FREE WHITEWATER

Foxconn: The Closer One Gets, The Worse It Is

There is, about Foxconn in Wisconsin, a fair amount of ignorant insistence that there will be supply chain opportunities, etc. Public employees talking about the Foxconn project’s supposed benefit is the practical equivalent letting them recite limericks or play sheepshead: it’s not productive.

For those near Foxconn, however, that project is more than wasteful talk: it’s a fiscal and environmental disaster in the making.

Bruce Murphy asks is Mount Pleasant [the] Biggest Foxconn Loser?:

Mount Pleasant’s annual budget is just over $15 million, yet in late 2017 the village and Racine County (whose budget was $151.6 million that year) jointly approved a figure 50 times higher than the village’s budget — $764 million in spending — for land acquisition, road construction and new sewer and water lines, all for the Foxconn project. 

….

The amount of borrowing led Moody’s Investors Service to lower Mount Pleasant’s credit rating last September and in January Moody’s added another cautionary note, as the Journal Sentinel reported.

The village expects to recoup the entire cost of the project through a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) district it has created. Its financial consultant has estimated the Foxconn TIF will generate $30 million of revenue a year, based on Foxconn being assessed for $1.4 billion in taxable improvements by January 1, 2023. And if the company doesn’t meet this target by then, which seems increasingly likely, it will still be taxed based on $1.4 billion in improvements under the contract.

But what if the company refuses to pay? What if it folds up its tent and leaves town? Then the village would have to go to court to try and enforce the contract.

….

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) represents much of Racine County and portions of Mount Pleasant, and he promised that Foxconn would deliver “a $10 billion development project, 13,000 careers and new opportunities throughout Wisconsin. The Foxconn project is a worthwhile investment that will transform our state and help build a strong, healthy economy.”

So when taxpayers look for who to blame when their massive investment is not repaid, they might look first to their local state representative. Which might explain why Vos is desperately trying to blame Gov. Tony Evers for Foxconn’s reduction in the size of the project. 

Meanwhile, Jim Newtown reports Wisconsin Foxconn development could bring record flooding to Gurnee:

A study conducted for the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission projects Des Plaines River water levels will rise several inches as a result of Wisconsin’s Foxconn Technology Group development, and officials said Gurnee could see record-breaking floods as a result.

In a report to the Gurnee Village Board Monday night, Gurnee Community Development Director David Ziegler told the board current site work and the first phase of the Foxconn project is projected to add about 2 inches of additional water to current levels, but at build-out, that number could well reach over 6 inches.

Soaked or soaked: Soaked financially if the project likely fails, and soaked environmentally if it improbably succeeds.

Previously10 Key Articles About FoxconnFoxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers,  Foxconn Destroys Single-Family HomesFoxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair BudgetThe Man Behind the Foxconn ProjectA Sham News Story on Foxconn, Another Pig at the TroughEven Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) WorkforceFoxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After All, Foxconn’s Ambition is Automation, While Appeasing the Politically Ambitious, Foxconn’s Shabby Workplace ConditionsFoxconn’s Bait & SwitchFoxconn’s (Overwhelmingly) Low-Paying JobsThe Next Guest SpeakerTrump, Ryan, and Walker Want to Seize Wisconsin Homes to Build Foxconn Plant, Foxconn Deal Melts Away“Later This Year,” Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison, Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent Domain, Foxconn: Failure & FraudFoxconn Roundup: Desperately Ill Edition Foxconn Roundup: Indiana Layoffs & Automation Everywhere, Foxconn Roundup: Outside Work and Local Land, Foxconn Couldn’t Even Meet Its Low First-Year Goal, Foxconn Talks of Folding Wisconsin Manufacturing Plans, WISGOP Assembly Speaker Vos Hopes You’re StupidLost Homes and Land, All Over a Foxconn Fantasy, Laughable Spin as Industrial Policy, Foxconn: The ‘State Visit Project,’ ‘Inside Wisconsin’s Disastrous $4.5 Billion Deal With Foxconn,’ Foxconn: When the Going Gets Tough…, The Amazon-New York Deal, Like the Foxconn Deal, Was Bad Policy, Foxconn Roundup, Foxconn: The Roads to Nowhere, Foxconn: Evidence of Bad Policy Judgment, Foxconn: Behind Those Headlines, Foxconn: On Shaky Ground, Literally, Foxconn: Heckuva Supply Chain They Have There…, Foxconn: Still Empty, and the Chairman of the Board Needs a Nap and Foxconn: Cleanup on Aisle 4.… Continue reading

Daily Bread for 4.22.19

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will see afternoon thunderstorms with a high of seventy-seven.  Sunrise is 6:00 AM and sunset 7:45 PM, for 13h 44m 37s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 89.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the eight hundred ninety-fourth day.

