Oct 22, 2014

Kewaunee County, Water Advocates Petition EPA for Emergency Action

Clean water advocates are going
to the feds for our children
 and their children and beyond,
as citizens of Kewaunee County, Wisconsin
 risk their health by drinking water
from the faucet
Update: See also Groups ask EPA to investigate pollution causes by cattle farms (Bergquist, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
"The people of Wisconsin can’t keep fighting our own state government to get the help and protections they need to be sure their drinking water is safe," said Kimberlee Wright, Midwest Environmental Advocates’ Executive Director. "The water pollution problem in Kewaunee County is so serious that we have to ask the federal government to do what our state government can’t or won’t."

Clean water advocates are going to the feds for our children and their children and beyond.

They are petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency for emergency action in a 38-page document detailing the dirty secret in northeast Wisconsin, central and eastern Wisconsin and spreading that may virtually destroy Wisconsin's tourism and recreation industry not to mention poisoning our waters, on the surface and below.
Petition for Emergency Action Pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act, 42 U.S.C. §300i, to Protect the Citizens of Kewaunee County, Wisconsin from Imminent and Substantial Endangerment to Public Health Caused By Nitrate and Bacteria Contamination of an Underground Source of Drinking Water, and Pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. § 9604, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, 42 U.S.C. § 6973 ________
Submitted on Behalf of Petitioners Midwest Environmental Defense Center, Environmental Integrity Project, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Clean Wisconsin, Clean Water Action Council of Northeastern Wisconsin, and Kewaunee CARES

Scott Walker Upset More Proof of Corruption Released Near Election Day

Scott Walker had a lot to say about the latest batch of emails revealing corruption when Walker was Milwaukee County Executive.

No fair showing Scott Walker's office was crooked this close to Election Day, says Walker.

Several emails show Walker's campaign treasurer received inside information on a real-estate deal. Public office for private benefit of Walker's cronies, that's Scott Walker in a nutshell.

"Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday declined to answer specific questions about why he helped his campaign treasurer in an ultimately unsuccessful bid in 2010 to provide office space for Milwaukee County, where Walker was the county executive," report Dee J. Hall, Matthew DeFour, Mary Spicuzza and Steven Verburg report in the Wisconsin State Journal.

"Most voters can see through the smoke screen. It's pretty obvious this was done for partisan political reasons. If it was for any other reason it would have been done a lot sooner," said Walker. (Glauber, Bice, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Walker may call his office's emails a smokescreen but what is revealed is more corruption from the man asking Wisconsin citizens to trust him for four more years.

Note Glauber and Bice:
The new emails do shed light on the part of the John Doe investigation focused on competition to house the county's Department on Aging in private office space.

Cynthia Archer, who was the county's administration director, offered inside financial information to John Hiller, then Walker's campaign treasurer and a consultant for RAIT Financial Trust, owner of the Reuss Federal Plaza downtown. The owners of the Reuss building were one of the three final bidders on the lease deal.

"I understand the timeframe is short due to when final and best offers are due, so I will get you something ASAP," Archer wrote on Aug. 20, 2010, to Hiller and Jim Villa, a former Walker county aide who at the time was president of the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin.

Hiller wrote in response, "I am very sensitive to the situation and I work pretty hard not to leave fingerprints."

The next day, Archer sent a private email to Walker and Villa — but not Hiller — critical of the Reuss proposal, saying it wasn't the best deal for the county.

A few minutes later, Archer used her personal account to email Walker.
Dee J. Hall, Matthew DeFour, Mary Spicuzza and Steven Verburg report in the Wisconsin State Journal:
In another series of email exchanges, Walker asked Hiller in June 2010 to have the broker for the Reuss building reject Milwaukee County’s request for a six-month lease extension on the building, setting up the need for the later deal that Reuss bid on.

In another email to Archer on Aug. 20, 2010, Hiller said he thought officials involved with the request for proposals were unaware of his involvement. “I am very sensitive to the situation and I work pretty hard not to leave finger prints,” Hiller wrote.

Hiller resigned as Walker’s campaign treasurer in May 2011. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in 2012 that the John Doe investigation was probing a county real estate deal possibly involving Hiller.

Months before Hiller was lobbying for his proposal, another Walker county aide was dropping Walker’s name as he tipped off a developer about the potential deal.

“Not very many people know about this yet,” Greg Reiman, of the county aging department, said in an April 15, 2010, email to real estate broker Scott J. Revolinski of RFP Commercial Inc. “I believe they have only talked to the City of Milwaukee Dept of Development and possibly David Boerke (who manages Federal Plaza). I am also telling one other developer I know about this opportunity. I told Scott Walker that I would mention this opportunity to you and see if RFP might be interested in this building. If you are interested I will put you in touch with Scott’s Chief of Staff, Tom Nardelli.”
If the facts of Scott Walker's tenure as Milwaukee County Executive were widely revealed in northern and central Wisconsin, Walker's prospects for reelection would crash.

