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Despite Loss, Ossoff Campaign Shows a Path Forward to Democratic Wins in Michigan

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 4:00pm

While Jon Ossoff’s loss will certainly disappoint Democrats who thought they did everything they possibly could to flip a Congressional seat, his campaign proves that grassroots organizing can move the needle in American politics in dramatic and unexpected ways. Ossoff’s record- breaking fundraising numbers and volunteer base brought an otherwise obscure special election to a national audience and resulted in voter turnout higher than midterm levels.

Now more than ever, we need to bring that energy back home to places like Michigan. With the attention of many Democrats focused on Georgia’s 6th congressional district over the past few months, Republicans in state legislatures around the country have prioritized corporate welfare at the expense of working families, raided teachers’ retirements, and proposed legislation that threatens immigrant communities and erodes public safety.

With just a fraction of the resources and volunteer participation that Ossoff’s campaign had, Democrats can win back control of state legislatures like the Michigan House of Representatives.

I know this because despite Donald Trump winning my state house district by 14 points in 2016, voters also chose me—a 25-year-old teacher—to represent them in Lansing. Our campaign exceeded Secretary Clinton’s vote total by an average of 7% across the district in what turned out to be the most competitive state house race in Michigan last year. And we did it with a strong grassroots campaign operating on less than 1/100th of the money raised by Ossoff’s campaign.

Our team did the hard work of knocking on more than 60,000 doors and growing a volunteer base of every age, background, and presidential primary preference. We met voters wherever they were, whatever their party affiliation, even when that meant stepping outside of our comfort zone. Our work shows that a focused and energized group of volunteers can not only bring many Republican state house districts into play across Michigan, but we can win them—even in unfavorable circumstances.

This model—focused on grassroots organizing and cultivating an energized base and campaign organization—can and should be used by Democrats in down ballot races across the country. We should seek out new voices, rally around shared values that transcend partisanship, and focus our efforts on organizing to flip state legislatures that too often act against working families’ priorities.

Whether you are new to political campaigns or a multi-cycle campaign veteran, your time, support and action can be the difference between victory and defeat. Together, we can make a difference in the direction of our county, build a better health care system, and create a more civil and responsible government of, for, and by the people.

-- Darrin Camilleri is a state representative from Michigan’s 23rd District representing the communities of Brownstown Township, Huron Township, Trenton, Grosse Ile Township, Woodhaven, and Gibraltar. 

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

MI-Sen: Debbie Stabenow (D) On Senate GOP Health Care Bill, "We'd Like To Light This On Fire"

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 11:58am

Loving this response:

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Keep fighting for us, @SenStabenow! #SaveMedicaid #HealthcareBill @MichiganDems @seiuhcmi @ProgressMich @MiIndivisible @MichiganUnited @dscc pic.twitter.com/UOa8z8ulkw

— Phil Revard (@PhilRevard) June 23, 2017

As Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate today revealed a draft of health care legislation they say will stabilize individual insurance markets, Democrats from Michigan and elsewhere attacked it as mean-spirited and stingy, saying it will hurt lower-income families and seniors.

“Frankly, we’d like to have a ceremony and light this on fire,” U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said on the Senate floor, waving a copy of the 142-page draft legislation as she argued against the bill, which is intended to repeal and replace the 7-year-old Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled the draft bill, which follows a U.S. House vote on a similar measure in May that could have far-ranging impact in Michigan, where 1 million people get coverage on ACA exchanges or through Healthy Michigan, the state’s Medicaid expansion plan.

The legislation eliminates the requirement that people have insurance, reins in Medicaid spending and eligibility, and cuts back insurance premium subsidies for some low- and middle-income Americans. A vote on it  could come next week before the Senate takes its July 4th recess.

Other portions of the bill:

  • Eliminate requirements that insurers on the exchanges provide essential health benefits such as prescription drug and maternity care as of 2020.
  • Allow states to put in place work requirements for Medicaid coverage for poor people and experiment with ways to contain costs while providing care.
  • Keeps in place requirements to cover preexisting conditions and let children stay on parents' policies until age 26, though if subsidies decrease, those policies could cost people more.

Well said. While Democrats may not be able to literally set the bill on fire we can help them get four Republican Senators to reject this disastrous bill. Click here to contact your Senator and tell them to reject Trumpcare.

And while you’re at it, click here to donate and get involved with Stabenow’s re-election campaign.

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

MI-Gov: Gretchen Whitmer (D) Helps Build Momentum To Defeat The Senate Version Of Trumpcare

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 6:40pm

Received this e-mail today from Gretchen Whitmer’s (D. MI) gubernatorial campaign:

I just saw the Senate health care repeal bill that was crafted behind closed doors, and it is truly heartless.

I’m so proud of my work helping to expand health care to 630,000 people in our state through Healthy Michigan -- and I can tell you one thing, I’m not going to stand quietly by as Washington tries to drive up the cost of our care and eliminate it for tens of thousands.

Our families deserve better.

