Filter
  • MI Republicans Take Note: Democrats Bite Rhode Island Gov't Unions

    Are Michigan Republican's enacting reforms as bold as other states?  The article below describes how Democrats in Rhode Island tackled public pension reform.  Rhode Island Dems took action which could have been political suicide when they reformed the pensions of public employees.  Quite remarkable, Democrats in Rhode Island took action that was opposed by their largest political constituency.

    Earlier this year RetakeOurGov reported how the Democrats in Massachusetts also enacted reforms with respect to pubic employee unions.  As in Rhode Island, Dems in Massachusetts took bold action in addressing the super-sized compensation packages of public unions.  Given these bold Democrat actions, should we expect more from Michigan Republicans?

     

    Analysis: Why Rhode Island passed pension reform in 2011

    November 17th, 2011 at 11:47 pm by  under Nesi's Notes

    A year ago, in the wake of the 2010 election, nobody in Rhode Island thought the state had just elected a political class prepared to take on one of the nation’s thorniest policy issues – pensions – and enact the most sweeping changes any state has made.

    Yet on Thursday night, that’s exactly what happened – and it wasn’t even close, with 57 of 75 votes in favor in the House and 35 of 38 in the Senate. Put another way, lopsided majorities voted to cut retirees’ pension benefits in a union-dominated state where Democrats have controlled the legislature since the eve of World War II.

    The bill, which Governor Chafee is expected to sign next week, will face court challenges. Its enactment is a bitter, life-changing event for retirees and workers who spent their lives expecting a retirement benefit they now won’t get in full. And taxpayers are only avoiding far higher pension costs in the future, not saving huge sums.

    Make no mistake, though: the bill is an extraordinary – and unlikely – achievement for the three leaders most responsible for shepherding it through: Chafee, House Speaker Gordon Fox and, most of all, Treasurer Gina Raimondo. It seems unlikely an alternative trio – John RobitailleKerry King and Fox? – would have gotten it done.

    It’s clear many people don’t know what to make of Chafee’s involvement with the pension overhaul. His name is often mentioned through gritted teeth: a Rhode Island Statewide Coalition statement Thursday night pointedly said the group’s leaders “salute the steely determination” of Raimondo, while they only “acknowledge” Chafee’s role.

    That’s unfair to the governor. It’s true he takes no obvious pleasure in reducing public workers’ compensation, and there were times it appeared he might not be on board. But when push came to shove, Chafee stood with Raimondo. He told his proxies to vote for the Retirement Board changes that set the process in motion; he bucked the unions that elected him by backing the bill in full; and he worked behind closed doors to ensure a viable solution. His involvement was real.

    More than one Smith Hill observer has described Speaker Fox as the unsung hero of the pension process. Even after Chafee linked arms with Raimondo, the question remained: Did he – and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed – have the stomach for a politically perilous vote on pensions? Fox repeatedly showed the answer was yes, as did Paiva Weed in the end.

    “He showed incredible leadership on this issue,” state Rep. Joy Hearn, D-Barrington, said just after the vote. “There’s not many that could have done what he did. It takes an incredible amount of courage and leadership.”

    The House’s emphatic 57-15 vote in favor of the bill was a testament to the countless hours Fox spent cajoling members of his caucus to support the bill, and the compromises he helped craft on controversial issues like the COLA freeze and the judges’ plan. He was pivotal in keeping Paiva Weed and the Senate on board. And the ease with which he dispatched amendment after amendment on Thursday recalled Lyndon Johnson in his Senate heyday.

    Finally, there’s Gina Raimondo.

    The lion’s share of the credit for the pension overhaul will go – justly – to the treasurer. The political newcomer and former financier is already winning glowing national media coverage, making her the darling of anti-pension warriors from coast to coast.

    What that misses, though, is the nuance of her approach to the issue. Raimondo didn’t push to scrap defined-benefit pensions because like many experts, she thinks defined-contribution accounts alone don’t provide “retirement security.” She shined a bright spotlight on the funding shortfall and used her considerable speaking skills to push it to the top of the state’s agenda. She won over Chafee, lawmakers, the business community and many members of the public with her ideas for solving the problem. And she came up with a complicated plan that just may do the job.

    There are other individuals, groups and events that played an important role in paving the way for tonight’s vote: the finance committee chairmen, Rep. Helio Melo and Sen. Dan DaPonte; The Providence Journal, whose coverage added to the sense of crisis; Engage Rhode Island and its mysterious financial backers; and, unfortunately, Rhode Island’s interminable economic malaise, which has made the once unthinkable suddenly thinkable.

    Nothing played a bigger role, though, than the numbers themselves. Indeed, Raimondo’s master stroke happened many months ago, when she ordered new estimates of the state’s pension liability and then got the Retirement Board to approve them. The jump in the liability from $4.9 billion to $7.3 billion, and the impendingbudget consequences of that change, are what gave the issue its sudden urgency.

    Once those numbers were set in stone, lawmakers didn’t face the choice between a comfortable – if unsustainable – status quo and a risky vote for change. Instead, they faced two options, both unpalatable: finding a lot more money for the pension fund or trimming retirees’ and workers’ benefits. On Thursday, the vast majority of them chose the latter.

    That also demonstrates the biggest mistake made by labor leaders. Their best bet would have been finding some way to stop the original Retirement Board vote, thus preventing an immediate budget crisis for the state and municipalities that pushed lawmakers to act. They then waited far too long before challenging Raimondo’s reputation as a fiscal truth-teller to change the perception at the end. And they never offered an alternative robust enough to beat hers back.

    From the perspective of fiscal stability, the bill’s biggest failing is its lack of any significant fix for the 36 locally run pension plans. The debate isn’t finished about why Paiva Weed and Raimondo worked so hard to keep those out – though it’s hard to ignore their shared ties to the Laborers union – but regardless, it leaves a festering sore on the books of Rhode Island’s largest cities, one of which has already been pushed into bankruptcy.

    This is a bittersweet moment for Rhode Island. The state has led the way, to the surprise of many here and elsewhere, in tackling an extraordinarily difficult issue. But doing so means the state is breaking a promise – and, in the eyes of at least one judge, a contract. That shouldn’t be done lightly, and it will have painful human consequences.

    Rhode Islanders would do well to reflect not only on the present political leadership that brought about tonight’s successful vote, but also the past political leadership that made it necessary. After all, it would have been far better if the vote was never required in the first place. •

    Ted Nesi tnesi@wpri.com ) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com and writes the Nesi’s Notes blog. Follow him on Twitter: @tednesi

    This post has been updated to reflect the revised final Senate vote tally of 35-2 with Sen. Moura’s inclusion.

    (photo: Ted Nesi/WPRI)

  • States Without a Health Ins. Exchange can "Repeal" Obama Care

    A glitch in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obama Care) provides states with an opening to roll back this piece of socialist legislation.  The key to this roll back is to not implement an Obama Care health insurance exchange.  This is why, in recent days, citizens across Michigan have been taking our State Senate to task for voting to implement an Obama Care Exchange in Michigan.

    In recent days RetakeOurGov has expressed outrage at Senate Republicans who voted to implement an Obama Care Health Insurance Exchange here in Michigan.  In a prior article we explained the significance of the passage of SB 693 and how it moves Michigan citizens one step closer to government run health care.  We also explained how Senate rules were suspended so that this unwanted bill could be "fast tracked into law," and how there were more Republicans voting for this bill than Democrats.

    In all, 13 Senate Republicans voted with 12 Senate Democrats to ram this bill down our throats using procedural tactics that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would be proud of.  But wait, there's more.  In the ultimate display of hypocricy these two-faced, back stabbers tried to cover their tracks by voting for a meaningless resolution (Senate Resolution 95) which essentially stated that Obama Care is unconstitutional and should be repealed.  If they truly believe that Obama Care is unconstitutional then they violated their oath to protect the Constitution when they voted in favor of SB 693.

    The gang of 13 claims that they had to vote for this bill to protect Michigan from an unwanted federal intrusion in our health care market.  They wrongly claim that the Federal government will impose an exchange on Michiganders if we don't do it ourselves.  And in typical elitist fashion, they claim that we, the citizens of Michigan, don't understand the bill and don't have our facts straight.

    When it comes to straight shooting, the gang of 13 misses the target of truth.  Repsected institutions such as the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Cato Institute have laid out the case against Obama Care exchanges.  A case which our gang conveniently ignores.  Furthermore, today in the Wall Street Journal, two distinguished scholars wrote an op-ed piece describing how states can "practically force Congress to reopen the law for revisions" if they refuse to create a health insurance exchange.  The law being referred to is Obama Care.

    If our gang hadn't been in such a rush to pass the bill they could have availed themselves of all available information.  Is it too much to ask our Senators to research their legislation before they vote on it?

    The arrogance of power was on complete display as Senators rushed to vote on SB 693.  This hurried vote was a "poke in the eye" to Tea Partiers who have fought long and hard against government run health care.  After helping get them elected in 2010, the gang completely ignored us and used procedural maneuvers to thwart the will of the people.  We must not take this lying down!  We need to make an example of at least one of the Senators who chose to betray us.  Letting them off the hook just encourages them to stick it to us again.  Join with us, read our plan of action, and help us make sure we are not betrayed again.

     

    Note: Below is the Wall Street Journal op-ed.  Key passages have been highlighted in yellow font. Click here to view the op-ed in its orignial form, without the yellow highlighting.

    Another ObamaCare Glitch

    Congress made a legal mistake while rushing through the health law. Now it's come back to haunt the administration.

     

    By JONATHAN H. ADLER AND MICHAEL F. CANNON

    Even if ObamaCare survives Supreme Court scrutiny next spring, its trials will be far from over. That's because the law has a major glitch that threatens its basic functioning. It's so problematic, in fact, that the Obama administration is now brazenly trying to rewrite the law without involving Congress.

    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act offers "premium assistance"—tax credits and subsidies—to households purchasing coverage through new health-insurance exchanges. This assistance was designed to hide a portion of the law's cost to individuals by reducing the premium hikes that individuals will face after ObamaCare goes into effect in 2014. (If consumers face the law's full cost, support for repeal will grow.)

    The law encourages states to create health-insurance exchanges, but it permits Washington to create them if states decline. So far, only 17 states have passed legislation to create an exchange.

    This is where the glitch comes in: ObamaCare authorizes premium assistance in state-run exchanges (Section 1311) but not federal ones (Section 1321). In other words, states that refuse to create an exchange can block much of ObamaCare's spending and practically force Congress to reopen the law for revisions.

    ssistance was designed to hide a portion of the law's cost to individuals by reducing the premium hikes that individuals will face after ObamaCare goes into effect in 2014. (If consumers face the law's full cost, support for repeal will grow.)

    The law encourages states to create health-insurance exchanges, but it permits Washington to create them if states decline. So far, only 17 states have passed legislation to create an exchange.

    This is where the glitch comes in: ObamaCare authorizes premium assistance in state-run exchanges (Section 1311) but not federal ones (Section 1321). In other words, states that refuse to create an exchange can block much of ObamaCare's spending and practically force Congress to reopen the law for revisions.

    The Obama administration wants to avoid that legislative debacle, so this summer it proposed an IRS rule to offer premium assistance in all exchanges "whether established under section 1311 or 1321." On Nov. 17 the IRS will hold a public hearing on that proposal. According to a Treasury Department spokeswoman, the administration is "confident" that offering premium assistance where Congress has not authorized it "is consistent with the intent of the law and our ability to interpret and implement it."

    Such confidence is misplaced. The text of the law is perfectly clear. And without congressional authorization, the IRS lacks the power to dispense tax credits or spend money.

    What about congressional intent? Law professor Timothy Jost suggests that since ObamaCare requires all exchanges to report information about premium assistance, and it would be silly to impose that requirement on federal exchanges if their enrollees were not eligible, that shows Congress could not have intended anything but to provide assistance in federal exchanges. At least, he argues, there's enough ambiguity here about Congress's intent that federal courts will permit the administration to resolve it.

    Not so fast. The Supreme Court has increasingly limited such deference to cases where the text of the law—rather than Congress's intent—is ambiguous. In this case the language of the law is clear, as even Mr. Jost admits.

    The health law's authors in Congress deliberately chose to pass the bill with known imperfections and to use the reconciliation process to make only limited amendments. Writing a perfect bill would have required too many votes and risked failure. If what they passed was an imperfect bill with no premium assistance in federal exchanges, then that is what Congress intended.

    And there are plausible reasons why Congress may have wanted to limit assistance to state-run exchanges—including encouraging states to create exchanges so that the federal government doesn't have the burden.

    Supporters of ObamaCare, including George Washington University's Sarah Rosenbaum, have argued that nobody will have standing to challenge the IRS rule in court. That's not the case.

    Under the law, employers must pay penalties when their employees receive premium assistance—a measure designed to encourage employers to keep offering coverage. Any employer whose employees receive premium assistance through a federal exchange would therefore suffer harm from the IRS rule and would have standing to challenge these illegal tax credits and outlays.

    Public-interest lawyers could file suit as soon as the IRS rule becomes final and they find an employer that will be harmed. Any firm that doesn't offer health benefits and that employs lots of full-time, low-skilled, young workers in a state that fails to create an exchange should suffice. A successful challenge would block the law's employer mandate in that state.

    In addition, under the Congressional Review Act, a simple (filibuster-proof) majority vote in each chamber of Congress could send to President Obama's desk a resolution blocking this IRS rule. Even if Mr. Obama vetoed the resolution (taking personal responsibility for this assault on the rule of law), a future president could still rescind the rule. Quite a perilous situation in which to leave the president's signature accomplishment.

    Like the rest of the nation, the Obama administration wants a different health-care law than the one we got. But that doesn't give it the authority to rewrite the law by fiat.

    Mr. Adler is professor of law and director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation at Case Western Reserve University. Mr. Cannon is director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute.

  • Republican Leaders Resort to Bribery to Pass Unwanted Bridge Legislation

    Updated Post (October 19, 2011)

    Governor Snyder and his political allies are quickly planning their next moves to push his unwanted Government Bridge Project through the Michigan legislature.  The latest in this bridge boondoggle saga is shown below.

     

    In a prior email ROG reported that last week the Gov't Bridge legislation did not make it out of committee due to overwhelming citizen opposition. The Senate committee responsible for this legislation got an earful from their constituents. The message of "No Gov't Bridge" was delivered loud and clear.

    Unfortunately, Lansing politicos have decided to use new tactics to subvert the will of the people. MIRS, a news service for Lansing-insiders reported the following last Friday:


    Senate Democrats will vote as a 12-member block to support legislation that clears the way for a second span across the Detroit River as long as the bills include community benefits language for the impacted community of Delray, a source told MIRS today.

    If community benefits language being put together by Sen. Tupac HUNTER (D-Detroit) or a similar plan is not in what is put up for a vote, Senate Majority Leader Randy RICHARDVILLE (R-Monroe) will "have to find 20 votes on his side," the source said.

    In previous comments, Richardville has been open to discussing language to the bill that would mitigate the aesthetic, environmental and traffic impacts a New International Trade Crossing (NITC) would bring to Delray.

    If the community benefits agreement language can be added in committee and the two Democrat members -- Tupac and Sen. Virgil SMITH (D-Detroit) -- sign off, Richardville could have the four votes needed to move his SB 0410 and 0411 out of the Senate Economic Development Committee.

    Sen. David HILDENBRAND (R-Lowell) has made statements in support of the NITC concept this week and it's hoped that Sen. Judy EMMONS (R-Sheridan), who is publicly on the fence, could provide the swing vote.

    However, a plan that would put this strategy into action had not been ironed out as of Friday afternoon.

    Until it is, Richardville would either need to move the legislation to his Government Operations Committee or discharge the bills to the full floor in order to get an "up-or-down" vote on them.

    A key vote in this equation has been Smith, who was leaning "no" earlier this week, but is now with the rest of his caucus on their Block of 12 plan, according to a source.

    Earlier in the week the Detroit Democrat said he would have a tough time supporting the Governor's proposal without an agreement that addresses the needs of the Delray community where the new span would be built. Apparently, he is now satisfied that the state aid is in writing which frees him to vote yes.

    Senate Minority Leader Gretchen WHITMER (D-East Lansing) also expressed reservations earlier this week on the same point. She had heard that Snyder was sensitive to the community needs package, but she wanted to see it in writing because, "I don't trust anyone. That's the lawyer and politician in me."

     

    Just what are "community benefits?" These are welfare-style earmarks and bribes which the Republican leadership will use to buy Democrats votes in order to pass this highly unpopular Gov't Bridge legislation. So called "community benefits" are not unlike the institutional bribery used by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to buy the votes of Senator Ben Nelson and Senator Mary Landrieu in order to pass Obama Care. It is disappointing, to say the least, to see Michigan Republican leaders use Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi tactics to push unpopular and unwise legislation upon an unwilling electorate.

    Even with this bribery it is not a done deal that this legislation will pass. As of now, State Senator Joe Hune has still not taken a position on this issue. Therefore, you still have an opportunity to voice your opinion and let him know that you don't support the use of bribery to pass legislation. I've voiced my opinion directly to Senator Hune's office and also in a letter to the editor of the Livingston County Press and Argus. Many others have also spoken with, and even met with Senator Hune face to face on this issue.

    (In addition to the bribery discussed in this email, an article has been posted on our website outlining the fiscal follies behind this Government Run Bridge. This article lists several other reasons, above and beyond the bribery mentioned here, for opposing this bill.)

    This past summer Senator Roger Kahn, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, voiced opposition to the Government Run Bridge because of up to $100 million in "community benefits." It is time for you to ask your State Senator to oppose this bill too.

    Click here for information on contacting your Senator.

    Thank you for your support in opposing this unneeded expenditure.


    Original Post (October 17, 2011)

    Supporters of The New International Trade Crossing (NITC), more accurately described as the government run bridge program, suffered a setback last week when legislation authorizing a new bureaucracy to administer this new government program was stalled in a Senate committee.  This defeat for Michigan's governing elites was in fact a victory for the taxpayers of Michigan.

    However, this victory may be short lived as Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, has stated he may reassign the bill to another committee (of which he happens to be Chairman) and ram this legislation down our collective throats.  Keep an eye out for Senate Bills 410 and 411 as this issue will likely rear its ugly head sometime in the near future.

    Below is a article originally published in the Livingston Daily Press and Argus.  The author, a Professor from Hillsdale College, lays out a brilliant case against Michigan citizens spending money on an unneeded infrastructure.  Michigan needs to focus on spending money where it is truly needed, not where it is politically correct.

     

    Do We Need Another Government Bridge?

