Monday, June 13, 2011

Autocratic Repubs ready to ram through budget

The anti-democratic bent of the Repubs in the state legislature gets clearer and clearer.  They got elected, right, but not to do what they're doing - to gut government in a way that benefits corporate interests but undermines the well-being of kids, the elderly, the poor, workers, the unemployed...

They hate democracy.  They believe it stops at the ballot box, even when they did not make their intentions clear to voters, many of whom did not know what they were voting for. But, hey, we got their vote, now it's time for citizens to stay home and just shut up.

But Wisconsinites love their messy democracy, and this has been a messy year indeed. Much of what the Repubs intend to do with this budget is deeply unpopular and the pushback has been very strong, with record throngs in the streets even through cold, snow, wind, and rain, and now camped out in tents in Madison's new 'Walkerville.' The protests have shown how deep the divisions are among us, the extent of the competing visions for the State of Wisconsin.

Are we giving our state away to corporate interests for them to exploit for the enrichment of their companies, stockholders and CEOs, in the name of jobs - as if this is the only way to create work, by destroying our natural resources, gutting worker rights, easing pollution regulations, forcing lower wages without benefits in the private sector (think Harley Davidson, Mercury Marine, Kohler, etc. who forced new contracts on its employees with the threat of leaving the state altogether), and then easing the tax burden on these same special monied interests who are being handed the state's economy on a silver platter?

Or do we want a state which government has as its priority the health and well-being of all its citizens and the protection and defense of Wisconsin's many natural gifts, its beauty, the sheer pleasure of living here? Do we want a state whose quality of life is available to all, in which citizens care about each other and the state of the environment in which we all live?

In Madison right now, one vision is bent on crushing the other. And because of the outcry, because of the messiness of vocal opposition from citizens who feel empowered to express themselves as their world is being threatened, Repubs are trying to use autocratic measures in order to stifle that voice. They did it on the collective bargaining law, the one that remains in court but will likely become law no matter what the court decides because these guys will just pass it again, and they are doing it this week on the budget bill.

A friend emailed me this morning with info on just exactly how these Repubs intend to proceed.  Here's the message:
The Assembly Organization Committee has placed the state budget into an "Extraordinary Session" scheduled to begin 11 a.m. Tuesday June 14th.
Extraordinary Sessions are very rare and seldom used for the Budget. In an Extraordinary Session action can not be postponed, points of order are decided within one hour, the daily calendar is effective immediately upon posting and does not have to be distributed, motion to advance legislation and message it to the other house only required a majority vote of those present, the session can be expanded to include any other legislation, including new legislation (financial martial law?) and "No notice of hearing before a committee shall be required other than posting on the legislative bulletin board, and no bulletin of committee hearing shall be published.
Also, 300 additional police are being brought in to deal with protestors and it would not be at all surprising to find provocateurs in the crowd trying to stir things up.

Democracy, Repubs are not your friend.  But autocracy? oh yea, most definitely. One party rule? Absolutely!

No comments:

Post a Comment