Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Some Are More Equal Than Others

"Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure. On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility.  No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?"
George Orwell ~ Animal Farm

There are two stories that have come up in the last few days - while different in content - have a disturbing common thread that describe best what is fundamentally wrong with the Walker Administration and why it must end as soon as possible.

First, the Journal Sentinel reported yesterday on legislation titled AB 426 aka the "Mining" bill. The long awaited and controversial bill was introduced on December 8th by the Jobs, Economy and Small Business Committee at a big press conference orchestrated by the administration. 

The bill was not given to any Democratic legislators prior to the press conference. The bill was not shown to any elected officials in the Hurley area either and when they asked to see it before the press conference, their request was denied. Left out completely were environmental organizations, they were denied a preview and none were consulted in it's drafting. 

Because the bill was introduced by committee no individual politicians were listed as the sponsors - so literally no one knew- or could know - who wrote it or what it said before it was unveiled and then introduced to the State Legislature.

Strange. Are you getting the idea that Madison Republicans were trying to keep the whole thing a bit of a secret? Us too.

It's strangeness was not lost on the public who had plenty of questions in the sole hearing provided for this important mining legislation - even though the GOP held it more than 300 miles away from the community which is expected to host Gogebic Taconite's iron mine.

The public wanted to know who wrote the bill. They knew it wasn't any Democrats and they knew it wasn't any treehuggers. The GOP legislators didn't really want to say, and that just made it worse for them.

So, the pressure started and the news is about as good as you'd imagine. Wanna guess?

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce? Check.
Gogebic Taconite? Check.
Political Contributions to the head of the Jobs Committee & Scott Walker? Checkarooni.

Naturally, as the questions have gotten more difficult to dodge the authors of the bill have also emerged...very reluctantly...Vos, Fitzgerald and little buddy, Scott Suder. Fitzgerald apparently only jumped in a few times to justify the bucks Gogebic put in his campaign coffer. 

This crew not only introduced a bill authored and approved by campaign donors who also happen to be the beneficiaries of the bill's successful passage, they purposely keep their names off it and have been oddly reluctant to reveal their specific contributions to the bill. 

Public servants y'all. 

Then just yesterday, a 3 judge panel ruled in ongoing litigation that Republican legislators must reveal information about how they drew the new redistricting lines in Wisconsin. 

Ruled - that is - for the second time. 

Democrats have taken GOP legislators to court to get what should be public information revealed and the GOP wants the people of Wisconsin to believe that information should be privileged. They think the guy who they hired (paid with public funds) to draw the maps should not have to reveal his discussions with their attorney's (paid with public funds) about how he drew maps.WTF?

Do you get the feeling that Madison Republicans are trying to keep the whole thing a bit of a secret? Us too.

Leadership is difficult and writing legislation is tedious. (Although not nearly as tedious when you have corporations and lobbyists write it for you...ALEC anyone?) If the legislation does nothing but benefit the people and the state, wouldn't you want your name on it? 

If they have nothing to hide, why are they hiding? 

The intentional cover-up of who is writing legislation - important legislation - on behalf of the people of Wisconsin is more than suspicious - it's malfeasance. This odious disdain for responsible public transparency by Robin Vos, Scott Walker and others needs to end.

Volunteer at a recall office today.