News

Join Liberty Tree at the We are Woman Rally!

September 13, 2014

On Saturday, September 13th the We are Woman coalition will be
rallying on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. to call for:

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL: Federal court reinstates WI voter ID law for 2014 election

September 12, 2014
Patrick Marley and Jason Stein
news photo

A federal appeals court in Chicago Friday reinstated for now Wisconsin's voter ID law hours after the three-judge panel heard arguments on the subject.

The move by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals clears the way for the state to implement the law for the Nov. 4 election, though it does not stop the ongoing appeal over whether the measure is unconstitutional.

"The state of Wisconsin may, if it wishes (and if it is appropriate under rules of state law), enforce the photo ID requirement in this November's elections," the unsigned two-page order reads.

The appellate court said Friday that it was satisfied by changes imposed on the law by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a separate decision earlier this year.

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL: WI Supreme Court bought and paid for by corporate special interests

September 12, 2014
James Rowen

A short political quiz. Three questions.

1. Raise your hand if you were surprised that the right-wing majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court validated two of Scott Walker's signature measures - - Act 10, a false budget measure used to erase nearly all public employee collective bargaining, - - and the Voter ID law, (now blocked in Federal Court), aimed by Walker and his GOP legislative allies at phantom ballot box fraud to make voting harder in cities with large numbers of minorities and students that trend Democratic.

Everyone got that one, I see. No one was surprised. Me, neither.

But back to the Court:

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

WKOW: WMC head: Don't ban state subsidies to companies that outsource jobs

September 12, 2014
Greg Neumann

MADISON (WKOW) -- The top executive at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) says a proposal being considered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to ban financial awards for companies that outsource state jobs should be approached with caution.

"We don't want taxpayer funds going to subsidize the movement of jobs elsewhere," said Kurt Bauer, WMC Chief Executive Officer.  "Having said that, it is the political season and we think its not maybe the best time to establish a policy that maybe, ultimately, comes back to bite us as far as job creation and job attraction."

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

WKOW: WMC head: Don't ban state subsidies to companies that outsource jobs

September 12, 2014
Greg Neumann

MADISON (WKOW) -- The top executive at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) says a proposal being considered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to ban financial awards for companies that outsource state jobs should be approached with caution.

"We don't want taxpayer funds going to subsidize the movement of jobs elsewhere," said Kurt Bauer, WMC Chief Executive Officer.  "Having said that, it is the political season and we think its not maybe the best time to establish a policy that maybe, ultimately, comes back to bite us as far as job creation and job attraction."

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL: Gogebic Taconite funneled big money into WI politics during mining fight

September 12, 2014
Lee Bergquist

The recent disclosure that Gogebic Taconite donated $700,000 to a Wisconsin political group is the latest example of how the mining company and its supporters used money, influence and the allure of jobs to persuade lawmakers to relax state environmental regulations.

Gogebic zoomed into Wisconsin politics in 2011. The company had plans for a massive open pit iron ore mine, but it demanded changes in mining laws before starting a multimillion-dollar regulatory review.

The $1.5 billion project quickly drew support from Gov. Scott Walker, Republican lawmakers and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state's largest business group.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

BILL LUEDERS: After helping politicians win power, interest groups spend millions lobbying them

September 12, 2014
Bill Lueders

Given the many millions of dollars spent by interest groups to help determine who gets elected, it’s easy to overlook the many millions more being spent trying to influence them once they are. 

In the first six months of this year, Wisconsin’s 700-plus registered lobby groups collectively invested $14.1 million trying to shape state law or policy, according to new filings with the state Government Accountability Board. 

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL: Walker falling far short of promise to create 250,000 new jobs

September 12, 2014
James B. Nelson

Perhaps the most important number coming out of the state's July jobs report is this: 29,437.

That's how many jobs Wisconsin employers would have to add each month for the remaining five months of the year in order for Gov. Scott Walker to achieve his top campaign promise --  creating 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL: Walker falling far short of promise to create 250,000 new jobs

September 12, 2014
James B. Nelson

Perhaps the most important number coming out of the state's July jobs report is this: 29,437.

That's how many jobs Wisconsin employers would have to add each month for the remaining five months of the year in order for Gov. Scott Walker to achieve his top campaign promise --  creating 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

EXPRESS MILWAUKEE: The buying of Walker's Wisconsin

September 12, 2014
Lisa Kaiser

Recently unsealed John Doe court documents shed light on what prosecutors call a “criminal scheme” in which Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and allied dark-money groups allegedly coordinated fundraising efforts.

