Move(s) to Amend
I have been very concerned with the Supreme Court ruling referred to as “Citizens United” and related cases. This decision opened the flood gates for money to flow at will into political contests at all levels. It basically said that corporations were the same as humans and that money was speech. I am sure that the writers and supporters of our U.S. Constitution in no way had this outcome in mind as they originally passed the Constitution. Since that time all types of organizations and groups have flooded the airwaves with mainly negative ads.
A very large number of citizens in our communities feel that this was a bad ruling and that there is nothing we can do about it. Well, there is something we can do in our communities in Wisconsin at the April 5 election. On the ballot in Platteville, Belmont, Darlington and Lancaster, voters will have the opportunity to vote for a referendum that would put these communities on record in support of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to clearly indicate that only humans and not corporations, unions, nonprofits or similar organizations are endowed with constitutional rights and money is not speech. If the outcome of this referendum is positive the referendum will also direct the city councils to send official communication to our state and federal legislators requesting that they take action on approving such an amendment. This is not a partisan issue as 81 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of independents and 85 percent of Democrats in America want limits on the amount of money in politics as reported by an Associated Press poll in the Los Angeles Times Sept. 16, 2012.
This type of referendum has been voted upon in many communities across the state of Wisconsin and in many other states in the U.S. Citizens have passed these referendums with huge positive support.
On Tuesday, April 5, Wisconsin voters will go to the polls to choose their nominees in their party’s primary elections. One issue on both Republican and Democratic ballots for all City of Platteville voters is a referendum asking the City of Platteville to adopt a resolution in support of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would state:
• Only human beings — not corporations, unions, non-profits or similar associations — are endowed with constitutional rights
• Money is not speech, and therefore regulating political contributions and spending is not the equivalent to limiting political speech.
The Supreme Court’s decision in “Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission” and related case law allows unlimited political campaign spending to influence local, state and federal elections. This has led to unknown (and unidentified) billions of dollars to be given in support of candidates and issues in an election.
William L. Cramer
If you’ve been thinking things aren’t right in this country and you don’t seem to be getting ahead; are you aware of the obstructions in your way to accessing the American dream, however you’ve defined it?
We are in our sixth year of Citizens United, a Supreme Court decision that allows corporations to have equal rights to you and me. However the corporations, have lots more money than I and they seem to pay less in taxes as I view Exxon and GE’s tax statements.
We need to know our legislators’ stance on issues and who are their major campaign contributors. We need to make it clear to those representing us that we do not consider corporations “people” and that money is not free speech and that corporations are not people.
Main Street small businesses suffer in this community because legislation is written to benefit large corporate people and interests. More of us taxpayers are asked to pay more taxes as corporations pay less and move to other countries to avoid their share of the taxes.
On April 5, vote yes on the referendum to overturn Citizen’s United and get your legislators to work for you rather than special interest money.
“We the people”, not “we the corporation.”
With this coming election season we are reminded once again of the extraordinary amounts of money that candidates for public office acquire from corporations, billionaires and unions. Candidates attend fundraisers and pledge support to donors in attendance. They meet individually with the wealthy 1 percent seeking millions of dollars to help the candidate get elected.
In this day of “corporations are people” and “money is speech,” candidates for public office are trapped in this system of elections that are bank-rolled by those who have only their own financial interests in mind. As a result, the “speech” of the moneyed interests drowns out the “whispers” generated by the comparatively meager individual donations the public in general is able to make.
We all know whose “speech” our elected officials are obligated to listen to if they are to get elected and whose interests are going to have priority. When will the concerns of the 99 percent of us be acted on in a system like this where millions of dollars flood our electoral process? Not until the excessive amounts of campaign money is stopped from pouring into the hands of candidates. Only then will our interests and concerns be heard.
How can this be done? By amending the U.S. Constitution to clarify that only humans have rights under the constitution, not corporations, political action committees or unions. Corporations are NOT mentioned in the Constitution and their millions should not be able to influence our government.
You can help end this undemocratic process by voting yes on the April 5 ballot to get money out of politics.
Support for Burk
I am running for the at-large Platteville Common Council seat. I chose to move to Platteville two years ago for my career. I am running to be involved with guiding the future development of our community. I bring community planning experience to the position. I make deliberate decisions by considering all sides of the situation and the various options. Our community is going through many changes that will bring up issues or concerns that need to be addressed with thoughtful consideration. Please vote April 5.