The Whitewater School Board meets at 6 PM, with an open session beginning at 7 PM.

On this day in 1954, the televised portion of the Army-McCarthy hearings begins:

Chaired by Senator Karl Mundt, the hearings convened on March 16, 1954, and received considerable press attention, including gavel-to-gavel live television coverage on ABC and DuMont (April 22–June 17). The media coverage, particularly television, greatly contributed to McCarthy’s decline in popularity and his eventual censure by the Senate the following December.

Recommended for reading in full:

Abigail Tracy reports The “Red Line” Investigations that Will Haunt Trump’s Presidency:

For Donald Trump, perhaps the most chilling moment in the Mueller report occurs on page 446, where the special counsel reveals that he has referred a total of 14 potential cases to other prosecutors. Because while Robert Mueller was given a limited mandate to investigate the Trump-Russia affair, special counsel investigations have a habit of unearthing other, unrelated criminality in the process. Perhaps that is why, when Trump first learned that Mueller had been appointed, according to the report, he slumped back in his chair and exclaimed, “I’m fucked.”

What flashed through Trump’s mind in that moment—his sprawling business empire, his byzantine taxes, his hush-money payments to a porn star—is unknown. Indeed, 12 of the 14 referrals that Mueller outsourced were redacted and remain shrouded in secrecy. (The two public referred cases involve Michael Cohen, the president’s former fixer, and a false-statement case against Democratic attorney and lobbyist Gregory Craig.) But, with investigations churning in Congress, in New York, and in Washington, D.C., it is clear that Trump’s nightmare is just beginning. Below is an accounting of the known legal threats Trumpworld has yet to grapple with. [Tracy lists all 14.]

Lachlan Markay reports Russian State Media Binges on Fox Prime Time and Sean Hannity Reruns:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report implicated the Russian government in a widespread campaign of hacking and political disinformation during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Russian state media is nonetheless trumpeting the reaction of U.S. conservativesto the report, which found that the Trump campaign was not complicit in those election-meddling efforts, as evidence of a broad anti-Russian conspiracy in the U.S. And it’s using at least one prominent American conservative voice to do so.

The Russian government-owned Rossiya 1 news channel recently broadcasted excerpts from Fox News primetime host Sean Hannity’s on-air monologue, which hammered “media hysteria” over the report and allegations of campaign “collusion” with the Russian government.

In its own editorializing, Rossiya 1 described the report as “bestseller about the absence of collusion between Trump and Russia,” and blamed the political press and U.S. intelligence agencies for “hounding Trump” over the allegations, according to a translation by journalist and Daily Beast contributor Julia Davis.

 Protecting the Future of Rock Lobster Fishing:

Continue reading

Daily Bread for 4.21.19

Good morning.

Easter in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of seventy-seven.  Sunrise is 6:02 AM and sunset 7:44 PM, for 13h 41m 57s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 94.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the eight hundred ninety-third day.

 

On this day in 1838, John Muir is born:

On this date John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland. He immigrated with his family to Wisconsin in 1849 and spent his youth working on his father’s farms in Marquette County, experiences that are recounted in The Story of My Boyhood and Youth (1913). In 1868 he moved to Yosemite Valley, California, where he became a conservationist and leader in the forest preserve movement. His work led to the creation of the first national parks, the saving of California’s redwoods, and the founding of the Sierra Club.

 

Recommended for reading in full:

Jake Rudnitsky and Ilya Arkhipov write Mueller Exposes Putin’s Use of Tycoons as Trump Emissaries

Shortly after news emerged that Hillary Clinton had phoned Donald Trump to concede the presidential election early on November 9, 2016, the head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund received a message from New York: “Putin has won.”

