Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Quite the Star Wars bar scene at Waukesha TrumpFest

No Scott Walker in Waukesha tonight, but look at the wacko birds that did show up, as reported by the Journal Sentinel (the adjectives are mine, not the paper's): Former NY City Mayor and Hillary Clinton hater Rudi Giuliani, Wisconsin DNR Secretary and tiny-deer-slayer Cathy Stepp, 
Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp proudly shows off her first deer, taken opening weekend last year. In the upcoming TV Special "Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2012, Stepp urges male hunters to take more girls and women hunting. "The secret's out," she says. "Hunting is a lot of fun, so don't keep it to yourselves."  photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR
travelin' Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, former US Senator-turned-arms-dealer Bob Kasten, Jr, and former WI Governor and US Senate-candidate-beaten-by-Tammy Baldwin-Tommy Thompson.

I'd noted this Tweet and posted it on Facebook, too:
2 hrs
7:34 PM - 28 Sep 2016Twitter
Mary Spicuzza
@MSpicuzzaMJS
Rudy Giuliani: isn't it time to put a man in the White House who's his own man? #Waukesha

What a let-down; no Walker at Waukesha TrumpFest today

Maybe Walker punted from the Trump event in Waukesha after today's post-debate poll that showed H. Clinton cleaned Trump's clock 52-21%.

Dan Bice delivers the bad news. 



Daniel Bice
1 hr

Just confirmed that Gov. Scott Walker won't be appearing at GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's rally in Waukesha tonight.

Birds of a feather flocking in Waukesha tonight

[Update: Disappointing update: Walker punts. I guess he saw today's post-debate polling.] 

Dark money expert welcomes foundation funding diverter. The common thread: withhold the records. Your modern GOP. Film at 10.
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Will Milwaukee Sheriff Clarke address his responsibilities here?

Sure, he's busy picking up speaking fees and free guns and reflected glory from right-wing muckety-mucks here and there, but will Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke take off from his goody-bag tour and take responsibility for the death by thirsting of a mentally ill inmate in the Milwaukee County jail? 

Donald Trump channels Leona Helmsley

Donald Trump said in Monday's debate that it was in his interest to avoid paying taxes:
"It makes me smart."
Trump at lectern before backdrop with elements of logo "TRUMP DonaldJTrump.com" 
What is it about wealthy Big Apple hotel magnates who brag about taxes they feel justified in skipping, though the rest of us are left with the bill:

Remember the quote attributed to Leona Helmsley:

"We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes." 
She was dubbed "The Queen of Mean."

I guess the GOP's gold-plated tax evader is the King of Bling. 


Further irony: The "little people quote" which helped send Helmsley to prison for tax evasion originated with her housekeeper.


During Trump's debate debacle, he continued aiming a sexist torrent at a former latina Miss Universe whom he had criticized and mocked as "Miss Housekeeping.

In both angry conversations and casual ones, Trump referred to Machado as "Miss Piggy," "Miss Housekeeper," and "Miss Housekeeping," who should know her place and do as she was told. He said it to her face. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Bucks Feigin = Ingrate

So the Bucks new team president Peter Feigin dropped in on Madison this week - - a city economically, racially and in many other ways diametrically opposed to the bigger and genuine urban area to the east - - to opine that Milwaukee is an antiquated, racist outlier American city.


Fine, ye NBA mogul, ignorant of regional reality and history and devoid of everyday manners, political smarts and appreciation for the daily, yearly, life-long efforts of tens of thousands of people of good will around here who work to right wrongs instead of lobbying and squeezing public dollars to goose along their privately-owned, exclusive franchises run by out-of-state billionaires:

Feel free to refund to the city its $47 million in subsidies we rubes are coughing up to help build your sports palace with its top-shelf amenities, ticket prices and high-profit food and drink.

Turn back the assets city taxpayers have forfeited for your business pleasure, including a primo downtown parking facility/perpetual cash machine, and a closed off city street you couldn't put a price tag on.

And if needed, write a check for the city's half of $80 million in reduced state aid to Milwaukee County that city taxpayers may have to cover.

In fact, sign on for the full $80 mil, just to show some sincerity and to remove all the irony from the bucks supporting the Milwaukee Bucks.

We can spend the money we're sacrificing for you business more directly addressing problems we know more about than do you.



