Party on the Peninsulas

The WØRD – “Results”

VIDEO – The men and women of LIUNA show their support for a President who gets results for working families.

From the chair

RESULTS

Government is supposed to work to improve our lives. We measure our public officials by results. Under Joe Biden and Gretchen Whitmer, we’re getting results.

Three years ago this week, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law. There’s an excellent report on what that has brought Michigan in the current edition of the online publication The Gander.

Among the highlights:

  • 300,000 jobs added to Michigan’s economy
  • The unemployment rate dropped from 6.5% in 2021 and has kept at 4% for the last 14 months.
  • A surge in new businesses. According to US Chamber of Commerce data, nearly 150,000 small business applications were filed in the state in 2023.
  • Tax relief for families. In Michigan, families of nearly 1.9 million children benefited from tax relief in 2021—with more than 1.1 million families receiving $3,000 or $3,600 per child, depending on their age. The legislation also enabled Michigan families earning less than $125,000 to get back up to half of what they spent on child care while working or studying, saving up to $8,000 for two children.
  • An expansion to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit also benefited 600,000 workers in Michigan in 2021, providing up to $1,500 in tax relief to those without dependent children. The Whitmer administration added to that savings by repealing the Snyder Administration cuts to the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Michigan received more than $1.1 billion in federal funding to be used for rental and utility assistance. State officials said more than 250,000 applications were received, with more than 130,000 approved—an average of about $5,600 in aid for each household. Additional funding was designed to help low- and middle-income homeowners who fell behind on their bills.
  • The American Rescue Plan Act  also expanded health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—ensuring more middle-income families in Michigan were eligible for low- or no-cost insurance, and providing key incentives for states to expand Medicaid.
    The law’s subsidies—which were reauthorized as part of the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022—led to record-breaking sign-ups for ACA plans this year. More than 418,000 Michiganders) enrolled in plans for 2024. 
  • More than $15 billion in ARPA funds have been dedicated to public safety, with investments by over 1,000 state and local governments to avoid cuts to police budgets, hire more cops, upgrade equipment for first responders, and expand community violence intervention programs. 
  • Governor Whitmer campaigned on a promise to “Fix the Damn Roads”. She’s keeping that promise with massive repairs underway or completed across Michigan. Legislators are working on expanding road repairs to local streets.

We’re joined on the podcast this week be the chair of the state House Transportation Committee, Representative Ranjeev Puri. He is also House Majority Whip, serving his second term in the Michigan House, representing Canton Township.

Before joining the Legislature, Rep. Puri worked in financial consulting and then went on to work for President Barack Obama. After completing his MBA, Rep. Puri began his work in Detroit’s automotive industry, helping solve complex business problems and developing innovative solutions to help prepare Michigan for the economy of tomorrow. He believes in holistic solutions to the challenges facing the automotive industry, from cultivating the required talent by investing in our public education system to fixing and modernizing our infrastructure and building a regional transit system to attract and retain the talent of tomorrow.

Today his committee is focusing on a tremendously difficult issue: how to respond to shrinking gas tax revenues so that we can do more to fix Michigan’s pothole-plagued local roads.

In the News

Joel Pett – Tribune Content Agency

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The WØRD – “Memories”

Click here for the full video President Biden’s State of the Union Address

From the chair

“Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”
                                  — Ronald Reagan (10-28-1980)

One thing some politicians rely on during their campaigns: how time weakens our memory. It’s a tactic that Donald Trump’s campaign is using: hoping Americans don’t remember just how bad things were four years ago. 

Do Americans Have a ‘Collective Amnesia’ About Donald Trump? – The New York Times

For the first half of his term, Trump rode the wave of the 8-year Obama economic recovery. But by the end of Trump’s turn, that wave quickly disappeared thanks to his bungled non-response to the COVID pandemic. Let’s go back four years and revisit the reality Donald Trump would have us forget:

March, 2020
Unemployment was at 4.4 percent. But a month later, it was a staggering 14.8 percent. By the time Trump left office, his four-year record was the loss of 3-million jobs: the worst jobs number for a President since Herbert Hoover. This week, the monthly jobs report showed another 275,000 Americans were employed. Unemployment has been under 4 percent for a record 39 months … dating back to the beginning of the Biden administration.

March, 2020
A total of 80 U.S. cases of COVID had been reported. At the White House, Trump told Bob Woodward in private that he knew COVID was extremely deadly and highly contagious. 

