May 29, 2015

Make the (Disfavored) Economies Scream

The 9/11, 1973 CIA-engineered coup (killing 1,000s) of Chilean President Salvador Allende rivals the vile attack of our 9/11.

One mentions the date because preceding Allende is the infamous determination of Pres. Richard Nixon to "make the [Chilean] economy scream," after Allende's 1970 election. (Goodman, Democracy Now) (Parry, ConsortiumNews)

Nixon's determination that countries are enemies is hardly unique in American international relations, millions were killed in the Southeast Asia invasions in the decade before the 1973 coup.

Nor is Nixon's decision to injure and brand domestically the popular Civil Rights and Peace Movements as terrorists and enemies unique. (Chomsky, Domestic Terrorism: Notes on the State System of Oppression)

COINTELPRO, McCarthyism, Jim Crow laws, Attorney General Mitchell Palmer's Raids, and the many massacres of pioneering American labor activists, for example, demonstrate the 20th century as often rivaling a third-world dictator in U.S. governmental regard for civil and human rights.

The Supreme Court protected many citizens groups in the 1960s and 70s, though many were terrorized.

See, for example, this opinion of the 1972 Supreme Court case that turned back Nixon and Rehnquist's attempt to unilaterally authorize electronic surveillance in internal security matters without prior judicial approval—United States v. United States District Court (No. 70-153).

Scott Walker

I mention this fleeting history of oppression in light of Scott Walker who has made public his disdain for those who don't vote or support him, and his equally fervent contempt for democracy.

Walker has demonstrated no understanding of the precepts of classical liberalism or social contract theory underpinning modern western democracies, and no will to learn.

Walker regards whole regions of the state as enemy territory, even infamously comparing the 100,000s of families assembling at the state capitol to register opposition to Walker's surprise policy "bomb" dropped by Walker as ISIS, revealing a mindset that ought disqualify this small-minded, incurious little man from any consideration for the presidency.

Said Walker, "We need a leader with that kind of confidence.  If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world." (Strauss, Washington Post)

A governor, and certainly not a president, does not "take on" those citizens who disagree with secretly-made policy by economic royalists feeding dark money into the polity; and disagreeing with civil rights and working family activists does not qualify one as commander-in-chief.

I mention this because decent people should consider what the power of all three branches of government in Wisconsin in GOP hands has brought to Wisconsin: Disaster and lies.

An effort to displace the world-class University System (pursued for years) is but one of many billionaire-ordered, radical injury by policy in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin ought to keep an eye on an apparent strike at the state capital city, proposed by Walker and Republicans in retaliation for voting against Walker. (DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal)

Dane County and Madison lead the state in private sector job creation and this makes Walker look foolish.

Walker is ignorant, and he is dangerous. He ought not try to make Madison and Dane County's economies scream, he should consider learning from these wonderful places that 100,000s call home.

Being a public servant means you serve. It does not mean you harm those with whom you may disagree. This is because in America being a citizen confers onto you the status of powerful rights.

At the least an elected representative begins by protecting these rights, not violating them.

May 28, 2015

On Scott Walker and the Walkeresque Rigging of the Wisconsin Dem Party Convention

'We have received so far, thirteen requests by Milwaukee County Democratic Party members to use this blog to let people know that under Rae/Nation, that the Chair of the Milwaukee County Democratic Party is choosing their delegates to the state convention based on how much they support Jason Rae for Chair'
---
Recommend Jud Lounsbury's piece in Salon on Scott Walker today.

Lounsbury hits the aspects of Walker's psychology that explains why a policymaker would attack wide swaths of the state—aka constituents—whom Walker is supposed to be serving.

What kind of governor would attack and abridge freedom of assembly and the right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof?

The kind of individual hostile to the civil rights guaranteed in the Wisconsin and U.S. Constitutions.

Walker's palace guard at the Capitol became so hostile a federal judge had to intervene and order that Walker's Capitol police stop violating the Constitutional rights of Wisconsin citizens.

"The Wisconsin Capitol Rotunda functions, both literally and symbolically, as a city center and is fully utilized as a public space to which all have claim." - United States District Court Judge William M. Conley in Michael Kissick vs. Michael Huebsch and David Erwin. (Mal Contends)

Erwin had ordered the arrest of citizens for "spectating" before backing down under a hail of ridicule.

Democratic Party Opposition

Scott Walker can only garner some one in four votes of the electorate but because Wisconsin adopted four-year terms of the governor (in 1966) elected in off-years, a small handful of voters have elected this extremist and bizarre lifelong politician who believes God is parting the waters for his presidential run.

This makes a strong grassroots opposition Party crucial, and unfortunately Mike Tate (perhaps the nation's worst political operative) is gaming the election of a new Chair and Party team right when a strong Democratic Party and strong citizen movements are needed most. Tate has tried to rig the election of Jason Rae of Milwaukee where Tate conveniently sited the Democratic State Convention next weekend.

By Blue Cheddar

Democracy – noun de-moc-ra-cy
: a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting

: a country ruled by democracy
: an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights.
Democrat – noun dem-o-crat    \’de-me-krat\
1. a:  an adherent of democracy
2. a:  capitalized :  a member of the Democratic party of the United States.

