Monday, October 24, 2016

End Ron Johnson's climate change denial, 2010-'16

In the beginning, in 2010, there was ignorance:
A global warming skeptic, Johnson said extreme weather phenomena were better explained by sunspots than an overload of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as many scientists believe. 
"I absolutely do not believe in the science of man-caused climate change," Johnson said. "It's not proven by any stretch of the imagination."
In 2013, there was voter education:
The League of Conservation Voters is investing real money — $2 million — in a TV ad campaign targeting a handful of Republican lawmakers for their climate denialism. Here is a first look at the ad targeting Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin over his outsized comments about climate change.
Ron Johnson, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg 
Now, with Johnson having made no progress, it's time to hold him accountable:
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is downplaying concerns about climate change, saying "civilization thrives" in warmer weather and people will adapt.
After all, how many reasons do you need? 
Wisconsin GOP US Senator Ron Johnson took another shot at Democratic opponent Russ Feingold for having obtained a Harvard Law School education. 
He's done it before, describing Feingold as a "little maverick" who went to Harvard, and, gasp!, Oxford, which is you go if you win a super-prestigious Rhodes scholarship. 
Before I get to the Harvard matter, wait, what? "...little maverick guy..." 
How much contempt can one insecure office-holder bring to one interview wrapped in basic anti-intellectual GOP outsider labeling... 
This attack on Feingold and college education is clearly GOP focus group, campaign consultant-tested-and-scripted, with the worst of divisive motivations, because Wisconsin has a very large percentage of voters without college degrees, and Johnson is demagoguing right at them. 
With Scott Walker right behind him, keeping to his Trump endorsement - - and given cover by the state's largest newspaper which refuses to make him adhere to any measure of accountability - -  leaving Walker free to work hard to keep Johnson in the Senate where he could block Hillary Clinton's agenda.

Surrounded by Harvard grads, Ron Johnson disdains Harvard

[Updated] Wisconsin GOP US Senator Ron Johnson took another shot at Democratic opponent Russ Feingold for having obtained a Harvard Law School education.

He's done it before, describing Feingold as:

...a Washington elitist, someone who went to Harvard and Oxford, who has bamboozled folks here in Wisconsin that he's this independent, little maverick guy that has their best interests at heart."
Before I get to the Harvard matter, wait, what? "...little maverick guy..."

How much contempt can one insecure office-holder bring to one interview wrapped in basic anti-intellectual GOP outsider labeling?

With that Harvard, ick, thrown in?

Update - - This attack on Feingold and college education is clearly GOP focus group, campaign consultant-tested-and-scripted, with the worst of divisive motivations, because Wisconsin has a very large percentage of voters without college degrees, and Johnson is demagoguing right at them.

With Scott Walker right behind him, keeping to his Trump endorsement - - and given cover by the state's largest newspaper which refuses to make him adhere to any measure of accountability - -  leaving Walker free to work hard to keep Johnson in the Senate where he could block Hillary Clinton's agenda.
Ron Johnson, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
But back to Johnson, and his Feingold dog-whistle:

You know, Harvard - - that school where multiple US Supreme Court Justices and US Presidents got degrees - - including Republican President George Bush, current Chief Justice John Roberts, and the late Justice and GOP hero Antonin Scalia.

I guess the one thing you don't want on the resumes of the people we send to the Senate to pass laws and vote to approve judges is knowledge of the law.

And remember Johnson's praise of Scalia when the Justice passed away last year? 
“This is a profound loss for America. Justice Scalia’s wisdom and his understanding of our Constitution made him an irreplaceable voice for liberty on the Supreme Court. In choosing another justice for the court, we must look for his kind of unwavering devotion to freedom and the rule of law that is the foundation of our nation.” 
You wonder if Scalia got any of that "devotion to freedom and the rule of law" which Johnson was praising where the Justice went to law school?

Not to mention that seven of Johnson's GOP Senate colleagues and presumed elitists received degrees there, too, a Harvard publication says:
*Tom Cotton ’99, J.D. ’02 (Ark.); Michael D. Crapo, J.D. ’77 (Id.); Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, J.D. ’95 (Tex.); *Ben Sasse ’94 (Neb.); *Daniel S. Sullivan ’87 (Alas.); Pat Toomey ’84 (Pa.); David Vitter ’83 (La.)
I mean, look at that list. The far-right heavyweight and almost GOP Presidential nominee Ted Cruz is on it. And the up-and-coming firebrand Tom Cotton! If you apply Johnson's credentials 'analysis,' that group is disqualified. 

