Sep 29, 2010

‘Both Mark Schauer and John Dingell have earned new terms’

The Toledo Blade, one of America’s great newspapers, said it best today: “Both Mark Schauer and John Dingell have earned new terms.”

The endorsement offers a very good question on why his opponent, “Robert Steele, an Ann Arbor cardiologist, is rich enough to have poured considerable assets into his campaign,” is qualified to run for office:

“Mr. Steele offers the curious argument that he should be elected because he is a newcomer who knows nothing about politics. How would he feel about a would-be cardiologist who made a similar claim?”

Good question. The clear choice is U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, for re-election.

The editorial also makes an excellent case for re-electing U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer, D-Battle Creek.

“That outcome was partly due to President Obama's statewide victory. But it also happened because Mr. Schauer, a devout Methodist with moderate stands on most issues, was far more representative of the district than Mr. Walberg, who pursued a hard-right social agenda.”

Sep 28, 2010

Dingell’s work to preserve SS and Medicare recognized

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare announced their endorsement of U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, for re-election in Michigan’s 15th Congressional District.

In a letter sent to members, committee President and Chief Executive Officer, Barbara Kennelly lauded Congressman Dingell for being a “stalwart defender of Social Security and Medicare.”

Commending Congressman Dingell’s 100 percent positive voting record in support of strengthening and protecting Social Security, Kennelly expressed to seniors in the 15th Congressional District that they need John Dingell “to continue protecting Social Security and Medicare–the twin pillars necessary to a good quality of life.” Congressman Dingell knows that “privatization would undermine the most successful social insurance ever created” and recognizes that “Health Care Reform extends Medicare’s viability.”

Dingell has a strong record of fighting to protect Social Security from efforts to cut benefits and privatize the program.

That is sharp contrast to GOP nominee Rob Steele, who supports a scheme to privatize the system that Americans made clear in 2005 that they do not want a successful program they have spend their entire working life paying into turned over to Wall Street. In fact, that seems to be the position of many teabagger Republicans, even though many are now trying to hide that position now that the primary elections are over.

The mission of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, a membership organization founded in 1982, is to protect, preserve, promote, and ensure the financial security, health, and the well being of current and future generations of maturing Americans. The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare acts in the best interests of its members through advocacy, education, services, grassroots efforts, and the leadership of the Board of Directors and professional staff. The efforts of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare are directed toward developing better-informed citizens and voters.

“Chief Executive Outsourcer” Snyder’s hypocrisy is business as usual

I hope no Michigan voters are buying the BS that Rick “Chief Executive Outsourcer” Snyder is “above the fray” or a different kind of politician who doesn’t believe in attack ads.

The Republican Governors Association (RGA) – the same RGA that News Corp., which owns Faux “News,” gave $1 million - has been running attack ads against Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Virg Bernero on the outsourcer’s behalf to keep his hands clean. The third one is a cheap knockoff of the well known MasterCard "Priceless" ads.

Apparently, the RGA and the outsourcer are trying to paint Bernero as a dreaded “career politician,” and it also tried to slam Bernero for wasting Lansing – where he is the Mayor – tax dollars by – get this - spending money on food, pencils and an office aquarium. The ad, of course, has no information on where it got that info. It should have.

Subscription only MIRS that covers the Capitol had a story yesterday that illustrated how stupid the ad really is.

It turns out that “MIRS has learned the fish tank was put in by former Lansing Mayor David Hollister, and, according to a City Hall source, is one of the most popular stops for school kids on their City Hall field trip.”

“The pencils were part of a joint effort with the Lansing school district to promote recycling and provide a small school supply to Lansing school kids. The pencils were green and encouraged kids to recycle.”

The fact is Bernero cut government 20 percent, cut the mayor's office budget every year, cut his own pay and health care and gave up a city car to cut expenses when things got tough, and he never raised taxes.

When times got tough at Gateway, the outsourcer cut 20,000 jobs and pocketed a cool $14 million for doing it.

Don’t believe the crap about no more “business as usual,” and stop letting Snyder use that lame excuse to duck debates.

Ethically-challenged sacrificial lamb Raczkowski launches a deceptive smokescreen

There is no doubt that all the hype that this is a Republican year is designed to suppress voter turnout, but it is a strange year when the likes of ethically-challenged sacrificial lamb Andrew Raczkowski has a chance against U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township.

Peters has been running some very effective and true ads that highlight some of Raczkowski’s trouble with the truth. Raczkowski is being sued by his former business partners for fraud who claim that, as the head of Star Tickets until earlier this year, Raczkowski owes them more than $6 million after grossly underestimating the number of tickets sold for concerts at the 2008 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.

According to the lawsuit, representatives of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally commented that the crowd for the Kenny Chesney concert – one of the performers along with Kiss and John Fogerty, alone “was the largest concert crowd ever at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was in its 68th year). An expert from the School of Engineering at North Carolina State University has viewed various photographs taken of the concerts and has opined that the crowd for the Kenny Chesney alone exceeded 42,000 people,” yet Raczkowski claimed he only sold 25,000 tickets for all three shows combined. The Kiss Army alone can sell 25,000 tickets.

The filing says “the simplest way to determine the number of persons who actually attended the concerts would be to take a count of the number of ticket-stubs collected at the gates of the concerts.” However, the claim is that Raczkowski took the unusual step of immediately seizing the boxes containing the ticket stubs and destroying them to jibe with his claim of 25,000 tickets. The lawsuit claims that in Raczkowski’s haste to cover up his crime he “ended up destroying more ticket-stubs than the number of ticket sales reported.”

Raczkowski’s response to the Peters’s ad has been to sue him to stop the truth from coming out. He figures he already has a team of lawyers on his payroll, so what the heck, what’s a $100 filing fee to the big corporate dollars rolling in to the Raczkowski campaign. So much for tort reform because he has zero change of winning.

But this is nothing but a smokescreen. In fact, he has taken the lead of fellow GOP Congressional candidate Rob Steele and misrepresented himself.

According to MLive, “Raczkowski supporters, calling themselves the Oakland County Truth Squad, protested on Thursday outside the Berkley Public Library as the Peters campaign debuted the ad.”

Like Steele calling his supports “Steelworkers” to make people think he has labor support, Raczkowski is trying to make people think he has the support of the Michigan Truth Squad, a project of the Center for Michigan that debunks political ads and claims in the current election cycle.

Sep 27, 2010

Check out the Great Debates for the rare opportunity to see Republicans debate

In my opinion, there is perhaps no better way for voters to get the true measure of a political candidate and see if their views and positions can stand up to scrutiny than a political debate, so that’s’ why I’m happy to see that the Center for Michigan and Detroit Public TV are again teaming up to televise debates between state House and Senate candidates.

The Great Debates are 30-minute debates scheduled between August and October. All debates will be taped in studio without a studio audience, and they will be moderated by professional journalists. Public television stations throughout Michigan will broadcast the Great Debates, and they will also be available online and at

It’s very telling that Republicans are afraid to debate, and that’s because they know their positions can’t stand up to any kind of scrutiny. It starts at the top of the ticket where Rick “Chief Executive Outsourcer” Snyder only agreed to a single debate with Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Virg Bernero after constant public pressure to do so.

Secretary of State Candidate Jocelyn Benson has challenged her opponent to debate - who has ran for just about every political office in the state and therefore an experienced debated - but her opponent continues to duck and stall. The only statewide candidates to debate were the Attorney General candidates, and Democratic Attorney General nominee David Leyton had to fend off constant personal attacks from his opponent on a debate on WKAR’s “Off the Record” show.

