Mining – Paramilitary protection law

Chipping away at public access and control

It is all so subtle. After the GOP misread the reaction to the curtailment of collective bargaining rights in February 2012, after which even Scott Walker said he would do it differently, the republican controlled administration, Senate, Assembly and Supreme Court have adopted a more subtle approach to the reorganization of Wisconsin. In a private meeting in the governor’s mansion just before that February announcement he referred to the actions as “dropping the bomb”.

In the aftermath of “the bomb”, the GOP looked around at the damage and began a strategy of surgical strikes across the spectrum of government to undermine the control and oversight by the public of the new, ever encroaching, GOP quasi government – one bill, one law, one rule, at a time.

Now, actions are orchestrated in bits and snatches so as to seem trivial to a press that is financially strapped and satisfied to simply regurgitate the message on any given day without investigating or drawing reference to the larger picture. The elephant in the room is: privatization.

1. The transfer of ownership of property or businesses from a government to a privately owned entity.Investopedia definition

The latest surgical strike to shift power to the private sector

Oh it is all so subtle, like requiring a permit to assemble in the Capitol rotunda, like awarding vouchers for private schools, like setting up the former Department of Commerce as a “quasi” governmental agency, like curtailing collective bargaining rights, like turning a deaf ear to the encroachment of frac mines in Norhwestern Wisconsin, – all, all surgical strikes across pockets of political interests, divided islands of geography, a smattering of skirmishes hither and yon, each one seeming somewhat trivial to the whole.

Surgical Strike #278

All of the media is reporting the story from the Groth TiffanStar Tribune to NBC – another surgical strike to knock out another point of public access, another curtailment of the public right to assemble, another subtle encroachment of the public will in favor of corporate interests, another domino in the plan for privatization of the government of the people.

A pair of Republican state legislators (the usual suspects Grothman and Tiffany) introduced a bill late Friday that would allow a mining company to prevent public access to some 4,000 acres of forest surrounding its controversial proposed iron mine site in northern Wisconsin.Host Madison

This bill exempts from the requirement that recreational activities be allowed on MFL (Managed Forest Land) that is designated as open if the MFL is within a site for which a mining company has notified DNR that it intends to file an application for an iron mining permit (proposed mining site).

2013 Senate BILL 278

The regurgitation of the intreped press

State Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, and Glen Grothman R-West Bend are quoted as saying: “the move is meant to protect mine workers and Department of Natural Resources employees working at the proposed Gogebic Taconite mining site from protesters.”

Of course it would require too many column inches to reveal the back story of this surgical strike, so let’s just print the Grothman/Tiffany press release verbatim and call it journalism. Let’s not make assumptions by comparing it to the big picture of how this action relates to what is happening with frac mining in Northwest Wisconsin, or singing in the Capitol rotunda, or the move to allow vouchers for public schools, or the creation of a “quasi” department of government (WEDC) – lets not talk about the elephant in the room – privatization.

Here is the response of democrats:



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Whatever happened to the heroic 14? Whatever happened to the opposing party?

There is a back story to this latest surgical strike that goes back to the initial debate of the mining bill and can be read in full in the article: The Million Dollar Bill January 24, 2013 by Rebecca Kemble.

“Of the nearly $1 million in campaign donations to 20 Senate and Assembly mining committee members by interests backing mining deregulation, $74,000 went to Sen. Tiffany, according to Victoria McMurray who cited Wisconsin Democracy Campaign finance records. Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) was the biggest recipient, cashing in nearly half a million in campaign contributions, while Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) came in third with $52,000 in donations.”

Most news reports skirt the eco-protestorsissue of the paramilitary security force called “Bullet Proof” that was dispatched to the North woods without a license. No mention is made in this surgical strike to the other surgical strike: that the presence of the paramilitary force was against the law and no charges were filed for the infraction, while common citizens are being charged on a daily basis for singing in the Capitol rotunda.

Oh it is all so subtle.

The committee will have a public hearing on the bill Wednesday (no time or location given)






Please visit my “other blog” for news of my new play “House of Monkeys” – a musical romp through the love, life, and work of Moliere!
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