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Dear jerks: Finally catching up on your obligations is not the same thing as spending more money

by: Eric B.

Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 15:16:12 PM EDT

Everyone's been passing along a link to a Freep article yesterday that confidently asserts that our benevolent overlord Rick Michigan's ad tackles the injustice of untruth being spread about spending money on education. All the Very Serious Persons are tut-tutting about the lying Democratic campaign built on lies about a $1 billion cut in school funding, because the governor sank a bunch of extra money shoring up the teacher pension fund.

Guess what? The governor didn't spend extra money on education, I'm sorry to report. Over the last decade, the state has not kept on its obligations to fund the pension system, helping to create the shortfall. To illlustrate we go, of all places, to the Mackinac Center. There's a handy chart!

The annual required contribution last fiscal year was $1.9 billion, but the state put in only $1.4 billion.

This has been a long-term problem. The state only paid its full contribution in two of the past 10 years.

To put it another way: I rent a cello for my kid through Marshall Music in Lansing. Because my bank changed my debit card, my last payment didn't go through. So here on Friday, I'll make a double payment to them. When I pay them $60 instead of $30, that doesn't mean I've put more money towards his cello. It means I'll have made good on what I owed them in the first place.

So what say we stop pretending that history started four years ago, folks?

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

First you flip for fund raising, and then you flop for incoherence: Terri Lynn Land on ISIS

by: Eric B.

Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 14:49:39 PM EDT

This post by Chad Selweski on our collective response to ongoing matters in the Middle East is a pretty fascinating work of compare and contrast between Gary Peters and Terri Lynn Land.

First, Peters:

U.S. Rep. Peters, who voted in the House to fund rebel forces in Syria, said he backs the bombing of ISIS by the U.S.-led coalition but Congress must “constantly revisit” the effectiveness of the air campaign. The West Bloomfield Township Democrat added he believes the Houseand Senate should return to Washington during its current, campaign-season recess to debate -- and hopefully vote to support -- President Obama’s engagement in a war on ISIS.

“Ultimately, the solution to ISIS is a political solution,” the congressman said in an interview with The Macomb Daily. “The Sunni (Muslim) religious leaders have to rise up and condemn ISIS, to delegitimize them. The Sunni community … has to take on this behavior and stand up to it.”

A well reasoned, non-partisan answer that demonstrates familiarity with the nature of a complex conflict recognizing that we cannot bomb our way to victory.

And now for Land...

After The Macomb Daily sought an interview with Land over a 5-day period on the subject of U.S. military action against ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, the paper received a statement from the Land campaign:

“Terri Lynn Land supports confronting the terrorist threat from ISIS without putting U.S. combat boots on the ground. However, the president needs to seek new authorization from the Congress for expanded military operations. She also has serious reservations about arming and training Syrians.

“The problem is that the president has known about this lethal threat for at least a year and just recently announced a strategy. During that time, the threat to our country has grown, and we are less safe because of it. The president’s failed foreign policy and lack of leadership has allowed the influence of ISIS and other extremists to grow.”

Five days after they are asked the question, the answer is: The president is weak and should have started bombing last year.  Instead of spending five days comin up with a thoughtful answer, she waited five days and went partisan.

It's the kind of deeply unserious answer we've gotten accustomed to coming from Land. Among other things, it does not appear that she understands the difference between a paramilitary force and a terrorist group. Does she even know what ISIS wants? What threat to the United States does she think is now greater? Remember: If she wins a seat in the Senate, this is the sort of thing she'll be asked to vote on -- and commit American lives and treasure to supporting -- and it doesn't appear that she knows anything about it.

Why isn't anyone else in the media exploring how this Senate race might affect American foreign policy. Does no one else care or think that it matters? We're going into our third week where people are whispering about Gary Peters $19,000 investment in a foreign oil company. Does anyone think that is actually more important than comparing and contrasting the readiness of the respective candidates to cast informed votes on how America applies military force around the country? What the hell is wrong with these people?

Also, from last year around this time:

Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land has so far declined to apologize for an email she sent asking supporters to sign a petition urging her opponent Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) to vote against military action in Syria. The reason critics are demanding an apology? Land, former Michigan secretary of state, also used the email to ask for donations.

That is, a year ago this time of year, Land was against bombing anyone in Syria -- the same Syria that she said the president has waited too long to bomb just this week -- and used the occasion to try to raise money.

