Thursday, June 30, 2016

WI GOP, having slashed public school $$, spots opening for more

[Updated] Meet the Wisconsin Republican Party, and its leadership:

*  GOP Gov. Scott Walker and his gerrymandered, school choice pandering state legislative lieutenants and foot-soliders have already deeply cut public school funding - - here and here and in The Washington Post, here - - and have transferred millions of dollars of taxpayer funding to ideologically-aligned but not necessarily better performing private schools.

*  But wait - - there could more: Wisconsin's GOP Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, having helped erase local control throughout Wisconsin - - from collective bargaining to water and land management to public employee residency, etc. etc. - - wants to capitalize on a spat over control of some Milwaukee Public Schools to justify even greater cuts in the state's biggest, majority-minority city and school system.

Listen to this phony leader from Juneau, Dodge County, lecturing Milwaukee:

"Unfortunately, I think the only hammer is, 'Listen, if you're not going to participate, if you're going to try to work around the law and we're going to end up in court over this thing, then you're probably going to see some significant reduction in revenue for MPS schools related to the opportunity schools.' And I hope it doesn't come to that, but I can see already that it's kind of being teed up that way," Fitzgerald said Thursday in an interview on "UpFront with Mike Gousha" on WISN-TV.
Picture of Senator Scott L. Fitzgerald
Yeah, that'll help the kids. Hammer 'em, Scott Fitzgerald - - keeping up with fellow low-information GOP legislators in the lower house, all in the party of Lincoln. 

Founded in Wisconsin. 

Big Fitz, Big Fail.

Not all Walker donors are created equal

[This item replaces an early draft with font/technical issues. My apologies]

Are there no standards anymore?

Consider the lack of equity applied to big Walker donors:

*  The manure spreaders donated about $30,000.

*  The golf course magnate, about $40,000.

*  So is the mining company which kicked in $700,000, and never got the mine entitled to a rebate, or full refund?

Ron Johnson joins the vapid vaping caucus

More evidence that Ron Johnson's six-year waste of a seat in the US Senate is mercifully approaching its close:
Ron Johnson pursues radio talker's vaping cause
GOP State Rep. Joel 'the wolf meat marinator' Kleefisch is a charter member of the low-information vapid vaping caucus:


New vaping rules might give Joel Kleefisch the vapors

As the US Food and Drug Administration moves against the health hazards of e-cigarette vaping, let's not forget - - thanks to our one-person staff blogging time machine -- that Wisconsin State Rep. Joel Kleefisch, (R-Oconomowoc), in his inimitable style, has long been a vaping defender:
Vapor devices contain nicotine without the tar, old mattresses and rat poison contained in tobacco cigarettes and cigars. In the body, nicotine has virtually the same effects as when caffeine is consumed...
Right in Lake Country, the electronic vapor device industry is booming at Johnson Creek Enterprises...Businesses like this have opened the door to a flourishing industry that's mission is providing consumers a choice other than smoking tobacco products... 
It's not governments job tell people of the legal age that they are not allowed to partake in a legal activity... 
The nanny state needs to stop interfering in our daily lives. It's no longer a matter of whether there will be efforts for government to step in and start up the vapor patrols. 
An electronic cigarette with a USB-powered charger and wall changer.

Manure spreaders also spread cash into Walker's campaigns

I've posted any number of items about the private-interest focus of Scott Walker's "chamber of commerce" Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - - one summary among many, here - - from the agency's loss of mission to its dismissal of clean water responsibilities to the damage it enables through minimally-regulated, expanding industrial-scale feedlots which overdraw the groundwater and pollute what remains.

