Oh Wisconsin….

And the hits keep coming…

It’s bad enough that every day brings a new outrage from those a reader of this blog aptly dubbed “the four horsemen of the apocalypse” –Trump, Pence, McConnell and Ryan. What is even more depressing at a time when our hopes for sanity lie with local resistance to the anti-intellectualism, self-dealing and demagoguery in Washington is news of similarly destructive behavior by state-level fools and toadies.

Remember Wisconsin’s Scott Walker? A perfect contemporary Republican–a corrupt lackey of big money, antagonistic to education, dismissive of science? Of course you do.

When I read a friend’s post to the effect that Wisconsin’s DNR webpage had been scrubbed clean of all uses of the word “climate”–and altered to imply a lack of scientific consensus about anthropogenic global warming–I checked with Snopes.

Turned out to be true.

In a 26 December 2016 op-ed published by the digital newspaper Urban Milwaukee, environmental writer James Rowen reported that a section of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) web site, originally titled “Climate Change and Wisconsin’s Great Lake,” had been substantially altered:

Gone are references to known “human activities” contributing to a warming planet, warming’s contributions to changes in rainfall and snowfall patterns, extreme weather events, drought, species and economic losses are among other truths whitewashed off this official, taxpayer-financed website.

Snopes reproduced the former text, which had accurately reported the relevant science, and that which replaced it; the new language says that reasons for changing conditions “are being debated and researched by academic entities outside the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.”

Responding to our request for comment, Wisconsin DNR Communications Director James F Dick stated that their office’s official position is that the science is not settled and that the page was updated to reflect this view.

Of course, the science is settled. As Snopes concludes,

The overwhelming scientific consensus from the climatological community is that the climate is indeed warming and that human activity is contributing to that process.

Here’s what mystifies me: if the settled science is right, and we do not act, we will face massive planetary devastation. If the settled science is wrong, and we do act, the worst thing that will happen is we’ll get cleaner air and water, and cheaper and more renewable energy.

This doesn’t seem like a difficult choice.

Oh yes– fossil fuel companies will make less money. But I’m sure that has nothing to do with climate change denial….

When the history of this era is written–assuming there are survivors left to write that history–it will undoubtedly be called “the age of insanity.”

50 thoughts on “Oh Wisconsin….

  1. Indeed, not a difficult choice.

    I’ve never understood why the fossil fuel companies don’t move into the renewable energy market big time and catch the wave of the future. Who knew that fossil fuels were as addictive as tobacco?

  2. I call them “Noah’s Neighbors” — who could have at least built themselves a raft, but preferred to just laugh at him.
    Welcome to Wiscopotamia.

  3. Self delusion seems to be epidemic in the Republican Party not only in the ranks of its leaders but also in those who vote and support them. Republicans can yell and stomp and scream that 2 + 2 = 5 all they want, but it will always be 2 + 2 = 4. The climate is changing… period. They can claim that fetuses and corporations are persons, but that does not make it so. They are not… period. They can rewrite history books in Texas, but they cannot change the facts. The facts will always be there… period. They can claim that the economy in Indiana is just hunky dory, but that does not put bread on the table… period. They can put a narcissistic bully into the office of the presidency, but that will not give the country real leadership much less a great America. What it will give us is trouble… terrible trouble… period.

  4. Force Wisconsin to secede and become a Canadian province. What? Canada won’t accept the deal! Hm.

  5. As you implied, Scott Walker exists because the Koch brother WANT him to exist.
    This is all Koch

  6. Sheila,

    “When the history of this era is written–assuming there are survivors left to write that history–it will undoubtedly be called “the age of insanity.”

    Why if the MAN behind this MESS [and the Koch Brothers] was MENTALLY ILL would their be any other conclusion than what we have now……. “the age of insanity?

  7. Let’s be clear, the idiocy of not doing the right thing is not confined to republicans or conservatives. Don’t forget, the democratic national party aligned itself with Wall Street in the early 90’s under Bill Clinton. They’ve been underwriting and endorsing neoliberalism for 40 years, right along with the republican national party.

    Let’s be clear, the only difference between democrat and republican are their stripes. They are both owned by corporations whose stated purpose is “maximize shareholder value”. That is it! If you don’t believe me, go visit the Business College. 😉

    Therefore, every single industry under capitalism’s umbrella, consists of corporations. Those corporations all have the same stated purpose of maximizing shareholder value. When faced with doing the right thing or making money, guess how they will choose. Every. Single. Time.

