Mining – Paramilitary protection law

Chipping away at public access and control

It is all so subtle. After the GOP misread the reaction to the curtailment of collective bargaining rights in February 2012, after which even Scott Walker said he would do it differently, the republican controlled administration, Senate, Assembly and Supreme Court have adopted a more subtle approach to the reorganization of Wisconsin. In a private meeting in the governor’s mansion just before that February announcement he referred to the actions as “dropping the bomb”.

In the aftermath of “the bomb”, the GOP looked around at the damage and began a strategy of surgical strikes across the spectrum of government to undermine the control and oversight by the public of the new, ever encroaching, GOP quasi government – one bill, one law, one rule, at a time.

Now, actions are orchestrated in bits and snatches so as to seem trivial to a press that is financially strapped and satisfied to simply regurgitate the message on any given day without investigating or drawing reference to the larger picture. The elephant in the room is: privatization.

1. The transfer of ownership of property or businesses from a government to a privately owned entity.Investopedia definition

The latest surgical strike to shift power to the private sector

Oh it is all so subtle, like requiring a permit to assemble in the Capitol rotunda, like awarding vouchers for private schools, like setting up the former Department of Commerce as a “quasi” governmental agency, like curtailing collective bargaining rights, like turning a deaf ear to the encroachment of frac mines in Norhwestern Wisconsin, – all, all surgical strikes across pockets of political interests, divided islands of geography, a smattering of skirmishes hither and yon, each one seeming somewhat trivial to the whole.

Surgical Strike #278

All of the media is reporting the story from the Groth TiffanStar Tribune to NBC – another surgical strike to knock out another point of public access, another curtailment of the public right to assemble, another subtle encroachment of the public will in favor of corporate interests, another domino in the plan for privatization of the government of the people.

A pair of Republican state legislators (the usual suspects Grothman and Tiffany) introduced a bill late Friday that would allow a mining company to prevent public access to some 4,000 acres of forest surrounding its controversial proposed iron mine site in northern Wisconsin.Host Madison

This bill exempts from the requirement that recreational activities be allowed on MFL (Managed Forest Land) that is designated as open if the MFL is within a site for which a mining company has notified DNR that it intends to file an application for an iron mining permit (proposed mining site).

2013 Senate BILL 278

The regurgitation of the intreped press

State Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, and Glen Grothman R-West Bend are quoted as saying: “the move is meant to protect mine workers and Department of Natural Resources employees working at the proposed Gogebic Taconite mining site from protesters.”

Of course it would require too many column inches to reveal the back story of this surgical strike, so let’s just print the Grothman/Tiffany press release verbatim and call it journalism. Let’s not make assumptions by comparing it to the big picture of how this action relates to what is happening with frac mining in Northwest Wisconsin, or singing in the Capitol rotunda, or the move to allow vouchers for public schools, or the creation of a “quasi” department of government (WEDC) – lets not talk about the elephant in the room – privatization.

Here is the response of democrats:


Whatever happened to the heroic 14? Whatever happened to the opposing party?

There is a back story to this latest surgical strike that goes back to the initial debate of the mining bill and can be read in full in the article: The Million Dollar Bill January 24, 2013 by Rebecca Kemble.

“Of the nearly $1 million in campaign donations to 20 Senate and Assembly mining committee members by interests backing mining deregulation, $74,000 went to Sen. Tiffany, according to Victoria McMurray who cited Wisconsin Democracy Campaign finance records. Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) was the biggest recipient, cashing in nearly half a million in campaign contributions, while Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) came in third with $52,000 in donations.”

Most news reports skirt the eco-protestorsissue of the paramilitary security force called “Bullet Proof” that was dispatched to the North woods without a license. No mention is made in this surgical strike to the other surgical strike: that the presence of the paramilitary force was against the law and no charges were filed for the infraction, while common citizens are being charged on a daily basis for singing in the Capitol rotunda.

Oh it is all so subtle.

The committee will have a public hearing on the bill Wednesday (no time or location given)

Please visit my “other blog” for news of my new play “House of Monkeys” – a musical romp through the love, life, and work of Moliere!

Walker's Wisconsin – Job Creator

A corner with no wiggle room

Walker remains stuck in the corner of his own creation. His biggest and boldest pledge to the voters of Wisconsin in 2010 was splashed in headlines across state –
Governor Walker promises Wisconsin 250,000 new jobs

Walker’s most obvious failure to create jobs has cornered him in the joining of two walls; statistical fact, on one side, and incompetent administration, on the other. Walker has demonstrated the ability to grease himself with message and money to wiggle out of such corners before, as in the John Doe investigation and his refusal to compromise with unions before curtailing collective bargaining rights, but this time he appears to be caught in his own political soup, and he is beginning to wiggle.

