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  Senior Freedom Presstm
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     Keystone Pipeline rejected!


   Below is the statement issued by President Obama regarding his decision.


Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release                                                                                    November 6, 2015



Roosevelt Room 

11:58 A.M. EST

     THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  Several years ago, the State Department began a review process for the proposed construction of a pipeline that would carry Canadian crude oil through our heartland to ports in the Gulf of Mexico and out into the world market.

This morning, Secretary Kerry informed me that, after extensive public outreach and consultation with other Cabinet agencies, the State Department has decided that the Keystone XL Pipeline would not serve the national interest of the United States.  I agree with that decision. 

This morning, I also had the opportunity to speak with Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada.  And while he expressed his disappointment, given Canada’s position on this issue, we both agreed that our close friendship on a whole range of issues, including energy and climate change, should provide the basis for even closer coordination between our countries going forward.  And in the coming weeks, senior members of my team will be engaging with theirs in order to help deepen that cooperation.

Now, for years, the Keystone Pipeline has occupied what I, frankly, consider an overinflated role in our political discourse.  It became a symbol too often used as a campaign cudgel by both parties rather than a serious policy matter.  And all of this obscured the fact that this pipeline would neither be a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others.

To illustrate this, let me briefly comment on some of the reasons why the State Department rejected this pipeline.

First:  The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy.  So if Congress is serious about wanting to create jobs, this was not the way to do it.  If they want to do it, what we should be doing is passing a bipartisan infrastructure plan that, in the short term, could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year as the pipeline would, and in the long run would benefit our economy and our workers for decades to come. 

Our businesses created 268,000 new jobs last month.  They’ve created 13.5 million new jobs over the past 68 straight months -- the longest streak on record.  The unemployment rate fell to 5 percent.  This Congress should pass a serious infrastructure plan, and keep those jobs coming.  That would make a difference. The pipeline would not have made a serious impact on those numbers and on the American people’s prospects for the future.  

Second:  The pipeline would not lower gas prices for American consumers.  In fact, gas prices have already been falling -- steadily.  The national average gas price is down about 77 cents over a year ago.  It’s down a dollar over two years ago.  It’s down $1.27 over three years ago.  Today, in 41 states, drivers can find at least one gas station selling gas for less than two bucks a gallon.  So while our politics have been consumed by a debate over whether or not this pipeline would create jobs and lower gas prices, we’ve gone ahead and created jobs and lowered gas prices.

Third:  Shipping dirtier crude oil into our country would not increase America’s energy security.  What has increased America’s energy security is our strategy over the past several years to reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels from unstable parts of the world.  Three years ago, I set a goal to cut our oil imports in half by 2020.  Between producing more oil here at home, and using less oil throughout our economy, we met that goal last year -- five years early.  In fact, for the first time in two decades, the United States of America now produces more oil than we buy from other countries. 

Now, the truth is, the United States will continue to rely on oil and gas as we transition -- as we must transition -- to a clean energy economy.  That transition will take some time.  But it’s also going more quickly than many anticipated.  Think about it.  Since I took office, we’ve doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas by 2025; tripled the power we generate from the wind; multiplied the power we generate from the sun 20 times over.  Our biggest and most successful businesses are going all-in on clean energy.  And thanks in part to the investments we’ve made, there are already parts of America where clean power from the wind or the sun is finally cheaper than dirtier, conventional power.

The point is the old rules said we couldn’t promote economic growth and protect our environment at the same time.  The old rules said we couldn’t transition to clean energy without squeezing businesses and consumers.  But this is America, and we have come up with new ways and new technologies to break down the old rules, so that today, homegrown American energy is booming, energy prices are falling, and over the past decade, even as our economy has continued to grow, America has cut our total carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.

Today, the United States of America is leading on climate change with our investments in clean energy and energy efficiency.  America is leading on climate change with new rules on power plants that will protect our air so that our kids can breathe.  America is leading on climate change by working with other big emitters like China to encourage and announce new commitments to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.  In part because of that American leadership, more than 150 nations representing nearly 90 percent of global emissions have put forward plans to cut pollution.

America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change.  And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.  And that’s the biggest risk we face -- not acting. 

Today, we’re continuing to lead by example.  Because ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.

As long as I’m President of the United States, America is going to hold ourselves to the same high standards to which we hold the rest of the world.  And three weeks from now, I look forward to joining my fellow world leaders in Paris, where we’ve got to come together around an ambitious framework to protect the one planet that we’ve got while we still can. 

If we want to prevent the worst effects of climate change before it’s too late, the time to act is now.  Not later.  Not someday.  Right here, right now.  And I’m optimistic about what we can accomplish together.  I’m optimistic because our own country proves, every day -- one step at a time -- that not only do we have the power to combat this threat, we can do it while creating new jobs, while growing our economy, while saving money, while helping consumers, and most of all, leaving our kids a cleaner, safer planet at the same time. 

That’s what our own ingenuity and action can do.  That's what we can accomplish.  And America is prepared to show the rest of the world the way forward.

Thank you very much.

                           END             12:08 P.M. EST

                                                                         ####                                        11-6-15

       Former Senator Russ Feingold

           Listening to seniors across Wisconsin

                                                                                                                                                                             (Image courtesy of Feingold Campaign)

          (The following is a press release issued by the Feingold Campaign today and printed in its entirety by Senior Freedom Press
                                as a public service to our readers.)

Today Across Wisconsin: Russ Feingold Listening to Seniors

Calls to Protect and Expand Social Security Benefits

Russ for Wisconsin

MIDDLETON -- Today, continuing his travel across the state to listen to the concerns and ideas of Wisconsinites, Russ Feingold is meeting with Wisconsin seniors in Green Bay, Wausau, and Eau Claire, hearing from retired Wisconsinites that they’re feeling squeezed – and they worry that savings and Social Security aren’t going to be enough to continue their retirement with independence and dignity.
During these meetings, Russ stated his support for policies that will help assure an independent retirement for all Wisconsinites, not just the wealthiest:
Instead of cutting benefits, we should be talking about ways to expand Social Security benefits.

  • For too long, Washington has placed the burden of our budget problems on working families - it’s time the richest Americans pay their fair share into Social Security, and that means adjusting the payroll tax cap to keep Social Security secure for generations to come
  • In addition, we must work to increase wages and ease the burden of student debt so working people can save more for retirement 
Allow the government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices
  • Medicare recipients have paid far too much for their prescription drugs because Washington will not allow our government to negotiate prices with the pharmaceutical industry
Make Sure Medicare Supports Wisconsin’s Rural Communities
  • Wisconsin’s rural seniors and health care providers shouldn’t be disadvantaged by Medicare – disparities harm our communities and hurt our ability to provide innovative health care 

Yet, Senator Ron Johnson attacks Social Security – he calls Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" and thinks it is "a shame" Social Security wasn't privatized.

Below are photos from Russ’s meeting today with Wisconsin seniors in Green Bay.


                                                                                                                                         (Images courtesy of Feingold Campaign)

                                                                                        End                                                      Oct 15, 2015

 General Electric Corp. intends to move
             350 local jobs to Canada

In a story in the Journal-Sentinel, yesterday, September 28, 2015, General Electric announced that they would be moving their engine plant in Waukesha to Canada. They intend to spend $265 million to build the new plant in Canada while costing Waukesha 350 high paying jobs.

GE blamed the decision to move on congressional failure to renew the charter for the U.S. Import-Export Bank stating that Canada has a strong export bank and that GE has $11 billion in bidding projects that they cannot afford to loose.

The U.S. Import-Export bank is considered a vital tool for U.S. manufacturers to be able to compete in world markets.

However, renewal of the charter was opposed by Senator Ron Johnson and Congressman Paul Ryan among others says the Journal-Sentinel.

"This move sends a shock wave, not just to the workers and their families, (in Waukesha) but to the whole community," said International Association of Machinists union spokesman Frank Larkin. The IAM represents most of the workers who will loose their jobs.

"The failure of the House to act is now costing Wisconsin jobs," said U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).

My thoughts go out to those 350 Wisconsin families that just got the news that their jobs are going to Canada. We need to fight for them, and the thousands of other Wisconsin families that deserve better...” says former Senator Russ Feingold (D).

                                                                                  (Senator Feingold. Stock image from archives - Walworth County Fair)

                                                                                                              (President Obama. Stock image from archives)

President Obama had toured and spoke at this GE Waukesha Engine plant on January 30, 2014.

Senator Ron Johnson (R) could not be reached for comment.

                                                                             End                                                            9-29-15

    Russ Feingold

    Images from Monday (Labor Day) September 7, 2015



  Included, was an interview with Fox 6 news reporter AJ Bayatpour.

                                                                            End                                                          9-8-15

      Walker & Republican Cronies Sign Right-To-Work Legislation
           President Obama speaks out on behalf of the Wisconsin worker

While feeling secure in their control of Wisconsin, Gov Walker and Republicans begin pushing more legislation through that will add to their power base.  Although seemingly oblivious to the projected loss in worker's income and work safety, Walker and gang rushed Right-to-Work legislation through.  Pictured here on Monday, March 9, 2015 at Badger Meter in Browndeer, Wi, Gov Walker signed the 'RTW' Legislation.  It is expected that several more issues will be pushed through before the Politicians will begin posturing for the 2016 campaign season.

President Obama issued a statement regarding the above.  It is printed here in it's entirety.


Office of the Press Secretary


March 9, 2015

Statement by the President


It’s no coincidence that the rise of the middle class in America coincided in large part with the rise of unions – workers who organized together for higher wages, better working conditions, and the benefits and protections that most workers take for granted today. So it’s inexcusable that, over the past several years, just when middle-class families and workers need that kind of security the most, there’s been a sustained, coordinated assault on unions, led by powerful interests and their allies in government.

So I’m deeply disappointed that a new anti-worker law in Wisconsin will weaken, rather than strengthen workers in the new economy. Wisconsin is a state built by labor, with a proud pro-worker past. So even as its governor claims victory over working Americans, I’d encourage him to try and score a victory for working Americans – by taking meaningful action to raise their wages and offer them the security of paid leave. That’s how you give hardworking middle-class families a fair shot in the new economy – not by stripping their rights in the workplace, but by offering them all the tools they need to get ahead.


                                                                                      End                          3-10-15

        Thousands gather at the State Capital 
      To protest Walker & Republican Legislature

Saturday, February 28, 2015, thousands gathered in Madison, Wisconsin in the bitter cold to protest Wisconsin's Republican Legislature and the man who wants to be king.  

But Governor Walker's ambitions to be president may likely hang on his signature of Republican Right-To-Work Legislation and his signatures on cuts to Wisconsin health care.

The backlash from his signatures to these issues will, likely, wipe out his presidential chances forever.

If he truly has presidential aspirations, Scott Walker may need to find a way to back out of signing… Not easy to do.

RTW stands for the Right-To-Work legislation.  Workers explained that RTW would weaken workplace protections placing many employees at greater risk for on-the-job injuries.  


