Friday, February 27, 2015

Discovering water in watershed mine site, GTac abandons open-pit mine plan

GTac says it is shelving its plan to blow up, dig up and mill the Penokee Hills in the Bad River watershed for low-grade iron ore already in surplus supply - - because, it says it found too much water in the wetlands in the watershed at the edge of Lake Superior.

Sure, it took the mining company four years to make this discovery.

The uproar the plan caused in state politics helped force the moderate GOP opponent Dale Schultz from the State Senate and it seems as if the company wasted $700,000 in thank you money in routed to a Scott Walker advocacy group for his getting a sweetheart enabling bill that is still on the books through the Legislature.

Don't get me wrong - - I'm thrilled to see this news, though GTac has closed out its office in Hurley before - - and let's hope people in the region can get back their peace of mind, clean water, undisturbed wild-rice growing estuaries, and tourism-based economy.

And as I said 25 months ago, where is Walker's Plan B for the area?
Knowing that a mine is years - - if ever - - away from approval and opening in the coming bear market in iron ore, where is the Walker administration's comprehensive Plan B for northern Wisconsin?

Walker budget would exempt UW system from renewable energy goals

In an earlier post, I catalogued all the cuts to environmental programs, activities and staff in Walker's proposed UW budget.

Now we learn that Walker's budget proposes an exemption from existing energy saving goals for the entire statewide, reformed UW System Authority's huge facilities:


59. RENEWABLE ENERGY GOAL WOULD NOT APPLY
Governor: Provide that renewable energy goals would not apply to the UW System Authority. Under current law, these goals apply to DOA, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Health Services, the Department of Public Instruction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the UW System. The most recent year for which a renewable energy goal was set was 2011.
[Bill Section: 346] 

Walker budget cuts numerous UW/environmental programs, jobs

As if Walker's across-the-board staff and program cuts to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (66 science positions, for example), his removal of policy-making authority from the citizen-attentive Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, exempting the huge system statewide from energy saving goals, his removal of state financing from recycling programs and his 13-year suspension of the popular Knowles-Nelson land stewardship purchase program wasn't enough of a slam at public access to public policy-making, science, land and resources, his proposal to restructure the UW system and slash its budget would also mandate many deep cuts in UW managed and offered environmental activities, including, says the budget document:


[Bill Section: 580, 1029, 1206, and 9448(4)]

9. DELETE WISCONSIN BIOENERGY INITIATIVE
Governor: Eliminate funding for the Wisconsin Bioenergy
Initiative ($4,069,100 SEG annually) and 35.20 positions beginning in 2015-16 and delete the appropriation for that purpose on July 1, 2016. Under current law, funding is provided from the environmental fund to the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative to support research into improved plant biomass, improved biomass processing, conversion of biomass into energy products, development of a sustainable energy economy, and development of enabling technology for bioenergy research.

[Bill Sections: 601 and 9448(1)]

10. DELETE ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION BOARD AND GRANTS

Governor: Eliminate $130,500 annually for environmental education grants from the environmental fund and delete the appropriation for that purpose on July 1, 2016. In addition, delete $200,000 in 2016-17 as well as the appropriation for environmental education grants from the conservation fund.
Delete language related to the Environmental Education Board including provisions requiring the Board to: (a) consult with the state Superintendent of Public Instruction in page3image20568 page3image20992 page3image21152 page3image21312 identifying needs and establishing priorities for environmental education in public schools; (b) consult with other state agencies, including UW-Extension, conservation and environmental groups, youth organizations, and nature and environmental centers in identifying needs and establishing priorities for environmental education; (c) award grants for the development, dissemination, and presentation of environmental education programs; and (d) establish a center for environmental education. In addition, delete the requirement that the Board of Regents seek the advice of the Environmental Education Board on the development of environmental education programs.
[Bill Sections: 228, 598, 599, 1244, 1245, 1301, 3284, 4323 thru 4325, and 9448(1)]

11. DELETE SOLID WASTE RESEARCH FUNDING

Governor: Eliminate $156,100 annually for solid waste
research and experiments and 1.0 position beginning in 2015-16 and delete the appropriation for that purpose on July 1, 2016. Under current law, funding is provided from the environmental fund to support research into alternative methods of solid waste management and for administering solid waste experiment centers.
Delete related provisions permitting the Board of Regents to establish one or more solid waste experiment centers for the purpose of developing, demonstrating, promoting, and assessing the costs and environmental effects of alternatives to solid waste disposal; requiring the Board to conduct research into alternatives to solid waste disposal; and requiring the Board to appoint a solid waste research council.

