Friday, April 30, 2021

GOP legislators excited to move WI ahead to the 1950's

Robin Vos and his gerrymandered Republican legislative allies

aim to decimate Gov. Evers' 2021-2023 state budget - a move that will deepen multiple levels of inequity and suffering and intentionally ignore basic human needs and contemporary problem-solving:

Republicans who control the Legislature's budget-writing committee plan to strip out nearly 300 items from Gov. Tony Evers' two-year state spending plan, including his priorities of expanding Medicaid, legalizing marijuana and freezing enrollment in private voucher schools.   

The move also will remove solutions Evers called for to long-standing problems in Wisconsin: like the closure of the state's youth prison where staff and teen inmates have been physically abused and the creation of statewide standards for the amount of toxic chemicals allowed in drinking water. 

It's a backward-looking and punitive approach to governing which nicely mirrors Ron Johnson's behavioral imitation of Joseph McCarthy, the 1950's version of a shame-hogging BadgerLand GOP State Senator.

Granted, McCarthy=Johnson is an imperfect comparison based more on 'style' and chronology because we know that GOP Senator Joseph McCarthy attacked Russian influence he 'saw' everywhere while Johnson is said to have been a spreader of Russian influence.

Regardless, the 'modern' Wisconsin GOP - or is it the Wisconsin subsidiary of Hawley, Miller, Don. Jr. & Boebert - seems increasingly wedded to a 1950's model that worships big business, promotes class advantages and uses government as a cudgel, not a comfort.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Vos & Co. illegally hired private lawyers w/public $$, judge says

Think of it as your bank account being hacked.

Wisconsin's GOP legislative leaders who could not be bothered to work most of the Pandemic Year 2020 while collecting full pay from taxpayers added to their abuse of the public treasury and trust by hiring illegally private attorneys in anticipation of litigation over the gerrymandering extension they are likely to soon craft and approve, a judge has ruled:

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu entered into contracts in December and January with two outside law firms to handle the redistricting process, including any future lawsuits. The contracts allowed for spending of more than $1 million in taxpayer money to the two law firms.

Dane County Circuit Judge Stephen Ehlke ruled Thursday that the contracts are void because Vos and LeMahieu were not authorized to hire the law firms. LeMahieu and Vos did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

I've noted several times on this blog - recently, here - in a posting about who has control of federal COVID19 aid - that Vos and Co. have a penchant for throwing big bucks at private law firms, along with other free feathering of their own fouled nests: 

Republicans in Wisconsin have been on a partisan power trip ever since voters removed Scott Walker from a governorship which the GOP assumed was theirs in perpetuity.

As if Walker was still safely ensconced in office with the same certainty they'd guaranteed themselves after hiring private lawyers with taxpayer dollars to craft district maps in secret that continue to give Republican legislators more seats and political power than honest mapping would have fairly awarded.... 
A reach for COVID dollars would be par for Vos's course, as he has used the Speaker's powers for personal staff expansion, repetitive private-attorney hirings, and more assorted lawyering-up by the millions of taxpayer dollars. 
Just as he has added more dollars to legislators' receipt-free meal reimbursements, making any trade of public-food-policy-for-partisan-advantage even more repulsive.

As I said with regard to Republicans now 'representing' Wisconsin in Congress: there seems to be no limit to devaluation of the honor and the work they have brought to holding their high offices. 

Details about the hefty payments which were to begin in January are here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Ron Johnson talks love on Twitter

WI GOP Senator and 'used mop head' showcased on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" -

- Ron Johnson, took to Twitter Wednesday evening to attack Pres. Biden's address to Congress, here:

While his statement contained predictable, partisan boilerplate doomsday hits about ruinous change policies  Biden is allegedly foisting on the country, Johnson went on to suggest that Biden doesn't "truly love" - or even like America the way Johnson and his followers do.

