do is essentially to return to lockdowns.

    In legal action, there have been interesting developments. According to investigative journalist David Cay Johnston, "[f]ormer president Donald Drumpf will soon be indicted for criminal racketeering under New York state law.... Johnston indicated Saturday afternoon that the charges will stem from Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's ongoing investigation into whether Drumpf's company misled lenders or tax authorities about the value of its properties" (Raw Story, December 18, 2021). Meanwhile, the "House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has requested that Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania provide information about his involvement in unsuccessfully seeking to install former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general of the United States" (NPR, December 21, 2021). And "the [House] committee may soon make requests for other charges—including charges against Drumpf himself" (Daily Kos, December 21, 2021). Two key charges may be in the offing: obstruction of Congress and wire fraud related to his fundraising claims of widespread voter fraud.

    This week and next are filled with holiday preparations and celebrations. So I'm not including any action items. You're busy enough already, I suspect. But once we tip into the new year, the pace of action will accelerate quickly. Grassroots North Shore will post information about requesting an absentee ballot from myvote.wi.gov. (Currently the site still lists ballots for elections in 2021! Presumably that will change after 1/1/2022.) We will also be posting information about offices and candidates for the nonpartisan primary on February 15 and the nonpartisan election on April 5. In addition, there will be a special election for mayor of Milwaukee, though a date for that election has not yet been set. The US Senate has confirmed Mayor Barrett as Ambassador to the Netherlands and he will undoubtedly be resigning soon.

    Finally, in Wisconsin redistricting news, the US Supreme Court recently rejected the GOP lawsuit that sought to dismiss the case Democrats have brought in federal court. That case seeks to have the federal courts draw the state's electoral maps. For a blockbuster piece on why redistricting really does belong in the federal courts, read Robert Yablon's piece in the Journal Sentinel from December 20: Wisconsin Supreme Court is wrong to preserve gerrymandered electoral maps. Yablon summarizes the history of federal courts drawing Wisconsin maps in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. In all three cases, the "federal courts in those earlier decades took care to adopt maps untainted by partisanship." He ends the piece with a statement I'm sure we all agree with: "Wisconsinites deserve better from our maps, and from our state Supreme Court."

    Have safe but satisfying holidays, everyone.

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  • published Be the change! in Newsletter 2021-12-14 17:42:26 -0600

    Be the change!

    This week's newsletter is designed to be participatory. In other words, we're hoping you'll make some noise about things that really matter to people who need to hear our roars! Our government of the people, by the people, and for the people is in serious trouble. And it seems that only We the People can begin to save it. Several topics are on our to-do list ahead of the 2022 election season. Here are three: Fair Maps for Wisconsin, Fair Elections, and Gun Safety.

    The issue of electoral maps is gnarly and multi-faceted. Our own Mark Gennis has written an excellent letter to the editor on the subject:

    Court plans few map changes

    I was dismayed but not surprised that our Supreme Court voted 4-3 to basically maintain the current legislative district maps. The most specious argument seems to have come from Justice Rebecca Bradley who contended that the justices must make as few changes as a way to “respect the past choices lawmakers have made.” Where was the respect shown to all of the lawmakers ten years ago when the maps where drawn behind closed doors using computer algorithms known only to a few, to maximize Republican’s advantage? Where was the respect shown to the voters of Wisconsin who have repeatedly voiced their desire to eliminate partisan redistricting?

    Justice Bradley further contends, “Claims of political unfairness in the maps present political questions not legal ones.” She further states that the questions “must be resolved through the political process and not by the judiciary.” How can the voters use the political process when the current political process has essentially been stripped of meaning?

    Is not the right to vote a legal question? Is not the right to have all votes counted equally a legal question? How can issues so fundamental to our democracy not have the weight of a “legal” question to this Court? The outrageous maps created ten years ago removed any chance of reform through the political process. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has just placed our democracy on very thin ice for another ten years. With global warming, it is unclear just how long this ice will even last.

    Mark Gennis
    Mequon, WI

    Your ACTION ITEMS: contact your state legislators whatever their party and tell then to uphold the governor's veto. Or use the Legislative Hotline to contact them by phone: 1-800-362-9472. And then spread the word. Share at least one segment of Kristin Brey's “My Take” with 1 group, 2 friends, and/or 3 family members on social media or by email. Watch "What can YOU do" And follow Brey on Facebook.