[Bill Sections: 603, 1218, and 9448(1)]

12. DELETE EXTENSION RECYCLING EDUCATION FUNDING

Governor: Delete $394,100 annually for UW-Extension recycling education and 4.0 positions beginning in 2015-16 and delete the appropriation for that purpose on July 1, 2016. Under current law, funding from the environmental fund is provided to support UW-Extension education and technical assistance programs in recycling and recycling market development.
[Bill Sections: 602 and 9448(1)]
13. DELETE UW PR AND FEDERAL APPROPRIATIONS
Governor: Delete the UW System's program revenue
appropriations for general program operations (-$2,271,680,800), gifts
and nonfederal grants and contracts (-$537,889,600), and general fund interest ($0) and the UW System's appropriation for federal aid (-$1,812,449,300) in 2016-17.



19. DELETE FERTILIZER RESEARCH FUNDS

Governor: Delete current law research fees of 27¢ per ton of fertilizer sold or distributed and 10¢ per ton of soil or plant additive distributed and delete the fertilizer research council which recommends projects to be financed by fertilizer research funds.
Under current law, the soil and plant additive research fee and 17¢ of the fertilizer research 
page6image32840 page6image33264 page6image33424
fee are forwarded to the UW System to be used for research on soil management, soil, fertility, plant nutrition problems, and for research on surface water and groundwater problems which may be related to fertilizer usage. These funds are also use to fund the dissemination of the results of the research and for other designated activities tending to promote the correct usage of fertilizer materials. The remaining 10¢ of the fertilizer research fee is used to support UW- Extension outreach services. In 2013-14, $280,000 was forwarded to the UW System for research and $166,300 was provided to support UW-Extension outreach services.
[Bill Sections: 133, 484, 2630 thru 2635, and 9448(1)]

20. DELETE AQUACULTURE DEMONSTRATION FACILITY


Governor: Delete $417,500 in 2016-17, the requirement that the Board of Regents operate an aquaculture demonstration facility, and the appropriation under the Department of Administration which provides funding for that facility from tribal gaming revenues. Specify that the UW System Authority may, instead of shall under current law, conduct applied and on- site research, outreach activities, and on-site demonstrations relating to commercial aquaculture in this state in cooperation with the commercial aquaculture industry. The Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) would also continue to coordinate its aquaculture activities with those of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the UW System Authority and to conduct meetings on a quarterly basis involving DATCP, DNR, and UW System Authority representatives to exchange information regarding the progress of their efforts to promote commercial aquaculture in this state.

[Bill Sections: 808, 1188, 2626 thru 2628, and 9448(1)]

21. DELETE ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM GRANTS AND SCHOLARSHIPS


Governor: Delete $301,600 and 1.0 position in 2016-17 as well as the appropriation for environmental program grants and scholarships. This appropriation funds all of the following: (a) need-based grants totaling $100,000 to students who are members of underrepresented groups and who are enrolled in a program leading to a certificate or a bachelor's degree from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison; (b) annual scholarships totaling $100,000 to students enrolled in the sustainable management degree program through the UW-Extension; and (c) the balance of the appropriation for environmental programs at UW-Steven Point. Base level funding for this appropriation is $301,600 SEG from the normal school fund.

[Bill Sections: 600, 1297, and 9448(1)]

22. DELETE DISCOVERY FARM GRANT PROGRAM

Governor: Delete $249,800 and 1.20 positions in 2016-17
as well as the discovery farm grant program and a related appropriation from the agrichemical management fund. Under current law, the Board of Regents makes grants through UW-
page7image32208 page7image32368 page7image32528 page7image32688 page7image32848 page7image33440


Extension to operators of discovery farms for research and outreach activities under the Wisconsin agricultural stewardship initiative. A discovery farm is an operating commercial farm that conducts on-farm research.
[Bill Sections: 597, 1262, and 9448(1)] 


24. DELETE CENTER FOR COOPERATIVES

Governor: Delete $134,500 and 1.0 position in 2016-17 as
well as the requirement that the Board of Regents maintain a center for cooperatives at UW- Madison and the grant program administered by that center. In addition, delete the related grant appropriation from the conservation fund which provides $78,000 for the paper science program at UW-Stevens Point and $56,500 for grants to persons to form forestry cooperatives that consist primarily of private, nonindustrial owners of woodland.

