Sunday, July 5, 2015

More GOP budget outrages, including forced water sales between communities

Hap tip to the Blue Cheddar blog for listing more of the dictatorial GOP/Walkerite special interest provisions slipped into the budget at the last moment by the GOP-led Joint Committee on Finance and the chairs who should be recalled  for this brazen attack on democracy in Wisconsin- - Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. John Nygren.

Note this major change that pre-empts local water conservation and land use policies statewide by requiring one municipality to extend water and serve service to another community, upon request, that wants it.

This could blow a hole in the Great Lakes Compact and the legitimacy of Wisconsin as an honest steward of waters in the Lake Michigan and Superior watersheds just as  Waukesha's Great Lakes diversion request is primed to be moved to the other seven Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces because the Compact establishes regional rules for water transfers and emphasizes conservation. 

Developers win! Sprawl everywhere. Border wars and litigation forever. Heads-up, Milwaukee Water Works - - they're coming for you.

And more evidence that Walker and his gang are the champions of Big Government, and always have been despite all the propaganda.

From Blue Cheddar:
#66 Extension of water or sewer service between municipalities(this coupled with the changes in the Madison Sewer and Water + Contemplating the Waukesha wanting water out of Lake Michigan thing – LOOKS BIG)

Walker tweets, hopes everyone missed the real July 4th story

The big political story in Wisconsin on July 4th was:
Media, activists achieve independence from Big Government/GOP legislative leaders' open records power grab to serve Walker, insiders.
While a tone-deaf,distracting Walker - - long a friend of Big Government - - ironically wrote:

  1. "The founders did not declare their independence from one big government only to create another"

Dirty air alert for three WI counties today

Saturday, July 4, 2015

When the going gets tough, Walker knows nothing

I don't know what kind of paper or electronic trail may still be available, but I think we can soon expect Scott Walker to issue one of his patented 'I knew nothing' denials - -
with a healthy side of finger-pointing - - so let's hope some reporter can get close enough to the presidential wannabe and confront him over the scandalous GOP attack on open records and democratic process inserted into Walker's budget.

Because we all know that no GOP legislator in Madison these days does anything of even minor consequence without checking with Walker or his office.

It's his show, has been for more than four years and even more so since The Unintimdated One is set to preposterously take his sleazy schtick national and none of his legislative flunkies would dare upset that applecart.

I've tracked some earlier Walker I-know-nothing examples, here and here, but my favorite is below because it goes back to the very beginning to Walker's heavy-handed and failed campaign for Marquette University student body president.

That FUBAR ended with his ethically-challenged effort losing a student newspaper endorsement, followed by Walker's team gathering up and tossing the newspapers that carried the endorsement withdrawal, followed by this classic summation after the ballot-box defeat.

I quoted that history from a Marquette Tribune story in a 2012 blog posting:
Walker’s campaign record murky

In the run-up to election day, the Tribune’s editorial board endorsed Walker’s opponent John Quigley, but said either candidate had the potential to serve effectively. 
However, the Tribune revised its editorial the following day, calling Walker “unfit for presidency...”
The revision also expressed disappointment in Walker’s campaign workers reportedly throwing away issues of the Tribune after the endorsement was initially made.  
Walker dismissed this, saying he had no knowledge of what his supporters did, according to a Tribune article from February 25, 1988. 

One more thought on Walker's retreat from GOP open records attack

Anyone dumb enough to even think of praising Scott Walker for pulling from his budget as amended by his loyal lieutenants - - after they all hit the fan - - their disgraceful attack on open records are the same sort of people who believe Walker when he said he'd left the Wisconsin environment cleaner than he found it.

Walker and the GOP had been come clean about this FUBAR against basic democracy got launched in the first place.

The bigger picture about our truth-and-fact challenged Governor, here.

Because heavy-handed record-handling reveals the true Walker

Of course he wants to get this story off the front pages and away from his national campaign.

How would you like it if a bunch of lawyers showed up at the loan closing on your dream house waving handfuls of unpaid liens?

