Monday, March 2, 2015

Hope Scott Walker attacks Hillary Clinton personal email use

C'mon, secret email user Walker, go for it.

Let's reprise all of it, so the whole country can read up his big, bold evasive methods:
Madison — Thousands of documents unsealed Wednesday link Gov. Scott Walker to a secret email system used in his office that would avoid public scrutiny when he was Milwaukee County executive.
The records also show that on the day before he was elected governor in 2010, the secret investigation into links between Walker's county government staff and his political campaign was widened to include four more aides.

Walker again taking control of state agencies' hiring

Just imagine what Republicans would be saying if the headline and story read this way today:
Scott Walker Barack Obama budget gives governor president more control over hiring
And who remembers this 2011 story? 
Walker gives himself more power to fill high state jobs
You have to wonder how much power the GOP-controlled Legislature will grant Walker. He's already been given the power to sell any state asset and to approve - - with one exception - -  rules governing agency policy - - rules which have the power of state law and which had previously been approved or denied only after a public hearing before a legislative committee.

And speaking of Walker and jobs - - no, not those 250,000 private sector jobs he's so far behind creating that hardly anyone is counting anymore - - this job, a new senior advisory position he somehow could fund in his office for a senior state official, but which, so far, major media has not reported for more than three days.

In the context of Walker's expanding absences from the state, as well as his similarly expanding national traveling, speaking and deal-making, this hiring speaks volumes:

Not seeing return to original UW mission in Walker budget

Unless I'm working with the wrong URL, where's that promised skin-back of Walker's "drafting error?" The story broke a month ago tomorrow.

And the existing budget language also lets individual UW campuses opt out of mission statement adoption?  What kind of Wisconsin Idea is that?

From p. 473, UW budget...


Governor: Establish the UW System mission as being to develop human resources to meet the state's workforce needs; to discover and disseminate knowledge; and to develop in students heightened intellectual, cultural, and human sensitivities, scientific, professional, and technological expertise, and a sense of purpose.

Under current law, the mission of the UW System is as follows: "to develop human resources, to discover and disseminate knowledge, to extend knowledge and its application beyond the boundaries of its campuses and to serve and stimulate society by developing in students heightened intellectual, cultural and humane sensitivities, scientific, professional and technological expertise and a sense of purpose. Inherent in this broad mission are methods of instruction, research, extended training and public service designed to educate people and improve the human condition. Basic to every purpose of the system is the search for truth."
[Bill Section: 1111]


Governor: Provide that the Board may, after a public hearing at an institution, establish for the institution a mission statement delineating specific program responsibilities and types of degrees to be granted. Provide that the Board would determine the educational programs to be offered in the UW System and may discontinue educational programs as it deems necessary. Provide that the Board would establish policies to guide program activities to ensure that they are compatible with the mission of the institutions of the UW System.

This differs from current law in that: (a) the establishment of institutional mission statements is made optional instead of being required; and (b) a requirement that the Board make all reasonable effort to provide night courses is deleted.

[Bill Section: 1130]


Media choke on fresh Walker word salad

ISIS fighter and part-time, or perhaps already ex-WI Governor Scott Walker turned a simple question of the day about immigration into an extra-large helping of word salad, and Greg Sargent at The Washington Post notes it didn't go down well:
To hear conservatives tell it, the question of whether Republicans are prepared to use Department of Homeland Security funding to fight President Obama’s executive deportation relief is a test of their resolve to combat Obama’s lawlessness. So you’d think the GOP presidential candidates would have a good answer when pressed on this.
Yet when Byron York posed that question to Scott Walker, he did not have a clear answer at all. First, Walker claimed that Congress “needs to find a way to fund homeland security,” but added that it’s understandable if lawmakers are reluctant to give up their leverage to “to push back on the president’s questionable, if not illegal, actions.” 
Asked whether Republicans should stand firm against Obama’s actions, or agree to fund Homeland Security independently of continuing the battle against them, Walker replied: 
“I think they have to figure out some way to have the bridge to continue to fund homeland security, but in a way that doesn’t remove their ability to come back sometime in the not too distant future if the court rules or if the administration changes how they do this action in a way that could be upheld in court. They need to have the power of the purse string to offer a counter to that.”
York asks: “What does that mean, exactly?” It’s a good question.  
Not the first time national media recently balked at what is routine for Walker in Wisconsin.

Sloppy headline about Walker "liked" by Facebook

The story says Facebook counted all mentions on Facebook of Walker in a given period and found he rated tops among all GOP presidential hopefuls, but on Facebook, to "like" usually means an affirmation, so if Facebook is counting all likes, posts, shares and comments about Walker, I'll bet a lot of them were negative comments on negative status posts and do not support the implication of the headline:

Scott Walker 2016: Ripped by Rolling Stone, liked by Facebook

What I see in the headline and story was effort to balance out the number that might make Walker look good the mention of a no-holds-barred slam at Walker in Rolling Stone about which there is no ambiguity.

