Wednesday, July 31, 2019

WI farmers are not over the hump, Walker hurdles, Trump tariffs

Donald Trump falsely said the country's shell-shocked farmers were "over the hump" - - so kudos to the Journal Sentinel for continuing to undermine Trump's fakery and ego with updated reporting on the dairy farming crisis in the Dairy State.
Wisconsin dairy farms: A portrait of loss

Remember that Scott Walker this in multiple ways, as I reported in January:
and I'd noted these depressing, going-out-of-business trends in Wisconsin's Dairyland here and also here

Walker no friend to Wisconsin family farmers. Or their water.
So here's the state of the Dairy State in one new headline: 
More than 4% of Wisconsin Dairy Farms Call It Quits in 2018—So Far
Meaning that almost two WI dairy farms are closing every day this year - - 382 through July 31. 
Western Wisconsin Had Most Farm Bankruptcies in the US
My take:
Gov. Walker helps expand the big CAFO dairy operations, embraces the Tariff King who's closing off export markets, and assigns no priority to stemming the leap in farm-country well-water and waterway contamination.

Walkerites find another way to sandbag Evers, democracy in Wisconsin

Having noted recent WI GOP moves to hold tightly to power despite Walker's defeat, Badgerland's one-party-rule advocates rolled out yet another maneuver that connects the Legislature's GOP power-grabbing to a State Supreme Court majority already firmly in the right's corner.

The AP explains the latest ploy
A conservative law firm on Wednesday asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to dramatically scale back the ability of governors to change the intent of lawmakers through partial budget vetoes — a move that would reverse more than four decades of precedent.
Because despite all the GOP's b.s. about "good faith" cooperation and the sanctity of the veto power Walker enthusiastically enjoyed and implemented, Republicans are not going to let Evers have the same powers and privileges, regardless of his election. 
Walker shown dealing in 2018 with the climate change reality he steadfastly denied. Though defeated in November, we're learning he and his party have found new ways to sandbag the democratic process. (Judith Davidoff photo)
So please overlook this kind of garbage Walker disingenuously threw out after his defeat while he and his lieutenants had already begun scheming how to clip Evers' wings:
“The new governor will still have some of the strongest powers of any governor in the nation if these bills become law. He will have the power to veto legislation and he will have some of the broadest line-item veto authority of any governor in the nation.”
That is, until we change the rules because we lost the game.

What Republicans want is permanent, one-party rule - - theirs - - to keep the donor gravy train running on time and, through gerrymandering, to also hand the state's electoral college votes to Trump and any GOP successor.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Awaiting the WI GOP's Screw-Evers Venn Diagram 2.0

Remember the dishonest, FUBAR Venn Diagram?

Fitzgerald and Vos are getting ready to roll out a sequel, as they 
Robin Vos speaks at Racine Tea Party event (8378614585).jpg
deny they are scheming a way to adopt a quickie, GOP-embedding redistricting  that would get an equally quick OK from the Wisconsin Supreme Court and its 5-2 Walkerite majority.

Their unconvincing 'denial' means the plan is probably already written, just like the lame-duck, fast-tracked legislation package that appeared amazingly soon after Walker lost the governorship.

And when these GOP leaders figure out a way to cut Evers - - and you - - out of the process - - they'll make it sound like all they're doing is adopting a simple joint resolution as harmless as naming popcorn the official state munchie.

And if you don't think these power-mad authoritarians would stoop to any depth to deny voters and Democrats fair representation, remember that they put together the current gerrymandering scheme in secret.

Also Google "Robin Vos, Rep. Jimmy Anderson, news."

Monday, July 29, 2019

Walker's ex-DNR officials - now at Trump's EPA - aim mischief, sleaze at Boundary Waters

Cathy Stepp pollution-and-scandal alert.

Remember Cathy Stepp and her deputy who ran Scott Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality' WI DNR?
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
I'd told you they were both at Trump's EPA Regional headquarters.

And remember I told you that put Stepp in a position to harm the pristine Boundary Waters.