His party's embrace of government secrecy to help donors and shield insiders - - and you can't convince me Walker knew nothing about it - - is an image-killer that upends all that "midwestern nice hogwash."

And it also helps inquiring media and opposition research operatives draw a straight line from Gov. Walker and his team today back to his open-records annihilating secret email system and its subsequent criminal convictions.

And further back to his 2010 campaign's worry over  damaging records after the fatal Milwaukee County garage concrete collapse on his watch.

And to the squashing of information during his 2010 run for Governor by his political people about a patient's starvation death at the county mental health facility on his watch.

And all the way back to his college student body presidential campaign's destruction of Marquette campus newspapers after its editorial board withdrew its Walker endorsement over campaign ethics violations.

WI GOP using Walker budget for more war on Dane County

We're watching Wisconsin GOP legislators prove Lord Acton's maxim about absolute power creating corruption absolutely by amending Scott Walker's "crap budget" - - one dissident GOP member's phrase - - into an even more thuggish weapon against Democratic stronghold Dane County and its biggest city, Madison, by:

*  Taking away local authority to require a Canadian tar sand pipeline company to obtain an insurance policy against oil spills. The company, Enbridge, has already had several spills and violations in Wisconsin and its major pipeline break and billion-dollar+ spill in Michigan several years ago into the Kalamazoo River is still the most costly inland oil spill in US history.

*  Taking away Dane County participation in water policy planning, thus giving developers more power.

* Taking away local zoning controls to enable by a cash poor state government the construction of a $200 million palace for the state transportation department. Traffic, land use and similar local concerns be damned.

*  Slamming the UW-Madison campus with a $114 million budget cut over the next two years, ending programs, killing grants, creating layoffs, and further discouraging student and faculty recruitment and retention. In a related budget move - - and none of these budget insertions are drafting errors, by the way - - Walker and Republicans intend do end traditional tenure, thus speeding up the revenue and brain drain from the area.

Because if you are Walker and his legislative allies, you absolutely do not want to see any more stories like this:
South-central Wisconsin leads the state in regional job growth, study showss 
The report released Monday by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance shows south-central Wisconsin tops the state in job gains from 2000 to 2012, while southeastern Wisconsin leads in total job losses. Overall, the state lost 1.4 percent of its jobs during that period.
Dane County fueled the rise, with the addition of more than 65,000 residents and 31,000 jobs during the 13-year period.

Friday, July 3, 2015

My hero

Scott Walker will 'make changes' to public record restrictions before budget vote
And I'm sure his motives are pure, give his great history of transparency

Often tracked on this blog.

On immigration, ten thousand ways Walker could Trump Trump

Give back that $10,000.

Rep. Kleefisch Opened Bill-Drafting To Self-Interested Wealthy Donor

[Reposted from 1/11/14, in light of the uproar over a Wisconsin budget amendment slipped in at the last minute a few days ago without a transparent sponsor that would keep records like these - - and many more - - secret] 
For the love of God: Are there any standards of fair play and righteous behavior left in this administration? 

Is there any special interest that isn't given an inside track, that isn't allowed to play or pitch or profit from an angle - - sand mining, WEDC borrowers, iron mining, private Choice schools, gun interests, road-builders, wolf-and-bear hunters, etc, et al, ad nauseum? 

Remember that Walker promoted a special bill just a few days after his inauguration to let a developer fill a wetland near Lambeau Field? That was bad...but this documented story by Dee Hall in The Wisconsin State Journal stopped me in my tracks.
A controversial bill that would allow high-income parents to avoid paying tens of thousands of dollars a year in child support was written with the help of a wealthy donor to the bill’s author, Rep. Joel Kleefisch.
The Oconomowoc Republican acknowledged Friday that Michael Eisenga, a multimillionaire business owner, and his attorney helped write the bill, which could pave the way for Eisenga to force the court to reopen his divorce settlement... 
The bill drafting records, which include emails, letters and handwritten notes, show Eisenga and his attorney, William Smiley of Portage, made numerous suggestions for changes to the bill aimed at helping Eisenga lower his child-support payments... 
Eisenga donated the maximum amount allowed under law six times to Kleefisch, the [Wisconsin Democracy Campaign] database shows, for a total of $3,500. He also gave $7,500 to Kleefisch’s wife, Rebecca, who is the lieutenant governor, and $15,000 to Gov. Scott Walker.
Call it The Axis of Access.

