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  •  Mining white resentment vs any other group (3+ / 0-)
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    Puddytat, SilentBrook, Creosote

    is SOP for the GP.  They love pitting white folks against any other group they can portray as having special, unearned priviledges that block the rights of decent hardworking Christian White Folks to their own much deserved economic gains and due political power The angry polemics against Indians blocking White Destiny continues to be a rich Republican/corporate tradition in our upper Midwestern states.  People outside this area might not realize how this propaganda war is being waged and how it builds on long held resentments. You can, if you listen in on WI's various local media and watering holes, hear all the following sorts of anti-Indian/pro-mining arguments. And they're festering in bars, on our talk radio, on web pages, at gun ranges, at the lunch tables, at bowling alleys and other sports venues, at schools and in after church settings (yep, there too.)  I can sum up the 'thinking' below so any unfamiliar with the veins being tapped of anger, resentment, and prejudice can have some idea. And I'll understand if you don't care to read it all. It is a bit stomach churning.

    Our WI GOP, and its merry band of irrepressible, 'very serious' lobbyists, consistently paints and frames these mining initiatives as 'jobs, jobs, jobs & technically advanced development & industrial progress' versus those selfish, idiot lazy tribes getting in our way, the way of Real Americans eager to realize America's full promise of riches to the hardest workers, again.

    These rightwingrs have their proxies arguing more baldy, "Clearly, anyone can see it's the indian tribes who are always demanding foolish levels of environmental purity, and their odd sense of 'spiritual' purity, not just in their pointless out of date non-Christian tribal rituals, but their ancient religious valuing of every mosquito, worm and fish loony crap, and look, it is being imposed upon all of us [White Christians], by them using their Reservation status and treaties to control our state's lands and waters, and especially in standing plumb in the way of much needed progress. You can see how they can't assimulate and cooprate with modern society. They're failing utterly as hard working real Americans to heed the monetizing demands and market needs of our 'modern technical society', prefering to be poor and demanding we be poor too.  See how this sort of thing ties our hands and deters wealth investors--their peevish tribal rights crap is keeping real mining jobs from coming into our areas of the state where white folks have been most economically oppressed--it's all their damn fault we're so poor!"

    Then the GOP proxies can toss into that already rank soup some real race baiting "...who the heck can afford to care about those old, silly Indian treaties these days, written before the West was finally won, yes by white folks who embrace technology and economic progress--you know that's all part of the Great Manifest Destiny of God's chosen White Christians, am I right?  Didn't they teach you that in US history? Dang those liberal teachers filling the heads of our kids with useless love the Indians crap. Come on.  Anyone can see we seriously outgun the tribes these days, so it's not just muskets and wagons versus bows and arrows and naked guys on horses. Our National Guard could round them up in a few days. Look, I got my AR-15 right here--we'd just need a hundred or so other like-minded guys to finally go clean up that mess.  Walker just has to give the word, and we'll get 'er done.  Too harsh for your sensitive soul eh?"

    And they'll try to be patiently 'logical' with silly white folk still believing the Indian might have some good values to offer us, arguing "Well, honestly, just what good are these moldy out of date treaties really doing anybody? Just old damn pieces of paper getting dustier while there are real riches to be mined from our lands and economic futures and opportunities for our towns and small cities full of people eager to work hard? Is it right for such small groups to hold back We The Majority?  It isn't as if those treaties are making the Indians into productive model citizens, or geniuses at anything modern society values.  We can't seriously be expected to live friction free with any group insisting on a subsistance lifestyle at peace with some pagan idea of Mother Earth, and trying to impose such heathen, socialist ideas upon us. Nobody believes that Disney Pochahantus Mother Earth crap, right? We've sent them our Christian missionaries (and they killed some of them), food, bankets, perfectly good firewater, and everything, trying to teach them real modern society stuff, to help them help themselves by being like us, practical, eager to work hard exploiting the rich bounty of our state's God-given bounty of natural resources, just like we do, and we get this ungrateful blocking all our progress crap in return."

