Progress Michigan http://www.progressmichigan.org No corporate money. Just uncompromised progressive politics for Michigan. Fri, 21 Nov 2014 01:27:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Progress Michigan Applauds President Obama’s Immigration Action http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/progress-michigan-applauds-president-obamas-immigration-action/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/progress-michigan-applauds-president-obamas-immigration-action/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 01:27:32 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37600 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE News from Progress Michigan  November 20, 2014 Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574, sam@progressmichigan.org Progress Michigan Applauds President Obama’s Immigration Action Executive action announcement small step toward comprehensive immigration reform MICHIGAN — Progress Michigan released the following statement regarding President Barack Obama’s announcement regarding executive action on immigration. “While the President’s actions won’t completely fix our […]

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Progress Michigan 

November 20, 2014

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574sam@progressmichigan.org

Progress Michigan Applauds President Obama’s Immigration Action

Executive action announcement small step toward comprehensive immigration reform

MICHIGAN — Progress Michigan released the following statement regarding President Barack Obama’s announcement regarding executive action on immigration.

“While the President’s actions won’t completely fix our broken immigration system, this step will help keep families together and build stronger Michigan communities,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “The President’s plan gives a new level of hope to individuals and families who have been living in constant fear and uncertainty. Michigan can only reach its full potential when every Michigander feels safe and welcomed, which is what we fight for every day at Progress Michigan. We applaud the President’s decision to act and we urge Congress to follow the President’s lead on the issue and pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

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This Week in Progress http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/week-progress-29/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/week-progress-29/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 21:38:52 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37590 Lame Duck has begun…hold on! This Week in PM Blogging: Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management Not everyone is lauding the Plan of Adjustment that ended Detroit’s bankruptcy. Apathy is a Dangerous Course Last Tuesday’s election marked Michigan’s worst midterm voter turnout in 24 years. Exclusive Inclusivity LGB? Something is missing here… Conservative legislators introduced a bill […]

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Lame Duck has begun…hold on!

This Week in PM Blogging:

Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management

Not everyone is lauding the Plan of Adjustment that ended Detroit’s bankruptcy.

Apathy is a Dangerous Course

Last Tuesday’s election marked Michigan’s worst midterm voter turnout in 24 years.

Exclusive Inclusivity

LGB? Something is missing here…

Conservative legislators introduced a bill this week that would add language to the Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act that leaves out the transgender community completely.

The Dismantling of Detroit

Detroit’s Plan of Adjustment bodes well for the financial elite but Detroit citizens are getting a raw deal.

TWIP Clips:

Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act Amendment

This week, an amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act was introduced that doesn’t protect transgender people from discrimination. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which allows the use of religion to justify discrimination, was also introduced.

Progressive Reads

Michigan Advocates Push for Paid Sick Day Legislation

“Advocacy groups for low-wage earners held a news conference at the Michigan Capitol on Thursday. It was designed to be a launching point for the organizations to organize around the issue in the next two-year legislative session that starts in January.”

US, China Unveil Ambitious Climate Change Goals

“This is, in my view, the most important bilateral climate announcement ever.”

“I Could Krushchev You”: 9 Shocking Allegations From the Don Blankenship Indictment

“But the 43-page indictment tells a different story—in which Massey employees devised secret codes to thwart safety inspectors, and workers risked drowning while laboring in flooded mines that lacked even the minimum safety precautions.”

 

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The Dismantling of Detroit http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/dismantling-detroit/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/dismantling-detroit/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 20:05:33 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37584 By Matthew Kovac While politicians and CEOs celebrate the approval of Detroit’s Plan of Adjustment, and the mainstream media parrots their line to the public, the real story of the bankruptcy deal has yet to be written. The court proceedings may be over, but the harm inflicted by the city’s austerity and privatization measures is […]

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By Matthew Kovac

While politicians and CEOs celebrate the approval of Detroit’s Plan of Adjustment, and the mainstream media parrots their line to the public, the real story of the bankruptcy deal has yet to be written. The court proceedings may be over, but the harm inflicted by the city’s austerity and privatization measures is only beginning.