And shame on Assembly leaders if they lift a finger to bring the bill to the floor, and more shame on any legislator who would do anything other than shove it through a shredder, and especially to Kleefisch for handing over the public legislative process to a single person with such a personal motive.

Exurbanites urge end to wasteful WI Highway 164 expansion

People in Waukesha and Washington Counties are still fighting the wasteful expansion of state highway 164.

There is a long history of the project and similar efforts  - - including fresh litigation against another boondoggle not far away - - on this blog

Here;s a link more than four years old. An outrage, given a court ruling against the project.

Consult the index box, upper left corner.

Lawsuit filed against Waukesha Bypass project

The Waukesha Environmental Action League, (WEAL) and others have filed a lawsuit against WisDOT's planned road expansion known as the Waukesha bypass.

Details, here.

We have noted the bypass on this blog, and also the probable development expansion with traffic implications outside of the City of Waukesha should Great lakes water flow into underdeveloped areas there.

Again, we are seeing citizens having to spend their own money to force public agencies to do their job, manage tax funds and follow the law.

Excellent regional coverage of Waukesha water plan

This is a must-read piece about the implications of a Great Lakes diversion to Waukesha:
But if it [Waukesha] succeeds in staking this claim, based on a narrow-sounding exception in the rule against out-of-basin diversions, Waukesha will become the first municipality entirely outside the basin to be granted rights to Great Lakes water. And that will set a precedent that hundreds of other communities across eight states and two Canadian provinces could point to and say: 
Hey, what about us?
With its eye on the Great Lakes basin's big, basic Lake Superior, Minnesota should carefully look at Walker's entire and horrible water-quality-andrelted-environmental record, and also remember that Walker was willing to sacrifice the Lake Superior watershed and water quality for a massive open-pit, mountain top removal iron mine and its toxic mine runoff. 

NY Times finds trouble for Walker in his extremism

A great line about Walker's Iowa far-right turn in this major piece today:
...Walker appears increasingly willing to lose the general election to win the primary.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

When Walker, GOP WI legislators do their unthinkable damage...

And this budget is another nightmare for democracy on top of four years of hell, I remember that the Journal Sentinel endorsed Walker in 2010 for, among other virtues, his "trademark[s]...out-of-the-box thinking."

And in those four years, it has been hell, detailed here.

In committee, WI GOP legislators reward themselves, lobbyists,

Hard to know where to begin. This group of legislators is absolutely the worst collection of public officials gathered under one roof in Madison. Ever.

Walker to get glimpse of Air Force I, but that's it

[Update, on the issues]] I'm glad Walker is to greet President Barack Obama today in La Crosse. The contrast between real and fake, between President and preposterous poseur, will snap Walker's insufficiencies into focus.

Maybe Obama will ask him how that foreign policy crash course is coming.

Here's your single-posting crash course in Walker's record, history, policies, and more.

And by the way, the tarmac in La Cross today is the closest Walker will ever get to Air Force I.

Obama/Walker disparities on livable, working wages

President Barack Obama is in La Crosse, WI today to tout his recent executive order making many US workers eligible for overtime pay not raised since 1975.

Obama will be greeted by WI GOP Gov. Scott Walker, a 2016 presidential hopeful, who has blocked any increase in the minimum wage of $7.25 mandated in Wisconsin and has taken the extreme position that the minimum wage serves "no purpose."

Walker also created Act 10, which has slashed the take home pay of Wisconsin public employees, has signed a blue-collar wage depressing so-called 'right-to-work' bill after saying he had no interest in it, and has said he will sign whatever version of a bill his GOP corporatist legislative allies send him to cut the s0-called prevailing pay rates of workers on road and building projects.

