FREE WHITEWATER

Boosterism

Daily Bread for 5.9.24: A Reminder on Whitewater’s Fumbling & Stumbling Old Guard

Good morning.

Thursday in Whitewater will see morning showers with a high of 59. Sunrise is 5:36 and sunset 8:05 for 14h 28m 43s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 2.9 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1662, the figure who later became Mr. Punch makes his first recorded appearance in England.


FREE WHITEWATER has chronicled and critiqued the failed corporate welfare scheme that was the Wisconsin Foxconn project (links to many of those posts at the bottom of this post). Now, with Foxconn nothing more than a shell project vanished into the fog, there’s a genuine, private, multi-billion dollar Microsoft investment on that Wisconsin site: Microsoft AI center on site of Trump’s failed Foxconn deal? (‘The multibillion-dollar [private!] investment is expected to create 2,000 permanent jobs and 2,300 temporary union construction jobs’).

In Whitewater, an old guard of bankers, landlords, lobbyists, public relations men, etc., pushed Foxconn more than once. Any ordinary person of normal reasoning and sound basic knowledge would have seen Foxconn was a political scheme masquerading as a legitimate project. And yet, somehow, these same Whitewater types hold themselves out as experts on development policy. They backed a joke plan because they were — and are — unsuited to serious policy. See A Sham News Story on Foxconn. (The local business group was the ‘Greater’ Whitewater Committee.)

Trickle-down sloganeering is the best these local types have ever produced. It’s not a free market they want; small-town boosterism and cronyism haven’t uplifted household and individual incomes in this city. See A Candid Admission from the Whitewater CDA.

Some of these men, when at the Community Development Authority, let this city languish while promoting themselves. Even at the tail end of an economic boom, these gentlemen were walking around trying to figure out which end was up. See Whitewater’s Still Waiting for That Boom.

Whitewater deserves better than this ilk. These men deserve an ongoing critique, and detailed review of their record, if they capture that institution again.

Here is the Foxconn scheme, that these local, old-guard Whitewater men touted, as succinctly described in a national story:

In 2018, when Foxconn, at Trump’s urging, announced plans to create 13,000 good-paying jobs in Mount Pleasant, Wis., he celebrated the company’s $10 billion venture as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Wielding a golden shovel, Trump touted the Foxconn flat-panel display factory as evidence of a broad manufacturing revival stirred by his 2017 tax cuts and tariffs on imported steel. “You know, 18 months ago, this was a field, and now it’s one of the most advanced places of any kind you’ll see anywhere in the world. It’s incredible,” Trump crowed.

The Foxconn facility was to have included dozens of buildings dotting a giant plot of land three times the size of New York’s Central Park. But the project accomplished little more than the destruction of 100 local homes and farms before the company drastically scaled back its ambitions.

In 2020, Wisconsin state officials denied the Taiwanese company special tax credits, saying it had abandoned its original commitment, employed fewer than 520 people and spent just $300 million. Local taxpayers were left with a tab of more than $500 million for site preparation.

By last summer, Foxconn had built four structures on one corner of the site, which were in sporadic use, according to locals. One large building that was originally billed as a manufacturing facility was being used as a warehouse, one former employee said. Foxconn at the time said it employed 1,000 people in Mount Pleasant building computer servers. The flat-panel display factory never materialized.


