Thursday, September 21, 2017

Only ideas, no people, in Ryan's dehumanized brain

An absence of humanity has always been his calling card, proven by his tweet today:

I appreciate Senators Graham and Cassidy continuing to work on a plan to pass the Senate. I’ll take federalism over Obamacare any day.
Pair that with the mumbled incoherence of our equally superficial senior US Senator, and we've got a problem, Bucky. And where is the next generation of Gaylord Nelsons and Robert Kastenmeiers? And Shirley Abrahamsons?

Walker chairs GOP group that created misleading 'news' site

If you want help putting up a sleazy website, ask a sleazeophile.

No one in Wisconsin will be surprised by the disclosure that right-wing WI GOP Governor Scott ("John Doe") Walker is at the helm of the Republican Governors Association that established this summer a propaganda website that slams Democrats but is designed to look like an Internet-based news operation.

It may look and feel like a standard conservative news source — with the headlines, name and features to match — but The Free Telegraph is anything but. It’s actually a publication funded by the Republican Governors Association.
Props to the AP for outing the fakers and noting that Walker ditched its request for more information. 
Only after The Associated Press inquired about the site last week was a disclosure added to The Free Telegraph’s pages identifying the publication’s partisan source...
“It’s propaganda for sure, even if they have objective standards and all the reporting is 100 percent accurate,” said Republican communications veteran Rick Tyler, whose resume includes Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign.
RGA Chairman Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, deferred questions through a spokesman to the group’s national staff. At RGA, spokesman Jon Thompson said the site is “just another outlet to share those positive results” of the GOP’s 34 Republican governors.
This is the same RGA that has been distorting Foxconn for Walker's benefit - - and this is the same Walker who ran for Governor pledging loyalty to transparency
When he says he believes in government transparency, it's not just a campaign slogan, Walker said. 
"I don't just say that, I've lived it," he said.

A state-chauffered GOP Gov. sees hybrids...

Assumes they are driven by Democrats, so stick-it-to-em spite becomes law.

"Midwestern nice [Sic]" WI GOP Gov. Scott Walker included in the budget he will sign today a politically punitive and environmentally-perverse approach to road funding [Sic] which makes it twice as expensive annually ($150) to register in Wisconsin a 3,000 pound Toyota Prius hybrid 
2016 Toyota Prius (ZVW50R) Hybrid liftback (2016-04-02) 01.jpg
than to register at $75 a conventionally-powered Toyota Sequoia SUV like this one

that can weigh 6,000 pounds, or twice what the Prius weighs.

Again, more picking winners and losers by politicians who deny they'd do such a thing.

Pivot, spin, fail. RoJo on "Morning Joe."

Second-term Wisconsin Tea Party/GOP Senator Ron Johnson has become just another veteran DC pol who's mastered the art of pivoting, spinning and filibustering to avoid answering tough questions.

Not an outsider anymore is he.
Ron Johnson, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
I'm not a "Morning Joe" fan, but I turned it on a few minutes ago for Hurricane Maria news and there was RoJo, mumbling and mushing together sentence fragments, as is his won't, about the rushed-wreck-Obamacare bill he's co-sponsoring.

Panelists were looking for assurances about whether people would not lose coverage; Johnson pivoted to attacking Obamacare, tossed out a blizzard of disconnected numbers and claims, but still could not get past saying "people don't like change" to explain why there was so much resistance to his bill.

After RoJo used his parochialism-is-good card by saying said the bill would be good for Wisconsin - - and, by the way, there go Republicans again playing the winners-and-losers game - - Mike Barnicle posed a simple question - - "begging" for an answer, he said, and which Johnson interrupted with the criticism that these were complex issues not suited to simple questions: would a hypothetical family somewhere in Wisconsin with a nine or ten-yer-old child with Cystic Fibrosis be guaranteed under the Johnson bill that their insurance costs would not go up.

To which Johnson said, "they [the costs] shouldn't."

The panel's conclusion: the bill's supporters can't be honest with the American people, which is why they will be unhappy with surprise cost increases should Johnson's bill pass. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

WI Republicans fight, Vos loses. School kids, too.

So David Clarke has moved on, as has Freddy Krueger creator Wes Craven, permanently, which left the badass field wide open for one Scott K. Walker, Wisconsin right-wing GOP Governor and State Capitol back-stabber-in-chief. 