And now look at what they've been up to there:

Stepp, a regional administrator for the EPA, is part of an investigation by the agency’s inspector general into how Minnesota awarded a permit in December to PolyMet Mining Co. which wants to build a $1 billion copper-nickel mine on 19,000 acres near Hoyt Lakes, Minn., near the North Shore of Lake Superior...
Stepp’s chief of staff, Kurt Thiede, who previously worked for her in Wisconsin, was asked in the Minnesota review to stall submitting written comments from the EPA on the proposed mine until after the period for submitting public comments had ended. That move in effect made those comments secret until environmental groups sued.

Vos' dis of Rep. Anderson: shallow political ploy, or the shallowest?

WI GOP Assembly Leader Robin Vos is begging political scientists to measure his heart. 

Others might ask if he has one.

Because...a wheelchair-bound Wisconsin Democratic legislator who is paralyzed from the chest down, and who sometimes needs the assistance of personal care helpers, must attend committee meetings in person and cannot call in, according to a ruling by Vos he explained this way:
"It just comes down to the fact that I think it’s disrespectful for someone to be asking questions over a microphone or a speakerphone when individuals are actually taking the time out of their day to come and testify in person," Vos said. 
I guess who better than the Speaker to get to the heart (sorry) of the matter and identify speakerphones as the problem, since who doesn't know that speakerphones are just awful, so ew!

It would be easier to jump all over Vos and accuse him of heartless (sorry) partisanship, but, remember, he's a proven expert on things like meeting attendance and mobility, the record shows.
Robin Vos, lawmakers took $4,300 trip to Ohio on state airplane
Look: Vos is only trying to preserve the integrity of the legislative process by guaranteeing the most transparency possible.

He's smart enough to know that he'd be accused of all sorts of hypocrisies and contradictions about claiming to be the guardian of fair legislative processes if he'd, say, rammed through an unprecedented package of legislation drafted in secret and adopted at the 11th hour that curbed the powers of newly-elected Democratic state officials. 

Especially if the final voting took place when Rep. Anderson was physically unable to vote in person, suggesting a possible pattern of Assembly behavior which could run afoul of federal law ensuring the rights of people with disabilities.

Anderson in January raised concerns that Assembly leaders did not accommodate his needs when they held an overnight session in December on legislation to curb the power of incoming Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. 
The bills were stalled for much of the night and Anderson went home so he could get out of his wheelchair. Votes were held with little notice starting about 4:30 a.m. Anderson could not make it to the Capitol by the time they were held.
And it would be even more foolish for a fiscal conservative to court litigation which would have to covered by state taxpayers if there was a history of that, too.
A law firm hired by Republican state lawmakers to help defend them in a redistricting lawsuit can collect up to an $840,000 fee, but taxpayers could end up paying even more, according to a newly released contract. 
The lawsuit is part of an ongoing court battle over Wisconsin’s legislative district maps passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and then-Gov. Scott Walker in 2011. Before the latest contract, taxpayers had already paid some $2.5 million to outside law firms to draft and defend the maps in court.
Like I said, it's important to line up the facts with Vos' record, and not jump to the conclusion that he had a weak grasp of the legislative process or would display a shallow political ploy:
Republicans demand apology from Vos over terrorist comment  
Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said..."the speaker's comments demonstrate a weak grasp on the events that transpired in the hours before the budget was passed on the Senate floor," Fitzgerald said in a statement.... 
Nass called it a "shallow political ploy" to re-ignite budget disagreements to thwart conservative proposals in the fall.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

WI GOP legislators use cheesehead McConnellism to further de-legitimize Evers

The GOP monkey-wrenching duo of Fitzgerald and Vos running the Wisconsin State Legislature is approaching the seventh month of holding hostage the confirmation of any and all Tony Evers' cabinet secretary nominations.

I was getting ready to blog about the State Senate's refusal under pre-Trumpian little dictator and GOP Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald
Wisc Sen. Scott Fitzgerald.jpg
to confirm Acting DNR Secretary Preston Cole despite his degree in forestry, management of Milwaukee city environmental public works and chairmanship of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, but the State Journal beat me to it with a more comprehensive story.

The reason that the Legislature won't hold confirmation hearings has nothing to do with nominee qualifications, resumes and actual, credible vetting; rather it's just another partisan move by Republicans determined to de-legitimize Evers' tenure and appropriate to themselves as many of the Governor's powers as possible.

