Friday, July 31, 2015
Walker has had some other 'surprises' about money and politicking to contend with:
The John Doe investigation began as a probe into conservative groups and donors who backed Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign during the recall election of 2012. Investigators were seeking to prove those groups, most notably the Wisconsin Club for Growth, had coordinated with Walker’s campaign, which would be a violation of state campaign finance law.
Madison— Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser issued a letter Wednesday saying he did not need to step aside from cases over an investigation into Gov. Scott Walker's campaign even though groups under investigation had spent heavily to support him.
Prosser's letter to attorneys revealed two of the people caught up in the investigation had been involved in Prosser's 2011 re-election bid and had stressed the importance of finding donors for him.Rough ride for Walker, what with all the surprises, though his repeated visits to see the Kochs in California has removed one of the major Walker 'I don't knows' from his long list.
Posted by James Rowen at 4:34 PM
And let's not forget that Walker made the successful motion on a key planning committee to recommend expansion of the entire SE 'Free'[Sic]way system to its most expensive 'improved' alternative - - 127 miles of new lanes, at a The Full Boondoggle cost of $6.4 billion in 2003 dollars, which has helped drain the state transportation fund and trigger costly borrowings.
With no transit expansion, other than what a federal judge ordered for the Zoo Interchange project after all the so-called planning had ended and construction had begun.
Posted by James Rowen at 1:51 PM
So - - not to worry, Dane County, if Pipeline 61 ruptures, Enbridge will be there to help...
Doing what's right cost the company more than $1.2 billion in neighboring Michigan when it did the wrong thing to the Kalamazoo River and its watershed, fyi:
Enbridge to pay additional $4 million settlement for Kalamazoo River oil spillNot sure how much these additional dozen+ right things cost:
Enbridge's calamitous pipeline spill record
Posted by James Rowen at 1:47 PM
Case in point: there has been yet another reorganization of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources following Gov. Scott Walker's budget cuts to the agency's science staff that further his ideological redirection of the agency towards a "chamber of commerce mentality."
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp stopped in at the Journal Sentinel Editorial board, gave the right reassurances, and walked out with this editorial:
Reorganization holds promise, but agency needs more employees
There is no reason to panic because of the proposed reorganization at the state Department of Natural Resources. Environmental standards and regulations will remain the same; enforcement of those regulations won't change and scientific research at the DNR will continue, Secretary Cathy Stepp told us in a meeting this week, and there is little reason to believe that a reorganization by itself would change any of that.As I said yesterday, hold on.
First of all, Stepp supported Walker's budget and staffing cuts - -
- - and how can the Journal Sentinel editorial not emphasize that Walker - - Stepp's boss - - asked the Legislature to make the deep cuts to the agency staff?
Second of all - - what the DNR is now 'enforcing' has been substantially and intentionally weakened by state actions since 2011 - - I'd cite numerous posts I've written over the years; one example focused on water, here - - but you might be more convinced by the non-partisan Scientific American.
Additionally, the editorial assigns no real responsibility to Walker:
The DNR workforce has fallen 18% since 1995 to 2,558 employees, according to DNR figures. Just as one example, in the budget just passed by the Legislature, the Bureau of Science Services, which conducts research for the agency, was eliminated and eight positions cut. Stepp said the research work will be folded into various departments,And asking the Legislature and Walker now to address the situation - - especially since the budget is done and Walker is out campaigning for the Presidency - - is ludicrously late.
We've also seen the newspaper's quick support for the agency before.
I noted it in 2011, when Walker sprang his first DNR restructuring that was going to make the agency more focused, and nimbler, and the newspaper gave a quick thumbs up:
Improving the DNRAnd how was it all working out?
Gov. Scott Walker's plan to streamline the state Department of Natural Resources is a good idea - as long as it doesn't weaken environmental protections.