Under outgoing, current Chair Mike Tate, the DPW [Democratic Party of Wisconsin] went from supporting, at least to some extent, all its candidates for legislative office in Wisconsin, to hitting up all its legislative candidates for cash for the DPW itself. They spoke of a 72-county plan but instead they concentrated on the heavily populated counties of Dane and Milwaukee which contain the cities of Madison and Milwaukee, and largely ignored the rest of the state as well as those who bravely entered the political ring as Democrats.

In Wisconsin the Democrats are getting ready to practice democracy. In just over a week the Democratic Party of Wisconsin will be holding its annual, statewide convention. There they will ask their delegates to vote to select a new Chair, or leader, for the statewide party.

The firmly blue, democratic leaning city of Milwaukee is the site of the convention. Milwaukee, the city that is surrounded by a collar of white suburbs that voted in Scott Walker as County Executive and then backed it up by voting in Tea Party darling in democratic clothing, mouthpiece and pawn of the uber-right Bradley Foundation, Chris Abele.

Oh well, democracy is a relatively new concept and is not yet perfected. But still sometimes one has to wonder. Shouldn’t we be at least slowly moving towards a more perfect form of democracy? As I look around it seems that not only are we no longer moving towards a more perfect democracy, but rather that we are running and leaping away from a more perfect democracy.

Most people by now should know that it is possible to become President of the United States by losing the popular vote (the vote of the citizens of the U.S. who cast ballots in elections) and winning the vote of the electoral college. But that rarely happens so most people shrug it off. “That’s just politics” they say.

Most people by now should know that the combined Republican Party and Tea Party (or GOTea) has been working to prevent a great many Americans from voting. Or at the very least, making it very hard for non-White, upper class Americans to vote. This practice is called voter suppression and when you bring it up in discussion, most people shrug it off. 'That’s just politics.' they say.

Between extreme redistricting and voter suppression techniques, the GOTea has sought to create a playing field for itself so tilted in their own favor that they can’t lose. We have even seen them in Wisconsin pick their own judges in court cases who have allowed GOTea defendants to willfully destroy evidence and get away with it.

Washington General Democrats

Kind of like the basketball team, the world famous Harlem Globetrotters. You are all familiar with the Harlem Globetrotters right? The Globetrotters are beloved and dazzle audiences as they…..well….trot all over the globe. Using trick shots, well practiced stunts and not to mention confetti, ladders, garbage cans and other props not allowed in the regular game of basketball, the Globetrotters delight their audience by essentially out-playing, out-tricking and out-cheating their perpetual counterparts, The Washington Generals.

The Globetrotters also bring to the show with them, their own referees who are part of the whole stage show. Referees who turn their back on the play off the game to watch confetti being sprinkled by one Globetrotter as the rest of the Globetrotters set a ladder up under the basket and practice a slam dunk, fire drill and score twenty points in five seconds. All the while their counterparts in the Washington Generals helplessly look on.

Everybody wants to join in the fun and be a Harlem Globetrotter. Nobody wants to be a Washington General. Except in Wisconsin that is. In Wisconsin there are some folks within the Democratic Party of Wisconsin who apparently have watched the Globetrotters decimate the Washington Generals by a typical score of say…..242 – 16. They watch and say, “man, it must be really nice to be a General!”

They probably don’t like the perpetual losing part as much as they love and adore the idea of having steady, lucrative work for life that doesn’t involve the risk of injury, the hard work and practice, the devotion required of players in the NBA.

They probably don’t tell themselves “I love to lose” but rather, they spin it into something like “It sure would be easy if all I ever had to do is show up and automatically end up in second place, just one step away from total victory.” In other words, they think they would like to pursue being perpetual silver medalists, to use an Olympics metaphor. They are refusing to realize that coming in second out of two is total and absolute failure.

And it is all about coming in second ... as in second class citizens. These would-be Washington Generals either haven’t thought about or don’t care about the people in Wisconsin who would become, have nearly become, second class citizens to the ultra rich and powerful.

And although there are five current candidates running for the office of Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, they are divided into two basic camps. Those who would learn from our past errors as well as the oppositions past victories and switch away from our previous losing ways in favor of a new winning plan.

And those who enjoy, indeed they profit from, the old status quo system. It may mean that the citizens of Wisconsin lose and lose big, but by golly their jobs are secure as the old two party system is the only game in town. Sure it may not have all the perks of winning every game, of being the Harlem Globetrotters. But it does carry incredible job security to be a Washington General.

Also recently, the DPW has had only had one simple piece of advice for its candidates for legislative office. And that message was “money, money and more money.” The only way to win the DPW would say was to outraise and outspend the GOTea candidates. Money was the answer to everything, the alpha and the omega.

One problem though, the GOTea has always been the party of corporate interests. At a time when the GOTea is pushing for a nationwide takeover of American and state governments by the corporations, how in the world do you expect Democrats to be able to outraise and outspend the Republicans??? Farmers and factory workers, teachers and union members have all been financially decimated by Republican policy. They can’t donate more than the trillion dollar corporations and their billionaire owners.

