A country that loses its values, its principles, has lost its heart. A country that loses its sensible center, its common ground, has lost its mind.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Miller: Obama acting like a king, not a president





Not surprisingly, Macomb’s two representatives in  Congress, Candy Miller and Sandy Levin, split their vote on the successful House resolution to sue the president.

Here’s the floor statement by Miller, a Harrison Township Republican:
The ultimate law of our great nation is not the important work we undertake here in this House, above all, it is the Constitution we all swear to preserve, protect and defend.
The first words of the Constitution, Article 1, Section 1, are the following:

‘All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.’

Not some, but all legislative powers are vested in the Congress of the United States.  No other entity of our federal government has the power to write law – not the executive branch or the judicial branch – only Congress.
Article 1, Section 7, states the following:

‘Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the president of the United States; if he approves he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it…’

If he approves, it shall become law, if not, he vetoes the law and sends it back to Congress.  Nowhere is the president given the authority to rewrite the law on his own.
And Article 2, Section 3, places the following responsibility with the President:

‘He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’

This resolution asks the third branch of government, the judicial branch, to solve problems arising from the president’s failure to faithfully execute the law, specifically aspects of the Affordable Care Act, as he is required in Article 2, Section 3, and to have exercised power expressly given to Congress to write the law under Article 1.
The founders in their genius put in place this system of checks and balances for a very important purpose, which is to make certain that no one person could both impose and enforce the law, because that type of action amounts to tyranny.  In short, we have no king in this nation.

As the representative of the people of the 10th District of Michigan, and someone who is sworn to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, I believe strongly that I have a responsibility to support this resolution so that the courts can affirm that legislative power is vested in this House, the People’s House, and not in the White House.
As the Chairman of the Committee on House Administration, I will have the responsibility to verify that any contracts with those who will litigate this case comport to the rules of the House. That is a responsibility that I take very seriously.

As such, many on the minority side have asked how much this will cost.  My answer is that we do not yet know because no contracts have been negotiated and we do not know how long such litigation will take to conclude. 
But the questions I would ask are ‘what price do you put on the adherence to the rule of law?’  ‘What price do you place on the continuation of our system of checks and balances?’  And ‘what price would you place on our Constitution?’

My answer to each is ‘priceless.’  I can assure all of my colleagues that this process will move forward with due diligence, it will be conducted within the rules of this House, and it is my firm hope that, in the end, the courts will uphold the constitutional principles that are the bedrock upon which our great nation has been built.”

---


Levin, a Royal Oak Democrat who represents most of Macomb County, said this:
Republicans today are choosing lawsuits over legislating. They are choosing to sue the President rather than pursue action to support the American economy.

There’s no shortage of legislation that’s awaiting action:
Immigration reform. A bipartisan Senate bill is awaiting action.
Unemployment insurance. A bipartisan Senate bill has never gotten a vote in the House. Held up by the speaker.
The Employment Nondiscrimination bill, the Senate bill, not brought up here. Held up by the speaker.

Paycheck fairness, not brought up.
A minimum wage bill, not brought up.
Export-Import bank, caught in the contest and the conflicts within the Republican conference.

A highway bill – another patch, showing the inability of the House Republicans to face up to the need for a long term highway bill.
And voting rights reform? There is a bill sponsored by a senior Republican in this House and that has not seen the light of day.

Instead, Republicans are choosing to sue.

For what it’s worth, a new Public Policy Polling survey found that only 41% of voters in the country believe that the lawsuit instigated by House Speaker John Boehner is legitimate, compared to 51% who think it’s just a political stunt. Beyond that PPP reports that 56% think the lawsuit is a bad use of taxpayer money, with only 36% expressing the sentiment that it’s a good use.
One final point: As former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said this morning, by the time the suit is decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, under normal timelines Obama will be out of office.