Setting aside that Johnson's oddly angst-ridden existential question - "Can anyone even like, much less love something they want to fundamentally transform?" - is what a hapless George Costanza would have asked of Jerry on "Seinfeld" after yet another breakup, please remember: 

The last time we heard Johnson talking about "people that love this country" he was excusing people who were involved in trying violently overturn the Presidential election: 

“Even though those thousands of people that were marching to the Capitol were trying to pressure people like me to vote the way they wanted me to vote, I knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, and so I wasn't concerned,” Johnson (R-Wis.) said in an interview on conservative radio host Joe Pag’s show Thursday.

I'd also add that any politician who 'truly loved' people and the country wouldn't have declared that 11 million COVID19 deaths in the US was OK, and would not have his influence to repeatedly undermine the value of  pandemic-stemming vaccines, as has Johnson, here.


Monday, April 26, 2021

A census of ghouls, fools and tools

Some of the 2020 Census data is out, and Wisconsin retains its eight US House seats, and with two Senators, 10 electoral votes.

Remember that this is the Census which the defeated administration repeatedly tried to skew against big cities like Milwaukee with their immigrant - and legally countable - populations, so I expect we will see in subsequent data releases an official loss of population in Milwaukee which surely be an undercount.

I have some familiarity with the census procedures, having served during the Norquist years as the city's 1996 census liaison, and I know that even in the best of times (thus not with the Stephen Miller/White House-led campaign of anti-immigrant intimidation) there is understandable reluctance in neighborhoods and households with undocumented residents to open doors and speak with government officials who want to and can only legally count people, not turn them in to law enforcement.

But Wisconsin's census-related political problem with the number of Congressional seats we have - other than the overall transfer of power to the GOP-dominated south and West that strengthens an already-unfair and disproportionate Electoral College edge with it - has less with what we have and more to do what we do with them, and in particular with how heavily gerrymandered Republican incumbents abuse and devalue the majority of seats they've latched onto.

And these Three Fools and a Tool have had themselves quite a month of April - heaping on top of its long-acknowledged cruelty a toxic layer of cringe-worthy stupidity not seen in Wisconsin since Joe McCarthy showed the nation that indeed he had 'no sense of decency.'

Some April 2021 lowlights from the Three Fools:

Grothman

The Oracle of Glenbuelah adds rap and dance to his expansive canon

Tiffany

Ignored racism, enslavement and other American realities

Fitzgerald

With Tiffany, Smeared top Biden health nominee.

But unsuccessfully, apparently.

* And then there's the [Russian] tool - Ron Johnson, who also had himself a high-profile and even more highly-embarrassing April.

Ron Johnson's new embrace of 7,400 COVID is nothing new

Because, remember: He even considered the deaths of 11 million Americans from COVID19 as an acceptable price for others to pay. 
GOP Senator Upbeat Coronavirus May Kill ‘No More Than 3.4 Percent of Our Population’ 

* And there's this one leading the Wisconsin State Assembly who displays elements of his more senior party leaders, so could easily blend in if he took a promotion to Congress as have The Fools: 

WI science foe Vos now expert on immunology. Also "The Matrix."

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Ron Johnson's new embrace of COVID death is also old news

While the nation's leading COVID19 expert 

New shoulder shrug is just like the earlier ones

headed to the airwaves to correct Ron Johnson's blasΓ©, dangerous take on the common sense value of life-saving vaccines, please remember that Johnson has repeatedly downplayed and distorted the pandemic's consequences and toll.

And even considered the deaths of 11 million Americans from COVID19 as an acceptable price for others to pay -  

GOP Senator Upbeat Coronavirus May Kill ‘No More Than 3.4 Percent of Our Population’

- in exchange for unfettered access to cheeseburgers, date night movies, the kind of air travel he gets for free as a Congressional perk, and other measures that protect his freedom.

"I certainly am going to vigorously resist any kind of government use or imposing of vaccine passports.... That could be a very freedom-robbing step and people need to understand these things."