    If the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) were a private operation, it would have to earn enough revenue to pay for the bridge and the necessary infrastructure, such as the toll plazas and connections to the existing highway system. No one has suggested this is possibly going to be the case. In fact, there is a real question whether tolls from the NITC will be able to pay for just the bridge, ignoring the $386 million it will cost to connect it to Interstate 75 on the U.S. side and the $413 million it will cost for the new customs plaza on the U.S. side, and the $387 million the Canadian customs plaza will cost and the $1.67 billion cost of the extension of the Windsor-Essex Parkway.

    Even if we ignore the hundreds of millions of dollars of costs for the attendant infrastructure, why do we think a new bridge is needed and can be paid for by tolls? Traffic at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel is down from 9.61 million crossings in 1999 to only 3.61 million in 2010. The Blue Water Bridge, which had a twin span completed in 1998, has seen traffic volume fall from its peak in 2000 of 5.98 million to 4.75 million to 2010. The Ambassador Bridge traffic has fallen from 12.44 million in 1999 to 7.23 million in 2010. This decline in volume is not limited to Michigan. Traffic at the Peace Bridge at Buffalo, N.Y., has fallen from 7.3 million in 2003 to 6 million in 2010.

    There are plans for a $400 million expansion of the Detroit-Windsor rail tunnel that will handle double-stacked container trains. This will draw truck traffic from the existing vehicle crossings and further undermines the economic viability of the NITC.

    A recent study by Anderson Economic Group (AEG) discussed the delays at the Ambassador Bridge; however, it relied on data from 2002 and 2005 studies, both of which are outdated. AEG mentions delays of up to two hours and then cites a study that uses 2001 data. Delays in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 are irrelevant in 2011. Later in the report, it discusses average wait times of 15 minutes at Detroit in 2004 using the Bureau of Transportation Services (BTS) 2005 report. This is the average wait times of commercial vehicles during daytime hours, and BTS revised that number in its 2010 study to 10.8 minutes for 2004. The wait time fell to 4.1 minutes in 2009. Any interested reader can check wait times at the Ambassador Bridge for themselves in real time by going to www.ambassadorbridge.com and looking at the live webcam.

    It has been reported that the Canadian government will loan Michigan $550 million to fund Michigan's share of the connection of the new bridge to I-75 and the new customs plaza on the U.S. side and this will result in an additional $2.2 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars being directed to Michigan. There are at least three points to be made of this.

    First, the Canadians will have a larger equity stake in the new bridge until, if ever, the bridge tolls pay back the Canadian loan. Given the bridge tolls may not be enough to meet the bond payments for building the bridge, the Canadians could end up owning the bridge.

    Second, the amount of federal tax dollars available for Michigan to claim for transportation is set by the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill and is a fixed pool of funds, which in FY 2010 was about $1 billion. If Michigan is already spending $250 million on eligible projects, assuming a continued 4-to-1 match, then any extra Canadian funds add nothing to the amount Michigan can obtain. We might note that Michigan has never failed to meet its full funding level.

    Since Michigan generates about $1.8 billion for its transportation funds, then even if it failed to spend the $250 million, it could direct money from projects that were not eligible to projects that were to meet its match. In this case, the Canadian money would not be leveraged, but simply replace money that would have been spent on other projects

    There are a number of other issues, such as the uncertainty of future federal funding, the effect of a government bridge on the economic viability of the existing crossings, and the eventual need for taxpayer subsidy of tolls at the new bridge, that support the legislative decision in 2006 and 2010 that there is no need for a government bridge.

    Gary Wolfram is a professor of economics and public policy at Hillsdale College.

     

    RetakeOurGov note:

    Many proponents of building a government run bridge between Detroit and Windsor assert that the owner of the current Ambassador Bridge holds a monopoly on cross border traffic.  It is quite clear that these proponents have a misguided understanding of what a monopoly truly is.

    A monopoly restricts consumer choice to a single alternative.  In the case of cross border traffic the consumer is not limited to a single choice.  The consumer can choose to drive over the Ambassador Bridge or to drive through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.  Additionally, there are other regional choices such as the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron and the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, NY.

  • MI Governor's Health Insurance Plan - BEND OVER Citizens

    Governor Rick Snyder and his BIG GOVERNMENT RINO legislators are trying to sneak a fast one by the citizens of Michigan.  They are pushing legislation which would fast track the implementation of Obama Care here in our home state.

    It is outrageous that RINO Rick and his buddies would even consider such legislation.  What are they thinking?!!!  Perhaps the good citizens of Michigan could all chip in a few bucks each to Snyder so that he could afford the surgical procedure to pull his head out of his a**.  Or perhaps this procedure might be covered by Snyder Care?

    It is strongly recommended that you read the article below, authored by the Cato Institute.  This article tells you everything you need to know about Snyder's misguided plans to implement a Health Insurance Exchange here in Michigan.  Such an exchange puts Michigan on the road to Obama Care.

    Representatives from Cato testified recently at a hearing in front of the State Senate in Missouri.  At this hearing they articulated why the State of Missouri should not implement a Health Insurance Exchange.  It is for these same reasons that Michigan should say no to Health Insurance Exchanges.

    After reading the Cato article you need to contact your State Senator and State Legislator and give them an earful.  I would normally advocate that you call Governor Snyder also but I doubt he'll hear anything you have to say until he undergoes the surgical procedure mentioned above.

    Find out how to contact your State Representative by clicking here.

    Find out how to contact your State Senator by click here.

    Friends, this issue is another illustration of why you need to continue to help grow the TEA Party movement.  Big government politicians of both parties are more than willing to erode your rights while strengthening those of government bureaus.

     

    Should Missouri Create a Health Insurance Exchange?

    by Michael F. Cannon

    Interim Committee on Health Insurance Exchanges
    Missouri Senate

    This testimony was delivered on September 15, 2011.

    Good morning, Chairman Rupp and members of the committee. I am very pleased to be with you today. My name is Michael F. Cannon. I am the director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit educational foundation in Washington, D.C.. The mission of the Cato Institute is to promote the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.

    Background

    The most important health policy issue facing Missouri is the fate of the health care law that President Barack Obama signed last year, whose official title is the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." That law is already increasing the cost of health insurance by as much as 30 percent in some cases, and will cause even greater premium increases in the years to come.

    When that law takes full effect in 2014, it will set in motion several important changes. Though states are already struggling to pay for their current Medicaid programs, beginning in 2014, this law will add to those burdens with enormous unfunded mandates. The law imposes government price controls on health insurance that will dramatically increase premiums for healthy purchasers. The law's so-called "individual mandate" will increase premiums further and compel nearly all Americans to purchase a nominally private but government-designed health insurance policy. Those who fail to comply will face penalties including fines and/or imprisonment.

    A study of the law's impact on Wisconsin by one of its leading proponents, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, projects that due to the law's government price controls and individual mandate alone, "87 percent of the individual market will experience an average premium increase of 41 percent." Though the law creates a new entitlement to premium assistance for qualified individuals, Gruber found that even after accounting for that new entitlement spending, "59 percent of the individual market will experience an average premium increase of 31 percent."

    Finally, the law envisions health insurance "Exchanges" that would become operational in 2014. These new government bureaucracies would enforce these costly new regulations and distribute hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to private health insurance companies, thereby driving up the national debt. The law allows but does not require states to create an Exchange. To be clear: Missouri is under no obligation to create a health insurance Exchange. The authors of the health care law knew that such a requirement would be unconstitutional. Instead, the law asks states to do the heavy lifting of creating these bureaucracies, and as a fallback allows the federal government to create an Exchange if a state declines to do so.

    The Health Care Law's Future Is in Doubt

    Supporters introduced the first draft of President Obama's health care law in Congress in June 2009, and a bipartisan majority or plurality of the American people have consistently opposed it ever since. A mere 38 percent of the public supports the law. Opposition is highest among likely voters. More than 80 percent of Americans oppose the law's individual mandate; Missouri voters overwhelmingly supported a referendum to block it. Officials representing 28 states (including Missouri) and both political parties have filed suit to overturn the entire law. Multiple federal courts have struck down all or part of the law as unconstitutional. Legal experts predict the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately rule on the law's constitutionality sometime in the summer of 2012. One of the two major political parties has committed itself to wholesale repeal.

    Should Missouri Create a Health Insurance Exchange?

    Against this backdrop, the most immediate question facing state officials is whether to create a health insurance Exchange. In the remainder of my remarks, I will explain why, whether one opposes or supports this law, the responsible course is not to create an Exchange.

    The question of whether or not to create an Exchange is simplest for state officials who have taken the position that the federal health care law is unconstitutional. Missouri officials, like state officials nationwide, take an oath to protect not just their own state's Constitution, but also the Constitution of the United States. They are therefore oath-bound to use all lawful means to block a law that they believe violates the U.S. Constitution. The same duty that obliges those officials to sue to overturn the health care law also obliges them not to implement it. To implement this health care law, to create an Exchange, is to violate their oath of office.

    Whether you support or oppose the law, there are several reasons for Missouri legislators not to create an Exchange.

    First, you don't have the time. There is not just one Exchange; there are two of them. If you opt to create an Exchange, then among your many responsibilities will be such diverse tasks as the following. You would be responsible for ensuring that carriers do not follow the law's enormous financial incentives to avoid, mistreat, and dump the sick. You would have to run a reinsurance program and a risk-adjustment program. You would have to define and monitor "network adequacy" as well as each insurance carrier's service area. You would have to monitor each carrier's marketing materials. You would have to monitor and enforce carriers' compliance with the law's other anti-discrimination provisions. You would have to fund and monitor the "navigators" the law envisions. You would have to fund the Exchange in 2015 and beyond, perhaps with a premium tax. (Oregon has opted for a premium tax of up to 5 percent.) Then there's all the reporting you would have to do to Washington, the approvals you would have to obtain, and the months and months of waiting for an answer on everything.

    Unless Missouri's economy and unemployment situation are somehow bucking the national trend, Missouri's elected officials have more pressing matters to attend. If you do somehow find that you are not busy enough, at the end of my testimony I suggest some real health care reforms you might advance.

    Second, you don't have the money. Because, there is no money. Unless Missouri's state budget is likewise bucking the national trend, neither Missouri nor the federal government has money to spend on new government bureaucracies. Every dollar that Missouri spends on an Exchange is a dollar it cannot spend on roads, education, or police — or more important, a missed opportunity to spur economic recovery by reducing the tax burden. Any federal grants that Missouri has already received, and any additional federal funds it may receive, are adding to the nation's debt burden and bringing the United States closer to a Greek-style debt crisis. The fiscally responsible option, which many states have exercised, is to send that money back to Washington and to refuse any additional funds.

    Third, it makes little sense to create a new government bureaucracy today to implement a law that may be repealed or overturned tomorrow.

    Fourth, creating an Exchange will leave Missouri officials to take the blame when this law begins hurting the state's sickest patients.

    When the Exchanges open for business, they will be inundated with high-cost patients. The government price controls that the law imposes on health insurance premiums will create massive incentives for insurers to avoid, dump, and mistreat the sick — as carriers have done in every market where governments have imposed these price controls.

    The law creates several programs whose sole purpose is to protect sick people from the perverse incentives inherent in these price controls. I mention many of these programs above: programs that tax some health plans in order to subsidize others, "network adequacy" rules, requirements that carriers serve a large enough "service area," restrictions on marketing, and other anti-discrimination provisions.

    States that create their own Exchanges will be responsible for running these programs and protecting the sick from the rest of the law. Let's be clear about what is happening here: the federal government is offering insurers huge financial rewards if they mistreat the sick, and it wants you to stop insurers from chasing those rewards. The problem is, you can't. Those programs will inevitably fail, and many of Missouri's sickest patients will be hurt and angry. Those patients will blame whoever was supposed to stop the insurers from misbehaving. If Missouri creates an Exchange, those patients will blame you for not standing up to the insurance companies like they should have, and you will be treated to political attack ads where very sick patients tell your constituents how you don't care about them. If you create an Exchange, you are volunteering to take a bullet for the federal government, and shield federal officials from responsibility for their actions.

    Some Exchange proponents argue that creating an Exchange will give Missouri officials more control over Missouri's health insurance market. Paradoxically, it would give them less control because it would cement in place the federal government's takeover of Missouri's market.

    The promise of local control is a mirage. The law allows the federal government to commandeer any state-run Exchange that falls short of full compliance with federal dictates. An Obama administration missive explains that the new law "authorizes [the federal government] to ensure that States with Exchanges are substantially enforcing the Federal standards ... and to set up Exchanges in States that elect not to do so or are not substantially enforcing related provisions." (Emphasis added.)

    The fact that an Exchange is state-run does not diminish federal control by one iota. There is nothing that a federal Exchange can do that the federal government cannot also force a state-run Exchange to do through regulation. The federal government will heap regulations upon state-run Exchanges; indeed, it is already imposing greater requirements on them than the law itself does. Creating a state-run Exchange would not prevent a federal takeover of Missouri's health insurance markets, it would lend manpower to that effort.

    Some opponents of the law nevertheless argue for creating an Exchange so that states can be prepared in case the law is not overturned or repealed. Yet creating an Exchange would entrench the law and make it less likely to be repealed or overturned.

    • First, creating an Exchange lends a veneer of legitimacy to the law. The Obama administration heralds the creation of each new Exchange as proof that the law is gaining acceptance, and heralds states accepting the federal grants available under the law in the same manner.
    • Second, declaring the law unconstitutional but then accepting the funding it offers and creating an Exchange undermines the credibility of state officials seeking to overturn the law and also undermines the lawsuits themselves. One federal judge who overturned the law wrote that the fact that some of the plaintiff states are themselves implementing the law undercut their own argument that he should order the federal government to halt implementation.
    • Third, to create an Exchange is to create a taxpayer-funded lobbying group dedicated to fighting repeal. An Exchange's employees would owe their power and their paychecks to this law. Naturally, they would aid the fight to preserve the law.
    • Fourth, both Congress and the courts are less likely to eliminate actual government bureaucracies that have assembled dedicated constituencies than they are to eliminate theoretical ones. The more disruptive repeal would be, the less likely it becomes.
    • Fifth, many knowledgeable observers believe few Exchanges, state or federal, will be operational by 2014. If states like Missouri create their own Exchanges, they will begin handing out billions of taxpayer dollars sooner than if the federal government creates them. Creating a state-run Exchange will hasten the day when the private insurance companies who receive those subsidies plow much of the money back into fighting repeal.
    • Sixth, and perhaps most important, due to a recently discovered glitch in the statute, the new health care law only authorizes premium assistance in state-run Exchanges — not federal Exchanges. States thus have the collective power to deny the Obama administration the legal authority to dispense more than a half-trillion dollars in new entitlement spending, to expose the full cost of the law's mandates and government price controls, as well as to enforce the law's employer mandate — simply by not creating Exchanges. If Missouri joins other states in refusing to create an Exchange, it can essentially force Congress to reconsider the law. If Missouri instead creates an Exchange, it will increase the federal deficit and debt, hide the full cost of the health care law, expose Missouri employers to penalties and reduce the likelihood of repeal.

    The Obama administration is offering financial inducements to states to create Exchanges because the administration knows that every new Exchange helps them shield the law from Congress, the courts, and the American people. Creating an Exchange is not a hedging-your-bets strategy but a sabotaging-your bets strategy.

    Some conservatives have recommended that states create "market-friendly" (i.e., non-compliant) Exchanges that offer an "alternative vision" to the law. There is no conservative rationale for doing so. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) created a health insurance Exchange in 2008. A Utah official overseeing that Exchange says, "Nearly every Exchange function already exists in the private sector." EHealthInsurance.com already enables one-stop shopping for health insurance. One conservative group advocates government-created Exchanges because its analysts see Exchanges as a vehicle for enabling workers to purchase their own health plan using tax-free dollars from their employers. Workers can already do that under a provision of the federal tax code known as "health reimbursement arrangements," or HRAs. Companies like Minneapolis' Bloom Health are helping employers take advantage of HRAs and giving workers that freedom, without any new government bureaucracies or regulations.

    Fundamentally, there is no such thing as a market-friendly government bureaucracy. As Thomas Jefferson explained more than 200 years ago: "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground." Government bureaucracies will always seek more control because that is their nature. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) proposed a "market-friendly" health insurance Exchange in 2006. By the time he signed it into law, it had become the very market-unfriendly plan on which Congress modeled the federal law. When Utah politicians saw that health insurance was more expensive inside their Exchange than on the open market, they imposed a series of taxes on consumers outside of the Exchange to prop up the health plans inside it. In the process, Utah unwittingly put in place the infrastructure for a federal Exchange: if Utah's Exchange fails to comply with the health care law in 2014, the federal government will commandeer it or brush it aside.

    Whatever is plaguing America's health care sector, a lack of government bureaucracies is not it. There is simply no reason for Missouri to create any kind of Exchange.

    Finally, I encourage you to bear in mind that the interests of those asking the legislature to create an Exchange may not line up with the interests of patients. For instance, private insurers' pro-Exchange lobbying efforts may be related to the fact that Exchanges are necessary for them to tap hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies. Similarly, insurance regulators and state health care officials across the country have urged their governors and legislatures to create an Exchange, otherwise they would have to watch the federal takeover from the sidelines rather than be an active participant. Of course, a state-run Exchange cannot preserve their influence. Only repealing or overturning the health care law can do that.

    Conclusion

    The most responsible course for Missouri is to refuse to create an Exchange. Many governors, including Florida's Rick Scott (R) and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal (R) have already done so. Missouri should also send back to Washington whatever funds it has received under this law, as Kansas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Florida, and other states have done. Missouri can send that money back with a message that if Congress is looking to cut federal spending, a good place to start would be laws that federal courts have declared unconstitutional.

    In the meantime, there are other steps Missouri can take to make health insurance and medical care more affordable to consumers.

    First, the General Assembly can permit Missouri employers and consumers to purchase health insurance licensed by other states. Wyoming, Maine, and Georgia have already given their residents this freedom. Enabling Missouri residents to purchase health insurance across state lines would expand choice and competition, and would reduce premiums by letting consumers avoid unwanted regulatory costs. As important, granting Missouri residents this freedom would not require any new government spending or the creation of any new government bureaucracies. Domestic carriers typically object to giving consumers this freedom because they would prefer what they call a "level playing field" — i.e., where government protects them from competition, and leaves Missouri residents with fewer choices.

