Thursday, May 31, 2012

In Debate, In His Governorship, Walker Offers False Narrative

We heard and saw again from Scott Walker in the debate tonight what has become his signature, default, and seemingly uncontrollable behavior - - repeating a narrative of falsehoods.

Tonight's version highlighted his insincere and diversionary insistence that his office had led on and cooperated with the John Doe probe, as Dan Bice wrote Thursday evening:

Milwaukee County prosecutors opened the secret John Doe criminal investigation more than two years ago after being stonewalled by Gov. Scott Walker's office when he was county executive, according to a newly released record.

The document appears to cast doubt on some of Walker's claims about his role in launching and cooperating with the investigation.
And that pattern of weaselly wording extended the pattern that Scott Walker began right after taking office last year when he said the elimination of collective bargaining was tied to solving the state's deficit, claimed falsely he'd disclosed that plan during the campaign, and had to concede his claims were baseless when put under oath before a Congressional committee.

His narrative of and penchant for falsehood has been documented - - only six statements by Walker rated "true," without qualification, and 23 rated "false" or "pants on fire," out of 51 vetted by PolitFact.

And Tom Barrett drilled home in the debate Thursday night one documented true fact that speaks volumes about the transparently false foundation of Walker's Governorship and the narrative he has constructed to support it:

He is the only Governor in the United States with a legal defense fund - - and, in keeping with the secrecy that has surrounded Walker since his employees set up a hidden political communications system in his County Executive office - - and is funding that defense fund with big money from contributors whose identities he will not disclose.

That ties up Walker's tactical practices - - the strategic underpinning of deceit-laden service in the County Executive's office that is being repeated as the recall campaign draws to a close.

It's a narrative that needs to close with his defeat Tuesday, so that open, fair and honest government is returned to Wisconsin

Thirteenth Immunized Witness In Doe Probe, So,,,

Is there a list of key Walker Walker aides not immunized?

#13 is Fran McLaughin, Walker's spokeswoman in the County Executive's office from 2007-2010, and joins immunized and current spokesman Cullen Werwie.

Clinton Visit Boost For Barrett

Big shot in the arm for Tom and the troops by the former President Friday. Strong finish. Good timing. Let's nail this thing down!

Walker Stonewall Evidence: Sat On Open Records Request For Seven Months

Walker will release records sought on the mining issue - - seven months after an Open Records request was filed.

That word "Open" is there for a reason - - but Walker has stonewalled since late last year.

This is like Dick Nixon holding on to his tapes and transcripts.

Watch Walker Bob And Weave Thursday Night

In the last debate of the recall election, Scott Walker will dance away from any responsibility for the John Doe probe underway in Milwaukee.

I don't think what lies ahead for Walker can be resolved by a 30-second spot.

Again: Scott Walker, Meet Richard Nixon

Former Nixon staffer and Watergate defendant John Dean, now a critic of hard-right, authoritarian politicians, has said Scott Walker is "more Nixonian" than Tricky Dick himself.

Here's another connection to the John Doe/secret email system-challenged Gov. Walker:

Remember when Richard Nixon, during the Watergate period, called Washington State Governor Dan Evans "Governor Evidence?"

Papers, please.

What Barrett Has Over Walker

The clearest distinction in the recall race? Tom Barrett would never have put himself and the state in the position that Scott Walker laid on Wisconsin:

*  Civic strike and an historic recall election triggered by Walker's surprise release of a secret plan (Act 10) to end public employee collective bargaining rights, union status and income.

*  An unfolding John Doe criminal probe already dragging down Walker aides and associates, with a fresh disclosure.

After more than two years of raids, subpoenas and closed-door courtroom testimony, the John Doe investigation into activities during Gov. Scott Walker's time as Milwaukee County executive is now faced with this:

Determining the significance of a private email exchange in the spring of 2010 between Walker and his longtime campaign adviser John Hiller over a potential county real estate contract in which Hiller had a financial stake as deal maker.

Those familiar with the exchange - the emails were among the documents seized by authorities - say it has to do with the county's efforts to find private or public office space for its Department on Aging. Milwaukee County prosecutors have been investigating whether there was an attempt at bid-rigging in that case.

Sources have given varying descriptions of the emails, calling them everything from "legally inconclusive" to "a bombshell." One insider said the private messages contradict Walker's discussions with his county staff.
Barrett can say with confidence that he has not, or would not have done this to Wisconsin.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Coal-Burning S.S. Badger Seeks Five-Year Permit Extension

Delay, delay, delay.

Though it has known for years that the US EPA wants the last-coal fired Great Lakes ferry to stop dumping coal ash into Lake Michigan, and to switch to a different fuel, the ship's owners are seeking a five-year extension of the EPA deadline.

Here is the application for the permit, and links to the case's extensive history.

This blog has been following the issue for years.

Add Your Voice To Recall Media

Terrific letter to a small-town newspaper - - The Lakeland Times - - bringing details, with specifics and web addresses for more information about Walkergate to the local readership.

To the Editor:

I am writing this letter to be sure that people in our area are aware of the investigations, charges and convictions that have been going on regarding Scott Walker and his Milwaukee County administration. 
People in the newspaper business know that letters get more readers than editorials.

Now is a good time to compose and send a similar letter to your local paper.

Speak Against Ugly WI Wolf Hunt Law, Process, Rules

Legislators and Gov. Walker set the wheels in motion for a cruel wolf hunt. Thanks to Journal Sentinel Paul Smith for posting public input meeting dates:

The meetings will start with an open house for visiting with DNR staff at 6 p.m. Staff presentations will begin at 7 p.m. with time for questions and comments to follow. The meetings are being held:
  • June 6, Spooner – Spooner High School Auditorium, 801 County Highway A.
  • June 8, Black River Falls – Black River Falls Middle School Auditorium, 1202 Pierce St.
  • June 14, Fond du Lac – UW-Fond du Lac Auditorium, 400 University Drive.
  • June 15, Rhinelander – James Williams Middle School Auditorium, 915 Acacia Lane.

Dan Bice Tracking Scott Walker And John Dough

Like they say on "Wheel of Fortune" - - "Big money...big money.

Gov. Scott Walker's campaign has transferred another $100,000 to the defense fund used to pay his pricey criminal defense lawyers in the lengthy John Doe investigation into activities during Walker's time as county executive.

Newly filed campaign reports show Walker's campaign transferred $70,000 to the Scott Walker Trust on May 3 and another $30,000 on May 17.

That brings the total the first-term governor has put in the defense fund to $160,000 in the past six weeks.

There's Scott Walker, Smooth Debater; Then There's This Other Guy...

People who watched the 2010 gubernatorial debates and last week's recall election face-off with Tom Barrett saw the even-toned, unflappable Scott Walker.

But thanks to the Sunday New York Times magazine feature on Wisconsin, and Walker, you get to see his authoritarian side, as told by Bad River Band chairman Mike Wiggins, Jr.