And when The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had earlier given numbers' guy Johnson a chance to explain his callous COVID math, he came up with this: 

But we don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways. It’s a risk we accept so we can move about. We don’t shut down our economies because tens of thousands of people die from the common flu,” Johnson said.  
Johnson acknowledged that coronavirus has a far higher fatality rate than the seasonal flu, but said, “getting coronavirus is not a death sentence except for maybe no more than 3.4 percent of our population (and) I think probably far less,” he said.

By the way, 3.4 percent of the US population is about 11 million human beings.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Johnson's anti-COVID-vaxx campaign disregards 7,400 dead constituents

GOP US Senator and self-declared lethal libertarian-of-sorts Ron Johnson leap-frogged other legacy and contemporary competitors for Worst Wisconsin Legislator, Ever by saying during the historically brutal COVID19 pandemic he keeps minimizing that he saw "no reason to push vaccines on people," and "what do you care if your neighbor has one or not?," The Associated Press reported.

Johnson, who has no medical expertise or background, made the comments Thursday during an interview with conservative talk radio host Vicki McKenna. Contrary to what medical experts advise, Johnson has said he doesn't need to be vaccinated because he had COVID-19 in the fall. 
Below are some of the multiple thousand of reasons gathered from credible sources which explain why people need to be encouraged to get the vaccine.

And which also explain why Johnson 

should immediately resign from public service because he is endangering the public he's openly not serving.

* Most-recent Wisconsin COVID19 case data published by The New York Times:
Total Wisconsin positive cases, 654,681. Total deaths, 7,438.
Total positive COVID19 cases in Winnebago County, Johnson's home county: 17,918, up 137 in the previous 10 days.

The Glenbeulah oracle adds rap & dance to his expansive canon

You've probably heard by now that GOP WI House member and Grammy Awards devotee Glenn Grothman has accused popular rapper Cardi B of contributing to the decline of American culture.

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, a Republican from Glenbeulah, said on the House floor Thursday that rapper Cardi B's appearance at the Grammy Awards earlier this year was "inconsistent with basic decency" in a speech urging the Federal Communications Commission to ban performances like hers.... 

Cardi B, who won a Grammy Award in 2019 for best rap album, told her 17.9 million Twitter followers that Grothman should worry about more pressing issues facing the country.  

But before you denounce Grothman as some sort of ignorant, intolerant and small-minded misogynist, you might want to review other weighty matters - like geology, ophiology, the American family, African-American culture, single-parenting, and the War on Men - which Grothman has analyzed and addressed openly to better appreciate his mind and heart, including:

Garter snakes

Kwanzaa is bad and survey research proves it

The Black family, and more

Well caulking can ward off mining blasting

Public employees should work on MLK Jr. Day

'Gals' have schemes, and more (video)

Single parenting spurs child abuse

Legalizing equal pay for women is wrong

Single mothers get government bribes

The War on Men will destroy America, and more




Thursday, April 22, 2021

DNR's reforestation plan undercut by DNR-okayed deforestation for golf course

It's great that the WI DNR is promoting on Earth Day a statewide tree giveaway and reforestation plan to help battle climate change - a scientific reality which the previous administration approached by firing scientists and deleting climate change data and materials from its website.

More Walkerite/Orwellian censorship of climate change from DNR climate change web pages

So our reconstituted and better-focused DNR now needs to fully embrace its new direction by withdrawing support for privately-owned golf course construction Walker's DNR had approved which an expert says will require the environmentally-degrading deforestation of up to 45,000 trees:

Based on a quick density count viewing into the edges of the upland forest area of Kohler Company’s 247 acre parcel in Section 14 along the Lake Michigan shoreline in the Town of Wilson, I estimate the number of trees of greater than 6” trunk diameter to be roughly in the range of 50,000 to 70,000. Kohler’s grading plan for the golf course included on DNR’s website shows that about 63% of that upland forest gets re-graded, which would necessarily remove about 30,000 to 45,000 trees, as a rough estimate, having trunks greater than 6” diameter.. 