But still the DPW kept saying that big money was the only possible solution to the problem of big money in politics. Democratic candidates had to have big money to pay for professional campaign staffers to come work for them in Wisconsin where the shiny suits and New Jersey accents stuck out like sore thumbs. Folks in rural Wisconsin like anywhere else, don’t like people from out of state coming in and telling them how and who to vote for.

Mike Tate’s DPW kept telling candidates that big money for wardrobe specialists and hair stylists was the only way to win. Candidates would ask for the DPW’s VAN list, which is the list of democratic voters in their district and Tate’s DPW would say sure, for a couple of thousand dollars we will hit the print button on our computer for you.

Also the DPW kept telling candidates that they, like the DPW itself, needed the big money, corporate spin doctors of firms like Nation Consulting. A huge player in the public relations business if they wanted to win their elections, it was the only way. Pay our specialists, pay our consultants, pay our hairdressers and image people. Money, money, money and spend, spend, spend.

Guess how that worked out? All three branches of Wisconsin government are firmly in GOTea control. In other words, the big money, spend, spend and spend some more plan did not work. It did not work at all! In fact it worked so poorly that Mike Tate knew last year that he was going to have to step down as Chair of the DPW.

And so we will be saying goodbye to Mike Tate as Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. And in all honesty Mike Tate is a good person with a very democratic heart. Things just came apart under his watch, not all of it his fault by any means, but things really came apart for his party in Wisconsin.

But in some ways, depending on who wins the election to replace Mike Tate, it could end up as essentially we have a new Tate. Consider it Mike Tate version 2.1. We may be stuck with the status quo, to keep trying to raise big money to give to the consultants, campaign managers from out of state, old friends and career cronies. In other words we could all end up with a big plan to stay the same, which is to concede that the GOTea will always be the Harlem Globetrotters and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin should remain as it has, the Washington Generals of Wisconsin politics.

Jason Rae is Mike Tate II

And this is why a good many people are very concerned about the candidacy of Jason Rae. Jason Rae has been part of the big money, spin doctoring business. And Jason Rae has many people scared that he is going to copy Mike Tate’s plan from the last election. That seems to be how Rae plans on winning his bid for Chair of the DPW. Only this time there is a huge difference, this time focusing on Milwaukee County and forgetting completely about the rest of Wisconsin could actually work out for the Jason Rae big money machine.

You see, under the election rules of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, the Chair will be elected from among 5 candidates by plurality after a single round of voting. This means that getting 21% of the vote is all you need to win. And guess what? Under the current (but hopefully not the future) way that the DPW chooses delegates to vote for its Chair and other officers, Milwaukee alone has enough votes to take it all.

And so Jason Rae and the staff of Nation Consulting have been focusing on Milwaukee with a fevered interest. They know there is big money at stake for themselves in Milwaukee, even if it is only second place, Washington Generals money. Hey its the only game in town folks.

And a big part of the Rae/Nation machine has been focusing hard, daily, on claiming for itself, the Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. We have received so far, thirteen requests by Milwaukee County Democratic Party members to use this blog [the author’s blog – not the blue cheddar blog]to let people know that under Rae/Nation, that the Chair of the Milwaukee County Dem Party is choosing their delegates to the state convention based on how much they support Jason Rae. If you do not support Jason Rae and pledge to vote for Jason Rae, then you don’t become a delegate and you don’t get to go to the convention and vote for your candidate of choice.

Democracy? Democrats? Check the definitions at the top of this page again if you need to. Because these tactics hardly represent the concept of democracy or the mission of the Democratic Party.

Now technically by the bylaws, charter and constitution of the DPW, Chairs are allowed to subjectively screen party members to find the best, most active people and reward them with delegate/voting status at the convention.

The system was not meant to be used to push for one candidate and one candidate only. But the loophole exists and Rae/Nation is pushing it for all its worth to promote their own interests which are of course, going to be mostly financial in nature.

So under the current system, which most of the party seems to want to change to be more inclusive, our next Chair could be elected with the support of only 21% of the delegates over the opposition of 79%. This is not a recipe for party unity. This is a recipe for party implosion and even death. And that would mean the complete and final decimation of any reasonable quality of life for Wisconsin’s citizens for as far as anyone can see into the future.

And Nation Consulting and its people in the Democratic Party are out to make it happen. Big names in party politics, seemingly unconcerned about the DPW becoming the perpetual losers in Wisconsin politics, the Washington Generals of the badger state. They are looking after their own interests first and let the rabble be damned is what is happening if you judge them by their actions and not their professionally spin doctored words.

Not that Thad Nation, owner and bossman of Nation Consulting has reason to care about the Washington Generals, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin or any of the state’s citizens. Although Thad Nation is a known political insider to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, he is a huge financial supporter of the GOTea.

It sounds quite insane when you hear it altogether, doesn’t it? Get rid of Mike Tate because his plan didn’t work out at all but hire his Jason Rae to maintain the losing plan so that the big dogs and insiders can maintain a lucrative lifestyle. Why would anyone vote for that?

