Party on the Peninsulas

The WØRD – “Crime”

JimmyMargulies.com

From Chairperson Lavora Barnes

To listen to Republicans, we’re in the middle of an apocalyptic crime wave. The reality: the crime rates have dropped dramatically since they peaked in 2020 during the Trump administration. 

In his “Popular Information” newsletter, investigative journalist Judd Legum reports: ‘In a speech earlier this year at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump said that under Biden, the United States is “plagued by bloodshed, chaos and violent crime.” A March press release by the Republican National Committee claimed that “crime [is] spiking” as a result of Biden’s policies. Trump’s claims are being repeated by other Republicans running for office.’

It’s all another Big Lie, ironically being promoted by a convicted criminal.

New data released this last week by the FBI reveals that both violent crime and property crime have dropped dramatically this year. The data compares crime in the first quarter of 2024 with crime in the first quarter of 2023. It shows substantial drops in every category, including murder ( down 26.4%), rape (down 25.7%), robbery (down 17.8%), and property crime (down 15.1%). The only crime rate going up: indictments and convictions of the leaders of efforts to overturn the 2020 election, including indictments of Trump and multiple members of his reelection team.

President Biden is working to continue cutting into violent crime through enactment of common-sense gun laws that make it tougher on criminals without taking away the 2nd amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. At a Washington conference hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund on Tuesday, the President listed gun-related accomplishments during his administration, prompting huge cheers from the hundreds in the audience. He also called for a ban on assault-style weapons and universal background checks for firearms purchases.

This comes even as the Trump-appointed majority on the Supreme Court votes to end the ban on bump stocks, which are used to turn semi automatic weapons into fully automatic machine guns. A bump stock was used in the most devastating mass shooting in US history, the 2017 shooting in Las Vegas where 60 died and more than 400 were wounded. 

Another word of the week: ethics. Republicans in the U.S. Senate have blocked legislation which would create ethics rules for the Supreme Court. The vote came on the same day when three more high-price trips by Justice Clarence Thomas, paid for by a billionaire GOP donor, were revealed by Pro Publica. Thomas’s known ledger of free trips and vacations now totals more than Four-Million-Dollars, roughly equal to his salary over the same time period. Thomas is by far the most ethically corrupt justice in the court’s recent history.

In Michigan, it’s a different story. Momentum is on the side of higher ethical standards in the wake of a series of scandals involving former Republican legislative leaders.

A part of that progress: Attorney General Dana Nessel has affirmed Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s tough enforcement of financial disclosures by public officials and political candidates. The opinion upholds rules that state elected officials must offer details of outside income and that must include names and addresses of the source. Nessel and Benson are the drive for even tougher financial disclosure and ethics laws.

Democrats in the Legislature are also working with Governor Whitmer to fine-tune Michigan’s economic development efforts involving what’s known as the SOAR Fund. Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve fund has allocated $3 billion toward big projects since it was formed in late 2021. The fund puts Michigan on a level playing field with other states in the region competing for job-creating business investments. Representative Jason Hoskins is leading the efforts to update the program. He is serving his first term in the 18th House District, which comprises Southfield, Lathrup Village and parts of Farmington, Farmington Hills and Oak Park. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University with his bachelor’s degree in political science and his master’s in public administration, with a concentration in local government management and received his law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) School of Law. Rep. Hoskins helped create and later served as president of the UDM Law chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). 

Prior to his time in office, Rep. Hoskins served on the Southfield City Council. 

His legislative priorities include boosting the economy, supporting education, investing in our communities, ending gun violence, safeguarding our elections, protecting the environment, fighting for justice, and improving access to and affordability of health care.

In the News This Week …

Ann Tenaes – Washington Post

Michigan Politics

Michigan Policy

Trump/GOP Outrages

National

The WØRD – “Legacy”

From Chairperson Lavora Barnes

Last Thursday, President Biden joined with French President Emanuel Macron to honor the Greatest Generation: the men and women who, 80 years earlier, began the liberation of Europe with the D-Day invasion. The two presidents honored a legacy: the selfless sacrifices of thousands to protect the world from the threat of a racist, paranoid sociopath whose ambition was to rule the world.​ Thousands gave their lives that day so that we could live free.