But wait, there's more.

Johnson's committee assignments, include Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Budget, Foreign Relations, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and Commerce, Science and Transportation, and everyone who knows DC knows how important are the Capitol committee staffers.

I wonder if key staffers with Harvard degrees upon whom Johnson relies for expertise, hiring and legal opinions - - there's that legal thing, again - -  and other decisions and resources which keep assist Johnson looking Senatorial and re-electable know of his disdain for their alma mater? I found these names in twenty minutes on Google, and no doubt there are more:

Christopher Ford, Chief Legislative Counsel to US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Harvard grad.

Dan Kowalski, Deputy staff director, Budget Committee, JFK School of Public Policy, Harvard.

Nick Rossi, Deputy Staff Director at U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation. Harvard Law grad.

Brian Callahan, Staff director, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Harvard law grad.

Beth Grossman, chief counsel, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Harvard law grad.

Harvard, ick!

Better yet, Ron Johnson, ick.

Walker's Trump endorsement, day 96

While others have withdrawn their Donald Trump presidential endorsements based on his words and deeds, Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker has not

Walker made his endorsement on July 20 - - "absolutely," he said," ninety-six days ago. And counting.
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Sunday, October 23, 2016

JS blast at Trump raises these questions

The Journal Sentinel slammed GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump for claiming a rigged election was underway and failing to agree to accept the election outcome should he lose.

But the editorial continued the newspaper's pressure on GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan to withdraw his endorsement from Trump while not making the same demand of GOP WI Governor Scott Walker whose endorsement preceded Ryan's and is now in its 95th day.

Why the double-standard?

Another question: Will the newspaper editorially urge readers not to vote for Trump, or endorse Hillary Clinton?

The paper had said a few years ago that it was getting out of the candidate endorsement business, but reserved the right to get back in if it chose.

Nearly every newspaper nationally making Presidential endorsements has recommended Clinton, including many papers which always side with Republicans.

Even the Journal Sentinel's current parent company's lead paper - - USA Today - - broke with its tradition and urged readers not to vote for Trump.

Whither the Journal Sentinel?

And since I'm raising the question, and if I were in the prediction business, which I'm not, I wouldn't be surprised if the paper went the 'no Trump' route, or offered a tepid endorsement for Clinton 'balanced' by a 'send-Johnson-back' pitch, regardless of Johnson's zero contribution these last six years and the Presidency-Senate gridlock which a Clinton presidency and Johnson Senate seat retention could assure.

Dam removal shows value of citizen-gov't partnerships

Another big step in on the agenda Monday towards restoring the natural flow of the Milwaukee River, as the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District will close in on removing the disintegrating, useless, obstructive and watershed-damaging eyesore otherwise known as the Estabrook Dam which the Milwaukee County Board had unwisely retained.

Thanks to the strong grassroots work by Milwaukee Riverkeeper - - which like Midwest Environmental Advocates which is fighting for clean water statewide or Friends of the Black River Forest for stalling the bulldozing of a water-and-dune-rich nature preserve adjacent to Kohler-Andrae State Park along Lake Michigan near Sheboygan - - for rescuing Wisconsin's environmental commitment and the land itself which have been under continuous assault since Scott Walker inflicted his donors preferred 'chamber of commerce mentality' atop and deep within the Department of Natural Resources and degraded the agency's effectiveness and mission.

Here are the MMSD's Monday meeting details, provided by Milwaukee Riverkeeper:

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) full Commission will meet Monday, October 24, 2016, at 9:00 am. The MMSD Commission will need to approve the plan to accept a temporary transfer of land from the Milwaukee County to ultimately demolish the Estabrook Dam. The plan was just recently approved by MMSD Committees on October 10, 2016.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper will be there to tell the MMSD Commission that "we support removal of the Estabrook Dam," and we hope you will be too! 

MMSD is located at 260 W. Seeboth Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204. Tell staff that you are there to attend the Commission meeting, and MMSD staff will direct you where to go.

