Monday, July 31, 2017

'Wisconn Valley' or Wisconsin, Inc. dead zone?

How much of Kenosha and or Racine Counties will Walker subsidize for conversion into a dead zone under Foxconn control?

Look at what Walker wants the Legislature beginning tomorrow to allow Foxconn to do.

From just the environmental sections of the Legislative Reference Bureau analysis of Walker's special session bill:
Environmental impact statements 

Under current law, all state agencies are required to prepare environmental impact statements for every recommendation or report on proposals for legislation and other major actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. A state agency is required to consider an environmental impact statement in its decision-making process, but the statement has no regulatory consequence. Current federal law under the National Environmental Policy Act also requires federal agencies to prepare an environmental impact statement for any major federal action, including for federal permits that are necessary for actions in the state. 

Under the bill, a determination regarding the issuance of any permit or approval for a new manufacturing facility within an electronics and information technology manufacturing zone is not a major action for the purpose of the environmental impact statement requirement.

Wetlands and waterway permits exemption

Under federal law, activities involving the discharge of dredged or fill material into “navigable waters” must comply with certain guidelines contained in regulations promulgated by the federal Environmental Protection Agency in order for a discharge permit to be issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE). Before ACE may issue a permit, the Department of Natural Resources must determine that the project complies with state water quality standards, including those for wetlands (water quality certification). Federal law defines “navigable waters” to be “the waters of the United States.” Generally, courts have interpreted “the waters of the United States” to exclude nonnavigable, isolated, intrastate waters (nonfederal wetlands).

Under current state law, subject to exceptions, no person may discharge dredged material or fill material into a federal or nonfederal wetland unless the discharge is authorized by a wetland general permit or individual permit, or the discharge is exempt from permitting requirements. 

Current law requires DNR to issue wetland general permits for discharges of dredged or fill material into certain federal and nonfederal wetlands. For a discharge into a wetland that is not authorized under a wetland general permit, current law requires a person to apply for and obtain a wetland individual permit. Before DNR may issue a wetland individual permit, it must require the restoration, enhancement, creation, or preservation of other wetlands to compensate for adverse impacts to a wetland

2017 - 2018 Legislature - 5 -
LRB-4050/1 MS/MG/JK/ZW/MK:emw&wlj
resulting from the discharge, also known as mitigation. Under current law, a wetland general or individual permit issued by DNR constitutes water quality certification.

Under this bill, a person may, without a permit, discharge dredged material or fill material into a nonfederal wetland that is located in an electronics and information technology manufacturing zone if the discharge is related to the construction, access, or operation of a new manufacturing facility that is also located in the zone. With respect to a federal wetland located in an electronics and information technology manufacturing zone, the bill provides that no state permit is required and that the state waives water quality certification. 

Under the bill, a federal permit for such a discharge is still required. The bill requires any adverse impacts to functional values of federal or nonfederal wetlands in an electronics and information technology manufacturing zone to be compensated at a ratio of two acres per each acre impacted through the purchase of credits from a mitigation bank, participation in the in lieu fee subprogram or escrow subprogram administered by DNR, or completion of mitigation within this state. Under current law, the general minimum ratio is 1.2 acres for each acre affected by the discharge.

Under current law, subject to exceptions, no person may do any of the following without a permit issued by DNR: 1) deposit any material or place any structure upon the bed of any navigable water where no bulkhead line has been established or beyond a lawfully established bulkhead line; 2) construct or maintain a bridge or construct, place, or maintain a culvert in, on, or over navigable waters; 3) construct, dredge, or enlarge any artificial water body that connects with an existing navigable waterway; 4) construct or enlarge any part of an artificial water body that is or will be located within 500 feet of the ordinary high-water mark of, but that does not or will not connect with, an existing navigable waterway; 5) grade or remove topsoil from the bank of any navigable waterway where the area exposed by the grading or removal will exceed 10,000 square feet; and 6) change the course of or straighten a navigable stream.

Under the bill, DNR generally may not require a permit for any of these activities if they relate to the construction, access, or operation of a new manufacturing facility located in an electronics and information technology manufacturing zone. However, the bill provides that DNR may require a permit for the construction or maintenance of bridges and the construction or placement and maintenance of culverts if DNR determines that conditions specific to the site require restrictions in order to prevent significant adverse impacts to the public rights and interests, environmental pollution, or material injury to the riparian rights of any riparian owner. 

