Illinois Green Party: Forceful Statement on Illinois Wealthy-Made Budget Crisis

Rich Whitney

Reminder: Illinois Still Has a Budget Crisis.

The good news? Real solutions are at hand, if we have the political will to adopt them.

It was understandable when many Illinoisans breathed a sigh of relief last summer, when our state finally adopted a state budget, after struggling for two-plus years without one. However, we are not even close to being out of the woods yet. Voters need to be fully aware of this: Illinois had a terrible budget crisis before the budget impasse began in 2015, and it still has one now.

The FY 2018 budget adopted this summer cut funding for higher education by 10 percent, shifted health care costs to universities, slashed public transportation and Medicaid funding, cut most public services by 5 percent across the board — and was still out of balance.

There are real solutions to the Illinois budget crisis. But to mobilize behind those solutions, the voters of our state must first have a clear grasp of the real causes of the problem, and dispense with some commonly held myths. To begin with:

Illinois is not a “high tax” state. It is a dumb tax state, with one of the most backward tax systems in the nation.

As of fiscal year 2014, when our income tax rate was still 5 percent for the first half of the year, Illinois ranked 33rd in the U.S. in state revenue per capita, according to the conservative Tax Foundation. That’s lower than Missouri, Kentucky, Iowa and Wisconsin, and only slightly higher than Indiana.

Get the whole story from Rich Whitney here


Kentucky first state to add Medicaid Slave-Labor requirement

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky has become the first state to require many of its Medicaid recipients to work to receive coverage, part of an unprecedented change to the nation’s largest health insurance program under the Trump administration.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced the approval on Friday. The change will require adults between the ages of 19 and 64 to complete 80 hours per month of “community engagement” to keep their coverage. That includes getting a job, going to school, taking a job training course or community service.

It’s a big change for Kentucky, a state that just four years ago embraced former President Barack Obama’s health care law under a previous Democratic governor who won praise for posting some of the largest insurance coverage gains in the country.

But Republican Gov. Matt Bevin said while more Kentuckians have insurance, it is not making them healthier.

Kentucky, along with the rest of Appalachia, still falls behind the rest of the country in 33 out of 41 population health indicators, according to a recent study . Bevin said he believes his program, with its emphasis on work and community service, will encourage people to be healthier.

“There is dignity associated with earning the value of something that you receive,” Bevin said. “The vast majority of men and women, able-bodied men and women … they want the dignity associated with being able to earn and have engagement.”

photo of some other folks enjoying the “dignity associated with having engagement.”


Get The Whole Story Here

Searching for Wisconsin Legislator Scorecard pages–got any?

Anyone know what grassroots orgs, NGOs, unions etc. have good Legislator Scorecards?

Looking for a scorecard on Nancy VanderMeer, 70th Assembly. Which covers big parts of Portage County.

We have this, from Sierra Club, John Muir Chapter, on Nancy’s, Spiros’s (Marshfield) and Peterson’s (Waupaca) voting scores. Spiros and Peterson are total zeros, while Nancy eked out a 1/14th of a score.

My prelim. research indicates that a lousy score on environmental justice issues? Generally means a lousy score on social justice issues (equality, Louisiana-style incarceration rate for black youths, etc.), coupled with a lousy score on economic justice issues (adequate wages, equality of income, etc.)

Just post any suggestions by email:


HOUNDING WOLVES IN WISCONSIN: A Reactionary Suburban-Man Phony “Sport” in Wisconsin

Still relevant today, as we anticipate “Toxic Tommy Tiffany” led State Senate Committee “not-hearing” on Tuesday Jan 16 at the Wisconsin Capitol.

Huge thanks to Melissa Smith for alerting us to this…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 28, 2015


(Madison, WI) Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf, released a twenty-minute documentary film today, “DOGS OF WAR” on YouTube, about the culture of hounding in Wisconsin. The film’s subject is about how using hounds to track, capture and kill all sorts of wildlife disrupts other users, violates the endangered species act and is literally state sanctioned dog fighting. The footage in the film is taken in Wisconsin. A former warden, too afraid to reveal his identity, politicians, wildlife specialists, farmers and hunters are interviewed in the film.

