Category Archives: Sen. Bob Corker

Take That, Bob Corker: VW Chattanooga Has UAW AND SUV

Oh, my! Major Tennessee Republican FAIL: On Friday, the United Auto Workers established a local union to represent workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.

Today Volkswagen announced the Chattanooga plant will manufacture VW’s new SUV line, a move expected to bring some 1,350 jobs to Tennessee.

Suck on that, Bob Corker.

(For more on this, read here, here, here and here.

[UPDATE]:

Trying to make lemonade out of this huge bag of lemons they’ve been handed, right-wingers are saying there’s no way that Volkswagen will ever recognize the new UAW local in Chattanooga. Really? I beg to differ:

First, the February vote was a narrow loss — 53 percent to 47 percent — and the result showed strong support among workers, despite heavy opposition from outside groups and Tennessee legislators.

Second, the UAW said it already had signed cards from a majority of the workers prior to the election, saying they favored representation.

I have no doubt in my mind that the UAW would have won that February election had it not been for outside interference from the likes of Sen. Bob Corker and right-wing cheap labor groups.

I suspect that unionization, like Obamacare, is one of those things people actually like once they’ve lived with it for a while. That’s when they realize it’s not the path to ruin/Fascism/Socialism/FEMA death camps they’ve been told it is by the Fox News crowd but, in fact, something that actually benefits people. And that’s why Republicans like Bob Corker and Bill Haslam have been shitting bricks over this VW plant for the past year.

34 Comments

Filed under Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee, Tennessee politics, unions

When Being Anti-Union Is More Important Than Being Pro-Job

Welcome to your modern Tennessee Republican Party, folks. They talk a good game about getting the government out of the way of business but when that business wants to work with the UAW, all of that good talk gets chucked by the wayside:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Volkswagen warned Tennessee officials during difficult negotiations over incentives to expand the automaker’s Chattanooga plant that the company has already secured offers to build a new SUV elsewhere.

Volkswagen attorney Alex Leath in a Jan. 27 email to the state Department of Economic and Community Development said “non-deal” issues were causing delays in completing the deal in Tennessee, an allusion to a dispute over whether the United Auto Workers would represent workers at the plant.

That email, I repeat, was dated January 27. So when Sen. Bob “Budinsky” Corker opened his fat yap and let some stupid fall out, was he lying? Or just hopelessly wrong? Corker tried to sway the UAW vote by telling everyone if workers rejected the UAW, the plant would “reward” the state with an expansion:

“I’ve had conversations today and based on those am assured that should the workers vote against the UAW, Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga.”

And again:

“If the UAW is voted down they’re going to come here immediately, within a two week period, and affirm they’re going to build a line here,” Corker told The Associated Press on the second of three days of voting.

All of this when, just two weeks prior, the state had been notified that “VW has already secured offers to build a new SUV elsewhere.” So, was Corker, lying? Or just stupid? It’s always so hard to tell.

Meanwhile that two-week period has long-since passed. So where’s the announcement, Senator?

Corker, by the way, still stands by his bald-faced lie unsubstantiated claim blatant fearmongering completely unfounded assertion. He’s obviously visited Frank Luntz’s Little Shop Of Wordtweaking, claiming the UAW is the bad guy here, not his rigid adherence to political ideology over jobs for Tennessee workers:

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said today that the United Auto Workers’ withdrawal of its appeal to February’s union vote at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant opens the way to re-engage with the company to attract a potential expansion.

“It’s a shame the UAW slowed the momentum on our expansion conversations with Volkswagen, but now it’s time for VW, our state and our community to re-engage and move forward with bringing additional jobs to Chattanooga,” said Corker in a statement.

Ah yes, such a shame, Senator. One of the most hilarious bits in this whole farce is the part about how Corker claimed a pro-UAW vote would force VW to move its SUV manufacturing to Mexico — blissfully unaware, it seems, that VW’s Mexico plant is unionized. What a buffoon.

I’m just trying to understand why VW at this point would want to expand in Tennessee. No amount of incentives thrown their way can overcome that stench of merde wafting over political interference in VW’s plant operations.

This is what happens, Tennessee, when you elect Republicans. You get a lot of talk about creating jobs and small government and getting the government out of the way of business, but apparently the only thing they’re actually able to do is shut down Planned Parenthood clinics.

5 Comments

Filed under Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee, Tennessee politics, unions

Next Time Keep Yer Yaps Shut, Tennessee Republicans

Uh-oh, looks like Sen. Bob Corker has embarrassed himself and maybe cost the entire South some jobs:

Reuters reports this morning that Volkswagen’s “top labor representative” has threatened to block any future expansion plans in the South, citing conservative interference in the United Auto Workers vote in Chattanooga.