Let me ask you again …. why would anyone vote for that? There is no darn good reason to, not a one! At a time when Wisconsin is not only socially but economically and politically torn apart, now is the worst possible time to maintain the status quo, to stick with the plan that so far has never worked. Now is the worst possible time to stick with big money in government, special interests and shady, backroom deals.

Now is the best possible time to return to open and transparent politics in Wisconsin which are to the benefit of everybody. Now is the best time to return to politicians being held accountable for their actions and being made to work for all citizens of the state, not just their donors and the lobbyists. Now is the worse time to maintain the status quo as our state sinks lower and lower in the rankings, as our standard of living lowers, as our people flee to other states in search of work and security.
Now is the worst time to vote in favor of the recent status quo. Now is the worst time to give up on ever being a Harlem Globetrotter.

Thank you to the members of the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County who reached out to us and trusted us to write and promote this article, we hope we have done right by you all.

Resources:

Scott Walker Seeks to Degrade Madison, Milwaukee; Grab More Power

Madison, Wisconsin has been regarded through the lifetimes of Wisconsinites as the Athens of the Midwest. (Rich, New York Times)

Stem Cells, the premier influenza virus surveillance public health system (mal contends), Epic Systems Corporation, the Arts, the social sciences, social justice movements, an innovative and skilled population, civil rights movements, strong public schools, leaders in sustainable ecological initiatives, a flagship University pioneering work in too many fields to list, the Wisconsin Idea, Madison—now Dane County—brings the world a region that works and leads, serving the people in the manner of a model of a western liberal democracy.

Today, it's reported Republicans (and Scott Walker as nothing goes ahead in GOP-Land without Walker or a proxy's consultation) have proposed installing chaos into the 2015-17 budget that would inflict economic dislocation, unpredictable property valuations and the uprooting of 1,000s of families to the detriment of Madison, Dane County and Milwaukee, while costing Wisconsin taxpayers untold $ millions, not to mention disrupting the lives of 1,000s of families including children. (DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal)

No one is calling for this typically crazy and manifestly irresponsible Walker idea outside of insiders in GOP circles run by billionaires; and Walker and Republicans did not campaign on this radical scheme.

Writes DeFour:
The state would have to consider relocating its agencies to buildings outside of Dane and Milwaukee counties before renewing current leases under a Republican budget proposal unveiled Wednesday.

The move could have a dramatic effect on Madison’s commercial office market, workforce and retail economy. ...

Walker’s 2015-17 budget proposal requires the Department of Administration to solicit lease options outside Dane and Milwaukee counties 'before signing or renewing any lease for space.'

DOA would have to prepare a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether the state could save money from moving a state agency, department, division, bureau or office to a new location outside of the state’s two largest counties.

Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, a former long-time member of the state Building Commission, which oversees the planning, maintenance and improvement of state facilities, said the proposal could cost Madison millions of dollars in lost leases and economic impact from thousands of state employees who live and work here. It could also cost state taxpayers millions of dollars to relocate state agencies outside of Dane County, he said.

Risser noted one of the commission’s policies is that state leases 'shall give first consideration to central city locations, including areas recommended by local officials.'

'This is beyond comprehension that you would turn around and ask that all leases be located out of this area,' Risser said. 'It would cost millions, too, to the area and the state.'

The measure, part of an omnibus motion that included several other provisions, passed on a party-line 12-4 vote with Republican lawmakers making no statements.
Scott Walker has been a disaster for Wisconsin.

The callow Walker now wishes to inflict political opponents and success stories with the same bad intentions Walker has for working people who organize and sell their work products in private contracts, and then work against Walker and his billionaires politically.

Walker remains a policy lightweight, but he takes orders from billionaires like the Koch brothers who could not care less about Wisconsin families as they cast their eyes upon the presidency.

Gov. Scott Walker since taking office in 2010 has worked to acquire power, using public policy and a re-engineering of government as vehicles to diminish and harm families and institutions opposed to Walker [young, educated, women, consumers, minorities and citizen-community control of cities and municipalities], and of course to reward Walker donors and other political allies.

Madison, Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin which vote heavily against the Republican Party have been targeted since Walker rejected $ 700 million in federal funds for a labor-intensive rail initiative that would have connected the two cities, among other outrageous acts in clear contradiction to the public good.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)

Walker installed himself as Chair of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), until Walker's legislative allies called for Walker's removal as WEDC Chair amid scandal, corruption and possible state and federal criminal investigations. (DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal). (Rappeport, New York Times)

Wisconsin State Building Commission

Scott Walker, Chair of GOP-Dominated
Wisconsin State Building Commission
Scott Walker occupies, by statute, the Chair of the state Building Commission, from which Walker launched another power grab for Walker and the Department of Everything (aka the Department of Administration (DoA)) to which myriad governmental functions have been acquired in a quiet coup.

The Building Commission's reorganization in Walker's first term gave Walker wide latitude to sell state properties, some 6,000 structures.