Need we say more about the state where there has been bottom-tier job growth during Walker's first term - -  WI is now 35th among the states - -  and the sharpest percentage decline among all 50 states in middle-class status for the residents?

These are among the many facts not known outside Wisconsin. Consult this list.

No wonder the Koch brothers have said Walker is their favorite for 2016, but what's in it for people who work in fast-food restaurants, drive road graders or put up dry wall or wire and plumb them?

Walker filing candidacy papers, state not filling potholes

So there are your Scott Walker/GOP priorities, Bucky. Walker on the cusp of kicking Wisconsin to the curb while the state delays fixing its roads.

And Walker's budget, like the workforce and economy he wants to sell to the nation, is pock-marked with potholes of all shapes and sizes

If you think that's leadership, friend, you better look up the word.

Christie, Walker fraternal twins

[Updated from Wednesday, 1:32 p.m.] I know what the pundits will say: Chris Christie's in the GOP presidential race, and ooooh, what a contrast to, uh, Scott Walker.

Christie's the New Jersey street-fighting bully, you'll hear, while preacher son Walker is "midwestern nice."

Why, he even told us so.

But look at the similarities.

For one thing, both of these GOP governors are taking big hits in their home state polls.

Could it be that the folks back home think the Governors they elected to create jobs and fix the schools are just hucksters collecting state paychecks, and, lured by the road and the White House, have gotten too big for their britches?

Maybe familiarity does breed contempt.

Christie and Walker also have in common ex-deputy chiefs of staff named Kelly - - Kelly Rindfleisch, meet Bridget Kelly - - who got their bosses into trouble (or was it the other way around?) for email-sinning-on-public-time.

Walker and Christie have both dodged indictment while their staffers and associates and appointees took falls.

(Rick Perry, facing felony charges, you are not in this club. It's just for the lucky kids.)

Now let's look at some Walker/Christie policy similarities.

Both governors killed federally-funded Amtrak expansions, consigning motorists and truckers to more highway traffic congestion and rail passengers to second-class transportation status, or worse.

Christie cut New Jersey school funding, and when sparring (video) with a teacher about it - - as is his wont - - blamed his Democratic predecessor John Corzine.

Walker routinely blames all his problems on Democratic gubernatorial predecessor Jim Doyle.

And, like Christie, Walker also severely cut K-12 public school funding in his first budget without fully back-filling the reductions in later years.

Both governors enjoy scapegoating teachers, and while Christie likes to tell his critics to sit down and shut up, Walker went further and dropped a collective bargaining and take-home pay bomb on teachers - - and all public employees - - that aimed to shut up their unions, too.

So, yes, Christie is noisy and bombastic; Walker prefers stealth while hiding behind a pleasant, Pawlenty-like facade.

And Walker will use Christie the same way, so don't be fooled.

Because either way - - Walker's or Christie's - - their knives cut deep.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Vote in online poll about Great Lakes water diversion

The Journal Sentinel's "Poll of the Day" - - see it towards the bottom right on the paper's home page - - is about Waukesha's effort to divert Great Lakes water - - and the poll results are posted at the paper's Waukesha online publication - - so let's broaden the reach of the poll a little and pump up a broader range of opinion.

After all, it's a SE Wisconsin and Great Lakes regional issue.

On WI budget, 'don't know' and other dodges

Usually Republicans claim to be all about about certainty, stability and seamless, one-party top-down management.  Read today's laugh-out-loud Journal Sentinel story about what legislative chaos managers Scott Fitzgerald, Robin Vos and travelin' man Scott Walker haven't decided, don't know, might arrange, can't say, or won't reveal when it comes to Walker's stalled and unsustainably-funded budget.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gableman answers that age-old legal question

Don't all convicted felons hope for an activist friend on their State Supreme Court? 

On massive hog farm, WI DNR playing by rules. So far.

