Government Incompetence

Forensic Audit – Now!

Rhodes Image 1aRetired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven W. Rhodes, now the Detroit Public Schools’ ‘Transition Manager’, just let another financial whopper out of the bag. Detroit Public Schools received about $30 million in U.S. Department of Education reimbursements for the pensions of grant-funded employees, but failed to forward those federal funds to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System. So DPS owes MPSERS $ 30 million dollars, give or take. They are ‘negotiating’.

DPS officials knew of this funds misappropriation in December 2015. Judge Rhodes knew “in March 2016”. Before or after the Michigan Legislature got suckered into passing HB 5296 and HB 5385, the DPS emergency bailout and purported financial review commission?  HB 5296, the $ 48.7 million emergency DPS bailout, cleared the Michigan House on 17 March and the Michigan Senate on 24 March. Governor Snyder signed it as Public Act 54 on 12 April.

Did anyone in Lansing know that 60% of the PA 54 DPS bailout was headed straight to the MPSERS?

If so, why did they not share this little detail with the rest of the Legislature and the public prior to the passage of HB 5296?

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Irony

i·ro·ny (ī′rə-nē, ī′ər-) Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity.

Lansing City Hall & Court ComplexMichigan House Speaker Cotter just lost a round in the Courser/Gamrat felony criminal case preliminaries. Ingham County District Court 54-A Judge Hugh B. Clarke Jr. ruled Friday it would be “patently unfair” for Gamrat’s and Courser’s attorneys to not have an opportunity to question Cotter in their defense:Judge Hugh Clarke, Jr.

“Without answers to these questions, the Court cannot adequately balance the rights of the Defendants against the right of the Speaker to be free from being compelled to testify,” the order states.

“To make this decision, the Court believes an in camera hearing with counsel for the Defendants, Speaker Cotter and his attorney is warranted. This procedure would allow the court to properly balance the interests of the Defendants against the privilege sought to be accorded Speaker Cotter.”

Speaker Cotter has been claiming immunity under Public Act 27 of 1984 in Judge Clarke’s courtroom:

“AN ACT to provide immunity from civil action to members of the legislature of this state for acts done pursuant to duty as legislators; to prohibit members of the legislature of this state from being made parties to contested cases or other administrative proceedings for acts done pursuant to duty as legislators; and to provide for certain exemptions from subpoenas.”

Specifically Speaker Cotter is claiming immunity from a subpoena ad testificandum under the third section of PA 27 of 1984

MCL 4.553
Subpoena as to statements made by legislator
Sec. 3.
A member of the legislature shall not be subject to a subpoena for any matter involving statements made by the legislator pursuant to his or her duty as a legislator.

The issue here will be that the legal action against Courser and Gamrat in Ingham County District Court 54-A is a criminal action, specifically a felony action, not a civil action. Speaker Cotter is claiming immunity under a statute which pertains to civil actions, not criminal actions.  Michigan’s legislators have no constitutional or statutory relief from subpoenae in felony matters.

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Bad Optics = Serious Political Jeopardy

Proper Prior Political Planning Prevents..............

Snyder ImageOur zillionaire Governor is hitting up the Michigan Treasury for $ 1.5 million to cover the cost of really excellent lawyers who are mounting his criminal defense in the Flint water fiasco. Yesterday, he suggested that the two MDEQ employees criminally charged in the Flint water fiasco will no longer receive State paid legal representation. The State had been paying for outside counsel for Stephen Busch and Michael Prysby since AG Schuette stripped them of direct state assistant AG legal counsel in February.

Apparently, the distinction here is actually being criminally charged. Snyder hasn’t been, but Busch and Prysby just got charged.. AG Schuette could not resist piling on with the same common law misconduct in office felony charge used against Courser and Gamrat, but the actual substance of the statutory charges here are lying and tampering with evidence.

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April 15th, A Day That Lives In Infamy

The Ship RMS Titanic Sank This Day in 1912

RMS Titanic Image 2The RMS Titanic broke in half and sank at 02:20 AM zulu on this day in 1912. Should never have happened, but metallurgists of the day didn’t understand the adverse effect of phosphorous upon the ductile to brittle transition temperature of steel.  Today the Titanic rests at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean at Latitude 41° 43′ 57″ North, Longitude 49° 56′ 49″ West, over 12,000 feet underwater.  1,514 men, women and children perished, only 710 survived.  May they all rest in peace.  The last Titanic survivor died in 2009.  Not the worst maritime disaster in history, but the one seared into the conscience of the English speaking world.

Most of us, however, associate April 15th with the annual deadline for filing your U.S. and Michigan personal income taxes. Just how much money is extracted in personal income taxes on this fateful day?

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21st Century Education Commission

This Summer's Dog and Pony Shows Commence With A Brazen Common Core Promotion

Dog and Poney Show Image 4Governor Snyder announced his 21st Century Education Commission in Executive Order 2016-6 last week. According to his press release:

“The commission will be responsible for analyzing top performing education systems in the nation, identifying issues impacting Michigan’s academic success, and recommending changes to restructure Michigan’s education system.”

You will be forgiven for harboring suspicions that this is another vehicle to promote Common Core. It is. Same type of political сове́т that did such a fine job promoting Proposal 2015-01.  Remember TAMC?  This playbook is getting old.

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A Challenge

An email I received recently mentioned the writer’s inability to reach our current representative.

The fact he would get no response, never heard anything that the incumbent of the 104th was doing, and didn’t know what that incumbent was doing was troubling.  “He just disappeared” was the statement and theme.