 

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

In a dark corner of the Beltway media, Terri Lynn Land remains a quality candidate

by: Eric B.

Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 10:32:35 AM EDT

Hilariously awful.

The Iowa, Colorado, Kansas and North Carolina Senate races, to name four, are getting plenty of attention. But keep an eye on Michigan where in a blue state GOP candidate Terri Lynn Land is in a statistical tie with Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.). RealClearPolitics has the race as a tossup, with the last two public polls showing Peters with a 2 or 3 point lead. Charlie Cook also shows the race to be a tossup.

This wasn't published two months ago, when it was true. It was published this morning ... in the Washington Post. Of course, it's Jennifer Rubin, their conservative affirmative action hire whose work during the 2012 presidential campaign was famous for overtly shilling for Willard Mitt "Mittens" Romney, favorite son of Michigan, Massachusetts, Utah and all the places with tall trees, and almost as famous for telling her readers after it was over that his campaign was a terrible operation.

By the way, MIRS is reporting a new poll out today that not only has Gary Peters up by 10 points, but has him leading under every imaginable weighting standard. But, like Jennifer Rubin wrote, this race is basically Land's to lose.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Michigan's least necessary columnist discovers that Tea Party Republicans are obstinate

by: Eric B.

Mon Sep 29, 2014 at 16:00:00 PM EDT

Anyone remember Mike Bishop? Of course you do. His reputation in rightwng circles suffered as a result of the deal he entered into with Jennifer Granholm to hike the income tax and over the JOB-KILLING!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!1!!!!!!!!!!!11!!!!! Michigan Business Tax, and then he spent the rest of his tenure restoring it through pigheaded obstructionism. For that, he was lauded in rightwing circles for having stood up to her relentless program of wasteful government spending. Part of that, you might remember, was the time that he refused to bring certain of her nominees to a Senate confirmation vote because he wanted to leave them for her replacement. And for that, they're making him a Congressman.

Anyway, rote Republican obstructionism was the rule of the day during the Granholm years, and presumably would be if Mark Schauer wins in November, because someone has to stand up to the wasteful, Granholm-like spending of Mark Schauer. This apparently enraged Nolan Finley, who writes...

Here’s the genesis of gridlock and dysfunctional government: A trio of Republican candidates for the state House has delivered a manifesto demanding no compromise or consensus building with Democrats in the next term.

Set aside for a moment the absolute arrogance of those who haven’t even been elected yet dictating terms to the Legislature. What these three tea party hard-heads are attempting to assure is one-party rule and one ideological approach to governing in Michigan, even if it comes at the expense of addressing the state’s pressing problems.

Ho, ho, ho, this is the same Nolan Finley who once had to issue a "blame the intern" correction in his zeal to promote anti-Granholm obstructionism.

This, and last week's column about needing a new party or whatever, is an attempt at a mid-year course correction. He's made his bank ridiculing the left and suggesting that Democratic politicians are either corrupt or incompetent and snickering at progressives everytime more than three of them appear in a room at the same time ... while at the same time promoting the idea that the same people he now refers to as "tea party hard-heads" are just everyday folk who are enraged at government waste and who are unfairly ridiculed in the media as bigots.

P.S. What the hell is the difference between this pledge and every other pledge and/or litmus test applied by the Republican Party to its nominees. I'm talking about the silly Grover Norquist no tax hikes pledge, but also the pledge not to raise taxes to address climate change that the likely future House Speaker Kevin Cotter signed (I remember this because Cotter is my representative, and has been a disappointment on every level, but especially in this case because he could have contacted really anyone at the major public university he supposedly represents to see if it was a good policy initiative, but he didn't because he doesn't really represent the district). Or the unwillingness of the party base to nominate anyone who isnt a million percent against any form of legal abortion. Or the fact that the party refuses to get rid of people like Goat Killer or expand the rights of the LGBT community without first thinking of the rights of religious people to discriminate against them. This stuff has all been out there, fellas, and has been for decades. Getting angry that its Todd Courser and Gary Glenn this time is ... well ... rich.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

John Cleese explains the state Legislature in one minute

by: Eric B.

Mon Sep 29, 2014 at 14:38:19 PM EDT

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

CapCon: People who complain about fracking earthquakes really want high gas prices

by: Eric B.