The exchange recorded in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, in which the name of Kirill Dmitriev’s contact has been redacted, captures the jubilation among Kremlin insiders over Trump’s victory following what U.S. intelligence said was a campaign of Russian interference designed to help the underdog. The win set in motion what the report called a “flurry of Russian activity” among businessmen to establish contact with the president-elect’s team.

Mueller’s report, which includes details of Dmitriev’s private correspondence and an interview with billionaire investor Petr Aven, offers a rare glimpse into how President Vladimir Putin uses leading businessmen to act as informal Kremlin emissaries, meeting regularly with them to give directions.

….

“It’s an open secret that oligarchs are an important tool not only domestically but in Russia’s foreign policy,” Valery Solovei, a political scientist at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations, said. “The merit of the Mueller report is that he exposes this, showing how it functions.”

  Scott Simon reports Helvetica, The Iconic Font Both Loved And Loathed, Gets Its 1st Redesign In 36 Years:

It’s been used by brands such as American Airlines, Panasonic and Toyota. It’s all over the signage in the New York City subway system. Even Google, Apple and Netflix used it for a time.

Helvetica is ubiquitous around the world, but despite its popularity, the typeface has some issues: letters scrunch together at small sizes and the space between them can be uneven.

Now, after 36 years, the widely used — and widely controversial — font is getting a makeover.

The upgrade was designed by the the Massachusetts type giant Monotype, which controls licensing for Helvetica. The company has updated each of Helvetica’s 40,000 characters for the digital age, offering three new sizes designed to work on everything from billboards to the tiny screens of a smartwatch. The updated font even has a new name: “Helvetica Now.”

Helvetica® Now:

Third Investigation: ‘Up to 10 students, faculty report being harassed by former UW-Whitewater chancellor’s husband’

Originally posted 4.19.19.

One reads today, in a Good Friday records release from the UW System, that Up to 10 students, faculty report being harassed by former UW-Whitewater chancellor’s husband:

An investigation into the husband of former University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Chancellor Beverly Kopper found that at least seven and up to 10 students or staff reported being sexually harassed by her husband.

Kopper resigned in December after her husband, Alan “Pete” Hill, had been banned from campus. The university released the 18-page investigative report and about 850 pages of attachments on Friday in response to an open records request.

In the report, investigators conclude there is credible evidence that Hill sexually harassed both employees and students, and that the incidents occurred mainly on campus or UWW-related properties like the chancellor’s home.

A few preliminary remarks:

Widespread, Pervasive Injury.  News accounts suggest an even greater number of harassment and assault survivors than previously reported.

Investigation and Supporting Documents. I have not yet read the eighteen-page report or hundreds of pages in supporting documents.  If the report is not published online by the papers that requested it, I will submit my own request to the UW System under Wisconsin’s Public Records Law, Wis. Stat. §§ 19.31–19.39.

UW System InvestigationUpdate 4.19.19 9:30 PM: Updated reporting notes that the UW System used outside investigators.  There were two prior purely internal investigations, the existence of which remained concealed from the public for months, and System Pres. Ray Cross and others kept those prior investigations secret until a newspaper’s public records request forced their acknowledgment.

The prospect of ongoing litigation against the UW System for so many cases of individual injury means that the System has a financial and reputational self-interest in minimizing a description of those injuries.

The Ongoing Tragedy. The last two chancellors presided over a campus with a high number of sexual assaults, administrative concealment of harassment, and multiple published accounts of failure to process complainants’ claims properly under federal law. See, a category at FREEWHITEWATER addressing the circumstances that brought this campus, and this community, to search for a yet another chancellor.

Then and Now.  There is a fundamental difference between those who experience injury and those who merely write about it.  This difference is always in my mind.  Those who are injured deserve care and support as soon, as often, and as fully as they require it.  That care and support, even with the best intentions, will often prove inadequate, but it carries with it an expectation of immediacy.  One does not allow an injured person to go without the care she or he needs and wants, then and there.

By contrast, those of us who merely write about others’ injuries neither need nor deserve care, and so have (necessarily) no immediate expectations for ourselves.  An examination may stretch over an extended period.  Indeed, sometimes the collection of information requires relentless, methodical diligence. One returns to a subject so often as it requires, again and again if necessary, until a contrary force is at last swept away.