[Bill Sections: 596, 1016, 1192, 1303, 2095, and 9448(1)]

25. DELETE OUTDOOR SKILLS TRAINING AGREEMENT AND RELATED FUNDING

Governor: Delete $53,700 in 2016-17 as well as the requirement that the Board of Regents and the Department of Natural Resources enter into an agreement with an established national organization to provide training to persons interested in learning about the outdoor skills needed by women to hunt, fish, camp, canoe, and undertake other outdoor recreational activities. Delete language requiring DNR to transfer $53,700 annually to the UW System from its general program operations appropriation for land and forestry for outdoor skills training provided under the agreement.
[Bill Sections: 621, 1056, and 9448(1)]

26. DELETE FUNDING FOR GREAT LAKES FISH STUDIES

Governor: Delete $51,900 in 2016-17 as well as language requiring DNR to transfer $51,900 annually to the UW System from its general program operations appropriation for water
page8image30680 page8image31104 page8image31264

for studies of Great Lakes fish.
[Bill Sections: 628 and 9448(1)] 

Walker budget ends UW sexual assault orientation, crime reporting

Walker the Destroyer. Who in his or right mind would send a child to a UW campus?

From Walker's budget - - and read the entire link's contents for all the programs Walker's budget would end at and by the UW system


25. DELETE LANGUAGE RELATED TO SEXUAL ASSAULT INFORMATION AND REPORTING

Governor: Delete the requirement that the Board direct each institution and college campus to incorporate oral and written or electronic information on sexual assault in its orientation program for newly entering students and to supply all students enrolled in the institution or college campus with the same information in either printed or electronic form.


Delete the requirement that the Board of Regents submit an annual report to the Legislature regarding the methods used to comply with the above requirement.

Delete the requirement that any person employed at an institution who witnesses a sexual assault on campus or receives a report from a student enrolled in the institution that the student has been sexually assaulted report the assault to the dean of students.


Delete the requirement that each institution report annually to the Department of Justice (DOJ) statistics on sexual assaults and on sexual assaults committed by acquaintances of the victims that occurred on the campus of that institution in the previous years, and that DOJ include those statistics in appropriate crime reports.
[Bill Section: 1171] 

More media getting glimpse of the shifty Scott Walker

Major media last week got to see Walker the unartful dodger as he gave silent assent to Rudy Giuliani smearing President Obama's faith and patriotism. 

That was on the heels of Walker's London Punting and No-Comment Tour, a political visit to create some international experience itself disguised as a State of Wisconsin trade mission.


This week, media got  a closer look at another ugly but familiar Walker tactic when he attacked citizen protesters as terroristic, then denied he'd done any such thing.


Wisconsinites have seen Walker's intellectual and verbal dishonesty before.


Remember when he called his signature and most consequential proposal - - Act 10 - - a "modest proposal" though it ended 50 years of public sector bargaining, cut workers take-home pay and gave his own career and right-wing politics in the state an upper hand over weakened, Democratic-leaning unions.

And after dropping his Act 10 bomb (his phrase) on public employees and their collective bargaining rights - - Walker claimed Act 10 did no such thing?

His saying that Act 10 left public-sector collective bargaining "fully intact" earned Walker a "Pants in Fire" PolitiFact rating:

In arguing the changes would be modest, Walker cited the civil service system and said "collective bargaining is fully intact." However, Walker himself has outlined how his budget-repair bill would limit the collective bargaining rights of public employees.
Indeed, it’s that provision that provoked daily demonstrations at the state Capitol and national media attention. To now say now say collective bargaining would remain "fully intact" is not just false, it’s ridiculously false.
And that means it is Pants on Fire
Then flash-forward nearly four years to Walker's claim that his attack in his proposed budget on the University of Wisconsin's historic mission statement was a mere "drafting error," when documents showed that senior administration officials intentionally included the changes.

Again: attack, then deny.

That got him a Pants in Fire rating, too. 

What prepared Walker to battle ISIS worldwide

His secret training manual

surfaces:



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Walker as Reagan 2.0

Up until today, I'd thought Walker's fixation on Ronald Reagan was exaggerated Presidential hero worship by an awkward youngster and campus Republican who never grew up.



But after Walker turned himself into Rambo stalking ISIS, I had a vision of junior Walker in front of the family black-and-white TV in the 70's watching reruns of "Death Valley Days" - -  hosted by Ronald Reagan. And Reagan appeared in two episodes. I think this is the character Walker wants to play.
Death Valley 02

Other Walker experiences provided key Presidential training

OK, we know that Walker's against-all-odds survival against protests by various teachers, nurses and other public employees has set him up to fight the ISIS beheaders, but what other lines from his resume would help him be a successful President?

*  Hiring internet savants to run a secret, partisan fundraising and politicking email network just down the hall from his Milwaukee County courthouse office will help him find good candidates to serve on the Federal Communications Commission. Not to mention candidates for the CIA, NSA,  FBI, Nixon Plumbers' reunions...

*  His direction to staff about keeping quiet a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who starved to death on his watch in a Milwaukee County mental health ward should help inform his decisions on appointments at the Department of Justice, Health and Social Services and the Federal courts, too. Good judgement and solid priorities are a chief executive must-have.