[Updated] I'd been posting this year about a massive hog farm proposed in the Lake Superior watershed not far from where a giant iron-ore mine plan fell through because the area was always known to be saturated with lakes, streams, rivers and groundwater.

I'd been hearing that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, despite its management by Scott Walker's "chamber of commerce mentality," would opt for the full Environmental Impact Statement review process when examining the operator's application because the DNR didn't want to tick off the same coalition of Ojibwe, environmental, recreational and small business opponents which rose up and helped kill the mine.

Besides, Walker is about to announce for President, and Walker The Hog Manure King doesn't have a nice ring to it, even in Iowa, America's Pork Producer.

My sources were correct, though note the scope of the proposal:
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced Tuesday that it will require a full environmental impact study of a proposal for a huge pig farm in Bayfield County. 
The operation would house about 7,500 sows, 18,750 pigs, and 100 boars in three barns with concrete manure storage structures located under each barn, to provide more than 180 days of liquid manure storage, according to a DNR summary of plans.
Note also that Walker's DR has had a very tolerant approach to manure and other fecal overflows, fining one farmer $464 for a one-million gallon spill,  and giving another egregious polluter a slap on the wrist after political appointees intervened and kept his case of wrongful human waste spreading on farm fields near residential wells from being forwarded to the Attorney General's office for prosecution.

And a huge dairy cattle feeding operation has been polluting the groundwater in NE Wisconsin because of "massive regulatory failure," according to the administrative law judge hearing a recent case brought against the DNR by a citizen group.

More about that case at the website of Midwest Environmental Advocates, the non-profit public interest law firm which forced the DNR to do the job the agency should have been doing for the people.

Walker's big, bold budget boondoggle

There are less than seven hours to go before the current state budget expires and the GOP-controlled Wisconsin Legislature cannot agree even on that new budget "framework" an absentee Gov. Walker said six days ago was just around the corner.

The budget has been stuck in the Joint Finance Committee for weeks as conservative Republicans and really, really, really conservative Republicans can't agree on just how much of that "crap budget" as one GOP member put it should stay, go or be, uh, supplemented.

The old budget can be extended, but what kind of message about certainty and stability and competence are Walker and his allies sending?

Walker had his Illinois media moment in the sun

This blog has noted two recent heavy slams at Walker by Illinois media - - both in the Chicago Tribune - - with a focus on his failed jobs and growth policies.

But let's not forget that this Illinois outlet gave Walker all the space he needed to brag about (and hang himself) his executive and business leadership skills more than three years ago:

Gov. Walker says business hiring will skyrocket after he wins recall election
A theme amplified by Walker valet and State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos: 
RACINE – Once June 5 hits and Gov. Scott Walker is securely re-elected, “our economy is going to take off like a rocket,” state Rep. Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said Monday during a meeting with The Journal Times Editorial Board.
And noted often on this blog, for the record, along with a representation of said rocket:
Such as the falling rocket-propelled arrows stuck in Hatay

But back to the story in which Walker was in Illinois and bragged to a business group about his management skills. How laughably ironic do these words appear now that Walker can add a non-budget in place as the fiscal year ends tonight, along with a missed job creation numbers and one state debt payment:
"The best thing we can do for government is provide stability, certainty." 

WI fiscal year ends in 12 hours; Still no budget

Walker's complete lack of focus, leadership, and a plan for growth is on full display. As is his preference these days for Iowa over Wisconsin,

Elizabeth Warren crushes Walker

This blog noted Walker's phony and extremist response to the Supreme Court's endorsement of marriage equality, but props to US Sen. Elizabeth Warren, (D-MA), for nailing it:

"Well, Scott Walker, if you believe the next president's job is to encourage bigotry and to treat some families better than others, then I believe it is our job to make sure you aren't president," Warren said while speaking at a fundraiser for Connecticut's Democratic party.
Wider context, here. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Walker's WI fiscal mess on full, unpresidential view

[updated from 9:32 p.m. Monday] This blog reported Saturday that Wisconsin Governor and preposterous presidential hopeful Scott Walker weakly said "a framework' for a budget deal was just a few days away.