Let’s tell our leaders in Washington that we fought too hard for them to raise our costs and take health care away from the hard-working people of Michigan.

This bill will drive up costs, hit Michigan’s rural communities hard, and rip health care away from the people who need it the most. It’ll threaten the thousands of jobs that Healthy Michigan brought to our state, and even undermine our work to address the opioid crisis that’s attacking our neighborhoods.

And of course, those with pre-existing conditions will struggle to find affordable care that will cover them. This will cost Michigan big.

As a mom, a prosecutor, and a former legislator, I’ve never backed down from some of our toughest challenges.

And it’s clear neither Lansing or Washington are looking out for us, so it’s up to all of us to fight for Michigan together.

Add your name to stand up to Washington DC’s attempts to take health care away from thousands of Michiganders.

Thank you,

Gretchen

Click here to add your name.

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

MI-Sen: Gary Peters (D) Helps Debbie Stabenow (D) Keep Up The Resistance Against Trump & AHCA

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 2:40pm

Received this e-mail today from U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D. MI) in support of his colleague, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow’s (D. MI) re-election campaign:

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D. MI)  

I’m not going to sugar coat this. Donald Trump won Michigan by just 10,000 votes and Republicans see an opportunity to expand the map in 2018.

They believe they can beat Debbie Stabenow. If they’re right, they’ll fill yet another Senate seat with a rubber stamp for President Trump and the GOP’s radical agenda.

Now more than ever we need Debbie. That’s why I’m asking you to have her back right now.

Contribute anything you can today and be a part of Debbie’s 2018 campaign from the very beginning. There’s too much on the line for Michigan and our country to sit this one out.

The last month shows the urgency in making sure Debbie and I stay partners in the Senate for years to come:    

  •       President Trump’s reckless behavior with James Comey
  •       The elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from the 2018 budget
  •       Secretary Betsy Devos’ continued attacks on our public schools
  •       A health care proposal that leaves 23 million without insurance.

Debbie and I can hold President Trump accountable and stand up for Michigan families — but it’s not going to be easy. Debbie’s race is one of the most important in the country. It may only be 2017, but GOP Super PACs are already running attack ads against her.

Please donate anything you can and help my friend Debbie build a campaign strong enough to stand up to the attacks.

Debbie is one of the best public servants I’ve ever met. We’re so lucky to have her.

Let’s get out there and fight for her like she’s always fought for us.

Sincerely,

Gary

Click here to donate to Stabenow’s campaign.

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

Just how "Red" are the Rust Belt states?

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 8:08am

There seems to be a pundit point that says something like this.  VA, CO, NV, NM are moving blue while PA, WI, and MI have become red states.

How true is this conventional wisdom?  Yes Trump squeaked through in those three states.  However, his margin was smaller than the Green vote.  All three of those states also had depressed African-American vote (Some like WI due to laws).

But, I think Trump was also unique in another way besides your usual Club for Growth Republican candidate.  Trump ran on trade issues.  This is not something the GOP can sustain long term because it is a total lie as far as their policy goes.  

Also, in an under-reported part of the story, Trump ran on protecting Social Security and Medicare.  These are old states demographically.  Of course it was a lie, but Democrats were not able to play off the voucherize Medicare idea that they could with Romney or the other 2016 GOP contenders.

IN 2018, I suspect Democrats in these three states for Senate will cruise to victory.  Bob Casey in PA can’t even get a real GOP challenger.  Debbie S. and Tammy Baldwin should also win.  Wolf in favored to win re-election as Gov. in PA, and MI gov. is open and looks like a good pickup opportunity.

Yes, these states are horribly gerrymandered which kills us.  But that can change in 2020.

Look, this is not a ponies, unicorns, and rainbows post where I say there are no problems in these states.  However, I have a hard time believing that it wasn’t unique circumstance of candidates and other factors that turned states where Obama over-performed his national average in 2012 into solid red states in 2016.

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

Morning Digest: Despite GOP gerrymanders, 2014 shows how Michigan Democrats could make gains in 2018

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 8:00am

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, and David Beard.

Leading Off

Pres-by-LD: Daily Kos Elections' project to calculate the 2016 presidential results for every state legislative seat in the nation hits Michigan, a state that unexpectedly—and distressingly—flipped from blue to red last year. As a bonus, we've also calculated the 2014 election results for U.S. Senate, governor, attorney general, and secretary of state for each state House, state Senate, and congressional district. You can find our master list of states here, which we'll be updating as we add new data sets; you can also find all of our calculations from 2016 and past cycles here.​

Campaign Action

​The GOP had complete control of Michigan's state government when it was time to redraw its state legislative lines for the decade, and it shows. In 2012, even as Mitt Romney was losing the state by a wide 54-45 margin to Barack Obama, he still carried 21 of 38 state Senate seats and 57 of 110 state House seats. Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump's narrow 47.6-47.4 victory over Hillary Clinton last year was enough to allow Trump to win even more legislative districts. Trump traded one Romney Senate seat for three Obama districts, and just three Romney state House seats for 13 Obama districts.

