In its first day, the Citizen Vigil for the Greater Good succeeded in outing plans to eviscerate collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin. Within hours of exposing what those who've taken charge at the Capitol were cooking up out of public view, their plan was all over the news.
The need for better surveillance is one of the reasons we started our vigil. This was the first time but won't be the last that we will force out into the open what they would like to keep under wraps until the last possible second.
But an even more important reason for doing this is to organize an ongoing opportunity for citizens to protest and agitate against the plutocratic extremism that has taken hold in our state government.
One of the things I said yesterday in my remarks at the kickoff of our vigil is that money throws its voice at the Capitol every day. What we have is not a legislature, but rather a parliament of ventriloquist dummies. There is nothing republican about the way these Republicans are doing the public's business.
Maybe most people have gotten so used to elections paid for by less than 1% of the population and politicians who then shamelessly pander to the donor class that they've lost the capacity to summon any resistance.
If that's the case, then most people had better wake up. These ventriloquist dummies who pass for elected representatives of the people have an agenda. A really long agenda.
This is union-busting ventriloquism. Next week, when the Legislature is not scheduled to be in session, look for them to convene anyway to ram through legislation castrating unions.
This is train-derailing ventriloquism. Governor Walker was willing to throw away $810 million because he is deeply in debt to an interest group that didn't support him for most of his long political career but loves him now.
This is wetland-destroying ventriloquism. To make one big campaign donor happy the dummies are willing to say so long to one of the state's remaining wetlands.
This is smokestack ventriloquism. Walker and his minions aim to make it difficult if not impossible for wind energy and biofuels to get a foothold here in Wisconsin, for more than a million reasons.
This is vote-suppressing ventriloquism. The dummie leader in the Senate said passing legislation requiring a photo ID to vote would be the first order of business, and sure enough, making it a little harder for everyone and a lot harder for a few to cast a ballot is on the fastest of tracks. Never mind the handful of documented cases of voter fraud have nothing to do with people trying to pass themselves off as someone else to vote, which is the only thing a photo ID requirement could possibly address. Never mind that this solution in search of a problem amounts to a poll tax.
This is power-abusing ventriloquism. These extremists are bent on trampling on checks and balances that have done this country proud for more than two centuries and giving the governor veto power over legislative oversight of rules made by executive branch agencies.
This ventriloquism is Robin Hood in reverse. They will rob from the poor and middle class and give to the rich. They've already doled out nearly $70 million in corporate tax breaks and are just getting warmed up. Word is there will be huge cuts in the budget for Medicaid and other health benefits for the poor and working families, big reductions in aid for public schools, and a wholesale abandonment of community development programs.
This is bigoted ventriloquism. We're hearing they will seek, most likely in the state budget bill, to get rid of the state's new domestic partner registry which gives same-sex partners in committed relationships limited health and legal protections.
This is no time for sitting on hands. The ventriloquists and their dummies are not resting.