Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Part Deux

Ed at Gin and Tacos gets into the less-discussed weeds of Scott Walker’s budget [pdf].

Apparently, governor Walker likes his union-busting to come with a side of crony-capitalism:

16.896 Sale or contractual operation of state−owned heating, cooling, and power plants. (1) Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).

Ed writes:

If this isn’t the best summary of the goals of modern conservatism, I don’t know what is. It’s like a highlight reel of all of the tomahawk dunks of neo-Gilded Age corporatism: privatization, no-bid contracts, deregulation, and naked cronyism. Extra bonus points for the explicit effort to legally redefine the term “public interest” as “whatever the energy industry lobbyists we appoint to these unelected bureaucratic positions say it is.”

In case it isn’t clear where the naked cronyism comes in, remember which large, politically active private interest loves buying up power plants and already has considerable interests in Wisconsin. Then consider their demonstrated eagerness to help Mr. Walker get elected and bus in carpetbaggers to have a sad little pro-Mubarak style “rally” in his honor. There are dots to be connected here, but doing so might not be in the public interest.

I wonder if Walker was hoping all these protests would deflect scrutiny from the rest of the budget?

PS – hat tip commenter SiubhanDuinne in the comments to my last post.

Also, more at Rortybomb.






78 replies
  1. 1
    t says:

    Didn’t the protests stop the ramming through of this bill so that the people could actually review it before it got turned into law?

  2. 2
    jwb says:

    “I wonder if Walker was hoping all these protests would deflect scrutiny from the rest of the budget?”

    No, I think if Walker was playing the con, he would have compromised. Instead this just shows how brazen they are. They are reaching for everything.

  3. 3
    martha says:

    Why E.D., that would be YES!

    I’m trying to figure out who/how to attack this angle within our state without taking anyone’s eye off the ball. I’m going to get in touch with the Sierra Club, who is usually in the middle of lawsuits with the utilities. In this case, other intervenors that you might think would be allies are likely coopted. We really are alone. (We, the people, that is…)

  4. 4
    jwb says:

    @martha: “In this case, other intervenors that you might think would be allies are likely coopted.”

    Tell us more.

  5. 5
    The Dangerman says:

    So, at what point does Madison start looking like Cairo Tripoli? Seriously, don’t the Powers That Be understand that fucking the “many” in the interests of the “few” ends badly?

  6. 6
    martha says:

    @t: Yes, which is one of the huge reasons we are incredibly grateful to the “Wisconsin 14”

  7. 7
    E.D. Kain says:

    @t: yes. But I can see how this could have also become a diversion if the protests had not been greeted with so much public support.

  8. 8
    minachica says:

    @martha: Exactly. I think Walker and co. really thought this would pass last Wednesday. It would have been a done deal by now.

    ::shudders::

  9. 9
    kdaug says:

    And when the media are owned by said billionaires, one marvels at how the story isn’t told…

  10. 10
    martha says:

    @jwb: Well, many of the business groups that represent businesses and manufacturers, such as Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group are either totally (WMC) or likely (WIEG) in Walker’s back pocket. Which means they’re useless to advocate for this. WIEG might be swayed on the cost impact issues for their industrial customers, but I’m not sure I’d count on it. And, utility lobbying groups…well, we don’t know what deals he cut with any or one of the utilities.

    So, we’ve got to rely on the environmental groups and the Sierra Club has done a lot of work in this area. But there are more.

  11. 11
    joel hanes says:

    This factoid from Madison Guy’s Letter From Here blog demonstrates WI Gov. Walker’s utter lack of good faith :
    Walker has nothing against highly-paid public employees (if they’re non-union and his buddies)
    Far from it. As Milwaukee County Executive he even gave them big raises while dealing with a budget crisis in which hundreds of public workers would be laid off. And he bypassed traditional County Board approval to do so. That was two years ago last fall. Sound familiar?

    Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker wants a 26% pay raise for his chief of staff, former Ald. Tom Nardelli, while bypassing traditional County Board approval in quietly issuing large pay raises over the summer to several other top aides.

