Monday, September 25, 2017

Walker names Great Lakes Compact foe as key Foxconn aide

Cathy Stepp may be gone from the WI DNR, but the 'chamber of commerce mentality' she ram-rodded there at Scott Walker's direction is spreading and deepening across government and the landscape.

*  Walker replaced Stepp with a former GOP legislator who had also been a local chamber of commerce manager.

*  Also, the certainty that environmental protections will be superseded at the Foxconn site - - summary post, here - - by intentional official disinterest in the cumulative effects on Racine County water, land and air quality is the message delivered by the appointment to a new project oversight position by Walker of Atty. Matt Moroney, a former builders advocate, senior gubernatorial aide and DNR Deputy under agency wrecker Cathy Stepp.

So on the chamber of commerce-cum-government theme, Walker is two-for-two  today. No surprise.

Fingers crossed that these things do not today run in threes.

Here is a bit of what I'd posted in 2012 about Moroney's history and an ultimately failed effort to water-down or sidetrack the historic eight-state, two-nation water management agreement known as the Great Lakes Compact: 

His is not a household name, though Moroney helped write the original Assembly [iron] mining bill prior to its defeat, popped up in the story about the DNR having decided against referring to the State Justice Department an egregious case of human waste spreading on Jefferson County land near residential wells and helped explain the drop in DNR enforcement actions against polluters...
As a member of a Legislative Study Committee, Moroney raised numerous [Compact] objections, including claims that the Compact could usurp local control, restrict economic growth, and place burdens and limitations on "straddling counties" - - the very category created by Compact drafters to help a city like Waukesha gain eligibility to apply for a diversion of water outside of the Great Lakes basin.
"The overall goal of preventing water being diverted to dry states is a commendable goal and a goal that the home building industry wholeheartedly supports. However, the compact is far too limiting on Wisconsin residents, usurps state autonomy to accomplish Wisconsin objectives, and reaches into water quality issues when quantity was the original reason for the Compact. I have heard several arguments that being located next to the Great Lakes will become an economic advantage for Wisconsin in the years to come. However, if the water cannot be utilized for economic growth, being located next to the Great Lakes will put Wisconsin at an economic disadvantage."
I will repost below [separately] what I wrote in December, 2010 about this matter. Fair warning: It is a lengthy post because I wanted to preserve Moroney's argument in its totality.
An example from Moroney's formal comments to the Legislative Study Committee opposing the approval of the Compact:
7.    Cumulative Effects and Climate Page 20, Line 22 -- This section indicates that conservation programs need to adjust to new demands and the potential impacts of cumulative effects and climate. 
“Cumulative effects” is a dangerous standard to analyze. At what point is the tipping point where a cumulative effect is viewed as detrimental to the ecosystem? It would appear from the presentation by the Army Corps that this tipping point is far off for municipal uses of water. 
Why then have something in this document that is subjective and very controversial? There is also a concern about this document being utilized to implement air regulations and other similar regulations as a result of this reference to climate, which is an undefined term. 
If rules are promulgated as a result of climate concerns, this would place Wisconsin’s industries at a national and global economic disadvantage. 
Regulations to protect the climate that are adopted only by the Great Lakes States would have virtually no impact on the global climate. 

Make Johnson, Walker, Ryan, et al own health-care flimflammery

[Updated] Of course Ron Johnson would defend shifting more taxpayer health care money at the last minute to two states - - Maine and Alaska - - whose Senators could make or break the latest version [Graham-Cassidy] of the GOP's fast-tracked-principle-free-secretely-crafted kill-Obamacare & fund-tax-breaks-for-donors bill.

The Washington Post generously calls it a 'rejiggered...Obamacare overhaul,' but this do-or-die iteration is like a death bed estate plan rewrite that settles scores and rewards a handful of suck-up relatives. 