The context was Walker's support for an iron mine that Wiggins felt would damage his reservation's drinking water and food supplies, tied also to the Ojibwe people's rice-harvesting culture:

To Wiggins, a large open-pit mine in the Penokee Hills was a life-or-death matter for his tribe. The headwaters that feed the river would be in the footprint of the mine, and the Bad River reservation lies downstream. Wiggins was also worried about the tribe’s sensitive wild-rice beds, which lie on the coast of Lake Superior. Cyrus Hester, who works for the tribe’s Natural Resources Department, raised the possibility that sulfuric acid might contaminate the groundwater and harm fish populations in the area’s rivers and streams. 

“There’s a very good reason this area has never been mined,” George Meyer, the director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and former head of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, told me. “A lot of mining companies looked at it and walked away.” For Meyer, one of the biggest problems with the site is that the ore sits at an angle, which when mined generates a much larger amount of “overburden” that needs to be discarded. 

When I spoke with him in March, Wiggins detailed several meetings he had with Walker, in which he tried to convey how dire the mine would be for his reservation and the surrounding environment. Their last meeting, in September, turned particularly acrimonious. Beforehand, Wiggins held a news conference inside the Capitol outlining his opposition to the mining legislation. The Assembly bill would impose a 360-day deadline for the permitting process, where before there had been none, and it would eliminate hearings in which citizens or organizations can question mining or government officials under oath about the safety of the mine. Many of the key provisions in the Assembly bill were drafted by lawyers working for GTac. 

“Walker saw the news conference as disingenuous,” Wiggins said. “When we got to the meeting, he was fixated on his anger with me.” After some heated back and forth, Walker told Wiggins he didn’t see the need for the meeting, since he had a copy of the tribe’s news release. Wiggins got angry. “You know, governor,” he recalled, “some of the things that are proposed in the mining initiative represent a catastrophic destruction for my reservation, health impacts to my people, and you think everything that you and I have to talk about is contained on one piece of paper right there?”

National Blog Sees Scott Walker, Anti-Urban Trends

More national attention coming our way, courtesy of Scott Walker.

Tomah, WI Newspaper Calls Walker Out On Vote Fraud Claim

Used to be that Tomah, WI, set in Monroe County cranberry country, was on the state's political map as home base for the late Ed Thompson, (Tommy's brother), who served as Mayor, generous supper club owner and surprisingly-strong Libertarian candidate for Governor in 2002.

More and more these days, perhaps in Ed Thompson's independent tradition, Tomah is where you find the state's most-outspoken small-town paper, The Tomah Journal - - and what a coincidence, as I began noting the Tomah Journal on this blog four years ago to the day - -  where the editorial board on Monday spoke strongly to Scott Walker power about a fake issue he recklessly raised- - alleged voter fraud in Wisconsin:

Gov. Scott Walker has made a spectacular assertion in advance of next week’s gubernatorial recall election.

“I’ve always thought in this state, close elections, presidential elections, it means you probably have to win with at least 53 percent of the vote to account for fraud. One or two points, potentially ... I mean there’s no question why they went to court and fought (to undo) voter ID.”

This is a monumental claim. Consider this: There were 2.2 million votes cast in the 2010 election for governor, and it’s reasonable to assume that turnout on June 5 will be close to 2.2 million again. Each percentage point represents 22,000 votes. Since Walker believes he needs 53 percent, he is alleging 66,000 fraudulent votes will be cast next week.

Alright, governor, where’s your proof?...

To toss this kind of rhetorical bomb on the eve of an election is reckless and ugly, even by today’s degraded standard of political rhetoric. Gov. Walker, either identify the specific source of fraudulent votes or recant and apologize. It’s the only honorable thing to do.
Where are the rest of the state's editorial boards on Walker's demagogic and unproven claim?

Who else will say that in the name of bogus voter fraud, Walker and legislators who pushed Voter ID were  using this political urban legend spun by right-wing talk shows and other propagandists to institutionalize election fraud statewide?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

National Media Catching Up To Walker Honesty Story

The Washington Post notes that members of Congress want Walker to explain contradictions in his sworn, 2011 Congressional testimony.

The blogs were way ahead on the story.

DNR Won't Order Well-Testing In Human Waste Spreading Zone

Scott Walker's "chamber-of-commerce-mentality" DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp (his choice, his words) tells Jefferson County residents whose wells are close to where a septic tank service spread an unverifiable amount of human waste they've got nothing to worry about - - and will not require the company that mucked up the area to test the wells for contamination.

How reassured would you be with that level of regulation [Sic], were you to live downwind, downstream or within sniffing distance? Would you drink to this?

People who live near the fields remain concerned because there is considerable uncertainty about how much waste was spread. The DNR investigation showed Herr Environmental provided three sets of records for its operations in 2009 and 2010, each with a different tally of acreage and volume of waste spread, each revised so the company appeared closer to compliance. The final set, which showed the company to be in compliance, could not be substantiated, according to the DNR investigation.
Earlier today, I'd said at the Journal Sentinel's Purple Wisconsin platform that the decision by the DNR to approach the waste hauler with kid gloves was a metaphor for the Walker administration. 
Scott Walker served up a defining metaphor for state voters when his DNR settled on a wrist slap to the septic tank service operator who spread large amounts of human waste on Jefferson County land near residential wells.

Clean water is not a Walker priority, despite the Public Trust Doctrine, embedded in the state constitution, which says the DNR has an obligation to protect state waters because they belong to all the people - - not to private interests that would fill our wetlands, encroach on streams, and use river banks as toxic tailing dumps when mountain tops are scraped away.

Walker, along with the brothers Fitzgerald, pushed an iron mining bill drafted behind closed doors that threatened the headwaters and rice-growing estuaries of the Bad River Band in Northern Wisconsin's Penokee Hills - - a bill that nearly won approval and carried the same stamp of originating secrecy that accompanied the crafting of the GOP plan and bill that redrew voting boundaries across the state.

This administration has been laying down sludge from Day One, and aims to retain power through the infusion of record sums of out-of-state, special-interest cash inundating the airwaves and contaminating the political environment as Walker and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald fend off the recall movement.

Wisconsin needs to scrub off the muck.

The political and environmental cleanup can begin June 5th.

If You're A Yankees Fan, Or Root For Goliath, Walker Is Your Man

His conservative ATM machine hit the $30 million mark, and the election is a week away.

Stand with the underdog, which in politics is the underfunded.

Watch For Great Small-Town Newspaper Editorial Here Tomorrow

Just to whet your appetite.

Walker Says He Won't Pardon Former Aides, But...

Whether because of the recall election next Tuesday, or John Doe events unfolding, he may not be in the position to pardon anyone.

USA Today Documents Walker's Perpetual Campaign

More reporting on Walker's money machine.

From USA Today:

MADISON, Wis. (USA TODAY) — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker never stopped running.
Three days after the Republican moved into the governor's office in January 2011, his campaign staff was writing checks to consultants, TV stations and fundraisers.
And they haven't stopped.
More, here.

The Walker Fund-Raising Machine

To fight off the recall movement, Walker raised $25 million in three-and-a-half months, or about $200,000 a day.