The GOP holds a 27-11 Senate supermajority and a formidable 63-47 House edge. (Daily Kos Elections assigns all vacant seats to the party that last won them; right now, two of those Democratic state House seats are vacant.) The Senate is only up in midterm election cycles, while the House is up every two years.

We'll start with a look at the Senate. In 1983, two members of the Democratic majority were recalled after they backed a tax increase, and they were replaced with Republicans early the next year. The move gave the GOP control of the Senate, and they've held it ever since. During the 2006 Democratic wave, Team Blue came relatively close to winning the chamber back, but the GOP still held a 21-17 majority despite a 54-46 statewide popular vote edge for Democratic candidates; the 2010 and 2014 GOP waves gave Team Red the supermajority they enjoy today.

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

Fighting harassment on the job

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Sun, 06/18/2017 - 3:44pm

La'Ray Reed began working at McDonald's in Redford, Michigan in April, 2015.  She is now suing her former employer.

The transgender woman says her managers called her names like “boy-slash-she,” groped her genitals, required her to use a broom closet as a bathroom and asked her inappropriate questions about her sexual orientation and preferences on a regular basis.

She was not allowed to use either the men's room or the women's room.

The bigotry accusations are the focus of a civil rights lawsuit the Sugar Law Center and Schulz Gotham filed on behalf of Reed last month against McDonald’s and Jon Campbell, the owner of the franchise where the 25-year-old worked.

The suit has been filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, claiming that McDonald's and its franchise owner have violated Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which promises equal rights for employment, housing, education and public services, regardless of one’s religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex or marital status.

The Elliott-Larsen Act reflects the State of Michigan’s desire to protect folks from discrimination.

La’Ray not only endured discrimination in the workplace but she was brave enough to stick up for herself, something many folks don't like to do, but will improve the fast food industry for others.

--Anthony Paros, Sugar Law

When Reed brought up the disparate treatment to Campbell, she initially was blown off. When she finally got him to bring the issue up with one of her managers, the manager retaliated by cutting her hours and eventually terminating her, the lawsuit charges.

As a company, we are committed to the well-being and fair treatment of all people who work in McDonald’s restaurants and discrimination of any kind is completely inconsistent with our values. As this is an ongoing legal matter involving an independent owner operator, we cannot comment further.

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

University of Michigan to offer free tuition to families making under $65,000

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Fri, 06/16/2017 - 1:15pm

On Thursday, M-Live reported that the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents announced it will be offering free tuition to Michigan families who make less than $65,000.

UM President Mark Schlissel surprised the audience inside the Michigan Union by announcing the creation of the Go Blue Guarantee to kick off the meeting Thursday, prior to the Regents' vote on the budget for the upcoming year.

Schlissel became emotional when talking about the opportunities the initiative would afford for low and middle income families after the Board of Regents approved the budget with a 7-1 vote.

"We now guarantee those with the most need can afford a University of Michigan education," Schlissel said. "The Go Blue Guarantee cuts through the complexities of financial aid to help us reach talented students from all communities in our state. I've always believed that talent is ubiquitous in our society, but opportunity most certainly is not."

And while this doesn’t solve the myriad problems that make getting into and then being able to attend a college or university for many low-income families go away, this streamlines the financial aid process and is one important step. 

UM previously covered financial need for in-state students, which could include grants, loans or work study jobs. Free tuition will break down even more barriers for students, said Regent Denise Ilitch.

As the former President of Ilitch Holdings LLC, a privately held business that manages Little Caesar Enterprises, the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers, Ilitch spoke with business experience that the word free sends a powerful message.

"I have great experience with the power of the word free," Ilitch said. "It breaks through to the community and communicates what we've been trying to communicate every year - you do the work, and we have so many talented students here in Michigan - you can come to the University of Michigan for free."

Go Blue!

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

URGENT! Call MI Legislators/Gov NOW to Stop Bad Bills to Gut Teacher Pensions

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Thu, 06/15/2017 - 10:00am

TODAY the bills promoted by Republican leadership in the House and Senate are coming up for votes in each body. OUR CALLS to Republican legislators still on the fence — and to the governor, who opposed previous versions of these bills — can make a positive difference.

For expediency, I am reprinting here the call to action from our Legislative Affairs co-chair of the Washtenaw Dems circulated via email this morning. Please note that all the text below between the faint gray lines is quoted material up [with the exception of material within brackets like this]; I’m omitting the block quote for the sake of readability. Thank you for your calls.