A glance at central and northern Wisconsin papers reveal the shady real estate deals are blacked-out in local media coverage, replaced by Walker's knockdown as the main story if the story is even run.

Mary Burke called Scott Walker out in a new TV spot that many of Walker's detractors see as overdue:

Oct 20, 2014

Scott Krug Is No-show at League of Women Voters Debate Monday

Rep. Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa) is a no-show at Monday's League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Rapids candidate forum.

One citizen from the Town of Saratoga said, "the League would fry Krug alive with questions over Krug's broken promise."

Krug had made a promise at a 2010 League forum that he would not be running in this election.

In 2010, Krug said during a videotaped League forum on Oct. 20, 2010. "I'm for real. ... So even if I don't favor term limits. I'm putting a term limit on myself right now for all the audience out there listening. Four years — done." (Bice, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Krug has skipped several candidate debates and forums this summer and fall after promising his attendance.

Krug contacted the League last week and said he couldn't attend this year because October is too busy.

Krug does not do well at forums in front of voters.

To make up for this deficiency, from appearances Krug is coordinating the timing of his mailings with that of sleazy allies.

Krug's allies are mailing repulsive hate mail that the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune advises residents to toss in the recycle bin.

Meanwhile Scott Krug is making news after it was reported that Krug "publicly supported nullifying federal laws (he doesn't like) and arresting federal officials." (Prairie Badger).

Krug is also a pro-CAFO legislator who has been running political interference for Big Ag.

Krug threatened to sue this writer for libel this summer for pointing out the above fact. Krug backed down from his threat after I advised him truth is an absolute defense against libel accusations.

Oct 18, 2014

Toss Sleazy Political Hate Mail Propping up Pols Like Scott Krug

Sleazy direct mail pieces trying to save Rep. Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa) from defeat this November are being sent out in the 72nd assembly district in central Wisconsin.

The pieces come from the shadowy Job First Coalition, Inc out of Brookfield, working on Krug's behalf to defame the character of Krug's opponent. This is what we have come to expect from anyone working on Krug's behalf.

Krug is ethically unfit for office.

This morning's Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune has some advice for voters regarding this dishonest and sleazy attack in the 72nd assembly district:

Every other October is also attack-mailer season, and anyone with a mailbox can attest that, right on time, the slimy, sketchily sourced fliers have begun appearing daily.

We've seen them in many races across the region and they're not worth dignifying with a rebuttal. After all, they aren't making arguments; they're trying to scare voters through implication, association and selective editing.

They are a gross part of politics, perhaps even worse than broadcast attacks. The proper response is to quickly dispense with them, straight into the recycling bin.

Oct 17, 2014

Report: Judge Shopping Confirmed by Special Interest-in-GOP-Campaigns Group

"When a conservative group filed a lawsuit over campaign finance laws earlier this month, its lawyers filled out court paperwork in a way that all but guaranteed they got a judge (Rudolph Randa) who has already ruled groups and candidates can work closely together."

The plan worked. On Tuesday, two weeks after Citizens for Responsible Government Advocates filed its suit, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa issued an order limiting how campaign finance laws could be enforced, opening the door for groups and candidates to team up in the weeks before the Nov. 4 election," reports Patrick Marley in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Sleazy pay-as-you-go politics filed with a corrupt federal judge whom the special interests knew would rule their way, the Scott Walker way.

This is what Wisconsin is up against. Never give up.

Corruption May Turn Friday Scott Walker-Mary Burke into Spectacle

Update: No talk of water, the environment, corruption, race and bigotry. This column's prediction of fireworks was way-off. I'll give this debate a two on a one-to-ten scale.
Since Scott Walker began his the high-profile chapter of his life-long political career, corruption, misconduct in office and ties to special interests have defined Scott Walker's fetid, authoritarian radicalism.

One would hope tonight's debate will feature a discussion of Scott Walker's many ethical and likely criminal lapses in pursuit of his rightwing vies.

Scott Walker is an extremist. His views should be put to the test.

Just a couple of questions about clean water, high capacity wells, and what we owe to future generations in being good stewards of the environments ought to do it.

From WPR: Walker Contends He's Left Wisconsin's Environment Cleaner Than When He Found It
(Mary Burke's) campaign sent a statement in which she promises to bring together all stakeholders to find the right balance between economic development and our public health and natural resources. Those are welcome words in part of the state troubled by contaminated runoff from big farms.
As is typical of striking a balance projecting the environment and cultivating a sustainable agriculture, retired business consultant and citizen of Rome, Wisconsin has the best stuff out there.