*  Vetoing the Wisconsin fast Amtrak train between Milwaukee and Madison, giving the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources the go-ahead to sell 10,000 acres and suspending all state public land acquisition until 2028 will inform his plans to sell Amtrak and lease or sell US National Parks and Forest lands.

*  Mandating transvaginal ultrasound procedures not recommended by physicians for women seeking legal abortion services will help him pick like-minded US Supreme Court justices who also are "fine" with government-sanctioned sexually-invasive 'medicine.'

*  Oh - - just remembered that the whole protesters-ISIS conflation will also help him pick a White House physician. Think big: Go for a psychiatrist.

I'm sure I missed a few. Suggestions welcome.

Walker challenged for "Stupidest Speech" Title in DC today

Hard to pick the winner. Let's look at the tapes:

Was it GOP/Tea Party presidential wannabe Walker comparing Wisconsin citizen labor rights protesters to ISIS fighters and saying he was the man to crush them all?

Or was it US GOP/Tea Party Senator and climate change denier Jim Inhofe 'proving' the planet was not warming by bringing a snowball onto the Senate floor and tossing it to the presiding officer?

Call me a homer, but I'd give the title to Walker.

Your thoughts?

Possible explanation for Walkeropathy outbreak in DC today

He heard the government came out in favor of net neutrality and went all Ronald Reagan/John Wayne Super-Patriot.

He won Journal Sentinel endorsements in five elections since 2002...

...so are they still trusting this and endorsing him?
"I want a commander-in-chief who will do everything in their power to ensure that the threat from radical Islamic terrorists does not wash up on America soil," said Walker.
"We need a leader with that kind of confidence. If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world," Walker said, who drew repeated cheers from the audience at CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference), an annual gathering that draws thousands of attendees and hundreds of journalists.
A bit of commentary. There hasn't been a Wisconsin political figure this reckless and self-absorbed since Joe McCarthy.

Let's face it: Walker still thinks he's calling into local righty talk radio love fest. He's not equipped to lead the country, manage the military, talk to world leaders, etc.

And can the newspaper tell its readers which life lesson is on display here which it said uncritically that Walker had absorbed at his father's Iowa church?

Modestly? Humility? Proportion? 

Walker got slammed by a National Review blogger for his protestors=ISIS conflation.

Will the Journal Sentinel editorial board step up with a full-throated, hard-copy editorial rip at Walker, or dole out another of the wrist-taps it's been doling out on its editorial blog?

Another Walkeropathy outbreak

Has there ever been an ego that got so bloated so quickly? A Wisconsin political figure since Joe McCarthy who speaks so wildly and recklessly, and in contradiction to the life lessons the Journal Sentinel uncritically said recently that Walker had learned in his father's mainstream Iowa church?

A National Review blogger slammed Walker's protestors=ISIS conflation.

Walker is speeding from political theater to serious psychodrama. People need to pay close attention.
  1. . at on : If I can take on 100 thousand protesters, I can do the same across the world.

Walker punting budget rainy day fund

But the only questions Walker will pose about this story are 'why is Jim Doyle doing this to us,' and where did he hide about $400 million?' 

Walker's most precious non-answer to reporters' questions

The New York Times today notes Walker's consistent ability to duck or deflect tough questions.

Too bad the story didn't report Walker's most infamous non-denial denial - - his "not to my knowledge" response to being asked if he knew anything about how his recall campaign effort got the benefit of $700,000 routed to an advocacy group from a mining company he'd helped with special and controversial legislation that rewrote long-standing Wisconsin mining and environmental law.

Court records indicated that Walker solicited donations that eventually exceeded $1 million for the advocacy group he wanted to coordinate messaging that would benefit his campaign, the Journal Sentinel reported.

National media have got to get on The Google.

Lakeshore golf project not highlighting state park land bid


Kohler Co. has launched a PR offensive to build pressure for a new high-end golf course it wants to build south of Sheboygan - - an environmental and political blog topic here for close to a year.

It's a true David vs. Goliath struggle - - local citizens against one of the wealthiest and best-connected privately-owned corporations in the state.

The proposed project's new website says the company wants to build on land it has owned for 75 years. You can see some of that land in the photo.

What about the 33 acres the company wants the DNR to lease it in an adjoining state park to the south of the privately-owned land for $1 a year for 99 years?

The website touts the plumbing fixture firm's water conservation record, but building a fertilizer-demanding 18-hole golf course, plus a clubhouse, parking lot and access road across a wetlands-rich nature and wildlife preserve - - and even into a state park - - at the edge of Lake Michigan is quite the contradiction.

