Author Archives: John Durben
Letter to the Editor
This is the current letter to the Editor which was distributed to the local area media by the Shawano County Democrats.
Have Some Faith in Our Leaders
Throughout history presidents have always been blamed for problems with the United States economy. Now is no exception.
Since the beginning of the pandemic we stayed home more and didn’t use as much gasoline. Now people are driving more so demand for gasoline has increased. Add to that the shortages because of the war in Ukraine and you get higher prices. To blame President Biden is not fair.
Exon Mobil, Chevron, Shell and BP have added to the problem. In the last quarter they limited supply and racked in $25 billion in profits, which is the highest income level in 7 years. Maybe they should help to stabilize prices.
Also happening with the COVID-19 outbreak was the interruption of goods production. Many workers got sick and missed work. This happened just as we were buying more products for home thus putting a strain on the worldwide supply chain.
Certain corporations have made the situation worse. Starbucks’s profits soared 352%. In 2021 Netflix doubled profits and UPS had a record-breaking year. Amazon made $35 billion and McDonald’s had $23 billion in revenues. Corporate profit margins are now at a 70-year high. They have profited at our expense.
All this corporate greed has led to increased prices. Consumers have found themselves having less purchasing power even though wages are on the rise. This dilemma is called “inflation”, a word Republicans have been using as they blame President Biden for consumer price hikes.
What is being ignored are the indicators that show the economy actually slowly rebounding from the effects of the pandemic. The national economy is seen as growing at 4%, a rate not seen since the Reagan administration. 6.6 million new jobs have been created in 2021. As hiring increases, President Biden is on track to have unemployment rates like the 1950’s.
Even Wisconsin is making progress. The unemployment rate is 2.8%, the lowest in Wisconsin’s history. Governor’s Evers’ investments in small businesses has paid off.
Our state has accumulated a projected budget surplus of historic proportions. His plan is to return a portion of the money to working families to help them fight rising costs.
We need to stop pointing fingers and have patience as cope with the higher prices. The price of gas, groceries and goods will come down when supplies stabilize. Have some faith in our leaders.
SHAWANO COUNTY DEMS 2022 NEWSLETTER FOR MARCH AND APRIL.
Fair Maps Rally
Thank you for being a Fair Maps supporter and attending the Lobby Day activity. Here is another chance for you to support Fair Maps for Wisconsin. A rally is planned for Friday, January 21st at 2:30at the Brown County Court House. Masks are strongly recommended as are hand held signs supporting Fair Maps!
We hope to see you at the rally! Feel free to spread the word!
POLITICAL DIVISION HAS REACHED WORST LEVELS
We haven’t had such division in our country since Wisconsin’s United States Senator Joseph McCarthy made false accusations of treason among left-wing individuals in the 1950’s. His campaign spread fear of alleged communist and socialist influence on American institutions and espionage by Soviet Agents. He lost credibility after several of his accusations were found to be false.
Unfortunately, history is repeating itself. Now we have the “Big Lie” which alleges Donald Trump won the 2020 election due to voter fraud. At this time there has been no evidence that points to illegal votes as the reason Trump lost. The movement has, however, caused our county to be more and more divided as time goes on.
McCarthy was not the only Wisconsinite to divide our state. Former Governor Walker used his “divide and conquer” strategy when it came to the state’s budgeting process. He pitted public employee unions against those who wished to take down organized labor. In reality it was less about budget-cutting and more about his personal campaign to weaken worker’s power.
FOX News has only fueled the divide in our country. If you tune in (which I do only occasionally), you will hear daily rhetoric about how bad President Biden’s policies are and how the Democrats are destroying our country.
If you go off FOX News (which I would recommend) and listen to other cable stations such as CNBC you will get less opinions and more “hard news”. By tuning into “The News with Shepard Smith” at 6:00 pm you will get a non-political leaning on the true news. By the way, Shep used to be a host on FOX but left because he didn’t like how they were using a false premise (disinformation about election fraud) to lead people astray. He could see how this behavior was spreading seeds of division and thus doing harm to us as a nation. He couldn’t take it anymore. He sleeps well at night knowing that his broadcasting of the news gives people the truth.
Keep in mind that division has been used as a path to power worldwide for centuries. This holiday season should be the start of our effort to put aside politics and love our neighbor as ourselves as the Second Commandment suggests. We can each be the catalyst which makes the world a better place for all.