In February 2015, it is reported Walker proposed blocking transparency of the Commission's work—as Walker continues his fundraising tour of rightwing political events and visits to GOP caucus and primary states—by shifting key borrowing decisions to the Department of Administration (Everything) led by Walker political loyalists:
Under the Walker budget, the Building Commission would no longer meet in order to approve projects or the borrowing to make them happen. The commission which by statute includes members of both political parties and is chaired by the governor has traditionally met monthly.

Instead, the commission would operate under what the budget proposal calls a 'passive review process' where items are considered approved unless a majority of Building Commission members [Republicans] request a meeting. (Ivey, The Capital Times)

Few have ever heard in recent US history—outside of the segregationist policies of the deep south—of the concerted and comprehensive plan of officeholders to use pubic policy and government to decimate disfavored communities of interests whom Scott Walker once infamously compared to ISIS/ISIL. (Strauss, Washington Post)

If the nation does not believe that Scott Walker is qualitatively different than the typical run-of-the-mill corrupt politicians, folks are not paying close enough attention.

May 26, 2015

Coming Obama Water Rules Critical to Wisconsin

The Town of Saratoga in Wood County
fights the local socoiopath, James Wysocki,
attempting to site a massive industrial
dairy operation, a CAFO, against unanimous
opposition from neighbors, and heavy
political opposition from an entire region.
Threats, vandalism and destruction of signs
of CAFO opponents have occurred as
one family's home was threatened with
demolition as local law enforcement
remained cowed by Big Ag. Residents
are still calling for a federal investigation.
Updated - Waters of the US rule released online.

Over the weekend, news was reported about a critical development in the fight to protect surface waters and our drinking water.

"The Obama administration is expected in the coming days to announce a major clean water regulation that would restore the federal government’s authority to limit pollution in the nation’s rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands. Environmentalists have praised the new rule, calling it an important step that would lead to significantly cleaner natural bodies of water and healthier drinking water," notes a piece by Coral Davenport in the New York Times.

The opponents to the rule are the polluters, the poisoners on a vast scale, especially Big Ag (Big Agriculture), Big Oil, golf course lobbyists, fertilizer and pesticide producers, all protected by Republicans on the state and federal levels.

The water protection rule is critical to Wisconsin, part of a region where polluters from Big Ag have proliferated, and where the nation—torched by drought and climate change—has cast its eyes at the abundant fresh water, a happy accident bequeathed by the last Ice Age as mammoth glaciers retreated.

As citizen groups have objected, weak-kneed politicians such as Scott Walker and State Rep. Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa) [who threatened this writer with a libel suit for being called out for fronting for polluters before Krug backed down] have jumped in square on the side of the polluters, proposing to eviscerate an already ineffectual state Department of Natural Resources while fronting for massive diary operations, as property values of constituents plummet.

Clean, safe water - Worth protecting
from Bi Ag, other industrial polluters
Experts warn of the exceeded carrying capacities of the land to withstand the millions of tons of liquid cow manure injected annually into the environment under the new model of industrial farming called the CAFO (Confined/Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation).

The E.P.A. and the Army Corps of Engineers jointly proposed the rule last year and held hundreds of hearings. This week we can expect the result that would likely be utilized against the 100s of massive CAFOs that have begun operations with no concern whatsoever for the neighbors or the water. (Carrell, Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune)

From Wisconsin, better the words of citizen groups from Wood, Adams and Juneau counties, though few areas of the state are untouched as almost one-half of Wisconsin waterways are federally listed as impaired due to phosphorus, nitrates, mercury and other pollution.

The Sierra Club makes several demands:
  • Opposing High Capacity Well Deregulation that threatens Groundwater
  • Supporting Stronger Waste Spreading Rules, especially in Karst areas
  • Restoring Local Control for Livestock (CAFO) Siting Decisions
  • Supporting federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding of at least $300 million per year
  • Supporting Strong Great Lakes Compact Rules
  • Supporting thorough oversight of water diversion requests

Writes Don Ystad:

Concerned friends and neighbors,

I hate being the bearer of bad news, but I think we all need to know what we face if this CAFO is built in Saratoga. And, I believe we need to work together as a community to try to fight it off. As Bob Doughty states below, once its here, what can you do? These are Bob's words regarding the New Chester Dairy CAFO just south of Adams-Friendship in Grand Marsh. Grand Marsh is a tiny, rural community, not anywhere near as populated as our area. If he has issues, imagine yourself under the conditions he describes.

By Bob Doughty of Grand Marsh, Wisconsin:

I woke up one day and there was a CAFO, or, at least the start of one, with large equipment moving earth and foundations being constructed for the barns. It took me by surprise. While I may have heard some rumors about it, I largely ignored it. I moved up here from the big city 20 years ago to get away from it all.  I seldom read the newspapers and never attended town board meetings. I hunted and fished and enjoyed living in a rural, woodsy environment just a short drive from Wisconsin Dells.  While the CAFO owners sold it as a boon to our community of Grand Marsh, it has become a nightmare.

