Saturday, December 3, 2016

WI DNR blows off the US EPA. Again.

While finding the time to stump for Trump, and hire more corporate insiders, and blow off state regulators, and rewrite agency procedures so polluting industries can police themselves, Cathy Stepp - - 
Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp proudly shows off her first deer, taken opening weekend last year. In the upcoming TV Special "Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2012, Stepp urges male hunters to take more girls and women hunting. "The secret's out," she says. "Hunting is a lot of fun, so don't keep it to yourselves."  photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR 
- - atop the DNR again thumbs her nose at the clean water standards and the US EPA - - which just completed an on-site review in Stepp's Madison offices of the DNR's nearly six-year failure to enforce the US Clean Water Act in Wisconsin - - by failing to pass on to local water systems the EPA's advice in February about upgraded procedures for testing for lead, we learn today.
Nine months after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warned against flushing water systems before testing for lead, the state Department of Natural Resources has not yet passed that advice on to public water systems in Wisconsin.
I'm guessing that Stepp and Walker figure that Scott Walker will appoint an insecticide plant manager or oil company CEO or feedlot manure producer to run the US EPA so Wisconsin can go about leaving the business of clean air and water to the pollution lobby.

In Trump's America, lock them up

Looks like we're getting a new Republican party symbol and it matches their Glorious Leader's hair color:
File:Contemporary orange-white striped prison uniform.JPG
*  A key Trump operative wants the New York Times editor jailed:
Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowksi on Thursday called for the New York Times’ executive editor to be jailed for releasing some pages of the President-elect's tax returns.
*  A potential Trump Cabinet nominee who supervises a county jail where four people have recently died wants a critic from his local board of supervisors to be jailed
"...send this idiot to federal prison so justice can be served."
*  And Trump himself is still whipping up the crowds who want to imprison Hillary Clinton three weeks after he won the Presidency: 
Hundreds of supporters of President-elect Donald Trump resurrected the “lock her up” chant at his first rally after defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.
Before Trump took the stage, the audience erupted into the chant that was a staple at rallies across the country during his campaign...
After Trump took the stage, the crowd cheered and chanted the line again after he said "We did have a lot of fun fighting Hillary, didn't we?" 

Ex-developer lauds WI DNR's business practices

Former McDonald's manager, developer and current 'chamber of commerce mentality' WI DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp - - 
Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp proudly shows off her first deer, taken opening weekend last year. In the upcoming TV Special "Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2012, Stepp urges male hunters to take more girls and women hunting. "The secret's out," she says. "Hunting is a lot of fun, so don't keep it to yourselves."  photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR
- - is trying to assure the public that the reorganization she released last week which continues Scott Walker's agency privatization and allows industrial-scale feedlot operators to write their own operating permits will be nothing more than, well, business as usual, media are reporting.
"I do want to assure everybody there's nothing in this plan that rolls back or weakens or loosens environmental regulations or standards," Stepp said on the Wisconsin Public Television interview program "Here and Now." It's not about that. It's about how we do the business we do, not the actual what it is that's getting done on the ground."
While you are getting a handle on Stepp's definition of the agency's mission as "the business we do, not the actual what it is," here is a deeper look at how the Walker-Stepp philosophy is actually wrecking the agency's historic public service mission.

Also - - as you try to see just where your constitutional right to clean water has been dispatched in Stepp's 'the-regulated get-to-do-it-for-themselves' code adherence, consider that under the Steps 'plan' the Wisconsin Supreme Court should be allowed to hand over the writing of its ethics codes to the Justices' big campaign contributors so the donors can still have their cases heard without recusals.

What - - the Justices already did that? This business-as-usual 'chamber of commerce mentality' in post-John Doe, Republican-and-one-party-ruled Wisconsin is government wide.

That's how the party in power in Wisconsin and their hired hands do 'the business they do and the actual what is...'