According to prosecutors, Walker himself knew about the scheme and even boasted about it in an email to George W. Bush’s chief strategist Karl Rove, who now runs a super PAC that supports Republican candidates.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

ISTHMUS: Don't believe WMC claims about impact of coal regulations

September 12, 2014
Bruce Murphy

As vice president of government relations for the big business lobby Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Scott Manley's fun job is to convince us the new regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency will destroy our economy. Its requirement that coal emissions be cut by 34% by 2030 could be "devastating," he has warned, forcing Wisconsin to "commit an act of unilateral economic disarmament."

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

CENTER FOR MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY: After subpoenas to big-money donors, WI GOP tried to quietly change law

September 12, 2014
Brendan Fischer

New documents indicate that just weeks after the first subpoenas were issued in Wisconsin's "John Doe" criminal campaign finance probe in October 2013, senate Republicans had begun working to change state law to legalize the activities under investigation.

Legislative Republicans surprised many in the state in March of 2014 when they tried to rush Senate Bill 654 through the legislature to explicitly carve-out an exception to the state's campaign finance statutes for so-called "issue ads," those thinly-veiled election messages that stop short of telling viewers to vote for or against a candidate.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE: Life is worse in "right to work" states

September 5, 2014
Ross Eisenbrey

University of Oregon labor scholar and EPI research associate Gordon Lafer often points out how relatively poor the quality of life is in right-to-work states, on average, compared to states that don’t restrict union contract rights.

Politico just came out with a new ranking of the 50 states, on a combination of 14 different measures of quality of life, including “high school graduation rates, per capita income, life expectancy and crime rate.” Then they average those 14 to create one overall ranking of the states.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

Majority of US Chamber of Commerce donations come from just 64 entities

September 5, 2014
Public Citizen

2012 Tax Forms Reveal Donation Amounts

WASHINGTON - More than half of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s contributions in 2012 came from just 64 donors, according to a new reportreleased today by Public Citizen’s U.S. Chamber Watch program.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

Community Democracy, and the Future of Broadband

September 3, 2014
David Morris
news photo

Map shows municipal and locally-controlled broadband networks nationwide. Communities invest in telecommunications networks for a variety of reasons - economic development, improving access to education and health care, price stabilization, etc. They range from massive networks offering a gig to hundreds of thousands in Tennessee to small towns connecting a few local businesses. (Image: Institute for Local Self-Reliance)

UK's largest union calls for fracking ban and "democratic control of the energy industry"

July 24, 2014
Unite policy conference 2014
news photo

At UNITE’s 2014 policy conference, the following resolution was passed:

Composite C6 (Incorporating Motions D1, D3 & D4)

Standing in the names of:

North West/Merseyside AAC

North East, Yorkshire & Humber/300/22 Wm Morrison Distribution Stockton Branch

South West/001401 Bristol Finance & Legal Sector Branch

D. Environment

(i) Hydraulic Fracturing

Conference notes:

Nigerian communities challenge corporate power in quest for Energy Democracy

July 24, 2014
Boldwin Anugwara
news photo

That Nigeria is facing power supply challenge is an understatement. But the Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Dr Godwin Uyi Ojo, in this interview with CHARLES OKONJI, says the epileptic power supply has an exit date if only Nigeria embraces energy democracy. Excerpts:

You have been advocating energy democracy. Can you explain to us what you mean by energy democracy?

San Diego fights for Energy Democracy

July 24, 2014
John Farrell
news photo

San Diego and its community choice energy district would be able to offer a diverse energy mix with all of the solar, biodiesel, biogas, and energy storage resources that we have in San Diego.  A product that is price competitive and yet at the same time would strive for and achieve a higher level of renewable content.”

See how this southern California city is striving for more clean energy and more local control in this interview with Lane Sharman, co-founder and chair of the San Diego Energy District Foundation. This podcast was recorded via Skype on May 21, 2014.

Denmark town achieves true Energy Democracy

July 24, 2014
Paul Kando
news photo

Ballen, Denmark, is one of 18 small villages on Samsø, an island of 4,000 residents. The new Energy Academy with its 11 new jobs is located here, doubling as a meeting house and visitor center for those who come here from the world over to learn how to become 100 percent energy-independent. The island has 21 huge wind turbines generating over 104 million kW h/year, enough to power 26,000 homes. Sixty percent of the island’s buildings are heated by 4 solar district heating systems, with straw-burning back-up boilers; the rest use electric heat pumps. Cars run on electricity.

