Destroying Democracy to Save It: Wisconsin Governor Applauded for Unilaterally Changing Law for 400 Years

One of the greatest contradictions in politics today are those who declare themselves “pro-democracy” while seeking to gerrymander election districts, support FBI crackdowns on speech, attack reporters and whistleblowers, and defend censorship. One of the most vocal in expressing his pride in “being pro-democracy” is Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, who just used a partial veto power to negate legislative authority in his state.

Evers was given a bill that increased funding for the 2024-25 school years. Using his partial veto authority, Evers crossed out the “20” and the hyphen. In doing so, he changed the law to allow K-12 schools to raise their revenue per student by $325 a year until 2425. It was never intended nor contemplated by the Republican-controlled legislature.

No one is seriously arguing that this was an intended use of the partial veto authority. Indeed, after prior governors used the partial veto to create new words in legislation, it was barred in 2008. However, Evers is now doing the same thing by eliminating digits and punctuation to create new numbers.

Evers has been a recidivist in such manipulation of legislation, issued 51 partial vetos, including three struck down by the state Supreme Court.

Yet, this is arguably the most offensive to anyone who values the democratic process. Evers is completely ignoring the language and intent of the legislature and committing the state to increases in funding for hundreds of years. It guts the defining power of the purse exercised by state and federal legislatures.

Evers has long put the hype into hypocrisy as a politician who continually portrays himself as a “defender of democracy” while routinely engaging in executive overreach. His favorite tagline is “I’m not going to back down when it comes to defending our democracy.”

Evers clearly approaches saving democracy like the generals approached saving villages in Vietnam when they insisted that they had to “destroy the village in order to save it.”

According to Evers, defending democracy means undoing democratically enacted legislation and unilaterally imposing his own agenda.

Notably, the state school superintendent, Jill Underly reportedly expressed gratitude for the sleight of hand but immediately asked for more money.

This should not be a difficult question legally. No reasonable interpretation of a partial veto power would include the ability to change numbers anymore than changing words. However, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has long been a political battleground in the sharply divided state. The result are elected justices who are regularly accused of partisan agendas.

This case could prove a test of the court’s integrity. To support Evers is to dispense with any pretense of democratic process.

Of course, Evers can insist that the legislature can always override his partial veto if it can muster the two-thirds vote in the divided legislature. However, that misses the point. Regardless of any override, the governor’s actions are still anti-democratic in changing the meaning of a law in this way.

Evers is not the first to use what is called the Vanna White veto of flipping around words or numbers. Republicans governors like Scott Walker and Tommy Thompson also took such liberties. They were equally wrong.

Yet, there is no hue and cry from those who have cloaked themselves in the democratic cause when convenient.  Instead there were celebrations. Former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle said “everybody will shout and scream but he’s got ’em.”

He also “got” democracy.

It is true that Wisconsin has the broadest — and most ridiculous — veto power in the country. However, it was reduced to avoid this type of manipulation of the meaning of laws. Moreover, this is not a change within the confines of the law. The law was designed to appropriate funds for a one year period and Evers turned it into a four century appropriation.

Just as the Washington Post proclaims that “democracy dies in darkness,” it can also die in the daylight. The test of principle is to stand faithful to it when it is not to one’s own advantage. Evers clearly failed that test. However, judging from the gleeful celebrations, he is not the only one.



179 thoughts on “Destroying Democracy to Save It: Wisconsin Governor Applauded for Unilaterally Changing Law for 400 Years”

  1. Anonymous – you should read your own arguments.

    “You’re comparing apples to oranges. The guardsman was not authorized to share that information.”
    Correct, And the president is ALWAYS, that is the key point that you keep trying to dance arround here.
    There is no difference in the information released.
    The damage of that information coming from Biden is GREATER. No matter what classified informaiton from the president of the united states is ALWAYS more credible than pretty much any other way of getting the same information .