RoJo had already seen to it that this last-ditch and totally-disgraceful perversion of the congressional legislating process included a special funding boost for Wisconsin to make up for Scott Walker's punitive yet costly refusal of Obamacare funding - - an ideologically-driven move that has forced Wisconsin taxpayers so far to shell out nearly $700 million in precious state dollars to cover, paradoxically, fewer Wisconsinites than would have received health insurance had Walker not declined full Obamacare funding, as Urban Milwaukee has pointed out.

Walker would get a boost politically should the Johnson co-sponsored bill pass because its special, Wisconsin-only formulation would help blunt or remove discussion from his 2018 gubernatorial re-election campaign whose announcement is but days away of the extra burden Walker shoveled onto state taxpayers for donor service and right-wing political correctness.

You can just imagine the Walker spin, talking points and ads to follow...'We covered everyone in poverty,' (no, you didn't - - you narrowed the eligibility rules and kicked a reported 92,000 Wisconsinites off coverage)...'and now we're going to be rewarded for our foresight' (cue fresh dog-whistling, poor-shaming, dividing-and-conquering)...'and hooray that health care decision-making is being given to the states...'(translation: more power to me, where I will use it to push more low-income people from the state while I continue to cut my donors' state taxes...).

More on Walker's history with the issue and block grant funding, here.
The Graham-Cassidy provision that has Walker licking his chops sends huge federal sums to the states as block grants. Governors like Walker could spend these billions any way they want, with little control. Somehow, having 50 different insurance systems is supposed to be better than having uniform healthcare standards and laws across the country. 
Walker has been involved in this most recent attack on the ACA from the beginning. Rather than working to help the people of Wisconsin, he has spent much of his time trying to take away our healthcare. He traveled to the White House several times since January to lobby against the Affordable Care Act. 
Walker attended an emergency White House meeting in July after a previous repeal bill had failed in the Senate. Among the attendees were HHS Secretary Tom Price, Sen. Cassidy, former Sen. Rick Santorum, and the governors of Mississippi, Arizona, and Arkansas. The far-right group soon congealed around the block-grant concept. 
In a Breitbart interview (don't worry, I disinfected my keyboard), Walker spoke about the White House meeting and the repeal efforts that became Graham-Cassidy, "I think it's awesome....What a perfect way to kick start a true repeal and replace of Obamacare by sending it back to the states where we’re definitely more effective, more efficient, and more accountable to the people.

This latest GOP bartering for votes which Johnson endorses as "nothing unusual"  - - and remember that this guy ran as a Tea Partier outsider dedicated to upending DC-insider business as usual - - prompts me to add this:

I hope to God that every time Wisconsin GOP leaders like Ron Johnson
Ron Johnson, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
and Paul Ryan and Scott Walker run for re-election, come to your city hall, speak at a high school graduation, drop by the church supper or send you an email, text message or snail mail appeal for a donation that you respond by asking for the rest of their political days why they tried once, twice, three times and more - - in Ryan's case, more than 70 - - to use the power and resources of the public offices they were privileged to hold as temporary trustees only to rip away the peace of mind, health insurance and medical care from millions and millions of American citizens - - some of whom are our friends and neighbors right here in Wisconsin - - including seniors in nursing homes, home-bound adults facing crippling disabilities, kids needing medications to survive birth defects, lower-income women about to give birth and more.

I've tried to collect some of Johnson and Ryan and Walker's words, maneuvers and spin aimed at killing Obamacare and simultaneously transferring these 'savings' compounded from withheld insulin shots, cancelled nursing home services or withdrawn pre-natal visits into tax cuts for the super-wealthy who are talking louder right now to Republicans than are the life-and-death medical needs of American citizens or petitions from every imaginable health care resource and provider in the nation.

No one knows yet if the bill will pass, though we know if it slips through that Ryan's House of Representatives will rubber stamp it for Trump's signing Sharplie in a heartbeat.

We also know that time and other issues and having to face daily discombobulations intentionally spawned by Trump's tweets and threats will dim the memory of The GOP War Against People and Obamacare regardless of the bill's approval or defeat.