President Biden’s D-Day Address

We owe the Greatest Generation a commitment to continue to fight for their legacy which is constantly endangered by would-be dictators and despots, foreign and domestic.

On Saturday, your Democratic Party celebrated its legacy with our annual Legacy Dinner. UAW President Shawn Fain was presented with the MDP’s Legacy Award for his inspiring leadership which led to a record-smashing contract settlement with the Big 3 domestic automakers, a contract which means a secure and prosperous future for not just UAW members, but for untold thousands more whose employment is directly tied to the auto industry.

The keynote speaker on Saturday brought her own legacy to the stage. Kamala Harris is the first woman, and the first person of color, to be elected to national office.

A day earlier, Joe Biden’s legacy grew with the announcement of still another month of jobs growth. 272-thousand jobs were added to our economy, bringing the total jobs growth under Joe Biden to a record-setting 15-million. The economists were nearly unanimous that taming the post-COVID inflation would result in a recession. Under the leadership of the Biden/Harris administration, we have instead experienced record-setting jobs growth while reducing inflation, and without a recession.

That same report, by the way, also showed wages rising at an annual rate of 4.1%, meaning real household incomes adjusted for inflation are going up.

In Lansing, Democrats are leading the way on the most important job of the Governor and Legislature: putting together the annual state budget which sets the priorities for Michigan’s next 12 months and beyond. One of the primary architects of the budget is the chair of the House Appropriations Committee, state Representative Angela Witwer.

Representative Witwer  is serving her third term representing the 76th House District, which includes much of Eaton County just west of Lansing.

She received her bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from Northwood University. Witwer began her professional career in clinical health care, working first in Sparrow Hospital’s burn unit and later as the manager of pediatric rehabilitation. The desire to help others, coupled with her clinical expertise, propelled Witwer to become manager of Sparrow’s community relations and marketing department.

After 22 years working in health care, she left Sparrow in 2007 to co-found Edge Partnerships, an award-winning public relations, marketing and advocacy group. During this time, she was a strong advocate for quality public education and community engagement, serving as the vice president of Waverly Community Schools Board of Education and was an active member of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Economic Club committee, the Wharton Center for Performing Arts Advisory Council, and the McLaren Greater Lansing Foundation Board of Directors.

In the News This Week…

Ann Tenaes – Washington Post
Michigan Politics
Michigan Policy
GOP/Trump Outrages
National

 

Walt Handelsman – The Time-Picayune/The Advocate

The WØRD – “Juries”

From chairperson Lavora Barnes

A jury: 12 ordinary citizens who take an oath to put aside their personal beliefs and opinions, listen to testimony presented by both sides in a trial, and render a verdict based solely on that testimony and the law.Our jury system dates back to the founding of the nation. The Sixth Amendment states that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused criminal has the right to a trial by an impartial jury of the state and district in which the individual allegedly committed a crime.

Attacks on the American jury system are, in fact, an attack on one of the constitutional rights that makes the United States exceptional. Yet that is what we are hearing in the aftermath of the unanimous finding of guilt against former President Trump.

It’s no surprise that Trump is lashing out. Anytime he loses at anything, he attacks and never accepts responsibility. In his mind he’s never lost an election, his numerous bankruptcies were the fault of others, and his recent losses in multiple civl and criminal trials are the results of a rigged system and corrupt people.

Donald Trump’s political campaign is based on grievance. He poses as a martyr constantly under attack by corrupt, evil people. It is part of his longstanding history of working to tear down our core American institutions: the Justice Department, FBI, intelligence agencies, the courts, his political opponents, the news media, scientists, women who have accused him of sexual assault, and now our system of jury trials. 