It’s worth remembering that the bankruptcy, triggered by decades of legislators taking money intended for city residents to fill holes in the state budget, was not inevitable. It was a pre-determined policy decision. As the Metro Times reported: “Documents later surfaced showing [law firm] Jones Day was already preparing documents related to a Detroit bankruptcy even as Gov. Snyder was saying it was only a last resort.” The declaration of financial emergency allowed the administration to appoint an unelected, unaccountable official empowered to carry out its pro-corporate agenda.

The origin of this story is critical to understanding what’s happening now in Detroit, which can only be described as a massive transfer of public wealth into private hands. As activists with Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management recently wrote: “In order to buy off financial speculators like Syncora or FGIC, the city has been forced to cede valuable riverfront property, downtown land, garages, and, of course, cold cash.” That’s to say nothing of the cool $200 million in legal and consulting fees that the plan’s architects stand to make on their way out the door.

The irony here is that Detroit is indeed rising – but not in the way that jovial elites imagine. As the austerity regime continues to tighten its grip on workers by cutting pensions, ramping up foreclosures, and shutting off water to low-income residents, community organizations like D-REM and the People’s Water Board are stepping up their activism.

Not that public opinion will matter much to the numerous boards and commissions charged with overseeing the city for the foreseeable future. Indeed, despite the public outcry, one press report stated that “no significant critics” of the bankruptcy plan were left by October. It’s a telling reminder of how far removed Detroit is from democracy. Under technocratic rule, it’s the opinions of the financial elite – not Detroiters – that count.

It’s reminiscent of that old Bertolt Brecht line: “Would it not be easier/In that case for the government/To dissolve the people/And elect another?” But even that’s too generous. After all, in Gov. Snyder’s Michigan, such authorities aren’t elected – they’re appointed.

 

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Progress Michigan Responds to Jase Bolger’s Attempt to Codify Religious Discrimination Into Michigan Law http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/progress-michigan-responds-jase-bolgers-attempt-codify-religious-discrimination-michigan-law/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/progress-michigan-responds-jase-bolgers-attempt-codify-religious-discrimination-michigan-law/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 21:54:06 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37578 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE News from Progress Michigan November 12, 2014 Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574, sam@progressmichigan.org Progress Michigan Responds to Jase Bolger’s Attempt to Codify Religious Discrimination Into Michigan Law LANSING — Progress Michigan released the following statement on the news that an amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act has been introduced that doesn’t protect transgender people, […]

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
News from Progress Michigan

November 12, 2014

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574sam@progressmichigan.org

Progress Michigan Responds to Jase Bolger’s Attempt to Codify Religious Discrimination Into Michigan Law

LANSING — Progress Michigan released the following statement on the news that an amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act has been introduced that doesn’t protect transgender people, along with a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) bill, which allows the use of religion to justify discrimination.

GOP Rep. Frank Foster introduced the Elliott-Larsen Civil Right Act amendment and GOP House Speaker Jase Bolger plans to introduce the RFRA bill.

“By pushing for this type of legislation, Jase Bolger is endorsing the use of religion to discriminate, which obstructs the LGBT community in their struggle for equal rights,” said Hugh Madden, communications director for Progress Michigan. “Bolger is trying to redefine religious freedom to allow one’s religion to be imposed on others. Our nation was founded by those who fled the type of religious persecution that Jase Bolger wants codified into Michigan law.”

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Exclusive Inclusivity  http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/exclusive-inclusivity/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/exclusive-inclusivity/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 21:27:23 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37572 Today, conservative state legislators introduced a bill to amend the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act that leaves out the transgender community completely.  This is happening despite the fact that discrimination against transgender people is often more severe than that experienced by lesbian, gay and bisexual people. In the first four months of 2014, over 100 acts […]

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Today, conservative state legislators introduced a bill to amend the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act that leaves out the transgender community completely

This is happening despite the fact that discrimination against transgender people is often more severe than that experienced by lesbian, gay and bisexual people. In the first four months of 2014, over 100 acts of violence against transgender people have been reported. An 8-year-old boy was beaten to death by his father, two 16-year-olds were shot to death, and an 18-year-old suffered two violent attacks by a mob and survived, to name a few.