Just as they did through their lame-duck legislative session that stripped Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul of executive functions, and just as they are now doing by gearing up to restrict with a state constitutional amendment the gubernatorial veto authority which previous Governors enjoyed until Evers - - horrors! - - used it to make Milwaukee eligible for a small amount of spending perhaps for streetcar services.

Add to those hypocrisies the deliberate uncertainty being enforced on Evers cabinet through the apparent indefinite application of the title "acting,"

How attractive are these acting positions and others at the deputy or assistant secretary level to the incumbents or any potential replacements?

Fitzgerald and Vos hope the intended disrespect has its sting.

How deeply undercut are these position holders when their correspondence with the "acting" title in letters or grant proposals or partnership offers are reviewed in board rooms, law firms and other agencies?

Fitzgerald and Vos want those wounds to be fatal, so as to shrink Evers' achievements. Call it Mitch McConnellism with a cheesehead twist.

How much bowing, bending and scraping must take place in front of these self-important, per-diem subsidized and generously salaried legislators before they behave like adult public servants and less like bratty students who have decided to throw paper airplanes at the substitute teacher.

Fitzgerald and Vos need 24/7 groveling to prove to themselves that they are more than  Walker's clerks or errand boys dispatched from Koch Central.

When Republicans were in charge across-the-board, "certainty" was gospel.

Now it's just another GOP norm tossed away in favor of tacky tactics and raw partisanship, like fiscal conservatism and local control, until the GOP can restore what it had come to see as the biggest norm of them all - - Republican domination for their own careers and special interest donors in all three branches of government.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Milwaukee's new park on the water will shine. And teach.

Let's call this a meditation on what's 'obtainable,' and where.

I hope to see you Sunday afternoon at the dedication of Milwaukee's new Harbor District park: 
The public space, at the end of East Greenfield Avenue overlooking the harbor, will feature a water play area, water feature, public kayak dock and a shipping container play structure, according to Harbor District Inc., the nonprofit group overseeing the plaza's development...The events will run from 1 to 4 p.m. 
There  is much to like and learn from in this initiative.

* For one thing, it shows that there are ways to address the land and its relationship to people and other living things without poisoning, clear-cutting, filling and otherwise exploiting it for private gain - - multiple examples, here.

*  The new park will complement other programs - - like the always expanding Riverwalk,

The Riverwalk runner is headed down the Milwaukee River and away from its outflow  into Lake Michigan. Ths Hoan Bridge is above, while the Summerfest grounds are to the runner's right.
Milwaukee's three Urban Ecology Center sites, the MMSD's Greenseams activities, and numerous citizen/public-private partnership actions of all shapes and sizes - - which show that land preservation and water quality are urban values, too.

*  It shows again that landlocked-by-state-law Milwaukee continues to reinvent and reinvest in itself which adds value within its borders and to the region and state.

You wouldn't think it's necessary to make that last point, but there is much bias ingrained outside of Milwaukee about the city and urban living that always needs push-back and correction.

That bias takes many forms:

*  It comes out of the mouths of craven politicians looking for fear-driven votes: 

Oconomowoc Lake - Republican Gov. Scott Walker continued Monday to hammer away at his Democratic rival in the recall election, saying Wisconsin would be taking a major step backward if Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett wins on June 5...People do not want to see Wisconsin "become another Milwaukee," Walker said.
* Here's a more recent example, just a few hours old: 
President Trump ranted Saturday morning on Twitter about an African American lawmaker by disparaging the Baltimore district that Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.) represents as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
*  It is amplified by other narrow-minded anti-city politicians who see Milwaukee as some sort of 'other' community separate from theirs even though Milwaukee is the economic and cultural engine that drives the state:
Republican legislative leaders are raising concerns about a plan in Democratic Gov. Tony Evers budget that calls for borrowing $40 million to replace lead pipes around the state — in part because they fear too much of the money would go to Milwaukee.
*   You'll even see it written into other communities' zoning codes and on their websites that explain themselves at the expense of cities - - like this one
The Village of Chenequa is located in the “lake country” portion of Waukesha County, about 30 miles west of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It completely surrounds the 703 acre Pine Lake, and includes portions of Beaver Lake and North Lake.... 
The Village of Chenequa was founded in 1928. The primary motivations to incorporate were to provide fire and police protection, and plan for the orderly growth of the Village while protecting the land and lakes.
Since its inception, the Village has been conceived as an exclusively residential community. Current Village zoning code states, “The Village of Chenequa…is intended to be devoted solely to residence purposes so as to afford to its citizens the peace and quiet and restfulness unobtainable in the City.” 
"Unobtainable." Really?  

