Friday, September 30, 2016

How to predict WI GOP reaction to Voter ID court order

Here we are on a Friday afternoon, news is breaking about a Federal judge ordering an investigation into whether the State of Wisconsin violated an order to clean up some key Wisconsin Voter ID procedures - - so just for fun - - if Team Walker and Team Schimel are war-gaming about how to deal with the latest legal and political FUBAR on their doorsteps, one could imagine these gems from the record or remarks close to them finding their way into the discussion:
We can't afford another story like this one. No one can give them any reason to do another story. (reference)
This could stop everything that Walker is trying to accomplish and [the unions] know it. (reference) 
Make sure there is not a paper anywhere that details a problem at all. (reference) 
It’s what we often see in media outlets where you get bits and pieces shaped to push their agenda. (reference) 
If that's really necessary, if they have the time to spend on this. (reference
There is no issue. (reference)
That's a ridiculous argument. (reference)

Judge orders WI to investigate itself, but...

Is the Federal Court's direction to Wisconsin to investigate Wisconsin's possible violation of Federally-ordered Voter ID procedures giving too much authority to the foxes known to have been in that hen house and fighting to seat there, for years, as I wrote yesterday:
Walker's people have been using the DMV as their blunt, ballot-busting cudgel from the earliest days of their corrupt, power-grabbing State Capitol occupation.
From five years ago:
Top DOT official tells staff not to mention free voter ID cards to the public — unless they ask
And while big-city DOT/DMV offices are open during most business days, offices elsewhere are open only a few hours or days a month.
Here's the official list, and we'll start with Abbotsford, the first location charted: 
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Special Rules - 3rd Tuesday of the month 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: Closed
  • Friday: Closed
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed
Not to mention Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel's long history supporting voter suppression. He would not be a neutral investigator, given his ties to Walker. 

I wish the US Justice Department and its agents had been assigned the task.

We need federal supervision of the November election. Why do you think big dark money intended when it made sure Walker and his allies were re-elected?

Turning purple Wisconsin red and scooping up its swing state electoral votes.

As Trump self-destructs, a reminder of his major WI backer

Scott Walker wants this unstable and unethical head case to have US nuclear codes at the ready. Trump is Walker's guy. Pass on the reminder.
Image may contain: 2 people

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Rudy, Newt and Donald. Three's company

How wonderful for the nation that the current campaign has surfaced three - - count 'em - - three male marriage experts where now we have only Dr. Phil - - Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani and if numerology is your thing - - keep counting because each of The Big Three has had three marriages and multiple relationships' interrupti. I see a post-campaign reality TV opportunity for the trio: "Three Two-Timers at Once."
Trump at lectern before backdrop with elements of logo "TRUMP" 

Walker administration continues WI voting suppression

[Updated] Having lost several rounds in court - - but perhaps winning a key, voter ID permission deceptively - - and also having failed to broadly cheat Wisconsin residents of their most basic constitutional democratic right to vote, and being aware that purple Wisconsin could be the deciding swing state come November that could sink Trump and Number-One Today Scott Walker, the cheating-addicted Walker/GOP administration is back to sticking it to anyone, anytime who plays by the onerous and unnecessary new rules which were ruled legal:

DMV gives wrong information on voter ID

Walker's people have been using the DMV as their blunt, ballot-busting cudgel from the earliest days of their corrupt, power-grabbing State Capitol occupation.

From five years ago:
Top DOT official tells staff not to mention free voter ID cards to the public — unless they ask
And while big-city DOT/DMV offices are open during most business days, offices elsewhere are open only a few hours or days a month.

Here's the official list, and we'll start with Abbotsford, the first location charted: 

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Special Rules - 3rd Tuesday of the month 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: Closed
  • Friday: Closed
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed
  • -------------------------------------

  • Chosen at random with my eyes closed:
  • Oconomowoc service center (Waukesha County)
    Public Library
    200 W. South Street,  Oconomowoc, WI 53066

    • Monday: Closed
    • Tuesday: Closed
    • Wednesday: Closed
    • Thursday: Special Rules - 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
    • Friday: Closed
    • Saturday: Closed
    • Sunday: Closed

Trump's #Waukesha racial divide, reality dissonance

There's this:

Trump predicts Wisconsin win as he makes pitch to minority voters, slams Clinton

But there had also been this from the Journal Sentinel's Tom Kertscher:

 21 hours ago21 hours agoI didn’t walk through the entire crowd at Donald Trump Waukesha rally, but it’s worth noting that I didn’t see any African-Americans.

DNR's 'Deck Chairs on the Titanic' budget falls short

A proposed 2017-'19 budget to operate the short-handed, 'chamber of commerce mentality' (Walker's definition) Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is moving forward that, yes, does add four employees to the understaffed monitoring of fast-growing large animal feeding and manure generating operations - - 
 - - but only moves those four staffers from other jobs while agency-wide downsizing and laissez-faire management continues.

The proposed budget continues the annual permit fee charged to these behemoth operations with thousands of animals producing tons of manure that jeopardize nearby wells, streams and lakes at $345 - - of which the DNR retains a mere $95  - - sort of like charging a giant semi-tractor trailer a dime for an annual license plate renewal and labeling it a fair contribution to State Patrol operations and road maintenance. 

The proposed budget could lead to wasting millions of dollars the agency cannot to sacrifice by studying the leasing or building a new forestry management headquarters out of too-blue Madison where it is logically placed near other state management operations to Walker-friendly northern Wisconsin

The partisan politics of the move are embarrassingly obvious and give the lie, again, to Walker's alleged small-government preferences.

Feingold would restore citizen representation for Wisconsin

I wanted to pass along Bill Kaplan's well-reasoned op-ed about replacing incumbent GOP US Senator Ron Johnson with former US Democratic Senator Russ Feingold - - 
Russ Feingold official photo 2.jpg
 - - "a senator for regular folks who deserve economic security." 
Johnson used his Senate perch to bully, grandstand and talk down to former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in his crusade against the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He has hysterically railed at the ACA saying: "It (ACA) is the greatest single threat to my (Johnson's) freedom, our freedom." Nonsense. 20 million more Americans, including 224,208 Wisconsinites, now have health care coverage because of the ACA...
Johnson has also suggested ending the corporate income tax, despite the fact that corporations already use tax loopholes to pay low rates. Moreover, Johnson is oblivious to Apple's exporting U.S. jobs abroad, where workers are exploited... 
Unlike Johnson, who voted to "fast-track" the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Feingold is unequivocally opposed to this unfair trade agreement. Why? The Washington Post Fact Checker said: "The math says trade pact's job creation is zero...." And, Feingold exclaimed: "Senator Johnson has spent five years in Washington, supporting corporations that have sent jobs overseas, particularly by supporting tax loopholes, voting for every bad trade deal that has come along." Feingold would be a senator for regular folks who deserve economic security. 

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
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.
Image may contain: 2 people

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" 
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 two 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"
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"
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:


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 


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.

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?
Image may contain: 2 people

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:
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.