In June of this year, three young trans women – Kandy Hall, Yaz’min Shancez, and Tiffany Edwards – were murdered for no apparent reason other than because they were transgender.

On top of that, transgender people face a range of legal issues that LGB people rarely do: sex-segregated public restrooms and other facilities, dress codes that perpetuate traditional gender norms, and barriers to accessing appropriate health care.

This is the reality of life for transgender people in our country. 

2014 is becoming a year where the “T” in LGBTQ is beginning to get the national respect and admiration that has been long overdue. Transgender women like Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Carmen Carerra, and CeCe McDonald are paving the way in the fight to end transgender discrimination by publicly telling their stories and speaking out against injustices facing the trans community.

At the same time, transgender people in Michigan and across the country can still be denied housing, jobs, and healthcare simply because of their gender identity.

If conservative legislators cared at all about making Michigan an “inclusive” state, they wouldn’t introduce a bill that denies transgender people the same protections afforded to everyone else. 

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Tweet of the Day, every day http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/totd/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/totd/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 20:42:35 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37556 OK, you got us: not every day. But every weekday, we’ll be updating this thread with the most interesting, relevant, and entertaining Tweet of the Day. View archived Tweets of the Day here. The best part? We’re accepting nominations and you can join the fun! All you have to do is tag your Tweet with the hashtag […]

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OK, you got us: not every day. But every weekday, we’ll be updating this thread with the most interesting, relevant, and entertaining Tweet of the DayView archived Tweets of the Day here.

The best part? We’re accepting nominations and you can join the fun! All you have to do is tag your Tweet with the hashtag #MITOTD and we’ll include it our mix of potential Tweets of the Day.

The prize? Pride. Notoriety. Respect.

Of course, we’ll also be perusing the Twitterverse for our favorite Tweets without the #MITOTD hashtag, so not including it doesn’t prevent one from being selected.

We’ll update the Tweet of the Day every weekday at 3:30 PM with an attendant Tweet and Facebook post letting folks know. We’ve included the first one with an explainer below, so enjoy and share this blog with your friends.

The #MITOTD for November 20, 2014:

The #MITOTD for November 19, 2014:

The #MITOTD for November 18, 2014:

The #MITOTD for November 17, 2014:

The #MITOTD for November 14, 2014:

The #MITOTD for November 13, 2014:

The #MITOTD for November 12, 2014:

The #MITOTD for November 11, 2014:

The #MITOTD for November 10, 2014:

The #MITOTD for November 7, 2014:

The #MITOTD for November 6, 2014:

The #MITOTD for November 4, 2014:

The #MITOTD for November 3, 2014:

The #MITOTD for October 31, 2014:

The #MITOTD for October 30, 2014:

The #MITOTD for October 29, 2014:

The #MITOTD for October 28, 2014:

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Apathy is a Dangerous Course http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/apathy-dangerous-course/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/apathy-dangerous-course/#comments Tue, 11 Nov 2014 16:22:44 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37549 By Brad O’Neil In the era of Citizens United and a gutted Voting Rights Act where corporations are people, money is speech, and legislators making it harder for people to vote are the new norm, voting is more important today than it ever has been. Apparently, Michiganders don’t agree. Michigan’s voter turnout last Tuesday was […]

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By Brad O’Neil

In the era of Citizens United and a gutted Voting Rights Act where corporations are people, money is speech, and legislators making it harder for people to vote are the new norm, voting is more important today than it ever has been.

Apparently, Michiganders don’t agree. Michigan’s voter turnout last Tuesday was the lowest it’s been in 24 years, just 41.6 percent. It was even worse nationally – 36.6 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot. That figure is forecasted to be the lowest national turnout since 1942, when many Americans couldn’t vote because they were fighting in a world war.

The question is, why didn’t people find it important to vote?

Some say they’re tired of both parties. Others simply claim that the system doesn’t work for them and they don’t see the purpose of participating. I understand those frustrations and I feel them myself, but forfeiting the right to vote can’t be a viable option. Our democratic system of government was designed for a citizenry that actually participates and if everyone voted in this country, things would look very different.