    Second, the General Assembly can make basic medical care more affordable for the poor by broadening the scopes of practice of mid-level clinicians such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants. One promising approach, similar to letting Missouri residents purchase health insurance across state lines, is to let clinicians licensed by other states practice in Missouri under the terms of their license but subject to Missouri's malpractice laws. Reforms such as these would spur the growth of retail clinics and other innovations that bring quality medical care within reach for more low-income Missouri residents. At a minimum, Missouri should emulate Tennessee by allowing clinicians licensed by other states to provide free charitable care to Missouri residents under the terms of their license.

    Third, the General Assembly can reduce unnecessary medical malpractice costs by giving patients and doctors the freedom to choose higher or lower caps on non-economic damages than Missouri currently mandates. The obstacle to patients and providers (and insurers) exercising this freedom is that courts will not enforce such contracts. Thus we have a perverse situation where judges can by fiat force patients to "purchase" an unlimited right to sue, or the legislature can by fiat drastically reduce their right to recover, but the patient has no power to voice her preference for higher or lower caps. The General Assembly should instruct Missouri judges to enforce contracts that adopt alternative caps and other medical malpractice reforms. This approach would make lower caps available to those who want them, but still allow others to enjoy broader malpractice protections.

    Fourth, Missouri should apply for a waiver from the health care law's Medicaid expansion that would allow the state to replicate the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment on a larger scale. Instead of expanding Medicaid to all residents below 138 percent of the federal poverty level as the new law requires, which one study projects would add 300,000 new recipients to Missouri's Medicaid rolls by 2019, the state could randomly assign half of this group to receive Medicaid coverage and the other half not to receive it (much like Oregon did in 2008), and then measure the outcomes of both groups. Such a study could help fill the tremendous gaps in our knowledge about the actual benefits of expanding Medicaid, and whether there are more cost-effective ways of improving the health of low-income households. Along the way, such a waiver would reduce both state and federal spending.

    Again, I am very pleased to be with you today, and I look forward to any questions you may have.

  • MI Republicans Pass Bill Facilitating the Implementation of Obama Care

    Today the Republican caucus of the Michigan Senate carried the water for Governor Snyder (R) and passed SB 693.  As discussed previously at ROG, SB 693 accelerates the pace of implementation of Obama Care here in Michigan.

    The passage of SB 693 is a poke in the eye to all Americans who want to keep control of their own health care decisions and a kick in the ass to Michigan TEA Partiers.  The content of SB 693 was bad enough, but weak-kneed Republicans in the Senate added insult to injury by rushing the bill through the Senate Health Policy Committee (you can thank Committee Chair and bill sponsor Jim Marleau), and then rushing this bill through the full Senate (thank you Randy Richardville).

    Give Snyder, Marleau, and Richardville credit.  They learned from Nancy Pelosi that unpopular and unconstitutional bills, that take away our health care rights, must be hurried through the legislative process before we have a chance to "read the bill."

    SB 693 is so bad that one of the original sponsors, Senator Pat Colbeck, withdrew his name as a sponsor when he realized that this piece of legislation was not as Chairman Marleau advertised.

    It is unconscionable that Republicans abandoned their principles in exchange for a few million dollars in Federal funds.  Michigan shouldn't be asking the Feds for money to accelerate the implementation of a government take over of our health care system; a takeover which could very well be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States.  Furthermore, don't these big government Republicans know that our Federal government is broke?

    It would be nice if we could consistently count on the Michigan Republican Party to uphold individual liberty and freedom.  With legislation like SB 693, trust in the Republican Party goes down the tubes.  We need Republicans to fight for our rights, not accelerate their demise.  States all across America are fighting against a Washington takeover of our health care system.  In fact yesterday the citizens of Ohio enacted a constitutional amendment to preserve their right to choose their own health care and health care coverage. Ohio and other states are nullifying unconstitutional Washington DC edicts, while Michigan rolls over and says, "Thank you sir, may I have another!"

    A complete accounting of who voted for and who voted against SB 693 is shown on page 2563 of the Senate Journal for November 10, 2011.  You are encouraged to contact you Senator and thank  him/her for voting no on SB 693 and chastise him/her for voting yes.  You are further encouraged to ask your Senator to take action to remove Senator Randy Richardville from his post as Senate Majority Leader.  We need a Majority Leader, not a Majority Water Carrier.  Here is contact info for State Senators in Michigan.

    While today is a disappointment, all is not lost.  It is my understanding that this bill will have a difficult time passing in the House.  You can help insure this bill doesn't see the light of day by contacting your State Representative and voicing your opinion.

  • Who Created More Jobs: Obama or the Apple's Steve Jobs?

    Big government politicians love to claim that government is best suited to nurture new industries and create jobs.  Why? This allows them to pick winners and losers as they direct taxpayer funds to their friends and political backers.  The article shown below does an excellent job of illustrating that the private sector is far more capable of developing new technologies and creating jobs.

    Copy and paste the link below and forward it to your left-of-center friends next time you hear them falling victim to Obama's claim that only the government has the foresight and wisdom to "invest" in new industries, such as green energy.  While you are at it, don't forget to mention that Obama wasted over a half-billion taxpayer dollars and lost over 1000 jobs on his risky bet on the now bankrupt green energy company, Solyndra.

    Payne: How did Steve Jobs do it without Granholm?

    Henry Payne/ The Michigan View.com

    How did Steve Jobs do it without Jennifer Granholm and Barack Obama?

    In barely three decades, Jobs helped create a tech revolution - from product to infrastructure - without a dollar of federal help. While snake oil salesmen Granobama claim to know the future and blow taxpayer dollars on it, Jobs and his peers created ideas that attracted billions of dollars of private capital. The result is a digital infrastructure that spans the globe totally independent of government subsidy.

    Currently flogging her Big Government treatise, "A Governor's Story," the ex-governor claims new technologies will only get off the ground with government subsidy - what she calls "a partnership with business." Granobama claims that private markets are incapable of leveraging the "interstates of the future."

    Yet Apple's digital revolution did exactly that. The iPhone and its predecessors spawned consumer products in such demand that investors sunk billions - hundreds of billions of private dollars - into a cellular infrastructure that covers nearly every inch of America and beyond. And it's not just phone service. You want alternatives? Think 3G and 4G digital networks, wireless infrastructure, cloud computing, and other innovation that Big Government never saw coming.

    Jobs' digital revolution did nothing to humble these Harvard Law-trained Masters of the Universe.

    They blindly spout dogma that they alone know the "technologies of the future." Solar. Wind. Hybrids. Indeed, we are fortunate that Jen and Barack were not in power when Jobs and his partner Steve Wozniak first innovated the PC computer. They might have tried to strangle it.

    Today, America is in the midst of an energy revolution as entrepreneurs like Harold Hamm of Continental Resoruces innovate horizontal drilling technologies promising to double U.S. oil reserves.

    Yet when Hamm joined other businessmen in a meeting with The One recently, he got the cold shoulder. "I told him of the revolution in the oil and gas industry and how we have the capacity to produce enough oil to enable America to replace OPEC. I wanted to make sure he knew about this," Hamm relays to The Wall Street Journal.

    The president's reaction?

    "He turned to me and said, 'Oil and gas will be important for the next few years. But we need to go on to green and alternative energy. [Energy] Secretary [Steven] Chu has assured me that within five years, we can have a battery developed that will make a car with the equivalent of 130 miles per gallon."

    One can hear Obama now. . . "Oh sure, Mr. Jobs, coal-powered PCs will be important for the next few years. But Chu has assured me that within five years, we can power mainframes with wind turbines."

    Government know-it-alls ignore the capitalist incentives that unleashed Steve Jobs. Granobama claim that startups cannot compete against Big Business and their army of lobbyists - so they pour millions of tax dollars into Tesla and Fisker in order to "innovate" the "battery-powered cars of the future."

    Wrong again.

    The cellular industry took on that most entrenched establishment - Big Telecom and landline telephony - and won. Investor billions poured into handheld startups once they proved that cell phone tech was viable as an alternative to landlines. Why don't markets invest money in the solar industry? Because it cannot compete. Solyndra's owners needed federal funds because - unlike Jobs - they had failed to prove its viability as an alternative technology.

    Steve Jobs is proof that private capital discovers the tech of the future. Granobama never saw it coming.

    Henry Payne is editor of The Michigan View.com



    From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20111005/MIVIEW/110050442/Payne--How-did-Steve-Jobs-do-it-without-Granholm?#ixzz1aTrQR2ZM

  • Let's Stay on Message and Win in 2012

    At our monthly meetings, RetakeOurGov continually emphasizes the need to stay on message if we are going to make Barack Hussein Obama a one term President.  As such, we are using the article shown below as a case study to reinforce this critical point.

    The article below was forwarded to RetakeOurGov on August 18, 2011.  This article has been published for a while as an internet search indicates it was penned in February 2010.

    The author of this article is a journalist and former editor-in-chief for the Denver Post.  He is reported to be a life-long Democrat.  In this article he points out a litany of Barack's broken promises.  It is interesting how even some liberals can see through the smoke and mirrors, otherwise known as hope and change.

    Any American who wants Obama to lose his job in 2012 would be interested in this laundry list of Obama's failures.  However, be mindful that we shouldn't dwell on all of these failures as that would pull us off message.  When speaking to our friends and neighbors we are best served by staying on message and focusing the conversation on Obama's failed economic policies. Examples of his failures would include the high unemployment rate, the slow growth in the economy, the high prices of gas and groceries, and the downgrade of our country's credit rating.

    We need to relentlessly remind our circle of friends and family of Obama's economic failures as poll after poll indicates this is where he is most vulnerable.  We need to be just as relentless when we write letters to the editor.  Time spent elaborating upon the entire list of Obama's failures (and there are plenty to be sure) takes away from time that could be better spent hammering him on economic issues.

    Given the comprehensive list of failures pointed out by Mr. Chuck Green, the author of the article below, it is a good time to remind our readers of a quote from David Horowitz's booklet, "The Art of Political War for Tea Parties."  In his booklet, Mr. Horowitz said, "A single talking point is an effective sound bite, many talking points are indecipherable noise."  Mr. Horowitz also said, "The result of many messages is no message at all."  In other words, Mr. Horowitz advocated we find our most effective "talking points" and stick with them.  We can't effectively point out every flaw that Obama has.  First, there isn't enough time in the day, and more importantly, voters won't remember a deluge of information.  We need to keep our message simple so voters will remember it.

    As mentioned before, polls continue to show that the economy is Obama's weak point.  Therefore, we need to drill him on economic issues.  When voters go to the polls they need to associate Obama with "bad economy."  Voters are more likely to make this association if we don't bombard them with the full gamut of Obama's failures.  Let's keep focused on economic issues and win in 2012.

    (Note: RetakeOurGov has inserted comments in the original article below.  Our comments, highlighted in yellow and shown in bold, identify the points which can be used most effectively to associate Obama with "bad economy.")


    Article: Obama is Victim of Bush's Failed Policies

    Published: Sunday, February 7, 2010 11:14 AM MST
    Aurora Sentinel - Aurora, Colorado

    Barack Obama
    is setting a record-setting number of records during his first year in office.


    Largest budget ever. Largest deficit ever (Largest deficit should be pointed out). Largest number of broken promises ever. Most self-serving speeches ever. Largest number of agenda-setting failures ever. Fastest dive in popularity ever.

    Wow. Talk about change.

    Just one year ago, fresh from his inauguration celebrations, President Obama was flying high. After one of the nation’s most inspiring political campaigns, the election of America ’s first black president had captured the hopes and dreams of millions. To his devout followers, it was inconceivable that a year later his administration would be gripped in self-imposed crisis.

    Of course, they don’t see it as self imposed. It’s all George Bush’s fault.

    George Bush, who doesn’t have a vote in Congress and who no longer occupies the White House, is to blame for it all.

    He broke Obama’s promise to put all bills on the White House web site for five days before signing them.

    He broke Obama’s promise to have the congressional health care negotiations broadcast live on C-SPAN.

    He broke Obama’s promise to end earmarks. (Earmarks can easily be connected to out-of-control spending)

    He broke Obama’s promise to keep unemployment from rising above 8 percent. (This one is an obvious winner)

    He broke Obama’s promise to close the detention center at Guantanamo in the first year.

    He broke Obama’s promise to make peace with direct, no pre-condition talks with America ’s most hate-filled enemies during his first year in office, ushering in a new era of global cooperation.

    He broke Obama’s promise to end the hiring of former lobbyists into high White House jobs.

    He broke Obama’s promise to end no-compete contracts with the government. (This contributes to out-of-control spending)

    He broke Obama’s promise to disclose the names of all attendees at closed White House meetings.

    He broke Obama’s promise for a new era of bipartisan cooperation in all matters.

    He broke Obama’s promise to have chosen a home church to attend Sunday services with his family by Easter of last year.

    Yes, it’s all George Bush’s fault. President Obama is nothing more than a puppet in the never-ending, failed Bush administration.

    If only George Bush wasn’t still in charge, all of President Obama’s problems would be solved. His promises would have been kept, the economy would be back on track, Iran would have stopped its work on developing a nuclear bomb and would be negotiating a peace treaty with Israel , North Korea would have ended its tyrannical regime, and integrity would have been restored to the federal government.

    Oh, and did I mention what it would be like if the Democrats, under the leadership of Nancy Pelosi andHarry Reid, didn’t have the heavy yoke of George Bush around their necks. There would be no earmarks, no closed-door drafting of bills, no increase in deficit spending, no special-interest influence (unions), no vote buying ( Nebraska , Louisiana ).

    If only George Bush wasn’t still in charge, we’d have real change by now.

    All the broken promises, all the failed legislation and delay (health care reformimmigration reform) is not President Obama’s fault or the fault of the Democrat-controlled Congress. It’s all George Bush’s fault.

    Take for example the decision of Eric Holder, the president’s attorney general, to hold terrorists’ trials inNew York City . Or his decision to try the Christmas Day underpants bomber as a civilian.

    Two disastrous decisions.

    Certainly those were bad judgments based on poor advice from George Bush.

    Need more proof?

    You might recall that when Scott Brown won last month’s election to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts , capturing “the Ted Kennedy seat,” President Obama said that Brown’s victory was the result of the same voter anger that propelled Obama into office in 2008. People were still angry about George Bush and the policies of the past 10 years, and they wanted change.

    Yes, according to the president, the voter rebellion in Massachusetts last month was George Bush’s fault.

    Therefore, in retaliation, they elected a Republican to the Ted Kennedy seat, ending a half-century of domination by Democrats.

    It is all George Bush’s fault.

    Will the failed administration of George Bush ever end, and the time for hope and change ever arrive?

    Will President Obama ever accept responsibility for something — anything?


    Chuck Green, veteran Colorado journalist and former editor-in-chief of The Denver Post, syndicates a statewide column and is at chuckgreencolo@msn.com

    See a photocopy of the original article.

  • Gov't Planners Pick Winners and Losers. Or Do They Just Pick Losers?

    The article shown below appeared in Michigan Capitol Confidential back in August 2011.  This is now being posted in the wake of the Obama Administration's "investment" in the now bankrupt green energy company Solyndra.   This another illustration of what happens when government planners uses taxpayer dollars to pick winners and losers. More often than not, the all-knowing planners pick losers.

    Politicians and planners chose the film industry as one of their "winners."  Government's best and brightest decided to dole out subsidies to the film industry in Michigan.  In the case sighted below, the subsidy paid by Michigan's taxpayers far outweighed the box office profits.  Another dismal failure by our government planners.

    The only certainty when government planners attempt to pick winners and losers - the taxpayers of this state will be the losers.

     

    Box Office Bombs: Made in Michigan

    Many films are getting more money from Michigan taxpayers than they are at the theaters

    By TOM GANTERT | Aug. 14, 2011

    "The Genesis Code," a film shot in Michigan, received about a dozen local newspaper stories during the two years of filming and its theatrical release. The film received a lot of media attention because it was filmed in west Michigan.

    The audience reaction was much more restrained: The movie made just $20,300 at the box office after its Feb. 18, 2011, release. However, Michigan taxpayers are on the hook for $1.74 million in the form of a tax subsidy reimbursement to help offset the $4.5 million that filmmakers spent in the state while shooting.

    A review of the movies awarded $1 million or more in tax subsidies listed in the 2009 Michigan Film Office annual report found that six of those seven movies received more in subsidies than they made up at the box office in U.S. theaters.

    “At least when it is left to the market, you are not forced to subsidize a film you would otherwise avoid at all cost,” said Michael LaFaive, director of the Mackinac Center's Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative and a long-time critic of the film incentive program.

    Seven other projects that received $1 million or more in tax subsidies couldn’t be tracked because the titles were kept confidential by the Michigan Film Office. Five other movies that received $1 million or more in subsidies in 2009 have yet to be released.

    The movie "Vanishing on 7th Street," starring Hayden Christensen, is a horror movie about an unexplained blackout that hits the city of Detroit. By morning, only a few people survive. It was released Feb. 18, 2011, and made just $22,729 during the 28 days it was in U.S. theaters, according to the website BoxOfficeMojo.com. It did make another $1 million in foreign box office. The state gave it a $2.65 million subsidy.

    By comparison, the movie “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” made $54.8 million over the Aug. 5-7 weekend.

    The movie “Trust” was directed by former “Friends” star David Schwimmer and starred Clive Owen. The movie is about a teenage girl who is stalked by an online predator. It was filmed in the Ann Arbor, Plymouth and Dexter areas. It opened April 1, 2011, and made $120,014 in U.S. theaters. The movie received $3 million from Michigan taxpayers.

    The movie “Conviction” told the story of Betty Ann Waters’ efforts to get her wrongly convicted brother out of prison. It starred Hilary Swank and was filmed in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility. It made $6.7 million in U.S. theaters, exceeding its $4.2 million subsidy. The film also made $2.9 million in foreign theaters.

    Other moviemakers may have been able to use state subsidies to help cushion the bottom line for their low-grossing films.

    On the Michigan Film Office website, writer/director Jonathon Hensleigh mentioned Michigan’s film rebate when he discussed why the movie “Kill the Irishman” was made in Detroit instead of Cleveland, where the film’s main character Danny Greene really lived.

    The movie reportedly had a $12 million budget. According to the 2009 film office report, the moviemakers spent just over $7 million in Michigan and received a roughly $3 million subsidy. Michigan’s film rebate pays up to 42 percent of filmmakers’ expenses for costs incurred while in Michigan.

    Ohio’s subsidy offers 25 to 35 percent, meaning that if the “Kill the Irishman” crew had spent as much in Ohio as they did in Michigan, they could have received $500,000 to $1.25 million less than what they did from Michigan taxpayers.

    That’s significant because the movie only made $1.18 million in its 112-day run in U.S. theaters. It was released March 11, 2011.