But here in right-wing, red Wisconsin, where so much of the bill's leadership support is centered, and where the color red right now is one part partisan identification and two parts statewide embarrassment, let's agree as a matter of personal, principled, political practice to hold perpetually Johnson and Ryan and Walker and their ideological pals Sensenbrenner, Grothman, Duffy, Vukmir, et al fully accountable for the reprehensible, soulless life-and-death politics and punishments they have inflicted on, and would expand against tens or millions of human beings. 

Raise your voices. Raise your signs. Raise the stakes and vote them out.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

PBS Vietnam series rolls; more on Trump's 'personal Vietnam'

The video and sound seem relevant right now, no?

Or this People magazine print explanation by he who defines patriotism today:
In an unearthed interview from 1997, Donald Trump claimed he was a “brave soldier” for avoiding STDs during his single years in the late ’90s.
“It’s amazing, I can’t even believe it. I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world, it is a dangerous world out there. It’s like Vietnam, sort of. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave solider,” Trump said in the interview when Howard Stern asked how he handled making sure he wasn’t contracting STDs from the women he was sleeping with.
Donald Trump Pentagon 2017.jpg 

Walker hearts Trump, GOP tax gift/kill-healthcare-bill

In the Vortex of Shamelessness, this key RoJo friend and noted Trump suck-up doesn't miss a tweet.
. you are right. Senators must keep their promises and ✅ vote to by September 30th. 🇺🇸
Meanwhile, more words, no heart or concern for the millions of lives that would be upended and endangered from both Paul Ryan and the aforementioned Rojo. What has happened to Wisconsin? 
  1. A YES vote on GCHJ is a victory for federalism and helps put states and individuals back in charge of their health care decisions.
  2. A NO vote on GCHJ leaves 100% of Obamacare in place and America on path to single-payer health care. Conservatives can't let that happen.


All eyes on Rodgers today before first snap

People will tune in and see what Aaron Rodgers 
refer to caption
does as today becomes #takeakneeNFL Sunday. My guess is he'll do something. Taking a knee would be seismic.

Trump waves a flag. The white one.

Sorry for the pun - - the language is full of them - - but what I was intending to say when I began typing is that when I see Trump jet off to more self-aggrandizing adulation from a building full of strangers, I see someone acknowledging all his disqualification from the Presidency into which he fell.

I see him displaying an inability deal with the serious problems facing a President and accepting his obligation to manage and solve them - - including confronting record-breaking, back-breaking storms and floods which have left millions of American in immediate and long-term peril.

I see Trump evading the realities of partisan and internal GOP fractures, failed legislation, nuclear threats, disappearing international alliances and worsening race relations domestically, all of which he continues to inflame, not ameliorate.

In short, I see him surrendering his responsibilities.
White Flag on Google Android 8.0
His ego won't let him walk away. He knows he's in the wrong job, yet is willing to risk and putting the country through a process that is also likely to batter his children.

Yet there he was in Alabama, ramping up his white nationalist appeal by simultaneously insulting African-American athletes' patriotism and openly that the NFL could roll itself back to the bad old-days of more frequent brain-damaging/life-destroying concussions.

Trump has already surrendered his Presidential credibility; he'd be well-advised to formally wave the white flag with which he keeps signaling desperately the real state of his Presidency.

US health czar reveals he can't make a decision

About whether it's morally or financially wrong to waste money on private jets.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

More Wi dirty air. Any GOP officials concerned?

Take it easy out there. Maybe GOP WI officials should stop fighting clean air initiatives and enabling polluters.

