Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Foxconn bill signing in Racine County recalls more ironies

Blocking regional transit coordination, a Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee commuter rail line and Amtrak service from Madison into Racine County were among the obvious ironies enveloping Walker's signing the Foxconn subsidy deal Monday in that very same Racine County, as I'd pointed out.

Here's another:

George Petak was the Racine County State Senator whose vote in favor of a five-county (Racine included) increase of one-tenth of one-cent on the sales tax sealed a public subsidy win for building Miller Park, but taxpayer outrage of Petak's betrayal of Republicanomics led to a successful recall campaign against Petak that cost him his job in 1995.

George Petak 
Yet these days, Wisconsin GOP leaders from the Governor on down, including Republican Assembly Speaker and Racine County politico Robin Vos, just committed Wisconsin taxpayers to $3 billion over decades in public subsidies for Foxconn, a private business, and, separately, the risk of tax hikes at the local level:
The Journal Sentinel reported last month that the sheer size of the Foxconn development could challenge locals officials seeking to provide the necessary infrastructure and services without raising property taxes on existing homeowners. 
The Racine Journal Times put it this way
Because of property tax caps imposed by Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature, while the Foxconn plant is being built in whichever community it lands, that community’s town board, village board or city council might decide to increase property taxes. Which would make a certain amount of sense, since there will be a steep increase in power, water and sewer use in that community because of the gigantic new neighbor.
The new construction the Foxconn plant brings will bring about a substantial rise in new taxing authority in that community.
And there isn't a local official around who doesn't understand that rosy talk of a housing boom kicked off by the deal would also bring with it demands for schools, police patrols, fire protection and other routine residential services that taxpayers would have to cover.

In other words, these deals aren't for free, especially when they include massive sprawl development which taxpayers subsidize on the front end and then with a multitude of services going forward.

If there's a Petak principle or precedent in politics, Racine County officials and other Foxconn supporters might keep it mind.

Reminds me of the headline on a Craig Gilbert piece in the Journal Sentinel during the recall battles in 2012:
Recall politics is old hat in Racine, where no incumbent is safe.
By the way, after leaving the State Senate, Petak went to work for the state housing and development agency - - WHEDA - - under GOP Gov. Tommy Thompson, and, of late, is back at WHEDA after a varied career in and out of Wisconsin which more recently included a stint at Walker's Department of Financial Institutions, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Credit Republicans for taking of business, and their own.

Trump uses peace platform to threaten war

File under: so what did you expect?

Trump - - on our behalf, and dime, but to our unending shame - - 
Donald Trump Pentagon 2017.jpg
just spoke at the United Nations - - the international organization created after the last world war which ended in nuclear carnage, and which is dedicated, according to the first sentence in the first Article of its charter to peace-keeping through collective action - - and threatened to "totally destroy" another country.

Not to mention Trump's in-your-face violation of Article II:

  1. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

  2. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
Is there a way to send his whole crew and their white nationalist sympathizers in the first wave?

Monday, September 18, 2017

RoJo's last-ditch push to wreck American health insurance

So desperate for a 'win,' looking for a way to mollify Donald Trump and again spying another way to diminish Barack Obama's legacy which is Trump's #1 vindictive goal as I noted in November, Wisconsin's Tea Party US Senator
Ron Johnson, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
Ron Johnson joins a knot of Republican Senators who are trying to sneak through a last-ditch effort to kill Obamacare - - and substitute instead a federally-funded block grant scheme that would give governors - - mostly Republicans like Scott Walker - - life-and-death control over Medicaid and other health insurance elements. 

This is the same guy who just voted against emergency hurricane aid for Texas and Florida, so there is that logic to Johnson's selfish, soulless consistency.