The rapid changes that the Wisconsin GOP Legislature is trying to push through, come in three areas: Education Cuts - including the UW cuts, Unexplained health care cuts, and RTW, Right-to-work legislation.

More images tomorrow...
More images displayed on the Madison Page

                                                                              End                 March 2, 2015

   It's Not The UW Budget They're After...

                                                            (Believe the actions, not the words.)

With respect to the University System budget cuts, it's not money the Republican legislature wants to save.  It's the administration of our campuses that they're working to change.

It will come in the form of controlled cuts on campuses that will eliminate far more liberal instructors than conservative ones.  Why do we say this?  Because we believe it's happened before.

It's happened within State departments such as the Wis DNR and some counties and on and on.

Hidden within any budget cut is the elimination of positions and that's the magic pill Republicans want.  

Politically controversial people can be quietly let go under the guise of eliminated positions.  Then it's, 'So sorry. Too bad.'   Later, the positions are again replaced but with different titles and with “like-minded” people.

In three or four years, just watch. The money will be back to the UW system but the curriculum will be changed. (Watch the actions. Forget the words about budget.)

Another indicator as to changing the complexion of the UW system was seen in Governor Walker's attempt to rewrite the one hundred year old mission statement for the UW system. Of course, when he was called out on this, he backed up. But, the attempt was there. Take it as a warning, a sign post. (Watch the actions. Don't listen to the words.)

But what about cuts to Senior health care and medicare and medicaid. Again, it isn't intended to save on the budget.  If saving money were the issue than Gov Walker would have taken the millions in Federal assistance funding. It's about a GOP doctrine that is designed to leave us on our own.   There were always alternatives in budgeting.   But, the legislature wasn't willing to do it? (Watch the actions. Don't believe the words.)

Another action: Do you remember that little box on your State tax form asking you if you'd like to donate a dollar to help small political campaigns. It wasn't State money. It was your money intended to be given to help equalize political campaigns and was roughly a million dollars. They took it in 2011. It's gone. And not returned to the people either. Taken under the guise of budget needs.  (Another action?  Why?)

(Where are the people's voices in all this?)   We can see the voices of big businesses in the form of associations such as ALEC and the Wisconsin Manufacturing Association spending a considerable amount of money to maintain their own influence.   What if we referred to these associations as unions-for-corporate-business? Would that put it into a better perspective? (We can see their actions in donations they make. Their words come through pacs as political ads.) (Meanwhile, senior citizens and children have their benefits cut.)

Looking forward: The next action in Madison will be inaction.  There's an old axiom that voters have a memory of about six months.  Sounds pretty demeaning doesn't it?   But sadly, there is some truth to it.   What this means for the GOP in Madison is that they'll do their best to complete their damage in the next few months.   Then, they'll go silent.   This is because it'll be getting too close to the 2016 elections.   Oh, sure, they'll make noise and probably vote on a number of inconsequential issues.   BUT, the real damage will have been done.  (In this, we should judge their inaction, because there won't be many words.)

This goes hand in hand with their effort to ram 'Right-to-Work' through.  While it is, likely, unstoppable in the short run, it can become a label that Scott Walker could be forced to carry for the rest of his political career.  
In the long run, it will lower wages in Wisconsin. You won't feel it immediately. But in the long run, it will harm our children and grand children just as it has done in the south.
However, well managed exposure of his signing Right-To-Work, could cost Scott Walker any chance of a presidency in the future.   We're sure that he's considered this and feels that he can overcome it. But, can he? It'll be up to you. (And what are you going to do about it?)

And as far as the six republicans that we asked to respond regarding the UW system cuts...

Their actions speak again... None answered.

(But, we'll keep asking.) (But now, maybe you will want to start remembering and asking too.) 

It's a continuing battle as to who's going to win... The working people of Wisconsin and our country versus the wealthy associations at the top.
Yet, it never had to be that way. (But it is.)
There was a time when worker's unions and corporate associations worked together and we all profited.
(What happened?) (Is it just plain greed?)

So, if you choose to sit idly on the side and observe, you know that the persistence of big business money will take control. (Watch their actions. Don't be fooled by the words in the news and on TV.) But then, any resistance to corporate control takes effort and time and who can afford that?

Well, the answer is... That over time, high-end management has reduced our standard of living and moved the wealth further up into their hands.
If we don't exercise some initiative and some voter control, it'll continue.

If you choose to take an action, it wouldn't have to be much.  But everyone would want to make a very tiny effort.

Let us know what you decide to do.

In the end, the future of our lives and our children and our grand children hangs on your decision.

                                                                           End          2-27-15


       Email letter to our representatives...
 The following letter was sent to the following representatives today.  You, the reader, may recall that NONE of the Republican                       representatives from last week, responded.  With luck, we will be         able to print their responses by Friday, February 27, 2015.  

  Voters are encouraged to send their own letters, also.

Dear Representative

Our readers have expressed concern over your pending additional budget cuts to the UW system. (Namely, the newly proposed additional $300 million cut that is circulating in Wisconsin news)

Readers are expressing concern for their children and their grandchildren and the likely loss of their use of this institution.

Would you please respond by briefly telling us:

  • How you will vote on the $300 M budget cut?

  • How will you repair the potential damage inflected on students (by a yes vote) in the coming years?

Please be so kind as to reply in writing via email on or before, Wednesday, February 25, 2015.

Please be so kind as to reply personally. (No staff reply, please.)

Please keep your reply very brief. (Space will be limited) (The lack of a reply, would also be noted on our site.)

Thank you for your cooperation.


Senior Freedom Press

Senior Chronicle LLC

by John Stoesser

Reply to john@seniorfreedompress.com

Phone 262-642-9000


This email letter was sent to the following...

Rep.Craig@legis.wisconsin.gov                     Craig, David             (R - Big Bend) District 83

Rep.Czaja@legis.wisconsin.gov                     Czaja, Mary              (R - Irma) District 35

Rep.Rodriguez@legis.wisconsin.gov            Rodriguez, Jessie    (R - Franklin) District 21

Rep.Weatherston@legis.wisconsin.gov        Weatherston, Thomas  (R - Racine) District 62

Rep.Brooks@legis.wisconsin.gov                   Brooks, Edward         (R - Reedsburg) District 50

Rep.August@legis.wisconsin.gov                   August, Tyler               (R - Lake Geneva) District 32

                                                               End             February 18, 2015

Letters from concerned Wisconsin voters about Ed Cuts in Wis...

Below is a letter sent by a Southeast Wisconsin resident who we'll call 'Jane'.  In her email letter, she stated that she sent this letter to Representative David Craig (83rd District, R-Bib Bend)...

Subject: Save the UW System and our public schools

Wisconsin has always valued education. The first kindergarten was in the 
state of Wisconsin. Our public school system has continually ranked in the 
top one or two in the United States, and our UW system has provided a top 
education for our college students, preparing them well for their careers 
and life experiences.

My husband and I are retired public school teachers. Our standards in the 
public school system of Waterford have always been high, and our students 
have done well in post high school endeavors.

Two of my children graduated from UW-Madison. The credentials from that 
university have provided wonderful job opportunities for both of them. They 
are well-respected in their fields. Our daughter has her doctorate in 
nursing and teaches in Western Georgia University at the doctoral level.

Our governor seems to lack a respect for education at all levels. It is 
abominable to slash funding for public education while using part of the 
money available to fund private schools, especially when they do not have 
the required mandates, do not teach students with disabilities or emotional 
problems, and even are allowed to take tests other than the state tests for 
achievement. That is not even a fair playing field. Education, one of the 
most important elements that a society can provide for its citizens, is 
being warred upon. Which side of the war do you have the courage to 
support? The party or the children?

In another email letter to us, 'Jane' went on to say...    

"...I do hope that your website can reach many senior citizens in my area. Such small tax credits must just stop any intelligent thinking about the process our now absentee governor used to achieve these credits. I do hope people "wake up" before our state cannot be returned to one of which we can be proud and happy to live..."

Letters to the editor regarding such hot topics are very welcome.  Please send them to staff@seniorfreedompress.com      Thanks.

                                                                             End          Feb 18, 2015

The Answers to our email letters...

 On Monday, February 9, 2015, we asked 6 prominent representatives how they would vote regarding the proposed cutbacks to the Wisconsin University system.  Scroll down two articles to see the letter.

 The responses are as follows...

Sen. Luther S. Olsen      14th District R-Ripon                                                Did not reply.


Sen. Jerry Petrowski      29th District R- Marathon                                         Did not reply.


Sen. Richard Gudex 18th District R-Fond Du Lac                                          Did not reply.


Rep. Howard Marklein 51st District R-Spring Green                                      Did not reply.


Rep. Steven Nass 33rd District R-Whitewater                                                  Did not reply.


Rep. Robin Vos 63rd District R-Rochester                                                        Did not reply.


So now we are wondering... Is there safety in silence?  Apparently so...
But then, what are these guys up to?  Was Robin Williams right?
Well... Maybe you, the voters, should ask these gentlemen what they are up to.  Their email addresses are included.  (Ask your friends to inquire also.  Let us know what you hear.  Thanks.)

By the way, we made an inquiry to Senator Vinehout a day later and received a reply that same day.  It's published below.

 Maybe it's time to ask another six.

                                                                                        End        2-16-15

      Below is an article submitted by Senator Kathleen Vinehout                                                      addressing the
    Proposed University System cutbacks by Governor Walker.  

               Gov’s Higher Education Budget Cuts Bad for Wisconsin’s Future

                                          By Senator Kathleen Vinehout

“I love college, Mom,” my son told me. “There is nowhere else I can hear a conversation in a different language every day.”

My son got me thinking about the challenges our students face – competing in a global marketplace, changes in the economy, changes in technology. College has never been so important. Keeping colleges up-to-date costs money.

Getting one’s children through college is harder. Finding the right mix of rigor and value is a real challenge for families.

Wisconsin universities stand out for value. Over and over again UW-Eau Claire and UW-La Crosse rank as two of the best values in the Midwest.

UW-Madison is a world-class research institution. The UW comprehensive campuses statewide are the cultural heart of communities large and small; where would River Falls or Menomonie be without the UW at the center of the city?

A new proposal from the Governor would make deep cuts to the UW, dropping state support – in actual dollars - to below 1997-98 funding levels. The Governor also proposed loosening public control over the UW. The twin actions of cutting funds & cutting the university loose from the state are a recipe for disaster.

The last foray into cutting loose a part of state government – the Department of Commerce – didn’t work well for the Governor. Once a big part of state government is cut loose, its central focus is not on serving the public interest.

The constituency for keeping the university system apart from the state will be so strong it will not be possible to bring the system back. And those constituencies fighting to keep the system separate have private not public goals. Say “good-bye” to the Wisconsin Idea.

The rationale for cutting UW support is to make the system more efficient. Sure, efficiencies are important. But the reduction proposed by the Governor - $300 million over two years – will cut one quarter of current state spending.

