Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Walker's Foxconn cover-up clock is ticking

So...the con in Foxconn extends to the contract.

The longer Walker and his always-troubled, long-failing, detail-free Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation withhold from the public key details from the multi-billion-public-dollar contract FUBAR prepared for Foxconn's signature, the more we move from incompetence mode to cover-up. 

I'd posted this earlier today, and so far, I see nothing from Walker or the WEDC to bring the people into the Team Walker's little secret:

...a State Senator says a surprise delay holding up the approval of the state's $3+billion commitment to Foxconn is due to the discovery of an oversight in the deal on the level of a "nuclear bomb." 
But don't fret about it; in fact, there's no need for you to know anything particular about it at all:
WEDC board chairwoman Lisa Mauer confirmed the vote was pushed back because of a particular concern but also declined to provide specifics. She said it was detected late in the negotiating process.
“We want to get this right,” Mauer said. “When something goes awry, you step back and you address that specific issue, and that is what’s going to happen.” 
People have a right to know and Walker's people have to provide the information, 

What? WEDC isn't ready on Foxconn?

[Updated from 10/17/17] 

Call it business as usual in the state allegedly open for business.

Update - - Let me rephrase that, as a State Senator says a surprise delay holding up the approval of the state's $3+billion commitment to Foxconn is due to the discovery of an oversight in the deal on the level of a "nuclear bomb." 

But don't fret about it; in fact, there's no need for you to know anything particular about it at all:
WEDC board chairwoman Lisa Mauer confirmed the vote was pushed back because of a particular concern but also declined to provide specifics. She said it was detected late in the negotiating process.
“We want to get this right,” Mauer said. “When something goes awry, you step back and you address that specific issue, and that is what’s going to happen.” 
So I'm sticking with the rest of the post that describes Scott Walker and his WEDC's incurable mishandling of their sworn obligations and the public funds entrusted to them.
No one should be surprised that the board of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has delayed voting on the $3 billion contract with Foxconn (comprehensive Foxconn project history, here).

It seems there was one small detail missing: the contract, so deadline blown. Mark my word: it won't be the only one. 

File it with stories headlined "Cutler throws interception," or "Ron Johnson has empathy deficit." 

Speaking of delays: Remember when Waukesha was supposed to get its new water supply up and running in 2018, and while Walker's DNR goosed the paperwork along, there hasn't been a refreshed water tap turned on, let alone a shovel of earth turned yet for new piping or pumps - - not even a final agreement on where the new supply will be coming from.

All such situations are made worse for taxpayers by intentional, high-level partisanship; WEDC is the same, Madison-based, stumble-prone agency that sat on its hands as the jobs-heavy Oscar Mayer plant was shuttered just a few miles away.

The message sent by Walker and the WEDC to heavily-Democratic Madison and Dane County; go suck lemons.

Here's more information about the state's recent disinterest in retaining good manufacturing facilities and jobs, white collar payrolls and staffs, and existing investments which supplied tax base to support basic public services.

Remind we why we even have a WEDC in the first place, other than Walker wanted a private-sector connected, ideologically-correct state business agency he said would do better than the Wisconsin Department of Commerce he inherited.

And the WEDC is part of the same GOP-led, Walker-era state government that had a hard time all spring and summer performing arguably its most important but routine obligation -- passing a budget - - but also, as we speak, cannot complete the partially-rebuilt Zoo Interchange and shelved for lack of funds,  foresight and common sense the expansion of I-94 past Story Hill and Miller Park. 

All are and were Walker priorities. Since 2003.

On the other hand, you can't expect a multi-tasking world traveler to get everything right, what with pressing issues on the Governor's mind like managing an intra-party crisis with a pouting Robin Vos, or lining up with Big Daddy Trump on the posture of NFL players during the national anthem.

More observations:

*  Perhaps the WEDC misses the steady hand of its founder and former chairman, that same Scott Walker, who abandoned or was bounced from the position because he was having a hard time chairing a scandal-plagued jobs and development agency in a state with only middling growth and, at the same time, selling himself to out-of-state audiences as more than just a competent punter

During, yes, a presidential bid which managed to incinerate a million dollars in ten weeks on its way to a 0% standing in national polls. 