Rushed Foxconn special-session set for 11 a.m. August 1

[Updated] The plan is to rush the multi-billion-dollar, law-bending and Foxconn subsidy package past legislators in a special session tomorrow.

Proclamations honoring retiring high school coaches or naming a new official state molecule can get more attention.

Here is the full text of the very complex bill, which turns The State of Wisconsin into Wisconn, Inc.

Here's one blog post with 14 items about many of the issues Walker wants the Legislature to either gloss over or ignore altogether, including long-standing state environmental standards, current law, Article IX of the Wisconsin State Constitution.

Oh - - and blindly forking over $3 billion.

For Foxconn, GOP Team Walker bets your farm, breaks the bank(s)

In round numbers, there are about 360,000 people in various cities, villages and towns in the counties of Racine and  Kenosha, and also about 600 people in the Jackson County Town of Northfield on the other side of the state, and all of them have a vested interest in the $3 billion from various public funding pots which Walker and his fellow Republicans want to throw at Foxconn.

Which is why Republicans are planning a quick, special Foxconn-related Legislative session to start writing big checks even though the usually-routine approval of state's 2017-'19  budget is now a month late principally over how to pay for his party's excessive highway program which Republican Walker has helped under-finance since 2003.

Walker is adamantly opposed to beginning to fix the problem by raising the gasoline tax.

Fake fiscal conservative that he is, Walker prefers borrowing (and betting on more federal dollars, a pipe dream given Trump's non-existent infrastructure package), while Assembly GOP Speaker Robin Vos also flushed his conservative credentials by backing a gas tax increase and Senate GOP Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, a full-time Walker valet, is firmly in Walker's-borrow-and-stick-it-to-the grandkids' camp.

Note, however, that Walker tossed 250 million borrowed dollars into the $3 billion deal for Foxconn via the state budget whenever its approved to hurriedly complete the over-built, under-funded reconstruction and expansion of I-94 though Racine and Kenosha Counties which Vos had been demanding even before Foxconn made the news.

Two things about a quarter of a billion dollars which Walker is treating like campaign-support Kohl's coupon cash:

*  Is $250 million in dedicated borrowing for highway work right through portions of Vos' district enough of a concession to get him off Walker's back; Walker will never budge off the no-new taxes bumper sticker he needs to frame his '18 re-election campaign, so maybe it's time for Vos to to take the $250 million bouquet and live with being another modern Wisconsin borrow-and-spend Republican.

*  $250 million could have repaired most or all potholes on our state's rutted and poorly-ranked roads, which is why it would be useful to ask the good people of cash-strapped Northfield, Wisconsin across the state from Vos' district where the main road has crumbled back to gravel what they think about Walker and Co. throwing around staggering amounts of public highway borrowing like kids at the county fair ring-toss booth which all the people of the state will have to repay.

And speaking of what local folks think, remember that Walker's break-the-bank, bet-the farm Foxconn plan also will require unnamed municipalities gaining some or all of the electronics firm's buildings to contribute to-be-determined local financing through the borrowing procedure known as Tax Incremental Financing, or TIF.

Through TIF, a municipality borrows to construct streets, sidewalks, street lights, parking and other enhancements for a development, then repays itself with the fresh property taxes a project (hopefully) generates.

The catch is that until the borrowing is paid off over years and decades, that increment - - the project-spurred tax payment growth - - must go to pay down the TIF loan payments and does not flow to local governmental services, like schools, police, fire or public health program costs.

Communities have state-imposed limits on the TIF borrowings they can take on - - but not to worry faux fiscal conservative Vos is saying that the legislature will amend state TIF law to let communities exceed their TIF limits for Foxconn projects.

I'll bet the local residents across Racine and Kenosha Counties will ask their mayors, town chair and common council members if their budgets and service needs can take the strain and limitation that come with the GOP's borrow-and-spend planning the underpins the Foxconn deal.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Walker's water giveaway de-friends Lake Michigan watershed, other governors

[Updated] For Walker's re-election needs, Wisconsin is devolving deeper into a Great Lakes water renegade, not a reliable regional partner.