Soft landings for high-profile GTac mine personnel

Thought I'd catch you up on what some of the now-cancelled NW Wisconsin GTac iron mine's folks are up to these days.

*  Bill Williams, often in the news as the project's top dog when the proposed open-pit mine came and went just landed a suspended sentence and fine for having dumped arsenic in a Spanish water table while managing a mine there:

The southern Seville court said Thursday that Bill Williams, former water director at the Cobre Las Cruces open pit mine, and two others, had been fined 2,700 euros ($3,000) each for mismanaging and polluting a public drinking water aquifer with arsenic from 2005 to 2008. 
They were also given one-year suspended prison sentences. 
*  WI Gov. Scott Walker gave former GTac lobbyist company Bob Seitz a top job at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, PSC records show:

Executive Assistant to Chairperson Nowak 
Bob Seitz
In fact, Walker considered naming Seitz to the number post at the DNR after the incumbent  Matt Moroney, was moved to Walker's staff as a special assistant.

Seitz, also formerly a lobbyist for the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity had spoken on the mining company's behalf at some of the now-defunct plan's highest-profile moments.

Despite harsh criticism from two northern legislators and an outcry from anti-mining activists, a spokesman for Gogebic Taconite said Tuesday that armed, paramilitary-style guards will continue to patrol the site deep in the Penokee Range where the company wants to build a large open pit iron mine. 
Bob Seitz, a Madison lobbyist representing Gogebic, said the guards are necessary because of a confrontation between 15 to 20 protesters and an unknown number of mine workers a month ago. 
“The guards are going to stay,” Seitz said. 
Mine guards on the site of the proposed Gogebic Taconite mine in Northwestern Wisconsin's Penokee Range. Gogebic officials hired the armed guards from Bulletproof Security in Arizona and said Tuesday that, despite criticism, the guards will continue patrolling the site. Courtesy of Rob Ganson


Side note: Also at the PSC, as a gubernatorial-appointed senior administrator, is former State GOP Rep. Jeff Stone, records show:

Division of Water, Telecommunications, and Consumer Affairs (DWCCA) - Administrator: Jeff Stone
Stone helped move along the sweetheart mining bill which is still on the books though GTac, its principle beneficiary, pulled out.

Debate loser steps forward, self-identifies

Like the losing team which blames bad equipment or biased officials, the candidate 
Trump at lectern before backdrop with elements of logo "TRUMP DonaldJTrump.com"
endorsed for Free World Leadership by our GOP Badger State team of Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Sean Duffy, Ron Johnson, Reince Priebus, et al, further highlights his unstable personality and unpresidential persona:
A defensive Donald J. Trump lashed out at the debate moderator, complained about his microphone and threatened to make Bill Clinton’s marital infidelity a campaign issue in a television appearance on Tuesday just hours after his first presidential debate with Hillary Clinton.

My God: Trump is so thin-skinned

Amazed that Trump rambled in self-praise near the end about holding back because Chelsea Clinton was in the hall from an attack he could have unleashed on Hillary Clinton. 

That Hillary had piled on negative ads about the way Trump had treated women, etc., and he had a counter-pinch he wanted to throw, but didn't.

Trump at lectern before backdrop with elements of logo "TRUMP DonaldJTrump.com"
The general interpretation confirmed later by the man himself is that Trump wanted to rip on Bill Clinton's personal indiscretions and somehow drag Hillary into that, even blaming her.

Are you kidding me?


Is Bill Clinton on the ballot and debate stage?

Does Trump really want to throw those stones from his glass house?


And how Nixonian, saying something ugly, like so and so is a Communist, but then saying, in effect, 'I would never say that.'

And did Trump think a campaign in which he attacked and ridiculed and demeaned every one of his opponents, along with huge swaths of the population - - women  Muslims, immigrants - - wouldn't produce, as all campaigns do, some point-counter point at his expense?


What we're seeing is what happens when an egomaniacal CEO who is used to be praised and enabled and gets to be sole judge on a TV show where he fires people steps into a different arena in which criticism and condemnation is what it's all about.

And women are allowed to play these days on an equal footing. No wonder he had a bad night.

Trump is really in the wrong element if he thinks he should get a pass for things he has said and done, and I cannot imagine that even in the unchartered waters of this campaign that Trump would go that deep in the mud and believe it's a winning strategy.