And occupy the field he did with a vindictive move against a fellow Republican right out of the Donald Trump-clobbers-Jeff Session-playbook.

You may remember that during the stalled summer budget process - - which was an embarrassment to Walker who, after all, has a leadership image to project and a re-election campaign schedule to keep - - Assembly Republicans led by Speaker Robin Vos were harder to satisfy over major funding issues than were State Senate Republicans.

Walker rewarded Senators with unusual, last-minute veto promises to get a budget finally produced, and that display of favoritism further irked Vos who was already in high peevitude.

Vos even complained out loud that Walker's Senate allies were holding the Assembly and the process hostage, and Vos decided to show everyone that two could play the hostage-taking game by taking a personal day this week in his Racine-area popcorn factory rather than staying at the Capitol and affixing his signature to the final budget document so it could be moved to Walker's office for signing.

So Walker struck back by including in his line-item budget veto package the elimination of one of the Assembly's prized initiatives - - a method for low-spending school districts to raise additional funding - - leaving Team Vos to explain to their constituents just why Assembly Republicans couldn't protect them from Walker's pointed stick.

Walker says he made the move to help keep down local taxes, putting Vos and his Assembly cohorts in the position of, what, saying they were in favor of higher taxes. Heresy!

Vos could try and override the veto, but none of Walker's veto have been overridden since he took office, and I'd be surprised if Vos has the votes, the nerve to try, or the energy to go for it, since going from a whining hostage to injured party with his knees cut out from under can take its toll.


A Foxconn Fever primer

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

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

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

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


How to get Foxconn on the map

There's an easy fix to the procedural and legal hurdles which could slow the fast-track Walker needs for the Foxconn groundbreaking - - and, no, I'm not suggesting that the state get it done by banning from any complainant's Foxconn legal filing, a la Cathy Stepp and "climate change," the words "land, air, water, lake, wetlands, river, stream, pollution, separation of powers or constitutional."

Instead let Walker and the state use their emergency annexation powers and annex the site to Wisconn which Walker continually references.

As we know, Wisconn isn't yet officially on the map, but it abuts this land:
Image result for map of narnia

Fast-tracked Foxconn mix could sour

An homage to Johnny Carson's "Carnac the Magician" routine. First the answer, His 2018 election campaign needs a fresh, sweet frame.

The Question: Why is Walker promoting a possible spring Foxconn ground-breaking when it has been reported; a) the eventual project site will need "around twelve months" for the drafting and approval of an application to obtain diverted water from Lake Michigan, and b) it has been reported that the project faces significant environmental, legal and constitutional challenges?

Further question: Will someone pass him the lemons should the deal really sour?

Shorter question: Does the Governor's Mansion do self-serve lemonade?

RoJo health insurance repeal to make sick people suffer

[Updated on 9/21/17 from 9/20/17] 
I'm not a "Morning Joe" fan, but I turned it on a few minutes ago Thursday morning for Hurricane Maria news and there was RoJo, mumbling and mushing together sentence fragments, as is his won't, about the rushed-wreck-Obamacare bill he's co-sponsoring. 
Advice, by example, from RoJo should he blow up your health care and wallet:

Marry up. 

As I've been noting, WI GOP Tea Party Senator Ron Johnson is among the far-right Senate business bellhop caucus which is hell-bent with the pledged help of Paul Ryan's equally callous and deologically-run House of Representatives to strip life-preserving health care coverages from millions of vulnerable Americans.

Ron Johnson, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
And also to further strip away for purely partisan reasons Pres. Barack Obama's legacy achievements.

I can't remember a more despicable inside power move by millionaires like Johnson and Paul Ryan against at-risk people - - especially kids with birth defects or disease contracted through no fault of their own, and who need medicine and treatments to live, grow, participate in society and succeed.

A move against people who weren't catapulted into the upper 1% by marrying into money. As did Johnson, an eventual company executive.

