Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Why Are Most Voters In Wisconsin Casting Ballots Against Trump? Where Do We Start?



The big con-- when will the rest of Wisconsin voters figure it out?

Yesterday, Trump infected 61,429 more Americans with COVID-19. Wisconsin had the second most confirmed new cases-- 4,591, bringing the state's total to 178,482-- 30,654 cases for every million residents. I'm not a big fan of moderate Democratic governor Tony Evers but he did everything scientists and public health experts said was necessary. And the Republican-controlled legislature and Republican goons on the state Supreme Court, cheered on by Trump, overturned every move he made to protect the state. Now, as predicted, hospitals are on the verge of being overrun as the state keeps setting records for new cases, hospital admissions and deaths. The state's school system is a wreck, including in red, rural districts whose MAGA citizens thought they were safe and that Trump would never lie to them.
Across Wisconsin-- currently one of the nation’s worst COVID-19 hotspots-- health officials have investigated nearly 500 COVID-19 outbreaks in schools. More than 15,000 children ages 17 and younger have been infected to date, state Department of Health Services data show. Numerous schools across Wisconsin have suspended in-person classes this fall, at least temporarily, because of cases among students and staff.

...Wisconsin is behind the national average when it comes to high-speed internet coverage in rural parts of the state. About 43% of rural areas lack the service, compared to about 31% nationwide.

That’s one reason Wisconsin’s rural school districts overwhelmingly decided to return to face-to-face instruction last month, said Kim Kaukl, executive director of the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance.

While big urban school districts like Milwaukee and Madison opted to start completely online, about 75% of the 100 rural districts that answered an optional survey from the state Department of Public Instruction planned to offer face-to-face instruction at least four days per week, a Wisconsin Watch analysis of DPI data shows. Most, if not all, give families the option of virtual schooling, however.

Yesterday, Wisconsin Public Radio reported that "Wisconsinites are not making changes to their behavior-- even as public health officials issue grave warnings, the state's hospitals are on the verge of overflowing, and more people are dying from the disease than at any time in the pandemic. New data from the White House Coronavirus Task Force found Wisconsinites are still traveling in their communities about as much as they did before the pandemic. The task force report, released Wednesday, also said Wisconsin ranks as the fourth-worst state in the nation for new infections. It called Wisconsin's rising hospitalizations an 'extreme concern' and wrote the situation in Wisconsin will 'continue to worsen' short of real changes in state policy or public behavior. As of Monday afternoon, according to the New York Times' tracking tool, 8 of the 20 worst-hit metro areas in the country are in Wisconsin."

Nevertheless, 3 days after the White House task force called for caution, Trump staged one of his super-spreader events in Janesville-- against the request of local elected officials-- that attracted thousands. And it isn't just Trump. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald should eventually be charged with negligent homicide.
Wisconsin has few statewide public health measures in place, and those it has have been the subject of court challenges.  The Republican-controlled Legislature and a conservative legal group have said they'll take their lawsuit against Gov. Tony Evers' statewide mask mandate to the state Supreme Court.  In response to the state's soaring infection rates and hospitalizations, state DHS Secretary Andrea Palm issued an order Oct. 6 limiting capacity at bars, restaurants and retail shops. The order was in place for less than a week before a Sawyer County judge issued an injunction that temporarily blocked it, after the state's Tavern League filed a lawsuit. On Monday, a different judge put the order back in place. 
Monday, Reuters released a poll of likely Wisconsin voters by Ipsos. Biden has increased his margin against Trump statewide by a point and now leads Trump 51-43%, with almost a quarter of the respondents saying they have already voted. By a margin of 52-38%, Wisconsonites say Biden would be better at handling the pandemic. It shocks me no end, though, that by 47-45%, a plurality says Trump would be better at managing the economy. Are they insane?

Every single one of them needs to read Judd Legum's latest Popular Information newsletter: Trump's "Eighth Wonder Of The World" is a few empty buildings, Legum noted that "On June 28, 2018, Trump traveled to Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, and announced that Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics company, would be building a 20-million-square foot manufacturing facility. Trump said that he had secured an agreement from his 'friend,' Foxconn chairman Terry Gou, to invest $10 billion and create 13,000 jobs" and "dubbed the facility the 'Eighth Wonder of the World" and claimed it was proof his policies were 'restoring America’s industrial might.'"

Goal ThermometerIt was another of Trump's trademarked empty, self-serving boasts. Today Kristina Shelton is the progressive Democrat running for an Assembly seat in central Green Bay. She told us that "The Foxconn deal is perhaps the best example we have that relying on the whims and profits of corporations is not the way to create good jobs in Wisconsin or anywhere else. Even if this project had worked, and it never seemed likely that it would, it would have been a massive giveaway of Wisconsinites’ tax dollars to a foreign corporation. Its utter and disastrous failure clearly shows that the gargantuan amount of wasted money and wasted resources could have been much better spent in directly guaranteeing Wisconsinites good jobs and protecting our natural resources and lands."

Jacob Malinowski, whose western Milwaukee Assembly district is closer to the derelict site said "We knew from the get-go that this was a bad deal for Wisconsin: Assembly Republicans were willing to give huge corporate handouts and destroy the local environment for a company which had failed to deliver on its promises around the globe. Either they didn't do their homework or they knew this and didn't care. We need thoughtful leaders who will smartly evaluate their decisions-- not more disinterested and dispassionate partisans."