But we'll see by the next debate, and probably prior, if enough of the rules of the game have been suspended this year, by and for Trump,

Oops: In debate, Trump denied saying climate change Chinese invention

[Updated from 9/26] Glad to see that important issue of climate change made an appearance in the debate, but the way it came in didn't help Donald Trump.

---------------------------------------------------

The Google and Twitter say otherwise:

Monday, September 26, 2016

Trump's interrupting, odd body language is not Presidential

That's what happens when you are in over your head.

Trump's sniffling is not Presidential

It's been his constant for an hour. And he made fun of Hillary's health?

Three blog posts explain Walker's WI transportation nightmare

Barrett resurrects train industry which Walker wrecked

Scott Walker chased train assembly and maintenance work from a hard-hit Milwaukee neighborhood and the payroll-poor state economy he continues to fail - - and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has brought that industry and its good jobs back to the city and state.

The work involves work on LA rail cars.


Kinki Sharyo P3010 1.jpg


A great day for Milwaukee, its workforce and transit.


Let's hope this is the first step in bringing the industry all the way back, which would mean working on train sets right here in Milwaukee that can service the city, Madison, and the Midwest High-Speed Rail System, and not simply shipping out equipment for use out-of-state only:

SATURDAY, JULY 20, 2013

Oregon Launches Made-And-Banned-In-Wisconsin Trains

These trains were built at the Talgo train works in Milwaukee shut down by Scott Walker and his jobs-killing servants in the state legislature. Worse, they killed an entire industry.


Join us in a celebration
train cab in production
Oregon's Talgo trainset, preparing for move to Colorado 

OUR TRAINS HAVE ARRIVED!

On Friday, July 26 at the Eugene Amtrak station, we'll "officially" welcome the state's new 13-car passenger train sets. You're invited to the 2:30 p.m. ribbon-cutting! Get details here.

Trump's climate change deniers, lobbyists plan EPA 'transition'

Obstructing climate science through ideological coordination - - one example, here - - among a pro-corporate Governor, Legislature and Attorney General is bad enough at the state level, Wisconsin's experience shows, but Donald Trump as President would be worse, and he is not hiding his intention to absolutely stop clean air initiatives at the Federal level, Scientific America reports:

EPA to issue rules on smokestack greenhouse gases soon
Donald Trump has selected one of the best-known climate skeptics to lead his U.S. EPA transition team, according to two sources close to the campaign.
Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, is spearheading Trump’s transition plans for EPA, the sources said.
The Trump team has also lined up leaders for its Energy Department and Interior Department teams. Republican energy lobbyist Mike McKenna is heading the DOE team; former Interior Department solicitor David Bernhardt is leading the effort for that agency, according to sources close to the campaign...
Ebell’s views appear to square with Trump’s when it comes to EPA’s agenda. Trump has called global warming “bullshit” and he has said he would “cancel” the Paris global warming accord and roll back President Obama’s executive actions on climate change (ClimateWire, May 27).

Despite major floods, WI has zero interest in climate change

[Updated from 9/25] Ten weeks ago there was massive flooding in Northwestern Wisconsin that killed three people.

This week two more people died in more flooding that damaged even more counties in Western Wisconsin.


Experts for years have been predicting severe rain events as a consequence of a rapidly warming climate.


A recent national report's summary, with multiple charts:

Heavy downpours are increasing nationally, especially over the last three to five decades. Largest increases are in the Midwest and Northeast. Increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events are projected for all U.S. regions
And a separate, UW Sea Grant Institute report said: 
As warmer temperatures increase evaporation and the amount water vapor in the atmosphere rise worldwide, the air will become more saturated, increasing humidity levels year round. This means when it does rain or snow, it’s likely to be in very large amounts. 
All of this means Wisconsin can expect an increase in extreme heat waves and more frequent droughts in summer. At the same time, severe thunderstorms may double in frequency, increasing the amounts of damage caused by heavy rainfall, flashfloods, hail and strong tornadoes.    
But Wisconsin under Scott Walker, Attorney General Brad Schimel and other GOP state officials are officially hostile to climate change - - in the extreme - - and obeisant to the fossil fuel sector whose greenhouse gas emissions are also fueling the warming climate.