Talk about corruption. Scott Walker is selling out the environment and the health of our children for campaign money from polluting special interests

From citizen Don Ystad:

Concerned citizens,

There's not a lot more to add to Dr. Iwen's message below about this linked video. It's frightening, it's real, and as unpleasant as the message is, you have to view it. Having attended the same public hearing this week that Dr. Iwen attended, I would echo his concerns about the attitudes expressed by the MilkSource Attorney and the shill from the Dairy Business Association.  They are a self-serving bunch who care nothing about what they are doing to our health and well being and will say anything to further the greed of the Big Ag guys who fund them.

Politicians and agency people copied here,

I'm encouraged by the groundswell of public concern regarding this issue. It's unfortunate that you are so slow to take action on our behalf. How many more people will become ill as you pander to these self serving, greedy industrial agriculturists? And how many lakes, streams and wells will be contaminated as you are entertained by their ag lobbyists in Madison? There is a middle ground and the pendulum swings both ways.

Watch the video and judge for yourself.

Don Ystad.
Rome, WI

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: William Iwen
Date: Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 9:19 PM
Subject: CAFO industry and the spread of super bacteria such as MRSA, E. Coli 0157: H7, Salmonella and much more!

Good evening fellow CAFO fighters,

I hope all of you have watched the PBS presentation referenced below.

If you have not, please google this address below, watch the Video and then consider the added very serious worries that should voiced over the proposed dairy in Richfield....or Kewaunee County or anywhere in Wisconsin or the U.S.

This PBS expose' clearly shows the sheer body of overwhelming and growing evidence and the correlation to increased illnesses in citizens unfortunate enough to be living within the reach of air or water transmission of sewage from a CAFO.  Air and water transportation systems are carrying very dangerous bacteria to the surrounding countryside and to susceptible citizens OF ALL AGES .
Richfield Dairy and every CAFO in the U.S. must be mandated to disclose the amount of antibiotics they use and the State must be disclosing and tracking the super bacteria existing in those areas.   This may appear to be an overwhelming agenda, but we MUST all keep pushing the button of alarm over and over and over with a growing chorus of citizens and a growing urgency.

When attorney DuQuaine (Milk Source lawyer) says the the cumulative well effects have been studied "ad nauseam" he is showing his profound ignorance and indifference "ad nauseam" to the most dangerous elements of this industry and is demonstrating this clearly by merely paying simple minded lip service to his professional "cash cow" and addressing only the High Cap well problem.
When John Holevoet (DBA talking head) utters his nonsense, he too is showing profound ignorance and indifference  to the bigger issue.  His comments are so out of line with reality that he owes the community at large a public apology...unless is so totally ignorant  that he will never understand OR that he really does not care one wit about consequences of an industry founded on the principles of  money, power and greed.

Bill Iwen

Oct 16, 2014

GOP Dirty Tricks Is the Only Way Forward for Scott Walker

Have not read am empirical study but asserting corrupt public officials tend to ally themselves with political groups employing dishonest, illegal and dirty trick seems a truism.

Coming off legal defeats obstructing disfavored citizens from voting, the Republican Party of Wisconsin that used the now-blocked voter ID law as "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government," the prediction that dirty tricks including harassment and interference with a voters' effort to vote are coming is the safest bet in politics.

John Peterson has the story.

Wisconsin's Future Motto: 'Don't Drink the Water'—Unless We Act

Wisconsin's future motto
Updated: Another town, Nasewaupee in northeastern Wisconsin, discusses banning manure spraying.

The stakes are high.

So, anything the Dairy Business Association (DBA) tells you should be disregarded as propaganda.

No, liquid cow manure is not good for you, and it smells horrific.

Unless we come up with a solution to the DBA's pollution of our waters through CAFOs (Concentrated Agricultural Feeding Operations), and the DBA's members' sucking up Wisconsin's fresh water through high capacity wells, Wisconsin will have a new state motto.

It won't be America's Dairy Land, or Forward or The Progressive State, if Scott Walker is reelected and continues with turning the DNR into the pollution-protecting agency it has become under Walker's administration.

Wisconsin's new unofficial motto will be: Don't drink the water.

And forget about tourism and recreation in beautiful Wisconsin.

Ask Kewaunee County.

"Few people know what a CAFO is and I am always embarrassed to explain. The response is most often an incredulous stare," said Robyn Mulhaney, Kewaunee County business owner. (Peninsula Pulse)

Bring the kids, fire up the grills and check out the CAFO lagoons filled with the liquid cow excrement.

This is what happens when the stewards of the environment hand over responsibility to Big Ag.