Michele Bachmann outdoes her crazy old self

This time, Michele Bachmann may have outdone her crazy old self. Now she claims that President Obama is welcoming all those Central American kids at our border because he wants to use them as guinea pigs for medical experimentation.
Apparently, Bachmann’s latest fixation is on children who become a ward of the state and her bizarre belief that current federal law allows the government to conduct medical experiments on these kids.
In an interview Wednesday on a right-wing radio show, Bachmann tried to make the case that Obama hasn't fixed the refugee crisis at the border because he sees all those kids as fodder for medical research.
According to Salon and a group called Right Wing Watch (which has a tape of the interview), here is what the Minnesota Republican said:
“President Obama is trying to bring all of those foreign nationals, those illegal aliens to the country and he has said that he will put them in the foster care system,” Bachmann explained.
“[W]e can’t imagine doing this, but if you have a hospital and they are going to get millions of dollars in government grants if they can conduct medical research on somebody, and a ward of the state can’t say ‘no’ — a little kid can’t say ‘no’ if they’re a ward of the state — so here you could have this institution getting millions of dollars from our government to do medical experimentation and a kid can’t even say ‘no,’” Bachmann said. “It’s sick.”

For the past six years we’ve heard some on the right-wing fringe try to compare Obama to Hitler. It sounds like Bachmann, in her final five months in office and time running out on her wacky rantings, has decided the appropriate comparison is that Obama is another Mengele.

Tuesday's primary could decide fate of Lt. Gov. Brian Calley

UPDATE: A PAC known as Up Right Michigan has put out a warning to its members about a piece of literature that is trying to round up support for establishment candidates for precinct delegate. Here's what they said in their newsletter:
"Many voters are receiving another glossy full-color card, this one from Michigan Advocacy Trust (MAT), endorsing “TRUE CONSERVATIVES” for precinct delegate. The mailings call its candidates 'Freedom Fighting Conservatives' and cite their support for Freedom To Work, Education Choice, Second Amendment Rights… Reducing the Size of Government. The truth is, their candidates are running AGAINST conservative leaders who have worked for years on those issues. People like the former 1st District Vice Chair and candidate for Congress; Antrim County GOP Chair, Vice Chair (that's "Trucker Randy" Bishop); and the Republican Women’s group Chair and Secretary; the head of the Lakes Area Tea Party - all of which are successful incumbent delegates with distinguished service to the GOP and the conservative movement."





Calley was first nominated at
 the 2010 GOP state convention
While election battles over Republican precinct delegates are nothing new in Macomb County, party activists know that the GOP delegates elected across the state in Tuesday’s primary election could play a major role – deciding the fate of Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.
Though Calley is essentially Gov. Rick Snyder’s running mate, he must secure the party’s nomination for lieutenant governor at the GOP state convention later this month. The precinct delegates will make the decision, and those delegates aligned with the tea party are hoping to oust Calley from the ticket.

Here’s how Dennis Lennox, a columnist for our sister paper, The (Mount Pleasant) Morning Sun, assesses the situation:

“A small gang of malcontents, aligned with the likes of Dave Agema, the unabashed bigot and disgraced member of the GOP’s national committee, has set their sights on Calley, the affable former legislator from Ionia County who is the very epitome of a main street conservative.
“While Calley should prevail over a self-proclaimed tea party leader named Wes Nakagiri — not least because of heavy outside organizing by traditional Republicans — one never knows what could happen during a late-summer convention with an incredibly small electorate of approximately 1,800 or so voting delegates.

“Everything changes if the malcontents manage to best precinct delegate hopefuls supportive of Calley in enough counties, or the primary election is plagued with low turnout, as is often the case. Heck, even the absence of a few delegates from far-flung corners of the state’s Upper Peninsula could end up making the difference, if they determine the drive all the way to the Detroit suburbs isn’t worth it.”

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tea party losing their way, and losing elections


Congressman Justin Amash, center, is one of the few Michigan pols who has maintained ties with Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, left, and Gov. Rick Snyder, right, while also retaining support from the tea party.
The tea party forces in Michigan have lost their way, and now they’re losing their ability to win elections.
That’s the outlook provided by Ken Braun in his column published today at MLive.

The tea partiers started out as strict fiscal conservatives, skeptics of the various government assistance efforts that emerged in 2008-09 during the Great Recession. They were as much libertarian as Republican.
But they have moved toward a series of social issues – and a surprisingly dovish foreign policy approach – rather than adhering to their core mission of reducing deficits and debt.
The tea party-types in Congress could have played a constructive role by demanding action in response to every wasteful bureaucratic blunder uncovered in General Accountability Office and Inspector General reports.
In Lansing, they could have played a similar role by working closely with the Auditor General’s Office and flyspecking budget documents.

Instead, they have drifted, engaging in retrograde political spats about gay marriage, abortion, contraception, immigration, Common Core and a variety of conspiracy theories.
Braun, who leans libertarian, writes that the tea party has fluttered so thoroughly that it now supports the “social authoritarian thinking of Rick Santorum.”
Yet, the tea partiers have also shown that they can get back to their roots, as they’ve demonstrated in the west Michigan congressional race between incumbent Justin Amash and  businessman Brian Ellis. That GOP primary is probably the nation’s top tea party vs. establishment contest left before the November general election.

Here’s a taste of Braun’s column:
“Republican (Congressman) Justin Amash is everything the tea party once was … and a whole lot of what it now is not. Still the very most reliable of frugal fiscal conservatives, he supports the end of the Defense of Marriage Act and says government, rather than gay couples who love each other, is the real threat to marriage. 
“… Amash takes the moderate road on immigration reform, seeking a path to legalization for undocumented workers, and last week he marched in a parade with Gov. Rick Snyder’s loyal Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.
“The social-conservative obsessed, Snyder-hating, illegal-immigrant fearing tea party supporters should find a lot to be angry about regarding a social issue apostate such as Amash. Instead, they’re resolutely behind the incumbent, and polling shows he is winning.”


Congressman King: Parents sent girls down 'rape path' to U.S. border


Congressman Steve King of Iowa is at it again. Capitol Hill's leader in the category of outrageous statements now says that Central American parents are carelessly sending their young daughters down a "rape path" to the U.S. border.
Here' how the folks at Mediaite explained the story:
"From the man who brought you 'calves the size of cantaloupes' now comes “give their daughters birth control pills and send them down a rape path.”
The comment occurred on CNN’s New Day early Wednesday morning, as co-host Chris Cuomo tried to get an answer from Rep. Steve King (R-IA) as to whether Congress would delay their August recess to tackle the border crisis.
“This is a man-caused disaster, and the man that caused it is Barack Obama, with his  ... advertisement that has been such a huge magnet that have caused these families to give their daughters birth control pills and send them down a rape path all the way through Mexico, and it’s a death path on the death train,” King said.

Three Republicans vie for a shot at Hackel

Novak

Shafer






Stahl







As Democratic County Executive Mark Hackel prepares to run for re-election, he waits the outcome of a three-person Republican primary to determine his GOP challenger.
The Aug. 5 Republican contest remains a low-key affair as Randell Shafer and Erin Stahl, both of St. Clair Shores, and David Novak of Chesterfield Township vie for the GOP crown.
All three candidates are tacking to the right of Hackel, who prides himself as a bipartisan standard bearer for the county. The upcoming elections will provide voters with their first opportunity to cast judgment on the charter they approved that was intended to establish a balance of powers between an executive branch of government and a legislative branch, the Board of Commissioners.

Novak, 47, has a long track record in the business world, first in retail and now as an account executive for a defense firm.
His one prior foray into politics, as a 2010 candidate for state representative, resulted in a frustrating, 64-vote loss to now-State Rep. Andrea LaFontaine.

Shafer could not be reached for comment about his candidacy.

At the same time, Novak and Stahl disagree with Hackel on a number of fronts.
Novak is skeptical of the Hackel administration’s plan for a $300 million municipal bond sale to eliminate the county’s massive debt for promised retiree health care benefits and to fund long-anticipated improvements to county buildings in downtown Mount Clemens, the county seat.
Novak suggests that shelved plans to replace the crumbing county jail, at an estimated cost of up to $200 million, should be attached to a large package of bond issues that would deal with infrastructure improvements and retiree health care deficits.
“Unfortunately, I would need a lot more information before I could make a decision,” said Novak, who is viewed by some political observers as the frontrunner in the primary contest. “We need to pretty much be putting everything into one large bucket.”

In contrast, Stahl, a one-term St. Clair Shores councilwoman, said she believes that county should not take on any more debt. Safer methods exist, she said, to finance building improvements.
In addition, Stahl recalled that her municipal experience in reducing employee pension costs demonstrated that $250,000 could be cut from the St. Clair Shores ledger. The county’s long-term retiree health care debt is pegged at about $270 million.
Stahl was a Republican who switched to the Libertarian Party and is now back with the GOP. A consultant, Stahl emphasizes her master’s degree in finance.
In 2010, she failed in her Libertarian candidacy for Macomb’s first county executive, garnering less than 5 percent of the vote.
As for her 2003-07 stint on the St. Clair Shores City Council, Stahl now says that her experience “gave me an eye-opening, earth-shattering wealth of knowledge and experience on how government really operates.”