    Nardelli would get the biggest pay increase of top-tier county officials, a nearly $20,000 raise to $95,000 a year. Seven county administrators also scored increases of up to 12.5%.

  12. 12
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    :: pout :: No hat tip, ED? I pointed to the G&T piece hours ago in your earlier thread (also, briefly, over at Kay’s place).

    It’s just stunningly, brazenly ballsy. The Kochs and their Suckers must really think we’re stupid (and if we let this opportunity slide by, we are).

    Cheers.

  13. 13
    jaleh says:

    This is interesting:

    Only five states do not allow collective bargaining for educators. Those states and their ranking on ACT/SAT scores: South Carolina, 50th; North Carolina, 49th; Georgia, 48th; Texas, 47th; Virginia, 44th. Wisconsin, with its collective bargaining for teachers, is 2nd.

  14. 14
    rikyrah says:

    y’all are righteous in your blogging about this clown.

  15. 15
    BGinCHI says:

    We are at a tipping point here, folks. We have talked about this before, but this utility business in conjunction with union-busting is not a matter of debate.

    The gloves are off and this is not about “governing philosophy” or economic theory on the part of the GOP.

    They are moving to take democratic politics, social justice, and middle class living off the American table.

  16. 16
    martha says:

    Also, the legislation as written specifies that the plants, when “sold” would bypass regulation by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. Lovely.

  17. 17
    jwb says:

    @martha: Ok, I see which set of groups you are talking about. I’d agree. The business groups decided a while back that they need to stick together. I read somewhere about how business lobbyists in one state get together to draft legislation and these sessions work just like the “real” legislature, with each group allocated votes and so forth and everyone agreeing to support whatever legislation comes out of the session. Then that legislation is taken to the “real” legislature for passage. I don’t know how common that practice is, but I wish I’d bookmarked the article.

  18. 18
    BGinCHI says:

    @jaleh: Nice. That’s really telling, especially as a larger reflection on how states invest in education and basic services.

  19. 19
    stuckinred says:

    @BGinCHI: You realize that the current chancellor of the University System of Georgia is the former head of Wisconsin Power and Light?

    Davis took office in early 2006. Previously, he had served as chairman of the board of Alliant Energy Corporation – an energy holding company with $8.3 billion in total assets and annual operating revenues of $3 billion at that time – since 2000. Davis joined Alliant in 1998 as president and chief executive officer. He retired from his dual roles as president and CEO in July 2005, and retained the chairman’s post until his move to the University System.

    Prior to the creation of Alliant Energy, Davis served as president and CEO of WPL Holdings, from 1990 to 1998. From 1978 to 1990, he rose through the senior management ranks at Wisconsin Power and Light Company, starting as vice president of finance and ending as CEO and president.

  20. 20
    Zifnab says:

    Extra bonus points for the explicit effort to legally redefine the term “public interest” as “whatever the energy industry lobbyists we appoint to these unelected bureaucratic positions say it is.”

    There are dots to be connected here, but doing so might not be in the public interest.

    I see what you did there.

  21. 21
    JPL says:

    If you know someone in the media, now is the time to call. Wisconsin citizens should call or e=mail their reporters.

  22. 22
    E.D. Kain says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: remedied, sorry.

  23. 23
    martha says:

    @stuckinred: oh yes. no comment on a public forum :D

  24. 24
    stuckinred says:

    @martha: Did you know students are “customers”?

  25. 25

    Rich, powerful people don’t like unions because they allow the poor and middle class to be treated, for a moment, like rich, powerful people.

  26. 26
    El Cid says:

    Mexico’s right wing President Calderon has also been having a good time privatizing state services like electric utilities without bidding, and these being handed to chosen elites.

    Of course, producing less efficiently and saving no real money and paying workers less with fewer benefits.

    Freedom! Free markets!

  27. 27
    Superluminar says:

    Whilst this debate is undoubtably important, I feel that no one here has mentioned another debate that I have come accross from time to time, namely the argument occasionally advanced that the humble fetus is the equivelent of the oppressed farmworker. Would it be possible that the current Front Pager could enlighten us on this vital point as I have not seen any discussion of this here in the past few weeks. Many thanks in advance.