The Great Lakes governors who fell in line last year by falling for WI DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp's public assurances about "best science...extended review..." concerning Wisconsin's purported dedication to a clean Lake Michigan watershed water when they approved the DNR's supervision of Waukesha's precedent-setting Lake Michigan diversion should take a careful look at Wisconsin's precedent-setting plan to expose intentionally the Lake Michigan basin to unprecedented water pollution threats.

The Wisconsin plan being pushed on a fast-track by Gov. Walker would remove the DNR from its normal water protection leadership, science-based role, the Wisconsin State Journal reports: giant Foxconn would be given wide latitude to bypass state environmental regulations in building and operating its 1,000-acre electronics manufacturing plant in southeastern Wisconsin under a proposal from Gov. Scott Walker.
Walker unveiled the sprawling bill Friday as he called lawmakers to convene a special legislative session to pass the measure aimed at speeding up construction of Foxconn’s planned liquid-crystal display panel factory.
The bill lawmakers will consider as early as Tuesday allows the company to move or change the course of streams, build man-made bodies of water that connect with natural waterways and discharge materials in state wetlands without authorization from the state Department of Natural Resources. It exempts the company from being subject to an environmental impact statement.
Two things about that:

Think of the precedent, and how many Wisconsin projects from now on will ask for Foxconn money and Foxconn environmental favors.

And why would Foxconn need to be exempt from an environmental impact statement? Reminds me of Trump wanting to be exempt from Special Counsel inquiry. 

A growing archive on all these matters, here.

Fake news? Note the Trump-fabricated, self-serving fake battle

Before Kellyanne Conway's fake 'Little Rock Massacre' there had been an even- bloodier loss of life in TrumpWorld.

So it's great that professional public-sector mooch Donald Trump is at his Virginia golf club today, because that's the best spot from which he can fully appreciate the hard work by the only President who exceeds him in Presidentialness by again honoring near the 15th tee the site of the very tragic 'River of Blood' Civil War battle - - which never happened.

Foxconn favors face WI Constitutional barrier

Scott Walker has told critics of his extraordinary giveaway to Foxconn of state resources - - including unprecedented exemptions from basic Wisconsin public-interest environmental rules and laws governing wetland-filling and stream re-routing and water contamination standards - - to 'go suck lemons."
Walker is introducing legislation ending for Foxconn adherence to basic DNR environmental water, wetlands and land use rules, along with PSC rules and policies, and also a dedicated quarter-billion dollars dedicated borrowing so WisDOT hurries to finish I-94 expansion from Milwaukee across Foxconnland to the Illinois state line, the Wisconsin State Journal reports
The bill lawmakers will consider as early as Tuesday allows the company to move or change the course of streams, build man-made bodies of water that connect with natural waterways and discharge materials in state wetlands without authorization from the state Department of Natural Resources. It exempts the company from being subject to an environmental impact statement...
And it will do this and more with the apparent, at least, ideological support of the Attorney General 

But while I'm having my morning coffee instead of a bowl of lemon wedges I'm wondering if Foxconn understands that in Wisconsin, the 9th amendment to the state constitution declares that you can't build into rivers and streams  or close off the public access to or otherwise deny people their ability to enjoy or appreciate the water because, as the DNR itself continues to say despite all the cumulative attacks on water that the Walker administration has for private benefit allowed and encouraged, "Wisconsin's waters belong to everyone.

Read it for yourself.

The public trust doctrine

Wisconsin's Waters Belong to Everyone 
Wisconsin lakes and rivers are public resources, owned in common by all Wisconsin citizens under the state's Public Trust Doctrine. Based on the state constitution, this doctrine has been further defined by case law and statute. It declares that all navigable waters are "common highways and forever free", and held in trust by the Department of Natural Resources. 
In fact, the DNR goes on to cite a long-standing Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling - - the heart of which I've kept posted on the face page of my blog - - that emphasizes exactly what is wrong and unconstitutional about the scheme which Walker wants the Legislature to approve despite what every angler, boater, and hiker understands and puts into practice when they set out to enjoy what it is that makes Wisconsin, Wisconsin:
The court has ruled that DNR staff, when they review projects that could impact Wisconsin lakes and rivers, must consider the cumulative impacts of individual projects in their decisions. "A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body may be eaten away until it may no longer exist.  Our navigable waters are a precious natural heritage, once gone, they disappear forever," wrote the Wisconsin State Supreme Court justices in their opinion resolving Hixon v. PSC.(2) 
Let me also recommend a fine explanation of the Public Trust Doctrine by legal scholar Arlen Christenson which points out that the waters which Walker wants Foxconn to take over don't belong to Walker to give away:
“It holds that the state is the trustee of the waters of the state for the benefit of the people of the state,” Christenson said. “And so the trustee has a duty to care for, manage, improve and protect the water for the benefit of the citizens. It’s not as if the state owns the water, but the people are the beneficial owners of water, just as the beneficiaries of a trust...”
The Wisconsin Constitution states in article IX, section 1 that, “[T]he river Mississippi and the navigable waters leading into the Mississippi and St. Lawrence, and the carrying places between the same, shall be common highways and forever free, as well to the inhabitants of the state as to the citizens of the United States, without any tax, impost or duty therefor.” 
Christenson would later go on to say, “The idea that as the doctrine evolved, it was read to protect a variety of rights of water including the right to recreate, to fish, to hunt game, to enjoy scenic beauty and to enjoy clean and healthy water.”
More background on the Foxconn matter, here.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Greenlight for Foxconn in WI AG's Tweet, rhetoric

Brad Schimel, Wisconsin's far-right GOP Attorney General has lined his office up with corporate agendas, enabled through a pro-business opinion the privatization of state groundwater, treated polluters with kid gloves, and allied himself with friend-of-polluters Scott Pruitt, Trump's anti-environmental administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

So it's not surprising that he quickly threw his political support using far-right rhetoric for Scott Walker's already-propagandized Foxconn plan (see hyped data, absent any accurate Foxconn history, below) that will eliminate clean air and water protections in Wisconsin law which Schimel is supposed to uphold.

Anyone doubt what sort of opinion Schimel would issue about whether Walker's plan is legal, let alone constitutional?

Don't expect to see 'let's review the facts, and look at the law.'

From Schimel's campaign committee website two days ago:
  Jul 27
Workers succeed and the economy thrives when we value individual freedom and opportunity above over-regulation and big government.

Walker to sacrifice DNR, PSC and WisDOT integrity for 'Wisconn'

[Updated from 7/28/17] Well, now we know that when Walker says "Wisconn," it's more than a talking point, as intends to overturn swaths of state law for Foxconn on top while handing over boatloads of taxpayer cash and borrowing.

Walker is introducing legislation ending for Foxconn adherence to basic DNR environmental water, wetlands and land use rules, along with PSC rules and policies, and also a dedicated quarter-billion dollars dedicated borrowing so WisDOT hurries to finish I-94 expansion from Milwaukee across Foxconnland to the Illinois state line, the Wisconsin State Journal reports

The bill lawmakers will consider as early as Tuesday allows the company to move or change the course of streams, build man-made bodies of water that connect with natural waterways and discharge materials in state wetlands without authorization from the state Department of Natural Resources. It exempts the company from being subject to an environmental impact statement...
The bill also exempts public utility projects for the Foxconn campus from getting approval from the state Public Service Commission before building or relocating transmission lines, and changes rules for tax-increment financing districts.
And here's a major con in Walker's plan:
Federal environmental regulations would still apply.
Because we all know that Trump's EPA, with the cooperation of Wisconsin's AG Brad Schimel, is wiping out federal environmental clean air and water rules and protections - - which is why we are seeing news stories like this:
Trump taking hatchet to EPA
And Trump had said in the campaign he wanted to crush the agency, leaving "a little bit."

Does that sound like a reliable way to keep Wisconsin's waters and air unpolluted, or to honor the state's constitutional guarantee to accessible, enjoyable and healthy water, still summarized this way?
Wisconsin 's Waters Belong to Everyone
Remember that despite what the state constitution decrees, the DNR under Walker's 'chamber of commerce' direction has been researching at the senior management level how to use weaker federal environmental as the excuse to pre-empt and bury Wisconsin's long-established commitment to the public interest in land of Gaylord Nelson, Aldo Leopold and John Muir.

Furthermore, the Walker bill would guarantee that any business considering a Wisconsin project will ask for Foxconn subsidies, Foxconn DNR exemptions, Foxconn PSC privileges and Foxconn road-building priorities.

I apologize for earlier noting that the already shorthanded DNR would have trouble handling environmental reviews for various Foxconn activities, because there won't be any.