A year later, in 2012, the Journal Sentinel reported:
Environmental inspections by the state Department of Natural Resources dropped sharply during the first year of Gov. Scott Walker's administration.Then, in early 2014, the Journal Sentinel again reported an enforcement lag:
Environmental enforcement at the Department of Natural Resources under Gov. Scott Walker lags behind past administrations of both parties dating back to 2000, state records show.Remember that line at the beginning of today's editorial - - "Environmental standards and regulations will remain the same; enforcement of those regulations won't change..."
Where is that evidence?
Posted by James Rowen at 10:31 AM
Thursday, July 30, 2015
The PolitiFact service run by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has found that Walker's "False" and more egregiously dishonest "Pants on Fire" vettings now exceed those found fully "True" by more than three-to-one (49-16).
You can read the latest "False" finding here - -
100,000 pro-union protesters were shipped into Wisconsin, Scott Walker says- - which is particularly shocking because PolitiFact is catching Walker repeating a falsehood it has noted before.
You can read his full Politifact record, here.
More than Madison Capital Times editor Paul Fanland's insight-filled interview about Scott Walker with Watergate legend John Dean?
Here is a listing of facts not generally known about Walker outside of Wisconsin, with more than 100 links or records referenced.
Posted by James Rowen at 3:44 PM
Look to Germany, shattering records.
Wake up, Wisconsin - - and America - - about Walker, Wisconsin and its hostility to renewable energy:
Posted by James Rowen at 2:43 PM
and bear shooting and trapping so heavily pushed by powerful special interest gun and hunting lobbies definitely has a higher need right now.
You might also want to read up on various baiting and hunting training methods allowed by state law in Wisconsin.
Wolf hunting in Wisconsin and other states is currently under a federal court ban, though Congress could lift it.
The principle promoter in the Wisconsin legislature of a wolf hunt rushed into law, and which included the Wisconsin-only permission for dogs in the fray - - even in so-called pre-hunting training - - was State Rep. Joel Kleefisch, (R-Oconomowoc), a hunting enthusiast.
Posted by James Rowen at 2:04 PM
So read that record in detail, look at just two recent specifics and ask yourself if you think this is the kind of Presidency that would serve your interests:
a) Do you want a President who would actively work to block access to public records and foundational, taxpayer-paid government oversight processes - - as he did and continues to do in Wisconsin - - complete with a story that keeps dribbling out without a full and clear and heart-felt assumption of responsibility?
Sound like the approach you'd like to see at the US Justice Department, or in agencies obliged to follow and implement the US Freedom of Information Act?
b) Do you want a President who would make it easier for polluters to muck up the air and water as head has done in Wisconsin, especially since he has already said he would vastly curtail the US Environmental Protection Agency?
Walker has already installed what he called a "chamber-of-commerce mentality" atop the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - - formerly a nationally-recognized, science-based steward of the environment revered by the likes of giants John Muir, Aldo Leopold and Gaylord Nelson.
Where scientists have been targeted and laid off and remaining clean air and water specialists now report to a division that serves business?
Where else would you like to see that "mentality" installed nationally on your dime- - besides the EPA?
Interior? Labor? Health and Human Services? The National Parks Service?
The US Supreme Court?
The Walker campaign has to be made by media and analysts and other communications - - into more than his sandwich choices in Philly, a dollar sweater from Kohl's or Harley-Davidson rides in Iowa, with New Hampshire on his touring schedule, too.
Here is one summary of many facts about Walker's record in Wisconsin that are nod widely known beyond state borders.
Posted by James Rowen at 11:19 AM
Recuse, reschmooze - - the Wisconsin Supreme Court is an ethics-free zone, so case closed.
Besides -- in a one-party state, there is no such thing as a conflict-of-interest, so who cares, for instance, if say, the Governor and Prosser share big donors, and a campaign manager?
Just ask Prosser. He knows.
Posted by James Rowen at 1:08 AM
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
The legendary Will Wawrzyn is retiring.