And this year’s state funding for the UW is already lower than six years ago.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Wisconsin is one of only six states that continued to cut higher education funding per student by more than 2% following the Great Recession (adjusted for inflation and using data from Fiscal Year (FY) 2013-14).

Over the last decade and a half, state support for the UW has been modest at best. For example, FY 2012 funding fell below FY 2001. Increasing education costs were shifted to steady increases in tuition. Reacting to parents’ concerns, the Governor and Legislative Leaders froze tuition. Other states froze tuition - but many also increased state funding. Not so for Wisconsin.

“Teach more classes,” the Governor said. But teaching more classes and “becoming more efficient” won’t absorb the proposed cuts. Cutting one out of every four state dollars is cutting too deep. As a consequence professors will leave Wisconsin.

The best and brightest on our campuses are not tied to Wisconsin. They are tied to their discipline – be it mathematics or biology. A local businessman once told me, “All jobs are mobile.” Professors are definitely mobile.

Once the best and brightest begin to leave (I’ve been told this is already happening) morale plummets. As more professors find new academic homes they take with them not only their expertise and international reputation - they take their federal grants.

Without federal grants UW loses another big source of funds. (Federal money, including student loans now account for more than a quarter of the UW budget.)

The Governor’s proposed actions place the UW in a downward spiral: less state money, a lock on rising tuition, loss of top faculty, declining federal money, loss of the world-class reputation. The consequences of disinvestment will take generations to recover.

Public universities are just that – “public”. Public universities are supported by the people and serve the people. Wisconsin has steadily eroded state support for the UW.  We should be doing just the opposite.

Our public universities are a catalyst for the creative culture that builds the great places in which we all want to live, work, play and start a new business. They are well worth our investment.

                                                               End     2-12-15


Based on concerns voiced about the massive reduction to the University of Wisconsin system budget, Senior freedom has sent the following email to selected legislative representatives in Madison...                    (Readers may also write their representative it they wish.)
                 (We will write about their replies next week.)

Dear Senator/Representative

Our readers have expressed concern over your pending additional budget cuts to the UW system. (Namely, the newly proposed additional $300 million cut that is circulating in Wisconsin news)

Readers are expressing concern for their children and their grandchildren and the likely loss of their use of this institution.

Would you please respond by briefly telling us:

  • How you will vote on the $300 M budget cut?

  • How will you repair the potential damage inflected on students (by a yes vote) in the coming years?

Please be so kind as to reply in writing via email on or before, Friday, February 14, 2015.

Please be so kind as to reply personally. (No staff reply, please.)

Please keep your reply very brief. (Space will be limited) (The lack of a reply, would also be noted on our site.)

Thank you for your cooperation.


Senior Freedom Press

Senior Chronicle LLC

by John Stoesser

Reply to john@seniorfreedompress.com

Phone 262-642-9000



             This email was sent to the follow representatives...
          (Should you wish that we inquire with additional representatives, please let us know.)

Sen. Luther S. Olsen,  14th District,   R-Ripon

Sen. Jerry Petrowski,    29th District,   R- Marathon

Sen. Richard Gudex,   18
th District,   R-Fond Du Lac

Rep. Howard Marklein,    51st District,   R-Spring Green

Rep. Steven Nass,   33
rd District,   R-Whitewater

Rep. Robin Vos,   63
rd District,      R-Rochester

email:  Rep.Vos@legis.wisconsin.gov

                                                                                   End ~~~~

                                    The following is a transcript of
                        President Obama's 2015 State of the Union Speech
                                          (as provided by the White House Press Secretary)



U.S. Capitol

Washington, D.C.

9:10 P.M. EST


     THE PRESIDENT:  Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans: 

     We are 15 years into this new century.  Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world.  It has been, and still is, a hard time for many. 

     But tonight, we turn the page.  Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999.  (Applause.)  Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis.  More of our kids are graduating than ever before.  More of our people are insured than ever before.  (Applause.)  And we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years.  (Applause.)

     Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.  (Applause.)  Six years ago, nearly 180,000 American troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Today, fewer than 15,000 remain.  And we salute the courage and sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 Generation who has served to keep us safe.  (Applause.)  We are humbled and grateful for your service.

     America, for all that we have endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this:  The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.  (Applause.)

     At this moment -- with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, booming energy production -- we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.  It’s now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next 15 years and for decades to come.

     Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well?  Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?  (Applause.)

     Will we approach the world fearful and reactive, dragged into costly conflicts that strain our military and set back our standing?  Or will we lead wisely, using all elements of our power to defeat new threats and protect our planet?

     Will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions and turned against one another?  Or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that has always propelled America forward?

     In two weeks, I will send this Congress a budget filled with ideas that are practical, not partisan.  And in the months ahead, I’ll crisscross the country making a case for those ideas.  So tonight, I want to focus less on a checklist of proposals, and focus more on the values at stake in the choices before us.

     It begins with our economy.  Seven years ago, Rebekah and Ben Erler of Minneapolis were newlyweds.  (Laughter.)  She waited tables.  He worked construction.  Their first child, Jack, was on the way.  They were young and in love in America.  And it doesn’t get much better than that.  “If only we had known,” Rebekah wrote to me last spring, “what was about to happen to the housing and construction market.” 

     As the crisis worsened, Ben’s business dried up, so he took what jobs he could find, even if they kept him on the road for long stretches of time.  Rebekah took out student loans and enrolled in community college, and retrained for a new career.  They sacrificed for each other.  And slowly, it paid off.  They bought their first home.  They had a second son, Henry.  Rebekah got a better job and then a raise.  Ben is back in construction -- and home for dinner every night.

     “It is amazing,” Rebekah wrote, “what you can bounce back from when you have to…we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.”  We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.

     America, Rebekah and Ben’s story is our story.  They represent the millions who have worked hard and scrimped, and sacrificed and retooled.  You are the reason that I ran for this office.  You are the people I was thinking of six years ago today, in the darkest months of the crisis, when I stood on the steps of this Capitol and promised we would rebuild our economy on a new foundation.  And it has been your resilience, your effort that has made it possible for our country to emerge stronger.

     We believed we could reverse the tide of outsourcing and draw new jobs to our shores.  And over the past five years, our businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs.  (Applause.) 

     We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet.  And today, America is number one in oil and gas.  America is number one in wind power.  Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008.  (Applause.)  And thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save about $750 at the pump.  (Applause.) 

     We believed we could prepare our kids for a more competitive world.  And today, our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record.  Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high.  More Americans finish college than ever before.  (Applause.) 

     We believed that sensible regulations could prevent another crisis, shield families from ruin, and encourage fair competition.  Today, we have new tools to stop taxpayer-funded bailouts, and a new consumer watchdog to protect us from predatory lending and abusive credit card practices.  And in the past year alone, about 10 million uninsured Americans finally gained the security of health coverage.  (Applause.) 

     At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits.  Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in 50 years.  (Applause.)  This is good news, people.  (Laughter and applause.)

     So the verdict is clear.  Middle-class economics works.  Expanding opportunity works.  And these policies will continue to work as long as politics don’t get in the way.  We can’t slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns.  We can’t put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we’ve got to fix a broken system.  And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, I will veto it.  It will have earned my veto.  (Applause.) 

     Today, thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives.  Wages are finally starting to rise again.  We know that more small business owners plan to raise their employees’ pay than at any time since 2007.  But here’s the thing:  Those of us here tonight, we need to set our sights higher than just making sure government doesn’t screw things up; that government doesn’t halt the progress we’re making.  We need to do more than just do no harm.  Tonight, together, let’s do more to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every American.  (Applause.) 

     Because families like Rebekah’s still need our help.  She and Ben are working as hard as ever, but they’ve had to forego vacations and a new car so that they can pay off student loans and save for retirement.  Friday night pizza, that’s a big splurge.  Basic childcare for Jack and Henry costs more than their mortgage, and almost as much as a year at the University of Minnesota.  Like millions of hardworking Americans, Rebekah isn’t asking for a handout, but she is asking that we look for more ways to help families get ahead.

     And in fact, at every moment of economic change throughout our history, this country has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances and to make sure everyone gets a fair shot.  We set up worker protections, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid to protect ourselves from the harshest adversity.  We gave our citizens schools and colleges, infrastructure and the Internet -- tools they needed to go as far as their effort and their dreams will take them.

     That’s what middle-class economics is -- the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, everyone plays by the same set of rules.  (Applause.)  We don’t just want everyone to share in America’s success, we want everyone to contribute to our success.  (Applause.)

     So what does middle-class economics require in our time? 

     First, middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change.  That means helping folks afford childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement.  And my budget will address each of these issues, lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year.  (Applause.)

     Here’s one example.  During World War II, when men like my grandfather went off to war, having women like my grandmother in the workforce was a national security priority -- so this country provided universal childcare.  In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever.  (Applause.)

It’s not a nice-to-have -- it’s a must-have.  So it’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or as a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.  (Applause.)  And that’s why my plan will make quality childcare more available and more affordable for every middle-class and low-income family with young children in America -- by creating more slots and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year.  (Applause.)

     Here’s another example.  Today, we are the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers.  Forty-three million workers have no paid sick leave -- 43 million.  Think about that.  And that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home.  So I’ll be taking new action to help states adopt paid leave laws of their own.  And since paid sick leave won where it was on the ballot last November, let’s put it to a vote right here in Washington.  (Applause.)  Send me a bill that gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave.  It’s the right thing to do.  It’s the right thing to do.  (Applause.)

     Of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages.  That’s why this Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work.  (Applause.)  It’s 2015.  (Laughter.)  It’s time.  We still need to make sure employees get the overtime they’ve earned.  (Applause.)  And to everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this:  If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, try it.  If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise.  (Applause.)

     Now, these ideas won’t make everybody rich, won’t relieve every hardship.  That’s not the job of government.  To give working families a fair shot, we still need more employers to see beyond next quarter’s earnings and recognize that investing in their workforce is in their company’s long-term interest.  We still need laws that strengthen rather than weaken unions, and give American workers a voice.  (Applause.)

But you know, things like childcare and sick leave and equal pay; things like lower mortgage premiums and a higher minimum wage -- these ideas will make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of families.  That’s a fact.  And that’s what all of us, Republicans and Democrats alike, were sent here to do.

     Second, to make sure folks keep earning higher wages down the road, we have to do more to help Americans upgrade their skills.  (Applause.)  America thrived in the 20th century because we made high school free, sent a generation of GIs to college, trained the best workforce in the world.  We were ahead of the curve.  But other countries caught on.  And in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge like never before, we need to up our game.  We need to do more.

     By the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher education -- two in three.  And yet, we still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need.  It’s not fair to them, and it’s sure not smart for our future.  That’s why I’m sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college -- to zero.  (Applause.)   

     Keep in mind 40 percent of our college students choose community college.  Some are young and starting out.  Some are older and looking for a better job.  Some are veterans and single parents trying to transition back into the job market.  Whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy without a load of debt.  Understand, you’ve got to earn it.  You’ve got to keep your grades up and graduate on time. 