    The underlying concept behind free market economics (Frederick Hayek) is a corporation does not have social responsibility. It exists to make profit for shareholders.

    So, it’s not just oil companies. It’s food, health, medicine, etc.

    Our country could save trillions by focusing on disease prevention versus treating diseases. Why doesn’t the most advanced country in the world today focus on disease prevention??

    Money. Profit. Capitalism.

    It’s the system, not the players.

  8. No doubt these same folks will deny there’s a cure for cancer when we find it, and the cure for Alzheimers disease, and a new antibiotic, cuz Science. ‘Murica.

  9. JM:
    More likely they will claim credit for whatever cure is discovered and have their photos taken w the scientist who did the work, in spite of their efforts to curtail it. They like to enjoy the fruits of scientific investigation and research, as long as it doesn’t hurt the donor class.
    There is another characteristic I have observed in these folks: their actions are undertaken in secret, they build the consensus in secret and the only public activity is the actual vote taken in the chamber. Why the secrecy? Because there is no longer an active press or an engaged public which holds them accountable – and they keep getting elected by a minority of eligible voters.
    We could stop them, if we just mobilized eligible voters.

  10. daleb,

    “Why the secrecy? Because there is no longer an active press or an engaged public which holds them accountable – and they keep getting elected by a minority of eligible voters.
    We could stop them, if we just mobilized eligible voters.”

    I would suggest that a better course would be to eliminate the secrecy.

  11. In an effort to educate my friends about corporate greed and science denial I am doing what I can when I can. The Koch propaganda machine has been very successful at convincing the general public that climate change is a hoax. I am constantly both shocked and saddened at how gullible people are, and that includes our state legislature members. Of course, the legislature members have most likely received rewards for their efforts to promote the lies.

  12. daleb,

    “Why the secrecy?”

    The reason for the secrecy is that they don’t care either about the environment or the future. They represent FUTURCIDE.

    Who would KNOWINGLY vote for a JERK like that?

  13. As I recall, a few years ago, Gov. Rick Scott in Florida has gone one step farther. He forbid people in his administration from speaking or writing the term, “climate change.”

  14. Two historians, Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, wrote a book ostensibly written in the year 2393 by a future historian, titled “The Collapse of Western Civilization.” The idea was to “document” what happened at the Great Collapse and Mass Migration.

    Well worth reading.

  15. I remember that, Sandy. So now every time the tide comes in the streets of Miami near the ocean are flooded with sea water. Could the plan be to re-market Miami as the Venice of the west?

  16. I’m not a scientist, but I’m still glad I won’t live long enough to see the end result of our American stupidity.

  17. Peggy,

    “I’m not a scientist, but I’m still glad I won’t live long enough to see the end result of our American stupidity.”

    Peggy, I could be wrong, but I believe you will live long enough.

  18. I guess I’m the only one who believes this, but I believe Trump/Pence, at the present time, is more of a threat to our planet’s future than “global warming.” And the facts are just as clear if we can only find the “civic courage” to reveal and then communicate them.

  19. Adding to Marv’s comment rearding Trump’s current threat to our planet’s future; he is emptying our foreign embassies of envoys on his inauguration day, they are there to protect Americans and maintain diplomatic relations. He will come out of his meeting today with the intelligence leaders still defending Russia…does anyone doubt this outcome? He maintained it after their meeting with the Senate yesterday. An old saying from somewhere in my past came to mind, “He don’t believe fat meat’s greasy.”

    “Oh Wisconsin” rivals “Honest To Goodness, Indiana” at the state level regarding lack of environmental protection. Copied and pasted from Sheila’s blog: “When the history of this era is written–assuming there are survivors left to write that history–it will undoubtedly be called “the age of insanity.” Will other nations remember and write our insane history or will we become a satellite of Russia during the next four years and neither Wisconsin or Indiana will matter? As part of Europe; Theresa’s comment about Miami becoming the “Vienna of the west” will certainly be fitting – assuming Miami or any of Florida is still above sea level.

  20. “I think by now I have made it clear that I am not happy with the word ‘hope.’ I don’t believe in people just hoping. We work for what we want.”