And, yes, I see the headline says "'liked' by Facebook," not "liked on Facebook," but given the foundational use of "like" on Facebook, I think, at best, the headline is confusing.

What do you think?

Major media missing DNR-related Walker cuts, staff moves

Walker's office posted it with little fanfare early Friday evening, I posted and gave it context Saturday, but unless I've missed it I see no major media reporting that Deputy DNR Secretary, ex-builder association executive and attorney Matt Moroney - - a leading figure in conservative policy-making in Walker's administration for the last four years - - has been moved to a new position of Senior Advisor in Walker's office.

Given that Walker is continually absent from the state while his controversial budget must be addressed by the Legislature, you'd think this staffing development would have gotten at least the same coverage as Walker's multiple campaign hires.

I also see little comprehensive mainstream media coverage linking cuts in Walker's budget to environmental programs at both the UW and the DNR.

I put together one summary.

The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters has put up a site with several budget-related analyses and documents, here.

Summary post of Walker budget hits to environment

[Updated from Sunday, 11:11 a.m.] Not meant to be complete, but here are several links to discoveries in Walker's budget about terminating or damaging state or UW environmental programs, policies and funds:

Program, policy cuts to the DNR, with 2011-'15 historical context.

UW-M and Downer Woods.

UW System programs.

Exempting UW System from renewable energy goals.

Promotion of DNR Deputy Secretary Matt Moroney to Walker Senior Advisor.

The most wonderfully revealing/disqualifying Walker stumble yet

[Updated] Walker has so talked himself into believing he is already the President-elect that he remembers to The New York Times those good old days he was Wisconsin's Governor. Our embarrassment is deep; his should be complete:
In an interview, Mr. Walker said he was unconcerned about the appearance of spending so much time and energy courting donors, noting that he expected to do plenty of retail campaigning in the months ahead. “Oh, I think along the way I’ll be at plenty of dairy events and farm events and factories just like when I was governor,” Mr. Walker said.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Online JS poll not backing 'right-to-work'

I know online polls are hardly scientific, but they can be interesting, like these home page results as of 11:10 p.m. Sunday night:
Do you support state legislative leaders' decision to fast-track a right-to-work bill through the Legislature? 
Yes, Wisconsin needs this now: 41% 
No, we need more discussion: 10% 
No, it's a bad idea any time. : 49% 
Total Responses: 3644

Archiving Walker's mounting fumbles

Couldn't help but notice in his ISIS=protesters FUBAR this "in their power" remark. Do we have multiple commanders-in-chief?
“I want a commander in chief who will do everything in their power to ensure that the threat from radical Islamic terrorists does not wash up on American soil,” said Walker, a likely Republican 2016 presidential candidate. “If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.”
OK, OK - - you say I'm making too much out of a grammatical slip.

But Walker is so unprepared, and can think so poorly on his feet that he is leaving potential backers speechless. Take a look at this description of more Walker stumbles, some of which I'd written about yesterday. 

In front of big-time right-wing financiers, Walker revealed he knew so little about Dodd-Frank that it might as well have been thinking about a new-style hot dog:
At CPAC, he gave a forceful speech, but when asked how he would fight the Islamic State he gave a non-answer. He then suggested he was ready to be commander in chief after dealing with 100,000 union protesters. It was inaptly put, but the absence of substantive answers and the comparison to a handful of candidates who spoke in-depth on an array of national security issues left some supporters shaken.
Then came his appearance at Club for GrowthThe coverage has been harsh.
The Wall Street Journal reported, “The event was moderated by Frayda Levin, a member of the Club board who is supporting Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul in the coming presidential race. In addition to her direct questioning on foreign-policy, Ms. Levin grilled Mr. Walker on what changes he would make to the Dodd-Frank financial-markets reforms. After a lengthy answer in which the Wisconsin governor failed to suggest specific changes, she referred to concerns small community banks have with the law and asked him, ‘So, are you just not that aware of what’s happening with Dodd-Frank?’ ”
Asked about foreign policy, he said the most important foreign policy decision in his lifetime was Ronald Reagan’s firing of the air traffic controllers... in Walker’s lifetime there have been the Gulf wars, the Iraq surge, the response to 9/11, the reunification of Germany and a host of other events. 
An adviser with a rival campaign conceded that former secretary of state George P. Shultz, who has met with many presidential candidates, often observes that was a critical moment in the Reagan presidency, but the adviser argued that it was “not in any way a foreign policy decision and therefore no one would ever call this the most significant foreign policy decision in anyone’s lifetime.” 
The adviser added,”To call it a foreign policy decision is completely ludicrous.”

Walker taking right-wing attack on WI Progressive tradition national

[Updated] It's not a matter of rocket surgery, as one of Walker's apologists has framed it, to grasp where Walker and his far-right money machine is dragging us.