Friday, July 26, 2019

WI lakeshore counties' dirty air alert

"Unhealthy for sensitive groups."

Including portions of some SE WI counties which our pro-polluter Governor

From NBC Nightly News, 7/21/19
had Trump's pollution-enabling EPA implement special, Foxconn-friendly relaxed air quality standards.

Advisory for Ozone (Orange)

Start Time: 4:00PM CT Friday, July 26, 2019
End Time: 11:00PM CT Friday, July 26, 2019
Counties: Door, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan


Air Quality Index
(AQI) Values
Levels of Health ConcernColors
When the AQI
is in this range:
...air quality conditions symbolized
by this color:
0 to 50GoodGreen
51 to 100ModerateYellow
101 to 150Unhealthy for
Sensitive Groups
151 to 200UnhealthyRed
201 to 300Very UnhealthyPurple
301 to 500HazardousMaroon

Trump's bad-times 'pro-life' agenda

The Trump administration, GOP officials who fawn over it and their aptly-named base voters who cheer at his rallies want you to believe they are pro-life, but the real story is told by Trump's enabling of faster climate change, dirty air, deliberate water pollution, added vehicle smogcaged migrants and their traumatized children - - 
Young persons sitting within a wire mesh compartment in the Ursula detention facility in McAllen, Texas, dated June 2018
Children and juveniles in a wire mesh compartment, showing sleeping mats and thermal blankets on floor
- - selective death penalties, cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other public health programs - - and now the intentional withholding of food from poor families
More than 27,000 households in Wisconsin could lose their access to food stamps under a new proposal from the Trump administration.
More than 100,000 Wisconsinites had already lost their eligibility under former Gov. Walker's first-wave of benefit cuts, updated statistics show:
Wisconsin Republicans under former Gov. Scott Walker passed a number of changes to the program, including requiring able-bodied adults to work or be looking for jobs in order to receive benefits and to be tested for drug use. 
The work rule has resulted in 100,471 people losing benefits after not meeting the requirement for three months in a row, according to DHS data. 

Don't make me laugh through the tears.

Team Trump brings back the federal death penalty. That's some ugly electioneering.

Because there isn't enough killing these days to satisfy everyone, Trump's Attorney General and personal lawyer William Barr

William Barr.jpg
has sent out the word: gear up the federal death penalty machinery again and let's get get cracking!
The federal government has ordered the death penalty to be reinstated for the first time in nearly two decades, as Attorney General William Barr directed the Bureau of Prisons to schedule the execution of five inmates after adopting an updated execution protocol.
Barr says this is to kill off the worst of the worst, but let's be honest: No doubt there are other worst of the worst - - especially if you ask the kin of other victims of violence. Ranking the offenders is dishonest and dishonors their victims.

And it's broadly known that capital punishment discriminates against the poor, is weighted against minorities and has its roots in lynching and slavery. There's a book about that, written by a professor whom I interviewed in Texas some years ago - - the state which is usually #1 in executing some, but not all, of the worst of its worst. 

George W. Bush, take a bow, or maybe memoriaiize it in oil on canvas: it's part of your legacy.

More about that, below.

So let's be further honest: this is more pre-2020 Trump voter base maintenance, and, yes, this is how other dictators routinely roll.

Below I offer excerpts from a piece I wrote about this ugly topic in 2006 for the Madison Capital Times.
The Capital Times
© Copyright 2006, Madison Newspapers, Inc.
DATE: Saturday, October 07, 2006
BYLINE:  James Rowen

TEXAS-STYLE JUSTICE LOOMS IN STATE VOTE complete a series on capital punishment for the Milwaukee Journal, I traveled to Texas in 1995 to... witness an execution...