An accounting of Walker's millions raised and the travel needed to raise them in last Friday's Capital Times affirmed how little time Walker has spent in the state compared, how much time was devoted to elevating his profile with the upper echelon of right-wing Republican donors, and the fund-raising advantages he had under state law as the recall target.

Hats off to the newspaper, the sources it cites in its report, and certainly for this tidbit:

For instance, on April 8, 2011, the governor’s schedule notes his trip to the Heritage Foundation’s Annual Leadership Conference in Palm Beach, Fla., but reveals little else about the trip...

The records show that Walker gave a 15-minute speech at the event, which was headlined by conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. The trip was funded by Walker’s campaign, and he was accompanied by campaign fundraiser Kelly Rindfleisch, currently facing four felony charges for alleged illegal campaign activities while working for Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive.

During the Heritage Foundation event, time was set aside when the “governor can circulate room and meet donors.”
But that's jumping the gun:
A number of other media organizations, particularly the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, have analyzed the governor’s calendar and reported on the amount of time he’s spent on official state business and who has gained access to him.

But Information regarding political, ideological, campaign or fundraising activities — typically classified as “personal time” on the official calendar — has been largely unexamined because only limited details have been included in the documents released by his office.

We were, however, able to piece together information from various media reports that accounted for much of that “personal” time, and that information reveals a governor who studiously maintained relationships with well-heeled, well-connected conservatives. It has been a strategy that has paid off time and again for Walker, who has demonstrated a Midas-like prowess at raising mountains of cash.

And as Walker traversed the nation he delivered a message both through the media and in person that Wisconsin’s economy was being held hostage by public employee unions, and that he needed the support of conservatives everywhere to combat the union forces.

To put a finer point on it, Walker did not manage to raise $25 million in three and a half months for the recall fight by waving a magic wand. He’s been greasing the skids since he took office, visiting with conservative national power brokers even before he “dropped the bomb” on labor unions.
[An earlier version of this story overstated the daily average. My apologies.]

Monday, May 28, 2012

Until June 5th, Walker Will Be Cautious, Avoiding Last-Minute Mistakes

You saw it in the first debate, and you will see it the second one upcoming Thursday night:

A cautious Scott Walker, coached, coached and coached some more to avoid a last-minute error or misstep that upsets his calm exterior and campaign's well-financed TV ad blitz.

He's like a boxer midway through the final round, playing defense against an aggressive challenger and praying the final bell comes quickly.

For the debate moderator, and panel - - assuming there will be one - - it's also a last chance to pose historic questions.

Walker Plays The Anti-City Card

Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines Jr. wrote a strong defense of Milwaukee as a response to Scott Walker's overt, anti-Milwaukee campaigning.

I posted Hines remarks on this blog, and a separate posting at a blog on the Journal Sentinel's Purple Wisconsin platform. You might weigh in on the debate over there.

It's worth noting that Walker, from the beginning, implemented an anti-urban strategy:

*  Kill the Amtrak line, and the benefits that would have accrued to Milwaukee and Madison, since CityFail fits the Walker/far-right narrative best.

Strangle urban transit, too. Hey, suck it up and walk.

*  Suppress the traditionally heavy Democratic vote in cities through mandatory Voter ID and registration restrictions

*  Hammer middle-class city residents, principally in Madison, with collective bargaining restrictions and reductions in take home pay - - again, because that's where many Democratic voters live.

Walker's coded target in this election, using ginned-up stereotypes, is Milwaukee.

Had Kathleen Falk been the opponent, Walker would have edited the template a bit and run against Madison. Same goal, different red-herrings.

Walker wants to turn small-town and suburban Wisconsin against big cities and the people who live there.

It's cynical, divide and conquer, shamelessly partisanship, run amok, to embed the Republican Party in power for as long as it takes to give the Club For Growth its full, corporate agenda.

Walker's Habitual Forgetfulness

[Originally posted Sunday, May 27, 8:39 p.m., and revised] He says "I have no memory" of signing recall petitions against US Sen. Herb Kohl and former US Sen. Russ Feingold.

You'd think he'd remember, having been being an elected state representative at the time, either signing against another elected official, or declining.

And now having such strong feelings that recall elections are inappropriate over policy disagreements - - except when recall petitions helped force the Milwaukee County Executive out of office, and you jump into that campaign.

Walker says the petitions' issue involving the US Senators was a long, fifteen years ago.

So what about the conversation he had just a year ago with a billionaire from Beloit about dividing and conquering the labor movement in Wisconsin and setting the stage for 'right-to-work' legislation?

"Don't remember the particulars," he said.

That's some worrisome memory lapse right there.

'Don't know...Don't remember...Have no knowledge.

I was afraid I'd forget all the things Walker said he couldn't recall.

So in February - - before Walker said he forgot whether he signed those recall petitions, and other things that might have undermined his campaign  - -  I posted a few of the instances to that points to help us all remember some things Walker didn't know or just couldn't recall - -  from things he said in the taped, prank call to the fake David Koch, to some particulars in the John Doe probe, to scandals in Milwaukee County government - - all the way back to the student president election he lost at Marquette.

My personal favorite from that February 6, 2012 posting titled "In A Tempest, Scott Walker Knows Nothing."

Here's one example. After a patient starved to death at the Mental Health Complex, the gubernatorial campaign was underway and a report about it was being withheld:

Walker defends withholding Mental Health Complex report

"I don't know what's in it, so it's hard for me to say" if it should be released, Walker said. His administration had nothing to do with the report being withheld, Walker said
Don't know, again. But what good timing.

Go back to the student election in 1988, lost by Walker at Marquette after his campaign broke election rules and his supporters were caught throwing away copies of the campus newspaper when it withdrew its previous endorsement

From the Marquette Tribune:
Walker dismissed this, saying he had no knowledge of what his supporters did, according to a Tribune article from February 25, 1988.

Methinks I see a pattern.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Milwaukee Council President Slams Walker For Anti-Milwaukee Campaign

Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines Jr., in a Sunday Crossroads op-ed, called out Scott Walker for an intentional effort to denigrate Milwaukee and separate it from the rest of the state to gin up his base:

One can conclude that Walker's real agenda is to "divide and conquer" our state by giving those outside of Milwaukee the impression that we are different from them. If this governor is willing to throw Wisconsin's biggest city under the bus, which city is next? La Crosse? Wausau? Hurley?

Walker has lived in the Milwaukee area for most of his adult life; he should know that Milwaukee is a great American city. It would be nice to see him help strengthen his state's largest city, instead of turning his back on it in order to score cheap political points.

Walker needs to take his ideological blinders off and realize what Milwaukee means to Wisconsin. Simply put, Wisconsin will not be able to prosper as a state without a strong Milwaukee. So when a sitting governor pits Milwaukee residents against fellow Wisconsinites, everyone loses, from Milwaukee to Superior.
It's an old Republican trick which some think plays well in Wisconsin's smaller towns and suburbs - - "stick it to Milwaukee" - - as did former Gov. Tommy Thompson when he sought out-state support for the Miller Park tax which he and legislators made sure fell only on Milwaukee and surrounding counties.

