Monthly Archives: July 2013

Walker: Mining company had obligation to hire security

Posted in Wisconsin News on by .

July 12 2013 08:09:22 AM CDT

Gov. Scott Walker said a mining company had an obligation to hire security after a video posted to the Internet showed activists confronting workers at a mining site in northwestern Wisconsin.

The video shows the activists approaching a Gogebic Taconite work site, yelling at the workers and telling them to leave the land. The activists also take video of the equipment and activities at the site.

The mining company is currently conducting tests at the Penokee Hills site for a possible mining operation.

“The angst seems to be focused on the company (for hiring the guards) and not the people who came in masked like ninjas on personal property, violating the law,” Walker said.

Walker said local law enforcement should handle situations at the mining site, but did not rule out state assistance because of concerns that local agencies were too small to handle larger protests.

Frank Koehn with the Penokee Hills Education Project, a group opposed to the mine, told News 3 he believes the incident occurred June 11. The video appears to show the incident that led to criminal charges against a demonstrator, Katie Kloth, 26, of Stevens Point. Mining equipment was damaged and a cellphone and camera were taken.

A criminal complaint related to the June 11 incident states Kloth was charged with robbery with the use of force, criminal damage to property, and party to a crime of theft and criminal damage to property.

According to the complaint, the workers told police people came to the work site from all directions at once and threw full soda cans and water jugs at workers. The activists also screamed obscenities and threats and remained at the site for more than an hour, according to the workers.

The workers also described to police how activists took a camera and phone from one of the workers.

The video surfaced after the mining company said Wednesday that it had suspended its use of Bulletproof Securities because the security firm is not licensed in Wisconsin.

A spokeswoman for Scottsdale, Ariz.,-based Bulletproof Securities said the guards were ready to immediately redeploy once the company obtained the necessary state permit.

The guards are prepared to prevent eco-terrorism and economic sabotage, said the spokeswoman, Stacy Pearson.

“Their sole goal is to discourage folks from giving it a shot, trying something, getting crazy,” Pearson said. ” No one is concerned about the peaceful protests from the neighboring town or county.”

The security firm has contracted to patrol dams, bridges, power plants, and farms where genetically modified crops are grown, Pearson said.

Koehn, of the anti-mine group, said he does not condone the behavior that went on in the video and said he believes it was an isolated incident.

“I would not have allowed that to go on,” Koehn said. “I think some people went out and one thing led to another, and there was a confrontation.”

A worker at the Penokee Hills education and gathering camp, Andrea Ladenthin, told News 3 she obtained the video, but that she was not part of the group that visited the work site. She said she found the video in her camping gear. She said she felt it was her duty to share it.

Ladenthin said she doesn’t condone what’s shown in the video.

“I would not go that far. I think it’s a group of young individuals who think they know everything,” she said.

Iron County Sheriff Tony Furyk told News 3 they’re reviewing the video to determine the identity of the other people involved in the incident. The district attorney also has the video.

The video surfaced after the mining company announced Wednesday that it would suspend its use of armed guards at the mining site. The company said it suspended its use of Arizona-based Bulletproof Securities because it is not licensed in Wisconsin.

Furyk said another security team arrived Thursday.

The use of Bulletproof Securities was criticized by Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, who said he was appalled and horrified by the images of the guards and angry over the fact that they’ve been in the state illegally.

Bill Williams, Gogebic Taconite president, said the security company applied for the appropriate Wisconsin license but had not yet had its application approved.

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Board of Regents approves expanding tuition freeze

Posted in Wisconsin News on by .

7/12/2013 – Wispolitics

The UW Board of Regents has approved the UW System’s operating budget for the upcoming academic year, including expanded tuition freezes.

The measure, which passed the now guv-dominated board on a voice vote, freezes in-state undergraduate tuition as set in the state budget and extends that freeze to graduate students and non-resident undergraduates. It’s the first meeting of the board with two new Scott Walker appointees, which give him a majority on the board.

Regent President Michael Falbo also noted a proposed UW-Madison tuition increase in four professional programs has been tabled but will be brought back for consideration in next year’s budget.

UW officials had indicated the additional freezes sought to increase revenue by attracting more out-of-state and international students. But Regent John Drew questioned whether UW-Madison should have been included in light of continued high demand from those students.

