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There are some things that are obvious as we in the Badger State enter into the Republican primary.  One of the most obvious things is that Romney will be the Republican Party nominee, unless some unforeseen, major development occurs. 

Rick Santorum is running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.  He is taking a route that Ronald Reagan took. 

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From the very first day the U.S. invaded the sovereign nation of Iraq, I spoke out against it in my writing and public speaking.  One of my graduate school majors was in Middle East History.  My major paper [thesis] was on Western World Imperialism in the Middle East.  But in addition to the invasion being a terrible mistake, it was internationally illegal.  Iraq had done nothing to justify the invasion.  Other nations around the world had equally horrible dictators, but we did not invade their sovereignty.

Now, as the U.S. is about to pull out of Iraq after a decade there, we leave behind a mess.  A mess that has been suffered by the Iraqi people.  What the Iraqi people are now suffering is clearly identified as mainly caused by the Americans.  The vast majority of Americans do not know the extent of the suffering of the people in Iraq.  Some Americans consider it unpatriotic to point out how we have brought suffering there.  As is so often the case with militaristic invaders, we not only ignore our part in the miserable conditions we caused, but we stretch things so that we do not look so bad.  We were bad.  They DO suffer.

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It is obvious that we cheat ourselves when we accept the fact that people with limited intellect dominate our political ballots.  That seems to be more obvious the higher the office.  Our candidates for governor and president are alarmingly dull when it comes to aptitude.  That makes them easier to be led by the nose by Big Money and the corporate culture.  The candidates racing to give special tax benefits and tax loopholes to the richest Americans is Exhibit A.  The abundance of war corporation contracts and sneaky deals is now more common than ever.  Hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars are tossed around by political puppets who do the bidding of Big Money.  It has been purchased by this greed element.  The presidency, the governorships, the legislatures, and even the state and federal surpeme courts are bought and sold to the highest bidder, the biggest PAC spenders, the most unscrupulous manipulators of what still passes for "American democracy."  Our democracy is going, going, gone.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin was set up in a staged phone call so that he thought he was talking to one of the notorious Koch brothers of right-wing, selfish fame.  Governor Walker acted and spoke like a well-purchased stooge.  He auctioned off the State of Wisconsin to the political/economic bias of Mr. Koch.  That is not bad enough, but it has been revealed clearly and Walker is STILL governor and may be elected again after a re-call election.  What more proof has to be made that voters seem almost pleased to vote for a bought and paid for Wisconsin Governor?

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Social Darn-it-ism

Business, climate change, County Government, Election, Energy, Government, Health Care, News, Politics, Presidential Politics, Reform, Religion, Smoking, taxes

With the primary season finally winding down, the presidential candidates will finally be able to go head-to-head for the next six months. It's going to be interesting and it's going to be ugly. It's going to be inspiring and it's going to be negative. It will be a time to remember and a lot to forget.

Perhaps President Obama will be able to run on his record. He can think back to when Americans were all inspired in the year 2008. It was the time when we were all  ready for hope and change. Well, the change is here and the hope is gone. 

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Spring Cleaning Feels Good

There is something about spring that motivates me. Things are warming up, color is returning, and the hibernation sluggishness begins to wane. The increasing energy makes me look around and take notice of all of the things that accumulate and fill various nooks and crannies around the house, garage and yard. Piles of unread magazines, paperwork and mail need to be dealt with; unnecessary boxes clutter up the garage; faulty Christmas decorations and a broken bird feeder need to be repaired or thrown out; and fallen branches and litter caught in the bushes need to be cleaned up. Sure, it takes some effort, but it sure feels good to eliminate them from my to-do list, and things just shine and sparkle a bit more!
Trees, too, require a spring cleaning. They naturally accumulate clutter from years of growth and hardship. Insects attack, weaken and kill branches. Fungal diseases kill some limbs and internal decay fungi weaken many more, leaving them vulnerable. Storms cause some branches to split or crack, providing even more opportunities for fungi and insects. Growth within the tree is often crowded or misdirected, causing weakness and vulnerability. Too much shade from nearby canopies causes branches to die. Dead branches attract insects, and the resulting decay will spread fungi deeper into the tree.
Our Certified Arborists expertly employ the ANSI A300 pruning standard for this kind of clean up. It is called Crown Cleaning and is aptly named. We recognize and clean out the branches that have various fungal canker diseases starting, while we watch for and remove damaging insects. Understanding tree structure and biology enables us to make good decisions about which branches detract from structure or health. Storm damage is detected and removed. Intensity of pruning corresponds with specifications for each tree, based on the dimensions and health of each branch.
Trees improve so much from the cleaning! Pruning diseased, damaged or inferior branches leaves the tree healthier, safer, and more beautiful. Stress is reduced, and value and appearance are enhanced. Future growth is off to a better start and tree energy is reallocated to optimum growth and defense. Your tree can now yield all the benefits of shade and property enhancement for years to come.
Spring-cleaning is a necessary ritual that uplifts our spirits and improves our environment. It is a good time to assess our trees and get out the clutter that bogs them down. Our properties can then shine with pride!