On the issues, Stahl said she opposes the suburbs’ attempt during the Detroit bankruptcy process to negotiate a lease of the city’s water/sewer department. Those plans, which have so far produced rocky results, would put the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, or DWSD, under the control of a tri-county water authority.
Stahl said her experiences with the Shores’ Tax Increment Financing Authority, or TIFA, makes her leery of all government authorities. The TIFA board, she said, operated in the shadows and largely ignored public input.
Efforts by regional officials to take the massive sewer/water system out of the hands of Detroit officials are supported by Novak. But he prefers putting the DWSD’s day-to-day operations under private sector control.
The widespread transfer by many municipal garbage collections to private companies shows the value of privatizing public services, he said. Novak said he would require bidders for the DWSD contract to limit annual water rate increases to 4 percent.

As for the Macomb County Blue Water Economy that Hackel touts at every opportunity, Stahl and Novak are, to varying degrees, skeptical of the county exec’s hopes of wooing hotels to the Lake St. Clair shoreline and creating new attractions such as large piers.
Novak, a frequent jet-skier on the lake, said he needs to study the issue further. He believes all economic developments in the waterfront communities will benefit the shoreline.
“I think (Hackel) has Macomb’s best interests at heart, but I don’t agree with his marketing approach,” he said, adding that an upscale shopping mall planned for a large site at I-94 and Hall Road (Rosso Highway) can generate a major impact.
In contrast, Stahl opposes any county role in attracting major developments , such as hotels, to the lakefront.
“My city has been toying with the idea of a hotel but nobody has jumped up and done it – because it is not a viable project,” she said. “… It makes no sense to waste money this way if businesses are not going to fully bear the risk of (a) costly project without any subsidies (or) citizen tax dollars.”

Another area of division between Novak and Stahl is the upcoming November ballot proposal that let’s voters decide if they want to re-open the county charter to revisions and create a new charter commission.
The charter approved by voters in 2009 includes a provision requiring a 2014 vote to allow amendments and the election of a new charter commission.
Novak said he would study the issue after the August primary and reach a decision. For now, he is leaning toward the status quo and a “no” vote on the proposal.
Stahl favors the proposal and the opportunity to open the charter for changes. But she favors an overhaul, casting aside the “home rule” charter in favor of adherence to a state law that allows for a county executive and a “stronger” Board of Commissioners.
That is the system that prevails in Oakland County government. But it’s unclear if the November measure can legally create such a dramatic turn.

The two candidates also have divergent views on the performance of Hackel, a Macomb Township Democrat, in his first term as he tries to make ties with the Republican Party, particularly Gov. Rick Snyder.
Grading the incumbent on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) Novak said he would give the exec a 6. Hackel’s lack of diplomatic relations with the county board in the first two years of his reign -- when he displayed a “kingdom atmosphere” – exhibited the incumbent’s greatest weakness, he said.
Stahl is more particular in ranking her potential November opponent. Her Hackel report card: personality, charisma, speaking ability, 10; public relations team, 10; working with commissioners, 2; financial team of advisors, 1.

Overall, Novak asserts that his business background separates his candidacy from Stahl and Shafer.
“I’ve been working in business for 20 years,” he said. “And I have a wide variety of experience, from financial to human resources to an operational background.

If she wins the primary and is elected in November, Stahl said she would rely upon divine inspiration to help her accomplish the Macomb County CEO job.
“I’m just following God’s path and he seems to give the right dose of strength and courage,” she said, “the right tools, skills, knowledge and people when I need it to be the voice of the citizens and expose and fix the wrong doing by government employees and officials.”

Shafer, the 2010 GOP nominee, lost to Hackel by landslide proportions and was also defeated by big margins in his two congressional runs against U.S. Rep. Sander Levin in 2004 and 2006.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Is this a promo pic for the "Rigas and Randy" show?