I also apologize for thinking that "Wisconn" was just a talking point and '18 election frame, because Walker intends to convert Wisconsin to Wisconn, a corporate state, without a new constitutional convention.

I apologize for understating the expansion of corporate control of Wisconsin and its environment, but this was months before we had bheard of Foxconn and Wisconn.

And if you don't like it, you can, as Walker just said

"...go suck lemons."

Friday, July 28, 2017

Priebus bounced, did facilitate Foxconn deal

This Journal Sentinel's tick-tock about how Foxconn came together has Reince Priebus playing a key role in setting the deal into motion.
Reince Priebus CPAC 2017 by Michael Vadon.jpg
I guess Walker - - with the Foxconn deal now framing his re-election campaign - -  is glad Reince didn't get kicked out of the Presidential motorcade and fired via Twitter a bit earlier.

Other winners: Steve Bannon, Princes Jared and Mooch. 

Meanwhile, The New York Times breaks down the Foxconn deal and finds that Wisconsin is paying quite the premium per job for the Taiwan-based factory which Walker has enthusiastically embraced: 
$3 billion in state tax credits that dwarf the typical incentive package companies receive from local governments.
Even as Mr. Walker celebrated the news with Foxconn executives at a rally at the Milwaukee Art Museum on Thursday, experts on the political left and right alike said the rewards were not justified by the cost of the tax breaks.
Over all, the subsidies for the Foxconn plant, which would produce flat-panel display screens for televisions and other consumer electronics, equal $15,000 to $19,000 per job annually.
That compares with $2,457 per year in the usual incentive arrangement, according to Timothy J. Bartik, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Campaigning on Foxconn? Perish the thought. Oh...

  1. Awesome excitement in Wausau for the Foxconn investment in WI!

Diminished, degraded WI DNR faces daunting Foxconn review

A suggestion:

The Wisconsin Legislature should add permit reviewers, inspectors and related technical staff in the 2017-'19 budget it has yet to approve for the Department of Natural Resources it has helped to downgrade because the agency will have to review and inspect an historically-large potential Foxconn project site or sites "three times the size of the Pentagon."

The reality: Nah.

Though a downsized and demoralized Wisconsin DNR is an intended consequence of the Scott Walker/Cathy Stepp mission-killing withdrawal of public interest governance at the Wisconsin DNR,  I appreciated the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's cataloguing of permits and environmental tasks facing the diminished agency when it reviews the proposed Foxconn project site described alternately as the size of the entire Village of Shorewood, a Milwaukee suburb.

Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp proudly shows off her first deer, taken opening weekend last year. In the upcoming TV Special "Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2012, Stepp urges male hunters to take more girls and women hunting. "The secret's out," she says. "Hunting is a lot of fun, so don't keep it to yourselves."  photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR

As the Journal Sentinel reports, there will be  wetlands, clean water, land use, wastewater, clean air and other project permit basics which the DNR should review, though Walker and Stepp's known 'chamber of commerce' approach to anti-pollution inspections and enforcement suggest that the DNR will struggle to do its job for the people, or could turn it over to Foxconn itself in line with Walker-era-DNR proposals to enable more laissez-faire, company-led environmental compliance in Wisconsin.

By way of comparison, note that an audit not long ago found that the DNR had a habit of ignoring its own anti-pollution inspection rules.

To which Stepp responded by blaming budget cuts and work rules, pining for the easier time she had coordinating workers with tasks and rules having managed managed a fast-food chain restaurant: 

The [Natural Resources] Board was questioning Stepp and her top administrators about a Legislative Audit Bureau report released this month showing that over the past 10 years the DNR failed 94 percent of the time to take enforcement action against private industries and municipal sewage plants that exceeded water pollution limits, violating its own internal policies.
DNR employees didn’t have time to review reports from polluters, weren’t reissuing discharge permits with updated standards on a timely basis, and frequently failed to meet the department’s own standards for inspections and enforcement action against polluters.
Stepp recalled her days as McDonald’s restaurant manager as she talked about how state employment rules that have hobbled the DNR. Stepp said she could quickly mobilize her fast-food employees when a busload of customers arrived unexpectedly, but the DNR can’t react that nimbly to retirements.
And project permit applications filed with the DNR can drag on and on and on.

