Determination is needed to release us from the strangle-hold Walker has on Wisconsin!
Will we sleep or rise up?
85 Days till Nov. 4th! Will we let A.L.E.C. and Koch brothers win again through their surrogate, the present governor?
Let us hope we are wise and rise up!
What is next in the bruising policy toolkit of Walker? Nobody is safe from being affected by his cruel, cold-hearted ambition to please the extreme right. Citizens rights to public education,health, pensions, environment, job safety, voting freedom, infrastructure of highways, water quality, air quality, free speech, civil justice. All in jeopardy. When will we decide it is enough? Pay attention, fellow-citizens, we snooze at our peril. Walker and his admin is one of the worst, but there are others, Snyder of Mich,, Kasich of Ohio, Perry of TX, and all those at the funding trough of A.L.E.C. -- see how this works! Read the mission statement online for A.L.E.C.,you will see that what is happening in Wisconsin fits a tailored plan to take over a statev via control of the statehouse and legislature. All states in bad shape in the USA have experienced this type of takeover. It is no secret to those of us who have learned about A.L.E.C. Please take the time to learn about this, A.L.E.C. is heavily funded by the oil industry magnates -- and in Wisconsin, that translates to the political power of the Koch brothers. I Weep for Wisconsin. The only way to improve our situation here is to vote in record numbers. Record numbers! We can do this, but must be fired up with super-determination. People can retake their government. It is time we do this. We are running out of time. Let’s make this year one of change for the better.
If you download and save this pdf. booklet, you will be able to open and read this on your your computer whether you are online or not. You can also print this very complete explanation of how our air is harmed by fossil fuels, and with this info, you can be better prepared to defend your right to clean air for your community. Take a look: open the link.
This is offered with a big thanks to State Senator Luter Olsen, whose email letter to constituents is always informative!
AEAs are part of Wisconsin's farmland preservation program. They encourage agricultural land use preservation and promote agricultural economic development. They give farmers and agribusinesses confidence that their area will remain in agricultural use, so they have more certainty about investing in their businesses.
Landowners in AEAs are not subject to any new land use regulations. Farmers with land in an AEA can receive tax credits in exchange for agreeing to keep their land in agricultural use for at least 15 years."
For more information, check out the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Working Lands Initiative website.
Nearly 300 Pipeline Spills In North Dakota Have Gone Unreported To The Public Since January 2012
According to records obtained by The Associated Press, the pipeline spills — many of them small — are among some 750 "oil field incidents" that have occurred since January 2012 without public notification.
"That's news to us," said Don Morrison, director of the Dakota Resource Council, an environmental-minded landowner group with more than 700 members in North Dakota.
April 26, 2014
Thousands March with Cowboy and Indian Alliance at “Reject and Protect” to Protest Keystone XL Pipeline
Cowboy and Indian Alliance Present a Painted Tipi to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian as a Gift to President Obama
Musician Neil Young and Actress Daryl Hannah join the protests
While we in the United States are fighting hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”) and its evil associate frac sand mining, our Vice President, Joe Biden, is in Eastern Europe (specifically Ukraine), touting the gospel of hydraulic fracturing as a way for Ukraine to shore up its economy and reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas! So global Real Politik interferes with concern for global warming in the Obama administration once again!
Global Real Politik also apparently caused the administration to hesitate on rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline that would have little or no benefit to the United States (except to the Koch brothers)while forcing the U.S. to bear ALL of the environmental risks of transporting the Canadian tar sands gunk from the Canadian border to the Gulf Coast refineries in a pipeline that would almost surely fail at some point during its transit of the largest freshwater aquifer in the world – the Oglalla of the Great Plains states. Mining the tar sands requires the deforestation of thousands of acres of western Canada, followed by the removal of anywhere from a hundred to a hundred thirty feet of peat, clay and sand (generically called “overburden”) so that giant earth-movers can get at the bitumen mixed with sand that is to be extracted (that is – the tar sand). In other words, tar sands “oil” is environmentally terrible because it destroys organisms that “eat” carbon dioxide (trees) and spews more carbon dioxide into the air while extracting the junk petroleum and transporting it.