Leyton is the Genesee County Prosecutor, and he has tried hundreds of criminal cases with a more than 90 percent convention rate. His opponents exploited two families who had loved ones murdered in an attempt to smear Leyton. This from a man who has never stepped foot into a criminal courtroom.

People grieving are usually angry, and want to blame someone for the senseless murder of their loved ones getting a lesser sentence or an imagined possible accomplice getting away. Unfortunately, a Prosecutor has to go on the evidence the police give them.

In most cases we get bluster from a Republican challenging their opponent to a debate, and once it is accepted they do everything in their power to get out of it. We saw this when the Chief Outsourcer challenged his opponent to a series of debates, and as soon as Mayor Bernero accepted the CEO tried to weasel out. Other Republicans are taking up that tactic.

For an example, we have the case of Rob Steele, the teabagger Republican Congressional candidate for the 15th District, who is set to be the latest person to be defeated by the dean of the U.S. House, Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn.

After whining that Dingell will not debate him, it turns out its Steele who is afraid to debate and is ducking. Dingell sent a letter to Steele right after he won the August primary election congratulating him and asking for debates, but all Steele did was lie and cry that Dingell was avoiding him. After a month of blustering from Steele, Dingell finally sent a letter earlier this month asking that Steele commit to as many debates as possible, and Dingell says he looks forward to appearing at voters forums put on by various groups like the AARP and others. Dingell has already accepted an invitation from Monroe Community College to debate.

No word from the usually loud and obnoxious Steele crowd.

Sep 24, 2010

The fake outrage from teabaggers is simply ludicrous

Teabaggers never cease to amaze me. Now, they are offended - offended mind you -because Democrats are calling the Astroturf teabaggers the name they first attached to themselves.

The Republican noise machine is revved up and is angry that U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield, used the term teabaggers. The fake outrage is just hilarious.

Apparently, Peters simply called a member of militant branch of the Republican Party what they first called, themselves, and on one rightwing blog he is jackass for calling his crooked opponent and career politician, Andrew Raczkowski, a teabagger, which is exactly what he is. On wrong Michigan this guy is under the false assumption that teabagging is a homosexual act. Simply not true.

According to one blog on the Detroit News, “the two candidates for the 9th district congressional seat appeared together at an event held by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority at the Bloomfield Township Library on Sept. 19,” and Peters spoke the truth and called Raczkowski what he is and what extreme Republicans have been calling themselves until they found out what it meant, teabaggers.

He claims:
“The term is particularly offensive to women, and two Michigan tea party officers -- both women -- were furious upon hearing of Peters' use of the term.”

What pure BS. Talk about made up fake outrage. How can something that is not organized have officers?

Wendy Day, founder of Common Sense in Government and also an active tea party organizer, said that "for a U.S. congressman to show such poor judgment shows his lack of character." “

Are you kidding? This from a woman who is a founding member of an anti-gay hate group called the LOVE (Livingston Organization for Values in Education) PAC that tried to ban books?

The fake outrage from a teabagger named Janice Daniels is even more out there. She “gasped when she heard the term.” Are you kidding; she gasped?

When did she gasp? When she first heard a teabgger use it first way back when this fake, Astroturf farce began last year?

But it gets even more ridiculous.

Daniels decried the use of the "offensive term" at "a time when we need the conversation in the public arena raised to a higher level."

Are you kidding me? Apparently, she has never been to a “tea party” where the President was called everything under the sun, or to a townhall meeting in the summer of 2009 when teabaggers disrupted the townhall meetings of Democratic politicians and shouted down anyone who disagreed with them or wanted to hear what the Representative or Senator actually had to say.

Rightwing media working overtime to promote dishonest teabagger

National rightwing radio and TV hosts have been working overtime in a vain attempt to pump up Congressman John Dingell’s teabagger opponent, but it is doing little good, other than to stroke his already large ego, because the Dean of the U.S. House still has a 19 point lead.

Frank Beckman, one of the most biased commentators in Michigan, had to get in on the act, and in his Detroit News column he says Dingell should apologize to the dishonest Rob Steele for a web site the Michigan Democratic Party put up about Steele. The only problem with that ridclious demand is that the web site is 100 percent true, and they have nothing to apologize about. Not only that, why isn’t he asking Steele to take down and apologize for the web site attacking Dingell?

The gist of Beckman’s column seems to be people who run for political office get criticized, so Dingell should apologize. Gee, that’s only happened in this race. The fact is George Washington endured so-called attack ads, and I wonder where he was when a Dingell townhall meeting was disrupted and he was disrespected by teabaggers?

Beckman claims “Dems stoop to new low in Dingell race” for pointing out the fact that Steele is out of torch with the struggles working people are going through, and we really know almost next to nothing about this guy.

Beckman writes:
“Dr. Steele happens to be a successful cardiologist who estimates that he has performed more than 15,000 cardiac catheterization procedures. In addition, he proudly says he runs a medical practice, which includes 36 physicians and about 300 employees with seven permanent, and two satellite offices in five different counties. At the anti-Steele website, the doctor is excoriated as a "rich doctor who made millions off the broken health care system," never mind the lives that he's saved and the large number of families that have benefited.”

That entire statement is true. Steele is rich doctor who made millions off the broken health care system. Why didn’t Beckman, Steele or Steele’s supporters talk about all the pro-bono work Steele has done, or the free clinic he has started? Because there is none of that.

His clinic’s payment policy really says it all: “Payment is expected at time of service for Entire balance when there is no insurance coverage.”

There is nothing wrong with making lots and lots of money, but the argument from Steele and his supporters is that Dingell must go because he’s out of touch because of his age and because he has been in office so long. Dingell did something about the 50,000 million Americans who don’t have health care coverage. Steele had a chance to help a few people with no coverage, and he chose not to.

Beckman goes on to say the heath care system wasn’t broken for people who were treated. “Didn't MSU football coach Mark Dantonio and his excellent physicians at Sparrow Hospital benefit from the "broken health care system"?
“And didn't Congressman Dingell benefit from the "broken health care system" with the surgeries that he has endured to repair his aging body in recent years?”

Aside from Beckman’s attack on Dingell’s age, he and Dantonio have excellent health insurance coverage, and Dingell wants people to have the same kind of quality converge he has. Now, if Dantonio and Dingell had to go out and buy coverage on the individual market they can forget about it because they have a pre-existing condition. The good news is that was before the health care insurance reform bill was passed.

Bipartisan brownfield package brings out financial trouble of county townships

LANSING – A package of bills making it easier to redevelop contaminated Brownfield sites illustrated what bipartisanship and moderate Republicans can accomplish, but it also brought out how much financial trouble Livingston County is in.

The House Committee on New Economy and Quality of Life took testimony Thursday on House Bill 6416 and Senate Bills 437 and 1345-1349. A workgroup has been working on the bipartisan package for at least a year, and all of the various advocacy groups are behind it.

“This has been more difficult than birthing my three sons and twice as long,” said Sen. Patty Birkholz, R- Saugatuck, the Chair of the Senate Natural Resource and Environmental Affairs Committee.

Many cities and even some townships have contaminated sites that would be ideal for new development if they were not contaminated. The City of Detroit alone has some 1,000 Brownfield sites.

The only opposition came from one environmental group, Clean Water Action, and they objected to how the clean-up will be funded. The plan is to use under-utilized funds from the Great Lakes Water Quality bonds. The fund was approved by voters in 2001 to pay for reducing sewer runoff into lakes and streams and improving water quality.

