Weekly Update June 21, 2015

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Crude Oil Shipments Threaten Wisconsin Waters


Will Wisconsin and the Upper Great Lakes continue to be the land of Sky Blue Waters? Or will a vast swath of our pristine waters become a fading memory, soiled by the leaks and spills of a massive network of tar sands crude oil pipelines, maritime traffic and crude oil trains?

Wisconsinites have a proud history of successfully mobilizing massive citizen conservation campaigns to protect our water and community health from ill-advised industrial schemes.

Now, the crude oil threat calls out for a renewed campaign.

Join two experts for an evening of information and discussion:

July 8th 7pm
West Allis Library

Elizabeth Ward is the Conservation Director for the Sierra Club-John Muir Chapter. Eric Hansen is an award-winning conservation essayist.

For more information visit:

Sierra Club

And read Eric Hansen's Journal-Sentinal op-ed.

More news in next week's newsletter about this special program hosted by the Southwest Regional Democratic Organization.


Thanks to all our members that were able to join us for our annual picnic.  Special thanks to Marsha Vila for hosting this year.


Biden promotes private sector clean energy investments

Private sector investors should do more to boost spending on clean energy technology, Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday. 

The White House announced $4 billion in private sector pledges on Monday to support green technology and launched a new Department of Energy (DOE) program to facilitate research and development. Speaking at a White House clean energy summit, Biden said more needs to be done — from the government, but especially among private investors — to create new low-carbon energy technology.

“Only with the private sector can we fully or even mostly realize the opportunities of this energy transformation. Government can’t do this, government can’t do this alone,” Biden said. “Our energy future is in cleaner, cheaper renewable energy, and all of you understand that clean energy investments have provided financial and social returns.”

Biden highlighted the work the Obama administration has done on clean energy, including spending on energy programs and tax credits for carbon-free energy sources. Energy prices for solar and wind — and their share of the energy generated in the U.S. — have improved since 2009, Biden said. 

He also knocked congressional Republicans for proposing spending cuts to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

“Just as we got, in this transformative moment, off the ground, by ramping up private and federal investment, once again — some shortsighted decisions from the outfit I worked in for a long, long time — up on the hill, they’re ramping it down as fast as you all ramped it up,” Biden said.

Part of the solution, he said, is more private sector spending on new clean energy technology.

Read more at The Hill.

The Other Major Supreme Court Cases This Term
by Brianne Gorod


Although there are 11 cases still outstanding on the Supreme Court’s docket following Thursday’s decisions, someone reading recent coverage of the court could be forgiven for thinking there are only two cases the court has yet to decide this term: Obamacare tax credits and gay marriage. This is nothing new. Every year the court decides roughly 70 cases, but the coverage of two or three often crowds out the rest, making the work of an already opaque institution even less visible to the public. That’s why it’s worth remembering that even though marriage and health care may be the biggest cases the court will decide over the next few weeks, they’re hardly the only important ones. As I and others have written, the legacy of Chief Justice John Roberts and of his court will be shaped by where they land on these two cases. But many of the other cases the court will be deciding over the next few weeks could be incredibly consequential as well. And they, too, will help define the legacy of Roberts and his court.

Consider, for example, Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency, which presents a challenge to the EPA’s regulations involving the emissions of hazardous air pollutants from certain power plants. Challengers to the rule have argued that the EPA acted improperly by considering the costs of the regulation when it was setting emission standards, rather than when it was making the initial decision to regulate. The court below concluded that the rule was “clearly permissible,” but the Roberts court’s record on the environment has been mixed, at best. There’s reason to hope for a good outcome in this case—the EPA’s regulatory approach is completely consistent with the requirements of the statute, and the environmental community scored two important wins at the court last year. But if the court rules against the EPA, the consequences will be significant. Indeed, lives are on the line when it comes to this case just as much as they are with the health care case because the public health benefits of the EPA rule are enormous. It will save up to 11,000 lives per year.

Read more at Slate.

Why Republicans Want to Destroy Their Own Economy
By Joel McNally

Have you ever stopped to wonder why so many right-wing Republican governors around the country pursue policies that are creating economic disasters for their own states? You should.

What if they’re not simply stupid people? What if they know exactly what they’re doing? What if they’re wrecking their own states’ economies on purpose? That’s something far more frightening than mere stupidity.

Those questions are of special importance in Wisconsin right now. The two most prominent national examples of extremist Republican governors implementing disastrous economic programs are Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

To comprehend why any elected official in his right mind would want to damage his own state’s economy, you have to realize that despite everything they say Republicans love enormous government deficits.

Republicans are playing a long game. Enormous government deficits are a perfect excuse to do exactly what extremist, anti-government Republicans are eager to do anyway.

That’s to cut government programs that help anyone who is poor, disabled, temporarily unemployed or simply not wealthy enough to contribute millions of dollars to Republican re-election campaigns. That frees up lots of government money for Republicans to distribute to their wealthy financial supporters in enormous tax cuts.

Obviously Republican governors have to make up some fake cover story to justify openly destroying the jobs and wages of working people and damaging their own state economies.

And they’ve come up with a whopper.

Read more at The Shepherd Express.

See Joel McNally at Burke's Irish Castle Tomorrow at 6 for Blue Bash 2015.

"Rent a Crowd" Company Admits Politicians Are Using Their Service
By Ian Cioffi


Did you listen to Jeb Bush make his announcement yesterday? Did you hear loud cheers from a crowd that seemed excited at the prospect that there could be another Bush as President? Was I the only one confused? I don’t know one person who doesn’t threaten to leave the Country if it’s Bush vs Clinton for President again. Can’t imagine folks actually excited and cheering for Jeb.

It got me wondering, would someone like Jeb, or another candidate that’s been struggling like he has, hire a crowd? Pay people to attend their rallies to make them seem like they’re gaining in popularity? We have seen Hillary Clinton stage appearances, knowing ahead of time the people she’d interact with. Would a staged rally be out of the question for a struggling GOP candidate? According to “Crowds On Demand”, not at all.

Crowds on Demand is an American publicity firm. It claims to be the only “rent a crowd” service, providing its clients with the ability to hire actors to pose as fans. I decided to contact them, pretending to be an employee of a GOP candidate running for office. 

Read more at Liberty Chat.

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Founded in 1952, The Southwest Regional Democratic Organization represents Region 5 of The Democratic Party of Milwaukee County.

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