Given the facts, the American people can figure out most things on their own.  Not everything, but in a democracy they should be given a chance.  America's media have been in decline for a long time.  Once the envy of the world, today's American media are all smoke and no fire.  In case you haven't noticed, more and more reporters on American network and independent international news have British accents.  Why?  Because media in the U.S. is depending more and more on BBC-trained and influenced reporters.  Media in this country have become lazier and lazier, more and more focused on advertising revenue and less and less on real news. 

Do you realize what is going on, for example, in the Middle East?  Really?  The U.S. has been spending literally trillions of dollars in that region, and our media have been horribly negligent in keeping us informed.  Thousands and thousands of Americans have died and are dying in the Middle East and you have no clue about what is really happening there.  Would you like some clues?  Consider...

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Almost daily there are new reasons evolving that Wisconsin Govenor Walker should be recalled and kicked out of office.  We have had a year of mounting evidence that he has done plenty to be recalled.

However through all the demonstrations, all the yelling and shouting, all the marching, all the demonstrations of his incompetence and illegality, it is just hoopla if people do not do what is the only thing that will oust him: you gotta vote! 

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There are many aspects to the gun psychology that are rarely touched upon in this gun-nuts country.

Perhaps the most strange is that we rarely talk about the fact that for many "men" a gun is a penis extension  This manifests itself in many ways.  But the entire irrational need to have a gun in the U.S. is, in large part, tied to the insecurity and uneasiness that many men have with their own masculinity.  And so they need images and materials that help to bring masculinity to them.  And guns are one major way they think to do this.  With this illogical thinking, a gun is, in their mind, a sure prescription to virility.  They show some distinct psychological irrationality in equating guns to the physical, the sexual, and to virility.

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Protect yourself from distraction burglary

What is distraction burglary?

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Theft from parked cars is one of the most common complaints received by police in residential neighborhoods. According to U.S. Department of Justice statistics, these types of crimes make up some 36 percent of all larcenies reported to police. As the weather becomes warmer, thefts from autos typically increase. The Brown Deer Police Department would like to encourage citizens to take some simple steps to assist in protecting their personal property, especially their vehicles and items in them. 


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BBB Hosts Free Document Shredding Event This Weekend

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BBB Helps Consumers Thwart ID Theft by Hosting
Free Document Shredding Event

ID Theft is Nation’s #1 Complaint to FTC, Grew 8 percent in Wisconsin last year

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It was an honor for me last night to receive "The Best of the Web" award for a news blog by the readers of the Shepherd Express.  I received the award at a happy gathering at The Wherehouse.  Thanks to all the Shepherd readers.

The horrid happenings of the Bush-Cheney administration are revealed regularly, to the discredit of the United States of America.  We sometimes wonder why people around the world hate the U.S. when we do so much good.  But we have a greedy war machine in this country that will stop at nothing to make huge profits, and promote any way they can, a right-wing agenda.  Americans are shamed by these greed mongers and war pirates far too often.  The latest revelation unveiled the Bush administration's use of the CIA to have the British turn over to Libya's Kadahfi a man who had fought all his life for freedom in that North African nation.  Kadahfi immediately torturned this man and his wife.  There does not seem to be any end to the revelations of Bush secret manipulations that involved torture of innocent human beings.  And the right-wing in the U.S. wants us to stop blaming Bush for anything.  George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are international criminals who should be in the dock in a court of justice.

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Three of the great contributors to environmental protection and the concept of Earth Day, have very close Wisconsin ties.  The very idea of Earth Day was an original idea of Wisconsin's U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson.  And two of the most famous promoters of preserving and protecting the environment, Aldo Leopold and Juhn Muir, were Wisconsinites.