    ~Aung San Suu Kyi, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

  21. Do you remember the TV series “You Are There?”

    From Wikipedia:

    “The radio program made a transition to television in 1953, with Walter Cronkite as the regular host. Reporters included veteran radio announcers Dick Joy and Harlow Wilcox. The first telecast took place on February 1, 1953 and featured a re-enactment of the Hindenburg disaster. The final telecast took place on October 13, 1957.

    Originally telecast live, most of the later episodes were produced on film. One of the episodes, for instance, features actor Pat Conway as James J. Corbett, the boxer who fought champion John L. Sullivan in 1892.

    The series also featured various key events in American and world history, portrayed in dramatic recreations. Additionally, CBS News reporters, in modern-day suits, would report on the action and interview the protagonists of each of the historical episodes. Each episode would begin with the characters setting the scene. Cronkite, from his anchor desk in New York City, would give a few words on what was about to happen. An announcer would then give the date and the event, followed by a loud and boldly spoken “You are there!”

    At the end of the program, after Cronkite summarizes what happened in the preceding event, he reminded viewers, “What sort of day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times… all things are as they were then, and you were there.”
    Walter Cronkite, TV host of You Are There

    The program was seen again on Saturday morning as a videotaped color program from 1971 to 1972. The format of the revival was basically the same as the original versions. These programs were also hosted by Cronkite. Both series were produced by CBS News.

    From 2000 to 2005, Cronkite presented a series of essays for National Public Radio, reflecting on various key events of his life, including his involvement in You Are There in the 1950.”

    January 21, 2017, we are witnessing the DISMANTLING OF DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA and “You are there!”

  22. The arrogance, lack of distant foresight, and lack of humility within the field of big business, which now seems to be totally in a position to overwhelm our politics, has always amazed me, confused me, and made no sense. I do not understand how any of those people believe they will not also be impacted by elements of nature, culture, and society which they tend to disbelieve or even give adequate voice.

    Science has furthered civilization, much of it by speculation and forward movement in research and investigation. Or am I completely deluded?

  23. Marv, you are not the only one that believes Trump/Pence are a threat to the survival of our country and planet. But the truth is that they threaten EVERYTHING including global warming! There is nothing that is safe and everything is so intertwined that once one thing is compromised, the rest will follow. That is why it is so important to fight this regime on all fronts!

  24. Barbara,

    “Science has furthered civilization, much of it by speculation and forward movement in research and investigation. Or am I completely deluded?”

    You’re not deluted. Political Scientists are at a loss, since they cannot connect all the dots. That problem is caused by their failure to COLLECT ALL THE DOTS which has been caused by the MASSIVE DECEPTION AND SECRECY surrounding the politics of the Republican Party since the election of RONALD REGAN as President.

  25. The elimination of the Fairness Doctrine was a major milepost along the way of the dismantling. Pence’s Pravda on the Prairie was another straw blowing in the wind. Fake News, Politically Correct, Entitlements, Death Taxes, are all just examples of how the right has captured the narrative. Just remember that we must keep the resistance peaceable. Keep Ghandi and King in mind. Make the right use their police forces to start the violence. Otherwise, we are doomed to a passive electorate approving the fascism.

  26. I still don’t understand – after the corporations have won and turned all of us into serfs, who do they think will buy their products and services?

  27. Charlie,

    “Just remember that we must keep the resistance peaceable. Keep Gandhi and King in mind. Make the right use their police forces to start the violence. Otherwise, we are doomed to a passive electorate approving the fascism.”

    100% right. That’s the only way.

  28. Barbara:

    The Kochs, WallStreeters, and the rest of the 1%’s — for the most part; there are a few exceptions — believe their vast wealth and power will protect them from all the bad things that will happen to the all the “less worthy” and “unchosen” people of the world. They will be right to a certain extent; their wealth and power will allow them to protect themselves and their immediate families for a time from the effects of climate change and all the other bad things that will happen to the rest of us that don’t have their financial resources to buy up the increasingly scarce necessities of life (same reasons they rationalize voting for Trump/Pence). The flaw in their rationalization is what happens to them once the rest of us aren’t around anymore and able to support them and enrich them?

    On the other hand, you have the Evangelicals like Pence, who believe the “Rapture” is just around the corner, and that all the non-believers will be destroyed by their “Righteous God” while they will be “chosen” and literally plucked by God and Jesus from Earth and taken to live in a Heavenly Nirvana. In other words, God is going to destroy the world as we know it anyway, but we “Believers” will be saved; so why not take everything we can now while we can. Of course, if what Jesus preached is actually true, they should be the first ones to be destroyed by “their” God.