But this headline and report by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign is the most timely summation of the pollution which flows from the Governor's office through the DNR and right into people's land and well water in our fouled state.
Factory Farm Owners in Manure Case Gave Walker $30,000+ 
June 29, 2016
The owners of the factory farm that was recently cleared of violating state environmental rules for spreading manure gave more than $30,000 to Republican Gov. Scott Walker over the last six years. 
Earlier this year, Central Sands Dairy, with 3,800 cows, spread large amounts of liquid manure on 200 acres it owns near homes and a trout stream in the town of Grant. Some of it was spread even with rain in the forecast, according to Madison attorney Christa Westerberg, who contacted the DNR on behalf of area residents. But the Department of Natural Resources said the farm did not violate the law. Central Sands Dairy is owned by the Wysocki Family of Companies, which also wants to build a controversial factory farm called Golden Sands Dairy in Saratoga in Wood County.
Four years ago, rural Wisconsin got its first nasty taste of this intentional Walker/DNR approach:
A waste hauler avoids referral by DNR staffers to prosecutors for egregious human waste dumping near wells and farm fields. 
Turns out in Walker World if you're in that kind of trouble, it doesn't hurt to know the political appointees he put in charge of the DNR, or a well-connected sitting legislator, too,

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Walker's teachers=Packers analogy not meeting's worst aspect

Gov. Scott Walker habitually stumbles over logic and the English language, so it was no surprise that he got slammed for saying in Vernon County on Monday that if Green Bay Packers players can get rewarded for on-the-field performance, Wisconsin teachers should strive for merit-based pay, too.

This feeble effort to wrap himself again in Packer imagery only reminded people that players on a National Football League team enjoy premium salaries because they have collective bargaining and a strong union - - the very processes and benefits that Walker disrespected and crushed for public sector employees through Act 10, and similarly in the private sector through 'right-to-work' legislation and a related anti-worker bill he signed that reduced 'prevailing wages' on publicly-financed projects.

Seriously, the man is the master of unintended, self-destructive irony; his Twitter feed almost drowns in it.

But read to the last sentence of this account of Walker's foot-in-mouth fumble for this even more troubling detail:
Walker visited with about 50 people at the invitation-only listening session. Walker said it was the 43rd such session he’s held.
43rd private, off-the-record, by-invitation only event?

What we've got is a Governor who, on the one hand enjoys all the trappings of public service - - lakeside mansion, $12,000-per-month salary, super benefits benefits, security and driver detail, state airplane and access to the rich and powerful - - and, on the other hand mocks transparency by refusing to appearing at a genuine public events where he does not control the script or the news stories which follow.

His reticence is not because he's afraid of his own shadow.

He's afraid of yours.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Walker pledges restraint on unfunded road-building he long championed

Mindful that he is auditioning before #NeverTrump Republicans as they work to snatch the party's presidential nomination from a golf course and fake university developer who has the most delegates, the early campaign flameout and debt-ridden Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is burnishing his situational conservative financial bona fides by declaring he will not support any transportation tax or fee increase to repair Wisconsin roads which he has allowed to crumble their way near the bottom of the national pothole and infrastructure decrepitude ranking.

Though the Wisconsin road and bridge crisis which Walker has dumped on his state's residents - - one among several crises he has inflicted, including a water quality and environmental crisis and a public education funding crisis, among others - - is the direct result years of willful overspending which Walker directed into major road expansion in Southeastern Wisconsin to please his base - - politically-interlinked road-builders, GOP legislators and suburban commuting constituents - - while also having blocked Amtrak expansion, light rail and other transit alternatives at the expense of urban businesses, universities, tourists and taxpayers.

So while Walker is freshly posing as a fiscal conservative, let's make sure that everyone understands that it was Walker who championed as Milwaukee County Executive the largest and most expensive option among multi-billion SE WI highway reconstruction and expansion unfunded plans.

His move cemented the inclusion of 19 additional lanes at an additional estimated cost of $750 million and 127 miles - - with bigger ramps and other bells and whistles to the SE Wisconsin highway system - - that will end up costing the taxpayers more than $6 billion.

The record shows that it was Walker who made the motion to recommend the Wisconsin Department of Transportation move forward with that maximum expansion - - as I witnessed - - previously reported more than once, and provide below a 2015 account, here:


The Wisconsin Legislature is grappling with a state highway budget unsustainably bloated by reckless borrowing and overspending on the so-called SE 'free'way system - - a problem that has helped stall the entire state budget process while preposterous presidential hopeful Scott Walker keeps skipping out to campaign from Iowa to New Hampshire and beyond.

