Sunday, December 3, 2017

When WI, national Republicans are given an inch...

They will take for their own enrichment the proverbial mile, and your children's well-being, your grandparents' longevity, your public lands, clean air and water, and more.

With control of all three branches of the Federal government, GOP donor-water carriers in Congress are refusing to fund children's health care - - because, you know, we're suddenly out of money - - while trying to cut income tax deductions for already-strapped college students on scholarship, and also for the disabled and chronically ill - - while stuffing into their last-ditch, hand-written tax bill fresh breaks for corporations already enjoying record profits, and for billionaires, Trump heirs, and even private airplane owners.

So think about that: no deduction should your child with spina bifida or spouse with ALS needs a wheelchair, but breaks for someone who wants a new private jet.

Look no further to the cold-hearted, deficit-phony House Speaker and long-time senior Wisconsin Ayn Rand apologist Paul Ryan. along with the admittedly self-interested Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson for the handiwork. 

Ron Johnson, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
The Senate version approved 51-49 with Johnson's key vote even cuts funding for the IRS to offer tax advice to low-income filers, and treating as taxable income a small bonus received by an employee, such as a $25 gift card.

Also thrown into a version of the tax bill is permission to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve - - regardless of the worldwide glut of oil.

It's just one more stick in the eye to environmentalists battling against a mission-destroying US Environmental Protection Agency that is handing over protected waterways and clean air to the very fossil fuel polluters whose recklessness and greed brought the public health-based agency, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act into being in the first place.

And where are Congressional Republicans and Team Trump getting some of their inspiration?

From Wisconsin.

Where, under Scott Walker since January, 2011, the formerly-progressive state that gave the nation the conservation greats Aldo Leopold, John Muir and Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson is now the Republican's template and proving ground for right-wing favoritism and a public policy wrecking ball freely unbound once the GOP gained control of all three branches of government.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, formerly a national leader in science-based resource management and conservation, is now on the second of Walker's hand-picked 'chamber of commerce mentality' secretaries; the first, despair-dispenser, developer, and former McDonald's manager Cathy Stepp - - and vocal Trump campaign backer - - had overseen the firing of agency scientists, easing of pollution controls over big dairy operations, enabling of groundwater contamination and scrubbing of climate change information from agency web pages.

Her reward: a management job from Trump at the EPA regional office in Kansas City.

Her replacement as Walker's next 'chamber of commerce mentality' secretary of the DNR is Dan Meyer, who, until recently was the Executive Director of the River Falls Chamber of Commerce.

His highest profile actions to date: allowing sham agency 'hearings, and appointing a right-wing ideologue as DNR general counsel - - in that case no doubt to improve DNR coordination with with Brad Schimel, Wisconsin's GOP right-wing and corporately-aligned Attorney General.

Schimel, for his part, has aligned his office staff and litigation Walker and also with Scott Pruitt, Trump's Cathy Steppish EPA administrator.

Schimel also gave GOP legislators all the cover they needed when he issued a sweetheart, pro-business opinion that opened the floodgates - - literally - - so big polluting dairy operations and other large groundwater users could get permanent control of all the water they wanted.

Also coming soon to Wisconsin: massive deregulation of a million acres of state wetlands, cyanide-based mining for metals near rivers, and special environmental exemptions for the Trump-and-Walker-boosting Foxconn project, all mirroring the Trump-Interior Department overturning of protections for western monument sites' while green-lighting coal mining on other federal lands.

As I said, give these people an inch, and the miles and miles they want and will includes filled wetlands, contaminated rivers, and for many of the nation's poor, seniors, disabled and powerless, a road to personal ruin.


Anonymous said...

Truth - so sad to see what our once great state has become

Anonymous said...

Pruitt, taking only a few carefully selected questions from host Bill Couser, a cattle producer, said farmers are the first "conservationists and environmentalists."

The former Oklahoma attorney general said it was "wrong-headed" for "anyone in Washington, D.C., to not look at you as a partner, but as an adversary, to not think you care about the water you're drinking or the air that you breathe."

Farmers have been under pressure in Iowa to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus runoff that can pollute lakes, rivers and streams, and contribute to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Pruitt said the country needed to discuss what "true environmentalism" means: "We have been blessed with a bounty of natural resources. And some view that as 'We should simply not use them' — that we should put up fences and not use our natural resources.

"I don't buy that. We, as a country, have an obligation to feed the world and power the world," he said, getting applause. "When you have the natural resources like we do, we should use them to benefit our neighbors, our country and world."