Particularly galling is the claim by Trump and his acolytes that the Department of Justice has been weaponized by the Biden administration. The reality is that the DOJ is acting as an independent protector of the law. It is, in fact, currently prosecuting two Democratic members of Congress for bribery: Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, and Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas. It is also prosecuting the President’s son.

The Biden administration hasn’t weaponized the Department of Justice, but Trump has promised he will. Trump has said he will order the DOJ to go after his critics and political opponents. He has already identified his first targets: President Biden, multiple Democrats in Congress including all the members of the January 6 special committee, and the prosecutors in all four of his criminal cases.

We cannot allow this to happen. Turning the federal government’s law enforcement power into a weapon of the White House would spell the end of equal justice under law, and threaten to topple our democracy.

All across Michigan municipal and township clerks are in the final stages of preparing for the August primary. Regardless of party affiliation, they share one goal: elections that are fair and accurate.

One the leaders among them is longtime Washtenaw County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum. He has been the Washtenaw County Clerk and Register of Deeds since 2005; he was first elected in November, 2004, defeating his predecessor.

Previously, he served as a county commissioner, at different times, in Ingham and Washtenaw counties.  In appointed positions, he has been a member of the Capital Area Transportation Authority board of directors, the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission, the East Lansing Planning Commission, and as a board member for several nonprofits.

Born in Chicago, he grew up in East Lansing, where his father was a professor of history at Michigan State University.  He has a B.A. in Economics from MSU and a law degree from Wayne State University law school; he did graduate work in city and regional planning at Cornell University.

Rob Rogers – TinyView.com

In the News This Week …

Biden Denounces ‘Reckless’ G.O.P. Efforts to Discredit Trump Conviction – The New York Times

Michigan Politics

Mike Rogers used to ENFORCE the law as an FBI agent. Now he denounces the justice system of which he was once was a part.

Michigan Policy

Trump/GOP Outrages

National

The WØRD – “Supremes”

Keynote Speaker: Vice President Kamala Harris

From Chairperson Lavora Barnes

“Supremes”. No – not the legendary Motown trio. It’s the United States Supreme Court, and the importance of this year’s elections on the next 2 decades of the Court.

There likely will be two or more vacancies on the Court during the term of the next President. Right wing extremists and ethically challenged Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas are 74 and 75 years old; Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sonia Sotomayor are both 69.

The election of Trump, coupled with a Republican Senate, could result in a Court that has five or more Trump-appointed Justices. It would be a MAGA-dominated court for two or more decades.

Even if we re-elect Joe Biden, a Republican Senate could well stymie restoring balance to the Court. Mitch McConnell showed what raw power and a lack of conscience can do to the Court. McConnell’s outrageous partisanship stole two seats on the Court which should have gone to appointees of Presidents Obama and Biden. Instead McConnell used his slim majority in the Senate to gift Trump with 2 appointments: 59-year-old Brett Kavanagh and 54-year-old Amy Coney Barrett. Those two appointments cemented a radical right-wing-dominated activist court that resulted in overturning Roe, strengthening gerrymandering and shredding voting rights.

The next two decades of the U.S. Supreme Court are definitely on the ballot in November. We need to remember that every day, and redouble our efforts not only to reelect Joe Biden but make sure the next United States Senator from Michigan is a Democrat.

Voting rights advocates from across the nation regularly point to Michigan as a model for the nation. Voter approval of both the anti-gerrymandering constitutional amendment in 2018, and the two Voter Rights proposals in 2018 and 2022 make our state stand out. Ari Berman, national voting rights correspondent at Mother Jones, says Michigan’s reforms are – quote – “Restoring legitimacy to the democratic process.”

In 2017, 27-year-old political novice Katie Fahey assembled a nine-member team that was the core of what became Voters Not Politicians. Working with an all-volunteer volunteer army, VNP collected more than 450,000 petition signatures in just 100 days and then narrowly won a state Supreme Court challenge to put that amendment on the ballot. The proposal won 61 percent of the vote, taking the power of redistricting away from the Legislature by creating the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Our Walt Sorg, who was not affiliated with the Michigan Democratic Party back then, was one of the nine people on VNP’s original board of directors which led the entire effort. Walt recently talked with VNP’s legal counsel Jim Lancaster, the primary drafter of the words that are now a part of the Michigan Constitution, about how that grassroots campaign changed politics in Michigan. Walt recently talked with Lancaster about the proposal and how it has worked.