THEN, we have the fracking industry, which generates methane gas (a much worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) and which leaks this gas into the air at all points of its production process: from natural gas hydraulic fracturing wells, from natural gas pipelines, or from a variety of other sources, not to mention the flaring of natural gas from the OIL wells in the oil fields that are being hydraulic fractured because the oil drillers have not had the time and do not want to waste their profits on building gas pipelines to the fields to capture the gas that bubbles out of the oil wells!
And THEN we have the Vice President of the United States, bouncing around Ukraine, talking up American hydraulic fracturing technology as if he were the top salesperson for the fracking industry. Well, maybe he is planning for a new job in a couple of years?
For more information about Mr. Biden and the geopolitics of fracking and eastern Europe, we recommend: http://www.fractracker.org/2014/04/geopolitics-and-hydrocarbons/ .
For more information on the Canadian tar sands, please see:
December 18, 2013
To: Progressive Partners
From: DeForest Area Progressives (John Scepanski)
Subject: PP January 2014 Quarterly Meeting
The next quarterly meeting of Progressive Partners will be January 25, 2014:
Place: DMBWindsorCommunity Center
4438 Windsor Road
(This is the same place of the April 2013 PP quarterly meeting.)
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
From 10:00 to 12:00 a.m. we will have a round table discussion like the one we had at the last PP quarterly meeting in Oregon. Each group should come prepared with a spokesperson to discuss their activities, answer questions, request assistance, etc. Time allotments will depend on how many groups are present.
Lunch will be from 12:00 to 1:00. It will be either brown bag or a pot luck. We will let you know for sure later.
The time period from 1:00 to 2:00 is reserved for a program presentation. The subject has not been firmed up yet. It will be something like a presentation on a PP priority like Move-to-Amend. If you have a particular program you would like to present, please let us know.
732 DeForest St.
DeForest, WI 53532
In Wisconsin, health coverage comes at a heavier costThe new world of health insurance, ushered in by the Affordable Care Act, looks much different in Superior than it does from Duluth.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
The new world of health insurance, ushered in by the Affordable Care Act, looks much different in Superior than it does from Duluth.
“It’s hard to look across the bridge and know I can’t have access like those people can,” said Paula Gayle, who helps people apply for insurance in the Lake Superior Community Health Center’s Superior office. “It’s actually really sad.”
Insurance brokers and social service workers agree that Northwestern Wisconsin residents are getting a harder deal than those in Northeastern Minnesota.
Premiums and deductibles are higher, choices are fewer and help is less accessible.
When it comes to premiums and deductibles, “Minnesota is definitely substantially lower,” said Sherri Freeman, an insurance broker with Holden Insurance, which serves clients in both states.
A News Tribune analysis of individuals and families choosing the lowest-priced bronze plan showed higher premiums in Douglas County in every instance.
At the high end, a family of four headed by two 30-year-old adults would pay a premium of $492 per month in St. Louis County and $742 in Douglas County.
The analysis assumes no one smokes and that no one is eligible for subsidies. Households with incomes up to about $46,000 for individuals and up to about $94,000 for a family of four qualify for lower costs, according to the federal health insurance marketplace website HealthCare.gov.
In a similar analysis, the Minnesota Department of Commerce compared premiums for a 27-year-old nonsmoker in both counties at all three “metal” levels of the marketplace. Premiums are lower but
deductibles higher for the bronze level; premiums go up and deductibles down through the silver and gold levels.
The 27-year-old in St. Louis County had a choice of nine bronze plans ranging from $140 to $165; his or her counterpart in Douglas County had three choices ranging from $220 to $240. The silver plan choices: Nine in St. Louis County from $170 to $207; three in Douglas County from $277 to $292. The gold plan: Six in St. Louis County from $199 to $249; one in Douglas County at $325.
One versus five
Why the difference? Those involved in the marketplaces note two key differences:
- Only one insurance company — Security Health Plan —is offering plans in Douglas County’s marketplace. But in St. Louis County, five companies are competing for business. (One of those, Medica, includes Duluth but not all of St. Louis County, a MNsure spokeswoman said.)
- Minnesota embraced the Affordable Care Act, offering its own version of the exchange. Wisconsin, like 35 other states, chose to leave it up to the federal government.
Gayle said she sees the differences every time she goes to work.
In Duluth, 12 “navigators” — individuals trained to help people navigate the marketplace — are available at places such as the Lake Superior Community Health Center in West Duluth, the Duluth Public Library and CHUM.
