Tag: transportation

The Donald does a better job of attacking The Walker than most Wisconsin Democrats

I would never vote for an overt racist like Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, but I will say one favorable thing about Trump: He’s far better at attacking Scott Walker than most Democrats in Walker’s home state of Wisconsin:

He went down a list of criticisms that seemed the result of an overnight opposition-research effort. “Wisconsin is doing terribly,’’ he said. “The roads are a disaster because they don’t have any money to rebuild them, and they’re borrowing money like crazy.’’

He cited figures for the state’s budget deficit. “I wrote this stuff all down but I don’t need it because I have a really good memory,” he said.

He also accused Mr. Walker of flip-flopping on the Common Core education standards, having once supported them. “Scott Walker changed when he saw he was getting creamed, so now he’s not in favor,’’ he said.

While I am a Bernie Sanders supporter, I disagree with Bernie’s support for Common Core; in fact, it’s one of only a few issues where I disagree with Bernie. I don’t like the idea of wealthy people like Bill Gates determining every state and school district’s curriculum and academic standards.

Anyways, back to the main subject of this blog post…while Trump is a blowhard and a half, he’s right when it comes to how awful Scott Walker’s far-right agenda has been for Wisconsin.

However, trying to find Democrats in Wisconsin who are even half as effective as Trump when it comes to attacking Walker is like trying to find a tennis racket at a golf pro shop. Most Democrats in Wisconsin tend to focus on only a few issues like reproductive rights and student loan reform, and they usually try to sound as nice and moderate as possible. When most Wisconsin Democrats criticize Walker, they usually come across as weak, tepid, defensive, too mild-mannered, and appeasing toward Republicans. There are a few exceptions to this, mostly Democratic/progressive elected officials from the Madison area and many progressive activists throughout Wisconsin.

Additionally, Trump’s far-right agenda isn’t much different, if any different at all, than Walker’s far-right agenda or the far-right agendas of the other Republican presidential candidates. For Trump to enact his political agenda nationwide would likely be as bad, if not worse, than Walker’s agenda has been for Wisconsin.

Also, regarding Trump’s remarks about roads in Wisconsin being terrible, he’s actually right…only Connecticut and Illinois have a higher percentage of roads in poor or mediocre condition than Wisconsin.

Trump’s rise in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination has prompted Walker’s supporters to get really desperate, even using left-wing attack lines of their own against Trump:

A fundraiser for Scott Walker’s presidential campaign called Donald Trump “DumbDumb” in a fundraising invitation and said electing the New York developer would be “a total and complete disaster for the country.”

“As you’ve seen Gov Walker is now well ahead of everyone not named DumbDumb (aka Trump) in the national polls,” wrote Walker fundraiser Gregory Slayton, a New Hampshire venture capitalist who served as consul general to Bermuda during the George W. Bush administration. “He’s also a plain spoken member of the 99% (as opposed to someone pretending to be so)…and that will be a (key success factor) in 2016.”

Walker may not be a member of the 1%, but his policies benefit the 1% and virtually nobody else. Electing Trump, Walker, or any other right-wing Republican to the White House would be an unmitigated disaster for this country…Wisconsin has basically been a lavatory (pun intended) for a far-right political agenda for the last four and a half years, and it’s been an absolute disaster there.

Chris “Capper” Liebenthal has an excellent post about Trump’s attacks against Walker here.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin officials are at it again with horrible political messaging

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author of this blog post is not interested in being hired Communications Director of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and is not interested in any other position involving being an official spokesperson for a political candidate, party, or group.

Melissa Baldauff, the communications director of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin (DPW), wrote this piece claiming that Scott Walker won’t run for the Republican presidential nomination, when, in fact, Walker has not officially said whether or not he’ll run for president in next year’s election:

Speaking with reporters today at a rare stopover in Wisconsin, Scott Walker commented that he’s “going to keep [his] campaign promises” – which if true means the governor won’t be seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 after promising to serve his full term.

Last October at the gubernatorial debate in Eau Claire, Walker said his “plan if elected is to be here for four years” when asked whether he’d serve a full term if re-elected. And last November following his re-election, Walker commented in an interview with WITI (FOX affiliate in Milwaukee) that “Right now, I still feel called to be the governor of the state of Wisconsin, and I’m going to do the best job I can over the next four years.”

While Walker did, in fact, promise at least twice that he’d serve a full second term as Governor of Wisconsin, once before the 2014 election and once immediately after the 2014 election, the headline of Baldauff’s piece, “Scott Walker Won’t Run For President in 2016”, incorrectly implies that Walker had made an official statement that he won’t seek the presidency in next year’s elections. As of this writing, Walker has not yet issued an official statement as to whether or not he’ll run for president. In fact, the (Eau Claire) Leader-Telegram article that Baldauff cited referencing Walker claiming that he wants to keep his promises pertains to Wisconsin’s transportation budget, where Walker and his fellow Republicans have fought against each other over how to eliminate a massive transportation budget deficit. The article Baldauff cited did not mention his well-known ambitions of wanting to be President of the United States so that he and his far-right Republican cronies can turn America into a third-world country. I’m not defending Walker by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, Walker has repeatedly broken promises to the people of Wisconsin and has repeatedly proven that Wisconsinites can’t trust anything he says.