So the primary adverse effects on the environment of upland deforestation is the loss of quantity and diversity of habitat. This includes the loss of upland ecologic functions critical for the ecologic function of the adjacent wetlands that are not being filled. The golf course plan shows massive grading and deforestation and replacement with fairways right along the edge of great lengths of wetland along the Black River. 

Ignoring that adverse effect in both Kohler’s EIR and WDNR’s EIS for this project is one of the major deficiencies that [another source] has repeatedly pointed out. The EIR and EIS are supposed to address all aspects of the proposed project, not just filling some of the wetlands. These reports entirely omitted any specific description of the adverse effects of the massive deforestation, including those effects on wetlands not being filled that is planned along more than a mile of wetland boundary.

Note also that the project (now stalled in court) would absorb public acreage within the adjoining state park, and calls for construction along a Lake Michigan shoreline increasingly pummeled (information, photos, here) by intensifying storms. 

Again, does this sound like a good idea? 

Promoted by a Department of Natural Resources, and its oversight Natural Resources Board?

Some history, here:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has released, amid additional controversy, a preliminary Environmental Impact Statement, (EIS), based heavily on information provide by the company....

Here is a link to a Journal Sentinel story about the draft EIS....a
nd here is a link to the draft EIS. 
If environmental protection is goal of the state - - a supposition constantly put in grave doubt by Gov. Walker and his "chamber of commerce" DNR - - any reasonable person reading the document would conclude that the project's environmental harm far outweighs any perceived advantages.

Simply put, the DNR and its oversight board now must do the right thing by the land and water it holds in trust for the people and remove itself from tainted policy-makers - 

Former DNR employee: Staff pressured to OK Kohler golf course on rare Wisconsin wetlands and state park

- who were rejected in 2018 by voters statewide.

-------------------------

Thousands of trees in this nature preserve will be felled for the proposed golf course. Aerial photos courtesy of Steve Back, here. 

 


 

 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

WI science foe Vos now expert on immunology. Also "The Matrix."

[Updated 4/22/21 with this example.]

You may have missed Robin Vos's latest, self-serving manipulation of the COVID crisis - check the Wisconsin Examiner's piece linked below - and this reliably anti-science Republican officeholder is also trying to use science itself to back up what's just another outburst of traditional GOP anti-intellectualism -  

Was Vos’ immune-system πŸ’ͺ🏻 brag anti-vaccine? 

- spiced up with some odder, oddball Twitter words and images that are science-based only if you think "The Matrix" was real:

Initially, on Thursday morning, he went on a rant in a new post, with a meme of Keanu Reeves with the words: “I HAVE AN IMMUNE SYSTEM THAT’S WHY VACCINES WORK.”

Before we scientifically catalog some of Vos's science-bashing, let's offer for support and COVID context his blaming immigrants in his own district for contracting the virus, his nationally newsworthy contradictory walk-and-talk about COVID prevention and his multiple work - an example - against public pandemic protection orders in favor of 'you're on your own' behaviors as the pandemic was raging.

Republican legislative leaders went to court Friday to show support for a lawsuit against Gov. Tony Evers' statewide mask mandate after more than 17,000 people in Wisconsin tested positive in the last week and some hospitals are on the brink of being overwhelmed. 

Now back to Vos, who become Speaker of the GOP-gerrymandered Wisconsin Assembly in 2013 -  

- and stamped more than a dozen intentional anti-science blemishes (I once counted 33 such anti-science instances and initiatives by Walker) on the Vos permanent record when he:

* Shut down after 15 seconds a special session of the Assembly called to address gun-related injuries, suffering and deaths. A leading Wisconsin physician has labeled gun violence a "public health issue."

* Has repeatedly blocked the expansion of Medicaid health services to low-income Wisconsin residents. Science says people with access to medical care enjoy longer, happier and more productive lives.

[Update] * Stripped money from the budget because too much of it was aimed at replacing water pipes in Milwaukee made of lead. 