     Tennessee, a state with Republican leadership, and Chicago, a city with Democratic leadership, are showing that free community college is possible.  I want to spread that idea all across America, so that two years of college becomes as free and universal in America as high school is today.  (Applause.)  Let’s stay ahead of the curve.  (Applause.)  And I want to work with this Congress to make sure those already burdened with student loans can reduce their monthly payments so that student debt doesn’t derail anyone’s dreams.  (Applause.) 

     Thanks to Vice President Biden’s great work to update our job training system, we’re connecting community colleges with local employers to train workers to fill high-paying jobs like coding, and nursing, and robotics.  Tonight, I’m also asking more businesses to follow the lead of companies like CVS and UPS, and offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships -- opportunities that give workers the chance to earn higher-paying jobs even if they don’t have a higher education.

     And as a new generation of veterans comes home, we owe them every opportunity to live the American Dream they helped defend.  Already, we’ve made strides towards ensuring that every veteran has access to the highest quality care.  We’re slashing the backlog that had too many veterans waiting years to get the benefits they need.  And we’re making it easier for vets to translate their training and experience into civilian jobs.  And Joining Forces, the national campaign launched by Michelle and Jill Biden -- (applause) -- thank you, Michelle; thank you, Jill -- has helped nearly 700,000 veterans and military spouses get a new job.  (Applause.)  So to every CEO in America, let me repeat:  If you want somebody who’s going to get the job done and done right, hire a veteran.  (Applause.)

     Finally, as we better train our workers, we need the new economy to keep churning out high-wage jobs for our workers to fill.  Since 2010, America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and all advanced economies combined.  (Applause.)

Our manufacturers have added almost 800,000 new jobs.  Some of our bedrock sectors, like our auto industry, are booming.  But there are also millions of Americans who work in jobs that didn’t even exist 10 or 20 years ago -- jobs at companies like Google, and eBay, and Tesla. 

     So no one knows for certain which industries will generate the jobs of the future.  But we do know we want them here in America.  We know that.  (Applause.)  And that’s why the third part of middle-class economics is all about building the most competitive economy anywhere, the place where businesses want to locate and hire.

Twenty-first century businesses need 21st century infrastructure -- modern ports, and stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest Internet.  Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this.  So let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline.  Let’s pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than 30 times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come.  (Applause.)  Let’s do it.  Let’s get it done.  Let’s get it done.  (Applause.)

     Twenty-first century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more American products overseas.  Today, our businesses export more than ever, and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages.  But as we speak, China wants to write the rules for the world’s fastest-growing region.  That would put our workers and our businesses at a disadvantage.  Why would we let that happen?  We should write those rules.  We should level the playing field.  That’s why I’m asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren’t just free, but are also fair.  It’s the right thing to do.  (Applause.)

     Look, I’m the first one to admit that past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the hype, and that’s why we’ve gone after countries that break the rules at our expense.  But 95 percent of the world’s customers live outside our borders.  We can’t close ourselves off from those opportunities.  More than half of manufacturing executives have said they’re actively looking to bring jobs back from China.  So let’s give them one more reason to get it done.

     Twenty-first century businesses will rely on American science and technology, research and development.  I want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine -- one that delivers the right treatment at the right time.  (Applause.)

In some patients with cystic fibrosis, this approach has reversed a disease once thought unstoppable.  So tonight, I’m launching a new Precision Medicine Initiative to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes, and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier.  We can do this.  (Applause.)

     I intend to protect a free and open Internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community -- (applause) -- and help folks build the fastest networks so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.

     I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that unleash new jobs -- converting sunlight into liquid fuel; creating revolutionary prosthetics, so that a veteran who gave his arms for his country can play catch with his kids again.  (Applause.)  Pushing out into the solar system not just to visit, but to stay.  Last month, we launched a new spacecraft as part of a reenergized space program that will send American astronauts to Mars.  And in two months, to prepare us for those missions, Scott Kelly will begin a year-long stay in space.  So good luck, Captain.  Make sure to Instagram it.  We’re proud of you.  (Applause.) 

     Now, the truth is, when it comes to issues like infrastructure and basic research, I know there’s bipartisan support in this chamber.  Members of both parties have told me so.  Where we too often run onto the rocks is how to pay for these investments.  As Americans, we don’t mind paying our fair share of taxes as long as everybody else does, too.  But for far too long, lobbyists have rigged the tax code with loopholes that let some corporations pay nothing while others pay full freight.  They’ve riddled it with giveaways that the super-rich don’t need, while denying a break to middle-class families who do.  

     This year, we have an opportunity to change that.  Let’s close loopholes so we stop rewarding companies that keep profits abroad, and reward those that invest here in America.  (Applause.)  Let’s use those savings to rebuild our infrastructure and to make it more attractive for companies to bring jobs home.  Let’s simplify the system and let a small business owner file based on her actual bank statement, instead of the number of accountants she can afford.  (Applause.)  And let’s close the loopholes that lead to inequality by allowing the top one percent to avoid paying taxes on their accumulated wealth.  We can use that money to help more families pay for childcare and send their kids to college.  We need a tax code that truly helps working Americans trying to get a leg up in the new economy, and we can achieve that together.  (Applause.)  We can achieve it together. 

     Helping hardworking families make ends meet.  Giving them the tools they need for good-paying jobs in this new economy.  Maintaining the conditions of growth and competitiveness.  This is where America needs to go.  I believe it’s where the American people want to go.  It will make our economy stronger a year from now, 15 years from now, and deep into the century ahead. 

     Of course, if there’s one thing this new century has taught us, it’s that we cannot separate our work here at home from challenges beyond our shores. 

     My first duty as Commander-in-Chief is to defend the United States of America.  In doing so, the question is not whether America leads in the world, but how.  When we make rash decisions, reacting to the headlines instead of using our heads; when the first response to a challenge is to send in our military -- then we risk getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts, and neglect the broader strategy we need for a safer, more prosperous world.  That’s what our enemies want us to do.

     I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership.  We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don’t let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents.  That’s exactly what we’re doing right now.  And around the globe, it is making a difference.

     First, we stand united with people around the world who have been targeted by terrorists -- from a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris.  (Applause.)  We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we have done relentlessly since I took office to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies.  (Applause.)    

     At the same time, we’ve learned some costly lessons over the last 13 years.  Instead of Americans patrolling the valleys of Afghanistan, we’ve trained their security forces, who have now taken the lead, and we’ve honored our troops’ sacrifice by supporting that country’s first democratic transition.  Instead of sending large ground forces overseas, we’re partnering with nations from South Asia to North Africa to deny safe haven to terrorists who threaten America. 

     In Iraq and Syria, American leadership -- including our military power -- is stopping ISIL’s advance.  Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group.  (Applause.)  We’re also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort, and assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism. 

     Now, this effort will take time.  It will require focus.  But we will succeed.  And tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL.  We need that authority.  (Applause.)  

     Second, we’re demonstrating the power of American strength and diplomacy.  We’re upholding the principle that bigger nations can’t bully the small -- by opposing Russian aggression, and supporting Ukraine’s democracy, and reassuring our NATO allies.  (Applause.)  

Last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies, as we were reinforcing our presence with frontline states, Mr. Putin’s aggression it was suggested was a masterful display of strategy and strength.  That's what I heard from some folks.  Well, today, it is America that stands strong and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated with its economy in tatters.  That’s how America leads -- not with bluster, but with persistent, steady resolve.  (Applause.)

In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date.  (Applause.)  When what you’re doing doesn’t work for 50 years, it’s time to try something new.  (Applause.)  And our shift in Cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere.  It removes a phony excuse for restrictions in Cuba.  It stands up for democratic values, and extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people.  And this year, Congress should begin the work of ending the embargo.  (Applause.)

As His Holiness, Pope Francis, has said, diplomacy is the work of “small steps.”  These small steps have added up to new hope for the future in Cuba.  And after years in prison, we are overjoyed that Alan Gross is back where he belongs.  Welcome home, Alan.  We're glad you're here.  (Applause.)

     Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.  Between now and this spring, we have a chance to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran, secures America and our allies -- including Israel, while avoiding yet another Middle East conflict.  There are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran. 

But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails -- alienating America from its allies; making it harder to maintain sanctions; and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again.  It doesn’t make sense.  And that's why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress.  (Applause.)  The American people expect us only to go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom.

     Third, we’re looking beyond the issues that have consumed us in the past to shape the coming century.  No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids.  (Applause.)  So we're making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. 

And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information.  That should be a bipartisan effort.  (Applause.)

If we don’t act, we’ll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable.  If we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe.

     In West Africa, our troops, our scientists, our doctors, our nurses, our health care workers are rolling back Ebola -- saving countless lives and stopping the spread of disease.  (Applause.)  I could not be prouder of them, and I thank this Congress for your bipartisan support of their efforts.  But the job is not yet done, and the world needs to use this lesson to build a more effective global effort to prevent the spread of future pandemics, invest in smart development, and eradicate extreme poverty.

     In the Asia Pacific, we are modernizing alliances while making sure that other nations play by the rules -- in how they trade, how they resolve maritime disputes, how they participate in meeting common international challenges like nonproliferation and disaster relief.  And no challenge -- no challenge -- poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.  (Applause.)   

     2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record.  Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does:  14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.  

I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act.  Well, I’m not a scientist, either.  But you know what, I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and at NOAA, and at our major universities.  And the best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we don’t act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration and conflict and hunger around the globe.  The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security.  We should act like it.  (Applause.) 

     And that’s why, over the past six years, we’ve done more than ever to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy to the way we use it.  That’s why we’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history.  And that’s why I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts.  I am determined to make sure that American leadership drives international action.  (Applause.) 

     In Beijing, we made a historic announcement:  The United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution.  And China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions.  And because the world’s two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that this year the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we’ve got.

     And there’s one last pillar of our leadership, and that’s the example of our values. 

     As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened, which is why I have prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained.  (Applause.)  It’s why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world.  (Applause.)  It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims, the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace.  That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.  We do these things not only because they are the right thing to do, but because ultimately they will make us safer.  (Applause.) 

     As Americans, we have a profound commitment to justice.  So it makes no sense to spend $3 million per prisoner to keep open a prison that the world condemns and terrorists use to recruit.  (Applause.)  Since I’ve been President, we’ve worked responsibly to cut the population of Gitmo in half.  Now it is time to finish the job.  And I will not relent in my determination to shut it down.  It is not who we are.  It’s time to close Gitmo.  (Applause.)

     As Americans, we cherish our civil liberties, and we need to uphold that commitment if we want maximum cooperation from other countries and industry in our fight against terrorist networks.  So while some have moved on from the debates over our surveillance programs, I have not.  As promised, our intelligence agencies have worked hard, with the recommendations of privacy advocates, to increase transparency and build more safeguards against potential abuse.  And next month, we’ll issue a report on how we’re keeping our promise to keep our country safe while strengthening privacy.

