Letters to the editor • Election 2012
October 3 issue
Stand up to the injustices
There are many reasons why Barack Obama is a failure as president, is ruining our country and should be voted out of office. Here are just a few: trillions of dollars added to our national debt, a foreign policy that puts our country at greater risk, an energy policy that keeps us dependent on foreign oil and domestic policies that hurt small businesses and jobs in the United States.
The most important reason that Obama needs to be defeated is his lack of support for the Right to Life of the most innocent and vulnerable human beings - the unborn. Not only is he in favor of any and all abortions, including late-term infanticide, as a state senator in Illinois Obama voted against a bill that would require life-saving measures for babies who survived the "procedure."
Let's not forget about this administration's HHS mandate that would force all institutions to provide health insurance coverage to employees, including contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-producing drugs. These things go directly against Catholic teachings. Not only would church institutions have to comply, but so would small-business owners. What about their religious freedom if they were morally opposed to doing so?
I would like to urge all Christians, and especially my fellow Catholics, to stand up to these injustices by voting for the Romney/Ryan ticket on election day. We need to protect our religious liberty and the lives of unborn babies.
Choice is clear
What is it with the Republican Party and Medicare? First you have Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and Sean Duffy wanting to "fix" Medicare by turning it into a privatized voucher (think coupons) system where government vouchers will be paid directly to the insurance company of your choice with no regulations, cost controls or oversite of the vouchered private insurance companies.
The value of the voucher would be determined by an obscure formula based on the GDP and not with the rate of inflation, the rising costs of medical care or the rising costs of insurance premiums. The senior citizen will have to pay the difference out of their pocket. The out-of-pocket expenses are expected to reach $6,400 per year within 10 years. This will only happen to those who are now 55 years of age or under, so you folks in the sandwich generation better start saving your money now. Another change would be to raise the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67. Not a big deal unless you get cancer, need heart surgery, or a hip replacement before 67. And if you die before your 67th birthday, benefits delayed will be benefits (that you have been paying for) denied. I hope they don't try to "fix" Social Security, too.
Then there is Senate candidate Tommy Thompson who said at an Oconomowoc Tea Party fundraiser on June 4. "And who better than me who's already finished one of the entitlement programs, come up with programs to do away with Medicaid and Medicare?" Do away with? Isn't that how the creepy neighbor takes care of unwanted kittens? Do the people of Wisconsin really want to do away with programs that provide health care to frail elderly in nursing homes, disabled and low-income adults and little kids? Do the people of Wisconsin really want to do away with Medicare that provides health care to retirees and allows us lo live independent lives? I don't.
For a party that claims to be pro-life, the GOP is doing its best to make sure that seniors, vulnerable adults and little kids live shorter and less healthy lives. This year, the choice is clear. Vote for the pro-living candidates, Pat Kreitlow, Tammy Baldwin and Barack Obama.
In prior statements, Assembly candidate Adam Bever, a member of a teachers union, has told us that he wants to get his piece of the pie. Now, he is telling us how.
In a recent letter to the editor, Bever argues for higher education funding. Bever's letter is pretty incredible for a number of reasons. First, it again reinforces the appearance that Bever is running solely to give himself and other government union members a pay raise. Surely Bever knows that on average, approximately 75 percent of eduction funding goes to pay union salary and benefits. Thus, more funding means more money for union members like Bever. Second, Bever's math does not seem to work. After plugging a record $3.6 billion deficit, the state is basically taking in an amount of tax revenue equal to what it is spending. Thus, in order to increase spending on education, one of three things must occur: (1) property taxes must increase; (2), state income (or other) taxes must increase; or (3) other programs must be cut. Because Bever has not proposed cutting spending on other programs, one can only deduce that in order to increase education funding, Bever is in favor of increasing taxes. In other words, in order to give himself and other union members a raise, Bever proposes to raise your taxes.
That's a pretty audacious way to ask for votes.
Finally, like many other liberals, in making his argument for increased funding, Bever sets up a straw-man argument for the sole purpose of taking a cheap shot at Rep. Severson. Bever argues at length about the importance of good schools in this area. The obvious reason that Bever spends so much time making this case is so the reader will get the impression that while he (Bever) is in favor of good schools, Severson (and the Republicans at large) are against good schools. Of course, all of this is nonsense. I'm pretty sure Severson, an emergency room doctor, is well aware of the importance of a good education. What he is not in favor of though, is mindlessly spending more taxpayer dollars on increased pay and benefits to government unions, when the results are mediocre at best. Severson knows we can do better, and must do better, educating our children. To that end, he has voted to end the union monopoly on education by, among other things, allowing a few poor kids in Milwaukee to escape their horrible schools. This could be a model for the state and the nation. Of course, because the teachers unions are against these important reforms, so is Bever.