His new budget dilutes or terminates the public interest and the public sector in Wisconsin so Republican corporate donors and Tea Party advocates who have funded his campaigns can appropriate public resources, embed their partisan advantage and power and overturn decades of Wisconsin tradition.

Walker's budget will wipe away the core public service mission that has defined the UW, and similarly erases protections for the public's air, land and water maintained through science and public input at the DNR. (One summary post, here)

The budget continues Walker's ideological devaluation of scape-goated teachers and the concept of public education by diverting more public education millions to private, parochial schools.

The budget also unflinchingly withholds reasonable medical care and food assistance from thousands of our state's less-fortunate citizens (who are to be drug-tested, probably illegally, through this budget) already locked into another Walker choice - - the lowest legal minimum wage possible.

Add in an ethically-compromised conservative-bought-and-greased Wisconsin Supreme Court majority and you have the demolition in Wisconsin of what it is that separated Wisconsin from its midwestern neighbors - - The Progressive Era - - so that ideological agendas and Walker's personal presidential ambition could be served with public money and process.

That';s  how and why the GOP managed a secretive redistricting process. Or wrote a mining bill in private. or ambushed citizens twice with budgetary or legislative surprises through Act 10 or the new 'right-to-work' bill being rushed past democratic procedures and tradition for Walker's signature this week.

Never have so many people in this state been abused by so few with such shallow, extremist motives.

And with such widespread, long-term, negative consequences.

I'd been tracking in one posting those disrespected and manipulated by Walker, but the item is getting too long to manage. For the record, it is the fifth most-downloaded post on this blog out of more than 15,000 put up since 2/2/07.

If Walker were President, and Paul Ryan is steering the budget through a GOP-run Congress, and the conservative 5-4 majority on the US Supreme Court remains or grows with Walker appointments, you can also kiss good-bye the New Deal, public lands, voting rights, immigration reform (he's discovered yet another powerless group to hit with big government power), equal pay and medical-care access for women, and other long-held, hard-won American democratic values which Walker is on record opposing.

Walker hands insurers gravy from local taxpayers

I heard about one small SE WI city where taxpayers will pay out close to triple for private insurance what they were paying to the non-profit, state-managed pool. The costs of privatization. 

After three budgets, Walker's people now know how to manipulate their agencies to benefit Walker's backers, regardless of the hit to taxpayers, as the State Journal discovers:
 25 minutes ago25 minutes agoICYMI: Scott Walker proposes shutting down state insurance coverage for cities, schools,…  

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Walker UW budget deletes protection for UW-M Downer Woods

Much of the open space on the UW-M main East side campus has fallen to the bulldozer, but now Walker's UW 'reform' budget deletes the promised and continuing preservation of Downer Woods as community space and park land - - and preservation of former Downer college buildings is deleted, too. 

What's next on the state/campus chopping block? If the Downer Woods can be sold off to a developer, why not Picnic Point, or the UW-Madison Arboretum? 

I'm sure the Walkerites would like to see a few hundred condos and a parking ramp in the Arboretum, and maybe an ATV rental agency, paint ball gun course and sports bar along Picnic Point?

Remember also that the Legislature, at Walker's direction, has given him the power to sell any state asset - -  up to and including the State Capitol building, with token participation by the Legislature's Joint Committee on Finance, the State Building Commission (also slated for a 2015-'17 gubernatorial takeover), and the Wisconsin Department of Administration - - all of which he controls - - and without normal public disclosure or negotiating procedures.

I'd catalogued many of the budget's attacks on the UW system's environmental programming and mission, but had missed this one. Mea culpa.

More about the similar impact on Walker's cuts at the DNR, too, here.

From the proposed budget document:

(p) Delete the following provisions related to the Downer Woods located on the UW- Milwaukee campus: (1) provisions requiring the UW-Milwaukee Chancellor to prepare and implement a Downer Woods natural area management and restoration plan to ensure that the
area of the Downer Woods designated as the conservation area is managed properly as a natural area; (2) provisions requiring that the portion of the Downer Woods designated as permanently reserved woodlands be set aside exclusively for the purposes of community enhancement and relaxation; (3) provisions permitting the portions of the Downer Woods designated as park and woodland areas to be used by UW-Milwaukee as recreational and aesthetic corridors; and (4) provisions specifying that the buildings of the former Downer college be preserved and may not be razed without prior approval of the Building Commission. 

In CPAC poll, almost 80% wanted someone not Walker

After all his sleeves-rolled-up stage-craft and ill-fitting macho-man rhetoric, Walker couldn't out poll libertarian darling Rand Paul, as nearly 80% of those polled at CPAC said they were more in love with another righty darling.

Look for Walker to spin this rejection as a victory.

Walker would "totally privatize" Medicaid, transportation infrastructure

Lost in Walker's monumental foreign policy stumble before the Club for Growth was his answer to a question that Medicaid and transportation are programs he would "totally privatize."