With this twist, as PolitiFact explains.
Announcing a statewide tour in his campaign for reelection, a Johnson news release said Johnson "started" the Pacur plastics manufacturing company he owns.
The claim contradicts Pacur’s own company history and Johnson’s prior statements, which make it clear he helped start Pacur with his brother-in-law, who was more involved in the founding. Johnson didn't do it alone.
As for Ryan.
By the time Ryan had entered Congress in 1999 at the age of 28 and filed his first disclosure statement, he reported assets between $167,000 and $1.3 million, owned a home and had three rental units.
The next year, Ryan married Janna Little, a tax attorney, and his income skyrocketed. (Ryan reported gross income of $323,416 in 2011.)
Of the Ryans' maximum estimated assets of $7.6 million, Janna's holdings account for about $6.5 million. She is the daughter of Dan and Prudence Little, two lawyers in Madill, Okla., who over the years have overseen a vast network of land and oil and gas mineral rights in the Red River area straddling southern Oklahoma and northern Texas.
When Ayn Rand meets Scrooge, the rich get richer and get elected as Republicans to maintain their status and advantage, keep the poor in their place and the sick even sicker.

Here's the latest from the Associated Press.

People with pre-existing conditions, pregnant women among those who lose out in GOP's health care bill

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Note to NY Times: Foxconn is about Walker incumbency. Then jobs.

[Updated from 9/19/17] To my Foxconn Primer posting, I'll add this NY Times cautionary piece about Foxconn's record of broken promises elsewhere with the title, "$3 billion bet on his re-election campaign. Then jobs." 

Here's the Times' piece headline:
Before Wisconsin, Foxconn Vowed Big Spending in Brazil. Few Jobs Have Come.
My point: all Walker wants out of the deal on our record-breaking dime is a groundbreaking photo before the Nov. 6, 2018 election. 

The subsidies for Foxconn re-branded Madison Avenue-style as "incentives," and approved for Foxconn together with unique and special judicial and environmental privileges, provides the talking point magic he needs to distract from seven years of ugly, data-proven failure he always blamed on others, and note that Wisconsin growth is firmly in the lower-half of states across the country, and new employment consistently trails national numbers:

Walker's failure to keep his 250,000 new-jobs-pledge has been well-documented, his job growth record for 2016 was his worst annual performance, ever, and there was yet another drop just last month in key jobs in Wisconsin, as noted in his administration's news release on employment data last week:
...a preliminary one-month decrease of 8,800 total non-farm and 5,200 private sector jobs from July to August 2017. 
Walker will wrap Foxconn around his campaign - - sticking the people with a $3 billion unreported donation sure to be re-packaged and perfumed into political ads to lull voters and media more interested in horse race polling into forgetting that despite heavily-pitched and propagandized tax cuts serving his cadre of right-wing donors, millions of taxpayer dollars spent recklessly, unprofessionally and repeatedly by the job-creating/state planning agency WEDC Walker arranged and chaired, and years of one-party, pro-business GOP rule, job creation in Wisconsin never took off like that promised rocket.

Now we have Foxconn delivered by Walker with record-breaking, budget-draining annual public subsidies tailored to preserve one job: his.

That's the con in Foxconn.


Kohler golf course development brings lawsuit

A property annexation and re-mapping 

which the City of Sheboygan and Kohler interests used to steer a controversial golf course project away from opponents in the neighboring Town of Wilson now comes with a side dish of litigation.

Details from Friends of the Black River Forest's Facebook page:

September 19, 2017. Has Herbert V. Kohler, Jr. Gone too Far? 
The Town of Wilson filed suit today in Circuit Court against the City of Sheboygan for its improper annexation of Wilson land. 

Here’s the background.

Herbert V. Kohler, Jr. has worked hard to create a company whose image evokes elegance, fine products and good taste. Sleek publicity in hushed tones promote the elegance of the company’s products and venues for those who can afford luxury. Kohler gives to community groups, cuts ribbons on supported projects and is the largest employer in the County.

“Everything Kohler does is first class” is a frequently heard statement. Start up a conversation with a local and you will hear eventually, “Herbie gets what Herbie wants.” The locals, sometimes with a chuckle and shake of the head, speak of payoffs, perks and back door political deals as sureties, but it’s accepted because what can you do? Herbie doesn’t have to follow the rules.

Has Herbie gone too far this time?

Monday night, September 11, Town of Wilson officials explained to residents how the Kohler Company deception has opened their quiet, wooded, rural Town to an urban takeover by the City of Sheboygan in order for Herb to get its proposed golf course out of Wilson’s jurisdiction.

