Tag: wisconsin
On Wisconsin Jobs, Biden Won And Trump Lost -- So Fox Whines About 'Trolling'

On Wisconsin Jobs, Biden Won And Trump Lost -- So Fox Whines About 'Trolling'

President Joe Biden traveled to Wisconsin on Wednesday to announce a new multibillion-dollar project by Microsoft, which stands in contrast to a notorious failure of local economic development in the state during the Trump administration. In response, Fox News’ purported “straight news” coverage accused Biden of “trying to troll” the public and otherwise dismissed the new project.

Biden traveled to Racine County to tout Microsoft’s $3.3 billion investment in a data center, which builds on other university partnerships and business projects the company has in the state. Notably, the data center will be constructed on land that was previously allocated for a factory to be built by Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn, in a deal pushed in 2017 by then-President Donald Trump and then-Gov. Scott Walker (R).

“Foxconn turned out to be just that,” Biden said Wednesday. “A con.”

The Vergereported in 2020 on the colossal failure of the Foxconn project. Though state and local governments spent at least $400 million on land and infrastructure, the factory never went into operation. And, far short of the 13,000 jobs that were promised, the company had hired fewer than 300 people by the end of 2019 and made a failed attempt to fill out its payrolls enough to qualify for state tax subsidies.

On the May 8 edition of MSNBC’s All In, host Chris Hayes said the Foxconn deal — along with many other Trump promises about saving jobs, reviving American manufacturing, or building important infrastructure — was “a big, glitzy announcement that turns into nothing.”

Hayes also revisited Trump’s remarks at a 2018 groundbreaking event in Racine County, in which he claimed the factory would be “the eighth wonder of the world.”

In Fox News’ telling, however, it was Biden’s event, rather than Trump’s failed promises on the Foxconn deal, that was politically suspect, and a cover-up for a supposedly failing economy to boot. (The American economy is objectively strong, despite the right-wing smear campaign to convince the public otherwise.)

  • Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner said people in Racine should ask the president why his economic policy “doesn’t … work for us, the American people.” “If anybody would like to raise their hand there — you don’t need to be a reporter, just be a citizen who is curious,” Faulkner said. “Mr. President, why doesn’t your economic policy work for us, the American people? Why is it not working for millions of people? And do you know when you wipe away the tax breaks you’re gonna hurt middle-class Americans too?” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 5/8/24]
  • Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich claimed that Biden “turned to a new strategy of trying to troll voters” by touting the new data center at the site of the failed Foxconn project: “Is that what he’s left with, to just troll Trump?” Fox News anchor John Roberts added that the Microsoft AI center is “scheduled to be built — we’ll see if they actually break ground on it. We’ll find out soon.” Roberts then dismissed Biden’s remarks on job creation, saying, “Take off the rose-colored aviators” and changing the subject to attack Biden on the issue of inflation. [Fox News, America Reports, 5/8/24]
  • Fox Business host and former Trump administration economic adviser Larry Kudlow accused Biden of “trying to buy votes” while defending Trump’s failure on the Foxconn project. “And I might add, the Trump years, the money was allocated to Foxconn, but the foreign investor pulled out so it never got done,” Kudlow said. “So, such is life, nothing you can do about that.” (Right-wing commentators often accuse Democrats of “buying votes” through various government programs, even as people like Kudlow defend economic interventions by Republican administrations regardless of whether they succeeded or failed.) [Fox Business, The Big Money Show, 5/8/24; Media Matters, 9/29/15, 4/9/24]
  • Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

    Eric Hovde

    Wisconsin GOP Senate Wannabe Keeps Predicting Recessions That Don't Happen

    Sunwest Bank CEO Eric Hovde, a potential challenger to Wisconsin Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, is slated to address the bank’s Annual Economic Forum in Newport Beach, California, on Thursday.

    Hovde will deliver the keynote address at the event, an announcement for which says that attendees will “Gain clear insights on the U.S. economy, real estate, global markets, and more.”

    So far, however, Hovde’s predictions about the U.S. economy have been less than accurate.

    Hovde ran for the U.S. Senate in 2012. In a radio ad for his unsuccessful campaign, he asserted that a government default on the national debt was imminent and would likely lead to a global depression.