When processing my request to serve as an execution media witness, Texas prison officials suggested I arrive in January 1995, when they were to try something new: two executions on the same day.
With a death penalty proponent taking office as governor -- one George W. Bush -- why not show off their death penalty's smooth operation by gearing it up twice in a day?

So I got myself to Houston, then drove north to the small city of Huntsville, where Texas executes its condemned prisoners inside the fortress-like death house known as "the Walls Unit."

Inside the Walls Unit and at other stops, I interviewed prison employees, academics and several death row prisoners, including the two men headed for what prison officials were calling "the back-to-back."

If you believe that capital punishment deters murders, you'd have thought the extra publicity about "the back-to-back" would have turned potential Texas killers more peace-loving, at least temporarily.

So imagine my surprise when I picked up a newspaper in a Huntsville cafe and saw that a different double execution had knocked the "back-to-back" to the back pages.

Frank Picone, an ex-Houston police officer -- a person trained to uphold the law, mind you -- had murdered his two young sons, shooting one boy with a shotgun as he slept, then drowning the other.

A few days after reading that Picone had turned a nasty custody dispute into his own domestic massacre, I witnessed, on Jan. 31, 1995, another homicide -- the execution of 33-year-old Clifton Russell Jr. in the opening half of "the back-to-back."

At 18, Russell and another teenager, William Battee, were charged with beating a man in Abilene to death and stealing his car.

Russell had pleaded not guilty, but was convicted. After 15 years on death row, and without a single rule infraction, prison officials said, Russell got the injection and moaned when it stopped his heart. His death suggested that lethal injection is not as humane as some proponents believe, though the eye-for-an-eye crowd argues it's not painful enough.

Nevertheless, Texas isn't going to bring back "Old Sparky," though its retired electric chair is displayed prominently in the Texas Prison Museum on Huntsville's downtown square.

And what about William Battee, Russell's co-offender?

Tried separately, Battee pleaded guilty and was incarcerated -- then was released, only to reoffend and return to prison before Russell was executed, prison officials said.

Therein lies another problem with capital punishment: It's not applied uniformly, state-to-state, county-to-county, criminal-to-criminal.

As for Frank Picone -- the ex-cop turned double child killer?

He got life imprisonment.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

About vaping: there's local harm, and this throwback Thursday reminder

8/8/19 update from 7/25/19 - - Known or suspected WI cases now to up 25.
The new cases included older people in addition to the teens, all of whom reported vaping or “dabbing,” which is vaping marijuana oils extracts or concentrates.T o date officials have confirmed a total of 12 cases and are investigating 13 other cases.
When I see a headline like this:
Eight Milwaukee-area teens hospitalized with severe lung damage that may have been caused by vaping
I remember this based on an error-ridden legislator's news release: 
When Joel Kleefisch stood against gov't. 'vaping patrols'
As the US Food and Drug Administration moves against the health hazards of e-cigarette vaping let's not forget - - noted here - - that Wisconsin State Rep. Joel Kleefisch, (R-Oconomowoc)

Joel Kleefisch.jpg
in his inimitable style, has long been a vaping defender, per his news release:
Vapor devices contain nicotine without the tar, old mattresses and rat poison contained in tobacco cigarettes and cigars. In the body, nicotine has virtually the same effects as when caffeine is consumed...
Right in Lake Country, the electronic vapor device industry is booming at Johnson Creek Enterprises...Businesses like this have opened the door to a flourishing industry that's mission is providing consumers a choice other than smoking tobacco products... 
It's not governments job tell people of the legal age that they are not allowed to partake in a legal activity... 
The nanny state needs to stop interfering in our daily lives. It's no longer a matter of whether there will be efforts for government to step in and start up the vapor patrols. 

Evers' DNR hosts nat'l deer wasting summit. 2nd science-revival post today.

Walker wasted eight years ignoring chronic deer wasting disease: Kudos to Gov. Evers, through the Preston Cole-managed DNR, for again undoing Walker's damage.