But he told the nation that his administration had it under control, and that the virus would disappear in a matter of weeks. His administration offered nothing but happy-talk.

Nearly 1,200,000 Americans have died from COVID. And our economy began to shut down from the pandemic. Hospitals in many cities, including Detroit and Lansing, were jammed to capacity by COVID cases.  We had nationwide shortages of personal protective equipment: N95 masks, respirators, protective clothing and even exam gloves. Worldwide supply chains were disrupted, setting the stage for a logjam in the supply chain that would disrupt our economy for three years.

To his credit, Trump pushed the development of the first COVID vaccines…but he didn’t put in place a plan for getting the vaccine to the people.

Joe Biden came into office with the goal of getting 100-million Americans vaccinated within 100 days. They did it in 58 days. Nearly half the U.S. population was vaccinated within the first 6 months. It was the beginning of the end of the pandemic. COVID no longer threatened to shut down America.

March 2020
In world affairs, Trump had already seriously damaged our standing in the world. U.N. delegates literally laughed at him during his 2018 speech to the General Assembly. NATO was on the verge of falling apart due to Trump’s open hostility to the alliance that had kept the peace in Europe for 60 years. And Trump’s open admiration for autocrats – Putin, China’s Xi, Hungary’s Victor Orban (a guest at Mar-A-Lago just this week), Turkey’s Racip Ergogan and North Korea’s Kim Jung Un – was a slap in the face to democracies across the world.

Today, the NATO alliance has been strengthened by the addition of Sweden and Finland: two nations sharing a border with Putin’s Russia. NATO is united in its support for Ukraine, with every nation contributing to the war against Putin’s aggression. World leaders once again respect our nation and its leader.

So: in answer to Reagan’s question, the answer is
Yes! Under the leadership of Joe Biden, this nation is far better off now than it was 4 years ago.

Trump will do his best to make us think otherwise, but he has no choice. He was a disaster as President, and his return to office would be devastating.

The State of the Union

President Biden’s State of the Union address. It was superb, putting to rest the baseless Republican assault on the President’s capability to continue as one of the most effective Presidents in U.S. history. Ironically it came in the same week that featured some Donald Trump speeches where his sentences evolved into incoherent babbling, raising serious questions about his mental state.

It wasn’t just President Biden’s strong presentation. It was also his vision for America: virtually limitless possibilities for the nation. That was a stark contract to his predecessor’s continuing tearing down of our nation, calling it weak, unrespected and even “failing.” President Biden laid out a strong agenda for improving the lives of all Americans, building on the tremendous successes of his first 3 years.

In the after-speech commentary, I was struck by one analyst who said on Bill Maher’s “Real Time” show that President Biden focused on the long term: a commitment to leave a better country and better world for our children and grandchildren, rather than focusing on short-term politically driven policies. Signature Biden successes including support for U.S. manufacturing of computer chips, infrastructure investments and attacking climate change aren’t proposals designed as instant-gratification laws. They are laws that set the stage for world leadership for the next 50 years or more.
I was also deeply disappointed — but not surprised– by the aura of Republican incivility and downright rudeness during the speech that seems to get worse every year. We remember our shock when Congressman Joe Wilson shouted out “you lie” at Barack Obama during the State of the Union. Now, outbursts like that are seemingly a regular feature of Republican congressional behavior. The heckling from the likes of Marjorie Taylor Green are an embarrassment.
And it’s gotten so bad the Speaker of the House couldn’t even find it in himself to applaud when President Biden said there was no role for violence in politics, or that United States would not bow down to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. When did those become partisan issues?

Unfortunately, Donald Trump’s crude and rude behavior seems to have become the norm for many elected Republicans.

Joining the podcast this week is the chair of the state House Education Committee, Representative Matt Koleszar who is leading a deep-dive into ways to make our schools safer.

Representative Koleszar is serving his third term representing Michigan’s 22nd House District, which includes the cities of Northville and Plymouth, most of Northville and Plymouth Townships, and a portion of Livonia.

Prior to his election, Koleszar worked as a teacher and coach in the Airport Community School District and president of the Airport Education Association in Carleton. He received an undergraduate degree from Saginaw Valley State University before attending Eastern Michigan University, where he received a master’s degree in english studies.

Koleszar is committed to securing adequate funding for Michigan’s schools, finding effective solutions to fix the roads, and increasing access to and quality of healthcare in the state.