As hurricanes approach again, official news you can use

As two more hurricanes approach storm-battered, shell-shocked Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico and the US mainland - - climate change deniers need not trouble themselves with this just-posted ABC story and headline - - 
Hurricane Maria upgraded to 'extremely dangerous' Category 4; islands, including Puerto Rico, brace for impact
- -  and assuming that Trump's climate change-denying but polite US EPA administrator, climate-change denying NASA administrator-nominee and USDA climate change denying chief scientist-nominee [Sic] will stick to their denials and Trump's position that this whole kerfuffle 
Even Wisconsin hit with "the recent trend..."

is the result of a hoax invented by China to promote its economy - - (collective, "HUH," here) - - I assume as I noted earlier that US officials may extend condolences to people who may again lost family, friends, home, pets and life savings with this news you can use:
"...projections of future climate over the U.S. suggest that the recent trend towards increased heavy precipitation events will continue."

Walker shills rewrite job creation record, Foxconn outlook

Walker is chairman of the Republican Governors Association, so it is not surprising that its email service today is promoting but distorting some Walker basics on a pivotal matter - - jobs.

Call it a sign that Walker's Foxconn-centered re-election campaign is in full swing, beginning in earnest with his Foxconn bill signing today.

a) The RGA email turns Foxconn's ultimate estimated jobs target into a fact, referencing "Foxconn Technology Group's pledge to...employ 13,000 workers..."

Even a link in the email to yet another RGA posting citing a story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel [Sic] makes clear that 13,000 is a jobs' target, not a hard promise.

Foxconn Technology Group on Wednesday pledged to invest $10 billion to build a display panel plant in Wisconsin that could employ up to 13,000 workers...
b) The RGA lauds Walker for job-creation that simply hasn't happened on his watch, stating "As Governor Scott Walker remains focused on job creation, pushing Wisconsin to new heights, Demcorats [Sic] like Wachs, Gronik, and Evers have made it clear they would only take the state backwards."

New heights?

Walker's failure to keep his 250,000 new-jobs-pledge has been well-documented, his job growth record for 2016 was his worst annual performance, ever, and there was yet another drop just last month in key jobs in Wisconsin, as noted in his administration's news release on employment data last week:

...a preliminary one-month decrease of 8,800 total non-farm and 5,200 private sector jobs from July to August 2017. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Foxconn bill signing to spotlight Walker/Vos transportation incompetence

Walker is to sign the Foxconn subsidy bill on Monday in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, where yes, there is an Amtrak station near Foxconn's likely state-subsidized development site, but, no, there isn't Amtrak service
for potential Madison and Dane County Foxconn hirees whom Walker intentionally denied a federally-funded Amtrak connection.

*  As I recently wrote during the unfolding FUBAR that is Foxconn:

Right-wing GOP WI Governor and shallow ideologue Scott Walker for the narrowest of partisan and self-serving political motives wiped out the federally-funded Hiawatha Amtrak connection between Madison and Milwaukee and south through Racine County to Chicago.
So there is more fresh context to Walker's stupid move beyond the lost ridership and convenience and intercity connections felt everyday in the region if you absorb these few relevant sentences in a long Journal Sentinel piece about the potential move by electronics behemoth Foxconn to build a massive plant near Racine: 
If Foxconn landed tomorrow, it would siphon tech talent from existing employers, leaving gaping holes throughout the region in one information technology department after another. Wage inflation would be inevitable, particularly for high-tech positions, as would be a new breed of long-distance commuter drawn from Chicago and Madison, who would spend hours every day on I-94, business leaders concur.
"Hours every day on I-94?"
What kind of selling point is that?
No one wants to or should spend their days that way, especially since I-94 is in the midst of years of delayed construction south from Milwaukee through Racine and Kenosha counties and east from Milwaukee through the Zoo interchange, and in a few years I-94 west from the Zoo Interchange to the Jefferson County line.
If Walker hadn't obstructed the Amtrak extension to win anti-Obama votes in Waukesha County during his 2010 campaign and then as follow-through when sworn in, the Madison-Milwaukee Amtrak line would be finished.
*  And there is no coordinated regional transit authority or regional commuter rail through Racine County to bring to the Foxconn site local and regional workers, contractors or visitors without cars or located too far to drive thanks to the transit-hostile stance of powerful Racine County state representative and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