NOVEMBER’S LETTER TO THE EDITOR
SOCIAL CHANGE REQUIRES UNDERSTANDING AND EMPHATHY
On Sept. 28, the Wisconsin Assembly decided to gag teachers and hog-tie school districts by voting to prohibit schools from full discussions about racism and sexism. Wrong? Absolutely.
Assembly Bill 411 is an effort to put a lid on our schools to having students grapple with racism and sexism which are so much a part of our history and our society.
Discussions involving Critical Race Theory has only been taught in colleges. Children are not being taught the complex theories of CRT in our Wisconsin schools or those in Virginia (even though their Republican for governor lied when he said they were).
We as adults need to be educated about Critical Race Theory. Everyone has a race. Racism is the fact that ‘White’ means ‘normal’ and that anything else is “less than” different. The first step towards combating structural racism is acknowledging its existence.
For Caucasian people, talking about race may be uncomfortable. Discussions of race in America may center around the protection of White feelings. It is okay to admit there are times when the United States has not been fair.
Don’t believe that our country needs a strong leader who will protect our children from having to deal with racism. Banning certain books and articles will only make our children narrow minded in their thinking. When a government has dictatorial power it can only lead to Fascism.
Social change requires making some noise. As with Black Lives Matter, activists are going to hold all influencers — allies or otherwise – accountable. White people have to accept that anger is a natural response to being systematically oppressed. It can be an effective tool.
Societies do not, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior or even 500 years ago in the case of our Native Americans. Racism is everywhere. People of color experience Frustration and Anger. They are Silenced, Talked Over, and Ignored. Every one of these emotions are felt painfully every single day by racial minority groups in our country.
It’s up to all of us to continue the conversation by listening and empathizing. This includes discussion with our children and allowing our schools to teach accurate American history. Be a part of the solution by changing perceptions for the betterment of ‘us’ all.
SHAWANO COUNTY DEMS 2021 NEWSLETTER FOR OCTOBER, NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER
NEED TO ELECT MORE PROGRESSIVES
Are you unhappy with your school board, county board or municipal board member? Then now is the time to get involved and run for office. At this time in our political environment, we need people who will govern with our best interests in mind. Decisions that are made locally can affect us all. To mask or not mask our children in school has exposed school board members who are not on the side of science. Elected officials may also have to weigh in on what is taught in our schools in regard to diversity and inequality.
Help in running a campaign is available through the State Democratic Party. The Shawano Dems are also eager to help. Let us know if you are considering a candidacy. Signatures can be collected beginning December 1st and must be in to the County Clerk’s office by January 2nd.
MORE U.S. SENATE CANDIDATES
The Shawano Dems’ meetings will continue to be in-person with the speakers on Zoom. At the Shawano Dems ‘October 20th meeting Dr. Darrel Williams will be explaining why he is running for U.S. Senate. Darrel has been in the military for 28 years. He has been an educator, principal and school superintendent. He is Administrator of Wisconsin Energy Management. You can view his video on You Tube.
Also on Zoom will be Aaron Richardson, candidate for State Treasurer. He is the current mayor of Fitchburg (aaronforwi.com)
Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes will Zoom in at our November 17th meeting (mandelabarnes.com). His video will be emailed out for those who can’t attend.
All meetings will begin at 7:00 pm at the Civic Center. Zoom links will be sent out a few days ahead of the meetings.
NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER EVENTS
The weekend of November 6-7 will mark one year out to the midterms. It is imperative that we re-elect Governor Evers and defeat Ron Johnson. Our work to engage in conversations with voters continues. We will be contacting infrequent Democratic voters through phone calls and canvassing. Consider helping us to spread the word that Democrats care about them and will deliver for them. Training will be provided. Contact us to help.
Rather than have a Christmas Party this year, the Shawano Dems will be giving of ourselves in the community. On December 2nd will be taking a meal to SAM 25. Please consider helping us.
OCTOBER LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Our democracy is under attack from the right. There are efforts to make it more difficult for citizens to vote. At the same time that authoritarianism seems to be acceptable to Republicans, Democrats are called Marxists or even Communists just because they fight for social programs. We can have the human infrastructure that is a part of President Biden’s plan. Social programs like pre-school for all children, fast universal internet and free post-secondary education are possible while still maintaining our freedoms.
