Lame duck session is one of the most fascinating and illuminating times within our government. It is a period when all pretenses of our democracy are jettisoned and a mad cash grab takes place as term-limited legislators secure employment and other benefits in smoke-filled backrooms with lobbyists. It rips off the facade and exposes government for the cruel, soulless machine that it truly is.
Few watched the late-night session that went past 3AM last week when the worst bills were being rammed down our throats. I tuned in to watch the after-hours con job the next day on the Michigan Legislature website as I was sleeping at the time. The fact that the proceedings took place in the dead of night begs the following questions: What are the optics of using the midnight hour to push the lousiest bills forward? What does someone who is less politically inclined think of Republicans after the media reports on these shenanigans? And is it any wonder why we took it on the chin during last month’s mid-term elections?
We have all been licking our wounds for this past week, but the time has come for serious introspection about where we are going to take the Michigan GOP in the years to come. We cannot afford another electoral disaster in 2020 because that could easily surrender the Presidency back to the radical left whether it’s Hillary, Pocahontas, Biden, Kamala or whoever else taking the reigns.
While we were fortunate to keep the Michigan House and Senate, last week’s election was especially catastrophic because of the passage of the proposals. In particular, Proposals 2 and 3 will allow Democratic control over the entirety of our state government. By surrendering control over redistricting to an “independent” commission (please note that Bernie Sanders and the ACLU are technically “independents”) and making it easier for felons and morons to cast votes, the writing is on the wall for what Michigan will become in the upcoming decades. We all hope that the Republicans have lawyers working overtime on challenges to these amendments, otherwise Michigan will pretty much inevitably become California at some point.
Let’s not beat around the bush. Last week’s nightmare happened because of the top of the ticket. Bill Schuette felt he was entitled to this position, and it showed on the campaign trail. Because Schuette did such a lousy job during his run for Governor, we have literal Soros activists serving as Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State now. We have an LGBT Attorney General who will use her power to punish Christian conservatives and obstruct the President’s agenda. We may ultimately lose the state for good, and the blood is on Schuette’s hands for all of this.
There has been an impressive amount of grassroots fervor that has resulted from the National Popular Vote push by Republican legislators in Lansing.
As I am sure you are aware, the National Popular Vote scheme would destroy the electoral college and game our system so that voters in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, and other liberal-dominated population centers would control the entire nation forevermore. It would have meant Hillary Clinton winning the Presidency in 2016, and all the power of Michigan voters would effectively be nullified.
After it was revealed that Republicans were wined and dined with a trip to Hawaii and other lavish trips paid for by lobbyists, outrage erupted immediately. Legislators were inundated with calls and emails from angry constituents, and we were given assurances that the legislation in the state House and Senate to enact NPV was dead. House Speaker Tom Leonard admitted as much.
“I support the electoral college and the Constitution as our framers intended,” Leonard said to journalist Brandon Hall. “I have no interest in taking this bill up during the rest of my tenure as Speaker.”
It was previously demonstrated how the John James for Senate campaign had been taking his competitor Sandy Pensler out of content for the purposes of releasing misleading attacks about him. While that was bad enough, James has resorted to outright lying in the final days of the campaign as he tries to win in what looks to be a close race.
This meme was posted on John James’ campaign page a day following Pensler’s announcement that he received an endorsement from tea party favorite Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who has one of the top conservative voting records in the Senate according to many popular conservative watchdog organizations.
“I’m pleased to endorse Sandy Pensler for U.S. Senate in Michigan. The Senate needs more outsiders who have created jobs and who won’t be part of the Washington, D.C. swamp. Sandy supports term limits, smaller government, lower taxes, and a constitutional conservative foreign policy, and he will stand up and fight in Washington,” Paul said.
Pensler’s understanding of market economics also prompted him to release a plan to end the deficit by making specific cuts to foreign aid, the department of education, domestic welfare, healthcare expenditures, and subsidies toward NATO. Will Pensler be able to implement this plan as soon as he is elected? Of course not, but he will be able to coherently articulate a solid fiscally conservative plan that can put America once again on solid ground.
Pensler’s issues page offers a great deal of substance. He wants to defund planned parenthood, supports judges “who interpret the law as written,” and supports free market solutions on healthcare. Some of his policy positions are more detailed than others. His healthcare page for instance is particularly substantative covering issues like price transparency, malpractice reform, competitive pricing for prescription drugs, health savings plans, living wills, and so on. He shows an incredible depth of knowledge on the pressing issues facing Americans, something that is very rare in a politician.
That’s right. Healthcare isn’t even listed as an issue of concern on his page! Not even a basic, rudimentary policy position is listed. On the issues James does cover, he remains deliberately vague as much as possible. James thinks we should do a “better job preparing our service members for life outside of the military.” That is certainly a nice platitude, and it’s hard to disagree with that, but how precisely are you going to make that happen?
James says he “will work to eliminate poverty, not just make it more comfortable.” No further explanation is given. James believes that “hard working and honest Michiganders of all generations are owed a return on their lifelong investment into the System.” That sounds like it was written by a public relations consultant contracted by the MEDC, rather than an authentic sentiment. James claims he “will approve justices who will interpret the constitution as written” so he has the exact same position as Pensler in that regard.
The fact that James had to resort to outright lies in the end game of the campaign suggests that voters may be seeing that one candidate offers actual substance while the other offers nothing but fluff. Pensler’s candid comments on Trump, portrayed by the James campaign as Pensler slamming Trump, were actually complementary in their full context. Pensler’s comments about supporting a “living constitution” were in reference to the Convention of States, a project pushed by constitutional conservatives to amend the Constitution in an attempt to reign in the federal government. These misleading attacks missed the mark, so James had to push deliberate falsehoods in the final stretch. If James’ campaign is this dishonest, how can you trust the candidate when he talks to you on the campaign trail?
