Thursday, October 2, 2014

The most ignored Scott Walker story

Despite all the attention paid to coordination among Scott Walker, his campaign and outside organizations and funders in 2011-'12, I have yet to see any follow-up by Wisconsin media to the boastful disclosure by conservative leaders in March that Scott Walker was among 15 activists who met in Milwaukee in 2007 to plan the capture of the State of Wisconsin.

Again, I ask: Who was there?

I have twice posted the story with its citations and unabashed quotations from Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus and a conservative activist who has been the point person in Wisconsin for the Koch-funded group American;s for Prosperity.

From my most recent posting:
Leading national right-wing strategists proudly disclosed at their annual gathering last week that coordinated work with and for Scott Walker had begun in 2007 -- or three years before his election: 
[National GOP chair Reince] Priebus made his comments on a Saturday morning CPAC panel addressing how conservatives could fight and defeat organized labor state by state,..
“How did we do it in Wisconsin?” RNC Chair Reince Priebus asked Saturday morning. “The simplest way I can tell you is we had total and complete unity between the state party, quite frankly, Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party groups, the Grandsons of Liberty. The [Glenn Beck-instigated] 9/12ers were involved... 
Panelist Luke Hilgemann, the current Americans for Prosperity COO who formerly led the Koch-backed group’s Wisconsin efforts, told the crowd that the 2011 victory “started back in 2007 on the shores of Lake Michigan,” at a meeting of fifteen intrepid activists who’d “had enough of government overreach,” including then-Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. Priebus, a former Wisconsin GOP head, credited the ability to pass Walker’s reforms in part to the party and Tea Party activists unifying well before the 2010 primary...
So since a few chosen people apparently did know and helped craft the Wisconsin/Walker/union-busting blueprint, let's ask:

Who was there at the pivotal meeting disclosed at CPAC?

Southern court provides voter protections, unlike Chicago 7th circuit

[Updated, 9:30 a.m.] A southern US appeals court panel recognizes that last-minute changes to North Carolina voting procedures so close to the November election will create anti-democratic confusion.

Too bad we couldn't get similar justice for Wisconsin voters at the Court of Appeals in Chicago.

The US Supreme Court needs to stop this inconsistency. Voting rights should not be trifled with.

Update - - An appeal to the US Supreme Court has been filed by the ACLU of Wisconsin. Great news.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Walker's shaky ethics, media double-standards

It's time people called b.s. on Scott Walker's plagiarism charge being leveled as a campaign distraction against Mary Burke.

Yes, she had hired a careless consultant. She fired him. She's the victim here. Not Walker.

He doesn't have a leg to stand on; Walker's outrage about it all is transparently phony.

And that is the only time you will see "Walker" and "transparently" in a single, accurate sentence.

Now that Walker and his echo chamber have elevated the matter into full-blown campaign against Burke's character - -  will media begin, for example, to demand from Walker or Rebecca Kleefisch or the other top administration officials who submit op-eds for publication a list of all the authors, contributors, editors and advisers who wrote a line or paragraph or a first or s last draft, along with their citations and sourcing?

If Walker demands full disclosure of others, let him start with his own operation.

And when we're talking about Walker and ethics, remember that he hired staffers while running for Governor from the office of Milwaukee County Executive who worked just down the hall as political operatives - - not public servants - - for him and other Republicans, on public time.

Using secret equipment.

Coordinating closely with his campaign.

For some of those transgressions and related campaign finance law-breaking, six of Walker's people were charged, found guilty, fined or sentenced to jail or prison.

And he's pointing a finger over ethics? Give us all a break.

Walker's 2012 recall gubernatorial campaign is still open to investigation thanks to a recent Federal appeals court reversal of Us District Court Judge Rudolph Randa's investigation shutdown overreach despite the multi-pronged effort by Walker's right-wing media/talk radio echo chamber, big donors and legal defense fund to permanently derail it.

Ethical behavior?

"False" is still his #1 PolitiFact statement-vetted category.