For example, the agency has yet to cajole all the relevant permit information in needs after nearly two-and-a-half-years from the Iowa firm which wants to construct a 26,000 pig feedlot and manure producing operation within smelling distance of Lake Superior and the City of Ashland's drinking water supply.

Another example: the DNR got initial paperwork from Kohler interests in April, 2015 about its controversial plan to convert a nature preserve along Lake Michigan into a golf course, but only submitted its first of several formal permit applications nearly two years later, the DNR reports:

The Kohler Company submitted a wetland permit application to the department on March 8, 2017. Wetland permitting documents
So how will the DNR with fewer staffers cope with the multiple demands posed by Foxconn, and what happens to so many ongoing project reviews and routine obligations if staffers are pulled for Foxconn project needs?

McCain joins John Roberts protecting people, key institutions

Not on their watches.

Not in their institutions.

That's what US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was saying when he cast the pivotal vote in 2012 that crushed the expectations of many conservatives, saved Obamacare and preserved its extension of health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans.
Official roberts CJ.jpg
Roberts wasn't going to allow the Supreme Court - - the Roberts court - - to be the American institution that callously inflicted pain on American citizens.

Likewise early this morning for Arizona GOP Senator John McCain.

The six-term US Senator, along with equally-principled GOP Senators Lisa Murkowski, (Alaska) and Susan Collins, (Maine), wasn't going to allow the body he reveres, its formality, rules and contemplative traditions hanging by a thread, to be the American institution that callously inflicted pain on American citizens.

The US House of Representatives can and does play that low-bar/lower-expectation role under the control - -  on paper - - under the Ayn Randian and robotic gym rat Paul Ryan.

But truth be told, the House is actually under the direction of rich ideologues like the Koch brothers and their dim bulb bellhops like Glenn Grothman, Louis Gohmert and the rest of Tea Party-cum-Freedom Caucus which boasts about against government power and taxpayer-supplied spending except when it comes to producing their pay checks and expense account reimbursements.

When put to the test, McCain and Roberts have shown they understood that people, especially those with the fewest resources and greatest need must in the world's wealthiest democracy have health insurance.

McCain and Roberts also understand that basic democratic institutions with uniquely American histories like the US Senate and the Supreme Court in which they are privileged to participate as public servants shouldn't be used as cudgels against other Americans with the weakest capacity to fight back.

I'm not saying McCain and Roberts are perfect or models of progressivism.

But let's give credit when and where it's due: millions of Americans have health insurance and medical care and a shot at a better life because Roberts and McCain stood up against the far-right when that was needed.

John McCain, human being. Right place, right time.

After months of sick Tweets and 96 hours of the Mooch, the antidote:

John McCain cast a courageous vote - - as did his fellow GOP Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins and all Democratic members early this morning - -  against his party's last-ditch, cruel and most-manipulative bid for a heartless partisan 'win' at the expense of millions of Americans' medical care and peace of mind. 
John McCain's official Senate portrait, taken in 2009
The Republican Party and their scheming, amoral Senate leader Mitch McConnell and the sociopath in the White House - - meaning Trump and not the disgusting carbon copy Anthony Scaramucci, as the boss has inflicted his signature thuggish obscenity on a slimed and traumatized populace at least since the Access Hollywood tape  - - may yet cobble together a 'bill' they can slide over to the House where a willing Paul Ryan and the farcically-named Freedom Caucus would make the freedom to die without health insurance the law of the land.

Let's hope not.

And without any qualifiers, let's thank Senator McCain and salute him as he battles against brain cancer and, as he did early this morning, against the corrosive political pathology that is wearing down the country, and which was nearly spread intentionally by a gang of feckless errand boys and selfish stooges like Ron Johnson and Ted Cruz to another 15 million citizens and their families, some homebound, some in nursing homes, many in poverty so already hit hard by illness, infectious disease, birth defects, or just plain bad luck which a decent human being wouldn't wish on anyone, let alone make worse.