    The KEY difference – which YOU are citing is that Biden is authorized. But HOW is Biden authorized ?
    There is no law that authorized Biden to release this. There is no uber president that told Biden he was free to do so.
    Biden’s authorization inarguably comes from Joe Biden. That is not only what the constitution provides. There is not another workable solution. The constitution empowers the president to decide as he pleases regarding national defence information – subject ONLY to impeachment, because the ultimate power MUST be somewhere.

    ” The information is still not publicly available.”
    Are you really this stupid ? This is not the first time you have repeated this idiotic claim. I have already pointed out that The information was released on a peer 2 peer social media system – There is absolutely no way in the world for the govenrment to find and destroy every copy that is out there. It is PUBLIC now. PERIOD.

    I would further note that significant portions ofg this information was reported on CNN, MSNBC, FOX., NYT, ….

    Must you constantly make absolutely stupid arguments that you can not possibly win.

    This issue is DEAD. You lost.

    “It’s still classified.” I am sure there are documents all over the place that contain this information marked “classified”.

    But The Pentagon Papers case – 50 years old, make it clear – this information is out in the public if you wish to publish it you are free to do so.

    “If it was you would be able to find exactly what he shared because your reasoning claims it is now public.”
    Yup, and if you were the slightest bit curious you could.
    And ifd you were not completely stupid you would KNOW that of course this information is public – Ukraine was Screaming at the US government because they were reading about their war plans and their readiness and their strategy and tactics, and their US provided weapons in news media from all over the world.

    It is near certain that YOU have been informaed of some of what was made public – you just do not know that information came from the MS NG’s man.

    ” It’s not.”
    Of course it is.
    This is just a stupid argument.
    There are so many counters to this.

    Did the DOD mind wash all the people who read this information on Discord ?

    Do you understand that the Espionage act does not apply to people who do not have a duty to protect classified information and who did not commit a crime to obtain it ?

    You can not violate the espionage act by finding a classified document at the side of the road and publishing it.

    Please review the Pentagon Papers case.

    “No. Your first post stated that Biden’s statement COULD be mentioning classified information. It was not obvious as you were unsure. Now you claim it was obvious. Clearly you don’t understand the distinction.”
    Nope. Your argument is grammar and mind reading ?

    If I say that it COULD be gravity that causes a bowling ball to fall from the tower of pisa, Does that change the FACT that it is ?

    “The information Biden offered was never classified.”
    Of course it was – it was Born classified.

    It is clear you know very little about classified information. You have never held a clearance, you have no familiarity with the pprocess. And your not very good at working out logically what it must be.

    “It’s information that has been circulating throughout defense industry publications like Janes defense weekly and other defense magazine articles pointing out the problem as early as last year. This is not hard to figure out how it’s not classified information.”

    Again the existence of private speculation even very good private speculation does not change whether something is classified.

    Do I really need to explain to you that if your claim was correct NOTHING would be classified – because some expert somewhere has speculated correctly about everything.

    “Your argument fell apart the moment you started to move the goalposts and claimed without any supporting evidence that the information Biden stated was previously classified.”
    Are you capable of making an argument without bad and bogus cliches ?

    The only goal posts that have moved are yours.

    “I provided a publication NOT mandated by law that was a year old mentioning the shortage of 155mm shells.”
    So ? Are their rocks in your head ?What does it take for you to realize that classified information is not declassified by the public availability of expert opinion that mirrors what is classified.

    And AGAIN aSpeculation from 1 year ago does not alter the actual state of US inventories of 155m shells TODAY.

    “There is no law mandated by congress to mention that. It’s commonly known information from industry experts and the manufacturers themselves.” Correct, it is speculation, It is not actual counts or summaries of counts fo actual shells.

    Why are these things so hard for you to understand ?
    If I post here that the US only has 3162 Javelin Anti-Tank missles left and I happen to be correct – does that declassify the classified information about the number of Javelin’s in the US inventory ?