Translation: Private health insurers are going to make out like bandits, plenty of poor people will make do without, highways and bridges are going to be leased to companies that will jack up the tolls (Google Chicago Skyway, parking meters, or Indiana tollway tolls) - - one summary post, here - - and a bus ticket on the few remaining lines will put low-income people back on the sidewalks.

WI Capitol cops play cold-weather rendition

Taking people into custody at the Wisconsin State Capitol, driving them to a remote Madison site, then not charging them while leaving them literally in the cold on their own has got to be against the law in 2015.

Earlier arrests of peaceful protestors at the Capitol have been dismissed, the Walker administration policy which led to the arrests has been declared unconstitutional and tens of thousands of dollars in civil damages have been paid by the state to those illegally ticketed and detained.

Please, empty-headed Scott Walker, just keep talking

The same presidential poseur who thinks ISIS and Putin will be cowed by how he 'handled' peaceful union protesters his own press aide had praised as peaceful and legitimate now wants you to believe that Ronald Reagan's firing of the nation's air traffic controllers was the most important foreign policy move in Walker's lifetime - - thus back to 1967.

It's so clear that Walker lives inside a little, talk-radio ideological echo chamber, where Reagan is give God-like status while his tax increases and legendary bi-partisan moderation are never acknowledged.

Walker has been inserting himself into a distortion of Reagan's legacy for years, as he'd let on during the infamous phone call he had with the fake David Koch (transcript), but only an uneducated narcissist treading intellectual water would put Reagan's union-busting ahead in foreign policy importance to, say, George W. Bush's catastrophic invasion of Iraq 12 years ago that now has spun off the very ISIS fighters whose defeat Walker is fantasizing.

Or, Richard Nixon's detente with China, the entire subsequent explosion of global trade and export of manufacturing which continue to undermine Walker's failed job-creating solutions.

Some pretty astonishing knowledge and awareness gaps there. 

Video shows Walker gifting little boy with talking points

Add another keeper to the Walker tape and video archive we've been collecting:

After finishing up his ISIS=peaceful protesters CPAC speech, a little kid asked Walker about climate change.

Fret not, little guy: Walker - - like a robot - - fires off his talking points, including suggesting the little fella clean up his camp site the way Walker says he always did.

Bad luck, evil DNR subculture wrecked WI mine plan

We;re beginning to get a fuller picture of the internal problems that led GTac to suspend more planning for a massive open-pit iron mire in a pristine watershed across Iron and Ashland Counties.

Start with some plain old bad luck: GTac said it had discovered a lot of wetlands in the forested, rain and snow absorbing Bad River watershed that is cross-crossed by trout streams, dotted with lakes and traversed by a river on its way to wild rice estuaries at the edge of the deepest of the five Great Lakes, Lake Superior.

You can see how it could miss the wetlands there.

And there was another roadblock that was also not the company's fault. After all, it had dotted all its "I's" and crossed off them "T's" when it lobbied through bill it helped write and even routed $700,000 to benefit Scott Walker's 2012 campaign.

Then more bad luck: like a cruise line executive finding positive samples after a full-ship Norovirus cleansing, mining boss Bill Williams said he discovered some lingering environmentalism among DNR employees apparently not fully excised by Scott Walker and the "chamber of commerce" tools he'd installed atop the agency:
"But there is probably still a subculture at the DNR, for lack of a better word, that is green," Williams said.
How many surprises should GTac have been asked to manage?

Clearly, Walker and the DNR have some work to do to get that toxic green thinking out of an agency were it has no business thriving, even in a subculture.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp had already revealed the subculture in her historic expose of the DNR that helped get her appointed to the position by Walker in 2010:
...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.
Walker's proposed budgetary elimination of 66 DNR science positions, along with other program cuts and structural changes - - along with several years of science-crushing policy-making - -  will go a long way towards finally ridding the DNR of what Williams and Stepp say ails it.

No business should ever again encounter "green" secret agents at a natural resource protection agency.

For the record, some GTac mine backers did OK

As we enjoy the apparent withdrawal of GTac from the Penokees to which they came to destroy, let's not forget that a couple of the major enablers of the massive mine plan or the sweetheart one-company bill shoved through the Legislature at the company's behest have come out the fiasco ahead of where they were at the beginning:

*  Former state Rep. Jeff Stone, (R-Greendale). He's the suburban Milwaukee legislator who made said Ojibwa tribal representatives did not have a seat at the table - - his words, watch the video - - when the putrid bill was up for Legislative consideration by Stone and his fellow committee members.

Where's Stone today? Walker gave him a $94,000-a-year senior administrator's job at the Public Service Commission last year that was initially ticketed for another GOP legislator, Scott Suder,  who'd gotten caught up in a DNR/grant scandal.

And the Wisconsin Paper Council picked Suder up. All's well that ends well.

*  Former GTac lobbyist Bob Seitz. Walker just appointed Seitz also to a senior position at the PSC, which is apparently what backers of failed mining projects also call Heaven.