*  And speaking of WEDC's past troubles, a shout out to the first reader who can name all the agency's executive directors and senior financial officers in the order in which they quit.

Here's a starting point to the WEDC merry-go-round in the Wisconsin State Journal from August, 2015, and in case the big picture were to escape, the story comes with this citation at the top: 
From the WEDC under fire series.
And that link takes you to the series, with this intro: 
Irresponsible loans, a lack of oversight and personnel problems have plagued the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. since its creation by Gov. Scott Walker's administration in 2011. 
*  Final point. It has only been since May of this year that the legislature returned to the lending authority it had stripped from WEDC because negative audits had found multiple problems with vetting borrowers or grantees, tracking taxpayer-supplied loans and grants, and so forth.

Yet this is the lead agency which is supposed to shepherd $3 billion in unprecedented public financing over 15 years to Taiwan-based Foxconn with Wisconsin's potential break-even point as far out as 2047.

All at Walker's pre-2018 re-election request.

I'll be more than 100 years old in 2047, but keep my heirs posted.

A Foxconn Fever primer

[Updated continuously throughout July, August, September, and October ] Foxconn wants to build in Wisconsin, so here is a growing archive of coverage and commentary on this blog, beginning with what's most recent:

*  The Foxconn contract FUBAR is being covered up
Walker's Foxconn coverup clock is running
*  Foxconn deal delayed
What? Foxconn deal isn't ready at WEDC? 
*  Foxconn now driving the WI highway budget, away from everyday needs
Hurried $252 Foxconn million for I-94 N/S is both outrage and chicken feed
*  Villages take more time to ponder building a school
Locals pushed to hand Foxconn $764 million
*  Will Racine area cabbage fields sprout lemons?
Foxconn's $764 million local shares get aired this week
*  Saying 'trust the company' overlooks reality and the record
Booster discharges murky Foxconn spin
*  Yipes! Local taxpayers will pony up $764 million local dollars For Foxconn
$764 million cost of Foxconn 'win' for WI local government
*  Rush in WI to legislate broad environmental rollbacks statewide, Foxconn-style
In post-Foxconn WI, GOP is done w/air, wetlands law 
*  The Foxconn measuring stick
Foxconn gets swift [WI AG] Schimel boost, rape kits get indolence
*  About Walker overpaying for Foxconn by a factor of five
So Scott Walker walks into an auction...
Major fox in the Foxconn chicken coop
Walker names Great Lakes Compact foe as key Foxconn aide 
*  Oh, those Foxconn obstacles
Fast-tracked Foxconn mix could sour
*  $3 billion bet on his re-election campaign. Then on jobs.
Note to NY Times: Foxconn is about Walker re-election. Then jobs.
*  Walker-led GOP group whitewashes his past, Foxconn future
Walker shills rewrite his job creation record, Foxconn outlook
*  Really painful, stupefying irony alert
Foxconn bill signing to spotlight Walker/Vos transportation incompetence
* Walker, Foxconn and the "s" word
Scott Walker's missing Foxconn word
* Foxconn deal underscores Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality 'governance
Walker's WI is model hard-right "chamber of commerce" state 
*  Oh, and about that little overlooked Foxconn item - - a Lake MI diversion
Foxconn water diversion story needed more attention 
*  Viewing Foxconn through Walker's discarded ethics lens
Walker's deleted ethics code could have skewed Foxconn giving, lobbying
*  Foxconn is Walker's biggest use of gov't to pick winners and losers, yet...
Despite denials, Walker uses gov't. to pick winners & losers
*  WI Senate joins the Foxconn parade
Wis conned. GOP-led State Senate gives OK to unprecedented giveaways.
*  Not this special favor for Foxconn, this one!
WI GOP Senate Leader adds phantom judicial 'restriction' to Foxconn deal
*  Foxconn settles on Racine County, despite flooding history there
Foxconn headed for flood-prone Racine County
*  Foxconn might feel it's the one which got conned
For new WI mines, more env. giveaways than Foxconn got
*  Along with tax breaks, free highway work - - special Supreme Court access
WI GOP lawmakers hand Foxconn newer, bigger favor
* One potential Foxconn locale is struggling with the opportunity
With Foxconn looming, Mount Pleasant had a meltdown
* Out-going DNR Secretary Stepp spills the beans
DNR's Stepp says a Foxconn was the plan all along
* Holding Foxconn to the Walker/Trump environmental (will-wink) 'standards'
Exposing Walker's environmental Foxconn con
'No-tax-increase Walker' might just raise local taxes
Add local taxpayers to school on cusp of Foxconning
*  WI may find Foxconn draining education funding
WI legislators, on educ. funding today, could show Foxconn effect 
*  Latest news: Foxconn's billion-dollar 'strain' on state budgets, or "D'uh!"
Go suck on $1 billion worth of lemons, Bucky
*  At least this time he didn't call you an ISIS fighter.
Vintage Walker uses Foxconn to flip off the people
*  A rushed project would not need so many corrections.
Another day, another Foxconn data correction.
*  GOP leaders Walker/Vos/Stepp have long failed job creation, environmental protection pledges.
On Foxconn assurances, consider the sources and histories
*  13,000 jobs? No accident that the Assembly and public didn't have all the facts
Put Foxconn on hold until Walker explains data suppression
*  Robin Vos, reckless and feckless.
Robin Vos trivialized $3 billion, ignored shocking jobs info
*  Dispensing with clean blue water, green legacy. 
Green? WI GOP likes brown, orange, perhaps blackish and 'sudsy'
*  And the next shoe drops. 
Seeing Foxconn 'win, WI GOP env. wrecking crew eyes mining favors 
*  Walker, GOP laid Foxconn groundwork years ago.
Foxconn favors are basic to Walker, GOP's sloppy playbook
*  Walker evades leadership from #Foxconn to #Charlottesville.
On jobs, moral leadership, persistent Walker con
*  Reality, troubling numbers, no state budget mean nothing to GOP legislature.
GOP Foxconn votes proceed robotically as jobs, revenue estimates fall
* New Foxconn bill version, same environmental rollbacks, records show.
Amended Foxconn bill retains env. waivers, special privileges
*  Changing the rules to fit the players.