“For You” – Biden/Harris Campaign

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Political insights from Kalamazoo’s Jordan Klepper…

The WØRD – “Chaos”

Find out how you can become a Michigan Messenger!
This week’s guest: Michigan’s senior Senator, Debbie Stabenow.

From the chair

Chaos

It’s the ongoing story of Republicans running to succeed Debbie Stabenow in the United States Senate. Their story got even more muddled this week with the announcement by ultra-right-wing former Congressman Justin Amash that he was joining the circular firing squad. Michigan Republicans’ brutal infighting is getting nastier by the day. Their caustic showdown will leave them with a badly damaged nominee who is out of touch with Michigan families. Amash has an extensive record of leaving Michiganders behind: supporting dangerous abortion bans, vowing to gut health care access, and backing the 2017 tax giveaway to the wealthy and large corporations.

In the meantime, the other Senate wannabes focused on slamming each other:

Grab your popcorn and pull up a chair. When millionaires Pensler, Rogers and Meijer start spending their vast personal funds you can count on the political bloodbath moving to your television.

All of this stands in stark contrast to the long history of our guest on this week’s podcast. Debbie Stabenow has always run on a forward-thinking platform of progress for Michigan, and the voters have endorsed that approach to campaigns time after time. Senator Stabenow symbolizes the very best in public service. Beginning as an Ingham County Commissioner, she has served the people of Michigan for nearly 50 years: state representative, state senator, Congresswoman and, for the last 23 years as our United States Senator.

In the News

VIDEO – President Biden calls out Trump for sabotaging the bipartisan border protection bill, and challenges him to work together on fixing the crisis.

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The WØRD – “Teamwork”

From the chair

My special guest this week: DNC Chair Jaime Harrison

It’s no secret that the Republican Party is in turmoil these days. The state party has a civil war underway with competing factions fighting for control. The national party is undergoing a leadership purge as Donald Trump transforms the RNC into another one of his companies. He is installing his daughter-in-law as co-chair, and she’s already made it clear the RNC has two missions: return the family to the Oval Office, and pay Trump’s legal bills.

Ann Telnaes – Washington Post

Democrats are united. Yes, we will work tirelessly to reelect Joe Biden. But we are working just as hard on races all the way down the ballot. Michigan is a purple state, and it is going to be a battle to maintain the gains we’ve made in the last few years.

We have an ally at the top. The Democratic National Committee is 100% behind us. Joining me on a special episode of this podcast this week is my friend and leader, Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison.

 

In the News

Michigan Policy and Politics

Trump/Republican Outrages

Pia Guerra – Washington Post

National Policy

The WØRD – “Vote!”

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson celebrates the first day of early voting in the presidential primary, casting her ballot on Saturday.

From the Chair

Early voting is underway in Michigan’s presidential primary.

A vote for any other presidential candidate or a vote as “uncommitted” does not help our cause against Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans. Trump and MAGA Republicans are a danger to our democracy and the health of our nation. Trump and MAGA Republicans are looking to undermine our democracy, remove gun safety measures, stall our nation’s economic progress, enact a national abortion ban, and much more. President Biden and our vision of unity must be at the forefront, and that begins with a united effort to support President Biden in the primary.

The nine-day early voting period, culminating with the election on February 27, is a result of one of the 142 new laws passed in 2023 by our Democratic Legislature that went into effect last Tuesday. The delay was thanks to ongoing Republican foot-dragging. The state constitution says a law can only go into effect immediately if it gets a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate. Republicans decided to delay the inevitable on all of those laws by denying the two-thirds immediate effect vote.

Regardless, the early voting law is part of a package of bills enacted by the Legislature to make it easier for Michigan citizens to exercise their right to vote. Other new election laws include secure drop boxes, electronic tracking and streamlined absentee ballot processes, including a permanent mail voter list. Another new law directs the state to automatically register people who are leaving incarceration to vote. Effective June 2025, this landmark legislation restores voting rights for historically disenfranchised people.

Against a backdrop of historical disenfranchisement, Democrats stand as fervent advocates for voting rights, and will continue working to strengthen voting rights and accessibility for all Michiganders, especially Black voters.

Election officials across Michigan have faced threats of violence since the 2020 election, hindering efforts to fully staff elections. A new law protects poll workers against intimidation and threats, ensuring a safe environment for election workers, and another makes it a felony to prevent an elected official from performing their official duties in conducting an election.