Quoting an interview with a German newspaper, the news service reports Bernd Osterloh, head of VW’s works council, as saying he can imagine further expansion in the United States, but it probably won’t be in the South unless some sort of labor representation is established in the Chattanooga plant. Workers in Germany have representation on corporate boards, giving them a say in citing decisions.

Osterloh’s remarks seem to contradict statements by U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and others that Chattanooga would get another vehicle if workers rejected UAW representation. Osterloh describes such talk as conservative “interference.”

Hey, Senator Corker: Thanks for nothing, asshole.

Interfering in a manufacturing plant’s business, is that how this “small government” stuff works? Is that how Republicans show they’re “pro-business” and “pro jobs”?

Let’s be real, “small government” and “pro-business” are just Frank Luntz-crafted slogans used to dupe the rubes. As always, when reality collides with conservative ideology, it’s the ideology which wins. “Unions are bad, nobody wants ‘em, corporations hate ‘em, they’re anti-business and kill jobs, whasthatyasay?”

Man, everything you guys touch just turns to shit, doesn’t it?

What’s so funny is that when Corker said VW would really move their next expansion to Mexico if Chattanooga workers approved the UAW he forgot to mention that Mexico’s VW plant is union. Dumb and dumber.

I suppose this means Tennessee Republicans will go back to looking for jobs in ladies vaginas. Aw who am I kidding, they don’t care about jobs, they care about making themselves and their friends wealthier.

Major FAIL, Senator. Major FAIL.

8 Comments

Filed under Bill Haslam, Sen. Bob Corker, Tennesseee, unions

Corker’s Anti-Union Stance Blows Up In His Face

[UPDATE]:

Good piece on this here (h/t, Crockett Policy Institute).

I thought this part was adorable:

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said Friday that some auto suppliers considering moving closer to Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant may balk if the United Auto Workers succeeds in unionizing the factory.

“[VW] wants more suppliers closer to them. We’ve worked really hard to do that. A lot of those suppliers are saying, ‘If the UAW comes into the plant, I don’t know if we’ll be as close as we would,”‘ the governor said.

Haslam, speaking to Times Free Press reporters and editors, said business recruitment to the state is being hindered by the UAW’s organizing efforts at the plant.

“I’ve had several folks recently say that if the UAW comes, that would dampen our enthusiasm for Tennessee,” he said. “They feel like, ‘We’re looking at Tennessee because it’s a right-to-work state.’”

Please name one, Governor. ONE. Also, to the news media which publishes this stuff? How come you never ask that fucking question in the first place?

Republicans love, love, love to fearmonger about these imaginary businesses which will be yanking their jobs if x, y, z happens (or doesn’t happen.) They love to talk about these people they know who said these things, but they rarely mention a name. Which makes me think mostly they’re just talking out of their ass.

————————————————

Are Tennessee’s foreign auto manufacturing plants unionizing? Looks like that may be happening:

A majority of the workers at Volkswagen’s Tennessee plant have signed cards signaling they want union representation, according to the United Auto Workers. But so far, the UAW isn’t rushing the global automaker to meet them at a negotiating table.

UAW president Bob King said he’s being patient and that he has “deep respect” for VW, which recognizes unions in all of its major plants, except for Chattanooga.

Sen. Bob Corker, who brought the VW plant to Chattanooga, is none-too pleased about it, either. In fact, he’s hopping mad:

“For management to invite the UAW in is almost beyond belief,” Corker said. “They will become the object of many business school studies — and I’m a little worried could become a laughingstock in many ways — if they inflict this wound.”

I think the laughingstock here is Corker. I’ve always thought it was part of the Republicans’ national strategy to bring foreign car manufacturers down here as a way of undermining the UAW. We’re certainly told ad-nauseum that it’s because we’re “right to work” that these auto manufacturers are locating south of the Mason-Dixon line as opposed to the Midwest or places like Detroit.

But VW is different from companies like Nissan and Toyota. Under German law, labor representatives have half the seats on Volkswagen’s supervisory board, and it is these folks who are raising concerns that Chattanooga is VW’s only non-unionized plant. With VW being pressured by its own board to deal with organized labor at its U.S. plant, it seems likely a deal will happen.

That’s bad news for Corker, the naive dufus who unleashed this on the South. If the Chattanooga plant goes union, it’s just a matter of time before the rest follow. German automakers like Daimler, which has an Alabama plant, and BMW, which has a facility in South Carolina, will face similar pressure from their boards. Employees at Nissan’s Smyrna plant have met with UAW representatives this year, as well, and it makes sense if the Germans go, the Japanese will follow.

