Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Disappointed WI man still can't accept election results

The 22nd such tweet:
OUR LEGACY: More people working in 2018 than ever before, some of highest graduation rates in US, $8 billion in tax relief, 6 years of UW tuition freeze, some of best healthcare for quality in US.

2 hours ago

Walker 'reviewing' power-grabbing/bad sausage-making bill

I suppose you saw this only-in-Wisconsin story the other day:
Wisconsin man sentenced to federal prison for tampering with sausages
KIEL, Wis. — A Wisconsin man has been sentenced to federal prison for placing “foreign objects” into Johnsonville Sausage links.
Which raises this question:

If, as some say, that watching legislation take shape is like seeing sausage being made - - 

- - I will only say it once: 

It would be no surprise at all if Walker were to do his wurst to the monster serving of power-bragging legislative sausage he's 'reviewing' for possible vetoes.

You don't think after eight years of serving special interests and embedding GOP advantage throughout the political and natural environment that he actually has the authentic public interest in mind, do you?

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Bad Penny Butina haunting Walker's last days

No doubt when alleged Russian agent Maria Butina cops a plea tomorrow - -
Maria Butina set to plead guilty to conspiring to act as agent of Kremlin, documents shows
- - photo editors in Wisconsin media are going to dig up photos like this culled from a pro-Walker for President Pac. : 
Torshin, Walker, Butina

WI DNR sued over Foxconn water diversion records

Environmentalists are already challenging the DNR's approval of a Lake Michigan diversion - - a recent update about that challenge is here - - and one organization filed a separate lawsuit last week over access to DNR records about the diversion
Lake Michigan

the group claims are being withheld, according to the Associated Press: 
Midwest Environmental Advocates challenged the DNR’s approval in May of the city of Racine’s request to pull millions of gallons from the lake daily for the plant. 
Midwest Environmental Advocates then filed a lawsuit on Dec. 3 alleging the DNR hadn’t fully complied with a request, submitted in August, for records relating to the diversion.
I will add this new development to the Foxconn archive I have been updating since the spring of 2017.

For the record, the DNR did not provide comment to the AP for its story.

And I also note that the Walker administration is working overtime to keep control of the project, first by transferring much of the state's relationship with Foxconn to the GOP-controlled legislature through the power grab bill, and now, it seems, by withholding records from a Foxconn litigant already preparing a challenge to the water diversion for presentation to a state administrative law judge.

Sounds like more dirty pool to me.

Walker can't understand what the big deal is with the bill

Walker is apparently - - 

- - reading the bill from his last stop at Culver's.

“ I have yet found anything that fundamental shifts power away from the governor and AG” - on reviewing lame duck legislation.

And there's more good news, as Walker says he'll only do the right thing, just like he's been doing since Day One, which is when he suspended a DNR wetland permit review so a donor-developer could get his bid box project into the ground faster.

Backing Trump 100%, Ryan cements 'legacy'

From tax breaks for the rich, to budget-smashing deficits and finally to the wasteful, hateful border wall, Ryan gives the loudmouth-in-chief one last Oval Office bear hug
“Our position is the president’s position,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) told reporters at a news conference.
As has been the norm during Ryan's short, failed and abandoned occupancy of the Speaker's position and its obligations to democracy. 

And remember how Walker, Ryan and Priebus were the hot-shot Republican smarty-pants from Wisconsin taking over the country?

They can all go to work at the losers' lipstick factory.

Big order of lipstick for that pig arrives on Walker's desk

Vos has run out,

but don't worry, Walker's the expert on such things so has made sure the Governor's office just got a big delivery:
Scott Walker backs lame-duck bills, says they don't make Tony Evers a weak governor 
"Let’s set the record straight — the new governor will still have some of the strongest powers of any governor in the nation if these bills become law," Walker wrote in a lengthy Facebook post. 
Walker neglected to point out that some of the measures giving the Legislature more power are similar to those he has vetoed in the past for intruding on his authority. 
Yeah, take that, Evers, you ingrate. 

Walker is fiddle-tweeting while the planet burns

We know Walker has had climate change materials scrubbed from DNR websites.