     Looking to the future instead of the past.  Making sure we match our power with diplomacy, and use force wisely.  Building coalitions to meet new challenges and opportunities.  Leading -- always -- with the example of our values.  That’s what makes us exceptional.  That’s what keeps us strong.  That’s why we have to keep striving to hold ourselves to the highest of standards -- our own.

     You know, just over a decade ago, I gave a speech in Boston where I said there wasn’t a liberal America or a conservative America; a black America or a white America -- but a United States of America.  I said this because I had seen it in my own life, in a nation that gave someone like me a chance; because I grew up in Hawaii, a melting pot of races and customs; because I made Illinois my home -- a state of small towns, rich farmland, one of the world’s great cities; a microcosm of the country where Democrats and Republicans and Independents, good people of every ethnicity and every faith, share certain bedrock values.

     Over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than once that my presidency hasn’t delivered on this vision.  How ironic, they say, that our politics seems more divided than ever.  It’s held up as proof not just of my own flaws -- of which there are many -- but also as proof that the vision itself is misguided, naïve, that there are too many people in this town who actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock for us to ever do anything about it.

     I know how tempting such cynicism may be.  But I still think the cynics are wrong.  I still believe that we are one people.  I still believe that together, we can do great things, even when the odds are long.  (Applause.)

I believe this because over and over in my six years in office, I have seen America at its best.  I’ve seen the hopeful faces of young graduates from New York to California, and our newest officers at West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, New London.  I’ve mourned with grieving families in Tucson and Newtown, in Boston, in West Texas, and West Virginia.  I’ve watched Americans beat back adversity from the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains, from Midwest assembly lines to the Mid-Atlantic seaboard.  I’ve seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in 10 Americans call home.  (Applause.)

     So I know the good, and optimistic, and big-hearted generosity of the American people who every day live the idea that we are our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper.  And I know they expect those of us who serve here to set a better example. 

     So the question for those of us here tonight is how we, all of us, can better reflect America’s hopes.  I’ve served in Congress with many of you.  I know many of you well.  There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle.  And many of you have told me that this isn’t what you signed up for -- arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision.

     Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns.  Imagine if we did something different.  Understand, a better politics isn’t one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine.  A better politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears.  A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues and values, and principles and facts, rather than “gotcha” moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.  (Applause.)   

     A politics -- a better politics is one where we spend less time drowning in dark money for ads that pull us into the gutter, and spend more time lifting young people up with a sense of purpose and possibility, asking them to join in the great mission of building America.

     If we’re going to have arguments, let’s have arguments, but let’s make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country.  We still may not agree on a woman’s right to choose, but surely we can agree it’s a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows, and that every woman should have access to the health care that she needs.  (Applause.) 

     Yes, passions still fly on immigration, but surely we can all see something of ourselves in the striving young student, and agree that no one benefits when a hardworking mom is snatched from her child, and that it’s possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.  I’ve talked to Republicans and Democrats about that.  That’s something that we can share.

     We may go at it in campaign season, but surely we can agree that the right to vote is sacred; that it’s being denied to too many -- (applause) -- and that on this 50th anniversary of the great march from Selma to Montgomery and the passage of the Voting Rights Act, we can come together, Democrats and Republicans, to make voting easier for every single American.  (Applause.) 

     We may have different takes on the events of Ferguson and New York.  But surely we can understand a father who fears his son can’t walk home without being harassed.  And surely we can understand the wife who won’t rest until the police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift.  (Applause.)  And surely we can agree that it’s a good thing that for the first time in 40 years, the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together, and use that as a starting point for Democrats and Republicans, community leaders and law enforcement, to reform America’s criminal justice system so that it protects and serves all of us.  (Applause.) 

     That’s a better politics.  That’s how we start rebuilding trust.  That’s how we move this country forward.  That’s what the American people want.  And that’s what they deserve.

     I have no more campaigns to run.  (Applause.)  My only agenda -- (laughter) -- I know because I won both of them.  (Applause.)  My only agenda for the next two years is the same as the one I’ve had since the day I swore an oath on the steps of this Capitol -- to do what I believe is best for America.  If you share the broad vision I outlined tonight, I ask you to join me in the work at hand.  If you disagree with parts of it, I hope you’ll at least work with me where you do agree.  And I commit to every Republican here tonight that I will not only seek out your ideas, I will seek to work with you to make this country stronger.  (Applause.) 

     Because I want this chamber, I want this city to reflect the truth -- that for all our blind spots and shortcomings, we are a people with the strength and generosity of spirit to bridge divides, to unite in common effort, to help our neighbors, whether down the street or on the other side of the world.

     I want our actions to tell every child in every neighborhood, your life matters, and we are committed to improving your life chances as committed as we are to working on behalf of our own kids.  (Applause.)  I want future generations to know that we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we’re a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen -- man and woman, young and old, black and white, Latino, Asian, immigrant, Native American, gay, straight, Americans with mental illness or physical disability.  Everybody matters.  I want them to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to be true:  that we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states; that we are the United States of America.  (Applause.) 

     I want them to grow up in a country where a young mom can sit down and write a letter to her President with a story that sums up these past six years:  “It’s amazing what you can bounce back from when you have to…we are a strong, tight-knit family who’s made it through some very, very hard times.”

     My fellow Americans, we, too, are a strong, tight-knit family.  We, too, have made it through some hard times.  Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America.  We have laid a new foundation.  A brighter future is ours to write.  Let’s begin this new chapter together -- and let’s start the work right now.  (Applause.) 

     Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless this country we love.  Thank you.  (Applause.) 

                             END           10:11 P.M. EST

End of story Jan 21, 2015

 President Obama issued a press release today                             regarding Cuba.

   He is making a number of changes regarding US policy with Cuba.  Below      are excerpts from the press release he put out at noon today. (Dec 17, 2014)

12:01 P.M. EST

     THE PRESIDENT:   Good afternoon.  Today, the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba.

In the most significant changes in our policy in more than fifty years, we will end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries.  Through these changes, we intend to create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people, and begin a new chapter among the nations of the Americas.

There’s a complicated history between the United States and Cuba.  I was born in 1961 –- just over two years after Fidel Castro took power in Cuba, and just a few months after the Bay of Pigs invasion, which tried to overthrow his regime. Over the next several decades, the relationship between our countries played out against the backdrop of the Cold War, and America’s steadfast opposition to communism.  We are separated by just over 90 miles. But year after year, an ideological and economic barrier hardened between our two countries.

Meanwhile, the Cuban exile community in the United States made enormous contributions to our country –- in politics and business, culture and sports.  Like immigrants before, Cubans helped remake America, even as they felt a painful yearning for the land and families they left behind.  All of this bound America and Cuba in a unique relationship, at once family and foe.

Proudly, the United States has supported democracy and human rights in Cuba through these five decades. We have done so primarily through policies that aimed to isolate the island, preventing the most basic travel and commerce that Americans can enjoy anyplace else.  And though this policy has been rooted in the best of intentions, no other nation joins us in imposing these sanctions, and it has had little effect beyond providing the Cuban government with a rationale for restrictions on its people.  Today, Cuba is still governed by the Castros and the Communist Party that came to power half a century ago.

Neither the American, nor Cuban people are well served by a rigid policy that is rooted in events that took place before most of us were born.  Consider that for more than 35 years, we’ve had relations with China –- a far larger country also governed by a Communist Party.  Nearly two decades ago, we reestablished relations with Vietnam, where we fought a war that claimed more Americans than any Cold War confrontation.

That’s why -– when I came into office -– I promised to re-examine our Cuba policy.  As a start, we lifted restrictions for Cuban Americans to travel and send remittances to their families in Cuba.  These changes, once controversial, now seem obvious. Cuban Americans have been reunited with their families, and are the best possible ambassadors for our values.  And through these exchanges, a younger generation of Cuban Americans has increasingly questioned an approach that does more to keep Cuba closed off from an interconnected world.

While I have been prepared to take additional steps for some time, a major obstacle stood in our way –- the wrongful imprisonment, in Cuba, of a U.S. citizen and USAID sub-contractor Alan Gross for five years.  Over many months, my administration has held discussions with the Cuban government about Alan’s case, and other aspects of our relationship.  His Holiness Pope Francis issued a personal appeal to me, and to Cuba’s President Raul Castro, urging us to resolve Alan’s case, and to address Cuba’s interest in the release of three Cuban agents who have been jailed in the United States for over 15 years.

Today, Alan returned home –- reunited with his family at long last.  Alan was released by the Cuban government on humanitarian grounds.  Separately, in exchange for the three Cuban agents, Cuba today released one of the most important intelligence agents that the United States has ever had in Cuba, and who has been imprisoned for nearly two decades.  This man, whose sacrifice has been known to only a few, provided America with the information that allowed us to arrest the network of Cuban agents that included the men transferred to Cuba today, as well as other spies in the United States.  This man is now safely on our shores. 

Having recovered these two men who sacrificed for our country, I’m now taking steps to place the interests of the people of both countries at the heart of our policy.  

                                                                           End    12-17-14

 President Obama came to Wisconsin

President Obama joined Mary Burke (Candidate for Wis Governor) along with Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Milw Mayor Tom Barrett, Susan Happ (Candidate for Wis Attorney General) & Milw County Executive Chris Abele.  

      To see the entire speech of Mary Burke...  Please click here.

     To see the entire Susan Happ speech... Please click here.

To see the entire Congresswoman Moore speech...  Please click here.

          To see the entire Chris Abele speech... Please click here.

      To see the entire Mayor Barrett speech... Please click here.

     To see the entire President Obama speech... Please click here.

                                                                                       End                       11-2-14
 Fmr President Bill Clinton came to Wisconsin

  On Friday, October 24, 2014, President Clinton spoke on  behalf of Candidate for Wisconsin Governor, Mary Burke.  
      They were joined by Congresswoman Gwen Moore.

First to speak was Congresswoman Gwen Moore...

"We cried when Scott Walker ignored numerous grants to expand Medicaid and healthcare..."

"We have been outraged about how he has taken over women's health care..."

"And now...   it's time to vote!"

  Congresswoman Moore's entire speech may be viewed by clicking here.

  Next to speak was Candidate for Wis Governor, Mary Burke...

          "The future of Wisconsin is at stake...
              The eyes of our country are on us."

             Mary Burke's entire speech may be viewed by clicking here.

The final speaker was fmr President Bill Clinton...

    "The whole country is watching this election..."

"Because her opponent made a lot of headlines claiming negative things..."

"Trickle down economics has failed every time they tried it."

"When you raise the minimum wage, you lift America from the bottom up."

     President Clinton's entire speech may be viewed by clicking here.

People who took time to attend....

                                                                               End                10-27-14

   A Fair Shot, A Stronger Wisconsin”

          Mary Burke

Wisconsin voters face a clear choice in the race for governor this November.

I know Wisconsin can do better. And by ensuring that everyone gets a fair shot, we will do better.

But Governor Walker sees things differently.

Recently he said, “We don’t have a jobs problem.”

He’s wrong.

