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For Wisconsinites, farming isn’t just a large part of our economy; it’s a way of life. Farming is the center of many of our rural communities here in western Wisconsin. Farmers shop on main street, send their kids to the local public schools, fill our plates and grow local job opportunities. Our landscape is dotted with family farms, and many of our families share roots that run deep with farming heritage.

Yet farming is a rapidly disappearing profession, as low commodity prices and tariffs undercut earning potential and rapidly growing factory farms put small family farms out of business. This past year alone, more Midwestern farmers declared bankruptcy than they did at the start of the economic recession. Put frankly, the economic news is bleak for farmers.

That’s why it is so distressing that in the 80 minutes of the State of the Union address this week, President Trump failed to even mention the word “farmers,” let alone discuss their tremendous economic burden.

You might suspect that this was a simple oversight, but in a speech in which every word matters, Trump’s omission is telling. Rather than a serious roadmap for how we can steer our country forward, the president offered campaign slogans and bleak one liners.

Farming was the most notable oversight of the night, but much of President Trump’s speech glossed over rural America’s most significant challenges. Public schools, the opioid epidemic, senior care, clean water, climate change, and mental health services were all strikingly absent from the evening.

Instead, we were subject to the same old talking points that have so far lacked action. In the two years since President Trump has taken office, where has the action on infrastructure investment been? How about the long promised paid parental leave and child care tax credits? Or more resources to combat the opioid epidemic?

This was a campaign rally, rather than a strategic plan. But what we desperately need right now is a strategic plan that serves all Americans, especially those living in rural America.

That’s exactly why I’m excited by the alternative vision for America outlined this week — The Green New Deal. Named for the bold reforms enacted by Congress in the 1930s to alleviate the impact of The Great Recession, The Green New Deal seeks to mitigate the impacts of climate change by investing in American workers, green technologies and improved public services. The Green New Deal is just what rural Wisconsin (and America) needs to grow and thrive.

Take farming. The Green New Deal calls for “working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers” to invest in technology that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, to support family farms, to improve soil health and to ensure that our food system guarantees universal access to healthy foods. Many farmers are already working hard to do this on their own, but the continued economic hardship many farmers are facing makes it difficult to get by, let alone make massive investments in farm technologies.

When our farmers prosper, we all prosper.

The Green New Deal is about building resiliency in your own community, regardless of where you live. It’s about amassing the resources of the federal government to benefit the many, and not just the few. It’s about ensuring that rural Americans have just as much of a shot at a prosperous economic future as urban and suburban Americans do. And it’s about working together to combat one of the most pressing issues of our time — climate change.

Tremendous challenges require bold action. The time to invest in America’s future is now. Instead of more tax breaks for the wealthy or a wall on our southern border, what if we instead re-imagined what is possible for our communities and our futures? Time and time again our nation has met insurmountable challenges with courage. With the clock ticking on climate change, and time running out for too many working families, will we have the political courage to do what is necessary?

Besides, what have we got to lose? At worst, we have cleaner water, more efficient infrastructure, stronger farms and healthier communities. That’s a deal I’d take any day.

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Wren Keturi is a communications professional who lives in Chippewa Falls.


(3) comments


Let me get this straight...
To help the farmers you are supporting “the green new deal”
A ridiculous boondoggle cooked up by a woman who’s resume is “l live in the Bronx and bartend in Manhattan”
It’s sort of like suggesting we put Zsa Zsa Gábor in charge of the farm bill.
How exactly will Wisconsin farmers “cooperate” with Ocasio Cortez (a women who wants to cut out meat and dairy from the American diet)?
I bet that her bovine methane green house gas emissions reduction plan pretty much consists of eliminating dairy farmers..
pandering to the local dairy farmers, while simultaneously promoting the agenda of a politician who actually hates cheese...

Mr Moe

Every time I read one of your comments on a column in the Herald, SRLaBelle, I always end up feeling even more compelled by the argument against which you are setting yourself.

I voted for Wren last Fall because she seems quite bright, energetic, and articulate. In contrast, in over 18 years of knowing him, I've never heard Rob Summerfield get a completely formed thought out of his mouth that was both accurate and sensible, nor gotten the impression he has any real zeal for the work of representing us in Madison...

And while I almost never agree with every part of the things she has to say, some of Wren's best points have been driven home to me this Winter by your troll-ish attempts at rebuttal.

So here are five basic concepts with which you need to familiarize yourself before entering into a public debate with someone - consequentially embarrassing yourself and, worse, and confusing people.

Note: I've included examples of some of your more glaring transgressions. I've also chosen several that overlap, so you can see that your arguments don't fall to just one logical fallacy but, usually, multiple.

1) Slippery Slope Fallacy - This is when you take a suggestion and extrapolate out to an improbable extreme... examples: "her bovine methane green house gas emissions reduction plan pretty much consists of eliminating dairy farmers" or "... that pathway leads only to fraud, corruption and failure"

2) Ad Hominem - This is when you attack the person because you lack the ability to adequately and fully attack their premise or argument... you are remarkably susceptible to this one, as too many of your previous comments show, and it is revealing of the character of a simple bully: "Adorable", "Silver Tongued". "Union Priestess", etc... To be clear, if you simply made bad arguments, I wouldn't be writing this. But you are a bully, too, and that can not be overlooked.