Walker seldom says anything beyond his memorized and prepared talking points, but last Monday in Merrill, Wisconsin he was caught going off script and was recorded on video back sliding on his campaign job promise. The wiggling began after the comment was aired: Walker’s press secretary asks Rhinelander TV station to remove story.

Blue Cheddar Blog August 29

“Walker’s press secretary, Tom Evenson, called Newswatch 12 on Tuesday, and asked if we could be persuaded to take Monday’s story off our website.”

Walker backs off campaign jobs pledge at Merrill stop

On Monday in Merrill, he carefully backed away from the specific number.

“My goal wasn’t so much to hit a magic number as much as it was, in the four years before I took office, when I was campaigning, I saw that we lost over 133,000 jobs in the state. I said, ‘it’s really not about jobs, it’s about real people, real jobs like those here, and more importantly, affecting real families all across the state,'” Walker said.WJFW TV Video(Was not removed after Walker Administration request)

New talking point
In a speech in Milwaukee two days later, however, Walker “reaffirmed” his commitment to the promise.

“We haven’t changed our stance,” Walker said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Whether we are at 249,000 or 255,000 or whatever the magic number is for us, we wanted to go from losing jobs to gaining jobs. All of our focus and attention is overwhelmingly on not just meeting that goal, but part of my nuance the other day … I’m not going to take a rest the minute we hit 250,000.”Huffington Post

The Milwaukee Business Journal reported that Walker also said his promise was an “‘aggressive goal’ that he doesn’t regret.” A recent Journal Sentinel evaluation of Walker’s progress showed that the state will need about 165,000 more jobs to fulfill the pledge by January 2015, when his first term expires.

In June, The Business Journals ranked Walker 40th out of 45 governors in job creation.

What went so terribly wrong in four words?

1) Wisconsin 2) Economic 3) Development 4) Corporation

The WEDC is Walker. It is the major reform to create the vehicle for streamlining government according to his conservative principals. He abolished a major department of government to launch his flag ship of job creation – the Wisconsin Department of Commerce:

1955 Wisconsin Department of Commerce is created

The Department of Commerce was administered by the Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce, who was appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Wisconsin State Senate.
The department traced its roots to the Division of Industrial Development within the Office of the Governor, as established by the Wisconsin Legislature in 1955.

The the entire Department of Commerce, that functioned without major problems for 35 years, was dismantled, “reformed”, and restructured by Gov. Scott Walker in February 2011. Commerce was replaced with the new and streamlined Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), and branded as a public-private agency, to boost job growth. flagshipwedcThis was the flag ship of “Walker Reform” boasting an $83 million budget. The regulatory, big government, impediments of the Commerce Department would be striped to make room for the Neoconservative efficiency of WEDC – the flagship of the new Walker reform to allow for the lofty goal of creating jobs, jobs, jobs. Thus the Department of Commerce was “reformed” and WEDC was to be the engine that would drive the creation of 250,000 jobs by the end of his term, as Walker promised in his campaign.

So, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) was created in February of 2011 by the state GOP controlled Legislature and Walker. Five months later, on July 1st – the flagship of reform took over the economic development functions of the old and antiquated Department of Commerce.

The initial Promise? “WEDC will create 50,000 jobs by June 2012”

Walker’s most impressive failure

The short and failed history of the WEDC is the Bible for the candidate to face Walker in 2014. It is the demise of Scott Walker chapter and verse. It is the Walker plan for reform fully documented and annotated with examples of administrative incompetence, inside deals and lack of transparency that has spiraled Wisconsin to the bottom of job creation when compared to other states of the country, and been the direct cause of pain and hurt for Wisconsin voters.

October 19, 2012 – Lost 9 Million Dollars?

Just three months after Walker’s WEDC had been plagued with communication and oversight problems which had been “fixed” by his trustworthy appointee Ryan Murray, Gov. Scott Walker called for “dramatic moves”. In the wake of revelations that his flagship jobs agency had lost track of $9 million in past due loans with due dates going back more than a year, the reformer did another shift and shuffle of staff.

The Neoconservative anti regulation, streamlined department fails again. Some $69 million in loans — including $9 million in past-due loans — were missed, because no one was assigned to oversee them when the agency was created in 2011! Now, that is what I call a reform! Who needs all the red tape of checking up on accounts receivable? All this just months after Murray said he would help to ensure better lines of communication between the WEDC, other agencies and the governor’s office?

The Business Journals
Governor: Scott Walker

State: Wisconsin

Party: Republican

Took office: January 2011

Years in office*: 2.33


Total for state upon taking office: 2,328,400

Total for state now: 2,387,100

Total for other 49 states upon taking office: 105,479,800

Total for other 49 states now: 110,458,700


Annual rate for state since taking office: 1.07%

Annual rate for other 49 states since taking office: 2.00%

Difference (in percentage points): -0.93

Rank (of 45 governors**): 40


Raw change for state since taking office: 58,700

Projected change for state at rate for other 49 states***: 109,900

Difference (in jobs): -51,200

Rank (of 45 governors**): 40

WEDC contains the talking points for the next Governor of Wisconsin.

