Saturday, December 29, 2012

Snyder's Abortion Signing Dispels Last of 'Moderate' Pretense

If there was any doubt after Rick Snyder's about face on anti-working family legislation, Snyder has totally thrown in his lot with the far-right fringe of Michigan Republicans.

The latest piece of evidence was Snyder's signing of a bill Friday that make it almost impossible to obtain an abortion in Michigan. The bill would impose operating room regulations on abortion clinics, require doctors to screen women for coercion, ban tele-conferencing between doctors and patients for prescribing medication abortions, and regulate the disposal of fetal remains.

Those regulations will make it much more difficult to obtain an abortion in Michigan because facilities will end of closing. But Snyder vetoed another bill that would have barred Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Michigan from offering abortion coverage in its standard health insurance plans.

So with one stroke of a pen, Snyder makes it nearly impossible to obtain an abortion in Michigan. And with another stroke of his pen, Snyder says insurance companies have to cover the procedure. And this is supposed to make sense?

Snyder may have been trying to salvage some of his "moderate" credentials by claiming that the insurance coverage bill would have penalized women who were victims of rape or incest, but that doesn't undo the damage that his signing of the other bill does.

There's no fooling anyone anymore. Snyder has shed whatever moderate trappings he put on in order to win the votes of independents in 2010. He now is strictly a puppet of the far-right wing of the Michigan Republican Party.

And people need to be reminded of it day in and day out until 2014.

Friday, December 28, 2012

What Has Livingston Gotten for SPARK Investment?

The one-year anniversary of the deal between Ann Arbor SPARK and Livingston County is coming up. Isn't it time for the Livingston County Board of Commissioners to ask what the results have been so far?

The county last winter approved a three-year deal to pay Ann Arbor SPARK $333,880 annually to promote economic development in Livingston County. That' on top of thousandsmore chipped in by a dozen townships and cities. With almost a third of that spent, what have taxpayers gotten for their money?

It doesn't sound like too much, based on this story in the Livingston Press and Argus, especially this quote:

"We're just really looking forward to ramping up our retention and economic work within the county," said Mike Kennedy, chairman of the EDC board. "We're extremely excited."

Almost a third of the contract is up and the staff is still "looking forward to ramping up" work? I would think the "ramping up" would have been done in the first few months and that by now things would be in "full swing" mode."

This is disappointing and not a sign that taxpayer dollars have been well-spent so far.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

 Governor Snyder vs American National Security

I believe letting technology meant for warfare get into the wrong hands, whether totalitarian regimes or disturbed young men will be the destruction of our civilization.
Japan and Germany before World War 2 modernized technologies that they later used for war with the help of British and American companies.  These companies sold it to make a quick buck. Today American companies sell or partner with Chinese companies to share our most advanced technology including technology that has military uses.  Mike Rogers, our Congressman has brought up this issue in the media.  Maybe he ought to look into the activities of our Governor.

Here, from the web site is the connection with our governor.

Governor Snyder's China Connections

Picture An American Company, NeoPhotonics, Morph's into a Chinese Company. It was well publicized during the election that Rick Snyder moved Gateway Computer's manufacturing to China along with thousands of jobs but those were yesterday's jobs. He has also given China technology, developed by American companies and Universities that will give China the edge to compete for tomorrow's jobs and is helping China build a superpower military. Rick Snyder's venture capital company, Ardesta, bought a telecommunications technology company named NeoPhotonics. This company was rich in technology patents but with little manufacturing. Rick Snyder merged this company with one in China, which essentially changed an American Technology Company into
a Chinese one.They then became part of an alliance between Chinese telecommunications companies and Sprint/Nextel that proposed to build the next generation telecommunications network for America, which raised national security concerns for many in Congress.

 NeoPhotonics merges with a Chinese company:

SAN JOSE, Calif. & SHENZHEN, PRC -- NeoPhotonics Corporation of San Jose today announced the completion of their merger with Photon Technology Co., Ltd. of Shenzhen. The new NeoPhotonics expects revenues to exceed $50M in 2005, has more than 1200 employees, primarily in China and the U.S., and has more than 100 customers, many of which are tier one network equipment suppliers.

Photon Technology Co., as China's largest active component manufacturer, has a solid history of continued growth and profitability since its founding in 1993. Combining Photon with NeoPhotonics, the leading developer of integrated component solutions using planar lightwave circuits (PLC), creates a company with the broadest and deepest optical component capability in the industry today. The company's advanced solutions combine active and passive components into products and modules for long-haul, metro and access optical networks.

 The Chinese company was largely owned by the Chinese government

Photon's 14 shareholders, including a government agency in Shenzhen that owned about one-third of the company.

    The main customer for NeoPhotonics was the third largest telecommunications company in the world, Huawei.

NeoPhotonics listed Huawei as 53% of its business in 2010 (SEC filing)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Livingston Dem Casts Vote in Electoral College

A Green Oak Township woman helped make President Obama's re-election official.

On Monday (Dec. 17, 2012), JoAnnMurphy, a long-time Democratic activist and United Auto Workers member, cast one of Michigan's 16 votes in the Electoral College for Obama during a ceremony in the Michigan State Senate chambers.

Of course, first the spelling of President Obama's first name had to be corrected from "Barak" to "Barack." Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer pointed out the spelling error made by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson's office. That doesn't inspire much confidence in Johnson's ability to oversee our elections with precision.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Snyder Needs to Disavow His Fund-Raiser's Remarks

When will political candidates learn that what you say in private doesn't stay private anymore?