Walker's European spring break tour

All you need to govern in Wisconsin is a cell phone, a Kleefisch, a generous travel allowance exempt from budget cuts and taxpayers willing to give you unlimited time off.

His predicted one-liners about selling Wisconsin beer to German brewmeisters, and Wisconsin dairy supremacy to French and Spanish cheese makers will write themselves.

No doubt the trade unions there are eagerly waiting to hear all about Walker's respect for unionization.

Molotov.

'Right-to-work' is Walker's new rocket surgery

Yes, the GOP-ruled Wisconsin State Senate has approved the misnamed 'right-to-work' bill, a favor to Scott Walker who needs it to show Vladimir Putin and ISIS he means business,

The Senate vote was 17-15, with former GOP Senate moderate Dale Schultz's recent purge regrettably noted, along with the "Aye" vote by Green Bay's GOP Sen. Robert Cowles, once a middle-of-the-road guy turned serial rightist capitulator.

The bill will sail through the Assembly next week, and Walker will sign it when his handlers can set up a day of vacation from his cross-country Tea Party politicking and overseas' junketing.

Political junkies will rate this latest Walker blow to unions as successfully aimed even lower than his surprise, 2011 sucker-punch to public sector collective bargaining because this one is nailing some jilted supporters, and blue collar workers, like road-building heavy-equipment operators, who'd endorsed Walker before.

Commentators and operatives endorsing the 'by whatever means necessary' creed will praise Walker's feints denying any interest in the proposal, parsing his denials, labeling it all a distraction - - though, let's face it, it has taken attention away from the budget deficit he's created, the staff and mission-clear-cut he's ordered for the Department of Natural Resources, his attack on the UW system and the overall corrupting of the political process on behalf of wealthy, out-of-state interests - - while he had his elves at the silver bullet factory cribbing the bill from elsewhere and selling it as if were a Wisconsin Idea.

If you think the bill was massaged through the process by GOP legislative leaders without Walker's direction and campaign timetable in the blueprint, you are probably the last person in Wisconsin who thinks "overzealous political associates" in or with access to Milwaukee County Executive's office, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called them, installed and ran that secret Internet communications, fund-raising and strategizing e-mail system 25-feet from his office without his knowledge.

So now a new state law that will further weaken the ability of workers to bargain wages, hours and working conditions is going to jump start a Wisconsin job market that continues to lag the national recovery which Republicans will never acknowledge is President Obama's doing.

We've heard and seen these failed Walker-era promises and righty bromides before.

He was going to create 250,000 new jobs through tax cuts and other trickled-down, discredited Reagan-esque economics. (Walker does love him some Reagan.)

Then Walker's recall win was going to reboot and launch the state economy. 

"Tremendous takeoff," Walker said.
Such as the falling rocket-propelled arrows stuck in Hatay
Yes, "like a rocket," Vos chirped.

Now the new best thing is a bill to make the Wisconsin job market already prone to low-wage job formation look more like poverty-ridden backwaters in rural Texas as our budget is resembling that mess in Kansas.

We give the last word on the methods by which Walker is dragging Wisconsin rightward and downward to the conservative economist Arthur Laffer, and his 2013 hosanna to conservative fiscal strategies he said would boost the Wisconsin economy:
"This is not rocket surgery," he said, mixing metaphors.


Quaint leaders in business, churches, academia oppose WI 'right-to-work'

{Updated from 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.] Who are they, those old-timey do-gooders bypassed in fact-free, fact-hostile Wisconsin who are trying to inject some sanity into the Wisconsin Legislature's ideological-driven, pro-Walker 'debate' that is sure to lead to newly-depressed wages in low-wage Wisconsin?

*  Christian leaders statewide. (Scott Walker, on different wave-length, can't hear you.}

*  An economist not on the faculty at UW-Lazy Bones.  (GOP legislators prefer ALEC/WMC 'data.')

*  Small business owners polling local chambers of commerce. (Sorry. If you're not the WMC, you're no one.)

*  Running backs, strong safeties and wide receivers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

'Right-to-Work' in Wisconsin Bizarro World

Though the bill is the brainchild of ALEC,  is being pushed by the WMC, and was crafted by his former legislative GOP colleagues, former right-wing Assembly Speaker John Gard has been hired to lobby against the 'right-to-work' bill by Local 139 of the International Union of Operating Engineers - - a union that has stood with Walker.

Wisconsin free speech doomed by double-speak

The state of democracy in Scott Walker's Wisconsin has come to this:

The Governor's pledged stance against supporting 'right-to-work' legislation turns out to mean 'I will sign the bill.'

The Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says he is not rushing the bill, then rushes it towards consideration outside of the normal rules of legislative consideration.

