January 26, 2012 by Barbara With
The deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.
Despite warnings for months from the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians that a mine in the Penokees will result in what amounts to genocide for their tribe, Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald (R) issued a press release on January 18th announcing his intentions to pass AB426 anyway. This controversial ALEC-inspired ferrous mining bill would open up northern Wisconsin to mountaintop removal and strip decades of environmental protections, leaving the entire Penokee watershed at risk.
In this response to President Obama pulling the plug on the Keystone pipeline, Fitzgerald sounds more like a gypsy fortune teller warning us that he is about to take the shirts off our backs and make us pay for it:
“Once again there is a clear difference between the lack of leadership in Washington and our commitment to job creation in Wisconsin. The President has decided to cave to extreme environmental special interests, turning his back on an affordable energy source and a chance at creating 20,000 American jobs. At the same time, we will be passing a mining bill next week in the Assembly that will create thousands of high paying jobs for generations to come.”
Banging the empty and fictitious Jobs Jobs Jobs drum, gangsta Fitzgerald failed to mention the results of the public testimony on the bill. In the months that followed Bad River’s declaration last September, two hearings took place, the first in West Allis, which resulted in 224 against and 132 for AB426; at the second in Hurley on January 11, after 12 hours of grueling testimony 62% of the votes were against the bill that would destroy years of environmental protections. But more than that, passage of this bill would result in breaking International Treaty Law.
According to Dennis Grzezinski, Attorney for Bad River, the tribes must be consulted any time legislation concerns the quality of the resources on lands ceded by the tribe to the US that will affect the resources of Bad River. “We urge you to start over,” Grzezinski pleaded with the Jobs Committee in Hurley not to break the law any farther than they already have by crafting the bill without consulting them. “You need to set up a permitting process and procedure that recognizes the duty and legal obligation of the state to consult with the tribes—all of them—whenever a project potentially affects the resources that they have a right to use subject to treaties.”
Fitzgerald’s blatant slap in the face to hundreds of years of International Treaty Rights is clearly another violation of the law that Wisconsin Republicans, under the leadership of Scott Walker, have been allowed to perpetrate without consequence. Ever since March 9, 2011 when they tried to pass Act 10 in private in order to destroy unions, Republicans have been using their majority status to break laws. From the two restraining orders they ignored ordering them to reopen the capitol when they illegally locked it down, to running fake democrats in the recall primaries last summer, the majority party has used its status to lock-step extortion-vote into law bills that clearly illegally violate constitutional rights, ignore the will of the people and protect the corporations.
The question becomes, how can Fitzgerald decide to pass AB426 with so much public dissent and in the face of breaking the law? Because in the hostile takeover of our government, a precedent has been set.