Again, as I wrote recently, and thus to be fair, let's give Vos his proper shoutout for the FUBAR that is Foxconn and for the embarrassingly decision to have the Foxconn subsidy bill signed in Sturtevant:

The record shows that:
* Vos got the 2011 legislature to ban regional transit authorities, (RTAs), a move, by the way,  which has effectively blocked the construction of a commuter rail line (the KRM), linking Kenosha, Racine (Vos' home county) and Milwaukee counties, thus denying his own constituents rail services that also were to include an easy transfer to Chicago's METRA commuter service.
The KRM would have been a great selling point to Foxconn... 
 The wipeout of RTA's also made it harder in general  for transit services to be coordinated across County and jurisdictional boundaries, as I noted in 2016 when Vos was ramping up his campaign against transit by proposing (unsuccessfully, but it's a sure tell about his views), the removal of transit funding from the state transportation budget (more dedicated dollars for the road-builders), and making transit compete for regular state financing with other "social services."
...GOP Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, (R-Rochester, Racine County)...tried in the last state budget now that he is Assembly Speaker to further starve transit by removing it altogether from the state transportation fund - - a dream of the road-builders, for sure...considers transit "a social service."
Vos began to make his mark as Wisconsin Public Transit Enemy #1 or #2 ( remember, Walker is in charge) as a mere Assemblyman four years ago when he pushed the State Legislature to war counties from creating Regional Transit Authorities.
So more regional connections were barred and lost to counties, including Milwaukee - - just like what was sacrificed on a grander scale when Walker blocked new rail connections between Milwaukee, Madison and the Twin Cities when he successfully rejected $810 million in federal stimulus funds to add Amtrak services, rail bed upgrades, plus train assembly and maintenance jobs in Milwaukee, too.
 As I wrote in 2012, after Vos made his move against the RTA's:
Transit has been outright attacked in the region, led by State Rep. Robin Vos, a legislator from Racine County, a SEWRPC County.
Wisconsin legislators, with the full support of the Waukesha County delegations, used the 2011-2013 state budget to wipe out cooperative, cross-jurisdictional Regional Transit Authorities, which affirmed the anti-transit, anti-Milwaukee position taken by Waukesha's County Board when it refused to join such a body that could have more closely aligned services with Milwaukee.
If Foxconn were to build a 10,000-employee factory in Racine County, there would be a need for extensive transit coordination among Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee counties to help move unprecedented numbers of people in and out of the Racine area.
The very regional transit authorities Vos helped kill are the perfect method for that coordination, and also provide transit options, new development and business opportunities at stations, transfer points and along routes themselves.
It's called common sense, or transit oriented development.
 But as The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said in a 2013 editorial, Vos helped ban the regional transit authorities and has not followed through on a plan to recreate them 

Scott Walker's missing Foxconn word

Since I'm trying to be thorough, will anyone who sees or reads that Scott Walker has used the word "subsidy" to describe the $3 billion in state funds he and his GOP legislative allies are handing Foxconn please send me the link?

I see in this Journal Sentinel story lede paragraph that the "multi-billion subsidy bill" was approved by the Legislature:

MADISON – The state Senate on Tuesday approved a multibillion-dollar subsidy bill for a massive flat-screen plant even as Kenosha dropped its bid for the factory and its thousands of potential jobs. 
And here it is again - -  "Foxconn $3 billion subsidy bill" - - right there in last week's Wisconsin State Journal summary piece headline
Foxconn $3 billion subsidy bill heads to Scott Walker's desk after passing Legislature
And former Journal Sentinel business editor and current editorial page editor David Haynes managed to use the word twice when running down the state's Foxconn checklist: 
Big checks to subsidize the cost of the factory: Done!

Big checks to subsidize the jobs: OK!

Unlimited Lake Michigan water: Check!

Suspension of some inconvenient state environmental rules: You bet!