Which is toxic. 

And causes brain damage in children whose low-income families which are concentrated in the city cannot afford the hefty price for the pipe replacement, let alone new housing which no longer uses lead pipes.

Or the landlord will not make the upgrade.

So Vos's party cut the funding. 

Despite, you know, a record $4 billion in public monies rubber-stamped for Foxconn by Team Walker-Vos in record time. 

Including millions to pipe in fresh Lake Michigan water despite a multi-state/two-nation agreement to conserve the Great Lakes water except for last-ditch public health reasons, but in this case to help a Taiwanese multi-national corporation make money by manufacturing big-screen TVs in Vos's home county.

A plan now jettisoned, as predicted, but the water piping moves forward to fuel sprawl.

* Repeatedly helped restrict or been willing to sacrifice food assistance to low-income Wisconsin residents even though science knows people need food to learn, succeed and live.

* Blasted UW System funding and scholarship with the crudest and least-scientific argument possible. 

Vos, who led an assault on university officials over fund reserves last year and backed Gov. Scott Walker’s tuition freeze, said this week that he wants to ensure that faculty at the university spend more time teaching and that research ought to be geared toward helping the state's economy.

“Of course I want research, but I want to have research done in a way that focuses on growing our economy, not on ancient mating habits of whatever,” said Vos.

* Recently maneuvered to allow the continuing practice of so-called 'conversion' therapy which aims to rid people and especially children of the sexual identity of their choosing. Or as the GOP-leg Legislature would frame the scientific field it supported: Child development. 

The GOP-led Legislature used the same parliamentary maneuver to block enforcement of rules that were to restrict the dumping of so-called 'forever' toxins in Wisconsin waterways. Both of these unscientific GOP-led maneuvers were reported in the same story, here.

* Backed the flawed, failed plan through sweetheart legislation to level the pristine Penokee Hills in northwestern Wisconsin by a politically-connected out-of-state firm. It was plan was to dig a gargantuan open pit iron ore mine despite known threats to the region's clean air, drinking water and life-sustaining Native American wild rice growing estuaries. 

Among the scientific disciplines honored: Wisconsin history, Native American treaty rights, maintenance of rural life, clean air and groundwater quality. 

* Promoted the easing of rules intended to stem the release of polluting phosphorus into state waterways that helped bring about sharp increases in the impairment of Wisconsin rivers, lakes and streams 

* Backed large groundwater-hogging-and-contaminating cattle feeding operations over the interests of nearby residential well owners and others wanting equity in water policy decisions-making. Disciplines honored include groundwater quality and blue-baby syndrome research.

* Helped bring about higher speed limit for big highway trucks despite predictions by non-partisan expert of more crash injuries and deaths. 

As I wrote in 2016

I mean, why listen to stupid experts with facts in hand when a Robin Vos knows better?
AAA Wisconsin is urging the Wisconsin State Senate to stop proposed legislation that would raise the maximum speed limit on rural highways to 70 mph due to concerns that higher speeds make it more difficult for vehicles to slow or stop in order to avoid a collision, and can increase the severity of resultant crashes. AAA is particularly alarmed about the potential implications for trucks, as their weight makes those considerations even more pressing....
The evidence from neighboring states provides a clear warning: higher speed limits lead to higher rates of truck involvement in fatal crashes.

* Pushed for fast approvals of the flawed Foxconn project in a flood-prone county he represents without the production of a routine, science-based environmental impact review of construction on prime agricultural land and wetlands which are nature's defense against flooding.

* Made no complaint when the US Environmental Protection Agency overruled its own scientific staff and eased air pollution regulations over portions of Southeastern Wisconsin including Vos's home county of Racine. The eased regulations were another break for the Foxconn project.

Killed a Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail line, and led the elimination of Regional Transit Authorities statewide despite the contributions transit makes to cleaner air, eased road congestion and economic development along bus and rail routes.