So it's important to remember that Walker - - as Milwaukee County Executive - - played a key role in 2003 on a SE regional planning commission advisory committee which voted, without a companion financing plan, to recommend to state highway planners that Wisconsin add to the SE 'freeway' system the maximum number of new lanes among the alternatives considered - - 127 miles of lanes instead of 108 - - in what ultimately became a $6.4 billion package.

Walker's motion added 19 more miles of new lanes and an estimated $750 million to the ultimate price tag and also increased the number of structures and land removed from the tax base.

Though the price tag of the still-incomplete-and-still-unfunded Zoo Interchange has come down from its original projection, other segments of the seven-county system have not begun or may be delayed, further driving up their estimated costs - - all of which are in 2003 dollars.

The regional planning commission - - SEWRPC - - often turns major projects over to advisory committees - - and in this case, the full SEWRPC commission accepted the recommendation and forwarded it to WisDOT, which, in turn, accepted it as the unfolding blueprint for billions in SE WI highway work that continues to be underfunded.

Following the [SEWRPC] vote, The Milwaukee County Board passed a resolution opposing the expansion of the freeway system, per Walker's motion, and Walker vetoed it. 

Fifteen members of the Milwaukee Common Council, nearly its entire membership, sent SEWRPC a letter also opposing the costly expansion and noted Walker's resolution veto.

I attended the [2003 SEWRPC] advisory committee meeting where Walker made his accepted motion for the full lanes' expansion that added 19 miles of construction cost, and I wrote about it for this blog in June, in 2009: at the highlighted link, begin on page 7 of the advisory committee's report for Walker's motion and comments in the minutes, with the final vote at the end of the committee report.

Also for the record: then-Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist, Milwaukee Common Council President Marvin Pratt and several others voted no. 

Call them the taxpayers' true friends, unlike Walker, then-Waukesha County Executive Daniel Finley and others, including private sector special interest representatives.

This are the key sentences from the meeting minutes with regard to motions and votes:

Mr. Walker moved to amend the motion such that the final plan would include the provision of additional capacity on 127 miles of the regional freeway system – specifically, adding to the 108 mile recommendation the widening to eight lanes of IH 94 between the Marquette and Zoo Interchanges and of IH 43 between the Mitchell Interchange and Silver Spring Drive, as proposed in the preliminary recommended plan....
Chairman Drew asked if there was any further discussion or possible amendments to the main motion. There being no further discussion or proposed amendments, Chairman Drew asked for a roll call vote on pages 14-19 of Chapter VII as amended to include the provision of additional capacity on 127 miles of the regional freeway system and to recommend that the WisDOT present to the State Legislature and Governor a financing plan before proceeding to the reconstruction of each freeway segment. On a vote of 15 ayes to 8 nays, pages 14-19 of Chapter VII as amended were approved. Messrs. Buestrin, Cook, Drew, Dwyer, Finley, Kehl, Melvin, Miller, Norem, Sheehy, Speaker, Walker, White, Wirth and Ms. Jacobson voting in favor of pages 14-19 of Chapter VII as amended. Messrs. Fafard, Holloway, Leonard, Millonzi, Norquist, Pratt and Ms. Estness and Ms. McCutcheon voted against pages 14-19 of Chapter VII as amended. Mr. Matzke abstained from the vote. 
From my 2009 blog item: 
Remember when the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission spent $1 million of highway planning money to pencil in all this freeway reconstruction and expansion - - $6.4 billion dollars' worth - - but didn't include a financing recommendation to pay for it?
Not our job, the planners said.
But they sent on to WisDOT, which never met a highway plan it wouldn't share eagerly with their true constituents - - the road-builders - - a plan recommending building 127 miles of new lanes and all sorts of purported safety improvements, wider exits and other gee-whiz concrete amenities.
The SEWRPC advisory committee on this plan even overruled the SEWRPC staff and recommended adding 19 miles of new, controversial lanes in Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee, even though the additions forced the demolition of an additional eight businesses and 36 homes.
Tax base? Homes and businesses? All expendable. Collateral damage. Highways first, you know.
The prime mover in this extra dollop of multi-million dollar construction excess, and tax base demolition? 
Milwaukee's County Exec and resident faux fiscal conservative - - Scott Walker. You can read his motion and argument in the meeting minutes, here.