Clean Water Action said the money was only supposed to be used for protecting the waters, and they suggested closing tax loopholes to finance the cleanup up of brownfields. The Michigan Townships Association (MTA) testified that they support the package, but they also have some concerns with financing, including the State Revolving Fund (SRF).

The MTA’s lobbyist, Tom Frazier, testified that many townships are facing financial hardship because developers have simply walked away from developments after the townships established Special Assessment Districts (SAD) to pay off the bonds for installing sewer and water infrastructure, leaving townships holding the bag. Frazier even mentioned Rep. Cindy Denby, R-Handy Township, a member of the committee and the former Handy Township supervisor.

It turns out that the MTA wanted a special provision to the package, a bailout, that would allow the state to pay off the bonds, and the townships would only have to pay the interest on the bonds for the first 10 years.

Livingston County is one of the hardest hit, and county and now perhaps state taxpayers may be on the hook for $101 million in principal and interest backed by the good faith and credit of the county. Half of Livingston County’s 16 townships are in this boat, but Handy may be the worse off. It was estimated that it would cost about half of the township’s annual tax revenue to meet the bond obligations.

The local newspaper has been almost silent on this after a national business publication broke the story that the county’s townships are in such dire straights. The local Democratic Party issued a press release demanding the all-GOP Board of Commissioners hold a townhall meeting, but that has not yet happened.

The county has even refused to say what townships are in danger of defaulting, and no one but the local Democrats have demanded answers. The Bloomberg News that broke the story mentioned Howell and Hartland Townships. It says Hartland came up $951,000 short in collecting special assessments last year, according to an April 2009 report by Standard & Poor’s.

Sep 23, 2010

Senate Republicans use committee hearing as campaign event

There is little doubt that most of what Republicans do is to just to keep and regain power and has very little to do with actually improving things, usually using their favorite tactic of dividing and giving us other people to fear and demonize, and we saw a rare example of how the Michigan Senate Republicans do it on Tuesday in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee.
In her unsuccessful run to win the GOP nomination for Michigan Secretary of State, Sen. Michele McManus, R-Lake Leelanau, introduced two bills, Senate Bills 1371-1372, that would require public employers and personnel agencies to use the E-Verify system to make sure they're not hiring or referring illegal immigrants. In Republican’s mad dash to the right, they have demonized those of Hispanic heritage with the unconstitutional and racist show-me-your-papers law in Arizona.

Even Republican politicians in Michigan have used it to gain favor with primary voters, and McManus figured to take advantage of that demonization with the E-Verify bills. We saw some of the jockeying for the SOS race when McManus and fellow Senator and GOP SOS candidate Sen. Cameron Brown, R-Sturgis, publicly argued in committee this summer over whose identical campaign-like bills will be taken up by committee.

But now that McManus has lost the nomination to career politician Ruth Johnson, she no longer needs SBs 1371-1371, and she was angry when Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, had the committee take up her bills.

I have never heard of a Legislator being angry that their bills were being taken up, until now. In fact, subscription only MIRS that covers the Capitol said that “McManus sponsored the bills to boost her bid for Secretary of State, but she finished last at the GOP convention last month. Now sources say the senator wants to wash her hands of the issue.”

It appears that the Senate Republicans want to take advantage of some of the anger out there that illegals are taking Michigan jobs and take up this bill. McManus confirmed that when she told MIRS that was the only reason Bishop took up the bills.

"I had requested that they not be added to the committee's agenda, but it is my understanding that over my objections the Senate Majority Leader has personally instructed the Chair to hold a hearing on them,” McManus told MIRS. “I sympathize with the Chair," McManus said in her testimony. "These bills are not ready for consideration by the committee. They are being considered today due to a desire by the Majority Leader to cater to certain members of the public."

The bills were opposed by both the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), two organizations that are strong supporters of Republicans. Representatives from those organizations testified that E-Verify fails to detect 54 percent of illegal workers according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report, and that would add red tape for employers.

Charlie Owens of NFIB said that immigration needs to be handled by Congress instead of setting up a "patchwork system."

New contract on America is just old failed polices in a new package

With the mid-term election some six weeks away, Republicans are finally unveiling their alleged plan today with a new contract on America, and, as expected, it’s all the same failed Bush-era polices that created the worst and longest recession since the Great Depression.

House Republican leaders are scheduled to discuss their contract on America at a lumber yard in Sterling, Va. today. The old, failed ideas in a new package are basically a crackdown on government spending, repeal of the healthcare reform law and extension of all the expiring Bush tax cuts that helped squandered the budget deficit Bush was handed and left a deficit for President Obama.

The bottom line is that these those old, failed policies that created the Bush recession, the longest and deepest since the Great Depression, almost killed the economy, and the polices put in place by President Obama and the Democrats have the country going in the right direction and ended the recession.

A better name for this old plan in a new package might be a contract with rich Americans that promises to eliminate all taxes on wealthy Republicans.

Former President Bill Clinton put it best on CBS News when he said this hole was dug over eight years, their argument is we, the Democrats had 21 months to get out their hole, so throw us out and they can do what they did again that dug the hole.

This new “contract” basically stays away from social issues like GOP platforms of years past in an effort to divide and rule by fear, but it does include the promises to “honor families and traditional marriage.”

Unlike the 1994 contract on America, this campaign tactics will not be signed by GOP officials and does not call for term limits or a balanced budget amendment.

The choice in November is even more clear: go with the failed GOP polices that created the worst recession since the Great Depression, or go with the party that averted a depression and a collapse of the financial system and got us out of the Bush recession.

Sep 22, 2010

The Outsourcer breaks down and will give voters one debate

It appears public pressure helped Rick “Chief Executive Outsourcer” Snyder get over his cowardice and radio Station WWJ is reporting that he has agreed to one debate with Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Virg Bernero.

According to WWJ, “the debate will take place at the Detroit public television station in Wixom and be sponsored by the Center for Michigan. It will be available to be shown live on commercial and public television stations around the state and be available online. It’s not clear if the debate will take place in prime time or during the day like Snyder wanted in order to limit how many people actually see it.

Bernero wanted eight, but Snyder agreed to three before he started looking for excuses to back completely out.

UPDATE: Subscription only Gongwer is reporting that the debate will take place at 7 p.m. the panelists asking the questions will be from The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press.

The blocking of DADT kills another false GOP talking point

The move by Senate Republicans on Tuesday to block even debate on 2011 defense authorization bill that included language to repeal the discriminatory and unconstitutional Clinton-era “Don’t ask, don’t tell” law blows up another rightwing wing talking point.

Just like the attempt to put teabagger candidates on the ballot blew up teabagger’s lie about it being a nonpartisan movement, the move to block DADT blows away the myth that health insurance reform should not have been passed because of the false claim that the country did not support it. Despite three-quarters of Americans, 75 percent, saying that they support openly gay people serving in the U.S. military, Republicans blocked the bill even coming to the Senate floor for a debate.

In a 56-43 vote, every single Senate Republican present and two conservative Democrats voted to block debate on the bill, falling short of the 60 votes they needed to proceed to take up the bill for just debate. Understand, this was just to debate the bill, not vote on it.

Even top military Generals and Admirals support repelling DADT. According to the Hill, “the Pentagon is in the midst of conducting a review on the implementation of repeal and is surveying members of the armed forces on the issue” that year long study is due in December, and the repel could not even occur until after the report. I don’t understand why we need a study. Just take a look at our allies, like Australia, Great Britain and Norway.