Gratitude and best wishes to human being John McCain, right person at the right place at the right time.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Walker - - Gov. Cynicism - - decries Foxconn 'cynics'

[Updated] The Wisconsin Governor who has made a career out of cynical dividing-and-conquering - - from playing public employees against private-sector blue-collar workers (before later feigning opposition to and then signing wage-depressing 'right-to-work legislation which hammered those workers, too) to openly whipping up exurban GOP voters with anti-Milwaukee sentiment and later adding more dog-whistling campaign calls about drug-testing public aid recipients - - now calls out Foxconn 'cynics' during day one of his Foxconn p.r. blitz:
Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, said anyone thinking about supporting the deal should be "very wary," pointing in particular to Foxconn's stated goal of adding more robots to its workforce. One factory cut 60,000 jobs last year as a result of automation, according to the South China Morning Post
Hansen argued it "makes no economic sense to build manufacturing plants in the U.S. let alone the Midwest where labor costs are so much higher unless they plan to eventually replace those jobs with machines."
Not everyone has his short memory, capacity for self-parody or brazen cynicism.

About Walker's '18 campaign 'Foxconn' over-under

I'd mused on Facebook about guessing Walker's Foxconn over-under number through the November 2018 election because we knew he'd use the proposed deal to distract from his failed 250,000 new jobs promise that is 70,000 jobs and 2.5 years short of its January 2015 deadline.

Confirmed by Politifact.

But we'll have to adjust the over-under discussion since Walker's talking point drafters have him throwing out "Wisconn Valley."

Get it...Wisconsin...Silicon Valley...Wisconn Valley...where 'Valley' workers on greater Racine-Kenosha area farmland may produce LCD panels like the one below with residents ponying up local subsidies through local bonding?

However, with Silicon Valley's tech employment at more than 600,000, I'd say, Wisconn Valley...not

Anyway, Bloomberg News carries a reality-check op-ed which says, in effect, 'don't be conned' by the jobs the factory could create:

...the only way to make it viable is by keeping staffing low and leaning on automation to boost productivity. This LCD factory will be either labor intensive or highly automated. It can't be both...
Just this past year, Foxconn is reported to have pledged investments of $5 billion in India; $3.65 billion in Kunshan, China; and $8.8 billion in Guangzhou. It's too early to know if those sums will ever be spent, but including Wisconsin, the tally now stands at $27.5 billion of commitments. That's more than Hon Hai has spent in the last 23 years.
Terry Gou didn't get where he is today by blithely spending money on huge factories. Instead, he's learned to entice leaders into thinking big, and then letting them pay.

Walker touts Foxconn construction jobs, but threw away Amtrak's

Wherein we learn that in Walker's Wisconsin, some construction jobs are more important than others.

And have more political value than others, too.

Walker is throwing out big Foxconn round-number construction job estimates:
Foxconn wants to break ground on a 20 million square foot facility in 2018 and begin operations in 2020, Walker said. Building it will require 10,000 construction workers – so many that the company will need to recruit workers from northern Wisconsin and elsewhere, he said.
But Walker, right after his 2011 swearing-in, had no problem discarding very specific job estimates by the thousands for fully-federally funded Amtrak rail construction and related employment
which the Journal Sentinel at the time had published, and which I copied out, here: 

Former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel transportation reporter Larry Sandler in early 2012 had laid out the train-assembling, rail construction and spin-off jobs lost when GOP gubernatorial-candidate-and-later-Governor Scott Walker effectively scuttled the Milwaukee-Madison Amtrak extension that was also projected as a link in a multi-state, higher-speed passenger service upgrade:
Talgo, a Spanish train manufacturer, is seeking a Wisconsin plant to assemble trains that could run on this route. The Talgo business could create 50 to 60 jobs building two trains that the state already has ordered for the existing Milwaukee-to-Chicago Hiawatha service, plus another 20 to 30 more building two more trains for high-speed service, says Jim Schmelzer, president of Super Steel Products Corp., which is seeking the work. 
Counting "indirect" jobs at suppliers would add another 152 jobs this year, 479 next year, 647 in 2012, 202 in 2013, 54 in 2014 and 11 in 2015. State and local government jobs, including planners, engineers and project managers, would total 67 this year, 212 next year, 291 in 2012, 109 in 2013, 47 in 2014 and 26 in 2015. Klein said personnel hired by the state Department of Transportation for this project would hold their jobs no more than four years. 
Therefore, total employment specifically linked to the train line would be 1,100 this year, 3,483 next year, 4,732 in 2012, 1,542 in 2013, 483 in 2014 and 167 in 2015.
So in the 2010 election, Walker tossed away jobs to curry favor with anti-urban red counties, and now touts jobs to those same counties to set himself up for '18.

Divide, conquer, regroup, reconquer.