Walker and other Wisconsin GOP officials lined up to sign a Koch brothers pledge opposing climate change initiatives if they cost one new net cent.


Then the list got bigger:

The pledge has more that 400 signers, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy, Reid Ribble and Jim Sensenbrenner, state Sens. Alberta Darling, Glenn Grothman, Mary Lazich and Leah Vukmir, and state Reps. Dale Kooyenga, Bill Kramer, Jim Ott and Don Pridemore, all Republicans.
So when the deluge subsides, Walker can calm the waters temporally and pantomime some chief executive moves with hand-shaking and damage tours, and state officials can fill in all the necessary forms for assistance from the Federal Government they say on all other occasions is too big and well-heeled.

But a lot of that federal aid and whatever scarce state dollars Walker can throw into the pot will literally go down the drain during the next heavy rain event until and unless the state gets serious about respecting and merging solid science with infrastructure planning and adaptation that could minimize future damage.


And save lives.


And as we say, get with the program and stop being the State in the State of Denial


Update: Take a look at what a real state leaders is doing.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

On debate Monday, remember GOP Team WI all-in for Trump

Wisconsin's Republican Governor, Congressional delegation, and state legislative caucus all want the racist, sexist, egomaniacal, pathologically insecure and habitually dishonest Donald Trump to be US President, Commander-in-Chief, nominator of US Supreme Court justices, Appeals Court and District Court judges, US Ambassadors to foreign countries and the United Nations, designator of protected areas and national monuments, and the administrators of the US EPA, the CIA, Homeland Security, National Parks Service, the US Forest Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Department of Labor, the members of the National Labor Relations Board, Secretary of State, the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau, the Secretary of the Interior, Treasury Secretary, the US Department of Agriculture, four of eight members of the US Civil Rights Commission, and numerous federal, regulatory agencies and commissions too numerous to mention, etc.

But you get my drift, no?
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As Walker's campaigns grew, so did investigations, stakes

With the John Doe II probe back in the news and also at the doorstep of the US Supreme Court next month, it's rather amazing to follow a common thread linking much of Walker's career: first there is the campaign, then the investigation.

*  The pattern emerged in 1988, with a run for Marquette University student body president which ended badly for Walker: 

He was accused of violating campaign guidelines on multiple occasions. The [Marquette] Tribune reported then that he was found guilty of illegal campaigning two weeks before his candidacy became official. 
Later, a Walker campaign worker was seen placing brochures under doors at the YMCA. Door-to-door campaigning was strictly prohibited.
Walker initially denied this but later admitted to the violation, which resulted in lost campaign privileges at the YMCA. In the run-up to election day, the Tribune’s editorial board endorsed Walker’s opponent John Quigley, but said either candidate had the potential to serve effectively.. 
However, the Tribune revised its editorial the following day, calling Walker “unfit for presidency.” The column cited Walker’s distribution of a mudslinging brochure about Quigley that featured statements such as “constantly shouting about fighting the administration” and “trying to lead several ineffective protests of his own.” 
The revision also expressed disappointment in Walker’s campaign workers reportedly throwing away issues of the Tribune after the endorsement was initially made. 
Walker dismissed this, saying he had no knowledge of what his supporters did, according to a Tribune article from February 25, 1988.
*  Then there was the secret email system set up by Walker aides down the hall from his Milwaukee County Executive office used to organize and finance 2010 GOP campaigns on public time. Known as John Doe I:
The investigation – resulting in six convictions – involved embezzlement, money laundering and staffers mixing state business with a campaign effort to get Walker, then a Milwaukee county executive, to the governor’s mansion.
*  That probe set the stage for another, broader investigation known as John Doe II - - a state prosecutorial effort which unearthed millions of dark money dollars routed for Walker's 2012 recall election, and others. through a secret network.

The scheme, prosecutors said, also funded legislative candidacies that helped preserve Walker's GOP governing majority; the investigation was shut down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, a move now eligible for a review by the US Supreme Court because of conflict-of-interest allegations against two Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices who shared major donors with Walker.


