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Fred Upton calls donors to Super PAC that is spending against him, says they are sad

by: Eric B.

Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 15:16:15 PM EDT

Here's your afternoon funny.

The mission of the Mayday PAC, a crowdfunded super PAC created by Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig, is to make it politically toxic to oppose campaign finance reform, thus reducing the influence of money in politics. To raise the political cost of inaction on the issue, Mayday has targeted a handful of members of Congress, hoping either to knock them off or to give them the scare of a political lifetime.

Yet some of the major donors behind the PAC are themselves getting quite the scare. One of the congressmen Mayday has set its sites on is Michigan Republican Fred Upton, chairman of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee that has jurisdiction over the tech companies in Silicon Valley.

According to people familiar with the situation, committee staff director and former super lobbyist Gary Andres personally has been calling the CEOs of major Silicon Valley tech companies, hammering them for coming after Upton and spooking Mayday's donors, who worry their companies will get rougher treatment when and if Upton survives.

Put short: Super PAC targets Fred Upton for not aggressively pursuing campaign finance reform. Upton responds by loosing his henchman, a former super lobbyist, to call the Super PAC's donors and threaten to take it out on their companies.

Meanwhile.

"Who do you think orchestrated Shayes-Meehan, the bipartisan bill? It was Fred Upton," Upton told the Kalamazoo Gazette editorial board. "I'm not a lawyer. I'm sorry that the Supreme Court struck quite a bit of it."

Fred Upton would like you to know that he's responsible for campaign finance legislation, but not so responsible for it that he should be blamed that the Supreme Court overturned it. He's no lawyer, sunshine.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Our benevolent overlord makes a mockery of the market-based economy

by: Eric B.

Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 15:03:08 PM EDT

Ho, ho, ho.

Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed a bill that strengthens a law banning automakers — including Tesla Motors Inc. — from selling vehicles directly to customers in Michigan.

Snyder said the bill, which also prohibits automakers from telling dealers how much to charge in documentation fees, “clarifies and strengthens” an already-existing law that prohibit direct sales in the Great Lakes state.

“This bill does not, as some have claimed, prevent auto manufacturers from selling automobiles directly to consumers at retail in Michigan — because this is already prohibited under Michigan law,” Snyder said in a letter to lawmakers that accompanies the signed bill.

Tesla, of course, disagreed that they were barred by state law from direct sales in Michigan, which is probably why our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect "strengthened and clarified" the law in the dead of night, which is usually the best time for open, transparent democracy. You may wish to ask youself what about the law neded to be "stregthened and clarified" in the first place.

Someone asked today how much money the auto dealers' lobby had sunk into both party's coffers. Good question. There is also this.

A proposed Cadillac dealership is a step closer to becoming the first new development of city-owned property in Warren’s “downtown” district.

...snip...

“Tax relief is necessary to assure financial viability of the dealership,” said Jackson, adding that he would seek a 12-year property tax abatement on the new auto facility and tax relief “for a period of six years from the state education tax.”

That's the business model that's being protected here: It requires statutory protection from competition and tax breaks to thrive.

Discuss :: (4 Comments)

Land takes credit for fixing something called the DMV

by: Eric B.

Tue Oct 21, 2014 at 13:21:56 PM EDT

This ... this is just embarrassing.

The campaign for Terri Lynn Land, from Michigan, fired off a tweet touting her progress with streamlining the DMV. The state does not have a DMV.

"You can trust Terri to make DC work b/c she has the experience to back it up," the tweet insists.

"Terri made the DMV work! #MISen"

It's not like we don't know what the DMV is supposed to be. It's just that we don't have one in this state.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

HUD investigates former MSHDA director who spent lavishly

by: Eric B.

Mon Oct 20, 2014 at 11:27:52 AM EDT

Just remember that our benevolent overlord's initial reaction to this was to defend the guy.

The Office of Inspector General of HUD is investigating a complaint Michigan Democrats filed in September alleging a potential conflict of interest or misuse of federal funds by former Michigan State Housing Development Authority executive director Scott Woosley, an official confirmed Friday.

It's the stuff that came out afterwards about his private company receiving federal grant dollars, but it's all also related.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

Your thread, she be open for the weekend

by: Eric B.