 


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Evers' new Foxconn deal saves $2.77 billion

More later:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2021
Contact: GovPress@wisconsin.gov 
 This is the text of Evers' accouncement:
Gov. Evers Announces Renegotiated Foxconn Contract to Save Taxpayers $2.77 Billion
$80 million, six-year agreement to guarantee taxpayer savings, protect local and state infrastructure investments, require job creation to receive incentives
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today announced the state has renegotiated its contract with Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer. The new agreement negotiated under Gov. Evers between the Wisconsin Economic Development (WEDC) and Foxconn will save Wisconsin taxpayers a total of $2.77 billion compared to the previous contract, maintain accountability measures requiring job creation to receive incentives, and protect hundreds of millions of dollars in local and state infrastructure investments made in support of the project.

“When I ran to be governor, I made a promise to work with Foxconn to cut a better deal for our state—the last deal didn’t work for Wisconsin, and that doesn’t work for me,” said Gov. Evers. “Today I’m delivering on that promise with an agreement that treats Foxconn like any other business and will save taxpayers $2.77 billion, protect the hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure investments the state and local communities have already made, and ensure there’s accountability for creating the jobs promised.”

Under a contract amendment approved Tuesday by the WEDC Board of Directors, Foxconn is eligible to receive up to $80 million total in performance-based tax credits over six years if it meets employment and capital investment targets. 

The right-sized contract includes comparable rates and incentives to those offered to other companies by WEDC. The original contract negotiated in 2017 authorized $2.85 billion in performance-based tax credits to build a Generation 10.5 plant, not including new tax incentives from local governments and road and highway investments by the state and local governments, which brought total taxpayer-funded subsidies to more than $4 billion.

WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes noted that the amended contract will boost Wisconsin’s economic recovery as the state works to respond and bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The agreement provides the opportunity to be responsive to the marketplace that a modern, forward-looking company like Foxconn needs to pursue innovation. At the same time, by right-sizing the contract, our state is in a position where we can ensure that all businesses – everywhere – have the resources they need to grow and prosper,” Hughes said.

A comparison of the original and amended contract is available here. The new agreement, which is effective upon signing by WEDC and Foxconn officials:
  • Provides $80 million in performance-based incentives if Foxconn hires 1,454 qualified workers earning an average wage of $53,875 and invests $672 million by 2026;
  • Allows Foxconn, like other manufacturers in the state, to earn tax incentives without specific requirements as to what it produces or manufactures, as long as it meets the hiring and capital investment targets;
  • Sets the same tax incentive rates for hiring and capital investments as all other projects WEDC assists;
  • Adds Foxconn Industrial Internet USA, Inc. (Fii USA) as an affiliate eligible for tax incentives;
  • Reduces the length of the two sides’ commitment from 15 years to six;
  • Preserves protections for local governments’ investments in the project; and
  • Strengthens taxpayer protections by allowing the state to recover 100% of incentives paid each year in the event of a default.
 
###

 ------------------------------------------------------------------

Lake Michigan water was to be diverted to the Foxconn site. We'll see if that ever happens.

From the shoreline, looking east across Lake Michigan 

WI DNR touts rare butterfly focus Cathy Stepp had once mocked

Let us for good reasons reprise the ugly environmental record of high profile/small deerslayer, fake nose fancier, retired (mercifully) US EPA official and Scott Walker corporate cudgel Cathy Stepp's snotty rant (now unavailable, but saved here, and below) against both Karner Blue butterflies and the Wisconsin DNR employees she ended up 'managing' who were trying to help save the species.

Her words:

The most crushing/controversial rules that businesses have to follow in our state are--most times--done through the "rule making process" of our state agencies. Without bogging everyone down with some really boring procedure talk, suffice it to say that many of these great ideas (sarcasm) come from deep inside the agencies and tend to be reflections of that agency's culture.

