Saturday, December 2, 2017

New state hire further boosts Walker, big biz control in WI

While Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress will make the rich even richer, Wisconsin's GOP-contolled, corporately-obesiant state government is making the powerful even more powerful, too.

Because, as right-wing talk show Mark Belling said when Walker and the GOP won it all in the 2010 elections - - and the same is proving true with Republican-one-party, albeit chaotic control in Washington - - "they can do whatever they want."

And yes, it's hard to keep up with Wisconsin GOP Gov. and corporate bellhop captain Scott Walker's relentless transfer of state power, public resources and Wisconsin legacy to private interests which - - follow the money - - help keep him and his Republican allies in office.

All of which mirror what Trump is doing with the EPA, what the Wisconsin AG is doing with his office, etc.

New. micro-managing, political-staging case in point: On November 22nd, I written about the hiring as DNR general counsel of Jake Curtis, a somewhat obscure young lawyer.

And occasional conservative opinion writer: here is an article he wrote for the conservative National Review about federal funding, state policies, the drinking age, "Federal Coercion" and a "creeping federal takeover." 

I'd focused on the omission of some Curtis political, partisan and work history in an official communication about the appointment, and I also named WILL, the Bradley Foundation-funded-Walker campaign-connected conservative law firm, as Curtis' most recent employer - - another fact which the DNR communication had not disclosed. 

Mainstream media outlets have subsequently produced detailed, valuable stories on the appointment, and a sharp-eyed blog commenter reminded me that in Walker's first budget, many such positions were made political appointments.

The hiring is a clear signal that Walker and his allies want even tighter coordination of conservative and corporate agendas that will continue to displace the public interest, further diminish  the people's allegedly-protected rights to clean water, and help obstruct the state's historic and defining "Wisconsin Idea" of government outreach for the public which Walker had less-deftly tried, then failed to erase.

In immediate, practical terms, the installation of a WILL lawyer as DNR general counsel means that when the DNR writes or eliminates rules, or negotiates settlements like the recent pollution agreement which gave major dairy interests most of what they wanted, the agency will be more closely linked ideologically with Attorney General Brad Schimel's overtly pro-business operation.

And more in tune with a Wisconsin Supreme Court majority in thrall to major state business lobbies.

And to a GOP-controlled State Legislature which takes direct orders from the most powerful private-sector groups in the state - - even before anyone had heard of Foxconn and the $3.74 billion in public funds which Walker, legislators and others just promised to give to the company with all sorts of special privileges noted in August and added to this Foxconn Fever primer:
[Updated continuously July-December] This frequently-updated archive follows Wisconsin's award of $3.74 billion in state and local funds, plus waivers of routine judicial and environmental reviews, for a promised Foxconn factory development on Racine County farmland and wetlands near Lake Michigan.
Here is just a short list of posts with more information on just a few current and pending business/DNR/public resource and policy matters issues like the Kohler golf course, and potentially-polluting dairy feedlot permitting, cyanide-aided metal mining, statewide, rule-free wetland-filling and the WMC-backed Foxconn's exemption from environmental review and permitting which are going to inevitably draw more media attention and litigation: 

*  Multiple warnings about Walker's gift of DNR to corporate interests.

*  DNR Forestry division now run by industry insider.

*  DNR Air, Waste (and more) division now run by former WMC/Builders/road-builders official.

*  WI coordination with Foxconn now run by former builders executive, Walker DNR Deputy Secretary.

*  Walker to assign 'oversight' of controversial CAFO/dairy cattle-feedlot operations to state agency which promotes dairy production.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"An elected chief executive, such as a governor, should have the opportunity to assemble his or her own management team," Dresang said. "This provides for accountability, since the chief executive would not be able to excuse himself or herself from campaign pledges and policy direction by claiming that civil servants not of his or her own choosing are blocking action."

Except that with gerry-mandering there is no accountability for the legislature, only the governor. That means that no matter who is governor, the GOP will be in charge for the most part.