Please visit my “other blog” for news of my new play “House of Monkeys” – a musical romp through the love, life, and work of Moliere!

2014 – Tate/Burke "false start!"

A endorsement by any other name is still an endorsement

From all indications, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is clearing a path, one press release at a time, to set up Mary Burke as their uncontested candidate for governor in 2014. It was only last Sunday when most voters heard the name of Mary Burke for the first time. Now, only three days later, Democratic Party Chair, Mike Tate, has endorsed her as a likely front runner. Even though Tate’s comments appear conditional, does his statement leave any doubt he and the democratic party are talking in the “future perfect” tense concerning the direction of the campaign for governor in which no candidate has officially declared?

MATTHEW DeFOUR | Wisconsin State Journal
“If (Burke) were to run she’d be an instant frontrunner and an exceedingly difficult opponent for Scott Walker,” Tate said, adding that she has put in more work than other potential candidates by traveling the state talking with local activists, business leaders and voters. Wis State Journal

The New Demotateratic Party

After just three days of introduction, Mary BurkeBurke is not only the front runner, but so much so, that democrats can avoid a primary, and the method in Tate’s madness will be proven in just three days. What a quick an surprising leap to the top for Mary Burke who only introduced herself last week, when she is crowned front runner on Wednesday, and uncontested candidate by the end of the week!

Tate sees the expected announcement of Winnebago County Executive Mike Harris tomorrow as the moment that will seal the deal for Mary Burke to become the uncontested democratic candidate for governor. The “Tate logic” is the Harris announcement will help clear the field by proving the hopelessness of any potential candidate to match up to Burke, and a primary will not be necessary. And guess what….Mary Burke agrees! Sweet!

Harris said Tate told him Wednesday that he would prefer not to have a contested primary so that the top Democratic candidate could start raising money as soon as possible. But Tate didn’t put any pressure on him to stay out of the race, Harris said.

Burke made a similar argument to Harris when they recently met for the first time, he said.(from the MATTHEW DeFOUR | Wisconsin State Journal story linked above)

Flag on the field

The quick pitch to Mary Burke is called back. It appears Mike Tate, with all his exuberance could be charged with illegal motion – a false start. The Constitution of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin states clearly that an endorsement or support of any candidate is prohibited. The play is being reviewed, but what is your reading of the quote from Mike Tate above?

ARTICLE VIII – Endorsements of Candidates in Primary Elections

The state organization, congressional district organizations, county organizations, the College Democrats of Wisconsin, the youth caucus, and all other subdivisions at any level of the state organization are prohibited from endorsing or supporting any candidate in a Democratic presidential preference election or any partisan primary election which will determine the candidate of the Democratic Party for the ensuing election to office unless the county or local Democratic group or congressional district recommends a certain candidate (or candidates) be endorsed or supported due to unusual circumstances and these circumstances be submitted in writing to the state Administrative Committee in a timely manner for approval of an endorsement and support of a specific candidate (or candidates) for a specific reason and the Administrative Committee approves said recommendation by a two- thirds majority.Democratic Party of Wisconsin Constitution

Hold on there Mike

Walker’s beleaguered leadership as Governor of Wisconsin has served progressives well in sparking an impressive Mike Taterecall campaign, activating election integrity groups, mining and frac sand awareness activists, women’s heath advocates across the social media, and initiating the longest sustained protest action in the history of the state with the Solidarity Singers. Only a fraction of these energetic and organized voices identify with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin as their standard bearer. It would be a mistake for Mike Tate to assume that his party’s pick for a candidate for governor will be welcomed without scrutiny, evaluation, and discussion. Mary Burke may well prove herself as the best candidate to defeat Walker, but not yet. Not by any means. And the best way to alienate some of the most passionate voices, who will work tirelessly to end the reign of Scott Walker, is to push Mary Burke down their throats.

Please visit my “other blog” for news of my new play “House of Monkeys” – a musical romp through the love, life, and work of Moliere!

Walker's Wisconsin – Overcome

Today, this morning at 6 :14 a.m., Scott Walker posted a quote on his face book page. Just below his picture. I read the words:

“…where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character. I have a dream today!”

Reading the quote on his status window stirred a discomfort that I’ve experienced a few memorable times in my life when I was caught dissing a person who is standing within earshot in the same room. The awful and embarrassing slap came when I saw faces before me go blank and then looked around to acknowledge the person who is the brunt of my attack…just standing there. The difference is…I felt it. I wanted to disappear. My identity as a human being was shattered in a momentary panic attack.