GOP Is as Desperate in Texas as Wisconsin

Update: See Ernest A. Canning excellent analysis on the Brad Blog. "The state," the Veasey petition argues, "has no interest in --- and the public certainly has no interest --- in enforcing intentionally discriminatory laws." The DoJ adds to the weight of that argument by pointing to the District Court's findings as to how, in the face of demographic changes that threaten to reduce white Anglo Texans to minority status, each successive Photo ID bill enacted by the state became increasingly restrictive of minority voting rights --- with SB 14 having been passed "with 'unnatural speed' over the objection of legislators who represented predominantly non-white districts," and that "the Texas Legislature had rejected a 'litany of ameliorative amendments' that would have softened SB 14's impact on minority voters."
Republicans were dealt a body blow in their efforts to block voters in Wisconsin last week.

How are Republicans supposed to win if they can't block voters and gerrymander districts?

Next up is Texas which has an even more restrictive Voter ID law than Wisconsin's.

In Texas the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit imposed this onerous Voter ID law even closer to Election Day than did the Seventh Circuit on Sept. 12 (before this decision was vacated).

"On October 9, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos struck down Texas’s harsh photo ID law, ruling after a lengthy trial that the Texas legislature enacted the law to purposely discriminate against minority voters," notes the Brennan Center.

Plaintiffs' emergency application against the Texas ID law and others are being heard by Justice Scalia.

The U.S. Dept of Justice has also filed an application.

The case is Veasey v. Perry (No 14A393). The state of Texas' response is due Thursday at 5 pm.

An array of civil rights groups and the US Dept of Justice against Texas.

Oct 15, 2014

Burke-Lehman Retail Campaign on Environment

Ripon College Democrats hosted State Sen. John Lehman (D-Racine), candidate for Lieutenant Governor on Tuesday night.

Attendees went away impressed. Most people don't want to told their drinking water is not safe to drink, like what happened up north earlier this month.

Wrote attendee Elaine Swanson from Ripon College:

John Lehman came to the Ripon College campus last night.  He spoke about important issues - and left time for questions.  I brought up my neighbor Rosendale Dairy (the largest CAFO in Wisconsin)and the operation's untreated waste spread over fields surrounding homes where people are living; spray irrigation being pushed. 

Senator Lehman responded by telling of the tour he recently had in the central part of the state where a CAFO has been proposed.  He said he met the citizens who are fearful of the impacts on their lakes and streams from high-cap wells.  I was applauding you guys up in Rome & Saratoga for organizing that very important tour!

As I'm remembering, it was a tour of CAFOs in Kewaunee County that indirectly introduced more conservationists to spreading industrial operations in WI - like champion Greg Farnham. Thanks Kewaunee for organizing those tours that create lasting images - and lasting odors!

Oct 14, 2014

Judge Rudolph Randa Stands Naked and Corrupt for Scott Walker

Update II: Group gamed filing federal lawsuit to be assigned to Rudolph Randa. (Marley, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Update: Two other points. Randa has ignored the Pursell principle and changed Wisconsin election law less than three weeks before Election Day. Secondly, through Randa's two rulings against Wisconsin campaign finance law enforcement, Randa has given Scott Walker an arguable defense if the John Doe Probe is allowed to proceed with its investigation though Scott Walker knows what he did is illegal. A federal judge declared what Scott Walker and others did is not illegal, so how can John Doe prosecutors find Walker, for example, guilty of breaking finance law when Randa has imposed ambiguity in the law that will be read against the state in a criminal prosecution.
An obscure rightwing group, Citizens for Responsible Government Advocates (CRG), has filed a complaint in federal court based upon a discredited view of the First Amendment to halt virtually all Wisconsin campaign finance law.

That's good enough for U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa who issued a preliminary injunction "before the GAB (Government Accountability Board) and (Milwaukee County District Attorney John T. Chisholm) had even spoken with the attorney assigned to represent them," notes Brendan Fischer at PR Watch. Nor had the GAB and Chisholm's attorney even filed a brief before Randa ruled.

The federal case is Citizens for Responsible Government Advocates v. Barland et al.

Randa wants to engineer the law to work for political allies and specifically shield Scott Walker from getting criminally charged or politically embarrassed by facts of the ongoing John Doe probe.

Randa heard CRG's complaint and issued a ruling today in this naked attempt to protect Scott Walker in what will likely raise corruption and misconduct questions before the supervising Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit after a likely reversal.

"The general election is only three weeks away. Any further delay threatens to negate the effectiveness of CRG’s requested relief," writes Randa.

"Randa issued his latest order even though those who are being sued didn't have an attorney until Monday. Because the lawyer was only recently hired, he has not submitted a brief to the judge explaining his clients' views on campaign finance laws or why they believe they are valid," notes Patrick Marley in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Randa had already made up his mind.

This is typical Randa, using his position on the federal bench to benefit Scott Walker less than three weeks before Election Day by blocking "enforcement of a Wisconsin election law that's at the center of an investigation into Gov. Scott Walker's 2012 recall campaign and more than two dozen conservative groups." (AP)

Wisconsin law enforcement has more than reasonable doubt to believe that Scott Walker is part of a criminal collaboration scheme that Randa is declaring no longer to be criminal, using this case, Citizens for Responsible Government Advocates v. Barland et al to issue this bizarre ruling today.