Go straight to the state Supreme Court if sued and automatically stay lower court orders: Why not?
But darned if I can find it in Walker statements, or by project boosters, like this columnist who managed to write about Foxconn, and but went with "incentives" or "incentive package" instead of the "s" word six times in just a few paragraph.

Let's not forget that that Walker opposed the federally-constructed, Obama-backed Midwest rail Amtrak extension from Milwaukee to Madison on fiscal grounds.

"The bottom line is, right now, I've seen no scenario where the taxpayers of the state of Wisconsin aren't gonna be on the hook for millions of dollars."
So a foot-stomping Walker "no" to purported millions - - subsides, bad - - but an enthusiastic "yes to billions as incentives, good great! - - dissonance linked only by their proximity to partisan campaigns for Governor by the same candidate who, coincidentally, never met his pledged, grandiose job-creation numbers in his first term that he's desperate to paper over in term number three. 

Through incentives.

Sidebar: Walker overstated Amtrak costs which might have fallen to state taxpayers for the Milwaukee-Madison extension's operations - - those numbers are laid out here - - so do not be surprised if Walker continues to overstate the number of jobs Foxconn may delivers; right now he treats the company's ultimate projection of 13,000 jobs, and thousands more in spin-off work over decades, as done deals.

Related sidebar: Neither Walker or Foxconn champion GOP Assembly Speaker Vos will never refer to the $250 million in taxpayer dollars they are committing to I-94 work near Foxconn's probable Racine County construction site as what is  a routine subsidy which they, and government, hand at the 100% level to such projects.
"...it makes perfect sense because it’s one of the things Foxconn needs,” said Vos, R-Rochester.
Final sidebar: By the time Walker had finished destroying the Amtrak rail extension, Wisconsin taxpayers had transferred to the train manufacturer $50 million in equipment and legal costs for the state's having broken a contract, with zero passenger service, rail-related development or return to taxpayers.

That's not a subsidy. That's not an incentive package. That's a gift.

Anyway - - maybe the subsidy word sounds dirty to Republicans, like the way they clip "Democratic" in "Democratic Party" into the sputtered slur "Democrat."

Or admitting they love subsidies would collide devastatingly with language in the Wisconsin GOP platform like, "we encourage proposals supporting free markets and minimizing government interference in the marketplace."

And might remind people that Walker turned down federal Medicaid expansion funding and actually increased state taxpayer costs by hundreds of millions of dollars because Walker made the claim that the Medicaid portion of Obamacare was bad fiscally for states and ideologically harmful for recipients:

 “I’m not talking about having the same subsidy from the government...All those above [the poverty level], we transitioned them to the marketplace....They’re better off than they were before. The government just giving them something, even in the form of a subsidy, isn’t necessarily good for them."
Or because transparently describing the Foxconn subsidies as subsidies would flat out give the lie to Walker's repeated pledge against using government to pick winners and losers.

Regardless, if you see Walker speak the subsidy word, let me know.

I want to incentivize the appeal for readers of my Foxconn file.


A Foxconn Fever primer

[Updated continuously throughout July, August, September ] Foxconn wants to build in Wisconsin, so here is a growing archive of coverage and commentary on this blog, beginning with what's most recent:

