Friday, May 7, 2021

WI GOP pol projects 'crap' on Democratic opponents, people generally

Wisconsin's Republican-led Legislative budget 'writing' committee basically threw out Gov. Evers' document - and 400 or so of its specific proposals - and will craft their own budget which will only further distance this gerrymandered GOP gang from what people in Wisconsin want and need (my analysis), as the AP reports:

Republicans Scrap Evers' Priorities, Start Writing Budget

Republicans, along a party line vote, essentially scrapped the Democratic governor's entire two-year spending proposal and instead began crafting their own budget based off of the current budget, which the GOP-controlled Legislature passed two years ago without a single Democratic vote and which Evers signed into law....

And Assembly Speaker and shadow Governor Robin Vos's spiteful and continuing "#Never" refusal in 2019 to allow more low-income citizens into the Medicaid program means the state is passing on Federal Medicaid expansion funding that would save Wisconsin taxpayers more than a billion dollars. 

Agaln, as the AP explains:

The items Republicans killed would have brought in $3.4 billion to the state, mostly through higher taxes on capital gains and manufacturers, and by accepting federal Medicaid expansion. That alone would have saved the state $1.6 billion, when including federal money that would have come to Wisconsin....Committee co-chair Rep. Mark Born called Democratic criticism of the rejection of Medicaid expansion “crap,” saying they were being dishonest in not calling the initiative a welfare expansion. 

State GOP Rep. and Finance Committee Chair Mark Born said efforts to expand Medicaid health care coverages in Wisconsin were "crap" because the Democratic proponents won't call it a welfare expansion. Classy!

Brings to mind Walker's rejection of a jobs-and-development Federal grant of $810 million to extend Amtrak service to and through Madison even though Wisconsinites pay Federal taxes, yet saw none of their dollars coming back to the state for expanded passenger rail and new jobs.

But back to Beaver Dam Republican Born, who tried to divert attention with the bogus notion that Democrats failure to adopt Republican red meat rhetoric to justify Medicaid expansion plan is the issue, or any issue at all.

One real outrage is these GOP #Never legislators are guaranteeing that Wisconsin Federal taxpayers will not see any of their dollars routed back home to bring new help for ill Wisconsinites.

That kind of 'we're-all-in-this-together/Golden Rule assistance.

And when the state has to spend more of its own money/our money paying for healthcare that Federal funds could have covered, well then, there's less state funding available for other services - so, do ya see, Bucky - the public sector isn't there to help you - as Republicans have been saying and proving through self-fulfilling prophecies and flat-out meanness forever, or at least since Ronald Reagan said government IS the problem.

Also among the items that the #Never caucus is robotically excising from the Evers budget is a long-overdue increase in the legally-required Wisconsin minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

An action which will keep some people trapped deeply in poverty, and which I believe is more than just a disgusting sop to business lobbies and the rightwing advocacy groups they finance.

Enforcing poverty through official action is public service by perverse stratgery - much like the willful and callous Medicaid restriction - that deliberately adds to the stresses which already weigh down thousands of Wisconsin's least powerful and most vulnerable citizens.

Something Rep. Born et al, with their guaranteed salaries, receipt-free meal reimbursements, top-shelf health insurance coverages and other perks do not have to contend with.

And why would the GOP, or any political party, let alone any human do such a thing?

Because the people running an authoritarian political party know it's easier to stay in power and maintain control over people who must work two or three minimum wage jobs to survive, or who are hobbled by untreated health problems that can turn a simple errand into a time-consuming and fraught endeavor.

Cold-heart politicians with a distorted commitment to ideology and incumbency also know that people scrambling to pay the rent or put food on the table or take care of their slowed or sick relatives or friends have less resources or time for political work - the very activity that could help defeat punitive, self-serving and empathy-free legislators who are always eager to stick out a foot and trip someone instead of offering a helping hand to a person who's just trying to get by.

Now that's crap politics.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Milwaukee Tool deal looks better than Foxconn 1 or 2.0.

There has been controversy over wage and benefits for contract workers in the City of Milwaukee's $20 million-for-1,200 jobs' deal with Milwaukee Tool, but the agreement looks pretty good by comparison to Walker's $3-billion-to-$4+ billion package of subsidies and taxpayer-provided amenities shoveled to Foxconn which Evers - despite GOP false and ridiculous monkey-wrenching - managed to knock down to about $80 million in tax credits for a promised 1,450 jobs.

I had noted the comparative benefit advantage of the Milwaukee Tool prospective deal in 2019, here.