The MPSERS reform bill (HB 4647) passed out of committee Wednesday and the Republicans will likely bring it to a floor vote Thursday. We still have time to try to stop this, but we need to act immediately. I have updated the list of targeted legislators based on our most recent information on who may be swayed. We need to flood these legislators with calls, particularly between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM Thursday to make our voices heard before they vote. I have added another key point that needs to be mentioned in your calls and should be used as counterpoints to any push back that you may receive from staffers. It is in bold with the two other points from yesterday. We must keep the pressure on them; our calls are making a difference. Urge Republican Legislators and Governor Snyder to OPPOSE Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS) Reform and SUPPORT road funding instead.
  • House and Senate Republicans have proposed budgets that leave hundreds of millions of dollars uncommitted, rather than putting that funding towards vital services or fixing our roads.
  • Michigan Republicans are planning to use the uncommitted funds to eliminate the MPSERS hybrid pension plan, which increases costs about $680 million in 2018, $1.1 billion in 2019 and another $1.1 billion in 2020. Over 30 years it would increase costs about $20 billion.
  • The current hybrid pension system is 100% funded and is critical to paying down the state's debt to retired teachers.
  • The newly proposed compromised between Republican legislative leaders and the governor could increase risk for teachers and/or provide for a less robust retirement package.
  • See the House Fiscal Agency Analysis here, and the articles here, here, here, her e, here, here, here, and here for more details.
Rep. David Pagel: 517-373-1796 Rep. Michele Hoitenga: 517-373-1747 Rep. Roger Hauck: 517-373-1789 Rep. Ben Frederick: 517-373-0841 Rep. Daire Rendon: 517-373-3817 Rep. Tommy Brann: 517-373-2277 Rep. Diana Farrington: 517-373-7768 Rep. Curt VanderWall: 517-373-0825 Rep. Jeff Yaroch: 517-373-0820 Rep. Shane Hernandez: 517-373-0835
  • The newly proposed compromise increases risk to teachers by triggering the elimination of the plan if funding falls below a certain point.
  • The share of the cost for teachers and schools decreases under the new plan, but the total cost to teachers and schools increase.
  • The state should be responsible for any additional costs, they should not be passed on to teachers and schools.
  • Don't create a new hybrid pension system that is set up to fail.
Hi, I am calling to ask Representative ____ to OPPOSE HB 4647 that eliminates the teacher hybrid pension system and SUPPORT increased road funding instead. Eliminating the hybrid pension program is fiscally irresponsible as it will cost the state billions of dollars and cause the debt owed by the state to retired teachers to spiral out of control. Over 80% of teachers choose the straight hybrid system. Please vote to OPPOSE HB 4647 and any plan that destroys the hybrid option of the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS), including any plan currently being discussed by the legislature that could increase risk for teachers and/or provide a less robust retirement package. Putting the uncommitted budget funds towards the classroom, fixing our crumbling roads would be a far better use of resources than interfering with the successful MPSERS program. The future of Michigan depends on your support of fiscally responsible plans and supporting our infrastructure. Thank you. -------------------------------------------- Sen. Margaret O’Brien: 517-373-5100 Sen. Ken Horn: 517-373-1760 Sen. Rick Jones: 517-373-3447 Sen. Dale Zorn: 517-373-3543 Sen. Tory Rocca: 517-373-7315 Hi, I am calling to ask Senator ____ to OPPOSE SB 401 that eliminates the teacher hybrid pension system and SUPPORT increased road funding instead. Eliminating the hybrid pension program is fiscally irresponsible as it will cost the state billions of dollars and cause the debt owed by the state to retired teachers to spiral out of control. Over 80% of teachers choose the straight hybrid system. Please vote to OPPOSE SB 401 and any plan that destroys the hybrid option of the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS), including any plan currently being discussed by the legislature that could increase risk for teachers and/or provide a less robust retirement package. Putting the uncommitted budget funds towards the classroom, fixing our crumbling roads would be a far better use of resources than interfering with the successful MPSERS program. The future of Michigan depends on your support of fiscally responsible plans and supporting our infrastructure. Thank you. --------------------------------------------- [NB: Recent developments are outstripping the earlier version of the script; my — pk’s — commentary below is in bold.] Governor Rick Snyder - 517-373-3400
  • Governor Snyder [ is had been, but appears no longer to be] holding firm against pressure from Republican legislators trying to eliminate the MPSERS hybrid pension program, which resulted in a the cancellation of a recent budget talk meeting. 
  • Legislative Republicans and Governor Snyder are discussing a compromise that continues to be dangerous for teachers and our state. [See additional information below the line break.]
  • While the governor may not share our values on many issues, on this one he [is was and still should be] standing up against a fiscally irresponsible plan being put forward by his own party.
[Proposed script to Snyder:]
Hi, I am calling to thank the governor for standing strong against pressure from some legislators to eliminate the teacher hybrid pensions system and to urge him to continue holding firm. I understand that it must be difficult for him to stand up against members of his own party. Eliminating the hybrid pension program is fiscally irresponsible as it will cost the state billions of dollars and cause the debt owed by the state to retired teachers to spiral out of control. [THE NEW COMPROMISE STILL INCLUDES SOME POISON PILLS IN TERMS OF “TRIGGERS” THAT COULD UNDERMINE RETIREMENT PLAN STABILITY. IT’S WRONG TO HIDE THE DETAILS OF THIS AND PUSH THROUGH A VOTE ON PARTY LINES WHEN THE WHOLE STATE WILL BE AFFECTED BY THIS LEGISLATION.] The plan currently being discussed by the legislature could provide teachers greater risk in their retirement and/or provide a less robust retirement package. I appreciate the governor acting in the best interest of Michiganders and urge him to [continue RENEW] his OPPOSITION to any plan that reduces the quality of retirement options through the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS). GOV. SNYDER MADE THE MOST FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE CHOICE WHEN HE BUCKED HIS COLLEAGUES IN THE LEGISLATURE TO SUPPORT MEDICAID EXPANSION IN MICHIGAN. I urge the governor to continue to stand strong against political pressure [ONCE AGAIN] and to protect his legacy as a fiscally responsible leader.