Center for Social Inclusion maps the movement for Energy Democracy

July 24, 2014
Center for Social Inclusion
news photo

This map pinpoints communities across America that are innovating how to build their local economies while taking into their own hands the fight against climate change by developing community-scale renewable energy projects.

Gar Alperovitz on the cooperative economy's enormous potential

May 22, 2014
Orion Magazine

IN THE MID-1960s, when author, historian, and political economist Gar Alperovitz was working as legislative director for Senator Gaylord Nelson, change was in the air. Ink had dried on an early version of the Clean Air Act, the civil rights movement had won major victories, and the first Earth Day was in the works. The U.S. still faced plenty of serious challenges, but many Americans felt their country was capable of dealing with them successfully.

CommonBound: Moving Together Toward a New Economy

Date: 
June 6, 2014 - 9:00am - June 8, 2014 - 5:00pm

Location

Northeastern University Boston, MA

This June 6-8, more than 500 movement leaders, activists, practitioners, and newcomers will come together in Boston for CommonBound, the New Economy Coalition’s largest and most significant convening yet.

Public Banking & Economic Democracy

May 21, 2014
Gwendolyn Hallsmith
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Private banks have not always been accepted institutions, fixtures of commerce, and purveyors of most of our economic transactions. Throughout US history, there have been robust public conversations about banks, largely due to their propensity to derail the economy when their business models fail. One example of this was in rural Vermont in 1806, when the state established their first public bank. Testimony on that bill, from Governor Tichenor lays out the problem:

Participatory Budgeting in NYC: Governing at the Grassroots

May 21, 2014
Mike Menser and Ron Hayduk
news photo

Like much of the rest of the globe, New York City is beset by two crises: economic instability and the changing climate. Any hope of making our intensely unequal and unsustainable city more equitable and resilient requires fundamental changes in the relationship between the government and its people, and between the economy and its infrastructure. This requires more than a change of administrations; it requires a reconstruction of the governance process itself.

Jackson, Miss. using worker-owned cooperatives to advance economic democracy

May 17, 2014
Gracie Davie
news photo

When Iya’Falola Omobola first crossed the Mississippi state border 10 years ago, she felt uneasy. A friend told her that she was “feeling the energy from all those bodies hanging in the trees.” Yet, Omobola’s feeling soon changed. Born into a family of civil rights and labor organizers in Cleveland, Ohio, Omobola came to see Jackson as the Phoenix that rises from the ashes.

Liberty Tree hosting Gar Alperovitz in Santa Barbara, CA

Date: 
May 1, 2014 - 12:00pm - May 2, 2014 - 1:00pm

Location

Santa Barbara, CA

Community Democracy: America Beyond Capitalism?

For more information visit: www.democracysb.org

DAILY CARDINAL: Madison environmental, social justice advocates converge in Earth Day rally

April 23, 2014
Dana Kampa
Activists with the Global Climate Convergence march in Madison on Earth Day

Madison community members and organizers marched down State Street Tuesday evening, Earth Day, to raise awareness of environmental and social justice issues as part of a 10-day Global Climate Convergence.

The march and rally, titled “Protect our Water–Reject the Mines and Pipelines!,” addressed many issues, such as clean water and oil pipelines, facing Wisconsin and the nation. Advocates marched from the Monona Terrace to Library Mall, where several advocates spoke about Wisconsin’s environmental concerns.

More Info: 

For more information about the Global Climate Convergence in Wisconsin, go to https://wisconsinwave.org/global-climate-convergence-wisconsin-0

CAP TIMES: Demonstrators address fossil fuel divestment at Earth Day rally

April 21, 2014
Pat Schneider
news photo

Fossil fuel divestment is one way to empower ordinary people to respond to the issue of climate change, says Julia Isaacs, a member of 350 Madison.

“I see divestment as an opportunity to engage with people about climate change in a real way,” says Isaacs. “Is it important enough to withhold money from my alma mater? Is it important enough that I want to put my retirement savings into a different place?”

Members of 350 Madison will join University of Wisconsin-Madison students, faculty and others supporting the university's divestment from corporations that profit from fossil fuels in a march and rally Tuesday to mark Earth Day.

More Info: 

For more information about the Global Climate Convergence in Wisconsin, go to https://wisconsinwave.org/global-climate-convergence-wisconsin-0

The Wisconsin Wave is hiring a new Public Outreach Canvass Director!