And if you want to talk about failed or non-existent ethics in state government from the top-on-down  that have already had impacts on everyday people in Wisconsin, look to Walker's intentional rejection of federal medicaid funding, cuts to food stamps, reductions in pollution violation enforcement, forced closings of low-income women's health care clinics, mandated, wasteful voter ID to 'fight' no known fraud - - and a host of additional manipulations and exploitations laid down principally for Walker's personal and partisan ambition.

There's your ethically-compromised candidate, Governor and administration.

Walker using state planes like his private airline

Curiously, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott McCallum's history of using expensive state airplanes for quick trips that could have easily been taken by car - - like Walker's short hops - - was left out of the Journal Sentinel story.

McCallum's plane use was big news and controversial at the time.

It really brought the issue of state officials' airplane use to the public's attention and helped doom McCallum's campaign for a full-term in 2002 after he'd assumed the governorship office when Tommy Thompson resigned to join the George W. Bush cabinet.

Why there's hope after today's Marquette Poll

The MU poll gives Walker fifty.
His nervous backers say that's nifty.
But Walker's donors were still too gifty.
Sending Doe-disclosed checks was hardly thifty.
And the mining donation was downright grifty.
So all in all, Walker remains shifty.
An at-risk incumbent still stuck at fifty. 

The fiscal year is over; where are Wisconsin's key financial reports?

The state fiscal year ended June 30.

Will Wrong-Way Walker's appointees at the Department of Administration hold on to it through the election, with bad debt data and crummy revenue numbers from Walker budgeting and jobs fails effectively censored?

Also missing:

The State Department of Revenue's Economic Forecast for Summer or Fall.

No such DOR report since March, despite the misleading "winter 2014" title:

March 20Winter 2014 Wisconsin Economic Outlook and Winter 2014 Wisconsin Metropolitan Area Outlook

I noted this omission and situation a month ago

Anybody care?

About Walker's 2nd term 'plan'

A "plan" to serve a full second term is not a commitment.

Plans change. You can plan the plan but not necessarily the outcome.

Like a plan to create 250,000 new jobs in one term.

People have to know by now that Walker's only interest is his advancement, not your well-being.

Though no permits issued, work underway on golf course site in Kohler preserve

Neither the Town of Wilson, the Wisconsin DNR or the US Army Corps of Engineers has issued any permits or held hearings on any formal applications about building a golf course on the Kohler company's Lake Michigan nature preserve south of Sheboygan, but neighbors report something is afoot there:

Anti-science crowd holding GOP fundraiser Wednesday

[Updated Wednesday, 11:19 a.m.] 

Brown County alert: Wisconsin US Senator and book-learning foe Ron Johnson will be in the spotlight at a fundraising event this evening raising money for fellow pollution backer Brian Schimel, the Waukesha County DA and GOP Attorney General hopeful. 

For $1,000 you can get your picture taken with RoJo, though surprisingly, Big Government legal tender is mandatory, while Bitcoin and other freedom currencies are not acceptable. Go figure.
Reception for Brad Schimel for AG. 
10/1/2014 5:30 p.m. 
Green Bay Distillery, 835 Potts Ave., Ashwaubenon. 
With special guest U.S. Senator Ron Johnson 
5:30 PM – Host Reception/Photo Opportunity 6:00PM – Main Reception 
$1,000 – Platinum Host , $500 – Gold Host, or $250 – Silver HostAttendees: $100 per person 
PAC contributions are welcome
We know that flat earthers like Johnson believes sunspot activity, not human action like power plants and vehicle emissions, is fueling climate change, despite reams of science to the contrary.

Johnson is the author of the phrase "environmental jihad."

Also for legacy purposes, we note that PoilitiFact rated as "true" the allegation that Johnson has voted in favor of "unlimited" carbon dioxide pollution. 

Because he did it twice.

So you can expect to see the PAC contributions roll in tomorrow, as Schimel has the requisite Ron Johnson fossil-fuel-pollution-is-OK talking point down pat
If elected, Schimel said one of his first acts would be to join Republican attorneys general in a legal challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions to slow global climate change.
Because if there's one thing the planet needs right now, it's more powerful politicians pushing extra pollution into the atmosphere.