Mon Sep 29, 2014 at 14:00:00 PM EDT

Earlier this morning, we went through the great care the Mackinac Center takes in supporting people who make quality arguments that don't make unhinged, baseless asssertions about the zeal by which they hope to carry out a program of eugenics aimed at the poor (by the way, the implied side of this argument -- and it's made with semi-common frequency -- is that the poor are some kind of lesser race, but that's another Randian fantasy).

This afternoon, we take a look at the Mackinac Center doing it directly.

Crude oil would cost at least a record-setting $150-a-barrel today if not for increased oil production in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

This is true. Without American production of oil, the price of gas would inarguably be higher.

“What the EIA Administrator is telling us is without fracking in the United States we’d be paying well over $4-a-gallon for gasoline and our economy would truly be in the tank,” said Daniel Kish, senior vice president of policy at the Institute for Energy Research, a non-profit research group that advocates for expansion of domestic oil production. “All oil and gas production in the United States is done with fracking and has been for decades.”

This, however, is not what the EIA administrator is saying. He is saying that without American oil production that gas would be a lot higher. And while it's as true that fracking is as much a historic part of fossil fuel development in the United States as GMOs have been to historic food production, the implication here is that if not for the explosion in fracking that gas would be a lot more expensive. The explosion in fracking has little to do with oil production and almost everything to do with exploitation of new sources for natural gas.

“We are in a world market,” Kish said. “It would have been one hell of a lot worse if it had not been for our production.”

Keep this in mind the next time one of these ninnies starts shouting about how Keystone would lead to lower domestic gasoline prices. And, finally...

Pat Michaels, director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, said the price of gas is less volatile due to the increased production in the U.S.

And, finally, we get yet another statement on the great care and effort the Mackinac Center takes in finding "sources" for its "articles." When they aren't quoting in-house "experts" they're dredging up the worst kind of hacks and frauds. Pat Michaels, if you've followed the climate change debate, started as one of the most prominent climate skeptics a decade and a half ago. As with everyone who pushes a rubbish argument, and does it transparently for money, his professional reputation began to flag and suffer and now no one bothers to ask his opinion about climate change. He's just a paid shill for the fossil fuel industry.

The alternative here is that we simply reduce demand for petroleum so that higher per barrel prices have less impact. But, that's another story, and not one that CapCon is interested in exploring.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

We all know that townhalls are a fraud, so why pretend that they aren't?

by: Eric B.

Mon Sep 29, 2014 at 12:00:00 PM EDT

Lonnie Scott of Progress Michigan posted something this morning that ... well, it was the sort of revelation that could have knocked you over with a feather. Cue an article in the Detroit News.

The head of the liberal political organization Progress Michigan and other Democrats have complained on social media that Snyder’s campaign canceled their tickets for the 7:30 p.m. town hall event at Western Michigan University’s Bernhard Center.

We go, now, to our benevolent overlord Rick Michigan's campaign.

Snyder spokeswoman Emily Benavides said the town hall forums are meant for undecided voters to ask the governor questions.

One slight question: How is anyone supposed to know who is an undecided voter and a voter who has secretly made up his or her mind but is only pretending to be an undecided voter in order to infiltrate said townhall on behalf of one of the campaigns?

The answer to that is that you can't, and no one should take seriously anyone who pretends that there's a way, or even that townhalls set up by either campaign are anything but campaign rallies gussied up as non-partisan voter forums.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Mackinac Center sponsored speaker says women who have abortions should be hanged ...

by: Eric B.

Mon Sep 29, 2014 at 10:43:25 AM EDT

... and so should their doctors.

So this morning on Twitter, this happened; National Review writer Kevin D. Williamson made the real “pro-life” agenda very, very clear, expressing his opinion that women who have abortions should be put to death — by hanging. And not just the women; he says the doctor who performs the abortion, the nurses who assist, and the hospital staff who enable it should also be executed.

The name was familiar for some reason, and then I remembered why. In late August and early September, Williamson spoke at an event sponsored by the Mackinac Center. They like him enough there that they had his book, which well, let's cut to the review.

“They got the guns/but we got the numbers,” sang Jim Morrison of The Doors, and Williamson echoes the sentiment. The “awesome” of the book’s title is the 300-million-strong U.S. population that might, in part, tire of ever-growing Leviathan enough to say … well … “Enough.” He ponders what would happen if, say, one-tenth of the U.S. population refused to pay their taxes, or performed any other coordinated act of community civil disobedience. The time is approaching he says, when the End in which we find ourselves might justify such extraordinary means.