In the News This Week

Michigan Politics

Michigan Policy

State Representative Penelope Tsernoglou, an IVF Mother: Protect Michigan IVF

Trump/GOP Outrages

Mark Fiore – markfiore.com

National News



 

 

The WØRD – “Justice”

From chairperson Lavora Barnes

Our courts are under attack led, of course, by four-time indicted, twice-impeached bankruptcy king Donald Trump. He’s still furious that more than 60 different courts dismissed his claims of election fraud in 2020 and, as we record this, on the verge of a verdict in the first of his four felony trials. He’s called the well-respected New York Supreme Court judge crooked, biased, unqualified and corrupt simply because it fits into his campaign strategy of painting himself as a victim.

Adding to his attack on the system: summoning his D.C. red tie brigade to repeat the scurrilous attacks on witnesses, the jury and even the judge’s daughter: things he can’t say because of a well-deserved gag order.

On top of that Trump has made it clear that if he gets reelected, he will order the Justice Department to indict special prosecutor Jack Smith, Georgia D.A. Fanny Willis and New York district attorney Alvin Bragg for the crime of indicting Trump.

In Michigan, we have a much different story. We have an Attorney General who takes corrupt public officials from both parties without fear or favor, and works hand-in-glove with our Secretary of State to guarantee free and fair elections.

Michigan Supreme Court candidate Kimberly Thomas.

Our state’s Supreme Court is widely praised for even-handed justice. Under the leadership of a Democratic Party nominated majority the court earned a well-deserved reputation for fairness and dedication to the rule of law.

In 2024, we are working to preserve and enhance that reputation with our party’s two executive-committee endorsed candidates for the Court: Justice Kyra Harris Bolden, and University of Michigan professor Kimberly Thomas.

This week we talk with Professor Thomas on how she plans to work side-by-side with current justices Bolden, Richard Bernstein, Elizabeth Welch and Megan Cavanagh as well as the two Republican-nominated justices.

In the News This Week…

Michigan Politics

Michigan Policy

MAGA-Land

National

Walt Handelsman/Tribute Content Agency

The WØRD – “Humanity”

From chairperson Lavora Barnes

In political debates, the rhetoric sometimes overshadows the impact of those policy decisions on actual people: what’s the impact on individual lives. That is one of the many reasons Joe Biden is such an amazing leader: every decision he makes is influenced by a lifetime of experiences of “Scranton Joe,” the guy who grew up in a working class family that faced the same challenges that confront millions of Americans.

Sadly, a lot of the debate over reproductive rights overlooks the real world. Opponents manufacture horror stories that are mostly fantasies unattached from the real world. They talk about late term abortions right up to the moment of birth, something that simply isn’t a thing. They trivialize what, in reality, is one of the most difficult decisions a woman can make.

Kaitlyn Joshua (left) and Amanda Zurowski

In the case of exceeding rare late-term abortions, those decisions are the direct result of a major emergency that’s life-or-death, but opponents make it sound heartless. In the last week, Michiganders had the opportunity to learn more about the real-world impact of the anti-choice movement from two victims of those laws.

Texan Amanda Zurawski and Kaitlin Joshua of Louisiana both very much wanted a child, but both of them experienced the horror of a pregnancy gone bad. Thanks to the draconian laws passed by their legislatures, both of them nearly died as a result.

On this week’s podcast, we hear both of their stories: the real world impact of taking away the right of women to control their own healthcare.

In the News

Michigan Politics

Michigan Policy

Trump/GOP Outrages

National

The WØRD – “Contempt”

Contempt

It’s more than the fines handed out to defendant Donald Trump in his election interference criminal case. It’s the contempt of many Republican leaders who show contempt for our justice system. 