Not a deal. Some kind of framework. In other words, just words, while Walker headed off to campaign in Colorado and tout economic progress in Wisconsin that is a myth.

Talk about evading reality and responsibility while campaigning nationally day-after-day-after-day. Here's the sad state of affairs i- - the numbers do not lie - - n our state's sad economy under Walker's failed 'leadership':

The state's fiscal year ends tomorrow at midnight, Scott Walker's proposed 2015-'17 budget remains stalled in committee though both legislative houses are run by GOP majorities, and he's already skipped one debt payment as Wisconsin cash flow slowed after reckless, ideologically-motivated tax cuts.

Job growth has dragged for years, and a higher proportion of the state citizens have fallen out of the middle than in any other state.

That percentage is sure to rise if and when the legislature passes a budget that either ends the so-called prevailing wage level for workers on large road and other construction projects - - wages generally at the top of blue-collar pay scale - - or vastly reduces prevailing wage opportunities statewide.

How far Big Government Republicans will take the cut to prevailing wage - - full or partial repeal - - is one of the issues holding up the budget because Republicans cannot agree on how broadly the reduction should apply.

And this probable cut is on top of take home pay reductions for all public employees through Act 10 and the recently-approved 'right-to-work' law which Walker signed completing his pledged 'divide-and-conquer' after hinting he was not signing a 'right-to-work' law.

Walker is so extreme that he does not even believe in equal pay for women. Too divisive, he's said.

And remember - - all these cuts to union wages hurt organizing and generally reduce donations to Democratic or candidates less extreme than Walker and the Republicans running the legislature on his behalf.

Hardly an audition for the White House as the Chicago Tribune is highlighting, though it does sound like a Sam Brownback/ Kansas imitation.

About Christie

He says he's going to be "the ideas candidate." I assume transportation will not be a featured topic.

That would be like Walker calling himself "the tolerance candidate."

Or "the environmental candidate."

Or "the honesty candidate."

And speaking of clean air, Bucky...

I'm told that with fewer educators funded in Walker's anti-science, smaller-staff budgeting for the DNR, the agency is considering eliminating or cutting back its "Clean Air Tip of the Week" email communication.

I've reposted them often when their entertainment value was too precious to ignore - - like the fret-you-not assurances about whether official July 4th fireworks displays are an environmental problem, or Recycle! (from an administration defunding recycling), or the get-out-there-and-bike encouragement (from an administration about to end in the budget financing for highway sidewalks and bike trails, etc.) - - but we don't expect much from a DNR run intentionally at Walker's direction with "a chamber of commerce mentality" and former industry bigwigs in charge.

I will not be surprised if our business-friendly DNR merges its inevitable support for that record-breaking 27,000-hog operation up north within manure runoff distance of Lake Superior with tie-in PR later this year to McDonald's annual return of the "McRib" sandwich.

We note all this on the day we learn it's likely the air will not be as clean as it could be here in Wisconsin, but don't look for the DNR in an administration that fought strong federal air clean-up efforts to post a scientifically-serious "Clean Air tip of the Week"at this stage of the game.

Walker '16!

Chicago Tribune again slams Walker in news columns

[Updated] Second big hit in the last few days. I posted the first one one exposing Walker's scandal-ridden WEDC, and noted long memories in Illinois over Walker's first-term mocking of Illinois' economy - -  and now there's this, which hich readers tell me was a page one story about Walker's stalled, contentious, deficit-ridden budget and failed jobs/growth planning: 
It wasn't long ago that the forecasting arm of the Wisconsin legislature was predicting that state government by mid-2015 would be flush with a surplus topping $1 billion, which Gov. Scott Walker could have showcased in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. 
Today, that projected surplus has morphed into a $2.2 billion budget deficit that Republican lawmakers are struggling to fix. Sharp divisions between Walker and legislators about how to solve the problem have complicated his plans for formally entering the already crowded field of GOP presidential hopefuls. When he does, his financial stewardship may prove more political vulnerability than bragging point.
It's a significant and detailed slam:
From 2011 to 2014, the pace of private-sector employment growth in Wisconsin ranked 36th among the states and the District of Columbia, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Walker's state ranked behind all its Rust Belt neighbors, Illinois included. Wisconsin even trailed Kansas, which has been the focus of national attention after steep tax and spending cuts pushed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback produced big government deficits but little economic pop. 
The number of jobs in the private sector grew by 5.7 percent in Wisconsin over the last four years, federal numbers show. Nationally, the growth rate was 9.3 percent. 
I rate it a significant piece, given then Trib's national stature, and will add it to my national media Walker round-up