Katherine Burk has a long history of public service and helping people. She is concerned about what is best for Platteville, where she intends to raise her family. Ms. Burk has a broad view of what needs to be done; she believes Platteville needs careful and measured growth. She also understands that tax dollars must be used carefully.
The decisions we make that day will follow us for years to come. Voting is important
in the April 5 election; there are other issues on the ballot that will affect our country so please give this local race the attention it deserves. Absentee voting is available now at City Hall.
‘Do more with less’
I am running for Platteville Common Council because I have been a businessman for 40 years and have had to meet payrolls throughout the years. If I needed new equipment, I first had to figure out how to pay for it.
The alderman must ask how much it will cost to maintain something after we complete a project. For example, how much will the electric bill be for the trail that we are lighting down by Rountree Branch? How much will it cost to clean up the debris after a storm? I was at the meeting when the council appropriated $100,000 for the trail. Not one word was mentioned about how much it will cost the city long-term to maintain clean up and or the cost of replacing lights for the trail. The old Pioneer Ford building on Pine Street now belongs to the City of Platteville. The assessed value of the property was over $1 million. How does the City make up for loss of revenue/ taxes for this property? The city must do more with less.
I have been a firefighter for 47 years. I will make sure we do more with less. I will apply common sense when I vote to ensure we get what we pay for. The city employees also need incentives to finish a job ahead of schedule, then there is more time to complete other projects. City of Platteville debt is at 67 percent of its borrowing power. This needs to be reduced or the city will have to cut services like putting down less salt in the winter, or replacement of streets or 100-year-old water mains. The State of Wisconsin continues to reduce how much money they send back to the city and the U.S. government is broke, this means the city has to do more with less or raise taxes or cut services. These are things that the alderman will face within the very near future. If elected, I will do my best to help the City of Platteville to do more with less.
There are many great reasons to support Bernie Sanders for president. Some of the most important to me are that he is the only candidate who is serious about getting the money out of Washington, he’s for a $15 minimum wage, and wants healthcare for all, and free college education.
Bernie would like every person working full time to be able to afford the necessities in life; this is why he has pledged to fight for a $15 minimum wage. I feel that if you work 40 hours a week, you should be able to support yourself.
Bernie wants to expand Medicare for everybody. In 31 out of 32 First World countries there is universal healthcare provided by the government. We are the only country without it. We are the most prosperous country ever and yet we have 10 million people that can not afford health insurance, and at times people must choose between purchasing food or medicine. This is just not right. Statistics show that we pay at least 50 percent more for healthcare in this country then is paid in Europe, yet we have on average, a slightly shorter lifespan. There is way to much of our money siphoned off by the healthcare, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, among others.
Do we really want to trust the health of our children to corporations that are only motivated by profit? Under Bernie’s plan our taxes would raise 2.2 percent but the average family of four would save close to $5,000 a year by not having to pay any related costs. If you are sick, you go to a doctor and get better; that is how it works in every other developed country.
In the 1800s Americans decided to provide public schools for all. Before this only the rich were able to afford to provide a good education for their children. We knew then that all children deserve an equal opportunity to receive a good education, in order to be prepared for better paying jobs. In this day and age, a K–12 education does not qualify our country’s future leaders to compete on the world stage. We need to provide a college education for all. Since 1980 the cost of tuition, and textbook prices have risen almost 1,000 percent, far outpacing inflation. Bernie will supply a continuation of free public education by also having government pay for two-year public technical schools and four-year public colleges. In order to qualify students will have to have good grades in high school and continue to keep good grades in college. This can be funded by imposing a small tax on Wall Street speculation. More than 1,000 economists have endorsed a plan to tax Wall Street; we all paid handsomely to bail them out seven years age and it is time for them to pay us back.
Some people feel that because they (like myself) did not get a free ride, nobody else should get a debt-free education. This would benefit everybody, because all future generations will be better educated and a smarter, healthier populace is a good thing! (Among the plethora of other benefits, it would curb the rise of billionaire TV stars trying to control our government.)
Bernie has stated that any judge he appoints to the Supreme Court will vow to overturn the disastrous Citizens United decision. Citizens United currently allows corporations and the 1 percent to contribute as much as they want to political campaigns. This means that the ability to influence the election process is directly proportional to how rich you are. Bernie knows that all citizens of our great country should have an equal voice in choosing our political leaders, and this is not possible until this horrendous supreme court decision is overturned.