"U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa on Tuesday barred state election officials and Milwaukee's top prosecutor from enforcing their interpretation of campaign finance laws limiting the ability of candidates and purportedly independent groups from collaborating," writes Patrick Marley in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "Earlier this year, Randa expressed similar skepticism toward campaign finance laws and halted an investigation into collaboration between Gov. Scott Walker's campaign and groups backing him. That ruling was thrown out three weeks ago by an appeals court that took Randa to task for his decision, in part because the panel said the case belonged in state — not federal — court."

Randa's earlier campaign finance decision was overturned in September in O'Keefe and Club for Growth, Inc v. Chisholm and Schmitz, with Judge Frank Easterbrook writing for a panel of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that included Judges Diane Wood and William Bauer, "No opinion issued by the Supreme Court, or by any court of appeals, establishes ('clearly' or otherwise) that the First Amendment forbids regulation of coordination between campaign committees and issue-advocacy groups ... ."

Knocked down hard by the appellate court, Randa is apparently not guided by the appellate court's admonitions or its orders. Easterbrook called September ruling "imprudent," "unnecessary," and "an abuse of discretion." (Fischer, PR Watch)

Overturning Randa's decision in O'Keefe and Club for Growth, Inc., Easterbrook wrote, "Until the district court's opinion in this case, neither a state nor a federal court had held that Wisconsin's (or any other state's) regulation of coordinated fundraising and issue advocacy violates the First Amendment. ...It is not possible to treat as 'bad faith' a criminal investigation that reflects (the U.S. Supreme Court's) interpretation of the First Amendment."

This appellate opinion is inconvenient to Randa's political agenda, and could hurt Scott Walker if more evidence of what Scott Walker did goes public.

Randa just thinks up the results of cases and rules, throwing in an opinion at the end.

Critics and most jurists call this "results-oriented" jurisprudence.

Other people call it corruption.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, corruption at its worst, also got in the act.

"In a surprising move, Wisconsin's Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen reversed his office's position on the scope of Wisconsin campaign finance law, and declined to represent the GAB and Chisholm in the lawsuit. In a letter to the GAB -- the agency tasked with interpreting and enforcing Wisconsin campaign finance law -- Assistant Deputy Attorney General Dan Lennington called the agency's interpretation of Wisconsin campaign finance law 'tenuous,'" notes Fischer.

Finding Your Voice on November 4

Final Report of the Northeast
Wisconsin Karst Task Force
Toxins in Our Waters Should Guide for Whom We Vote

The fix for the safety of our drinking water is easy.

It's called local control, (calling in the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers as force multipliers) and when Republicans in the state legislature and Scott Walker run political interference for the special interests who pollute our water and take away local control—vote the bums out.

Retiring State Rep. Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay) (Assembly District One) killed local-control legislation, with help from his Republican friends—legislators, polluters and their money.

One would think Rep. Bies and Republicans would appreciate, if not the environment, at least the safety of our drinking water and the tourism and recreation dollars in Door and Kewaunee counties.

By Don Freix of Fish Creek, Wisconsin in Door County, (Wisconsin Assembly District One)

In the Final Report of the Northeast Wisconsin Karst Task Force (Feb. 9, 2007) sufficient scientific study needed to describe our region’s unique geological limitations as to the amounts of industrial and feedlot toxins that could be safely spread on the land without immediately endangering public health and safety, and polluting our ground water and precious Great Lakes resources, were clearly explained. (See also Golden, Wisconsin Watch)

State legislators passed out of Committee, Senate Bill 632 (SB 632) in 2009, which in recognizing the susceptibility of our shallow soils and fractured bedrock, granted greater local control and allowed for stricter regional environmental regulations regarding disposal of these toxic wastes.

Specifically the toxins coming from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), uncritically and improperly described far too often, as large "dairy farms." More precisely these are cosmetically regulated industrial factories, disproportionally usurping public water and legally enabled to directly poison our environment for the financial profits of a very select few.

In 2009, SB 632 died a certain death as Rep. Garey Bies refused to co-sponsor the bill and introduce it to the appropriate Assembly Committee for further consideration.

Responsible preventative actions could have been initiated, stemming predicted problems. Problems that have become the current, inexcusable, permanent and growing human health and safety crisis underway in Kewaunee County and literally spreading throughout parts of Door County, because of willful, if not criminal, state majority party executive and legislative negligence.

In this immediate crisis of CAFO toxins, of further degradation of public health, of sustainable tourism, and of stable property values if not addressed, please consider this. Who has or will actually represent you in Madison?

In central Wisconsin Assembly District 72, CAFO toxins have become the defining issue of the campaign.

