Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Supreme Hackery

It’s long past time to publicly finance Wisconsin’s Supreme Court races. Last week we saw the injustice and cost to the citizenry that results from allowing democracy subverting special interests to buy seats on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court as Annette Ziegler led the charge for her corporate sponsors at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC). The corporatists at WMC paid millions of dollars to put the ethically bankrupt Ziegler on the bench and now she’s dutifully returned their investment to the detriment of the citizenry.

Menasha Corporation bought SAP, a several million dollar canned software package, thousands of copies of which are sold worldwide, and they had to pay sales tax on it. They then claimed it was a custom package, therefore tax exempt because they had to pay consulting fees to integrate it and learn how to use it. They then sued the state, in conjunction with WMC, who filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of Menasha.

Annette of course sided with the corporate interests rather than the citizen’s interest and ordered not only Menasha’s money to be returned, but another $300 million in similar taxes. Talk about your judicial activism!

Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson stated correctly that the citizens of Wisconsin will now have to make up for the returned money and an estimated $100 million every year from now on because of this ludicrous ruling. That’s a pretty sweet deal for the corporatists. Spend a few tens of thousands of dollars in “consulting” fees and skate on the $300,000 tax bill owed to the People of Wisconsin.

In her former position Zeigler not only didn’t recuse herself from cases that involved her husband’s business, but kept those conflicted interests secret from the parties involved. For this violation of ethics rules she got a slap on the wrist from her fellow “justices” on the bench and as a result the citizenry has been slapped in the face. And once again she failed to recuse herself, in this case involving the group who paid for her seat on the bench. But then again there really is no conflict in her interest, we know exactly where that lies.

Justice Abrahamson is up for re-election next year and you can bet that WMC and national groups interested in forcing the corporatist agenda on America will spare no expense in buying that seat as well (as they did for Gableman this year) to put the final nail in the coffin of supreme justice here in Wisconsin.

Fortunately a good corporate citizen, Epic Systems of Verona has stepped in and made the following statement; “We believe that what we tolerate is what we stand for, and as corporate citizens, we stand for the preservation of the foundation of the judicial system," "… After careful consideration, we made a decision to try to work only with vendors that do not support WMC with its current management. This was not a decision we made lightly, but believe it is the right thing to do.” BRAVO!
These ”justices” can put on robes if they want to in a vain effort to instill a sense of mystery and awe surrounding their deliberations. But there’s no mystery about what lies beneath the robes of the likes of Zeigler and Gableman, a couple of bought and paid for supreme political hacks. It’s time for the citizens resume ownership of their court and the justices that sit on it by funding the elections with public money.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not sure if Sean Cranley wrote 'Supreme Hackery' or just posted it and someone else wrote it. Regardless, it is full of factual errors that all skew to support the writer's view. Hopefully these are actually errors and not outright lies, making the author as bad as they claim the court is in terms of ethics or allegiances based on ideaology.

In terms of Epic Systems being a 'good' corporate citizen, in reality they are hypocrites who got some headlines for their faux anguish over WMC political activities. Epic couldn't be further from what those who praise them supposedly stand for and what Epic pretends to stand for. Proof? Isn't it interesting that Epic Systems' high road is only a promise not to do business with 'vendors' who support WMC, and not Epic customers. Some of Epic's customers may belong to WMC or organizations just like it around the country. Talk about a 'corporatist agenda.' Epic will only coerce vendors, not any profit-generating clients, in their quest to advance their founder's political agenda. Nor will they disconnect from the power grid or stop receiving shipments of supplies and materials that could easily be linked to one or more WMC members. But hey, they got the headline and sent a message that they are willing to engage in unethical corporate behavior to get their way. How is that not their own corporatist agenda decried by Burlington Liberals?

Just like some on the right, ultra-conservative end of the political spectrum, there are those on the left, ultra-liberal (progressive) end that act in ways that only support their agenda, constantly wrapping themselves in some claim to moral or ethical superiority. Burlington Area Liberals are no different than right-wing activists who twist and change facts to fit their pre-determined policy and political agenda. Kind of interesting that during and after the supreme court elections in which their candidates (Linda Clifford and Louis Butler) lost, they cried foul in terms of how ads did just that, twisted facts, lied, etc. Seems the BAL gang won't follow the standards they think everyone else should follow, or at least those they disagree with.

Standby for the tortured logic and irrational reply that justifies the writer's views, Epic's selective coercion, and forms of elections that reduce freedom of speech. Have at it!