It was a reprehensible tactic for Thompson to employ, and freshly disgusting that a desperate Walker thinks this version of divide and conquer brings luster to his reputation or the office he holds.

We're all Wisconsinites here: we don't have "others" with outsider status that give them second-class status.

And we don't need elected officials who will play that card for their partisan, careerist goals.

David Prosser Divides And Conquers The WI Supreme Court

State Supreme Court David Prosser has got the entire State Supreme Court - - and our respect for our judiciary - -  paralyzed over an ethics case pending against him.

Rooted in his behavior.

Looks like he didn't forget his GOP legislative leadership training.

Old habits are hard to shake. Another divide-and-conquer success.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Why Won't Walker Deny He Signed Kohl, Feingold Recall Petitions?

His indirect, non-denial denial through a spokeswoman tells you all you need to know.

Wash Post Raises Stakes In Walker Recall Election

You read this story in the Post and can see the risk the national Dems are taking by keeping their distance.

Walker-Related Posts Most-Read Last Week At This Blog

Here were the five most-read posts here last week:

Kudos To Milwaukee Riverkeeper On Estabrook Dam Win

Getting the dam declared a nuisance paves the way for a resolution, preferably its removal.

Walker's Stonewall Will End Where Dick Nixon's Ended


Which is where Walker's "won't" strategy is taking him.

Emulate Nixon, exit, stage right.

The Journal Sentinel Edit Board Makes No Sense

On May 19th, the editorial board recommended Scott Walker's re-election.

Today, it says you shouldn't consume what he's selling:

Talk about genetic modification. Scott Walker's ad touting his job creation policies combines apples and oranges and comes up with a peach of a claim.

And based on a Journal Sentinel PolitiFact Wisconsin article Friday, it's apparent that claim is overripe...

But our problem with the latest Walker ad is that the governor adds the 23,000 jobs he claims were created in his first year (and which has yet to get the federal stamp of approval) to about 10,000 jobs from the monthly survey.

Not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. No caveats in the ad - the stats are presented as signed, sealed and delivered. And Walker credits his administration for the good news. Well, the stats are subject to revision - sometimes heavy revision. And the governor overstates the impact of a governor - any governor - on job creation.

The Journal Sentinel's PolitiFact team wisely gave Walker's ad a rating of "mostly false."

We'd give the ad this warning label: "Do Not Consume."
Suppose there were a celebrity product endorsement ad where the pitch closed with - - "and remember, don't use it."

Ugly Wisconsin Wolf Hunt Ahead

The legislature - - thank you, Joel Kleefisch - - and the DNR are rushing to set up a wolf hunt in Wisconsin, abandoning reason, science and fairness - - so what else is new under Walker's extreme governance?

Ron Seely at the State Journal finds the right language to lay out the dirty truth:

It was a foregone conclusion that the Natural Resources Board last week was going to approve beginning the process that will end, sometime in mid-October, with a rifle shot and a recreational hunter legally killing a wolf in Wisconsin for the first time in many years.
The board, which sets policy for the state Department of Natural Resources, was bound by action in the state Legislature that mandated such a hunt.

What was perhaps less apparent to those not at the board meeting was the discomfort of some board members with the hand they had been dealt by the Legislature and the politicians who cooked up most of the details of the hunt -- details the Natural Resources Board has to live with...

Despite the claim of wolf hunting proponents that politicians heeded the advice of scientists in putting together the wolf hunting plan, there seems scant evidence that that is truly the case. Most suspicious is the complete absence of the DNR's leading wolf authority, Adrian Wydeven, from any of the legislative hearings. Nor was he at the Wednesday board meeting.
So, as was clear from the comments of some board members Wednesday, the result is this: The state's leading natural resource science agency will rush to patch together a hunting season on an animal it has worked so hard to restore and protect, forced to allow the use of hunting techniqes, such as baiting and night hunting, that even experts say are questionable and not befitting the fair pursuit of such a noble creature. 

Meet Wisconsin Governor "Won't"

The first recall debate is over, and still Scott Walker:

*  Won't disclose if he's been formally interviewed for the John Doe probe.

*  Won't release relevant records.

*  Won't disclose if he signed recall petitions against Sen. Herb Kohl and former Gov. Jim Doyle.
*  Won't disclose whether he'd sign a bill restricting collective bargaining in private sector work places.

*  Won't disclose how he's funding his Doe-related legal defense fund. 

More and more, I hear echoes of another self-centered guy who'd said he 'won't,' finally did, and was sent packing:

In giving you these records--blemishes and all--I am placing my trust in the basic fairness of the American people.

I know in my own heart that through the long, painful, and difficult process revealed in these transcripts, I was trying in that period to discover what was right and to do what was right....

As for myself, I intend to go forward, to the best of my ability, with the work that you elected me to do. I shall do so in a spirit perhaps best summed up a century ago by another President when he was being subjected to unmerciful attack. Abraham Lincoln said:
"I do the very best I know how--the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference."

Friday, May 25, 2012

Debate Forced Walker To Own Doe Probe, Defense Fund

As a result of the debate Friday night - - and follow-up reporting Saturday - -  there will be voters who will learn for the first time that there is a criminal investigation into the operation of Scott Walker's 2010 county staff and campaign, that Walker has set up a legal defense fund in response and that he was not very forthcoming about it when pressed by opponent Tom Barrett for details.

Not everyone follows the news as deeply as do the partisans and activists, and some citizen/voters tonight will see their Governor in the shadows.

A Defensive Walker Dividing The State - - Good Debate Take-Away Supports His Removal

Various news outlets are using an AP report on the debate - - example from Green Bay - - showing Barrett putting Walker on the defensive. I like the impressions left:

Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, down in the polls to Gov. Scott Walker, aggressively went after Walker in a debate Friday and accused him of purposefully dividing the state and triggering the June 5 recall election.

Barrett kept Walker on the defensive throughout much of the hour-long debate in Milwaukee, which was broadcast live statewide just 11 days before the election. Walker is only the nation's third governor to ever stand for recall. The previous two, most recently California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003, were defeated.

BP To Clean Great Lakes Operation On Lake Michigan

Progress for a cleaner Lake Michigan.