    While there was no limit on the film subsidy program in past years, and thus on the cost that could be incurred by Michigan taxpayers, Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature recently capped the program at $25 million total for all films for the coming fiscal year. This is roughly one-fourth of the estimated spending on film subsidies for 2010.

    Several of the $1 million-plus subsidy films have yet to be released or are otherwise difficult to track the success of.

    For example, the movie “Alleged” was filmed in Flint. It is about the Scopes Monkey Trial. There were more than a half-dozen newspaper stories written about the movie. It received a $1.19 million subsidy.

    But despite the media coverage, nobody will see it in a theater. Tracy Balsz, a spokesman for IndieMarketing, said the movie will go straight to DVD in late 2011 or early 2012.

  • House Republicans Can Unilaterally Stop Out-of-Control Spending

    This article published in the American Thinker challenges the conventional wisdom that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives is powerless to assert their will and cut deficit spending NOW!  In fact, the author points out that the House holds all of the cards in this deficit spending crisis.  The House doesn't need to seek approval from the Senate or President Obama.  The destiny of future generations is within their control.

    RetakeOurGov has highlighted passages in this article to emphasize the key points made by Mr. Olson.  To view the original article click here.

    July 22, 2011
    Feigning Powerlessness to Retain Power
    By William J. Olson


    There once was a time that elected leaders wanted to be seen as powerful to gain the confidence of their constituents.  But many House Republicans, who now have in their hands total power to end runaway government once and for all, are feigning powerlessness.

    These House Republicans claim to be just one-third of the legislative process, unable to achieve anything useful without compromise and a bipartisan consensus.  They grouse that the Democrats in the Senate and President Obama are forcing them to settle for what they can get in exchange for an inevitable and necessary increase in the debt limit.  They claim to need even greater electoral victories in 2012 before they can stop the spending.

    The truth is that House Republicans already hold all the cards.  The debt ceiling is already fixed in law, and will remain fixed unless they capitulate. Rather than just saying no to an increase in the debt limit which would end deficit spending, the GOP has developed "Cut, Cap, and Balance" which it sells as a principled proposal.  Yet, with CC&B, the House Republicans propose to end the deficit spending by the curious method of increasing the national debt by $2.4 trillion (almost 17 percent) to $16.7 trillion.

    In increasing the debt ceiling, the House Republicans leaders are doing what comes naturally.  The House leadership historically has not wanted to stop spending -- with entitlements like Medicare Part D they have used our own money to buy our votes just like the Democrats. The motivation behind CC&B is not about cutting current spending, capping future spending, or balancing the budget -- it's about what it's always been about -- the politics of reelection.

    It could be that the House Republicans are acting out of fear that in holding fast to principle they would not be seen as being "responsible" in the eyes of the media and Wall Street.  They could be afraid that Wall Street and the administration could use their refusal to increase the debt ceiling to provoke an international financial crisis that would be blamed on them.  They could fear that the American people will turn them out for doing what they said they would do.  The common denominator of these motivations is fear, which always leads to bad decisions.  If we grant to the establishment the role of arbiter of what is right and responsible, we have given up the fight.  House Republicans forget the truism that "we are always more free to do that which is right than we think we are."

    When the vote was taken in the House on Tuesday night, only nine Republicans saw through what the leadership was doing.  The rest of the House Republicans followed what they thought talk radio, a large swath of the conservative movement, and some misguided Tea Partiers wanted.  What makes "Cut, Cap, and Balance" into true political art is that the House Republican leadership is using it to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory while selling this effort to their constituents as an act of courage.  Thus far, only www.DownsizeDC.org is leading the charge against it, and only www.WorldNetDaily.org is reporting on its flaws.

    Let's examine the alternative.  What would happen if the House Republicans avoided the temptation to rush in to solve this problem, and just followed the Hippocratic Oath's admonition to first do no harm?
    In February 2010, Congress capped the national debt at $14.294 trillion.  The level of this debt is a publically reported number, not easily subject to manipulation.  When this limit is hit, our nation's spending is necessarily limited by our revenue -- and deficit spending automatically stops.

    The federal government would stop inflicting more fiscal damage on successive generations.  The nation's sovereignty would be enhanced as we are weaned from reliance on foreign lenders.  We just might be forced to end unconstitutional military operations, such as that in Libya.  We might finally increase the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare to adjust to increased life expectancy.  The Department of Education, the Legal Services Corporation, ATF, and the FTC could top the list for abolition or at least a huge haircut.

    If our goal is to stop the cancer of debt and to have a country that lives within its means -- we could declare victory.  After 78 years, the New Deal/Great Society spending spree finally would be over.  Further, that hard cap on the nation's debt could never be changed unless the president, the Senate, and the House Republicans all agree. 

    The website of the CC&B charade states the goal is for "[s]ubstantial cuts in spending that will reduce the deficit next year and thereafter."  But with a hard debt ceiling in place, we don't need the "cut" component of CC&B.  Since cuts are generally based on projected, not current, spending levels, "cuts" are usually an illusion anyway.

    With a hard debt ceiling in place, we don't need a "cap."  The same CC&B website demands "[e]nforceable spending caps that will put federal spending on a path to a balanced budget."  But when Congress writes the laws -- who is going to do the enforcing?  Why just seek to get "on the path" toward a balanced budget, when we have already achieved it?

    Lastly, we don't need to go through the lengthy and risky process of passing a balanced budget amendment.  In fact, the debt ceiling is much more effective than such an amendment.  A balanced budget amendment unreasonably assumes the Commerce Department would never politicize the GDP calculation, and the Congressional Budget Office will be immune from congressional influence.

    All we now need is for House Republicans to do nothing, but inaction carries with it political risk.  House Republicans could be accused of forcing deep spending cuts and tough choices, but isn't that what House Republicans said they were willing to do during the last election?

    House Republicans are certainly afraid that they could be accused of causing a default on the debt.  But with almost $200 billion in monthly revenue, there is no shortage of money to pay the necessary $39 billion monthly tab to the creditors of the United States.  Any accusation of precipitating a "default" on the national debt is absurd -- unless President Obama and his friends at Goldman Sachs want such a crisis for their own purposes.  

    It is a certainty that deep spending cuts would alienate the recipients of government largess, but if that price is too high to pay, we are all doomed anyway.  Must we always wait until after the next election?  Let's eat the peas now, defund great swaths of the federal bureaucracy for an entire fiscal year -- before the spenders could regain power.  Who knows -- the fired bureaucrats might even get honest jobs, and learn to like it.
    The House Republicans need to assume the political risk for the sake of the country.  Inaction would require political courage, but would it be easier if we wait until the burden of nation's debt is allowed to shoot up by another $2.4 trillion?  If not now, when?

    Bill Olson held three positions during the Reagan administration and his law firm focuses on constitutional law and defending against government excess.  Email wjo@mindspring.com, visit www.lawandfreedom.com, or www.Twitter.com/OlsonLaw.

  • Romney Distances Himself from Grass-roots

    Conservatives need to read the article below.  Published in Newsmax, this article touches upon Mitt Romney's strategy for winning the Republican Presidential nomination.  RetakeOurGov has highlighted two key sentences below that should be of concern to anyone with consistent conservative values.

    Paraphrasing from the Newsmax article, Romney is not concerned about gaining support from the grass-roots (a.k.a. Tea Party).  The article goes on to state that Romney's strategy is to seek support from moderates while the rest of the Republican field splits the conservative vote.  A similar strategy was employed by Michigan's Governor Rick Snyder in his 2010 primary campaign.  Acoording to an article published in annarbor.com Snyder won when conservatives split their votes between several candidates, leaving Snyder all alone with the support of moderates and even Democrats.

    The grass-roots of the Republican Party will need to rally around the strongest conservative candidate in order to vault their governing philoshopy to victory in the 2012 Presidential Primary. The behemoth known as our federal government has grown to its current size under Democrat and less-than-conservative Republican administrations.  We need a President with solid conservative credentials to roll back a bloated federal government.

    Article from Newsmax

    http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/romney-twitter-tea-party/2011/07/18/id/404057

    Romney Blows Off Tea Party with Debate Snub

    Monday, 18 Jul 2011 06:21 PM

    By David A. Patten

    Presidential contender Mitt Romney’s decision to opt out of the first-ever presidential debate via Twitter, to be held this Wednesday at 3 p.m. Eastern, appears to be further alienating him from the GOP’s grass-roots conservatives.

    Todd Cefaratti, head of TheTeaParty.net group that is hosting the event, tells Newsmax Romney’s non-participation is “just another thorn” in his relationship with grass-roots conservatives.

    Romney is the only candidate to decline the invitation outright, according to Cefaratti.

    “There are a lot of disgruntled conservatives out there regarding Mitt Romney,” comments Cefaratti. “Him bowing out of our debate is just another thorn.

    “Why wouldn’t he be involved in our debate?” Cefaratti said. “He’s definitely not scoring any points -- and there’s definitely that opportunity out there.”

    Cefaratti says the governor’s staff has indicated they are worried he may not adequately be able to convey his views over Twitter due to its limitation of 140 characters per response.

    But Cefaratti tells Newsmax that the debate rules allow candidates to issue as many responses as they want to a single question, as long as they do not exceed their two-minute-per-question response time.

    Participating candidates include: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, business executive and talk host Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

    Two other candidates, Rep. Ron Paul and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, have yet to accept the organization’s invitation. Cefaratti says he is hoping they will join as late additions.

    Wednesday’s debate will be hosted by nationally syndicated talk-radio host Rusty Humphries, whose show airs on SiriusXM as well as 250 stations nationwide.

    "What an honor to be involved in something with such historical importance,” Humphries stated in a news release. “Direct access to our leaders is what our founders envisioned, and this ‘Twitter debate’ is exactly what our Republic needs at this time. I can't wait to see what a politician can say in 140 characters."

    Some commentators hope the abbreviated format will force the candidates to abandon the spin and nuance that often makes it difficult to understand what their responses actually mean.

    Columnist and commentator S.E. Cupp also will help moderate the debate, which will illustrate the growing importance of social media in political campaigns.

    Voters interested in participating can log onto the organization’s website, TheTeaParty.net, to suggest a question for the candidates. They can also watch the event stream online at 140Townhall.com.

    According to some analysts, Romney’s decision to forgo the debate is another signal his campaign does not envision a concerted appeal to the grass-roots, which already is highly skeptical of Romney due to his support in Massachusetts for healthcare reforms similar in some respects to the president’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

    Democratic pollster, Fox News contributor, and Newsmax magazine columnist Doug Schoen says that Romney may be distancing himself from the tea parties out of concern they could become radioactive due to the ongoing battle over the debt ceiling. He adds they weren’t particularly inclined to support him anyway.

    “He sees where the tea parties are going with the deficit, and rightly believes their approach could damage him in the general election,” Schoen tells Newsmax. “His play is for moderates -- and let everyone else split the conservative/tea party constituency.”

    The TeaParty.net was founded in 2009 and sees its role as facilitating the grass-roots organizational efforts of others. It embraces the core tea party values of smaller government, less taxes, and constitutional governance, and is more interested in growing grow the movement than in espousing its own views, Cefaratti says.

    The organization is represented on Capitol Hill by BrainTrain’s Donna Wiesner Keene, who is the wife of David Keene, former CPAC chief and current president of the National Rifle Association.

    Cefaratti tells Newsmax his organization expects to have an opt-in e-mail list of some 2 million names by Election Day 2012. He credits its Rally Congress software with giving grass-roots efforts a major boost on Capitol Hill.

    A few weeks ago, Rep Darrell Issa, R-Calif., asked TheTeaParty.net to support The Postal Reform Act, which sets up supervisory boards that would trim the U.S. Postal Service’s deficit, currently over $8 billion per year. Cefaratti put up a banner on TheTeaParty.net site to do just that.
    Based on zip code, the software automatically directs a message to the voter’s congressional representatives.

    “Your representative has to answer to you, they can’t filter them out,” Cefaratti explains.

    So far over 80,000 e-mails, letters, and faxes have gone out to urge the passage of The Postal Reform Act, he says.

    “My assistant and I were sitting there laughing because it was like that commercial where you watch how many people are logged on and doing it, and it was spinning, we had like 12,000 in like 30 minutes,” Cefaratti says.

  • Massachusetts Democrats are Union Busters!


    The mainstream media hasn’t given much coverage to this story.

    The legislature of Massachusetts has passed a bill that reins in out-of-control pay and benefits packages for public sector unions.  It seems that even in the “bluest of blue” states, working class citizens are Taxed Enough Already.

  • Rick Wilson's Presentation: Islamists and Sharia

    Here are the slides presented by Mr. Rick Wilson at RetakeOurGov's May 10, 2011 meeting.

    These slides have been converted from a PowerPoint files to an Adobe PDF file.  This was done to reduce the file size and thereby decrease the time required to download the file.  As it is now, the file is about 450k in size.

    Click here to view the file.

    As a bonus I've copied and pasted an email describing several actions that you can undertake to help fight Radical Islam.

    -----Original Message-----

    From: LetFreedomReign
    Sent: Fri, May 13, 2011 11:32 pm
    Subject: LFR LAST MEETING INFO

    At our final Let Freedom Reign meeting, guest Rick Wilson gave an impassioned presentation on the dangers of Islam to the United States of America... and the entire world!  I had asked him, rather than doing his usual in-depth explanation of WHY we should be afraid of Islam, if he would give a condensed version, followed by WHAT  WE  CAN  DO  to STOP the threat!!   If you did not attend the meeting, and are not familiar with Islam and Sharia Law, please do some internet research.    Following are some of the suggestions Rick gave us to fight Islam before it is too late (if we're not already past that point!)  Please seriously consider taking action and helping to fight this evil before it takes over.  Ladies, we are especially at risk - under Sharia Law, we are less than 2nd class citizens!!   In addition to the suggestions below, please read America Alone by Mark Steyn.    Rick Wilson will also be sending me the CD of his book Amerislam and I will gladly loan it out if you are interested in reading it.  Please let me know!   As you read the suggested actions below, please do not take the attitude of, "that won't do any good"... remember that we HAVE made a difference in many areas already.  Sitting back and doing nothing will simply ensure that we will be under Sharia Law in the not-so-distant future.  We MUST take every step we can to eradicate the Islam influence!!  So pick the things you CAN do... and PLEASE... GET INVOLVED!

    What we MUST do to STOP the threat of an Islam takeover of the U.S.:   1) Learn about Islam - most of what the media tells us is UNTRUE.  We are told that there are PEACEFUL ISLAMS - that is UNTRUE... there are peaceful MUSLIMS... but there is no such thing as a peaceful Islam.  The media tells us that 'Islam' means 'peace', when, in fact, it means 'submission'.   2) American schools - from elementary thru college - are teaching about Muslims.  One cannot teach about the Muslims without teaching something about Islam... Islam is a RELIGION... We are not allowed to discuss any Christian religions in 'history' classes, but Islam can be discussed!!  Check with your local school districts and colleges.  See what they are teaching.  If ISLAM is being taught in the public schools, PROTEST!!!  Throw the old (false... but they think it is true) 'Separation of Church and State' right back at them!!   3) Run for a position on your local school board so that you can have some say in the textbooks and subject material for the district.  Schools must not be allowed to teach Islam!   4) Seek out peaceful Muslims in your area.  Encourage them to speak against Hamas and Hezbollah.  But realize that they may require protection and support from your community for doing so.  According to the teaching of Islam, speaking against it is cause for death.   5) Pressure state and federal Congresses to DRILL, BABY, DRILL!!  We MUST become energy independent!!  Also learn about nuclear power and lobby state and federal politicians to vote to allow nuclear power plants be built.    6) Write, call, GO to Lansing and DEMAND that the MICHIGAN borders be secured!  We have only 23 miles of secure borders in our state!  Our enemies are freely traveling to and from Michigan!   7) Again... pressure the legislators... we need FENCES on our borders... north and south!    8) And while we're calling for safer borders, we must also DEMAND that our immigration laws be enforced - at both federal and state levels!  As a sovereign nation, it is our RIGHT to protect our borders!  Demand national compliance with ALL immigration laws!   9) Support MI Rep David Agema, 74th District.  He has written a MI Immigration Reform bill that MUST be passed.  Contact your state representative and senator!  Governor Snyder wants to 'import' thousands of immigrants to MI - to 'rebuild' our state... what, MICHIGANDERS are not capable??

    10) Find the nearest chapter of Act for America.  (Closest are Ann Arbor, Grand Blanc, Hartland, and Rochester Hills)... visit their website at actforamerica.org  JOIN!!  Get involved!   11) US Rep Sue Myrick (R-NC) created the Anti-Terrorism Caucus.  To date, over 120 other congressmen and women have joined the Caucus.  Check to see if YOUR Rep is a member... if so, THANK him or her... ask what you can do to help.... if NOT, get on their case!!!  Demand that they take this seriously!  There is NO such caucus in the Senate... we need to contact our Senators and tell them to WISE UP!!   12) Work with your Michigan Rep and Senator - try to get them to form an Anti-Terrorism Caucus in the MI Legislature.  We especially NEED a caucus in MI, given that we have Dearbornistan just down the road...   13) If your rep is not receptive, contact either MI Rep Bill Rogers or MI Rep Dave Robertson.  Both understand the threat of Islam and would be glad to have your support in helping to create a Caucus.   14) As the next round of elections nears, ask EVERY candidate this question:  What are YOU going to do about JIHAD?  If they are not knowledgeable on the subject, and they do not have a solid answer ready, mark them OFF!!  We MUST find candidates who take this issue seriously.    15) BE VOCAL about this issue.  Our prodding and poking has finally gotten spending in the headlines and on every political talk show.  We must do the same with the issue of Islam.    16) Attend as many functions as you can find that offer information on the subject.  EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE!!!    If you have any questions, comments, or information you would like to share on this subject, please email me!!

    Peggy

  • Soak The Rich is Code for Soak the Middle Class

    This article below appeared in the April 18 edition of the Wall Street Journal.  This article explains that balancing the federal budget by "soaking the rich" will not solve America's problems.  It bears repeating, America is in debt because government spends too much, not because we are taxed too little.  To tackle the debt problem the federal government needs to reduce spending and implement pro-growth economic policies.  Clearly, taxing job-creators is not a pro-growth policy.  In fact, confescating 100% of the income of the "rich" won't solve the debt problem.  Spending must be cut or Obama needs to "soak the middle class."

    (Note: RetakeOurGov added the yellowing highlighting to emphasize key passages.  The original article, without the highlighting, can be viewed by clicking here.)