I live just a mile from the actual farm with its huge barns and processing center.  The agriculture fields where they spread the cow manure slurry is across the road from me. A large 10” diameter pipe feeds the manure from the ponds to the fields where it is then piped to the plows that spread it and knife it in to the soil.  The smell is indescribable.   I have to cover my face and eyes walking from my house to the car.  And, the smell from the actual farm a mile or so away is a near constant.  It was especially bad when they first started and had no digester for the manure.  The constant ammonia in the air would burn your eyes.  With the digester there is some improvement, though most every night at about 8:00, for at least a couple hours, they are performing some operation that releases eye watering odors.

This CAFO, started at 4,300 cows 3 years ago, doubled to 8,600 cows the next year, with the DNR's blessing, and rumor has it they are trying to expand again.  They own about 3,000 acres and have agreements with area farmers who take the excess manure to fertilize their fields. About 12 manure tanker trucks are lined up to truck the manure to area farms every other week.  The traffic from the tankers, farm equipment and other farm activity is constant. It’s ruined our roads and changed the nature of our formerly quiet, peaceful community. I own a simple home on a few acres. I’ve had to lower my pump 20 feet and still have issues pumping. My property values have dropped over 3 % each of the last three years. Flies and bugs have increased at least a third since the farm began. I’m trying to adjust to the noise of the pumps which start up at 2:00 A.M.

I feel sorry for those of you in the path of this proposed CAFO.  I wish my community had organized to fight this.  I just don’t know what to do to get my life back at this point. Who do I call to fix this?

May 23, 2015

Scott Walker to DA: Don't Read Audits of Failed Jobs Agency

Scott Walker, Chair of embattled WEDC jobs agency, looks
like a pay-to-play scandal, another betrayal of public integrity
by Scott Walker who now calls any suggested probe a
"witch hunt" after promising in 2012 to take dramatic and
aggressive action to address massive failures.
As the national press notes Scott Walker shying away from the press again (Cogan, New York Magazine), back home in Wisconsin Scott Walker's flag ship 'jobs' agency has fallen apart amid calls for federal and state law enforcement investigations after a new, critical audit and a series of news reporting from a right-leaning Wisconsin newspaper. (DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal)

As Walker is still seeking God's will to run for the presidency, Walker doesn't want the national political press poking around, asking questions, amid the debris of Walker's failed jobs agency.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is almost universally recognized as a trainwreck, but the announcement yesterday that Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne will review a recent audit of the WEDC to determine whether to open a criminal investigation has Walker's office fuming.

Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said, "This is clearly political gamesmanship by legislative Democrats and others more interested in playing politics than in helping improve economic development in Wisconsin." (DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal)

Since when is reading an audit gamesmanship?

Since it embarrasses and might ultimately reveal more criminality from Scott Walker, busily traveling out of state dodging the press.

Even as fellow Republicans say they are "troubled" by WEDC loans and tax credits being dished out to Walker donors and the lack of any responsible oversight by Walker as WEDC Chair (Hall, Wisconsin State Journal), Walker through a spokesperson says to District Attorney Ozanne: Don't read the nonpartisan audit.

Walker's allies are also trying to kill a different law enforcement probe with the help of corrupt justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court (Levy, Mother Jones).

Now the Walker administration is criticizing a state constitutional law enforcement officer for even reading an audit after virtually unanimous bipartisan criticism of WEDC, after even Walker called for an end to WEDC loans and after the powerful GOP-led legislative committee called for Walker to be removed from the WEDC Board—essentially fired from his own flagship jobs creation agency.

Any objective observer, anyone who has ever watched Scott Walker operate, should be asking: What is Scott Walker hiding now?

Answers from Scott Walker are not forthcoming who was in D.C. yesterday at a no-press-allowed rightwing conclave attended by the likes of: Jerry Boykin with the Family Research Council, Morton Blackwell with the Leadership Institute, Tim Goeglein with Focus on the Family, Charmaine Yoest with Americans United for Life, Jeanne Monahan with the March for Life, Brian Brown with the National Organization for Marriage, Grover Norquist with Americans for Tax Reform, Brent Bozell with For America, Phil Kerpen with American Commitment, Chuck Cunningham with the National Rifle Association (NRA), former NRA president David Keene, and activist Ginni Thomas.

May 22, 2015

GOP's Court Allies Try to Jam Through Scott Walker-John Doe Cases in Violation of Court Rules

Need more evidence the fix is in for Scott Walker's and allies trying to abort a law enforcement investigation by state constitutional officers of both parties?

Patrick Marley has the story breaking at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on three cases at the Wisconsin Supreme Court that were not on the Court calendar and that the GOP's Justice Roggensack wants heard anyway, in violation of Court rules.

The three cases heard are not named, hence not necessarily the John Doe cases in which Walker and his allies are trying to evade being investigated, but most observers are guessing Roggensack is still fronting for Walker for the three John Doe cases.

In a related story, see Pema Levy's piece today at Mother Jones: How Scott Walker and His Allies Hijacked the Wisconsin Supreme Court - And what it means for the probe into alleged campaign violations by Walker and conservative dark-money groups.

The bottom line: Even investigating Scott Walker's clear violations of state law are blocked by corrupt Republicans on the bench.

Notes Brendan Fischer at PRWatch:

In last year's Supreme Court race, WMC spent an estimated $500,000 supporting Justice Roggensack's reelection, and Wisconsin Club for Growth spent $350,000. Together they outspent the $652,318 spent by the justice's own campaign.