If I were writing that piece, I would have written the headline of that piece as “Scott Walker has Twice Promised Not to Run for President in 2016…Will he Break yet Another Promise?”, “Scott Walker has Effectively Promised that he won’t Run for President in 2016”, or something else that makes it 100% clear what the article is about. In the past, people have pointed out to me on this blog that I’ve written an article that contained a headline and/or passages that implied something different than what I intended to claim, and, when that happens, I make the appropriate edits to the blog post in question. Unlike Republicans and establishment Democrats, I learn from my mistakes.

Wisconsin Republicans propose the dreaded Mary Burke Tax

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin state government has floated yet another ridiculously bad idea…a $25 fee on new bicycles, or, as I like to call it, the Mary Burke Tax. Burke is a former Trek Bicycles executive who ran a horrible campaign for Governor of Wisconsin in 2014, losing to Republican incumbent Scott Walker. This proposal, along with the repeal of the Wisconsin Complete Streets law, which requires bicycle and pedestrian uses to be factored into transportation projects in Wisconsin, is part of a political war on cycling in Wisconsin.

More than anything else, this is clearly the Republicans’ way of getting political payback at Burke for running against Walker. After all, the Republicans usually don’t support anything that could even be remotely interpreted as raising taxes….except, of course, if the new tax or tax increase primarily affects Democrats, liberals, progressives, environmentally-conscious people, women, minorities, businesses they don’t like, and/or the poor.

While I’ve not seen Republicans in Wisconsin use this talking point, at least one Republican in the State of Washington tried to claim that, because people breathe out carbon dioxide, bicyclists cause more pollution than people using other forms of transportation, while trying to defend a proposed bicycle tax in Washington state. That’s a false argument, since it doesn’t factor in the fact that plants breathe in carbon dioxide as part of the carbon cycle.

While I’ve not been on a bicycle since I was five or six years old, and I’m too clumsy to ride a bicycle because I have Asperger’s syndrome, waging a political war on cycling will lead to more pollution and more traffic crashes involving bicyclists, something that Wisconsin, Washington state, and the rest of this country simply can’t afford. Should state governments need to fill transportation budget deficits, I recommend enacting taxes on automobiles that get very poor gas mileage and taxes on gasoline-powered automobiles (i.e., automobiles that are not electric or hybrid) worth more than $50,000, if a particular state doesn’t already collect such taxes.

Bruce Rauner and his allies raided Illinois transportation funds

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author of this blog post has no intention whatsoever of running against Republican Illinois State Representative Chad Hays and is not in any way affiliated with Better Roads Ahead.

My governor and state representative, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-IL) and State Rep. Chad Hays (R-Catlin, IL), helped raid hundreds of millions of dollars from funds collected from state gasoline taxes, which are supposed to be used to pay for road construction and maintenance. In typical Illinois fashion, Rauner, Hays, and their ilk decided to use the money for other purposes.

A political front group called Better Roads Ahead, an organization that supports repairing and replacing Illinois’s structurally deficient bridges, sent my household this mailer attacking Rauner and Hays for putting the lives of Illinoisans at risk:

Better Roads Ahead Flyer - Front
Better Roads Ahead Flyer – Front
Better Roads Ahead Flyer - Back
Better Roads Ahead Flyer – Back

To give readers of this blog post a general idea of how terrible the condition of our nation’s infrastructure is, I strongly recommend reading and viewing this 60 Minutes feature about our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. You’d be absolutely shocked at how terrible the condition of our nation’s roads, railroads, and bridges are.

I find it highly disgusting that Rauner, Hays, and their ilk would use taxpayer money collected from state gasoline taxes, which are supposed to be used to fund road construction and maintenance here in Illinois, and use the money for other purposes. I would only support raiding transportation funds and using them for other purposes if our state’s politicians literally had no other option available to them to balance the state budget. The actions of our state’s politicians could result in bridge collapses that could kill tens of people. After all, if it happened in Minnesota, it could certainly happen here in Illinois.

To put it mildly, Illinoisans simply cannot afford the Rahm-Rauner-Hays corporate agenda, especially when it comes to transportation.

Indiana Toll Road, privatized by Republicans, files for bankruptcy

The latest example of how privatization schemes have failed the American people comes from Indiana. Specifically, the Indiana Toll Road, which was privatized by Republicans several years ago, has officially filed for bankruptcy:

The company that operates the Indiana Toll Road filed for bankruptcy on Sunday, though Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said in a statement Monday drivers of the route through northern Indiana can expect “business as usual.”

Debt-ridden ITR Commission Co., a spawn of the Spanish-Australian company Cintra-Macquarie, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago in a prepackaged plan to restructure its approximate $6 billion debt.

The company in 2006 paid $3.8 billion for a 75-year lease of the road that runs between the Illinois and Ohio state lines, but the toll revenue failed to meet company expectations.

This is the main reason why I’m opposed to toll roads, especially ones that are leased to a private entity by the state in which they’re located. If the toll road doesn’t get enough traffic, then the company that owns the lease can’t pay the bills, and motorists and taxpayers get the shaft. We need to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, not let it go bankrupt.