Quite the progression - - from being accused in 1988 of "violating campaign guidelines on multiple occasions" in a campus election to being accused of being at the center of a multi-million dollar dark money system which led one major publication to address it with this headline:
WHY THE SUPREME COURT SHOULD TAKE ON POLITICAL CORRUPTION IN WISCONSIN
Yes, for the record - - Walker himself has never been charged in these investigations, and has managed to stay on his feet after truthiness problems on a smaller scale have cropped up - - but all it will take is four US Supreme Court Justices accepting the Doe prosecutors' petition for a review of the state's dismissal of their investigation and Walker can be credited with shining the brightest national light possible on shady money and campaign tactics.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Loopy WI DMV plan makes loopy Walker/WI sense

Given that the State of Wisconsin under Scott Walker which is in thrall to the road-builders a) has no comprehensive transportation plan statewide except a billion-dollar debt-laden highway expansion program, b) has no financing plan to pay for highway expansion and/or repairs to what we already have c) has boosted fatality-inducing speed limits despite warnings from experts, d) has allowed the roads and bridges to deteriorate to fourth-worst in the nation, e) already killed off regional transit authorities, f) is starving transit and cutting urban bus connections to suburban jobs...it makes perfect sense in that rudderless, policy-free special-interest driven scenario that Wisconsin is considering giving licenses to new drivers without requiring them to take a road test.

When, in fact, Wisconsin's novice drivers should definitely have to take a road test, if only to learn how to dodge the potholes without hitting 
Cars in a crash
the additional motorists headed for far-from-the-city-jobs without a transit connection through orange-barrel zones, lane-changes, zipper merges and onduced congestion artificially extended for extra years because Walker and the Legislature needed to push out construction schedules in the face of falling demand from car-averse millennial and retirees who choose to no longer drive.

Vos wanted higher WI speed limit; credit him the carnage

The Journal Sentinel has the data: fatal highway crashes are spiking with the higher speed limit pushed by the road-builder lobby's newest best friend, noted transit foe and Governor-in-training Robin Vos.

So 
file this from 12/9/13 under "told you so," or just plain "duh!":

Encouraging Wisconsin drivers to go faster is going to cost lives.
Along with this highway safety double-standard from earlier in 2013: 
But Vos has yet to get behind modest efforts in the Legislature to tweak state OWI statutes and treat some first offenses as misdemeanors if offenders' blood alcohol content measured 0.15 or higher, or about twice the current legal BAC limit of 0.08. Offenders blowing 0.14 and below - - still just a ticket... 
So we could end up with higher speeds on state highways to match what's posted in other states - - the uniformity or consistency argument - -  but continue to be the exception on drunk driving and merely ticket (enable) first-time (caught) drunk drivers up to 0.14 who would be charged with a misdemeanor if they were caught over the border blowing 'only' 0.08. 
Make sense?
I mean, why listen to stupid experts with facts in hand when a Robin Vos knows better?
AAA Wisconsin is urging the Wisconsin State Senate to stop proposed legislation that would raise the maximum speed limit on rural highways to 70 mph due to concerns that higher speeds make it more difficult for vehicles to slow or stop in order to avoid a collision, and can increase the severity of resultant crashes. AAA is particularly alarmed about the potential implications for trucks, as their weight makes those considerations even more pressing. 
The legislation would result in a 5 mile per hour increase to the current maximum speed limit in the state, which would have a dramatic effect on the stopping distance of trucks, lengthening it by up to 100 feet. 
This is a concern for all drivers, as according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 8 in 10 truck crashes are multi-vehicle collisions, and over 70 percent of injuries and fatalities sustained in truck crashes are the occupants of the other vehicles. 
The evidence from neighboring states provides a clear warning: higher speed limits lead to higher rates of truck involvement in fatal crashes. According to the most recent data available from NHTSA (2012), Wisconsin’s rate for large truck involvement in fatal crashes was 7.4 percent, while Minnesota and Iowa - which allow trucks to travel 70 mph on rural highways - were at 10 and 13.2 percent, respectively. Michigan, which has a differential speed limit that keeps trucks below 60 mph even in places where cars are allowed to travel 70 mph, was well below Wisconsin at 5.2 percent. 
Picture of Representative Robin Vos

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Intimidated Walker plays the budget threat card

Not from The Onion:

WI GOP Scott Walker is hinting today that he might cut Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm's staffing if the Milwaukee DA keeps pressing ahead with the John Doe case involving Walker and key donors which the US Supreme Court may accept for further as early as next month.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, with two of its members' impartiality at the heart of the potential case, had already made the case harder to bring to the US Supreme Court by denying Chisholm and two other DA's the use of outside, donated legal assistance. 