Walker's Trump endorsement, Day 95

While others have withdrawn their Donald Trump presidential endorsements based on his words and deeds, Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker has not

Walker made his endorsement on July 20 - - "absolutely," he said," ninety-five days ago. And counting.
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Saturday, October 22, 2016

The politics of geography: In WI, hipsters not welcome

Interesting column in The New York Times about where liberals are congregating - - California and San Francisco, for example, not Iowa and Davenport - - and why some states with fewer new liberal immigrants are tough to turn blue.

Says the Times piece:
Go Midwest,
Young Hipster
I don't see that piece being sent around the Walker network, unless it's with the message line - - 'Move along - - not here!'

I've long felt that attacks by the 24/7 GOP partisan Scott Walker on Wisconsin cities and the UW System, along with other actions like disconnecting Madison from Amtrak services through the Midwest, discouraging transit, solar power, wind energy, unwinding the state's environmental legacy and diminishing the concept and reality of the commons, for example, are intended keep the state safely Republican by making the state unattractive to students, millenials, urbanists and newcomers of all varieties who, with their liberal backgrounds and open minds, might come here for college and, later, to take a job, raise a family, or open a business because they found Wisconsin attractive.

Wisconsin is a purple state.

I put nothing past Walker, his mentors and funders at the Wisconsin-based Bradley Foundation, and the entire GOP machine that controls all three branches of government, to do anything they thought might turn Wisconsin's electoral college votes safely Republican red.

WI annual $$ report incomplete, off-projection 20% - - ho hum

Big sections are missing from the state's annual financial report, the projected balance is off by $77 million or about 20%, and Jim Doyle gets some of the blame because he initiated the reporting system which has some bugs not yet smoothed out.

Other than that, nothing to see here, says Walker's administration department.

Because, remember: Wisconsin is run like a business now. All the i's are dotted. T's crossed. The agencies are accountable because the conservatives who run them are vessels of personal responsibility.

Walker's Trump endorsement, Day 94

While others have withdrawn their Donald Trump presidential endorsements based on his words and deeds, Wisconsin GOP Governor Scott Walker has not

Walker made his endorsement on July 20 - - "absolutely," he said," ninety-four days ago. And counting.

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Partner to spouse: Why are out-of-state pols barraging us for $$?


The debt-ridden, perpetual candidate Scott Walker sold them your email address, suckers:
Gov. Scott Walker continues to chip away at his presidential campaign debt a year after dropping out of the race, with almost half of his campaign income coming from renting out his collection of supporter emails.

Shed no tears for the GOP

Media are filled with GOP caterwauling over what Donald Trump and his band of merry alt-right enforcers have done to the Republican Party and its chances of winning the White House and hanging on to the Congress.

You know what? Talk to the hand.

Republicans have no one to blame but themselves - - especially those hyper-loyalist partisans like Scott Walker and Paul Ryan who are sticking with Trump without principle so as to position themselves to pick up the pieces should he be fully ostracized come election day.

But like careless homeowners who let the basement mold get of control and find the entire structure infested and uninhabitable, honest Republicans should take ownership of this self-inflicted disintegration and acknowledge they brought it all on themselves.

They fell hard for Ronald Reagan and his divisive and negative message that government is the problem - - then elevated it into an ideological and self- defeating Holy Grail that favors people at the top and big-money power - - but is at odds with the real world that is about to send Donald Trump and the party which said 'come on in' packing.

They enabled and embraced and patronized a squad of talk radio hosts nationally and locally who amplified Reagan's corrosive, tear-down-the-public-sector message day in and day out, twisting it into an attack on policies aimed at extending democracy and equity more fully to low-income, female and minority citizens who are voting more heavily Democratic.

Republicans and their propagandists stood in unison with GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and similarly obstructionist leaders in the House of Representatives to block from day one every initiative proposed by the nation's first African-American President, and, worse, did nothing to tamp down Donald Trump's long, racist 'birther' assault on Barack Obama's citizenship and legitimacy in office upon which Trump's political career was based.

They morphed that meme of illegitimacy into a web of voter ID and other restrictive laws at the state level to suppress minority voting and make the party and government access even whiter, less-inclusive and more self-rewarding.

They invited in and exploited the Tea Party and the Koch brothers-funded  'grasstops 'movement' - - read local boy-turned-failed RNC chairman Reince Priebus' giddy embrace of the Tea Party on behalf of Scott Walker, here - - so the party cannot honestly be surprised that the monster its leaders helped create moved en masse to a Trump candidacy that overwhelmed the GOP which nurtured it.