We know his contempt for voting runs from stifling the results of the election just lost to promoting restrictive voting hours and implementing voter ID laws to tamp down turnout in Democratic areas - - and those past suppressionist practices are codified in the Power Grab bill rushed to his desk by GOP legislators safely ensconced in safely-gerrymandered seats.

With his history about voting and climate science in mind, do you also know that: 

Wisconsin scientists have just published data showing the fast-warming planet approaching a climactic negative climate posture - - by 2030.

* And while there is no mention on Walker's official twitter feed of this momentous local and international news, his most recent three official tweets as Governor of the State of Wisconsin are about how to vote Wisconsin singer Chris Kroeze into "The Voice" semifinals.

Let’s get WI’s own into the finale! VOTE TONIGHT!
--------------------------------------- Chris Kroeze is a fine musician and singer from Barron, Wisconsin. I watch the show. It's nice for Wisconsin to be represented. So no offense to him, but I'd sure like to see the Governor use his official twitter account to transmit some information about real voting issues, and real news.
Does he understand that the voters dismissed him be cause he dismissed them?

Monday, December 10, 2018

WI GOP leader's 'I know you are, but what am I' op-ed

The Grand Old Party in getting grander here, as Robin Vos channels the famous Pee Wee Herman one-liner "I know you are, but what am I?"

Where can you see this awesome post-election Republican transformation from the Party of Lincoln to the Party of Pee Wee?

In a Wisconsin State Journal op-ed with an Onionesque headline which collectors of hard-copy newspapers will want to mount in their scrapbooks:

Speaker Robin Vos: Sensationalized rhetoric serves no one
Seriously, this would be like seeing the worship bulletin touting the upcoming sermon, "On monogamy: the Trump view,"  or your monthly business breakfast newsletter offering a GOP speaker on "Trade wars and special counsel fights are easy to win."

At first I thought the op-ed was incorrectly attributed, since the Robin Vos in Wisconsin politics is the one who had just been quoted rather hyperbolically by the AP after his party had lost all the statewide races on Nov. 6th with these words:
“We are not going to roll over and play dead like they assume we probably should.”  
He says Republicans must protect their legacy and “stand like bedrock to guarantee that Wisconsin does not go back.”
By the way, rolling over and playing dead while standing on bedrock is about as bad for your health as keeping your nose to the grindstone while putting your shoulder to the wheel.

Then I remembered Vos not too long ago had called fellow GOP legislators "terrorists" for having sided on budget issues with Gov. Walker. 

And had aimed vitriol Walker's way in some ill-tempered September, 2017 mean texting in September, 2017, too: 

"I won’t forget this,” the Rochester Republican texted the GOP governor after he announced his veto plans...“I'm passing the budget this week and leaving, not to return until October.”
And Vos had even more recently gone after "ultra liberal" judges in Dane County - -and specifically Walker appointee, to boot - - whom Vos labeled "an activist" for ruling that was Walker was required to call special elections to fill legislative vacancies. 

Vacancies which Walker had created, to boot.

One of the judge's senior colleagues did not appreciate Speaker's rhetoric, for which Vos did not apologize:

That was met with a stinging rebuke by Circuit Judge William Hanrahan, who called Vos’s statements “inflammatory, uncalled for," and patently offensive...” 
The record also shows that Vos' sensationalized rhetoric has extended to attacks on a non-partisan, long-serving civil servant atop a non-partisan state agency which Vos has has helped weaken and politicize:

“Kevin Kennedy has to go. He needs to be gone,” Vos said at a luncheon Tuesday. “He is an embarrassment, and I can’t say it any more emphatically than I am right now. 
You see, sensationalized rhetoric does serve someone.
Wisconsin’s longest-serving chief election official, who presided over the rise and fall of the state’s nonpartisan government oversight agency, has announced his retirement. 
Kevin Kennedy, 64, will retire on June 29, according to a letter he gave to the Government Accountability Board on Sunday...
Anyway, I read the entire State Journal op-ed.

It's basically a C.Y.A./cut-and-paste chain of GOP talking points Republicans have had on autoplay since their 141-page secret plan to recast state government into a permanent arm of Republican legislators and donors was hurriedly released and rushed to Walker's desk. 