As WI, GOP change the rules for Foxconn, a reminder
*WI will subsidize Foxconn jobs paying nowhere near family-supporting wages.
WI now talking about <$15-per-hour Foxconn jobs
*  Now they're just wishing and hoping.
Witless Walker's farcical Foxconn fix
*  The Chicago Sun-Times 'thanks' Walker for pro-Illinois Foxconn plan
Another bad review for Walker's Foxconn deal
*  Now we look for solace to Scott Fitzgerald (!) as Foxconn gets horrible reviews.
Foxconn doubters turn their lonely eyes to...Scott Fitzgerald!
*  Foxconn is to get a pass from normal DNR reviews, which is fine with the DNR.
Stepp puts the DNR in on Foxconn env. evasion
*  Walker told his Foxconn critics to 'go suck lemons.' Then...
Sucking lemons - - or absorbing buyer's remorse - - for 26 sucking years
*  Walker's fake-news Foxconn projects are collapsing.
Foxconn taxpayer projections zoom, payroll benefits plunge
* No surprise that major WI polluting industry. wants env. exemptions.
If Foxconn is exempted from env. oversight, why not CAFOs?
Who's to say that Foxconn privileges won't be applied statewide?
And if environmental rules and laws are waived for Foxconn...  
* Does Michigan have better deal-makers than Wisconsin? 
Foxconn eyes Michigan for high tech development site
*  Water law expert says Foxconn environmental rollback endangers the deal.