  • They scream about a two-tiered justice system when, in reality, they demand a system where their chosen leader is above the law.
  • They say they support the police, but have no problem with a leader who says he’d considering pardoning the criminals who attacked the Capitol on January 6 resulting in the deaths of five police officers and injuries to dozens more. 
  • They complain about alleged censorship of conservatives on social media, but pass laws censoring books about racial justice and LGBTQ+ rights.
  • They yell about their love of the Constitution, but demand police arrest people exercising their First Amendment rights of free speech and peaceful protest while defending the violent mob of January 6.

The GOP response to campus protests across the nation are a frightening replay of how the Nixon administration reacted to anti-war demonstrators in the late 1960’s: using military power to silence the protesters which culminated in the deaths of four unarmed students at Kent State University, shot by the Ohio National Guard.

This week’s Trump outrage: his plans to transform the presidency into a virtual dictatorship, revealed in a two-part interview in Time magazine. 

Some of the revelations:

  • He would not have a problem with states deciding to track pregnancies and even imprison women who have abortions
  • While taking no position on the abortion medication Mifepristone, Trump could make it illegal by ordering the FDA to withdraw approval of the treatment
  • He would use the military to seek out and arrest undocumented immigrants. It’s been illegal to use the Army for domestic law enforcement for more than a century.
  • He’s set up prison camps to hold millions of accused undocumented immigrants.
  • He would order the Justice Department to criminally charge his political opponents, and would fire any U.S. Attorney who defied his order. His purge would start with Joe Biden, even though a two-year House investigation into Biden has come up empty.
  • He would consider pardoning the hundreds of criminals who were convicted for their actions on January 6, even those responsible for attacking law enforcement officers.
  • He would fill his administration with people who supported his Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen
  • He says the most pressing racial issue in America is bias against white people
  • He refused to rule out violence if he loses the 2024 election and, just as in 2020, refuses to say if he’d accept the results
  • He will move to destroy any media outlets that are critical of him, especially those with government-issued broadcast licenses
  • He will gut the Civil Service system, filling tens-of-thousands federal position with Trump loyalists who will reflexively do what he orders regardless of the law

When John Kennedy was elected President, his senior advisers were branded “the best and the brightest.” Donald Trump has made it clear the only qualification for his appointees to his cabinet and White House senior staff: total loyalty to Donald Trump.

Plain and simple, Trump is a fraud. He has lied to Michiganders again and again — on jobs, on abortion, and on every other promise he’s made. These visits don’t mask the fact that he has failed Michiganders for years and doesn’t actually care about helping them in the future. 

President Biden, on the other hand, has been showing up for Michiganders since his first day in office – and hasn’t wavered. When workers went on strike for better pay and benefits, President Biden joined the picket line and fought for them and their families. When Americans needed more affordable health care, he fought for a $35 insulin cap and lower prescription drug costs. President Biden has faithfully shown up time and time again for Michiganders. 

There is nothing that Trump can say that will erase the stark contrast between these two candidates, and Michiganders know it. This is what is at stake in November. Trump has warned us. It’s up to us to make sure it doesn’t happen.

I urge our listeners to read the full Time magazine article.

This week saw two challenges to petitions filed by Democratic congressional candidates Curtis Hertel Jr. and Adam Hollier. On this week’s podcast we get an update on those challenges from one of Michigan’s top election-law attorneys, Mark Brewer.

Mark served as MDP chairperson for 18 years. Since then he’s been the go-to attorney for Democrats statewide on matters of state election law. He’s a partner with the Goodman Acker law firm. He received his A.B. with honors from Harvard College in 1977 and a J.D. from Stanford University Law School in 1981, where he notably served on the Law Review. Following his academic achievements, Brewer embarked on a remarkable legal career. He began by clerking for a judge of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and later for Michigan Supreme Court Justice Charles Levin.

He also co-hosts the popular weekly podcast “A Republic, If You Can Keep It”.

In the News

Michigan Politics

Michigan Policy

President Biden

Trump/GOP Outrages

National

The WØRD – “Co-conspirator!”

