Saturday, February 24, 2018

Walker's baggage is both local and national

Walker's election year baggage ranges from potholes to President Trump to the NRA.

His local burdens include that still failed job-creating pledge, and the state's crumbling roads and the billions in corporate welfare, taxpayer dollars, tax breaks and highway spending being poured into the Southeastern corner of Wisconsin for Foxconn - - the full story, here - - rather than being distributed across the state. 

And while the axiom is that all politics is local, Walker also could find himself on the wrong side of two national narratives which repulse many voters.

The first is Donald Trump. He's a woman-grabbing, race-baiting, Russia-loving loose cannon - - whom Scott Walker, when dropping out of the presidential campaign in September, 2015 urged Republicans to reject
Scott Walker Drops Out of 2016 Republican Presidential Race, Slamming Trump
Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, suit
Voters may not recall exactly how Walker ended his brief run for President, or has since done a 180-degree turn and become a strong Trump backer, so let's understand that that as well as remembering that Walker had earlier courted Trump, having presented Trump in New York City with a plaque - - I wonder what's inscribed on it - - and also scored from him a $15,000 in re-election boosting donation.

A favor from Trump perhaps reimbursed in full when Walker went to the Republican Party's 2016 nominating campaign, stood on the podium, disregarded his 2015 anti-Trump call to arms and endorsed Trump's "American Deserves Better" candidacy.


When plenty of other GOP figures wanted no part of Trump's coronation because they already knew enough about Trump to indeed understand that America needed better..


This was a convention organized by Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, but before Manafort was indicted for multiple dirty money crimes and Gates's pleaded on Friday to some related felonies.


Still - - Walker's got a fraught relationship with Trump and he'll be ducking from owning it during the campaign.

Second, speaking of fraught Walker relationships, there's his long and profitable connection with the National Rifle Association - - an organization now facing fury and boycotts after the Florida high school massacre, and other blowback with consequences already dogging and confounding Walker:

...Walker did address the question of arming teachers - - by coming down squarely on both sides of the issue with his familiar dodge-and-stumble rhetoric:
Gov. Scott Walker Wednesday said arguments on both sides need to be looked at closely."It doesn't mean we couldn't do it.  I just think we want to make sure that it's not just a spur of the moment, but that we really look at the details and measure the pluses and minuses," Walker said.
As Walker also did on Feb. 16th, but hasn't used more than week to say something on the subject that's "not just a spur of the moment."
 TMJ4 reports these words:
Meanwhile, Gov. Scott Walker is reacting to the school shooting and what needs to be done in Wisconsin to prevent school shootings like the one in Parkland. 
“Part of this is reexamining and making sure no matter what the issue is that we’re making sure, whether it’s what we saw the other day or it’s explosive, we want everyone to feel safe, but particularly our schools,” he said. 
Walker has been far less reticent when it comes to accepting NRA money and testimonials:

* In 2011, NRA front man Wayne LaPierre traveled to Wisconsin for Walker's ceremonial signing of legislation legalizing concealed weapons' carrying.

Walker signed the bill Friday afternoon in Rothschild, just outside Wausau. National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre joined Walker for the bill signing. 
Passing a concealed carry law has been a priority for the NRA in Wisconsin over the past few years.The governor called it long overdue, saying he co-sponsored a similar measure when he was in the State Assembly. He proclaimed himself a proud member of the NRA. 
* The NRA provided Walker with more than $815,000 in support during his 2012 recall campaign, according to the Journal Sentinel, and in 2013, Walker gave the group's annual convention in Houston a shoutout via live video for the money:
 “Most of all I want to say ‘Thank you’ to oh, so many people who helped us out in our recall election last June,” he told members at the organization’s annual gathering...
“I’m sorry I’m not able to join you Houston, but last year I had a great time in St. Louis,” he said. “And I thank you for the tremendous recognition you gave us for the good work we’ve done on concealed carry and castle doctrine right here in the state of Wisconsin.”At last year's gathering in St. Louis, Walker famously sought help in his recall election by telling members "I have become a target." 
* In 2015, Walker lauded his record of support for NRA's priorities at that year's annual convention. 
Since taking office four years ago, Walker has signed legislation allowing the concealed carry of firearms and other weapons by permit holders and establishing the so-called "castle doctrine" in which homeowners are presumed to have acted correctly if they shoot an intruder on their property. 
The Republican governor has also committed to sign legislation eliminating the state's 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases.
*  Shortly thereafter, the NRA praised Walker for signing legislation that ended that 48-hour handgun purchase waiting period: 
Your NRA-ILA would like to thank all legislators who voted in support of this legislation, especially SB 35 authors Senator Van Wanggaard (R-21) and Representative Romaine Quinn (R-75). NRA also thanks members who contacted their legislators on behalf of this bill, as passage would not have been possible without your active support.   
Please take the time to contact Governor Walker and thank him for signing SB 35 into law.  
*  By 2016, Walker's direct and indirect NRA funding had topped $3.5 million, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.