Put another way: don't worry, be happy. The party of business is letting business write its own business-as-usual ticket.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Look for higher fees, business billboards at WI state parks

The 'chamber of commerce mentality' Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources which agency Secretary, former developer and McDonald's manager Cathy Stepp - - 
Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp proudly shows off her first deer, taken opening weekend last year. In the upcoming TV Special "Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2012, Stepp urges male hunters to take more girls and women hunting. "The secret's out," she says. "Hunting is a lot of fun, so don't keep it to yourselves."  photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR

- - Scott Walker and their fee-happy, fake-friends-of-the-working-family GOP legislative allies have foisted on our formerly progressive state are looking to a) again raise state parks fees and, b) raise more money to replace the tax dollars they stripped from the DNR budget by, c) selling signage space so sponsoring corporations can welcome you to your favorite state park or trail.


Imagine setting up camp or heading off into the north woods with a billboard greeting or sendoff from the good folks who want to sell you triple-decker bacon burgers, gasoline, weedkiller, or ED pills.


For which the donating corporations would get a tax write-off, or as it's called over in accounting - - a win-win.


On, Wisconsin - - continuing downward:

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2016 
WI DNR reorg. closes that 'chamber of commerce' loop, Part 5

This is all particularly relevant now that Stepp wants to change the rules and allow big water users and other permit applicants to self-regulate by writing their own permits, thus dictating the terms of their operations as well as any post-permitting enforcement even if the public's land and water is at stake.
Little wonder, then, that the golf course the Kohler Co. is planning to build on a nature preserve adjoining Kohler Andrae State Park along Lake Michigan south of Sheboygan includes incorporating between four and 19 acres of parkland, and that the proposal is being reviewed by the DNR without a formal permit application by the company.
And when I read this line in the Wisconsin State Journal's account of today's DNR reorganization which hands out deregulatory and privatization favors to big ag, feedlot operators, forest insiders and others, I said, out loud, "case closed."
"From what we've seen we have been very supportive of the plan," Lucas Vebber, director of environmental and energy policy for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. 
And it dovetails with Stepp having said at her presentation this morning, I'm told - - that she had "run the organization" from her first day on the job "with as much private sector business perspectives as we could infuse into government.”

After all, she had waxed sentimentally about the good old days when she could move around her McDonald burger-flippers a lot more easily than civil servants and union members she was stuck with at DNR:


As reported by The Wisconsin State Journal:

Stepp recalled her days as a McDonald’s restaurant manager as she talked about how state employment rules have hobbled the DNR. Stepp said she could quickly mobilize her fast-food employees when a busload of customers arrived unexpectedly, but the DNR can’t react that nimbly to retirements.
Earlier posts about the DNR's reorganization were posted on Nov. 30th - -  here,  herehere, and here

10 reasons why WI Democrats think Walker, GOP are cheats

It is not surprising that GOP Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his allies are suing to stop the legal recount of votes in the Presidential election and also want to rewrite state law to further restrict access to the recount process, as Walker and his party have bent or broken Wisconsin voting and legislative redistricting laws and obstructed public access to the ballot box with restrictions later ruled unconstitutional.

Little wonder that Walker and GOP reactions to the ongoing recount  look shady, given the long-running GOP pattern of gratuitous abuse of the democratic process, including these documented actions and events:

*  When he was Milwaukee County Executive, running for Governor and no doubt prepping for his 2015 run for President, Walker used public funds to underwrite self-promotional motorcycle tours that took him and spread his name and image far from Milwaukee.

*  At the same time, Walker used public staff, county office space and other taxpayer-provided resources to raise his profile, organize partisan events, and raise money for his gubernatorial campaign, and other GOP candidates - - moves which sent six Walker staffers, associates and campaign donors to jail in what became known as John Doe I. 

Walker won the gubernatorial election.

*  As Governor, Walker and his party pushed through a very restrictive voter ID law with known partisan overtones and with admittedly partisan objectives aimed at suppressing voting in minority and college communities which vote heavily Democratic.