All this pressure from people with a vested interest in killing the case suggest there is something these dark money beneficiaries want permanently hidden.

Tainted WI Supreme Court process yielded Walker another win

Using documents provided by The Guardian, a Capital Times editorial today explained how the same secret coordination between GOP Gov. Scott Walker and dark money donors which aided his 2012 recall election win also slopped on to two Wisconsin Supreme Court justices who ruled - - after refusing to recuse themselves - - that a state investigative probe into the legality of that dark money network be shut down.
In a request that the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision to shut down a John Doe inquiry into illegal campaign activity, a group of Wisconsin prosecutors argue that Prosser and Gableman should not have heard the case because their campaigns benefited from work by individuals and groups that were a focus of the investigation. “Under any reasonable reading,” the prosecutors argue, those involved in the case “did not receive a fair and impartial hearing” from Wisconsin’s high court.
No matter what action the U.S. Supreme Court takes with regard to evidence of bias and the abandonment of ethical standards by justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, there can no longer be any question that Wisconsin legislators, prosecutors and members of the state judicial commission have a responsibility to address clear evidence that Justice Gableman and retired Justice Prosser failed to respect and honor their positions as a public trust and, further, failed to strive to enhance and maintain confidence in our legal system.
But let's not forget that the tainted process provided yet another benefit to Walker and his cohort, and another stain on the State Supreme Court's integrity. 

Perhaps sensing that the controversy might dog him the rest of his term, Prosser. 73, resigned mid-term earlier this year and gave Walker the chance to choose, without any confirmation procedure, a replacement Justice into the year 2020 who is younger than Prosser, and even more ideologically and reliably hard-right:

Much of the coverage of this appointment has focused on an odd quote where Kelly compares affirmative action to slavery. “Affirmative action and slavery differ, obviously, in significant ways,” Kelly wrote in a book chapter the new justice included in his application to sit on the state’s highest court. “But it’s more a question of degree than principle, for they both spring from the same taproot. Neither can exist without the foundational principle that it is acceptable to force someone into an unwanted economic relationship. Morally, and as a matter of law, they are the same...”
It’s a very odd statement, in no small part because Kelly does not appear to understand what affirmative action is. In most cases, affirmative action is a voluntary program where business, universities, or other entities take steps to diversify their workforce or student body... 
More importantly, however, if Kelly were actually correct that there is some “foundational principle” that prohibits the state from requiring someone to enter “into an unwanted economic relationship,” then most American civil rights, labor and employment law would need to vanish.  
Minimum wage laws require employers to enter into an economic relationship where workers are paid a certain amount, despite the employer’s preference to enter into a different relationship where the workers are paid less. Anti-discrimination laws require employers to hire African-Americans, women, or other groups that the employer might despise. The federal ban on whites-only lunch counters forces restaurants to enter into an economic relationship by selling meals to customers the restaurant would prefer not to serve...
Given Gov. Walker’s well-known hostility towards unions, that may explain why he chose this obscure lawyer with highly idiosyncratic views for Wisconsin’s highest court.
You say there are no rewards for bad behavior.

Eagle Scout Walker would disagree.

WI GOP pols perpetually baffled by their world

Well, look: you can't expect busy career politicians to be up on everything, even the campaigns they run to win or stay in office and hold jobs which apparently are an endless source of befuddlement.
Wisc Sen. Scott Fitzgerald.jpg

*  Like Scott Fitzgerald, the Senate Majority Leader:

Wisconsin Senate GOP leader says he had no knowledge of donations from lead manufacturer
Or Gov. Walker, who's made a career out of strategic forgetting or playing dumb, in his own words like these - - which are definitely keepers:
Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) struggled Friday to explain why the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has failed to recover any taxpayer money given out to companies that have outsourced Wisconsin jobs, despite past claims he'd asked them to do that... 
"Again - that's a question you'll have to direct to them," said Gov. Walker. "The bottom line is the expectation, but if it's a company that - for legal reasons or otherwise - they'll have to answer the questions. They're the ones that handle that process." 
Yes, Walker has made a career out of strategic forgetting or playing dumb:

--------------------------------------------------------


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 could have surfaced: 

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.
But isn't there something earlier?
Ah, The Marquette Tribune had it in 2010, and used its files clear back to 1988, when Walker's campaign for student body president imploded over ethics and rule violations, and it was time to take responsibility:
Walker’s campaign record murky

In the run-up to election day, the Tribune’s editorial board endorsed Walker’s opponent John Quigley, but said either candidate had the potential to serve effectively.