    In a March 2012 interview on the “Vicki McKenna Show” in Madison, Wisconsin, he said the U.S. would face a debt crisis similar to one in Greece within the next three to four years. In another appearance on McKenna’s program, he warned the national debt would lead to anarchy in the streets within the next five years.

    Hovde made an even more dire prediction in a July 2012 appearance on a show hosted by right-wing host Charlie Sykes, saying the U.S. would fall into recession within the next 12 months.

    None of these predictions came to fruition.

    Hovde’s alarmist predictions were not limited to his political campaign. In 2022, he told the Business Observer website in Florida that he believed the U.S. was on the brink of a global recession.

    “I think we’re headed into a global recession, where there are really no bright spots,” Hovde said. “I think this recession is going to go longer and be more severe and last a minimum of 18 months, and probably more likely 24 to 36 months.”

    In April, Hovde predicted recession again but this time said it would be partially caused by energy policy.

    “Until we truly get to the heart of inflation and start changing some of our economic and energy policies, then we may enter a recession this year, and I think we will be stuck in this difficult slowdown for some time to come,” Hovde wrote in a Sunwest Bank newsletter.
    Hovde has met with the National Republican Senatorial Committee about a possible 2024 run. He did not immediately respond to a request to comment for this story.

    Reprinted with permission from American Journal News.

    Chesebro Looked Impressive On Paper, But Sadly Had No Ethics At All

    Chesebro Looked Impressive On Paper, But Sadly Had No Ethics At All

    Where did Kenneth Chesebro come from? Son of a Wisconsin music teacher, he amassed sterling credentials, a Harvard Law degree chief among them. On paper he was impressive. But then he joined a conspiracy to overthrow the democracy. Chesebro gives credentials a bad name.

    He applied his legal skills to veil criminal activity under plausible-sounding theory — all the while covering, so he thought, his own posterior. In the end, Chesebro was charged with working on slates of faked electors to overturn results in several states.

    One can only marvel at his fancy legal spinning designed to facilitate the destruction of America's revered institutions. But being the careful lawyer he was, Chesebro told the Trump camp that the scheme "could appear treasonous." You don't say.

    What made him do it? It isn't that he had been a Democrat who went to the other side. Yes, he had helped his Harvard mentor Laurence Tribe work for Al Gore in the disputed 2000 election. If he jumped the political chasm to advocate for Donald Trump, that was his right.

    But if he truly believed in the MAGA cause, that the election was stolen, he wouldn't have agreed to flip on Trump. He would have taken the lumps and tried to defend himself in court.

    The best explanation for Chesebro's performance is simpler, and boy, it is sad.

    "He wanted to be close to the action," is how Tribe put it. He wanted attention.

    Chesebro's Ivy polish was surely a draw for Trump given the downmarket personas of his other legal advisers. There was the batty Sidney Powell, the strutting John Eastman in his jaunty hat and flapping scarf, and the pathetic Rudy Giuliani.

    Making a plea deal in the Georgia election interference case, however, puts Chesebro in the intimate company of Powell, whose swanning on TV about the plot to steal the election got so weird Trump had to fire her. Even back then, Chesebro was too smooth to join Powell in her utterly nutty claims that a dead Hugo Chavez was pulling the strings for Joe Biden. A discussion of what Powell truly believed is best left to the psychiatric profession, not the legal one.

    Chesebro reportedly did tell the Trump team that a Supreme Court ruling before Jan. 6 would be more favorable to their cause if the justices feared there would be "wild" chaos on that day. This was a reference to Trump's Dec. 19 tweet: "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"

    What could be the harm in adding a tablespoon of intimidation into the devil's cake mix? Though Chesebro opined that there was only a 1% chance the justices would step in, appealing to them, he offered, could have "possible political value."

    Both Chesebro and Powell made plea deals to snitch on other Trump allies. They include promises not to lie at the co-defendants' trials. Back in September, Scott Hall, a Georgia bail bondsman, became the first Trump ally to plead guilty in the racketeering case.

    They're all getting sweet probation deals.