Why would anyone invite a repeat of this terrible admission of smallness ever again? How can Scott Walker use the words of Dr. Luther King with an exclamation point after signing a law to require a photo ID to exercise the right to vote? The people gathered at the March on Washington fifty years ago, where assembled to redress grievances against the Government. Yet, even as he copied and pasted the words under his picture, Damon Terrell remains in jail for singing in the Capitol rotunda to redress grievance against his government. Damon was charged with felony battery of a police officer and taken to jail where he remains and will likely stay until his arraignment on Thursday.

After last January’s celebration of Martin Luther King Day, when Walker was recorded as he sang “We shall overcome” in the Capitol Rotunda – the same space where Solidarity Singers are being arrested – suggests a disconnection of his identity as leader with the the effects of his policies, his rules, his mode of operation. It strikes as being more than naive hypocrisy and suggests some psychological malfunction or personality disorder that deprives him of the realization that he is dissing the person in the room. To the most of us, it is embarrassing to witness a Governor of Wisconsin who is so out of touch with his own identity or what his presence suggests in the worship of an obvious nemesis – and he just doesn’t get it.

Uploaded on Jan 16, 2012

Scott Walker singing along to We Shall Overcome during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute Ceremony.

[meteor_slideshow slideshow=”force”]

Please visit my “other blog” for news of my new play “House of Monkeys” – a musical romp through the love, life, and work of Moliere!

Walker's Wisconsin – Pressure Point Controls

As Scott Walker spoke to Republicans in Alabama, Police employed jugular notch controls on singers in the Capitol Rotunda.

“We need to embody courage at the local level, at the state level and Lord knows at the national level,” Walker told the crowd”.All Alabama blog

As Walker spoke, Chief Dave Erwin was posted in the situation room in the basement of the Capitol observing the action in the rotunda on his bank of monitors, watching and waiting to radio the command to make an arrest.

Meanwhile, in Alabama, Walker spoke on describing the turmoil during the protests that surrounded the Wisconsin capitol.

“In times of crisis what people want more than anything is leadership,” he said.

Erwin’s features hold a ghostly aspect in the blue/gray glow of the monitors as he points to a tall man in a cream shirt and speaks into his radio, “Get him. The tall guy to your left. Arrest him.” On the rotunda floor four police officers surround and corral David Newby, the former head of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, and apply restraints.

In Alabama, Walker continues with his accounts on how he was victimized:

He said he received death threats, and his mother and son were shouted at and spit upon during a trip to the grocery store.

Now, as the words to “If I had a hammer, I’d ring it in the morning” echo through his head set, Erwin spots a likely suspect in one of the monitors. He is a young black man who Erwin recognizes as a trouble maker; that is anyone who frequents the daily Solidarity Singing in the rotunda.

He commands, “Move in the the black guy with the dread locks. Now. Get the other one too.”

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said.”He’s a guy that doesn’t mind making a stand and doesn’t back down.”

As applause and cheers echo through the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery, Alabama; the voices of solidarity in the rotunda are singing the line, “If I had a bell….”, when screams and shouts erupt to squelch out the song. A young black man is splayed out on the marble floor as four officers surround his prone body, and one of them pushes a knuckle deep into his neck, a pressure control technique called a “jugular notch”.

Erwin leans forward in his chair like a sports fan moved toward victory, “Clear him. Clear the area.” he orders.

Scott Walker has left the stage in the Montgomery hotel and is shaking hands with Alabama republicans who look to him as the hope for the future.

In the rotunda, the singing has resumed.

“I’d ring out danger.
I’d ring out warning.
I ring about the love between my brothers and my sisters,
all over this land.”

Please visit my “other blog” for news of my new play “House of Monkeys” – a musical romp through the love, life, and work of Moliere!

2014 – Trek vs. Harley

As the Harley-Davidson 110th anniversary celebration kicks off in the days before and during Labor Day Weekend, one man keeping a close eye on everything Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee is Governor Scott Walker.

Gov. Walker says wherever he goes, thoughts of the 110th are never far from his mind.Fox 6 Now

The Capital Times headline was framed as a question – Governor material?

Mary Burke has a track record of executive experience

At Trek, the Waterloo-based company founded by her father in 1976, Burke oversaw the opening of offices in seven European countries and later developed its forecasting and strategic planning department.
Cap Times

The article on the front page of the Sundaymary_bruke_bike paper was not a declaration of the candidacy of Mary Burke, but a tune up or testing of the air pressure in Bontrager Race X Lite Hardcase tires ($49.99 ea.), while Walker is polishing up his Harley Road King in anticipation of “the 110th”.