When President Harry S. Truman integrated the Armed Forces and issued a then-controversial executive order that called for "equality of treatment for all persons in the armed services, without regard to race, color, religion or national origin” he didn’t need a study.

It’s not often, if ever, debate is blocked on funding the troops. Our Senator, Sen. Carl Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said it is the Republicans playing politics with a bill that is designed to provide benefits for members of the military and their families, to build weapons systems, and to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he told the AP.

"They should fight against it if they don't like it," Levin said of the Republicans who stopped the legislation. "It would be unthinkable if we didn't have a Defense Authorization bill. It's never happened."

This also comes on the heels earlier this month when a federal judge in California declared the ban on gays serving openly in the military unconstitutional, so that erased any doubt that the ban is discriminatory.

According the AP, “An estimated 13,000 people have been discharged under the law since its inception in 1993. Although most dismissals have resulted from gay service members outing themselves, gay rights' groups say it has been used by vindictive co-workers to drum out troops who never made their sexuality an issue.” That is the real threat to national security.

Anyone who has spent more than a couple of months in the military has known someone who is gay. The American people have been pretty clear on this, and so have real conservatives, like the late Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater when he said "You don't need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight."

DADT should be killed today.

Sep 21, 2010

John Dingell - Watchdog

The Chief Outsourcer breaks another promise and still ducking debates

It appears a promise by Rick “Chief Executive Outsourcer” Snyder is as good as a promise of job security at Gateway Computers.

Snyder told Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Virg Bernero to his face and in front of about 100 handpicked Snyder supporters at a “townhall meeting last week that he would sit down with Bernero to come to an agreement on debates. Another broken promise from Snyder, and we are still waiting for that to happen.

How long are the public and the conservative media going to let him chicken out and duck the debates? At least some in the conservative media and fellow Republicans are beginning to notice what a coward Snyder is.

In an editorial in the Detroit Free Press on Monday, they called for an “independent, nonpartisan debate commission -- made up of public interest groups, media organizations from around the state” as well as maybe even party representatives to handle the debates, much like how the Presidential debates are done, or the debate commission in Indiana.

“Debates are critical to voter education and civic engagement in a democracy, the Free Press said. “That dates to the Greeks, and has its own rich history in this nation.”

Former conservative Republican State Representative Larry Julian sponsored a bill back in 2003 that would have mandated that any candidate who accepted public funding should participate in at least one public debate.

House Bill 4290 was co-sponsored by some of the more conservative House members, like
Tom Casperson and Jack Brandenburg. It passed the Republican controlled House, but, like most good legislation, it died in the GOP controlled Senate.

Julian told subscription only MIRS that he stands by the legislation today.

“They asked me, 'Why do we need this.' Now we see that we still need it," Julian said in MIRS. “Now somebody is going to have introduce it again because next time this happens someone is going to wish we had."

Julian, predictably, stopped short of condemning Snyder’s cowardice, but he left no doubt that the Chief Outsourcer should debate.

“The issue isn't getting people to vote. It's getting people informed so they can vote," Julian said in MIRS.

The problem is Snyder doesn’t want informed voters.

Sep 20, 2010

Pie in the sky ‘Repeal and Replace’ will cost more and cover less

Everyone is aware that the Republican strategy for taking back power in November is obstruction and saying no to everything in the hope that President Obama and the country fail and falls back into a recession, but one unobtainable tactic they are campaigning on is to repel the hard won health care insurance reform.

The fact is if they managed to actually get a repel through and replace it with some of the so-called plans individual Republicans have floated and they are able to override the president’s veto, it will force a lot of people to pay higher premiums, it will lavish subsidies on the private insurance industry, it will put life-and-death decisions in the hands of bureaucrats and it will add hundreds of billions of dollars to the federal debt, said New Republic writer Jonathan Cohn.

Cohn has been writing about the health care mess long before anyone else, and when the Ann Arbor resident decided to write a book he chose to write about something no one else was writing about at the time, health care. Cohn traveled all over the U.S. and some foreign countries and read every study and every source on health care he could get his hands on in doing the research for the book to produce, “Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis — and the People Who Pay the Price,” published in April 2007.

Cohn is also a senior editor at The New Republic magazine. He is also a media fellow at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and a senior fellow at Demos a non-partisan public policy center. Cohn writes about domestic politics and policy with a primary focus on health care. Cohn has also written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone and Slate.

Cohn writes in a column in the magazine that if Republicans actually managed to pull off the impossible and replace reform with their plan of allowing the purchase of coverage across state lines and creating special insurance plans for people with pre-existing conditions, “studies have repeatedly shown that proposals like these would, at best, bring coverage to just a few million Americans. So if the Republicans succeed in taking the recently enacted reforms off the books, that means they are taking insurance away from a whole lot of people.”

Not only does the Republican so-called plan not cover as many people, which Cohn said is not a big deal to them, but it does nothing to reduce the cost of health care like the current reform does.

“The new law includes a bunch of measures designed to reduce the overall cost of care -- first by a little bit, and then by a lot.”

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded that, “once you account for the subsidies; reform will mean lower average premiums for people with private insurance.” The Republicans unrealistic goal of repealing health care insurance reform will mean those people are stuck paying more. “The official projections also suggest that, 10 years from now, government spending on health care will be lower than it might otherwise be. Repeal reform and the deficits go back up -- by more than $100 billion over ten years. And while the nation as a whole will pay slightly more for health care over the next ten years, the rate of growth -- which is the figure we care about most -- will be lower. Take away reform and, according to the projections, health care costs will rise at a higher rate.”

Dingell has double digit lead over teabagger

In the first real poll in the race for 15th Congressional seat in the U.S. House, the dean of the House, Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, has a very large 19 point lead over the challenger.

In a Detroit News/Local 4 WDIV poll, Dingell has a 49-30 percent lead over teabagger Rob Steele. Last month Steele paid for a push poll by the Republican polling and lobbying firm Public Opinion Strategies (PSO) that had him down by only nine points, by a count of 51-42. Like I said then, the real numbers were probably double that, and I was correct.

Still, Steele had to find a way to spin this huge deficit after shouting about his paid for 9 percent sham, and that is that “a congressman in office for 55 years is polling at less than 50 percent.” The fact is the number is 49.3 percent, and if Steele wants to spend his fortune made via the broken health care system on .7 percent I say go for it. His huge ego will not allow him to do otherwise.

On his Facebook page, Steele is also spinning it like this, “Only 42.5% would re-elect John Dingell. The people are clearly ready for new leadership.” I'm not sure where he got that number. The fact is the poll does have a warning sign for Dingell: “Nearly 61 percent of independent voters believe it's time for someone new in the 15th District.”

The good news independent voters are a minority in the 15th District. If there is new leadership in the 115th District, it will not be Steele, and it will not be this election.

Bill Ballenger, editor of Inside Michigan Politics, a nonpartisan newsletter. Put it in proper perspective when he said “the poll shows what he would have expected: the 15th District is "not as close as the Republicans would like you to believe.”

Steele can hold lots more $1,000 a plate fundraisers like he’s holding at an Ann Arbor Country club this week, and that’s just less money going to races where Republicans have a real chance.

Sep 17, 2010

Smoking bans have immediate benefits to health

We already know the health damage caused by secondhand smoke and the immediate positive effects of a workplace smoking ban like the one enacted in May in Michigan, but just for good measure, a study in Scotland that looked at asthma-related hospitalizations of kids found that smoke-free laws have even greater health benefits than previously believed.

The results of the new study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this week that looked at asthma-related hospitalizations of kids, and they found that the rate fell 13 percent a year after smoking was barred in 2006 from workplaces and public buildings, including bars and restaurants.