     

    A dominant theme of President Obama's budget speech last Wednesday was that our fiscal problems would vanish if only the wealthiest Americans were asked "to pay a little more." Since he's asking, imagine that instead of proposing to raise the top income tax rate well north of 40%, the President decided to go all the way to 100%.

    Let's stipulate that this is a thought experiment, because Democrats don't need any more ideas. But it's still a useful experiment because it exposes the fiscal futility of raising rates on the top 2%, or even the top 5% or 10%, of taxpayers to close the deficit. The mathematical reality is that in the absence of entitlement reform on the Paul Ryan model, Washington will need to soak the middle class—because that's where the big money is.

    ***

    Consider the Internal Revenue Service's income tax statistics for 2008, the latest year for which data are available. The top 1% of taxpayers—those with salaries, dividends and capital gains roughly above about $380,000—paid 38% of taxes. But assume that tax policy confiscated all the taxable income of all the "millionaires and billionaires" Mr. Obama singled out. That yields merely about $938 billion, which is sand on the beach amid the $4 trillion White House budget, a $1.65 trillion deficit, and spending at 25% as a share of the economy, a post-World War II record.

     

    Say we take it up to the top 10%, or everyone with income over $114,000, including joint filers. That's five times Mr. Obama's 2% promise. The IRS data are broken down at $100,000, yet taxing all income above that level throws up only $3.4 trillion. And remember, the top 10% already pay 69% of all total income taxes, while the top 5% pay more than all of the other 95%.

    We recognize that 2008 was a bad year for the economy and thus for tax receipts, as payments by the rich fell along with their income. So let's perform the same exercise in 2005, a boom year and among the best ever for federal revenue. (Ahem, 2005 comes after the Bush tax cuts that Mr. Obama holds responsible for all the world's problems.)

    In 2005 the top 5% earned over $145,000. If you took all the income of people over $200,000, it would yield about $1.89 trillion, enough revenue to cover the 2012 bill for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security—but not the same bill in 2016, as the costs of those entitlements are expected to grow rapidly. The rich, in short, aren't nearly rich enough to finance Mr. Obama's entitlement state ambitions—even before his health-care plan kicks in.

    So who else is there to tax? Well, in 2008, there was about $5.65 trillion in total taxable income from all individual taxpayers, and most of that came from middle income earners. The nearby chart shows the distribution, and the big hump in the center is where Democrats are inevitably headed for the same reason that Willie Sutton robbed banks.

    This is politically risky, however, so Mr. Obama's game has always been to pretend not to increase taxes for middle class voters while looking for sneaky ways to do it. His first budget in 2009 included a "climate revenues" section from the indirect carbon tax of cap and trade, which of course would be passed down to all consumers. Such Democratic luminaries as Nancy Pelosi have often chattered about a European-style value-added tax, or VAT, which from a liberal perspective has the virtue of applying to every level of production or service and therefore is largely hidden from the people who pay it.

    Now that those two ideas have failed politically, Mr. Obama is turning as he did last week to limiting tax deductions and other "loopholes," such as for mortgage interest payments. We support doing away with these distortions too, and so does Mr. Ryan, but in return for lower tax rates. Mr. Obama just wants the extra money, which he says will reduce the deficit but in practice will merely enable more spending.

    Keep in mind that the most expensive tax deductions, in terms of lost tax revenue, go mainly to the middle class. These include the deductions for state and local tax payments (especially property taxes), mortgage interest, employer-sponsored health insurance, 401(k) contributions and charitable donations. The irony is that even as Mr. Obama says he merely wants the rich to pay a little bit more, his proposals would make the tax code less progressive than it is today.

    Mr. Ryan isn't proposing controversial entitlement reforms because he likes pointless political risk, or because he likes being berated to his face from a front row seat, as he was on Wednesday. Medicare and Medicaid spending are consistently growing two to three times faster than the rest of the economy, while Medicare's cash-in-cash-out financing model means that seniors collect far more in benefits than they paid in taxes over their working lifetime. The entitlement state was designed for another era.

    ***

    Mr. Obama's speech was disgraceful for its demagoguery but also because it contained nothing remotely commensurate to the scale of the problem. If the President had come out for a large tax on the middle class, like a VAT, then at least the country could have debated the choice of paying for the government we have or modernizing it a la Mr. Ryan so it is affordable.

    Instead the President will continue targeting the middle class for tax increases to pay for an entitlement state on autopilot, while claiming he only wants to tax the rich. Oh, and we almost forgot: Happy Tax Day.

  • Budget Cuts: $38.5 billion = $352 million, Is This New Math or D.C. Speak?

    This article below appeared in the Wall Street Journal on April 15, 2011.

    This article indicates that the $38.5 billion in spending cuts could be closer to $352 million.  If this is true then the spending cuts are less than 1% of what was advertised. Is it too much to ask that the Republican leadership push for real change rather than accept "Hope and Change."

    Notes

    1. RetakeOurGov added yellow highlighting to emphasize key passages in the article.
    2. The original article, without the highlighting, is available at the Wall Street Journal.
    3. Sections highlighted in green are comments inserted by RetakeOurGov.

     

    Deal Approved but Debate Continues Over Actual Extent of Spending Cuts
    APRIL 15, 2011
    By NAFTALI BENDAVID

    Spending cuts of $38.5 billion this year have now been approved by Congress, but debate continues on what that figure really amounts to.

    Critics of the deal, especially conservatives, say too many of the cuts come from one-time trims, or from funds that were unlikely to be spent in any case. That complaint and others prompted 59 House Republicans to side against House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and oppose passage of the deal. Senate approval was expected later Thursday.

    A report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has added fuel to the dispute. Congress authorized $38.5 billion less in spending for this fiscal year than last, but the CBO, which analyzes budget and economic data for Congress, found that the reduction in "outlays"—the amount of money actually going out the door this year—would be only $352 million.

    That's in part because it can take time for spending cuts to take effect. In other cases, the CBO believes the funds that lawmakers are counting as cuts were unlikely to be spent in any case, so its accountants didn't count them as savings.

    About $6 billion of the cuts in the agreement come from the Census Bureau, which needed a higher level of funding last year to conduct the once-a-decade census. Similarly, congressional aides say a $4.9 billion cut from a crime victims' fund wouldn't have been spent in any case, as the fund has a spending cap.

    "Some of the cuts are one-off and are in a sense smoke and mirrors," said Chris Edwards, director of tax policy at the free-market Cato Institute. Many others are real, he added.Mr. Boehner and other GOP leaders were sufficiently worried about the effect of such arguments on Republican lawmakers that they mounted an aggressive effort to counteract them Wednesday and Thursday.

    "We're cutting $38.5 billion of money that has already been authorized and appropriated," Mr. Boehner said. "Anyone who doesn't believe this money would be spent if we didn't act is kidding themselves. This is real money, and these are real cuts.

    "Some of the debate surrounds the question whether one-time cuts, even if they are real, are significant, since they don't reduce spending in future years.

    Democrats fought to make sure about $17 billion of the $38.5 billion in cuts were in "mandatory" spending. Spending on such programs was set in other laws, so the levels approved Thursday will revert to their previous amounts in future years, unless Congress changes those laws.

    This "mandatory" spending will enable the political class to claim they are cutting the budget in future years, even though the amount of spending would actually stay the same.  It also allows the left to annually vilify conservatives for draconian budget cuts.

    Write to Naftali Bendavid at naftali.bendavid@wsj.com

  • How To Defeat RINO's and Liberals

    I’m posting an article I received from Leadership Institute (LI) as it concisely explains what conservatives need to do in order to win elections.  As stated in this article, most conservatives believe victory shall be ours if we educate the undecided voters and logically prove to them we are right.  Many believe, “We will win because our hearts are pure.”  In fact, having a “pure heart” far from guarantees a conservative victory.

    Having attended training conducted by LI I am on their mailing list for flyers and brochures.  This fine organization teaches activists, such as Tea Partiers, how to win in the arena of public policy.  Stated another way, LI teaches conservatives how to defeat big government liberals and Democrat-lite Republicans (also known as RINOs, Republicans in Name Only) in the electoral process.

    Yes, we do need to be familiar with the issues of the day, but even more importantly, we need to be able to market our ideas effectively.  After all, good marketing and slick packaging trumps logic and reason.  Barack Obama’s victory demonstrates this point all too well.

    In future RetakeOurGov meetings we will be learning and applying techniques that fall into the category of effective marketing; for it is effective marketing, or “political technology”, which will enable our side to stay on message from now through November 6, 2012.  Staying on message increases the likelihood of Conservative Victory 2012.

     


    LEADERSHIP MEMO / Fall-Winter 2010

    by Morton C. Blackwell

    The Real Nature of Politics

    What I am about to share with you is probably the most important lesson you will learn at any time in your life about success in the public policy process.

    Conservatives did not understand the real nature of politics for many years and certainly did not begin to teach it systematically until the early 1970s. Many conservatives today haven't learned it yet.

    Please bear with me as I begin with the important historical background. I'll get to the key concepts soon enough.

    What was the greatest difference between conservatives who supported Barry Goldwater in 1964 and those who supported Ronald Reagan in 1980? Most people don't know the answer.

    The majority today aren't old enough to remember the 1964 presidential campaign, but Barry Goldwater's book, The Conscience of a Conservative, is still available and widely read.

    Fortunately, most people still remember Ronald Reagan and his conservative principles.

    Anyone who supported Goldwater in 1964 and Reagan in 1980 can tell you that there was no significant difference in philosophy between Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.

    You can see this for yourself. If you read The Conscience of a Conservative, published in 1960, you will see that Barry Goldwater's positions on public policy issues then were very close to those of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

    I can tell you from my personal experiences in the 1964 Goldwater campaign and in the 1980 Reagan campaign that there was one great difference 
    between the approach to politics of the Goldwater supporters and the Reagan supporters sixteen years later.

    The difference was that we Goldwater supporters tended to believe that being right, in the sense of being correct, was sufficient to win.

    We firmly believed that if we could prove we were right, if we could logically demonstrate that our candidate was of higher character and that his policies would be better for our country, somehow victory would fall to our deserving hands like a ripe fruit off a tree.

    That's not the real nature of politics. I call that misconception the Sir Gallahad theory: "I will win because my heart is pure."

    Do you know what was the most used slogan of the Goldwater campaign? It was this: "In your heart, you know he's right."

    Unfortunately the real world doesn't work that way, as we who supported Goldwater found out when Lyndon Johnson trounced us. Johnson got 41 million votes and Goldwater got 27 million votes.

    To this day I'm convinced Barry Goldwater would have been a better President for the United States than Lyndon Johnson, but Lyndon Johnson won big.

    Some Goldwater conservatives were so shocked and disappointed that they dropped out of politics and were never seen again. But not all of the Goldwater people left. Many of us stayed involved. Lots of us travelled similar paths and wound up working together.

    In 1964, I had served as the youngest elected Goldwater Delegate to the Republican National Convention. The next year, 1965, I came to Washington to be executive director of the national College Republicans.

    Others with solid Goldwater pedigrees moved into the national scene at about the same time. 

    A young Goldwater supporter named Richard Viguerie came to Washington in 1965 and created his direct mail firm. He soon became the nationally dominant consultant in political direct mail and is still a leader in that field today.

    Another notable young conservative, Ed Feulner, also came to Washington in 1965 to work for a think tank. Then he became a leading conservative congressional staffer. Now he is president of the massive and effective Heritage Foundation.

    Another young Goldwater supporter, Paul Weyrich, came to Washington the next year, in 1966, to serve as press secretary for a conservative U.S. senator from Colorado.

    Weyrich soon became the key conservative expert on politics on Capitol Hill. He later became America's most successful organizer of conservative organizations and institutions, playing a key role for more than forty years in founding important new groups.

    All of us had supported Goldwater, but none of us was prominent in his campaign.

    In fact, none us even knew each other until we got to the D.C. area and began to build our own national reputations as fighters in different ways for conservative principles. But in those days, our past support of the Goldwater campaign was a priceless credential among fellow conservatives.

    Lee Edwards, a friend of mine who served as director of information in the 1964 Goldwater campaign, founded what was probably the D.C. area's only conservative public relations firm in 1965.

    Now Dr. Edwards has become the nation's foremost historian and biographer of the conservative movement. In May 1972, Edwards introduced me to Richard Viguerie.

    A week later Viguerie hired me away from the conservative think tank where I then worked in D.C. He said, "Morton, I want you to come help me build a conservative movement." 

    Richard Viguerie meant what he said, and his words were music to my ears because building a conservative movement was exactly what I wanted to do.

    Soon, with my help as his political assistant, Richard began to gather frequently a small group of experienced, totally reliable conservatives who were serious about trying to figure out how to win for conservative principles.

    Included in our meetings were those I have named, including Lee Edwards, and others whom we believed shared our conservative principles and our determination for those principles to win eventually in government, politics, and the news media.

    We were tired of losing.

    We discussed what had worked well for the political left, why conservatives had lost so many political battles, and what conservatives might do to win in the future.

    It came down to this: What is the real nature of politics?

    Here was our first great conclusion: Being right in the sense of being correct is not sufficient to win. You don't win just because your heart is pure, even if you can prove logically that you are right.


    What, then, does determine victory?

    In our frequent meetings and discussions, we came to our second great conclusion: The winner in a political contest over time is determined by the number and the effectiveness of the activists and leaders on the respective sides.

    That fundamental understanding changed our thinking. It explains why the side that's right doesn't necessarily win.

    Next we considered the vital question of what determines the number and effectiveness of the activists and leaders on a given side. Clearly, numbers and effectiveness do not depend on which side is right.

    Our third great conclusion was: The number and effectivenessof the activists and leaders on a given side in a political contest is determined by the political technology used by that side.

    That explains a lot of political history, including why bad causes, like communism, attracted a lot of activists.  The people on the political left used effective political technology.  In contrast, most conservatives had relied on proving we are right.

    Political technology can be roughly divided into communication technology and organization technology with no neat line of separation between communication and organization.

    Most political technology is philosophically neutral.

    Techniques which work for the left can work for conservatives.  Techniques which work for Republicans can work for Democrats and vice versa.  Similar techniques can work whether a public policy battle is an election or a legislative battle over tax rates, the right to keep and bear arms, abortion, or any other issue.

    In the 1970's, when we made what were for us these discoveries about the real nature of politics, we saw this new understanding as a terrific insight which could lead to victory for conservative principles in the public policy process of government, politics, and the news media.

    But because most political technology is philosophically neutral, most people who are deeply committed philosophically tend to disdain to study or use political technology.

    Instinctively, people devoted to their political priniciples tend to think learning mere skills is beneath their dignity because techniques are philosophically neutral.  Such people are, after all, thinking about and proving their wonderful, deeply held views on important public policy questions.

    Is abortion the murder of tiny babies?

    What must be done to stop the spread of worldwide communism?

    What must be done to keep big government from destroying economic liberty and prosperity?

    "They will take my gun only by prying it from my cold dead fingers. God made man, but Winchester made men equal!"

    Serious questions.

    Serious people can get very excited about issues and philosophic differences, but they instinctively tend to think poorly of the study or practice of philosophically neutral skills.

    Political technology is composed of a universe of specific techniques.

    Of course, not all political techniques are philosophically neutral. Terror is an evil technique used most commonly by the left. Communists famously and effectively use terror to grab power and keep it.

    But most political technology has no inherent philosophical content.

    How you design a piece of political literature, how you raise funds, how you organize a precinct, how you attract a crowd to a political event, how you communicate to a mass audience online-those techniques can work for anybody.

    You may wonder now what I mean by techniques.

    Most of the most useful techniques don't involve complex computer programming.

    Let me use, for example, the techniques available for something as simple as a nametag.

    How often have you seen pre-printed nametags which begin, in big letters, with "HELLO, MY NAME IS"?

    That's a bad technique. The printed message is useless, and it takes space on the nametag which could be used for communication.

    How many times have you attended meetings where someone has thoughtfully printed nametags for everyone in advance, in letters about the size a typewriter would produce? That's a bad technique because it wastes space which could be used for communication.

    How many times have you had to write your name on a nametag with a thin-line, ballpoint pen? That's a bad technique because a name written by a wide-line, felt-tip pen is easier to read.

    Often people print or write names on nametags in all capital letters. That's a bad technique because capitalizing only the first letters makes the nametag easier to read.

    The name on a nametag should comfortably fill the entire space available.

    Where do you place a nametag?

    Most people instinctively place their nametags on their left shoulders.

    Wrong. The best place for your nametag is on your right shoulder, where people can most easily read it when you extend your right hand to greet them.

    Thousands of known techniques work.

    Very few techniques in politics are as complex as rocket science. Most are as simple as learning the types of print font which are easiest to read or what I have said about nametags.

    The right techniques can make you more effective in everything you work to achieve. Each good technique you use in politics makes it more likely that you will win.

    But many philosophically committed conservatives tend to believe that being right, in the sense of being correct, is sufficient to win.

    Those of us who began to meet in 1972 discovered the real nature of politics:

    The winner in a political contest over time is determined by the number and the effectiveness of the activists and leaders on the respective sides, and,

    The number and the effectiveness of the activists and leaders on a given side is determined by the political technology that side employs.

    We knew that many of our conservative allies thought otherwise and that we would have to persuade them differently.

    Here is how we convinced many of them. We shared with them our analysis of the real nature of politics, and then said, "If that is true, you owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. You have a moral obligation to learn how to win."

    If you allow your opposition to learn better how to organize and communicate than you do and they implement that technology, they will beat you no matter how right you are--and you don't deserve to win.

    That is a persuasive argument. When you talk in terms of a moral obligation, you're talking in terms people can understand if they have a strong philosophical commitment.

    We began to have success teaching committed conservatives this, the real nature of politics, and it had a remarkable and sudden impact.

    New groups begin to spring up in a wide range of issue areas. A wide variety of specialized organizations: educational foundations, legal defense foundations, lobbying organizations, and political action committees.

    Conservatives began to study how to win. Existing conservative organizations also began to grow very rapidly. For example, in 1972, one of the biggest, most effective, most famous, most respected and even most feared organizations on the conservative side was the National Right to Work Committee.

    In 1972 they had 25,000 members, and they were thought of as really big stuff.

    Then they began to study and use communication and organization technology. They began to grow throughout the 1970s, from 25,000 members in 1972 to 1.7 million National Right to Work Committee members in 1979. Then they really were big and could affect policy in a major way.

    At first a handful of new conservative groups started. Then dozens. Then conservatives started hundreds of new national and local groups. Each new or newly large group contributed an increase in the number and the effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders.

    By 1980 conservatives had the political muscle across the country not only to nominate Ronald Reagan for President but to elect him.

