Monday, April 25, 2011

Scott Walker and Fiscal Martial Law: Should He? Would He? Could He?

Last weekend, Ed Garvey made an astounding claim that Scott Walker was planning to introduce a bill that would bring Fiscal Martial Law to Wisconsin, much akin to the one that Michigan is currently dealing with.

I will admit that I was rather skeptical and considered it to be alarmist to say the least.  This feeling was fortified by his claim that the GMC front group "My Milwaukee" was behind it all, which I found even more unlikely.

Scott Walker denied this, of course, which, given my experience with him, raised the first red flag.  There have also been other citizen journalists, aka bloggers, who have reported things that would contradict Walker's claim.

UPDATE: It does not appear that the GMC/Martial Law issue is so clear after all.

But the whole specter of Fiscal Martial Law possibly coming to Wisconsin brings up three natural questions:

  1. Should Walker try to pass such a law in Wisconsin?
  2. Would Walker try to pass such a law in Wisconsin?
  3. Could Walker pass such a law in Wisconsin?
Let's take a look at these separately:

Should he?

The answer to that is a resounding NO!  In fact, the answer should be HELL NO!

Let's be honest about it. This has nothing to do with fiscal issues. These types of maneuvers are nothing but pure power grabs.  They are attempts to gain permanent control of the country through economic, societal and yes, even racial, means. 

This law is about as unAmerican as one could imagine.  As evidenced in Benton Harbor, MI, the governor can single-handedly decide that a municipality or a county is in dire fiscal shape and decide to put in a "manager." Said manager would then come in and strip the duly elected leaders of all their authority and duties and unilaterally start making decrees about everything from what services are provided, how said services are provided.  (I highly doubt that the fact that the first town they launch this offensive against a town whose population is 92% African American.)  Not to mention that this would be taking a political maul to the unions in the state, further denying people their workers rights.

This is a complete violation of everything this country stands for and belies all of the typical conservative talking points.   It completely denies the citizens of  their basic rights by denying their votes and their rights to be represented by whomever they choose to represent them.  And if you thought I was being over the top with my claims of it being a power control issue, look at what they did in Detroit. They closed the only school for pregnant teens, with an amazingly high graduation level, and then arrested the pregnant teens and other peaceful protesters for exercising their constitutional freedoms.  They're also expecting to close their school for the deaf soon.  

Basically, this law would violate almost everyone's rights.  It is unfathomable that this thing would stand up in court, but it would rack up a mountain of unnecessary legal bills in trying to defend it, burning up any savings that might have occurred, which is questionable to begin with, and them some. In the interim, it would also run the real risk of spur a general strike and/or set off riots.

Would he?

There is no doubt in my mind that Walker would actively pursue this if he thought it had a chance of passing.  

His first four months in office has been nothing but one power grab after another.  Walker and his allies in the legislature have passed laws that eliminate much of the legislature's power in setting policy for the state.  He has also managed to have dozens of positions taken out of the auspices of civil service code and made into purely political positions in which he and he alone controls who fills in said positions.

Given his proneness to overreaching, disregarding the law (including the Constitution itself) and favoring profits over people, there is little doubt that Walker would want to do this in a heartbeat.

Could he?

This is the most significant question and the one that we need to pay the most attention to.

As recently as two and a half months ago or earlier, I think this bill might have passed easily.  Instead, the Republicans decided to go with the Budget Disrepair Bill, aka the Union Busting Bill.  This bill was so foul that they couldn't even pass it under normal means, and had to violate open meeting rules to ram it through.

This bill set off a firestorm never before seen in Wisconsin, in which hundreds of thousands of people marched to the Capitol and demanded that they be heard.  When the Republicans refused to pay attention to the people, the people decided that it was high time to replace them with people that wanted to be their representatives, not the special interests'.

This has created a different dynamic than before, when the Republicans thought they could do whatever they wanted unilaterally.  Now you can see that some of them are starting to, rather belatedly, realize that it is the people who control Wisconsin.  You can see this by the way Senators Alberta Darling and Randy Hooper, who have pushed for Walker to drop his proposed cuts to SeniorCare.  Republican senators are also trying to distant themselves from other bills of Walker's, such as the cutting the funding for the state's recycling program.

Assuredly, if Walker were to try to ram such a bill though now, there would be some die hard politicians who would still stand with Walker no matter what. But I question if Walker would have enough votes to get such a polarizing bill through.  Every politician that would vote for this bill would recognize that they would be ending their political careers with a vote for such a monstrous bill. 

The thought of that possibility should be all the incentive anyone needs to do whatever it takes to make sure it doesn't.


  1. My, what Rosey glasses you are wearing. Walker is nothing if not the king of unpredictability and power grabs. Keeping everyone off balance is part of the game. He's also clearly being told what to do by persons who set the time tables - not him. He'll also be wanting to rush things before any elections change the make up of his support system. Your "it can't happen here" personal framework makes no logical sense. We do not have a force field around the state that protects us from bad things. O_o

    Darling and Hopper are not impressed by the "people" who do not "control Wisconsin". They made a crappy too-little-too-late move to garner sympathy and sucker a few voters. If they retain power they will go back to being as remote as Hopper was during his "listening session". That was not a man who thinks the people are impressive. He acts like the thinks they're fools.

    I doubt the recycling issue was influenced by supposed "fear" Walker might have of the citizens or anything even remotely like that. Far more likely it was a tap on the shoulder by Waste Management and others of that type, making him an offer he can't refuse. Those boys have a lot of money tied up in the whole recycling deal. Not too likely to wanna drop it on some politician's whim. When Waste Management talks, and tells you you're going to be screwing with their bottom line and they don't like it - people listen. Walker would have been told by big money BUSINESS that dropping recycling is a bad idea. That, he'd listen to.

  2. OT, great job on uncovering that "My Milwaukee," is the GMC/Koch brothers/Walker "astro-turf."

  3. Not going to happen. He got what he wanted in the first place. If he did try and do this, that would mean that his power grab with the unions would have failed and I don't see Walker, like most politicans, admit that they are wrong.
    But it's good talk around the water cooler with the people wearing tin foil hats.

  4. I think Walker already has the spin ready to go for whenever this (or a version of this) comes to pass.

  5. Annie, don't think I underestimate Walker's vileness for a minute. But he's in a ball game above his head now. His self-preservation will override his stupidity from time to time.

    Dan, I wouldn't put anything past him. He's shown too many times that he has no morals.

    Teach, I'm sure he does, not that he would really care.