WMC lobbyist shocked at women ingrates

The Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce's Scott Manley has had his feelings hurt by women who are not appropriately appreciative of WMC support for existing law that bars pay equity discrimination.

The GOP Legislature and Walker did repeal - - with the WMC's backing - - a companion law that had allowed plaintiffs to seek punitive damages and create deterrence through lawsuits over pay equity discrimination.

The companion law could have led to frivolous lawsuits just like all the other punitive damage frivolous  pay equity lawsuits that were never filed.

The WMC is right: just because women make 75 cents for every dollar a male co-worker earns for similar work in a low-wage state like Wisconsin doesn't mean women should be allowed to turn around discriminate against employers with one-sided legal tools to fight pay discrimination.

Employers already are forced to operate under profit-constraining Big Government edicts like outlawed child labor and a mandated $7.25/hourly wage, among other nanny state wimp-outs.

I can see why the relatively powerless WMC would feel like the victim here, and good on the organization and Manley for standing up against the bullying.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

About trophy hunting, bees, and related matters: food for thought

This blog has frequently carried postings about Wisconsin's uniquely brutal wolf hunt that has been politically-promoted by the state's well-connected bear hunting and gun lobbies.

I've also taken note of the survival battles of the small critters - - bees, Monarch butterflies and all the species damaged by oil spills.

With that in mind, you might take a look at this story:
We’ve killed off half the world’s animals since 1970

Someone at the DNR didn't get the hunter education message

Public outcry last year forced the DNR to scrap plans to add a gun range at the MacKenzie Center, a state-owned-and-operated youth educational facility, and now you can bet someone is going to be trouble at the agency and with its NRA constituents for over-reacting and dropping the first reference about "hunter education" in this news release to the 14th paragraph:

MacKenzie Center kicks off school year with new programs, partnerships

POYNETTE, Wis. -- With 11 new course offerings that build on topics taught in K-12 classrooms, the MacKenzie Center is welcoming 29 new schools and groups eager to participate in its unique environmental and conservation education and outdoor skills programs this year.  -  Read Full Article
Hunter education represents an expanding focus at MacKenzie, with Learn to Hunt classes this fall for pheasant, raccoon, bow deer and gun deer running through December. Remaining dates include the weekend of October 18-19, December 6-7 and 13-14. The classes introduce newcomers to Wisconsin's hunting heritage and include instruction and field work before a novice goes hunting with an experienced hunter.

GAB needs Walker/GOP approval for voter ID education push

And you thought that matters of ethical conflicts of interest, unacceptable partisanship or flat out absurdities in Wisconsin were limited to the State Supreme Court these days?

How screwed up is this?
Saying "there is very little time left to reach out to the public," the head of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board announced Tuesday that he is asking the Legislature for nearly half a million dollars for a statewide campaign to notify voters that they must present a photo identification to vote Nov. 4.
So after moving into the hen house, the fox is supposed to buy for the hens the tools they need to escape and then lock the fox out? 

Silver lining in US Rep. Petri's messy departure

From DC to Wisconsin; bad media, court opinions

Bad enough that the US Supreme Court has opened the door widely to the influence of money in elections.

Worse for us in Wisconsin: a majority (four members) of the State Supreme Court a) was elected through campaign committees which accepted millions of dollars in special interest money, b) will likely rule on whether special interest money was raised and spent illegally by Scott Walker's 2012 recall election committee, and c) let some of the same big-money organizations involved in the Walker campaign case write the current judicial code of conduct that guides the Court and minimizes campaign contribution conflict-of-interest recusal situations.

And even worse - - the biggest newspaper in the state doesn't think those justices should recuse themselves from hearing the special interest money case.

That's too many institutions failing to understand or care enough about how money works in elections.