Advisory for Ozone (Orange)

Start Time: 3:00PM CT Saturday, September 23, 2017
End Time: 11:59PM CT Saturday, September 23, 2017
Counties: Door, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan


Air Quality Index
(AQI) Values
Levels of Health ConcernColors
When the AQI
is in this range:
...air quality conditions symbolized 
by this color:
0 to 50GoodGreen
51 to 100ModerateYellow
101 to 150Unhealthy for
Sensitive Groups
151 to 200UnhealthyRed
201 to 300Very UnhealthyPurple
301 to 500HazardousMaroon

WI GOP's no-name, Soviet-style budget writing procedures

How is it that in 2017, in a democracy (albeit, a purported one) the State of Wisconsin allows public-paid legislators to slip amendments into the public-paid budgetary process which effect public spending and public policy without a sponsoring legislator's name being made public?

We know of the amendment which stripped local communities of the authority to build bike trails, sidewalks and paths.

And another which further devalued the teaching profession by opening classroom certification to applicants who can pass a relatively less-demanding online skills and knowledge review.

But none of the authors have come forward to acknowledge their handiwork.

No doubt proximity to special interests or conflicts of other interests is the cause for shyness rarely seen from politicians who live by publicity that advances their name recognition.

Curious, no?

This in the GOP-led state whose leaders kept saying because you have to show ID to rent a movie then you need to show ID to vote, or variations on that non-sequiter/solipsism - - yet the state allows GOP legislators to amend budgets, write laws and spend our money anonymously - - no papers required! - - while praising themselves

Alberta Darling at Ann Romney rally.JPG
for "more transparency" [Sic].

As they say, the cover-up is worse than the offense.

Taxpayer $$ still diverted to fight WI GOP redistricting, other abuses

Fingers crossed that the US Supreme Court - - files, here - - is about to begin the restoration of fair elections in Wisconsin.

Oct. 3rd is the date on which Wisconsin Republicans' secretly-crafted, taxpayer-subsidized and intentionally-discriminatory legislative district mapping and redistricting will undergo scrutiny before the nation's highest court.

And as great as it is that plaintiffs' lawyers constructed a case against that redistricting plan that won at a lower federal level, and now commands a review at the highest level - - and, yes, I know this is a conservative court, but as learned with its affirmation of the legality of Obamacare, don't get bogged down now trying to predict or worry about a Supreme Court outcome - - there is a part of this scandalous chapter in Wisconsin history that freshly irks me now:

That Wisconsin taxpayers, already fleeced more than once by the GOP gerrymander machine, have to again pay the public officials who keep defending what they intentionally set into motion for self-serving partisan purposes.

*  Don't forget that Republican legislators spent $400,000 of taxpayer dollars on private lawyers who put together the plan behind closed doors to keep Republicans in power that has enabled years of horrible governance.

*  Not to mention that Walker went a step further by rewarding one of those redistricting lawyers with a district court judgeship appointment.

*  And on Oct. 3rd, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, again on the taxpayers' dime, 
will continue ti argue that the plan was legal: 
Attorney General Brad Schimel submitted the state’s legal arguments after he notified the court last month that he was appealing the ruling. The arguments mirror those Schimel made in the losing case before a three-judge federal court panel last year.
Now you could say that this is mere partisanship as American as apple pie, or that Schimel is just doing his job as the state's senior lawyer, or he's only doing Walker's bidding as would any good Wisconsin Republican bellhop, but I'd love to see the final accounting of the publicly-paid staff time, and consultant or adviser time - - described for the appeal as "a blank check," and, again authorized in secret - - that Schimel eventually spends out of the public treasury because we know he goes the last mile for Walker and the right when their agendas are on the line:
We've seen right-wing GOP Governor Scott Walker's "chamber of commerce mentality"-DNR green light wetlands fillings, cut back pollution inspections, tolerate groundwater contaminating manure flows from feedlots with comical wrist-slaps and let sand mine diggers tear up even pristine woodlands, but right-wing GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel - - with a chief of staff from the ranks of lobbyists and a new internal unit established to give priority to a conservative, corporate agenda - - has given a major polluter a jaw-dropping pass:
'settlement' to stop polluting the air without a penalty... 
The spectacle of official Wisconsin fighting to maintain discriminatory voting districts with public funds is the same kind of abuse of state power and dollars that has forced Wisconsin citizens at the grassroots to dig into their own pockets to protect their water rights or legal rights (and for the integrity of state park land, part of the Kohler golf course outrage) which have been systematically obstructed by Wisconsin GOP officials, state personnel and public agencies throughout the current decade.