Scott Walker's irony-filled Twitter feed too funny

[Updated from 11:15 p.m., 6/27/16] On Monday, seemingly pressing his case or worming it into his party's subconscious that he will be the GOP nominee, Scott Walker shadow #NeverTrump candidate 2.0 went after Hillary Clinton on Twitter:
"In a blistering audit released last month, the State Department’s inspector general that concluded... "
Hmmm..."blistering audit"...where have I seen that before? Oh, right. Here:
Blistering Audit Faults Wis. Job Creation Agency
Also on Walker's Twitter feed:
"Clinton & team ignored clear internal guidance setup violated federal records-keeping standards..."
Again, that theme about emails and improper setups looks so familiar...where have I seen that?

More blistering irony found, here:
Emails link Scott Walker to secret email system
[Update] Even more irony on his Twitter feed, as the career politician, elected official (an incumbent since 1992) and ultimate Wisconsin insider Scott Walker also had this to say just the other day, too:

UK vote showed voters don't trust the "establishment." Bad news for , the ultimate Washington insider

Monday, June 27, 2016

Republicans fleeing Trump, but Walker open to starring at his convention

High-profile #NeverTrump Republicans are giving the racist, misogynist and obviously unqualified Donald Trump the pariah treatment he richly deserves, but not Scott Walker, Wisconsin's conscience-free Opportunist-in-Chief.

He's practically begging to get noticed at the looming GOP convention TrumpFest next month, when plenty of Republicans wouldn't be caught dead getting near or having anything to do with the ego-soothing TV Trumpaloolza he's planning in Cleveland:

Hardly anybody wants to speak at Trump's convention 
POLITICO reached out to more than 50 prominent Republicans. Few said they plan to attend the convention in Cleveland, let alone speak.
But there's Walker, grasping without embarrassment for attention or a place on the ticket - - despite his job-creating failure, WEDC scandals, the still pending John Doe case and his jaw-dropping million-dollar overspending/1% polling fiasco campaign in Iowa before dropping out as if he were enrolled all over again in college, hoping that national ticket lightning can strike - - because, you know, he's committed to serving out his Wisconsin state house term.

Tracking Wisconsin's 'chamber of commerce' and deer-slaying DNR Secretary

Sunday, June 26, 2016

WI DNR's Cathy Stepp says Stepp doing great - - Walker agrees!!

I'd posted and updated over the last few weeks a long look inside the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - -
Inside the WI DNR: poor morale, fear, despair over lost mission
- - but hey, Bucky - - such good news today:

The experts including DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp, GOP Governor Scott Walker who put her there to bring a "chamber of commerce mentality" to the environmental protection easy permitting agency and GOP Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald who has been similarly invaluable in cutting the agency budget, staff, mission, scientific standing, reputation for fairness and overall credibility are all on the record saying Stepp is doing a bang-up job, reports the Wisconsin State Journal in a long Sunday takeout.

It's an echo chamber complete with reflecting mirrors and state-paid PR staff, to boot!

As DNR woes grow, former critic says she's its best protector
Waving off mounting signs that the agency’s enforcement of existing laws has faltered, top Republican leaders say they are focused of easing unneeded burdens on private companies. And they say they are unreservedly happy with Stepp. 
For her part, Stepp insists she remains uniquely qualified to represent the agency before a Legislature that is skeptical of the way it protects the state’s air, water, wildlife and other natural resources.
Also good to learn that Stepp, in addition to being the agency's best advocate, also believes she's grown as a person and a leader of the professional staff she's helped diminish!! - - reports the State Journal - - 
“I am a far more enriched person than I ever could have imagined being at this time in my life,” Stepp said.
- - so no easy feat!!- - as she would say in her inimitable writing style!!

Call me reassured!

Group hug!!