  28. 28
  29. 29
    jwb says:

    @stuckinred: In Texas, Rick Perry wants to sell these student-customers $10K degrees, which would be a great scam, because the only way you could do it at that cost would be to make the actual education worthless so our student-customers would in essence be buying a very expensive piece of paper. The only question is whether that would actually trigger a race to the bottom.

  30. 30
    jwb says:

    @Superluminar: Doubling as m_c, I see.

  31. 31
    burnspbesq says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Seriously, don’t the Powers That Be understand that fucking the “many” in the interests of the “few” ends badly?

    Where is the historical evidence of that ever happening in the United States?

  32. 32
    Hunter Gathers says:

    I remember reading (can’t recall where, though) that the bill also contains a provision for Walker to take complete control of Wisconsin’s Medicaid programs. Which, IMO, he will ‘privatize’ in order to ‘balance’ the state’s budget. The utilities provision will do to Wisconsin what Enron did to California, and gutting medical care for the poor and elderly will turn Wisconsin into Galt’s Gulch of the North. But remember, everybody, that liberals are the real radicals here, and the GOP is just doing the will of the people.

  33. 33
    burnspbesq says:

    @Superluminar:

    Laser focus on the irrelevant. Congratulations.

  34. 34
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @stuckinred:

    Did you know students are “customers”?

    Of the very many things that appall me about the state of higher education in this country, this may be at the top. However, having served time at a business school may have helped produce that level of disgust.

  35. 35
    Corner Stone says:

    @J. Michael Neal: Have you considered a Buddhist Monastery?

  36. 36
    PurpleGirl says:

    I haven’t worked in utilities regulation in a decade or so and I’m sure many details of the field have changed. But I am very confident saying that if they do sell the municipal power systems to private owners, rates and, therefore, utility bills will go up. When I worked as a paralegal, the clients I worked for were in CA, AZ and NYS. And as deregulation began I could see the CA debacle coming. The long-sought grail of electric utility customers has been stable and lower rates. They were sold a bill of goods that deregulation and hence competition would do that. Didn’t quite work out that way. I lost track of the sector when I began working for an educational non-profit but I know, in my soul, that this will not bode well for the customers of the municipal systems.

    ETA: Increased competition might have lowered rates, but would not have lead to the profits needed to induce investment from new sources. A contradiction there that the thinkers couldn’t quite recognize.

  37. 37
    NobodySpecial says:

    @J. Michael Neal: I will say, however, that as an older student, it’s always interesting for the teacher to give THAT SPEECH about attendance and doing homework. Nothing rivets the student quite like that moment he realizes that the teacher doesn’t HAVE to be nice to him and he’s not the center of the universe.

  38. 38
    RoyG says:

    Not to mention that Walker guided the appointment of the Stephen Fitzgerald, 68, father of Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald to head the State Patrol:

    http://www.standup4wis.org/?p=992

  39. 39
    martha says:

    @jwb: now that’s not fair at all! m_c does make some sense every once in a while, she’s just really irritating when she’s beating on EDK. But I must say, I now like cudlip as an insult, so there’s that.

  40. 40
    Stillwater says:

    I guess the comparison of Walker to Mubarak was true after all.

  41. 41
    Martin says:

    Hate to point this out – but the GOP is going to win this fight. They have majority control and the governors seat. Short of a recall effort breaking out from this, or a fair number of Republicans breaking ranks (which, if WI state politics is anything like CA state politics will likely necessitate switching parties) they’re going to win this and the break to collective bargaining. The unions clearly aren’t about to shut the state down, which might force the GOPs hand.

    Don’t get me wrong, the unions and the Dems need to fight this to the very end, but the GOP is going to win this, even at the cost of every GOP seat in the next election.

  42. 42
    martha says:

    @PurpleGirl: You may not have worked in the industry for 10 years, but you’re right on. Only it will be worse. These plants would become taxable too…more costs. And a number need fairly substantial repairs, which of course, would be done by contractors at top dollar, non-bid rates.