However, the Tribune revised its editorial the following day, calling Walker “unfit for presidency...”
The revision also expressed disappointment in Walker’s campaign workers reportedly throwing away issues of the Tribune after the endorsement was initially made.

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

Spare us the rhetoric: Walker raised some taxes, fees

[Updated from 9/12] Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker and GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos are continuing their pre-budget dance which could well end with cuts to social programs to finance too many new roads and please the road-builder lobby.

But please, gentlemen: we are not stupid. We can read. We can Google Scott Walker and tax increases and increased fees and find the facts.


So spare us sanctimonious b.s. like this demonstrably phony and self-serving jaw-dropper Walker made in his no-new-taxes-and-fees- pitch to Vos today:

“I believe we can agree that we did not get elected as conservatives to raise taxes or fees,” Walker wrote.
Well, yes they did. Let's refresh their memories:

*  Taxes:  Politifact, citing the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, said Walker's first budget in 2011-'13 budget broke a promise by raising more $49 million in taxes on low-income and elderly people:

The bureau determined that Walker included three tax increases in the budget totaling $49.4 million over the two-year period.
The largest involved a reduction in a state tax credit for low-income working families, known as the earned income credit. A tax credit reduces the amount of tax you owe. 
In this case, the earned income tax credit is in place for both state and federal taxes. It"s refundable, so individuals with little or no income tax liability may still receive the credit. 
Walker"s plan would decrease the tax credit for families with more than one child, allowing the state to collect an additional $41.3 million in taxes over two years from those families. (The credit would actually go up for families with just one child.) 
A second tax increase, the fiscal bureau said, is stopping the inflationary adjustment of the state"s Homestead Tax Credit -- the property tax break that appears as a credit on income tax forms for low-income homeowners and renters. The bureau calculated that change would increase taxes by an estimated $8.1 million.
*  Fees - - I suppose Walker forgot all the state park, trail and forest fees Walker and Vos raised when they put together the 2015-'17 budget, as explained by the DNR:
MADISON -- Camping fees for Wisconsin state parks, state forests, state trails, and state recreation areas will increase beginning on July 28, 2015. 
The fee increases were enacted as part of the 2015-2017 biennial state budget. The legislation calls for the fee increases to go into effect as soon as changes can be made to the camping reservation system. 
The increase in camping fees is based on a three-level rate structure that will place the parks at a camping rate depending on demand, uniqueness, location and other factors. Camping rates will increase between $3 and $6 per night for residents and between $6 and $9 per night for non-residents. There is an increase in the per night charge for electrical service from $5 to $10.. 
Admission fees and trail passes were also increased in the state budget, but will not begin until annual stickers and passes for 2016 go on sale in December 2015, with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2016. Annual admission sticker fees will increase from $25 to $28 for state residents, from $35 to $38 for non-residents and $10 to $13 for resident seniors. Annual trail passes will increase from $20 to $25 for an annual pass and from $4 to $5 for a daily pass.
*  Triggering new local taxes and fees - - By starving local budgets, Walker and the Legislature have pushed  costs to municipalities - - hence, wheel taxes to fix roads which have deteriorated because state funding has been reduced. The same is true for school districts which have increased borrowings paid back with property taxes to fund school improvements because state aids have fallen, or been frozen.

In fact, Urban Milwaukee says that kind of bonding is skyrocketing:
School districts are asking voters to approve nearly $700 million in borrowing for new construction and building updates, and more than $150 million in increases in school district budgets. Those requested amounts are the largest put before voters at the annual spring election going back at least a decade. School districts can hold referendums at any time during the year, but many referendums are scheduled to correspond with regularly-held elections like the annual April election. 
Wisconsin’s public schools are funded through a combination of state support and local property taxes. State law limits the degree to which districts can raise property taxes, unless residents vote to approve an increase in school district budgets. In the most recent state budget, lawmakers did not increase the revenue limits for school districts.