Something I've noted for years:
...conservatives on Supreme Courts in Washington, DC and in Madison, Wisconsin are, with the slimmest of margins, dragooning us by discounting ethics and fair play, law and process while tilting the scales of justice towards already-privileged and powerful Republicans and the corporate elites who fund them. 
Take the Citizens United case, where a 5-4 ruling by the US Supreme Court gave corporations permission to release unlimited funding to third-party advocacy groups that support or oppose political candidates. The five Supreme Court Justices in the majority overturned precedent and law by agreeing that corporations, like people, had a free speech right to donate...  
Regrettably, there is also the political and ethical mess that is the Wisconsin Supreme Court these days, where another one-vote majority - - here it's a 4-3 conservative majority - - has been helped to election wins and its ideological freedom by huge donations from conservative, third-party corporate groups, like the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce - - and is following through by advancing a radical right-wing agenda pushed by GOP Governor Scott Walker and majorities in both legislative houses. 
And its duty to guard against justice deprived? To maintain a level playing field - - at least a civil environment on the Court itself? 
It was incumbent conservative Justice David Prosser who nearly threw away certain re-election in April against a virtual unknown by calling liberal Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson "a total bitch," and had threatened to "destroy" her.
More, here.

If we can mix up some metaphors here - - the fox designed the hen house, moved in for the long haul, and holds the keys while the watch dog decides its services are no longer needed.

Journal Sentinel editorial board botches Court recusal argument

[Updated, 11:48 a.m.] The Journal Sentinel editorial board argues there is nothing positive to be gained by recusals over potential conflicts-of-interest facing the State Supreme Court majority which has accepted millions of dollars in campaign contributions from some of the same groups whose donations routed to the 2012 Walker recall campaign are at the heart of the John Doe probe case into potentially illegal campaigning that is heading for State Supreme Court consideration:
For better or worse, this is the court Wisconsin has, and this court needs to decide cases, including these. Recusals could paralyze it.
I disagree. When did it become OK for justice to lose that blindfold?

Let the majority be pressured to acknowledge their conflicts-of-interest - - including the fact that some of the big-dollar conservative groups also wrote the 'no-recusal' code of conduct which gives the Justices an out - - but which the newspaper did not add to its list of ethical problems facing the Court.

Let the Justices and their backers and donors and enablers stew in it.

And if the court majority won't budge, if it takes the case, the newspaper should loudly demand the majority's recusal or their resignations.

We'd expect no less from the majority on a local village board of trustees about to going to vote on a controversial development after having taken huge amounts of money from the developer for their winning campaigns.

No one would say that level of failed impartiality was fair or smart or ethical or right or protective of the larger public interest. 

And we would expect the newspaper to condemn, not excuse or rationalize it.

"For better or worse?" Come on.

The newspaper a few days ago said the appearance of a conflict of interest in a case handled by the office of Jefferson County DA Susan Happ, and widely politicized by her GOP opponents as she runs for Attorney General, was a problem that Happ should have avoided by deferring to an outside prosecutor.

So recusal/withdrawal is the prescribed solution for Happ, but not for the hapless majority on the State Supreme Court - - our most senior arbiters - - in what is arguably is its biggest case in years, decades, maybe?

The same court which the newspaper's editorial says "faces serious conflicts of its own."

Are the standards of fair review recommended by the newspaper so flexible, so inconsistent? A line is drawn in Jefferson County but not across the Capitol on behalf of the entire state?

Let the majority of the justices take the heat for what ever angst or paralysis or embarrassment or vilification from voters which might come in the wake of refusals, or their recusals - - which would not be fatal to the case.

A conflicted state supreme court can decline to make the ruling and let an appeals court make the final ruling by declining to accept the case, since that's where the it sits now.

Let the citizens of the state watch the charade play out. Let everyone see the power of special interest money. Let a disgusted electorate take note and take charge - - and let the state's largest newspapers help set the tone as part of their traditional mission to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.

The State Supreme Court majority put itself in this position by a) taking the big bucks, b) letting the fox dictate the rules in the hen house, c) and behaving like an automatic arm of the Walker campaign and GOP machine when reflexively approving Act 10 and voter ID - - thus making the John Doe decision look like a done-deal for Walker and the donors which they and the Governor share.