3) Straw Man - This is when you make a false equivalent between the argument you are trying to defeat and a different argument that you know you can win, and which isn't being defended anyways... you consistently do this by first equivocating two differing topics, like climate change with the Wisconsin teacher's union, or democratic socialism with communistic dictatorships, or the benefits to farming communities offered in the Green New Deal with government enforced veganism... and then expound against the latter, which you have chosen, rather than the former, which is the point which has actually been made.

4) Bifurcation Fallacy - This is when you assert that there are only two options available, and is a manipulative tool to polarize the audience. Again: "her bovine methane green house gas emissions reduction plan pretty much consists of eliminating dairy farmers" or, and this is one of my favorites because it includes so many of these fallacies: "On global warming, it is difficult to envision a “solution” run by the bureaucracy which will accomplish anything beyond a sort of carbon tyranny, featuring carbon czars doling out carbon favors to their friends, families and political allies...
The chance of any sort of success is nebulous and uncertain but the costs will be certain and born exclusively by the middle class... it is a recipe for world wide tyranny"

5) Red Herrings - This is when you bring in a distraction from the argument and present it as somehow relevant, but is in no way on topic and is only brought up because you find it safer and easier to address... eg: "The fact that you, the communications director for the Madison office of a teacher’s union, wholeheartedly embrace the notion of a carbon tax administered by some nebulous combination of government bureaucrats is not particularly surprising." or "And college tuition... rising at ten times the rate of inflation... our institutions of higher learning seem to have morphed into shameless dens of thieves... places where, too often, critical thinking is frowned upon and conformity trumps originality."

I hope you can look at this as constructive criticism, SRLaBelle. Mostly, however, I hope you can stop using the comment section of thoughtfully written opinion pieces in our community's small, local paper as a place to be a bully towards people with whom you could otherwise respectfully and reasonably disagree.


“Mr. Moe”,
You call me a bully,
Or as you put it exactly...
“ “your previous comments show, and it is revealing of the character of a simple bully: " Adorable", "Silver Tongued". "Union Priestess", etc... To be clear, if you simply made bad arguments, I wouldn't be writing this. But you are a bully, too, and that can not be overlooked. “”

Wow, I’m a “simple bully”
Imagine if the world were filled with “ “simple bullies” like me...
The horrible savagery of bullies calling one another “adorable” or “silver tongued” ...
I that I lived in a world where people would refer to me as “adorable and silver tongued”..... I hear your rage Moe but how exactly does calling someone silver tongued constitute “bullying”?
And “adorable”? She is adorable, I watched a candidate’s forum where she was being adored by her fellow candidates, they were gushing over her, they adore her, because she is adorable..
How does that constitute bullying?
I listened to her handle questions, she has clear communicative skills, she is, after all a communications director of a union.... how is the moniker “silver tongued” in any way inaccurate or disrespectful? It is a compliment, how does it constitute “bullying”?
You yourself refer to her, in your post, as “quite bright, energetic, and articulate” how is that quantitatively different than “adorable and silver tongued”? Are you also bullying her?
And she is (as close as I can tell) a union communications director, working for the Madison office of the American federation of Teachers..
Gosh Moe, how many people in all of Chippewa county get a monthly pay check from a Madison union office..
That’s rarified, special..
You on the other hand are clearly a bully..
For no particular reason, you casually insult a man by saying ......”in over 18 years of knowing him, I've never heard Rob Summerfield get a completely formed thought out of his mouth that was both accurate and sensible”
What a statement to utter,,,
It makes you see like an idiot
It the sort of stuff that spews from the mouth of an arrogant and yet stupid person..
That you can utter such a statement without noticing the irony of you simultaneously calling me a bully is revealing..
As far as the logical consistency of my rhetoric goes.. I just re-read my comments on Wren’s opinion pieces, I think that they hold up just fine..
Your inability to assail any of my arguments has left you scratching at the edges, declaring me a bully in an effort to cast aspersions (when a read of your post clearly identifies you as the actual bully, unable to refrain from a senseless insult of Rob Summerfield even as your were busy excoriating me about supposedly slighting Wren, think about that “Moe”, you are such a weasel that you can’t help but insult people)
I suspect that you are the sort of person who becomes emotional and upset when discussing politics... because you can’t really defend your points of view (Moe, the dirty little secret is, these aren’t really your points of view, somebody, somewhere along the way, found your empty head and stuffed it full of nonsense so now when anybody points that out, by questioning your opinions, it creates cognitive dissonance... and upsets you)
The fact that you need to post anonymously says it all, you are the one who is ashamed, ...
You are the one who is afraid to put your name on your retort.
It says it all about you, you are an empty cup and you know it...
That you feel insulted and aggrieved by a comment on a opinion piece and yet are muted to an anonymous spew of insults makes me feel sorry for you, life is very short... cast aside your fear, stand up and speak, allow the world to wash over you and reset you, you literally have nothing to lose.
If I were Wren I would be ashamed of the lilylivered anonymous support you offer.
It’s more menacing than meaningful...
But don’t get me wrong Moe, I love that you read my comments, it’s sort of cool to discover that somebody actually did

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