According to the AP story, “earlier U.S. studies, in Arizona and Kentucky, reached similar conclusions. But this was the largest study of its kind -- and offered the strongest case that smoking bans can bring immediate health improvements for many people.”

We already know that other studies have shown an immediate the decline in adult heart attack rates after smoking bans were adopted, but this study showed cigarette smoke is a trigger for asthma attacks.

With all of this proof, we need to eliminate the exceptions to the smoking ban, like in the non-Native American casinos.

Coulter wannabe highlights speaker series

Here’s no surprise; Cleary University’s Economic Club Speakers Luncheon Series has brought in more right-wingers.

As I have said numerous times, the stated mission of the series is to “enrich the Livingston County community by hosting speakers who can share a broad spectrum of social, political, intellectual and cultural experiences,” but they continue to bring in some of the most inflammatory right-wingers you can imagine, such as Anne Coulter, Dick Morris, Steve Emerson and Michael Reagan. This time they are doubling down on the hate for the 2011 series, and bringing in Coulter waannabe Michelle Malkin and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R- Tennessee.

The good news is they are bringing in a semi-Democrat in Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards. She has been in the news lately because her husband was involved in a sex scandal, and I’m sure every mention of her appearance will also mention that.

The series is actually bringing in some non-right-wingers like Olympic swimmer Peter VanderKaay and sports agent David Arluck. But the fact remains that the school brings in the most vile and partisan right-wingers it can find.

Columnist and blogger Malkin isn’t as racist as Coulter, but she is just as hateful. It seems like the most disgusting and outrageous things people like Malkin and Coulter say, the fatter their bank account gets. Coulter’s star seems to be in decline, so she needs to produce more outrageous and hateful sound bites to get back on faux “news” more.

During the 2004 Presidential election, Malkin said Democratic Presidential nominee and decorated Vietnam War hero John Kerry shot himself to earn his Purple Hearts, insulting Kerry and every single veteran who ever won a medal or decoration. She shouldn’t be very popular in Michigan after saying those people who are unemployed want to be out of a job and are lazy.

During an appearance on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos last year, Malkin suggested that extending unemployment benefits was a cause of the high unemployment rates of 2009. She said she opposed another 13-week extension of unemployment benefits because "if you put enough government cheese in front of people they are going to just keep eating it and kicking the can down the road.”

We must have a lot of government cheese eaters in Michigan.

Frist, a physician, served two terms as a Republican U.S. Senator representing Tennessee, and his most highly publicized action was during the Terri Schiavo fiasco in 2005. After just reviewing videotapes of Schiavo, he floated the diagnosis that Schiavo was not someone who is in persistent vegetative state. After she passed away later in the year the autopsy confirmed she had indeed suffered devastating brain damage and was in a persistent vegetative state.

Campaign cash trumps 10,000 Michigan jobs

The word from Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, on Thursday that it is unlikely that the Senate would vote on legislation authorizing the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) bridge this year just proves that billionaire benefactor and Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun spent his money wisely.

Instead of 10,000 Michigan jobs and a much needed bridge, Michigan appears to get nothing. Subscription only Gongwer reported on Thursday that Moroun, who has fought tooth and nail to keep his private monopoly on a private border crossing, “recently gave $30,000 to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee,” and they “put $35,000 into the Capitol Affairs political action committee from May through July. That PAC later gave $20,000 to Mr. Bishop's attorney general campaign fund.”

The news came just about a week after the Chair of the Transportation Committee, Sen. Jud Gilbert, R-Algonac, said he had just come out with a new draft of House Bill 4961 that would authorize Michigan to enter into a public-private partnership with Canada to build the bridge and take advantage of Canada agreeing to fund Michigan’s share of the bridge. Gilbert said back in June that he was going to slow-walk the bill, not kill it. This announcement came as a surprise to the many DRIC supporters, as well as to Gilbert.

One of the main reasons offered for trying to kill it was ridiculous. According to Gongwer, “Gilbert said in recent days there had been increasing discussion among Senate Republicans about the awkwardness of an incoming governor inheriting responsibility for implementing a massive project he did not support.”

The DRIC study began in 2000 under former Republican Gov. John Engler when it was clear we needed to replace the aging Ambassador Bridger and increase border capacity and security. The DRIC bridge has widespread support from a diverse coalition. In fact, the only people that seem to really oppose it are Senate Republicans and the Moroun family.

The fact is the bridge had the support of the last three Michigan Governors, including Democratic Govs. Jim Blanchard and Jennifer Granholm and Republican Engler, as well as Republican Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

Even some groups that normally support Republicans support the DRIC bridge. According to Gongwer, “Sarah Hubbard of the Detroit Regional Chamber, a major proponent of the DRIC, said stakeholders in the issue have been working "around the clock" to address concerns and help Mr. Gilbert put together the new version of the bill.”

She said the DRIC is far from dead this session, and they will continue to work to get at least an up or down vote, at least in the lame duck session in December. If nothing else, there will be a vote on a motion to discharge the bill from the Transportation Committee.

This is far too important to Michigan and Canada’s economy to let it be killed by Moroun’s money.

Sep 16, 2010

Teabagger Republican Congressional candidate adds hypocrisy to his resume

Rob Steele, the teabagger Republican Congressional candidate for the 15th District, continues to amaze with his arrogance, dishonesty and hypocrisy.

After whining that the incumbent - the dean of the U.S. House Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, - will not debate him, it turns out it’s Steele who is afraid to debate and is ducking. Steele cried almost daily on his Facebook page that Dingell is only going to events where people support him, and avoiding debates or meetings with non-supporters. Steele said he was “Continuing Congressman Dingell's strategy to avoid public forums with his constituents, he met with "about a dozen" handpicked small-business people.” He even made the absurd claim that Dingell is never in the district or accessible to constituents.

It turns out that Dingell sent a letter to Steele right after he won the August primary election congratulating him and asking for debates, but all Steele did was lie and cry that Dingell was avoiding him. After a month of blustering from Steele, Dingell finally sent a letter on Tuesday asking that Steele commit to as many debates as possible, and Dingell says he looks forward to appearing at voters forums put on by various groups like the AARP and others. Dingell has already accepted an invitation from Monroe Community College to debate. It’s unclear if Steele will appear.

The only response from the Steele camp has been silence.

Not much is really known about Steele, other than he is rich, arrogant and dishonest, so the Michigan Democratic Party launched a web site this week to let people know who the real Steele is.

What’s was Steele’s response? He hijacked the name “John Dingell for Congress” for a web site to attack Dingell for his age. This is where Steele’s hypocrisy is on full display.

Earlier this month Steele made a big stink with the false claim that Dingell’s web site redesign copied Steel’s web site. It even led to a story in the online “newspaper” Ann with the claim that Dingell copied Steele. Well, Steele clearly copied Dingell.

I would ask Steele if he has no shame, but I already know the answer to that question. So, I’ll ask him this one: when are you going to accept the challenge and debate instead of stalling and blustering?

Sep 15, 2010

If the GOP wins in November expect another tax-payer financed witch-hunt against the President

If going back to the failed economic policies that created the worst recession since the Great Depression and almost pushed the country into a economic meltdown and into a depression was not enough of reason to not vote Republican this November then the threat of another tax-payer financed witch-hunt like the one against former President Bill Clinton that wasted millions of dollars is another reason.