    Trying to frame treaty rights as un-American, selfish and progress blocking is a perenial GOP favorite.  So we hear stuff like "...all this pussy footing around the tribal treaty agreements can be darn inconvenient to regular folks, yeah, make that outright insulting to white folks eager and willing to dig in and work hard.  These crazy, drunk Injuns are being foolishly intolerant of us hardworking folks, and they're still so damn eager to soak up whatever money from the rest of us working stiffs and retirees bring it by the bag full to their casinos. We're forced to sit idle, all fired up and ready to develop and make some real economic progress. It's a crime against the real majority of us, especially given that awkward provision giving tribes the right in perpetuity to hunt and fish anywhere in the damn state--and nothing shackles our progress like havng to keep waters and so much land in a pristine natural state, always able to support all sorts of wildlife, fish, forests, wetlands, clean lakes, wild rice, apples, geese, deer, beer, squirrels, cranberries, wolves, coyotes, cougar etc. like it was hundreds of years ago. It's like we're not even from the same planet."

    Yes, it's truly like we're not from the same planet alright. Apparently those silly Indian tribes still seem to want a pristine planet that they can pass on, not used up or unwasted in any way, not suffering climate change, for as many as 7 generations after them...how silly is that--it clearly means no more fast fossil-fueled progress like our corporations have promised us will take us to economic heaven. Not like the corporations are really delivering much on those promises these days, what with all the wage cuts, benefit cuts, pension cuts, etc. So hey, what a surprise, blame it all on those Indians trying to live in their own Dark Ages and take us back there with them. Just watch and see how sensitive our Gov. Scott Walker will be to our tribal treaties.  He's not said much reflecting any esteem for their rights and our obligations as a state to them  Sure, it'd be great if our courts and the feds helped put him in his place.  But these days, it's hard to tell what will come out of all that. Come on Puddytat, Giles, blue aardvark, help find us some good news on these fronts or tell us where best to apply public pressure.

    When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

    by antirove on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 09:28:40 AM PST

    •  There isn't much good news (8+ / 0-)

      We successfully fought the mine last year, but this year the GOP has majority control again, thanks to their severe gerrymandering, to ram it through.  

      That said, groups are out there actively protesting, contacting State Legislators even though the Republicans tune us out, and this issue continues to be a hot topic in our media.  Naturally, the GOP gives lip service to environmental concerns and their very bloated, dream on projections of "jobs" from mining are aimed at making Wisconsinites feel better about allowing our state to be raped by the extraction industries.

      Worse, though, is that the mine would be located in a far distant and sparsly populated area of the state so the NIMBY crowd could care less.

      There is an ace in the hole that the tribes have - tribal rights and treaties.  Yes, they can make a federal case out of this if they have to (and that looks increasingly likely).

      In the meantime, aside from activities to prevent our environment to be sold out to the highest bidder, we're working on the upcoming (April) State Supreme Court election.  Money is already being spent by the usual suspects (RW astroturf groups) starting with the odious Club for Growth to try to "buy" re-election for Patience Roggensack.  Ads are already running promoting her as a "moderate" legal jurist (yes, they try to do that with a straight face).  If we can toss her out, our 4/3 RW State Supreme Court will become an avenue to pursue state action.

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 10:03:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks Puddy...so much depends on the next (4+ / 0-)

        couple of years in our laying the legal, executive and legislative foundations to restore sane, moderate government to WI, and other states, like MI, IN, MN, ND, SD, PA, OH...a much too long list of 'rust belt' states.  

        So many of our states are being screwed over by GOP power grabs on behalf of their 1% constituencies, power grabs gained by appealing to those in our society still easily persuaded by coarse prejudice, intolerance, and hatred, and who tend to believe they've been held back by our government mandating the indulging of minorities and tribes far too much. The GOP/billionaires club is trying to do as much as quickly as possible because they sense the tide is turning against them.  And the GOP in WI has already hurt us so much with the feverish partisanship already flexed without mercy.  This harsh, unrelenting hateful partisanship is especially repugnant since we have had decades of relatively sane government in the past, where fairness, moderation and progress that respected our special environmental resources were values shared across the political spectrum, along with decades of making reasonable compromises, and where parties did have basic respect for each other and maintained civililty.

