Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mining Company Aped Repeated GOP/Walker Bending, Skirting Laws

A couple of broader points should be made about GTAC mining's withdrawal today of the apparently- unlicensed assault-rifle toting guards imported to the north woods from Bulletproof Securities of Arizona to intimidate protestors and anti-mining neighbors:

Bob Seitz of Gogebic made the announcement Wednesday afternoon after being contacted by a Journal Sentinel reporter earlier in the day, though Seitz said that Gogebic had first learned of the issue from another source on Tuesday evening. 
The decision was a change from Gogebic's stance of just a day before, when Seitz said the firm was keeping Bulletproof's paramilitary-style guards at the site in spite of criticism from mine opponents. The Bulletproof guards had been operating at the mine site since July 4 without the proper state license, Seitz acknowleged.
The bigger picture is that the company obviously felt comfortable about bringing in these particular people regardless of licensing legalities because the M.O. of the Walker administration since Day One has been to skirt Wisconsin law or flat-out deny various people their rights.

Law? Hell, just go ahead and bend it all you want, post-Walker:

*  A contributor in the very early hours of Walker's administration wanted to fill a wetlands near Green Bay while his permit wapplication as under review? Screw that, said Walker - - I'll get the businessman a special law to blow up the established process.

*  Later - - public access to the State Capitol? Lock the doors.

*  Let people carry protests signs inside? Signs no bigger than a sheet of paper, held silently? Outlaw that and singing in the rotunda, too. And chalking on the sidewalks? Dispatch coppers to the offenders' homes with the charging documents, as that sounds like grounds enough to bring back the death penalty!

*  Voting rights: Hamstring them with ID requirements, fewer voting days and hours, registration limitations, special barriers for students and the like.

*  Collective bargaining? In a budgeting and partisan beef with state union employees, simply ban nearly all collective bargaining rights in place for 50 years - - and for good measure, strip them away all the way down to the local town and village level.

*  Respect for treaties with the Ojibwe over land and water? Don't even bring them to the table as a mining bill was written, with corporate people, behind closed doors. Hey, corporations are people, too, my friend.

*  Public hearing rights in mining permit procedures? 'Allow' the public its First Amendment rights - - but after a permit decision is made, and, by the way, speed up the process to evade good science with separate legislation allowing filling and incursions into wetlands on top of artificial time lines in the mining bill  - - all designed to bend the permitting process to the breaking point to facilitate mining at any cost.

*  Roe v. Wade, abortion rights and treating women equally before the law? Do away with all that, but call it helping women for an extra measure of spite.

*  Separation of church and state? Further blur in voucher-school-giddy Wisconsin by sending more public funding to more private schools in more communities far beyond the original Milwaukee experiment, and manipulate the state tax code to let parents deduct the cost of private school tuition from taxable income.

That entire First Amendment fixation is so-old-timey Wisconsin, where here the 2nd amendment lets you carry a concealed weapon or a handgun openly on your hip virtually anywhere in post-Walker Wisconsin you want.

Law is increasingly malleable here in Wisconsin; you can't blame the mining company from thinking the state wouldn't hold these armed guards to a permit requirement.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget skirting open meetings laws.

Anonymous said...

Concerned about liberties? Let's not ignore the way the big brother Obama administration operates.

Jeanne Harris Nutter said...

reading this makes me cry.

blue cheddar said...

Great post. I'd just like to note that at least 1 person held a piece of paper the size of a playing card with a heart on it in a committee meeting and he got a ticket. A woman I spoke to today said she held a postcard aloft in a gallery and got a ticket [not sure if that was the senate or the assembly gallery].

James Rowen said...

To Blue Cheddar: thanks, and nice add.

Anonymous said...

Well said!

Anonymous said...

All the little cheese curds pay frommage to The Big Limberger.


Anonymous said...

Just to be fair: The Bass Pro/Cabela's debacle started under Doyle. DNR careers were ruined/shortened because of the fallout.

James Rowen said...

About the Pro Bass issue - - my understanding is that there was a permit requested to fill the wetland for the development, and before the DNR could finish the review, Walker did an end-run and got the Legislature to grant the permission.

Bass Pro bailed out as the tenant, as it didn't want to be associated with the controversy.

What else should we know?

Anonymous said...

Bass Pro needed a Certificate of Water Quality from DNR-NE Region. Regional staff couldn't/wouldn't issue the CWQ under the existing regs and refused to sign. Madison staff signed under pressure from Matt Frank, Doyle DNR secretary. That is when all the adverse publicity gave Bass Pro some environmental conscience. The law was changed to exempt the site under Stepp/Walker. Stepp lied to staff several times during that process, claiming she knew nothing of the law change. All staff involved have since resigned.