    Does that change if I am some private expert on military production working for Janes and by looking at the P&L statement of a public corporation that makes 155mm shels I calculate how many shells they likely made int eh past year, and then I use similar information to calculate the number of shells Ukraine is using per day to create a pretty accurate guestimate of current available inventories – does that magically declassifiy the Actual inventory ?

    Do you think Russia itself does nto have an army of “experts” also trying to claculate precisely what resoruces the US has provided to Ukraine and exactly When they get those resources ? Do you think the US does no0t have the same kinds of experts doing the same with Russia ?

    Do you think that the US experts estimates of the moment by monent resources of Russia are classified ?

    Do you think they are delcassified because someone at Janes is doing the same thing ?

    You do not think about what you post before doing so.

    Your arguments are failing – because Your are trapped in first order thinking. You deal badly with the obvious, and forget that Everything has many many levels.

    “Check for yourself. Go back to November abc you can see there were already discussions on 155mm shell shortage concerns. This is why it was never classified information. Your have been dead wrong all this time.”
    Are you really so daft that you do not understand that is irrelevant ?

  2. As you clearly have not read Navy V. Eagan there is no reason ANYONE should give even the tiniest credibility to your rot.

    If you strike 90% of the opinion and holding as well as the grant of certiari – you MIGHT be able sustain your argument.

    Unfortunately, the “cherry picking” is yours. . The remaining 90% of the case is about national security, classified information, the constitutional grants of power to the executive, the presidents delegation of some of that power to others, and the lack of power of the courts or the congress to interfere in that presidential power and its delegation.

    But you are SOMEWHAT correct in that those the president delegates power to, Such as the power over national defense information, are bound to the rules the president creates in delegating that power.
    There are even circumstances – this NOT being one of those, in which those delegated executive power by the president are also subject to regulation by congress.

    But the president is not.
    Not with respect to constitutional powers that are exclusively executive powers.

    I would further note that Navy V Eagan does not stand alone – few supreme court precidents do
    United States v. Reynolds
    Totten v. United States
    The authority to protect such information falls on the President as head of the Executive Branch and as Commander in Chief.
    Molerio v. FBI
    Adams v. Laird

  3. Anonymous

    “” Navy V. Eagan removes issues regarding classification and security clearances from the domain of the courts.”
    No it doesn’t.”
    Of course it does, you confuse the facts of the case with the law and the reasoning of the decision.

    “You have a gross misunderstanding of what the case is about and what the opinion is really saying.”
    Not at all, the case litterally says that classification is an executive matter, and not the domain of the courts or congress.

    “This is the core of your flawed arguments. What you think it says is not what it says.”
    It is littlerally what it says.

    “The President, after all, is the “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.” U.S.Const., Art. II, § 2. His authority to classify and control access to information bearing on national security and to determine whether an individual is sufficiently trustworthy to occupy a position in the Executive Branch that will give that person access to such information flows primarily from this constitutional investment of power in the President, and exists quite apart from any explicit congressional grant. See Cafeteria Workers v. McElroy, 367 U. S. 886, 367 U. S. 890 (1961). This Court has recognized the Government’s “compelling interest” in withholding national security information from unauthorized persons in the course of executive business. Snepp v. United States, 444 U. S. 507, 444 U. S. 509, n. 3 (1980). See also United States v. Robel, 389 U. S. 258, 389 U. S. 267 (1967); United States v. Reynolds, 345 U. S. 1, 345 U. S. 10 (1953); Totten v. United States, 92 U. S. 105, 92 U. S. 106 (1876). The authority to protect such information falls on the President as head of the Executive Branch and as Commander in Chief.”

    ” You’re cherry picking to fit your unsupported argument.”
    No I am reading the actual decision.

    I would suggest that you do the same and end the ACTUAL cherry picking which is what you do.

    SCOTUS does nto grant certia to address trivial questions. There is no right to be heard by the supreme court.
    There is no right to be heard – even if your case is wrongly decided.