House Democrats have solidified Michigan’s commitment to accessible and secure elections with key bills reflecting ongoing efforts to strengthen the state’s democracy. The measures increase access to voting, safeguard the democratic rights of Michiganders and affirm Michigan as a place where every voice matters.
And best of all: Michigan’s chief elections officer is the nation’s best Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson. She is one of the nation’s leading experts on election law and literally wrote the book on running state elections. “State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process”  looks into their pivotal role in the promotion of a healthy democracy. The book provides the first in-depth study of the Secretary’s role in registering voters, enforcing voting laws and regulations, overseeing elections, and certifying results.

In the wake of these monumental legislative victories, Michigan stands poised for a new era of empowered voters and strengthened democratic values. The dedication of our lawmakers has made it easier for every voice to be heard at the ballot box.

State Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Washtenaw County)

While the 2023 legislative session was a record-setter for passing important laws, there is more to be done. One important effort will be expanding on the state’s contribution to fighting climate change. We’re joined on the podcast by Washtenaw County state Senator Jeff Irwin, a key leader on climate change.

Senator Irwin is a fearless advocate for the environment, public education, and criminal justice reform, among other areas. He is serving his second term in the Michigan Senate.

Since 2018, Senator Irwin has introduced legislation tightening regulations against polluters and ensuring our schools are properly screening students for dyslexia — and getting them the help they need. He has worked to allow more juvenile offenders to seal their records, expunge all cannabis-related offenses, ban PFAS in food packaging and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Irwin has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan and lives in Washtenaw County. He represented the City of Ann Arbor in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017.

A new ad from the Biden-Harfris campaign focuses on how Donald Trump has become Vladimir Putin’s proxy in the United States: calls for abandoning our allies, encouraging Putin’s Russia to invade any NATO members that don’t meet Trump’s standards.

In the News

How to vote and when to do it: A Michigan primary primer – mlive.com

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Trump, the Crimes and the Courts

National News on Policy and Politics

The WØRD – “Governing”

From the Chair

Congressional Republicans proved this week that they are bad … very bad … at governing. When it comes to passing bills, sometimes they can’t even take ‘yes’ an answer.

Case in point: the border crisis. There’s no question that there is a law enforcement and humanitarian crisis on the border. Instead of working to solve the problem, Republicans are doing everything they can to weaponize the issue because they’ve got little else to use in their campaigns.

They don’t want to actually solve the border crisis. They just want to complain about it.

They had a bill negotiated by the very conservative Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma. It was, by all accounts, a win for conservatives with just about everything they wanted in border protection. But Donald Trump said “no. I don’t want a solution. I want an issue to use against Joe Biden.”

So Republicans tanked a bill that gave them exactly what they wanted. They were afraid that a law helping solve the border crisis would help Joe Biden politically.

It comes as no surprise. In 2023 fewer than 3-dozen new laws were enacted as House Republicans devoted most of their time to Fox News inspired investigations, posturing, promoting bizarre conspiracy theories and repeatedly changing leaders (until they finally settled on letting Donald Trump call all the shots).

Here in Michigan, Democrats have proven they are very capable of governing. On Tuesday dozens of new laws will go into effect. They are laws passed in 2023 despite unified Republican opposition, laws that improve life for every Michigan citizen with tax cuts, affirming reproductive rights, strengthening voter rights, improving support for education, fixing our roads, and so much more.

Our guest this week: Macomb County Prosecutirg Attorney candidate Christina Hines. She has devoted her legal career to public service. Right out of law school she became an assistant prosecutor in Wayne County, followed by service as the Chief of the Appeals Division at the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office, and Chief of the Special Victims Unit Division. She was raised in Warren, a graduate of Warren Woods Tower High School, and then the University of Michigan and Wayne State University law school where she now serves as an adjunct professor of law.

Among those new laws: a series of gun safety measures that will help reduce the epidemic of gun violence in Michigan. Ironically these laws will become effective exactly one year after the horrific mass shooting at Michigan State University. Had these laws been in effect back then, the carnage on campus might have been averted. 

You can learn more about the new statutes on the Michigan House Democrats’ website.

Also on this week’s podcast:

  • My thoughts on the outrageous social media posts about the “Great Replacement” theory by Republican Representative Josh Schriver
  • Our focus on building the party at the local level, including an interview with Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney Candidate Christina Hines
  • The importance of voting in the February 27 Presidential Primary
  • Three new Trump outrages: his willingness to let Putin invade our NATO allies, his profound disrespect for active duty military, and the political hit job by a Republican special prosecutor.
How MSU will observe the anniversary of the February 13 mass shooting.