The rushed bill is touted as a workplace freedom measure, but freedom of speech is denied as the rushed committee hearing is cancelled and a quick party line vote is taken with the GOP prevailing in favor before all citizen registrants, some waiting hours, were allowed their allowed three minutes.

The rushed Senate 'process' to get the bill signed by the Governor who said he had no interest in signing it - - this bill that alleges to ensure workplace freedoms - - is being overseen to its rushed conclusion by the Senate President, Mary Lazich, who threatens to further stifle free speech and clear the galleries.

This charade will be repeated in the Wisconsin Assembly.

Details, here.

Following which both houses will pass a separate bill cutting the wages of workers on state-financed projects.

Then both houses will take up Walker's budget - - more an ideological manifesto than a spending plan  - - stuffed with non-fiscal or major policy initiatives, like taking policy-making away from the public's Wisconsin Natural Resources Board - - which in earlier years would have been the subject of separate considerations and hearings.

Which the Senate over the last 24 hours has shown to be irrelevant today.

Wisconsin Democracy '15. R.I.P.

Walker '16.

After RTW passes, GOP to further cut construction wages statewide

The will do this by repealing an existing law that says publicly-funded projects, like state construction, shall pay workers the prevailing wage for those jobs, thus spreading the benefits of the public spending and making sure cheap, out-of-state labor is not brought in.

As I noted the other day, Republicans will push through the repeal of the prevailing wage law, thus making sure many of the best blue-collar jobs in Wisconsin are moved into lower-earning categories:
Walker says he'll sign [right-to-work legislation]. Oh, surprise. And now Robin Vos weighs in supporting the Senate bill. What a farce. 
Walker objects to 'right-to-work' legislation?  It's a "distraction" for him? Really?
Stop insulting us. 
Madison — Republican leaders are fast-tracking so-called right-to-work legislation with a special session, ignoring objections from Gov. Scott Walker and giving the clearest sign yet of how his influence has weakened in Wisconsin as he pursues the presidency outside the state.
The Legislature is doing his bidding. He controls the Capitol and his party. He told his biggest donor four years ago he had a plan to do it. It's step two of a two-step plan and he's being two-faced about it now.
Walker objects to 'right-to-work' the way Putin objects to 'rebel' incursions into Ukraine.
First came Act 10. Private unions, later. "Divide-And-Conquer." His words. Watch the video.
Will he sign the bill. Of course. Eagerly. It's his final, middle-finger payoff to corporate donors and payback to public-sector unions and their allies on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors or who marched around the Capitol and recalled him in 2012...
Let's get real: First there was Act 10, his dropped bomb. Then - - this year's version - - a fresh, further hit to public employee faculty and staff at the UW. 
Now right-to-work, depressing private-sector blue-collar wages...
And in the wings, repeal of the prevailing wage law, so wages paid to worker on state roads and buildings are further controlled and suppressed, too.
Also - - cue the torrent of buzzwords, Sycophantic talk shows and conservative op-eds sprouting across the media about streamlined legislation. Competition with other backward states. Flexibility for employers. Options for workers. 
Construction unions which stood with Walker through the 2012 recall election- - welcome to the Club of the Disrespected in Walker's world.


As we said out loud in November, all ye scribes...

Two things pretty relevant today as the ALEC/WMC 'right-to-work' wage-reduction bill is being muscled through the WI legislature without the basics of democratic process, and national media ought to be following Salon.com's lede to explain that the Scott Walker phenomenon did not come out of nowhere:

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2014

Walker's Waterloos


[Updated from 12:10 p.m.] Let's be clear about why Scott Walker says and does anything from now on:

His audience is national, not local. How does the curb feel, Bucky, now that Walker's not that into you?

More to the point - - Walker's audience now - - and actually since the 2007 conservative summit meeting along the shores of Lake Michigan about which the media, other than Salon.com, refuses to report - - is the hardest, rightist core of activists and voters in the Republican and Tea Parties, and their loyalties for 2016.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

More rumors of senior turnover at WI DNR

I'd been nearing since November that Deputy DNR Secretary Matt Moroney would leave his post, and sources report that he may be heading for a senior managerial position in Scott Walker's office, perhaps in a new or renamed job to keep the office running smoothly and in sync with the Walker campaign while Walker is out on the hustings.

Would also make sense since the DNR is being severely downgraded in Walker's budget, so Moroney''s legal, policy and bureaucratic expertise would be more or less wasted there as time goes on.

The DNR's web page carrying senior executives' bios has not been updated since June, 2014, although Scott Gunderson transferred to the Department of Revenue in early February.