Moroney, ex-DNR #2, now Senior Adviser to Walker

The Governor's office quietly moved Deputy DNR Secretary Matt Moroney - - via a Friday evening news release - - to a new position of senior adviser in the Governor's office.

Pretty much as I'd suggested in earlier posts.
...he is headed either to Walker's campaign, or to the Governor's office as Chief of Staff or filling a new, administrative/policy/campaign committee liaison position.
Walker is positioning a strong conservative policy adviser and experienced administrator at his side while multi-tasking as Governor and presidential candidate.

Moroney will be the functioning 'Deputy' Governor in a way that Rebecca Kleefisch cannot, much as was DOA Secretary Jim Klauser to Governor Tommy Thompson.

Matt Moroney
Matt Moroney
Use the blog index at the upper left corner for posts about Moroney over the years on the just-killed iron mining plan's sweetheart bill, plus work on wetlands, weakened DNR enforcement and a failed effort to stymie on developers' behalf the Great Lakes Compact, among others.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Walker press aide said protesters were peacefully exercising rights

They don't sound much like ISIS fighters, right Cullen Werwie?, as the Walker media aide described the protesters and Walker's view of them to CBS News during the protests in these words:
"Governor Walker has said time and again that the protesters have every right to have their voice heard, and for the most part the protests have been peaceful. We are hopeful that the tradition will continue," said Werwie.
Werwie, who'd served as media spokesman during Walker's 2010 run for Governor - - was also an immunized witness in the prosecutorial probe known as John Doe I that produced six convictions of Walker aides, associates and donors - -  has since been promoted to the Wisconsin Department of Administration. 

As I have been reporting, WI DNR's #2 is gone

The rumor mill was correct - - the powerful WI DNR Deputy Secretary Matt Moroney has left the agency, but as you will see in these emails circulated by the top people at DNR this evening, no one is saying where Moroney is landing.

He's a smart, organized and productive attorney and former metro Milwaukee developers' association leader. I watched him assertively push for Great Lakes water diversions when he sat on advisory committees to SEWRPC and the State Legislature as they grappled with the Great Lakes Compact and related matters.

My belief is that he is headed either to Walker's campaign, or to the Governor's office as Chief of Staff or filling a new, administrative/policy/campaign committee liaison position.

Here are the agency emails, verbatim - -  first from Secretary Cathy Stepp, followed by a note from Moroney.

My only comment is that Stepp betrays a not-so-surprising ignorance about the origins and implications of the cliche in praise of Moroney that he kept the "trains running on time." Suffice it to say it is not a compliment to him or their working environment. Look it up.

Dear Colleagues,
So, there’s been a lot of change going on in state government lately.  As I preach to others to embrace change, I need to remember that myself sometimes.  Matt’s departure has certainly brought a series of mixed emotions for me and many others in the department.  I’m thrilled for him personally and professionally, as his gifts of facilitation, people management, expediency, and follow through will be on full display for all of state government to gain from in his new role.  As you all know, he has kept the “trains running on time” on “the 8th floor,” making sure documents got signed, thoughtful decisions were made in a timely manner,  and that systems were implemented to support and streamline the good work of our agency.  He has defined “transparency” in state government with his innovative ideas on guidance documents, stewardship program implementation, meetings with staff on all issues you had concerns or questions about.  Always with an honest and frank answer, staff has grown to respect and admire the way he carried himself and portrayed the Office of the Secretary in the most honorable way.  He never let political ideology interfere with the use of sound science, the law, and common sense.  I can honestly say not one thing I tasked him with over the last 4 years has ever fallen through the cracks.  I have never known anyone with a stronger work ethic who still somehow managed to balance family life with his wife and two young children.  He is a role model for us all to look to.
My melancholy moments have been in the realization that I won’t be talking to him a minimum of twice per day, seeing him in the office regularly, and laughing instead of crying when the day’s events seem insurmountable.  Matt and I had a uniquely balanced relationship, running the agency as a team.  Each of us is acutely aware that the job of Secretary is so much more than any one person could manage without engaging gifted and talented people who commit themselves to the mission of our agency with a servant’s heart.
While I was hopeful this announcement would come before Matt reported for duty in his new role, the timing didn’t work out that way.  It would have been great to have time for those of you who wanted to stop by to wish him well and to share a laugh.  Alas, you’ll have to do that by email or phone call…which will probably be easier on him anyway.  We all know he wasn’t much about getting attention or actually having to show emotion!  
Below is a message from Matt that he wanted me to share with all of you:
I wanted to send a quick note to just say “Thank You”!   It was a privilege and an honor to be your coworker the last four years.   I cannot accurately describe in words how much I have appreciated your collective and individual willingness to share your ideas on how to move this organization from good to great! 
There are still many great things to come at the DNR due to the tremendous talent within the DNR at all levels of the organization.   I am confident that Secretary Stepp and the Department Leadership Team will continue to ask for your ideas and will continue to lead the Department forward in a positive direction as One DNR.   The best is yet to come, and I look forward to following your successes.
Once again, Thank You!!!
Matt Moroney

Get these huge changes out of the Walker budget

What is the entire nuts-and-bolts remake of the UW System - - similar to the policy-driven restructuring of the DNR and its oversight board - - doing in the state's bi-ennual budget?