State House candidate Angela Rigas is certainly an attractive candidate but who's that with her in this photo, her grandpa?
No, that's the infamous Trucker Randy Bishop, a two-time felon, also known within the GOP as an "oaf" and a "bully."
Why would Rigas want to hob-nob with this guy? Here's the only reason I can think of:
Now that Bishop's talk-radio show has been cancelled and his former co-host, Doug Sedenquist, is heading to prison, maybe there's a deal in the works. Maybe the broadcast will return with two fun tea partiers hosting a show called "Rigas and Randy." What do you think?
If so, Angela should expect the show to take some time off during the Christmas season -- Randy's got that Santa thing down pat. I wonder if he'll have to compete with accidental congressman Kerry Bentivolio -- after Bentivolio loses his primary election -- for Jolly Old Elf gigs.

House candidate's cash breaks Michigan records

Lucido
UPDATE: Rich Robinson, the election watchdog for the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Network, said Lucido’s out-of-pocket funding is unprecedented for a House primary contender but the combined spending by Lucido and Grot should include an asterisk in the record books.
In 2012, a three-way race for the state House in Oakland County saw two of the candidates spend a combined $383,000 in the GOP primary. David Potts spent $114,000 and David Wolkinson’s total was $270,000. Yet, that 40th District contest was won by the candidate who failed to break the six-figure mark, Mike McCready of Bloomfield Hills, according to Robinson. 


By Chad Selweski
@cbsnewsman on Twitter

Pete Lucido, a Shelby Township Republican, has waged an unprecedented campaign for state House, plowing $150,000 of his own money into his bid for a victory in the Aug. 5 GOP primary in north Macomb’s 36th District.
Political observers say that Lucido’s degree of self-funding is unheard of in a Michigan primary for one of the 110 state House seats. The prominent defense attorney may have also broken state records for spending, $245,000, in his two-man GOP race against Shelby Township Clerk Stan Grot.
According to campaign finance reports filed with the state, Grot, a veteran political activist, raised nearly $100,000 and spent $76,000 in a particularly nasty race that has featured numerous political mailings on both sides that attack the opponent on a very personal level. Fingers point in both directions.

Bill Ballenger, the dean of Michigan political analysts, said the total amount raised and spent by the two candidates, plus Lucido’s personal contribution, may have raised the bar.
“I would say both of those are records but I can’t say definitively,” said Ballenger, founder of the Inside Michigan Politics newsletter. “For a candidate in a partisan primary to spend $150,000 of his own money, I’d be stunned if anyone has ever come close to that.”

A first-time candidate, Lucido said he was forced to put together a $250,000 campaign war chest and spend extraordinary amounts of money to counter nasty campaign flyers sent by two political action committees, or PACs, that are pro-Grot.
“Look what I’m up against with these PACs. I think it’s now nine pieces they have put out that are full of a web of lies,” he said. “I … am trying to ward off evil.”
Longtime political observer and former campaign consultant Joe Munem of Sterling Heights said Lucido and Grot have shifted Michigan House races into a higher gear with a combined $350,000 in fundraising for a primary.
“That’s a number that just left me stunned. This is gargantuan,” Munem said. “If you split that by two, that’s $175,000 apiece. It’s an unheard-of number.”

A veteran political operative, Grot has predicted for months that he would be outspent by a wide margin, with Lucido waging a $300,000 campaign to win the open seat in the 36th District – consisting of Washington Township, Romeo, Bruce Township and most of Shelby Township. The Shelby clerk has repeatedly complained that Lucido "is trying to buy this election."
Outgoing GOP incumbent Rep. Pete Lund, who is barred by term limits from seeking re-election, has remained neutral in the furious battle for his seat. The winner of the GOP primary in the heavily Republican district is almost assured of victory in November. The lone Democratic contender is perennial candidate Robert Murphy of Romeo.
In the past, hotly contested primary races for state representative might see a candidate spend $50,000. While Grot did not announce his intentions to run until late March, Lucido started gearing up early, in August 2013, and had mapped out a long-term campaign strategy within a month. By November, he had already loaned his campaign $50,000, according to his campaign finance report.

Those reports only reflect money raised and spent through July 20, not including the last-minute flurry of campaigning that is likely coming by Election Day on Aug. 5.
In addition, it’s still possible that Lucido funneled up to $285,000 of his own money into the campaign while still catching up with all of his bills, many of which consist of advertising purchases with local weekly newspapers.
After he turned in his paperwork, Lucido filed a “late contribution report” with the state, a routine matter. But in this case, the late report was a $150,000 donation by Lucido to his election effort.
The Lucido report is complicated by a confusing mix of personal loans and donations to his campaign, including one $50,000 allocation on May 28 that was listed as both a loan and a donation.