I am supporting Adam Bever in the race for Assembly in the 28th District. I've watched Bevercampaign at the county fair and numerous other community events, and he has impressed me with his sincerity and obvious love of people. He's easy to talk to and willing to listen to all points of view.
He is exactly the kind of person we need in Madison right now. He's running as a Democrat, but is always going to think for himself and vote for the best interests of the people in his district. He understands that politics often involves compromise and that extreme partisanship usually gets in the way of good government.
I would encourage everyone to join me in voting for Adam Bever on Nov. 6.
Facts vs. opinions
Bob Blake, of rural Frederic, mocked me in a recent letter. That wasn’t nice, Mr. Blake. Some who read your letter and have followed your history of pontificating, in capital letters, quotation marks and, dare I say, caught the irony. You are the second to the last person in the county for whom my letter was intended.
As you noted, I called upon good, moderate Republicans to vote Democrat this year, to get the attention of party leaders, to wrest power from the extremists who have perverted the conservative message. Blake, I only know you from years of seeing long-winded opinions that rarely can be supported factually. I cannot judge whether or not you are "good" However, would Leader readers ever in their wildest dreams describe you as “moderate?" Point taken?
I stopped reading your rants long ago, although I wouldn’t be surprised to learn you still maintain that the Neocons’ and President Bush’s two wars were necessary because of weapons of mass destruction. Pay no mind to cost of countless lives and trillions of dollars, diehard partisans are not going to change just by learning facts.
After nationwide criticisms of lies in Ryan’s acceptance speech, Neil Newhouse, a Romney pollster said, "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." Fair enough, GOP announcements are just one person’s opinions, and they might change tomorrow.
My opinions are for trivial matters. Do you prefer s’mores or chocolate cake at a picnic? When it comes to making up my mind about matters that will affect the common good – health, safety, well being – I prefer truth and specifics and, let’s just say it, facts that can be accepted by reasonable persons. (“Now, there’s another out for you, Blake,” she said, with a twinkle in her eye.)
I fact checked a few statements you made and can only say, “good grief.” Are your sources, Limbaugh? Beck? One of the totally unfair and unbalanced media outlets? Line after line of exaggerations, misinformation and words taken out of context. I’m reminded of a current Internet letter citing Obama’s faults. The original was written in 2000. Obama’s name was Gore then. Diehard partisans?
Blake, a suggestion: If you want to be taken seriously by thoughtful readers, support one or two comments with the source of your information.
Finally, as penance for mocking a nice, elderly lady, memorize this couplet, “Words are like leaves; where they most abound, much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.” Alexander Pope.
Think about it, at least.
St. Croix Falls
T or T?
T or T, that is the question. That is Tommy Thomason or Tammy Baldwin for the U.S. Senate.
After looking at the issues below I have decided that since Tommy Thompson is for cutting taxes, shrinking big hovernment along with job killing regulations while at the same time supporting the military and our National defense, he is the candidate I will be voting for. Please consider the information below and make up your own mind. But vote!
Baldwin was the only member on the 53-member energy and commerce committee to skip every single vote in the job-creating energy bill, the North American Energy Access Act. She says creating jobs is a priority, but her actions prove otherwise.
Thompson believes in energy independence in the United States. His plan will restore America when he advocates for the permitting and construction of the Keystone Pipeline, which will help create 20,000 construction jobs.
Baldwin supports Obama’s plan to increase taxes by $1.5 trillion and continue to punish job creators.
Thompson will address the spending and debt crisis by making taxation easier for individuals, and guide the economy through a pro-growth corporate tax policy.
Baldwin supported ObamaCare, which has added billions to our national deficit.
Thompson believes there is no greater example of government overreach and unrestrained liberalism than ObamaCare. He plans to repeal ObamaCare, reward quality and cost savings and reform medical liability.
Baldwin has voted against building a fence along the border of Mexico and favors immigration reform.
Thompson opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants and wants to tighten up the borders by building a fence.
Baldwin supports gun control.
Thompson opposes gun control.
September 26 issue
Tired of drivel and lies
Now wait a minute ... The GM plant in Janesville was closed before Obama even got in office. It just amazes me that Republicans feel like they can say anything, and they seem to think everybody's going to believe it. I can't think of one reason why I would vote for any of the Republicans at this point. Republican priorities revolve around:
• moaning and groaning about how little money they make, as Mr. Duffy did early in his career
• defeating President Obama regardless of cost to the legislative process, thanks to our marvelous congressmen's "major goal."