Members Of Congress Directly Ask Walker About His Testimony

Remember when Walker blew off a suggestion that he clarify the remarks he made to Congress, from which he omitted any discussion of the "divide-and-conquer" plan he confided to a billionaire donor?
Well, three Congressmen have now written Walker directly for a explanation - - in writing:
Committee Democrats Press Governor Walker for
Explanation of Videotape that Conflicts with His Testimony
Washington, DC (May 25, 2012)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Committee Members Gerald Connolly and Chris Murphy sent a letter to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker seeking answers to three simple questions about his 2011 testimony before the Committee in light of a new videotape that appears to contradict his statements.
Despite testifying under oath that he never “had a conversation with respect to [his] actions in Wisconsin and using them to punish members of the opposition party and their donor base,” a newly uncovered video taken three months earlier shows Walker explaining to one of his biggest financial donors that he plans to use a “divide and conquer” strategy against public sector workers in order to turn Wisconsin into a “completely red state.”
Today’s letter follows a previous letter the Members sent to Chairman Issa requesting that he ask Walker to explain his testimony before the Committee.
The full letter follows:
May 25, 2012
The Honorable Scott Walker
Office of the Governor
115 East State Capitol
Madison, WI 53702
Dear Governor Walker:
On May 21, 2012, we wrote to Rep. Darrell Issa, the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, requesting that he send a letter asking you to explain your testimony before our Committee on April 14, 2011, particularly in light of a new videotape taken of you three months before the hearing and an article published by The Nation entitled, “Did Scott Walker Lie Under Oath to Congress?” Letter from Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings and Committee Members Gerry Connolly and Christopher Murphy to Chairman Darrell E. Issa (May 21, 2012) (online at
On May 22, you were asked about our letter by your local Fox affiliate, but rather than addressing the substance of our request, you accused us of acting politically because we did not send a letter directly to you. Walker Responds to Allegations He Lied Under Oath, Fox 6 News (May 22, 2012) (online at (stating “I think the fact that they’ve sent it to you before I’ve even seen it suggests that it’s a political issue”).
To address your concerns, it may be helpful to explain why we wrote to Chairman Issa instead of to you.  Pursuant to our Committee’s protocols, the Chairman typically writes letters on behalf of the entire Committee to seek clarification of previous testimony, to forward questions for the record from Committee Members, and for other purposes relating to witness testimony at Committee hearings.  Chairman Issa has written several letters to witnesses this Congress when he believed they were not being truthful or when new information came to light suggesting that their testimony was not accurate.
Since you appear willing to entertain our inquiries directly, we ask that you submit to the Committee written answers to the following three simple questions no later than June 1, 2012:   
(1)     Do you dispute that you met with Diane Hendricks, one of your top donors, on January 18, 2011?
(2)     Do you dispute that, in response to a question from Ms. Hendricks about whether Wisconsin could become “a completely red state,” you responded “Oh, yeah,” and that your “first step” as Governor would be to “deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions” in order to “divide and conquer”?
(3)     In light of your answers to these questions, do you now wish to withdraw your sworn testimony before the Committee in which you asserted that you never “had a conversation with respect to your actions in Wisconsin and using them to punish members of the opposition party and their donor base”?
In the interview with your local Fox affiliate, you stated that “the facts are the facts.”  We agree, and in this instance, the facts were captured on videotape.
It is critical for Congress to obtain accurate information from witnesses who testify before the Committee in order to help inform our policy decisions.  Your videotaped conversation with Ms. Hendricks not only raises serious concerns about the accuracy of your testimony before the Committee, but it undermines the entire rationale put forward for your unprecedented campaign against public sector workers.
We look forward to receiving your responses to our questions.
____________________         ____________________              ____________________
Elijah E. Cummings                   Gerald E. Connolly        Christopher S. Murphy
Ranking Member               Committee Member          Committee Member

Current Conservation Scorecard Downgrades Walker, Others

The Walker administration and key legislative allies were no friends of the environment in the just-concluded session, according to the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, but there were honorees, too.

Its scorecard and highlights are here.

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters understands that the black and white nature of a Scorecard sometimes makes it difficult to recognize those instances where legislators went the extra mile for natural resources.
 The Conservation Honor Roll recognizes the following legislators for the extra effort they put forth to conserve Wisconsin’s natural resources.

Senators Robert Jauch and Dale Schultz and Representative Janet Bewley

When an out-of-state mining company sought to rewrite our conservation and public input laws for their own benefit (AB 426), Sens. Jauch and Schultz and Rep. Bewley stood up for public health, our waters, and local community involvement. Their efforts ensured that the voices of Wisconsin residents were heard and the open-pit mining bill was defeated.

Senator Chris Larson and Representative Cory Mason

Sen. Larson and Rep. Mason led the fight in their respective committees to restore key protections for wetlands (SB 368). They worked with sportsmen and scientists to get amendments adopted that would have restored protections for our most sensitive wetlands.
Conservation Dishonor Roll
Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters also understands that there are times when a poor Scorecard score doesn’t do enough to illustrate just how far some legislators will go to jeopardize Wisconsin’s natural resources. Actions by the following legislators are grossly out-of-line with the conservation values of their constituents.

Governor Scott Walker

Governor Walker’s budget was one of the most anti-conservation in history. He sought to eliminate water quality rules, local recycling programs, and clean energy programs. Gov. Walker used special sessions to reward special interests seeking exemptions from wetlands, water quality, and wind siting rules and politicized natural resource protections by making the key public representatives to the DNR answerable to him. He even eliminated the consideration of the “environment and public health” from the state’s rule making process.

Senator Scott Fitzgerald

Sen. Fitzgerald pulled the plug on the Senate Mining Committee within forty-eight hours of a public hearing. The action indicated that he believed his colleagues were taking too long to do the bidding of the out-of-state mining company. Despite his attempts to shut the public out of the process and ram the open-pit mining bill (AB 426) through the Senate in the last days of the session, the bill ultimately died when the full Senate unanimously sent it back to committee.

Senator Neal Kedzie and Representative Jeff Mursau

As Chairmen of the Natural Resources Committees, Sen. Kedzie and Rep. Mursau drafted legislation that would have gutted water permitting and wetland regulations (SB 326 & SB 368). It was only the overwhelming public opposition to these plans that forced the chairs to slow down the process and make significant changes to the water permitting program legislation. Unfortunately, the Chairs did not work with sportsmen to improve the wetlands bill and its passage is a ding on their conservation legacy.

Walker's Interest In Crime Reporting Calls For Outside Analysis

As I said over at my Purple Wisconsin blog, it's amazing to see the words "Walker" and "call for outside audit" in the same headline and sentence, because there are other areas where "Walker and "outside audit" might be even more useful.

The Focus In Tonight's Debate Is Walker's Character

From serving up cooked job data to ducking questions about the John Doe and legal defense fund, Scott Walker's self-made identity as the untrustworthy and scheming chief executive whispering secrets to billionaire donors needs to be the audience take-away.

Walker Job Creation Claim "Mostly False," Says PolitiFact

PolitiFact finds Scott Walker muddied the facts when he released and spun his self-serving job numbers.

Surprised? Hardly. Walker has but six PolitiFact statements given an unqualified "true"rating out of 50 examined.

The jobs' manipulation fits his pattern - - a tactical smoke screen to mislead the voting public from seeing his failed performance with only days to go before the recall election.

Here is the "Mostly False" ruling:

Gov. Walker says Wisconsin has added 33,200 jobs since he became governor

Mostly False
Our rating

Walker’s ad says there are 33,200 more jobs in Wisconsin since he took office.

To reach the number, he combined two data sets -- one that involves unofficial (but generally more accurate) numbers that could change in the weeks after the election; the other is volatile, but still official monthly numbers. From an accounting standpoint this would be flagged as a mistake. From a political standpoint, he is mixing and matching to present the best possible view.

Walker presents it all as final and official, offering no cautionary notes or caveats -- even though there are many.

