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As a Wisconsin State legislator from the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa, Scott Walker was an uninspiring back-bencher. As Milwaukee County Executive, he did set-piece battle with a more liberal Board of Supervisors, regularly introduced no-tax-increase budgets he knew would be boosted by the Board for a bigger, no-increase (sic) base the following year, but didn't really indicate any big plans for governing like the tectonic shifts he's proposing and implementing as Governor.

Somewhere in think-tank land, there's a blueprint for structural change from which he's working, and democracy in the state is yielding to authoritarian, corporatist hegemony. The goal: GOP, one-party, ideologically hard-edged rule, where business - - their taxes cut in Walker's first few weeks - - gets to run the show.

Walker showed his hand early, aggregating to his office the power to approve state agency rules that normally required a public hearing by a joint committee of the legislature. Businesses complained for years that the process was slow, particularly when it came to rules proposed by the Department of Natural Resources.

Not content withappointing business and trade association representatives to the top management positions at the DNR, and to its governing board, Walker rs now proposing to, by Executive order, re-fashion the DNR into something new - - a so-called Charter agency,not unlike a Charter school freed from some school administration procedures - - with faster (read: less public input, minimal scientific and common-purpose analysis) business permitting procedures, less use of outside scientists' advice, and more in-house hiring without standard state employee selection procedures.

No one knows if this is a legal plan, but Walker has a working majority on the State Supreme Court, and as a leading Milwaukee talk show host said the day after the GOP sweep, "they can do anything they want."

This comes at a time when Walker and his legislative allies are pushing for a change in the way mining permits are reviewed.

An iron mine is on the table for Northwest Wisconsin near Lake Superior: the Walker plan would set an arbitrary, breathtakingly short  limit for the permit review of 300 days, regardless of the complexity of the issues involved, and a hearing is set for the proposal though a bill has yet to be introduced.

Additionally, Walker and the legislature remade the Department of Commerce into a hybrid, giving the private sector more control over the agency and a fresh $200 million in funding from a state Walker keeps saying is broke.

The Walker people are tilting the political fields towards their constituencies and are playing for keeps: with control of both houses, there are plans moving ahead quickly to embed in state law a right-wing agenda before July 12th - - the date on which recall elections have been scheduled which could tip the State Senate back to the Democrats and stall the advance of Walker's agenda.

Moving to quick legislative approval, for example: Concealed carry of firearms, perhaps without a training requirement; election law changes that end election-day registration at the polls, mandate certain types of photo IDs and moves the traditional September primary to August, when students are on vacation - - all designed to tamp down turnout in cities with large numbers of student, minority and Democratic voters.

Up for discussion: splitting the state university system's flagship campus in Madison off into a separate school with a separate board controlled by Walker.

Rumored: A quickie redistricting to foil some of the recall proponents from voting out Republican Senators.

And a two-ear state budget that shifts program costs to cash strapped-local governments, favors school choice over public education, among other fundamental, structural changesin multiple state and local operations and programs.

He even in this budget would levy higher state income taxes on some working poor families while creating a new tax break for business funded at almost the same amount.

It feels verythink-tank driven.

With Walker, anything is possible - - a lesson learned the hard way when he withheld the extent of his anti-union planning until after the election which he won with only 52%, but which Dennis Kucinich forced from Walker under oath.

Updated by jer45 at Sun May 15, 2011 at 09:18 AM CDT

I have obtained the text of the draft memo laying out the plan for Walker to re-create the Department of Natural Resources by Executive order, giving it ""flexibility" to better partner with business:

Originally posted to jer45 on Fri May 13, 2011 at 08:51 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Of course anything is possible. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jer45, OHdog, NoMoreLies

    You put it into words here what is seeming to be more and more apparent. Walker's policies are coming from ALEC or some other organization. They would seem to "fit in" with the right wing in states like Texas or Oklahoma. They don't seem to jibe with the Wisconsin Republican party of Tommy Thompson, they seem to be extreme.

  •  Keep up the fight and let other states know (5+ / 0-)

    Walker is following a script someone wrote for him, as you point out. Important to understand what he is doing to be able to fight it in other states.

    Here is the big question. Will the corporate media in WI and in the country figure out the game? And describe it as an attack on our constitution and our system?

    The USA is a bottom up governance system. The founders never thought about destruction of the bottom. Thus, there is no constitutional way to stop them. Need the citizens to rise to the occasion.

  •  I'm relieved to see that there's a least (4+ / 0-)

    someone else who believes as I do, i.e. that the moves Walker has made since assuming office are implementation of a plan that only he and certain others know about---and which the people of this state have deliberately been kept in the dark about.  Frankly, this scares the hell out of me.  It is blatant disrespect for the very foundations on which our state and our national government are built on.  

    What I'd like to know is what can we DO about this.  I vacillate between feeling a rise in panic every time one of Walker's latest "secrets" gets unveiled to the rest of the state because of how clearly he keeps stealthily moving this "grand plan" along---to thinking "OK---well, here's another mes that goes on the list of what will have to be fixed of blocked from implementation once we get control (hopefully) of the State Senate"---to wondering why at least half of this state is not out raising hell against this despicable little twit and whoever is behind him.

    Do we follow the route of recalls and their elections?  Is that too slow a process?  Can we afford to be "lawful and peaceful" in the face of what this "grand plan" will do to our state and its people?  I'm just voicing my fears and concerns here---I know that there are no "easy" answers to fighting back against this.  I'm distracted by things like my 91-year-old mother having to go to a nursing home as of Monday of this week and we don't know if she'll be able to return to her home again (where she lives with one of my sisters).  But this never-ending feeling of unease about how this "grand plan" is playing out and where/how it will end up bothers me---a lot.

    Objecting to our governor’s policies does not make a citizen of Wisconsin a criminal. Not yet, anyway. ~ nelangst

    by 3goldens on Fri May 13, 2011 at 10:11:36 AM PDT

    •  Dealing with Walker (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AnnieJo, 3goldens, NoMoreLies

      Educate. Organize. Donate. Litigate. Support the Senate recalls and gear up for Walker's beginning 11/3. And it's worth pressuring your local and state officials. Progress is being made on some things, such as restoring recycling, limiting the expansion of school choice.

  •  Walker's Plan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is simple.  He wants to repeal the 20th century. He wants to return us the utopian era of the gilded age when corporations ruled and there were no worker's rights, limited public schools, no environmental standards, etc.  And he is even adding a new twist, the privatization of government to benefit corporations.

    •  I sincerely hope he's overreached (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The drama that his extreme views have caused, along with the courage and the tenacity of the demonstrators in Madison this winter, have graphically demonstrated how bad he wants to make things.  Throw in a couple of random events - the fake Koch phone call and Ryan's plan to"end Medicare as we know it"  (sorry Politifact, that's what it is) - and there is a real awareness and now a strong pushback against him.  I hope I'm not being naively optimistic.  

  •  Plutocracy, and the fetishization of business (0+ / 0-)

    The need to take drastic steps is now a fait accompli, thanks to the budget-busting war in Iraq and Republican-abetted (and foreseeable, and preventable) financial crimes and abuses.

    What's most depressing about the state of our state is that it simply mirrors the state of the Union . . . and mirrors the will of millions of inattentive suckers.

    Fascism isn't quite here yet, but plutocracy most definitely is.  Unfortunately, the fetishization of Business, and the demolition of the notion that public service is a virtue, are just the latest chapters in a long, sad saga.  A myopic and ill-informed citizenry has played a big part.  

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