Thursday, December 6, 2018

The WI power grab bill serves owners, donors & a long-departed godfather

The WI GOP's power grab bill is many things - - from rigging the game to poisoning the well to taking care of damaged egos  - - but it's also just another service to donors, special interests and Republican long-range planning.

In other words, acknowledging and strengthening standard Republican operating procedure, so let's begin by following the money and its purposes to a perhaps forgotten but significant beginning, noting that:

*  The road-builders get taken care of with changes that throw them more projects by disallowing local governments to do the work in-house, and removing other projects from federally requirements from wage rates to environmental studies to women and minority anti-discrimination protection.

*  Foxconn and other projects funded or to be considered by the Walker-created and previously-chaired Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation get taken care of by giving control of the WEDC to the GOP-controlled legislature and by taking changes that to protect it from gubernatorial (so long as Evers is there) changes and impacts.

*  The WMC gets taken care of with changes that put various environmental resources and what been their oversight in the public interest in the pockets of GOP-controlled legislators, committees and processes.

And, of course, should any challenges get to the State Supreme Court, the WMC has already helped tilt that playing fiend in its direction by contributing heavily to justices in majority there and even helped revise the justices' code of ethics to allow justices to hear cases even if their campaigns had taken donations from any of the litigants.

History of that State Supreme Court maneuvering, here:
Yes, you read that right:
In response to [a tougher, independent proposal], the Wisconsin Realtors Association (“Realtors”) and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (“WMC”) filed separate petitions.[4] The petitions sought to amend the Judicial Code of Conduct to provide that recusal is not required in a proceeding based solely on any endorsement or receipt of a lawful campaign contribution from a party or entity involved in the proceeding. The petitions also sought clarification that a judge does not need to seek recusal where it would be based solely on a party in the case sponsoring an independent expenditure or issue advocacy communication in favor of the judge.
In a 4-3 decision,[5] the Wisconsin Supreme Court denied the League’s petition and adopted the Realtors and WMC’s petitions. In a dissenting opinion, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, joined by Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justice N. Patrick Crooks, criticized the majority’s decision to adopt the rules calling it “a dramatic change to our judicial code of ethics.”[6] In particular, the dissent took issue with the majority’s decision to adopt petitions “proposed by special interest groups.”[7] Dissatisfied with the majority’s decision, the dissent urged the Legislature to “engage in further study of judicial recusal.”[8]
And has its roots in a plan laid out nearly a half-century ago by Republican attorney Lewis Powell to protect and institutionalize corporate America - - laid out just a few weeks prior to his elevation to the US Supreme Court.

Much of Powell's strategy was to weaken the citadels of higher education and to fund overtly-conservative institutions, so hello to The Heritage Foundation, to Americans for Prosperity, to massive cuts to the UW system leveled by Walker to discourage research which Vos openly mocked, to the recent wipeout of long-standing humanities degrees and faculty at UW-Stevens Point, and to the creation of the business-friendly Tommy Thompson Center on Public Leadership on the UW-Madison Campus.

Fitzgerald, Vos 

and Walker, though probably unaware of who Powell was and how significant a godfather he's been to generations of Republican bellhops- -  are walking down a well-trodden, one-way path now crowded by the likes of State Supreme Court Walker-appointee Dan Kelly, or the defeated Attorney General Brad Schimel just handed a state judgeship, and by Trump's two newest US Supreme Court nominees also discovered and elevated through Powell's blueprint.

They and others are there to protect the donor and owner class, and when needed, will find a way to legalize their patrons' programs and privileges, even if  means validating moves like the FitzWalkerVos power play regardless of how toxic the smell.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The one thing that is going to bit the Republicans in the backside is that Evers gets the budget veto. Line item and Vanna White. They'll never get the votes to override. Never.