And absence from representation is spot on correct.

During a kick off last Tuesday I recorded some video that I will torture the regular readers of this blog with over time.   But I also had some good spots; One in particular in which I issued a challenge that might be useful to any district’s voters.

Posted on Facebook, the challenge was posted with this:

“Everyone reading this has the ability to find that legislation sponsored by our current incumbent, which enhances our liberty, creates new efficiency in government, or fixes our infrastructure. HB5152 is close, but even having 14 co-sponsors cannot make it out of committee. Anything else???

Challenge your legislators too perhaps?

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RICO !!!

It's Spring and Lawsuits Are Busting Out All Over

Blind Justice Image 3Just a few short weeks ago, it appeared that the Presidential race and State House elections would dominate political news in Michigan for the rest of the year. Now it appears that courtrooms in Detroit and Lansing will provide compelling political drama as well. Drama which is going to cost Michigan taxpayers a bunch of money.

There have been a number of lawsuits filed over the Flint water fiasco (over 71!), but yesterday a consortium of law firms filed a Federal class action lawsuit on behalf of Flint residents using the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. This represents a whole new level of legal pain. Civil RICO provides for treble damages when a pattern of racketeering is proven to have occurred over time. It also guarantees the plaintiffs’ lawyers fees, a small fact which assures that civil RICO lawsuits will be pursued with enthusiasm to the bitter end. Conviction applies the stigma of typical previous RICO defendants, such as mobsters and drug kingpins, to a losing defendant. Michigan, at large, is a defendant in this suit. Capisce?

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Theresa Antoinette Proclaims “Let Oakland County GOP Delegates Eat Cake!”

There is much to be excited about in today’s Republican Party. Enthusiasm is at a fever pitch. There is an influx of new supporters into the movement. Records were shattered for participation during the March primary election, with the majority of the new people coming into the Republican fold. It’s truly miraculous how many new people are active and interested in the cause!

At this point, common sense would seem to indicate that we should build the delegate base, and create a stronger, more invigorated Republican Party that is built for victory to take the country back in November. It is time to strike while the iron is hot, and make the most of the momentum building in our favor. That is how we can take full advantage of this enthusiasm to secure victory when it counts. That is exactly what the Michigan Conservative Coalition called for back in February, and for good reason.

However, Oakland County GOP Dictatress Theresa Mungioli has other plans for her little fiefdom.

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Whoopie Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Dogies

Cattle Roundup Image 1

Whoopee Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Dogies

Some boys goes up the trail for pleasure,
But that’s where you get it most awfully wrong;
For you haven’t any idea the trouble they give us
While we go driving them all along.

Whoopee Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Dogies

When the night comes on and we hold them on the bedground,
These little dogies that roll on so slow;
Roll up the herd and cut out the strays,
And roll the little dogies that never rolled before.

Whoopee Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Dogies

Traditional 19th Century American Cowboy Cattle Drive Song

Rhodes Image 1aMichigan’s tax-and-spend establishment continues to demonstrate world class tactical flexibility as they pursue their dubious ends. Their latest tour de force is the setup for the impending Detroit Public Schools bailout. Michigan’s legislators are being driven like cattle.

The new state appointed emergency transition manager of the Detroit Public Schools, retired U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Steven W. Rhodes, announced that the district would shut down on April 8th due to a lack of funds. This chilling announcement came a week after Governor Snyder appointed him to replace Darnell Early, who resigned at the end of February. Darnell Early, for some reason, failed to inform Michigan of the April 8th drop dead date. Judge Rhodes made his announcement four weeks in advance of the projected shutdown in a full court press to get a bailout from our State Legislature.

Detroit Public Schools LogoThe first problem here is the State Legislature is scheduled to take two weeks off in the four weeks leading up to April 8th. The last week of March and the first week of April. Judge Rhodes certainly knew this, so the dilatory announcement is unquestionably a deliberate effort to stampede the Michigan Legislature into immediately delivering $ 50 – 70 million to DPS, no questions asked. Two weeks is not a reasonable legislative time frame, rather it is herding legislators like cattle on a two week drive. An echo of the tactics used by Judge Rhodes to ram through the bungled Detroit bankruptcy.

Governor Snyder has been floating an inchoate plan to rescue the Detroit Public Schools since the middle of last year; one which originally envisioned the creation of a ‘bad debt’ shell district and a new, debt free district by cellular division. Wasn’t really well received anywhere, even after he added dissolution of the much hated Education Achievement Authority. As his problems in the Flint water fiasco have mounted, Governor Snyder decided to wash his hands of the DPS situation by throwing $ 700 million at them to extinguish their ‘operating’ debt and return control to the next generation of local thieves elected school board members.

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An Ill Portent From Michigan’s Presidential Primary

Massive Democratic Turnout on March 8th Puts Control of the Michigan House in Play

Dead Elephant Image 4aYesterday’s Presidential primary in Michigan broke the participation record set back in 1972’s Presidential primary – both in absolute terms and as a percentage of registered voters participating. While the League of Women Voters types will laud this, the establishments in both the Republican and Democratic Parties are flummoxed. Donald Trump crushed John Kasich and Bernie Sanders beat Hillary. Establishment candidates failed. Both party establishments are scrambling to finesse the insubordination of their voters.

Pundits figure that the Democratic Party establishment can bring their obstreperous base to heel, but few figure the Republican Party establishment will have any corresponding success. The prospective success or failure of their counterinsurgency warfare, and its effect upon November, fixates the press and both establishments.

But there is a less obvious, very ill portent here for Michigan Republicans.

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