    The court in granting certiari and in the resulting oppinion specifically notes that this case is before them – not because some naval yard worker lost his job. But because it addresses significant constitutional questions regarding national security and the powers of the executive branch.

    Before YOU go cherry picking – you should actually read what the Court itself says.

    The citation above is one of MANY in the decision that makes YOUR error wrong.
    The decision is EXPLICITY not about some dock workers security clearance, but about the national security power of the executive. Further the court EXPLICITLY – above and elsewhere notes that it is:
    1) executive power granted by the constitution.
    2). Power flowing directly from the President
    3). Non-re viewable by the courts.
    4). Outside of congresses power to regulate. .

  4. Anonyomous

    “. That’s not how it works.”
    Do you no what an argument is ?
    Naked unsupported assertions are not arguments.

    “I am right, you are wrong” is not an argument.

    “Citing Navy vs. Eagan does not support your arguments. It’s not what you erroneously believe.”
    I have more than cited navy vs. eagan, I have provided caselaw and arguments that are fully consistent with the decision.

    You are fixated on the narrow facts of the case – Not the actual holding in the decision.

    The court concluded that decisions regarding classified information are the exclusive constitutional domain of the Executive branch. That they are NOT subject to judicial revue, and they are not subject to congressional legislation.

    I have combined that with hundreds of further cases that EVERYTHING that is Executive power is PRESIDENTIAL POWER – because the constitution explicitly says that.

    “Biden saying 155mm ammunition being in short supply is not classified information at all.”
    It is until the instant he utters it and then like every single president before him who has either made public or otherwise removed classified information from its protected state – it is instantly declassified.

    Why ? Because the president can not violate any law regarding national security – because congress can not make a law covering national security that applies to the president.

    You claimed there was legislation regarding the classification process.

    You have been asked repeatedly WHERE IS IT ?

    You have failed to provide it, because it does not exist.
    Congress does not have the power to decide what is classified and what is not.
    It does not have the power to tell others what is classified or what is not.
    It does not have the power to dictate a process for classifiying and declassifying.

    That is an exclusively executive power – that is PRECISELY What Navy V Eagan says.

    While it is only partly int he context of classified documents – that is also what JW V NARA says.

    Congress can not tell the president what WH documents are his and which are not.
    That is an executive power – a presidential power.
    The portions of the PRA that attempt to take that power from the president or to constraint the presidents power there
    are unconstitutional.

    Judge ABJ did not say those portions of the PRA are unconstititioonal – that was determined previously.
    She just ignored those provisions, or treated them as “suggestions” to the president.

    Regardless she decided that President Bill Clinton was allowed to take whatever he wanted – classified or not from the WH and keep it at his home in is “sock drawer”.

    Judge ABJ was correct.

    But even if a future court decided otherwise – which is unlikely
    All presidents after her decision were entitled to rely on it.

    The FACT whether you like it or not is that There is only one difference between What Biden did at his press conferance and what the NG man did on discord in MA.

    That difference is that Biden is president, and therefore can do whatever he wants with classified information.
    And the NG man is not.

    The espionage act, the EO on classified information handling, do NOT apply to the president while president.
    Nor to the actions taken by the president while president.

    This is how the constitution of the United States dictated.
    If you do not like that – Change it.

    As importantly, it probably is the only workable way to have a government.
    That you can not change.

    “You only assume that because you’re not aware that information is has not ever been classified.”
    Of course it is classified. It is quite litterally BORN classified. All govenrment information regarding the vulnerabilities of the US government – especially military ones are BORN classified.

    Do you think that the presidents schedule is not classified until someone stamps classifierd on it ?

    ” It’s well known in military aficionado’s circles and military publications.”
    Absolutely – that changes nothing.
    Did the fact that I personally knew a great deal about the F117 before it was declassified mean that the F117 was not classified ?