Action against or perpetrating for moving toxins into our environment ought weigh heavily on whom we elect in Assembly District One,—Door and Kewaunee counties, and our friends and our fellow constituents in Brown and Manitowoc counties.

"Representative" Bies willfully forfeited his primary responsibility of being our voice in Madison, as did Sen. Frank G. Lasee (R-De Pere) who both voted to grant sole authority over administrative rule-making to Gov. Scott Walker.

Will candidate Joel Kitchens (R), whose current business success depends upon industrial agriculture, veterinary services to thousands of cows, or will Sen. Lasee who is reported to not even reside in the 1st District and who has already abdicated his responsibility as our voice in Madison, actually listen to you?

Public health, sustainable tourism, stable property values, clean water and local control, or life under narrowly beneficial, authoritarian dictates.

Top to bottom of the ticket, reclaim your voice on Nov 4.

Scott Walker-GOP's Halting Milwaukee Paid Sick Leave Is Reckless Public Health

In May 2011, Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans passed legislation that imposed a uniform Scott Walker-knows-best policy nullifying Milwaukee's Paid Sick Leave ordinance.

"When Governor Walker and state legislators overrode this ordinance, they not only steamrolled local democratic will (overriding a law that passed by an overwhelming vote), but they also repealed the rights of working people to get medical treatment they need, lead healthier lives, and help safeguard the health of their families, coworkers and customers," notes Emily Osborne.

Safeguarding the public should be a public health concern; why force sick people to come to work?

As the flu, or the Enterovirus D68 are likely to be immediately problematic to Wisconsin citizens than say Ebola, consider how irresponsible as a public heath and safety issue Scott Walker's politically motivated decision to disregard the will of the people and kill Milwaukee's Paid Sick Leave law.

This is the very definition of gross criminal negligence on the part of the Scott Walker and the Republicans.

Scott Walker imposes disaster and then moves on.

Wisconsin Points Way for Public Health Research as Ebola Breeds Fear

Wisconsin is regarded as the premier influenza virus surveillance public health program anywhere in the country.

Public research and public health investments our state made over the 20th century spurred on by liberal, secular types at UW-Madison that laid the scientific ground for the political will to establish a sophisticated public health system.

Wisconsin's public health commitment was built upon pioneering work in Madison by some extraordinary people like Pete Shult and Jeff Davis, according to health and research authorities.

The Unites States would benefit from the Wisconsin Idea.

The Wisconsin Idea is unlikely to replicated while Republicans run Congress. See NIH director: Budget cuts delayed Ebola vaccine, treatment.

For a dose of sanity regarding viruses and public health, see:
Influenza: A Disease at the Interface of Animals and Human Beings
Christopher Olsen, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Public Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin - Madison
- Recorded April 17, 2009

Oct 13, 2014

Vile, Racist Email Found in Scott Walker Documents

This is who Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans are.

Check out Crooks and Liars.

Voter ID Takes Hits Across the Board

This has been a bad week for the Republican Party's voter obstruction project.

More light has been shone on the anti-voting efforts of the GOP across the nation.

GOP allies in the judiciary, especially the Soviet bloc on the U.S. Supreme Court—Scalia, Thomas and Alito—are hostile to voting. They would prefer a different system of government.

Rick Hasen puts it thusly: "Simply put, Justices Alito, Scalia and Thomas do not value the right to vote as strongly as the other members of the Court."

This morning's lede editorial in the New York Times notes voter ID laws are an "antidemocratic sham."

State and municipal election bureaucrats in Wisconsin are mostly silent on these facts that Republicans are attacking the foundation of representative democracy.

One man who is not silent is Judge Richard Posner writing for dissenting colleagues on the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Posner notes the fact that it is Republicans who are trying to stop citizens from voting.

Rarely has a white power structure, not since Jim Crow, have underground political movements been called out at the judicial level for its actions against the Constitution.

From Posner's October 10 dissent:
States with Strict Photo ID Laws — Political Makeup When the Laws Were Adopted
(Nos. 14-2058 and 14-2059; p. 17)

Oct 12, 2014

Same-day Voter Registration Problem, and Easy Fix

Wisconsin Voter Registration Application;
GAB-131 document (REV 2014/05)
No voter ID is required to vote in Wisconsin

Repeat, no matter the noise emitting from our corrupt attorney general: No voter ID is needed to vote in Wisconsin.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered no voter ID.

Moving on.

Same-day registration

There is one issue with Election-day registration (that Scott Walker tried to eliminate in 2012, backing down), and it's an easy fix.

The problem

The problem is the new voter registration system on Election Day has voters enter their data into the voter registration form from lap tops, under the supervision of poll workers (who ask questions on ID and residency).

The Fall 2014 Primary Election Day in August gave us a live usability test of the new voter registration system.