Thanks, everyone. I realize that it is a hard time to be a Michigan resident. Time to resist, insist, persist, enlist!

I am posting this early in hopes of generating a few calls as soon as possible. Let’s see what develops today; the legislature may well be in session late into the evening.

Please help us build this weekly Michigan thread so that it includes any information relevant to turning MI Blue again that you would like me to highlight. MI contributors are always welcome! You can reach me through kosmail at peregrine kate. Or say hi through email here: peregrinekate@gmail.com And please follow me on Twitter @peregrinekate

Please feel free to drop in on ANY State Open Thread! 

Colorado: Sunday Mornings
Kansas: Monday Evenings
Michigan: Thursday Evenings
Missouri: Wednesday Evenings
North Carolina: Sundays, 1:00 PM Eastern

An Activists’ Calendar of Resistance Events
Indivisible’s list of Resistance Events & Groups

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

Michigan's public health director charged with manslaughter relating to the Flint water crisis

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Wed, 06/14/2017 - 10:02am

A Michigan district judge has given a green light to new charges in relation to the lead-poisoned water in Flint:

Michigan's public health director and chief medical executive have been charged with criminal wrongdoing related to the Flint water crisis, moving an investigation by state Attorney General Bill Schuette closer than ever to Gov. Rick Snyder.

Genesee District Judge David Guinn authorized charges Wednesday, June 14, for Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Eden Wells.

Lyon, appointed by Snyder to lead DHHS in April 2015, was charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter, a 15-year felony.

He also faces a single count of misconduct in office.

Wells, who has worked in public health in the state for more than a decade, faces charges of obstruction of justice and lying to a police officer.

Gov. Rick Snyder still has not explained why they waited so long to address the crisis:

It has never been fully explained how crucial information didn't reach the governor, or why the Snyder administration allowed the people of Flint to use undrinkable water for so long.

Red flags were being waved furiously for a year before Snyder took action, as Snyder's top aides -- including his chief of staff and his legal counsel -- expressed concern to the governor about Flint water quality reports.

Eric Rothstein, a member of Gov. Rick Snyder's task force on the Flint water crisis, is a national water issues consultant.  "If they weren't passing along those assessments to the governor, that's a huge problem," said Eric Rothstein, a member of the Snyder-appointed Flint Water Advisory Task Force. "But, if they were passing along those assessments and the governor wasn't taking action, that's a huge problem, too."

Meanwhile, many Flint residents still do not have access to clean drinking water. Nevertheless, the city has threatened to foreclose on homes for unpaid water bills. The EPA recently announced a $100 million grant to fund drinking water infrastructure upgrades.

Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017 · 5:25:50 PM +00:00 · Jen Hayden

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UPDATED: Snyder isn't going to fire these officials in his administration, even the one charged with manslaughter. https://t.co/dyLTVV9aiW

— Chris Savage (@Eclectablog) June 14, 2017

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

'It’s tearing families apart': Watch Holocaust survivor's testimony condemning ICE arrests

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 3:19pm

A Holocaust survivor and U.S. military veteran testified against anti-immigrant bills pending in the Michigan House of Representatives, describing a childhood lived in constant fear and comparing Trump’s mass deportation force to the arrests of Jewish people by the Nazis.

Civil rights advocate, Rene Lichtman, 79, noted his testimony fell on the anniversary of the tragic 1939 voyage of the SS St. Louis. Due to anti-Jewish hostility, the ship—carrying nearly 1,000 Jewish refugees—was turned away from Canada, Cuba, and the U.S. While a handful were able to disembark in Cuba, the rest were forced to return to Europe and an untold number died in the Holocaust. 

At times holding up old black and white photos of family members, Lichtman warned legislators—and the rest of us—that he now sees “a lot of parallels” in the Trump era:

“I’m a child survivor of the Holocaust,” Lichtman said. “I was about 2 years old when the war began and I went into hiding. My family members were picked up in the streets of Paris in the very same way that ICE people are deputizing local police and picking [undocumented immigrants] up in the streets.”

He said that the French police, “deputized by the Nazis,” kept lists of Jews in Paris, “including Jewish children, including children on my street, who were picked up and went to the gas chambers while I was fortunate to be in hiding.”

“I see a lot of parallels to what is going on in cities like Ann Arbor and Pontiac, where ICE is coming in and with the help of the local police are picking up immigrants,” Lichtman said.