The failures of the last four years are all too real for far too many – they affect everyone. Over the last four years, the typical Wisconsin family has seen their income drop by nearly $3000 a year. Too many people are working harder than ever with less to show for it. It’s not fair, and it’s not good for our economy. Wisconsin is dead last in Midwest private sector job growth, and we’re facing a projected $1.8 billion structural deficit in the next budget.

That’s a jobs problem.

Rather than cherry-pick a few winners at the top, I want to give every Wisconsin family a fair shot to get ahead.

A fair shot means great, affordable public education, from kindergarten all the way through college – I’ll invest in our schools, not cut them, and I will make college more affordable.

A fair shot means a leading economy with more good paying jobs, growing small businesses, and a higher minimum wage.

A fair shot means reducing taxes for those being squeezed, because growing the middle-class creates jobs, not giveaways to millionaires.

A fair shot means government that is accountable, fiscally responsible and working for the people of Wisconsin, not the powerful special interests.

Think about what a fair shot means for you and those you love: a better neighborhood school for your child, more affordable college education, and greater economic security for your retirement.

Along with ensuring a fair shot for those willing to do the hard work, we need to set a very different tone. Governor Walker’s approach, in his own words, has been to divide and conquer. That is not the Wisconsin Way.

At the end of the day, we’re all on the same team. That’s who we are in this state. I know that we can put aside the division, get past the fighting for fighting sake, and get the job done.

My career has been about seeing the possibilities, taking on the challenges and getting results.

From leading European Operations and strategic planning for Trek to expanding the Boys & Girls Club – from serving as your Secretary of Commerce to founding an education partnership that provides greater opportunities for teens – I’ve seen the tremendous possibility that lies ahead for Wisconsin when we focus on getting the job done.

I can’t wait to get to work as your Governor. We have everything we need to be a growing, thriving, innovative state that stands out as a leader.

I would be honored to have your vote on November 4 and ask you to join me in building a Wisconsin that works for everyone. 

The preceding was submitted by Candidate for Governor, Mary Burke.  Other political candidates including her opponent, Scott Walker, have been invited to submit similar articles.  Senior Chronicle LLC/Senior Freedom Press will run them as they become available.

  End            10-23-14

Elizabeth Warren speaks


                  at a rally for Mary Burke,
                                             (Candidate for Wisconsin Governor)

               (In the University of Wisconsin Fireside room on Saturday, October 11, 2014)

   The rally began with a powerful leading speaker...
    Congressperson Gwen Moore


Ms. Moore led off by thanking the Supremes.  But then added to her statement saying that she wanted to thank the US Supreme Court for freezing the Wisconsin voter ID law and permitting all Wisconsin citizens to vote.  

Ms. Moore also spoke about the Walker cutbacks taking funding out of Wisconsin Senior Care and much more.

Her entire speech may be viewed by clicking...   Congressperson Gwen Moore


           The next speaker was... 
        Candidate for Wisconsin Governor, Mary Burke

   Ms. Burke appeared in high spirits the day after her first debate with incumbent Scott Walker.  She spoke of the high cost of interest charged for student loans and about wanting to prioritize funding for schooling in Wisconsin.

   Burke says she wants to give students a "Fair Shot" in Wisconsin.

Her entire speech may be viewed by clicking
Candidate for Wisconsin Governor Mary Burke


          Following Wisconsin Candidate Mary Burke was...
Senator Elizabeth Warren

Senator Warren electrified the audience by asking, "Who does this government work for?"

        and saying "We can fight back...   Me?    I'm fighting back."


  "Nobody gets to steal your purse on Main Street or your pension on Wall Street."

                                   "This is our 
moment in history."

   Her entire speech may be viewed by clicking...  
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren

                                                                           End                                         LAST UPDATE 10-15-14

             Michelle Obama spoke at a rally (for)

 Wis Gubernatorial Candidate Mary Burke (Mon., September 29, 2014)

        (also)       Congresswoman Gwen Moore

     People waited in line for several hours to see Michelle, Mary & Gwen.

 First to speak was Congresswoman Gwen Moore. 

            Congresswoman Moore's entire speech may be seen 

The next speaker was Candidate Mary Burke.


             Candidate Burke's entire speech may be seen

The last speaker was First Lady Michelle Obama.


                              Her entire speech may be seen HERE.




                      Mary Burke
now endorsed by

                         the Wisconsin Professional Police Association

               A media release from BurkeForWisconsin stated the following...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Burke Endorsed by 

Wisconsin Professional Police Association

MADISON - Burke for Wisconsin today announced that former Trek Bicycle executive and gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke has earned the endorsement of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association (WPPA). With nearly 10,000 members from over 300 local association affiliates, WPPA is Wisconsin's largest law enforcement group. Earlier this week, WPPA announced its endorsement of Republican candidate for Attorney General Brad Schimel.

"Law enforcement officers appreciate that Mary Burke is not a career politician, and that she will put her extensive business leadership to work to better provide for the prosperity and safety of everyone," WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer said Thursday at a press conference announcing the organization's endorsement of Burke.

As Wisconsin languishes at dead last out of 10 Midwestern states in job creation under Governor Walker, men and women on the front lines of our communities every day are seeing one of the most devastating impacts: an increase in violent crime. According to the FBI, out of the same 10 Midwestern states, Wisconsin had the second largest increase in violent crime between 2010 and 2012.

Burke knows that a stronger Wisconsin when it comes to our economy also means a safer Wisconsin. As Governor, Burke will be a good partner to our law enforcement professionals and work to ensure that Wisconsin has safe communities where guns are kept out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

"The state needs to be a better partner to the men and women working to ensure that our communities are safe, not making that job harder," Burke said Thursday as she accepted the endorsement. "When I was President of the Boys and Girls Club here in Madison, I saw firsthand how important our police force is to serving and protecting our communities. We had a great partnership between the Boys and Girls Club and our neighborhood police officer--and our kids were better off for it. Those are the kinds of relationships we need across Wisconsin."


   Mary Burke
endorsed by Wisconsin League of Conservation voters...

             A media release from the Wisconsin League of Conservation followers
                                                 stated the following...

 For Immediate Release: September 25, 2014

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Announces Endorsements
Slate Highlights Problem Solvers


Madison- Today Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters announced their endorsed candidates for the upcoming November election. The slate represents a bipartisan set of candidates committed to getting to work to solve Wisconsin’s most pressing conservation problems.

“Overwhelmingly, we hear from our members that they are tired of the partisan bickering in Madison. They are looking for elected officials who are able to set politics aside, bring different stakeholders to the table, and get the job done. Our endorsed candidates reflect those values,” said Anne Sayers, Program Director for Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters.

All endorsed candidates were carefully considered and approved by the Board of Directors of Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters. Candidates were evaluated on a set of criteria including their ability to solve conservation problems. High value was put on candidates who are committed to working in a bipartisan way, were good listeners, and deeply valued the concerns of their constituents and local groups.

“We are facing such significant and immediate threats when it comes to conservation in Wisconsin. With drinking water wells running low and lakes being choked with stinky, green algae, the threats are just too great to waste time on partisanship and petty politics. We are anxious to get to work finding pragmatic solutions with these candidates next session,” concluded Sayers.

Endorsed candidates listed below. Learn more at


Candidate Name


Mary Burke

Lt. Governor

John Lehman

Attorney General

Susan Happ

SD 01

Dean DeBroux

SD 07

Chris Larson

SD 09

Martha Laning

SD 19

Penny Bernard Schaber

SD 25

Janet Bewley

SD 27

Jon Erpenbach

SD 31

Kathleen Vinehout

AD 01

Joel Kitchens

AD 03

Al Ott

AD 07

Daniel Riemer

AD 08

JoCasta Zamarripa

AD 11

Mandela Barnes

AD 17

La Tonya Johnson

AD 18

Evan Goyke

AD 20

Christine Sinicki

AD 42

George Ferriter

AD 44

Debra Kolste

AD 45

Mark Spreitzer

AD 46

Gary Hebl

AD 51

Richard Cates

AD 54

Gordon Hintz

AD 60

Rob Brooks

AD 64

Peter Barca

AD 65

Tod Ohnstad

AD 66

Cory Mason

AD 68

Jeff Peck

AD 71

Katrina Shankland

AD 72

Scott Krug

AD 73

Nick Milroy

AD 74

Beth Meyers

AD 76

Chris Taylor

AD 81

Dave Considine

AD 85

Mandy Wright

AD 88

Dan Robinson

AD 90

Eric Genrich

AD 91

Dana Wachs

AD 92

Chris Danou

AD 94

Steve Doyle

# # #
Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to electing conservation leaders, holding decision makers accountable and encouraging lawmakers to champion conservation policies that effectively protect Wisconsin's public health and natural resources.

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters
133 S. Butler Street #320 · Madison, WI 53703 · (608) 661-0845 · Fax (608) 661-0835
1642 Western Avenue · Green Bay, WI 54303 · (920) 429-9008
633 West Wisconsin Avenue · Milwaukee, WI 53202 · (414) 921-0084
info@conservationvoters.org · www.conservationvoters.org

  Mary Burke

Near the end of July & beginning of August, Candidate Burke's stops included the following...


On Wednesday, July 30, 2014, Mary spoke at the Alden Health Care & Senior living facility.

             Officials at Alden expressed concern regarding State cutbacks in funding
                        and how it was affecting their ability to provide care.

Mary made several stops in Racine & Kenosha, August 1 & 2, 2014.  Saturday, August 2, 2014. 

     One notable stop included the Harbor Market, Saturday morning in Kenosha.          Accompanied by State Senator Peter Barca, they spoke to shop owners and passers-by.



              Mary spoke to seniors and disabled regarding State cutbacks.




   Mr. Brian Newman of Kenosha stated that he had early voted for Mary Burke saying,

      "I like her."               "I like what she stands for."

End       August 11, 2014

       What are people on social media thinking
                     about Eric Cantor?

 (It was reported that Congressman Cantor has lost the primary election to another Tea Party member.)

           The images shown below were found today posted on either Facebook or Twitter.

    #End#         June 11, 2014

What are people on social media thinking?

 Our Vets...  Pictures from Facebook & Twitter

We apologize for the aggressive attitudes portrayed in these pictures.  However, they seem to reflect an undercurrent of anger with respect to how our great warriors have been treated. 
As painful as this may be, it is news to show this.

End          May 22, 2014

Voter ID Law Ruling

  The below is the press release received by Senior Freedom Press from the campaign of Jon Richards candidate for Attorney General of Wisconsin

5027 West North Avenue, Milwaukee WI 53208 ~ www.JonForWisconsin.com ~ (414) 344-1733 Authorized and Paid for by Citizens for Richards, Nancy Nusbaum, Treasurer Labor Donated, Printed In House

For Immediate Release Contact: Andy Suchorski


April 29, 2014 (414) 344-1733



Richards praises voter ID ruling



MILWAUKEE—Attorney General candidate Jon Richards issued the following statement this afternoon praising a federal judge’s ruling to strike down Wisconsin’s voter ID law.