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

And also, no doubt!! are staff and the many state residents who live near the factory farms or sand mines she's helped expand and deregulate at the the same time! who are reading the big Sunday story and, while brewing their morning coffee don't have to debate anymore whether Stepp is happy, enriched, or the best person for the job and can now focus on another question:

The extra dark coffee today - - manure or mud?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

After a day in Madison, breathing noticeably foul air in Milwaukee

Fake Democratic Sheriff Clarke wants $60 million for new hires

Milwaukee County's right-wing Sheriff David Clarke - - who runs as a Democrat, bashes Pres. Obama, practically lives on local GOP-compliant talk radio and on Fox News and hangs with weird constitutionalist sheriffs - - wants in the era of austerity ushered in by best friend Scott Walker the hiring of another 200 deputies and 400 Milwaukee police officers.

At about $100,000 per hire - - salary, benefits and training - - that's $60,000,000 in money that does not exist and never will until Republican Gov. and Clarke ally Scott Walker and his revenue-and-budget slashing legislative buddies are retired.

Which begs the question: aside from headlines, and cheap talk - - what game is Clarke playing?

Is destructive mountain mining spurring W. Va flooding?

I'm wondering if the massive, destructive flooding across West Virginia is related to the state's widespread forest clear-cutting and mountain top removal for coal extraction.

Previous reporting has made the connection - - here and here, for example.

Bullet dodged, Penokee Hills, neighbors, et al.

When will Walker blame Brexit for weak WI job growth?

Sooner rather than later, since his pattern has been to scan the headlines and discover all sorts of reasons for his job-creating failures - - - - State Capitol protesters, the recall election, data he didn't like, fighting in Syria, Congressional fiscal cliff maneuvering, Obamacare and the federal government.

Not to mention workers themselves, and, of course, the all-powerful Jim Doyle, now out of office for 65 months.

All producing this headline:

Gov. Scott Walker delivered about half the jobs promised in first term
Though Walker's analysis of Brexit - - if and when he shares it - - may contain informed, even studious insight because he was in Britain just last year, as you may remember.

And the there was the follow-up, wherein the British Prime Minister politely called Walker a liar.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's measured piece is worth a read.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Illegal gun, drug sales are in the burbs, too.

Remember State Rep. Janel Brandjten, (R-Menomonee Falls) the suburban Wisconsin Assemblywoman
Picture of Representative Janel Brandtjen

who went on an epic finger-pointing rant over crime she said had spilled over Milwaukee's borders and into the burbs?

I wonder if she saw stories in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today about large-scale drug-dealing and gun-running schemes based in Wauwatosa, the relatively-affluent suburb on Milwaukee's western border:

*  Drugs:
Pain doctor, 'OxyCzar' assistant indicted over 'pill mill'
*  Guns:
Tosa man with gun trove to plead guilty of illegal dealing
Brandjten said legislators should retaliate against Milwaukee with cuts to the city's state aid until Milwaukee leaders got on tough - - by suburbanites' standards.

Do we seriously think all those guns and dangerous drugs didn't spill into Milwaukee, or in to other burbs and out-counties?

In fact, the story about the illegal drug dealing says
A woman who ran homes for "the disadvantaged" in West Bend and Milwaukee was using residents to get the pills and then sold them.
Another source told the DEA a man dating [one of the defendants] was getting Oxycodone pills...selling thousands of them for $13 to $14 apiece, the warrant says [and] prescriptions with [another defendant's] name on them went to patients with addresses outside the Milwaukee area and in other states. 
Will we see Brandjten take the same, cut-thestate-revenue-until-it yells "Uncle" with with Wauwatosa?

I doubt it. Suburban GOP elected officials stay in office by bashing Wisconsin's only big city, not the burbs, so rest easy Tosa. You're not in Brandjten's sights. 

Gun-obsessed WI Rep. Bob Gannon, meet Dave Sobelman

Sobelman is the well-known Milwaukee bar and grill operator who just found out first-hand what can happen when fools bring guns into your retail business:
 Dave Sobelman, owner of Sobelman's Pub and Grill tells FOX6 News a gun was fired inside his restaurant on the Marquette University campus on Wednesday, June 22nd. 
Sobelman told FOX6 News: "Some idiot felt the need to bring a gun into my restaurant to eat chicken wings and then shot himself."
Four patrons were hit by flying debris and the establishment had some property damage..