You will recall that from day one rich Republicans spent millions of dollars investigating every single aspect of the Clinton’s lives, but at least it was their inherited money and not tax payer money. But the Ken Starr witch-hunt that cost more than $7 million and became the most expensive investigation in history could be in the cards again if the unthinkable happens in November.

New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize winning economics professor Paul Krugman lays out what will happen if we give the keys to the car back to the Republicans.

“So what will happen if, as expected, Republicans win control of the House? We already know part of the answer: Politico reports that they’re gearing up for a repeat performance of the 1990s, with a “wave of committee investigations” — several of them over supposed scandals that we already know are completely phony. We can expect the G.O.P. to play chicken over the federal budget, too; I’d put even odds on a 1995-type government shutdown sometime over the next couple of years.“

Even though the American people clearly wanted the silliness to stop back in the 1990s, Republicans refused, and they were going to get Clinton at all costs.

“The last time a Democrat sat in the White House, he faced a nonstop witch hunt by his political opponents. Prominent figures on the right accused Bill and Hillary Clinton of everything from drug smuggling to murder. And once Republicans took control of Congress, they subjected the Clinton administration to unrelenting harassment — at one point taking 140 hours of sworn testimony over accusations that the White House had misused its Christmas card list.”

Republicans have already said if they regain power it will be wall to wall investigations from the House and Senate floor, and the country can’t afford that silliness. Not only that, rich Republicans angry that they may be forced to pay their fair share have already spent millions to bankroll another Arkansas-like project.

“Wall Street has turned on Mr. Obama with a vengeance: last month Steve Schwarzman, the billionaire chairman of the Blackstone Group, the private equity giant, compared proposals to end tax loopholes for hedge fund managers with the Nazi invasion of Poland.
And powerful forces are promoting and exploiting this rage. Jane Mayer’s new article in The New Yorker about the superrich Koch brothers and their war against Mr. Obama has generated much-justified attention, but as Ms. Mayer herself points out, only the scale of their effort is new: billionaires like Richard Mellon Scaife waged a similar war against Bill Clinton.”

The only difference between then and now was that the Clinton presidency created a time of peace and prosperity. That’s not the case today, and President Obama has driven the car out of the Bush recession ditch, but it is still too close to the ditch to play the gotcha ya game the Republicans love so much.

“It will be an ugly scene, and it will be dangerous, too. The 1990s were a time of peace and prosperity; this is a time of neither. In particular, we’re still suffering the after-effects of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, and we can’t afford to have a federal government paralyzed by an opposition with no interest in helping the president govern. But that’s what we’re likely to get. “

Sep 14, 2010

Steele doubles down on the dishonesty

The dishonesty of Rob Steele, the teabagger Republican Congressional candidate for the 15th District who will soon be sent home by U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, is absolutely stunning.

Less than a week after being called out in his lame attempt to fool voters into believing he has labor support by calling his campaign workers Steelworkers, he doubled down on the dishonest toady, and he adopted a logo he is asking supporters to use as their profile photo on Facebook that says “Steelworkers United Local MI-15.”

Last week the real Steelworkers, the United Steelworkers (USW), formally endorsed Congressman Dingell. This is a lame but obvious attempt Steele to confuse and fool voters.

The irony is that last week Steele also made the ridiculous and false claim that Dingell – get this - copied his web site.

Make no mistake about it, this is an obvious attempt to con voters, and the USW should present Steel with a cease and desist order to stop him from impersonating them. This man is no friend of working people.

Newspaper that sponsors political debates says they are useless

The Republican editorial board of the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus is twisting itself into pretzels in it’s ongoing battle to bash Democratic candidates and promote Republican candidates.

In today’s edition it editorialized that it’s OK for Republican Gubernatorial candidate Rick “Chief Executive Outsourcer” Snyder to continue to duck debates with Democratic nominee Virg Bernero because “Debates are of questionable value.”

Say what?

Is this the same newspaper that sponsores and moderates local debates? Is this the same newspaper that sponsored and moderated a debate between the Republican candidates for the 22nd State Senate seat in July? Why, yes it is. So I guess the paper will no longer sponsor those useless debates where a candidate has to defend his positions, record and actions in front of a neutral audience.

It’s just astonishing what this Republican editorial board will do to promote Republican candidates. Liberal media my butt.

Of course this bastion of the “liberal media” uses the editorial to take its standard cheap shots at Gov. Jennifer Granholm, saying “Voters are likely looking for a change after eight years of an ineffective Democrat in the governor's office,” and ending with this gem:

“Granholm likely would have won the election anyway, but as a challenger, DeVos lost any chance he had to gain ground. So for the next four years, we got the better debater.
But did we get a better governor?”

The answer is yes. Perhaps the newspaper missed the Bush recession, the worst since the Great Depression that led to two of Michigan’s largest employers going into bankruptcy? Perhaps they missed this report that Michigan is leading the nation in job growth, with a gain of 27,800 jobs in July or that every single Michigan governor has tried to diversify the states’ economy away from just auto manufacturing so we don’t feel every economic downturn so hard, but only Granholm has managed to do that?

But back to the debates. The good news is that Detroit TV station WXYZ YV 7 cares more about informing voters then the newspaper does, and they are going to broadcast a 'live' debate on Tuesday, October 21, from 8:00 - 9:00 pm whether the wimp shows up or not.

But the biggest news is that Bernero showed up at one of the wimp’s invitation only townhall meetings held at country clubs, this one held at the Hawthorne Country Club in Westland on Monday with the hope of persuading him to hold the three televised debates the wimp chickened out of. Apparently, Bernero shamed Snyder into meeting “with him personally over coffee to hammer out a gentlemen’s agreement on debates,” according to the Detroit Free Press.

Sep 13, 2010

Hysteria absent from back to school speech this year

What a difference a year makes.

At the start of last school year, Republican teabaggers were in hysterics that President Obama was going to address students on the first day of school on the importance of education, staying in school, working hard and perseverance. Parents threatened to boycott the schools, and some even threatened recruit “other parents to keep their children home on fall student count day if the district aired the speech.”

This was the height of the Astroturf teabagger movement, and they falsely claimed the President telling the kids to study hard, stay in school and work hard was “socialist indoctrination.” Rightwing talk radio hosts even tried to organize a "Keep Your Kids Home." That crap led many districts allow student to opt out, tape it to show later instead of live and some even ignored it.

On Tuesday at 1 p.m. President Obama will deliver his second annual Back to School speech on at Julia R Masterman Middle-High School in Philadelphia, PA. The President’s Back to School speech will be streamed live on the White House web site, and schools can also view the speech on CNN which has said it plans to take the event live.

Despite all the false rhetoric and outright lies from the right and the Republican noise machine, the news about this year’s speech has been extremely quiet. Apparently, right-wingers are too busy trashing the 1st Amendment to worry about this annual event by all U.S. presidents.

Is this another way to weasel out of debates or is this how the outsourcer will run state government?

We already had a glimpse of how Rick “Chief Executive Outsourcer” Snyder will run state government if he is elected with the disaster that was the Michigan Republican State Convention, and now how he is handling debate negotiations is another glimpse.

Subscription only Gongewer is reporting that he broke off negotiations on Friday, and it appears there will be no gubernatorial debates. It appear the only question is was this another one of Snyder’s attempts to duck debates like he has since the Republican primary, or another example of how he thinks he can dictate to people and not negotiate.