Wilson requires a developer to pay for independent consultants to determine the environmental impacts on adjacent permitted property owners and the community. Kohler didn’t want to do that. He secretly arranged a non-unanimous annexation plan to create a contrived route from his land to the city requiring only 3 of 6 affected residents to sign the petition. 4 of the residents were renters placed into homes Kohler had recently purchased. 

This was being arranged while the Town, in good faith, continued to wait for Kohler to complete its Conditional Use Permit. Now the Town has been physically divided by this move which allows the city to continue absorbing Wilson into its boundaries adding urban developments. Residents’ comments saw Kohler’s play as a wanton destruction of a way of life for 3500 Wilson residents. They are not willing to lose their town or its history because one man has colluded with the governor, controls the DNR and made back door deals with the City to get what he wants.

Collusion, Deception and Greed

Friends of the Black River Forest obtained documents showing Kohler attorneys asking Scott Walker for help with the annexation. Walker sent the Department of Administration Secretary (DOA), Scott Neitzel, to a private meeting with Kohler attorneys, DOA staff and City Administrator, Darrell Haflund. The Town of Wilson was not invited. The DOA staff would write an opinion on whether the annexation was in the best interest of the public. 

It determined it was, based on the contention that the Park lands and Wilson residences to be annexed were more homogeneous with the urban nature of the city than the rural Town of Wilson. Records show Kohler attorneys running the annexation process for the City. In one instance, a Kohler attorney wrote a letter to the Department of Adminstration which Charles Adams, City attorney, signed. 

DNR working for Kohler

Along with the annexation collusion, FBRF has received records showing a DNR trying to justify to the public the preferred option Kohler has chosen among 8 it created to gain access to is land for the proposed course. Nowhere in the records is there mention of starting with an option in the best interests of state residents. There is a “no build option” but Kohler claims not building the course will deprive the County of 227 yet to be disclosed jobs. The Agency redacts, delays open records requests and has moved to unrecorded Skype meetings during its weekly “Kohler Team” check-ins. 

• The DNR has asked the Natural Resources Board to begin looking at amending the Kohler Andrae Park Master Plan so Kohler can use up to 20 acres of the Park for construction of an entry rotary, a road through park land to the course, a construction road, and an approximately 30,000 sq. ft. maintenance area with 3 buildings for chemical storage, mixing, machinery, and asphalt parking lot. FBRF maintains it is a misuse of taxpayer funds to have created an amendment team in June when Kohler completed its wetland permit application this past August 19. 

The permit has not yet been studied by the DNR. We also believe there should be an audit of 7 years of DNR work for Kohler totaling thousands of hours. 

We, the Wisconsin taxpayers, have been paying for one company’s use of an agency’s time, when this same agency has not been able to handle the environmental crises throughout the state because it is short staffed.

• The DNR is working with the National Park Service to convert land purchased with public funds for the benefit of the public, (LAWCON funds), to private land for Kohler’s personal profit. DNR staff are trying to work out how this can be justified as well as land purchased with funds from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, which specifically prohibits land to be used for golf courses.
What’s next?

FBRF supports the Town of Wilson in its lawsuit against the City of Sheboygan. FBRF presented City Council members with the documents showing the unethical and deceptive tactics involved with all the players: Kohler-Walker-City Management-DNR. 11 Council members chose to embrace these tactics, unfortunately opting for Kohler-promised growth opportunities rather than ethical government.

FBRF continues to monitor the activities of all the agencies involved in the Kohler proposed golf course. Help us continue the fight.

Vos cornfesses that his ego has popped

This Racine County hypocrite battling raging Governor envy cornfesses that his ego has popped.
Vos robin.jpg
In an interview Tuesday, Vos said he's working in his popcorn factory Tuesday and will return to the Capitol Wednesday to sign the budget and get it sent to Walker. 
Vos also aimed on AM 6210 WTMJ radio this afternoon a continuing hissy fit at State Senators who negotiated last-minute budget changes directly with Walker, calling them weak and ineffective, because Senate leaders couldn't control their own caucus.

Hey, Walker, Vos is saying two can hold hostages.

Call it inside Whiffle ball.

By the way, the name of Vos' business is RoJo's, closing a link with the other Wisconsin RoJo:
Ron Johnson, official portrait, 112th Congress.jpg