        The divisive GOP approach of taking no prisoners, crushing resistance, and shutting down all dialog that might lead to compromise has indeed stolen our sense of being a United Wisconsin, moderate but steady, reasonable and seeking the sane way forward. GOP efforts now seem aimed to salt the fields, burn down the civil service, destroy state services to replace them with crony privitized and unaccountable versions, and sell off infrastructure and resources to their impatiently waiting billionaires will leave us poorer, and perhaps irreversibly losing some pristine areas of Wisconsin along with privatizing major institutions--universities, state and county owned medical and research facilities, etc. Handing mining corporations rights to pollute and take from areas protected by tribal treaty is a travesty.  They imagined they could kill the unions to benefit the richest, but instead awoke an entire state to the realization that the labor of civil service and teachers does matter, that fairly paid labor, organized to care about work conditions and real progress, has been key to the past many decades of successes of our state. Cutting the safety nets and schools isn't making our economic engines purr, and in fact is causing exodus of people from the state who see the Wisconsin hope as already too far gone to be relied upon, at least not returning in time to survive as families needing good schools, fairly paying jobs, or where it's possible to have careers with futures.

        It's not just the economy, it's our rich tradition of loving nature and lands and waters in their natural states, of being people who love the outdoors and enjoying what it can offer, and glad there is some natural wildness not far away from any of us.  We need to keep in mind that essentially our whole state came into being with treaties in force which obligate us, our entire state, to keep all of our state's lands, air and water suitable for traditional tribal life of hunting, fishing and gathering of wild foods, and careful use of renewable resources. Billionaires see so much undeveloped land here, much of that now under some sort of control of our tribes. They press hard for GOP representatives, and via these proxies now demand access to it, as their right by virtue of their waiting wealth, to 'develop' whatever they can, often on a one time basis, for as much profit and little cost to them as possible, with no regard for the future of that land or how that affects the state's residents and tribes.

        Even longtime Republicans in Wisconsin see there is a real danger in giving the mining companies too much of a free hand, especially if lands and waters are left in polluted states that shut down hunting and fishing for regular white folks (besides the indians). We've seen also how GOP being so pro big 'agribusiness' causes family farms and dairy co-ops to be crushed, disrupting town and country economies along with that, and changing forever lands that have been conservatively farmed with longterm ecological concerns in mind.

        Raping and pillaging Mother Nature, Mother Earth and women all seem high on the GOP agenda--they came promising jobs, jobs, jobs and God, God, God, traditional family values, but instead have shown themselves greedy barbarians, scoundrals, hypocrits, and set up as vangaard for the most rapacious of the rich, greedy, and power loving cynical souls. We indeed need to keep fighting back, and win definitively, undo the gerrymandered districting, and then dig deep in for decades to come to rebuild Wisconsin, and fortifying WI against future invasions, and cope with real problems posed by climate change impacting our lakes and lands, amending misguided economic policies, and investing to rebuild eviscerated school systems and unmaintained infrastructure.

        When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

        by antirove on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 10:51:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The seeds of this were laid over 30 years (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Creosote

          The takeover of talk radio by hate, corporatization of our media means that only money talks, only their message gets through, and it's easier to fool voters.

          But in that lies their destruction as they will come after more and more that "their" voters value.  We saw that in the protests when even Republicans were shocked at the candidates and party they worked for and donated to.  As farmers (reliable Republican voters) joined in when they saw what the cuts to education and Badger Care would do to them and their families, more and more people will be begin to "see" with new eyes.

          Sadly, what's been destroyed within a mere 2 years will take decades to rebuild.  We can only hope that the GOP will find itself at the fringes soon so better legislators and executives can rebuild our state.  I hope it won't be too late.

          Solidarity.

          There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

          by Puddytat on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 12:15:23 PM PST

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        •  Couldn't have said it better myself (0+ / 0-)

          Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

          by Mark Mywurtz on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 04:19:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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