Or that Trump has picked up and re-spun in this campaign the GOP's phony voter fraud meme by darkly predicting balloting irregularities in major cities with large urban and traditionally Democratic minority populations - - cementing as the party did with its one-dimensional undermining of President Obama its identity as the party of racial intolerance.

No wonder David Duke finds the Trump-era GOP a welcoming organization.

The GOP loved Trump the TV star at the beginning.

Republicans couldn't get enough of him.

People tuned in to watch the ratings'-smashing GOP debates.

He brought in voters.

He bashed the government.

He said our leaders were stupid.

He ripped President Obama and the Clintons and immigrants and Muslims and nasty women who didn't like the smell of his breath.

Make America Great Again.
Trump's coded, dog-whistling version of We Want Our Country Back (for you know who!).

It was talk radio talk/GOP talking points, tough guy talk, 24/7. 

And Republicans blistered their collective hands applauding Trump The Wonder Attack Dog - - and all his tricks.

But now...the reckoning.

He's gone too far - - surprise, surprise - - for some editorial writers and Republican office holders and millions of moderate, non-ideological, open-minded voters, and it appears as if the piper is about to be paid and the GOP is wringing its sore hands - - save for one finger pointed Trump's way.
Bad Donald. Bad Dog.
Republicans should point that finger at themselves.

Or at least talk to the hand.

No suspense in WI; GOP cowards stick with Trump

GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump has rampaged through tolerance and decency for more than a year, but even refusing to release his tax returns or agreeing to honor the results of the upcoming election which polls say he will lose is enough to convince Wisconsin's GOP elected leaders - - Walker Ryan, Johnson, Duffy, Fitzgerald, et al - - to display a little backbone as have others across the country and take back their Trump endorsements.
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These party-first, country-second leaders have tossed a few shoulder shrugs and mild words Trump's way - - but it's small talk with no urgency or principle behind them in the face of completely unacceptable behavior and contempt for the democratic process by the nominee of a major tier-two political party.

Oddly, the Journal Sentinel blasts Trump for his refusal to accept the election result, admonishes Paul Ryan for not withdrawing his Trump endorsement but doesn't apply that demand and standard to Trump's other Wisconsin enablers - - Scott Walker, Ron, Johnson, Ryan Duffy and others.

After the GOP's 2012 loss to Barack Obama, the GOP issued an "autopsy" to explain its failure and set a newer, more tolerant and inclusive course for 2016 to match the face and expectations of the nation.

No doubt that drafting is already underway with a working title inspired by the state where the GOP was founded:

Profiles in Cowardice.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Another day and Trump digs in. Walker, too

Last night, The Donald Spectacle was on display at the third and (mercifully) final Presidential debate:
Debates revealed Trump's lack of mental, physical & Presidential fitness
Trump at lectern before backdrop with elements of logo "TRUMP" 
Tonight he moved it to the annual Al Smith charity dinner:
Donald Trump just turned a charity dinner into a screed against Hillary Clinton
Oh - - And add another day to Scott Walker's July 20 endorsement of the afore-mentioned Donald Trump.

Many GOP leaders have withdrawn their endorsements as Trump's campaign got darker and meaner and obviously unacceptable.

But Walker has stood by his endorsement for 93 days. By November 8th, he could hit 111.

This was Walker in the last 24 hours:

Walker says he disagrees with Trump on many issues, but the Wisconsin governor says Trump is a better choice than Hillary Clinton.
Stubborn is as stubborn does. Stupidity, too.

Debates revealed Trump's lack of mental, physical & Presidential fitness

I wish I'd taken a freeze frame photo or two at the end of the debate.

There was Trump, inert at his podium, intellectually whipped, pale and physically pooped, reduced ridiculously to a 'I know you are but what am I' retort when correctly called out as a Putin puppet, who then capped off a failed performance by interrupting Hillary Clinton - - and with all his personal and political problems with women and female voters dominating the news for weeks - - whined aloud "what a nasty woman."
Trump at lectern before backdrop with elements of logo "TRUMP"
That after insulting numerous women, and every opponent let alone entire national populations and religions for a year and a half, The Donald proved he could dish it out, but couldn't take it.

With so little credibility, he'd have us believe he might challenge the results of the election?

Please. On an election night that is looking like a GOP slaughter and intentional personal rejection, does Trump think he would be entitled to claim and exercise such power?