    Different delusions. Same results!

  29. Ginny – After we serfs have totally lost our hearts and souls and beings to the rich and corporate class, who then (as you suggest) will be left to buy their goods and services? Here is what I think will happen: The corporations (without new market prey) will prey on one another, and for a time after that the more successful predator corporations will hold sway until, finally, our entire civilization comes crashing down. Of course, there will be many intervening possibilities, e.g., global drowning, nuclear incidents etc. which could trigger an earlier collapse. Strange, isn’t it, that we humans with all our smarts and choices we make or don’t make apparently prefer disaster to survival with our resource and ego clashes featuring denials of fact, hurt feelings requiring retaliatory tweets, ego twists and turns etc.?
    I live in Naples, Florida, several miles inland from the Gulf’s present (and ever-rising) tides, and at my age I will not be available to drown when this peninsula is inundated. For many years now I have been recommending to my grandchildren that they buy building lots up in the air on the east side of the Colorado Rockies, from which they can fish in Lake Kansas, all of which assumes, of course (and in keeping with Sheila’s observation today), that we survive to such a point in time.
    How to stop or at least slow this corporate takeover of all of America’s institutions (my greatest fear)? We need to quickly take political control of the regulatory mechanisms of corporate governance, especially including banking corporations. Unfortunately, Trump has promised less regulation of these predatory corporations who do not have our best interests at heart, wed as they are to profit-making, and who now are even protected by court findings that they have a first and even fiduciary duty to “enhance shareholder value.”
    We got to where we are today via a political process and will have to reform our descent to total corporate ownership by the same route, in my view. If there is some other way to stop or even alter our march to the cliff short of revolution, I am open to my fellow contributors’ suggestion.

  30. I can understand the discord that people feel about science – it isn’t easy and obvious. It requires some time and consideration and a grasp of principles. It often relies on mathematics and many people hate math. It is a discipline.

    There are many voting age people who don’t understand science but seem perfectly willing to accept an explanation of a complex issue like climate or climate change from someone with a vested interest in what science identifies as a cause of the problem or with no credential at all except the ability to enunciate into the microphone or make eye contact w a camera.

    We really do the government we ask for and deserve.

  31. We call it FitzWalkerstan – if you want to see what is going to happen to our country in the next 4 years – just take a look at what has happened to my state under Walker. It is tragic.

  32. Gerald, this is again a copy of my post on the blog back in November. It is from my post on LarryHancock.com:

    Marv Kramer says:
    November 21, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    “We’re facing a dilemma similar to what the Allies were facing with the Wolfpacks of Nazi submarines…..We were losing the sub-surface war. Not until the perfection of sonar did the balance of power take a significant shift in favor of the allies.

    Those manipulating the “tools of political conditioning” are operating at the sub-surface level. Any group with the knowledge of the deepest levels of the sub-surface systems of control and with adequate technology along with the proper input of data would have a similar power to that of sonar.

    The “body politic” in many ways is similar to the human body. The human body became more observable with the perfection of MRI. I suggest it is possible to have a similar technology for observing the “body politic”……it would be Political Sonar.”

    Larry Hancock says:
    November 21, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    “That’s a very important idea and I think it would be possible – however you would need a mix of advanced data mining, intelligent pattern matching and social media post tracing applications. Its the sort of thing the NSA could certainly develop, something very possibly a handful of major universities could attempt but otherwise it would be a major task for either a foundation or a high tech business mogul. The problem is whose mission it falls under, for NSA to tackle such a thing the the political conditioning programs would have to be designated as a threat and tasked by the NSC. That would only happen if indeed Russia were felt to be using such tactics for external political influence.

    Other than Russia, the potential suspects seem to me to be domestic organizations or wealthy individuals with political agendas. The Koch brothers could launch such manipulative efforts – certainly the history of ALEC shows that such subtlety exists in terms of low profile, almost covert, political manipulation. But who would carry the mission to detect and deal with them?

    I heartily endorse the concept, I think is doable – but I can’t see how it actually comes about? Nor do I see any particular political group or power complex acknowledging such influence programs, much less willingly giving them up.”

    My final response was that it has been in development for the past 30 years. The Koch Brothers, and their father before them, have been tracked for over 45 years.

    As I mentioned before, Larry is probably our foremost expert on domestic intelligence in the U.S.