Sounds like the public had landed - - but is losing - - a good one:
On this day, though, the river was largely left to the wild things. Only a trio of human anglers worked a mile of river near Miller Park, in search of one of the Menomonee's other gems: steelhead.
"Can't help but be out on a day like this," said Nick Nowak, 22, of Milwaukee, flipping a spinner into the clear, amber-tinted water...
As incongruous as it may seem, even urban, graffiti-lined stretches of river host robust runs of migrating trout.
"You give fish a chance, give them the right habitat, and they will often surprise people," said Will Wawrzyn, a DNR fisheries biologist in Milwaukee.Fine writer, too. He co-authored this nice piece about dam removal and river restoration.
Life of all kinds has returned to the Milwaukee River.
River on the rebound
Restoring the lifeblood that flows through the heart of Milwaukee.
Kathleen Wolski and William Wawrzyn
Posted by James Rowen at 6:58 PM
Cathy Stepp has followed Walker's finger-pointing lead by claiming that the weakened agency she now heads is just another victim of that bad old state legislature:
..."a GOP-controlled Legislature that has cut funding and reined in regulation. "Here's the cold, hard truth: They run things," said Stepp, a former home builder who was appointed by Walker in 2011.The DNR workforce has fallen 18% since 1995 to 2,558 employees, according to DNR figures.This beaten-down, doing-'more'-with less Stepp must have an evil stepsister - - the reliable Walker water-carrier - - who likes Walker's erasing the DNR's role by telling the Legislature to cut and curtail the DNR;
Oh, there she is again:
And not a peep from Stepp in the face of this Walker initiative:
Note how Stepp changed the subject and suggested others - - like Counties -- could pick up the slack, and presto! - - problem solved:
On Wednesday, DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp told a gathering in Green Bay that fighting runoff pollution was a high priority. She likened counties to "boots on the ground" that get voluntary cooperation the DNR has struggled with...
"Farmers trust their county conservationists. Farmers don't necessarily trust the DNR..."
Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh), a member of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, also took a dim view of the cuts.
"You can't have it both ways," he said. "You can't say addressing runoff is a priority and undercut or underfund the very resources that do something about it."And before you say things like, 'well, that's how the game is played,' or 'she's just being a loyal appointee,' remember her attitude going in about DNR staff and work:
For example, people who go to work for the DNR's land, waste, and water bureaus tend to be anti-development, anti-transportation, and pro-garter snakes, karner blue butterflies, etc...This is in their nature; their make-up and DNA. So, since they're unelected bureaucrats who have only their cubicle walls to bounce ideas off of, they tend to come up with some pretty outrageous stuff that those of us in the real world have to contend with.
Posted by James Rowen at 5:20 PM
What a cat he is!
No lyin' - -
Brad Schimel says records, meetings law should not be weakened
Attorney General Brad Schimel said at his summit on open government Wednesday that public meetings and public records laws should not be weakened.
The summit has been planned for months by the GOP attorney general but is occurring just weeks after Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers tried to gut the open records law. They quickly backed off in the face of public outrage.
"Messing with open government laws is like touching the third rail," Schimel told nearly 200 people at the Concourse Hotel. "I think that lesson has been learned recently."Now if we could just get that belief in open government extended to saving the Government Accountability Board, since the same GOP partisans who tried to wipe out the Open Records law are openly behind gutting the GAB.
Posted by James Rowen at 2:25 PM
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Further embedding the "chamber of commerce mentality" he said he wanted running the DNR.
Today I am hearing that Walker is eliminating the historically-important DNR water division and assigning its work to the current air division chief Pat Stevens, formerly of the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (and the builders and, separately, road-builders associations), so he can control a new, super-resources, business-services division that absorbs water planning and conservation.
Another Walker blow to science, citizen input and public-interest activities as he leaves behind scorched earth in the state.
Imagine how the DNR would have 'regulated' the massive open-pit iron mine in water-rich NW Wisconsin, had not the plan collapsed internally and in the face of opposition from the feds, the Bad River band and environmentalists statewide.