I just love that if and when these auto plants unionize, it’s all going to be Corker’s fault.

11 Comments

Filed under Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee, unions

Bob Corker Does Not Support The Troops

I was really angry when both of Tennessee’s Senators refused to vote for the Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012. I thought it was yet another classic case where our Republican representatives showed themselves to be blinded by ideology. It was more important that they give Democrats a fail right before the election then helping people who have served our country. Despite mouthing all of their BS about supporting the troops, it was party before people, once again. So as I often do when I’m pissed off, I sent both senators an e-mail.

Sen. Corker’s response is below and it’s just too good not to share:

Like you, I understand how difficult it can be for our service members to find employment following their service to our country. While there have been several bills introduced in Congress with the goal of increasing employment of veterans, I believe that the best way to help them is to get our economy back on track. I could not support S. 3457, the Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012, because it duplicated existing programs, would have led to increased deficit spending, and failed to address the fundamental problems and offer solutions that will grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. Furthermore, this bill violated the Constitution because any bill that includes a revenue provision must originate in the House of Representatives and as a result, this bill could never have become law.

We need to embrace tax reform that eliminates loopholes, permanently lowers individual and corporate rates, and broadens the base. We need to address reforms to Medicare and Social Security that are meaningful and ensure solvency. We also need to grow all forms of domestic energy production, and peel back unnecessary federal regulations that are hurting job creation.

I want to close by recognizing the tremendous service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. They are patriots, and we owe them a great debt of gratitude for their work to protect and provide security for our country. I believe that our service members, retirees and veterans should receive every benefit that America has promised them, and that we should ensure that their legacy is honored and protected.

Oh, so in other words, tax cuts and deregulation. Same as it ever was.

Y’all have any new ideas over there, maybe? Anything? No? Didn’t think so. But nice little bit of pandering at the end there. Hey, veterans, welcome home from Afghanistan. Now, you have our utmost respect and gratitude but as for those jobs, well, you’ll just have to wait for the magic fairy dust of tax cuts and deregulation to work their miracle. I know, we’ve been saying this for 30 years but … it’s coming! We promise!

What a fucking idiot. And this is the “moderate Republican” that we’re supposed to be so fired up about? Please.

The only thing that makes me angrier is knowing there is nobody on the Democratic side to vote for. Mark Clayton is a Tea Party stooge, and our state Dems were too lame to keep our nomination from being hijacked or to deal with it once it happened.

I just can’t believe it.

6 Comments

Filed under Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee

Cut A Deal, Dammit

I'm Getting That Sinking Feeling Again

Hey, GOP: my retirement savings is too high a price to pay for your political aspirations. Just sayin’.

Seriously, my bank account hasn’t even recovered from the last time you assholes destroyed the economy in 2007, and now you want to burn it down again? Just so one of your nutters can win the White House in 2012? How crazy is that?

I’m sick of Republicans’ craven political aspirations destroying my standard of living. Hey, we’re not all like Eric Cantor, investing in an ETF that shorts U.S. Treasury bonds.

Frankly, I’m pissed off. I called Sen. Corker’s office and asked what he was doing to solve this problem. The Clueless Intern™ told me last week Corker made a speech urging his colleagues to come to the bargaining table. Ooooh, was it one of those speeches I see on C-SPAN to an empty Senate chamber? Excuse me for being underwhelmed.

I then called Sen. Alexander’s office and asked his Clueless Intern™ what he was doing about this issue because I’m tired of seeing my retirement savings flushed down the toilet of political ambition. She told me Sen. Alexander hadn’t made any public statements yet as he was waiting to see a final deal.

This isn’t entirely true. He’s said plenty about the need to tie the vote to debt reduction, and he’s happy to show up at debt ceiling photo ops with his fellow Republicans.

But Mama always said to judge a man but what he does, not what he says. And both Corker and Alexander voted to increase the debt ceiling when there was a Republican in the White House, not just once but multiple times. In fact, there really wasn’t much fuss made about it save the last time, when Alexander voted no, hardly a ballsy move on his part since the measure required a simple majority and it easily passed, 53-42. So just to recap:

• September 2007, Corker votes yea, Alexander no.
• March 2006, both Corker and Alexander vote yes.
• November 2004, Alexander and Sen. Bill Frist vote yes.
• May 2003 Alexander and Sen. Bill Frist vote yes.