"I am pleased a federal court invalidated Wisconsin’s voter ID law. Wisconsin has a proud tradition of high voter participation, and we should work to protect the citizen’s right to vote, and increase voter turnout, not make it harder for people to exercise their constitutional right to cast a ballot.

"As Attorney General, I would not appeal today’s ruling. I will work tirelessly to ensure that every citizen who is eligible to vote is able to exercise their rights."




As new proposals for photo ID and restricted early voting times wind their way through the Wisconsin legislature, newspapers across Wisconsin are beginning to speak out.

The Beloit Daily News writes that the Republican majority in the state legislature "has all the time in the world for its own self interest, but doesn't have the time of day for measures with substantial backing among citizens."

When the Appleton Post Crescent learned of Scott Walker's plans to call a special session on Voter ID their editorial said, "So, let’s get this straight. Jobs are a huge issue in Wisconsin. Economic development is a huge issue in Wisconsin. Health care costs are a huge issue in Wisconsin. But Walker has no plans to call a special session on any of those issues."


The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called Republican arguments for voting restrictions "a thin veneer covering the real intent". The editorial board wrote, "suppressing the Democratic vote in Milwaukee and Madison, where many of the state's people of color live. It's a highly partisan bill that harks back to an era when voting was made much harder by strict poll laws for certain groups of people. On that basis alone, Gov. Scott Walker should veto the bill."

Journalist Bruce Murphy of Urban Milwaukee.com wrote, "GOP lawmakers are about to pass a bill that would end any early voting on weekends and require that it occur only on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., with a total time limit of 45 hours of early voting a week."  

When Senate Republicans refused to debate the bill, Murphy also wrote, "Might that be because they could not counter the arguments of Democrats?" It would seem that Republican actions could have a very harmful impact on voters.

Senior Freedom notes that the 7:00 PM closing deadline would severely restrict working people who might not be able to leave work until 5 or 6 PM and may even be commuting from work.

View the entire article of The Beloit Daily News  here.

View the entire article of The Appleton Post Crescent  here.

View the entire article of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  here.

View the entire article of The Bruce Murphy of Urban Milwaukee  here.  

  March 12, 2014


On March 11, 2014, JSOnline reported...
“In Tuesday's heated Senate session on election bills, Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) said that a Republican lawmaker 'hates blacks and Latinos.'”

"I know the senator from the 28th (Lazich)(R) hates Milwaukee, she hates the poll workers, she hates the blacks and Latinos who are coming out --" said Sen. Tim Carpenter(D).

Beforeitnews reported...

Sen. Tim Carpenter ended the long Democratic silence on Republican racism, which the GOP has used endlessly to attacks minority voters. It’s about time for a little honesty. See them squirm and shout out their phony denials. Maybe they’ll own up to what has been obvious to most of us.”


On December 18, 2012, One Wisconsin Now reported...

“The latest attack by longtime voting rights opponent Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), specifically targets legal minority voters to purge them from the rolls...”

"Government should be protecting and expanding our rights, but Mary Lazich and her fellow Republicans don't want all legal voters to exercise their right to vote," said Scott Ross.


October 28, 2013
   Zerban is in the Race!

On Saturday, October 26, 2013,   Rob Zerban announced that he is challenging incumbent Paul Ryan (R) for the U.S. Congressional seat covering Southeastern Wisconsin (1st Congressional District). 

In a press release, Zerban sited polls showing that support for Ryan has fallen as a result of Ryan's recent voting record.

When speaking about Ryan's vote to shutdown the government, Zerban said, “We need leaders that work to avoid catastrophe – not invite it.”

Zerban continued by saying, "We care that our schools are strong, that we 

have access to quality, affordable health care... 

that our communities are safe...

that our drinking water is clean and our air is breathable."

"No more government shutdowns."

"No more cuts to Social Security and Medicare," said Zerban.

"We want to know that there are jobs out there for our kids when they finish school..."

"and that if someone in our family loses their job, that they can find another one,” adds Zerban

(Senior Freedom predicts that the Zerban/Ryan race will become one of the most hotly contested elections in our country in 2014.)


Thursday, 10/17/2013

JOHNSON & RYAN Vote for Shutdown

But, Was the Shutdown a Manufactured Crisis?

When the wrangling stopped Wednesday night, most Wisconsin Republicans voted for a government shutdown.  Among these were
 Senator Ron Johnson (R), Representative Paul Ryan (R), Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R), Representative Tom Petri (R) and Representative Sean Duffy (R).

Republican Rep. Reid Ribble joined Wisconsin Democrats Rep. Gwen Moore, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. Ron Kind and Senator Tammy Baldwin to support a measure ending the shutdown and restoring our government services.

Unlike fellow Republicans, Ribble (R) was quoted as saying that his vote came after listening to the "concerns and input of thousands of citizens" in his district.

How did all this happen?

New York Times story, dated October 5, 2013, describes how a government shutdown was in the planning stages shortly after President Obama’s reelection in 2012.  It describes a series of plans and letters intended to use the CR (Continuing Resolution) as the method to defund the Affordable Health Care Act (ObamaCare).  The plan was that Tea Party Republicans could defund the affordable Health Care Act by threatening to cut off financing for the entire federal government in October, 2013. (As the CR came up for renewal)

The plan was signed by Ed Meese III, former Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan and a long list of Republicans and Tea Party members.  A Tea Party tool kit was made available to Tea Party activists to help promote the plan.  The kit included sample letters and tweets for this purpose.

The Times story says a significant amount of money was spent on advertising and the internet.   The donations and support came from groups such as Americans for Prosperity, Senate Conservatives Fund (a political action committee), Heritage Action, Freedom Works, Club for Growth  (a business-backed nonprofit organization), Generation Opportunity, Young Americans for Liberty, the Heritage Foundation and a group linked to the Koch brothers, Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce.   The Senate Conservatives Fund created a website, dontfundobamacare.com   The Tea Party created a site exemptamerica.com

Now, we know the conclusion.

In the final hours of Wednesday evening, the plan to create an
orchestrated “crisis,” unraveled

Time Magazine estimates that the U.S. economy lost $24 billion during the shutdown.  Our projected growth in the fourth-quarter (the GDP) dropped from 3 percent to 2.4 percent.  This loss cannot be recovered.

Now that the “manufactured” crisis has temporarily ended... 

The question remains:  Will the shut down rear its head again in January 2014?      

We’ll just have to wait and see.



The Chief of the Madison (Wisconsin) Police Department estimated that 30,000 people came Thursday afternoon, October 4, and waited in rain to hear President Obama speak.

      To these most honorable men...Thank you for your service and good night.
End of story.


   Congressman Paul Ryan’s office in Janesville came to a stop Tuesday afternoon, June 19 as hundreds of seniors & disabled descended to greet the arrival of Sister Simone Campbell.  Sister Simone is the Executive Director of NetworkLobby.org, a Catholic organization dedicated protecting seniors and disabled from the political process of Washington, DC.

   In protest to Paul Ryan’s proposed austerity-budget, Sister Simone organized a bus tour of nine states including Wisconsin, NunsOnTheBus.com   The intent is to visit the offices of noted GOP Officials and to show the public how harmful Paul Ryan’s cuts will be to children, seniors and the disadvantaged, said Sister.

                                    "We cannot stand by silently."

    “We cannot stand by silently when the U.S. Congress considers further enriching the wealthiest Americans at the expense of struggling, impoverished families,” says the nunsonthebus.com site.

   Congressman Paul Ryan didn’t meet with the Sister.  Although he had been in Janesville, Monday for a campaign rally with GOP candidates, Ryan returned to Washington that night.  Sister Simone arrived the following day meeting her well wishers and then speaking to the Ryan office staff. 

   The bus tour is also intended to publicize letters written by the Catholic Bishops Conference  to Paul Ryan and the Congress objecting to the Ryan budget.  “We’re doing this because these are life issues,” says Sister Simone,  “And by lifting up the work of Catholic sisters, we will demonstrate the very programs and services that will be decimated by the House budget.”

           “We’re doing this because these are life issues.”

   Coming from a one parent household, Congressional Candidate Rob Zerban (D) credits his personal success to services provided by Social Security and grants.  “Now,” says Zerban, “It’s my turn to help people and give back to the community.”

   Although Ryan came from difficult circumstances similar to Zerban, opponents claim that Ryan has forgotten the help that he received from Social Security and Pell grants.  “It seems that Ryan is pulling up the ladder behind him,” says Zerban.

     “It seems that Ryan is pulling up the ladder behind him.”

   In her website, nunsonthebus.com,  Sister Simone documents the harm specific to
Wisconsin residents that the Ryan budget would do.  Among the noted people who are stepping forward to voice concern about Ryan’s budget are economists Paul Krugman & Robert Ruisch, the Catholic Bishop’s Conference with their series of letters, AARP through ads and a series of articles, Sister Campbell & the nuns of network.org, and many others.

   However, most telling are the pictures of seniors & disabled who came out on a stiflingly hot afternoon to show their appreciation for the Sister’s work and the Sister’s 3 minute speech to them (front page).


Wisconsin Dictatorship Ended

                                         (For the time being)



While Republicans celebrate the Wisconsin June 5, 2012 wins and Democrats try to understand how to counter the massive campaign spending in future elections, Wisconsin won a small but very significant victory. 

Wisconsin won a small but very significant victory.

Wisconsin is (for the time being) a two party State again.  The significance of John Lehman’s win in Racine sent reverberations throughout the State.  Election night, Governor Walker began rhetoric about the two sides coming together, “Tomorrow is the day after the election, and tomorrow we are no longer opponents.”


“I hope Governor Walker understands and stays true to his pledge to build consensus and be more inclusive going forward,” said State Rep. Peter Barca, Democratic leader.


Critics point to the change in the balance of power in the State Senate as the basis for Walker’s newly found rhetoric.


However, as we wrote previously, Walker’s Budget in Brief gave indications of hidden debt being put off into the future.  We also expressed doubt regarding the $3.6 billion claim by Governor Walker.  Walker’s rapid succession of changes to Wisconsin remain in effect including damage to State employees, the cuts in senior healthcare and our schools and women loosing their right to equal pay.


We will want to remain vigilant to protect our two-party system.   History has shown time and time again how one party governments lead to dictatorial control and even war.  So, while Wisconsin benefits from a political armistice, big corporate money remains out there waiting their next opportunity to renew control.  But for now, it’s time to restore the proper health protection systems for our seniors and our children.


Coming soon… Other ways we can keep officials listening.


Was the $3.6 Billion deficit real?       
                                                                                 (or)  Was it politics?


Was Wisconsin really broke in 2011?



Because so much of what is happening in Wisconsin began as a result of Governor Walker’s budget, we feel it is appropriate that we reexamine whether his claim of a $3.6 billion debt is real or partisan.


The first place to start is to understand that the debate was over an estimated budget spanning the following two years ending, 2013.  It’s common for the outgoing Governor to reduce his/her estimate of any remaining debt while the incoming Governor (in this case Scott Walker) will try to inflate the debt so that he/she “can come off as budget cutting heroes.”