A done deal that could further do in the Court's standing and state's reputation.

The Journal Sentinel should argue first for transparent judicial ethics and simple, unequivocal fairness, and not spend its time on arguments that help justices off the petard of their own injudicious choosing.

The court's majority took all the chips that came its way, so let them fall where they may.

Another grassroots initiative to save the groundwater

Over the weekend I'd noted that local officials and activists were stepping up their regulatory efforts to monitor and manage groundwater in the public interest because Walker's DNR had punted in favor of laissez-faire corporate favoritism.

Now, a fresh, encouraging development in a high-profile big dairy expansion:

The Saratoga Town Board is expected to consider a contract that would allow the installation of 10 monitoring wells — costing about $60,000 — around the Wysocki Dairy Farm at a meeting Wednesday…to detect whether the proposed concentrated animal feeding operation would hydraulically or chemically affect the local groundwater flow system…
The wells would be tested for the presence of phosphorous, pesticides, herbicides, coliforms, total dissolved solids, total organic nitrogen, ammonia, chemical oxygen demand, nitrate nitrogen and chloride.
The Wysocki Family of Cos.’ initial dairy proposal includes 4,000 milking and dry cows, 300 heifers and 1,000 calves, for a total of 5,300 animals. Plans also call for about 6,400 acres of crops and 49 high-capacity wells. The Saratoga project was announced in 2012.
The DNR is in the process of creating an environmental impact statement for the proposed dairy.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Walker/Christie event draws small, small-town crowd

Hudson turned out super-small at this Walker/Christie event earlier today. For two governors! Much bigger crowed in Milwaukee with Michelle Obama talking up Mary Burke:

Ron Johnson stopped Obama from filling key Appeals Court seat

Now we know why President Barack Obama was unable to make a crucial appointment to the appeals court which last week affirmed Wisconsin's voter ID law and gave Scott Walker and the suppressionist party a leg up in the November election. Fascinating story:
Although ten judges voted on whether to reconsider Wisconsin’s voter ID law, there are actually eleven active judgeships on the Seventh Circuit. The eleventh seat, however, has been vacant for more than four years
In 2010, President Obama nominated a University of Wisconsin law professor named Victoria Nourse to this vacancy — Nourse was one of four potential nominees suggested to the White House by a nominating commission sponsored by the state’s two senators. This nomination died, however, after Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) defeated incumbent Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) in the 2010 election...

Governor under investigation campaigns in Northern Wisconsin

WI DNR further enabling dog-wolf cruelties

Bad enough that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources arranged for politically-powerful bear hunting groups to take over a key advisory committee on statewide wolf hunting policies.

Worse now that those interests have convinced the DNR that the best way to find out if wolf-dog confrontations are taking place during the wolf hunting season is to ask wolf hunters - - pretty-please - - if DNR staffers may examine wolf pelts for evidence of dog-wolf fighting.
Wisconsin is killing its wolves
A program which this news story says few hunters will participate in voluntarily. 

This willful cave-in to hunting and gun lobbies in Wisconsin comes on top of existing outrages which taint the state's reputation and make its intentionally-cruel and politicized wolf hunt a travesty:

*  The legal use by hunters of wolf-pursuing hounds - - setting up the very confrontations the DNR continues to obfuscate and minimize.

*  State payments up to $2,500 per bear-hunting dog killed by a wolf  - - even if the owner had released the dog off leash during 'training' in areas where wolves are known to den, congregate or occupy when attracted by bait left by bear hunters.


Journal Sentinel editorial should go one additional step

It's all well and good to condemn the Wisconsin voter ID law that Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled Legislature are inflicting on the electorate, but how about closing that loop and urging the electorate to vote out politicians who did the inflicting?

Especially since the newspaper twice endorsed Walker for Governor. And he supported and signed the voter ID bill and other measures reducing absentee voting hours, and won't even commit to finishing a second term anyway,

Why support a leader who works to suppress the vote and won't agree to abide fully by the outcome?

