January 13, 2012 by Barbara With
On January 11, Rep. Mary Williams brought her Jobs, Economic and Small Business Committee to Hurley, WI to hear public testimony on the new mining bill. Although Williams denies association with the right-wing Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Commission (ALEC), seven of the eight Republican legislators on the Jobs committee are or have been ALEC members. [list below]
Aside from the downright embarrassing behavior on the part of Williams and her fellow GOP towards the non-pro-mining public, their obvious refusal to recognize International Treaty Rights and their racist responses to members of the Anishinaabe Nation are reason alone to kill the bill. Perhaps the most telling comment of the night came from Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-45), ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Alternate.
Dennis Grzezinski, attorney for Bad River had just admonished the committee for failing to consult with the tribes when writing the bill. “You should be ashamed and embarrassed to vote for this bill, we urge you to start over,” a relatively benign request seeing as the committee had already broken the law by not including the tribes in the negotiations. Grzezinski advised them to recognize the state’s legal obligation to consult with all the tribes when a project affects the resources that they have a right to use subject to treaties. “When you look at a bill and the series of entities who receive notice, who’s missing? The tribes! How can you do that?”
Loudenbeck, who claims to be a “certified environmental specialist” because of her work at the WMC as a “waste matchmaker,” expressed her distain for being addressed with such blatant disregard for her credentials. After demanding that she be treated with respect, she asked Legislative Council, the representative that sits on the committee to advise on the legality of the bill, to confirm that the bill does not remove Bad River Treaty Rights. The absurdity of this request was deafening, considering that the International Treaty Rights that Bad River has protection under recognize them as an independent, sovereign nation. Loudenbeck’s assumption that the mining bill could take away Bad River’s rights is the equivalent of saying that Scott Walker has the power to change the laws of Canada.
Several testified on the illegality of the bill and its relationship to ALEC, the neo-conservative legislation factory that writes bills to benefit the corporate interests of their members. Republican ALEC members go to conferences such as the one held last summer in New Orleans and sit on committees to help craft these bills. Loudenbeck, for example, was the alternate to the committee that helps write all the bills dealing with commerce, insurance and economic development. The Republicans then promise to bring home these bills to their legislatures and pass them off as their own.
According to Alecwatch.org, during the 1999-2000 legislative cycle, of the 3,100 pieces of ALEC legislation introduced based on their models, more than 450 were enacted. Add in a couple stolen national elections that allowed for nation-wide installation of corruptible Diebold voting machines, and away they went. With ALEC-backed politicians installed with their stolen votes, imagine how many ALEC-inspired bills got through in 2011 across the nation, especially the Great Lakes states where the water resides.
Nowadays, politicians are chosen for how well they will obey the ALEC-backed agenda. Corporate control at the polls gives them that arrogant swagger needed to look sick children and the poor in the eye and ignore them. Or outright break the law and pretend they aren’t, as in this case, pretending they never heard of treaty rights. Scott Walker, both Fitzgeralds, Robin Vos, Amy Loudenbeck and Mark Honadel are all perfect examples of prime ALEC politicians: willing to say and do anything, including breaking the law, to allow Cline Mines one more foot in the door to extort the state’s resources of iron ore and fresh water.
State ALEC-backed politicians also seek out city, town and village governments and enlist them to push through their agenda at record speed. We experienced this with the Ashland County Board’s rushed support of “responsible mining.” The five-member ad hoc committee is still engaged in a wild goose chase to define “responsible mining” while Jeff Fitzgerald already has announced his intention that this bill will pass the Assembly on January 19. [As of this writing, the bill's entry into the Assembly has now been delayed until the 23rd.]
The Penokee Mountains are a veritable gold mine for Cline and Koch, and every subsidiary associated with Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce (WMC). Add that Scott Walker has been stacking the DNR with WMC people and you have a lovely example of the cross pollination of the mafia-like web of extortion ALEC appears to have installed.
Add the piece about where the iron ore goes—quite possibly to make weapons to sell to other countries to use against us—which lead to the profits of Haliburton and all the other defense contractors, including Dick Cheney, Karl Rove et al. Using more media fraud, now we hear how to we have to bomb Iran. Really? Up go their profits and down goes the world, and like the Kakagon-Bad River sloughs in the Penokees, never to be returned.
If this isn’t a long-term hostile takeover of the government, I really can’t imagine what else could be.
Have no fear, the good news is coming. But we all must understand that this is the level of corruption we are dealing with. We should be shocked and awed. We should also get ready to saddle up, and join the nonviolent movement to stop this mafia-like organization from stealing our state blind. Trust me, it will be fun!
Many of us who have been watching Wisconsin government for the past year feel that this mining bill is Jeff Fitzgerald’s initiation into the ALEC-funded fold. Having already announced his intention to run for US Senate, his funders have more than likely ordered him to get this bill passed at all costs. They know full well there will be lawsuits. Meanwhile, how quickly can they move forward as if they have the right? After all, Other Brother Scott orchestrated the last steal, trying to illegally pass Act 10 in the middle of the night last March. The only thing that overturned it was the denial of election fraud in Waukesha that put Prosser back on the bench.
AB426 is Jeff FItzgerald’s Act 10. This will show his meddle—what he can to, in the face of law, to advance the Koch agenda, no matter what. With Walker, Kleefisch, Galloway, Wanguaard, Moutlon and Other Brother Scott about to be recalled, ALEC and the Kochs will need all hands on deck to keep control of Wisconsin. Judging from the actions of the ALEC-backed State Republicans in the Assembly thus far, their intention to pass the ALEC-inspired mining bill regardless of what We the People think, say or do is obvious. We are about to watch Jeff Fitzgerald and his mafia fan club commit what I would consider legislative fraud, right before our eyes. No amount of amendments they tack on to make it look legit will make up for the huge mistake of leaving the tribes out of the original negotiations. The entire bill should be killed.
If on January 23, Jeff and the Republicans pass the bill, we will see clearly who are traitors to the Wisconsin constitution. If they pass the ALEC mining bill after failing to follow the order of law and consult with the tribes, and considering all the testimony at both public hearings against this bill even from the pro-mining side, by all intent and purposes they admitted they are working for the Cline and the Kochs, not us. It’s treason. Anything short of killing the bill and the state patrol should be waiting to arrest them.
Let’s have a good old-fashion rally at the capitol, Monday, January 23, for as long as we need to. Let’s Occupy the Gallery to see what Lil Fitz and his legislative mafia-hit men and women decide to do. Come gather at our house, like the olden days, happy Badger state of yore …
Then hang around for Walker’s State of the State address on the 25th. Provided he is not arrested by then.
AMERICAN LEGISLATIVE EXCHANGE COUNCIL WISCONSIN*
ALEC Members on the Jobs, Economy, and Small Business Committee
Rep. Mike Endsley (R-26), ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Member
Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R-45), ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force Alternate
Rep. Chris Kapenga (R-33), ALEC Civil Justice Task Force Alternate
Rep. John Klenke (R-88), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Alternate
Rep. Joseph Knilans (R-44), ALEC Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force Alternate
Rep. Mike Kuglitsch, ALEC International Relations Task Force/Federal Relations Working Group Task Force Member
Rep. Warren Petryk (R-93), ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force Member