Before Burke enters the race she must first pass through the grueling qualifying rounds: the Liberal Reliability Trials, Dirt Jumping, and admission to the Union Cycliste Internationale. Why would a person who pulled down $6.8 million from 2008 to 2012 want to exert the effort to bother? Perhaps that is the question writ large.

Liberal Reliability Trials – Game on!

To many Burke arose from nowhere to claim favorite status in the upcoming race, a fact that has lengthened the discussion threads on face book in the wake of the “Governor material?” article hit. Yes, the Liberal Reliability Trials will prove to be competitive and daunting as some see Burke as a untested voice with a flashy bike, and no proven stamina:

* Does she support public education? I honestly do not know. She sounds a little like Rahm on the subject, which is bad.

* As a former Dept of Commerce secretary why doesn’t she speak out on abuses at WEDC? (Allowing she may have and I may have missed it). (Related: Has she ever publicly criticized Walker?)

* Where is she on saving the middle class? Does she support good paying jobs? Does she reject trickle down economic dogma?

* Did she sign the recall petition?

The names of other favorites in the Liberal Reliability Trials crop up in the discussion:

FYI If you like Kathleen Vinehout then please share her Milwaukee fundraiser on your wall and invite your friends. Kathleen’s Milwaukee fundraiser is Thursday, Aug 29th at Paddy’s Irish Grill. Drag your friends to this event to hear her speak and meet her in person!

Other names crop up as trial favorites: Peter W. Barca, Minority Leader Wisconsin State Assembly, Jon Erpenbach, State Senator but from the initial reaction to the Burke candidacy article, the Lib Rel Trial will prove to be a tough, muddy, and up hill climb.

Dirt Jumping & Union Cycliste Internationale

The Dirt Jump and Union Cycliste qualifiers are yet to come when candidates make formal declarations. In terms of Mary Burke, the jury is still out on her ability to master the test. It would help if she were to present a map of the course she intends to follow. As of now:

“Republicans, meanwhile, are preparing to paint Burke as an out-of-touch Madison liberal representing the job creation policies of the Doyle administration.

“As someone who has blatantly supported the failed policies of the past and whose candidacy was completely formed behind closed doors, it’s clear that Mary Burke would have a hard time connecting with Main Street, Wisconsin,” state Republican Party executive director Joe Fadness said.” (From Cap Times article linked above)

Who will take on the Road King?

As the Milwaukee vibrator transverses the nation with long distance ambitions stretching beyond 2014, the opposition presents a group of bike riders still stretching muscles, studying maps, and memorizing the rules of the game.

Please visit my “other blog” for news of my new play “House of Monkeys” – a musical romp through the love, life, and work of Moliere!

2014 – WARNING No one has declared

The 2014 Wisconsin gubernatorial election will take place on November 4, 2014


No One
Has Declared

One of the most important elections in the history of Wisconsin will take place in just 15 months. Incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker announced he will seek a second term, yet democrats and progressives remain focused on variations on the theme: This is what is wrong.

The lesson from the June 5, 2012 recall election, other than the total disarray of the voting system in Wisconsin, is that people do not vote against something – people vote for something. A sea change in the conversation of democrats and progressives must evolve or the morning November 5, 2014 will feel much like the morning of June 6, 2012.

Democrats and progressives are already far behind

One of the most important assets for a candidate in a statewide race is name recognition. Even if an opposition candidate were to declare with strong backing today, the strong asset of name recognition would lie firmly on the side of Walker. The strategy that “is working” for Walker in Wisconsin is “Divide and Conquer” especially as it relates to another adage: “all news is good news”.

The recall election and every protest of his policies, past and present has, not only served to lift the name of Scott Walker as an icon in the State consciousness, but also in the national arena. The movement of “no” has served to provide a conduit for money to flow into his campaign chest from all over the country – currently over 30 million dollars.

If you “google” Scott Walker “images”, like it or not, you will find over a dozen pages of photos depicting the name and presence of the man who is doing most everything wrong: the man who curtailed collective bargaining rights, the man who allowed mining companies to write legislation, the man who set new policies for permits in the State Capitol, the man who abolished the Department of Commerce in favor of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to produce jobs that never materialized, the man who refused the federal funding offered by the Affordable Care Act, and….and… the list goes on. All the laws, policies, and “reforms” that are wrong, wrong, wrong.

People do not vote against something, they vote for something

At this late date, democrats and progressives have not offered a front running candidate. No one has declared. Voters are well acquainted with what the opposition is against, but who and what are democrats and progressives for? What is the choice?