WMC issued a special Supreme Court edition of its "Business Voice" magazine in advance of the election, with page after page warning that if Roggensack were to lose, "all of the reforms of Governor Scott Walker and the business community would hang in the balance." WMC's president described the group's efforts to "elect 'strict constructionist' judges to the high court," and Justice Ziegler penned an op-ed endorsing Roggensack.

Roggensack refuses to recuse from hearing WiCFG and John Doe cases despite the clear conflict of interest in secretly hearing cases involving parties who elected her.

Scott Walker Fired as Chair of State Jobs Agency

Epic failure at Scott Walker-created jobs agency as powerful legislative
committee removes Walker from position as Chair.
From Scott Walker's 2011 Budget Address
Updated - Amid the burgeoning pay-to-play scandal showcasing Scott Walker's epic jobs failure, Wisconsin legislative Republicans did Scott Walker a big favor yesterday: They fired Scott Walker as Chair of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation [WEDC], Walker's failing jobs-creating agency.

Walker has long promised a laser-like focus on jobs that backfired as the Republican-led Joint Committee on Finance called for removing Scott Walker from Chair of WEDC, admitting failure on the foundation of Walker's campaigns: Jobs. (DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal) (Cognitive Dissonance) (Democurmudgeon)

In Scott Walker's 2011 Budget Address, Walker intoned, "During our special session on jobs, we created a public-private agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation [WEDC] that will focus solely on job creation."

Since its inception in 2011, WEDC has engaged in the shady practice directing public monies to private Scott Walker donors, uncovered by state audits, creating few jobs with recipients of WEDC largesse shipping many jobs overseas. This prompted a bill authored by State Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) that would ban companies receiving WEDC money who off-shored jobs, now blocked by Wisconsin Republicans

The shady practices at WEDC is recently highlighted by a series in the Wisconsin State Journal and in a piece by national political writer, Michael Isikoff who broke a blockbuster story in March about a secret $1.5 million contribution to a GOP front group made by a Wisconsin billionaire, John Menard Jr., who subsequently received $1.8 million in special tax credits from WEDC and the virtual dismantlement of the Wisconsin DNR in Walker's proposed budget.

The DNR is long criticized by Menard whose operations were fined for violating Wisconsin environmental laws and illegally dumping hazardous wastes.

Make no mistake, the Republican-led Joint Committee on Finance did Walker a political service by removing him from Chair of the failed jobs agency, as the putative candidate for the presidency is increasingly tainted.

Meanwhile, Walker campaigning on Oklahoma yesterday is posing new national energy policy as back home in Wisconsin, the abandoned people are suffering from Walker's lack of leadership on jobs and the corruption of public office for the benefit of big political donors to Walker.

But Walker feels free to spend most of his time outside Wisconsin. Walker's allies on the Wisconsin Supreme Court are expected to soon issue a favorable and a nakedly corrupt ruling on a criminal probe into Walker's illegally directing dark money from political donors to fight off the 2011-12 Recall movement.

May 21, 2015

Pardon Don Siegelman Now, What Is Obama Waiting For?

Don Siegelman outside an Atlanta courthouse
in an earlier appeal for a malicious prosecution. 
Image Glynn Wilson
America’s Political Prisoner #1

Karl Rove engineered several ridiculous prosecutions of Gov. Donald Siegelman (D-AL) who had the audacity of being elected governor of Alabama.

Yesterday, the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit denied Siegelman a new trial for the 2006 conviction of corruption charges, promised by Rove.

Few expect justice from Alabama or the 11th Circuit, but right now President Obama can grant a full pardon with a stroke of a pen.

For more information on this malicious prosecution and wrongful conviction, see Free Don Siegelman, and see the video below.

Obama fails as a president, as a human being, every moment Siegelman sits in federal prison in an incredible 78-month sentence for nothing.

One expects Karl Rove to work as human garbage, who knew Obama would join Rove in this enterprise?

May 20, 2015

Scott Walker—Pathological Liar's Deceptions Look Desperate

Scott Walker, Chair of embattled WEDC agency, looks
like a pay-to-play scandal, another betrayal of public integrity
by Scott Walker who now calls any suggested probe a
"witch hunt" after promising in 2012 to take dramatic and
aggressive action to address massive failures.
Scott Walker, Chair of Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), and once its champion now issues denials he knows anything about WEDC grants, loans and tax credits as his flagship economic state agency is in full meltdown.

In a normal, moral person the weight of guilt follows lies and other actions intended to deceive.

Scott Walker exceeds the pathologies associated with typical politicians whom most Americans all assume lie to some degree.

This life-long politician is scrambling to react to the WEDC scandal, now in the deny-deceive-and-divert phase of scandal management, without apparent shame.