Secretary Cathy Stepp

Secretary Cathy Stepp
Secretary Cathy Stepp
Secretary Cathy Stepp served as Racine's State Senator from 2002 to 2006, but most of her professional experience has been in the private sector. As a former homebuilder, she became aware of Wisconsin's regulatory climate and how it affected small business owners. In 1998, Governor-Tommy Thompson asked her to bring this perspective to the Natural Resources Board, and she served on the Board for three years. That experience led her to run for the Wisconsin State Legislature where she was chairman of the Senate Job Creation Committee and co-chair of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. She chose not to seek re-election and returned home at the end of the four year term to rejoin her husband in her family business.
Stepp notes her administration is concentrating on improving DNR's customer relations and streamlining and simplifying permitting to accomplish Gov. Scott Walker's goals to create jobs in Wisconsin. She believes job creation and environmental protection are mutually supportive.
Stepp enjoys Wisconsin's snowmobile trails each winter. She has also hunted turkeys in western Wisconsin and is proud of the tremendous hunting opportunities our state offers to residents and tourists. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband, Paul, and two children.

Deputy Secretary Matt Moroney

Matt Moroney
Matt Moroney
Deputy Secretary Matt Moroney was raised on a small family farm outside of Masonville, Iowa, where he fished and was a trapper. He graduated from Loras College in 1991 with a major in Political Science and Economics. He graduated the University of Iowa College of Law in 1994. He has been attorney at DeWitt Ross and Stevens the past two years, and was previously the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Builders Association of Greater Milwaukee.
As Deputy, Moroney oversees the day-to-day operations of the agency. He enjoys playing basketball, fishing and spending time with family and friends. He lives in Waukesha with his wife, Linda, and their two children.

Assistant Deputy Secretary Scott Gunderson

Scott Gunderson
Scott Gunderson
Assistant Deputy Secretary Scott Gunderson grew up on a farm in Racine County. He owned and operated a hunting and fishing store in Wind Lake for 27 years. For the past 16 years, he represented the 83rd District in the Wisconsin State Assembly. He served on the Assembly Natural Resources Committee all 8 legislative sessions, serving as vice chairman and for four years as chairman. He authored the state's constitutional amendment protecting the right to hunt, fish and trap, and negotiated legislative approval of the Great Lakes Water Resources Compact to protect the interests of Wisconsin's residents and industries.
As the Assistant Deputy Secretary, Gunderson is the internal lead in fishing and wildlife-related issues and is working to build DNR's relationship with the Legislature. He lives in Waterford with his wife, Lisa, and is the father of three adult children.

On anti-labor bill, GOP-run Senate cuts mic, votes, bolts

Republicans running Wisconsin continue to run it into the ground, this time ramming through a vote in committee approving the counter-productive and unnecessary ALEC-drafted, WMC-lobbied 'right-to-work' bill before everyone registered got to speak.

Remember, this is the bill which is being fast-tracked to suit Scott Walker's campaign timetable. The bill which Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald pledged was not being rushed through.

All of which meant, 'the bill will be rushed through,' which is what happened at a committee vote tonight.

Another nail in the coffin to Wisconsin's reputation, and to democracy.

Walker in union garb

Read what the parent union had to say today.

Add that Packers jersey to UW garb you won't see Walker wearing

What Packers garb, you ask? This garb.

And the NFL Players Association union rips Walker and right-to-work legislation:
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For Immediate Release
February 24, 2015
NFLPA STATEMENT ON WISCONSIN'S PROPOSED RIGHT TO WORK LEGISLATION
The NFL Players Association stands together with the working families of Wisconsin and organized labor in their fight against current attacks against their right to stand together as a team.
Devoted food and commercial workers who spend their Sundays servicing our players and fans at Lambeau Field will have their wellbeing and livelihood jeopardized by Right to Work. Governor Scott Walker may not value these vital employees, but as union members, we do. We understand how devastating it would be if they lost the ability to have their workplace conditions and wages guaranteed through collective bargaining. We do not have to look any further than our own CBA to see that a band of workers, joined together as a union, can overcome decades of poor workplace conditions and drastically improve pensions and benefits. 
Beyond the stadium, generations of skilled workers have made Wisconsin a warm, welcoming home for our members of the Packers as well as those on visiting teams. Committed men and women in industries such as construction, steel, automotive and communications make it a state where our future members are proud to grow up and attend college, and a place where many of our former players choose to call home after their playing days are over.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that average wages across all industries in right-to-work states were $4 per hour lower than those in non-right-to-work states. One study determined that Wisconsin would see a net loss of between $3.89 and $4.82 billion annually in workers’ incomes. In fact, Governor Walker’s anti-union efforts have resulted in Wisconsin leading the nation in job losses for two months in a row.
This proposed legislation unfairly risks the health and safety of employees by depriving them of on-the-job protections that unions have historically defended. The NFLPA will closely monitor this week’s scheduled hearings and debates and keep its membership informed of any developments.