*  Forced into a recall election in 2012, Walker raised and received millions of dollars in campaign funds routed through a third party advocacy group which led to another investigation known as John Doe II.

Like the events which led to John Doe I, Walker and his funding and organizing methods were an additional weight on the scales. Walker won the recall election.

* Walker has since signed a bill into law written by his party which ended the use of John Doe investigations into allegations of political corruption.

*  During the 2012 recall elections, the Republican Party openly ran Republican candidates as fake Democrats in Democratic primaries to monkey-wrench the electoral process.

*  Walker signed into law several restrictions to early voting in Wisconsin so partisan and undemocratic that a Federal judge had to void them.

*  Separately, another Federal judge determined that the Republican redistricting of the Legislature drafted in secret using state employees and public computer equipment inserted out-of-sight into private law firms, and which has helped Walker and the GOP for years to expand their majorities and push through their agendas was illegally crafted to disenfranchise Democrats.

*  GOP Attorney General Brad Schimel, a close Walker and Republican legislative ally, sent election monitors during the November elections disproportionally into Democratic-leaning precincts.

*  Schimel's actions echoed the intimidating posting of billboards in minority neighborhoods and paid for by a GOP financier and major Walker donor warning against election fraud where there had been no record of voting fraud.

All of which makes Walker's talking point of having made it "easier to vote and harder to cheat" in Wisconsin elections a laughably self-serving, ethics-free projection on top of a devastating, personal and partisan indictment.





As predicted, Walker, GOP want to limit WI recounts

I'd said in a recent post that it wouldn't take long for Wisconsin Republicans to roll back recount rights because Gov. Walker and his one-party legislative and judicial allies are all about limiting various rights in order to maintain their control and continue to reward the special interests and partisan advocates who keep Walker & Co. in power:
Gov. Walker has thrown in his ultra-partisan and self-serving two cents, blasting the recount which is allowed under state law (until Republicans restrict it in the next legislative session - - just watch)...
And as his allies are trying to block the ongoing recount of the November 8th presidential balloting, Walker weighed in with a signal, as has been his M.O., before a hammer drops, right on schedule:

Gov. Scott Walker said Friday he would consider limiting the ability of candidates to ask for recounts in Wisconsin...Walker did not provide specifics on what kind of changes to the law he would consider.

Health-care probe at Clarke's jail with recent deaths

This just-announced county auditor's probe into health services at the Milwaukee County jail overseen by Sheriff David Clarke where four recent deaths have occurred may not satisfy those calling for an independent investigation - - but it's a start:
Theodore Lipscomb Sr., chairman of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, requested the audit in early November, days after a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article detailed Armor's staffing and performance issues amid the rash of deaths at the Milwaukee County Jail. Comptroller Scott Manske agreed one day later to start the audit, Heer said.
No doubt that probe will be carried out professionally, but given the severity of the situation already dragged out, the 'everything's instantly-politicized' environment at the Courthouse, and the history there of infighting over and including the Sheriff himself, a request for an investigation by the US Justice Department would have been expeditious.
David Clarke by Gage Skidmore.jpg

Saddest Tweet in a long time

The war crime expands.



View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

My brother Anas Al Basha who was the reason why besieged children smiled... killed today in Aleppo due to the Russian-Assad shelling.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

And after Trump leaves his feel-good Ohio rally...

Watched the whole thing. Live blogged it on Facebook.

Trump - - 
Trump at lectern before backdrop with elements of logo "TRUMP DonaldJTrump.com"
- - in full-throated gloating, replaying all the slights that came his way from the doubters, and which he overcame.

And boo, dishonest media!

Then Trump made a ton of contradictory promises - - huge tax cuts, huge spending increases - - promises he cannot fulfill unless the Congress prints new, Trump $25 bills which can be spent by the  trillions only for new infrastructure, inner-city rebuilding, poor rural community-rebuilding, more harbors (??), and, no doubt, on paying off businesses galore like Carrier to keep jobs in the US, etc.