For example, people who go to work for the DNR's land, waste, and water bureaus tend to be anti-development, anti-transportation, and pro-garter snakes, karner blue butterflies, etc...This is in their nature; their make-up and DNA. So, since they're unelected bureaucrats who have only their cubicle walls to bounce ideas off of, they tend to come up with some pretty outrageous stuff that those of us in the real world have to contend with...

- so please enjoy with me the content and its ironies in Tuesday's DNR news release as Earth Day approaches:

On Earth Day 2021, Milwaukee River revival is a model win

A healthier, faster-flowing Milwaukee River 

shows that committed public agencies and tireless grassroots organizations can give the people and the environment alternatives to thoughtless, self-defeating waterway abuse.

I remember that Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist was already pushing for the removal of the North Ave. dam when I went to work for him in the late 1990's; when the dam was finally taken out the river again could support a salmon run and an abundance of other species, as the WI DNR later reported.

Years later, the celebrated removal of the Estabrook dam further upstream after years of agitation by Milwaukee Riverkeeper and other groups is helping a Sturgeon revival in the river

Sturgeon were native to the Milwaukee River but were wiped out in the 1800s by pollution, habitat destruction and the building of dams that prohibited their movements upstream.

The large, ancient fish have only recently started to show up in the Milwaukee River due to sturgeon reintroduction efforts in the watershed.

And when I swung by the river Monday, I loved seeing this relatively new sign (and all the anglers, too):


 

Everyone and everything wants, needs and deserves clean, fresh water; the progress made in the Milwaukee River corridor and the networks it connects with are big, sustainable wins for the watershed and the state.

We know that pollution, climate change, funding shortfalls and special interest and even partisan obstruction remain barriers statewide that demand our attention, but as Earth Day 2021 gets underway we can honor the good work that so many people do everyday.

Salute. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

On Earth Day 4/20, Evers to stem Foxconn $$ runoff, too

Perhaps remembering the money WI taxpayers lost when Republicans broke the Talgo train deal, Gov. Evers appears poised to announce he's reworked the Walker-Vos Foxconn Sprawl-Inducing-Fiasco.

A deal which Vos - newly-self appointed to the state development agency board - is already crapping on and lying about even though the details this latest Democratic cleanup of a Republican created mess haven't been released, according to this report

On Sunday while appearing on "UpFront" on WISN-TV, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said Evers was "playing politics" with the development and that Foxconn is "meeting all the goals that we set." 

“Foxconn is making concessions because they are having their back up against the wall even though they are meeting the goals that were set by the last administration and by the legislation we enacted,” Vos said, referring to the original deal signed by then Republican Gov. Scott Walker and backed by Republicans in the Legislature. “The governor doesn’t seem to want to keep the state’s deal, which is why he’ll come forward with a new proposal.”

Here's a 400+archive of posts about how Walker and Vos got Foxconn Fever.

Ironic, isn't it, that Evers' plan to steer a wetland-filling, pollution-enabling demolition of prime ag land for a never-built flat-screen TV factory away from further damage to taxpayers will be announced Tuesday, April 20 when Earth Day 2021 kicks off - because from its earliest days the whole Foxconn Fiasco was as far from earth-friendly as a project could get.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2018

Foxconn flooding poured downstream to mainstream media; 3 takeaways

Flooding poured downstream from the Foxconn site and into mainstream media, too.

So a meteorological event became a media event. What did all that teach us?

While this blog reported on the event - - here and here (and was also presaged, here) - - there are at least three lessons in this Journal Sentinel story, for example, that sent, amplified or created strong messages.