I had included Walker's intentional dismissal of these issues - - except to protect commercial deer shooting businesses which some have said enabled the spread of the disease - - in a 21-part series I posted in 2018 about his anti-science, ideologically-based, donor-and-polluter protecting eight-year reign and indelible legacies, and in this segment, here
CWD remedies chronically wasted
Wisconsin's traditional nine-day gun deer season begins November 17th - - but under a growing cloud; chronic deer wasting disease now affects 55 of our 72 counties, proving that voluntary practices the DNR is promoting to stem the epidemic are ineffective.

Noted in this early 2018 posting, in subsequent reporting, and also, this: in 2017, there was even less testing for the disease since Walker came into office.
Pair this long-overdue DNR initiative on CWD research and action alliances with additional multi-agency clean water initiatives - - here - - and related moves, and you can begin to see that elections indeed have consequences - - for public health, conservation and other necessities.

How easy would it have been for Walker to take time away from his national fund-raising, political campaigning and Twitter photo posting to have the DNR he crippled take this simple step:
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole is telling wildlife officials attending a multi-state conference on chronic wasting disease that they need to talk to each other and come up with a regional approach to slowing the disease.
It's a relief to see the growing comeback for science in Wisconsin after Walker dissed and dismissed DNR scientists and targeted UW, energy and environmental science in budget cuts so severely stupid what even his legislative water-carriers refused to go along.

I had earlier posted a separate item Thursday morning about another Evers science revival, here.

Public interest science revival in Central Sands. 1 of 2 posts today.

There's more proof that science is back in Wisconsin public policy work after being shelved during Walker's eight-year reign on behalf of donors and polluters. (I posted another item earlier today again pointing out the Wisconsin science comeback.)

This story quotes the noted Wisconsin water expert George Kraft on the relationship better agricultural practices and clean drinking water. 

George Kraft, an emeritus professor of water resources with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, said one problem is that the costs of pollution are externalized...And that’s disconnected from where the nitrate pollution is being applied," Kraft said.
In central Wisconsin...Potatoes require large amounts of water to grow. Kraft said the use of high-capacity wells had increased from 97 in the Central Sands region in 1960 to about 2,500 now. 
These issues and names rang this bell for me:
Walker replaces scientist on water council with industry donor
[Updated, Tuesday, 12:04 a.m., from 6:32 p.m. Monday] Wisconsin has a statutorily-created groundwater coordination council; Scott Walker has just replaced the council Governor's representative - - UW-Stevens Point professor and water expert George Kraft - - with Stephen Diercks, a potato grower, according to this industry report.

It's another example of Walker's antipathy towards science and anything remotely connected to the Jim Doyle administration (think opposition to voter ID or concealed carry, support for collective bargaining, expanded Amtrak, the Nelson-Knowles Stewardship Fund, state recycling aid, etc.), as Walker only represents and supports the 53% of the electorate which votes for him.

A frequent contributor principally to GOP candidates, Diercks has donated $4,450 to Walker's campaigns since 2009, including $1,500 on June 30, records show.

The same data base shows no contributions from Kraft to former Gov. Jim Doyle, who had appointed Kraft to the council.

Kraft has been a critic of large agriculture users' demands on Wisconsin groundwater, according to this news report.

The Governor's representative is a key position because, as this DNR web page points out, all the other members are state officials. The DNR web page had not been updated, so still lists Kraft as the representative, with this laudatory biographical note: 
Governor’s Representative [exit DNR] – George Kraft George Kraft is a professor of Water Resources and director of the Center for Watershed Science and Education, and director of the Central Wisconsin Groundwater Center. He holds appointments with both the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point College of Natural Resources and the University of Wisconsin – Extension. Dr. Kraft’s position is largely dedicated to serving the citizens, businesses and governments of Wisconsin. He is passionate about outreach in the Wisconsin Idea tradition: “The boundaries of the University are the boundaries of the state.” His outreach involvement includes working on groundwater resource sustainability, both for quality and quantity. [It has now been updated]
Separately, here is another report, with photos.
The River Alliance of Wisconsin cites the [Little Plover] River's situation as a warning about the consequences of state water misuse; I posted last year these River Alliance Little Plover photos, below, and mentioned the river's problems in a summary blog post from last May that included more than a dozen links cataloguing the many threats to public waters in Wisconsin
Scott Walker and his party's obeisance to businesses which think the state's groundwater and surface water are theirs to deplete, pollute and otherwise expropriate have only intensified the state's water crisis.
River Alliance of Wisconsin photos

Dead Brookie

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Mueller hearing may advance Trump's defeat, not impeachment

I watched the entire Mueller hearing this morning. There were no big, revelatory moments; realists expected none.