Later this afternoon, the Journal Sentinel posted this story:
Posted by James Rowen at 11:44 PM
Is this what Waukesha bargained for, and is what the Great Lakes regional governments had in mind when they negotiated the historic Great Lakes Compact, a water management and conservation agreement?
Posted by James Rowen at 8:41 PM
Gerald Nichol, a former judge and Republican District Attorney appointed to the embattled GAB which he chairs by Walker himself, is publicly backing the board and its civil service Executive Director Kevin Kennedy against the GOP's coordinated and spiteful assault.
Posted by James Rowen at 1:36 PM
How did they rate on the Truth-O-Meter?
Posted by James Rowen at 1:11 PM
Supporting the deal isn't a question of whether you like basketball - - I do - - or believe the Bucks are a community asset - - they are.
The question is how does a deal like this fit into any reasonable definition of fairness or onto a social as well as financial balance sheet - - which it does not.
Imagine if every business wanting to remain, expand or locate in Wisconsin asked for something similar?
Posted by James Rowen at 12:22 PM
Why else would the Koch brothers summon Walker to California, again?
Iowa media - - continually missing the Walker big picture in favor of Harley riding and Kohl's cheap clothes photo ops - - should be pointing out that while their state is a wind energy leader and renewable power job-creator - -
|Wind turbines, Western Iowa, as far as the eye can see, both directions.|
|The candidates' differences can be reduced to a simple image|
Posted by James Rowen at 11:50 AM
Monday, July 27, 2015
Sorry, bub, it's one nation indivisible, as they say.
A ridiculous position, pragmatically, but Walker wants states to more easily de-regulate their environmental resource protections, as he has done by stripping the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources of science staff, institutional memory, public mission, inspection activities and enforcement actions.
The expected conclusions when putting a "chamber-of-commerce mentality" atop the agency.
This approach is straight out of the ALEC/Koch brothers' resource exploitation-by-the-highest-bidder playbook - - note Walker signed the brothers' no-climate-action pledge.
Here are the facts about Walker's water record. And he's already suing the EPA to roll back clean air rules.
File his anti-EPA-as-President role in your Walker-Danger file.
Posted by James Rowen at 7:01 PM
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Even Donald Trump has noticed that our roads are "a disaster."
As 1000 Friends of Wisconsin has been telling us for years.
Here's new data.
Here's a national report from Politico.com.
More recent information.
A 2013 report.
A 2009 story.
And a reference to Scott Walker's key role in 2003 boosting the maximum number of miles of new lanes and wider ramps added to the so-called SE Wisconsin Free[sic]way system, larding on hundreds of millions of fresh public dollars and debt to a bloated, multi-billion road-builders' over-building dream only about half-finished yet.
Remember, the system as 'improved by WisDOT - - with virtually no new commitment to transit - - will get new lanes proposed by unelected, suburban-leaning planners without a single City of Milwaukee representative on its ruling body - - all the way south through Walworth County, north across Ozaukee County to the Sheboygan County line, and west across all of Waukesha County to the Jefferson County line, too - - while I-94 N/S isn't done yet to Illinois and the nearly $2 billion Zoo Interchange mucking up the Waukesha County/Milwaukee County line is years from completion.
And only God knows how much the expansion through or over I-94 in Milwaukee past Miller Park and Story Hill is going to cost - - despite opposition from the Milwaukee city government.
So get used to the potholes and lack of state aids to municipalities already starved of cash by state-imposed spending limits; there's no money to fill and fix what polling your tires and bating your shocks and tie-rods - - in part because the road-builders make more money laying down new concrete and building new bridges and overpasses and adding ramps than there is installing lower-profit asphalt patches.
Posted by James Rowen at 10:28 PM
To which his answer to all issues will be 'Hillary...Bengazi!!'
Posted by James Rowen at 11:00 AM
Posted by James Rowen at 12:28 AM
Maybe Trump feels entitled, since he gave Walker $10,000 last year, yet told his Iowa crowd today he'd been insulted by a Walker's fundraiser.