Often overlooked in protecting and preserving the world's environment, is the horrendous impact that U.S. greedy war corporations have on the Earth and the universe.  Nothing stands in the way of greed, war, and corporations who buy influence in Washington and state capitols.  Even our national parks are not immune to the greedy encroachments of our brand of greed capitalism.  But often the real victims of these war and greed corporations and individuals are the children.  These greedy war corporations carelessly and recklessly pollute our water and air, and do so worldwide,   Thousands of the world's children die each day because of greedy actions by war corporations.

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Poor Scott Walker!  It is getting harder and harder for him to hide the truth.  Yes, he has plenty of money from greed sources to spend to hide the truth.  But, darn it, it keeps leaking out.

One of the major promises "Governor" Scott Walker made to the citizens of Wisconsin was that he would bring 250,000 new jobs into the state.  How's that workin' out for you, Bunkie?

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Evergreen Disorder: Needlecasts

Conifers continue to stay in the news. Spruce had been the most noticeably affected by drought stress and disease agents up to now, but recently both Pines and Spruces are showing browning needles that affect their beauty and health. The culprit is a group of fungi collectively known as needlecasts.
This browning can develop slowly, over several years, or very rapidly, as has been the case this spring. These fungi attack the needles as they are emerging. Their spores are in the air in spring and land on the soft needles. If the needles are moistened often enough from rains or heavy dews, the spores are able to germinate and then attack the vulnerable tissue. In years when the frequency of moistening events is greater, there is more and faster browning from needlecasts. Drier springs reduce the amount of browning from needlecasts.
 This spring has provided several rain events. Many Pines and Spruce have rapidly browned as a result, and many more will show progressive browning over the course of ‘08. Their weakened state from previous years of drought stress has lowered their resistance to fungal attack and spread, further speeding the browning. Individual trees vary in their ability to resist disease, (as we do as well); therefore, the amount of browning will vary from tree to tree of the same species. Site conditions that favor fungal development such as shade, crowding, reduced air movement, etc., will have an effect also.
Infected needles show spotting or banding of discoloration, but then begin to brown, usually at the tip at first, but eventually spreading along the needle. When the needle dies, it is shed (“cast” off the tree). In Austrian and other Pines, the fungus is usually Dothistroma. In Spruces, the needlecast is usually Rhizosphaera.
Needlecasts are controlled through protective fungicide spray programs. Timing and materials can vary with the species of needlecast. In the case of evergreens, patience is needed for both control and the return of aesthetics. Spraying protects the new growth that comes on in spring. Since evergreens carry at least 5 years of needles, when these become infected, it takes at least 3 consecutive years of the spray program to collect 3 years of protected and retained needles to have beauty return.
Many evergreens are needlessly removed by saddened homeowners or ignorant tree cutters who don’t realize that they can be saved. Don’t let this happen to you! Call your Wachtel Certified Arborist for the accurate diagnosis. Also, share this newsletter with your neighbors who may be thinking of cutting down their evergreens. Especially where these are providing needed screening between yards or obstructing unwanted views, this could be tragic.


If you are looking for an honest politician in the up-coming national and local elections, forget it.  It has always been difficult to find an honest politician.  But now it is impossible.  There is simply far too much money needed to get elected.  And this, more than anything else, has caused the rise of right-wing successes in U.S. elections.  Using this as a model, right-wing groups have used it for their own political agenda worldwide.   There is simply far more money in the greed/war stash.

To an extent, right-wing success in politics via money has been a hallmark of right-wing politics at least as far back as Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.  Their right-wing political plans were allowed to come to fruition by the support of rich Americans and their corporate power.  Of course there was plenty of European corporate support for the right-wing dictators as well.  In fact, even after Hitler became the scourge of worldwide politics, the European and American bankers met regularly, usually in Switzerland, to help build the German war machine and advance greed and power capitalism, or the fascist form of it.

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The tea party, the right-wing extremists, and now even the mainstream of the Republican Party have been using lies and distortion to "prove" their case.  It is unrelenting and vicious.  It is time, finally, to call them to account.  Let me use a historical American reference to pose a question to these right-wing groups, especially those greedy corporations and wealthy demagogues who pride themselves in making puppets and stooges of the mainstream in America...

After right-wing U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin used lies, distortion, and deviousness to ruin the lives of middle-of-the-road and liberal figures in the United States, he continued his charges about many people being Communists, Socialists, etc., until finally one person had enough and let him know.

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