While the opposition rails against the strategy of “Divide and Conquer” as wrong, they have yet to announce a candidate, strategy, or platform for “Unify and Win”. Every hour that passes without a clear message of what to vote for, is time wasted. Hand sitting and political shuffling at this late date is little more than the division part of “Divide and Conquer” at work. While Scott Walker is criticized for doing the wrong thing again by traveling out of state for fund raisers, he is filling a war chest that will win him the governorship in 2014. Meanwhile, the opposition has not made a choice, even though most would agree that a cardboard cut out of Bugs Bunny would be a better choice for Governor than Scott Walker, who is doing everything wrong, wrong, wrong.

Yet, not one person has stepped up. No one has declared. The strategy seems to be that old traditional one; the old way that promises defeat – to troll through the primary process to finally come up with an alternative candidate to run against Scott Walker, who is out raising millions of dollars and further enhancing his name recognition on the national stage.

Here is the list from Wiki in alphabetical order

Peter W. Barca, Minority Leader Wisconsin State Assembly
Mary Burke, Member of the Madison school district board
Dave Cieslewicz, former Mayor of Madison
Lori Compas, nominee for Wisconsin Senate in 2012
Kevin Conroy, biotechnology executive
John Dickert, Mayor of Racine
Jon Erpenbach, State Senator
Dave Hansen, State Senator
Mark L. Harris, Winnebago County Executive
Dianne Hesselbein, State Assemblywoman
Brett Hulsey, State Assemblyman
Sara Johann, political activist
Steve Kagen, former U.S. Representative
Jessica King, former State Senator
Herb Kohl, former U.S. Senator
Chris Larson, Minority Leader of the Wisconsin Senate
Julie Lassa, State Senator
Mahlon Mitchell, Nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 2012
Gwen Moore, U.S. Representative
Tom Nelson, Outagamie County Executive and nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 2010
Francis Klein, Wisconsin Pirate Party Candidate for Governor
Dave Obey, former U.S. Representative
Joe Parisi, Dane County Executive
Jennifer Shilling, State Senator
Chris Taylor, State Assemblywoman
Kathleen Vinehout, State Senator and candidate for Governor in 2012

Please visit my “other blog” for news of my new play “House of Monkeys” – a musical romp through the love, life, and work of Moliere!

MINING – Wis. Waterway Decsion in


Wisconsin frac sand mining finally given pause

The Lower Wisconsin Riverway Board voted in a 6 to 2 decision to deny any permitting of frac sand mining within the Bridgeport_Four_Properties-20--20Sand-20Frac-20MinesWisconsin Riverway. The decision was met with joyful cheering and applause by the majority of concerned citizens present for the meeting yesterday at the Crawford County Administration Building. The decision removes about 60 acres out of the 300 acre mining site to be mined by Pattison Sand Company of Iowa.

Work at public education beginning to pay off

The national corporate mining interests have poured into Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa over the past months with offers of big money to farmers and land owners whose real estate sits on top of the coveted sand rock. They came like a thief in the night, employing covert tactics to gain control and grab as much sand rich land as money could buy before sleepy communities might realize the ill effects of frac sand mining to there quality of life and health. Mine operatives sought land owners who held positions of power on town boards who could be awarded a big check by voting in favor of frac mining, like Rod Marfilius. He is one of only three board members in the Town of Bridgeport who voted for permitting the Pattison mine; he got the check:

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter
Little did Rod Marfilius and his family know that under their Crawford County farmland lies coveted sandrock, which could bring riches for his family.

“It allows for financial stability and reassurance for my children to not have to worry later on in life,” Marfilius said.

Marfilius said he’ll continue to own the land, but Pattison Sand Company will have the rights to the tons of silica sand crews are expected to dig up each year.

“It’s an opportunity for us. It’s an opportunity for other people in the area to have jobs … stay in the area and not have to move away,” Marfilius said.

The tempting of Marfilius in Crawford County is not an isolated incident but a pattern of shady behavior repeated again and again in other counties.

Screening and Sifting at the Barron County Board

Reported by Free Wisconsin on Dec 1, 2011

Stacey Neuman was elected to Barron County Board of Supervisors just last April. Soon she found her way on to two committees frac neuhousethat are the sifters and shakers of the frac mine controversy – the Agriculture and Zoning committees. When Neuman was elected, she lived in the district she represented, as required by state law. Here is where Neuman’s “frac sand mindset” of rule bending and manipulation surfaces.

Shortly after the election, Neuman sold her home in the district and moved out of the district to Rice Lake to live with her dad/step dad. Of course, the move would nullify her office on the County Board. Yet, the county has taken no action to require Neuman to resign or move.

Trempealeau County supervisor under investigation for dealings with frac-sand company

Article by: TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune Updated: August 17, 2013 – 11:22 PM

WHITEHALL, Wis. – A Wisconsin prosecutor is investigating allegations that an elected official in the state’s most active frac sand county used his office to advance his own sand mining interests while cloaking them in secrecy.