-- DeMaurice Smith
Executive Director
NFL Players Association



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Does Walker shelve this union garb?




Walker job-creation numbers not revived, data show

Walker's consistent and documented inability to create jobs at the national rate is big, bold evidence of a failed, wrong path Wisconsin revival.

Walker '16?

WI suckers pay Walker $12,000/month for higher-power quest

This evolution-related talk about noting related to Wisconsin is all on our nickel, Bucky:
NASHVILLE, TN (WKOW) -- Governor Scott Walker was the guest speaker at the opening session of the annual gathering of the National Religious Broadcasters on Monday.
He told a Christian Media Convention in Tennessee that he has not yet decided whether to run for president.  He told the crowd that he's waiting on a sign from a higher power. 

Too-Little-Too-Late WI Question-of-the-Day

The fight over so-called right-to-work legislation kicked into high gear Tuesday with a rally drawing workers and protesters to the Capitol and a public hearing featuring dueling experts...  
"This issue is at its heart about worker freedom," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) told the committee. 
But James Hoffman, president and owner of Hoffman Construction Co. of Black River Falls, said the change could devastate his business. Operating Engineers Local 139 runs training programs that provide him with a steady stream of workers. 
If those employees can opt out of paying union fees, those training programs will be scaled back and he won't be able to rely on them for workers, he said. 
"I ask you: Why are you doing this to my company?" he told the committee.

Steve from Waukesha, on Walker, right-to-work

I occasionally post guest blogs, and posted one a few years ago, due to special circumstances, without a full author ID.

This will be the second such posting. Suffice it to say that I know who the person is and will post it as he wishes, by "Steve from Waukesha."



Scott Walker's Presidential Bid May Be Over

Wisconsin Republicans are positioning to rush through Right to Work legislation over the next week. Governor Scott Walker has said he will sign it. And this time, there will be political fallout.

Governor Walker has changed his position on RTW for the third time. But his latest flip-flop is different. This time Walker misled conservative union voters to get re-elected and he darn well knows it.

In Wisconsin, Scott Walker is certain to lose this major voting block. Blue collar conservatives voted for Walker and his famous anti-government union legislation, myself included, in his last 3 elections. No more.

Conversely, RTW legislation being pushed by Republican legislators in politically polarized Wisconsin will win no new voters for Scott Walker or the party. In all likelihood Republican legislators have unwittingly taken out Walker’s political future.

Many conservative supporters are cheering this legislation and will disagree with me. They have supported Scott Walker through thick and thin. Those voters will continue to support Walker. For the blue collar conservatives, Walker’s vow has exposed a wound of deep distrust and dishonor for which there is no mend. 

In his 2013 Wisconsin State of the State address, Scott Walker was joined in solidarity by union miners from northern Wisconsin. The Governor was pushing for legislators to clear hurdles for union mining jobs at the proposed Gogebic iron mine. Walker now seems unfazed attempting to dismantle their union through RTW legislation and willing to lose a major voting block in Northern Wisconsin.

In his re-election bid in 2014, Walker counted on his firewall in the Fox Valley, a corridor of communities in east central Wisconsin. Mercury Marine is a union manufacturer in the Valley. In 2009 union membership gave significant concessions to keep 1000 jobs from relocating to Stillwater, Oklahoma. In December 2014 the union signed a 5 year contract extension. Had the union known what Republicans were up to during negotiations, the negotiations likely would have died. Walker is likely to lose control of the Fox Valley over RTW.

 Organized labor across the nation will mount yet another political assault on Walker. Walker will be characterized as a special interest candidate controlled by oligarchs, a politician sent to crush the dwindling middle class, a destroyer of technical and vocational opportunities for the next generation through union skilled trade apprenticeships. Even worse, his character will be cast as a misleading betrayer of his own supporters for his own personal gain.

I fully expect the presidential primary will have a major influence from crossover voters aiming to take Walker out since their heir apparent is Hillary.  The scorned Wisconsin conservative union voters will either sit out or vote for another candidate.  

Wisconsin's well organized Democrat machine will seek majority gains in our deeply polarized state. Republicans are likely to lose some legislative districts.

It's difficult enough attracting young people into blue collar jobs as baby boomers retire.

If Republicans think RTW legislation will help alleviate a growing fear all Wisconsin manufactures and contractors have, a shortage of skilled blue collar workers, they’re wrong. Supply and demand of the labor pool will heavily favor the companies offering the best wages, training, and benefits to the next generation of blue collars workers. Whether they are union, or not is immaterial.

There is no upside of RTW legislation for Wisconsin Republicans and Governor Walker. I'm sure some get that. Others are willing to throw their baby out with the bath water.