A silver lining can be found in state ballot measures. On issues ranging from women’s reproductive rights in Colorado and North Dakota to criminal background checks for gun purchases in Washington State, measures that were opposed by the same conservative candidates who were elected, passed by wide margins. Even initiatives to increase the minimum wage in the red states of Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota were all approved by voters.

When asked to voice their opinion on policy, the electorate has shown a willingness to educate themselves and vote with common sense and compassion. When asked to vote for politicians, they tune out.

Last week, I wrote that elections have consequences; we’re already starting to see them. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the incoming U.S. Senate Majority Leader, said that his top priority is rolling back Environmental Protection Agency regulations, including the implementation of new safeguards for coal-fired power plants that clean up our air. Sen. James Inhofe, a climate change denier who wrote a book titled “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future” is in line to be the next Chairman of the Environmental and Public Works Committee when the GOP takes control of the Senate in a few months.

The political gridlock may be maddening, but the less engaged we are the worse it will become. Elections don’t operate in silos. Their effects are cumulative and if there’s anything to be learned from Tuesday’s results it’s that apathy is a dangerous course.

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Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management Statement on the Plan of Adjustment http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/detroiters-resisting-emergency-management-statement-plan-adjustment/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/detroiters-resisting-emergency-management-statement-plan-adjustment/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 20:10:25 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37543 By Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management Federal Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ approval of the Plan of Adjustment is not in the best interests of Detroiters. The plan, submitted by emergency manager Kevyn Orr, supported by Mayor Duggan and Gov. Snyder, protects banks, gives away public resources, and has no method to revitalize the city. We object! […]

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By Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management

Federal Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ approval of the Plan of Adjustment is not in the best interests of Detroiters. The plan, submitted by emergency manager Kevyn Orr, supported by Mayor Duggan and Gov. Snyder, protects banks, gives away public resources, and has no method to revitalize the city.

We object!

“We don’t live in a bankrupt city; we live in a city being attacked by bankrupt officials,” said Rev. Ed Rowe of Central United Methodist Church.

From the very beginning this process has been a sham. The city was not bankrupt. Independent analysts demonstrated that the city suffered from a cash flow problem, caused by the cessation of promised state revenue sharing.

The systematic withdrawal of state support, cutbacks to public services and schools, and massive layoffs in the public sector, combined with policies encouraging industry to move elsewhere, have created enormous pain for the people of Detroit.

We have endured the evils of structural racism, fiscal austerity, the loss of millions of jobs, and criminal predatory lending policies. We have been insulted and disrespected by appointed authorities like emergency manager Kevyn Orr, who call us “dumb, lazy, happy and rich.” Encouraging a policy of divide-and-conquer within the region, these misleaders attempt to deflect attention away from the deep-seated structural problems we all face. They encourage blame and guilt rather than creativity and compassion.

In spite of these enormous attacks, Detroiters have sustained themselves by drawing on our city’s history of struggle for the dignity of labor and the civil rights of all people. We have a rich history of challenging the dehumanizing development of corporate power and the systematic denial of the rights of people to live full, human and creative lives. By calling upon traditions of extended families, long-standing neighborhood ties, grassroots community and political organizations, we have built institutions to meet our needs and are developing new and creative ways of making a living.

We are proud to be a city framed by African American leadership that has consistently challenged the values of racism, materialism, and militarism. We claim a legacy that is shaping a new cultural life and providing a beacon of hope for the nation and the world for courage and commitment to change.

The Snyder-Orr-Duggan version of history attempts to distort this reality. They try to hide the complicated history that has caused the devastation of Detroit. They refuse to acknowledge that the wealth of the surrounding region has been won on the backs of the working people of Detroit. Now their so-called Plan of Adjustment will benefit the same small minority of wealthy people and major financial institutions. The rich will become richer, while the people of Detroit are forced to sacrifice their homes, pensions, healthcare, and city services.

