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Daily Bread for 5.8.24: The Special-Interest Hierarchy of a Small Town (Adjacent Support)

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 75. Sunrise is 5:38 and sunset 8:04 for 14h 26m 27s of daytime. The moon is new with 0.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1877, at Gilmore’s Gardens in New York City, the first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show opens.


In September, I wrote of The Special-Interest Hierarchy of a Small Town:

In a small town, and perhaps elsewhere, there are four tiers within a special-interest hierarchy: principals, operatives, catspaws, and residents. Only the first three serve, reliably, the special interest; the fourth is a large group of unaffiliated people that the special interests must persuade or dissuade repeatedly. 

A special-interest faction, or in the case of the Whitewater Schools an unresponsive board and superintendent, depends on the reliable service of the first three groups (principals, operatives, and catspaws). Some residents, however, may be counted on now and again to support special-interest or insider-group actions. These kinds of residents offer hit-or-miss support. I’ll list a few of them, readily recognizable in Whitewater and towns across the world.

Boosterism and Toxic Positivity. There are always a few residents who feel that criticism is a crime, an offense against man and God, and so must not be tolerated. The boosters feel that accentuating the positive, and burying the negative, is a legitimate (indeed necessary) pursuit. You’ll see them patrol social media looking to rebuke others who offer sincere criticism.

The delusional are sufferers of toxic positivity; the most acute cases are simply lickspittles.

Many of these types are a few moments away from screaming ‘love it or leave it.’ All of those who would do so are ignorant of their own country’s proud history of robust criticism. Even the most degraded hovel in medieval Europe, flea and lice-infested, had apologists of someone’s special schemes. Centuries later, in an America that is a world-historical state, there are still a few locals who live as though American liberties meant nothing, carrying on as though vulgar locals in a rat-dominated hamlet of 1300s Bavaria.

The indictment and conviction of the boosters: narrow of mind and small of heart.

These types, however, are useful as apologists and enforcers of special-interest schemes.

(A better outlook: Tragic Optimism as an Alternative to Toxic Positivity.)

The Concerned Passerby. When faced with a challenge to their position, special interest men cannot always count on themselves as principals, or their operatives and reliable catspaws. Cronyism and entitlement do not run themselves! They’ll look around, and find someone who seems unaffiliated, but is willing to do their work now and again. Although not reliable all the time, these types can be persuaded for a specific task.

They’ll seem like concerned passersby, simply trying to help, but no! They’re truly working to advance a special-interest or closed-government perspective. They’re harder to spot than boosters, sufferers of toxic positivity, or lickspittles, but still identifiable to ordinary residents. They’ll show up and profess simple concern, as ‘adults in the room,’ but after listening to them, it’s clear they’re rationalizing a nefarious cause (e.g., advancing a self-dealer’s plan, or shutting down a discussion).

Scoundrels. Special-interest men want to win, and that means bending public policy to their own ends. Closed-government types want to control public policy without public consent. In both cases, they pervert public life. They create a corrupted, degenerate form of government.

When faced with a difficult challenge, and when smearing challengers is too much even for principals, operatives, and catspaws, they’ll turn to scoundrels. The Oxford American Dictionary offers a plentiful list of synonyms that describe the type (e.g., rogue, rascal, good-for-nothing, reprobate, unprincipled person; cheat, swindler, fraudster, trickster, charlatan; informal villain, beast, son of a bitch, SOB, rat, louse, cur, hound, skunk, heel, snake, snake in the grass, wretch, scumbag, bad egg, stinker).

Scoundrels will say anything to aid a special-interest or closed-government cause, while the principals, operatives, and catspaws delight from a distance. (These main types know what’s happening, hoping it will benefit them, yet hoping it won’t be identified back to them.)

In all of this, however, the overwhelming majority of ordinary residents are normal & well-adjusted. It’s a only few, entitled and avaricious, or entitled and autocratic, who beset and bedevil a community.