    That wasn't the first time Reagan had run for President. I was a Reagan alternate delegate in the presidential campaign of 1968 when he made his first, brief run for President. Again I was a Reagan alternate delegate in 1976 when he ran against President Ford for the nomination and almost won.

    By 1980 the conservative movement had grown remarkably. Reagan won nomination convincingly and then won election. And I got to serve three years on the Reagan White House staff.

    All of this is of central importance for you because the potential for growth of conservative political strength still exists. The rapid, spontaneous growth of grassroots conservative activity in 2009 and 2010 proves that.

    It turns out that the more groups you have and the greater the number of people you activate and teach how to be effective, the more power you have to impact the public policy process.

    I don't have to tell you how often Supreme Court decisions on liberal versus conservative issues are now decided on a five to four basis. The next Congress is likely to be closely divided between conservatives and the left with many congressional elections decided by only a handful of votes.

    The next presidential election is likely to be very close. Conservatives may once again be able to unite behind a conservative to win a presidential nomination and the 2012 presidential election.

    The margins of victory in the American public policy process may be smaller now than at any other time in American history. You can make a difference, now and in the future.

    The number of American conservative activists and leaders is certainly growing. To grow in effectiveness, they must study how to win.

    My Leadership Institute now offers forty types of training schools in the public policy process. You can review those schools at www.LeadershipInstitute. org. For the first time, political training for conservatives is available online, on demand, and free 24 hours a day.

    Other conservative organizations also offer worthwhile training you should consider.

    Nothing would be more disappointing politically than for conservatives to lose because of avoidable mistakes.

    So I urge you to remember the real nature of politics and the clinching argument which has revived the power of conservative principles in America:

    You owe it to your philosophy to study how to win. You have a moral obligation to learn how to win to be decisive in the 2010 elections.

    Moreover, the new activists don't drop out of politics. Many like me from the Goldwater era are still active. Social issue conservatives who changed the direction of America in 1980 still work effectively in the public policy process.

    The process is cumulative. Huge numbers of new activists who get their first taste of politics in conservative grassroots activity in this election cycle will keep fighting for their principles for decades to come. Some will become a new generation of leaders.

    Then there's the fond hope of the left that their enemies can't possibly work together. We'll see.

    Centrifugal forces try to pull apart the elements in any coalition. Different elements have different priorities, and some of those priorities sometimes conflict. 

    However, there are centripetal forces which pull people together in politics.

    When the same organizations and the same leaders work side by side against the same enemies in a long series of election contests and legislative battles, they tend to become comfortable together. They frequently confer, make plans around the same tables, and get to know each other on a first-name basis.

    They learn which of their allies are trustworthy and come to like them.

    Before long the leader of one group goes to dinner at the home of the leader of another group. And when he arrives at the front door, the dog there wags its tail rather than barks.

    Through such processes, movements and normal governing majorities are born.

    Unity is easier in an embattled minority where survival is at risk. Centrifugal forces grow in strength after a principled minority defeats its opposition. Foolish elements of the new majority, heady with success, may take actions grossly offensive to other groups in their coalition.

    Power does tend to corrupt, and success stimulates hubris-as Republicans found to their sorrow in the past decade.

    Conservatives now have it in their power to use the Republican Party to build a stable, governing majority.

    Content-free Republicans will not be persuaded by sweet reason to change their ways. Nor will many of them change for fear of future defeats by conservatives.

    Many of the content-free Republican elected public officials and party officials will have to be replaced before that party can be reliable for conservative principles.

    Republicans made big mistakes in the last decade, particularly regarding big spending and government growth. They'd better not look like Obama-lite after the 2010 elections. If they do, grassroots conservatives will promptly turn against them, producing devastating effects in the 2012 elections.

    Using the Republican Party as its principal vehicle, resurgent conservatives in 2010 will break the statist consensus in America only if they nominate and elect people who could not have been elected in recent times.

    That can be achieved only by conservative Republican participation.

  • The 5000 Year Leap - A Book Review

    The 5000 Year Leap is a book that has often been recommended as "required reading" for Tea Partiers.  It was again recommended at the close of one of our meetings.  The man who recently recommended this book wrote a review to share with others.  Read the review and/or Click here if you are interested in obtaining a copy for yourself.

    Here is how Amazon.com describes the 5000 Year Leap:

    This is the best-selling Original Authorized Edition regularly featured by Glenn Beck to Fox TV viewers as a Must Read!

    The nation the Founders built is now in the throes of a political, economic, social, and spiritual crisis that has driven many to an almost frantic search for modern solutions. The truth is that the solutions have been available for a long time -- in the writings of our Founding Fathers -- carefully set forth in this timely book.

    In The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World, Discover the 28 Principles of Freedom our Founding Fathers said must be understood and perpetuated by every people who desire peace, prosperity, and freedom. Learn how adherence to these beliefs during the past 200 years has brought about more progress than was made in the previous 5000 years. These 28 Principles include The Genius of Natural Law, Virtuous and Moral Leaders, Equal Rights--Not Equal Things, and Avoiding the Burden of Debt. Published by the National Center for Constitutional Studies, a nonprofit educational foundation dedicated to restoring Constitutional principles in the tradition of America's Founding Fathers.

  • Pure Michigan Ad Campaign is Subsidized with Your Tax Dollars

    On March 11, 2011, the Livingston Daily Press and Argus printed a story about subsidies for Michigan's tourism industry.  In response to this article I submitted a letter to the editor voicing my concern about government handouts to the tourism industry.  A copy of the news story along with my letter are shown below.  If you are aggravated about government give-aways of your money I urge you to cut and paste this article and email it to the Governor and your State Legislators.  Ask them to explain why the tourism industry deserves a bailout when the State of Michigan is broke!

  • The Coming Constitutional Debate: Supreme Court Justice Markman's Citizen Guide

    Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman is a true Constitutional Conservative.  He spoke to RetakeOurGov members during our March 2 meeting.

    During his presentation he compared and contrasted the liberal versus the conservative judicial philosophies.  If you believe in limited government you would want a Judge or Justice who is a Constitutional Conservative.

    Many citizens do not consider judicial philosophy when selecting a member of the bench as they view all judges and justices as “the same.”  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Every freedom-loving American needs to understand the differing judicial philosophies if they are to be effective at influencing their friends and neighbors with respect to voting for a judicial candidate. I encourage you to read “The Coming Constitutional Debate: A Citizen’s Guide.”  This guide, written by Justice Markman, provides a straightforward analysis of key constitutional issues facing our country today.  It is written in everyday language for everyday people.  You do not need to be a lawyer to understand this guide.  In fact, you do not even need to know what the definition of is is.

    The executive summary below provides additional insight into the topics covered in Justice Markman’s guide.  For the complete guide in PDF form please click here.

    THE COMING CONSTITUTIONAL DEBATE: A CITIZEN’S GUIDE

    Executive Summary

     

    The coming debate over the future of the American Constitution hinges upon one critical question: Who will decide questions of public policy—citizens acting through their elected and accountable representatives, or unelected and unaccountable judges? This paper argues that unless citizens, those to whom this paper is addressed, engage the constitutional debate, it will be settled—without their participation—by judges.

    To be decided, whether through debate or by judicial imposition, is whether "we the people" will live under the Constitution of James Madison, and Abraham Lincoln, or under what is called here the "twenty-first century constitution."

    Under the twenty-first century constitution, the forms of the Founders’ Constitution would remain—a bicameral legislature, periodic elections, state governments—but important decisions, those determining the nature and direction of the American experiment, would increasingly be undertaken by federal courts. Rather than merely defining broad "rules of the game" for the three branches of government, the twenty-first century constitution would compel specific policy outcomes.

    In 1988, Justice Stephen J. Markman, then Assistant Attorney General in the administration of Ronald Reagan, prepared a report for Attorney General Edwin Meese titled "The Constitution in the Year 2000: Choices Ahead." Identifying major areas of coming constitutional controversy, the report charted an understanding of the proper role of the judiciary. In 2009, The Constitution in 2020 was published. Featuring essays from a large group of progressive-minded legal academics, the book sought what it calls "redemptive constitutionalism"—a twenty-first century constitutionalism.

    Engaging the proponents of the twenty-first century constitution, this paper focuses on eight of the most salient issues in the debate: privileges or immunities, positive rights, state action, political questions, the Ninth Amendment, full faith and credit, transnationalism, and judicial restraint. The paper also outlines other important issues pertaining broadly to federalism, separation of powers, and limited government and rights. It concludes with a consideration of the federal judicial selection process, with special focus on how the United States Senate might attune its "advice and consent" role in the process to a careful consideration of the Constitution’s future.

    If successful, twenty-first century constitutionalism will entail the diminishment of deliberative and representative government. The twenty-first century constitutional debate has already been engaged; the only question is whether ordinary citizens, and their representatives, will be participants in this debate, or whether it will take place within the exclusive province of judges and lawyers.

    Markman's Citizen Guide

     

  • Media Bias? How Two Media Organizations View the Same Event

    News organizations can write about the exact same event, yet leave their readers with significantly different conclusions.  Conservatives have long known this, now others across the political spectrum are seeing this also.

    This point is illustrated below with two news organizations, the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press, writing about a recent vote in Congress to defund a military jet engine program.  I encourage you to read both stories below in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of how media organizations can shape your point of view.  Then, bookmark this article as one of your favorites so that you can forward it to your friends and neighbors when they opine that the mainstream media is the “gospel truth.”

     

  • How to Train Our Legislators to Vote the RIGHT Way

    Holding Our Elected Representatives Accountable

    The following article is a "must read" for any citizen wanting to hold their elected representatives accountable for their campaign promises.  The author presents his perspectives on how citizens can "train" their legislators to do the right thing when it comes to casting their vote on an important piece of legislation.

    All members of RetakeOurGov are encouraged to read this article before our next meeting on February 2, 2010 Why?  Jack McHugh, Senior Legislative Analyst, from the Mackinac Center will be speaking to our group about this article and more!  Mr. McHugh will give us his insight as to how citizens can "train" their legislators to "do the right thing."

    Notes:  1. RetakeOurGov has highlighted (in yellow) key elements of this article.  To view the article in its original form click here.  2. The author, Ken Braun, is the Managing Editor of Capitol Confidential.  Capitol Confidential is a bi-monthly newsletter published by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

     

  • Liberal media "sees the light" on benefits of tax cuts.

    Like most columnists in the mainstream media, Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press has liberal politics.  With this tax and spend point of view it is surprising that, in his first column of 2011, he writes about Detroit's "losing tax scheme."  Specifically, Mr. Henderson opines that Detroiters pay more in taxes, yet they get less in services.  Mainstream conservatives have long known this to be true.  Big government spending equals less prosperity for the people.

    What is most interesting is Mr. Henderson even states that "...higher tax rates inevitably yield lower revenues, seem inarguably true."  In other words, high tax rates stifle economic development which in turn lead to lower tax revenues.  Increasing tax revenues for the government can best be achieved by implementing policies that encourage economic growth - in other words, lower taxes.  To this end, Mr. Henderson writes favorably of former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich's proposal that Detroit become a "tax-free" zone to spur business investment.  What a shock!  An editor for the liberal Detroit Free Press advocating a policy proposal of the frequently demonized conservative leader Newt Gingrich.

    Perhaps there is hope for those with cronically liberal politics.  That Mr. Henderson has "seen the light" suggests that Detroit, along with all of Michigan can look forward to economic growth spurred on by letting the citizens keep more of what they earn.

    Mr. Henderson's column is shown below.  For emphasis, RetakeOurGov has highlighted some key passages.  To view the column in its original form click here.



    Detroit must jettison its losing tax scheme
    STEPHEN HENDERSON
    DETROIT FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

    Pay more. Get less.

    That's the social contract Detroiters endure with city government.

    They pay more kinds of taxes, at higher rates, than any other citizens in Michigan.

    And the services they receive in return -- police response and fire coverage, public education and lighting -- are shoddy and embarrassing.

    In most cities, taxes foot the bill for services, and in the most popular big cities -- Chicago, New York, Los Angeles -- it's common to pay more because of the amenities and social and cultural benefits of city life.

    But in Detroit, our extreme tax rates have the opposite effect. Sky-high taxes help drive people and businesses out, yielding less of the revenue needed to deliver quality services, which encourages more people to leave. It's a destructive cycle that's driving the city's livability index into the ground.

    2011 should be the year the city begins to restructure its taxes, to lower both the number of levies and the rates. It's one of a handful of positive changes that should be on the drawing board for this year, including Mayor Dave Bing's land-use plans; the work of the city's charter commission; a renewed effort to get a second bridge built across the Detroit River; and the emergence of Excellent Schools Detroit as a force for creating new educational opportunity in the city.

    During the year, the Free Press editorial board will focus intently on those issues, with an eye toward inspiring measurable steps forward by 2012.

    Death by comparison

    The city's tax structure is, by sheer numbers, among its most glaring problems.

    Start with this number: 97 mills. That's the number you get for the city's tax burden if you add up all the different taxes levied on Detroiters -- including the city's income tax, property taxes, debts encumbered by the public school system and city government and the utility tax -- and convert them to mills, equal to what must be paid per thousand dollars of assessed property value.

    That's for homestead properties.

    For non-homestead, that rate jumps to 114 mills, thanks to extra taxes levied on business properties.

    By contrast, the average homestead levy for other Michigan cities is 31 mills; it's 48 for non-homestead.

    That means Detroit is at an automatic 3-1 financial disadvantage for a family considering the tax bill differences with other cities. And it puts Detroit at a more than a 2-1 comparative disadvantage for any business choosing between the city and another location.

    That's before you consider the drawbacks related to the lack of quality services, or the extra costs related to insurance and security. Without huge abatements and incentives -- which do little to improve revenue and bolster services -- it's nearly impossible for the city to attract the middle-class families and small businesses it needs to rebound.

    And because taxes are so high in Detroit, some of them have become self-defeating. The city's income tax, for example, is the highest in the state among municipal levies: 2.5% for residents and 1.25% for non-residents who work in Detroit.

    In 1999-2000, that tax generated $378 million in revenue. But by the end of the 2010 fiscal year, it was expected to yield just $212 million.

    A vicious cycle of exodus

    As people move out, driven at least in part by high taxes, even sky-high rates can't keep pace to support revenues. It's a dynamic that makes the Laffer Curve, a controversial economic theory positing that higher tax rates inevitably yield lower revenues, seem inarguably true.

    It also makes the argument about what's driving people out of the city somewhat moot. Whether it's schools or crime or taxes doesn't matter as much, given the relationship among the three. If high taxes are yielding lower tax revenues, they're starving the city of resources it needs to provide better services.

    The good news in Detroit is that there's already some momentum building toward a tax structure solution.

    At the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce's Mackinac conference last spring, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich proposed that Detroit become a "tax-free" zone as a way to spur business investment.

    His idea led chamber CEO Sandy Baruah to investigate the feasibility of this idea. With the help of the Deloitte accounting firm, Baruah hopes to present a list of recommendations with a cost-benefit analysis to Bing in early 2011.

    It might be that the chamber's proposals can't work. But that shouldn't be a reason for Bing, or anyone else, to reject the idea that the city's tax structure is counterproductive, and likely unsustainable.

    The chamber's work should be the catalyst for a discussion of how to remove the city's tax barriers to residency and economic activity. It's a complicated issue, but one whose resolution is crucial, and achievable.

    Pay more, get less, just won't cut it any longer.

    Stephen Henderson is editorial page editor of the Free Press and the host of "American Black Journal," which airs on WTVS-channel 56 at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Contact Henderson at shenderson600@freepress.com, or at 313-222-6695.

  • Create Website Content for Victory 2012

    Informative articles posted on our website benefits the conservative cause in a number of ways.

    These articles provide us with an opportunity to inform and educate the public on issues that impact their daily lives.  Knowledge is power and informative articles possess the power to persuade the American electorate.

    Posting more articles on our website generates more traffic which in turn provides us with the opportunity to influence additional American citizens.  Timely content posted on our site encourages more web traffic, especially when the reader finds the content to be informative.

    Lastly, posting content on our website provides our members with a library of reference articles, always ready and available at their fingertips.  Articles can be printed and handed to friends and neighbors looking for added perspective on important issues of the day.  These same articles can be readily emailed to your contact list.

    You do not have to be a seasoned veteran to write informative website articles.  Further, you need not write pages and pages to be persuasive.  In fact it is better if you keep your writings short and to the point.

    Your web content will be most persuasive if you follow these guidelines:

    Look for informative articles in print media such as newspapers and magazines. Look for articles in well known media outlets such as USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.  Local papers such as the Detroit Free Press, the Lansing State Journal, and the Livingston County Press and Argus are also good sources.  The key here is to select articles published in “name brand” publications already familiar to the average citizen.  Avoid selecting articles published in obscure media outlets as the general public may not view these as “trustworthy.”

    Look for articles that are short, concise, and to the point.  The average citizen does not have the time to read pages and pages, even if the article was published by a reputable media outlet.  We want to convey persuasive information in the shortest possible time.

    Underline or otherwise highlight key sentences in the article which convey the specific points you want to get across to your reader.  You want to draw attention to these specific points as many readers will not read the full article.  By underlining the key phrases or sentences you increase the likelihood that the message you’d like to deliver will be absorbed by the reader.  The technique of underlining and highlighting is commonly used in a political flyer known as a “flash flyer.”  Examples of flash flyers can be viewed at http://www.limitgovnow.com/flash-flyers/ Viewing these flyers provides you with an understanding of the concepts behind flash flyers and how you might use this concept for website content.

    In addition to underlining and highlighting you want to add your own commentary about the article.  In essence, your commentary will help the reader interpret and understand the phrases you have underlined.  You want the reader to see the article from your conservative point of view.  Note how all of the flash flyers include commentary along with underlining and highlighting.

    After viewing the flash flyers take a look at an article on poverty in America that is posted at RetakeOurGov.com.  You will observe that the posted article has the look and feel of a flash flyer.  In many ways the website content you develop will be an on line version of a flash flyer.

    Rather than work with a hardcopy of the actual printed story your may find it simpler to work with an electronic version of the story.  Generally speaking, all printed stories can also be found on the media publisher’s website.  From the publisher’s website you can cut and paste the electronic version of the story.  You can use this electronic article in your web content as long as you clearly attribute where you obtained the article.  You need to give proper credit to the original author and publisher.  Always make it clear as to where the article came from – otherwise you will be guilty of plagiarism.

    In addition to avoiding plagiarism, proper attribution increases the likelihood that your reader views your web content with a higher degree of authority.  Why?  Readers place more credibility in an article published by a known media organization, say the Wall Street Journal, than they do in an article published by an unknown RetakeOurgov author.