Along with a host of other major items across something like 2,000 pages of detailed, data-laden text?

This budget could have been much simpler if these major policy matters got the separate and careful attention they deserve with honest hearings scheduled for the public's convenience.

Discovering water in watershed mine site, GTac abandons open-pit mine plan

GTac says it is shelving its plan to blow up, dig up and mill the Penokee Hills in the Bad River watershed for low-grade iron ore already in surplus supply - - because, it says it found too much water in the wetlands in the watershed at the edge of Lake Superior.

Sure, it took the mining company four years to make this discovery.

The uproar the plan caused in state politics helped force the moderate GOP opponent Dale Schultz from the State Senate and it seems as if the company wasted $700,000 in thank you money in routed to a Scott Walker advocacy group for his getting a sweetheart enabling bill that is still on the books through the Legislature.

Don't get me wrong - - I'm thrilled to see this news, though GTac has closed out its office in Hurley before - - and let's hope people in the region can get back their peace of mind, clean water, undisturbed wild-rice growing estuaries, and tourism-based economy.

And as I said 25 months ago, where is Walker's Plan B for the area?
Knowing that a mine is years - - if ever - - away from approval and opening in the coming bear market in iron ore, where is the Walker administration's comprehensive Plan B for northern Wisconsin?

Walker budget would exempt UW system from renewable energy goals

In an earlier post, I catalogued all the cuts to environmental programs, activities and staff in Walker's proposed UW budget.

Now we learn that Walker's budget proposes an exemption from existing energy saving goals for the entire statewide, reformed UW System Authority's huge facilities:

Governor: Provide that renewable energy goals would not apply to the UW System Authority. Under current law, these goals apply to DOA, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Health Services, the Department of Public Instruction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the UW System. The most recent year for which a renewable energy goal was set was 2011.
[Bill Section: 346] 

Walker budget cuts numerous UW/environmental programs, jobs

As if Walker's across-the-board staff and program cuts to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (66 science positions, for example), his removal of policy-making authority from the citizen-attentive Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, exempting the huge system statewide from energy saving goals, his removal of state financing from recycling programs and his 13-year suspension of the popular Knowles-Nelson land stewardship purchase program wasn't enough of a slam at public access to public policy-making, science, land and resources, his proposal to restructure the UW system and slash its budget would also mandate many deep cuts in UW managed and offered environmental activities, including, says the budget document:

[Bill Section: 580, 1029, 1206, and 9448(4)]

Governor: Eliminate funding for the Wisconsin Bioenergy
Initiative ($4,069,100 SEG annually) and 35.20 positions beginning in 2015-16 and delete the appropriation for that purpose on July 1, 2016. Under current law, funding is provided from the environmental fund to the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative to support research into improved plant biomass, improved biomass processing, conversion of biomass into energy products, development of a sustainable energy economy, and development of enabling technology for bioenergy research.

[Bill Sections: 601 and 9448(1)]


Governor: Eliminate $130,500 annually for environmental education grants from the environmental fund and delete the appropriation for that purpose on July 1, 2016. In addition, delete $200,000 in 2016-17 as well as the appropriation for environmental education grants from the conservation fund.
Delete language related to the Environmental Education Board including provisions requiring the Board to: (a) consult with the state Superintendent of Public Instruction in page3image20568 page3image20992 page3image21152 page3image21312 identifying needs and establishing priorities for environmental education in public schools; (b) consult with other state agencies, including UW-Extension, conservation and environmental groups, youth organizations, and nature and environmental centers in identifying needs and establishing priorities for environmental education; (c) award grants for the development, dissemination, and presentation of environmental education programs; and (d) establish a center for environmental education. In addition, delete the requirement that the Board of Regents seek the advice of the Environmental Education Board on the development of environmental education programs.
[Bill Sections: 228, 598, 599, 1244, 1245, 1301, 3284, 4323 thru 4325, and 9448(1)]


Governor: Eliminate $156,100 annually for solid waste
research and experiments and 1.0 position beginning in 2015-16 and delete the appropriation for that purpose on July 1, 2016. Under current law, funding is provided from the environmental fund to support research into alternative methods of solid waste management and for administering solid waste experiment centers.
Delete related provisions permitting the Board of Regents to establish one or more solid waste experiment centers for the purpose of developing, demonstrating, promoting, and assessing the costs and environmental effects of alternatives to solid waste disposal; requiring the Board to conduct research into alternatives to solid waste disposal; and requiring the Board to appoint a solid waste research council.