• promoting Gov. Walker, who seems determined to destroy the middle class while increasing incomes to those in the upper economic brackets
Furthermore, when we try to have a dialogue to improve or understand this diatribe, our representative, Mr. Severson, rarely answers any e-mail not paralleling his own narrow point of view.
The Republicans offer nothing in the way of positive programs for all the people, not just the upper class. I, as one of many, am sick to death of being lied to by political hacks who seem to think that if they say something no one will check the facts but just breeze along parroting misstatements, made up drivel and plain wrong statements.
David C. Stone
Democrats have lost their way
Marilyn Kruger calls on “good-moderate, Republicans in western Wisconsin” to vote Democrat. She pines for the day when the Republican Party had leaders that were committed to the “common good." S’mores anyone - maybe we should all sing a verse of what Obama thinks should be our national anthem - “I Want To Teach the World to Sing."
What possible reason can there be for supporting Democrats that, in spite of overwhelming majorities in Congress for the first two years of the Obamanation, had to resort to the “Cornhusker Kickback” and the “Louisiana Purchase” to secure Democrat votes for ObamaCare?
Obamacare initially was “only” going to cost $0.9 trillion, but now CBO estimates the cost at $2.7 trillion. Pelosi was right, Congress had no idea what was in ObamaCare when it was passed. They still don’t know. What possible reason can there be for supporting a Democrat agenda that has caused the price of gas to more than double under Obama? What possible excuse is there for supporting a Democrat agenda that prohibits U.S. interests from drilling for oil in the Gulf while the import/export bank approves money for Brazil in partnership with George Soros’ interests to drill in the Gulf and Obama promises that the U.S. will be their best customer? Why would we support a Democrat agenda that has declared war on private enterprise? Why would we support a Democrat agenda that has put our resources under lock and key? No natural gas, no oil, no coal and no nuclear power is the Democrat agenda for turning America into a third-world nation. Why would we support a Democrat agenda that has increased by millions the number of Americans on food stamps and near double-digit unemployment? Why would we support a president whose Mideast policy is so irrational that our embassies are being burned, our ambassadors are being killed and our president is apologizing for having offended the terrorists? A few days ago, Obama admitted his utter failure by stating that he had learned that you couldn’t change Washington from the “inside." That would put Barry Obama solidly in the Mitt Romney camp. No one is more Washington insider than this president.
I would like Kruger to tell us what happened to the Democrat Party of Jefferson. What happened to the promise of those who risked their “lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor” to create a government of individual liberty - not a Marxist government of “shared prosperity.” What happened to the Jeffersonian ideal of limited federal government that left decisions affecting individuals to the states and the individuals? Seems to me it’s the Democrat Party that has lost its way.
If you liked the last four years of utter failure and loss of liberty then, by all means, re-elect Obama and the Democrats—but include me out.
The untold story of education finance
As I have been speaking with the constituents of the 28th District. I have heard several themes emerge. One of them is the importance of our public schools, as well as how schools are financed.
It's important to realize that in the 28th District, the public schools are the hub of the community. Our children are educated and introduced to the real world there. Our community educates itself through community education programs and keeps fit using the facilities. Schools are the cultural centers of our communities with quality art and music programs. They are the place we are thrilled and filled with pride as we watch our hometown teams compete. If you live in a rural town, you know the identity the school gives your community.
Our local schools are funded in four ways: State support in the budget, property taxes, federal assistance and independent payments (fees and interest). The state decides how much funding a school District receives by a formula using local property values and then assigns a dollar amount of aid per student. The school district then has to make up the rest of its budget through property tax levies using what's known as a mill rate.
In 2000, the state made an education "promise" to fund our public schools at a rate of 67 percent. The rest would be made up at the local level. Since that time, even though costs have increased, the state has funded schools less and less. Last budget cycle, the state funded schools an average of 30 percent. I believe this is the untold story of the education decimation that has been going on for years in the 28th district. Keep in mind that costs have gone up an average of 24 percent in that time. That money had to be made up from somewhere. Most of it came from property taxes. This has caused a rift between property owners and school districts in Wisconsin, all the while leaving deficits that our schools problem-solve with increased class size, fees and staff layoffs.
Another factor in our local education finance has been Milwaukee school choice and the voucher system. Rep. Severson voted to increase funding for this program by $300 million in the latest budget and make it first-draw funded, meaning this program gets all its money before our public schools get dollar one. In our district, there are no voucher schools and minimal private schools. Our tax dollars are being transferred to the south and used for a program that underfunds our local schools.
As your representative, I will work to restructure our school finance formula, to control property taxes and make sure our all of our local tax dollars go to our local schools. Our schools are a high priority for our district. Let's make sure that we find better ways to make them solvent for the future.