Another headline for the Walker Translator App

Let's run this through the Walker Translator App

Supreme Court ruling slows EPA clean air initiatives

Regrettable that the court's conservative blocked by Cranky Scalia today has halted an Obama administration's clean air rule that requires power plant operators to reduce mercury and other toxic emissions.
EPA to issue rules on smokestack greenhouse gases soon

The court said the EPA rule should have taken the cost to operators into consideration before deciding to craft the rule; the good news is that the rule can be rewritten and that many operators are already meeting the rule's goals because cleaner air is what customers and communities - - take as an example Milwaukee, which for years suffered with the archaic Valley plant's pollution - - continue to want.

Walker and the rest of the fossil fuel pollution chorus will hail the ruling as a win, but no one wins when the air and waters near coal-burning electrical generating plants are not as healthy as possible.

How'd I get on this fund-raising list?

JAMES, as a trusted leader in the Conservative movement I need to ask you an important question.

Should I run for President of the United States?

I have been praying about this decision for a long time and if I do decide to seek the Republican nomination for President I need to know you’ll stand with me...

Stressed? Walker forgot he has Master's degree

Our multi-tasking, jet-lagged governor fantasizes about finishing his college degree in the White House, but somehow forgot he'd told us he had a Master's degree.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Walker's false freedom narrative

[Updated] Walker drops the word "freedom" into his canned speeches - - and went back to it this weekend in Colorado - - but anyone following Wisconsin politics - - summary posting, here - - knows that facts reveal his purported embrace of "freedom" to be his phoniest ploy.

Walker has taken positions against, or has signed bills eliminating or restricting freedom in these area, among others:

[Updated] Freedom of speech denied to scores of protestors illegally arrested and fined during Act 10 demonstrations. Their dismissed cases and awards will cost Wisconsin under Walker an estimated $1 million.

*  Collective bargaining, organizing and workplace association heavily-restricted by Act 10.

*  Marriage equality and all its inherent property rights, as defined by the US Supreme Court.

*  Access to health insurance without regard to income, as defined by the US Supreme Court.

*  Unfettered ballot access, including early voting and voting place hours.

*  Access to medical services offered by clinics serving women, including abortion rights as defined by the US Supreme Court.

*  Access to clean water, as guaranteed by the Clean Water Act and Article IX of the Wisconsin State Constitution, but repeatedly threatened by Wisconsin polluters and connected insiders enabled by intentionally-weakened environmental inspections and enforcement by Walker's "chamber of commerce mentality" Department of Natural Resources.

*  Access to breathable, healthy air, as guaranteed by the Clean Air Act, but jeopardized in Wisconsin by Walker's opposition to clean air rules designed to reduce smokestack air pollution.

*  Equal access to publicly-financed transportation, along with its related access to housing and jobs routinely denied to minorities and lower-income citizens under Walker's budgets which deliberately underfund transit in cities, and statewide.

*  Academic freedom for UW faculty members which was extended upon their hiring and has long been provided as part of The Wisconsin Idea which Walker is substantively stripping from the state's publicly-financed universities.

*  Unjustifiable invasion by Big Government of personal privacy which is at the core of his plan, copied from other programs already ruled illegal, to drug-test public assistance recipients and put them risk of losing legally-mandated and family-supporting food stamps.

Walker the freedom candidate?

Free us from the falsehood.