I know Trump won't ask for the return of the donation, but a blogger can dream.
Posted by James Rowen at 12:00 AM
Saturday, July 25, 2015
A corollary to the Walker/danger meme, of late.
Maybe wearing cheap clothes from Kohl's and grifting off the Harley-Davidson brand only goes so far - - say, from Dubuque, Wisconsin to Dubuque, Iowa.
Or maybe people expect that from a Donald Trump, but not the preacher's son.
Glad to see that more media are catching on to the real Walker. This blog has been saying that Walker is not "midwestern nice," as he claims.
Here is a recent blog item with a list of reports about Walker.
And about Walker's record:
Posted by James Rowen at 11:17 AM
Friday, July 24, 2015
Posted by James Rowen at 11:25 PM
Posted by James Rowen at 11:02 PM
Christening of the USS Little Rock
On Saturday, July 18, I was invited to the christening of the USS Little Rock (LCS-9) in Marinette. The Little Rock is a Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship and is the ninth Littoral Combat Ship made for the U.S. Navy.
Posted by James Rowen at 10:17 PM
Posted by James Rowen at 5:41 PM
The bill failed.
Here's a link to the video of his testimony.
By the way, Johnson lost that beard he was sporting when testifying sometime before his run against then-Senator Russ Feingold.
And yes, he got elected statewide in 2010 because the Tea Party was ascendant, proving extremism and ignorance are not barriers to winning an election in Wisconsin these days.
Consider his belief in sunspot-caused climate change.
Posted by James Rowen at 4:51 PM
Here's one story from 2012 with a couple of typical examples of ALEC quitters:
Coca-Cola Co. and Kraft Foods Inc. bowed to consumer pressure this week and cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative lobbying group that has recently backed controversial voter ID and so-called “stand your ground” lawsALEC is a key cog in the right-wing policy machine; it's hardly news that Walker appeared there, nor is the group mainstream.
Posted by James Rowen at 11:28 AM
Posted by James Rowen at 9:00 AM
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Of course, a reactionary talk show host is involved.
Posted by James Rowen at 6:40 PM
This email circulated at the DNR today from Mike Bruhn, Assistant DNR deputy secretary:
Posted by James Rowen at 5:52 PM
As with the WEDC, he's operating as if he is entitled to evade the law.
Will the State Supreme Court bail him out again?
Is there really a Wisconsin anymore with independent checks and balances?
It's our government, not his, and those records he is withholding were created in public offices by public employees we paid to do that work.
Posted by James Rowen at 5:40 PM
Hey, there's the land, someone wants to fill it, and screw the DNR's role to guarantee the public's access to and appreciation of all the state's waters, which the State Supreme Court has declared are inter-connected and finite.
Read this DNR web page about the state's waters, water law and State Supreme Court's ruling- - and copy it before the Walkerites scrub it.
Anyway - - the permit review suspension, also carried out with a special state law just to serve that one donor - - was the coming out party for the "chamber-of-commerce mentality" Walker said he installed atop the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
It has continued throughout his years in office - - eased shoreline and further wetlands encroachment, boosted DNR land sales, industrial cattle operations and aerial manure spraying green-lighted, environmental inspections and enforcement lessoned and lightened, frac mining rubber-stamped, DNR science staff penciled out in the budget.
So little surprise that the DNR is now looking to expand permanently a list of activities which will no longer need agency reviews.
The DNR says these will be so-called 'minor' activities.
I remember when Walker said Act 10 was just a "modest " proposal.
Posted by James Rowen at 5:30 PM
Leah Vukmir is also gone from Wisconsin to the meeting where's she's a wheel to help get Walker his new presidential bucket list.
Note: correct location is San Diego, not LA.
Posted by James Rowen at 11:17 AM
Not to mention hitting Iran before he learns the floor plan at the White House.
Posted by James Rowen at 11:03 AM