Then there was  Hillary Clinton when the debate ended: ebullient, smiling, energized - - the obvious winner against an unprepared, unqualified, completely exposed loser who had had tricked himself and many others into believing - - until last night showed otherwise - - that he will always be the winner.

It's so ironic that the rap on Hillary was that she isn't authentic, when last night showed Trump again to be a completely deluded fake - - an artificial, no-there-there candidate, politician, leader, strategist, analyst, thinker who, in reality, could not withstand the rigors of a 990-minute debate, let alone being US President, Commander-in-Chief and national moral leader.

I could swear I felt an earthquake as the debate was ending, but realized it was the sound of reasonable people fleeing the specter of the incompetent Trump and and his un-American Trumpism - - except for Scott Walker, Ron Johnson, Paul Ryan and the other Wisconsin Republicans who are sticking with the Putin puppet and playing an indefensible partisan game.

Walker's endorsement of Donald Trump at three-month mark

Updated from 10/19: 
Blog administrator's question: With Donald Trump refusing in Wednesday night's debate to agree to accept the results of the election, and thus threatening to upend the US electoral and democratic process - - it is imperative that Wisconsin's media press the state's elected GOP leadership on its continuing endorsement of Trump for President. Haven't these leaders heard enough? - - jr

Just a reminder that WI GOP Governor Scott Walker endorsed Donald Trump for President on July 20, spoke for him at the GOP National Convention, and never joined other GOP politicians who withdrew their endorsements after Trump's cleary-disqualifying anti-woman words and assaultive behaviors became front-page, campaign-dominating news.
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A disgraceful endorsement that should have never been made as Trump scatter-shot his insults at women, Muslims, Mexicans, a US judge, reporters doing their jobs, cozied up to Vladimir Putin, and, on a daily basis revealed frighteningly deep and intemperate ignorance about government, governing, the US Constitution, his fellow citizens and the electoral process that keeps the Republic intact.

The reason for Walker's principle-free embrace of Trump while also escaping its consequences and hiding on the sidelines is obvious:

To win re-election, Walker needs Trump's while male voters in the state's rural areas as well as traditional GOP voters clustered in the Southeastern Wisconsin counties surrounding Milwaukee where Trump is said to be weak.

So Walker is having it both ways, and, to date, appears to be getting away with it.

For example, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorially demanded on October 10th that House Speaker Paul Ryan withdraw his Trump endorsement - - but did not call out Walker, or other state GOP figures by name for sticking with their Trump endorsements, including US Senator Ron Johnson or State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.

Instead the paper's editorial had this italicized deck below the headline that pointed to "other Republican leaders" without naming them:

Ryan and other Republican leaders who still stand by Trump while condemning his statements need to stop dancing and join their braver colleagues.

In fact, the paper had earlier made the same demand of Ryan when Trump so horribly disrespected the family of a fallen US Marine.

Granted he's the House Speaker and the highest-ranking elected GOP leader nationally, but holding him to a higher standard than Walker and the unnamed others is a double-standard.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

At debate, Trump reveals secret plan to win female votes

With all his remarks about and behaviors with women devastating his campaign, and his numbers with swing-state female voters having cratered, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump
Trump at lectern before backdrop with elements of logo "TRUMP"
interrupted Hillary Clinton during the nationally-televised debate with this memorable summation:
 "Such a nasty woman."
And for Latino voters - that "Bad hombres" wisecrack? Why? 

Trump's debate nine-word fail leads NY Times tonight

From my post-debate blog reaction to what is leading The New York Times online page right now. 

Trump's self-inflicted fatal wound:

Trump Won’t Say if He Will Accept Election Results

Update: This  is  the  way  the  top  of  the Washington  Post  online sees it:

Trump refuses to say whether he’ll accept election results

Trump will not now agree to accept the election result

"I'll keep you in suspense" is a stupid, inflammatory answer to the debate moderator Chris Wallace's pressing on whether Trump will accept the results of the election, as is the national tradition.

This is the heart of the debate and now the campaign, as it speaks directly to fitness to serve.

Trump claimed that Hillary should not have been allowed to run, but his answer which is at odds with Pence's answer is a big mistake.  Game over.

As The Green Bay Packer's radio voice would say, 'there is your dagger.'

And will Wisconsin's GOP leaders finally speak out  - - after having ample reasons for more than a year?

Heard enough?