Sat Oct 18, 2014 at 12:24:54 PM EDT

The kid asked to borrow my laptop last night to play Minecraft at a friend's house. So, I spent half an hour searching the Internet for instructions on how to load it onto a Linux machine, and then another 15 minutes figuring out how to make it work. He disappeared with my laptop for the night and I just got it back. Always be aware of what doors you open, is the moral of our story, because some of them can never be closed.

Your thread is open.

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

And now, a word from our sponsor

by: Eric B.

Fri Oct 17, 2014 at 15:36:41 PM EDT

We are coming swiftly up on the T-minus Two Weeks until Election Day. This campaign season has floooown by, aided by a lot of excitement, an awful lot of coffee and more than a couple fistfuls of Xanax to get the heart under control.

That's for the partisan races, the big ones that everyone always talks about, and it's also the non-partisan races that are just as important, judicial races and ballot questions. You've got to flip the ballot to get to those, remember, and you'll need to know names lest you wind up voting for the most Irish sounding person. Our sponsor through Election Day is one of those people, Richard Bernstein for Supreme Court. You know the name. All you need to do is on Election Day, remember to flip the ballot and vote in that contest.

That also means that in two weeks time, this site will be sponsor-less. That's going in the holiday season. Won't you help out a poor blogger trying to make it in a hostile, workaday world? Sponsorships are $25 a day, $100 a week, or $360 a month. Contact me at ebaerren@michiganliberal.com, via social media or via text at 517/881-8008 for more information. The life you save ... could be mine.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Fried Chicken Frank's rambling, irresponsible, incoherent fear mongering nonsense on Ebola

by: Eric B.

Fri Oct 17, 2014 at 10:05:18 AM EDT

We finally get an answer to the question of why so many Americans are irrationally terrified of catching Ebola, a disease that has infected a smaller number of people than most people have digits on one hand (in a nation of more than 300 million): Because our media isn't terribly particular about what they'll let their outlets say about it.

President Barack Obama tried to reassure Americans this week that there’s no reason to panic over the spread of Ebola to our country.

Obama said, “I want you to understand that the dangers of you contracting Ebola, the dangers of a serious outbreak are extraordinarily low.”

The president went on to promise: “We are going to be able to manage this particular situation.”

Please forgive us if we accept Obama’s words with a healthy dose of skepticism because of his previous empty promises.

Shorter Fried Chicken Frank: Be afraid because the president said not to.

I realize that standard procedure around these parts is to, when it's decided to pay attention to Fried Chicken Frank, to do thorough job of the fisking, but not this week. I don't have the energy. I will leave you with one last gem, however.

Our government talks about establishing Ebola-specific medical centers in all 50 states while the president tells us the danger of a disease spread is not great.

This reminds me of one of the great stories in local government. A guy I used to work with served on a school board awhile back, and during that time the district's superintendent presented a budget plan to the board. One of my friend's fellow trustees asked why they were planning so far into the future, when things might change.

Discuss :: (5 Comments)

They love them the free market, except when they don't

by: Eric B.

Fri Oct 17, 2014 at 09:45:26 AM EDT

Under cover of night and out of sight, probably while our political media was busy fussing over debates that no one watches.

Gov. Rick Snyder is deciding whether to veto or sign into law a bill containing an 11th-hour amendment intended to prohibit automakers — including Tesla Motors Inc. — from selling cars directly to customers.

The bill, which passed through the Senate and House earlier this month, stops automakers from selling cars “directly to a retail customer other than through franchised dealers,” with exceptions for nonprofits and government agencies. It does not specifically name Tesla, although the California-based electric-car maker is the only one looking to sell vehicles directly.

I thought these people were all about government getting out of the way and not picking winners and losers in the marketplace.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

Fred Upton's reckless fear mongering over Ebola

by: Eric B.

Thu Oct 16, 2014 at 14:32:54 PM EDT

Is it any coincidence that the same pack of ninnies who pooh-pooh climate change wet their pants over Ebola?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican lawmakers indignantly criticized the government response to the arrival of Ebola on U.S. shores Thursday in a tense hearing on Capitol Hill. Top public health officials defended their actions as public unease grew over the possibility of the deadly virus spreading widely here — something health experts insisted was a remote possibility.

“People are scared,” said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “People’s lives are at stake, and the response so far has been unacceptable.”

Oh, of course people are scared. There's been a lot of irresponsible, semi-informed scare mongering over at the Fox News network and those people loosed themselves all over the Internet. The result has been a predictable wave of fear that has swept the nation, which has been further fed by reporting that a couple of sick people in the United States today means that tomorrow everyone will start dropping like flies from Captain Trips, eventually Kareem Abdul Jabar will have his heart crushed while standing on Broadway and then a long-haired Jamey Sheridan shows up in a prison quoting The Rolling Stones.

If the American people are frightened, perhaps the people we start criticizing are not the people dealing with the problem but the people fomenting the fear in the first place.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Today in Republican attempts to make digital media

by: Eric B.

Thu Oct 16, 2014 at 13:41:48 PM EDT

Just drink it in, folks.

Discuss :: (8 Comments)

Republican Party declares war on the League of Women Voters

by: Eric B.

Thu Oct 16, 2014 at 12:38:23 PM EDT

From Ye Olde Inbox.

We received official notification last last night from the League of Women Voters that the Clements/Upton portion of the candidate forum scheduled for this evening has been cancelled due to the unavailability of Fred Upton. Upton has not provided any alternate dates for rescheduling the forum against Clements. This was Upon's only scheduled appearance before the voters of the District before the election.

I was just notified that Judy Emmons has cancelled a planned appearance at a League of Women Voters forum in the city of Mount Pleasant, wherever the hell that is, and that John Moolenaar cancelled his appearance at an event in the city of Alma, best known recently as a place that Neil deGrasse Tyson spoke.

For that last bit, we go to a letter written by Murray Borello to the local paper (below the fold)...

There's More... :: (5 Comments, 576 words in story)

Terri Lynn Land's most embarassing turn towards victimhood

by: Eric B.

Thu Oct 16, 2014 at 11:37:25 AM EDT

Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel, they used to say. Used to. Now it's a matter of buying pixels in bulk. Still, of all the developments in the Senate race, this brings things to their lowest, most base.

The first they heard from the campaign was on Wednesday, when the blast email said the campaign was calling on the Free Press to "to correct (a) sexist attack on Terri Lynn Land."  For Land to be "open to considering a meeting" with the Free Press editorial board, they would first have to correct the "deeply offensive" column.

In the Oct. 4 op-ed, Dickerson, who also sits on the Free Press editorial board, wrote that Land has been accessible "up to this point in her campaign as a music video diva recovering from plastic surgery."  He also called a radio interview Land participated in "a maddening exercise in evasion, obfuscation and incomprehensibility."

Henderson said the Land campaign did not reach out to him after Dickerson's column ran, and that he doesn’t think they “have any intention to come in.”

I'm embarrassed by this. That is, I'm not embarrassed for Terri Lynn Land. I'm embarrassed by her, to have her as a candidate for Senate from Michigan. I'm embarrassed that I have to write about her, that we work somewhat in the same circles. I'm embarrassed as a Michigander and I'm embarrassed as an American. At every turn, she's had the opportunity to make the campaign about something, and at every turn she's taken that opportunity, used it to wipe her nose and armpits and then after hurling it into a mud puddle doused it in lighter fluid and tossed in a match. She has trivialized the process, our politics and the issues. Her answers to basic questions are insulting to voters from both parties, and her response to criticism has been infantile. Now, finally, at the end of things rather than going out graciously, we have this nonsense. And this.

“I got criticized a little bit this last week from that Democrat party because I’m a mom,” Land said during a Monday, Oct. 13, rally at the Kent County Republican Party headquarters. “Well, I’m a mom and, I’ll tell you, moms look at things from their perspective. And one of the things I look at is what’s happening overseas. It’s about safety and security. ..."

More than a couple of people have pointed out this morning that she has turned into a Palin-esque figure, and there is something to that. Her campaign pitch went from -- literally -- silence to, "You should vote for me because Brian Dickerson hates women." It is petty, shallow, awful and incoherent. How awful? This awful.

Land could eke out a victory simply on accident, according to Anuzis, who thinks Michigan voters satisfied with Republican Governor Rick Snyder could vote on a straight Republican ticket, checking off Land’s box as a mere formality, not because they consciously support her. Still, Anuzis thinks Land’s candidacy is a monumental missed opportunity, describing the frustration among Michigan Republicans over not fielding a more seasoned politician.

Saul Anuzis thinks Land's path to victory is on the coat tails of our benevolent overlord Rick Michigan, and not because people think she's a quality candidate or would make a passable senator. but because they voted for our benevolent overlord all the way down the ticket (meanwhile, polling tells us that independent voters are splitting their tickets between Michigan and Peters).

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

Fried Chicken Frank probably unaware of how much of an ass he made of himself

by: Eric B.

Tue Oct 14, 2014 at 14:00:00 PM EDT

Mark Schauer went on Fried Chicken Frank's radio show yesterday or something. I didn't listen, because I can't imagine Fried Chicken Frank's show ever providing me with anything of value except maybe cheap humor. Jack Lessemberry apparently listened however, and wrote about it. By the way, if you're wondering how I think I can get away with that headline right before admitting that I didn't bother consuming the media that it's based on, it's because of this:

Noting that Mark Schauer believes that same-sex marriage should be a right, Beckmann then repeatedly asked whether that meant he should be allowed to marry his own daughter.

If that sentence is even half true, if Fried Chicken Frank even hinted that support for same sex marriage is even remotely the same as an incestuous relationship between father and dauther, then Fried Chicken Frank has tossed his hat into the ring as self-nomination for Most Colossal Ass of the Year. But, what do you expect from a guy who referred to slavery as a great cauldron for innovation, and then after apologizing for saying something so incredibly stupid reversing a month later and saying that he really had nothing to apologize for.

Lessenberry does make a great point, however, and that's why Schauer would have bothered going on Fried Chicken Frank's show in the first place. I mean, Fried Chicken Frank is free to run his radio program as he wants, but there's no reason why Democrats or progressives should ever feel compelled to go on and get abused by the dumbest guy working at any media outlet in the state.

For the record, this has to be noted.

... . Ben Glardon is a Republican state representative from Owosso who had a party at his home for his daughter and other teenagers and their parents after a high school homecoming dance.

... . There was no alcohol available to the minors at the Glardon home. But that didn’t stop a group called Blogging for Michigan from posting a scurrilous and lurid account of the party on Facebook, under the headline: “Rape Insurance Up to Date?

“Party at Ben Glardon’s house!”

A bit of perspective ... Blogging for Michigan appears to have mostly gone dark these days, and the post in question is an anonymously written Facebook post on a page followed by -- it appears -- 442 people, while Fried Chicken Frank has a radio show that is listened to by thousands of people daily. There's no comparing the reach of both outlets, so there's not really any point in trying to say that they have an equal impact on degrading our political discourse. Thousands of people today think it's okay to ask Mark Schauer whether his support for same sex marriage is the same thing as wanting to marry his daughter, while only the couple dozen whose feeds the BFM post turned up in know anything about Ben Glardon's party for his kids. That is, only a couple of dozen would have known anything about it, except Jack Lessenberry directed them to it.

As to the content of the post itself ... Lessenberry wants Gardon's opponent to denounce it in the strongest possible terms. I don't see any point to that. The likely reach of that post was probably so insignificant, and the practical conclusion of such a statement is an admission to some small degree of ownership, that you wind up demanding that people denounce from the campaign trail things said by old Crazy Uncle Earl, who tends to go off about the Jews when he forgets to take his meds.

For any of you looking to break into new media, and I get questions from people about this from time to time, take this as an object lesson: Keep your focus and don't let it get personal. Once you do, you wind up giving people reasons not to take you seriously.

Discuss :: (3 Comments)

What's that about half the workers willing to kill the other half on behalf of the wealthy?

by: Eric B.

Tue Oct 14, 2014 at 13:00:00 PM EDT

Last week, I wrote a column for the local rag (as I occasionally do) about how predictable were the results of our benevolent overlord Rick Michigan's shift in tax burden and the economy: None of the promised benefit has come to pass, because ... duh. We literally have three decades of data to look at to judge whether cutting taxes for the wealthy does indeed stimulate the economy, and it hasn't ever worked (aside from a modest, immediate cut to capital gains that eventually costs more to implement). It doesn't work, everyone knows it, but for some reason it's allowed to shamble forward, unchallenged by Ye Olde Emm Ess Emm, probably because Ye Olde Emm Ess Emm tends to get locked into narratives that it can't break itself out of, no matter how patently false they turn out to be.

Anyway, said local rag has an anonymous phone line that people call to bellow at things in the paper (my favorite slur is the nice lady from the village of Shepherd -- is it Barb Listing -- who occasionally calls to refer to me as "atheist trash"). Some real doozies called over the weekend, including someone from Gilmore Township who expressed his or her deep affection for me (this is actually true), and someone who left this message:

I wish people would quit whining about the tax cuts for the rich and instead of being jealous and wanting to hurt the rich be thankful that the tax cuts will allow them to hire more people like us and allow them to create more businesses and more wealth in our society and help take care of people like us. We should be thankful there are people like the rich out there and the tax cuts should not make us mad, but thankful the rich can employ the rest of us.

The caller is from some town called Mount Pleasant. Never been there, personally, but I hear they have great beaches. As for the rest of you, this is what you're up against out there in the cold, ugly, dirty world, sunshines. Enjoy the rest of your day.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

The final straw: Republicans go after Gary Peters' military record in disgraceful fashion

by: Eric B.

Tue Oct 14, 2014 at 11:38:13 AM EDT

Republicans could have given up the Senate race gracefully, admitting that their candidate wasn't anyone's choice in the first place, or they could have gone out digracefully. Guess which they chose.

Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI) has exaggerated and misrepresented his military service record on the campaign trail for U.S. Senate in Michigan, military community leaders including one of his former commanding officers told Breitbart News for an exclusive investigative report.

Peters’ military service record jacket, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from the Department of the Navy and provided exclusively to Breitbart News, shows a man who had a broken service record that was substandard, one of his indirect commanding officers, retired Navy Commander Jim Semerad, said in an interview with Breitbart News.

Two red flags pop up immediately. The first is that this "report" is a Breitbart exclusive. If Breitbart is the only outlet "reporting" something, deep suspicion is the proper approach to take to it. The second is that their primary source is referred to as Peters' "one of Peters' former commanding officers" in the lede and in the second paragraph as "one of his indirect commanding officers."

Just so we're clear on this, in the military there is no such thing as an "indirect" commanding officer. That's not how the military operates. Someone is either in your direct chain of command or someone is not.

It's unusual for former commanding officers come forward, in public and on the record, to contest a politician’s description of their military service record.

So unusual that in this case, it didn't actually happen.

And Semerad is not the only one speaking out. Former Rep. Allen West (R-FL), who served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, is raising concerns about Peters’ record as are Retired Navy Captain Joseph John, the head of the group Combat Veterans For Congress, and the Republican National Committee (RNC) military expert.

So a Tea Party ex-Congressman best known for spreading horrendous conspiracy theories about the president and who himself was cashiered out of service for mistreating POWs, and some guy employed by the Republican Party are his two other sources in attacking Gary Peters' service record.

So, how do you judge whether they are correct? By getting performance evaluations, which for military officers are called fitness reports (or, Fit Reps, if you're in the military and don't have time to sound things out).

Excerpts from Peters’s fitness reports, written by his commanding officers between in 1994 and 2004 and provided by his campaign, describe the senatorial candidate as a “recognized expert” who “perform[s] exceptionally” and has “unlimited potential.”

“LCDR Peters is an outstanding Supply Corps officer…” says one one fitness report from 2004. “LCDR Peters’ attention to detail, along with his working relationship with Air Force officers, has been instrumental in the continuation of a very successful and visible joint service operation while providing first class training.”

If you're a media person considering whether you need to cover this story, this is where it starts and it ends, with the paper trail. By the way, who writes these evaluations? The direct commanding officer, not someone who calls himself an "indirect commanding officer."

Discuss :: (4 Comments)
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