The Plan of Adjustment has immediately and severely hurt tens of thousands of city of Detroit retirees in the Detroit Metro area by terminating their healthcare. Cuts to pensions will come soon. In order to buy off financial speculators like Syncora or FGIC, the city has been forced to cede valuable riverfront property, downtown land, garages, and, of course, cold cash.

As the result of 40 years of a federal judge’s unnecessary control of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, the local wealthy classes have finally succeeded in their goal of dismantling the system and seizing major assets — the treatment plants, the intake plants and arterial lines from Detroit — through the Great Lakes Water Authority, a creation of the Plan of Adjustment. This authority was preceded by the privatization of waste collection and the fabrication of a similar creature, the Lighting Authority.

The prospects for the successful long-term implementation of the Plan of Adjustment are dim. It has been damned with faint praise, as in the testimony of the only official financial expert specifically appointed by the court to evaluate the feasibility of the plan.

All those responsible for creating the plan, including Jones-Day law firm and innumerable consultants, have taken over $100 million in legal fees from the bare cupboards of Detroit. And they will all leave town.

Meanwhile, Kevyn Orr is already traveling Europe extolling the powerful gains of the bankruptcy here, focusing on future targets — small nations – for extracting wealth and seizing assets. Snyder was re-elected as governor in no small part for having “fixed” Detroit, though Detroiters themselves overwhelming voted against him.

In Detroit, whatever the Mayor and City Council decide to do, it will be done under the very watchful eye of the state financial review board for 13 years. Because there is little new money in the Plan of Adjustment, there will soon be a conflict between city government and the financial review board because of the rising discontent of the majority of Detroiters with the results of the Plan of Adjustment.

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Progress Michigan Statement on Sixth Circuit Court Marriage Equality Ruling http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/progress-michigan-statement-sixth-circuit-court-marriage-equality-ruling/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/progress-michigan-statement-sixth-circuit-court-marriage-equality-ruling/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 22:04:13 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37537 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE News from Progress Michigan  November 6, 2014 Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574, sam@progressmichigan.org Progress Michigan Statement on Sixth Circuit Court Marriage Equality Ruling MICHIGAN — Progress Michigan issued the following statement in response to a federal appellate court ruling that upheld Michigan’s marriage equality ban. “Discriminatory laws barring loving couples from the freedom to marry […]

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

News from Progress Michigan 

November 6, 2014

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574sam@progressmichigan.org

Progress Michigan Statement on Sixth Circuit Court Marriage Equality Ruling

MICHIGAN — Progress Michigan issued the following statement in response to a federal appellate court ruling that upheld Michigan’s marriage equality ban.

“Discriminatory laws barring loving couples from the freedom to marry will not stand for much longer,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Michigan’s conservative lawmakers, much like the court’s decision today, are not on the right side of history and, ultimately, equality will prevail. This is nothing more than a temporary setback on the road to a more progressive and accepting Michigan.”

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Elections Have Consequences http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/elections-consequences/ http://www.progressmichigan.org/2014/11/elections-consequences/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 00:40:36 +0000 http://www.progressmichigan.org/?p=37531 By Brad O’Neil Elections have consequences. It may sound cliché but it has held true in previous elections and it will hold true tomorrow. Historically, midterm elections have a much lower voter turnout than presidential elections yet midterms are often the more consequential. Michigan went from a 66.2 percent voter turnout in 2008 to 42.9 […]

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By Brad O’Neil

Elections have consequences.

It may sound cliché but it has held true in previous elections and it will hold true tomorrow.

Historically, midterm elections have a much lower voter turnout than presidential elections yet midterms are often the more consequential. Michigan went from a 66.2 percent voter turnout in 2008 to 42.9 percent in 2010 when Tea Party candidates swept into Congress and Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives.

2010 was also the year Governor Snyder was elected. Over the past four years, we’ve seen the consequences of that election:

-The Aramark contract

-Right to Work

-Restriction of women’s access to reproductive health care

-Denial of benefits to same-sex couples

-Refusal to ensure LGBT discrimination doesn’t happen

-Tax giveaways for corporations and tax hikes for workers and seniors

Elections may have consequences, but they aren’t predetermined. Michiganders have the final say in the voting booth when the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow.

 

 

 

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