Trump misplays the nuclear q. in the debate; the meltdown is underway

Trump has moved off answering a q. about the economy and taxes to 'clarifying' a previous answer on nuclear proliferation that the fact-checkers will crush and is now wandering all over the place.

The meltdown began at about the 40 min. mark.

As WI's roads fall apart, look at where the money is going

Wisconsin cities, towns and villages have had their budgets restricted and their state shared funding savaged, and the state's road network has disintegrated to the fourth-worst nationally - - but fear not - - the allegedly debt-ridden Wisconsin Department of Transportation is pouring millions and millions and millions of dollars into just one segment of one 'freeway' interchange reconstruction project with billions of more dollars budgeted on paper but not financed.

And this is under the guidance of a purportedly-tight-fisted GOP conservative.

Clean water, smart farming emerging as WI issues

I am happy to see that the growing need for strong public water regulatory enforcement and policy commitment is taking hold in Wisconsin - - awareness pushed by the continuing contamination of drinking water and nearby rivers and streams by expanding large-scale animal feeding and manure-producing operations given regulatory passes by Scott Walker's  business-friendly, donor-obeisant 'chamber of commerce mentality Department of Natural Resources.

People who follow this blog know these matters have been covered extensively here - - some examples here and here - - ad infinitum...

But props to activists organizing at the foot of the State Capitol this Saturday their second public display of the problems; below is the publicity they are sending around in advance.
THIS SATURDAY – 2nd Annual ‘Stink-In’ Comes to the Capitol Steps in Madison

20-plus local, state and national groups gather to oppose the impact of industrial animal operations; Call for change targets WI lawmakers

WHAT:   Stink-In on the Steps – A public assembly on the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol. Twenty-seven state-based and nationally recognized organizations will address Wisconsin’s concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) crisis and its damaging impact on public health, water and air quality, natural resources, businesses, property values and rural community life.

WHEN:   Saturday, October 22, 2016 -- 10:00am CT

WHERE:   State Street steps -- Wisconsin State Capital Building, Madison, WI

WHO:   A coalition of community, environmental and agricultural groups, including Sustain Rural Wisconsin Network, Socially Responsible Agricultural Project , Organic Consumer Association, Kewaunee CARES, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Wild Rivers Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Family Farm Defenders, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club (John Muir Chapter), Humane Society of the U.S. (Wisconsin Agriculture Advisory Council), Wisconsin Farmers Union South Central and River Alliance of Wisconsin


THE GOAL: A 5-Point Request

The ‘Stink-In’ coalition will call on members of Wisconsin’s State Assembly and State Senate to reverse the longstanding trend of failed CAFO oversight, faulty county and state CAFO permitting processes, and noncompliance with federal law to establish a healthier, more sustainable future for Wisconsin. 

The 5-point request to Wisconsin’s lawmakers is simple:  

1. Raise your awareness on the debilitating community impacts of the CAFO industry, locally and statewide  
2. Ensure that all regulations and safeguards are in place to protect both rural and urban Wisconsin communities from CAFO contamination threats
3. Support enforcement of health and environmental standards violated daily by many of the state’s CAFOs
4. Immediately focus legislation that corrects the flawed DNR rulemaking and lack of enforcement highlighted in the June 2016 Legislative Audit Bureau’s Report on the DNR’s Wastewater and Permitting Program 
5. Introduce and champion new legislation that protects drinking water from CAFO runoff and contamination statewide


Media contacts:

Mary Dougherty, Farms Not Factories

Stacy Harbaugh, Midwest Environmental Advocates608.251.5047, ext 1 | sharbaugh@midwestadvocates .o

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

LA Dodgers' star on higher moral ground than Walker, Johnson

Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker, GOP US Senator Ron Johnson and others have chosen to stick with their endorsements of GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump, regardless of his hateful positions and behaviors, but look at what Adrian Gonzalez, the Los Angeles Dodgers star first baseman - - 
Adrian Gonzalez on April 21, 2013.jpg
- - quietly did when presented with a choice involving Trump:
Dodgers slugger Adrian Gonzalez made headlines on Monday, after it was revealed that he had boycotted staying in a Donald Trump-owned hotel with his team during a road trip to Chicago in May.