[Bill Sections: 603, 1218, and 9448(1)]


Governor: Delete $394,100 annually for UW-Extension recycling education and 4.0 positions beginning in 2015-16 and delete the appropriation for that purpose on July 1, 2016. Under current law, funding from the environmental fund is provided to support UW-Extension education and technical assistance programs in recycling and recycling market development.
[Bill Sections: 602 and 9448(1)]
Governor: Delete the UW System's program revenue
appropriations for general program operations (-$2,271,680,800), gifts
and nonfederal grants and contracts (-$537,889,600), and general fund interest ($0) and the UW System's appropriation for federal aid (-$1,812,449,300) in 2016-17.


Governor: Delete current law research fees of 27¢ per ton of fertilizer sold or distributed and 10¢ per ton of soil or plant additive distributed and delete the fertilizer research council which recommends projects to be financed by fertilizer research funds.
Under current law, the soil and plant additive research fee and 17¢ of the fertilizer research 
page6image32840 page6image33264 page6image33424
fee are forwarded to the UW System to be used for research on soil management, soil, fertility, plant nutrition problems, and for research on surface water and groundwater problems which may be related to fertilizer usage. These funds are also use to fund the dissemination of the results of the research and for other designated activities tending to promote the correct usage of fertilizer materials. The remaining 10¢ of the fertilizer research fee is used to support UW- Extension outreach services. In 2013-14, $280,000 was forwarded to the UW System for research and $166,300 was provided to support UW-Extension outreach services.
[Bill Sections: 133, 484, 2630 thru 2635, and 9448(1)]


Governor: Delete $417,500 in 2016-17, the requirement that the Board of Regents operate an aquaculture demonstration facility, and the appropriation under the Department of Administration which provides funding for that facility from tribal gaming revenues. Specify that the UW System Authority may, instead of shall under current law, conduct applied and on- site research, outreach activities, and on-site demonstrations relating to commercial aquaculture in this state in cooperation with the commercial aquaculture industry. The Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) would also continue to coordinate its aquaculture activities with those of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the UW System Authority and to conduct meetings on a quarterly basis involving DATCP, DNR, and UW System Authority representatives to exchange information regarding the progress of their efforts to promote commercial aquaculture in this state.

[Bill Sections: 808, 1188, 2626 thru 2628, and 9448(1)]


Governor: Delete $301,600 and 1.0 position in 2016-17 as well as the appropriation for environmental program grants and scholarships. This appropriation funds all of the following: (a) need-based grants totaling $100,000 to students who are members of underrepresented groups and who are enrolled in a program leading to a certificate or a bachelor's degree from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison; (b) annual scholarships totaling $100,000 to students enrolled in the sustainable management degree program through the UW-Extension; and (c) the balance of the appropriation for environmental programs at UW-Steven Point. Base level funding for this appropriation is $301,600 SEG from the normal school fund.

[Bill Sections: 600, 1297, and 9448(1)]


Governor: Delete $249,800 and 1.20 positions in 2016-17
as well as the discovery farm grant program and a related appropriation from the agrichemical management fund. Under current law, the Board of Regents makes grants through UW-
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Extension to operators of discovery farms for research and outreach activities under the Wisconsin agricultural stewardship initiative. A discovery farm is an operating commercial farm that conducts on-farm research.
[Bill Sections: 597, 1262, and 9448(1)] 


Governor: Delete $134,500 and 1.0 position in 2016-17 as
well as the requirement that the Board of Regents maintain a center for cooperatives at UW- Madison and the grant program administered by that center. In addition, delete the related grant appropriation from the conservation fund which provides $78,000 for the paper science program at UW-Stevens Point and $56,500 for grants to persons to form forestry cooperatives that consist primarily of private, nonindustrial owners of woodland.

[Bill Sections: 596, 1016, 1192, 1303, 2095, and 9448(1)]


Governor: Delete $53,700 in 2016-17 as well as the requirement that the Board of Regents and the Department of Natural Resources enter into an agreement with an established national organization to provide training to persons interested in learning about the outdoor skills needed by women to hunt, fish, camp, canoe, and undertake other outdoor recreational activities. Delete language requiring DNR to transfer $53,700 annually to the UW System from its general program operations appropriation for land and forestry for outdoor skills training provided under the agreement.
[Bill Sections: 621, 1056, and 9448(1)]


Governor: Delete $51,900 in 2016-17 as well as language requiring DNR to transfer $51,900 annually to the UW System from its general program operations appropriation for water
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for studies of Great Lakes fish.
[Bill Sections: 628 and 9448(1)] 

Walker budget to end UW sexual assault orientation, some crime reporting

[Updated] Walker the Destroyer. Who in his or right mind would send a child to a UW campus?

From Walker's budget - - and read the entire link's contents for all the programs Walker's budget would end at and by the UW system.