In the News

January 2024 Jobs Report: Hiring Surges, Wages Rise – J.P. Morgan

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The WØRD – “Jobs”

President Biden meets with autoworkers in Macomb County. Click HERE for the full video.

From the Chair

President Biden was back in Michigan on Thursday, meeting with auto workers in Macomb County, emphasizing his economic philosophy: growing the economy from the middle out. It was another demonstration that President Biden, the most pro-union, pro-worker president in history, has the backs of Michigan workers. Throughout his entire presidency, President Biden has delivered for Michigan workers – bringing jobs and manufacturing back to our state and ensuring that we are growing the middle class while leading in the global economy. Donald Trump, on the other hand, will say anything to try to rewrite his record of abandoning Michigan workers and creating incentives to ship jobs overseas, because he is part of the billionaire class and sees the world from Park Avenue instead of an assembly plant floor.

The President’s appearance came just a day before release of the latest jobs figures, which showed another 353,000 jobs added to our economy…along with an upward revision of November and December job gains by 126,000 jobs. The January gains were roughly double economists’ predictions of 177,000, underscoring how the labor market is propelling the economy forward and firmly out of recession territory. The unemployment rate stayed at 3.7 percent – 75 percent lower than the peak during the Trump years.

Average hourly wage growth accelerated sharply in January, rising by six-tenths of a percent, to $34.55 an hour, in part because higher paying industries boosted their payrolls. Over the past 12 months, hourly wages have risen by 4.5 percent, raising workers’ standard of living, especially the lowest earners.

While the Biden administration continues to focus on what is the world’s strongest economy, the other side seems obsessed with a pop star and a football player. Their latest fixation: crazy conspiracy theories about Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce, the Super Bowl and the possibility that the pair will be endorsing President Biden’s re-election.

Republicans love having the open support of B list celebrities like Ted Nugent, Kid Rock and Jon Voight, but are appalled (and probably terrified) that the most popular entertainer on the planet might also have a political opinion. When it comes to issues that impact the lives of average Americans, Republicans seem to have little to offer. And on those rare occasions when they tell us their agenda, it is downright frightening. I highlight one of those proposals at the end of the podcast in my weekly “Trump Outrage” segment.

7th District congressional candidate Curtis Hertel, Jr.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has released its first list of priority contests, targeting 17 districts that either have Republicans in seats carried by Joe Biden in 2020, or are competitive open seats. One of those priority seats is Michigan’s 7th district, where Curtis Hertel is campaigning to succeed Elissa Slotkin as she campaigns for the U.S. Senate. Senator Hertel joins us on this week’s podcast.

As Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Director of Legislative Affairs, he led the state through passing bipartisan legislation that cut taxes for seniors and working families, expanded workers’ rights, and won additional new investments in advanced manufacturing that are already bringing good-paying jobs to Mid-Michigan and across the state. He was also instrumental in passing legislation that repealed the archaic 1931 law that banned abortion in Michigan, even in cases of rape and incest.

In the legislature, Hertel led the fight to preserve Michigan’s status as the world leader in auto manufacturing and bring thousands of next-generation electric vehicle jobs to Mid-Michigan by working with Democrats and Republicans to help pass the legislation that won GM’s $6.5 billion investment in the Delta and Orion Township battery cell and electric vehicle plants.

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Michigan

“Taylorgate”

Trump Crimes-and-Courts Watch

National

The WØRD – “Comeback”

 

Governor Whitmer, flanked by Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks and Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist, delivers her State of the State message.

From the Chair

This was a good week for Michigan and the nation. For President Biden, an excellent week on two fronts:

First, a boisterous and enthusiastic endorsement from the United Auto Workers and its amazing president, Shawn Fain.

President Biden joined striking Michigan UAW members, while Trump chose to speak at a non-union auto supplier.

And, much to the consternation of Republicans, the economy continued to show that Bidenomics is working. The nation’s gross domestic product — the broadest measure of economic activity — grew at an annual pace of 3.3% in October, November, and December, according to a report Thursday from the Commerce Department.

It was a fitting end to a year of robust economic growth, defying projections that rising interest rates would tip the economy into recession. And it’s no surprise that Donald Trump immediately claimed that the numbers were fake, adding to his massive list of outrageous lies.