Democrats used their time to feature Trump's known obstructions of justice. 

Republicans made their predictable attacks on Mueller and his team.

I doubt many minds were changed.

Republicans had already won the critical, initial framing battle when AG William Barr in April held a misleading news conference to release a misleading summary of the report which Mueller had completed in March, and which Trump and his echo chamber have been repeating misleadingly and self-servingly ever since.

Those months of delay and spin - - more obstruction, if you will - - in a political and media environment which now changes at the speed of a tweet - - helped make today's hearing anti-climatic.

If you were expecting a fireworks show grand finale, think bottle rockets and a couple of Roman candles instead.

Much of the hearing format did not favor Mueller, as his presentation and answers were constrained by law, Justice Department policies, a crummy mic, his professionalism and low-key demeanor. 

And though Mueller was obliged to refuse answering many questions, and had to have questions repeated so he could verify a line being quoted or to check a page reference - - all of which suggested, unfairly, that he was unfamiliar with details in an obviously complex probe and report - - he was savvy enough to decline Democrats' requests to read aloud portions of the report obviously damaging to Trump.

Which means there will be no descriptions of illegal or shady behavior by Trump or his allies' with Mueller's picture and voice which Democratic could have out into ads during campaign 2020.

I'm not watching the second hearing. I'll update this report if need be.


Primary and caucus voting begins in Iowa on February 3, 2020. Candidates are already campaigning there, in South Carolina, Nevada and elsewhere.

Which means the Dems will have to decide quickly if they want to, let alone could even get the logistics and mechanics of impeachment hearings rolling - - all of which would subsume most everything else through November, 2020.

And which would give Trump and his allies a 24/7 opportunity to complain that Trump is again the victim through a sort of political double jeopardy - - possible removal by impeachment and trial prior to citizen balloting.

I can't quickly find the polling or exit interviews which backed it up, but I know there is a school of thought that Walker won the recall election in part because some voters thought it was unfair to try and remove him from office before the next regularly-scheduled election.

Dems did not move more quickly on impeachment. They took over the House of Representatives in January but put impeachment on the back burner.

Months have been frittered away, abetted by Trump's foot-dragging that began over an interview with Mueller which was never going to happen, then the drip-drip-drip of Barr's maneuvers, plus on-going games being played by Team Trump with Congressional subpoenas, etc. etc.

And official Washington shuts down in August.

So I'm guessing the Dems won't go for impeachment, but instead will try and unite - - fingers crossed - - behind an appealing ticket - - fingers crossed - - that can defeat Trump in 2020 by focusing on his lack of presidential fitness and on his serial international, domestic, authoritarian and racist outrages, including his documented obstructions of justice and coziness with the very Russians who raided the 2016 election process on his behalf.

In other words, "Mueller Report" and everything for which it is shorthand for "Trump's illegitimacy "- - can become a key cudgel in defeating him at the ballot box - - but not in an impeachment process shoehorned into an unfriendly calendar for delivery to a worshipful, pro-Trump US Senate - - and only if Democrats choose smart moves and we all make it the cause of our lifetimes.

I'm not happy with all this. I know the polls say Trump is unpopular but I don't think polling reflects the fanatical commitment he enjoys from his base and the unseemly willingness of everyday "R's" to unite around him as he skillfully plays his dangerous deck of Race, Red Scare and Resentment cards.

Most Presidents win second terms. Trump has an excellent chance to get one, given his unique ability to manipulate all media.

I think he's beatable, but I also think impeachment is a longer and less likely shot, and I haven't seen anything yet during the hearings and the reporting I've read that suggests otherwise.