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
After initially stating he would rule on an emergency appeal to stop water shutoffs at the end of Tuesday’s court session, US federal bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes announced Wednesday he would issue no decision until at least September 17. This means the city, which has shut off water service to nearly 1,000 households since resuming this brutal policy last week, will continue for at least the next two weeks.
Rhodes appointed a mediator from the US bankruptcy court, US chief judge Phillip Shefferly, to hold “confidential” mediations between the Detroit Water...
Lawrence Porter | World Socialist Web Site 04 Sep 2014 Hits:548 Michigan
While they carry signs “Thirsty For Justice” nearly 45% of Detroit’s 173,000 water accounts are considered past due, with 420 customers due to be denied service Tuesday.
The bankrupt Detroit lifted the month-long suspension of shutting off water to people who have not paid bills. Some 25,000 customers have reached payment plans with the city.
The new system seems to be working very well,” said John Roach, spokesman for Mayor Mike Duggan. The biggest changed to the payment plan program was to require only 10% of past-due balances to enter a payment...
Kaye Wonderhouse | The Global Dispatch 28 Aug 2014 Hits:479 Michigan
DETROIT, Mich. (WJLA/AP) -- Detroit's massive municipal water department, which has been widely criticized for widespread service shutoffs to thousands of customers, drew nationwide attention Thursday on Capitol Hill.
Due to public pressure, the department has temporarily suspended shutoffs for customers who were 60 days or more behind on bills for 15 days.
But with the prospect of shutoffs resuming in a week, some members of Congress are now asking the Obama administration and the Department of Health and Human Services to intervene in what they contend is a humanitarian crisis facing...
Scott Thurman | AP | ABC 7 News 01 Aug 2014 Hits:682 Michigan
Maude Barlow, Canadian author and national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, with a delegation of water rights advocates brought 260 gallons of water to Detroiters July 24.
Of the 15,000 homes that have had water shut off by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, it is estimated that only 48 percent are back in service.
“We came to pay tribute to the people of Detroit,” Barlow said in remarks made at St. Peter’s Church, Michigan and Trumbull, where the water was delivered.
“Fresh water and sanitation are human rights guaranteed by the United Nations,”...
The Michigan Citizen 30 Jul 2014 Hits:619 Michigan
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is suspending its water shutoffs for 15 days starting today to give residents another chance to prove they are unable to pay their bills.
“In case we have missed someone who has legitimate affordability problems this will allow them to come to us to see if they can work out payments,” department spokesman Bill Johnson said. “We’ve always maintained that what we were doing was a collection effort — not a shutoff effort.”
The decision comes after the city has put into national spotlight for a...
Brent Snavely, Matt Helms | Detroit Free Press 21 Jul 2014 Hits:526 Michigan
Oh, make you wanna holler
The way they do my life
This ain't livin', this ain't livin'
No, no baby, this ain't livin'
No, no, no, no
--Marvin Gaye, "Inner City Blues"
On July 18 thousands of activists and dozens of organizations will converge on downtown Detroit to protest the privatization of the city’s assets and the disconnection of water to tens of thousands of low-income residents. The UN has called the shutoff a human rights violation. Demonstrators from around the country will rally in Hart Plaza at 1 pm, linking arms with the citizens of...
Ben Ptashnik and Victoria Collier | The Progressive 09 Jul 2014 Hits:635 Michigan
Detroit made international news this month when its municipal water board resumed cutting off water to residents with unpaid bills. With thousands of community members struggling in homes with no running water, local groups reached out (PDF) to the United Nations special rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation to intervene. On Wednesday, U.N. officials responded, calling the water department’s actions a “violation of the human right to water and other international human rights.”
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s decision to cut off residents with unpaid...
Anna Lappé | Al Jazeera English 02 Jul 2014 Hits:1077 Michigan
Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) won't appear on the Democratic primary ballot after failing to submit enough valid signatures, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett said on Tuesday.
"It is my determination that in accordance with the current laws and statutes of the State of Michigan, the nominating petitions filed by Congressman John Conyers, Jr. are insufficient to allow his name to appear on the August 5, 2014 Primary Ballot," Garrett said in a statement.
The decision means Conyers may have to run as a write-in candidate if he wants to keep a seat he's held...
Cameron Joseph | The Hill 14 May 2014 Hits:747 Michigan
Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) will retire at the end of his current term, capping a historic career as the longest-serving member of Congress in history.
In prepared remarks for his annual "State of the District" speech distributed by his office Monday afternoon, Dingell described his decision as personal and rooted in the standards he had set for himself as a lawmaker.
"Around this time every two years, my wife Deborah and I confer on the question of whether I will seek reelection. My standards are high for this job. I put...
Sean Sullivan | Washington Post 24 Feb 2014 Hits:677 Michigan
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:589 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:1792 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.
Critics say the city bankruptcy filing, the first of its kind, is an attack on pensions and future livelihoods for workers in the city of...
Common Dreams Staff 03 Dec 2013 Hits:488 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...
Abayomi Azikiwe | Global Research 24 Sep 2013 Hits:880 Michigan
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...
Rep. John Conyers, Jr | Huffington Post 16 Sep 2013 Hits:813 Michigan
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.
The five-decade slide has left the city owing creditors some $19 billion and under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager. The manager has been...
Michael A. Fletcher | The Washington Post 18 Jul 2013 Hits:483 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…
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…
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…
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)…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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…
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