    What media organizations carry the most credibility?  Since we are attempting to persuade independent voters to consider the conservative point of view, it is best to avoid using articles from media organizations such as Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc.  Independents may view these conservative news sources as biased and not credible.

    An example of web content where electronic articles were cut and pasted is shown below.  The web content, supported by data from three articles, briefly explains to the reader the disparities between government and private sector pay.  Also note the yellow highlighting in the original electronic article which adds emphasis to relevant points.

    Website Content Example

    From 2000 to 2009, household income fell 21% in the state of Michigan according to the Detroit Free Press.   During a similar period (2000 to 2007) total spending by all units of government in Michigan increased by 9% on an inflation adjusted basis according to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

    What does this mean?  While individual incomes have declined, government spending has increased.  It is increasingly apparent that today’s haves and have nots are the government and the private sector respectively.

    Much of the increase in government spending is due to expenditures on government employees pay and benefits.  According to the Mackinac Center, an annual savings of $5.7 billion would result if government employees were compensated at private sector rates.  A savings of this magnitude would easily erase any budget deficit.

    (Note: Statistic cited about were obtained from the Detroit Free Press and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.  Copies of the Detroit Free Press article and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy reports are included below. )

    Detroit Free Press Editorial

    POSTED: NOV. 28, 2010

    A slice out of everyone's budget

    Michiganders have taken a huge hit in household income over the past decade. Some lost their jobs outright, forced to rely on jobless benefits, if they qualified, rather than a paycheck. Others took buyouts or early retirement, another route to reduced income. Those still working often endured pay cuts.

    Statewide, median household income fell 21% from 2000-09, as the state lost 500,000 jobs. The decline has taken the biggest overall toll in southeast Michigan, which was most dependent on the troubled auto industry. But the statistics show widespread misery.

    The impacts are broad. Loss of purchasing power on this scale devastates retailers and many other businesses, further decimating the state's economic vitality.

    Combined with the drop in property values, the fallout also spells ongoing crises at all levels of government. State leaders have to guide Michigan into a new era of consolidated services and best practices, ensuring the thriftiest and best use of scarce tax revenue; tax policy also must help ensure that the remnants of a once solid middle class can not only survive but thrive.

    It's crunch time

    Median household income in southeast Michigan, adjusted for inflation, fell nearly 24% over the last decade, as manufacturing jobs continued to crumble. Michigan's decline of 21% was far worse than the nation's 7% drop. Locally, Sterling Heights, Detroit and Kalamazoo took the biggest hits, reporting drops of more than 30% in median household income.

    Such precipitous declines are unmatched since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and they demand urgent attention by elected officials. State government must restructure how it delivers services while cultivating a 21st Century economy braced by a tax system that's fair to middle- and working-class residents.

    Businesses can't prosper if middle-income workers can't afford to buy goods and services that fuel the economy. Households in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties lost an estimated $27 billion in annual income since 1999, said Kurt Metzger, director of Data Driven Detroit. That translates into nearly $7,000 less in 2009 for every man, woman and child in the tri-county area.

    Small wonder southeast Michigan has lost nearly 500,000 jobs -- or 22% -- since 2000. Local property values have fallen about 30% since 2007, further eroding the purchasing power of many middle-income Michiganders.

    The growing crisis

    Structural changes in the economy are wreaking havoc on individual families and local governments, which are cutting services and imposing user fees to stay solvent. In the coming decade, dozens of local communities could face bankruptcy.

    "We're in a crisis," said Paul Tait, executive director of the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. "There will be a serious and ongoing debate about what governmental services we can continue to provide."

    With cuts in state revenue sharing, even preserving core services such as police and fire will take bolder action from local government. State government must provide economic incentives to nudge local governments to work together.

    Emergency financial managers appointed to manage the fiscal affairs of distressed cities and school districts should be given the power to force distressed cities to consolidate services such as payroll, assessing, building inspection, police, fire and emergency medical.

    In some cases, entire units of governments, including townships and local school districts, need to merge. In southeast Michigan alone, there are 241 local units of government that too often compete instead of cooperate.

    Necessary consolidations

    Across the state, nearly 2,000 cities, townships, villages and counties act in similar fashion. In Inkster, four school districts serve a population of 26,000. Michigan has 1,242 township governments, providing services that counties could easily assume with additional resources.

    To their credit, local elected leaders in southeast Michigan have negotiated dozens of shared agreements for police, fire, telecommunications, recreation and other services. Even township governments are sharing services, especially fire departments, or contracting to obtain them from other units. But such arrangements must become the rule, not the exception.

    Government policies must also help ensure a healthy middle class, whose ability to buy goods and services drives the economy.

    Michigan should develop a graduated income tax that distributes the state's tax burden fairly and invest the proceeds in higher education and public transportation -- two services crucial to the success of a knowledge-based economy. Spending more on corrections than higher education, as Michigan does, is a recipe for failure.

    Nationwide, the gap between the richest and poorest Americans is bigger than at any time since the 1920s -- a trend that, not coincidentally, preceded the Great Depression. Government can't create a new economy, but it can nurture the conditions for one and develop a fair way to pay for its services.

    Given Michigan's staggering loss in household income, doing so is both a moral imperative and an economic necessity.

     

    Michigan Government Grows Despite State Budget Woes

    By JAMES M. HOHMAN | 10/27/2009 12:00 AM
    Mackinac Center for Public Policy

    While Lansing plays out the current chapter in the perpetual shortfall between how much it would like to spend vs. how much it expects to collect, new evidence reveals that the total revenues and spending of Michigan’s state and local governments have never been higher.

    Specifically, the U.S. Census Bureau’s state and local finance reports are considered the gold standard for the magnitude of government spending — showing the value of government actions at states, special financing authorities, schools, state-owned universities and all levels of municipal government — and the latest report shows that, when adjusted for inflation, revenue and spending by all units of government in Michigan grew from $84.4 billion in 2000 to $92.5 billion in 2007, as measured in 2007 dollars.

    Other indicators within the Census figures also show government revenue growth during this decade, at least through 2007. If federal money is excluded, the total revenue of all units of government in Michigan still rose 6 percent after adjusting for inflation. If state universities are excluded, real revenue growth for the rest falls to 5 percent.

    Total spending by all units of government in Michigan rose by 9 percent since 2000, even after adjusting for inflation. Eliminating state universities from the calculation shows real spending up 10 percent.

    State government budget figures are the ones featured in most news headlines, but they are just one piece of the overall government tax-and-spending picture. That one piece may indeed be subject to higher spending demands and lower revenue growth, even in the face of a decade-long decline in state employment, but overall, governments in Michigan have never obtained or spent more money.

     

    Diminishing Private Sector Keeps Supporting Bloated Public Benefits

    By JAMES M. HOHMAN and ADAM C. RULE | Aug. 3, 2009
    Mackinac Center for Public Policy

    It is no secret that Michigan's economy is doing poorly. The state's unemployment rate is the highest in the country, and at 15.2 percent it is higher than it has been since the 1980s. But the lost jobs and lower incomes of the recession are not shared evenly by everyone in Michigan. Indeed, looking at the numbers reveals our state and local government employees, while not immune to a wayward economy, have been relatively unscathed. State and local governments can save money by addressing this disparity, especially considering just how large the gap has become.

    Public-sector employees receive $5.7 billion more in annual benefits than if they were compensated at private-sector rates.

    According to calculations based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and figures from the Michigan Civil Service Commission, Michigan's state and local government full-time employees are getting $5.7 billion more in benefits than they would if they received benefits equal to those of private-sector employees.

    According to the BLS, Michigan's private sector has shed 12.1 percent of its jobs since 2000. The number of jobs lost — 484,200 — is about the size of the total employment in Rhode Island. But the blows to Michigan's public sector have been much lighter. Local government employment dropped 6.1 percent, while the state government and state enterprises like universities actually expanded their workforce.

    At the same time, the state disproportionately increased its pay rate. Since 2001, average annual pay has increased by 26 percent for state government workers and by 20 percent for local government workers, compared to 15 percent for Michigan's private sector.

    The greatest inequity, however, exists not in wages but in the benefits paid on top of already elevated salaries. In 2000, Michigan's civil service workforce received benefits worth an additional 37.95 percent of salary. By 2008, that figure had grown to 58.15 percent. At the same time, Midwest private-sector benefits, the closest estimation for Michigan private-sector benefits available from the BLS, are worth 43.62 percent of salary — meaning that government rates are 33 percent higher than private ones.

    As the BLS lacks Michigan-specific benefits data, there are a few calculations necessary to estimate the total value of the difference in benefits. First, Michigan's private sector is believed to receive compensation equal to that of the Midwest private sector. Michigan is part of this BLS region, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. Also, state and local government employees were assumed to receive compensation equal to that of state classified employees. While an ideal comparison would include only Michigan information on private-sector benefits and include a total dollar value for Michigan public-sector benefits, such figures are unavailable and must be imputed.

    Multiplying the dollar benefit disparity by the number of full-time Michigan state and local government employees listed by the Census Bureau shows that public-sector employees receive $5.7 billion more in annual benefits than if they were compensated at private-sector rates.

    Unfortunately, this gap is growing. Between 2002 and 2007 — the most recent year available — the difference grew by $2 billion.

    While Michigan's public employees typically receive higher retirement benefits, much of the extra cost of their benefits comes from public-sector health insurance policies generally having lower deductibles and co-pays than private-sector plans. This extra cost, however, is unlikely to result in improved health outcomes for these employees. They use the same doctors and hospitals as everyone else, and the best evidence on high-deductible policies (the Rand Corp.'s Health Insurance Experiment) found that while they do lower the amount people spend on health care, they do not affect health outcomes.

    The people of Michigan have a government that is supposed to serve them, not the other way around. With the state's accelerated economic decline, its shrinking number of private-sector workers can no longer afford paying an extra $5.7 billion annually so public-sector workers can have a more comfortable lifestyle than they do, especially in light of state government's current $1.6 billion budget overspending crisis.

     

     

  • How to Push Our Legislative Agenda in Lansing


    Not only must Tea Partiers hold their elected representatives accountable to their campaign promises, we must also actively push the agenda of the average Michigan citizen.  In other words, we must become effective citizen lobbyists.  Special interests groups learned long ago that effective lobbying is a must.  It is now time for individual citizens to learn this also.

    Mr. Scott Hagerstrom, State Director of Americans for Prosperity spoke to RetakeOurGov about how Tea Partiers can become effective citizens lobbyists.  His presentation is posted here*.

    As with any presentation, slides alone rarely capture the full message.  As such, RetakeOurGov has added additional text to elaborate further on Mr. Hagerstrom's presentation.

     

    Slide 1 Title
    Slides 2-3 Info about AFP
    Slides 4-6 Bio for Scott Hagerstrom
    Slide 7 Tea Partiers have gone from protesters to activists, then from activists to election volunteers.  Our next step is to evolve into citizen lobbyists.
    Slide 8 A recent Associated Press Article about lobbyists and our newly elected representatives.
    Slides 9-10

    Lobbyists positioned directly outside of House and Senate Chambers.  These photos were taken on November 30, 2010, during a lame duck session.

    How many more lobbyists would there be in a normal session?

    Slide 11 Pushing our agenda, "The People's Agenda", won't be easy.  Using a football analogy - We need to keep moving the ball down the field while avoiding big losses due to quarterback sacks.

    We need to execute a good game plan without the need to throw a "Hail Mary" pass.
    Slide 12 This is a flow chart showing how a bill becomes law in the State of Michigan.  Note the power of the Committee Chairman.  The Chairman can unilaterally block legislation from moving forward.
    Slide 13 Legislators do not write their own bills.  The bills are written by the Legislative Service Bureau.  The legislator describes the objective of the bill to the LSB.  The LSB then drafts the legal language for the bill.  The legislator works with the LSB to finalize the language. The LSB will draft up to 10 bills for each legislator from November 3, 2010 till December 31, 2010.  After this period the LSB will draft 5 bill/month per legislator until August 2012.
    Slide 14 This link contains some useful information regarding the legislative process in Michigan.
    Slide 15 To lobby effectively requires Tea Partier to build solid relationships with their legislators.  A legislator is far more likely to listen to someone he/she knows personally than a nameless, faceless citizen.
    Slide 16 Tea Partiers need to develop a strategy for working with their legislators.
    Slides 17-26 Legislation that AFP Michigan would like to see enacted into law.  Many of these are items that Tea Partiers would support.
    Slides 27-36 Many Tea Partiers have discussed the need for more transparency in government spending.  This is an issue that would likely have support from both the left and the right.  Many states have enacted transparency legislation already.
    Slides 37-39 How to move forward with the transparency legislation or any other legislation.



  • Ask Mike Rogers to Vote for a Conservative for Committee Chairman

    Congressman Fred Upton (MI-6) is under consideration to become the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  If he gains this powerful position, Mr. Upton will be able to shape legislation having a huge impact on almost every facet of our lives.  Significant elements of his voting record are listed below (courtesy of Mark Tapscott at the Washington Examiner and NetRightDaily.com)

    * Upton was one of only 16 GOPers who supported in 2009 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s omnibus spending bill that increased spending 8.4 percent on top of the $787 billion stimulus program.

    * Upton was one of nine GOPers who opposed in 2009 an amendment by Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., that would have substituted an array of tax cuts and credits for the Obama-Pelosi-Reid stimulus program.

    * Upton was one of 43 GOPers who opposed in 2009 a Republican amendment to cut the Democrats’ stimulus bill by $355 billion.

    * Upton was one of 20 GOPers who opposed in 2009 a Republican amendment to cut Environmental Protection Agency funding to its 2008 level.

    * Upton was one of 34 GOPers who voted in 2009 for the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act that removed millions of acres of federal lands from energy exploration and production.

    * Upton was one of 19 GOPers who voted in 2009 for a Democratic amendment directing the secretary of education to establish an advisory council for “high-performing” green public schools, thus further entrenching environmental radicals in the public education system.

    * Upton was one of 29 GOPers who voted for the Democrats’ bill establishing the Santa Cruz National Heritage area along the U.S./Mexican border, which effectively prevents the U.S. Border Patrol from doing its work along the border.

    * Upton was one of 26 GOPers who voted in 2009 for significantly increased funding for AmeriCorps.

    * Upton voted for the Bush $700 billion Wall Street bailout twice in 2008.

    * Upton voted for the Obama revision of the Bush bailout in 2009.

    * Upton was one of 40 GOPers who voted in 2009 for the Democrats; doubling of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program’s budget.

    * Upton was one of more than 40 GOPers who voted in 2007 and 2008 to override President Bush’s veto of spending increases for SCHIP.

    * Upton was one of 35 GOPers who voted in 2008 for Rep. Charlie Rangel’s bill raising taxes on energy companies to provide tax subsidies for renewable energy special interests.

    * Upton was one of 26 GOPers who voted in 2007 for federally mandated fluorescent light bulbs.

    * Upton was one of three GOPers who voted in 2005 against extending the Bush capital gains tax cut.

    Read more at NetRightDaily.com: http://netrightdaily.com/2010/11/the-fred-upton-voting-record/#ixzz16Ww4i6rG

    Conservatives and conservative organizations such as Glenn Beck and FreedomWorks are opposing Mr. Upton bid to become Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

    How can you help?  Call a member of the House Republican Steering Committee and politely ask them to vote against Mr. Upton for Chairman.  This committee is responsible for selecting all Committee Chairmen for the new Republican-controlled Congress.  We need Chairmen who are truly conservative if we are to have a truly conservative Congress.

    Note to RetakeOurGov members residing in Mike Rogers' district (Michigan - 8th Congressional District): Mr. Rogers is a member of the Steering Committee.  His phone number is highlighted in yellow below.  Given that you reside in his district, your phone call to Mr. Rogers will carry much more weight in the overall scheme of things.  Please call early in the week of November 29th as the vote will happen that week.

     

    The House Republican Steering Committee Call List

    (112th Congress -- Under Development Nov. 18, 2010)

     

    MEMBER TITLE CONTACT PHONE NUMBER OF VOTES
    John Boehner Speaker 202-225-6205

    4

    Eric Cantor Republican Leader 202-225-2815 2
    Kevin McCarthy Republican Whip 202-225-2915

    1

    Jeb Hensarling Republican Conference Chair 202-225-3484 1
    Tom Price Policy Chair 202-225-4501 1
    Cathy McMorris-Rodgers Conference Vice-Chair 202-225-2006 1
    John Carter Conference Secretary 202-225-3864 1
    Pete Sessions NRCC Chairman 202-225-2231 1
    Greg Walden Leadership Chairman 202-225-6730 1
    Tom Cole NRCC Chairman - Last Congress 202-225-6165 1
    Lamar Smith Texas Representative 202-225-4236 1
    Ken Calvert California Representative 202-225-1986

    1

    Jeff Miller Florida Representative 202-225-3414 1
    Doc Hastings Region I Representative 202-225-5816

    1

    Tom Latham Region II Representative 202-225-5476 1
    John Shimkus Region III Representative 202-225-5271

    1

    Mike Rogers Region IV Representative 202-225-4872 1
    Bill Shuster Region V Representative 202-225-2431

    1

    Steve LaTourette Region VI Representative 202-225-5731 1
    Hal Rogers Region VII Representative 202-225-4601 1
    Lynn Westmoreland Region VIII Representative 202-225-5901 1
    Bob Goodlatte Region IX Representative 202-225-5431 1
    Cynthia Lummis Small State Representative 202-225-2311 1
    Gregg Harper 111th Class Representative 202-225-5031 1
    Todd Rokita 112th Class Representative 317-268-4964 1
    Joe Heck 112th Class Representative 702-614-5900 1
    Pat Meehan 112th Class Representative 484-454-3203 1
  • Public Sector Union Bosses - Great Pay and Benefits!

     

    The following article was published in Michigan Capitol Confidential, a service of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Michigan residents by promoting sound solutions to state and local policy questions.

    The article discusses pension costs and salary increases for the union bosses at the Michigan Education Association (teacher's union).  It is interesting to see that even in time of recession, in a state with one of the highest rates of unemployment, that union staffers and bosses are able to justify pay increases of up to 15%.  If only Michigan's private sector workers could do as well...

     

    MEA Has $174.5 Million in Liabilities, $66.3 Million in Dues

    By TOM GANTERT | Nov. 26, 2010

    The Michigan Education Association has often fought against lawmakers looking for cost savings in its members’ state-run pension program.

    Now comes a report that they might have a problem paying for their own staffer’s pension liabilities.