  43. 43
    stuckinred says:

    @J. Michael Neal: Swell ain’t it?

  44. 44
    martha says:

    @Martin: I think many people know this. At this point, its about the blood we can spill (metaphorically) and all the things in the bill that wouldn’t have been public had they rushed it through. I’ve talked to a couple of staffers and they know it’s a long game now. But we may actually have a game to play now.

  45. 45
    jwb says:

    @martha: Yes, m_c has lots of endearing rhetorical ticks. I’m hoping she finds a new, more useful obsession soon.

  46. 46
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Martin: But that’s not a win, because the incoming Dem governor and Dem supermajority will just put them right back in. GOP officials KNOW this, too. They know they’re gonna get slaughtered the longer this goes on…they are reading internal polls that are saying they are getting KILLED on this, which is why one of them is already floating trial balloons.

    Walker might be willing to throw everything in the fire, but it’s doubtful that all 19 Senators on his side of the aisle are willing to go with him in a purple state where every single union will be gunning for all of them.

  47. 47
    jwb says:

    @Martin: Yes, I think this is understood by the unions and the Dems as a strategic battle that will likely result in a loss of the battle but an advantage in the war. I assume they will hold out for as long as it makes strategic sense. That means, if they can keep the energy of the protests up, it will continue. Given the way Walker refuses to own the issue of taking away collective bargaining, I think the polling has to be running fairly strongly against his position, which means the battle might actually go on for awhile still and there actually remains hope that the unions could actually prevail.

  48. 48
    martha says:

    @jwb: Interestingly, I just read a tweet that said the Pres of the Senate, one of the Fitzgerald brothers, indicated they would NOT vote to separate the union issue from the budget issue without the Dems being present. They were considering attaching the union decertification to a non-budget item and voting without them. I was kind of hoping they would–kryptonite. Unfortunately at least a few of the Rs are smarter and more moderate than I thought.

  49. 49
    Suffern ACE says:

    @NobodySpecial: You expect that the voters will remember this one 2 years from now when the assembly is up for election again? I sure don’t. I also have given up hope that Democrats at any level know how to look after their interests.

  50. 50
    matoko_chan says:

    still waiting, EDK, for the link to where i said “pretty awful racist things”.
    how can i refute your slur if i dont know what you read?
    and i wont forget.
    we never do.

    we do not forget.
    we do not forgive.
    expect us.

  51. 51
    Lolis says:

    @matoko_chan:

    good god. let it go.

  52. 52
    Superluminar says:

    @matoko_ chan
    i kno its a radical idea but have u ever tried using Capital letters and comprehensible grammer befor?!?

  53. 53
    matoko_chan says:

    @Lolis: he slurred me as a racist.
    would you let it go?

  54. 54
    WyldPirate says:

    @BGinCHI:

    They are moving to take democratic politics, social justice, and middle class living off the American table.

    Yeah, but at least Obama saved the auto industry and they are reveling in their 25K per year jobs that used to be near 60k all across the Midwest.

    It’s not that “they are moving” to take a “middle class living off the table”, BGinCHI. They’re simply tidying up the loose ends,sweeping the crumbs off the table, cleaning out the cookie jar and checking the couch cushions for loose change.

  55. 55
    burnspbesq says:

    @matoko_chan:

    he slurred me as a racist.

    It’s not a slur if it’s true. And if it’s not true, why are you so insecure about what a blogger mistakenly thinks about you?

    Time to grow up, child.

  56. 56
    Corner Stone says:

    @burnspbesq: Jesus but you are fucking stupid.

  57. 57
    matoko_chan says:

    @burnspbesq:

    It’s not a slur if it’s true.

    link then.
    hook me up.
    you see….this is a timehonored CONSERVATIVE technique to win arguments.
    a racist slur or the anti-semitic slur.
    i was questioning EDKs civil libertarian chops, and he slurred me as a racist.
    why?

  58. 58
    Ash Can says:

    @matoko_chan:

    he slurred me as a racist.

    YOU ARE. Jeebus, do you think none of us remember all your IQ/Islam/cultural/etc. bullshit? It’s all on record, chickie. If you can’t deal with it, it isn’t anyone else’s fault.