On one battleground, the loser is obvious

Hillary Clinton is leading Donald Trump in the battleground states, but there's one battleground where the loser has been clear for a while - - the battle within Trump's strategic mind:
Trump at lectern before backdrop with elements of logo "TRUMP"
"Donald Trump says Paul Ryan may be trying to harm his chances of being president in 2016 because Ryan wants to run for president in 2020." 
And in his conspiratorial mind:

'Illegal immigrants are voting all over the country.' 

And in his assaultive denying mind: 

'She would not be my first choice' to sexually assault.'

Getting harder to be 'shocked, shocked' at DNR management

[Updated from 10/11] You may remember that a major donor to Scott Walker's GOP political machine was on the fast track to obtain for cash some primo, state-owned lake frontage with the WI DNR's green light until media and public outrage blew the deal up - - though eventually it went through in a property exchange that some felt was more even-handed, but only in a game that the wealthiest among us could play.

Goosed along by eager, business-compliant GOP legislators.

While everyday folks in this state just had their camping and trail and DNR park entry fees raised because Walker believes in a leaner state government - - for the commoners - - and people living near the big feedlots that Walker and his DNR are intentionally under-regulating - - 'no staff,' they say, as they keep cutting staff - - can't get a glass of tap water without a cow pie tang.

Updated: Or as a recent report disclosed, toxic atrazine in their well water.

Well, the same big-donor folks are at it again - - this time getting some speedy DNR approvals for miles of permanent trail and bridge building near their properties - - in a state where you can't get a pothole filled - - but this time the DNR's Secretary, private sector cheerleader and high-profile Donald Trump supporter Cathy Stepp insisted she didn't order up any favors for the Walker donor, Elizabeth Uihlein, who also is a major Trump fundraiser

"Never came up with Liz and I," Stepp said. "None of her representatives. Have never had conversations with anybody.'"
Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp proudly shows off her first deer, taken opening weekend last year. In the upcoming TV Special "Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2012, Stepp urges male hunters to take more girls and women hunting. "The secret's out," she says. "Hunting is a lot of fun, so don't keep it to yourselves."  photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR
Reminds me of Captain Renault in "Casablanca" who was "shocked, shocked" to discover that gambling was taking place in a casino.

Imagine if Walker said, 'What - -  Club for Growth? Campaign donations? Isn't that the McDonald's morning bunch that exchanges gardening tips?'

And, also: "Liz and I..." Really?

That there are two tracks for access to government officials or state power under donor-friendly Walker and his handpicked 'chamber of commerce mentality" administrators like Stepp began in Walker's first days in office.

How many everyday Wisconsinites can get the Governor to waive a DNR review of their plan to construct a building and parking lot on a wetland, then have the Governor sign a special bill rushed through the Legislature to make the DNR review go away forever?

Look at the so-called DNR 'review process' underway adjacent to Kohler-Andrae State Park just south of Sheboygan where Walker $40,000 donor and powerful corporate figure Herbert Kohler, Jr wants to flatten and otherwise remake into a high-end golf course a water-rich nature preserve where rare dunes, native artifacts, and scores of acres of woodlands sit at the edge of Lake Michigan.

And the proposal also seeks the right to build into the adjacent state park.

What do you think would happen to you if you walked into your nearest state park and set up your own taco or T-shirt stand on four acres because, like the golf course developer, your considered those acres underused surplus property for the taking.

The DNR has a group of staffers working on the concept as drawn up by consultants, but without requiring the submission of a formal permit application that would subject actual details to closer citizen review and perhaps legal challenges.

In other words, the developer gets free project consultation from the very state agency that will ultimately have to approve or deny the plan.

How do you think that will go? As senior staff are either dispirited on the job, or leaving.

Consider this comment from the website of the Friends of the Black River Forest, the leading citizens' group opposing the plan. Said the group's attorney after reviewing the DNR's draft environmental impact statement - - released without a formal permit application:

"Thus we disagree, with the DEIS from its very first sentence, i.e. that it "fulfills" the DNR's legal duties..." If and when it receives sufficient information from Kohler, the DNR must redraft the DEIS and renotice the draft for public hearing, before finalizing the EIS. Otherwise, the DNR will have allowed Kohler to complete a significant regulatory hurdle, in a premature fashion that is virtually without precedent, in a way that defies the purpose and requirements of the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act."  8/24/16

And is the US EPA interested? It should be, as many of these big-ticket projects under DNR control have an impact on the US Clean Water Act the DNR under Walker has ignored.