Cronyism

Fox Conned

Go Big, Or Go Home

Just as Governor Snyder signed the SB 242 – 244 ‘Good Jobs’ subsidy package yesterday, Foxconn announced that they accepted Wisconsin’s insane subsidies. The new Foxconn industrial campus will be built in the Badger State, not Michigan. The Foxconn competition, however, was the bait used to stampede the Michigan Legislature into passing the ‘Good Jobs’ package much sought by Michigan’s government and business establishments.

Wisconsin is going to lavish $ 3 billion in subsidies on Foxconn for somewhere between 3,000 and 13,000 new jobs. That works out to somewhere between $ 1 million and $ 230,769 in subsidies per job. Amortized over a 10 year period, the state of Wisconsin will be paying somewhere between $ 48.00 and $ 11.09 per labor-hour of every Foxconn worker’s wages using taxes extracted from other less fortunate Wisconsin workers. Subtract these per labor-hour subsidies from the headline wages touted for the future Foxconn workers and their ‘Good Jobs’ don’t look quite so good. Gussied up minimum wage jobs at best, wage theft at worst.

The little pig gets to feed at the trough, the hog gets taken to market and slaughtered.

You Betcha! (17)Nuh Uh.(1)

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.

You Betcha! (13)Nuh Uh.(0)

Is the media finally acknowledging something (without actually coming flat-out and saying it)?

So over the weekend, I’m catching up on some odds and ends like chores around the house, reading several websites and more than few e-mails.

Guess which order I tackled that list in?

Some of them I would categorize as the social ones with jokes and “gotta see this” images &video. Some of them asking me for my $0.02 on goings on. But one of them that stood out was a little bit of both.

A friend of mine sent me a link to President Trump’s Twitter feed where he posted a video of himself clotheslining “CNN”.

If you haven’t seen it yet, all it was, was a quickly done re-edit from Wrestlemania 23’s “The Battle of the Billionaires” which featured a pre-President Trump at the top of the card.

It was a short clip where, after the various “interferences” leading up to it, Trump clotheslines & pummels “CNN” in typical professional wrestling fashion and then just simply walks away.

I smiled, took it for what it was, replied to my friend and went about the rest of my day.

What surprised me, though, was how often I would come across that very same clip again and again, and again, and again…

{Continued below}

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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.

You Betcha! (13)Nuh Uh.(0)

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.

You Betcha! (13)Nuh Uh.(0)

What is Young Americans for Liberty Hiding About Brian Calley’s Part-Time Legislature Campaign?

A week ago, I was able to break national news regarding the involvement of the Young Americans for Liberty in Brian Calley’s part-time legislature campaign. The article caused an immediate stir, and elicited a caustic response from the YAL national leadership.

Although I was hoping for YAL to take responsibility for what they had done and at the very least ensure that they would be more careful when signing on to future campaigns, I realize that Washington D.C. organizations do not typically operate in that manner. Transparency is a four-letter word inside the Beltway, and although “liberty” may be in the organization’s title, YAL is clearly not immune to the sinister machinations of the swamp.

For the record, I have spoken to various YAL groups throughout the state of Michigan, and maintain a solid rapport with certain chapter leaders. Additionally, I help administer the Oakland County chapter of Campaign for Liberty, and I serve on the board of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Michigan. So it is not in my personal interest to see liberty organizations be disgraced. Far from it, in fact. Nevertheless, every organization needs to be held accountable and exposed if it is engaging in shady or possibly illegal behavior. In my opinion, an organization should be held to a higher standard if it carries the banner of liberty. My article demonstrated with facts how YAL activists and resources were funneled into a campaign to rehabilitate the deservedly poor reputation of one of the worst big government Republicans in the state, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.

You Betcha! (15)Nuh Uh.(9)

I wasn’t aware that there was a court imposed exemption to a Constitutional Right?

On the plus side, I've just found a sizable down payment for that Michigan Income Tax cut.

Can anyone find an exemption for “sensitive places” in either the Michigan or US Constitutions?

I cannot.

And just who makes the asinine argument for “sensitive places”?

{Click below to find out.}

You Betcha! (9)Nuh Uh.(0)

Does Detroit need a lesson on the Fourth?

And no. I don’t mean that thing where we exercise out "right" to set off large quantities of fireworks next month.

Last weekend, I spent some time with some friends who now live out of town.

We did the “usual touristy” things like Greektown and the Casinos.

They wanted me to go with them to the Grand Prix, but I’m more of a NASCAR Guy than IndyCar.

Afterwards, I insisted on changing things up and that we go down to Lafayette to eat.

I told them that it was part of the “Authentic Detroit” dining experience and that sort of thing.