  59. 59
    Uloborus says:

    @Superluminar:
    Really? We discuss the insanity of the conservative position that fetuses without a functioning brainstem are more valuable humans than either their mothers or themselves after they’re born all the time. It’ll be back after the insanity of their attempts to funnel all money in the country to the rich is less immediate a topic.

  60. 60
    chopper says:

    i was questioning EDKs civil libertarian chops, and he slurred me as a racist.
    why?

    why do you write inane drivel every goddamned day?

  61. 61
    Shalimar says:

    @matoko_chan: What Ash Can said. Also, only God can count all the different labels you have slurred Kain with in the past few weeks. Poor you.

  62. 62
    Reks says:

    I’m sure many of those union workers are upset about wage cuts. I bet that most of them are thankful to not be a 99er. Maybe he shouldn’t have bailed out the auto companies. They sure didn’t reward him at the polls in the midwest.

  63. 63
    Scott says:

    I should add that the Secretary of the Department of Administration, i.e. the guy who will be awarding these no bid contracts, blogs for the La Crosse Tea Party.

  64. 64
    Martin says:

    @NobodySpecial: Well, they’re fighting a battle as well as a war – the war is against the Dems, and they’ll almost certainly lose that long term. The battle is over the base of the GOP – the wingnuts vs. the moderates, and they’re coming through for the wingnut base, and will expect the wingnut base to turn out in 2012. It’s going to be an even more interesting election year than 2010 was.

  65. 65
    mistermix a.k.a. mastermix says:

    @matoko_chan: In case anyone missed it from another thread, m_c likes to dish it out but she can’t explain shit like this on her old blog:

    I really think GW is doing a bitchin’ job of pressing the War on Terror. He is a warrior first class, decisive and fierce, as concentrated as a laser sight. I’m glad we’re on the same side.

    http://quantumghosts.blogspot......ience.html

  66. 66
    matoko_chan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix: weaksauce. you are cherrypicking my old posts.
    pretty damn dishonest.
    heres a newer one.

    that might even be the post i withdrew from the LoOGies. you can see how much they would have hated it. :)

    what the fuck is wrong with you?
    i was linked by NRO and Insty if you want to see vile shit from when i was stupid.
    cant EDK defend himself?
    he inserted a racist slur into a discussion of civil libertarianism at random.
    all im axin for is a link.
    i crushed you on everthin you brought up mm.
    chumadbro?
    hahahahaha
    ABT.

  67. 67
    creolechild says:

    Oh, but wait, here’s another little gem that’s been tucked inside of Walker’s bill. This is important and the public should know what he’s attempting to do:

    “Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill proposes sweeping changes to the state’s Medicaid programs, changes that could affect many of the 1.2 million state residents enrolled in public health programs like BadgerCare, Family Care, and SeniorCare. The provisions would allow the administration to revamp and even gut the programs without following state laws or the normal legislative processes.”

    //

    “The first local story to delve into the bill’s impact on state Medicaid programs was our piece last Monday on how provisions in the measure would hand sweeping new powers to the Walker administration to circumvent normal legislative processes, state rules, and public vetting, but for the rest of the week there was scant other local coverage.”

    //

    “Even the New York Times, usually so thorough, has in most articles totally ignored the fact that the bill is not just about labor, or the budget—that it is also about changing how Medicaid is administered in this state.”

    http://host.madison.com/ct/new.....sid:327916|met:100300|cat:0|order:6

  68. 68
    mistermix a.k.a. mastermix says:

    @matoko_chan: Yes, isn’t it awful of me to keep bringing up your history of stupid conservatism, when you would never do the same to anyone else?

    It seems, though, that back in your conservative days, you were far more gracious, e.g.,

    Welcome Instapundit readers. And, as always, merci mille fois for the constructive criticism, cher dr. yes. ;)

    http://quantumghosts.blogspot......in-ed.html

    I don’t understand why that same spirit that you showed on your blog doesn’t translate to B-J.