UW-Madison Chancellor David Ward, who’s stepping aside later this month as Rebecca Blank takes over the system’s flagship campus, said he wanted to avoid increasing tuition on those students as the budget process continued into the summer.

But he said Blank would likely take up increases in the future.

“We’re embarrassing ourselves by having bargain-basement prices,” Ward said.

Regents and UW officials also discussed the need for a long-term approach to tuition policy in the wake of large cash reserves disclosed earlier this year.

The in-state tuition freeze and other changes to the UW’s allocations in the state budget largely stemmed from the $1 billion overall surplus disclosed in April — more than $400 million of which was attributed to tuition alone.

UW System Senior Vice President David Miller told the board that several factors likely attributed to the growth in reserves even as the UW System took a $250 million cut in the previous state budget.

“Business managers do what they should — facing cuts, they are conservative … and they reduce spending,” Miller said.

He also said campuses were likely wary of potential cuts and lapses leading up to the introduction of Walker’s budget.

“I think institutions were budgeting very conservatively for that,” Miller said.

The Answer, At Last…

Posted in Weekly Newsletter on by .

Crazy new age woman in a yellow robe concentratingFor a long time, we’ve wondered what it is about Liberals and trains. Oh, we get the idea about mass transit as a method of reducing individual autonomy and discouraging untidy personal decisions about travel patterns. But in the Liberal mind, trains seem to exist on a sublime level all their own.

A few days ago we ran across a European newspaper story and the mystery was solved. It seems a new technology has been developed that will allow messages to be transmitted directly into the heads of train passengers. No need to choose whether or not to tune into some sort of “message channel,” not even any audible sound, yet they’ll hear the messages in their heads. And no, we are not making this up.

This being a new development, we guess we’ll have to give our leftist rivals credit for being able to visualize future opportunities. And we can’t wait to hear what gets into the lucky rail passengers’ minds:
“Recycle.”  “Red meat will kill you and the planet, too.” “A jumbo soda? I think not.” And of course, “You’re a better person than anyone who drives a car.”

Judicial Elections: The Left Keeps Trying

Posted in Weekly Newsletter on by .

Remember this and you’ll never go wrong about Wisconsin’s judicial system:  Any proposal to “reform” the state Supreme Court is almost certainly a ploy aimed at eliminating the narrow Conservative majority voters have painstakingly assembled and sensibly refuse to discard.

A new State Bar Association plan to redesign the state Supreme Court is dangerous because it sounds almost reasonable, and because it advances the same goal as unreasonable-sounding plans, namely, an end to judicial accountability before the voting public. This plan would keep judicial elections, but nobody could serve more than one, 16-year term.

A strict term limit with no re-election might sound like a neat way to eliminate ugly campaigns and curb interest-group spending, and that’s how the Bar Association is selling its idea.

But a moment’s thought clarifies that there would still be campaigns, each one with the potential to chart the Court’s direction for years to come. Interest groups won’t take a pass on that.  Worse, judicial activists will recognize no restraint on their behavior when they know they will be gone after one term. A left-wing activist judge could make the single 16-year term into a sort of slow-motion drive-by shooting of the state constitution.

In all the talk of “reforming” the court, one thing has been tellingly absent. Every media account finds an excuse to say civility and respect for judicial colleagues is gone from the Wisconsin Court, but criticism of the leadership that’s permitted the deterioration—assuming it’s true—is nonexistent.

If an investment bank or a baseball team or a bathtub manufacturer fell into the sort of dysfunction commonly attributed to the Wisconsin Court, everybody’s first question would be “Who’s in charge here?” Ultra-Liberal Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, whose current term runs six more years, shouldn’t be immune from such questioning.

The Smash-and-Grab Presidency

Posted in Weekly Newsletter on by .

Wait for Labor Day.

That’s the next major holiday weekend and therefore the next favorable moment for the Obama administration to admit some major embarrassment figuring people won’t be paying attention.

More people than expected were paying attention just before the 4th of July, when the administration announced it would postpone the Obamacare mandate for employers with 50 or more full-time workers on the payroll, pushing it back from next year to 2015.

Far fewer people were paying attention on July 5th, when the administration quietly disclosed in The Federal Register that it will not even attempt to verify whether claimants seeking taxpayer-subsidized health insurance coverage are in fact eligible. That’s right. The program administrators will simply take the applicants’ word for it.