Michigan’s economic comeback got a boost from Governor Whitmer, who followed up 2023’s amazing legislative record with additional proposals to continue to restore Michigan’s economic dominance … an address focused on expanding educational opportunities, lowering the cost of living, responding to the crisis in affordable housing and continuing her efforts to Fix the Damn Roads.

We have expanded highlights from the Governor’s State of the State message on this podcast. For the full text of her speech, click HERE. To watch the speech, click HERE.


This week’s Trump Outrage: Trump’s efforts to derail immigration reform.

Matt Davis – Newsday

There’s no question that we have a big problem on our southern border, in large part because the law and the enforcement budget are woefully inadequate. There have been productive bipartisan talks that are closing in on a compromise solution which would strengthen border security … but Donald Trump is actively working to sabotage the compromise. Why? If there is progress on border enforcement, he will lose immigration as his top issue. Donald Trump is worried more about his own campaign than in what’s best for the nation.

Outrageous … but totally consistent with Trump’s priorities. It’s all about what’s best for him, not what’s best for the nation.


In the News

The U.S. economy boomed in 2023, thanks to consumers opening up wallets – The Washington Post
The latest GDP data shows an economy that continues to soar – NPR
GDP report: U.S. economy defies recession amid inflation cooldown – Axios
US economic growth ends 2023 with surprising strength – The Guardian

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Trump’s War on Americans

National Politics and Policy

The WØRD – “Truth”

From the Chair

Truth is an endangered species as the 2024 presidential campaign unfolds thanks, in large part, to Donald Trump. His campaign to return to the White House is based on lies, beginning with The Big Lie: that the 2020 election was stolen. Despite more than 60 court rulings and a total lack of evidence, a majority of Republicans believe the Big Lie. An NBC News entrance poll found a resounding 90% of Trump voters in Iowa didn’t believe Biden legitimately won in 2020.

The lying extends to just about everything else Trump says. He lied about Nikki Haley’s record as South Carolina Governor, and Ron DeSantis’ record in Florida. There’s no doubt he will continue to make up total untruths about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. 

He’s already started, claiming the economy was soaring during his Presidency and is now in shambles when, in fact, just the opposite is true.

Trump inherited the Obama economy and took it down the drain. He was the first President since Herbert Hoover to leave office with fewer jobs than when he was inaugurated. He left office with thousands dying weekly from the Covid pandemic, in part due to massive inaction by his administration to protect the American people from the once-in-a-century health emergency. And he added a staggering $9-TRILLION to the national debt, the largest percentage increase in U.S. history. 

He calls President Biden a crook when it’s Trump who’s facing 91 felony charges, and it’s Trump whose administration has seen dozens of his closest advisers convicted or facing trial on criminal charges, and hundreds of his supporters jailed for the January 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol.

Calling Trump a liar may seem extreme to some, but it’s a fact that two separate courts in New York have found him guilty of being a liar — and it’s going to cost him hundreds of millions. 

In one courtroom, he’s been found guilty of lying on financial documents and faces fines of more than a quarter-of-a-billion dollars. In another courtroom, he’s been found guilty of lying when he denied raping E. Jean Carroll. He’s already been ordered to pay her $5-million for those lies, and faces another more-expensive judgment because he refuses to stop lying about her.

Make no mistake: his lies have power, especially when they are amplified by his media allies at Fox, The Daily Caller, Breitbart and right-wing talk radio. As Winston Churchill famously noted: A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. It was true when he said it, and even more true in the age of the internet and social media.

Trump learned an important lesson from the first leader of Communist Russia –  Vladimir Lenin – who said A lie told often enough becomes the truth. He repeats his core lies about 2020, about the economy, about his opponents and even about his own mental capabilities time after time after time … and his MAGA true believers accept the lies as truth.

Our challenge will be to counteract the lies with the truth about Joe Biden and the successes of his presidency. It will take discipline and persistence. 

Monday marks the 51st anniversary of Roe v Wade – the Supreme Court ruling that, for nearly a half-century, recognized the right of women to control their own healthcare. In response to the Dobbs decision voters in Michigan, Kansas, Ohio and Kentucky have already let their voices be heard in support of the rights taken away by the Trump Supreme Court.

On Friday, Governor Whitmer and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz hosted a national media teleconference on Roe, the Dobbs decision overturning Roe, and the implications for 2024. This week’s podcast shares their comments.


