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Metallurgical engineer, troublemaker....

Why Riot?

What causes a riot in urban America?

The news media, social scientists, and political scientists are eager to offer up the usual stale left wing bromides on urban riots, but at best those bromides are based upon a lot of anecdotes rather than hard data. The plural of anecdote is not data. The disingenuousness of their bromides arises from the clash of facts with their committed leftist politics.  Economists were far less political, at least 25 years ago.

A pair of economists working under the aegis of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) applied linear regression computation modeling to various community statistics from a broad range of cities to determine which underlying issues cause riots and, further, to determine their intensity. Their results are a real eye opener and run contrary to the drivel being peddled by the media and academics on this 50th anniversary of the Detroit riots.

The National Bureau of Economic Research is a private nonprofit research organization which distributes its work product to financial officials and the public around the world. NBER is best known as the official arbiter of the start and end dates of economic recessions in the United States, a not uncontroversial subject. Its economists have run the gamut from the good (Milton Friedman, Wassily Leontief), to the bad (Austan Goolsbee), to the ugly (Paul Krugman). As a fun side note, it is comforting to know that an economists’ organization as august as NBER can lose money on their financial portfolio. No crony capitalists there!

The NBER divides its research into 20 programs; one of which is ‘Labor Studies’. Denise DiPasquale and Edward L. Glaeser produced NBER Working Paper 5456, The L.A. Riot and the Economics of Urban Unrest on behalf of the NBER Labor Studies Program. This paper was written after the Los Angeles riots of 1992, but its research reaches back into the 1960’s and across the world to construct its data base.

The DiPasquale/Glaeser study has two major components: a cross-national study which covers urban rioting around the world (including the U.S.), and a cross-city study which covers urban rioting across just the U.S. They assembled data sets on a large number of cities which included dependent variables representing the frequency of riots and the intensity of riots, along with many independent variables suggested by previous studies as being responsible for the frequency and intensity of those riots – poverty, unemployment, ethnic composition, and so on.

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Riot, Insurrection, Rebellion, or Uprising?

A Cure Always Requires a Correct Diagnosis

All Americans alive in 1967, of all races, called Detroit’s five day long spasm of violence, arson, and looting in July 1967 a riot. Some labeled it a race riot, others just a riot. Not for long. Within a year, government and media were plying the public with a long list of racial grievances said to be responsible and an even longer list of expensive liberal programs which promised to cure them.

The Detroit riots were deceitfully recast as an insurrection, rebellion, or an uprising to drive those liberal programs, but ultimately this revisionism just glamorized base criminality, Fifty years later, billions have been doled out in Detroit through those liberal programs and Detroit is in even worse shape by every metric.

Let’s start with some definitions from Merriam-Webster:

Definition of riot

  1. archaic a : profligate behavior : debauchery b : unrestrained revelry c : noise, uproar, or disturbance made by revelers
  2. a : public violence, tumult, or disorder b : a violent public disorder; specifically : a tumultuous disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons assembled together and acting with a common intent
  3. a random or disorderly profusion the woods were a riot of color
  4. one that is wildly amusing the new comedy is a riot

Definition of insurrection

  1. an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government

Definition of rebellion

  1. opposition to one in authority or dominance
  2. a : open, armed, and usually unsuccessful defiance of or resistance to an established government b : an instance of such defiance or resistance

Definition of uprising

  1. an act or instance of rising up; especially : a usually localized act of popular violence in defiance usually of an established government

Note that the definitions of insurrection, rebellion, and uprising all state that these events are a defiance of established government, while the definition riot does not.

Were the events in Detroit from 23 to 27 July 1967 a defiance of established government?