In Superior, it’s just Paula Gayle and Nancianne Witt, working in a basement office of the community health center, which is just across the street from Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Hospital-Superior.
And they’ve been busy.
“Let’s just say I didn’t see sunlight every day last week,” Witt said on a recent day.
Technically, Gayle and Witt aren’t navigators, they’re certified application counselors. The difference, they said, is that navigators are trained for outreach events in which they go into the community to let people know about the new marketplace.
The entire state of Wisconsin has only six navigators, they said — or did have until recently, when one of the six stepped down.
“In Minnesota it’s just … nicer,” Gayle said.
“I live in Minnesota. So I kind of have my own struggle about working over here in a system that isn’t what I would like it to be,” she said.
A spokeswoman with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services defended the state’s outreach efforts.
The number of navigators is determined by the federal government, Claire Smith said in an email response to questions from the News Tribune. But the state has engineered a significant enrollment campaign of its own, she said.
The state set up 11 regional enrollment networks to “assist transitioning members and uninsured Wisconsin residents to enroll in the appropriate public or private health care coverage,” Smith wrote.
One of the challenges for Wisconsin is that the state’s decision to use the federal marketplace meant using HealthCare.gov — which got off to a disastrous start. The Minnesota site, MNsure, ran relatively smoothly after a few early glitches.
“There’s been more success earlier in people getting from start to finish on the state marketplace in Minnesota as compared to the federal marketplace,” said Dan L. Conrad, an agent and partner with Mediqwest, who has clients in both states.
But that isn’t to say that Conrad is sold on MNsure. He was among 1,600 insurance agents whose personal information — including Social Security numbers — inadvertently was released because of a MNsure security breach in September.
“As someone who is supposed to advise consumers and reassure consumers, that caused me to pause,” Conrad said. “And I received really no reassurance after the fact that it wouldn’t happen again or that they were even going to do anything about it.”
MNsure spokeswoman Jenni Bowring-McDonough said in an email that the data breach had nothing to do with the website’s enrollment system.
Lack of choices
Conrad said the major difference between the two counties is in the number of providers.
“Competition generally lowers prices and raises benefits,” he said.
For one of Freeman’s clients, the new law meant she was among those whose plans were canceled. Her client, who didn’t qualify for a subsidy, went on the federal marketplace only to find that her $4,000 deductible would grow to $6,300, and her monthly premium would grow by about $200.
“She was livid,” Freeman recalled.
Dr. Hans Rechsteiner, a general surgeon in Spooner, said his premium will be lower under the marketplace than he’s paying this year. But he’s still not happy about the lack of choices.
“I was very disappointed because the whole idea was that it was going to be like Amazon.com,” Rechsteiner said. “You could go on there and shop all day long and compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges and it was going to be great fun. When I got there, there was one company.”
As in Douglas County, the only provider in Washburn County — where Rechsteiner lives — is Security Health. In fact, 14 counties across northern Wisconsin have only one provider, according to information from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Rechsteiner is president of the Tri-County Medical Society in Burnett, Barron and Washburn counties, which passed a resolution last week proposing additional health care reforms. One of the resolution’s planks would mandate that all consumers have choices from more than one company, although it doesn’t say how that would be implemented.
‘Sit back and wait’
In the meantime, many insurers have remained on the sidelines because they don’t know what to expect, Freeman said.
“They’re going to sit back and wait and see what’s going to happen, and then they’ll jump in next year,” she said. “But they don’t want all that risk.”
Many consumers should sit back and wait as well, Conrad said. Only those who might qualify for subsidies should consider the marketplace. Otherwise, he said, don’t bother. The private market has more choices presented more clearly online.
Witt and Gayle said they encounter people who are angry about the Affordable Care Act itself. But despite their frustration with the rollout, they tout aspects such as coverage for 10 essential benefits and coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
“(We) hear from people who are angry, who do make a little bit more money and they don’t want to pay for others,” Gayle said. “But people don’t understand that if we have a healthier populace, everything is better.”
But when such “bells and whistles” as maternity care and drug and alcohol counseling are added to everyone’s insurance plan, they add to the premiums everyone pays, Conrad said.
“I describe those benefits as bells or whistles not because they’re not essential,” he added. “But when you add to the basic nature of an insurance policy additional benefits, it increases the cost.”
With thanks to the Crawford Stewardship Project's Forest Jahnke for this article.