Though it's also possible monkeys at typewriters randomly pounded out sentences like these, and note, please, that t
he italicizations are my added efforts to free some unintentional parody in the op-ed text from possible mis-interpretation:
Many bills in last week’s extraordinary session should not come as a surprise... 
The package of bills is a continuation of the work we have done over the last eight years that has made Wisconsin the gem of the Midwest... 
My office door will be open to Gov.-elect Evers for him to propose any bipartisan idea where we can work together. 
P.S. About that 'gem of the Midwest boast, please this report:
Latest data show Minnesota economy crushing it vs. Wisconsin
P.P.S.  I see no mention in Vos' list no-surprises' list of the information in today's New York Times about Walgreen's well-greased thumb on the scales.

And about the dark-store referenda mentioned in the Times piece which passed across the state in advisory voting in the same Nov. 6th election which Vos and his allies are studiously nullifying.

Another drafting error, I presume.


Sunday, December 9, 2018

The WI GOP's power grab talking points are getting loopier

Do you remember those vintage "Chatty Cathy" dolls that spoke some sentences if you pulled a cord on the back,
and do you remember how garbled the sentences became when the doll's sound mechanism began to fail? 

Something like 'Cathy has a new blue dress' could become 'Tacky is eew boo derp,’ or sounds to that effect.

It appears as if something like that is happening to Robin Vos, the GOP Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, who has been talking a lot about the power grab bill he and his allies have rushed to outgoing GOP Gov. Walker's desk after Walker's stunning 30,000+ vote loss to Democrat Tony Evers.

And when offering up one of the GOP's talking point justifications for the bill to The New York Times last week, Vos came up with these words: 
“If you took Madison and Milwaukee out of the state election formula, we would have a clear majority,” he said. 
Now that, of course, is pure nonsense. It was word salad that went bad. 

It'd be like someone calling Chicago sports talk radio and saying, 'If you took Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers out of the record books, the Bears would have a clear majority' of wins between the two teams.

Or, ‘If you took Madison and Milwaukee out of the state population formula, Wisconsin would be without its two biggest revenue donors. And its biggest economic, cultural, financial, educational, commercial and transportation centers.’

Which would leave Vos and fellow election nullifier Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald managing a smaller, poorer, less interesting, less forward-looking, less attractive state with a much-reduced flow of state income tax collections, vital federal funding based on population and at least two fewer Congressional seats and electoral votes.

So...sorry, Mr. Speaker. You have been able to pack partisan votes into legislative districts which have given your party artificially-lopsided majorities, but somehow erasing Madison and Milwaukee voters from the rolls and the cities from the map would be an impossible end run around various, um, Constitutions.

But keep up these attacks on foundational rights and our big cities, and you make Minnesota look even more attractive as the upper Midwestern destination of choice for people looking to live, work, invest, participate in democracy, and send the kids to college.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Walkerites' unbearable and dangerous elitism

You know what has really stuck in my craw since 1.3+ million Democrats voted Scott Walker out, and his legislative allies began almost immediately signaling they weren't going to let go of power - - even though Democrats Tony Evers, Mandela Barnes and Josh Kaul beat the incumbent Republicans fair-and square?

This mindset and justification offered up by Scott Fitzgerald, 
Wisc Sen. Scott Fitzgerald.jpg
the Wisconsin GOP State Senate Majority leader and lead election nullifiying excuse-maker in the Legislature's super chamber:
One of the Legislature's top Republicans said he helped write a sweeping plan that weakens the incoming Democratic governor because Republicans "don't trust Tony Evers right now."
Set aside that Fitzgerald doesn't care about or even grip the irony that he's raising a trust issue while discussing the power grab bill he and his allies wrote in secret, then sprung on an unsuspecting public.

What's important about that sentence is that it exposes the Wisconsin Republican philosophy that the people cannot be trusted to make a choice, and Republicans will not let that choice be routinely implemented because Republicans Walker, Fitzgerald, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and virtually every member of their caucuses are, in lock-step, substituting their will for the ballot-box expression of the people's choices.

