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
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:269 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:533 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:485 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:378 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:914 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:336 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:422 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.
(PHOTOS: Thad McCotter's career)
So Curson is spending his final...
Seung Min Kim | Politico 07 Dec 2012 Hits:686 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.
As the day began, House Bill 4054 and Senate Bill 116 were identical bills that would allow local units of government to establish so-called right-to-work zones....
Ernie Whiteside 07 Dec 2012 Hits:461 Michigan
WASHINGTON — Driving from Michigan in his Ford F150 pickup truck, David Curson arrived in Washington a week ago. He set up an office last Sunday, was sworn in as a congressman on Tuesday and by Friday had logged his first votes and given his first floor speech – one that stretched a bit past the one minute he'd been allotted.
The 64-year-old Democrat has no time to waste. In six weeks, he'll be gone.
In Congress' packed lame-duck session, Curson is a curiosity.
He was one of four...
Henry C. Jackson | Huffington Post 17 Nov 2012 Hits:490 Michigan
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 announced Thursday.
"The investigation conducted by this division [Michigan Attorney General Criminal Division] revealed that the petition collection efforts were carried out by a dysfunctional congressional staff that had completely lost its moral compass," the AG's August 9 investigative report said. "Staffers functioned in a culture completely indifferent to the requirements of law, and with...
Steven Rosenfeld | AlterNet 10 Aug 2012 Hits:535 Michigan
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 signatures, only to be faced with a challenge to the font size on the petitions. The State Board of Canvassers was deadlocked along partisan lines over the font size question, but at the Supreme Court, one Republican joined Democrats in voting to approve the measure's inclusion on the ballot, though on different grounds (whichEclectablog analyzes).
Four justices agreed to direct...
Laura Clawson | DailyKos Labor 07 Aug 2012 Hits:520 Michigan
In its first major action on righting the city's finances, Detroit's financial advisory board approved Mayor Dave Bing's plans Thursday for $100 million in cuts to the city's unionized workforce that his administration is expected to impose without negotiations.
Included are a 10% pay decrease, higher out-of-pocket health care costs and limits on overtime.
• Detroit Mayor Dave Bing tells crowd that change is on the way
The wage reduction would apply to police and firefighters, a cut that Bing long has sought. In addition, workers would move...
Matt Helms and Suzette Hackney | Detroit Free Press 15 Jul 2012 Hits:581 Michigan
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 that been more true than right now in Michigan.
As a woman, a mother and a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, I watched with horror as people who want to restrict access to women’s health care options attempted to fast track a package of anti-abortion bills through the state Legislature in the past month. A...
Lisa Brown State Representative (Mich.) | National Partnership for Women and Families 29 Jun 2012 Hits:421 Michigan
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
Protestors will march from the Troy Community Center to the fundraiser at the Troy Marriott hotel Wednesday afternoon.
While Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney prepares to attend two private fundraisers in Michigan on Wednesday – including a fundraiser hosted by Gov. Rick Snyder at the Troy Marriott hotel – opponents of Romney are planning to protest the former Massachusetts governor's visit to...
Jen Anesi | Troy Patch 21 Jun 2012 Hits:607 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…
Digital justice organizers work to move beyond questions of Internet access and work to bring control of media production and distribution to underserved communities.
Until very recently, the…
Benton Harbor, Mich., is a town of nearly 11,000 people, about 90 percent of whom are African American. It is a catalogue of the misery of the industrial…
DETROIT – Thousands of marchers, many of them Black youth, union members and church leaders, occupied the streets of downtown Detroit for several hours April 25 outside General Electric’s …
Working closely with local groups and Occupy, United Auto Workers Local 600 has been an integral part of actions that have succeeded in blocking evictions.
"The time it takes us lawyers…
Michigan State Senate Bill 619 was passed by the Senate last October and has found its way to the floor of the House with substitutions (read the Legislative…
In another midwestern state, a confrontation is peaking between a GOP governor and the fate of a major city's public employees.
On Tuesday, while President Obama was railing against the latest…
PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:
Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.
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