    Next up, the "Freedom to Vote Act", currently languishing in the Senate. This is Senator Joe Manchin's tweaked version of the "For the People" Act that passed the House of Representatives ages ago. Today's Washington Post analyzes some of the possibilities for getting around the filibuster and passing the bill. Your ACTION ITEM: Contact BOTH Wisconsin Senators with your message of support — Senator Baldwin and Senator Johnson. You may think Senator Johnson is a lost cause (and of course that's true), but according to a survey by Data for Progress, a strong majority of voters — Democrats, Independents, and Republicans — support the measure, Republicans by 54% to 31%! It can't hurt to let Senator Johnson know his voters' views.

    We've waited a respectful and decent interval since the deaths of four students at the Oxford, Michigan High School. Now it's time for outrage. Your ACTION ITEM: Send President Biden a letter urging him to make gun safety legislation a higher and more urgent subject in his words to the nation. To help you along, we drafted such a letter that you can copy and paste into the web form the White House has set up. You can download it (Word format) and edit it to your liking. Or you can write your own. The form for contacting the President and/or the Vice President is here.

    Our country faces many problems, not least of which is low political engagement, especially in off-year elections. Grassroots North Shore formed in 2004 to try to be part of the solution. As a supporter of Grassroots North Shore, YOU are the TIP OF THE SPEAR, as they say. If you missed our Annual Fundraiser with Jill Wine-Banks and three outstanding local legislators, you can watch the recording on YouTube. Once you've done that, we humbly ask you to help us keep the lights on, the phonebanks humming, the postcards flowing, and this newsletter arriving in your inbox every week.

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  • published What we're facing in Newsletter 2021-12-07 16:19:28 -0600

    What we're facing

    It's hard not to despair. The news about the state of our democracy has been particularly dispiriting of late.

    Last week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court "handed Republicans a major victory in the legal fight over redistricting Tuesday, ruling the court would take a 'least changes' approach to redrawing the maps Republicans passed in 2011." And it would not take partisan gerrymandering into account. At all. Justice Rebecca Bradley reasoned that because the current electoral maps were passed by the legislature and signed into law by the governor in 2011, those "policy choices" must be respected. See the full story in the November 30 edition Wisconsin Public Radio. The ruling is a set-back in the ongoing effort to prohibit partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin and the nation.

    Our best recourse, frankly, is to organize and get out the vote when the four elections we'll see in 2022 come around. We have to win more elections in Wisconsin if we hope to head off disaster. In the meantime, TAKE ACTION! Call and/or your state legislators to urge them to uphold Governor Evers's veto of the electoral maps the legislature passed — even if your legislators are Republicans. It matters. We must raise our voices and then raise our votes! Find contact information for your Assembly and Senate representatives here or reach them by phone at the Legislative Hotline: 1-800-362-9472. And while you're making calls, contact your congressional representative and Wisconsin's senators to urge them to vote for the two bills in the Senate that would protect voting rights and elections: the bills are The John Lewis Voting Rights Act and The Freedom to Vote Act. Find the contact information for your officials here. And then promise yourself that you will work hard to elect state and national office holders who oppose partisan election maps and who are prepared to protect our democracy.

    Yesterday, the esteemed journalist Barton Gellman published "DRUMPF’S NEXT COUP HAS ALREADY BEGUN" in the latest edition of The Atlantic. He writes "For more than a year now, with tacit and explicit support from their party’s national leaders, state Republican operatives have been building an apparatus of election theft." At one point, Gellman discusses research on who participated in the January 6 insurrection. Several traits are noteworthy but the researchers note that the average age of those who have been charged is 41.8 (as compared to violent extremists in other parts of the world who are most likely to be in their 20s and 30s). Also, economic distress did not figure prominently in the lives of those who attacked the Capitol ("only 7 percent of the January 6 insurgents were jobless, and more than half of the group had a white-collar job or owned their own business"). In fact, the strongest correlation among those who participated is political geography: "Other things being equal, insurgents were much more likely to come from a county where the white share of the population was in decline." Dare we say it: it's the racism, stupid. It's a long article with several important insights into the mindsets of those who support the Big Lie. But it's worth reading the whole thing.

    There are some bright spots in the landscape we ought to mention also. The DOJ is using Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to sue Texas over its redistricting maps. The basis of the suit is that the state's electoral maps have not provided Black and Brown people an opportunity to elect their preferred candidates. Majority Leader Schumer wrote a letter to his Senate colleagues yesterday to express "his ongoing expectation that the Senate will pass the Biden administration’s sweeping Build Back Better package via reconciliation 'before Christmas.'"

    And in welcome news closer to home, "Conservative group finds no signs of widespread voter fraud in Wisconsin." The conservative group at issue is the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, the same group that brought the suit arguing that the Wisconsin Supreme Court should use a "least change" strategy for adjudicating the electoral maps. And despite finding no fraud, WILL is still urging changes to election processes. Meanwhile, the Gabelman show investigating the same election, at a potential cost of $676,000, bumbles along.

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  • published the good, the bad, and the worrying news in Newsletter 2021-12-01 12:41:41 -0600

    the good, the bad, and the worrying news

    First, an important announcement: Don't miss our upcoming event with MSNBC legal analyst and former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks on Sunday, December 5, from 7-8:30pm. She will address the peril to democracy that has emerged in recent years. And a panel of our Assembly Representatives Jonathan Brostoff and Deb Andraca, moderated by Evan Goyke, will discuss what's happening to our democracy in Wisconsin. Sign up here for the Zoom link.

    A little good news to start with? The New York Times is reporting that Mark Meadows, the last chief of staff for the former guy (TFG for short), is cooperating with the January 6 committee! It seems that he has turned over at least some records and will "soon appear for an initial deposition," Representative Bennie Thompson, Chair of the committee, said today. Meanwhile the DC Circuit Court of Appeals heard *rump's claims of executive privilege. The trial court, you probably recall, shot the claims down. That judge reminded TFG that presidents are not kings and he's not the president. You can hear the today's case here. So some progress on the investigative front.

    And a little predictably bad news. As the Journal Sentinel recently reported, "Michael Gableman met with a host of election conspiracy theorists this fall as part of his taxpayer-funded review of the 2020 presidential contest for Assembly Republicans.... Barry Burden, the director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the people Gableman is meeting with 'are all election skeptics who have bought into the big lie.'" What's bad about this report isn't that Gableman is consorting with these folks. The bad news is that the facts won't diminish the devotion of all the Big Lie adherents.

    In worrying developments, the new omicron variant of the coronavirus has been the source of a lot of consternation but without sufficient data to make any of the various questions we all have answerable with any degree of certainty. Talking Points Memo has a comprehensive discussion of the questions, at least. New variants are going to emerge because, world-wide, huge swathes of people remain unvaccinated and are therefore a great incubator for mutations. What we need to keep in mind is that it takes several weeks from the discovery of a new, viable variant to scientists' ability to determine whether it is more deadly, more easily transmitted, or more likely to evade some of the protections of our current vaccines. So, the bottom line: prudence. Use mitigation strategies whenever you can. Wear a mask when you go shopping or in other settings where you can't know the vaccination status of those around you, especially indoors.

    The holiday season is upon us (Happy Chanukah to all who observe that holiday) so the Events list is somewhat sparse. If none of the activities there appeal to you, take some time in December to recharge so that you're ready to volunteer in the 2022 election cycle. We will have the usual FOUR ELECTIONS: a nonpartisan primary on February 15, a nonpartisan election on April 5, a partisan primary on August 9, and of course a partisan election on November 8. These elections are critical. Plan to get involved: writing postcards, phoning and texting, canvassing, reaching out to friends and family. Grassroots North Shore will have community-based election information that will help you get up to speed on all the races in your area, from school boards to judgeships, assembly and state senate races, and national offices. Plus we'll have information about requesting absentee ballots, early in-person voting, drop boxes, and all the logistical information you'll need!

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  • published HOPE IS OUR SUPERPOWER in Newsletter 2021-11-18 11:45:29 -0600

    HOPE IS OUR SUPERPOWER

    Now that the fate of Wisconsin’s voting maps lies in the hands of a highly partisan Wisconsin Supreme Court, and we continue to watch what feels like a slow-rolling and continuing insurrection against the integrity of our system of government, it is all too tempting to simply withdraw in despair. So I want to begin this newsletter with a quote from Bryan Stevenson, lawyer, social justice activist, founder/executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and a law professor at NYU Law School.

    Hope is Our Superpower

    “It’s not a pie in the sky hope, it’s not a preference for optimism over pessimism. It’s just an orientation of the spirit. I think we have to be willing to believe things we haven’t seen. That’s our superpower … I think hopelessness is the enemy of justice. I think injustice prevails where hopelessness persists. And so, hope is our requirement, it’s our superpower.”

    Don’t Miss Our Annual Fundraiser

    This LIVE virtual event on Sunday, December 5 at 7 pm features Jill Wine-Banks, MSNBC Contributor and Legal Analyst, and former Assistant Watergate Special Prosecutor. You can RSVP here

     Do you value our weekly newsletter, events and impassioned political work? Are you familiar with our role in the success of the 2020 elections and development of the North Shore Fair Maps Team? Then please consider a contribution of $100, $200, $250 or higher. We need your support to continue our work as we enter the critical 2022 elections to re-elect Governor Tony Evers, Attorney General Josh Kaul, State Assembly Rep. Deb Andraca, and more. Grassroots North Shore was instrumental in their elections in 2018 and 2020, and will be again.

     Why do we fundraise? Each year we hold one event to invite your support for our year-round work. Our annual budget of $20,000 covers our office rent, utilities, supplies, electronic communications and the many activities we offer to keep our supporters well-informed. Our revenue comes from memberships, general donations and this fundraiser. Your donation enables us to be an impactful progressive voice in our region and the State of Wisconsin.

     If you have already RSVPd, you can click here to make your donation. 

    Or if you prefer, you may send a check to: Grassroots North Shore, 5600 W. Brown Deer Road, #116, Brown Deer, WI 53223.

    Grassroots North Shore is the largest progressive, all volunteer grassroots organization in Wisconsin. We are proud to mark over 17 years of activism. Your contribution goes directly toward our operations, events, and issues/election work.

    Our thanks to all of you who have already registered and donated. We appreciate your support! 

    Ginny Goode, on behalf of the Grassroots North Shore leadership and fundraising team

    Background on our featured speaker, Jill Wine Banks

    Ms. Banks hails from Chicago. She has been a pathbreaker and smasher of glass ceilings throughout her career. She was one of the first women to serve in the organized crime division of the US Dept. of Justice in the early 1970s. During the Watergate scandal she served on the staff of prosecutor Leon Jaworski, and cross-examined Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods about the infamous 18.5  minute gap in Nixon’s tapes. In 1977 she was the first woman appointed to serve as General Counsel of the Army. We will share more about Ms. Wine Bank’s later career and current contributions in other communications. In the meantime, check out her podcast, #SistersInLaw. https://politicon.com/podcast-title/sisters-in-law/

    GET YOUR UNDERGROUND BEER HERE!

    You may have heard something about Kirk Bangstad – with his billboards against TomTiffany and Ron Johnson, and his lawsuits against school boards without mask mandates. But have you heard about the special beers brewed by his company, Minocqua Brewing Company?

    Kirk has had a hard time continuing operations due to a backlash against his politics – especially his special beers: Evers Ale, Made With Science and a Steady Hand; Tammy Shandy, One of Wisconsin's Many Treasures; Bernie Brew, A Lovingly Irascible and Democratic Socialist Lager; 'la, A Vice Presidential Stout. 

    Now these beers have become even harder to find because most beer distributors in Wisconsin won’t stock them. Where is a good Progressive to go for these special offerings? Kirk is doing his best by delivering directly to stores, but we decided to give him a boost.

    Grassroots North Shore has a pre-fundraiser offer: For donations of $200 or more by November 30,  donors receive a 4-beer sampler delivered to their homes (while supplies last – at last count, we had enough for the first 15 donations).

    We hope you will enjoy this special offer whether it is before, during, or after our Evening with Jill Wine-Banks on Sunday, December 5 at 7 pm. Our thanks go to Nancy Kaplan for donating the beer purchases and to Mark Stevens for finding and securing the beer.

     A Brief Peak at the 2022 Electoral Season

    The often obscure and sleepy spring primary to nominate nonpartisan candidates will be on Tues., Feb. 15, 2022. These candidates for judicial, educational, and municipal officers, and non-partisan county officers will appear on the ballot of the April 5 election. In case you thought these primaries and elections don’t really matter, the recent Mequon-Thiensville school board recall election serves as a stark reminder of their importance to our communities. The fall primary for partisan statewide offices will be on Tues., Aug. 9, 2022. There is likely to be a heated primary for US Senator (for the Democrats), for Governor (for Republicans), for Attorney General (for Republicans), and for Lieutenant Governor (both parties). The general election will be held on Tues., Nov. 8.

    Although Ron Johnson has yet to declare his candidacy, it remains a real possibility. Despite his under-water approval rating, there is no doubt that the Senate race will be exceedingly competitive. The Cook Political Report currently rates the race as a toss-up. And of course the Democrats will confront the well-known headwinds of the party of the President in the midterms. We all know the high stakes of the Governor’s race, as our only protection against the extreme policies of the Republican legislature. Wisconsin is truly a purple state. But our political geography, with Democrats clustered in a relatively small number of urban areas, gives an advantage to the spatially distributed Republican electorate – even if we succeed in defeating the GOP gerrymander which exacerbates that advantage. The stakes will be high, and our grassroots activism will be essential to get out the vote.

     

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  • donated 2021-11-15 14:44:15 -0600