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Battles of the Lower Depths in Detroit

Davis et al v. Detroit Downtown Development Authority et al; U.S Eastern District of Michigan Case Number: 2:17-cv-11742

Eastern District of Michigan U.S. District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith ruled on June 19th that Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority can issue $34.5 million in bonds to pay for the relocation of the Detroit Pistons basketball team to the new Little Caesar’s Arena. The Judge’s ruling rejected arguments that the eventual use of school tax money to repay these tax increment finance bonds violates Detroit residents’ constitutional and statutory right to vote on a school tax money diversions.

Judge Goldsmith’s ruling denied Robert Davis‘ and D. Etta Wilcoxon’s motion for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order in their lawsuit against the Detroit Downtown Development Authority. The Judge said the plaintiffs did not establish the need for an emergency injunction. The Judge politely neglected to mention that Robert Davis was sentenced in the very same Eastern District U.S. District Court to an 18 month Club Fed vacation for stealing $ 200,000 from the Highland Park School District in 2014. Mr. Davis should still be on probation for this minor peccadillo.

One complication here is that the tax monies being diverted are not those of the current Detroit Community Public School District, but rather those of the legacy Detroit Public School District which was reduced to zombie status last year in the DPS bailout. Is the old DPS really a school district today, or just a financial entity? The Detroit Community Public School District is a near bankrupt ward of the State of Michigan that won’t receive any Detroit property tax revenues until the legacy DPS district debts are paid off. No one alive today will live to see that.

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Political Self Perpetuation

Making The Democratic Process In Michigan Just A Little Bit Less Democratic With A 21st Century Poll Tax

Representatives Steve Marino, Tommy Brann, Julie Calley, Kimberly LaSata, and Jim Lilly have just introduced six bills, HB 4745 to HB 4750, to increase filing fees for various down ballot political offices across the State of Michigan by 50% to 300%.  These are the fees prospective candidates can pay to get on the ballot in lieu of filing nominating petitions.

As you might expect, the highest (300%) filing fee increase proposed applies to candidates for State Representative (and Senator).

The kicker here? The filing fee is also no longer refunded to the runner up.  So running for political office in Michigan just became more expensive exclusive.

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Corruption or Incompetence?

Oakland Macomb Sewer Interceptor Costs Now At $ 335 Million And Climbing, Cue The Lawsuits

The City of Sterling Heights announced on their FakeBook page Monday that they have filed a lawsuit against Macomb County over their $ 22.2 million portion of the cost for reconstructing the collapsed Oakland Macomb sewer interceptor (OMI), as apportioned by the Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District (MIDDD). Sterling Heights believes that the Macomb County Wastewater Disposal District (MCWDD) “did nothing to abate the conditions that likely caused the December [24th] 2016 collapse”. Sterling Heights believes their contract with the MCWDD covers the operation and maintenance of the OMI interceptor.  This may be a little tricky to prove, since the OMI is actually run by the Oakland Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District (OMIDDD), an entity independent of and superior to the MCWDD.

Sterling Heights’ contention is that proper maintenance on the OMI by the MCWDD would have prevented its collapse. Maybe. The OMIDDD has already spent $ 170 million on rehabilitation of the OMI since they bought it in 2009. Supposedly the entire 21 mile length was examined and rehabilitated. That rehabilitation effort ended just months before its December 2016 collapse. That collapse suggests that the OMIDDD rehabilitation didn’t do much good. Anyone care to speculate why? Your choices are corruption or incompetence, or both.

This is now a Michigan wide story because our state government will be providing at least $ 5 million of the $ 75 million repair costs for the December OMI collapse. The much debated $ 3 million legislative grant and another $ 2 million from MDEQ.  That $ 75 million is just the current estimate, for the currently acknowledged deterioration of the OMI. Given the Granholm Administration’s role in suckering Oakland and Macomb counties into the OMI purchase, the State of Michigan probably has a lot more responsibility.

