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Friday, May 27, 2011

Through the Eye of a Needle

And now a return to more traditional commentary-slash-re-reportage at the Dystopia Diaries . . .

Some unexpected good news here:  A Wisconsin judge has ruled that the passage of Governor Scott Walker's aggressive union-busting bill's, engineered late in the night without the statutorially required 24 hours notice or the quorum necessary for a budget bill, is a violation of the state's open meetings law.  An injunction is now in place to prevent the bill's enforcement.

You may recall the raucuous buildup to the April 5th Wisconsin Supreme Court election which was widely seen as a referendum on that un-precedented (and now apparently un-lawful) powergrab, an Orwellian abuse of rhetoric and procedure whose only certain purpose was to destroy any group to politcally organize outside the orbit of his Koch brothers patrons.  David Prosser, the Republican incumbent was and still is regarded as strongly in favour of Walker's dubious scheme, whereas his opponent, Madison-based JoAnne Kloppenberg ran on the ticket of the Democratic party who not unnaturally opposed it.

But if the buildup was a barn-burner, the prolonged aftermath was distinctly anti-climactic.  The 11th hour defection of one of Prosser's campaign managers seemed to deal a heavy blow to the Republican's judicial credibility.  Lazy or naive[1] commentators would have expected the hoary old chestnut about Wisconsin being the clean-government state, a la it's Robert La Follette heritage, to come into play here and cast Prosser's chances in doubt.

However, as so often happens, The Lord delivered a miracle unto his Chosen People.  One day after poll close, when current stats showed the candidates within .00001% of each other, a prodigy appeared unto Wisconsin:  an additional 14,000 votes which "mistakenly" did not appear in those original tallies, which eventually translated into a decisive 7,000+ vote "victory" for Prosser.

Now that's not the anticlimactic part;  I love a good make-believe fairy tale as much as anybody else.  No, the anticlimax came when you got to look closer at the Instrument of Divine Will that the Lord had chosen.  This was not exactly the Immaculate Conception that I had been raised to believe in as a young Roman Catholic child.  For starters, Kathy Nickolaus, the Waukesha County clerk who delivered these "votes" turned out to have been a former employee of Prosser's--who has a rather complicated "compliance" history vis-a-vis the Government Accountability Board.

Things only got more gruesome when the inevitable recall procedures got started in earnest. [2]  The control tag for the very first bag of "votes" selected for recount in Wauksha was incorrectly entered tracking log.  As this weary sham slogged on we were presented with the sight of numerous bags with loose seals or seals completely broken open. Yeah, no reason to suspect a "ballot" could have been crammed into there after certification.

That last bit was sarcasm, of course.  My breaking of the fourth wall here, if you will, isn't merely gratuitous.  I know that YOU, dear reader, are not a fucking idiot and don't need to be told outright that this is an outrage unto the very notion of electoral integrity.  But apparently Judge Maudsley, and many of the Democratic count observers need to be told that.  For they completely allowed all these votes to be entered into the ultimate and final official tally, setting the seal on Prosser's "win".  Yes, fortuna favet audaci [3], alright, and so do spineless fools who care more for casting themselves in a pleasing appearance of polite decorum than getting themselves lathered into a holy fury in the defense of virtue, a la Jesus before the money changers in the Temple.

And today the announcement that this bill's passing was procedurally unconstitutional.  Kenosha people have great reason to be proud of Representative Peter Barca, who immediately cried foul on the violation of the open meetings law, and seems to have been the driving force behind this legal challenge.  But the story is far from over. 

True, the July 12 recall elections of several republican senators (currently) appear poised to send a very strong message condemning Caudillo Walker's junta.  But I'm not personally optimistic about the odds of wresting control of the senate from Republicans--though Repbulican senate majority leader and Walker tool, Scotty "Big Fitz" Fitzgerald apparently IS frightened.  And despite the superhuman heroism of stalwarts for virtue like "Wisconsin 14" Senators Bob Wirch (Kenosha) and Chris Larson (Milwaukee), there simply are no procedural bullets available at this time to prevent Walker for steamrolling through a huge list of Christmas presents for his financial and ideological puppetmasters.

All that is assuming, however, that The Lord is unable to find any vessels as fit for his purpose as pliant as Kathy Nickolaus seems to have been.  The lack-lustre results of the GOP's own efforts to recall Democrats, give working people some reason to hope.  But then, since when have the opinions of working people counted in the eyes of the God of the Prosperity Gospel?  Jesus may have believed that it is more difficult for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle [4], but Scott Walker and David Prosser don't appear to be of the same opinion.  And then again, Jesus was just some slob from the shitty Gallilee Local777 of the Judean Carpenters Union--he didn't have nearly the money or connections of the Koch brothers.

The union-busting bill is expected to go before David Prosser's supreme court later this year.

Footnotes
[1]  Yeah, that's me: naive.  Of course the bad guys always win.  I'm over four decades on this weary old planet now, but I still can't get it through my skull that willingness to break any law,taboo, custom, oath or vow not only confers a nearly insurmountable tactical advantage over old-fashioned ideals like Honor, Justice or Truth, but is also seen as a positive virtue in a society so totally devoted to being "in it to win it".

[2]  Under Wisconsin law, any candidate may request a recount when he or she is within 0.02% of the "winning" candidate.  While 7,000 votes on a state-wide basis was within that 0.02%, the history of electoral recounts suggested that it would be very difficult, if not exactly statistically impossible, to overcome such a "lead".  Indeed, this turned out to be the case last week--though through a rather disappointing series of events as I've detailed above.

[3] Latin for "Fortune favors the bold."

[4] Mark 10:25

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