The fiery clash in Trempealeau County, just across the Mississippi River from Winona, is the latest ethics controversy to surface in the region’s burgeoning frac sand industry, as some officials seek to own a piece of the boom even while sitting on powerful local boards that regulate mining.

A moratorium in Trempealeau County, which will start Aug. 30, passed 12-0, with two abstentions and three members not present to vote. Several other counties and townships on both sides of the river have taken breaks to satisfy public concerns about a burgeoning new industry that has brought more than 125 mines, processing plants and rail sites to the region.

Cracks in the silica glass ceiling

The moratoriums being imposed on frac sand mining have come as result of hard work and continuing strategies to educate the public. Citizens began a campaign through organizations like the Crawford Stewardship Project and the Frac Sand Awareness group on face book, to engage the public in another conversation exposing the disturbances to the quality of life and threats of ill health posed by frac sand mining.

Please visit my “other blog” for news of my new play “House of Monkeys” – a musical romp through the love, life, and work of Moliere!

MINING – Bus to Riverway Meet

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board will hold a special meeting in Prairie du Chien

Free Bus Rides

Frac Sand Mine Meeting!

Meeting Infomation:
Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm**
Location: Crawford County Administration Building
225 N. Beaumont Road in Prairie du Chien

Please call, text, or email NOW to reserve a seat.
Phone and Text: 608-575-0325
Meeting and bus information

Pattison Sand Co. of Clayton, Iowa, is building a mine on roughly 300 acres of farmland

The the proposed mine is to be situated on a sliver of land between Wisconsin 60 and the lower Wisconsin River to collect frac sand, used in the process of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” to extract natural gas and oil.Read “Loophole” Capital Times

Read more:

“The Price of Sand”

See the scar of the proposed Pattison Frac Mine on the landscape below

The photos are a zoom on Google Earth to the site of the mine that is marked by the red anchor in the top map – the lower map depicts the scar on the earth resulting from the proposed frac mine.

The body of water at the base of the lower map is the Wisconsin River.

frack bridge price

“The Price of Sand” is a new film by Jim Tittle

Film maker Jim Tittle interviewed people in Wisconsin and the story of one women frac dust who could have been talking about the proposed Bridgeport Sand Mine in Crawford County when she says, “She feels not only helpless but abandoned by public officials who would prefer to look the other way rather than challenge the status quo and restrict mining activities through zoning. Another unhappy resident sums the dilemma up nicely saying, “we place a high value on our freedom and these companies take advantage of that.” Daily Planet.

On this Wednesday March 27 the three person town board of Bridgeport voted on approving the Lyle Pattison’s mining operation. Yes. Just three men sat on that town board to vote on a mining operation that could impact all of Crawford County and the State as the mine land extends into the Wisconsin Riverway. Here is the kicker that will stir more sand on your face than a bully at the beech: One of the men on the town board owns one of the parcels of land that he will be voting on! How likely is it that he will rip up his lottery ticket? The Supervisor gets the check!

What’s more, this is not a coincidence but a well plotted strategy brewed in the offices of the largest mining corporations in the country. The Bridgeport mine proposal isn’t the first time that an elected official on a town or county board has been set up to gain a huge profit from his or her position. Free Wisconsin reported back in December how this manipulative, “Mafioso” tactic was exemplified in Barron County, and is only one small example of how the “frac sand mindset” of “divide and conquer” is playing out across some of the most beautiful natural vistas in Wisconsin.

As of Monday, a Trempealeau County supervisor is under investigation for dealings with frac-sand company.

WHITEHALL – A Trempealeau County board supervisor is under investigation for possible conflict of interest charges along with threatening a county employee over his business dealings with a Texas frac-sand mining company called Sand Tran.
Pierce County Herald

“Price of Sand” trailer

Wisconsin is a guinea pig for the frac mine industry

Clearly the quarry sand mine potential of Wisconsin has studied, graphed, and the most manipulative strategies have been orchestrated to capitalize on the price of sand. Now, in retrospectfrac respirtory4 the divide and conquer tactics have come to light and unfortunately for many Southwest Wisconsin towns and counties – too late.

It appears the strategy was simple: to find people in positions of local political power who would be set up to gain from the sale or lease of land for a frac sand mine. Since the mining operations could be approved on the local town or county level, the strategy would not draw the attention of larger media outlets and the news was relegated to small county newspapers where the “divide and conquer” debate would play out in pockets of oblivion. Now, since this process has played out time and time again in county after county it has been recognized by other states as a prime example of how Wisconsin got it wrong.
North Dakota and Minnesota use Wisconsin as an example of “What Not To Do”

“We’ve got the opportunity to take time to get it right. Wisconsin was not prepared,” Schmit said. Even if a moratorium doesn’t survive the Minnesota Legislature, he’s hoping for an overall environmental assessment and a means to create guidance for state and local sand mining permits.