It's hard to keep track of all the programs which Walker has backed that run counter to the paper's editorial position: Voter ID. Amtrak expansion. Medicaid well as his litany of false statements and broken promises catalogued in the paper's news columns by PolitiFact.

It's one thing to spot a bad apple.

It's another to serve it to your customers.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Why commit to Walker when he's not that into you?

Voters should reject Walker in November for using them to advance his career at their expense, but not being honest enough to say he has his eye on something bigger and would think nothing of kicking them to the curb.

In no other commitment situation - - pledging to a fiance, hiring a roofer, adopting a puppy - - would you get away with behaving like you'd walk away from your end of the bargain and lapsing into charade mode when directly confronted about your intentions.

Beware an arrangement where the person signing on the dotted line is using disappearing ink.

If Walker wins four more years in Wisconsin

Even if Walker quits early, your Wisconsin program, policy, priority, and prognosis remains targeted precisely as righty radio talker Mark Belling called it the day after Walker and the GOP swept into control in 2010
They can do whatever they want.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Clever WI man with scope-mounted 12-gauge outsmarts bear

I noted the story last week, but more Wisconsin media are gushing over a hunter who out-foxed and killed a 780-pound bear.

Scientists credit bears with high animal intelligence equivalent to that of a three-year-old human child.

Interesting that a bear in its prime had to give up his lifetime so the hunter could claim his "bear of a lifetime."

WI DNR default on water oversight prompting strong citizen responses

[Updated, 2:45 p.m.] 

From the Wisconsin Groundwater Council's 2013 report to the State Legislature:
The foundation of Wisconsin's groundwater law is the belief that all groundwater in Wisconsin must be protected equally to assure that it can be used for people to drink today and in the future. 
You know that residents in rural, relatively-conservative Wisconsin are unhappy with the state DNR's pro-industry groundwater 'oversight' when the Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors votes 20-0 for tougher local regulation.  
All 20 Kewaunee County Board members on Tuesday approved a public health and groundwater protection ordinance limiting winter and early spring waste spreading on thin soils over karst bedrock.
The measure passed despite opposition from the Dairy Business Association and other major Wisconsin agricultural groups that called it illegal... 
the ordinance [is] intended to keep waste — including manure, plus industrial and human waste — from contaminating groundwater in particularly vulnerable areas.
More, here.

The Kewaunee County Board actions echoes action in Jefferson County over the DNR's capitulation to tar sand oil pipeline expansion across Wisconsin greenlit by the DNR.

Media have noted that Wrong-Way Walker is polling more weakly in small-town Wisconsin than in previous elections, and I would wager that's a direct consequence of his direction to the DNR to ease pollution enforcement and the agency's recent - - but under-reported move - - to remove citizen input from regulatory reviews at the very time large ground water users, like big dairies and sand mines, are expanding rapidly.

Also expanding: controversial airborne manure spreading:
A center pivot manure irrigation system is used to spread manure on a Wisconsin corn field.
Wisconsin DNR photo
There is strong grassroots activity in Kewaunee County over the expansion of industrial-sized dairies that are wreaking havoc with local water and air quality - - here is a principal citizens' web site - - and a recent judicial decision cutting back a big Central Wisconsin dairy's ground water allotment attracted statewide attention.

As did the dairy's huge donations to Scott Walker's campaign while the news has been filled with stories about big donors allegedly funneling millions of dollars illegally to Walker's 2012 recall campaign.

It's not coincidental that so much of the recent attention focused on the disclosure of a $700,000 contribution from the out-of-state mining company allowed to write legislation that will open a swath of NW Wisconsin to open-pit iron mining - - at the expense of the water-rich Penokee range and a watershed that supports unique wild-rice harvesting.

Under this Governor, water that is in the public domain has become a major political commodity: people across the state do not like it and have strengthened their resolve to fight back.

Case in point: Bad River Ojibwe resistance to save their watershed - - which is also a fight in the public interest, broadly-defined, against private-sector water expropriation enabled by politicians obeisant to big, often far-away corporations.

