Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Justice- Ferguson style, and Waukesha County style

I'm disgusted by what seems to be an obvious lack of justice regarding the decision to not charge Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson with any crimes after Wilson shot unarmed teen Mike Brown 12 times and killed him. But it's not just the racist overtones of letting a white cop get away with shooting a black kid. It's also that it's yet another example of how the connected and powerful continue to get away with crimes (apparently including murder) solely because they have the right status and enough money to do so. If you're not in the "inner circle", then you're on your own, and the law won't help you. In fact, if you try to seek justice, it's likely that those more rich and powerful than you will use their advantages to make it a very tough hill to climb. And the cheering from racist a-holes supporters of Darren Wilson is very sickening. Are you telling me that a guy who at the very least failed to responsibly be the adult in the incident despite having a position of authority, and now stands to make big money from paid interviews and wingnut welfare (until his George Zimmerman-like self-destruction inevitably happens), is considered some kind of victim? You gotta be freaking kidding.

There's only one good moment from last night's events in the St.L area. And it's this, where a guy in a Guy Fawkes/ V for Vendetta mask jumped into Fox News' racist-porn party.

Fuck those guys, indeed.

In the "connected white person" world, it pays to be buddies with those that are in the inner circle of "justice." Look at how this has worked in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, where then-District Attorney Brad Schimel threw a case in 2010 to allow former Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen to get out of prison on corruption charges. This freed up Jensen to funnel huge amounts of money to get GOP candidates elected to the State Legislature through his work the school voucher lobby, including a reported $850,000 in this last election cycle, with the payback coming in the form of those GOP legislators getting more taxpayer dollars for their unaccountable privte and religious schools. Or how Milwaukee County GOP official Christopher Wiesmuller can take a Scott Walker aide across county lines to Waukesha County, actively work with the aide to cover up evidence in the John Doe case, and act so heinously that he was later reprimanded by the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation. But Waukesha DA Schimel, who knew of these actions, chose to let Wiesmuller go without one criminal charge being filed.

Schimel's reward for choosing GOP loyalty over fair justice? He ended up being the GOP's candidate for Attorney General this November, and the voters of the rest of the state were dumb enough to vote him in, where no doubt this back-scratching routine will repeat itself on a statewide level. With that in mind, don't expect any charges or legal action to follow Public Service Commission Board member Ellen Nowak, despite serious impropriety. Nowak is a Scott Walker appointee to the PSC Board (her previous job was... chief of staff to the Waukesha County Executive), and showed whose side she was on when she appeared on a panel with the CEO of a large state utility, and seemed to give advice to energy executives on how to screw over users of alternative energy. This is part of an overall rate scheme that will in effect raise the utility costs for small residences while cutting the costs for large (read: corporate) users.
Ellen Nowak, a regulator for the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, and Wisconsin Energy Corp. (WEC) Chief Executive Officer Gale Klappa participated in a panel together at a utility industry conference in June. Her discussions with Klappa at the conference should have disqualified her from voting on a pending rate case, said Bryan Miller, a co-chairman of the Alliance for Solar Choice...

Wisconsin Energy had initiated the process for raising its rates in April. Less than three weeks after the Edison Electric Institute event, the company submitted a detailed proposal that included a fixed fee for customers with solar power, sometimes called distributed generation or D.G.

That proposal was approved Nov. 14 by the commission 2-1, with Nowak voting in favor. She was appointed by Governor Scott Walker.

“The traditional rate design will no longer work with the growth in the D.G. environment,” Nowak said on the panel. “We need to make more of the fixed costs more in line with fixed charges, particularly so those customers who don’t participate in DG are not paying for those who do.”
It's also telling that it's Bloomberg News that's running this report, and not the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel or other state media. Hmm, think JournalComm might be getting a benefit from this new rate system and possibly be receiving nice ad revenues from these utility companies, and that's why they're not very willing to look into Nowak's connections and sketchy behavior? Guess it pays to be connected.

This is what distresses me most about the state of events in both Ferguson and in Wisconsin. There is a small, incestuous group of cronies that is perverting justice, and using that legal advantage to get even further ahead of the average person than their large bank accounts already allow them to. In the meantime, the rest of us don't see the courts as a place that the evildoers and exploiters can be kept in line, even if they break the law and do damage to average people. And if that trend gets much worse, there will be plenty of other Ferguson-type riots from people who do not believe the legal and legislative system will work for them, and they're going to use other, more destructive means to change a situation they cannot accept.

I don't get why this awful situation has to get worse, but it seems it has done so over the last decade-plus. And what does it take to stop this state's and this country's trend toward becoming a full-fledged banana republic?

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