    On January 6, Chesebro donned a MAGA hat and descended on the Capital to stop the certification of the election that Joe Biden clearly won. But he will not spend a day in prison, unlike the dopes who charged past him and broke into the Capital.

    Because he knew what he was doing, Chesebro proved himself more ethically vacant than the Trumpian mobs. He applied oily legal arguments made potent by an elite education. Supporting an insurrection against the United States, he undoubtedly figured, could be a good career move.

    Chesebro now says he abhorred the violence on January 6. Wouldn't he just.

    Froma Harrop's column for Creators Syndicate appears in more than 150 newspapers. She is based at the Providence Journal. Follow her on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com.

    Reprinted with permission from Creators.

    Robin Vos

    Wisconsin Republicans Misuse Tax Dollars To Defend Gerrymander Map

    More than half of Wisconsin voters, or 51.2 percent, voted to reelect Gov. Tony Evers in November 2022. Yet Republican lawmakers were still able to win an overwhelming majority in the state Legislature.

    That’s because Republicans drew the state’s legislative maps to maximize their party’s power in the state while disenfranchising Democratic and independent voters. This practice is commonly known as gerrymandering.

    Now, state Republican leaders have reportedly approved a plan to spend as much as $1.8 million in public funds to pay private lawyers to defend their gerrymandered maps in court.

    After the 2020 Census, Wisconsin’s Republican majority in the state Legislature approved new federal and state redistricting plans in 2021 that gave their party the lion’s share of the seats. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed the maps, explaining, “I promised I’d never sign gerrymandered maps that came to my desk, and I’m delivering on that promise today.”

    Though the Republican did not have the votes to override his vetoes, the then-conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court adopted the Republican legislative leaders’ proposed maps for the state districts and a GOP-leaning congressional map.

    After the election of Justice Janet Protasiewicz earlier this year shifted the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s majority, advocates for fair maps filed new legal challenges to the state legislative districts on August 2.

    The legal nonprofit Law Forward, one of the plaintiffs challenging the maps, tweeted on August 27, “Every day that the gerrymander continues to distort politics and policy in the state of Wisconsin is an affront to our Constitution, an affront to our democracy, and a violation of the rights of the people of Wisconsin.”

    The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported on August 31 that state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and state Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu signed contracts in August with three legal firms to defend the maps at taxpayer expense against those challenges. Two of the contracts are capped at a total of $1.8 million in hourly legal fees, plus expenses. The third contract has no spending limit.

    “Using a blank check written by Wisconsin taxpayers, Legislative Republicans have entered into contracts with three law firms to defend their gerrymandered maps,” Democratic Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard told the Journal-Sentinel. “Again we see that they only care about their own special interests rather than the interests of Wisconsinites.”

    Republican legislators spent millions to defend a 2011 gerrymander in Wisconsin. “We didn’t pick the fight and all we do is keep trying to defend,” then-Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald said at the time. “Unfortunately, I think we find ourselves in a position where we’re kind of at the whims of all these attorneys that continue to file these lawsuits.”

    Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause Wisconsin, told the American Independent Foundation that neither expense was an appropriate use of public money.

    “The $2 million, it’s outrageous. I’m not even gonna say it’s dismaying, because we’re kind of used to it. But it’s just, it’s so galling, to think that after doing this 10 years ago,” Heck said. “I’d like to say it’s shocking. It’s not shocking, because this has been the norm for the last 12 years, since 2011.”

    In 2018, Democrats swept statewide elections for Wisconsin governor, secretary of state, treasurer, and U.S. senator. Due to the 2011 gerrymander, Republicans still won almost two-thirds of the legislative seats.

    Under the 2021 maps, Republicans control six of Wisconsin’s eight seats in the U.S. House and the vast majority of legislative seats: 22 of the 33 seats in the state Senate and 64 of the 99 seats in the state Assembly.

    Heck noted that while the Wisconsin Legislature has a constitutional role in drawing maps, that does not mean it has the power to spend millions of taxpayer funds to help their future election prospects.

    Dan Shafer, who writes the blog The Recombobulation Area, called Wisconsin “the most gerrymandered state in the country” in a March 2023 post.

    Reprinted with permission from American Independent.