The results point to the problem for November's Election Day-registration voters, and the time period for registering voters increasing exponentially in high-turnout elections: Time to register on the new system is long and confusing for voters.

A rough guess: 30 minutes per voter.

Election inspectors (poll workers) train in filling out the Wisconsin Voter Registration Application form (above-right). Voters are given no such training and asked to input the data not knowing what data field is next.

The process takes longer with the voter (rather than the election inspector) entering the data, presenting the necessary ID and residency documents, printing out the Registration Application form, checking it for errors, and then voting.

Some 30 minutes per voter for registering, plus time in line, and each voter's time ahead of other voters added to voters behind her.

The Fix to the problem

The fix is multiple lap tops and more staff to help registering.

In our voting district, Fitchburg District One (wards one-four), the demographics and frequency of same-day registrants demand some nine lap tops per voting district of roughly 3,000-plus voters on Election Day.

In communities where there are young voters and renters, nine lap tops per 3,000-registering voters are advisable to decrease the long lines in November 2012 and June 2012.

In student and dense population districts, this number is higher.

Ask your municipal clerk. Ask the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and the Democratic Party.

Among Wisconsin's 1,800 municipal clerks, most are open to logical suggestions, and clerks have lists of Special Registration Deputies who are willing to take up the slack of regular poll workers to see that Election Day registrants are not penalized for participating in the highly successful Wisconsin policy of same-day registration.

People (especially those with young children) are sometimes forced to get up and walk away without having registered when the lines are too long, another objective of the Republican Party. I've seen it.

"During major statewide elections, 10 – 15 percent of Wisconsin electors register to vote or update their voter registration on Election Day," notes the Wisconsin Governmental Accountability Board (GAB).

Statewide Election Day-registering voters composed some 266,974 voters, 10.6 percent of the electorate in November 2012, notes the GAB.

Here is a list of Wisconsin municipal clerks, staff and contact info.

For more information on voter registration deadlines and how-to-resister, see the GAB voter registration site. Early registering and early voting are advised.

For the Republican Party that used the now-blocked voter ID law as "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government," other dirty tricks are ready to be implemented including harassment and interference with a voter's effort to vote.

If you see intimidation, discrimination, or any interference with a voter's process of voting, check the polling place's large bulletin board of public information and report the crimes.

Ask for the Chief Election inspector, and ask for the documenting of an incident report for starters. Then call the Clerk's office, the GAB, and the US attorney's office.

Oct 11, 2014

Scott Walker Is Desperate on Jobs

Scott Walker is in trouble, and it showed this weekend at the debate, fumbling the central issue of the race: Jobs.

"I don't know how many of you watched the debate last night, but Governor Walker said in the debate that he didn't think Wisconsin had a jobs problem. Right?" Mary Burke said. "Well, I want to be a governor who acknowledges the challenges that we have and is going to focus on the ideas that are going to move us ahead and will make sure that Wisconsin has a vibrant, growing, thriving economy so that when you graduate from college, there are going to be job opportunities for you to be able to stay in this state." (Bice, Glauber and Barrett, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

The extraordinary lengths to which Scott Walker, Wisconsin's corrupt attorney general J.B. Van Hollen and Republican Party have gone to exclude registered Wisconsin voters from voting reveal how desperate Walker is.

To the extent Environment, Education, Health Care, Women's Rights are an issue, Walker loses.

Jobs, and Scott Walker loses.

Walker and the Repulsives are cornered.

Walker also refused to say whether his own administration is correct in stating $7.25 is a living wage.

If Walker were comfortable, his campaign would be non-stop positive impressions, not even acknowledging he had an opponent.

But Wisconsin leads the nation in negative TV spots in campaigns for governor in the nation. (Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Watch for desperate moves from Walker surrogates, the kitchen sink, anything.

Jonathan Alter reported and wrote in his seminal book, The Center Holds, Obama and His Enemies(Simon and Schuster, 2013), the Obama campaign utilizing its high-tech veritable wizards compiled voter support scores on the 180 million American voters (p. 107), and successfully demolished Mitt Willard Romney.

Burke has the same capacity and watching the debate closely, a quiet confidence from Mary Burke is taking hold, and a desperation from Scott Walker is becoming equally apparent.

Wisconsin Is Water; Protect Us

'If Wisconsin is looking for a growth industry, tourism is it.'

Wasn't disappointed in the Wisconsin gubernatorial debate last night, expect noise and a void.

Mary Burke did point out Scott Walker selling out pristine northern Wisconsin for a few million dollars in exchange for legislation to rip an open pit mine in Iron County.

But it's citizens who bring information. Thankfully, Wisconsin newspapers are still alive and local coverage is not dead.

