Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Who's Donald Trump's Cathy Stepp? Here's a scorecard

It was just a few days before he took office in late December, 2010 when GOP Governor-elect Scott Walker suffered a rare outburst of transparency by saying he'd chosen Cathy Stepp - - Racine-area developer/ex-state senator/former McDonald's manager and openly sarcastic, partisan critic of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - -  to head up that very agency because he wanted a "chamber of commerce mentality" in charge there.
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

Not long thereafter, Walker sent an even stronger signal to the business community that he intended to degrade the state's environmental protection agency as he continues to do with all the predictable results by suspending a DNR review of a proposed wetland filling near Lambeau Field sought by a campaign contributor.

Walker also signed into law a stand-alone, message-delivered special bill he pushed the GOP-controlled state legislature to approve which further enabled the project.

It was the scenario which presaged a cascade anti-environmental measures statewide nearly six years running, including sales of public lands, movement towards privatization of everything from state park operations to pollution permit drafting, weakened barriers to phosphorous dumping, dumbing down definitions of sensitive waterways, cavalier reviews of environmentally-devastating projects as varied as golf courses on sensitive lands to expanding capacity in oil pipelines running the length of the state, fewer DNR pollution prevention inspections and enforcement actions, eased development on shorelines, encouragement for open-pit iron mining in the wetland-and-forest rich northwoods at the edge of treaty-protected tribal land, easier access to groundwater sought by a vastly-expanding number of big farms, hog feeding operations, dairies and sand mines at the expense of nearby and down-stream wells and neighbors, and coordinated attacks with the GOP Attorney General and the Walker-controlled Public Service Commission on behalf of big business against a variety of solar power installations, groundwater takers, wind farms and federal clean air rules.

That is what happens when an ideologically-motivated chief elected official sets out to dismantle an environmental protection agency through managers and underlings chosen from the private sector because they believe more in serving a handful of powerful big business leaders and trade associations than ensuring environmental protection and the public's health.

So Wisconsinites know what's coming when the Trump administration takes power on January 20, 2017 - - the only question is who's his Cathy Stepp? - - and the water-tainting, smog-inducing, science-negating and climate-ruining reality is that Trump has assembled a team of pollution purveying corporate servants who will stock their bureaucracies with a new breed of DC-swamp-dwelling/like-minded 'chamber of commerce mentality' devotees by the hundreds, perhaps thousands who will out-do what Stepp and Walker have wreaked here, including:

*  Rex Tillerson,  CEO of ExxonMobil, with oil operations in 50 countries, to serve as Secretary of State.

*  Climate change denier and intensely anti-EPA litigant Scott Pruitt to oversee the EPA.

*  A West Virginia coal mine owner whose operation exploded and killed 12 people to run the Commerce Department.

*  Energy Department opponent and former Texas Governor Rick Perry to oversee the Energy Department.

*  An obscure drill-baby-drill Montana congressional Republican to oversee the Interior Department, the country's biggest land owner, including national parks and offshore sites, and which leases property for logging, mining and drilling.

What Trump is doing, consciously or not, is to take Scott Walker's "chamber of commerce mentality" governing model and inject it, on steroids, across the entire federal government.

Regrettably, he ain't done yet, but it sure feels like we are.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I doubt it is conscious on Trump's part, who, like Walker, is neither reflective nor knowledgeable.

But it is certainly conscious, collectively, by the 'movement.' In fact, I'm sure Wisconsin is seen as a model. Last century, we were the model for Progressivism and open government. This century, we are the model for Oligarchy and one-party rule. Priebus and Ryan know how well it has worked here, and fully intend to take this movement national.

Attacking on all fronts simultaneously (education, environmental, labor, justice, etc.) is just another way to divide and conquer, and the Republicans know it. They also know that low-information voters will not punish bald-faced corruption as much as they reward 'big, bold reforms' and appeals to 'common sense,' so the path 'forward' is clear. You can put the Trump "It's Working!" listening sessions on your calendar right now.

The world is already laughing at us. How long until the world properly realizes that this nation is a grave threat to humanity, freedom, and the planet? Time for international sanctions to be placed on _us_.