Most of all: one wishes that there were no injuries, and so no need for writing about them.… Continue reading

Film: Tuesday, April 23rd, 12:30 PM @ Seniors in the Park, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

This Tuesday, April 23rd at 12:30 PM, there will be a showing of Can You Ever Forgive Me? @ Seniors in the Park, in the Starin community building:

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Biography/Comedy/Drama/Crime)

Tuesday, April 23rd, 12:30 pm
Rated R (Language); 1 hour, 46 min. (2018).

When biographer/profiler Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) no longer finds her work publishable or profitable, she turns her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack (Richard E. Grant).  Both actors received Oscar nominations (Actress/Supporting Actor).

One can find more information about Can You Ever Forgive Me? at the Internet Movie Database.

Enjoy.… Continue reading

Daily Bread for 4.20.19

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of sixty-six.  Sunrise is 6:03 AM and sunset 7:43 PM, for 13h 39m 15s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 98.4 of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the eight hundred ninety-second day.

 

On this day in 1836, the oldest library in Wisconsin is founded.

 

Recommended for reading in full:

Conservative David French writes Donald Trump Is Weak and Afraid. The Mueller Report Proves It:

It’s difficult to overestimate the extent to which Trump’s appeal to his core supporters is built around the notion that — regardless of his other flaws — he possesses a core strength, a willingness to “fight” and an ability to strike a degree of fear in the hearts of his opponents. I live in the heart of Trump country in Tennessee, and I have consistently heard the same refrain from his most loyal supporters. Trump, as they say, “kicks ass.” He was the ultimate alpha male, a political version of Tony Soprano, a formidable boss who commands an army of loyal consiglieri. Cross him at your peril.

But now, thanks to the Mueller report, his “fights” look more like temper tantrums, and those closest to him — including low men like Lewandowski and far-more-noble men like former White House counsel Donald McGahn — understand that his fury is passing and his directives are unreliable, seemingly transitory and easily forgotten or disregarded.

Moreover, his vaunted personal judgment — an image cultivated through years of careful television production on The Apprentice — has been exposed as well. When one reads Robert Mueller’s account of Trump’s own campaign chair’s extraordinary efforts to maintain an encrypted connection to Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs, it’s plain that Trump was playedPaul Manafort used Trump’s gullibility as a business opportunity.

….

As the Mueller report stated, Trump’s attempts to influence the investigation “were mostly unsuccessful,” but it’s “largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.” He’s not strong. He’s not wise. He’s not honorable. And sometimes, when his subordinates disregard is orders, he’s not even truly the president. Regardless of his potential criminality, there is nothing revealed in the report that is admirable — or alpha — about Donald Trump.

David A. Fahrenthold reports ‘I have no recollection’: Trump turned to familiar refrain in response to Mueller questions:

President Trump has bragged that he has “one of the great memories of all time.”

But — when faced with questions from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III about the 2016 campaign — Trump said his memory failed him.

When did Trump learn that his aides had met with a Russian lawyer offering dirt on rival Hillary Clinton?

“I have no recollection,” Trump wrote in written responses to Mueller’s team.

Did anyone tell Trump during the campaign that Russian President Vladi­mir Putin supported Trump’s candidacy?

“I have no recollection of being told,” Trump wrote back.

In at least 37 instances, Trump responded to Mueller’s questions — about his campaign’s contacts with Russians and about Russian interference in the 2016 election — by saying he couldn’t recall.

Continue reading

‘A cancer on the presidency’

Attorney George Conway III writes Trump is a cancer on the presidency. Congress should remove him. Although I would describe Trump more broadly as a blight on the country, Conway’s assessment is spot on:

So it turns out that, indeed, President Trump was not exonerated at all, and certainly not “totally” or “completely,” as he claimed. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III didn’t reach a conclusion about whether Trump committed crimes of obstruction of justice — in part because, while a sitting president, Trump can’t be prosecuted under long-standing Justice Department directives, and in part because of “difficult issues” raised by “the President’s actions and intent.” Those difficult issues involve, among other things, the potentially tricky interplay between the criminal obstruction laws and the president’s constitutional authority, and the difficulty in proving criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt.