Classic Trump overstatement/lie on Carrier and the jobs he says he saved, by the way. He and Indiana Gov. Pence who actually found the Carrier bride money at his taxpayers' expense, since nothing is really free as the GOP corporate welfare bashers claim when Democrats have spent money to save jobs - - are saying that 1,150 jobs are staying. 

The true fact and number is 850 - - less than half of what were scheduled to leave.

Also: I noticed a lot of older people in the rally crowd.

Do these good people know that Paul Ryan and his party and the House "Freedom Caucus' wants to privatize their Medicare, which will mean less services at a higher, profit-based cost? 

Gut Medicaid which is keeping some of their lower-income neighbors, maybe relatives, too, alive? 

Blow up Obamacare which is paying for many of their children's medical care and covering pre-existing conditions which Ryan and his party want gone  - - all of which Trump seems willing to sacrifice or default to Ryan and his insurance company pals want to send to the ideological shredder?

So, yeah - - right now the Generalissimo has movement, and he and it are riding high and they all got hear their champion bask in the cheers and claims a fake landslide and rant at the media, again.

They defeated the evil Hillary. They got to chant "Lock her Up, lock her up," again.

So, yes, good times in Cincinnati...a chicken in every pot and New Frontiers in space...and more tropes and fluff tossed out in the next few weeks where Trump takes his more victory laps...but this campaign and transition comes to an end in January when the Congress is in session, and Paul Ryan begins chopping away at things those very same adoring Ohioans, et al, take for granted.

And Trump the carnival barker/reality TV host/beauty pageant/golf tour/hotel-and-steaks hawker will not be able to deliver on national and international promises he's made about programs he does not grasp or issues - - boring! - - he has no interest in mastering...and then, when Putin or China or Iran or Mother Nature make their moves - - good times, well - - not so much.

Sheriff Clarke validates Wash Post's "cartoonish" label

A Washington Post columnist yesterday labeled Milwaukee County Sheriff and possible US Department of Homeland Secretary-designee David Clarke "cartoonish," and today it was reported that Clarke had proved the point"
Brian Peterson, Milwaukee County chief medical examiner, said Thursday that the sheriff called him on Oct. 28 and "verbally pummeled" and "threatened" him over information that Peterson's office made public regarding the deaths of two inmates at the jail earlier this year. Peterson said his office followed appropriate protocol in the cases cited by the sheriff.
Even so, Clarke said he would be contacting the state Medical Examining Board to have Peterson sanctioned or his license revoked.
Clarke has yet to publicly address the central issue at hand - - that there have been four deaths in the jail he oversees, and relatives of the deceased have complained that they have received little-to-no-information from Clarke.

Clarke should be talking and giving information to the families of the deceased, not bashing the medical examiner, a County official who is not under the Sheriff's jurisdiction, for offering some details to the public.

The jail and all the employees involved, are paid by the taxpayers and work for the people.

One of the deaths was ruled a homicide by severe dehydration after the medical examiner learned that jail staffers had cut off the water into the victim's cell; another death involved an infant born unnoticed in the jail.
David Clarke by Gage Skidmore.jpg
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board and others have called for an independent investigation into the deaths and the jail's management. Said the paper:
David A. Clarke Jr. needs to remember he’s the sheriff of Milwaukee County, not the king. He’s not even the king of the Milwaukee County Jail, which has seen four deaths since April under his watch, and about which the sheriff and the sheriff’s office have been shamefully silent. Not even the families of those who died have been told much about what happened. Surely, the sheriff owes them answers, just as he owes answers to the people who elected him and pay his salary. 
In an effort to get those answers, the families of two of the inmates who died in the jail are calling for an outside investigation, saying they fear the sheriff won’t conduct a thorough, impartial review. Maybe they will get that impartial review, but certainly Clarke has given them nothing to allay their fears, and an outside investigation would remove the doubt that now exists. One should be conducted.

