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February Political Musings

Of all the political issues confronting us in Wisconsin, a few of them have definitely drawn my attention.

The proposed mining bill has been filling the radio airwaves with proponents making a full court press to pass the Republican version, which is extremely friendly to Gogebic Taconite Company. Let me, for the record, clearly state, I am not opposed to responsible mining and I made a very good living off of the mining industry for thirty years However, I am opposed to getting the short end of the stick when negotiating a deal.

There isn’t a mine anywhere in the world that doesn’t have negative environmental impacts, some better and some worse. Given, that the proposed taconite mine will have minimal and controllable environmental impacts, and then its development should go ahead, but only after a thorough investigation. The state cannot nor should not commit to the mine until after all the studies are completed, including the EPA and Corps of Engineers. Short circuiting the process will only turn around to bite us in the back side.

Another element of the proposed bill is that state taxes will be assessed only on company profits and not ore tonnage produced. This provision will give the company a blatant opportunity to either greatly reduce tax payments or eliminate them altogether. Most states have severance taxes on the resources removed and I don’t know why we would want to be any different.

The bill that I reviewed proposed reducing the tax monies share to the local government for impact from 100% to only 60% with 40% going into the state’s general fund. This seems to be a significant change and I would like to know the rationale behind the proposal. It was my understanding that the current administration and legislature was committed to keeping as much money close to home as possible.

I would rather see no deal at all rather than a bad deal. I really think we are being way to generous with Gogebic.

Something else that I am following is the widespread move by Republican controlled state legislatures wanting to change the “winner take all” Electoral College electors to the Congressional District System like Maine and Nebraska. Since the Republicans controlled the majority of state legislatures after the 2010 elections and had the opportunity to redistrict, after the census, to favor Republicans; they see an opportunity to “jury rig” the selection of Electoral College electors to give them greater advantage in Presidential/Vice Presidential elections.

However, the Electoral College System is an antiquated system and it is high time to eliminate it altogether and elect the President/Vice President by direct popular vote. Forty years ago, we were only a US Senate vote away from the ending the system, but conservative southern senators filibustered the amendment into oblivion and President Nixon pulled his support.

The Congressional District System is seen by the Republicans as a means to offset their general failure to gain the support of Latino voters. As minority communities grow and become influential in deciding future elections, the Republicans generally recognize their vulnerability if they can’t stack the deck in their favor.

My final musing concerns the movement to collect DNA for arrested felons and certain misdemeanor arrests. I can understand why some law enforcement officials would want this information, but as far as I’m concerned it is a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. What I find a bit strange is that those who so strongly defend the Second Amendment as it’s written, are so unwilling to equally defend the Fourth.

 The creation of this extended data base will allow law enforcement to go on “fishing expeditions” without probable cause, which is required for a search warrant. It is to all our benefit if law enforcement has to play by rules, which support the assumption of innocence until proven guilty. This statute, if enacted, will change the fundamental judicial philosophy and allow if arrested for one thing, then the arrestee will be subjected to a data search that has absolutely nothing to do with what they were arrested for. This is a bad piece of legislation and should be resisted at all levels.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lyle Ruble February 07, 2013 at 11:25 PM
@Greg....Occupy Oakland was a particular bad case of police brutality as well as on the campus at UC Davis. Did you forget about the Wisconsin vet that caught in the middle of it and wound up in the hospital with serious injury?
Richard Head February 07, 2013 at 11:58 PM
" It is to all our benefit if law enforcement has to play by rules, which support the assumption of innocence until proven guilty." Yeah, right. Cops hunting Cops and shooting up everybody else.... "Two (unarmed) women who were shot by Los Angeles police in Torrance early Thursday during a massive manhunt for an ex-LAPD officer were delivering newspapers, sources said." LOOK at that truck! http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2013/02/ex-cop-manhunt-newspaper-delivery-women-shot.html "The former LAPD officer suspected in shootings targeting law enforcement and their families is believed to have warned in an online manifesto that he had a deep understanding of the tactics being used to stop him, was heavily armed and planned far-reaching violence. " http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2013/02/ex-lapd-cop-said-he-was-heavily-armed-and-planned-far-reaching-violence.html "An official with the Riverside Police Department said early Thursday that two of the city's police officers were stopped at a red light when they were "ambushed" by a shooter who is now the subject of an area-wide manhunt." http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2013/02/riverside-police-ambushed-by-shooter-official-says.html You can live in Fantasyland, the rest of us deal with reality.
Steve ® February 08, 2013 at 05:03 AM
http://www.revenue.state.mn.us/businesses/mineral/Documents/2011_mining_guide.pdf
Richard Head February 08, 2013 at 12:04 PM
You can bet on one thing concerning the LAPD - no cops will be punished - fortunately they didn't kill anybody... more details: "A 71-year-old woman delivering newspapers with her daughter remained in intensive care Thursday night after she was shot twice in the back by Los Angeles police detectives during a massive manhunt for a fugitive ex-LAPD officer, according to the womens' attorney... The officers riddled the women's blue pickup with bullets in the 19500 block of Redbeam Avenue. Carranza was also hit, according to attorney Glen T. Jonas, and received stitches to a finger. "The problem with the situation is it looked like the police had the goal of administering street justice and in so doing, didn't take the time to notice that these two older, small Latina women don't look like a large black man," Jonas said. Dorner is black, 6 feet tall and weighs 270 pounds. Jonas said the women's vehicle was also "the wrong color and the wrong model" compared to Dorner's." Sorry about the inconvenience, Ma'am.... http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/
Lyle Ruble February 08, 2013 at 12:18 PM
@Steve...Thanks, page 9 is what I am referring to.

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