Still, the special counsel’s report is damning. Mueller couldn’t say, with any “confidence,” that the president of the United States is not a criminal. He said, stunningly, that “if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.” Mueller did not so state.

That’s especially damning because the ultimate issue shouldn’t be — and isn’t — whether the president committed a criminal act. As I wrote not long ago, Americans should expect far more than merely that their president not be provably a criminal. In fact, the Constitution demands it.

….

The Constitution commands the president to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” It requires him to affirm that he will “faithfully execute the Office of President” and to promise to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.” And as a result, by taking the presidential oath of office, a president assumes the duty not simply to obey the laws, civil and criminal, that all citizens must obey, but also to be subjected to higher duties — what some excellent recent legal scholarship has termed the “fiduciary obligations of the president.”

Fiduciaries are people who hold legal obligations of trust, like a trustee of a trust. A trustee must act in the beneficiary’s best interests and not his own. If the trustee fails to do that, the trustee can be removed, even if what the trustee has done is not a crime.

The main focus of opposition should be Trump, His Inner Circle, Principal Surrogates, and Media Defenders, knowing that closer at hand there are yet officials supportive of Trumpism Down to the Local Level.Continue reading

Daily Bread for 4.19.19

Good morning.

Good Friday in Whitewater will be mostly sunny with a high of fifty-eight.  Sunrise is 6:05 AM and sunset 7:42 PM, for 13h 36m 32s of daytime.  The moon is full with 100% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the eight hundred ninety-first day.

 

On this day in 1775, the American Revolution begins at the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

 

Recommended for reading in full:

Scott R. Anderson, Victoria Clark, Mikhaila Fogel, Sarah Grant, Susan Hennessey, Matthew Kahn, Quinta Jurecic, Lev Sugarman, Margaret Taylor, and Benjamin Wittes write What Mueller Found on Russia and on Obstruction: A First Analysis:

The report identifies and analyzes ten episodes of concern in the obstruction investigation.

  1. conduct involving then-FBI Director Comey and Michael Flynn;
  2. the president’s reaction to the continuing Russia investigation;
  3. the president’s termination of Comey;
  4. the appointment of a special counsel and efforts to remove him;
  5. efforts to curtail the special counsel’s investigation;
  6. efforts to prevent public disclosure of evidence;
  7. further efforts to have the attorney general take control of the investigation;
  8. efforts to have White House Counsel Don McGahn deny that the president had ordered him to have the special counsel removed;
  9. conduct toward Flynn, Manafort, and a redacted individual (likely Roger Stone); and
  10. conduct involving Michael Cohen.

Each episode includes a detailed set of factual findings and then analyzes how the evidence maps onto the criminal charge of obstruction, which requires (1) an obstructive act; (2) a nexus with an official proceeding; and (3) a corrupt intent. We have summarized all of the episodes and Mueller’s analysis of them under the obstruction statutes here.

For present purposes, the critical point is that in six of these episodes, the special counsel’s office suggests that all of the elements of obstruction are satisfied: Trump’s conduct regarding the investigation into Michael Flynn, his firing of Comey, his efforts to remove Mueller and then to curtail Mueller’s investigation, his campaign to have Sessions take back control over the investigation and an order he gave to White House Counsel Don McGahn to both lie to the press about Trump’s past attempt to fire Mueller and create a false record “for our files.” In the cases of Comey’s firing, Trump’s effort to fire Mueller and then push McGahn to lie about it, and Trump’s effort to curtail the scope of the investigation, Mueller describes “substantial” evidence that Trump intended to obstruct justice. Only in one instance—concerning Trump’s effort to prevent the release of emails regarding the Trump Tower meeting—does the special counsel seem to feel that none of the three elements of the obstruction offense were met. It is not entirely clear how Mueller would apply his overarching factual considerations, discussed above, to the specific cases, but he does seem to be saying that the evidence of obstruction in a number of these incidents is strong.

Do Fish Sleep?:

Foxconn: Cleanup on Aisle 4

Following Trump and Walker with a mop, Gov. Evers arrives to clean up the Foxconn mess:

Gov. Tony Evers said Wednesday he wants to renegotiate the state’s contract with Foxconn Technology Group and emphasized the Taiwanese company won’t be creating 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin as originally envisioned.