1.  Activism gets results. So props to "A Better Mt. Pleasant" and its savvy, dedicated allies.

2.  Visual images like this one carried the story.


3. Foxconn's damage control extended beyond onsite repairs to a memorable analysis and pledgein the newspaper's story:
Claude Lois, who is managing the Foxconn project for Mount Pleasant, said in a statement that “runoff that resulted from the unusual rain event on Monday was short-lived and was addressed promptly that same day by the team.  
“Additional proactive measures were completed yesterday that are intended to prevent any similar events in the future.” 
The rain events were "unusual' and "short-lived" and are not likely occur "in the future?" Just another proof that the DNR really should have left the climate change material on its website it struck and deleted in 2016, including this key section (what is in yellow remains):
Human activities that increase heat–trapping ("green house") gases The reasons for this change at this particular time in the earth's long history are the main cause. Earth´s average temperature has increased 1.4 °F since 1850 being debated and researched by academic entities outside the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 1998Wisconsin Department of Natural ResourcesIncreasing temperatures have led to changes in rainfall patterns and snow and ice cover. These changes could have severe The effects on of such a change are also being debated... 



Friday, April 16, 2021

Does Tiffany understand that enslaved people built his workplace?

Does he know that enslaved people built - along with the US Capitol - Wall Street, the White House, Georgetown University, Boston's Faneuil Hall and other historic American institutions?

Does Tiffany know - or care - 

Image of Tom Tiffany

that the underpinnings of the economy which stabilized the nation and set it on a course of unprecedented expansion was underwritten by the labor of enslaved people, as an expert has noted:

It is inconceivable that European colonists could have settled and developed North and South America and the Caribbean without slave labor. Moreover, slave labor did produce the major consumer goods that were the basis of world trade during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries: coffee, cotton, rum, sugar, and tobacco.

In the pre-Civil War United States, a stronger case can be made that slavery played a critical role in economic development. 

One crop, slave-grown cotton, provided over half of all US export earnings. 

By 1840, the South grew 60 percent of the world's cotton and provided some 70 percent of the cotton consumed by the British textile industry. Thus slavery paid for a substantial share of the capital, iron, and manufactured goods that laid the basis for American economic growth. 

In addition, precisely because the South specialized in cotton production, the North developed a variety of businesses that provided services for the slave South, including textile factories, a meat processing industry, insurance companies, shippers, and cotton brokers. 

Moreover, Tiffany failed to grasp the impacts of institutional governmental racism which stripped land and resources from freed enslaved people and their descendants - so it is not surprising that Wisconsin's Northwoods Member of Congress is again shoveling  ignorant, resentment-fueling slop about fairness and race to his heavily-white constituency through his taxpayer-paid newsletter.

Democrats also renewed their effort to further divide and balkanize America along racial lines, pushing forward with a plan that would pave the way for “reparations.” The House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to head down that dangerous road this week, seeking to effectuate a massive, race-based wealth transfer. Americans of all political stripes oppose this divisive and destructive idea, which some experts estimate would cost a whopping $12 trillion .

Americans know that forcing people who never owned slaves to pay people who were never enslaved is unfair. It is also unconstitutional. Americans of all races, colors and creeds gave their lives in the Civil War and the years that followed to build a more perfect union, end government-sponsored racism, and ensure that all Americans are treated fairly, with dignity and respect, as individuals – not faceless, nameless components of a race or ethnic group.

I am deeply opposed to this dangerous and immoral plan, and I am committed to defeating it.

Note that Tiffany's pious invocation of a mythical, cooperative post-Civil War American that created a 'more perfect union' overlooks decades of Jim Crow legalized discrimination that continues to spread and embed inequity to this day through environmental racism and fresh voting restrictions - and a consciously-created Black-white wealth gap:

The persistent Black-white wealth gap is not an accident but rather the result of centuries of federal and state policies that have systematically facilitated the deprivation of Black Americans. 
From the brutal exploitation of Africans during slavery, to systematic oppression in the Jim Crow South, to today’s institutionalized racism—apparent in disparate access to and outcomes in education, health care, jobs, housing, and criminal justice—government policy has created or maintained hurdles for African Americans who attempt to build, maintain, and pass on wealth.

So, Congressman, you were saying something about it being  'immoral' and 'unfair' and even 'dangerous' to address this? 

(You can subscribe to his newsletter with the appropriate, 19th-century title "Tiffany Telegram" at his office website. Apparently 'Buggy Whip Bulletin' has been spoken for. )