WI DNR reorg. closes that 'chamber of commerce' loop, Part 5

[Updated from 11/30] I've lost count (actually, I checked the index and it's 256) of the number of times I've written about, documented and otherwise analyzed the activities and consequences of the 'chamber of commerce mentality' which Scott Walker installed atop the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in the person of former  developer,  GOP State Senator and McDonald's restaurant manager Cathy Stepp

Here is a summary post of the consequences of that intentional policy direction.
Inside the WI DNR: poor morale, fear, despair over lost mission
This is all particularly relevant now that Stepp wants to change the rules and allow big water users and other permit applicants to self-regulate by writing their own permits, thus dictating the terms of their operations as well as any post-permitting enforcement even if the public's land and water is at stake.

Little wonder, then, that the golf course the Kohler Co. is planning to build on a nature preserve adjoining Kohler Andrae State Park along Lake Michigan south of Sheboygan includes incorporating between four and 19 acres of parkland, and that the proposal is being reviewed by the DNR without a formal permit application by the company.

And when I read this line in the Wisconsin State Journal's account of today's DNR reorganization which hands out deregulatory and privatization favors to big ag, feedlot operators, forest insiders and others, I said, out loud, "case closed."

"From what we've seen we have been very supportive of the plan," Lucas Vebber, director of environmental and energy policy for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. 
And it dovetails with Stepp having said at her presentation this morning, I'm told - - that she had "run the organization" from her first day on the job "with as much private sector business perspectives as we could infuse into government.”

After all, she had waxed sentimentally about the good old days when she could move around her McDonald burger-flippers a lot more easily than civil servants and union members she was stuck with at DNR:


As reported by The Wisconsin State Journal:
Stepp recalled her days as a McDonald’s restaurant manager as she talked about how state employment rules have hobbled the DNR. Stepp said she could quickly mobilize her fast-food employees when a busload of customers arrived unexpectedly, but the DNR can’t react that nimbly to retirements.
Earlier posts about the DNR's reorganization were posted on Nov. 30th - -  here,  here, here, and here
 

Sykes says jail deaths story would explode...

...should Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke be appointed to a major position by President-elect Donald Trump, perhaps as Homeland Security Secretary.

As others have pointed out, conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes said on his 620 WTMJ-AM program mid-morning today that Clarke could not get away at a confirmation hearing with declining to provide information about the jail deaths - - four in recent months - - as the Sheriff has to date with local media and even with the families of the deceased.

David Clarke by Gage Skidmore.jpg
The Washington Post only yesterday tossed potential Clarke nomination reviewers some red meat, so, in a sense, the story which Sykes said would explode is already burning brightly:
After all, Trump’s candidacy attracted other cartoonish law enforcement figures like Clarke, such as Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the latter now blessedly entering retirement thanks to the voters of Maricopa County. Arpaio was like a walking bingo card from the fever swamps, a birther and immigration hard-liner who faced criminal contempt charges for defying federal court orders to halt discriminatory policing practices aimed at Latinos. Cases involving Arpaio and his office cost taxpayers more than $142 million as of 2015, with some of those cases involving the arrest of journalists who had written about the sheriff and deaths in his jails. 
He has that last bit, among other things, in common with Clarke. 
The Huffington Post reported Tuesday that four people, including a newborn baby, have died in Clarke’s Milwaukee County Jail since April, prompting a visit from a court-appointed medical monitor. During that same period, Clarke was making regular appearances on Fox News, where he was becoming a star by denouncing the Black Lives Matter movement and defending police officers, and delivering a crowd-pleasing speech at the Republican National Convention, in which he celebrated the news that a Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray had been acquitted.
I also see a major story about the jail deaths posted today on The Daily Beast website.