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Top Stories of the Week

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The WØRD – “Corruption”

From the Chair

Corruption.

As we approach the 2024 election, it seems to be the one constant in far too many campaigns – with most of the scandals involving Republicans.

All the news coverage over Donald Trump’s four criminal cases have virtually erased public awareness of a long history of his financial corruption, some dating back decades, that would in more normal times destroy a political candidate. The list is seemingly endless:

  • The well-documented tax scams his father Fred Trump used decades ago to transfer his wealth – more than $400-million – to his son Donald, which were finally revealed after a Pulitizer Prize winning investigation by the New York Times
  • Trump’s current civil trial which wraps up this week, on years of using fraudulent financial statements to bamboozle banks and insurance companies
  • His criminal trial on using tax-deductible corporate money to pay hush money to Stormy Daniels
  • The more than $7-million spent with Trump-owned companies by foreign governments, primarily China and Saudi Arabia, in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution … and that’s just during the first two years of his presidency, and at just 4 of his properties.
  • Millions more paid by taxpayers to Trump companies in the form of hotel and golfing expenses billed to the Secret Service for hotel rooms, meals and even golf carts (all at Trump-owned properties) during his almost weekly golfing junkets.
  • $2-billion, plus an annual $25-million payment, funneled to Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner just days after Kushner left Trump’s White House staff
  • Forbes magazine reported that the Chinese government granted a total of 41 trademarks to companies linked to Ivanka Trump by April of 2019. The trademarks she applied for after her father became president, according to Forbes, got approved about 40% faster than those she requested before Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election.
  • And Trump donors have been paying Trump’s travel bills as he campaigns and shows up in court – with payments going to Trump’s company which manages his private Boeing 757. He makes a profit every time he travels.

And there’s lots more.

It’s not just Trump. There are the millions lavished on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and the many credit-card and campaign fund frauds of George Santos. Democrats are not totally immune: the bribery charges against New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez and his wife are, if true, just as reprehensible.

In Michigan, the story is almost as bad.

  • One former Speaker of the House is in prison after pleading guilty to bribery charges.
  • Two aides to former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield are charged with pocketing $525,000 from political nonprofits.
  • Their former boss is under criminal investigation, as is another former House Speaker and one of his key staff members.
  • Former northern Michigan Representative Larry Inman is on trial in Grand Rapids this week accused of attempted extortion and soliciting a bribe.
  • Also under investigation: two former Senate Majority Leaders for alleged misuse of secret campaign funds. 

The common denominator in all of this: so-called dark money. In this week’s podcast we hear from Attorney General Dana Nessel who has been at the forefront of investigating and prosecuting public corruption.

Dana Nessel is The Peoples’ Attorney. A former criminal prosecutor and civil rights attorney, Michigan’s 54th Attorney General is in her second term after winning reelection in 2022.  Her core initiatives have been fashioned in the image of her promise to Michigan’s residents — to give the Department of Attorney General back to the people that it serves.

A graduate of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University Law School, Attorney General Nessel lives in southeast Michigan with her wife and twin sons.

Trump Outrages of the Week

We’re initiating a new segment to our weekly podcast: the Trump Outrage of the Week. It’s hard to keep up with all the horrendous things he says and does, but we’ll try. In just this week: four outrages.

  1. His efforts to white-wash the January 6th insurrection by calling the hundreds who have been convicted or plead guilty by calling them hostages. They aren’t hostages. They are criminals.
  2. Resurrecting his race-based lies about his political opponents’ right to run based on the circumstances of their birth. Barack Obama. Ted Cruz. Kamala Harris. All of the, he claimed, didn’t meet the “natural born citizen” requirement in the Constitution.. Now, he’s saying the same thing about Nikki Haley. In every case, he’s lying.
  3. In a campaign speech, Trump said he was hoping for a recession in 2024 because a 2025 recession would make him look bad. It’s reminiscent of the early days of COVID. He didn’t want a COVID-infected cruise ship to dock in the U.S. because the increase in COVID cases would make him look bad. In both cases, his concern was his image and not protecting the American people.
  4. The most outrageous Trump moment of the week: the claim made by his attorneys in federal court that, as President, he had the right to break criminal laws – even to order a political assassination – not face criminal prosecution after leaving office: literally, he had a license to kill.


In This Week’s News

Michigan Policy

Michigan Politics

Is There a Republican Party in Michigan Right Now?” – MSNBC

 

National Politics and Policy