  33. “I can understand the discord that people feel about science – it isn’t easy and obvious. It requires some time and consideration and a grasp of principles.”

    daleb; I don’t understand the discord that people feel about science, you are correct that it isn’t easy and it isn’t obvious. But; neither is medical science easy or obvious but we must depend on researchers and our doctors to know what we need – or don’t need regarding medical treatment. They are not always right, no one is always right, that is why scientific research and medical research and the study of Climate Change and Global Warming must be ongoing. Both are factual situations that continually change and need continuing research if we are to save this world from ourselves. We don’t have to understand it to believe it. I have no idea how or why I flip a switch on my wall and my lights come on due to people in a building miles away providing the source of light through wires.

    I have watched Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” and do not understand the technology but; the pictures, films, research and historical proof of the drastic changes that are occurring world-wide show me that it IS HAPPENING.

    I don’t need to see a psychiatrist’s report to know that Donald Trump is mentally unbalanced or see printed documentation that he is filled with hatred for entire groups of people to know it is true. Just watching his rants, his antics and his insane observations show me that he also IS HAPPENING…to this country and the world beyond. His latest observation is, “Mexico will repay for the wall later.”

  34. The incoming administration apparently lends more credence to what Russia can do than to what our own intelligence agencies say has happened. For a guy who claims you can’t trust any computer, he sets store by his twitter account. Then again, when Drumpf gets called on any of his misstatements it is not his fault. It is the fault of the dishonest media. No science needed.

  35. With ACTIVISM ENGINE in mind, I submit the following from The Rand Corporation:

    “In our view, a new paradigm for conflict is needed that incorporates the various implications of the informational age. Broadly put, conflict may be moving beyond attrition and/or annihilation to a new phase in which “information dominance” (Arquilla, 1994) may allow for victory through DISRUPTION. In the future, it may be likely that forces disrupted cannot fight with any degree of effectiveness. Certainly the Persian Gulf War provides an example of a very large, well-armed military that was almost completely disrupted because of strikes at its key communication nodes.”

    “In the information age, Sun Tsu may thus provide a more appropriate foundation for the development of a new strategic paradigm.”

    “The Advent of Netwar” [Prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense] by John Arquilla & David Ronfeldt (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1996) p. 101

  36. We live in the land of lies.

    Business developed the technology of it to get around Adam Smith’s limitation of well informed buyers and sellers.

    The entertainment business built the infrastructure for it disguised as entertainment.

    Lee Atwater and Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch introduced America to what had been learned in Europe and Asia previously – the political power of lies.

    The Koch Bros were merely the fossil fuel equivalent of Proctor and Gamble selling fuel but had to disguise their message as rumor and gossip because it wilted in the light of day.

    The failure of The GOP in 2000 to field a qualified Presidential Candidate of course was when the slope became slippery and the slide reached out of control.

    The question now is, is Trump the final and ultimate insult to democracy through post-truth or are we going to continue the decline until there’s nothing left worth saving?

    Nobody knows.

  37. Pete,

    “We live in the land of lies.”

    You’re right. America is the “land of lies” from the Right. But it is even worse than that since it is also the land where the “one-eyed man is king” on the Left.

  38. Drumpf must be the very bottom. I don’t believe it is humanly possible to be less clueless than this joker. Or richer and whiter male.

  39. Marv, perhaps I am too optimistic but I believe that if a magic wand could be waved and all Americans suddenly went back to where I honestly believe we were at the beginning of my life, believing that honesty is a fundamental requirement for relationships of all kinds, personal, business, political, professional, religious, etc we would pull out of this present crises and recover democracy and freedom for all.

    The era post truth though is simply not capable of supporting democracy and consequently freedom.

  40. Pete,
    “The era post truth though is simply not capable of supporting democracy and consequently freedom.

    I agree with you. But don’t forget we won’t be into the era of post truth until the 21st of January. “It’s not over until it’s over.”

  41. The number of Republicans embracing his posterior for his redemption of their party despite their incompetence is staggering. They have found their Führer.

  42. Pete,

    The Fuhrer in Germany was putting it to the Jews who were less than 1% of the population. This idiot is trying the same thing but on the majority of the voting public. All the Republicans are not complete fools, if they were the Republicans wouldn’t have pulled back on the ETHICS issue in Congress last week.

    Backing Donald Trump makes as much sense, in the long run, as following General George Custer into the Little Big Horn.

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