Wisconsin governor goes bonkers

Say what?

His plan would require higher pension and health insurance contributions and remove bargaining rights except in a limited way over wages.

Ok, uh, I didn’t know you could just chuck collective bargaining rights overboard, but that’s a minor issue compared to…

The Wisconsin National Guard has not been activated but it is on alert.

“Plan for the worst, expect the best,” Gov. Scott Walker explained to a jam-packed press conference this morning in the State Capitol.

It was the official roll-out of his broad rollback of collective bargaining rights for unionized government employees, part of his budget repair bill, seeking to resolve a $150 million shortfall in the next five months.

Walker said he was well aware that “some union leaders will try to incite their members.”

The governor has contingency plans to take over the prisons, undoubtedly using the National Guard. Plans are also in place to staff intensive care facilities, should those employees walk out.

These contingency plans have been in the works “for months,” Walker said this morning.

That is one reason local police and fire and the state patrol are exempt from the governor’s far-reaching changes to collective bargaining by government employees in Wisconsin. He cannot account for local safety. Besides, he said, police and fire have a tradition of being treated different in practice and in statute.

The fucking hell?

I’ll post more about this later, but multiple protests are planned for next week. We could potentially have a (very) mini-Egypt thing going.

He got elected more as an establishment backlash than anything else, but he is acting like he has a mandate, which is pissing off some Republicans, as well as all Dems and most moderates, of course.

This is how he ran Milwaukee county where he was County Executive, so some of us knew this type of showdown was coming. I just expected a little more finesse.

I’m attending the protest on Tuesday.

Which is why doing that is almost always a bad idea.

NV was on the verge of doing the same thing with Reid. Fortunately the GOP candidate was so obviously batshit that she lost. Had the Republicans run anyone else they would’ve taken it.

But thats really part of the problem with a two party system. One party is fucking up and the other party nominates Fuckwit the Insane. So your options are now Fuckwit or Fuckup. If the general populace had more of a say Fuckwit wouldn’t have gotten the nomination, and it would be between Fuckup and New Guy.

Like most things in US politics right now, there’s a real asymmetry between the parties on that. The Democrats don’t nominate their far left crazy.

Thats cause the party, as a whole, is extremely moderate. The Big Tent of the Dems gets everyone from moderate conservative to extreme liberal in it.

The rigid mentality of the GOP allows for very conservative to extreme conservative. Theres still a few moderates out there, but they’ve been trying to witch hunt them out of the party for the last few years.

Its not suprising who gets nominated given the situation.

I’m glad someone else posted the thread about this.

I don’t live in WI anymore, but my Mom was talking about how shocked she is at the local press coverage of this proposal. She feels that they’re trying very hard to moderate the outrage over it, and being extremely generous to Walker.

Here is an update. The exemptions for Fire, Police, and State Troopers are also pissing other state employees off a lot more than if the proposed changes were universal.

Scott Walker was in the State Assembly for about ten years before he ran and won in a special election for Milwaukee County Executive in 2002. This was on the heels of a big pension scandal which triggered the resignation of the former County Exec., Tom Ament. Walker ran for Governor in 2010 when Jim Doyle, a Democrat, announced he would not seek a third term, although Walker had made noises that he would run against Doyle back in 2006. When Doyle first ran for Governor in 2002, he had been AG for twelve years under Republican Governor Tommy Thompson. He defeated Scott McCallum, who had been Lieutenant Governor when Thompson was selected by Bush to head HHS in 2001. McCallum’s claim to fame was taking a one-time payout of a portion of $12.742 billion in a 46-state lawsuit against tobacco companies (which Doyle had brought the state into) rather than a portion of a 25-year payout of $183.177 billion. You do the math.

Walker’s opponent in 2010, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, was (successfully) painted as being like Doyle, only worse in a massive smear campaign. Even though Barrett had the PR bonus of having had the shit beaten out of him with a pipe while trying to help a woman who was screaming for help, it wasn’t enough. Change was in the air. Barrett also ran a terrible campaign and his manager was a moronic douchebag, but I digress.