NASA Simulation’s Plunge Into the Whitewater School District’s Central Office a Black Hole:

Daily Bread for 5.7.24: Another Fine Public Servant (Mount Pleasant Edition)

Good morning.

Tuesday in Whitewater will be rainy in the morning, partly sunny in the afternoon, with a high of 72. Sunrise is 5:39 and sunset 8:03 for 14h 24m 10s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 0.3 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Common Council meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1864, the Army of the Potomac, under General Ulysses S. Grant, breaks off from the Battle of the Wilderness and continues south, presenting a threat to Lee’s army and the Confederate capital city of Richmond.


Henry Redman reports Mount Pleasant village president dumps waste from private pond on public land to avoid cost:

The village president of Mount Pleasant is facing public criticism for using a village-owned property slated to become a public  park as a dumping ground for the waste created by his homeowners association’s dredging of a pond in his neighborhood.

Residents who live near the property say the president, Dave DeGroot, has used his position to skirt permitting rules for dumping and to help him and his neighbors avoid a hefty price tag to haul the waste elsewhere. 

….

Neighbors of the village property say that if they had tons of muck to dispose of, they wouldn’t have the ability to dump it all on village-owned land. 

“Clearly it’s a cost factor,” Kathy Deverney, who also lives near the property, tells the Examiner. “Mr. DeGroot said, ‘Hey I know where we can dump it.’ If in fact they didn’t pay anything, can any association that has a pond that needs to be dredged can get a permit and go dump it on that land for free? Yeah, that’s irritating. He clearly took advantage of the system, undermined the people who work for him.” 

How many times, in towns across Wisconsin, has one heard repulsive self-dealers declare themselves public servants? How many times, in towns across Wisconsin, has one heard repulsive self-dealers reward themselves with participation trophies for their service (as though they were soldiers)? A better description: old-timers disclaiming conflicts of interest while advancing conflicted interests.

Whitewater has had, and still has, a few men like this.


From World Cats Black:

Daily Bread for 2.19.24: Former WISGOP Chairman Says He Was Tricked (But He’s a Lawyer Who Signed False Documents)

 Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 45. Sunrise is 6:45 and sunset 5:31 for 10h 46m 40s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 78.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

The Whitewater School Board will hold a legislative breakfast at 8 AM, and Whitewater’s Library Board meets at 6:30 PM.

On this day in 1954, the Soviet Politburo of the Soviet Union orders the transfer of the Crimean Oblast from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR.


Anderson Cooper, Aliza Chasan, Sarah Koch, and Madeleine Carlisle report Former Wisconsin Republican Party chair says he was tricked by fake elector plan:

Former Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Andrew Hitt was nominated to be an elector if former President Donald Trump won the state in 2020, but after Trump lost, Hitt and nine other Republican electors met at the state capitol and signed documents falsely claiming Trump won.

Hitt said lawyers told him the documents they were signing were meaningless unless Trump’s legal team won its lawsuit seeking to dismiss over 200,000 votes in two Democratic counties.

Hitt said he was advised that if a court ruled in Trump’s favor and he and the other Republicans did not meet and sign the documents on Dec. 14, 2020 — when the Democratic electors were required to meet to cast their votes for President Biden — he would be responsible for Trump forfeiting Wisconsin.

“It was not a safe time,” he said. “If my lawyer is right, and the whole reason Trump loses Wisconsin is because of me, I would be scared to death.”

….

But Hitt said he didn’t believe there had been widespread fraud in the state.

Hitt said he was advised by the state GOP’s outside legal counsel on Dec. 4, 2020, to gather the other Republican electors at the Capitol on Dec. 14 and, as a contingency, sign a document claiming they were “the duly elected and qualified Electors for President” for Wisconsin. 

“In case a court would overrule the election here in Wisconsin,” Hitt said he was told.