Talk about elitism: One little group knows better than the 1.3+ million Wisconsinites who said otherwise. How very old-timey Sovietski-ish of them.
Likewise for their exercise of self-perpetuation through gerrymandering. 

And once you understand that this elite is showing itself, other bits and pieces fall into place, so...

* Of course, the Walker-centered elites would be fine forcing homeowners and farmers off their property in Mount Pleasant so Foxconn could have the land. To the elites, your domain is subject to the eminent domain whims and lawyering of our Badgerland eminences.

* Of course, the elites in the Republican government would take the advice of the major business organization Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and block a review of the environmental issues the massive Foxconn project's siting will raise - - and then moved in the lame-duck power grabbing session to add two more special-interest carveouts: a bill written at the WMC's request to extend big business' control of much of the state's natural resources, and another bill that will guarantee the road-builders additional, lucrative work with less local control and environmental considerations - - summarized here.

Because elites outside the government demand special treatment and their elite servants inside the government will provide it. It's an elitism mobius strip, and everybody in the loop is a winner.

*  Of course, another major business organization representing the dairy industry would be invited to sit down with Walker to weaken groundwater contamination rules which, data show, need to be strengthened to prevent residential well contamination. 

*  Similarly,  an even bigger swath of corporate Wisconsin is beating on the administration's doors for control over groundwater they demanded in their hand-delivered demands which went from legislators to Vos to GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel.

The elites call that process "certainty." It certainly reeks of entitled special treatment.

* Of course, Walker as a general rule would repetitively distance himself from the people except in game day selfies, whether never issuing a pardon, never visiting a state correctional facility, never approving an increase in the state minimum wage of $7.25-per-hour after nearly 27 straight years collecting guaranteed state paychecks, raises, health insurance, retirement benefits, travel expenses, free phones, conference expenses, per diem payments, and, since 2011, residency in the Executive Mansion.

Because elites expect to be coddled. Their bills are really yours. Like taxes, as the sage said, everyday costs are for little people.

And ditto for meeting them close up. Of course, Walker would repeatedly call his by-invitation-only meet-and-greets "listening sessions,' or Ryan could go more than 600 days without holding an in-person town hall meeting in the congressional district he then abandoned, preferring to drink $350 bottles of wine with DC insiders. 

And, of course, being elites who are above it all, Walker would not even deign to go to his own election night gathering and make a public concession, just as Fitzgerald and Vos did not attend the fast-tracked hearings on their power grab bill to which which hundreds of everyday citizens trekked in the cold, then signed up to speak, then waited their turn and had their say while Vos and Fitzgerald were unavailable to listen.

Like Walker's 'listening sessions,' being close to the public isn't what the elites do. That's why the rich have private country clubs, and GOP state capitol leaders have private offices to avoid the public they have no interest in listening to, let alone trust as the real title-holders of the democracy.

So when Fitzgerald says he doesn't trust Tony Evers, he means you.

Ebeneezer Walker hears from a Governor past

Scrooge might be seeing things at night in the Mansion.

Because signing the power grab bill would be political Bah Humbug, warns a former resident.
Governor Scott McCallum 2001.jpg
It appears completely political, (like) a power grab,” former Republican Gov. Scott McCallum said in an interview with the Journal Sentinel. 
No fresh clues in Walker's twitter feed, where he had a 21-installment self-justifying digital frenzy today, so may need more visits from Governors past for the necessary humility infusion. 

Tommy Tommy Thompson has declined to join the story.
Republican Tommy Thompson, who won four terms as governor, declined to comment on the measures passed by the Legislature early Wednesday, saying he didn't "want to get involved."

Walker's "OUR LEGACY" tweet storm signals power grab bill signing

Memo to Walker:

You wouldn't need to dump out a self-serving, disingenuous ("OUR?") 21-part tweet storm including items like this:
 3 hours ago3 hours agoMoreOUR LEGACY - We now require able-bodied, working-age adults to work to get public assistance 

unless you were gearing up for your final middle-finger power-grabbing bill igning salute.

And, by the way, legacies are conferred by others.

Fools and weaklings arrogate their own.