Lucido, 55, said the bottom line is that he personally put forward $150,000 in his high-stakes bid to win the House seat. He said he's not aware of, nor particularly interested in, claims that he has broken state campaign finance records. Lucido noted that has assisted more than 50 charities over the course of his legal career and he never considered backing away for financial reasons from the barrage that Grot sent his way.

“All I can say is that it costs a lot of money, and it requires a lot of mailings, to set the record straight,” he said. “I’ve been blessed with a lot of good things that happened to me, and my family has been blessed with good things. I’m not going to put my toes into the sand. I’m going to stand up for my issues and for the families of Macomb County.” 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Courser: Charter schools group a front for 'homosexual agenda'

Todd Courser, the infamous tea party preacher from Lapeer, is entangled in another fight inside the Michigan Republican Party as he pursues a state House seat in the August primary.
Courser has locked horns with the Great Lakes Education Project, one of the leading forces behind Michigan’s charter school movement, over a rather petty issue dealing with campaign laws.
In response to the GLEP complaint filed against him with the Secretary of State’s Office, Courser has let loose. He has called the GLEP an anti-conservative cabal and claimed they are “advancing the homosexual agenda in Michigan” and “advancing the Obama takeover of education in Michigan.”

In a Facebook post earlier this week, Courser, a Bible thumper who earlier this year seemingly distinguished between good Libertarian homosexuals verses "establishment" homosexuals in the GOP, posted: A video of a GLEP leader’s same-sex marriage ceremony , comparing it to a “graphic,” horrific film. He also attacked one of his three GOP opponents, Jan Peabody, who has the backing of the GLEP and “liberal billionaires” – whatever that means.  

Here is what Courser wrote:


I am standing against the liberal takeover of America! 
If you say you are standing against the liberal takeover of America then can you really be partnering with liberals to get elected?

WARNING!!! This video is graphic after about 50 seconds! My suggestion is that you don't watch it; the picture is enough. The video depicts the gay wedding of the Greg McNeilly, the Chief Strategist of GLEP, the group, behind all that smear mail against me and in support of Peabody. If you claim to be the most conservative candidate and have the backing of one of liberal gay rights activists, liberal billionaires, and special interests, can you really be all that committed to conservatism?

Great Lakes Education Project is the front group that is advancing both the homosexual agenda in Michigan and also advancing the Obama takeover of Education in Michigan through Common Core. And they are 100% behind Peabody and 100% behind all the mistruths, deception and lies that you have been receiving in your mailbox. Do your homework and don’t be fooled! 





Sunday, July 27, 2014

Where have all the candidates gone?

Voters heading to the polls on Aug. 5 for the primary election are in for a shock.
Where have all the candidates gone?

All across the county, incumbents are running unopposed and few races among the challengers are contested. These are not elections. These are coronations.
For a mix of reasons, fewer and fewer people are willing to run for office, particularly women. That means the political parties have increasing difficulty recruiting candidates. And that means the voters don’t have much to choose from.
The quandary this year starts at the top of the ballot. Rick Snyder and Mark Schauer running unopposed in the gubernatorial primary. Gary Peters and Terri Lynn Land getting a free ride in the primaries for an open U.S. Senate seat. When was the last time that happened?

Further down the ballot the story is the same. In Macomb County, little or no competition is offered for Congress, state Senate, state House and the county Board of Commissioners.
How bad is it? If you are a Democrat living in St. Clair Shores or Macomb Township, the ballot offers not one contested race. The same is true for Democrats in Chesterfield Township, Shelby Township, the southern half of Sterling Heights and much of Clinton Township.
On the Republican primary ballots, the three candidates running for the GOP county executive nomination –David Novak, Randell Shafer and Erin Stahl – comprise the one key contest. Beyond that, most Republican candidates will win their race by default.
In fact, no Republican election in the entire county for state Senate, state House or county board consists of more than two candidates.

The political pros who manage campaigns explain that running for office has become much more expensive, and candidates must be willing and able to take time off work (in some cases, several weeks) for exhausting days knocking on voters’ doors. For many, the prospect of seeking election for commissioner became less attractive when county board districts doubled in size in 2010.
If you throw your hat into the ring, expect it to get stomped. Chances are quite good that during the months of campaigning, a candidate will experience harsh criticism – or worse – from voters, from opponents, and especially from the opponents’ supporters and volunteers.
Beyond that, the legislative districts are now gerrymandered so thoroughly that many races are considered futile, unless a potential candidate wants to challenge an incumbent in a primary.