Also in 2016, Walker addressed a conference hosted by the NRA and a Wisconsin sister organization in Weston, WI  Wisconsin-based convention where, having exhausted winning approvals for gun law priorities, he gave the attendees a bill signing that boosting another NRA priority - -  ending restrictions on switchblade knives, according to Walker's office
While at the annual conference, Governor Walker also signed Assembly Bill 142 into law.  
Assembly Bill 142 – as amended, repeals the prohibition on manufacturing, selling, transporting, purchasing or possessing a switchblade knife. Additionally, the bill would prohibit political subdivisions from enacting ordinances or adopting resolutions that regulate knives more stringently than state law.
Walker has got Trump and NRA problems this year, because Wisconsin deserves better.


Friday, February 23, 2018

WI Assembly GOP sneakily green-lights rare wetland destruction

Contemptible Wisconsin Republican environmental haters just don't stop.

This relentless Walker-inspired avaricious attack on the environment, fair play and Wisconsin heritage - - all for the shallowest of 'motivations' - - partisan gain, political position and donor advantage - - began in the early days of the Walker administration.


That's when a Walker donor-developer was granted special permission through interventions by Walker and the Legislature to build on a wetland near Lambeau Field before a DNR review was completed.


That began a seven-year war - - orchestrated in the Governor's Office, abetted by malleable legislators, fueled by donors and trade groups and dutifully implemented by senior managers in the DNR and other agencies - - kept surface waters polluted and ground water contaminated- - and against all reason is about to hand over acreage within popular Kohler Andrae State Park so a prominent Walker donor can fine tune his plans for an upscale golf course development.


But wait: you haven't seen it all yet, because this disgraceful, purposeful one-party sell-out of the public's interests and resources just got more purposely and disgracefully sleazier.


Not content with opening the state to toxifying metal mining, and removing protection from 100,000 wetland acres, and allowing Foxconn to build on Racine County lake beds and flood-mitigating wetlands, the GOP-led Wisconsin Assembly outdid all its water-carrying for big corporations with a quietly-introduced amendment when the Assembly was close to adjourning that legislated permit exemptions so a single company could more easily cut down

a acres of rare Wisconsin timber.
The exemptions, in the form of a last-minute amendment to a wetlands bill, were written to benefit Meteor Timber, an Atlanta-based company, which is planning to build a sand processing plant and rail spur near I-94 in Monroe County catering to the frac sand industry.
The land now features a rare hardwoods swamp, and in May 2017 the Department of Natural Resources approved the company’s plans to destroy 16.25 [acres] of wetlands in exchange for the company making other environmental improvements... 
The amendment would exempt Meteor from some of the requirements the DNR imposed on the project. 
Like I said, they never stop.
Image result for Wisconsin forests photos

WI on air pollution: see, say, know and do nothing

Wisconsin has a hide-and-seek policy towards air pollution:

Hide the facts, seek no facts and make a dirtied-up state even dirtier.