Huge hog farm on tap near Lake Superior in NW Wisconsin

[Updated 4:43 p.m.] Remember that giant hog operation which Iowa producers wanted to locate in Northwest Wisconsin close to Lake Superior?

Well, that plan to build "Badgerwood" is proceeding, the Journal Sentinel reports.

Update: It was reported last year that Wisconsin's DNR, under Scott Walker's "chamber of commerce mentality" direction, had only eight inspectors available to monitor 258 large animal feeding operations, or CAFO's. Walker's current budget greatly reduces DNR science and other operations.

And manure runoff is a documented and growing Wisconsin CAFO problem, a very recent independent review has found.

The proposed, 26,000+ hog operation, would be, by far, the biggest in Wisconsin and the Lake Superior watershed.

Its Iowa owners are looking for a fresh site far from disease outbreaks - - great! - - which may be among the reasons Native American tribes may convince federal officials it's all a bad idea.

For the people in that scenic part of the state near beautiful Ashland, and the Great Lakes basin who just fought off a huge open-pit iron ore mine in the same watershed, no rest for the weary.

Career politician runs against DC to get there

They hate big government, but are desperate to take over DC and use big government for themselves.

Obama to visit La Crosse Thursday; Walker not concerned

'They know me well in La Crosse County,'Walker may be saying on his way back from Denver with stops in Iowa, New Hampshire and points other than La Crosse on his schedule  'Mary Burke only beat me there by 6.4%.'

Saturday, June 27, 2015

No WI budget deal, Walker junketing in Colorado

Walker sends Wisconsin's disrespecteds the message that he'd rather shill his gay-bashing, union-busting, gun-totin' agenda - - and distract attention from the thousands of jobs lost in our state's degrading economy last month - - than stick around in his taxpayer provided office and/or mansion to help pass his own "crap budget" (thank you, State Rep. Rob Brooks, R-Saukville), before the June 30 deadline.

And remember his weak prediction three days ago that a budget deal, actually only "the framework" for one, was going to "come together" in the next few days?

Well, that hasn't happened yet, and won't when he's 1,000 miles away in Colorado trying to out-trump his wacko bird (John McCain's term for Ted Cruz) opponents.

And it won't happen because GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and GOP Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, having tired of making excuses for the absentee Walker, don't have the patience or the cell phone battery life for those kinds of conference calls.

Imagine Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy telling the sideline TV reporter at halftime in the Super Bowl when the team hadn't scored yet that he and the coaching staff were hoping soon to agree on a framework for a game plan.

On #SCOTUS, what Walker meant...

While he said:
Alexander Shashko's photo.

What he means:
I like it when a majority of judges backed by the same special coordinated interests that shoveled me money will redefine the law as I see it, too.
And in alternative universe, if Diane Sykes had been a fifth vote to maintain bans on same-sex marriages, do you think that the President Walker who followed through with his earlier hint and put her on the US Supreme Court would be yammering today about unelected justices?

WI GOP, Walkerites find more wages to cut

The evidence of Scott Walker's failure abounds - - his repeated tax cuts that have drained the budget without stimulating private sector expansion, persistently slow job growth (35h nationally, with more losses coming in the UW system), worst ranking in the nation for residents loss of middle-class status (Act 10 a big factor) and new numbers showing jobs leaving by the thousands in the most recent month - - but now Walker's allies want to add wage cuts on big projects to further finish off Walker's divide-and-conquer labor demolition.

Above the Capitol dome is Miss Forward. In charge is Governor Backwards.

More on Walker's full record, here.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Walker said he didn't know if Obama was Christian

Yes, Walker said that.

Hope he availed himself of the answer.

President Obama's exceptionalism

I note from time to time - - one example - - that it is preposterous that Walker could consider himself presidential-worthy. Consider for a moment this man who cannot string together a coherent sentence replacing the graceful Barack Obama who set a new standard for presidential eloquence on our behalf before leading thousands of mourners singing Amazing Grace at Rev. Clementa Pinckney's memorial service today.