Remember that the original Foxconn job promise was 13,000, and in 2019 the company seemed to suggest that its emphasis for the Wisconsin project would be less on blue-collar manufacturing or assembly positions and more on highly-skilled-and-paid engineers: 

Foxconn's special assistant to the chairman, Louis Woo, on Wednesday told Reuters in an interview that the company may scale back or even shelve some of its plans in Wisconsin, citing steep costs over the difficulty of manufacturing televisions in the U.S.

Then on Friday afternoon, [Foxconn Chairman Terry] Gou, in a Facebook livestream broadcast, said that his company's focus in Wisconsin will turn from production to R&D, creating a technology hub there. "Foxconn plans to hire more than 10,000 engineers to do research and development," he said.

Of course, the reworked Foxconn deal does not recoup any of the hundreds of millions of dollars already spent  for land acquisition, highway construction, water diversion piping and electrical line and substation construction for sprawl -


- into homesteads, farm and wetlands.

And neither the Foxconn or Milwaukee Tool deal addresses the persistent flow of money from the public sector to the private sector in the name of job creation, or the community vs. community competitions which stain the interconnected business, employment and natural environments all parties should be working to improve.

But this is the world we're living in, and it's good to see investment in the city than on highway-dependent exurban or rural acreage, so Milwaukee Tool looks  better for people, budgets and the land than the Foxconn fiasco, explained in detail at this continuously updated archive maintained since June, 2017.

Monday, May 3, 2021

WI GOP has remade WI into a human shooting range

The NRA and rightwing Republicans have whittled away gun safety in Wisconsin, so this headline about the multiple-shooting at a Brown County casino is not a surprise: 

Radisson gunman threatened former co-worker before deadly shooting but allowed by court to possess firearms

And remember that when asked in 2019 by the Governor to get serious about gun safety, the GOP-led Wisconsin Senate and Assembly adjourned without action - in seconds - 

because the only outcome these GOP 'leaders' cared about that day was making Evers their political casualty. 

Senate, Assembly adjourn special sessions on gun control immediately after they begin

And for context, I add below a Twitter posting by Wisconsin State Rep. Robyn Vining:

. included Universal Background Checks, and ERPO in his budget. The Wisconsin GOP announced late last week they plan to strip those provisions next Thursday. Approval ratings for these policies in Wisconsin are overwhelming.
Quote Tweet
Shannon Watts
Wisconsin does not have:
Cross mark
Universal background checks
Cross mark
Gun owner licensing
Cross mark
Extreme risk protection orders
Cross mark
Assault weapon restrictions
Cross mark
Large capacity magazine ban
Cross mark
Waiting periods
Cross mark
Strong concealed carry law
Cross mark
Open carry regulations

Furthermore, in the last 24 hours:

* A gun battle in a popular Milwaukee shopping area - video and sound of more than very rapid 300 shots.

* The Roundy's warehouse killings' case closed without a clear motive established.

* A larger mass causally shooting at Miller Brewing closed without a clear motive established

In other words, in Wisconsin, with so many commonsense gun safety measures eliminated to serve partisan special interests, angry or disturbed people (mostly males) can more easily gain the tools they need to leave a body count in plain view.



How today's GOP leaders are very old-school PC

The term "PC" these days usually stands for "politically correct" and is often a conservative grievance complaint launched at  liberal critics, but when we were kids back in another century you were branded "PC" if you behaved like a "privileged character," and it stung.

So it's ironic that some of the loudest and most "PC" conservatives are so at ease arrogantly and breezily displaying -without a grain of doubt or shame - for the basest of their base voters a judgmental superiority over entire communities and cultures.

We heard Wisconsin's GOP Assembly Speaker - and very PC Robin Vos - attribute COVID19 cases in his district to "immigrant culture," a cruel and ignorant finger-point that helped absolved Vos of any public service obligation to legislative lead against the pandemic.

Perhaps Vos felt entitled to disparage immigrant culture because Wisconsin's rightwing Supreme Court Chief Justice had a few weeks earlier opined that COVID19 cases among meatpacking workers - a heavily-immigrant population - were of less concern to her than whether so-called "regular folks" were at risk.

And the career of US GOP Cong. Glenn Grothman has been built on putting down other people's practices and culture, including the Black family, same-sex preference, single-parenting and more, noted here.

H/T to Vox media's Aaron Rupar Twitter account:

Glenn Grothman brings up Black Lives Matter and then says, "I know it's a group that doesn't like the old fashioned family."

Maybe Rick Santorum saw Grothman's shameless slam at the Black family and thought, 'hey, I'll trash all of Native American culture' - and, so far, get away with it - because this particular iteration of conservative PC keeps white bigots on the job.