On Foxconn 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 AllFoxconn’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 PlantFoxconn Deal Melts Away“Later This Year,” Foxconn’s Secret Deal with UW-Madison, Foxconn’s Predatory Reliance on Eminent DomainFoxconn: 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 PlansWISGOP 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 PolicyFoxconn RoundupFoxconn: The Roads to NowhereFoxconn: Evidence of Bad Policy Judgment, Foxconn: Behind Those HeadlinesFoxconn: On Shaky Ground, LiterallyFoxconn: Heckuva Supply Chain They Have There…Foxconn: Still Empty, and the Chairman of the Board Needs a NapFoxconn: Cleanup on Aisle 4Foxconn: The Closer One Gets, The Worse It Is, Foxconn Confirm Gov. Evers’s Claim of a Renegotiation DiscussionAmerica’s Best Know BetterDespite Denials, Foxconn’s Empty Buildings Are Still EmptyRight on Schedule – A Foxconn DelayFoxconn: Reality as a (Predictable) Disappointment, Town Residents Claim Trump’s Foxconn Factory Deal Failed ThemFoxconn: Independent Study Confirms Project is Beyond Repair, It Shouldn’tFoxconn: Wrecking Ordinary Lives for NothingHey, Wisconsin, How About an Airport-Coffee Robot?Be Patient, UW-Madison: Only $99,300,000.00 to Go!Foxconn: First In, Now OutFoxconn on the Same Day: Yes…um, just kidding, we mean noFoxconn: ‘Innovation Centers’ Gone in a Puff of SmokeFoxconn: Worse Than NothingFoxconn: State of Wisconsin Demands Accountability, Foreign Corporation Stalls, Foxconn Notices the NoticeableJournal Sentinel’s Rick Romell Reports the Obvious about Foxconn Project, Foxconn’s ‘Innovation’ Centers: Still Empty a Year LaterFoxconn & UW-Madison: Two Yearsand Less Than One Percent Later…Accountability Comes Calling at FoxconnHighlight’s from The Verge’s Foxconn AssessmentAfter Years of Promises, Foxconn Will Think of Something…by JulyFoxconn’s Venture Capital FundNew, More Realistic Deal Means 90% Reduction in Goals, Seth Meyers on One of Trump’s (and Walker’s) Biggest Scams, the Foxconn Deal, and Adding the Amounts Spent for Foxconn (So Far).

Daily Bread for 5.8.24: The Special-Interest Hierarchy of a Small Town (Adjacent Support)

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 75. Sunrise is 5:38 and sunset 8:04 for 14h 26m 27s of daytime. The moon is new with 0.2 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1877, at Gilmore’s Gardens in New York City, the first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show opens.


In September, I wrote of The Special-Interest Hierarchy of a Small Town:

In a small town, and perhaps elsewhere, there are four tiers within a special-interest hierarchy: principals, operatives, catspaws, and residents. Only the first three serve, reliably, the special interest; the fourth is a large group of unaffiliated people that the special interests must persuade or dissuade repeatedly. 

A special-interest faction, or in the case of the Whitewater Schools an unresponsive board and superintendent, depends on the reliable service of the first three groups (principals, operatives, and catspaws). Some residents, however, may be counted on now and again to support special-interest or insider-group actions. These kinds of residents offer hit-or-miss support. I’ll list a few of them, readily recognizable in Whitewater and towns across the world.

Boosterism and Toxic Positivity. There are always a few residents who feel that criticism is a crime, an offense against man and God, and so must not be tolerated. The boosters feel that accentuating the positive, and burying the negative, is a legitimate (indeed necessary) pursuit. You’ll see them patrol social media looking to rebuke others who offer sincere criticism.

The delusional are sufferers of toxic positivity; the most acute cases are simply lickspittles.

Many of these types are a few moments away from screaming ‘love it or leave it.’ All of those who would do so are ignorant of their own country’s proud history of robust criticism. Even the most degraded hovel in medieval Europe, flea and lice-infested, had apologists of someone’s special schemes. Centuries later, in an America that is a world-historical state, there are still a few locals who live as though American liberties meant nothing, carrying on as though vulgar locals in a rat-dominated hamlet of 1300s Bavaria.

The indictment and conviction of the boosters: narrow of mind and small of heart.

These types, however, are useful as apologists and enforcers of special-interest schemes.

(A better outlook: Tragic Optimism as an Alternative to Toxic Positivity.)

The Concerned Passerby. When faced with a challenge to their position, special interest men cannot always count on themselves as principals, or their operatives and reliable catspaws. Cronyism and entitlement do not run themselves! They’ll look around, and find someone who seems unaffiliated, but is willing to do their work now and again. Although not reliable all the time, these types can be persuaded for a specific task.

They’ll seem like concerned passersby, simply trying to help, but no! They’re truly working to advance a special-interest or closed-government perspective. They’re harder to spot than boosters, sufferers of toxic positivity, or lickspittles, but still identifiable to ordinary residents. They’ll show up and profess simple concern, as ‘adults in the room,’ but after listening to them, it’s clear they’re rationalizing a nefarious cause (e.g., advancing a self-dealer’s plan, or shutting down a discussion).

