Battleground Wisconsin is Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s weekly podcast that features the latest political news from the front lines in the embattled state of Wisconsin.
COVID vaccine waiver
We discuss the partisan vote in Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee which removed 280 publicly popular items from their state budget, including BadgerCare Expansion. Does this end the budget fight or is it really just getting started? Our panel talks about a Federal court ruling this week invalidating the CDC’s eviction moratorium. What is this Trump-appointed judge thinking? We also dig into why the green transition will largely exclude people of color and women if it does not include fundamental structural reform or our economic system. We welcome Tobita Chow from People’s Action to discuss President Biden’s bold move to suspend the patents of Big Pharma corporations to get generic COVID vaccines to the rest of the world. Is this the end or just the beginning of the fight with Big Pharma to prioritize lives over profits during the worst global pandemic in a century?
Our panel discusses President Biden’s American Family Plan which makes historic investments in paid leave, child care, and tax fairness, but misses an opportunity on prescription drug affordability. Senator Tammy Baldwin and other progressive U.S. Senators are urging President Biden to approve a COVID vaccine patent waiver so all counties can have access to COVID vaccines, while QAnon Ron Johnson spent the week disputing the effectiveness of masks in slowing the spread of COVID. We welcome Eric March from Wisconsin Cannabis Activists Network (WI CAN) to talk about marijuana reform organizing at the local level in Wisconsin. We close with organizer Karen Kirsch from the Citizen Action Healthcare for All Organizing Coop who joins us to discuss her new weekly facebook live talk show which focuses on healthcare policy, focusing on Medicare For All. The show debuts next Wednesday, May 5th, 7pm – 8pm.
A verdict on America
We welcome JoAnna Bautch, Citizen Action’s Movement Politics Director, as a guest panelist. The panel responds to the guilty verdict in the Derrick Chauvin trial and puts it in perspective. We discuss the police reform recommendations from Wisconsin’s Legislative racial disparities task force which was set up by House Speaker Robin Vos to avoid taking meaningful action. The Fox con continues, with a scaled back version that is still a terrible deal for Wisconsin. Switching to the national scene, we have a great conversation on the growing bipartisan anti-China politicization in American politics with Tobita Chow, the Director of People’s Action’s Justice is Global project. We also review Citizen Action’s Climate Equity Week of Action, putting a focus on major Green New Deal opportunities at the federal, state and local level.
Structural racism demands structural solutions now
We discuss the Daunte Wright murder by Brooklyn Center police, the announcement that Jacob Blake’s shooter will face no consequences, and a state Department of Public Instruction finding that the Burlington school district is a hostile environment for Black students. We analyze the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause in the face of a new COVID variant wave. The destructive course of the right-wing Legislature continued this week, as they plowed forward with regressive COVID relief and election bills certain to be vetoed. The U.S. Senate race heated up this week with the entrance of Citizen Action Organizing Co-op member and State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski as QAnon Ron Johnson prepares to share the stage with a right winger who believes the Jan. 6 riot was ‘staged’. We close with exciting news that the Milwaukee City/County Climate Task Force made bold proposals for use of American Rescue Act money to begin climate conversion, create good jobs and dramatically reduce racial inequality.
Public schools win in a landslide
We review the huge victory for public education in the Department of Public Instruction race, and the immediate threat by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to take it out on our schools. We discuss the shockingly successful GOP effort to take down progressive school board members who follow the science and our educators by only supporting the safe reopening of schools. Is this a new Republican wedge issues for moderate voters they will uses in 2022 in state and federal races? Claire educates us on the Biden Administration’s decision to permanently end health-care denying work requirements to receive Medicaid. We talk about the COVID variants taking off with big spikes in 5 states (and counting), and the GOP use of the fraudulent vaccine passports issues to increase vaccine hesitancy, threatening to further delay heard immunity. Robert discusses Trump’s outrageous scamming of his own supporters, and its copycats in the Republican Party. We close by welcoming Hannah Faris from In These Times magazine to talk about the launch of a new rural focused reporting project called, “the Wisconsin Idea.” The project is a collaboration with People’s Action and Citizen Action of Wisconsin.
Building 21st Century Infrastructure
We dive into the exciting details of President Biden’s historic Build Back Better plan released Wednesday. Will it pass? Does it go far enough? Back in Wisconsin politics, we discuss next Tuesday’s Spring General Election and encourage listeners to volunteer this weekend for Jill Underly and local endorsed candidates. The panel evaluates the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision to overturn Gov. Evers’ mask mandate. Is there a valid legal argument or are right-wing justices acting like politicians in robes.? Claire updates us on this week’s Citizen Action Healthcare Week of Action focused on important state budget priorities. We also shine a light on Legislative Republican’s sham hearings peddling conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.