Today marks the last day of the (ir)regular session of the Wisconsin State Legislature; good riddance to bad rubbish indeed! While halfway through lent, this lapse Catholic is glad the state is giving up Republican mandates for a short while at least. Plus spring has sprung, and with it that irrepressibly burning eternal. Keeping with the lenten theme, the days are longer (lengthened, you might even say), the sun brighter and warmer. With recalls soon to be set, there is light for sure at the end of this tunnel that has been the yearlong winter of our discontent, and hope outshining the audacity of dopes.
I merely wish to reflect upon a few inconsistencies worth a moment or two of thought, referendum-style…
WHEREAS the Republican Party of Wisconsin came into power after the 2010 election promising to turn up its nose to and turn down the “boondoggle” enterprise that was $810 million dollars of free grant money from the federal government in order to develop a high-speed rail system between the state’s two largest population corridors, Milwaukee and Madison, asserting in no uncertain terms over and over that the state is broke, all the while dishing out hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to large companies and corporations to set up shop in the state — except for Talgo, the Spanish manufacturer of the Amtrak trains that run from Milwaukee to Chicago, with which the state has broken its contract; so in addition to potentially having to compensate Talgo for breach of contract, the state will have to pony up a minimum of $53 million dollars to store newly built trains that will call none aboard — which money had been already included in the federal stimulus subsidy — rather than put them into use, while continuing to maintain trains 20-to-30 years old;
WHEREAS the new conservative “leadership” promised to focus like a laser on jobs, Wisconsin is dead last in job creation across the country…in just one year;
WHEREAS the Walker Administration fetishized a mantra of being “Open for Business,” within weeks of being sworn in not one but two Chicago-based wind energy companies, Invenergy and Midwest Wind Energy, decided to take their business elsewhere after already breaking ground in Brown and Calumet Counties, with a direct loss of $225-$245 million in direct investment to the state from the latter company, while the former would have generated $600,000 annually in municipal revenues to Brown County and four host townships and more than $600,000 annually to host landowners and their neighbors (all according to the Wisconsin Energy Business Association), to say nothing of Boldt Construction’s estimates that installing one turbine alone takes some 1,300 hours of labor to do, and a 100-turbine project would support a payroll of over $10 million; and
WHEREAS the wind-siting rules and regulations for the state — PSC128 — had taken two entire years of hard work, compromise, and consensus, paving the way forward for future wind power development and clean, sustainable energy, all of that has been lost, the door shut on its face as fast as a high-speed train, if Republicans today vote today to permanently suspend PSC128 (kindly click here to take action on this);
WHEREAS the Republican Party put all its job-creation chips on a controversial and fast-tracked rewrite of the state’s mining application process for a sweetheart deal to Gogebic Taconite (GTAC), a Florida-based company owned and operated by a billionaire who made his largesse through dirty coal, some of the members had the gall to accuse the Democrats (and one lone Republican dissenter, Sen. Dale Schutz) of putting “politics over job creation” (Sen. Scott Fitzgerald — who also put this press statement out: “Creating jobs is our top focus, and we have made effort after effort to compromise and come to a bill that can pass both the Senate and Assembly. We will keep working toward that goal. Job creation should always come before politics” — unless its renewable energy projects), while Sen. Alberta Darling, Madam co-chair of the powerful Joint Finance Committee — the same body that nixed the trains mentioned above — was so brazen as to claim, “States all over the country right now are competing to attract businesses. And for us to say ‘get lost’ is outrageous to the growth of the economy in the state and to jobs. That’s our priority”; and “To turn down an opportunity like this in this economy to me is devastating. It’s going to affect real people’s lives in Wisconsin”; not to mention Bob Seitz, so-called “advocate” for GTAC, who warned with apparently no conscious irony, “People are watching to see whether Wisconsin is serious about making changes to bring in jobs and growth. This will affect businesses we don’t even know about.” You got at least that much right, pal;
And WHEREAS the Republican Party indulges itself in the purple prose of our forefathers and liberty, they would like to amend the state constitution to take away the people’s right to recall an elected official, unless said poor bastard has been charged with a serious crime or if there is found to be probable cause that s/he violated the state code of ethics, thus in effect recalling recalls (would that we could amend the definition of “ethical”!); and
WHEREAS the State Assembly moved to do this at almost exactly the same time as Governor Scott Walker himself took state election law into his own hands by setting up a legal defense fund, even though you’re really not supposed to be able to do that until or unless:
“the government official who is being investigated for or charged with a violation of campaign finance laws or prohibited election practices to establish a ‘legal defense fund’ for expenditures supporting or defending the candidate while that person is being investigated for, or charged with, or convicted of a violation o f those chapters,” according to the Government Accountability Board; ergo, you got a pretty good hunch the shit’s gonna hit the fan, otherwise one wouldn’t go through the trouble, or cost, of setting up a legal defense fund in the first place;
And WHEREAS the Republican Party of Wisconsin sold the state’s soul with a bait-and-switch bribe of religious zeitgeist and transparent agitprop pushing a cultural war under the guise of economic emergency and job creation, and has violated state open meeting laws and parliamentary procedures while in legislative session, and has done every damn thing imaginable to demonstrate that the state motto oughta be “Backwards!” and not “Forward,” whether it’s our proud history and heritage of labor and collective bargaining, our environmental reforms and legacy, our education successes and public schools, our citizen-friendly elections, the commonwealth and welfare safety nets for our most vulnerable friends and families, and the consecration of both women’s and native people’s rights, and woefully so much more (it would exceed the limits of concentration and credulity to fully inventory); and
WHEREAS Wisconsin was not broke until Walker himself broke us,
BE IT RESOLVED that come the following months of spring cleaning and swept change, the re-awoken progressive spirit of Wisconsin shall resurrect and cast its cold shackles and dark days of Republican majority rule and the tyrannical black eye its given our reputation, and reclaim through recall the chamber of the Senate and Governor’s office, yea hallelujah!