On the morning of Dec. 14, in a narrow 4-3 ruling, the state Supreme Court rejected the Trump campaign’s attempt to throw out votes cast in the two Democratic counties. Hitt said he and the other fake Wisconsin electors met anyway to sign documents falsely claiming Trump won, because he had been told the Trump campaign was still planning to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hitt is, himself, a lawyer. He signed false documents, and now relies on other lawyers’ opinions in place of his own. He signed false documents and now contends that he was afraid not to sign. (Instead: he was not courageous enough to decline.) 

Hitt is unfit for the law and should be disbarred. No person of good judgment, whether lawyer or non-lawyer, should have sympathy for him. 


Yulia Navalnaya: ‘I will continue the work of Alexei Navalny’:

 

Daily Bread for 12.20.23: An Ethics Committee for a Normal Community

 Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 40. Sunrise is 7:21 and sunset 4:23 for 9h 01m 41s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 58.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Park & Rec Board meets at 5:30 PM

On this day in 1803, the Louisiana Purchase is completed at a ceremony in New Orleans.


Yesterday’s post linked to the agenda and embedded the agenda packet for the Whitewater Common Council session for 12.19.23. Item 22 of the 12.19.23 agenda concerned the city’s Ethics Committee:

22. Discussion and possible action regarding possible retention of outside legal counsel for the ethics committee – City Clerk/HR

General background on procedural events that led to this item is available from WhitewaterWise @ Ethics committee to meet Thursday; council to consider outside legal counsel to advise committee.

A well-ordered town government should be a public institution of laws and procedures, limited in reach, and applied fairly and equally to all. There will always be questions in any community about who did what to whom? Villagers in the foulest hovel in medieval Europe could have asked these same questions, albeit in short lives plagued with disease and poverty.

It is not enough to ask those questions. A well-ordered American town answers those questions methodically, diligently, and fairly. In this way, an ethics committee must give each his or her due (rendre justice) to do justice (rendre la justice).  

The advance from a community in the grip of status to a community of free and equal residents depends on doing so. 

The city administration’s memo for Item 22 and the city’s Code of Ethics appear below:


Oops — Mission: Impossible Theme Song Interrupts House of Lords Ceremony:

Daily Bread for 8.14.23: Two Wisconsin Congressmen Beg Court on Behalf of Their Donors

Good morning. Monday in Whitewater will be rainy with a high of 70. Sunrise is 6:00 AM and sunset 7:57 PM for 13h 57m 01s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 3.2% of its visible disk illuminated. The Whitewater School Board’s Policy Review Committee meets at 9 AM. In the afternoon, the…

Daily Bread for 3.5.23: Michael Gableman’s Greatest Productivity Has Been in Ethics Complaints Against Himself

Good morning. Sunday in Whitewater will be partly cloudy with a high of 48. Sunrise is 6:22 AM and sunset 5:49 PM for 11h 27m 16s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 96.53% of its visible disk illuminated.  On this day in 1981, the ZX81, a pioneering British home computer, is launched by Sinclair…

Daily Bread for 10.10.22: He Won’t Divest — He’ll Only Say He Has

Good morning. Monday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 67. Sunrise is 7:03 AM and sunset 6:19 PM for 11h 16m 22s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 99.4% of its visible disk illuminated. Whitewater’s Planning Commission meets at 6 PM.  On this day in 1492, the crew of Christopher…

Daily Bread for 9.4.22: Wisconsin Lawyers Under Fire for Efforts to Overturn the 2020 Election

Good morning. Sunday in Whitewater will see a mix of clouds and sunshine with high of 70. Sunrise is 6:23 AM and sunset 7:23 PM for 12h 59m 32s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 59.4% of its visible disk illuminated.  On this day in 476, Romulus Augustulus is deposed when Odoacer proclaims…

Daily Bread for 8.22.22: Of David French, Traditions, and Examples

Good morning. Monday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of 79. Sunrise is 6:09 AM and sunset 7:45 PM for 13h 35m 23s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 20.4% of its visible disk illuminated.  The Whitewater Unified School Board goes into closed session shortly after 6 PM, and resumes…