James is certainly offering his brand ‘Hope and Change’ to the voters without much in terms of specifics. I remember in the not too distant past when voters elected a similar candidate who promised the world without demonstrating any qualifications, competency or a real record. America really regretted that decision, and we should not duplicate that mistake here in Michigan. Pensler’s record is far from spotless, having ran as a moderate Republican back in the 1990s before ‘evolving’ and becoming more conservative over the years. But at least he has a record, other than bumper sticker slogans and corny taglines about being a fighter pilot.
We can be better than the Democrats, can’t we? Support the qualified candidate a week from today, not the empty suit.
Across the country, electoral politics have been extremely fun to watch as chaos besieges the entrenched establishments of both major political parties. With Trump out there doing his thing, we are seeing the establishment vs. insurgent dichotomy emerge throughout the country. There hasn’t been too much of it going in Michigan, as calls for ‘unity’ win the day, with the exception of the tense GOP primary battle between John James and Sandy Pensler for US Senate.
Pensler is a Wall Street tycoon with plenty of independent wealth that he is using to fund his race for Senate. He is similar to Trump in substance rather than style as he will not owe anyone favors if he is able to win his seat. James runs his family business and has an admirable record serving his country as a military veteran. Other than that, he is virtually a complete unknown. Pensler has run for office in the past as a moderate, but claims he has evolved over the years on social issues like abortion (similar to Trump yet again in that regard).
Recently, I received an email showing all of the “conservative leaders” throughout the state of Michigan who support House Speaker Tom Leonard for Attorney General. This list of leaders assured me that Leonard’s leadership record in the House was impeccible and that he is a man who “truly understands our issues and stands up for our values.”
Then I saw that he voted for House Bill 5325 (HB5325), legislation that hikes property taxes on homeowners for the purposes of crony giveaways to well-connected private interests. This scam is called a “special assessment” and a similar scheme may be on a local ballot in your municipality in the near future. This fraud is now picking up steam because of Leonard’s actions.
All of us who have been following the saga of Senate Bill 97 (SB97) are beyond disgusted. It’s one of the most egregious legislative power-grabs in recent memory. According to MichiganVotes.org, the measure if passed would give “state and local government agencies the power to enter into joint operating arrangements for building hospital and transportation businesses” and would allow private operators to “benefit from tax exemptions and its governmental partner’s power to impose property taxes, borrow, take private property using eminent domain and more.” This is as anti-free market as it gets.
The bill predictably sailed through the Senate without much debate and discussion. Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, known for his lack of spine and principle, fast tracked it last year. The Senate committeemembers who approved SB97 were all bought off by the hospital and transportation industries that will make a killing off the legislation, and all but four Senators voted to approve it during the full Senate vote. Sens. Colbeck, Hune, Emmons and Shirkey were the only hold-outs.
The House committee that approved SB97 was similarly bought off by the monied interests that will benefit from the bill. This is how the Lansing swamp operates. Right now, the fate of SB97 is in the hands of House GOP leadership. House Speaker Tom Leonard has the reputation of being a staunch conservative. He is running for Attorney General right now off of his conservative bona fides.
To his credit, Leonard is no Arlan Meekhof. He seems far more fair-minded than his predecessors, but who is funding Leonard and the rest of the House GOP leadership?
09/15/2017 4:18PM – EDITORS NOTE – See Comment below referencing Gary Glenn’s feedback
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Rep. Gary Glenn (R-Midland) was seen as one of the shining stars of the tea party movement, and was finally elected to public office after several attempts back in 2012. We all had high hopes for him, but as he ascended into a leadership position, he immediately wilted like so many others.
This becomes incredibly obvious when examining the text of HB4965, a bill designed to punish cities that choose to allow medical marijuana dispensaries. It would cut them off from state funds if their town votes to permit dispensaries within city limits. This is a sinister way to rob localities of their sovereignty as well as an anti-free market measure to punish a growing industry creating more jobs in a state that desperately needs them.
It reads as follows:
THE STATE TREASURER SHALL WITHHOLD ALL OR ANY PART OF ANY PAYMENT THAT A CITY, VILLAGE, TOWNSHIP, OR COUNTY IS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE UNDER THIS ACT IF THE CITY, VILLAGE, TOWNSHIP, OR COUNTY ADOPTS A MEDICAL MARIHUANA ORDINANCE.
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.
I have something that I am happy to unveil to you today: The Michigan Patriot Action Center. A team of conservative patriots in Oakland County have been working on it for several months, and we are very proud of what we have come up with!
This legislative center will help you stay up-to-date on bills that directly impact your freedom and your pocketbook. It is regularly updated with new legislative action updates every week. So you always know the status of each bill, which committee the bill is in, when a relevant committee hearing will take place, basic talking points about the legislation, and receive instructions on how to take productive action to move the bill forward.
All of this information is available on the internet but it is often scattered and difficult to find. Sometimes the legislation itself is difficult to decipher because it was written by lobbyists in a deliberately vague manner, and activists might not know how to describe it. That is why we analyze each bill, and provide a basic script for you to use during outreach. We are centralize all of the pertinent information to make productive action much easier.
I do bill tracking around the country for the Tenth Amendment Center, and sometimes only a few dozen phone calls can move a bill in the right direction so if we utilize this bill center to its full potential, we can all make a real difference. Additionally, we are always working to improve the project. Right now, it is hosted from Google docs which is very easy to use. We are always looking to expand so if you have any comments, please email us. We are also organizing a group of individuals in each state rep district and state sen district to increase the power of this center.