April 16, 2014
Liberty Tree Foundation

Title
Public Outreach Canvass Director

Job Description
Liberty Tree’s Wisconsin Wave project, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization working to build the grassroots democracy movement in Wisconsin, is hiring a full-time Public Outreach Canvass Director. Responsibilities include door-to-door canvassing to recruit members and raise funds, managing general canvass operations including hiring and training canvass staff, and participating in grassroots campaign development.

Participatory Budgeting continues to grow in NYC

April 4, 2014
Jay Cassano
news photo

It would be tough to find something people like to complain about more than politicians. Now, thanks to New York City's Participatory Budgeting project, we get to do part of their job for them.

With the fast flow of information these days, the average citizen can easily be just as informed as any local politician or policy wonk. So why do we need politicians to spend our tax dollars for us? Especially when it comes local communities, people have a visceral and intuitive understanding of the changes they want to see.

NEW YORK TIMES: Penokee Hills mine controversy is a fight for Wisconsin's soul

March 29, 2014
Dan Kaufman
Bad River

WISCONSIN has been an environmental leader since 1910, when the state’s voters approved a constitutional amendment promoting forest and water conservation. Decades later, pioneering local environmentalists like Aldo Leopold and Senator Gaylord Nelson, who founded Earth Day in 1970, helped forge the nation’s ecological conscience.

But now, after the recent passage of a bill that would allow for the construction of what could be the world’s largest open-pit iron ore mine, Wisconsin’s admirable history of environmental stewardship is under attack.

NYT: Cooperative businesses benefit both worker-owners and their communities

March 25, 2014
Shaila Dewan
news photo

If you happen to be looking for your morning coffee near Golden Gate Park and the bright red storefront of the Arizmendi Bakery attracts your attention, congratulations. You have found what the readers of The San Francisco Bay Guardian, a local alt-weekly, deem the city’s best bakery. But it has another, less obvious, distinction.

TRUTHOUT: Building a more democratic banking system

March 17, 2014
Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese
news photo

In Part I of this series, we examined breaking up the too-big-to-fail-or- jail banks, regulating them - especially

WTAQ: WMC takes stand against minimum wage increase

March 6, 2014
Larry Lee

MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Leaders of four Wisconsin business associations spoke out against mandatory minimum wage hikes Wednesday.

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, and The Wisconsin Grocers Association held a press conference in Madison explaining their opposition to a mandatory increase of the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

WTAQ: WMC pushes bill to limit compensation for injured workers in Wisconsin

February 10, 2014
WTAQ
news photo

A new bill in the state Legislature would tighten the limits that medical personnel could get for treating worker's compensation patients.

Business and labor groups supported the measure at a recent public hearing, while doctors and hospitals opposed it.  

Under the bill, the threshold would be lowered for treatment costs which are considered abnormally high. In 2015, the state would determine maximum prices that health providers could receive for particular treatments.

Medical officials said the bill would either result in less available care for injured workers, or it could hurt other parts of the health care market.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

IN THESE TIMES: Saving Lake Superior from mining

February 10, 2014
John Collins
news photo

A subterranean labyrinth of iron, copper and nickel wraps its way around Lake Superior, the largest expanse of freshwater on our planet. The labor needed to pull these ancient minerals out of the ground has sustained parts of the rural population around the lake for 150 years. Today, globaldemand for the remaining deposits is climbing. As an extractive industry drools, environmentalists panic. Lobbyists descend. Lawmakers are introduced to wealthy and ambitious companies. Sparks fly. They engage in unprotected democracy on a mattress of potential money. Laws change.

More Info: 

For more info on the Wisconsin Wave's Shut the Chamber campaign to take back our government from big money, visit http://wisconsinwave.org/shut-chamber-wisconsin

COMMON DREAMS: Is the 'sharing economy' a pathway to greater economic democracy?

January 22, 2014
Adam Parsons
news photo

In recent years, the concept and practice of sharing resources is fast becoming a mainstream phenomenon across North America, Western Europe and other world regions. The internet is awash with articles and websites that celebrate the vast potential of sharing human and physical assets, in everything from cars and bicycles to housing, workplaces, food, household items, and even time or expertise.

Al Jazeera: Oxfam says world's rich threaten democracy

January 21, 2014
Al Jazeera
news photo

The 85 richest people on planet "own the wealth of half the world's population", the charity said.

The world's elite have rigged laws in their own favour undermining democracy and creating a chasm of inequality across the globe, charity Oxfam said in advance of the annual get-together of the world's most powerful at Davos.