South Dakota is latest on the frack sand scene after Wisconsin, which is a primary Bakken source. Wisconsin has more than 60 sand mines and 12 million tons were mined last year. The state’s sand mining industry developed for glass manufacture and expanded in recent years for frack sand.Bismark Tribune

Meanwhile back in Bridgport

As of now, Crawford County still holds the power to expose the “divide and conquer” tactic of national mining interests. What better means than to expose the treachery by refusing to accept a vote from a three person board with vested interests.

bridgeport 3 bar

John Karnopp
38910 Velvet Lane
Prairie du Chien, WI 53821

Mike Steiner
Prairie du Chien

Rod Marfilius (Owner of land parcel)
Prairie du Chien

Please visit my “other blog” for news of my new play “House of Monkeys” – a musical romp through the love, life, and work of Moliere!

Walker's Wisconsin – Holy Public DEstruction

The first applicants for school voucher program appears to be “Litany of the Saints”

Scott Walker – There you go again – you are no FDR

Yes, Scott Walker recently compared himself to FDR. What if this FDR was about to end middle and high school sports as we know it. Yes, this is a hot button issue, but if there is any truth in Walker’s self comparison to FDR, than there is much more truth in the statement: one of the first victims of the new school voucher program could very well be the public school sports programs.

As with most “Walker reforms” the rhetoric of the pitch sounds good to the voter’s ear.

“We … know that every school doesn’t fit every student, which is why this budget includes a statewide expansion of school choice,” said Walker in a video he released touting the budget. “It’s about ensuring that every kid has access to a great education, regardless of ZIP code.”
Cap Times

Because Walker is Governor with his “bully as never before” pulpit, his framing of the idea is the one that is most often heard, while the counter argument of Tony Evers might be tuned out:

“History shows, and I predict, these caps are temporary,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers, a devoted voucher opponent. “And, the result will be more and more funding pulled out of public school classrooms and put into private and religious schools.”

The “caps” Evers refers to are the number of students allowed in the program; 500 students for 2014, and 1000 students for 2015. Evers predicts the cap to raise until Wisconsin schools are effectively privatized. What do you think will happen to your public school football, wrestling, and basketball program at that point?

As far as Walker’s stated goal: “It’s about ensuring that every kid has access to a great education, regardless of ZIP code.” The list of applications for the voucher program are out, and it reads like the litany of the saints.

Of the 2,069 eligible students who applied to be in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program 76 percent (1,566) did not attend a Wisconsin public school last year. In other words, students are not shifting to a school for a better education in a different zip code, as Walker promised. Where did most of applications come from? The list of applications indicate that 67 percent (1,393) attended private school last year. So they are returning to the same private school in the same zip code, only now, they will attend on the taxpayer’s dime. Schools named

Schools holy cow

Voucher Applications Litany of the Saints

25 Schools Receiving the Most Applications

Application Period — August 1 – 9, 2013
Schools named

Saint Francis
Xavier Catholic School System Inc. (193)

Beloit and Janesville

Rock County Christian School (102)

Chippewa Falls
McDonell Area Catholic School (88)

Eau Claire and Altoona

Regis Catholic Schools (120)

Fond du Lac

Saint Mary’s Springs Academy (64)

Green Bay and De Pere

Green Bay Area Catholic Education – East (110)

Green Bay Area Catholic Education – South (64)

Green Bay Area Catholic Education – West (62)

Notre Dame de la Baie Academy (82)

Friedens Lutheran School (95)

Saint Joseph Catholic Academy (100)

La Crosse and Onalask
Aquinas Catholic Schools (100)

Lighthouse Christian School (31)

Roncalli High School (65)

Saint Francis of Assisi School (93)

Columbus Catholic Schools (83)


Lourdes Academy (113)

Valley Christian School (95)

Saint John Lutheran School (42)

Sheboygan Area Lutheran High School (42)

Sheboygan Christian School (59)

Stevens Point and Plover
Stevens Point Area Catholic Schools (106)

Wausau and Rothschild
Newman Catholic Schools (94)

Wisconsin Rapids
Assumption Catholic Schools (109)

Immanuel Lutheran School (40)

As long as the representation in the legislature remains the same, the numbers of students awarded vouchers will continue to rise. As the numbers rise, less money will be allotted to public schools and your favorite sports program.

For now, there is still time

But what about the next budget? And the one after that. If Republicans continue to be in control of the Capitol, it will be very difficult for the voucher skeptics within the GOP, such as Sens. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, and Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, to stop leadership from pushing for yet another expansion. The voucher lobby has spent way too much money on behalf of Republican candidates in recent years to have its interests completely ignored.

Please visit my “other blog” for news of my new play “House of Monkeys” – a musical romp through the love, life, and work of Moliere!