Bernie wants the rich to pay their fair share of taxes. Under his plans the tax rate for anybody making less them $250,000 a year would not raise but the superrich would have to start paying their fair share. How is it right that we the working people pay about 35 percent taxes while people that just invest their money pay about 15 percent on the profits? There is no excuse for the fact that people who can afford to sit back and let their money work for them pay half the tax rate of us that have to work for our pay. The only way to change this is to get the influence of money out of our government.
Recently Democratic and Republican presidents alike have filled their cabinets with a revolving cast of Wall Street executives and appointed corporate insiders to regulatory posts — the equivalent to the fox guarding the hen house. Bernie does not accept corporate contributions to his campaign (and has funded his campaign with more than 5 million contributions from working class Americans, averaging $27 each). Bernie will not allow the banksters to influence his administration. There is no other person running for president who has not accepted millions of dollars in contributions from corporations in exchange for influence.
You can find a lot more information about Bernie’s stance on other issues at www.feelthebern.com, and www.berniesanders.com.
We are going to be canvasing and calling people in the community between now and this important election on the 5th of April. Please remember that democracy is not a spectator sport and we all have to be involved. No matter who you support, please partake in the democratic process and vote!
On April 5 I urge you to vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Wisconsin Presidential Primary. Yes, in spite of what mainline media may be saying, Bernie is still in the race and has a very good chance of going all the way to the Democratic Convention.
First: Our only grandchildren (ages 5 and 8) ans their parents live in Ireland. When their parents consider moving to the U.S. it poses a dilemma. They could not afford health insurance for their family. Many people living in the U.S. still do not have health insurance or have such high deductibles they cannot afford to go to a doctor when they need to. The solution is for the U.S. to move to a Universal Health Care (single-payer) system in which everyone is covered. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who would work to bring about such a plan. Universal Health Care would cost less than most of us are paying for health insurance now and everyone would be covered. Single-payer would cover more items including dental and long-term nursing home care. It would not have co-pays, donut holes and deductibles. We would no longer have to worry about going bankrupt because we were sick or have or life savings disappear because we ended up in a nursing home. With single-payer health care, if our grandchildren’s parents decided to move to the U.S., affording health care would not be an issue.
Second: What about college education if our grandchildren came to the U.S.? I do not want them burdened with huge college debt that will take years to pay back. They could attend college in Germany and graduate with little, if any, debt. Bernie Sanders has a plan to make tuition free for students attending public colleges and universities. It would be paid by requiring Wall Street to pay a small tax on stock and commodity transactions.
Third: Bernie Sanders will work to protect and strengthen Social Security. For many senior citizens, Social Security, which they paid into through their working years, is their only income. And while costs of everything from food to medical care keep rising, their Social Security income falls farther and farther behind.
Fourth: Bernie will work to protect the pensions of millions of retirees. When yearly income from our pensions and SS do not keep pace with the ever increasing cost of living, or go down as pensions sometimes do, it means hard budgeting choices.
Fifth: Climate change is increasingly serious for our earth and all its life forms. Bernie understands that accelerated climate change is real and caused by human activities. He will take bold action, such as end all frack drilling and frack sand mining and move to renewable forms of energy such as wind and solar.
Sixth: He will work to reform campaign finance and overturn Citizens United so that individuals, not corporations and super PACs funded by billionaires, fund U.S. political campaigns.
Seventh: As the former chairman and current member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, one of Sen. Sanders’ highest priorities in Congress has been ensuring that our veterans receive the care and benefits they have earned.
I continue to be impressed by Bernie Sanders: his background, his many accomplishments and his sense of morality. Bernie has said, “What I believe in and what my spirituality is about is that we are all in this together. I think that it is not a good thing to believe that as human beings we can turn our backs on the suffering of other people. We are one world and one people.”
I believe we need to support Bernie Sanders for President and join the “revolution” that can bring about needed change. We may not have another opportunity like this. Now is the time.
And Social Security
As we continue to hear the presidential candidates go on and on about how they’re going to make our country great again, isn’t it surprising that they are not saying much of anything about their plans to strengthen Social Security?
Americans pay into Social Security year after year and we deserve to know how the candidates would keep it strong for us, our kids and grandkids. Social Security is critical to my retirement right now, but it will be even more important to future retirees who could lose up to $10,000 a year in benefits.
That’s why I’m volunteering on AARP’s Take a Stand campaign to urge every presidential candidate to take a leadership role and lay out his or her plan to update Social Security. We deserve to know where the candidates stand on this important issue before we decide who to vote for. Please visit 2016takeastand.org to learn where the candidates stand and get the facts you need before you go to the polls April 5.
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