Putting the boondoggle into context, Legum wrote that now-defeated Governor Scott Walker "paid a heavy price to seal the deal. Overall, the state and various localities provided Foxconn $4 billion in incentives. Some of that money has already been paid out. Racine County bought the land for the facility and gave it to Foxconn for free. Property owners had their land seized by the state, paid for by taxpayers, to make way for Foxconn's facility. Millions more were spent on infrastructure improvements. Since all taxes for the project were eliminated, the tax incentives were essentially cash payments to the company. If everything went perfectly, 'the state wouldn’t break even until 2043.' The deal quickly began to fall apart... [A] Foxconn spokesman told Reuters that it would not manufacture much of anything in Wisconsin. 'In Wisconsin, we’re not building a factory. You can’t use a factory to view our Wisconsin investment,' the spokesman said. The facility would 'consist of research facilities along with packaging and assembly operations.' Foxconn initially estimated it would create 5,200 jobs by 2020. That figure was revised down to 1,000."
Trump was unhappy. He called Gou and convinced him to reverse the announcement. After the conversation, Foxconn released a statement saying it was "moving forward with our planned construction of a Gen 6 [LCD] fab facility." Trump took a victory lap.

But while Foxconn agreed to Trump's demand to keep calling the facility an LCD factory, there was "no further information on the focus of the facility, the size of the investment, or the jobs that will be created." Since then, things have gone downhill.

A new expose by The Verge finds that what "Foxconn calls an LCD factory-- about 1/20th the size of the original plan-- is little more than an empty shell." Last month, "Foxconn received a permit to change its intended use from manufacturing to storage."

The project has only generated a handful of jobs, "many of them held by people with nothing to do, hired so the company could reach the number required for it to get tax subsidy payments from Wisconsin" at the end of 2019. The company claimed it had hired 580 people, enough to qualify for the tax subsidies. Last week, "Wisconsin rejected the company’s subsidy application and found it had employed only 281 people eligible under the contract" at the conclusion of last year. After the deadline passed, many of those were laid off.

The company built a handful of buildings, including a "multi-purpose" structure and an orb. None of them have any clear purpose. It considered, at various times, using them for "fish farms, exporting ice cream, [or] storing boats." Before striking the massive deal, Foxconn performed "no research into the market for products Foxconn might make or the costs of producing those products in Wisconsin." The company maintains that an LCD factory is coming and recently set up a small line for manufacturing servers. But Foxconn recently acknowledged it "has so far invested 2.8 percent of the $10 billion it promised."

Trump, for his part, continues to stay on message. In an interview with a local Wisconsin station on Sunday, Trump said Foxconn had built “one of the most incredible plants I’ve ever seen.” The company will keep its promises, Trump insisted. But only if he's reelected.
Chris Larson is the most progressive-- and strategic-- member of the state Senate. Yesterday, he reminded me that "Three years ago, so many of us tried to avoid this debacle for Wisconsin and our warnings were ignored. Instead, they fell for the biggest con in U.S. history. Even now, you'd be hard pressed to find a Republican who still isn't pretending they aren’t being conned. Like most things involving Trump, it's hard to tell if they’re really this gullible or in on the con. Either way, they shouldn’t be trusted. Every politician who voted for this boondoggle should be forever reminded of what a disaster it is. Luckily, we have a chance to hold them accountable in two weeks, from the assembly and senate Republicans all the way up to Trump."

Assembly candidate Sarah Yacoub couldn't agree more. She told me that her opponent "as of 9/4/2020 is still lying to us about Foxconn, saying it was a good deal and that it didn’t cost us any money. Even local Republicans recognized that it was bad for our district and now we know it cost Wisconsin taxpayers at least $400 million. The 30th Assembly District deserves representation that has the backbone to stand up and say no to a bad deal. Instead, we currently have someone more interested in licking the boots of Madison Republicans for his own personal political gain."

When super-progressive Francesca Hong won the Madison primary, she essentially won herself an Assembly seat. She's spending a lot of her time campaign for other Democrats in tougher seats. "The thing is," she said, "Foxconn went pretty much according to plan. President Trump and Governor Walker wrote out the biggest corporate contract in the history of our state on the back of a napkin. They gave a ton of money to a corporation-- something they're always happy to do-- and they harmed working families and individuals in the process. They liked the press releases about creating jobs more than they actually cared about creating jobs. How do we know? Look at the deal. Tons of upfront money and few if any safeguards ensuring that real jobs went to Wisconsinites. Wisconsin got conned by Foxconn. But we got screwed by Walker, Vos and their allies in the state legislature. Let's vote Vos and his cronies all out of office this November and and do the work of refocusing our priorities on working families, not massive corporations."

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At 6:41 AM, Blogger Knockout Zed said...

The top photo is the most unflattering picture I've ever seen of that big, dumb fascist and that's saying a lot.

At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really doesn't make sense to blast WI Republicans when "Democrats" do this bribed fraud as well. Removing corporate control of the government is the goal, not to make it a uni-party activity.

At 8:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will whomever wrote and whomever posted this even feel a twinge of regret when WI ends up voting Nazi again?

At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Probably not, 8:00. Winning isn't everything, after all. It's the ONLY thing. And both parties believe in this as their excuses for doing so many vile acts which go against the spirit of democracy.


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