Sykes and Clarke have been allies, but not apparently right now with Sykes still #NeverTrump and Clarke perhaps in line for a Trump appointment after campaigning hard for Trump on the stump and often on Fox News.

Stonewalling about four deaths on one's watch - - including a new born child and a death by severe dehydration ruled officially a homicide because jail staffers shut off the water in a victim's cell  - - while seeking a job that comes with the highest levels of media scrutiny and administrative responsibilities imaginable looks like a losing job search strategy to me.


Granted, Trump is going out of his way to reward people who supported him when his candidacy was not taken seriously - - and Clarke meets that test - - so Trump may give Clarke the position or find one that does not require Senate confirmation or which comes without such visibility and power.

We'll see, and soon.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

In WI DNR reorg., fun from the top down, Part 4

I've been writing today about the Wisconsin DNR's much-anticipated 'realignment' - - here's one post which summarizes Parts 1, 2 and 3 - -  but seriously - - 18 months of career employee anxiety meant the Secretary was having a buzzwordy blast? 
...Stepp said many of the reorganization ideas came from DNR employees. 
"That's what's been the most fun for me out of this entire process is to watch people excited about contributing to a much more vibrant and sustainable future for this very important agency," Stepp said in the interview. "And to see some of their ideas come into being for the first time ever."
Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp proudly shows off her first deer, taken opening weekend last year. In the upcoming TV Special "Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2012, Stepp urges male hunters to take more girls and women hunting. "The secret's out," she says. "Hunting is a lot of fun, so don't keep it to yourselves."  photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR
Though not as much fun as that Halloween party, I betcha, and note that fun at the DNR is one of Stepp's signatures!!

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


Sent:   Wednesday, October 19, 2011 11:30 AM
Subject:        Please join us

This message is sent to all DNR Central Office staff, Darwin Road staff, and Regional Directors:

Come and join us for our 1st annual Halloween Progressive Potluck  
How does it work?

Staff on each floor will be designated a food type to bring.  For example, employees on 8th floor are asked to bring meat or a hot dish which will be set up in a conference room on 8th floor. The same will happen with each floor.  (See attached poster for food assignments). Everyone will need to go floor to floor to get a balanced meal (unless you are in the mood for only dessert and you can just stay on 7th floor…) Don't have time to get something together for the potluck??  Bring a canned good to donate to the food pantry instead.  

And Costume Challenge!

Central Office has challenged the Regions to a costumer competition. We are asking each bureau and office to take a picture of their staff in costume and forward it to Laurel Steffes. Pictures will be included in the next e-digest.  Who wins?  You decide. And the prize?  The pride in believing that your region/office was the best!! 

Our Goals?

To have fun

To mingle with staff on different floors

To enjoy some great food

In WI DNR reorg, forestry biz a big winner, Part 3

I'd posted items earlier today about feedlot and manure producers winning big in the WI Department of Natural Resources 'realignment' announced Wednesday morning, as well Team Walker thumbing its collective polluting nose at federal clean water monitors , so let me post a third significant item from what DNR managers told staffers at an agency-wide meeting.

In a nutshell, there is another Wisconsin industry winner other than feedlot operators and big ag in the reorganization - - forestry - - from which Walker just inserted a key insider into a top-level DNR position - - which I recently noted based on a DNR news release:

Fred Souba Jr. has been appointed Chief State Forester by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The 40 year forest industry veteran will also serve as administrator for the DNR Division of Forestry...
Currently the owner and Senior Consultant of ProVision Forestry LLC... Souba has been the chair of the Wisconsin Council on Forestry (exit DNR) for seven years.
Devil's Lake State Park 
WI DNR staffers were told today that there would be these added forestry industry priorities:

*  a reduction in the review times for private forest management plans, applications, cutting plans and cutting reports.


*  an increase in service to private land owners with a focus on woodland owners not engaged in sustainable forestry practices.


* Helping the feds who manage the Chequamegon-Nicolet Forests hit harvest goals and get more wood to the market to fuel the economy.