Governor: Delete the requirement that the Board direct each institution and college campus to incorporate oral and written or electronic information on sexual assault in its orientation program for newly entering students and to supply all students enrolled in the institution or college campus with the same information in either printed or electronic form.

Delete the requirement that the Board of Regents submit an annual report to the Legislature regarding the methods used to comply with the above requirement.

Delete the requirement that any person employed at an institution who witnesses a sexual assault on campus or receives a report from a student enrolled in the institution that the student has been sexually assaulted report the assault to the dean of students.

Delete the requirement that each institution report annually to the Department of Justice (DOJ) statistics on sexual assaults and on sexual assaults committed by acquaintances of the victims that occurred on the campus of that institution in the previous years, and that DOJ include those statistics in appropriate crime reports.
[Bill Section: 1171] 
The UW and Walker have subsequently to online reports about these changes that the data referenced would be collected but consolidated in a single report, that sexual assault orientation is embedded in UW culture and the changes were sought by the UW.

More media getting glimpse of the shifty Scott Walker

Major media last week got to see Walker the unartful dodger as he gave silent assent to Rudy Giuliani smearing President Obama's faith and patriotism. 

That was on the heels of Walker's London Punting and No-Comment Tour, a political visit to create some international experience itself disguised as a State of Wisconsin trade mission.

This week, media got  a closer look at another ugly but familiar Walker tactic when he attacked citizen protesters as terroristic, then denied he'd done any such thing.

Wisconsinites have seen Walker's intellectual and verbal dishonesty before.

Remember when he called his signature and most consequential proposal - - Act 10 - - a "modest proposal" though it ended 50 years of public sector bargaining, cut workers take-home pay and gave his own career and right-wing politics in the state an upper hand over weakened, Democratic-leaning unions.

And after dropping his Act 10 bomb (his phrase) on public employees and their collective bargaining rights - - Walker claimed Act 10 did no such thing?

His saying that Act 10 left public-sector collective bargaining "fully intact" earned Walker a "Pants in Fire" PolitiFact rating:

In arguing the changes would be modest, Walker cited the civil service system and said "collective bargaining is fully intact." However, Walker himself has outlined how his budget-repair bill would limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees.
Indeed, it’s that provision that provoked daily demonstrations at the state Capitol and national media attention. To now say now say collective bargaining would remain "fully intact" is not just false, it’s ridiculously false.
And that means it is Pants on Fire
Then flash-forward nearly four years to Walker's claim that his attack in his proposed budget on the University of Wisconsin's historic mission statement was a mere "drafting error," when documents showed that senior administration officials intentionally included the changes.

Again: attack, then deny.

That got him a Pants in Fire rating, too. 

What prepared Walker to battle ISIS worldwide

[Updated] From his secret training manual (the original photos I hoped to share came to me via email and do not open. I offer this that did not show the nice folks walking peacefully around the Capitol Square in costumes, or driving slow-speed tractors, or carrying funny signs - - all very un-ISIS-like.
Overhead view of hundreds of people wearing red for the teachers' unions, protesting against Walker's bill.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Walker as Reagan 2.0

Up until today, I'd thought Walker's fixation on Ronald Reagan was exaggerated Presidential hero worship by an awkward youngster and campus Republican who never grew up.

But after Walker turned himself into Rambo stalking ISIS, I had a vision of junior Walker in front of the family black-and-white TV in the 70's watching reruns of "Death Valley Days" - -  hosted by Ronald Reagan. And Reagan appeared in two episodes. I think this is the character Walker wants to play.
Death Valley 02

Other Walker experiences provided key Presidential training

OK, we know that Walker's against-all-odds survival against protests by various teachers, nurses and other public employees has set him up to fight the ISIS beheaders, but what other lines from his resume would help him be a successful President?

*  Hiring internet savants to run a secret, partisan fundraising and politicking email network just down the hall from his Milwaukee County courthouse office will help him find good candidates to serve on the Federal Communications Commission. Not to mention candidates for the CIA, NSA,  FBI, Nixon Plumbers' reunions...

*  His direction to staff about keeping quiet a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who starved to death on his watch in a Milwaukee County mental health ward should help inform his decisions on appointments at the Department of Justice, Health and Social Services and the Federal courts, too. Good judgement and solid priorities are a chief executive must-have.

*  Vetoing the Wisconsin fast Amtrak train between Milwaukee and Madison, giving the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources the go-ahead to sell 10,000 acres and suspending all state public land acquisition until 2028 will inform his plans to sell Amtrak and lease or sell US National Parks and Forest lands.

*  Mandating transvaginal ultrasound procedures not recommended by physicians for women seeking legal abortion services will help him pick like-minded US Supreme Court justices who also are "fine" with government-sanctioned sexually-invasive 'medicine.'

*  Oh - - just remembered that the whole protesters-ISIS conflation will also help him pick a White House physician. Think big: Go for a psychiatrist.

I'm sure I missed a few. Suggestions welcome.