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

Michigan's House approved legislation for concealed guns without a permit

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Thu, 06/08/2017 - 2:39pm

The Republican-controlled state House of Representatives in Michigan just pushed through some perfectly idiotic and unsafe Republican legislation. 

It was not immediately clear whether Michigan's Republican Governor Rick Snyder supports the bill. But the measure, if also approved in a Senate vote, could automatically become law 14 days after reaching the governor's desk unless he vetoes it.

The legislation would lift a requirement that handgun owners obtain a concealed pistol license with a $100 fee to legally carry the weapon in public.

Handgun owners also would be allowed carry a concealed pistol in public without the firearms training that is currently mandated.

Why would you want people to have training? Who needs a permit? It’s not like I need a permit to drive, right? Oh, I do? Well, the Founding Fathers never wrote an Amendment about driving, amirite? Reuters has the perfect, paranoid reasoning why the people who voted yes on this bill are also the same reason why this bill shouldn’t become law.

"We all know criminals are not paying fees, taking classes and waiting for approval to come in the mail before they begin carrying guns," Michigan state Representative Michele Hoitenga, sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.

The legislation "levels the playing field for honest people," she said.

No, this just means that more people can have guns. And more guns means less safety for people. It’s a math thing. And since math is the sibling of “science,” you might not understand.

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

Governor El-Sayed? Maybe.

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 8:01am

First off, to be perfectly clear, in the Michigan gubernatorial election coming up next year, I intend to vote for the Democratic nominee. Gretchen Whitmer is the early favorite, well qualified, very likable, and already active in her campaign.

But even the young and inexperienced Kentiel White would be a thousand times better than whoever the Republicans put forward. Probably some jackass obsessed with tax cuts for the wealthy, who pays lip service to Christian ideals.

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, M.D., is also young, only slightly older than White, but he’s already had experience in public office. As director of Detroit’s Health Department, Dr. El-Sayed made sure there was no lead in the drinking water in schools, took steps to reduce infant mortality, started a program to give glasses to poor kids who need them but can’t afford them, etc.

If El-Sayed was Catholic, the pundits would be nervous about his chances for winning the Democratic primary. But he’s Muslim, and some pundits have probably already written him off.

Jack Lessenberry, in his column for the Metro Times last week (I’m still lagging a week behind with these) reminds us about Ismael Ahmed, who ran for a seat on the Michigan Board of Education, a fairly benign office (a powerless office, I think, if I'm not confusing it with the Detroit Board of Education). Ahmed ran and lost.

Not only did he lose, thousands of Democratic voters refused to support him. His running mate [?] John Austin got 1,912,983 votes; Ahmed a mere 1,698,927.

Nearly a quarter of a million Democrats refused to support Ahmed, evidently just because he is a Muslim. Most don’t seem to have voted Republican for that job instead; they just didn't cast [a vote for] a second education board seat at all.

If they won’t vote for a Muslim for a job as low-profile and benign as state education board, do you think they’d vote for one for governor? “I think there’s something to be learned from my experience,” Ish [a nickname for Ahmed], who hasn’t endorsed anyone for governor, said dryly. “I think he (El-Sayed) faces an uphill battle.”

I’m a little confused by this business about a running mate. I remember that there were several candidates for the board and that I could vote for more than one. I don’t remember the maximum you could vote for nor do I remember who I voted for, but I’m pretty sure I voted for fewer than the maximum I could have voted for.

Well, El-Sayed does seem to have the stamina for an uphill battle. Right now I’m leaning to vote for El-Sayed in the primary, but I’m also concerned that he might lose in the general election, just because of racism.

I want to hear more about Bill Cobbs, who seems to both intelligent and concerned with the well-being of the state’s residents (the latter a quality the current governor is deficient in). If elected, Cobbs would be Michigan's first black governor, but so far his campaign does not seem to pose a serious challenge to Whitmer’s.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-Michigan) at Wayne State University in 2004.

Kentiel White could theoretically also become Michigan's first black governor, but I wouldn't wager more than a penny on that. White is a nice guy and everything, but he needs more leadership experience, and more life experience in general, for me to take him more seriously in the primary.

Gretchen Whitmer is a woman, but that doesn't worry me because Michigan has already elected a woman governor, namely Jennifer Granholm (D). I’m still waiting for Whitmer to put her positions on her website, but just having a campaign website with top-level domain name puts her ahead of the pack.

Gov. Bill Schuette (R) is a hell no as far as I’m concerned. As attorney general, Schuette has already disappointed me with his misplaced priorities. The first time he argued against same sex marriage, okay, fine, whatever. But he lost and kept going to court over it again and again.

Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette (R), squinting like Clint Eastwood.

Maybe Schuette hates gay people so much he should be spending his own money on his homophobic court cases, and leave the taxpayer dollars for better causes, like throwing Matty Moroun in jail so the new bridge to Canada can get built without further delay. Also, Schuette opposed straight ticket voting and the 2016 Michigan recount.