Question. What kind of government funds secretly-drawn legislation, keeps burning through public dollars to try and legitimize it while also forcing taxpayers to fight other publicly-subsidized policy abuses by drawing down their personal accounts, too?

Answer: As exposed via Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality"-driven DNR, a government without a moral center, as I have been arguing from the earliest weeks of the Walker era:
Among Scott Walker's Deficits: Moral Authority

The world did not end today, but last night...

You could argue that while though the 9/23 hysterics got it wrong, the survival of the American presidency is again on life support after the white nationalist President 
Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Predator (D. T.) Barstool man called some American citizens 'sons of bitches.'

I like how Randy Bryce, challenger for the US House seat held by leading Wisconsin Trump apologist Paul Ryan, put it on Twitter:

. condemns a Black man for non-violence more harshly than White supremacists for violence.

Friday, September 22, 2017

One Walker stupid budget veto sure looks even stupider

Wisconsin has made it harder to vote, easier to hack. (That talking point just expired. Read on.)

So Governor Smarty Pants used his awesome veto slash the Wisconsin Elections Commission staff - - a bad idea on its face:
Walker also said Wednesday that he’s axing funding to fill five vacant positions on the state Elections Commission because the commission “has been operating effectively with fewer staff.”
Instead of hiring more staffers, the commission should manage peak workload periods “by hiring limited term employees or contractors, as they did during the 2016 presidential election,” Walker wrote.
Don't forget that Walker is still peeved at state elections and accountability processes that moved along the 2012 recall elections, and campaign finance probes, regardless of his skating past all the scrutiny and downgrading the non-partisan and professional structures in place to help keep Wisconsin elections clean and transparent.

Now we learn that Wisconsin's voting system was among those the federal government knew and has disclosed which Russia tried to hack.

And when we learn those efforts were broader, perhaps successful - -  or should the Russians discover that Wisconsin's short-sighted Governor has made the state easier pickings for hackers by turning things over to temp staffers - - who do we call for action? Brad Schimel? 

I know it's just one day, but in a warming climate...

Let's just say it's also a matter of degrees.

Some years ago, I posted an item about climate change with a link to a predictive tool that showed where your warming changing climate was headed - -  and Madison, Wisconsin could be looking like Wichita, Kansas down the road.

Just for the record, here is tomorrow's forecast for Madison:

SATURDAY: Mostly sunny and hot. Heat index values into the 90s. Record highs possible. HIGH: 91° LOW: 66°
Related image
For Wichita
SEP 23

88° /68°RealFeel® 94° / 68°Sunny and humid

The McCain/RoJo Imbalance

John McCain: "I cannot in good conscience" vote for this health care bill.
John McCain's official Senate portrait, taken in 2009
Ron Johnson: [imagined] Hey, big words. No fair.

Dirty air along southern WI Lake Michigan shoreline

Children, older citizens, people with cardio-vascular problems from Manitowoc County to the Illinois line, take care:

Advisory for Ozone (Orange)

Start Time: 5:43PM CT Friday, September 22, 2017
End Time: 11:00PM CT Friday, September 22, 2017
Counties: Kenosha, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan


Air Quality Index
(AQI) Values
Levels of Health ConcernColors
When the AQI
is in this range:
...air quality conditions symbolized 
by this color:
0 to 50GoodGreen
51 to 100ModerateYellow
101 to 150Unhealthy for
Sensitive Groups
151 to 200UnhealthyRed
201 to 300Very UnhealthyPurple
301 to 500HazardousMaroon

For More Information: