Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) has had a very cushy life and a very cushy political career, both based on being born into the 1%. He's the son of one of Michigan's wealthiest families, self-styled aristocrats with a sense of entitlement that stretches from the peak of Mount Arvon to Luna Pier in Monroe County. Fred is the poster child for someone born with a silver spoon in his mouth and his political rise inside the GOP was always based on family connections, never based on anything remotely resembling merit or talent. His grandfather founded Whirlpool, once the biggest employers in the southwest Michigan-- and a major employer throughout the Midwest-- and his heirs took that to mean that they were the feudal barons of the area. Fred's political career began with a patronage appointment for the 23 year old to the staff of local Congressman David Stockman. In 1986, he won his seat by beating Stockman's successor, fanatic right-wing sociopath Mark Deli Siljander, who was indicted for a role in Islamic terrorism (and eventually pled guilty).
Early on Upton took on the pose of a social moderate. He never cared about anything like that-- just about protecting the 1% from having to pay a fair share. Starting in 2002, right-wing extremists-- usually religious fanatics-- became disenchanted with Upton. State Senator Dale Shugars, another far right psychopath, primaried him and lost. Last year former state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, an anti-Choice fanatic, and a deranged perennial candidate for anything that comes up, primaried Upton with Tea Party and Libertarian backing and won 43& of the GOP vote. Scared for his life, Upton immediately moved significantly to the right, so far to the right that he's now completely out of step with the majority of Michigan voters.
Another big change is that Upton has never had a serious, well-financed Democratic opponent-- even though the Kalamazoo-based district gave majorities to Obama (54%), Levin and other Democrats. The DCCC has always protected Upton-- valuing his faux moderation-- much the same way they always protected Paul Ryan in Wisconsin. This year, DCCC or not, Upton has pulled a real populist, New Deal Democrat opponent, John Waltz.Over the weekend Politico reported on what they called The War On Fred Upton. "The ferocious yearlong debate over the nation’s fiscal woes has put Rep. Fred Upton in the political crosshairs, with attacks coming from all sides," writes Alex Isenstadt. "Liberals castigate the Michigan Republican as a tool of corporate interests hellbent on eliminating entitlements while protecting the rich from tax increases. Conservatives torch him as a closet liberal who isn’t on board with the GOP’s single-minded push to slash federal spending.
As one of 12 members on the high-powered, deficit-cutting supercommittee, Upton has been thrust into the national spotlight. But the stakes are decidedly higher for him than for the other lawmakers on the committee. None of the panel’s six senators will face reelection in 2012, and unlike Upton, none of the other five House members occupy districts that are even remotely competitive.
“Because a lot of people have placed a lot of hopes and aspirations on what the supercommittee will do, those hopes and aspirations will be projected on the people serving on the supercommittee,” said Grover Norquist, the influential conservative activist and Americans for Tax Reform president, who has been complimentary of Upton. “There will be people shouting at folks like Upton.”
On popular liberal blogs like DownWithTyranny, Upton, whose family founded Whirlpool Corp., is slammed as a “plutocrat” and accused of jumping into bed with the “radical right.” On RedState, a widely read online conservative bulletin board, posters lament Upton’s presence on the panel, with one writing that the Michigan Republican is afraid of being “portrayed as robbing seniors.”
The supercommittee doesn’t have to reveal its recommendations until just before Thanksgiving, but whether the panel cuts spending in a way that pleases conservatives will go a long way toward determining Upton’s political fortunes. This week, the liberal-aligned Michigan Nurses Association launched a radio and billboard ad campaign slamming Upton for being “in Wall Street’s pocket.”
But pressure has also come from conservatives. On Thursday, Club for Growth, the Washington-based anti-tax group that frequently supports primary challenges to GOP incumbents, huddled with Republican Jack Hoogendyk, a former Michigan state representative who performed unexpectedly well against Upton in 2010 and is considering running again.
Hoogendyk, who held Upton to 57 percent of the vote in 2010 despite being outspent nearly 18 to one, told Politoco that he will make a decision on whether to challenge Upton after the panel completes its deliberations. “What comes out of the supercommittee will obviously be a factor on a lot of things, including whether I run,” he said.
Barney Keller, a Club for Growth spokesman, said the group came away from the meeting impressed by Hoogendyk. Keller said that Upton “has a very long record of voting for bigger government that is inconsistent with our policy goals.”What do Club for Growth and the clownish Hoogendyk want? Well, Hoogendyk wants a job of course, but the nuts at the Club for Growth have agreed to back him if Upton compromises with conservative Democrats and goes for Obama's "grand bargain," which tears huge, deadly holes in the social safety net in return for some paltry and very temporary tax increases on a small part of the 1%. Yesterday Chuck Schumer predicted the SuperCommittee would fail, mostly because Upton is too scared to move in a mainstream direction. Even with this week's Washington Post-ABC News poll reporting that most moderates and independents now agree that the Republican Party is sabotaging Obama's good faith attempts to fix the economy-- an economy, remember, that was driven into the ditch by Republican anti-regulatory mania-- Upton is, basically, hiding under his desk hoping the whole mess will just disappear and he can continue to rack in immense amounts of money from lobbyists and corporate PACs looking to trade some campaign cash for his services. If you'd like to help retire Upton and replace him with a blue collar, New Deal Democrat, please consider contributing to John Waltz's campaign through ActBlue.
Link to original article from Down With Tyranny
On December 3, United States Bankruptcy Judge Stephen A. Rhodes—to the surprise of no one—formally ruled that Detroit is “eligible” for bankruptcy. In other words, creditors will now wrangle over Detroit’s government assets with Rhodes as the referee.
It is important to understand that at no point has Detroit declared or requested bankruptcy. Indeed Detroiters and others in Michigan have resisted as best they could, only to be overpowered at every turn. As Judge Rhodes explains below, bankruptcy has been orchestrated from Lansing (the state capitol) with a lot of help...
Frank Joyce | AlterNet 17 Dec 2013 Hits:136 Michigan
Michigan lawmakers passed a controversial measure on Wednesday that will ban all insurance plans in the state from covering abortion unless the woman's life is in danger. The law, which takes effect in March, will force women and employers to purchase a separate abortion rider if they would like the procedure covered, even in cases of rape and incest.
Supporters of the "Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act" argue that it allows people who are opposed to abortion to avoid paying into a plan that covers it. Opponents have nicknamed it the "rape...
Laura Bassett | Huffington Post 11 Dec 2013 Hits:1271 Michigan
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled Tuesday that the city of Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy after a long court battle between city appointed 'emergency manager' Kevyn Orr and union and labor activists who say the decision paves the way for workers' pensions to be cut.
Rhodes ruled that Detroit is insolvent, a legal criteria for bankruptcy, meaning it can cut public pensions for the bankruptcy filing.
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Common Dreams Staff 03 Dec 2013 Hits:124 Michigan
Contradicting what the corporate media editorial boards have promoted in chorus with the multi-millionaire Governor Rick Snyder and his appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr, 110 people filed objections to the forced bankruptcy of the City of Detroit. The hearing took place on September 19 and was widely covered in the local, national and international press.
This extraordinary hearing had provided only a small window of time for legal action. Many of the people that testified were retirees, city workers, community organizers and professionals who met the deadline set by the Judge...
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Much has been justifiably made about the damage the Roberts Supreme Court has done to voting rights in their recent decision, Shelby County v. Holder. However, a potentially more insidious plot denying the precious right to vote is occurring in my own state of Michigan, where Republican Governor Rick Snyder has appointed an emergency manager to run Detroit in place of the duly elected mayor and City Council. Even more troubling, the governor did so after Michigan voters had rejected the emergency manager law at the ballot box, when late...
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Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history Thursday afternoon, capping a long decline that left the nation’s automaking capital bleeding residents and revenue, while rendering city services a mess.
The nation’s fourth-largest city in the 1950s with nearly 2 million residents, the city has seen its populaton plummet to 700,000 as residents fled increasing crime and deteriorating sevices, taking their tax dollars with them.
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Michael A. Fletcher | The Washington Post 18 Jul 2013 Hits:230 Michigan
In November, Michiganders voted the state's undemocratic Emergency Financial Manager law out of existence. But that didn't keep Snyder and legislators from claiming control of Motor City.
As of today, Detroit is under the control of a governor-appointed emergency financial manager. The Motor City is the largest district in the nation to have its voters and elected officials sidelined by this new experiment in "crisis management."
Michigan residents might be wondering how this EFM got appointed. Didn’t they roundly reject financial managers in a statewide referendum in November? Michigan residents voted to...
Harriet Rowan | PR Watch 28 Mar 2013 Hits:533 Michigan
On Thursday an emergency manager was named for Detroit, Kevyn Orr, a partner in the Jones Day law firm.
MICHAEL STAMPFLER, [email] Available for a limited number of interviews with major media, Stampfler is former emergency manager of Pontiac, Michigan. He said: “I do not believe emergency managers can be successful — they abrogate the civic structure of the community for a period of years then return it virtually dismantled for the community to attempt to somehow make a go of it. The program provides no...
Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) 15 Mar 2013 Hits:734 Michigan
Teachers in Grand Rapids, Michigan, say that new paycheck cuts are leaving them with so little pay they qualify for food stamps. The teachers, working without a contract, have been hit by a 2011 state law that limited the amount public employers can pay for workers'health insurance. That's now being applied retroactively to these teachers, cutting as much as $300 from each paycheck.
"I am a five-year teacher who brings home $555.39 for two weeks and who currently qualifies for a Bridge Card," Ratliff told the school board Monday to loud...
Laura Clawson | Daily Kos 06 Mar 2013 Hits:676 Michigan
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder declared the city of Detroit in a state of "fiscal emergency" on Friday afternoon and announced he would appoint a emergency financial manager (EFM) for the city.
Neil Munshi reported in the Financial Times that the emergency manager "would have relatively broad powers to handle the city’s dire financial situation."
In a blog post on the decision, Snyder writes: "Working together in partnership, we can more quickly and efficiently reform the finances in the city." But the EFM role is not one of ...
Andrea Germanos, staff writer | Common Dreams 02 Mar 2013 Hits:567 Michigan
On the heels of a lawsuit filed recently in the Ingham County District Court challenging the constitutionality of Michigan’s new Right to Work law, a coalition of unions has filed a similar lawsuit in federal court. The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit and assigned to Judge Stephen Murphy, claims that the law violates the rights of private sector union members who are covered under federal law rather than the laws of the state of Michigan:
The Michigan AFL-CIO, the Building and Trades Council, the Teamsters, SEIU, United Farm...
Eclecta Blog 16 Feb 2013 Hits:1089 Michigan
Michigan’s so-called lame duck legislature passed a remarkable 232 bills in its last week of business. Only one bill, SB 0116 (2011), the so-called Right to Work Bill, passed on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday were busy days with 100 and 117 bills respectively passing and Friday was a short day with 14 bills passing before the 2011-2012 legislature adjourned for the last time.
I was standing outside the east wall of the Capitol Building below the House chamber windows chanting “Kill the bill!” when the one unthinkable happened; bill SB 0116...
Ernie Whiteside | Vine Street Report 30 Dec 2012 Hits:495 Michigan
LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Legislature approved sweeping legislation on Tuesday that vastly reduces the power of organized labor in a state that has been a symbol of union dominance and served as an incubator for union activity over decades of modern American labor history.
The two bills, approved by the House of Representatives over the shouts of thousands of angry union protesters who gathered on the lawn outside the Capitol building, will among other things, bar both public and private sector workers from being...
Monica Davey | The New York Times 11 Dec 2012 Hits:581 Michigan
Newly elected Rep. Dave Curson moved into his spacious, sun-drenched Capitol Hill office three weeks ago, eager to savor every minute of his congressional career.
And relish it he must: In four more weeks, it’ll all be over.
The Michigan Democrat just won his first congressional race, but in a twist of redistricting he’s already a lame duck. He was elected to a mere seven-week stint, ending on Jan. 2, to finish out Republican former Rep. Thad McCotter’s term.
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Seung Min Kim | Politico 07 Dec 2012 Hits:887 Michigan
Lansing, MI – Many concerned worker gathered in Lansing today as Republican legislators scrambled to move forward two bills that had been dormant in their committees for most of the last two years. Today was the last day for this lame duck legislature to move forward a bill in one chamber and still have time to act on the same bill in the other chamber.
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Ernie Whiteside 07 Dec 2012 Hits:626 Michigan
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Four congressional aides to Michigan Republican U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter have been indicted for falsifying nominating petitions for McCotter's 2012 re-election bid, Michigan’s Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette…
The ballot initiative to repeal Michigan's onerous, anti-democratic Emergency Manager law will go on the November ballot, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Friday. The repeal campaign had collected enough…
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Women’s health care should never be a political game. And yet, any time there is a contentious election around the corner, that is exactly what it becomes. Never has…
Planned Parenthood's mascot, "Pillamina," is expected to be present Wednesday during a protest outside Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's fundraiser at the Troy Marriott hotel. Credit Planned Parenthood of Michigan
What good is knowledge, if no one has access to it? That was the underlying question in Troy, Michigan where Tea Party activists sought to thwart a …
There has been much talk recently about the war on women, and for good reason — the onslaught of anti-choice legislation authored, sponsored, and voted into law…
In what the ACLU of Michigan has called the "greatest assault on reproductive rights" in the state's history, Michigan lawmakers are pushing a slew of anti-abortion measures they've…
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