And while you are digesting this information, check out this fascinating article about the differences between Minnesota and Wisconsin when it comes to sand mine oversight and the importance in Minnesota that is attached to ground water protection and citizen health:   

Wisconsin has handled the growth in the industry much differently than Minnesota, 
According to the report, the number of frac sand facilities in Wisconsin grew from seven in 2010 to 145 this year. In contrast, Minnesota has 19 active sand mines and 20 proposed facilities. 
Monitoring by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources —less than 10 percent of the state’s 140 frac sand facilities are required to monitor their air emissions — has prompted Midwest Environmental Advocates to circulate a petition that asks the state’s Natural Resources Board to conduct a health and environmental study of the state’s fastest growing industry. 
Kimberlee Wright, the group’s executive director, said citizens living near the sand mines have had their lives impacted by mining lights on 24-7, the noise from blasting, trucks and trains and people whose houses’ foundations are beginning to crumble from the repeated blasting nearby. 
“Special interests have pretty much crippled the ability of DNR staff to do their jobs,” Wright said. “Sound science is being overruled … leaving citizens very much at risk.”

Fans of NFL team in DC get taste of own medicine

US economy rebounding: not in Wisconsin

This is why we call him Wrong-Way Walker.
The U.S. economy's bounce-back last quarter from a dismal winter was even faster than previously thought, a sign that growth will likely remain solid for rest of the year.

This is why we call him Wrong-Way Wisconsin.
Wisconsin ranked 33rd in private-sector job creation for the 12-month period ending in March, based on federal data released Thursday, the last update of its kind before the November election.
This is why we call him Wrong-Way Walker. 
Newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau provides yet another indication of Wisconsin's glacial business-start-up rate.
The latest evidence comes from an extensive database called the Business Dynamics Statistics. It is based largely on administrative records, not surveys, and it offers insight into the life cycle of businesses. 
In 2012, the Business Dynamics Statistics data shows, Wisconsin entrepreneurs created 5,757 businesses with employees. 
That amounted to 5.8% of the state's universe of employer firms — third lowest among the 50 states.
This is why we call him Wrong-Way Walker. 
...the state has added about 8,800 jobs this year...
Our tally now stands at 102,195 jobs -- or about 40 percent of what Walker promised... 

Friday, September 26, 2014

250,000 jobs fail is not Walker's only broken promise

PolitiFact is tracking other Walker pledges, and this one should get more attention:  
Develop plan to keep Veterans Trust Fund solvent
The Promise: 
Will develop plan to keep Veterans Trust Fund solvent. "One of my first jobs as governor will be to develop a long-term plan to ensure the Veterans Trust Fund remains solvent."
Update September 10th, 2014: Cash infusions have kept it afloat, but deficit projections remain.
Note that the budget failure was pointed out in the first few months of Walker's term, in early 2011.

Related issues, here

Feels like Stephen King, Jon Stewart writing WI Doe case end-game

The right has successfully tipped the scales when it comes to Wisconsin elections, ballot-box fairness and crucial judicial reviews, too.

There's no way around that conclusion. The state's procedural checks and balances have been replaced by checks, from big balances.

Here's how and why:

Now that the federal courts have said it's a state issue, it's likely that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether an investigation by several prosecutors into possibly illegal coordination between Scott Walker's campaign and big-dollar donor groups can continue.

That investigation could determine whether Gov. Walker can remain in office.

With that in mind, give careful consideration to these paragraphs from the Journal Sentinel story today that explains how some of the same donor groups fighting to terminate the investigation have also given gobs of money to the campaigns of a majority of the Supreme Court that could review the investigation:

Among the groups mentioned in the investigation are three that have spent heavily in court races to elect four of the court's seven justices. The Wisconsin Club for Growth is estimated to have spent $400,000 for Annette Ziegler in 2007; $507,000 for Michael Gableman in 2008; $520,000 for David Prosser in 2011; and $350,000 for Patience Roggensack in 2013.
Citizens for a Strong America spent an estimated $985,000 to help Prosser. That group was funded by the Wisconsin Club for Growth, which prosecutors have described as a "hub" that distributed funds to allies.
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, which has received some funding from the Wisconsin Club for Growth and is the state's largest business lobbying group, spent an estimated $2.2 million for Ziegler; $1.8 million for Gableman; $1.1 million for Prosser; and $500,000 for Roggensack.
The estimates come from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, a group that tracks political spending and lobbies for more campaign finance regulations.
So you say - - 'well, those justices have to step aside, recuse themselves.'