Noted water law expert predicts WI officials' Foxconn 'bungle'
*  The Walker/WMC tag team.
Foxconn to locate at intersection of Walker and WMC avenues
*  Big business laughs off Foxconn project environmental concerns.
Wisconsin Biz lobby sneers at routine Wisconsin conservation guarantee
*  Walker never saw a wetland he didn't want filled.
Walker's giveaway Foxconn bill extends his war on wetlands
*  Zoo Interchange completion $$ rerouted to another project for Foxconn.
Because the I-94 Vos/Foxconn exit isn't in the Zoo Interchange
*  Foxconn process 'open,' says Walker after closed door briefing for GOP caucuses.
Walker opens 'open' Foxconn FavorFest behind closed doors
*  Walker, Ryan producing Foxconn political ads.
Walker giveth to Foxconn, taketh for his re-election
*  Walker would allow Foxconn 19th century 'environmental' practices.
'Wisconsin Valley' or Wisconsin, Inc. dead zone?
*  The Legislature pushed to re-create Wisconsin as Wisconsin, Inc.
Rushed Foxconn special session set for 11 a.m. August 1
*  SE WI communities should worry about what Walker wants to do with their budgets, tax collections:
For Foxconn, Walker bets your farm, breaks the bank(s)
*  Walker, AG and legislature could give away what's not theirs:
Foxconn favors face WI Constitutional barrier
*  GOP Wi Attorney General Brad Schimel weighs in, pre-emptively and rhetorically.
Greenlight for Foxconn in WI AG's Tweet, rhetoric
*  Walker to convert Wisconsin to Wisconn without a constitutional convention, and if you don't like it, 'go suck lemons."
Walker to sacrifice DNR, PSC and WisDot integrity for 'Wisconn'
*  The cynical pot has his say.
Walker - - Gov. Cynicism - - decries Foxconn 'cynics'
*  Walker already has '18 campaign in Foxconn frame:
About Walker's '18 election Foxconn over-under
*  In Walker's Wisconsin, some blue-collar jobs are more important than others:
Walker touts Foxconn construction jobs, threw away Amtrak's
* Walker, Trump should become the new champions of Great Lakes preservation and climate change science: 
Great Lakes water lifts Foxconn deal
*  About jobs:
3,000 Foxconn jobs would not = 3,776 WI mfg. jobs lost in '16
*  Are HB-5 $$-for-visas in the deal:
Are green cards for investment in a Foxconn-WI deal?
*  Public dollars needed:
How many WI dollars will Walker give super-wealthy Foxconn?
*  When Foxconn stiffed another state:
If you've got Foxconn fever, remember Pennsylvania's hangover
*  Vos blocked transit Foxconn workers could have used:
Vos' long transit blockade does not help Racine's Foxconn future
* Walker killed Amtrak service Foxconn might have loved: 
Amtrak line killed by Walker could have fed Foxconn


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

No Walker Lincoln Hills, Trump tweets tonight, but...

Walker, always accepting of and excusing Trump, does have his priorities:

Our signed Cheesehead and “Unintimidated” combo packages are going quickly, get yours today!

Trump elevates another corporate friend of air, water pollution

At this rate, Trump is probably trying to figure out a way to name The Marlboro Man as US Surgeon General.

Since Dearest Leader-America has decided that his hand-picked US EPA dirty air enabler Scott Pruitt 
Smoke stacks from a factory.
needs a Koch-inspired, pollution ally to run what is supposed to be the White House Council on Environmental Quality:
Like other members of the Trump administration, [Kathleen Hartnett-White] has long questioned the overwhelming scientific consensus on human-fueled climate change and has criticized the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a volunteer group of climate scientists whose findings are considered the gold standard of climate science. And she has described efforts to combat global warming as little more than an attack on the fossil fuel industry.... 
Hartnett-White has also questioned the idea that carbon dioxide is a pollutant at all, calling it “an odorless, invisible, beneficial, and natural gas.”
“Our flesh, blood and bones are built of carbon,” she wrote in 2016. “Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the gas of life on this planet, an essential nutrient for plant growth on which human life depends.”