But here’s a scary thought: Schuette is not the worst the Republican Party has to offer. Schuette is a lawyer, so presumably he knows the U. S. Constitution and the Michigan Constitution (Donald Trump knows neither).

Maybe Michigan Republicans will nominate some unqualified, failed businessman for governor. Having one unqualified, failed businessman as president is bad enough for Michigan, having another one of those for governor would be devastating.

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

Local Flint official resigns after taped blaming the water crisis on "f---ing n---ers"

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 2:03pm

Well, that was fast. When news broke about Phil Stair, the now former sales manager for the Genesee County Land Bank, blaming the Flint, Michigan water crisis on its predominantly Black residents, the response was strong and swift. Stair, who was recorded saying the contaminated water problem is due to “fucking n----rs” who “just don’t pay their bills,” was urged to resign with even Congressman Dan Kildee (D) publicly condemning Stair’s hateful rhetoric.

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This behavior is awful and indefensible. Phil Stair should be fired or resign immediately. https://t.co/A7R6QjzlEP

— Rep. Dan Kildee (@RepDanKildee) June 5, 2017

The audio footage, captured undercover by a local activist, shows Stair shamelessly using racist words and attitudes to blame the victim.

“Flint has the same problems as Detroit—fucking ni**ers don’t pay their bills, believe me, I deal with them,” Phil Stair7, sales manager for the Genesee County Land Bank said on May 26th during a conversation with Truth Against the Machine reporter and environmental activist Chelsea Lyons in Flint.

He was driving to a restaurant with Lyons and another individual, who he’d met that night, when he made the comments, which were recorded and later obtained by TATM.

Stair did go on to try and clarify: “I don’t want to call them ni**ers, shit I just went to Myrtle Beach, 24 guys, and I was the only white guy; I got friends, I mean, there’s trash and there’s people that do this shit. They just don’t pay their bills. Well, Detroit, didn’t collect on their bills, so they charged everybody else, but- Flint- Flint had to pay their bill to Detroit.”

The evidence was just too damning for Stair to deny. News of his resignation broke this morning on MLive.com after his boss, Michele M. Wildman, accepted his resignation:

Wildman addressed the county Board of Commissioners Monday morning, saying she accepted Stair's resignation and apologized for his remarks.

"I am deeply troubled by (the statements)," she said. "The citizens of Flint deserve to have trust in their public officials."

Good riddance.

You can listen to the record of Stair’s statements below:

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Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

MI-Gov: Gretchen Whitmer (D) Goes After Trump's Climate Denying Assault On The Great Lakes

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 7:44pm

Received this e-mail last night from Gretchen Whitmer’s (D. MI) gubernatorial campaign:

As I travel around Michigan, everywhere I go I hear from people about their concern over protecting our Great Lakes.

Yet today, in a disastrous move, President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Change Agreement. His actions threaten all of us -- turning back the clock on the progress we’ve made to curb the effects of climate change on our beloved Great Lakes and beyond -- even threatening the lives of future generations.

Join me in opposing President Trump’s attack on our environment and our Great Lakes. Add your name to the petition to tell him to stop rolling the clocks back on environmental protections.

Some of my favorite memories involve the water. Swimming with my brother and sister in the Thornapple River, fishing for perch off the dock in Onekama, and climbing the dunes on Lake Michigan. But Trump’s decision today threatens not only our waterways, but also our rich heritage.

The President’s refusal to accept the science behind climate change will turn back the clock on the efforts that have been underway for years to preserve and protect the Great Lakes, which Michiganders rely on as a source of drinking water, recreation, and billions in economic activity.

Protecting the Great Lakes has been an issue that has united Michiganders for generations, but if the leadership to carry that legacy forward isn't going to come from Washington, then it is clear that we must be ready to step up here at home.

Add your name to oppose this attack on our environment and our Great Lakes.

As Governor, I can promise you that I will be the leader our Great Lakes -- and future generations -- need me to be.

Gretchen

Click here to add your name.

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

Republican representative says God will solve climate change if it's a 'real problem'

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 11:39am

Michigan Republican Tim Walberg was in Coldwater, Michigan speaking with constituents about all of his shitty AHCA ideas. Rep. Walberg is probably more recently remembered as the asshat whose sole appearance (hiding out from all of the (mostly women) constituents who wanted an audience with him in March) went to a men-only breakfast as his “town hall.” Here he was asked by a citizen about climate climate change and boy, what a doozy of an answer.

Walberg: Right now I’d take a little more climate warming—I’m tired of the cold springs. [No one laughs] In Washington I’ll take global cooling because of the heat and humidity in Washington, D.C. [no laughs] I believe there’s climate change.

Fantastic. Your standup routine was dumb.

Walberg: I believe there’s been climate change since the beginning of time.

I guess I spoke too soon.

Walberg: I think there are cycles. Do I think that man has some impact? Yeah, of course. Can man change the entire Universe? No.

Straw man arguments, anyone? I suspect I’m about to be initiated into a cult.

Walberg: Why do I believe that? Because I believe there is a creator in God, who is much bigger than us.