From chairperson Lavora Barnes – 

Arizona joined with Michigan, Georgia and Nevada this week by issuing indictments in the fake electors scheme. The defendants include several influential figures in Arizona politics, including former state GOP chair Kelli Ward and sitting state senators Anthony Kern and Jake Hoffman. Also charged was Christina Bobb, just days after she was named head of the Republican National Committee’s Election Integrity program. She is one of seven Trump confidantes also charged.

Trump, who isn’t charged, is repeatedly referred to as “Unindicted Coconspirator 1” in the 58-page indictment.

It turns out Trump is also an unindicted co-conspirator in Michigan’s fake elector case, and a defendant in the Georgia fake elector prosecution. Trump’s status as a co-conspirator in Michigan was revealed during a court hearing on some of the criminal charges against the faux electors.

It’s more clear than ever that Donald Trump and his MAGA allies are rotten to the core and have no place in the halls of power. We shouldn’t be surprised that an extremist MI-GOP that attempts to undermine the very foundations of our democracy time and time again is consistently in lockstep with the chaos and lawlessness of Trump. 

This Republican Party is clearly willing to do anything to attack our institutions. From the bottom to the top of the ballot, they have never been more out of step with our state’s values. Let’s be clear, Michiganders have continually rejected Donald Trump’s election denialism and they will do so again this November.

Meanwhile: the right-wing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court is hinting it will create a form of immunity for Trump to protect him from criminal prosecution for some or all of his actions while President. At a minimum, court watchers say the Court will build some new delays into Trump’s federal criminal cases so that he doesn’t face trial until after the election. Of course, if Trump manages to get elected in November he will order the Justice Department to drop all charges and let him get away with it.

We need to remember that five of the nine current justices were appointed by Presidents who lost the popular vote, and then confirmed by the votes of Senators representing fewer than half of the country. It’s called “minority rule.”

In news of another Supreme Court…

Our Democratic Party Executive Committee has endorsed Kyra Harris Bolden and Kimberly Ann Thomas for Michigan’s Supreme Court. These will be some of the most consequential elections this year in Michigan as our state Supreme Court is the only court in the country that the GOP could flip to their control.

The race for Supreme Court in Michigan this year will decide whether Democrats can continue to build on all of our progress, or whether MAGA Republicans can rely on their allies on the court. From reproductive freedom to the sanctity of our election process, a conservative state Supreme Court would spell disaster for all the issues that matter most to Michiganders. This cycle, we will ensure that Michiganders understand the stakes of this election so that our freedom and democracy can continue to grow and prosper.

Justice Bolden is defending her recent appointment by Gov. Whitmer to the bench this fall. As the first Black woman to serve in the Michigan Supreme Court, Bolden is a trailblazer who is committed to ensuring equal access to justice, applying the law without fear or favor, and treating all who come before our state’s highest court with dignity and respect.

Kimberly Ann Thomas is running for an open court seat on the Michigan Supreme Court and will bring her broad base of legal experience and a new voice of integrity and fairness to the court. Thomas is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer, and law professor at the University of Michigan Law School where she co-founded and directs the Juvenile Justice Clinic. She also served on the bipartisan Michigan Task Force on Juvenile Justice Reform and is committed to equal justice for all Michiganders.

Both Justice Bolden and Professor Thomas will be featured on future episodes of this podcast.

On Tuesday the two newly elected members of the Michigan House will be sworn into office. Mai Xiong and Peter Herzberg won landslide victories in special elections to fill vacancies created when their predecessors were elected mayors of their hometowns.This week we talk with Representative-elect Xiong about her groundbreaking victory.

Mai Xiong’s path to the state capitol is truly unique. Born in a Thailand refugee camp, her family moved to the United States when she was three years old. While they hardly understood English, her parents realized the importance of obtaining an education and U.S. citizenship. In 1997, they became naturalized citizens.