The film goes into great depth regarding depredation payments, captive penning, and the use of hounds on wildlife. Even if you aren’t partial to wolves, it’s a must see, especially in light of the current status of wolves and it’s lack of enforcement of hound harassment, trespass and violation of the law. To this date, no inspections have been done since 2009 on any penning facility by the DNR or any violations by use of dogs to kill wildlife and yet, our legislation overwhelmingly passed the Hunter Harassment bill which sought to document exactly these practices in this film. We believe that certain hunting groups, especially the Wisconsin Bear Hunter Association have used political influence to skirt the law.

Joel Kleefisch (R) , who heads the assembly committee on natural resources and has been now found in his 3rd violation of illegal hunting, said in a recent hearing “ If you believe it’s ok for predatory packs of wolves to chase, hunt and kill animals to live, why not afford the same fulfillment to the life of hounds who are bred to do that and the purpose of their existence is to chase, catch, conquer and kill their prey. If it breathes, it bleeds”.

This practice of allowing dogs contact with wildlife is against not only DNR regulations but against the law. When the hound hunters wanted to use dogs to hunt wolves, they testified that the dogs are trained not to engage. But we know from the THOUSANDS of videos on youtube, eyewitnesses, veterinary reports and our own documentation that it’s simply not true. Both dogs and wildlife pay the price for this bloodsport. Not to mention private property owners.

As Melissa Smith, producer of the film says “ In the Walker Administration’s last budget bill, the license to run dogs or “train” was eliminated. Bait is everywhere and unregulated. We literally have thousands of dogs trained to fight and kill animals running loose on the natural landscape and have wildlife being held in pens to be fought. If this was any other group of citizens, say of urban Milwaukee, engaged in these practices, it would be banned today. But since it’s dog fighting under the guise of hunting, everything seems to be permitted. It’s time to expose what hounding of wildlife looks like and ban this practice permanently. It’s not hunting, it’s bloodsport and trophy killing”

The film is produced by Melissa Smith and directed, edited and filmed by trevor Triggs at Duckworks Media. You can watch the film directly on our website or go to our youtube link:

Contact: Melissa Smith, Executive Director, Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf,, 608-234-8860,
About Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf: FOTWW is a small, privately funded non profit dedicated to the preservation and protection of wolves and other wildlife in Wisconsin. You can visit them on their website at

or Facebook as well

URGENT: Pro-Poaching Bill to be Heard in the Wisconsin State Senate on Jan. 16

Wolf-HowlingForHelpWe showed up in force on Wednesday to speak out against this bill in the State Assembly. But our work is not done!  Now the Senate will take this up on Tuesday of next week.

You can register in opposition and listen to the debate, and/or you can speak for up to three minutes per person. It is important to show our legislators that we care about wildlife and animals in Wisconsin.

Please contact Melissa Smith at if you can attend this hearing! I will be a the Capitol at 8:00 AM and can meet you there to help you prepare.

Tuesday, January 16th @ 10:00 AM

411 South, Capitol  |  Madison, WI

Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry

The committee will hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 602 Relating to: enforcement of federal and state laws relating to the management of the wolf population and to the killing of wolves and expenditure of funds for wolf management purposes.

Get the whole story here:

Fox Con: The Dark Side.

We just call it industry, not murdah.



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Notes for a talk on communism and free time

The Real Movement

This essay is to serve as talking points on communism and free time in Marx’s labor theory of value. This summary is mostly drawn from the Grundrisse, specifically the so-called fragment on the machine. It is not in final form. I am circulating it to serve as the basis for discussion. The talking points also do not offer any proof for any of Marx’s arguments. Nothing I say here argues that Marx was right, only that this is the argument he makes in the Grundrisse.

My approach to the subject assumes that communism can be defined as free time and nothing else. Following this logic, capitalism is conceived of as the creation of the material foundation for non-labor for the majority of society.

By way of introduction, it should be noted that this short passage from Marx is from a collection of notebooks that was mostly unknown until…

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