I used to quote The Doors myself, but then I hit 20 and discovered The Beatles. But, you know, it kind of fits since Ayn Rand is the kind of literature that engages at the same basic level as Animal Farm. If it's still blowing your mind once you graduate high school, the problem may be that you already peaked. But whatever ... The End of Civilization: Let's make this bad bitch happen by Going Galt!

It's a fair point to say that his twisted, extremist views on abortion and the Mackinac Center's embrace of his vision of America collapsing under the weight of 10 percent of Americans refusing to follow the law are not connected or reflective of Mackinac Center positions. It's not fair to say that an investment of money doesn't reflect an investment in someone who takes care to make his arguments in the same way that if the Freep allowed Lord Monckton to pollute its web space that it doesn't negatively reflect on the Freep. Your standards are who you are.

Roll tape.

more...

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1023 words in story)

All the weekend, thy thread be open

by: Eric B.

Sat Sep 27, 2014 at 14:50:24 PM EDT

Attended a marathon reading of Leaves of Grass yesterday. It was great. Now I'm off to sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. The rest of you just get comments.
Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Land: Against the auto bridge loans before she was for them

by: Eric B.

Fri Sep 26, 2014 at 17:28:30 PM EDT

Here is Terri Lynn Land shitting all over General Motors. They are not family owned. Also, people called it Government Motors (this was entirely a dumb rightwing thing, but whatever). And, Bill Ford went and got a private loan (which neither GM nor Chrysler could get, by the by), which of course is her way of opposing the auto company bailout.

Got that, she didn't like the bridge loans because everyone should have gotten private sector financing (although this wasn't going to happen with GM and Chrysler). And, as we all know, those bridge loans promptly helped revive the auto industry which in turn sparked Michigan's slow, agonizing recovery.

In yesterday's news...

Heather Swift, Land campaign spokeswoman, referenced Peters’ past support of automaker Fisker in 2009 that was recently sold to a Chinese company.

 

“Once again Gary Peters has it wrong: Terri would have supported the auto rescue,” said Swift. “Gary Peters is just trying to distract from the fact that when he talks about supporting the auto industry, he’s talking about outsourcers and foreign corporations. Because of Gary Peters’ lobbying, taxpayers lost $140 million dollars and Michigan jobs were sent to Finland and China. Michigan auto workers cannot trust Gary Peters to put Michigan first because he is too busy putting China first.”

Psst ... Heather, there's video on this. Your boss disparaged the auto bailout.

Discuss :: (11 Comments)

And now, a word from our sponsor

by: Eric B.

Fri Sep 26, 2014 at 16:19:48 PM EDT

We welcome you to our weekly installment of, "Hey, thanks for sponsoring this website!" To the good people at the Richard Bernstein for Supreme Court campaign ... Hey, thanks for sponsoring this website! If you haven't checked out their website, please do.

In return, we pass along a little message ... come November, don't forget to flip your ballot and vote in the non-partisan judicial races. They matter and don't get nearly the ink that other, more prominent races get. Our sponsor through the campaign is the guy who everyone has heard of.

As mentioned, this sponsorship lasts through Election Day. After that, things are open. If you're interested in sponsoring this website, please contact me at ebaerren@michiganliberal.com, via text at 517/881-8008 or through social media. Rates are a low, low $25 by day, $100 by week or $360 by month.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Goat Killer makes with more Muslim bashing

by: Eric B.

Thu Sep 25, 2014 at 15:22:45 PM EDT

Goat Killer once again takes to Facebook to share his highly nuanced views of the world for all to appreciate.

Republican National Committeeman and former state lawmaker, Dave Agema, is at it again. This time, he has declared in a public Facebook post that Islam is "the biggest threat to the world today." The post was made shortly before 8:45 a.m. on Sept. 22 on Agema's "politician" wall.

...snippet from the post:

"The military has been extremely frustrated in the past. They should be able to fight to win. Eliminating ground troops is simply telling the enemy what he's going to do- -STUPID! Obama refuses to acknowledge that Islam either is fighting us or each other, but it is the biggest threat to the world today, not global warming"

Because the Michigan Republican Party refuses to do anything to sanction him for his continued bigoted Facebook tirades and continues to let him serve in a leadership position of the party without making an effort to remove him, then we may assume that when Goat Killer says this kind of thing that he has the full backing and support of the Michigan Republican Party.