That. Doesn’t. Make. Sense. Even if you believe there’s a God.

Walberg: And I’m confident that if there’s a real problem, He can take care of it.

Rep. Walberg gets pushback for his stupid answer and huddles behind his empty support of the Great Lake Restoration, which Trump and Republicans are planning on defunding. It’s really like watching the devil do his work. Rep. Walberg even says that he fly-fishes. Here’s an old street joke that I’m sure you’ve heard in some form before.

A man is living in an area hit by a huge storm. As the levies break, his neighborhood is beginning to flood people walk by and ask him if he wants to come with them to higher ground, the man replies, “Go on ahead, God will provide.” The group moved on and as the flooding reached the first floor the man moved on to his second floor. A group in a boat came by and asked the man if he wanted to come with them.

“Go on ahead, grab others, God will provide.” The man smiled and the waters rose. 

Finally the man was on the roof of his home, the neighborhood now almost fully consumed by the flood waters. A helicopter swung by and shouted down to the man, lowering the basket for him to climb in. The man waved them off. “Go on ahead, grab others, God will provide.” He said. After they left the floodwaters came up and the man drowned.

Upon reaching heaven, the man found himself in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. Feeling a bit peeved, he said to Peter, “Hey. I worshipped God all my life, went to church every week, tried my hardest not to sin, and then this flood happens and God does nothing for me?”

St. Peter looked up from his checklist and exclaimed, “We sent you a crew of people, a boat and a fucking helicopter. What did you expect?”

You can see the Rep. Walberg blame God at the 46:55 mark.

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Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

Who wants to watch me drone on about ACA/AHCA for 90 minutes? (FB Livestream now available)

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 12:15am

I've been travelling around Southeast Michigan giving Powerpoint presentations to various local groups, giving a rough overview of:

  1. The U.S. healthcare coverage situation prior to the ACA being passed (circa 2009)
  2. How the ACA works (in theory)
  3. What parts of the ACA are and aren't working in practice
  4. My list of suggestions to improve/strengthen/expand the ACA, and finally...
  5. Why the Republican plan (AHCA/Trumpcare) would be such an utter disaster

Earlier this evening, my little show received a slightly higher-profile stage. Since MI-11 Congressman Dave "Foreclosure King" Trott can't be bothered to face his constituents, I had to fill in for him.

The video quality is a bit blurry, but the audio is pretty good; if you’d like, you can download a PDF of the slideshow here and (sort of) follow along with the audio...

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

Michigan Kos: Time to Make Some Calls, Knock Some Doors, and Hit the Streets

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 9:31pm

Now that summer has unofficially arrived, we in Michigan have a comparatively short window of good weather in which to make personal contact with our neighbors and start to lay the groundwork for successful local campaigns this year and statewide campaigns next year. 

The explosion of community-based organizing post-election has settled into a routine for many groups, both new and established. Unfortunately, there’s no lack of incentive for our engagement; fortunately, we are rising to the challenge in many different ways. Here I’d like to draw your attention to a few significant events and organizations that may pique your interest and offer you an (additional) opportunity to get involved locally. 

After the jump, you’ll see the event notices and the organizational promos. They are Washtenaw-heavy, since that’s where I am and what I know best. If YOU have other notices you’d like to promote, please feel free to add them in the comments. I am not able to cover all of the possibilities myself. The more use we make of all our modes of communication, the better.

Please help us build this weekly Michigan thread so that it includes any information relevant to turning MI Blue again that you would like me to highlight. MI contributors are always welcome! You can reach me through kosmail at peregrine kate. Or say hi through email here: peregrinekate@gmail.com And please follow me on Twitter @peregrinekate

Please feel free to drop in on ANY State Open Thread! 

Colorado: Sunday Mornings
Kansas: Monday Evenings
Michigan: Thursday Evenings
Missouri: Wednesday Evenings
North Carolina: Sundays, 1:00 PM Eastern

An Activists’ Calendar of Resistance Events
Indivisible’s list of Resistance Events & Groups

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs

MI-11 Programming Note: Come one, come all on Thursday evening

Daily Kos Michigan Feed - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 9:15am

I've been traveling around Southeast Michigan giving Powerpoint presentations to various local groups, giving a rough overview of:

  1. The U.S. healthcare coverage situation prior to the ACA being passed (circa 2009)
  2. How the ACA works (in theory)
  3. What parts of the ACA are and aren't working in practice
  4. My list of suggestions to improve/strengthen/expand the ACA, and finally...
  5. Why the Republican plan (AHCA/Trumpcare) would be such an utter disaster

Well, tomorrow evening, my little show will be getting a slightly higher-profile stage. Since MI-11 GOP Congressman Dave “Foreclosure King” Trott can’t be bothered to face his constituents, I’m filling in.

Here's the Facebook event link.

I've been told that it's supposed to be live-streamed via Facebook, but the details on that are a bit fuzzy at the moment. I'll post a link to that if/when I'm sure it's been arranged.

Categories: Local and Michigan Blogs