Scoundrels. Special-interest men want to win, and that means bending public policy to their own ends. Closed-government types want to control public policy without public consent. In both cases, they pervert public life. They create a corrupted, degenerate form of government.

When faced with a difficult challenge, and when smearing challengers is too much even for principals, operatives, and catspaws, they’ll turn to scoundrels. The Oxford American Dictionary offers a plentiful list of synonyms that describe the type (e.g., rogue, rascal, good-for-nothing, reprobate, unprincipled person; cheat, swindler, fraudster, trickster, charlatan; informal villain, beast, son of a bitch, SOB, rat, louse, cur, hound, skunk, heel, snake, snake in the grass, wretch, scumbag, bad egg, stinker).

Scoundrels will say anything to aid a special-interest or closed-government cause, while the principals, operatives, and catspaws delight from a distance. (These main types know what’s happening, hoping it will benefit them, yet hoping it won’t be identified back to them.)

In all of this, however, the overwhelming majority of ordinary residents are normal & well-adjusted. It’s a only few, entitled and avaricious, or entitled and autocratic, who beset and bedevil a community.


NASA Simulation’s Plunge Into the Whitewater School District’s Central Office a Black Hole:

Daily Bread for 2.28.24: Before Glascow, There Was Jefferson, Wisconsin

 Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be windy with a high of 41. Sunrise is 6:31 and sunset 5:43 for 11h 12m 08s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 85.9 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1983, the final episode of M*A*S*H airs, with almost 110 million viewers.


Readers in the area may remember the sham Harry Potter Warriors & Wizards festival that Jefferson, Wisconsin once held. That so-called festival was a threadbare event that advertised extravagantly yet produced shabbily. 

See Roundup on Jefferson, Wisconsin’s ‘Warriors & Wizards’ Festival, Attack of the Dirty Dogs, Jefferson’s Dirty Dogs Turn Mangy, Thanks, City of Jefferson!Who Will Jefferson’s Residents Believe: Officials or Their Own Eyes?Why Dirty Dogs Roam With Impunity,  Found Footage: Daily Union Arrives on Subscriber’s Doorstep, Sad Spectacle in Jefferson, WI (and How to Do Much Better), What Else Would a Publisher Lie About?, Iceberg Aside, Titanic‘s Executive Pleased with Ship’s Voyage, and New Developments About Jefferson, Wisconsin’s ‘Warriors & Wizards’ Festival.

Well, Scotland has its own version of this problem, as different promoters are working from the same promise-big-deliver-nothing playbook. Benj Edwards reports Cops called after parents get tricked by AI-generated images of Wonka-like event (‘Dull in-person warehouse for kids doesn’t live up to technicolor AI-generated promo images’): 

On Saturday, event organizers shut down a Glasgow-based “Willy’s Chocolate Experience” after customers complained that the unofficial Wonka-inspired event, which took place in a sparsely decorated venue, did not match the lush AI-generated images listed on its official website (archive here). According to Sky News, police were called to the event, and “advice was given.”

“What an absolute shambles of an event,” wrote Stuart Sinclar on Facebook after paying 35 pounds per ticket for himself and his kids. “Took 2 minutes to get through to then see a queue of people surrounding the guy running it complaining … The kids received 2 jelly babies and a quarter of a can of Barrs limeade.”

The Willy’s Chocolate Experience website, which promises “a journey filled with wondrous creations and enchanting surprises at every turn,” features five AI-generated images (likely created with OpenAI’s DALL-E 3) that evoke a candy-filled fantasy wonderland inspired by the Willy Wonka universe and the recent Wonka film. But in reality, Sinclair was met with a nearly empty location with a few underwhelming decorations and a tiny bouncy castle. In one photo shared by Sinclair, a rainbow arch leads to a single yellow gummy bear and gum drop sitting on a bare concrete floor.

The promise and the reality differed: 

It isn’t often that Jefferson, Wisconsin gets ahead of a large European city, but in the race to the bottom, Jefferson beat Glascow by years.


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Daily Bread for 9.28.22: Local and National Views of Child Poverty

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Daily Bread for 9.6.22: The Boosters’ Big Capital but Small Society

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Daily Bread for 1.16.22: Wisconsin Educational Issues Over the Next Ten Months

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