One can look at the Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune letters section on a given day and get the truth of where we're heading as a state. For example:

"I’m OK with a politician occasionally embellishing the facts, but tourism is the growth path for the Rome area (in central Wisconsin) and I want to know my representative (Scott Krug) is actually and proactively working at it. My experience says otherwise and unless I see a plan from him, I’m not sure he deserves my vote. This makes me question everything else (Krug) says," writes Don Ystad of Rome.

Ystad's concern with the environment is not confined to central Wisconsin, nor with lakes and aquifers.

Rivers are the canary in the coal mine, and they are under assault with Scott Walker selling out our rivers as well. See the River Alliance of Wisconsin (Facebook).

A healthy environment is good business, something Ystad appreciates as a retired successful business consultant.

"Studies show that tourism generates $17.5 billion in economic impact in Wisconsin, more than 185,000 jobs and $2.3 billion dollars in annual tax revenue. In 2013, visitors to Wisconsin spent $10.6 billion," writes the Tourism Federation of Wisconsin (TFW).            

A healthy environment is much more than good business, it's a legacy we owe our children, our grandchildren and all future generations. We are water creatures, part of a complex system of  which water is central.

Residents in a high-end tourist destination, Door County, know this well.

Check out the Peninsula Pulse up in Door County; that's local coverage.

So as Republicans kill local control and the capacity of the DNR to control polluters, on the current trajectory that Scott Walker is sending us, we will find that befouling Wisconsin's waters is killing our state's most precious resource.

This is bad business too.

Oct 10, 2014

Richard Posner's Extraordinary Move to Sound the Alarm on Voter Obstruction

Update: "Posner's dissent includes a devastating response to virtually every false and/or disingenuous rightwing argument/talking point ever put forth in support of Photo ID voting restrictions, describing them as "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government." (Brad Friedman)
On the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit known for its intellectual bulk, judges such as Easterbrook, Wood and Posner stand out.

What makes the public intellectual Richard Posner stand out more is this academic appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1981 has grown as a jurist, and now stands as a bulwark against the oppression the judiciary can inflict upon American citizens.

Posner as a sitting judge has taken the extraordinary step of requesting a rehearing on behalf of the five judges dissenting from Judge Easterbrook’s appalling opinion in Frank v. Walker.

The rehearing failed five-to-five.

The October 10 dissent authored by Posner is scathing and is certain to be noted when voting rights advocates take their consolidated cases to the US Supreme Court where a granting of cert is expected within 90 days.

Notes Posner:
The Practitioner’s Handbook for Appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit states that 'en banc rehearing is authorized without a party’s invitation. A member of the court may ask for a vote on whether to rehear a case en banc.' I asked for a vote on whether to rehear the appeals en banc. The judges have voted, the vote was a 5 to 5 tie, and as a result rehearing en banc has been denied. We—the five who voted to grant rehearing en banc—believe that the decision to allow the panel’s opinion reversing the district court to stand, without consideration of the case by the full court, is a serious mistake.
Posner presents myriad arguments eviscerating the Easterbrook opinion, and as an example notes one bizarre element in Easterbrook's opinion that dismissed social scientific evidence introduced at federal trial last year because the evidence was published in the Harvard Law Review, a fact noted earlier this week by Rick Hasen.

Easterbrook refers to Judge Lynn Adelman, writing in his decision and order issuing a permanent injunction on April 29, 2014:

[O]ne of the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses, Barry Burden, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, testified that the available empirical evidence indicates that photo ID requirements have no effect on confidence or trust in the electoral process. He described a study conducted by Stephen Ansolabehere and Nathaniel Persily and published in the Harvard Law Review which looked at the relationship between photo ID laws and voter confidence in the electoral process. See Stephen Ansolabehere and Nathaniel Persily, Vote Fraud in the Eye of the Beholder: The Role of Public Opinion in the Challenge to Voter Identification Requirements,121 Harv. L. Rev. 1737, 1756 (2008). Burden explained that this study employed multivariate analysis of survey data and found “zero relationship” between voter ID laws and a person’s level of trust or confidence in the electoral process. (p.18)

No relationship between voter ID laws and public confidence, the main argument advanced by Republicans in defense of their voter obstruction project after the in-person voter fraud assertions by the Wisconsin DoJ were conceded not to exist.

This study is dismissed by Easterbrook.

Writes Posner:

"The panel opinion dismisses the Ansolabehere and Persily article on the ground that because it was published in the Harvard Law Review, it was not peer-reviewed. So much for law reviews. (And what about Supreme Court opinions? They’re not peer-reviewed either.)"

Posner goes on, as careful as Easterbrook is reckless in Easterbrook's "fact-free cocoon."

Concludes Posner:

"To conclude, the case against a law requiring a photo ID as a condition of a registered voter’s being permitted to vote that is as strict as Wisconsin’s law is compelling. The law should be invalidated; at the very least, with the court split evenly in so important a case and the panel opinion so riven with weaknesses, the case should be reheard en banc."