And Walker credits his policies for the improvement, which overstates the impact a governor can make on broad economic trends in a short period of time.

There is clearly some truth to the numbers. But in mixing everything together and not making it clear these numbers are preliminary, Walker ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.

That is our definition for Mostly False. 
His complete PolitiFact for 50 statements vetted: 17 on the "true" side, 33 on the "false."scorecard: 

Walker's statements by ruling

Click on the ruling to see all of Walker's statements for that ruling.

For Walker And GOP, Divide-And-Conquer Is Default Behavior

Divide-and-conquer has been the favorite Walker/GOP partisan power playbook tactic from the opening day of his administration:

* Accuse teachers and other public employees of greed, punish them with Act 10 (portions of which have been declared unconstitutional) and pit other citizens against them.

* Exempt public safety public employees from Act 10's penalties, so pit public employees against each other.

* Actually use the phrase "divide and conquer" to let a billionaire backer in on more Walker anti-union plans.

*  On major policy policy changes and processes, such as drafting a mining bill, give corporate insiders exclusive access and power, but exclude others from participation.

*  Gather partisan advantage by requiring all Republican legislators to sign confidentiality agreements that hid voting map drafts for a mandated redistricting bill from the public.

* When the chickens come home to roost in a recall effort, go to a Waukesha town about as demographically dissimilar to Milwaukee as you could find, dig deep into the muck and play Wisconsin's most divisive card:

People do not want to see Wisconsin "become another Milwaukee," Walker said.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

At DNR, Stepp Embraces Emergency Rule-Making, But Had Called It "DEMOCRAT...HYPOCRISY"

I'd posted several recent items - - here and here - - about the contradictions between Cathy Stepp's behavior as DNR Secretary and the words she wrote in a partisan, anti-DNR screed she posted in 2009 when Democrats ran state government.

Well, here's another example.

In that 2009 rant, Stepp blasted the use of DNR emergency-rule making authority as: "Just another example of the democrats game plan: Change the Rules to Fit the Players," yet the DNR under Stepp is promulgating a wolf hunt under fast-tracked, public-input-free, emergency rule-making.

As Midwest Environmental Associates attorney Jodi Habush noted in testimony before the Natural Resources Board on Wednesday:

May 23, 2012 Statement of Jodi Habush Sinykin
Before the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Regarding
Act 169’s Statement of Scope—Wolf Hunting and Trapping Regulations
While I have been tracking this law since its first rushed introduction in the weeks following delisting, I didn’t fully appreciate, until quite recently, the extent and depth of concern raised by the prospect of a rushed, ecologically-unsound wolf hunting and trapping season in Wisconsin. I share this concern....
At present, the DNR is to be called upon to draft “emergency rules” for the law, a curious, unsubstantiated designation that will serve to eliminate customary Wisconsin rule-making procedures—i.e. there will be no state-wide hearings and no opportunity for expert stakeholder input into the emergency rules being written up for final approval in less than 8 weeks time. This departure from established Wisconsin rulemaking protocol is especially worrisome to the core group of UW academics and renown wolf experts I have been working with, as they fear that the law—if poorly regulated—will seriously and unnecessarily jeopardize the species.
So match that up with Stepp's 2009 rant that included this blast at emergency rule-making by the DNR:
Those of you that haven't had the pleasure of peeking behind the scenes of our state agencies like DNR, Health and Family Services, etc...need to know how some of the most far-reaching policies come down on our heads.
The most crushing/controversial rules that businesses have to follow in our state are--most times--done through the "rule making process" of our state agencies. Without bogging everyone down with some really boring procedure talk, suffice it to say that many of these great ideas (sarcasm) come from deep inside the agencies and tend to be reflections of that agency's culture...
When an agency sees an urgent need--example would be Chronic Wasting Disease management plans--they're allowed to implement an Emergency Rule. Understandable, since these ideas get an urgent run through the Joint Committee to Review Administrative Rules (affectionately known as JCRAR) without much public notice or scrutiny. The process is there to address emergencies ONLY.
Well, sometimes agencies try to use this process as an end-around the legislative process to implement Rules, which end up having the same affect as Laws. (Those of you who have piers in lakes or culverts at the end of your driveways have probaby experienced these Rules.)

Why should this scare you? When (not if, I said WHEN) they give this authority to the DNR there will be more of a whooshing sound as businesses run for the borders...

Just another example of the democrats game plan: Change the Rules to Fit the Players.
Shout it with me, now: HYPOCRISY, THY NAME IS DEMOCRAT.
So when Democrats use this authority, it a source of outrage, fear and name-calling. But when Stepp and the GOP use the authority - - and rule-making generally has been further consolidated out of the public view in Gov. Walker's office since 2011 - -  it's what? Business as usual?

Situationally meritorious?

One expert even predicts that the way the DNR is going about establishing the hunt will lead to court action and landing wolves in Wisconsin back on a federal, no-hunt list.

By the way, here is the full text of Stepp's screed, typos, bad diction, warts and all :
Those of you that haven't had the pleasure of peeking behind the scenes of our state agencies like DNR, Health and Family Services, etc...need to know how some of the most far-reaching policies come down on our heads.

The most crushing/controversial rules that businesses have to follow in our state are--most times--done through the "rule making process" of our state agencies. Without bogging everyone down with some really boring procedure talk, suffice it to say that many of these great ideas (sarcasm) come from deep inside the agencies and tend to be reflections of that agency's culture.

For example, people who go to work for the DNR's land, waste, and water bureaus tend to be anti-development, anti-transportation, and pro-garter snakes, karner blue butterflies, etc...This is in their nature; their make-up and DNA. So, since they're unelected bureaucrats who have only their cubicle walls to bounce ideas off of, they tend to come up with some pretty outrageous stuff that those of us in the real world have to contend with.

I could go on and on with examples of some of the most ridiculous stuff I've seen come down the pike, (no pun intended), but for the purposes of this post, I am going to pull out a quote from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau's summary report on the outcome of the "budget negotiations" that legislative democrats had with each other. (Note: I said with "each other." There were no republican ideas or motions accepted AT ALL during the Conference Committee process. No surprise there.)

When an agency sees an urgent need--example would be Chronic Wasting Disease management plans--they're allowed to implement an Emergency Rule. Understandable, since these ideas get an urgent run through the Joint Committee to Review Administrative Rules (affectionately known as JCRAR) without much public notice or scrutiny. The process is there to address emergencies ONLY.

Well, sometimes agencies try to use this process as an end-around the legislative process to implement Rules, which end up having the same affect as Laws. (Those of you who have piers in lakes or culverts at the end of your driveways have probaby experienced these Rules.)

Why should this scare you? When (not if, I said WHEN) they give this authority to the DNR there will be more of a whooshing sound as businesses run for the borders.

It's always the fine print in these things that have the heaviest hit.

Just another example of the democrats game plan: Change the Rules to Fit the Players.

Shout it with me, now: HYPOCRISY, THY NAME IS DEMOCRAT.

What's In The Air In Wisconsin

Looks like a long summer for bad air in Wisconsin.

And I don't mean recall fallout.