Walker-led GOP group whitewashes his past, Foxconn future
Walker shills rewrite his job creation record, Foxconn outlook
*  Really painful, stupefying irony alert
Foxconn bill signing to spotlight Walker/Vos transportation incompetence
* Walker, Foxconn and the "s" word
Scott Walker's missing Foxconn word
* Foxconn deal underscores Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality 'governance
Walker's WI is model hard-right "chamber of commerce" state 
*  Oh, and about that little overlooked Foxconn item - - a Lake MI diversion
Foxconn water diversion story needed more attention 
*  Viewing Foxconn through Walker's discarded ethics lens
Walker's deleted ethics code could have skewed Foxconn giving, lobbying
*  Foxconn is Walker's biggest use of gov't to pick winners and losers, yet...
Despite denials, Walker uses gov't. to pick winners & losers
*  WI Senate joins the Foxconn parade
Wis conned. GOP-led State Senate gives OK to unprecedented giveaways.
*  Not this special favor for Foxconn, this one!
WI GOP Senate Leader adds phantom judicial 'restriction' to Foxconn deal
*  Foxconn settles on Racine County, despite flooding history there
Foxconn headed for flood-prone Racine County
*  Foxconn might feel it's the one which got conned
For new WI mines, more env. giveaways than Foxconn got
*  Along with tax breaks, free highway work - - special Supreme Court access
WI GOP lawmakers hand Foxconn newer, bigger favor
* One potential Foxconn locale is struggling with the opportunity
With Foxconn looming, Mount Pleasant had a meltdown
* Out-going DNR Secretary Stepp spills the beans
DNR's Stepp says a Foxconn was the plan all along
* Holding Foxconn to the Walker/Trump environmental (will-wink) 'standards'
Exposing Walker's environmental Foxconn con
'No-tax-increase Walker' might just raise local taxes
Add local taxpayers to school on cusp of Foxconning
*  WI may find Foxconn draining education funding
WI legislators, on educ. funding today, could show Foxconn effect 
*  Latest news: Foxconn's billion-dollar 'strain' on state budgets, or "D'uh!"
Go suck on $1 billion worth of lemons, Bucky
*  At least this time he didn't call you an ISIS fighter.
Vintage Walker uses Foxconn to flip off the people
*  A rushed project would not need so many corrections.
Another day, another Foxconn data correction.
*  GOP leaders Walker/Vos/Stepp have long failed job creation, environmental protection pledges.
On Foxconn assurances, consider the sources and histories
*  13,000 jobs? No accident that the Assembly and public didn't have all the facts
Put Foxconn on hold until Walker explains data suppression
*  Robin Vos, reckless and feckless.
Robin Vos trivialized $3 billion, ignored shocking jobs info
*  Dispensing with clean blue water, green legacy. 
Green? WI GOP likes brown, orange, perhaps blackish and 'sudsy'
*  And the next shoe drops. 
Seeing Foxconn 'win, WI GOP env. wrecking crew eyes mining favors 
*  Walker, GOP laid Foxconn groundwork years ago.
Foxconn favors are basic to Walker, GOP's sloppy playbook
*  Walker evades leadership from #Foxconn to #Charlottesville.
On jobs, moral leadership, persistent Walker con
*  Reality, troubling numbers, no state budget mean nothing to GOP legislature.
GOP Foxconn votes proceed robotically as jobs, revenue estimates fall
* New Foxconn bill version, same environmental rollbacks, records show.
Amended Foxconn bill retains env. waivers, special privileges
*  Changing the rules to fit the players.

As WI, GOP change the rules for Foxconn, a reminder
*WI will subsidize Foxconn jobs paying nowhere near family-supporting wages.
WI now talking about <$15-per-hour Foxconn jobs
*  Now they're just wishing and hoping.
Witless Walker's farcical Foxconn fix
*  The Chicago Sun-Times 'thanks' Walker for pro-Illinois Foxconn plan
Another bad review for Walker's Foxconn deal
*  Now we look for solace to Scott Fitzgerald (!) as Foxconn gets horrible reviews.
Foxconn doubters turn their lonely eyes to...Scott Fitzgerald!
*  Foxconn is to get a pass from normal DNR reviews, which is fine with the DNR.
Stepp puts the DNR in on Foxconn env. evasion
*  Walker told his Foxconn critics to 'go suck lemons.' Then...
Sucking lemons - - or absorbing buyer's remorse - - for 26 sucking years
*  Walker's fake-news Foxconn projects are collapsing.
Foxconn taxpayer projections zoom, payroll benefits plunge
* No surprise that major WI polluting industry. wants env. exemptions.
If Foxconn is exempted from env. oversight, why not CAFOs?
Who's to say that Foxconn privileges won't be applied statewide?
And if environmental rules and laws are waived for Foxconn...  
* Does Michigan have better deal-makers than Wisconsin? 
Foxconn eyes Michigan for high tech development site
*  Water law expert says Foxconn environmental rollback endangers the deal.