“Clearly the deal that was struck is no longer in play and so we will be working with individuals at Foxconn and of course with (the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.) to figure out how a new set of parameters should be negotiated,” Evers told reporters in his Capitol office.

He said it was premature to say what specific changes he would be seeking. Under existing deals, the state and local governments could provide the company up to $4 billion to establish a massive facility in Racine County and create up to 13,000 Wisconsin jobs.

“All’s we know is that the present contract deals with a situation that no longer exists, so it’s our goal to make sure that the taxpayers are protected and environmental standards are protected,” he said. “And we believe we need to take a look at that contract and see if it needs to be downsized as a result.”

Asked for reaction, a Foxconn spokeswoman had not responded by Wednesday evening.

Via Gov. Tony Evers wants to renegotiate Foxconn deal, says company won’t employ 13,000 @ Journal Sentinel.

These gentlemen flacking Foxconn will have to move on to another cult.  Their ignorance and greed must have something in common with Scientology, where a few schemers dupe ordinary people to give all their money for a science fiction writer’s course offerings.

Previously10 Key Articles About FoxconnFoxconn as Alchemy: Magic Multipliers,  Foxconn Destroys Single-Family HomesFoxconn Devours Tens of Millions from State’s Road Repair BudgetThe Man Behind the Foxconn ProjectA Sham News Story on Foxconn, Another Pig at the TroughEven Foxconn’s Projections Show a Vulnerable (Replaceable) WorkforceFoxconn in Wisconsin: Not So High Tech After All, Foxconn’s Ambition is Automation, While Appeasing the Politically Ambitious, Foxconn’s Shabby Workplace ConditionsFoxconn’s Bait & SwitchFoxconn’s (Overwhelmingly) Low-Paying JobsThe Next Guest SpeakerTrump, Ryan, and Walker Want to Seize Wisconsin Homes to Build Foxconn Plant, Foxconn Deal Melts Away“Later This Year,” Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison, Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent Domain, Foxconn: Failure & FraudFoxconn Roundup: Desperately Ill Edition Foxconn Roundup: Indiana Layoffs & Automation Everywhere, Foxconn Roundup: Outside Work and Local Land, Foxconn Couldn’t Even Meet Its Low First-Year Goal, Foxconn Talks of Folding Wisconsin Manufacturing Plans, WISGOP Assembly Speaker Vos Hopes You’re StupidLost Homes and Land, All Over a Foxconn Fantasy, Laughable Spin as Industrial Policy, Foxconn: The ‘State Visit Project,’ ‘Inside Wisconsin’s Disastrous $4.5 Billion Deal With Foxconn,’ Foxconn: When the Going Gets Tough…, The Amazon-New York Deal, Like the Foxconn Deal, Was Bad Policy, Foxconn Roundup, Foxconn: The Roads to Nowhere, Foxconn: Evidence of Bad Policy Judgment, Foxconn: Behind Those Headlines, Foxconn: On Shaky Ground, Literally, Foxconn: Heckuva Supply Chain They Have There…, and Foxconn: Still Empty, and the Chairman of the Board Needs a Nap.… Continue reading

Daily Bread for 4.18.19

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will be mostly cloudy with a high of fifty-one.  Sunrise is 6:07 AM and sunset 7:40 PM, for 13h 33m 48s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 98.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the eight hundred ninetieth day.

 

On this day in 1906, the 1906 Great San Francisco Earthquake shakes that city, killing thousands and causing significant property damage.

Recommended for reading in full:

Natasha Bertrand and Anna Nemtsova describe The Trump-Putin Relationship, As Dictated by the Kremlin (“Why does the White House cede control of the narrative to the Russians?”):

It would have once been unthinkable to accuse a sitting president of putting the interests of a hostile foreign power above those of the United States. But Trump’s continual praise of Putin on the campaign trail, his pursuit of a multimillion-dollar real-estate deal in Moscow throughout the election—while Russia was waging a massive hacking and disinformation campaign to undermine his opponent, Hillary Clinton—and the secrecy that still surrounds his conversations with Putin gave many, including the FBI, pause.“All this would be unusual enough for any president,” The Atlantic’s David Frum notedin January. “It is more than suspicious for a president being formally investigated by the FBI as a possible Russian-intelligence asset.” ….