Here's what the people did for you, legacy-wise.

The feds have found 'Individual 1.' In WI, let's keep Walker singular.

While people on Twitter are amusing each other with clues to the identity of "Individual 1,there has never been any doubt that Scott Walker has been the Number 1 obstacle to democracy in Wisconsin since 2011.

Note that there have been other Walker nicknames or labels during his almost eight-year reign:

*  "The original Tea Party in Wisconsin" was one he came up with.

* Then there was "the environmental destroyer," which I gifted to Walker even before he took the oath of office for his first term - - and which later took a 21-part blog series to unpack and catalogue..

* And don't forget "Midwestern nice." That was one of his early favorites, but which needed corrections a while ago because:

*  How many "nice" politicians cut record-breaking sums from public school children's educations...?
*  How many "nice" politicians quietly insert in their budgets, out-of-the-blue, that poor citizens, based on zero evidence, must pass urine tests to food stamps? After already delaying some jobless benefits to people hammered in the deep recession and making Wisconsin only one of our states that has recently elected to cut food stamps?
* Ever heard of a US Governor who said he discussed planting trouble-makers in a crowd of peaceful protesters, but decided against it because it might backfire and cause a fresh set of political problems...Read the transcript...
*  How many "nice" politicians block any increase in the poverty-enforcing $7.25/hourly minimum wage, call it a living wage, refuse to even consider raising it and have said they see no need for a minimum wage whatsoever?
*  Secret emails systems....on public time? Sound 'nice' to you?
*  How many "nice" politicians have turned down $550 million in Federal health-care funding along with other roadblocks to fuller federal health insurance that would cover thousands of low-income citizens, thereby also raising costs to state taxpayers and depriving the state of health-care sector jobs
There was more, but it's a Saturday, so don't get me started.

* Though after he called himself "the education governor," during his just-concluded his failed re-election bid, I'd put up links to dozens more such titles he could similarly put on a business card. including 'pothole fighter,' 'champion of local control,' 'friend of the printed word' and 'pro-women's-health Governor.'

Note that Robin Vos is laying claim to those titles, though history, if it is kind to us, will keep Walker entirely singular.

Friday, December 7, 2018

As court filings document Trump's illegal conduct...

Don't forget that all the Wisconsin Republican bigwigs - - Walker, Vos, Fitzgerald, Ryan 
Cathy Stepp, Sensenbrenner, Duffy, Vukmir, et al - - endorsed Trump and campaigned with and for him.

I'd harped repeatedly on Walker's on-stage endorsement of Trump at the 2016 GOP nominating convention.

And the Wisconsin GOP throw-in with Trump continued as recently as late October of this year, when many of them welcomed him back to Wisconsin in what turned out to be a failed boost for Walker and Vukmir.
Mosinee Miracle to feature Walker-Trump reunion. And more!
All of these Republicans shared some of the responsibility for his ugly 2016 campaign and a Presidency which has managed to sink even lower - - with new lows to be revealed in courts and the Congress next year.

And as court filings Friday make Trump look a lot like Richard Nixon.

I have no idea if chumps like Walker and Vukmir understand that their identification with Trump helped seal their electoral fates - - and also played a huge role in Paul Ryan's stunning abandonment of the US House Speakership - - but it's important to acknowledge that their Trump embrace and their specific levels of selling out are part of the reason they're all looking for work while Democrats instead take the oaths.

Walker begins the revisionism to justify more lame-duck revision

Yeah, that's not the braggadocio he tossed the fake David Koch's way. "Yep. This is our moment. "Is there anything Walker will not spin?
 5 hours ago5 hours ago  
Scott Walker says he regretted acting quickly with Act 10. He may do it again on lame-duck legislation. via ⁦ 
He is going out in full contradiction to what he demanded Doyle not do eight years ago.

He enjoys the back-stabs and the stealth.

He is incapable of empathy and honesty. 

There is a reason why PolitiFact has found his "false" and "pants on fire" statements total more than twice those rated "true."

He regrets nothing.

5 hours ago5 hours agoScott Walker says he regretted acting quickly with Act 10. He may do it again on lame-duck legislation. via ⁦