Term limits also loom as a major factor in races for the state Legislature. The mindset of many who brush aside attempts to convince them to run is, “Why should I take on an incumbent when, in four years, there will be an open seat?”
One final factor that has led to this skewed version of democracy is the growing public disdain for politics and the way lawmakers, especially those in Congress, are held in such low regard.
Some who might have run for office 10 or 20 years ago now see politics as a dirty business without any rewards. They observe the hyper-partisanship in Lansing and Washington and want no part of it.

New research suggests that this dilemma will only get worse, as the Millenial generation is particularly disinterested in a career in politics. Even if it’s just for one day.
The Bipartisan Policy Center recently reported that a survey of college students revealed this: If the students were given a choice of professions, just for a day, all at the same pay – mayor, business owner, teacher or salesperson – only 10 percent would choose mayor.
The BPC report also found that the number of Americans who have served on a school board has dropped by 90 percent compared to 1932.

That certainly rings true in Macomb County. After the school board filing deadline passed last Tuesday for the upcoming November elections, four districts came up short – more board seats than candidates to fill them. As a result, board members will be selected in Van Dyke, Armada, Richmond and South Lake based on a small number of write-in votes.
In the Van Dyke (south Warren) district, two spots are on the ballot, including an open seat. Yet, only one candidate, incumbent Steven Nielson, filed for office.
An identical situation arose in 2011 when four county districts could not round up enough contestants for a true competition.
This year, the list of candidates running on the non-partisan portion of the November ballot shows that in seven districts those who filed are all running unopposed, so the elections there are, in effect, already over.

Across Michigan, political commentators have warned voters for several years that the only way to make their vote count is to cast a ballot in the primary elections.
Because of the gerrymandered district lines, most winners in primaries will breeze to re-election in November. That makes the primary the only game in town.
But now we have a doubly troubling scenario playing out. The only game in town is lacking enough players. It’s almost as if the 2014 elections were decided back in April when the filing deadline for partisan offices arrived.

Just as Little League baseball teams in days gone by would sometimes forfeit a game due to a lack of players, voters, through no fault of their own, are forfeiting their right to choose candidates to represent them in office.
If there is no selection, is it really an election?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Miller calls on Obama to stop ‘barbaric slaughter’ of Iraqi Christians by ISIS

Congresswoman Candy Miller, vice chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, said today that the Obama administration and the international community should come to the aid of the Chaldeans and other Christians living in the area north of Baghdad who have been forced from their homes in Mosul by the militants associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
Here is what the BBC is reporting:
"Christian families are on their way to Dohuk and Irbil," in the neighbouring autonomous region of Kurdistan, Patriarch Louis Sako told the AFP news agency.
"For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians," he said.
The patriarch, one of the most senior Christian clerics in Iraq, said militants had been seen tagging Christian houses with the letter N for "Nassarah", a term used for Christians in the Koran.

Here’s the statement by Miller, a Harrison Township Republican: 

For nearly two millennia, Christians have been living and worshiping across Iraq, but these ancient communities are now suffering a near genocide at the hands of the Islamic extremist group ISIS.  Christians in Mosul, Iraq, were threatened by ISIS and offered three options: convert to Islam, pay a religious tax, or die by the sword. 
As a result, most have been forced to flee, with all of their possessions stolen by the terrorists. Many have been forced to convert against their will, and others have been outright slaughtered by these barbarians. Such actions cannot be allowed to stand, and it is long past time for the world community and the Obama administration to provide the promised help to the Iraqi Christian community. 

The Kurds in northern Iraq are to be commended for stepping up and providing some measure of support and security for fleeing Iraqi Christians, but they need assistance.  The administration needs to step up and help the Kurds and leaders of the Iraqi Christian community. The administration must also forcefully advocate for the creation of a new province in the Iraqi Nineveh Plane which can serve as a safe haven for Iraqi Christians working hand-in-hand with the Kurds. 
The Iraqi Christians have not taken up arms against any group and have only hoped to live in peace in a region where they have been for nearly two thousand years.  Promise after promise has been made to provide them security, and each time those promises have not been kept.  It is time to keep those promises.