They had never been down there and after initially scarring the hell out of them (along with equally confusing them with how the food was ordered/delivered), they settled down a bit and we started to catch up on things. They began to comment on local stuff, basically regurgitating what people like Gov. Snyder, et al, were shoveling to the rest of the country about how things have turned around since the bankruptcy.

I laughed at their comments and replied to the effect that, “Yeah! They wish!”

“Look at all of this new stuff downtown? How can you argue that things aren’t better?”, they replied.

I told them that “Yes”, the Downtown Area has improved. Large amounts of government money tends to eventually do that. “Yes” places like the Riverfront have gotten nicer.

But then I added, the same cannot be said for the rest of the city.

They didn’t believe me.

They couldn’t accept the fact that everything was as bad as I told them it was.

I told them, “Fine, want to go on a little trip?”

They were a little apprehensious to say the least, but we loaded up into their car and we went happy motoring…away from the freeways.

I took them in places where even Crowder wouldn’t dare to venture!

We went up and down places like Jefferson, and then Warren and Mack where it didn’t take that long to notice the large swaths of bombed out/burned out neighborhoods (at least I think they were neighborhoods at one time), large piles of trash and abandoned/stolen vehicles (along with boats…yes boats) strewn about, pretty much every other building covered with graffiti, I told my now visibly scared “driver” that I wanted to stop at the next party store because I wanted to get something to drink.

Yes, I did that on purpose.

So, while we parked across the street and started walking towards the party store, I got bombarded with a ton of questions (besides is this really safe) like why that particular store had a chain-link fence around the roof topped with razor wire, why there were thick metal plate doors next to the entrance and why was there a flashing green light on the sign outside of the building. When we went inside, they did a double-take at the walkway surrounding most of the perimeter of the inside of the building separated by 1-inch thick Lexan.

I casually grabbed a 2-liter of Rock N’ Rye, they didn’t get anything (I cannot imagine why) and we went back to their car. I still had more to show them.

Continuing our “tour”, they still couldn’t get over the flashing strobe light on the sign.

“Oh that? That’s Green Light.”

And here is where out story turns to next…

{More after the fold}

You Betcha! (7)Nuh Uh.(2)

Calley’s Next Big Announcement!

What will the next over-hyped roll out of critical information be???

So Brian Calley has not yet come out and said if he was running for Governor ..US Senate ..Muffin man.

He used the build up, the excitement, the hype! ..To announce a legislative effort.  The May 30 announcement at the Detroit Crony Club’s Mackinac Leadership conference brought us news that The conservative boy wonder wants to spearhead efforts for a part time legislature.

Mackinac Island — Lt. Gov. Brian Calley is spearheading a petition drive and potential 2018 ballot proposal to make the Michigan legislature part-time and cut legislator pay, the Portland Republican announced Tuesday.”

Ballot proposal hmm?

While the idea of a part time legislature is a great idea, it is not entirely original, it does not set him apart from ‘the pack’ as Schuette beat him to the punch, and the timing is hilarious.  Political opportunism on the back of good policy is a part of Calley’s past.  He used RTW promises to get a hand picked supreme court nominee (who lost) and now after a decade of service in Lansing, and NOW it’s apparently time to ‘pull the trigger’ on this ‘necessary‘ reform.

Classic.

The announcement however, left open the speculation of whether Calley would be pursuing higher office.  His website hints at yet another big news event, telling us to come back June 1st.  Obviously, Calley has a string of announcements planned all the way to the GOP leadership conference.  Keeping us in suspense will keep us engaged with (presumably) his next campaign bid!

You Betcha! (13)Nuh Uh.(1)

The Good, the Bad, & the Unattractive.

Bill Schuette begins the issues ramp up for 2018.

A partial ‘wish’ list by Bill Schuette in a recent editorial is a decent start to his gubernatorial bid.

Schuette, in preparation to take on a half dozen or more GOP contenders is capably using his AG pulpit to advance certain ideals that will probably be embraced by conservatives and GOP activists across Michigan.  Schuette, already enjoying a lead built on 30 or so years of campaigning for governor leaves little to question on 4(3?) key issues.  In today’s editorial on the Detroit News page:

First: Financial disclosure

Michigan is one of only three states that does not require disclosure of personal financial information by elected state officials. This common sense reform would provide new information to help prevent conflicts of interest in government decision-making.

We already require financial transparency from federal officials, so it is not a stretch to include state elected officials, from the governor’s office to the state legislature. I have both sponsored financial disclosure bills as a state legislator and complied with federal disclosure requirements while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. It is not that difficult.

Personally, I don’t care how much you are worth.

But there are tells in the way your investments are made.  Add to this the cronyist environment that takes taxpayer money and pipes it through political process toward certain ‘investments,’ and a sickening reality becomes clear.

You Betcha! (11)Nuh Uh.(0)