Since taking office, Walker has:
Refused to accept over $800 million in Federal money to upgrade the state’s rail system and build high-speed rail service between Milwaukee and Madison. This not only would have allowed a high-speed rail link between Madison-Milwaukee-Chicago, it would have opened the door for a Minneapolis-Madison-Milwaukee-Chicago fast rail route which Minnesota was already planning. Within this $800 million, which had been allocated for rail and could be used for nothing else, was $100 million to upgrade and modernize the state’s freight rail lines. Walker refused this $800+ million because the state’s annual cost for running the Madison-Milwaukee route would be $7 million. What he didn’t say was that the $7 million was if nobody rode on it. With full ridership, the annual cost was projeted in the hundreds of thousands. That $800+ million is now gone, it’s been distributed to other states for rail upgrades. Walker says he still wants to upgrade the state’s freight rail for $100 million, go figure. Talgo, a Spanish company that makes rail cars, opened a factory in Milwaukee in anticipation on increased rail service. That factory is now moving to Illinois and Walker is crying for them to stay. It’s insane.

Killed construction of a biofuel plant at UW-Madison to replace the old coal-burning heat boiler. Walker wants a cheaper natural gas boiler instead. Biofuels can be grown locally, natural gas has to be brought into the state.

Tried to implement restrictions on new wind energy turbines so they had to be at least 1,800 feet from any residence. [This bill is now dead]

Pushed to create an exemption for Bass Pro Shop to build a store on a site that contained wetlands near Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Although Bass, an outdoor goods store, had expressed interest in building in Green Bay, when they found out the site was on a wetland, they declined, saying their company policy is to not build on wetlands. Walker then pushed create an exemption so nobody would need a permit to build on the site. Bass said it didn’t matter, they don’t build on wetlands, permit or no. The bill still passed last week even though Bass is out.

And now the showdown with state employees.

As a Wisconsinite, I’m pretty disgusted with Walker as a governor already. It was really disheartening in November to know he was going to get elected because of Doyle’s perceived legacy. I had accepted the election results, but he sure seems to be going batshit crazy only a month in. I’m particularly annoyed with the loss of high speed rail funds and this latest budget mess.

Where was this guy during Katrina?

Living in MN I would gladly in a second switch governors with you, anyone would be better then the idiot who got elected here in the last election.

Let me just be ignorant here for a second.

Really? A governor - one man - can chose whether or not to run with a $800 million dollar construction plan? Didn’t anybody else in the state get a say in this?

If ever there was a time to strike…

Make your voices heard, guys.



Jim Doyle, Wisconsin’s outgoing Democratic governor, told The Associated Press that although he thinks a high-speed rail line to connect Milwaukee with Madison is a good idea, he feels obligated to leave the project’s future up to Republican Gov.-elect Scott Walker.

Minutes after Doyle made his comments, Walker said he remains opposed to the $810 million project.

“My position remains the same,” Walker said. “I don’t see anything that would change my mind.”

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood sent a letter to Walker dated Monday that said unless the governor-elect changed his position, “we plan to engage in an orderly transition to wind down Wisconsin’s project so that we do not waste taxpayers’ money.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation has said the money will go to other states if Wisconsin doesn’t want it.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has said the money will go to other states if Wisconsin doesn’t want it.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has said the money will go to other states if Wisconsin doesn’t want it.

Wow. When he’s finished with his two pronged assault on Wisconsin, job removal and catering to out-of-state businesses, he should move to Kansas. They’d love him there!

So how are Chicagoans and people in the Twin Cities taking this? It seems like a high speed train from Chicago to Milwaukee to Minneapolis is a high speed train to nowhere without that Milwaukee part. This guy not only shit up Wisconsin’s rail industry with his refusal of the $800 mil, but managed to screw over job creation for the project in Minnesota and Illinois as well.

Meh, I don’t see what’s so wrong with expecting government employees to pay toward their retirement and healthcare (but still at a great bargain) like everybody else.

Maybe if the unions had been agreeable to concessions in any previous years walker wouldn’t be pushing the ‘crazy’ move of forcing it. Now that the state is broke, what else are you going to do? There’s not a 2 billion stimulus pile to ‘fix’ the budget every year.

Dude. I feel like I’m back in the twenties. The National Guard being called in to break a union strike…that’s anachronistic as fuck. I honestly don’t give a crap about the root issue because it’s not my state and I don’t want to have a great and gargantuan argument about unions anyway and the fact that three classes of employee are being exempted IS a tremendous pile of bullshit, but I’m kind of interested to see how this all turns out.

Nobody has been called in to do any such thing at this point. Forgive the guy for having a plan for what to do if people react in an uncivilized manner. From what I understand, the National Guard would be used as staff to replace the workers that walked off so services would continue to function - not turning the fire hose on people.

I heard Walker in an interview this morning say that the reason fire/police are exempted was specifically that they didn’t have any way to cover those services if they did walk-off. So it’s apparently a ‘too big to fail’ situation.