Neither Alexander or Corker were in the Senate in June 2002, but Republicans Bill Frist and Fred Thompson voted yes. Republicans also voted for our unfunded wars and unfunded Medicare Part D benefit, which are two of the major reasons we have these debts to begin with. So they’re perfectly happy to run up a bill on the Chinese credit card but when the bill comes in the mail they won’t pay it. Instead they’d rather see people like me lose their retirement savings when the nation goes bankrupt to score a political point? And they think we won’t notice?

No. Cut a damn deal. Call your Senators and tell them to cut a damn deal. I’m sick of this crap. If the nation defaults over GOP refusal to negotiate and the economy tanks before it’s had a chance to recover from the last implosion, it will be devastating. And no, it will not be good news for Republicans.

3 Comments

Filed under budget, Sen. Bob Corker, Sen. Lamar Alexander

Oh Canada! I Stand On Guard For Thee, v.2

It’s time to debunk some more cherished right-wing myths about Canadian healthcare. No, Canadian doctors are not flooding across the border to practice here, and no, Canadians are not flooding across the border to get their care here. In particular:

When I look at that tiny little sliver in the middle representing those who choose to come to the U.S. for their care or are forced to by an emergency, I just laugh my ass off. Yet it seems the conventional wisdom is that Canadian healthcare sucks. Even some doctors are repeating that lie, because they all “know someone who knows a doctor from Canada” who “couldn’t practice there” and was “forced to move here.” It’s like the old lie about hippies spitting on Vietnam War veterans: everyone claimed they knew someone who knew someone this happened to; no one could ever actually find “the someone” it happened to. Ah, zombie lies, they just won’t die.

The problem with Republicans is that they just make shit up and the problem with the Democrats and the “liberal media” is that they let them. Remember when Sen. Bob Corker claimed that Canadians were leeching off of America’s medical innovation? He actually used the word “parasites.” What an ass.

Robert Stein had a really good post up yesterday about this tendency for Republicans to just make shit up, be it making Paul Revere’s famed ride about gun rights and bell-ringing or making specious claims about Canada’s excellent healthcare system. It’s part of a general tendency towards dumbing down American politics, he says. Mainlining stupidity is a two-pronged process, he observes: first Republicans demonize knowledge and expertise or those with knowledge and expertise, then they replace it with misinformation. And then suddenly Republicans have one set of facts, Democrats have another, and nothing ever gets done because we can’t even agree on the problems let alone find solutions. Once upon a time we had the media to referee such conflicts and remind everyone what the facts were; today, though, the media is stuck in its “well, there’s two sides to every story!” rut. They’ve largely abrogated their responsibility to the American public and no one has stepped in to replace them.

This is a big problem for America today but I don’t see it changing any time soon. Far too many people are profiting far too much from keeping the populace dumb and divided.

Adding … Alex Bennett, who is not someone I normally listen to or even like, just made a really good point. He said the reason stories like Weinergate take off is that they’re easy for everyone to have an opinion about them. If you want to talk about healthcare (or Libya, which was the example Bennett used), you need to know something about these topics, you need to know who Qaddafi is, you need to know something about the Canadian healthcare system, whatever. But even people who know nothing about politics can have an opinion about Weinergate.

And I think this is just another component of the dumbing-down of America. We have more people who don’t know anything about important things, so the trivial stuff ends up dominating our discourse.

2 Comments

Filed under Canada, healthcare, Sen. Bob Corker

Yet ANOTHER Reason To Regulate Carbon Emmissions

Suck on this, Sen. Bob Corker:

“We found a link between post-menopausal breast cancer and exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is a ‘marker’ for traffic-related air pollution,” says Dr. Goldberg. “Across Montreal, levels of NO2 varied between 5 ppb to over 30 ppb. We found that risk increased by about 25 per cent with every increase of NO2 of five parts per billion. Another way of saying this is that women living in the areas with the highest levels of pollution were almost twice as likely to develop breast cancer as those living in the least polluted areas.

[...]

Dr. Labrèche adds “Some studies published in the US have also shown possible links between cancer and air pollution. At the moment, we are not in a position to say with assurance that air pollution causes breast cancer. However, we can say that the possible link merits serious investigation. From a public health standpoint, this possible link also argues for actions aimed at reducing traffic-related air pollution in residential areas.”

The study was a collaborative effort by researchers from the Research Institute of the MUHC, McGill University and Université de Montreal. It was funded by a research grant from the Canadian Cancer Society and another one from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

So, scientists have linked traffic-related air pollution to breast cancer. Yes, there needs to be more study, blabbedy blah. But traffic-related air pollution has already been linked to a host of other diseases: from cancer and leukemia to asthma and other upper respiratory diseases. All the more reason why we should dump polluting internal combustion engines in favor of EVs, light rail, and other non-polluting transportation.