WEDC Chair Scott Walker issued denials yesterday that he ever read any WEDC letters about a $500,000 loan to Building Committee Inc., and another denial that Walker knew his "top aides, including [former Department of Administration] DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch, pressed for a $4.3 million loan to Building Committee Inc. as the company was collapsing. The company’s owner, William Minahan, made a last-minute $10,000 contribution to Walker’s 2010 campaign" (DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal)

This follows Walker's previous denials in 2012 about any knowledge of WEDC's $11.7 million in tax breaks to Skyward, "a Stevens Point-based company bidding on a $15 million statewide student information system." (DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal)

In 2012 Walker vowed "aggressive" and "dramatic" action when it was reported some 99 companies' loan repayments were ignored by Walker and WEDC. "Following the revelation that millions in past-due loans had been ignored by state [WEDC] officials for more than a year, Gov. Scott Walker vowed Thursday to take aggressive action at the embattled state jobs agency that he has championed." (Stein, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) Walker vowed then he is "a good steward of taxpayers' money."

In Walker's 2011 Budget Address, Walker announced, "During our special session on jobs, we created a public-private agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation that will focus solely on job creation. Our budget includes the resources and the organization to get the WEDC working to stimulate our economy."

But faced with revelation after revelation that $100s of millions of tax payer money is going down the sewer to donors to Scott Walker and politcal allies with few jobs created and many jobs shipped overseas, WEDC Chair Walker has been forced into a I-didn't-know line of response, a pattern of Walker's.

For instance, in March Michael Isikoff broke a story detailing how a Wisconsin billionaire, John Menard Jr., gave $1.5 million in secret contributions to a "pro-Walker political advocacy group that pledged to keep its donors secret." (Isikoff, Yahoo News)

Subsequently, Menard's "was awarded up to $1.8 million in tax credits by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation ... in 2013 and 2014," and the Wisconsin DNR, the bane of Manard, was decimated by Walker in his proposed budget.

Walker said through a flack he was "not involved" in the WEDC decision on Menard's tax credits though he chairs WEDC.

On May 10, commenting from South Carolina, Walker repeated he and WEDC "absolutely" have been good stewards of taxpayer dollars. (DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal)

On Monday. commenting from New Orleans, Walker said the WEDC scandal is a "political witch hunt." (DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal) amid calls for a federal investigation into WEDC operations and widespread suspicions of pay-to-play.

Such a federal investigation might fall under the authority of the US DoJ Public Integrity Division, the US Attorney's office or a special DoJ Task Force.

Walker did not comment specifically on the question if his 2012 promised "aggressive" and "dramatic" actions at WEDC have been successful.

May 19, 2015

Scott Walker—Scandal as Aides Get Walker Donor $100,000s; Letter Cced to Walker

Scott Walker had to comment from New Orleans on the growing scandal back home but it isn't because Walker is digging the Blues-Jazz scene and drinking in the Quarter enjoying the nightlife.

Walker was out trashing public schools at a for-profit private school conclave. (Williams, New Orleans Times-Picayune)

Back in Wisconsin, calls for a federal investigation of Walker's slush fund are growing (DeFour, Wisconsin State Journal), after audits revealed a rash of highly questionable loans and grants from Chairman Walker's Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

http://WWW.BCIHQ.COM - Unavailable but appreciative
of the $500,000 from Wisconsin taxpayers
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Stein, Marley) breaks a story this morning Walker lied about his knowledge of a six-figure WEDC loan going to a major Walker backer.

Write Stein and Marley in their lede: "State records say that Gov. Scott Walker received a copy of a 2011 letter pledging a $500,000 taxpayer loan to a now-defunct Milwaukee construction company headed by a Walker donor, seemingly contradicting statements by the governor and his aides that he was not aware of the award."

Walker said he played no role and his spokesperson said Walker had no knowledge, though the Journal-Sentinel notes: "The Sept. 9, 2011, letter from Paul Jadin, WEDC's chief executive officer at the time, was sent to William Minahan, owner of Building Committee Inc., a company that is now being sued by WEDC for defaulting on the unsecured loan without delivering the promised project and the jobs it was supposed to create.

Jadin said in his letter of intent that he was writing "on behalf of Governor Scott Walker" and noted "cc: Scott Walker, Governor" at the bottom.

No role from the Chair, Scott Walker, of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp?

Something smells.

Writes the State Journal's DeFour:

Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, said at a news conference at the Capitol that a State Journal investigation of a $500,000 state economic development loan to Building Committee Inc. (BCI) that has never been repaid shows evidence of “possible corruption.”

The State Journal reported its findings in a two-part series that ran Sunday and Monday.

“$500,000 in taxpayer funds were wasted by Gov. Walker and his administration on a loan that never should have been granted to a major campaign contributor,” said Barca, a board member of Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. “As a taxpayer and someone who cares deeply about economic development in this state, as a legislator and a board member, I am outraged.”

Barca and Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, who also serves on the WEDC board, called on U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and U.S. Attorneys John Vaudreuil and James Santelle to launch an investigation into missing documents, whether taxpayer dollars were misused, and whether criminal violations may have taken place at WEDC.

Likely, Walker's I-don't-know line will change to a 'We moved on," and then "We are cooperating with federal investigators ... and concentrating on jobs and families.'

Serving the Wisconsin people would be nice.

As would Walker trade missions to Milwaukee, Kenosha, Beloit and Racine.