  69. 69
    creolechild says:

    @minachica:

    This, too, would have become a done deal…a portion of the bill that hasn’t received much notice during the past few days.

    “Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill proposes sweeping changes to the state’s Medicaid programs, changes that could affect many of the 1.2 million state residents enrolled in public health programs like BadgerCare, Family Care, and SeniorCare. The provisions would allow the administration to revamp and even gut the programs without following state laws or the normal legislative processes.”

    //

    “The first local story to delve into the bill’s impact on state Medicaid programs was our piece last Monday on how provisions in the measure would hand sweeping new powers to the Walker administration to circumvent normal legislative processes, state rules, and public vetting, but for the rest of the week there was scant other local coverage.”

    //

    “Even the New York Times, usually so thorough, has in most articles totally ignored the fact that the bill is not just about labor, or the budget—-that it is also about changing how Medicaid is administered in this state.”

    http://host.madison.com/ct/new…..sid:327916|met:100300|cat:0|order:6

  70. 70
    matoko_chan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix: because they were all liars.
    and EDK lied when he said i had said some “pretty awful racist things.” and you lied when you said i was mad because i was rejected.
    didnt you read the link where i made Reihan Salam cry?
    i dont want to ruin their blogging…..i want to ruin their LYING.
    I was doing my troll job of questioning EDKs much vaunted libertarian chops when he accuses me of being a racist out of the blue.
    i just wanna see why at this point.
    is he trying to discredit my argument with adhom? is he pulling stuff out of his ass?
    what would you do if someone called you a racist?
    would you defend yourself? ax to see the quote/link?

    im not sure EDK has changed. he still says the same stuff hes been saying for 3 years. Sully still links him like Insty usta link me.
    and we all know at this point Sully is just another conservative shill.
    sully believes in “freedom ” for arabs and gays.
    the rest of us humans, not so much.
    MAYBE EDK is evolving. but responding to questions about his “civil libertarianism” by slurring me as a racist and lying to you about the essay i sent him is not a good sign.

  71. 71
    matoko_chan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix: intersting read no? i was gobsmacked when insty took the patriarchy daddies side in Yearning for Zion. and he totally ganked me on Expelled.
    we had a ginormous email fight over that.
    then he blocked my emails.
    but i didnt actually give up on the GOP until Palin.
    that was the last straw.

  72. 72
    matoko_chan says:

    My War on Michelle Malkin
    part 1
    part 2

  73. 73
    BethanyAnne says:

    @matoko_chan: I’m unsurprised he banned your emails. What surprises me is that you *didn’t get the point*, and decided to come fuck with him over here, shitting all over this blog and telling anyone who objects to “pie me”, as if it’s our responsibility to not object to your assholery. I don’t know about racist, but you sure as hell are an ageist bigot, want me to look those posts up?

  74. 74
    BethanyAnne says:

    and I will say that all the “GTFO Big White Christian Bwana” in this thread strikes me as making it perfectly valid to call you a racist.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....nt-2424421

  75. 75
    BethanyAnne says:

    Sexism? You wanted sexist insults? Well, if you hag, dimbo, and bitchy old broads works for you, then try this thread on for size.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....nt-2214391

  76. 76
    BethanyAnne says:

    I will give you this, Matoko, I for one am impressed that you would lob insults from such a firm moral high ground.

  77. 77
    matoko_chan says:

    @BethanyAnne: EDK didnt ban my mails you dumb bovine.
    Glenn Reynolds did, after our big battle over Expelled.
    yup, i loathe WECs and proselytizers, an i called eemom and asiangirlman the old harpy patrol.
    So what?
    None of those remarks are racist.
    the reason EDK doesnt link anything is because he cant.
    he pulled that shit right out of his ass.

  78. 78
    matoko_chan says:

    @mistermix a.k.a. mastermix:

    I don’t understand why that same spirit that you showed on your blog doesn’t translate to B-J

    .because i don’t SEE that EDK has changed. he has said this shit for 3 years.
    show meh the data.
    he responded to my questioning his “civil libertarian” chops by randomly slurring me as a racist and lying to you about the essay i sent him.
    that is not a good sign.

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