Noted water law expert predicts WI officials' Foxconn 'bungle'
*  The Walker/WMC tag team.
Foxconn to locate at intersection of Walker and WMC avenues
*  Big business laughs off Foxconn project environmental concerns.
Wisconsin Biz lobby sneers at routine Wisconsin conservation guarantee
*  Walker never saw a wetland he didn't want filled.
Walker's giveaway Foxconn bill extends his war on wetlands
*  Zoo Interchange completion $$ rerouted to another project for Foxconn.
Because the I-94 Vos/Foxconn exit isn't in the Zoo Interchange
*  Foxconn process 'open,' says Walker after closed door briefing for GOP caucuses.
Walker opens 'open' Foxconn FavorFest behind closed doors
*  Walker, Ryan producing Foxconn political ads.
Walker giveth to Foxconn, taketh for his re-election
*  Walker would allow Foxconn 19th century 'environmental' practices.
'Wisconsin Valley' or Wisconsin, Inc. dead zone?
*  The Legislature pushed to re-create Wisconsin as Wisconsin, Inc.
Rushed Foxconn special session set for 11 a.m. August 1
*  SE WI communities should worry about what Walker wants to do with their budgets, tax collections:
For Foxconn, Walker bets your farm, breaks the bank(s)
*  Walker, AG and legislature could give away what's not theirs:
Foxconn favors face WI Constitutional barrier
*  GOP Wi Attorney General Brad Schimel weighs in, pre-emptively and rhetorically.
Greenlight for Foxconn in WI AG's Tweet, rhetoric
*  Walker to convert Wisconsin to Wisconn without a constitutional convention, and if you don't like it, 'go suck lemons."
Walker to sacrifice DNR, PSC and WisDot integrity for 'Wisconn'
*  The cynical pot has his say.
Walker - - Gov. Cynicism - - decries Foxconn 'cynics'
*  Walker already has '18 campaign in Foxconn frame:
About Walker's '18 election Foxconn over-under
*  In Walker's Wisconsin, some blue-collar jobs are more important than others:
Walker touts Foxconn construction jobs, threw away Amtrak's
* Walker, Trump should become the new champions of Great Lakes preservation and climate change science: 
Great Lakes water lifts Foxconn deal
*  About jobs:
3,000 Foxconn jobs would not = 3,776 WI mfg. jobs lost in '16
*  Are HB-5 $$-for-visas in the deal:
Are green cards for investment in a Foxconn-WI deal?
*  Public dollars needed:
How many WI dollars will Walker give super-wealthy Foxconn?
*  When Foxconn stiffed another state:
If you've got Foxconn fever, remember Pennsylvania's hangover
*  Vos blocked transit Foxconn workers could have used:
Vos' long transit blockade does not help Racine's Foxconn future
* Walker killed Amtrak service Foxconn might have loved: 
Amtrak line killed by Walker could have fed Foxconn


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Walker's WI is model hard-right "chamber of commerce" state

[Updated from 9/15/17] 

True story:

A friend walked by the house in early 2011 after Walker had dropped his Act 10 bomb on an unsuspecting citizenry, and asked, more or less in shock: "I wonder what they would have said if we had won and had just gone for everything?"

"They" being the right, talk radio, and the newly-invigorated Grand Old Party.

"But we'd never have done that," he said, addressing his own rhetorical question, dismissing equivalencies. "We're too nice."

My friend is a public employee. By "everything" from Walker and the right, he meant their broad assault on public sector bargaining, workers' rights and personal budgets, and union power.

In retrospect, his definition of "everything" turned out to be oh-so-narrow; note that the long-delayed State budget finally passed Friday on the strength of sops to the right no one predicted during the bad old Act 10 days, like Walker's pledge to speed up a broadening cut in blue-collar worker wages on state projects like highways, and a new attack on teachers by devaluing the licensing procedure, thus their profession and achievements.