Not so fast.

Under Wisconsin judicial procedure, the Supreme Court justices themselves determine whether they are in a conflict-of-interest situation by adopting rules to guide their recusals.

The current rules putting the judges in charge of their own ethical enforcement were written at the Court's request by big outside, generally pro-GOP groups, including the WMC which heavily donated to a majority of the Court - - Prosser, Ziegler, Roggensack and Gableman - - as the Journal Sentinel story reported today.

Here is how I wrote about and documented this complete State Supreme Court recusal procedure absurdity a few months ago - - and then you tell me if you think the playing field here is anything but tilted.

As you process the news that the conservative majority on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justices today validated Wrong-Way Walker's rollbacks of voting and collective bargaining rights - - and that several of the same Justices' campaigns were significantly funded by the WMC and other corporate special interests which also heavily back Walker - - do not forget that these same Justices let the WMC and the Realtors write for the Court a new ethics rule defining when - - basically, never - - recusals were in order by Judges and Justices to reduce conflicts-of-interest and enhance the appearance of fairness.

Yes, you read that right:
In response to [a tougher, independent proposal], the Wisconsin Realtors Association (“Realtors”) and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (“WMC”) filed separate petitions.[4] The petitions sought to amend the Judicial Code of Conduct to provide that recusal is not required in a proceeding based solely on any endorsement or receipt of a lawful campaign contribution from a party or entity involved in the proceeding. The petitions also sought clarification that a judge does not need to seek recusal where it would be based solely on a party in the case sponsoring an independent expenditure or issue advocacy communication in favor of the judge.
In a 4-3 decision,[5] the Wisconsin Supreme Court denied the League’s petition and adopted the Realtors and WMC’s petitions. In a dissenting opinion, Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, joined by Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justice N. Patrick Crooks, criticized the majority’s decision to adopt the rules calling it “a dramatic change to our judicial code of ethics.”[6] In particular, the dissent took issue with the majority’s decision to adopt petitions “proposed by special interest groups.”[7] Dissatisfied with the majority’s decision, the dissent urged the Legislature to “engage in further study of judicial recusal.”[8]

The Center for American Progress surveys the states on judicial ethics, gives Wisconsin an "F," and slaps David Prosser's face at the top of the Internet version of the report. 

Read it here:
Wisconsin: F (35 points) 
Wisconsin received a failing grade after its state supreme court adopted a recusal rule that literally instructs judges not to recuse themselves from cases involving campaign contributors.  
In 2010, the four-justice conservative majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted to institute a recusal rule written by the Wisconsin Realtors Association and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, a group that subsequently donated nearly $1 million to support conservative Justice David Prosser’s re-election in 2011. The rule says that recusal is not required “based solely on … a lawful campaign contribution.”  
The majority’s comments that accompany the rule say that requiring recusal for campaign cash “would create the impression that receipt of a contribution automatically impairs the judge’s integrity.” In other words, the four justices in the conservative majority are worried that mandatory recusal would lead the public to think that judges are biased.
It's a political mobius strip, a trap. The foxes built the hen house, moved in, expanded it, locked the door - - and get to decide if they've done the right thing.

Look at it this way: 

Suppose the Wisconsin Badgers were in the Rose Bowl playing the Washington Huskies, and the game, which had been tied through 59 minutes, was going to be decided by a last-minute review of a Huskies' touchdown.

The referees huddle to make their decision, and you know already that Huskies' boosters had given most of the refs large payments that helped them hold on to their jobs.

Fair? Ethical? In America?