Oct. 14, Nov. 11, Dec. 9: Listen to WTCH’s Breakfast Club from 8:00-9:00 am on 960 AM & 96.1 FM.
Oct. 20; Shawano Dems 7:00 pm meeting at the Civic Center and on Zoom with Dr. Darrel Williams and Aaron Richardson.
Nov. 5-6: Weekend of Action—one year out!
Nov. 17: Shawano Dems 7:00 pm meeting at the Civic Center and on Zoom with Lieutenant Governor Mandella Barnes
Dec. 2: Providing a dinner at SAM 25
A big thank you to all who attended our Fall Fundraising Dinner and those who donated to the local party. The funds will enable us to afford an office as we approach the midterm elections in 2022. We also want to educate listeners to our Democratic values through radio ads on WTCH. Go to wisdems.org/membership to join the state and local party or contact us for a form.
VOTE411.org is a platform that will give accurate data on candidate’s views so voters can make good choices when they go to vote. As we approach the next elections, combat conspiracy theories by sharing the truth with others.
Nelson Visits Shawano in 72 County Quest
Shawano County Democratic Picnic
Shawano County Dems August, 2021 Newsletter
Don’t miss the Shawano Dems’ picnic on Thursday, August 19th from 5:00-7:00 pm at Kuckuk Park Pavilion (700 Oak Park Drive) in Shawano. Top tier United States Senate candidates Alex Lasry and Gilliam Battino will be there. Lasry is a Milwaukee Buck executive who worked as a White House aide during the Obama administration and has since championed social justice efforts and labor agreements.
Battino is a radiologist from Wausau who is pushing hard on the issue of Medicare-for-all.
There will be pulled pork sandwiches, potato salad, beans, dessert and ice cream for all who attend. We will be having a 50/50 raffle and quilt raffle tickets will be available. Come and bring liked-mined friends with you.
SHAWANO COUNTY FAIR
Our booth in the Commercial Building will be staffed the evening of Thursday, September 2nd and from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm Friday September 3rd through Monday, September 6th Those who sign up to work 2-3 hour shifts will receive a complementary ticket to the fair which includes parking. At the fair we will sell quilt raffle tickets, “Proud Wisconsin Democrat” bumper stickers and will pass out information on the Democratic U.S. Senate candidates.
You can sign up at the picnic or call Jan at 715-296-6726.
WEEKEND OF ACTION
The 2022 election is just around the corner and we are working to build our volunteer base. Our action for the week of August 21 will be to again engage voters in face-to-face conversations at their doorsteps. We will be offering training for our new volunteers on Wednesday, August 18th at the Civic Center at 7:00 pm and again on Saturday, August 21st at 9:00 am. If you would like to join our efforts, please let us know you plan to attend. There is a lot at stake in the next election and we want to be sure we are ready to get out our positive messages to as many people as possible. At this time, we will be telling voters about how President Biden’s American Rescue Plan increased the Child Tax Credit benefit to put $250-300 per child in working parents’ pockets.
AUGUST LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Democrats should be given credit for the strides they have made since President Biden took office. The Covid-19 stimulus bill gave citizens direct payments of $1400 and $300-a-week federal bonus unemployment benefits. Because of his bill we have free Covid testing and vaccinations. Governor Evers is also trying to improve the lives of Wisconsinites despite all the push back from the legislature. We can see a middle-class tax cut and more funding for education, roads and health care because of his efforts.
August 19: Picnic at Kuckuk Park (Shawano) 5-7 pm
Sept. 2-6: Shawano County Fair Booth
Oct. 2: Fundraising Dinner at Shawano Lake Golf Course. Speaker will be U.S. Senate Candidate Tom Nelson.
It was heartening to see so many people sign the petitions that the Shawano Fairness Coalition had at their ShawanoFest booth in July. Some signed the petition to see stable and competitive wages for employees working in Shawano County and others signed the petition to have the Wisconsin State Legislature pass nonpartisan redistricting legislation.
It is important that we call our representatives at 800-362-9472 and tell them we want them to pass Senate Bill 389 and Assembly Bill 395. These bills would end gerrymandering by creating a fair, nonpartisan procedure for drawing future maps.