Monday, October 16, 2017

Headline-seeking WI politician grasps for attention

There's no other explanation for Walker's uninvited segue into Trump's wholly trumped-up NFL, race-baiting 'debate.' 
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Monday urged NFL leaders to stamp out protests during the national anthem and focus instead on domestic violence.
In a letter to National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL players union head DeMaurice Smith, the GOP governor urged the league and players to stop their silent protests during "The Star-Spangled Banner." 
We saw this intellectual weakness when Walker failed at National Candidacy 101:
What we’re left with is an inexperienced candidate whose views of the world lack any depth or maturity...Scott Walker is quickly positioning himself as a candidate who simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
And, by the way, any letter that Scott "Act 10" Walker sends to a union president isn't meant to be taken seriously. 

This whole stunt is only a way for Walker to get on television without paying for an ad while pretending to be saying or doing something important.

Using staff time and the Governor's official Twitter feed for this distraction on the eve of a campaign announcement raises all sorts of ethical flags.

The should use its influence to condemn domestic violence & lead the charge in supporting safe families

This is a phonied-up story by a fake leader. I hope TV news editors and anchors around the state don't take the bait - - just the way he's counting on a racialized voter base to jump at it.

If this is Walker's message, TV should tell him to buy an ad. The rest of us just wish he'd zip it.


New WI license plate slogan? Really going there, WMC?

Good idea, WMC? 
The head of the state's business lobby, Kurt Bauer, said Monday that Wisconsin should consider removing the slogan "America's Dairyland" from its automobile license plates...
...Bauer said many other exciting things are happening in the state's economy. That starts, he said, with the plan by Taiwanese electronics maker Foxconn to build a massive manufacturing campus near Racine. 
Looks like Foxconn fever is spreading.

Really - - a new license plate slogan in America's Dairyland?
Three Stooges 1937.jpg

Be careful for what you wish for, as there's already a "con" in Wisconsin and Foxconn, so let the good ideas flow.

Trump's Texas-sized coal fail

Trump touts dirty coal in his war on Obama, but markets say the answer is blowing in the wind. 
From today's "Daily on Energy" email newsletter - - free subscription, here - -  distributed by the conservative Washington Examiner:
WIND ENERGY AIMS TO OVERTAKE COAL IN TEXAS: Wind energy is expected to overtake coal in Texas after Friday's news that two large coal-fired power plants are set to close in the next year.
Two plants fade into sunset: The utility firm Luminant announced that it would close the Sandow Power Plant and the Big Brown Power Plant in early 2018. The power plants comprise 2,300 megawatts of electricity, which means 2.1 million homes in the Lone Star State will no longer be powered by coal. 
What fills the gap: That gap in electricity generation is projected to be filled by wind farms in the Texas energy grid known as ERCOT, according to an analysis issued by the University of Texas at Austin's Energy Institute soon after Luminant's announcement. 
"New coal retirements announced by Luminant (Big Brown and Sandow plants) means ERCOT will soon lose significant coal generation capacity. At the same time, wind capacity is expected to increase by nearly 4,000 [megawatts] by 2018, meaning wind capacity will soon exceed coal capacity in Texas," the Energy Institute said. 
Wind’s future: "Given current capacity factors for the respective technologies, it's conceivable that energy generation from wind could possibly overtake coal in the near future," it said in a release. 
Facts and figures: The total amount of wind energy will reach 24,400 megawatts and coal shrinks to 20,370 megawatts, according to the university. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Dealing w/floods is a changing science; who in WI gov't cares?

With right-wing GOP WI Gov. and Koch brothers anti-climate science ally Scott Walker having killed the DNR's science bureau, and his DNR having deleted the science off its heavily-scrubbed climate change web page, and state and local governments in Racine County at Walker's direction are betting $3.764 billion in public dollars on Foxconn building its village-size factory where heavy rains seem to be falling with worrisome frequently - - 
Image result for racine wi flooding images photos
- - where in state government do we send this vital, data-driven information distributed by the authoritative site?
The concept of using a “100-year flood” as a benchmark for risk isn’t just misunderstood; it obscures fundamental statistical problems in how we assess flood risks — problems that can lead to residents and homeowners believing themselves to live in a zone of safety that isn’t there. It may be time for us to find a different way of evaluating that risk altogether.

Wisconsin tweet of the day, re: Paul Ryan/health care

Activists everywhere.