This isn't Goat Killers' first anti-Muslim rodeo, of course. He was the primary driver of the sharia law bill, and last year wrote that no Muslim has ever contributed anything of value to American society.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Ruth Johnson warns people about privatized function of state government

by: Eric B.

Thu Sep 25, 2014 at 14:14:05 PM EDT

Ruth Johnson continues to have a public sad over the MDP's absentee ballot request website. This time, it's because it doesn't come with the proper sanctioning of government.

LANSING, Mich. – Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is asking voters who used a third-party online absentee ballot application not sanctioned by the state to double-check the status of their request to ensure they will receive and can cast a ballot.

A state review of miabsentee.com, a privately run website that went live nine weeks before the November general election without testing or approval of state election officials, found that more than a quarter of applications in a sampling had not been received by the local clerk. Clerks reported they were not always able to verify signatures from a mobile phone to those on file and a state technology expert also raised security concerns.

So, the people who say that government can't do anything right and that everything should be left to private enterprise are all of a sudden deeply concerned that privately run websites that provide a public good -- helping people obtain absentee ballots -- should get properly sanctioned by the state before they can be trusted.

I look forward to Ruth Johnson calling for the governor to cancel the state's contract with Aramark for nearly identical reasons.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Land got money from coal company whose CEO strong-armed employees

by: Eric B.

Thu Sep 25, 2014 at 12:44:30 PM EDT

Oh hey, look at this. Terri Lynn Land got money from a guy who stands accused of firing an employee for refusing to give money to candidates like Terri Lynn Land. Will she return the campaign contributions as quickly as she incoherently divested from Total SA?

In the latest accusation of coercion against Murray, the former employee cited fundraising letters she received from Murray in late May of 2014. Those letters asked for contributions to four Republican candidates for U.S. Senate: Scott Brown from New Hampshire, Ed Gillespie from Virginia, Terri Lynn Land from Michigan, and Mike McFadden from Minnesota.

To see how much money those fundraisers netted for the candidates, ThinkProgress conducted an analysis of contributions to all four campaigns from employees of Murray Energy and its subsidiaries — including the Ohio Valley Coal Company, the American Energy Corp., and American Coal — since the letters went out.

According to data from OpenSecrets, individual employees from Murray Energy and its subsidiaries donated a combined $5,300 to Gillespie, $5,275 to Brown, $4,850 to McFadden, and $4,800 to Land from the time the fundraising letters went out in May until the end of the second quarter, which ended June 30. That’s not counting the $2,600 each candidate received from Robert Murray himself, and the $1,500 each candidate received from Chief Operating Officer Robert Moore.

Keep in mind that Land divested from Total SA because she's trying to push the storyline that Gary Peters is the biggest hypocrite since Pontius Pilate let the Pharisees murder Jesus because he didn't want blood on his hands. And, she didn't need to do that because never has Terri Lynn Land said that petroleum or petcoke are bad things, so investing in foreign petroleum companies would be entirely consistent with her position and not reflective of anything bad.

Presumably, however, she would take the public position that strongarming employees to donate to specific political campaigns is a bad idea. Of course, she might think it's okay, so someone should probably ask her. If she says it's a bad idea, then the question is whether it's worse to invest a small amount of money through a diversified investment portfolio in profitable foreign energy while saying that climate change is bad, or taking money raised by coercing private citizens to give up part of their paychecks for your campaign? BOTH SIDES DO IT!

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Reset the Aramark Employee Misconduct ticker back to zero

by: Eric B.

Thu Sep 25, 2014 at 09:56:14 AM EDT

Rooooooll tape, fellas.

First it was drug smuggling and sex acts with inmates.

Now it's murder for hire.

An Aramark Correctional Services food service worker at Kinross Correctional Facility in the eastern Upper Peninsula is suspected of approaching an inmate there about arranging to have another inmate killed, a Michigan State Police official confirmed Wednesday.

Det.-Sgt. Michael Schroeder of the Michigan State Police Sault Ste. Marie post told the Free Press Wednesday police have sent a warrant request to the Chippewa County Prosecutor's Office following a lengthy investigation and are awaiting a response.

Well, they forgot the extra-contractural menu changes that sparked at least one prison riot and maggot farms near food service lines, but at least they got the ring around the bullseye.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)
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