And why my dig at Bob Corker? Because this was a Canadian study, of course. I can’t forget how last year, during the height of the healthcare debate, Sen. Corker embarrassed not just Tennessee but all of America by chastising Canada’s former Health Minister for sponging off of American innovation, technology and scientific breakthroughs.

Totally, completely, ridiculously false.

Comments Off

Filed under air quality, Canada, environment, Sen. Bob Corker

Tennessee Republicrites Visit Spring Hill

File this one under “taking credit where it’s not due”: Senators Bob Corker, Lamar Alexander and Congressman Marsha Blackburn all went to Spring Hill today Friday to take credit for what the Democrats did:

The irony of the Republican lawmakers’ presence wasn’t lost on the workers who attended the ceremony; they booed Tennessee Republican Bob Corker, and one UAW official made clear from the stage that the union still remembered which politicians had voted to rescue Wall Street but opposed an auto industry bailout.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker
Then: “This administration has decided they know better than our courts and our free market process how to deal with these companies….This is a major power grab.” – March 30, 2009.

Now: “At the end of the day we all have to feel good about what we did,” said Corker, who did attempt to negotiate the failed 2008 aid package. “I contributed to strengthening the auto industry in this country.”

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander
Then: “This is not the right direction: taxpayer money down the drain, and Washington politicians trying to run auto companies. The sooner the politicians get out of the way, the sooner auto jobs and taxpayer dollars will be secure.” – March 30, 2009.

Now: “The center of the auto industry is still moving to Tennessee and the mid-South,” Alexander told WSMV-TV.

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn
Then: “I certainly can’t think of the last time the federal government stepping into an industry caused that industry to be more successful, or more efficient. ” – December 2008.

Now: Blackburn attended, but no quotes from her have been reported. She has been busy with other issues, including a bill to overturn the upcoming ban on incandescent light bulbs.

Bob Corker, of course, voted yes on the bank bailout, no on the auto bailout. Lamar Alexander voted yes on the bank bailout, and missed the auto bailout vote because of surgery, but said he would have voted no. Corker tried to negotiate an alternate auto deal because, as he said at the time, the Big Three Bailout wouldn’t help the industry one bit:

“I mean you couldn’t make it almost more ineffective and more complicated,” said Corker about the White House plan.

Oops. Looks like you were way wrong on that one, buckaroo! And look who shows up expecting chocolates and roses when GM is back in the black and rehiring laid-off workers one year later?

File this one under assholes.

(h/t, ThinkProgress.)

5 Comments

Filed under auto bailout, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Sen. Bob Corker, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee

>Quit Yer Whining Sen. Corker

>I’m trying to understand why Tennessee’s Sen. Bob Corker is blaming President Obama for his own failure to get the Republican Party on board with financial reform.

Just two months ago Corker was complaining about how his Republican colleagues refused to participate in the process:

GOP Senator Bob Corker was emphatic on Wednesday that Republicans missed a big opportunity to influence what is perhaps the most ambitious financial reform bill to pass through the Senate since the Great Depression.

Republicans declined to offer any amendments during Monday’s scheduled mark-up of the bill, choosing instead to vote against sending the legislation to the Senate floor strictly along party lines. It passed out of the Senate Banking Committee with 13 Democrats in favor and 10 Republicans opposed.

So, sorry, but exactly who is to blame for the lack of bipartisanship here?

I think it’s all theater. I think Corker got his hand slapped by the Republican Party for daring to speak the truth two months ago. I think Republicans are worried that this “party of no” stuff is starting to stick, so instead they hope that by screaming ever louder that there’s no bipartisanship, people won’t notice that they’re just sitting on their hands. Tennessee’s junior Senator may have voiced initial opposition to this obstructionist game, but now appears only too happy to play along. I wonder what happened?

In April Yglesias wrote:

Corker is exactly right about this. Chris Dodd’s bill, as written, would make bailouts less likely not more likely. But Corker is also correct that there are a lot of doubts as to exactly how much punch it really packs. This is a concern that responsible Senators should actually look at and try to address, rather than just fling around vaguely as a cover for the fact that they don’t want banks to be regulated at all. But will Corker stand his ground on this, or will he follow the lead of so many of his past colleagues and end up giving in to Rush/Fox/Tea Party pressure to simply obstruct?

Well I guess we have the answer to that question.

3 Comments

Filed under Sen. Bob Corker