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Rip Off

Weaver/McCormick Flint-GLWA Deal Transforms Water From Obscene Tax To Outright Theft

Flint Mayor Karen I Love Rizzo Weaver and Great Lakes Water Authority CEO Sue McCormick have reached a 30 year deal for Flint to purchase water from the Great Lakes Water Authority. The City of Flint had signed up to purchase its water from the nascent Karegnondi Water Authority in March 2013 and the State of Michigan concurred in April. Everyone in Flint City government, save one councilman, has agreed to source Flint’s water from the KWA. Even Mayor Weaver. Until this week.

The Weaver/McCormick deal has GLWA paying Flint at least $ 7 million a year to cover Flint’s share of the bonds issued to finance the KWA. A total of $ 210 million over the 30 year contact period.

Where will that $ 210 million come from?  GLWA is not the Federal Reserve, they cannot just create money out of thin air. GLWA will extract the money from the victims ratepayers in the other communities it ‘serves’.

Mayor Weaver and CEO McCormick will transform GLWA water rates into yet another exaction imposed upon most of Southeastern Michigan to subsidize Flint. Without any input from those victims ratepayers. A blatant fee as tax evasion of Headlee. Governor Snyder, of course, approves wholeheartedly.

This is government theft, Headlee evasion, and a rich fount of future corruption.

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Michigan Gun Owners Beware!

Big Brother Is Watching

There has been an interesting development in the case of two individuals who were arrested for open carry in the anteroom of the Dearborn, Michigan Police Department Headquarters. Two men from central Michigan were arrested for entering the anteroom of the Dearborn Police Department Headquarters building while carrying, and filming themselves while doing so. They were reportedly using open carry to protest what they believed was a bogus traffic stop which they were subjected to earlier in Dearborn.

James Baker and Brandon Vreeland have been abandoned by Michigan’s open carry movement, probably due to the allegation that they were using open carry to protest something entirely unrelated to Second Amendment rights, but it does not appear that their actions actually violated any Michigan law. At least one of the two was wearing ‘body armor’, which added to the provocative nature of their actions. Carry in police stations is actually not prohibited by Michigan law, and it is a violation of Michigan law to prohibit firearms in a police station outside of secured areas.

Fun side note: When I was a kid in the 1960’s, I used to shoot small bore rifle matches in the basement shooting range of this very building, which was even then the DPD police station. How times have changed!

Now we have a remarkable discovery from Nicholas Somberg (P80416), the defense attorney for Brandon Vreeland of Jackson: The Dearborn Police secretly monitored the two ‘Second Amendment activists’ and essentially ambushed both men as they were filming themselves walking into the Dearborn Police headquarters.

Here is the interesting development, as reported by the Detroit Free Press:

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Impunity In A One Party State

Very Bad Judgment Is Not A Bar To Judicial Tenure In The Peoples Republic Of Ann Arbor

A Washtenaw County 22nd Circuit Court judge is demonstrating the supreme impunity immunity enjoyed by the liberal elites in a modern one party state: Ann Arbor. Washtenaw County Trial Judge Carol A. Kuhnke has just dodged all legal consequences for possessing prescription narcotics not prescribed to her; narcotics which were used by her adopted son in his fatal overdose last year.

At this point, you probably have some sympathy for Judge Kuhnke. Opioid addiction is sweeping our country and there are a lot of tragedies occurring which parents simply cannot prevent. But there are twists to Judge Kuhnke’s story which sets it far apart from the typical overdose tragedy.

Judge Kuhnke’s curious story began on November 25th of last year when her son was found dead from oxycodone toxicity, but only got its first airing in the press yesterday. Young John Kuhnke allegedly broke into a locked tool chest where Judge Kuhnke was storing both drugs and alcohol. The drugs included oxycodone, hydrocodone, trazodone, dexmethylphenidate, and tramadol. All nasty items. These drugs were originally prescribed to John Kuhnke, Judge Kuhnke, her wife Elizabeth Janovic, Janovic’s parents, and the Kuhnke/Janovic’s next door neighbor. John Kuhnke is alleged to have stolen ten prescription pill vials from the broken tool chest and taken some of the next door neighbor’s oxycodone pills to a friend’s house where he overdosed and died.

Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office Detective Craig Raisanen requested warrant for Judge Kuhnke and her wife Elizabeth Janovic from the Washtenaw Prosecutor’s Office for possession of up to 25 grams of Schedule II narcotics prescribed in another person’s name [MCL 333.7403(2)(a)(v)]. The Washtenaw County Prosecutor asked AG Schuette to appoint a special prosecutor and that special prosecutor then decided that charges “would not be appropriate”. The Special Prosecutor appointed was Livingston County Prosecutor William Vailliencourt, who happens to serve in the county immediately north of Washtenaw. He fobbed the case off on the Judicial Tenure Commission, and it now appears that they too will take no action.

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The Price of Political Failure

The Detroit News launched a hit piece on Michael G. Ford, the CEO of the Regional Transportation Authority of Southeastern Michigan this morning. Reporters Robert Snell and Christine MacDonald breathlessly review Mr. Ford’s expense accounting and employment contract details over the 33 months since he was appointed CEO of the RTA.

The closest they get to finding any real improprieties is Mr. Ford’s car allowance and mileage reimbursement, but that does not stop them from reporting salacious details of hotel room charges and his very generous employment contract. No illegality or budget overruns are found, but the tone of the article is supremely negative. Mr. Ford’s contract happens to be up for renewal and the RTA Board tabled a $ 16,300 raise for him two weeks ago.

A special meeting of the RTA Board of Directors was held this morning, including a closed session. Public bodies operating under the Open Meetings Act are only allowed to close meetings when deliberating personnel matters and contracts. It is not much of a leap to speculate that Mr. Ford is today’s main course at the RTA Board meeting.

The Detroit News duo filed an FOIA request for Mr. Ford’s contract details and expense reimbursements shortly after Paul Hillegonds, Governor Rick Snyder’s appointee to the RTA Board, began reviewing Mr. Ford’s expenses. Coincidence? Hardly.

What is going on here?

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Michigan’s Tax Charade

No Michigan Tax Deal Is Ever Worth The Paper It Is Written On

Since our devious Governor and his RINO caucus pulled out all the stops to quash the HB 4001 decrements in the state income tax last Thursday, it has dawned on Michigan politicians that the optics of the SB 111 – 115 Dan Gilbertville tax breaks just got real ugly. You can’t hand $ 1.8 billion of state revenue over to politically connected developers after stiffing the public at large without gruesome consequences. This is going to decrement some Senators’ campaign finance committee balances.

No one should fault Speaker Leonard for putting HB 4001 up for a losing vote. Bottling up and fiddling legislation behind closed doors until a winning margin is assured is not an exemplar of government transparency. Brits and Europeans may regard such shifty back room shenanigans as the hallmark of sophisticated political process, but here in America constituents want to know exactly how they are being represented. Thursday’s vote told us more about the RINOs in the Michigan House than years of deceitful political media articles and reports.

Thank you Speaker Leonard for fostering genuine political transparency.  Long overdue in Michigan.

It now appears that killing both tax reductions was the plan all along. Bridge Magazine and the Michigan Municipal League just launched a trial balloon to gut the Proposal A constitutional amendment of 1994. Proposal A limited the tax depredations of government employees acting through their local units of government, a popular activity in Michigan’s more leftward big cities and counties. The sales tax was increased 50%, but property owners got some constitutionally protected tax relief in return.

Local government employees and their Democratic political puppets want to renege on the 1994 Proposal A tax deal. Well, not entirely. Just the constitutionally protected property tax relief. No one is offering to restore the 4% sales tax rate. What was it JFK said about negotiating with the Soviets? “We cannot negotiate with people who say what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.” Public employees and their subservient Democratic politicians have a lot of gall claiming that President Trump is a Russian stooge and a neo communist tyrant to boot.

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