Tuesday, October 31, 2017

How Walker is privatizing and selling off Wisconsin

[Updated from 10/30/17] The latest in a string of resource-privatizing GOP-crafted bills - - this one serves metal mining investors and will overturn a long-standing, bi-partisan Wisconsin law that has kept rivers free of acidic mining runoff - - is closing in on Assembly approval:
A legislative committee has signed off on a Republican bill that would end Wisconsin's nearly 20-year ban on gold, silver and nickel mining...
The vote clears the way for an Assembly floor vote Thursday.
He says "Wisconsin is open for business," but GOP WI Gov. and big business bellhop Scott Walker is packaging and delivering it to his backers right under our noses.

To understand the perpetually campaigning and corporate water-carrier Walker is to understand how his one-party GOP rule steers state power and public funding to special-interests and donors who have made his career possible. 

If Walker is re-elected to a third term in 2018, you can write off Wisconsin as a traditional democracy and treat it like a private sector subsidiary that serves Walker donors, not voters or taxpayers.

Some support for the argument:

* Remember that among Walker's first actions as Governor in January, 2011 was to administratively suspend state review of a wetland-filling permit application filed by one of his donors to speed along a development near Lambeau Field.

* This post among others explains how a donor's privately-owned golf course has gotten the attention and action from the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Administration and the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board.

* This post among others explains how special interests sent specific, hand-delivered demands for control over the public's waters to GOP legislators who, through coordination between GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel, and the GOP-run Assembly and Senate, got legislation adopted which implemented those private interests' demands.

* This post among others explains the relentless pursuit by special interests for control of the people's water; a group of Walker donors did win permanent high-volume groundwater pumping permits from the DNR which are blocked, for now, by a Dane County Circuit Court judge.

* This post among others explains how major Walker donors, water users and large animal feeding operators will get even more favored treatment through Walker's move last week - - without hearings or legislative action - - to transfer from the DNR those large animal feeding operators' permit reviews and already weak inspection and enforcement actions to the another state agency - - Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection - - which by law promotes and helps market milk, cheese and meat products.

And that was not the first time Walker gave these insiders special treatment.

* And then there is the Foxconn project ticketed for Mount Pleasant, a small Racine County village - - summary post, here that explains Walker's signature giveaway of state law, legacy and $3 billion+ through a still-secret contract with the Foxconn developmenthrough a semi-public funding agency he created and chaired.

It speaks volumes that the Foxconn deal also provides unique procedural fast-tracking of any Foxconn-involved litigation to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where a Walker-friendly majority installed with the help of major donors shared with Walker  should give Foxconn and Walker whatever they're looking for.

The Foxconn deal deeply embeds private control of public resources by setting a precedent for permanent private control of public water and wetlands that is already rewarding Walker insiders , according to this very-detailed report from the scene:

Mt. Pleasant, population 26,000, has already committed $20,000 a month for a project manager from the Milwaukee construction outfit, Kapur & Associates. The firm’s founder, Ramesh Kapur, gave the maximum personal contribution of $10,000 to Gov. Walker in 2010; other Kapur associates kicked in at least $6,000.
We have seen this sort of story, here: 
The Department of Natural Resources has reworked details of a high-profile land transaction in northern Wisconsin that involves a major political supporter of Gov. Scott Walker after an initial deal drew sharp criticism and complaints of favoritism... 
Uihlein and her husband, Richard, had donated millions of dollars to Walker at the time Uihlein wanted to buy the land. 
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported last year the couple donated $2.5 million to Unintimidated PAC, a political action committee supporting Walker's presidential bid that was formed in April 2015. 
They also had contributed nearly $290,000 to support Walker's elections for governor. Also, Richard Uihlein donated $200,000 to Our American Revival, an organization formed by Walker in January 2015.
And I'd earlier collected these examples: 

* This is just the latest example of Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker and his party helping the private sector absorb public resources in a loop of mutual self-interest across multiple business interests: 
…the Walkerites have used law and policy and political power in Wisconsin – – this GOP/corporate control has been an under-covered, carefully crafted take-over operation – – to tilt benefits and access in a heavenly way towards big business and the executives who own them. 
There are records of $10,300 in campaign donations from the land owner and people associated with it to Walker’s campaign, according to this report by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
* A major lead paint maker was found to have donated $750,000 to committees tied to Walker and GOP legislators before and after the GOP-controlled Legislature rolled back lead paint manufacturers’ liability responsibilities.
* Another $700,000 was routed secretly to Walker’s campaign by an out-of-state mining company for whom Walker signed sweetheart legislation written with the company’s participation to allow the digging of a gigantic open pit mine measured in miles across the Bad River watershed and Penokee Hills in Northwest Wisconsin.
As I said, if Walker is re-elected, Wisconsin as we'd known it will be gone, and Wisconsin, Inc. will have replaced it.

1 comment:

Michael BowmN said...

Remembering when I was a national leader in energy conservation technology, environmental issues,education, infrastructure, etc. Why do WI voters not want these things and want the Walker crapola????