Cathy DNR Secretary Stepp's Inventive Method Of Evading Responsibility

Cathy Stepp, Scott Walker's hand-picked chamber of commerce operative to manage the state's natural resources department, has developed a transparently shifty method of deflecting criticism aimed at her management of the department:

Defend agency staffers - - at whom criticism is not aimed - - which deflects the substance of the criticism and, she supposes, negates her original, over-the-top attack on DNR workers that should have disqualified her from the agency's leadership.

 Her words:

Those of you that haven't had the pleasure of peeking behind the scenes of our state agencies like DNR, Health and Family Services, etc...need to know how some of the most far-reaching policies come down on our heads.

The most crushing/controversial rules that businesses have to follow in our state are--most times--done through the "rule making process" of our state agencies. Without bogging everyone down with some really boring procedure talk, suffice it to say that many of these great ideas (sarcasm) come from deep inside the agencies and tend to be reflections of that agency's culture.

For example, people who go to work for the DNR's land, waste, and water bureaus tend to be anti-development, anti-transportation, and pro-garter snakes, karner blue butterflies, etc...This is in their nature; their make-up and DNA. So, since they're unelected bureaucrats who have only their cubicle walls to bounce ideas off of, they tend to come up with some pretty outrageous stuff that those of us in the real world have to contend with.
Stepp's remarks as DNR Secretary make her sound like Woody Allen trying to win back the affections of a dumped partner. It's an amazing bit of Alice-in-Wonderland political jujitsu.

Here's the latest example.

The Journal Sentinel today goes after her "leadership" of the agency over the drop in inspections and enforcement actions designed to root out polluters and ensure public health and safety.
First, came the report that enforcement actions by the Department of Natural Resources are down under Gov. Scott Walker's administration. Now, we learn that environmental inspections also dropped in Walker's first year in office. The depth of both drops is unacceptable; agency officials have to find a way, even when resources are limited, to ensure there is no letup in environmental protection efforts.
That is, after all, the agency's primary mission.

If it has trouble performing that mission, something is wrong under the leadership of Secretary Cathy Stepp.
Stepp's overly-bureaucratic, self-serving response includes this:
...a years-long recruitment freeze and a huge wave of retirements (half of our full-time employees were eligible to retire) led to staffing vacancies that exceeded 20%. Unpaid mandatory furloughs implemented by the Doyle administration stretched an overworked staff even further.

At the same time, I found an incredibly talented and passionate workforce that had fantastic ideas on how to "fix" the DNR. Only Herculean staff efforts had kept the agency afloat as the full-time staff fell to a modern-day low of 2,169.
But no one was said or inferred that DNR staffers weren't working hard.

The editorial pointed to her management.
If it has trouble performing that mission, something is wrong under the leadership of Secretary Cathy Stepp.
This is not the first time Stepp has used the staff this way to distract her critics.

When bi-partisan opponents of the iron mining bill had raised enough of a fuss over its environmental and drafting flaws to kill it - - let me repeat, it was the bill and its origins that were the problem - - Stepp took to conservative talk radio and news releases with intensely political remarks framed as a defense of her staff.
I had a growing frustration that lawmakers and others were publicly impugning and denigrating the ability of DNR employees to make an environmentally sound evaluation and decision, to do their jobs. I’d match our staff expertise and integrity against any comers.

Now that that the voting is over, I am stepping up and adding my opinion to the post-mortem on the mining bill. I feel strongly it’s my job to make sure that the failure to move forward with mining in Wisconsin is not laid at DNR’s feet. DNR DOES have the ability and resolve to apply standards and make sound decisions on environmental permitting.
What an inventive way of evading responsibility.

More here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cathy Stepp, Walker's DNR Secretary, Has Short Memory

DNR Cathy Stepp, spinning away from her agency's diminished number of inspections and enforcement actions, writes an op-ed defense in the Journal Sentinel that begins with this line:

"When I first walked through the Department of Natural Resources' front doors, I had no idea what I would find."

Well, she sure had said she knew exactly what was going at the DNR in 2009 when she ripped and mocked the agency - - and got the attention of Scott Walker, who said she was just the person he wanted to run it.

Stepp said, in part, though I recommend you read to her full-throated ALL CAPS ending:

"Those of you that haven't had the pleasure of peeking behind the scenes of our state agencies like DNR, Health and Family Services, etc...need to know how some of the most far-reaching policies come down on our heads...

For example, people who go to work for the DNR's land, waste, and water bureaus tend to be anti-development, anti-transportation, and pro-garter snakes, karner blue butterflies, etc...This is in their nature; their make-up and DNA. So, since they're unelected bureaucrats who have only their cubicle walls to bounce ideas off of, they tend to come up with some pretty outrageous stuff that those of us in the real world have to contend with...

Honoring Donald Driver Doesn't Distract From Walker's Dance

Acknowledging Donald Driver's thrilling win on "Dancing With The Stars" with a day in Double D's honor only puts a spotlight on the dance Walker has been performing as a "10," for weeks  - - spinning and ducking away from full disclosures about his legal defense fund, his connection to the John Doe probe and those already charged, the contradictions in what he told Congress under oath about Act 10, and didn't say about the "divide-and-conquer" union-busting plan, and more.

The Recall Process Has Been Pretty Good To Walker, As I Recall

Walkerites who complain that Wisconsin's recall laws and constitutionally-protected processes are unfair or overly permissive forget two things:

*  Walker got out of the anonymity of the State Assembly, and on his way to the Governor's office through the recall process against that dislodged then-Milwaukee County Executive Tom Ament in 2002.

*  And in Wisconsin, fund-raising limits are suspended for a petition-targeted incumbent between the time the effort is begun, and when an election is official scheduled.

Challengers are bound by the limits.

This advantage has allowed Walker to raise his profile, and also to raise a record-breaking haul of dollars for a blitz of campaign ads Tom Barrett cannot possibly match, and which also can be routed, with donor permission, to Walker's legal defense fund, too.

Walker may not be enjoying the process this time around, but so far the record shows there has been  plenty of compensation.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bain's Reach Highlights The Bane Of Our Culture

Newark Mayor Cory Booker's Bain Capital-friendly sabotage of Barack Obama's line of attack against Mitt Romney on NBC's "Meet The Press" Sunday program was discouraging enough, but the financial ties subsequently revealed between Bain and Booker, while "nauseating," (to steal a Bookerism), shed light on the bane of our political culture:

Corporate America's entrenched influence in American politics and its relentless march to control government power for its own rewards - - something Scott Walker has facilitated in Wisconsin and which Mitt Romney will execute if he is elected President in November.

This has been a long time in the making, from the right's attacks on the New Deal, to Lewis Powell's call to business for the creation of an effective right-wing political infrastructure (think tanks, etc.). to the emergence of conservative talk radio and Fox News, to the hatching of the Tea Party, to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision led by George Bush appointee Chief Justice John Roberts that released the top 1%'s money into the electoral process.

In Wisconsin, only the successful recall of Scott Walker on June 5th stands in the way of another six years+ of Grover Norquist's private-sector dream of drowning a shrunken government in a bathtub.