On Friday Snyder's debate negotiator sent a final proposal to the campaign of Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Virg Bernero to be accepted by 4 p.m. That “proposal” called for three televised debates, “one live September 19 or 24 on Michigan Public Television, one live October 1 in northern Michigan to be broadcast on the state's CBS affiliates and a third debate at the Detroit Economic Club that would be rebroadcast on tape delay that evening on the state's NBC affiliates.” Granted, he wants to limit the amount of people who want to see it because he doesn’t want voters to see how little he knows about state government and that he has no plan for Michigan, but the real problem was that he, and only he, tried to pick the journalists who would moderate the debate.

The Bernero campaign, who already accepted three debates last month and wants more, made a counter offer right before the deadline. He wanted the Detroit Economic Club debate broadcast live in the evening and it wanted to negotiate the moderators of the debates. That seems pretty reasonable; simply a compromise on who will moderate the debate instead of allowing the outsourcer to pick friendly, Republican panelists and allowing more people to see the debates sounds pretty reasonable.

Not to the CEO, and it gave him the excuse he was looking for to chicken out.

“We consider Snyder's approach to be in bad faith and a deliberate attempt to completely kill the debates," said Mark Fox, the Bernero campaign's debate negotiator, in Gongwer. "It seems more than obvious that Snyder, understandably wants to severely limit the audience, handpick the panelists, and schedule these events as far in advance of the election as possible.”

If the chief outsourcer thinks he can dictate to the Legislature what he wants, and if he doesn’t get what he wants then he takes his ball and goes home then he knows less about state government than I thought. You can’t fire an independent branch of government like you can employees in a private company simply because they refuse to carry out your plan. You have to negotiate with them; something the outsourcer appear incapable of doing.

Or is this just another way for the CEO to chicken out of the debates so Michigan voters will not get the opportunity to learn what he is really like.

Sep 10, 2010

Maybe the outsourcer should turn down this endorsement

So much for family values. rightwing extremist ex-rocker Ted Nugent has penned an OP-ED supporting Republican Gubernatorial nominee Rick “Chief Executive Outsourcer (CEO)” Snyder.

Nugent said he returned to his “spiritual home base of Michigan last weekend,” and he decided to pen an OP-Ed. I’m absolutely amazed that anyone would give him such a platform. I know people who must move out of Michigan, temporarily, to find a job when the economy goes bad and the auto industry lays workers off, but I have no respect for a guy who leaves for Texas for no reason I can figure. But he had this to say about CEO Rick.

“Though I am no longer an official resident of Michigan, I still made it a point to track down and speak with Rick Snyder, the Republican candidate for governor. I was already impressed with his entrepreneurial successes and management skills, but came away from our conversation even more hopeful that this astute, pragmatic businessman could bring Michigan back from the brink.”

Nugent endorsed the Outsourcer’s opponent, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard, in the primary, but I guess he has a new hunting buddy.

I am also appalled why anyone would even want to be endorsed by a scumbag like Nugent, let alone by a party that constantly claims to be the party of family values. Who would want to associate with a draft-dodger and a philanderer? This is a man who could have faced statuary rape charges for sleeping with his 17-year-old Hawaiian girlfriend Pele Massa, so he talked her parents into allowing him to adopt her. Doesn’t the CEO have a couple of teenage daughters?

But, the fact is Republicans have a hard time finding celebrities who support Republicans.

But here is another ridiculous statement from the Motor City insane man, “After all, accountable government should reflect accountable business.”

That begs the question, when is the conservative, corporate media going to hold the chief outsourcer accountable? They have not asked him any hard questions, and we don’t know much about this guy, other than his record of destroying U.S. jobs for personal gain, and we know nothing of this alleged plan to “reinvent Michigan.” There are only 53 days before the election, and he ahs not accepted a single challenge to debate.

Instead of debating Virg Bernero, he holds townhall meetings in front of friendly, hand-picked audiences where he doesn’t face any tough questions, and the media lets him get away with it, like they did when he ducked debates in the Republican primary.

Support the Democratic ticket

The stakes are high for the election in November, and the choice appears to be to continue to climb out of the Bush recession, or to go back to the failed Republican Bush polices that created the worst recession since the Great Depression, and the Livingston County Democratic Party is gearing up for the election with a couple of events.

Livingston County Democrats will kick off their 2010 campaign on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Virg Bernero on Saturday, Sept. 18, with an organizational meeting for volunteers. Farhan Bhatti, deputy campaign manager with the Bernero for Governor Campaign, will conduct training for volunteers beginning at 10 a.m. at Livingston County Democratic Party headquarters, 10321 Grand River Ave., Suite 600, in Brighton.

“Anyone who wants to see Michigan work again is invited to come and learn how they can be part of the team for Virg Bernero,” said Judy Daubenmier, chair of the Livingston County Democrats. “As Lansing mayor, Virg has shown that he understands what needs to be done to put people back to work in Michigan.”

No past political experience is necessary. The training will provide all the information volunteers will need to be able to work effectively for Bernero and his running mate, Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence. Coffee, tea, and bagels will be provided.

As mayor of Lansing, Bernero attracted more than a half a billion dollars in new, private investment to the city, which retained and created more than 6,000 full-time jobs. He erased more than $40 million in city budget deficits without raising taxes or laying off any workers. Bernero shared in the sacrifice, cutting his own pay and benefits.

The party is also hosting a fundraiser called “Campaign Countdown 2010.” The event is set for 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, at Barnstormers Banquet Center, 9411 E M-36, Whitmore Lake. We need to will make sure our candidates have the resources to compete down the stretch with the deep pockets of the Republican Gubernatorial nominee, made from shipping jobs overseas. Suggested donation is just $25 per person and includes appetizers and a cash bar. Sign up now via Paypal.

Invited guests include U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, Gubernatorial nominee Virg Bernero, his running mate Brenda Lawrence, Attorney General nominee David Leyton, Secretary of State nominee Jocelyn Benson, 8th Congressional District nominee Lance Enderle, Michigan Supreme Court nominee Denise Langford Morris and Supreme Court Justice Alton Davis. Additionally, all the local candidates will be there, too.

So sign up today by Paypal or send a check made out to Livingston County Democrats to 10321 Grand River Road, Suite 600, Brighton, MI 48116.

Sep 9, 2010

Teabagger candidate cries ‘he’s copying me!’

The arrogance and ego of teabagger Republican Congressional candidate Rob Steel - who is trying to unseat the dean of the U.S. House, John Dingell - continues to amaze me.

After trying to provoke a confrontation with an opposing campaign volunteer, lying about it and then banning all dissent, Steele is making the ridiculous claim that Dingell is – get this - copying his web site. He claims Dingell’s, apparently, redesigned campaign web site looks like his, so he must have copied from Steele. Talk about juvenile. On his Facebook page, Steele made this ridiculous post.

“John Dingell is running out of new ideas, but he sure likes to copy mine: His new website has changed to Steele blue, his name is written in Steele gray, and he has copied the Steele coalitions.”

What an ego. He reminds me of another physician in the Legislature, State Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw. It remains to be seen if the two have the same kind of temper. We will find out in November when Steele joins a long, long line of candidates who failed to beat Congressman Dingell.

What the heck is “Steele blue?” Can anyone tell me? We even get this great quote from one of the sheeples on his page:
“I really think that Dingell feels the electorate is stupid enough to confuse the 2 campaign signs and hopes to capitalize on votes with name recognition and a bit of confusion.”

That has to be one of the dumbest things I have ever heard. Dingell’s yard signs are red, and they have been for many years. Steele’s yard signs, I believe, are white. I can guarantee you this, John Dingell has much more name recognition that Steele. Steele’s huge ego can only hope to have a fraction of that name recognition.

