Tag: tar sands oil pipeline

Wisconsin Republicans pass awful state budget, and how legislators should handle criticism of their legislative proposals

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin State Assembly passed the most awful state budget in American political history in a 52-46 vote, and the budget is currently on Republican Wisconsin Governor and presidential candidate Scott Walker’s desk.

When I say that the Wisconsin budget that the Republicans passed is the most awful state budget in American political history, it’s not hyperbole, it’s the cold hard truth. The Wisconsin budget, among many other things, demonizes the working poor in Wisconsin by replacing the words “living wage” with the words “minimum wage” in state statutes, fast-tracks an expansion of a tar sands oil pipeline in Wisconsin and Illinois that will be even bigger than the Keystone XL pipeline would be, cuts funding to public K-12 and higher education in Wisconsin, effectively prohibits Wisconsin wineries from hosting weddings, and gives Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele even more unchecked power to sell off public property in Wisconsin’s largest county to his political cronies. This budget does a lot to pander to far-right voters that Scott Walker is trying to win over in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination and does virtually nothing to benefit the people of Wisconsin in any way. You can read press releases from Democratic Wisconsin State Representatives Melissa Sargent of Madison, Dianne Hesselbein of Middleton, Amanda Stuck of Appleton, LaTonya Johnson of Milwaukee, and Andy Jorgensen of Milton, as well as from Minority Leader Peter Barca of Kenosha, at the links in this sentence.

However, prior to the Republicans in the Assembly passing the state budget, Katrina Shankland, the Assistant Minority Leader of the Wisconsin State Assembly from Stevens Point, tried to amend the state budget to require that future proposals of non-fiscal policy measures in future state budgets get their own separate public hearing before a standing legislative committee (the Republicans rejected Shankland’s amendment). I criticized Shankland’s proposal, because it would not outright prohibit Walker or whoever else is Wisconsin Governor once Walker leaves office from proposing public policy in state budgets. Shankland responded to my criticism of her proposal via Twitter:

Anyone who holds political office, is running for public office, or is thinking about running for public office should take note of Shankland’s response to my criticism of her. She didn’t talk down to me, she didn’t belittle me, she didn’t attack me, and she didn’t try to change the subject. Instead, she directly addressed my criticism of her proposal by saying that she thinks that policy measures don’t belong in state budgets, and she defended her proposal by saying that the Republicans voted against allowing public hearings on policy proposals.

Katrina Shankland has been very respectful to me, even when I’ve disagreed with her, which isn’t often.

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Canadians protest against bill to allow secret police to spy on political opponents of far-right Canadian government

According to a recent poll by Forum Research, 50% of Canadian voters oppose Bill C-51, proposed Canadian legislation that, among other things, allows Canadian spying agencies the power to spy on and infiltrate pro-environment organizations, First Nations (i.e., indigenous people of Canada), and opponents of current and proposed oil pipelines. The legislation is supported by far-right Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who leads the Conservative Party of Canada.

Opposition to Bill C-51, which has been referred to by political opponents of Harper as the “secret police bill”, is growing every day all across Canada. Dozens of protests in opposition to the secret police bill were held last weekend in numerous Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, and Edmonton. That’s because the secret police bill would, if enacted, violate the civil liberties of Canadians, especially those who don’t believe in Stephen Harper’s destructive political agenda.

Harper and the Conservatives aren’t the only supporters of the Canadian secret police bill. Justin Trudeau, who leads the Liberal Party of Canada, would support the secret police bill if provisions requiring oversight of spying and infiltrating operations are added to the legislation. This has led to significant left-wing opposition to Trudeau and the Liberals at a time when they’re in a position to possibly win a plurality of seats in the Canadian House of Commons in the parliamentary elections scheduled for later this year:

The poll results also revealed that while Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau supports C-51 with “added parliamentary oversight,” a majority of Liberal voters nationally (66 per cent) disapprove of the bill.

“This poll should also prompt Justin Trudeau to reconsider his stance,” said OpenMedia spokesperson David Christopher. OpenMedia is one of the organizations invited to speak before a committee hearing in Ottawa about C-51.

“With over two-thirds of his party’s supporters opposing this legislation, isn’t it time Justin Trudeau showed he can listen to Canadians, instead of backing government attempts to ram this extreme legislation through Parliament at breakneck pace?”

Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau believe that Canadians who care about protecting the environment are a bunch of terrorists. That’s simply not true, and the fact that Harper, Trudeau, and their ilk to support spying on and infiltrating Canadians who oppose Harper’s anti-environment agenda is absolutely disgusting.