                                                                   WAS IT NECESSARY?

Below are some dates that may help to bring events into perspective.


January 18, 2011    Scott Walker was filmed speaking to Diane Hendricks in a Janesville meeting. 
Ms. Hendricks asks Walker, “Any chance we’ll ever get to be a completely red (Republican) state and work on these unions?”


Walker is quoted as saying that he intended to divide and conquer the labor unions and that the “key” to preventing lawmakers from undoing his actions is to tie the $800 million that he intended to take from the workers to the State budget making it difficult to undo.


February 4, 2011    Under Governor Walker, Brian Hayes (State Budget Director) issued a memo “reestimating” the Doyle budget from a $1.5 billion shortage to $3.6 billion for the following two year budget.   The memo uses such vague terms as “revised estimates,” “cost-to-continue assumptions,” “debt service reestimates,” and “agency budget requests.”


February 11, 2011     Walker unveiled his budget saying, “I don’t have anything to negotiate,” “We are broke in this state.  We have been broke for years.”


February 15, 2011    Representative Mark Pocan (D) presented information in his blog refuting Walker’s $3.6 billion shortfall stating that Wisconsin added “$3.9 billion in new agency requests” 
(Noteworthy: It may be useful to remember this debate is about an estimated budget based on the “
wish list” requests made by each of the State departments. 

Todd Berry of the Wisconsin Taxpayer’s Alliance (a nonpartisan research organization) said, “The statutory practice of including requests in initial budget numbers is very misleading…” “They are wishes, not reality.”


February 16, 2011    Rep. Pocan supported his refute of Walker’s $3.6 billion claim with additional information citing a memo from the non-partisan legislative Fiscal Bureau which also stated that the proposed budget had been increased with new agency requests. 
When speaking of Walker’s $3.6 billion claim, Pocan used such terms as “manufactured” and “bogus.”

Politifact later disputed Rep. Pocan.  However based on Rep. Pocan’s experience with the State budget and the opinion of Mr. Berry, it appears that Rep. Pocan’s judgments are valid.


February 17, 2011    The State Joint Finance Committee passed the Budget Bill along a party line vote of 12 to 4.  The removal of collective bargaining rights for State employees was included in the bill. 
State Senator Bob Jauch was 
quoted saying, “The goal (of the budget bill) is to eliminate collective bargaining.  You don’t need to end collective bargaining to solve the economic problems.” 
(Noteworthy: Wisconsin would not become aware of the movie with Governor Walker’s “divide and conquer” agenda for another year.)


February 17, 2011    The 14 Democratic State Senators left Wisconsin in order to delay the vote over the budget bill and the loss of State employee’s right  to collective bargaining.


February18, 2011     Scott Walker said in a radio interview his “’budget-repair bill’ would leave collective bargaining ‘fully intact.’”  

Regarding this, Politifact wrote, “To now say collective bargaining would remain ‘fully intact’ is not just false, it’s ridiculously false.”


February 21, 2011     Scott Walker again stated in several interviews, “We’re broke.  We don’t have any more money.” 

After examining, Walker's statement that "we're broke," Politifact wrote...
    “We rate Walker’s statement False.”

During the same time frame,
Frank Hoadley, Capital Finance Director with the Wisconsin Department of Administration was quoted as saying... 

“The State is no more broke that it was two, four or 10 years ago.”


February 25, 2011    The State assembly passed the Walker budget bill amidst shouting, debates and protests.


March 1, 2011     It was reported that as a result of Walker’s budget, "experts" predicted spending cutbacks between 4% and 8% to occur in most school districts with the “heaviest burden” falling on the “poorest districts.”


March 3, 2011    It was reported that the Legislative Fiscal Bureau predicted that the State would see $1.5 billion in additional new revenue over the next two year period. 
At the same time Walker proposed 
postponing some payments of State debt “off into the future.”


June 16, 2011   The Wisconsin assembly approved a $66 billion two year budget.


June 26, 2011  Gov. Walker signed the budget bill.


Later    The Republican Party of Wisconsin circulated campaign cards, with the statements “$3.6 billion budget deficit has been wiped out,”  “Eliminated a $3.6 Billion Deficit” and saying that $848 million had been taken from State workers. (See photo)



Taking another look at Scott Walker’s Wisconsin budget:


The shortfall that Governor Doyle handed off to incoming Scott Walker was $1.5 billion according to Governor Doyle.  Two months later, Governor Walker revised the shortfall up to $3.6 billion and then promptly claimed he got rid of a $3.6 billion “deficit.”  In the process, Walker took $848 million from State workers, over a billion dollars from the Wisconsin school system and significant funding from Wisconsin’s health care systems for seniors and children.


Could the worker’s $848 million have been found elsewhere?  Since we now know that the State has an additional $1.5 billion coming, it appears that yes, this could have been resolved in a better fashion. 


However, there’s another aspect in the budget dispute.  The employee’s unions agreed to accept Walker’s cuts.  However, Walker refused to meet with them and instead, stripped the workers of their rights.  Now a year later, readers are able to look back and ask, “Was Walker’s Janesville movie (‘divide and conquer’ workers) actually his game plan?”


As far as a balanced budget, did Scott Walker balance the budget?  Well, of course he did.  Not because Walker did something extraordinary or unique, but because it’s required by State law.  Wisconsin governors have always been required by law to present a balanced budget to the State.  The Governor Walker’s Budget in Brief document confirms this on Page 34.

However, Walker’s (estimated) balanced budget is not the final decree.  There’s also a statement in the Budget in Brief saying they may shuffle money around as needed (Page 35).  There’s also another statement that saying there’s a slush fund of $800 million to cover over-runs (termed a “significant need for cash”) (Page 35).  There’s another statement that says that they intend to extend debts farther out.  In some cases it’s called “reamoratization,” in others, “restructuring” (Page 34).





After taking a closer look…    Scott Walker’s claim of a $3.6 billion “deficit” has developed a strong political smell to it. 


We now know that Walker was talking about “divide and conquer” before he brought his budget out.  We have seen labor contracts undone and $848 million taken away from our State workers.  Health services have been reduced.

We now know we’re not broke and never were.  


We know that when you cut education, generations of our children suffer and when you cut funding for health care, people suffer and people die. 


It’s time for more compassion for the people of Wisconsin.

Picking Up the Pieces:  
How 1999 changed our lives.


     Historians point to 1999 as triggering a chain of events leading to the U.S. economic downfall of 2008.  Just as historians can document critical moments from the 1920’s that caused the Great Depression, many experts now point to 1999 as a key reason for our country’s economic collapse of 2008.

In 1999, congress repealed (ended) the Glass-Steagall Act.

    In 1999, congress repealed (ended) the Glass-Steagall Act.  The argument of the time was that deregulation of our booming economy would stimulate further growth.  Many of the country’s leaders such as Rep. Paul Ryan, Rep. John Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell voted to end Glass-Steagall.   

    Among those who tried to maintain Glass-Steagall were Senator Russ Feingold and Rep. Dave Obey.  Looking back, we can now see that if Glass-Steagall had been maintained, it is likely that we would still have a reasonably stable economy, today.

    To begin to understand why Glass-Steagall was so important to our country, we need to start with the 1920’s.  Banking and stock market regulations were held to a minimum under President Calvin Coolidge 1923-1933.  Coolidge also appointed commissioners who did not regulate or restrict business activities.  Banking and stock market schemes were rampant.  Often stock purchases were highly leveraged or on margin.  Time payments were introduced and unsecured debt increased greatly.  Finally, after a succession of wild fluctuations, we had the crash of 1929.

If Glass-Steagall had been maintained, we would still have a stable economy.

    Many historians say that the most significant cause of the 1929 crash was the irresponsible banking policies along with their irrational stock investments.  As the bank failures began to occur, lives were destroyed followed by ten years of recovery, now known as the Great Depression.  

    Experts disagree as to whether the economy had recovered by the end of the 1930’s or that World War II pulled our country out of the Depression.  But ultimately, it doesn’t matter how we got out of the depression.  What matters is that it took ten years to accomplish this.  The old axiom in economics is that once the economy of a large country is started in a direction, it can take years to change course let alone reverse direction.  This is why recovery from the Great Depression took ten years.  Economies don't care about people.  They move at their own pace.


    In 1933 as a result of the ongoing devastation, Senator Carter Glass of Virginia and Representative Henry Steagall of Alabama assembled a law to control commercial and investment banking, the Glass-Steagall Act.  This law created a basis for reigning in outrageous banking and stock market activity.  It successfully kept banks in check for the next 66 years until 1999 when Congress repealed it.

    Just as historians chart the events that brought about the Great Depression, historians already believe the loss of Glass-Steagall was the leading cause of the crisis of 2008, nine years after its' repeal.

To say the obvious, since 1999 our country has seen:

  • The collapse of pensions, 401K’s and pension systems.
  • Massive layoffs.
  • Stock speculation as outrageous as the 1920’s.
  • Failures of sub-prime mortgages.
  • Thousands of home foreclosures.
  • Hundreds of bank closures.
  • A massive bank bailout.
  • And it’s not over.


 There will be no quick fix this time either.

     The events of these past nine years are very similar to the events of the 1920’s.

     Just as it took ten years to climb out of the Great Depression, there will be no quick fix this time either.  Banks are still underwater on more homes than we know about.  Foreclosures continue.  Bank closures continue.  Housing sales and housing construction remain depressed. 

     Because of unemployment and depressed housing values, tax revenues aren’t coming in at the rate they used to.   Elected officials argue for the cutting of essential government services such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid just when people need them most.

     And so... The question before us may not be that of taking a hatchet to our essential services but rather to learn from our fathers and grandfathers of the 1930’s.  Maybe, we need to help our suffering neighbors.  Maybe, among other things, we need to remember our humanity a little more.  Even Al Capone supported soup kitchens. 

     But we have to be tough voters at the same time.  Huge campaigns, financed by large corporations and wealthy donors, have already made their plans to influence us.  Too many of our current politicians are under the thumb of this big money.  Bill Moyers of PBS has produced a series of informative programs about these problems. 


Do we trust the people who ended Glass-Steagall to put their hands on our Medicare and Social Security?


     Social Security has worked pretty well for 75 years.  Medicare and Medicaid are reasonable systems.  Do we want to trust the people who ended Glass-Steagall to put their hands on our Medicare and Social Security?  It took years to develop the care systems that we’ve got today.  Our care systems may not be perfect but they work.  Are Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid going broke?  Very doubtful.  The facts depend on who’s manufacturing the numbers.

     If we do let the politicians burn down the barn, can we ever build another one?


     Maybe it’s time to tell our politicians

     “STOP IT.  This is my country and you’ve done enough damage.” 

    “I expect you to start helping people who are in trouble."

        "If you can't do this, I’ll fire you.”  

"When there is a lack of honor in government, the morals of the whole people are poisoned."
                                                                                                                               Herbert Hoover

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