And if you want to talk about confusion and deception, you only have to look at Steele’s weak attempt to make people think he has the support of the United Steel Workers (USW) by referring to his campaign sheeple as steelworkers.

The fact is the two web sites are similar, but the fact is they look like many political web sites. In fact, Dingell and Steele’s web site looks similar to Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero’s web site.

Is Steele now going to claim that Bernero is copying him, too? I wouldn’t put it past him, and I can hear the refrain now, “he’s copying me!”

The Chief Outsourcer continues to chicken out on debates

Somebody is going to have to follow Rick “Chief Executive Outsourcer” Snyder around to his staged townhall meetings with friendly audiences in a chicken suit shame him into a debate with Democratic Gubernatorial Nominee Virg Bernero.

It has been more than a month since Bernero issued a challenge to debate, and Synder has come up with excuse after excuse to not do it. Snyder has a history of being afraid to debate. He even ducked the debates with the Republican nominees. The last and only debate he took part in was a debate sponsored by the Michigan GOP on April 21 at Michigan State University broadcast by Lansing TV station WLNS. He did so badly in the debate that he went back to his staged townhall meetings.

He did a friendly interview yesterday on classic rock station WHMI in Howell with the “morning crew,” and his new excuse for ducking the debates is that Bernero wants too many debates. Bernero formally issued a challenge last month to hold eight debates before the November 2 election, but the Lansing Mayor has accepted three. But Snyder lied to the hosts and said eight is too many.

Fine, then do the three that Bernero has already agreed to. The simple truth is the only way Snyder will debate is if the media and the public pressure him to do so.

Snyder has paid millions to cultivate this image as a successful businessman and job creator, and this is simply not true. Snyder spent $7.6 million on 30-second TV spots to win his party's gubernatorial primary, $6.1 million of which came from his own deep pockets. A real debate in front of a neutral audience will tarnish that expensive, bought and paid for image and revel him to be the empty suit he really is.

He also claims to be a job creator, but that is a lie, unless you count jobs created in China. He shipped 20,000 American jobs to China and other parts of Asia when he was head of Gateway. A report earlier this month by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) shows that the more CEOs cut jobs, the more money they made, and Snyder earned millions doing so. He cashed in on 355,000 stock options worth $23.7 million at a time that executives at the company admitted they misrepresented the company’s financial outlook. He took that money to buy the governorship of Michigan.

Republicans seem to be taking the example of the chief outsourcer at the top of the ticket and ducking debates.

Democratic Secretary of State nominee and Wayne State University law Professor Jocelyn Benson challenged her opponent to three debates last month, and, like the empty suit at the top of the ticket, the Republican has been silent. That’s a little strange, considering the Republican is a “career politician” teabggers claim they hate, and Benson has never ran for elective office before.

The only people who have agreed to debate are the Attorney General candidates. Democratic nominee and Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton will take part in a debate moderated by Off the Record host Tim Skubick that will air on Sept. 24. The taping will take place this weekend at the studios of PBS station WKAR TV in East Lansing.

Sep 8, 2010

Dingell endorsed by the real Steelworkers

The United Steel Workers (USW) stood up for the man who has stood up for the working class for half a century and formally endorsed Congressman John Dingell in his re-election bid for Michigan’s 15th Congressional District on Tuesday.

The United Steelworkers represent 1.2 million members and retirees nationally. USW workplaces are found in nearly every sector of the North American economy, from metals, manufacturing, paper, glass rubber, forestry products, chemical industry, rubber, health care, pharmaceuticals to public services, mining and energy and utilities.

“I am very pleased to have once again earned the endorsement from the Steelworkers,” Dingell said in acknowledging the honor. “I look forward to continuing to work with the Steelworkers to fight for working families in Michigan.”

The Steelworkers’ endorsement should put to rest the attempt by Dingell’s opponent, teabagger Republican Rob Steele, to try and fool people into believing he has the endorsement of the USW union.

He has taken to calling his campaign workers “Steelworkers” in an apparent attempt to con people into believing he has the support of actual Steelworkers. He will claim it’s just a play on his name, but Steele has a serious problem with the truth.

Liberal talk comes to Armed Forces Radio

The military will finally get some relief from the constant barrage of hate and misinformation from the likes of the drug addled gas bag Rush Limbaugh when liberal talk is added to the Armed Forces Radio Network (AFRN).

A PowerTalk line up of some of the most dynamic liberal talkers will hit AFRN airways in mid- to late October, and it will feature Ed Schultz, Bill Press, Thom Hartmann and Stephanie Miller. The line up is part of the Dial Global personalities that will also include conservative host Neal Boortz.

The Armed Forces Radio serves about 800,000 American military personnel worldwide with programming and news, as well as their families, providing a link back home for the men and women of the Air Force, Navy, Marines, Army, Coast Guard and more.

Sep 7, 2010

The ginned up Islamic community center controversy will endanger U.S. troops

The ginned up hate campaign by the right against Muslims fueled by the proposal to build an Islamic community center close to the site of the so-called Ground Zero in lower Manhattan is helping al-Qaeda recruit terrorists, according to Ali Soufan, the FBI’s most skillful terrorist interrogator after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Soufan was a supervisory special agent with the FBI from 1997 to 2005. He said the video from the opposition to mosques from Wisconsin to Tennessee just wrote the next video script for Osama Bin Laden’s next recruitment video.

Now, U.S. military commanders are warning that the ridiculous, racist and hate-filled plan by an alleged Christian church in Gainesville, Fla. to burn a Koran on Sept. 11, the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack, and a plan to make Sept. “International Burn A Koran Day” could endanger U. S. troops. Gen. David Petraeus said in a statement issued Monday that it “could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan.”

Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, one of Petraeus' deputies, told CNN's "The Situation Room" that the event "has already stirred up a lot of discussion and concern" among Afghans.”

"We very much feel that this can jeopardize the safety of our men and women that are serving over here in the country," Caldwell, the head of NATO efforts to train Afghan security forces, said.

Perhaps they, nor I, can understand how the 1st Amendment can protect the right to actually doing something as stupid as burning a holy book like the Koran, but that same 1st Amendment that is supposed to be protect freedom of religion isn’t doing it in the case of mosques.

Sep 6, 2010

Off shoring and outsourcing kills another U.S. industry

United Furniture has been a fixture in Monroe for 40 years, but the founder and owner leaves some parting wisdom on off shoring and outsourcing upon his retirement from the business he spent his life building.

Jack W. Cosby, 74, told the Monroe Evening he is retiring, but he said you should not be buying some of the stuff he sells out of his 28,000-square-foot showroom.

“I have to be honest with you,” he told the MEN. “I sell people stuff that I feel guilty selling them. It’s not what I’ve always been selling. It’s really tough for me to accept the foreign market, but I have to accept it because that’s all that’s selling.”

Cosby said he resisted selling the stuff made in China and elsewhere because the quality was inferior, but the market forced him to sell cheap over quality. In other words, sell foreign crap or go out of business. In fact, 98 percent of the wood furniture sold in the U.S. is foreign made.

Overall, according to the paper, U.S. manufacturing employment has dropped more than 32 percent since 2000, falling below 12 million, the fewest working in manufacturing since 1941.

“It’s not the quality we’ve been used to selling,” Cosby said of the imported furnishings. “It comes over on a boat as everybody knows and it’s bound to get damp coming over and it shows every crease where it’s put together.”

“They have hardly anything that’s solid wood. It’s usually like a particle-board with wood veneer over it,” Cosby said. “I think most of your American companies have closed their factories and use them for warehouses. They just buy it and sell it like we do.”