In 2003, after graduating high school, she moved to Warren, to attend the College for Creative Studies. I took summer classes at Macomb Community College. By 2020, she was at a point where she could give back to the community that had given her and her family so much. When I saw that my four children didn’t have leaders in office who looked like them, I knew I had to step up. She was elected by the residents of Warren to serve as the first Asian-American and former refugee on the Macomb County Board of Commissioners where she has served three terms. Representative-elect Xiong and her husband are the proud parents of four children.

This week’s Trump outrage is the United States Supreme Court and, in particular, the ethical nightmare that is Clarence Thomas.

Ed Wexler | Copyright 2023 Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

We already know about Thomas’s receipts of literally millions-of-dollars in gifts and luxury vacations from very rich people who became his friend only after he was appointed to the Court. He is a justice who has filed incomplete financial disclosures, omitting (among other things) the money collected by his wife Ginny, a radical-right activist who uses his name as an introduction to the highest reaches of MAGA-world. She is directly involved in the details of the January 6 insurrection and could even be called as a witness in a future Trump trial.

Despite the massive and very visible conflict of interest, Thomas refuses to recuse himself from insurrection-related cases. He could well be the deciding vote in multiple Trump-related cases.

The Supreme Court has no mechanism for dealing with conflicts, even the most obvious and noxious conflicts. It is up to each justice to decide whether they should step aside. Thomas refuses to do so. It is outrageous, but with his lifetime appointment there is nothing that can be done about it unless his colleagues develop some backbone on ethics. And we know that won’t happen.

In the News

Mike Luckovich – Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Michigan Politics
Michigan Policy
Trump/GOP Outrages
National

The WØRD – “Trifecta!”

Congratulations to Representatives-elect Mai Xiong and Peter Herzberg!

From chairperson Lavora Barnes –

It was a joy during the week for me to personally congratulate the two newest Democrats in the state House of Representatives: Mai Xiong in the Warren area’s 13th House District and Peter Herzberg in the Westland area’s 25th House District. Both were elected to fill vacancies created when their predecessors were elected mayor of their city.

Once the special elections are certified by the state Board of Canvassers, Democrats will once again have a 56-54 majority in the House to go with the 20-18 majority in the state Senate. It comes just in time for enactment of a state budget which continues investments into our state that will pay benefits for generations: support for education, infrastructure and economic development headlining the new budget.

The challenge now: maintaining that House majority in the November election. The newly adopted district maps, according to analysts, give either party a statistical chance of winning the majority. Using the current lines, 56 of the new districts were carried in 2020 by Donald Trump and 54 by President Biden. We can’t rest on our laurels. With these citizen-drawn maps, we can expand our majority or we can lose it. It is up to us.

Here are things you can do to help keep the House majority:

  • Reach out to your local candidate. You can help them with canvassing, fundraising, putting up a yard sign, hosting a home party, talking with your neighbors, writing a letter to the editor – they’ll let you know where you can help.
  • Stay active and stay positive on social media. It’s fun to get into viral arguments but usually non-productive. What can help are short, concise, fact-based comments on issues. 
  • And, if you are able, donate – to your state representative, to the House Democratic Campaign Committee, to your county Democratic Party and, of course. To the Michigan Democratic Party. As one astute consultant told me, campaigns are about two things: raising money, and everything else!

We have resources for you on all of this on our MDP website. Just click here! 

A new issue that is facing many communities: the mostly unregulated world of short-term rentals. The proliferation of companies like AirBNB and VRBO can be both a blessing and a curse. We are joined by state Representative Joey Andrews of St. Joseph who is sponsoring a package of bills to bring order to the Wild West of short-term rentals. With no regulatory framework in Michigan law, STRs have proliferated to a crisis point in many communities across the state. Representative Andrews is lead sponsor of a 10-bill package to bring order to where there is now chaos.

Representative Andrews is serving his first term representing the 38th House District, which covers parts of Allegan, Berrien and Van Buren counties. Born and raised in Southwestern Michigan, Representative Andrews knows and respects the unique issues facing lakeshore communities including the growing water issues of erosion, flooding, lead and aging infrastructure; and the short-term rental crisis gutting local communities.