Santorum made his remarks at a forum sponsored by Young America's Foundation, whose President, Scott Walker, has performed a superiority dance or two on the public stage because his audiences loved to hear minorities and the less-powerful get put down and this particular PC/GOP politician could effortlessly give his people what they wanted: 

People do not want to see Wisconsin "become another Milwaukee," Walker said.

And during a campaign two years later, this

In the final month and a half of the campaign, Gov. Scott Walker is making a blunt promise to voters — that he'll ensure jobless workers aren't on drugs, or their recliners.  
"My belief is we shouldn't be paying for them to sit on the couch, watching TV or playing Xbox," Walker told cheering Republican campaign volunteers last week in West Bend. 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Ten posts which back Barnes' opposition to I-94 widening

Props to Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes for opposing the financially and environmentally-damaging widening of I-94 across Milwaukee's west side - a position he had taken when he was a member of the Legislature, as this story also reminds us.

I do not know if or whether his position has created any political problems within the Evers administration which decided to forge ahead with the nearly $1-billion expansion which even Scott Walker found too expensive.

And though the GOP-legislature has signaled it will keep the proposal in Evers' proposed budget which Republicans will otherwise clobber, the one-year delay in the project announced by WisDOT following an organized pitch to USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg gives opponents more time to push local, state and federal authorities to live up to their public commitments to transit, cleaner air and progress against climate change and only rebuild I-94 between 35th St. and the Zoo Interchange at the County line without gobbling up land and adding more noise and air pollution that will devalue neighborhoods in the corridor.

The intrusion of the Interstate Highway system through billions in spending on misnamed 'freeways' in the Milwaukee area led directly to the decline of African-American neighborhoods on the north now split by I-43 principally to service the suburbs to the north which then enjoyed development, housing and other benefits at the expense of the city.

It's time to rein in the Roadbuilding-Industrial-Complex, and tap whatever portion of Biden's infrastructure funding comes our way for things Milwaukee residents need: affordable housing, lead pipe replacements and better rail and bus services which would tie city neighborhoods and the community together, and on an equitable basis to jobs and municipalities beyond.

Below are ten posts from this blog over the last 14 years that help explain why I-94 should not be expanded again in Milwaukee:

1. About taxpayer-paid regional planning in the region that institutionally discriminated against minorities and the City of Milwaukee, from 2017.

2. About the links between SE WI segregation, highway expansion and suburban growth, from 2008.

3. About I-43's economic damage, from 2009.

4. About civil rights litigation over the Zoo Interchange expansion, from 2012.

5. About the willful elimination of regional bus lines, from 2016.

6. About the history of the GOP's hostility to rail and regional transit coordination, from 2017.

7. About multiple governmental decisions which helped segregate the region, from 2019.

8. About Evers' resurrection of the I-94 project and its echoes in his green-light to expanding State Highway 23, from 2020.

9. About Walker era spending on new roads, not on repairs, or transit, from 2021.

10. Delaying the I-94 expansion plan is a good idea, from 2021

There is no constituency or true priority for, and zero fit with environmental justice and climate science facts and agendas to justify rebooting the Story Hill-area I-94 expansion which even road-building-boosting Walker had abandoned. 

Why are we still dreaming about adding expensive 'freeway' [sic] lanes 


while the potholes ('Scottholes') and crumbled pavement statewide which helped drive Walker out of office remain unrepaired.

Friday, April 30, 2021

GOP legislators excited to move WI ahead to the 1950's

Robin Vos and his gerrymandered Republican legislative allies

aim to decimate Gov. Evers' 2021-2023 state budget - a move that will deepen multiple levels of inequity and suffering and intentionally ignore basic human needs and contemporary problem-solving:

Republicans who control the Legislature's budget-writing committee plan to strip out nearly 300 items from Gov. Tony Evers' two-year state spending plan, including his priorities of expanding Medicaid, legalizing marijuana and freezing enrollment in private voucher schools.   

The move also will remove solutions Evers called for to long-standing problems in Wisconsin: like the closure of the state's youth prison where staff and teen inmates have been physically abused and the creation of statewide standards for the amount of toxic chemicals allowed in drinking water. 

It's a backward-looking and punitive approach to governing which nicely mirrors Ron Johnson's behavioral imitation of Joseph McCarthy, the 1950's version of a shame-hogging BadgerLand GOP State Senator.

Granted, McCarthy=Johnson is an imperfect comparison based more on 'style' and chronology because we know that GOP Senator Joseph McCarthy attacked Russian influence he 'saw' everywhere while Johnson is said to have been a spreader of Russian influence.

Regardless, the 'modern' Wisconsin GOP - or is it the Wisconsin subsidiary of Hawley, Miller, Don. Jr. & Boebert - seems increasingly wedded to a 1950's model that worships big business, promotes class advantages and uses government as a cudgel, not a comfort.