So it's fitting that the State of Wisconsin's new official approach to Lake Michigan shoreline golf course development and air pollution data collection
Smoke stacks from a factory.
is to stop that pesky data collection
The state Assembly has passed a bill that asks the federal Environmental Protection Agency to exclude a monitoring site in a Sheboygan County state park from a statewide air-monitoring plan.
The bill passed on a party-line vote Thursday. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Scott Walker, having passed the state Senate Tuesday.
It's part of Walker's bigger plan to get federal environmental enforcement transferred back to the states, where Walker and his allies can make sure nothing happens.

Like Walker did for years when evading his obligation to enforce the Clean Water Act for Wisconsin residents. 

This mixture of do-nothingism and denial is right in line with GOP Attorney General and corporate tool Brad Schimel's battles against federal clean air and water initiatives, and his 2017 do-nothing approach when pollution facts and permit violations were staring him in the face:
...right-wing WI GOP Attorney General and corporate tool Brad Schimel had let the 3M corporation off without any financial penalty for air pollution violations during 2014 and 2015 at its Wausau manufacturing facilities.
And it's in sync with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' know-nothing scrubbing of know, published climate change data
Not content with having already stripped content and links from an agency webpage about climate change - - deletions I documented some years ago and which I have frequently referenced - - the ideologues intent on scrubbing science off these pages and sowing doubt and confusion about the consensus view of experts worldwide about climate change have edited, deleted and otherwise compressed to whitewash long-standing concepts and facts off a climate change page about the Great Lakes.

On Twitter, Walker ignoring FL massacre, gun issues

Nothing from our Governor and NRA favorite on his personal Twitter feed since his 12-word one-liner nine days ago:
 Feb 14MoreOur prayers go out to the families and friends of victims in Florida.
I don't expect to see Walker doing or tweeting a nything in support of Rick Scott, the Florida governor and another NRA-endorsee, who today took on the gun organization today by backing an increased age limit for assault-rife buyers.

Walker has been busy tweeting about things and more extensively, like his campaign merchandise, shoutouts to State Supreme Court hopeful and fellow NRA-endorsee Michael Screnock, lunch in DC with Vice-President Pence, support for athletes at the Winter Olympics, and a glowing birthday salute to George Washington - - "our best President."

Here's the most recent tweet there: 
 3 hours ago3 hours agoMoreTonette and I are in Washington, D.C. for the winter meetings of the . Heading over to the Naval Observatory to join the and for a luncheon with the Governors and First Spouses. 🇺🇸
To be fair, Walker did address the question of arming teachers - - by coming down squarely on both sides of the issue with his familiar dodge-and-stumble rhetoric:
Gov. Scott Walker Wednesday said arguments on both sides need to be looked at closely."It doesn't mean we couldn't do it.  I just think we want to make sure that it's not just a spur of the moment, but that we really look at the details and measure the pluses and minuses," Walker said.
As Walker also did on Feb. 16th, but hasn't used more than week to say something on the subject that's "not just a spur of the moment."

 TMJ4 reports these words:
Meanwhile, Gov. Scott Walker is reacting to the school shooting and what needs to be done in Wisconsin to prevent school shootings like the one in Parkland. 
“Part of this is reexamining and making sure no matter what the issue is that we’re making sure, whether it’s what we saw the other day or it’s explosive, we want everyone to feel safe, but particularly our schools,” he said. 
Walker often moves tweets to his overtly-political account from a second Twitter feed which is an @gov account devoted to official pronouncements and state business without the upfront political content. 

Here's the most current tweet there:
 49 minutes ago49 minutes agoMoreTonette and I joined other Governors and spouses at the home of Mike and Karen Pence. Nice part of the winter meetings.
On that feed he posted a few more items eight days ago related to the Florida massacre, but did not move these to his more partisan feed, perhaps because they indicated some prior interest in gun control for which he openly wants credit:
  1. The last two parts of the law came from legislation I wrote after a shooting at Wauwatosa West High School in 1993.
  2. And it applies to those who were involuntarily committed and have an order not to possess a firearm.
  3. Also, this applies to someone who was found guilty of a crime as a juvenile that would have been a felony as an adult.
  4. In Wisconsin, someone who is a felon cannot possess a firearm.
  5. Wisconsin stands with Florida. Flags will be lowered to half-staff through Monday to honor the victims and families affected by yesterday’s tragic event.