Two aspects of this are of greater importance than the postponement itself.  First, the administration’s fundamental lawlessness is once again on brazen display. Multiple times, they have declined to enforce laws that existed before they took office. Now, with total impunity, they flaunt laws enacted at their own behest.

The times are increasingly perilous when what is legal and what is illegal can change from day to day and hour to hour, at the whim of the ruler. Someday even the followers may tumble to the fact that their looting privileges are finite and their freedom isn’t safe.

News – Press Releases regarding 2013-2015 Budget

Posted in Wisconsin News on by .

Opinion: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel June 30, 2013

Rep. Vos: Speaker Vos statement on signing of new state budget

Wausau Herald: Governor signs Budget

Rep. Barca: Statement on signing of Gov. Walker’s extreme, anti-middle class budget

AG Van Hollen: Issues statement on 2013-2015 state budget signed by Governor Walker

Sen. Darling, Rep. Nygren: Taxpayers to see $665 million tax reduction

Rep. Jorgensen: Walker needed sense of Wisconsin values, along with veto pen, to fix anti-middle class budget

Green Bay Gazette Editorial Board discussion with Governor Walker

Governor Scott Walker Signs State Budget

Posted in Wisconsin News on by .

Wisconsin State Journal July1,  2013

Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a $70 billion, two-year state budget on Sunday that he said would invest in state education, residents and infrastructure, but that Democrats complained would mostly help the wealthy.

The budget approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature includes all of Walker’s priorities, including a $650 million income tax cut, expansion of private school vouchers and changes to the state’s Medicaid and food stamp programs.

Walker signed the budget in Pleasant Prairie, on the border with Illinois, and compared Wisconsin favorably to its neighbor in terms of cutting taxes and controlling spending.

Walker and Republican leaders who attended the signing made much of its nearly $1 billion in income and other tax cuts. Rep. John Nygren, a Marinette Republican and co-chair of the Legislature’s budget committee, said seeing the tax cuts signed into law took some of the sting out of Walker’s vetoes.

Walker made 57 changes to the budget using a veto power that allows him to cut words from sentences to change their meaning and remove individual digits to create new numbers. His two most significant vetoes eliminated provisions creating a bounty hunter program and kicking an investigative journalism center off the UW-Madison campus.

Nygren and Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, who also attended the ceremony, described the vetoes as unsurprising. Walker vetoed similar bounty hunter legislation last year, and Fitzgerald said many lawmakers had questions about the journalism center provision after the budget committee added it at the last minute.

Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen praised Walker for vetoing the bounty hunter program, which had strong opposition from those in law enforcement.

Andy Hall, executive director of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, thanked Walker for the veto and said in a statement the center was using the occasion to kick off a fundraising drive to support its work. The center hopes to raise more than $100,000 a year to pay for student internships, he said.

The budget rejects the federal Medicaid expansion, as Walker wanted, and reduces income eligibility for the program in Wisconsin to the federal poverty level. But, it also removes caps on enrollment.

“Going forward, everyone living in poverty in this state will have access to health care,” Walker said.

He went on to say, however, that the “biggest, boldest reform” in the budget was new work requirements for people on food stamps. Able-bodied adults must spend at least 20 hours a week working or getting trained for a job, or they will be limited to three months of benefits over three years. Walker described this as a kindness.

“We say it’s time to get the training, and the access to training so that when a job becomes available, you are ready to get in the game,” he said.

Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, of Kenosha, described the budget as one that “fails the middle class” and “includes what may be the worst decision made in our state in a generation — a health care plan that covers 85,000 fewer people and costs taxpayers an additional $120 million.”

School voucher opponents wondered whether Walker would cut out caps to the statewide expansion, but the governor didn’t. He did veto a budget amendment that would have allowed existing voucher schools in Milwaukee and Racine to accept students eligible for the statewide expansion without having them count toward the cap.

Walker said he wanted to show “my word was good” after agreeing to limit the expansion to 500 students next year and 1,000 the year after that.

Republican Sen. Dale Schultz, who voted against the budget, said he was glad to see Walker honor the caps, but he believed the voucher expansion coupled with too-big tax cuts would lay “a foundation of instability for Wisconsin which will resound across the country and around the world.”

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau predicted the budget will create a $505 million shortfall going into the 2015-17 biennium, assuming state tax revenues and expenditures don’t change. Such a shortfall is commonly referred to as the state’s structural deficit.
Governor’s Veto Overview