    “It’s been known for nearly a year before the president mentioned it.”
    That is an irrelevant and stupid argument. We do not KNOW the future until it happens.
    We speculate about it. Which is my point.

    You are also completely clueless. Those within the US government privy to the actual information regarding US production of as an example 155mm shells, as well as US consumption of 155mm shells are obligated to protect that information – because ITS CLASSIFIED.

    Newspaper reporters and analysts and military affecionado’s who use a compilation of speculation calculation and some known fact to reach conclusions that mirror classified information – does not declassify it.

    You do not seem to be capable of thinking beyond the first order impacts of your claims.

    I would note that Trump would be perfectly happy if what you claimed was true – because I doubt there is a signle document that he posesses that says somethingt that some reporter, analysyt or other private party has not claimed publicly in the past.

    “It was expected. ”
    Of course it was.
    That is not an argument.

    “It wasn’t declassified because the president stated it. It was never classified to begin with.”
    Again because you say so.

    Then how is it that you know that the information that Hillary or Biden or Pence or Trump had was classified ?

    “Lol, there’s a lot known about those abrams tanks.”
    Of course there is. That does not change anything.

    ” We know they are not the latest spec currently in use by the U.S. military.”
    So ?

    “Most capabilities are well known by our fans of the military and thanks to multiple documentaries throughout the years.”
    Again does not change anything.

    I would further note that if you actually follow those “military afecionados” of yours MOST will admit that the Public infiormation and REALTIY are not inherently the same.

    Today – remarkably we have publicly available simulations of war games at a level the US military could not have done on its own a decade ago.

    We can pit the US vs. China over Taiwan and see what the results would be.
    Something the military does in a classified setting ALL THE TIME.
    But today those “military affecionados” your – and I am one of those. Can do that entirely on their own.

    YET, you will find EVERY one of thse simulations includes the following caveats:

    The ACTUAL specs of the weapons are CLASSIFIED. The weapons being similated are based on Public information that is likely not completely accurate.

    That is true of simulated US weapons, it is true of simulated foreign power weapons.

    As a rule of thumb we beleive that the US does not ever make public the actual capabilities of weapons that they are always more capable than reported. While foreign powers typially exagerate the capability of their weapons.

    So you seem to think that the fact that you know something close to the truth from public sources,
    means that the ACTUAL truth is not classified ?

    “We know how they got there.”
    You do ? Then tell me exactly how ? Which planes were they transported on ? And when ? leaving from where ?
    Or were they transpoerted by ship ? When ? From Where ?
    Provide me all the details of how abrams got fromt he US to Ukraine from source BEFORE they traveled.
    Not from public observations made during the trip or reporting AFTER the fact.

    “The real classified info is WHEN they got there.”
    That too is classified – or more accurately When they WILL get there. Generally the fact that they DID get there is hard to hide.
    “That high number of tanks can only be transported by rail or ship.”
    Not a complete moron. Though you are incorrect MACV can transport 2 Abrams by Air in a single transport anywhere in the world in hours. The US has publicly admitted to providing Ukraine with 100 Abrams. That is 50 trips at most, or 10 trips by 5 transports.

    It is not likely the US transported Abrams by Air to Ukraine. But it is absolutely possible.

    “It’s WHEN they are transported that is and should be classified.”
    Again because you say so ?

    You seem to think that things are as you claim – just because you have made a claim.

    Think about it WHY is any information about this classified ?
    Is it classified because someone got indigestion and said – this is classiffied and this is not ?

    When they are trasnported is classified – because accurate knowledge of that would allow Russian to make better plans to counter them.

    HOW they are transported is classified – because would allow them to potentially be intercepted, or sabotaged along the way.

    All the things yuou claim are NOT classified are absolutely classified – because accurate knowledge – NOT speculation would give enemies with that knowledge an advantage that could harm the US.

    “You apparently don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    And yet, it is self evident that you do not, and that I do.
    It is also self evident that you are incapable of thinking mroe than surface deep about your own claims.

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