Trump took the extraordinary step of confiscating his interpreter’s notes after his first private meeting with Putin in Hamburg, Germany, in 2017, according to the Post, and demanded that the interpreter refrain from discussing the meeting with members of his own administration. (The White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway told reporters earlier this month that Trump was concerned about leaks when he confiscated the notes.) Then–Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters after that meeting that Trump and Putin had discussed Russia’s election interference in 2016. But he wouldn’t say whether Trump accepted Putin’s denial of any such interference at face value—providing Russia with another golden opportunity to shape the narrative.

Bess Levin writes Trump’s Lawyers Prefer His Exceptionally Shady Financial  Documents Not See the Light of Day

As we learned from Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony in February, New York Times exposé last month, and documents obtained from The Washington Post shortly after thatDonald Trump’s long history of lying about his wealth has not been confined to bragging about it on TV, but also allegedly made its way into financial statements sent to banks and insurance companies, in which the ex-real-estate developer inflated his assets to obtain certain loans. For example, in a 2011 document, Trump purported to own 55 home lots ready to sell for at least $3 million apiece at his Southern California golf course; in reality, he’d only been zoned for 31, thus overstating his future revenue by roughly $72 million. A year later, in another “Statement of Financial Condition,” he tacked an extra 800 acres on to the size of his 1,200-odd-acre Virginia vineyard. At one point, he claimed Trump Tower had 68 stories, despite the fact that anyone with eyes could tell you there are 58.

The effects of climate change on the Galápagos Islands:

Continue reading

‘Migration Key To Wisconsin’s Workforce’

For many years – and despite nearly a decade of corporate welfare and crony capitalism from the WEDC and local versions of it – Wisconsin has seen a decline in younger workers and families. Shamane Mills writes Report: Migration Key To Wisconsin’s Workforce (“State Has Seen Large Drop in Net Migration Of Families With Children Who Will Hold Jobs When Baby Boomers Retire”):

Wisconsin used to be a magnet for young families. Not so much anymore, according to a new report.

Forward Analytics, the new nonpartisan research arm of the Wisconsin Counties Association, has released a new study that examines the change to the state’s population and raises concern about the state’s ability to lure people to move here. This matters because these children will grow up and replace an aging workforce in the state.

“We’ve got to figure out how to turn that around and we’ve got to do it fairly quickly because baby boomers are nearing retirement,” said Dale Knapp, research director for Forward Analytics.

Traditionally Wisconsin had no problem luring people in their 30s, 40s and even 50s to the state. They more than made up for an exodus that started in 1990, when younger people began leaving the Badger State — many of them recent college graduates, he said.

But now the state not only has fewer young people, but also those who are middle-aged. Prior to 2010, Wisconsin added 40,000 children from outside the state over a five-year period. That migration of children dropped below 10,000 from 2010 to 2015. And to top it off, Wisconsin’s birthrate has declined to its lowest rate in four decades.

(The migration the study discusses includes newcomers from other parts of America.)

Wisconsin does need net migration, very much so.

Years ago when I first started writing (in ’07), local notables insisted that Whitewater was the very center of the universe.  After the Great Recession’s effects lingered, some of those same notables changed their song to claim that, in fact, not enough people knew where Whitewater was.

Neither claim was true: Whitewater was always a beautiful but small part of a very big country, and people in the rest of Wisconsin were more than able to locate Whitewater on a roadmap.

These contradictory claims were just excuses for the failure of policymakers to offer a compelling invitation. These right-of-center, big-project businessmen tried to sell the city based on what they found attractive; turns out their insider policies and cream-colored aesthetic weren’t appealing.

These local gentlemen foolishly thought that Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt was a combination policy manual and travel brochure.  They mostly aped a Walker Admin policy that was much the same.

That’s unattractive to prospects for Whitewater or pretty much anywhere else in Wisconsin.

I’m a libertarian, but that’s a minority viewpoint; God knows Whitewater will likely never be a libertarian town.  (Nor does Whitewater need to be a libertarian town; one loves it no less in any event.)

To succeed, however, Whitewater (and Wisconsin) will have to be something more than yesterday’s (slowly declining) right-side cronyism.

Part of that transition – to something hip, tolerant, and prosperous – has begun, but there’s far more yet ahead.… Continue reading