Bottom line: 

This iteration DNR managers is reading from Scott Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality' playbook by serving the Wisconsin's wooded, rural red counties which give Walker and the GOP its electoral base.

More later.

WI DNR reorg. sticks it to US EPA, clean water WI, Part 2

I'm posting a series of preliminary reactions - - Part 1, here - -  to the unveiling by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources today of its long-awaited 'realignment' which we already know intends to reward some of the state's biggest polluting livestock operations and heaviest users of groundwater already being deregulated with the privatizers' Dream Scenario:

Writing their own environmental permit rules.
File:Confined-animal-feeding-operation.jpg

Kinda like telling habitual reckless drivers they can set their own speed limits, or letting smokestack emitters decide what constitutes air pollution.

It bears noting that the DNR, run with the 'chamber of commerce mentality' Scott Walker installed atop the intentionally-diminished department, is already under scrutiny by the US Environmental Protection Agency for systematically evading state obligations under the US Clean Water Act since 2011.

That Walker and the DNR's corporatized management team would move to further enable the groundwater hogs in the state whose operations also have spilled millions of gallons of manure into streams and let it leak its toxins into residential wells tells me these things:

*  The Walker administration continues to thumb its nose at the EPA.

*  The Walker administration continues to put private profit and Walker donor interests above the people's constitutional rights to clean water.

*  Even if the EPA writes clean water orders for the state, or takes over the clean water enforcement program, as the EPA can do, the Walker administration is cynically betting that the incoming Donald Trump EPA team will undo any remedial actions ordered, or will withdraw the threat of federal action, period.

I can't see any other explanation for Walker's DNR to further deregulate clean water enforcement in the state just a few weeks after EPA officials came to Madison, spent several days in a highly-publicized records inspection spurred by numerous citizen and expert complaints, and held a heavily-attended public session in Eau Claire to take more public input on the clean water crisis in the state.


At first glance, DNR reorg. is win for polluters, Part 1

About that big reorganization of the Wisconsin DNR, the agency which Scott Walker is running with his self-defined 'chamber of commerce mentality.' 

Lee Bergquist of the Journal Sentinel reports that privatization winners in the deal include the big manure-producing animal feeding operations which are growing substantially in number and capacity - - which also are commanding more and more millions of gallons of groundwater constitutionally-owned by all the state's residentsbut diverted thanks to the cooperation of the DNR and the Attorney General - - operations which will be allowed to write their own environmental compliance plans without which they cannot receive DNR operating permits:

The Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday it will turn over some regulatory duties to the private sector, including preparation of environmental permits for manure handling of Wisconsin’s largest farms.
That's a sweet deal for these polluting special interests, including major Walker donors, especially since there are several such big projects on the table. And, no surprise, big Walker donors are involved.

Note also that the DNR is claiming that it cannot do its traditional work, like permit plans, and other functions it intends to privatize or eliminate, because it doesn't have the staff anymore to carry out the work.

Which is exactly why Walker began cutting the DNR so drastically - - with Secretary Cathy Stepp's approval - - and why more cuts are coming.

It's the self-fulfilling prophecy of Grover Norquist's infamous drown the government in a bathtub theory of governing/non-governing that, by design, makes government inefficient and elevates tprofits over the public interest.

More on this later. 

Wash Post discovers Sheriff Clarke's '16 jail body count

Good to see the Washington Post - - and note the photo accompanying the story shows Clarke before the dye hit his beard - - publishing a warning about appointing Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke to the position of Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security:
The Huffington Post reported Tuesday that four people, including a newborn baby, have died in Clarke’s Milwaukee County Jail since April, prompting a visit from a court-appointed medical monitor. 
Funny that the Huffington Post got credited, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has been covering the jailhouse deaths on Clarke's watch - - 
David Clarke by Gage Skidmore.jpg
- - since July - - examples here and here - - and local bloggers have been spreading the word, too.