FREE WHITEWATER

Local Government

Trump-Russia Roundup

While the proper focus against Trumpism involves a zealous lawful effort against Trump and his leading operatives, there is also a problem of Trumpism down to the local level. In both cases, officials advancing Trumpism ignore the overwhelming evidence of his betrayal of our own people to the benefit of a hostile foreign power. As…

The Not-So-Daily Union

One reads that local Daily Union will begin delivery by mail, and that this will push forward the publication deadline by twelve hours.  While the change of delivery matters to subscribers, the change in publication deadline will matter more. The Daily Union will no longer be able to get a story on an evening meeting or…

Political and Apolitical Means of Local Accomplishment

One test of an institution’s vitality is how eager people are to become members, and how interested a community is to learn who’s become a member. Strong institutions or organizations attract attention. When the institution is a city or county government, one looks to see who’s eager to run for office, and how many people…

The Broad Outlines of 2019

For many years, I would begin the year with predictions for the twelve months ahead.  Events since 2016 have made predictions harder,  but one can still discern some short-term developments for the city.  These prospects, of course, form an online of topics to ponder, and about which to write (often requiring that one return to the…

Reported Family Poverty in Whitewater Increased Over the Last Decade

Over the last ten years, while Wisconsin and America recovered from the Great Recession, in Whitewater poverty among families with children actually increased. The Great Recession – deep and painful for many, lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. Afterward, most parts of America saw recovery, sometimes slow, sometimes rapid, but recovery by either definition.  That’s why for…

The ‘Real’ Residents

Emily Badger reports Are Rural Voters the ‘Real’ Voters? Wisconsin Republicans Seem to Think So: In much of Wisconsin, “Madison and Milwaukee” are code words (to some, dog whistles) for the parts of the state that are nonwhite, elite, different: The cities are where people don’t have to work hard with their hands, because they’re collecting…

Once a Gerrymanderer…

Wisconsin, with a gerrymandered legislature and a crony capitalist, lame-duck governor, was never going to have an easy transition back to a tradition of democratically representative government and sound economic policy.  The men who engineered years of the wrong approach were never going to go gently to the political outer darkness that, deservedly, awaits them.…

Sad Spectacle in Jefferson, WI (and How to Do Much Better)

For four years, either Edgerton or Jefferson, Wisconsin has hosted a costume festival (originally a Harry Potter Festival, this year a Warriors and Wizards festival). Despite three years of disappointment, Jefferson held the festival again this year (after having – astonishingly – signed a five-year deal). I’ve followed the event over the years, and it…

The Walker Cabinet Officers’ Open Letter

Four cabinet secretaries of the Walker Administration have come forward to criticize the governor, and three of them have co-written an open letter against Walker’s relentless emphasis on political gain over sound policies. One of the signatories of the letter is Paul Jadin, who was Walker’s first Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation leader. It says all…

Act Utilitarianism Isn’t Merely a National Scourge

Trump justifies his treatment of Christine Blasey Ford by the outcome of the Kavanaugh hearings: “It doesn’t matter. We won.”

One wouldn’t have to go to Washington, or wait for Trump to speak, to find this sort of act utilitarianism. Long before Trump’s 2016 campaign, officials and self-described community leaders in small towns across America shared a similar calculus. For the sake of some imagined overall gain, individual injuries and injustices have been swept aside.

And so, and so — officials justify financial and personal injuries to individuals on behalf of the supposed greater good of being ‘community-minded,’ of defending the ‘university family,’ or some such collective claim.

Trump’s act utilitarianism did not begin with Trump: it grew in cities and towns in which factions decided they’d take what they want, and conveniently sweep aside others by use of nebulous ‘community’ principles. (In the video above, Trump betrays his amorality early on, as he shrugs his shoulders when part of Christine Blasey Ford’s injury is recounted to him.)

In most of these cases of supposed collective gain, of course, it turns out to be a particular politician, particular businessman, or particular university official who reaps the most at the expense of ordinary individuals, but these community leaders would prefer one didn’t look too closely into that selfish benefit, thank you kindly.

Whether a highly-placed person’s selfish gain, or community’s supposed overall gain, the disregard for individual rights reveals a dark, calculating amorality.

Found Footage: Daily Union Arrives on Subscriber’s Doorstep

See from the Daily Union Bus routes, security and parking addressed for Jefferson festival and Final preparations for Oct. 19-21 festival under way in Jefferson (reporter Ryan Whisner & publisher Brian V. Knox). But see Sean Biggerstaff’s thread on Twitter (“I am disappointed and also angered to say that I will not be appearing at the @WandWFestival in Jefferson,…