Ron Weiser, finance chairman of the Republican National Committee and former chair of the Michigan Republican Party, is the latest politician to be caught saying something outrageous. In remarks to a tea party gathering in Milford recorded on videotape, Weiser characterized Detroit voters as people who are dragged out of pool halls and barber shops to vote multiple times. Showing shockingly little political knowledge, ghe also disparaged President Obama's get-out-the-vote operation and predicted it would be unable to get Detroiters to vote.

Weiser has close ties to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. Weiser raised millions of dollars to help Snyder and Republicans take control of the statehouse in 2010. And at the time he made those remarks, Weiser was running for a seat on the University of Michigan board of regents on the Republican ticket.

We already know Weiser holds racist views. His words prove it. Does Snyder agree with his colleague's statements? Michigan voters deserve to know. You can call Snyder's office, Monay through Friday at 517-373-3400 or 517-375-7858, or you can use this form to submit your views online.

Ask him to disavow Weiser.and Weiser's views.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

After Newtown, Does Teaching Qualify as a 'Dangerous' Job?

Rick Snyder and the rest of the Lansing Republicans offered up a lot of phony resons for rushing through their anti-working family legislation but one of the phoniest had to be that police and firefighters should be exempted from the legislation because of the "dangerousness of their jobs."

Teachers don't have dangerous jobs, in Snyder's view.

It didn't take long for those words to come back to bite Snyder, did it?

The shooting of 27 people at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school on Friday should remind us all that teaching, at least since Columbine, is a dangerous profession. Some schools have metal detectors.Some have police in their buildings. Classrooms at the University of Michigan have instructions on the wall regarding what to do if there is an "active shooter" in the area. But teaching is not a dangerous job, according to Snyder.

Teaching shouldn't be a dangerous job. But with a nation awash in semi-automatic weapons and a culture that glorifies violence, every job is a dangerous job. Snyder made it evenmore dangerous by signing legislation allowing guns in schools. Just what we need in the wake of Newtown.

Snyder needs to be held accountable.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Courthosue Crowd Trying to Insulate Itself from Democracy

Is the all-Republican clique that runs the Livingston County Courthouse trying to insulate itself from democracy?

A vacancy created by the resignation of Jay Drick, who was just re-elected in November, means the county commission can appoint his replacement within 30 days. But then voters get to weigh in on the pick. Under current law, a primary would be held, tentatively set for May 7, and then the general election itself, on Aug. 6.

But as WHMI radio points out, a bill passed by the Senate, SB0204, would eliminate the requirement for a special election if the vacancy occurred in an odd-numbered year. That would set up a situation where Livingston County Republicans could perpetuately appoint their own successors -- run for re-election as an incumbent, resign right after the election, and then the rest of the board gets to appoint the replacement, who then gets to run in two years as an incumbent.

This is an insult to democracy. Special elections cost money, that's true. But democracy is priceless.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Snyder Can't Hide Anymore

During his 2010 campaign for governor, Rick Snyder kept his views well-hidden. People could believe he was a moderate Republican if they wanted to, with little solid evidence to contradict them.

During his two years as governor, he has kept up the facade, saying this or that was "not on my agenda" when asked about hot-button issues that he didn't want to take a position on at the moment.

But Snyder's true colors are obvious.

When he says something is not on his agenda, Snyder really is inviting whatever far-right group is pushing it to come in and talk to him about putting it on his agenda. It doesn't mean no. It means he's open to being persuaded otherwise.

It's the position of a person who has no core principles whatsoever, who can be pushed around by elements of his party rather than trying to work for what's best for all Michigan residents.

At last, people can put a label on Snyder and it's not "moderate." It's "tool of extremists."

Friday, December 7, 2012

Shame on Lansing Republicans!

Lansing Republicans should be embarrassed.

Locking people out of the Michigan State Capitol on Thursday in order to keep the public from watching the GOP assault on working people was disgraceful.

If Republicans are so proud of what they are doing, why did they keep the people out? What do they have to hide?

Bob King, president of the United Auto Workers, hit the nail on the head with this interview. Passage of so-called "right to work" legislation is really about punishing unions for supporting Democrats who fight for legislation that benefits all workers. It's not about bringing jobs to Michigan or whether or not someone wants to join a union. People exercise that right when they vote on whether or not to join a union in the first place. Majority rules.

Here's King's interview:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Election Results Show Need for Redistricting Reform

Now that the dust is beginning to settle from the November election, those poking into the numbers are finding some interesting things.

Of course it's obvious that President Obama and Senator Debbie Stabenow had big victories statewide in Michigan. They ran terrific campaigns with messages that resonated with the views of most voters.

And so did Democratic congressional candidates and Democratic candidates for the state House. Democratic candidates for Congress won 50 percent of the vote statewide. Yet at the end of the day, that translated into only 36 percent of the state's congressional seats, or 5 of the 14 seats.

In the state House races, Democratic candidates won 53 percent of the total vote cast statewide in those races. That earned them only 46 percent of the seats, or 51, of the 110 seats in the Michigan House.

How is it that the party that receives a minority of the votes for Congress and the Michigan House is able to walk away with most of the seats? It's called gerrymandering. The lines drawn for the congressional and state House seats by the Republicans in Lansing lumped Democratic voters into as few districts as possible.The result is districts that are nearly completely safe for the Republican Party. This robs voters of true choices at the ballot box.

A priority for the 2014 election cycle should be redistricting reform, creating a non-partisan way of re-drawing district lines that is less influenced by partisan politics and more focused on the voters' best interests.