For the record, here's an off-the-top-of-my-head accounting of the "everything" that Walker and the right went after following Act 10 - - telegraphed in 2010 by his appointment of a developer to run the Department of Natural Resources with "a chamber of commerce mentality" - - including all the fresh deplorables wrapped up in Foxconn Folly and the ideological mess that is the budget about to pass which passed the State Senate Friday night after further, selective partisan secrecy and one-party deal-making.

'Right to work,' passed. Prevailing wage rate on state and road projects killed. $7.25 minimum wage hardened. Food stamp eligibility reduced, food stamp drug-testing escalated, tax cuts for business expanded, tax cuts for high earners expanded, taxes for working poor increased in two budgets. 

Wetland fillings, stream bank development, lake bed development (Foxconn) encouraged by Walker's "chamber of commerce mentality" WI DNR. Endbridge tar sand pipeline capacity expanded w/out substantial environmental review, solar installations and wind turbines discouraged or obstructed. Hybrid and electric vehicle fees boosted. Vastly expanded sand mining, Gtac iron mine, more sulfide-rock/cyanide-aided mining, and proposed North 40 mine along Menominee River all pushed over local or Native American sovereign nation objections. 

Local home rule authority over collective bargaining, public employee wages, environmental protection, taxing levels, transit extensions, voting hours, streetcar/sidewalk/bike path programs and other local powers and initiatives blocked, barred or defunded. 

Climate change & DNR science positions deleted. Regulated businesses, even with fewer inspections, encouraged to write their own operating permit conditions. CAFO size limits overturned and oversight rolled back, contaminated well water tolerated, groundwater for big users privatized, permanently. Clear Power Act/air fought. Multiple US EPA clean water policies slowed, fought. State phosphorous rule implementation weakened by 25 years. Forest land owners allowed tax breaks on increased acreages formerly open to public access.

Federal Amtrak funding turned back. Broadband funding turned back. Medicaid funding turned back. Voter ID implemented. Gerrymandering drafted in secret. Planned Parenthood defunded. Public school funding slashed, private school funding boosted, UW funding slashed, faculty hours Big Brothered, UW 'research' turned right. 

Judicial Commission and Government Accountability Board altered, watered down or stuffed. Campaign, third-party coordination fund-raising approved. State Supreme Court recusal rule rewritten by donors to serve donors. State Supreme Court turned right, State Supreme Court Chief Justiceship turned right. 

NRA agendas implemented, including approvals for concealed carry, elimination of the 48-hour handgun post-sale possession waiting period, establishment of the so-called 'Castle Doctrine' self-defense privilege, and expanded hunting on public lands.

State corporate lending, under Walker chairmanship (WEDC), corrupted. State 2017-'19 budget repeatedly delayed & amended in secret, budget flexibility, even solvency imperiled for 25 years (Foxconn), and turned into campaign re-election tool (Foxconn, Walker).


As I said, it's an incomplete list. Commenters will add more. But that's what going "for everything" is doing to Wisconsin, and why it will take forever, if ever, to turn things around here.


Friday, September 15, 2017

How to make friends and influence people after big hurricanes

Hard to forget EPA petroleum industry captive-in-chief Scott Pruitt's toweringly stupid remark after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma's record-setting rains:
 “To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is...very, very insensitive..."
But since NASA has this to say about climate change and its effects - - 
Projections of future climate over the U.S. suggest that the recent trend towards increased heavy precipitation events will continue. 
- - here's a way that officials in states like Wisconsin where there has been repetitive major storm damage, 

and surely in hurricane-prone Florida where the phrase "climate change" is verboten can communicate productively with storm victims without being "very insensitive."

Officials should not mention climate change when meeting with or hugging storm victims. 

Officials should instead say "p
rojections of future climate over the U.S. suggest that the recent trend towards increased heavy precipitation events will continue" when meeting with or hugging storm victims.

That'll be helpful and effective.