Opinions

Sat
22
Dec

Council shuts down democratic process

To the editor:

The Shawano Common Council’s decision to approve the resolution to amend Citizens United but not to allow it to go to referendum on the April ballot missed an opportunity to bring the democratic process to a subject that we all care deeply about.

Why is it important to bring this subject to a vote? If you look at the questions that the audience asked at the council meeting you realize that answering those questions is at the heart of democracy. The informed citizen is absolutely the end game. That is the only way democracy can work.

When our citizens vote, they don’t want to sign on to a proposition they are ignorant of. They want to know and will read, listen to the news, talk with their neighbors, in order to be informed.

Sat
22
Dec

Voice of the people matters little to GOP

How much does it matter to the Republican leaders of the Wisconsin State Legislature what the people they are elected to represent think?

Time and again, we’ve seen, the answer is hardly at all.

Late in the day on Nov. 30, the Legislature’s GOP leaders unveiled a raft of so-called lame duck legislation. The bills sought to significantly limit the powers of the incoming Democratic administration and make it harder for people in Democratic strongholds to vote.

About 1,400 people turned out Dec. 3 to register their opposition during the sole hearing devoted to the bills. More than 100 people waited as long as 10 hours to testify for up to two minutes each. All but one person was opposed. The bills passed easily in the Republican-controlled legislature, on mostly party-line votes.

Sat
15
Dec

Council subverted will of the people

To the editor:

The 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United has allowed corporations, unions, nonprofits and super PACs to spend unlimited amounts on campaign contributions. Groups including Wisconsin United to Amend (wiuta.com), a nonpartisan network, are working to repair the damage caused by this ruling and restore our representative democracy.

Nineteen state legislatures have already passed resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment to make clear that money is not speech and the Constitution only protects the rights of individual human beings.

In Wisconsin and across the nation, voters have passed Citizens United resolutions by majorities of 70 percent or more. Thirty-one million people (55 percent of Wisconsinites) live in jurisdictions where voters were allowed to express their opinions.

This fall, 573 citizens from the city of Shawano signed a petition asking for a referendum to be put on the spring 2019 ballot.

Sat
15
Dec

Ponschok paid it forward

Fred Ponschok was a teacher at Shawano High School when I attended in the late 1950s and early 1960s. I never had a class with Fred, but the kids I knew liked him.

Thirty-five years later, in 1996, our paths crossed. We both had an interest in the proposed copper mine that was being planned near Crandon. For two years Fred, along with about a dozen active members, launched a campaign to protect the Wolf River from the undeniable dangers of sulfide mining.

We formed an environmental group called POWR, Protect Our Wolf River. Our goal, along with many other environmental groups and Indian tribes, was to get a sulfide mining moratorium bill passed through the Wisconsin Legislature and signed by Governor Tommy Thompson.

Sat
15
Dec

Immigration fine if it’s done legally

To the editor:

We have just re-elected a senator who is firmly in the “don’t help pass a darn thing that might actually help people to spite Trump” camp that includes helping to solve the immigration crisis.

Isn’t that just peachy, folks? I hope you are proud of yourselves.

Now to those who want to give me the other side on immigration would you please pay attention as I am typing this very slowly just for you. My ancestors came legally from Europe many generations ago. I have relatives who now work in the U.S. who came from Canada legally just in the last several years. I am not against people wanting to work here, but do it legally and get a green card. I am not against legal immigration either.

Sat
08
Dec

Drinking and driving big concern during holidays

To the editor:

This holiday season and throughout the year, our goal is to help make roadways as safe as possible for everyone. As part of these efforts, the Shawano County Sheriff’s Office will join law enforcement agencies across Wisconsin during the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over holiday campaign from Dec. 14 through Jan. 1.

Whether it’s caused by alcohol, legal or illegal drugs, getting behind the wheel impaired is dangerous and irresponsible. Impaired drivers risk injuring or killing themselves, their passengers, and all other travelers along our roadways.

Alcohol-related crashes remain a significant concern in Wisconsin, resulting in 169 deaths and over 3,300 injuries last year. A growing problem in Wisconsin and many other states involves drugged drivers — people whose ability to safely operate a motor vehicle is compromised by prescription or over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs such as heroin.

Sat
08
Dec

Kids can play football if they know risks

Football is a very physical sport and is not for everyone. The brain injuries that the former players have to deal with are very serious and are sometimes life-threatening. Children who want to play football should be taught what can happen to them, but they should also be allowed to choose for themselves if they still want to play.

Former NFL players have to deal with a lot of injuries from their career. They include concussions, chronic traumatic encephalitic (CTE) and many others body-related injuries. Those come from getting hit in the head many times or from getting hit in a game or practice. Kids should be taught what can happen before they start playing so they know what they are getting themselves into. Football is making an effort to get better equipment to help the players not get injured. But if they really love the game, they should be able to keep playing.

Sat
08
Dec

Republicans like Kucksdorf continue to support Trump

To the editor:

The chairperson of the Shawano County Republican Party, retired Col. Richard Kucksdorf, attended President Donald Trump’s rally at Mosinee during the recent election. He was most complimentary of President Trump’s speech and the part he played in the event.

Chairperson Kucksdorf submitted a letter to The Shawano Leader indicating his support for Leah Vukmir for United States Senate. He said she would be a strong supporter of President Trump and would be a strong supporter of the military, having a son in a military unit stationed at the Arlington National Cemetery.

France hosted an international event celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I. Four million Americans served in the military during World War I. 117,000 lost their lives and over 200,000 were injured.

Sat
08
Dec

Nazi salute photo is a chance to learn

In mid-November, a photo circulated showing a group of nearly 60 boys last spring at Baraboo High School giving what appeared to be a Nazi salute. It quickly drew national attention. On Nov. 19, I gave a talk at the school. What follows is adapted from those remarks.

I’d like to share some thoughts about why this image is so disturbing. I have no wish to condemn or denounce the boys, and I assume many of them did not understand the meaning of the Nazi salute, nor did they intend to harm anyone.

First, let me say this issue is not just about Jews. It is about white supremacy, and it is a manifestation of growing anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia in this country.

Sat
08
Dec

Rudolph, it’s cold outside, so bring home the bagels

It’s supposed to be a time of goodwill and cheer, but it seems like the folks who need to rattle a saber 24-7 are finding reasons to act like Ebenezer Scrooge and ruin everyone’s holiday season with wave after wave of bitter political correctness.

Holiday classics are threatened with extinction. Time-honored phrases are seen as the gateway to cruelty. Suddenly the first line of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is ringing through like a tornado siren, and boy, you better watch out — or else.

Let’s start with the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” A holiday favorite for decades, now radio stations are bending to some listeners’ demands that the song be taken off the airwaves because it is allegedly sexist and could trigger a reaction from rape victims.

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