Speaking of flying debris - - that's what's coming these days from gun fetishist and GOP State Rep. Bob Gannon, (R-Slinger):
Wisconsin legislator seeks triple damages for businesses that ban guns
Seems to me that Sobelman, his injured patrons and investigators should triple their shooting-related bills and send Rep. Gannon the charges.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Nativism takes England out of EU. And backward

As the social and economic costs mount with England's punt from the EU - - and with ripple effects in the US economy and people's wallets and savings - - let's redouble all efforts in the US to keep Donald Trump and his rightist, isolationist, intentionally-misleading and fear-based separatism far from the White House.

Referenda often allow a ginned-up faction to say "No," giving voice to all sorts of grievances, real, imagined and easily manipulated by professionals.

In this case, England just built itself a wall from the biggest continental economy, trade and travel.

Heads up, Uncle Sam. Nativism and wall-building and hate on the rise here, too.

As put it:
British voters just unleashed an economic and political tsunami 
And it's headed for American shores.

1st-term GOP Sen. Ron Johnson already has big NRA $$

This prolific gun legislation opponent has, to date, scored $616,000 from the NRA, says a recent report. 

Not bad for a freshman. He's even got some veteran NRA water carriers beat on an annual basis, like Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), $1,261,874, among others, the report shows. 

This guy Johnson must be awesome, since I hear he worked his way up to millionaire status from nothing.
Ron Johnson, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg

Gun-happy GOP WI legislator gets into retailers' pockets

And you thought Republicans believed in free enterprise.

Not this guy:
A state lawmaker wants businesses that ban guns to be held strictly liable for any gun-related injury that might occur in their premises, and to pay triple damages. 
The "Disarmed Citizen Compensation Act" is the brainchild of Rep. Bob Gannon (R-Slinger).
Further note to media: Don't throw the word "brain" too easily towards Rep. CGannon unless you also reference the NRA implant buried there.

WI DNR again spins program failures, blames staff numbers

The deliberately demoralized and politicized Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - - directed by Scott Walker away from public priorities by his "chamber of commerce mentality" - - has been caught again not doing the basics of environmental protection.
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
And the Walker-appointed chair of the state's Natural Resource Board - - which is supposed to oversee the DNR - - is said to be 'surprised' at the outcome?
Members of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ policy-making board were surprised and disappointed by an audit that cited serious shortcomings in state enforcement of water pollution laws, chairman Terry Hilgenberg said Tuesday in his first public comments on the study.
Has this man been asleep for the last few years?

Let's apply the Wisconsin Idea which Walker nearly killed off and do a little sifting and winnowing:

In May, 2012, a high-ranking DNR apologist for the agency's pollution-enabling kid-gloves inspection and enforcement policies blamed the agency's low staffing levels - - which the Walker administration created through a corrosive internal environment, plus budget and program cuts  - - during a spin and responsibility-evasion session with a relatively-friendly Journal Sentinel editorial board
DNR Deputy Secretary Matt Moroney... told us the primary reason for the [enforcement] drop is lack of staffing and a high vacancy rate, not a change in philosophy. 
"There has been no conscious decision to reduce inspections," he told the Editorial Board on Tuesday. "But there is only so much work that can be done with the bodies we have." 
Moroney said the department's staff shrank from 2,317 employees in January 2011 to 2,169 in August 2011. It's now at 2,205 and growing.
So here it is 49 months later and the inspection and enforcement numbers are still lousy, and the DNR is still spinning out the same old excuses
Officials pointed to high levels of retirements and staff turnover since 2011, and financial constraints on the agency that have limited hiring in many cases. 
Fiscal constraints? How did that happen? Who cut the budget, eliminated science positions, removed state funding from state parks and enjoys selling off DNR land and mission?

High levels of retirements? Whose Act 10 and anti-environmental policies made retirements a certainty? 

As I said in a separate but related context: it's all bologna. 

The DNR under Walker is doing precisely what he wants: minimal enforcement and maximum corporate freedom to pollute, grab groundwater, promote relaxed air quality standards, etc.