Andrews was born and raised in St. Joseph. After graduating from high school he briefly left to attend college at Carson-Newman University in Tennessee. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history and music and went to law school at Wayne State University, graduating in 2013 with his law degree and passing the Michigan bar exam a year later.

This week’s Trump outrage is on full display in New York right now.

It goes hand-in-hand with his trial which, as we record the podcast, is set to begin with opening arguments on Monday. Trump is continuing his years-long efforts to destroy America’s faith in our justice system. In between courtroom naps he continues to attack every aspect of his trial and blatantly ignores court orders to stop his most outrageous attacks. With the help of his right-wing media stooges he’s even working to intimidate the jury, a tactic usually associated with mob bosses.

He’s daring the judge to do exactly what would happen to any other criminal defendant whose behavior was so outrageous: lock him up for contempt. Trump wants to be locked up because it would contribute to his victimhood whines. The one thing he says that is true: he’s being treated differently than other criminals. He’s getting far better treatment. No other criminal defendant has ever received the kid-gloves treatment that’s being given him.

But now, his fate is in the hands of 12 regular citizens who have pledged to judge him based on the facts presented in court. And that’s why Donald Trump is very, very scared.

Jack Ohman – Tribute Content Agency

In the News This Week

Kalamazoo native Jordan Klepper chats with the MAGA faithful outside the New York City courthouse – Comedy Central via YouTube
Michigan Politics
Michigan Policy
Trump/GOP Disfunction Delusion Distopia
National
Adam Zyglis – Buffalo News

The WØRD – “Whatever”

From Chairperson Lavora Barnes

“Whatever”.

That’s Donald Trump’s position on reproductive healthcare. He’s for whatever is convenient at the time he’s asked about it. In 1999, he said on Meet the Press that he was pro-choice, and opposed any federal law restricting abortion (even virtually non-existent late-term abortions).

Well, he’s changed that position almost as regularly as he’s changed wives. For decades, Donald Trump’s stance on abortion has been a moving target.

His latest position: a wishy-washy “whatever”: leave it up to the states, many of which have banned and even criminalized abortion. Of course, he can’t run away from a fact about which he brags: he killed Roe.

We all know that what Donald Trump says doesn’t necessarily line up with what he will do. You can be certain that a Trump administration, given the chance, would put in place a national law similar to the law just upheld in Arizona: criminalizing abortion and making it illegal nationwide. That would wipe out Michigan’s constitutional guarantee, approved overwhelmingly by our voters, that women make their own healthcare decisions without the government’s interference.

While Trump says he wouldn’t sign a national abortion ban, he hasn’t said how he will vote on the Florida constitutional amendment which would protect women’s reproductive freedom. Chances are he will dodge that question from now until November. And if, God forbid, he is elected and sent a nationwide ban, he will sign it.

As Rachel Maddow put it so concisely: “watch what they do, not what they say”.

Your Democratic party has made a commitment to reach out to all of Michigan. While Republicans cater to their extremist MAGA wing, Democrats are working in all 83 counties to show we’re working on behalf of everyone in this state. The facts backing that effort are undeniable. Since achieving the tri-fecta in state government, Democrats have moved the state forward on issues ranging from fixing the roads, strengthening the union rights of workers, expanding voter rights, guaranteeing the reproductive healthcare rights of women, cutting taxes for families, fighting climate change and much, much more.

But historically we’ve fallen short when it comes to elections in our smaller counties. Over the weekend our Rural Summit focused on how we can earn the support of more voters in rural Michigan.

Helping us define that strategy was one of the nation’s best pollsters, Celinda Lake. Celinda is one of the Democratic Party’s leading political strategists. She was one of two lead pollsters for the Biden campaign in 2020 and continues to serve as a pollster to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), other national party committees, and dozens of Democratic incumbents and challengers at all levels of the electoral process. Celinda and her firm, Lake Research Partners, are known for cutting-edge research on issues including the economy, health care, the environment, and education.

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