Romney has chosen to campaign from the same far-right fringes that backed and nurture Walker, and he will embrace, if elected, the robotic view of the Presidency that Grover Norquist has already assigned to the GOP's presumptive nominee:

We don't need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. ... We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don't need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate...

Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared. 
Romney will have no trouble with that role, as:

Grover Norquist's presidential form meets Bain's needs;

Romney was Bain;

Is still its representation;

Regardless of what Cory Booker had to say.


Stop Walker in Wisconsin and this rightist strategy is stalled.

Fail to stop Walker and Romney/Norquist are strengthened, and the preservation of a fair democracy is risked.

Is Desperate Walker Campaign Channeling This Blog

Here's a blog post headline from May 16th:

Key Number In Desperate Walker New Job Data: 100%...Political

But on the 21st, we have this headline elsewhere:

Walker calls Barrett campaign 'desperate'

I've noted these Walker word fluffs before:
Finally, I am convinced that the Walkerites are so guilt-ridden about their reactionary policies that they keep making revealing, Freudian slips in their proofread-free official pronouncements.
For further example, in light of the uproar over allegations of campaign work on public time during Walker's 2010 gubernatorial race, or mining and redistricting bills written behind closed doors - - and with former Watergate figure John Dean calling Walker "more Nixonian than even Richard Nixon - - why would Walker say he can be counted on to "fix things?"

Ron Johnson: "God Bless Rush," Et Al

Our junior Senator goes over-the-top in talk radio pandering.

Tommy Thompson Resigning From Corporate Board Seats...Except When He's Adding One

I don't know if this is a flip, a flop, a back-flip, or the first three-and-a-half reverse somersault, with tuck (look it up!), in Wisconsin politics, but the Journal Sentinel is reporting that Tommy Thompson has added another private sector board position in the health-care field (what's new?) after saying in January he was in the process of shedding them.

This is like coming out against Amtrak after supporting it and, oh - - never mind. 

Stand With Walker - - Stand With His Contradictory Videotaped Performances

Walker and a GOP congressional committee chairman will have nothing to do with getting to the bottom of why Walker didn't disclose to the committee during his April 2011 sworn testimony that he had a broader "divide and conquer" strategy for Wisconsin labor, and that he'd already given assurances about it to a billionaire supporter and donor from Beloit.

I posted about this over at Purple Wisconsin.

Under Walker, More Millions For Highways, Dollar Stress For Transit

His unbalanced transportation priorities using our money are clear, folks, so let's keep an eye on him, and the issues, too.

For transit across the state - - cuts, rising costs and stress:

Attention, small-to-medium-sized Wisconsin transit riders and taxpayers:

You might want to think twice about voting for Scott Walker in two weeks, and any state or national GOP legislators when the opportunities arise as well, because the Walker budget along with conservative Congressional ideologues are going to raise your costs next year.
But more and more spending thrown at road-building?

No problem:
Walker's WisDOT is beginning that "too-early-to-say" planning talk about widening I-94 at Story Hill.

Walker, GOP/US House Putting State Transit On Rough Road

Attention, transit system riders and taxpayers in small-to-medium-sized cities:

You might want to think twice about voting for Scott Walker in two weeks, and any state or national GOP legislators when the opportunities arise as well, because the Walker budget along with conservative Congressional ideologues are going to raise your costs next year. Bear with me here. It's a bit complicated, but the bottom line is: 
Transit to take more hits.Remember that the 2011-2013 budget as approved cut state funding for transit systems by 10% for both the 2012 and 2013 years - - and also remember that Walker first proposed uncoupling transit from the Transportation Fund to compete for general fund revenues with social services, schools and other programs.
Leaving the Transportation Fund more freely available to the road-builders and their political allies.

Anyway, some background;

State transit funding to localities is split into four tiers:

*  A-1 (Milwaukee County Transit).
*  A-2 (Madison Metro) and these are the important categories for this posting:
*  B (any system in an Urbanized Area over 50,000 population that's not Milwaukee and Madison), and;
*  C (any system in a Non-Urbanized area). This has put increasing stress of maintaining these systems onto the local governments, federal government, and the fares that riders pay.

But there's a second part to this coming in 2013.

As it is, the Tier B and C systems need to come up with another 3-5% of their operating costs from either the property tax or through fares for 2012, but that includes any Act 10 'help' that they found.

But in 2013, those Tier B systems can't use the Act 10 cost reductions, but still face state aid reductions, so more stress, along with with rising expenses, like the price of fuel.

And also in 2013, new Census figures will effect Urbanized Areas in two costly ways:

  1. As part of Federal Transit Administration transit rules, Urbanized Areas that go over 200,000 population lose their ability to use Federal operating assistance, and both Green Bay and Appleton went over that threshold in 2010.

This issue got coverage in the Fox Valley, but not statewide:
Both Valley Transit and Green Bay Metro face losing up to 1.5 million dollars each year in assistance to operate the bus systems due to a formula that cuts off funding for regions with a population over 200,000.  This formula works for large metropolitan areas such as Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles that have large systems with a concentrated population.  The formula does not work for smaller systems like those in the Appleton and Green Bay areas, Rep. Petri and Rep. Ribble agree.
As it stands right now, those two cities would lose about $4.8 million in Federal aid, and because they're currently part of Tier B, that will affect all cities in that tier.

So that means all of the following systems currently stand to have to make up about 7% of their costs through property taxes and fares in 2013, without the "help" from Act 10:

    Appleton, Green Bay, Eau Claire, Racine, Kenosha, Janesville, Wausau, Waukesha/Waukesha  Commuter, Washington County, Ozaukee County, Sheboygan, Oshkosh, La Crosse, Beloit, Superior

    And taxi systems in Sun Prairie, Stoughton, Chippewa Falls and Onalaska.

The best way to change this would be to allow Green Bay and Appleton-sized systems to use Operating Assistance, but the Tea Party caucus in Congress - - being against both 'big' government and any successes for President Obama - - won't approve a long-term, national transportation bill.

So as it stands right now - - and given the uncertainties on Capitol Hill - -  there could be massive cuts in service and fare increases for all these Wisconsin systems in 2013, unless Congress acts definitively.

    2. West Bend grew enough that it is now considered an Urbanized Area by the Census; West Bend's sprawl was so great that Hartford (which has a city taxi system) is now also included in the West Bend Urbanized area.

As a result, there might be a little more federal money that gets thrown to the Tier B systems, but there are more municipalities in Tier B fighting it out for the same amount of state aid in 2013.

And because they go from Non-Urbanized to Urbanized, and Tier C to Tier B, these systems will have to come up with another 10-11% next year to keep their systems running (in West Bend, this is about $85,000, in Hartford around $25,000).

Officials from Washington County, West Bend, and Hartford are to talk soon - - perhaps this week - -  with SEWRPC and WisDOT officials to discuss the effects of these changes on their systems, and the huge increase in reporting responsibilities that will result from becoming urbanized systems.

Hey. some folks in the 262 wanted growth, growth, growth...sprawl - - and now they're going to pay for it.