    The MEA has $174.5 million in retirement liabilities and just $66.3 million in dues in 2008-09, according to the Education Intelligence Agency, a research firm out of California run by Mike Antonucci. The Education Intelligence Agency also reports that the MEA lost 3,000 members in 2009.

    “These fiscal problems for the MEA can’t be solely pinned on poor performance on their investments,” wrote Michael Van Beek, the director of education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, in an e-mail. “These liabilities are the result of the union trying to maintain unsustainable employee benefits — the same kind of benefits that they lobby Lansing to make taxpayers pay for. The great irony about the MEA’s struggle to manage their own labor costs is that they often march into school districts and tell school boards how to manage theirs.”

    This isn’t the first time the MEA has faced a financial crisis, the Education Intelligence Agency reports. The MEA cut 47 positions and raised dues by almost $112 per year in 2003.

    In an e-mail, Antonucci predicted the MEA would have to cut staff again.

    “Union staff reductions this year are inevitable,” Antonucci wrote. “MEA will no doubt have to deal with member blowback over increasing dues and decreasing services to fund generous benefits for those who no longer work for MEA.”

    The MEA’s pension for its staffers is paid for by union dues because it is a private organization, Antonucci said.

    Doug Pratt, the MEA’s director of communications, didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

    The MEA made news this spring when it was reported by the Lansing State Journal that some staffers and officials got pay raises in 2009 ranging from 6.8 percent for the mailroom coordinator to 15 percent for President Iris Salters.

     

  • The Best Powerpoint Presentation on the 2nd Ammendment

    The following presentation was emailed to me several weeks ago.  Like most of you, I receive far more emails than I can read.  To keep my inbox from overflowing, I sometimes delete emails without reading them.  Fortunately for me I decided to keep this several week old email.  I kept this email because it was titled, "Possibly the Best PowerPoint Presentation on the 2nd Ammendment."

    Yes, I must agree, this email had contained one of the best PowerPoint Presentations I've seen. Any conservative and moderate will find this information quite enlightening.  View this for yourself and see if you agree!  If you agree then forward this to one of your friends.

    Click here to view the original PowerPoint presentation.  Note that you will need Microsoft PowerPoint software loaded on your computer to view this presentation.

    Click here if you would rather view this presentation as an Adobe PDF file.

  • Lose Your Job if You Criticize Obamanomics?

    Velma Hart on CNBC

    Velma Hart - Unhappy with Obamanomics, Loses Her Job

    Earlier this year Velma Hart expressed her unhappiness with President Obama's economic policies at a townhall meeting televised on CNBC.  Her comments were surprising given that she is an Obama supporter.  Ms. Hart's comments express the anxiety felt by many Americans, whether they voted for Obama or not.  Americans of all stripes are rightfully nervous when Federal Government policies focus on redistribution of our wages rather than growing our wages.

    Ms. Hart recently lost her job at Am Vets, a veterans service organization.  Her story is described below in the Washington Post article.  Before you read the article you should listen to the audio clip of her speaking directly to President Obama.  This audio clip provides context for what you'll read in the article below.

    {loadposition velmahart}
    Audio of Velma Hart on CNBC

     

    Woman who told Obama her financial fears has lost her job

    Discussion Policy

    By Michelle Singletary
    Washington Post Staff Writer 
    Monday, November 22, 2010; 10:08 PM

    Nobody is safe.

    Velma Hart, who burst onto the media scene after telling President Obama she was scared about her financial future, has been laid off. Hart was let go as the chief financial officer for Am Vets, a nonprofit Maryland-based veteran services organization.

    Hart has become another casualty of the tough economy in which so many people have lost their jobs.

    "It's not anything she did," said Jim King, the national executive director of Am Vets. "She got bit by the same snake that has bit a lot of people. It was a move to cut our bottom line. Most not-for-profits are seeing their money pinched."

    King would not say whether the organization had had other layoffs.

    "Velma was a good employee," he said. "It was just a matter of looking at the bottom line and where could we make the best cuts and survive."

    King hadn't seen the irony in Hart being fired just two months after she emotionally told Obama about her fears for her own financial well-being during a town hall meeting in Washington.

    "I hadn't thought about this in connection to the town hall meeting. She was at the town hall as a private citizen. Whatever she had to say were her own thoughts," he said.

    Hart's comments to Obama became political fodder as proof that the president was losing his die-hard supporters - African American voters. Hart told me at the time that she still supported Obama but that she had expected more changes by now.

    She said what really disappointed her is that the change and better economic conditions Obama promised haven't come fast enough.

    "My husband and I joked for years that we thought we were well beyond the hot-dogs-and-beans era of our lives," she said during the CNBC town hall broadcast. "But quite frankly, it's starting to knock on our door and ring true that that might be where we're headed again. And quite frankly, Mr. President, I need you to answer this honestly: Is this my new reality?"

    Well, unemployment has not just knocked on the door of the former Army reservist. It has busted through the door.

    When contacted Monday, Hart would not discuss the matter.

    Like most of us, Velma Hart just wanted a little reassurance at Obama's town hall

    In an interview with me two months ago, she said that although her personal finances were in pretty good shape, she was worried. She has two daughters in private school, and the oldest is looking at colleges. Although her husband is employed, she was concerned about higher consumer prices. She talked about her home value being down. She talked about feeling anxious.

    "You don't have to be on the street to be struggling," Hart said in the earlier interview. There are different degrees of struggling."

    Hart said telling Obama that her family might be forced to dine regularly on hot dogs and beans was just an attempt at levity.

    "It was symbolic," she said. "I'm a lot more fortunate than others."

    But in what is clearly a too-eerie situation, Hart foretold her future.

    "We are all caught in the middle of the insanity," she said.

    Readers can write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Her e-mail address is singletarym@washpost.com. Comments and questions are welcome, but because of the volume of mail, personal responses may not be possible.

     

  • RetakeOurGov 2010 Direct Advocacy Ads

    RetakeOurGov is a Tea Party group that believes in both education and advocacy.

    We educate our members and the electorate at-large about issues which are critical if We The People are to Retake Our Government.  An informed electorate is the best defense against an out-of-control government.

    In addition to educating the electorate, we advocate strongly for our beliefs.  We are somewhat unique among Tea Party groups in that, as a Political Action Committee (PAC), we can engage in direct advocacy.  Being organized as a PAC allows RetakeOurGov to raise funds and spend them on advertisements for or against candidates for office.  Election laws are such that even citizen activist groups, such as Tea Parties, must organize as PACs in order to spend money on direct advocacy.  (Direct advocacy means expressly urging the electorate to vote for, or vote against, a specific candidate.)

    We spend our funds to support candidates who support our beliefs in smaller government, individual liberty, free markets, and our Constitution.  We also spend our funds to oppose candidates who do not support these principles.

    During this election cycle RetakeOurGov partnered with other Tea Party and 9-12 Groups to conduct direct advocacy in the form of jointly produced print and radio advertisements.  Being a registered PAC enables RetakeOurGov to assist other groups in direct advocacy.  We look forward to expanding this role in the 2012 elections.  If you are a conservative activist group looking for assistance in engaging in direct advocacy please contact RetakeOurGov.

    In closing we are reminded that education without advocacy produces an informed electorate, still burdened with Big Government.

    Below are examples of the direct advocacy radio ads we purchased during the 2010 election season.

    {loadposition FirePeters}
    Fire Gary Peters

    {loadposition SteeleDingell}
    Steele Dingell

    {loadposition WalbergSchauer}
    Walberg Schauer

    {loadposition RockyPeters}
    Raczkowski Peters

    Below are examples of the direct advocacy print ads we purchased.

    Fire Dale Kildee Print Ad

    Hire John Kupiec Print Ad

     

     

  • RetakeOurGov Sponsors Media Event

    RetakeOurGov is a Proud Sponsor of WDTK's Reclaiming America Tour 

    WDTK Reclaiming America 

  • Union Conservatives Endorse Kupiec

    RetakeOurGov members are active in many campaigns.  Promoting our beliefs in constitutional government requires us to become actively involved in the political process.  The bulletin below was forward by one of our members who is active in Michigan's 5th Congressional District.

     

    Mitt Romney has endorsed John Kupiec for Michigan's Fifth Congressional District.  The Kupiec campaign is very excited to have this prestigious endorsement.  The campaign is also happy to have the endorsement of Union Conservatives, a group comprised of conservative union members.  Union Conservatives is headed up by Terry Bowman, who will be interviewed by John McColloch on WJR (760AM) this Friday from 9:10 AM until 10:30 AM.  Tune in and also sign up to volunteer for Kupiec's campaign. Call headquarters at 810.230.0411.

     

    RetakeOurGov is encouraged to see conservative union members speaking out against the leftist policies of their union bosses.  Conservatives have long known that the harsh anti-business policies advocated by union bosses and liberals are also anti-jobs. 

  • RetakeOurGov@Republican Convention

    Many RetakeOurGov members were selected to be delegates and alternates to the Michigan Republican Convention held at the Breslin Center on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI.  For members of RetakeOurGov, this was their first convention.  It was both educational and exciting to be part of the political process and view it in an up close and personal fashion.

    The pictures below capture the feel of the convention and some of the pre-convention activities from the prior evening.  A unedited narrative describing the convention is supplied below the pictures.  This narrative was forwarded to RetakeOurGov from an attendee and it provides a reasonable account of what transpired at the convention.

    {besps}articles/convention{/besps}

    Narrative

    First, I would like to thank all of the delegates and alternates who attended the convention, and all the volunteers who gave Campaign For Liberty and the Tea Party groups such a strong voice at the state convention.  After a harrowing process of becoming precinct delegates in an exceptionally competitive year, and running to become state delegates, activists were treated to a grueling 10-hour convention with a 1-hour line to get in.  The world is run by those who show up, and now you see why so few people run the world.

    We did a tremendous job last weekend.  We had more success at a convention than any time before, and although Campaign For Liberty is a non-partisan organization and does not endorse candidates, we can look at this convention through Campaign For Liberty's objective lens--focused sharply on the issues--and see what we accompished.  We can also learn a lot in hindsight.   I hope the following analysis helps.

     

    The Tea Party Candidate v. the Governor's Pick

     

    The most exciting moment of the convention, without a doubt, was the uproar at the announcement of Brian Calley to be Rick Snyder's running mate for Lieutenant Governor.   The decision was only reported days before the convention, and Tea Party groups quickly researched Calley's legislative record and decided that they despised him, and decided to challenge him with a candidate of their own--Bill Cooper, a businessman with, by their determination, a better record.   The reaction to the announcement of Calley for LG was not mixed: it was an ocean of boos.

    That alone is extraordinary.  State delegates, who serve as party leaders, are not supposed to oppose the running mate.  It's heresy.  Imagine if the Democrats had vetoed Joe Biden for Vice President. The results would have been devastating.

    It was a major power play by the Tea Party groups, to be sure.

    What ensued was no less fascinating.  The chairman, Brooks Patterson, moved for a vote by show of hands.

    Well, get this: a rumor had been going around that the Rules Committee was contemplating using a "show of hands" system--equivalent to the voice vote in the legislature, where instead of a counted ballot, delegates would raise their hands and the chairman would declare which side had more votes--for all votes at the convention, including contested races.  Obviously such a system would be 1) open to corruption, since alternates and guests would be able to raise their hand and vote illegally, and 2) vulnerable to the bias of the chairman, who would be free to declare any remotely close vote for either side.

    The Tea Partiers discussed this at their event the night before--a major event, with hundreds in attendance all Attorney General and Secretary of State candidates facing off.  They vowed to stop the "show of hands" decision from passing, and with National Committeewoman Holly Hughes in attendance, word got to the state party.   The motion was decisively defeated at the Rules Committee that morning.

    But beyond that, the Tea Party was inoculated against the "show of hands" vote.

    Cut to the convention, with the chairman calling for a "show of hands" vote whether Calley or his Tea Party-backed challenger would be the nominee for LG.  Chaos erupted.  Tea Party organizers immediately demanded and moved for a roll call vote.  The crowd chanted, "Roll call! Roll call!"

    The speaker attempted to explain that they weren't prepared to take a roll call vote from thousands of people and Aw shucks, we have no choice but the show of hands.  The crowd was infuriated.

    He explained that both candidates had agreed to a "show of hands" vote.   The crowd wasn't satisfied.

    After some discussion with the other bigwigs on the stage, the chairman completely ignored the rules, and the request for vote by written ballot was simply ignored.  He called for a show of hands vote.  Many Tea Partiers raised their hands for their candidate.  Many refused and simply shouted and booed.  The vote was clearly divisive and controversial.   It was not at all clear which candidate won, but very clear that the vote would have been different had a written vote been taken.

    Yet the chairman declared Calley the winner of the hand vote--precisely what the Tea Partiers feared would happen if a vote was taken informally.   Thus the party crushed the rebellion.  Whether the Tea Party had the majority to overturn the Snyder campaign's pick for Lieutenant Governor, we'll never know.   Whether the Tea Party groups will continue to haunt Calley for his record and Snyder for his pick, or let it go, remains to be seen.  But we do know that the Tea Party made their power play and the party establishment slapped them back, hard.

    The fight might not have ended there, but Bill Cooper conceded and that was the end of it.  This was the Tea Party's mistake: they needed a candidate who would have fought it out.  Of course, finding a candidate willing to alienate the entire party establishment (not to mention the Snyder campaign) would not have been easy.  And Cooper, unfortunately, wasn't the man for the job.

    I hope it wasn't lost on the Tea Party that the convention chair lied about not having the means for a vote: on the second ballot for Secretary of State (which everybody knew would be needed) there were choices for three races, two which were not used.   They could have settled the Lietenant Governor nomination there.

    The Tea Party demanded a strong candidate for Lieutenant Governor, and the party fought them off.  The next state convention will determine who the party's leaders are.  Uh oh!

     

    How Ruth Johnson won the SOS nomination

     

    At the Tea Party event the previous evening, each of the five candidates (state senators Cameron Brown and Michelle McManus, Oakland county clerk Ruth Johnson, Calhoun county clerk Anne Norlander, and state rep Paul Scott) participated in a debate, followed by a straw poll.  Ruth Johnson won by a very wide margin, with 90 votes to 10-40 for each of the others.

    At the convention, she took some 600 votes in the first ballot, to some 400 for Norlander and Brown, and 200 for McManus and Scott.  In a run-off against Cameron Brown, however, Johnson won by a narrower margin.

    Spectators to the convention might wonder how Johnson became the Tea Party's favorite, when the message each of the candidates had was so similar.

    Without a doubt, one reason was Johnson's recent exposure of the link between the fake Tea Party and the Democrats, which led to the resignation of two top Democrat officials last week.   It was fortunate for her that she was in a position to do that, but also due to her vigilance that she saw the opportunity.

    However, it wasn't just because of this that Johnson became so preferred among the Tea Party.

    The media reports that Johnson "courted" the Tea Party but the reality is that all of the SOS candidates did.

    Campaign For Liberty and the Tea Party groups had interviewed and researched all of the candidates extensively throughout their campaigns.  We had two key issues where Johnson was far better than the others: she was well-informed and seriously concerned about the national ID, and she understood election fraud much better than the others.

    All of the candidates understood vote fraud as it related to ACORN.  But when we aired concerns about the integrity of the count, all but Johnson seemed unconcerned.

    In fact, Campaign For Liberty state coordinator Tony DeMott has been involved in ballot fraud issues for years, and his colleagues (including some liberal ones) had known and admired Johnson's work as Oakland County Clerk, where she did an exemplary job protecting the integrity of elections.

    By the convention, several candidates had gotten better at talking the talk.  But by then it was too late.   It's telling that so many Tea Party groups around the state, with no common leadership, all reached the same conclusion going into the convention.

    It's also telling that Johnson won more narrowly against Brown in the run-off than on the first ballot.  Among those who voted for the bottom three, most went to Brown.  Why would that be?

    I see two factors: one, I think some of the non-Tea Partiers saw Johnson's win on the first ballot, and resenting the Tea Party's intrusion, were voting for Brown to vote against the Tea Party.   And two, I think some people believed the attack ads that several candidates (and unidentified surrogates) were sending out shortly before the convention.   Johnson was the only candidate in the race that others were running against.  In a way, all of the others were running against her.

    But Cameron Brown was endorsed by Teri Lynn Land, who represented everything the Tea Party despised.  Land actively worked to implement the national ID, and sneered at anybody who criticized her for it.  Brown clearly represented a continuation of that agenda, and the Tea Party wouldn't have him.

    The SOS race was a hard-fought race that began over a year ago.   Tea Partiers worked hard to carry Johnson to victory, and their efforts paid off.   If Johnson wins in November, it will be a great victory for Liberty to have a Secretary of State who will stand up to the statists' national ID program, and defend the integrity of our elections.

     

    Why Today is a Good Day to Call Mike Bishop and Thank Him

     

    Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop had his faults, to be sure.   But as a rule, legislative leadership tend to be the worst--after all, the road to leadership in the legislature is paved with compromises.  Mike Bishop was an exception; he voted on the conservative side of his Republican colleagues more often than not.

    Unlike nearly 2/3 of the Senate, he was, until last Saturday, campaigning for his next office.  Now, along with SOS candidates McManus and Brown, he joins the 2/3 as a lame duck.

    Lame ducks are dangerous.  They can vote any which way, and the voters can do nothing about it.

    This is why term limits are dangerous.  Politicians might do anything in their last term.

    Earlier this year, Campaign For Liberty mobilized voters to stop a bill, HB4961, which would have put taxpayers on the hook for a new bridge to Canada, and given a bureaucracy, the Department of Transportation, a major new power to tax.  Not only that, Canadian bureaucrats would be working with the DOT to formulate the budgets, in effect giving Canada a say on Michigan taxes.

    This bill sailed through the house with support from a majority of Democrats AND Republicans.  Fortunately, our efforts paid off, and the bill was stalled in the Senate indefinitely.

    But now the Majority Leader is licking his wounds from a big loss.  After 18 months of campaigning, his party rejected him.  His hard work in the Senate wasn't enough.

    I've seen candidates the night they lose their election.   They are truly devastated.

    It is well worth a moment of your time to call Bishop's office and offer words of consolation.  We need him in good spirits to fight through the end of the legislative season (December).

    Why did Schuette win, and what was the Tea Party's position?

    The Tea Party was roughly split at their event the night before the convention.   Bishop won, but it was close.  At the convention, it was also close, but the other way around.   Campaign For Liberty and Tea Party groups held various events to meet the candidates, and I think most attendees saw pros and cons in both candidates.

    Approaching the convention, however, the Schuette campaign pulled out all the stops and ran a very dirty negative campaign against Bishop, and tarred him over the Michigan Business Tax.  I didn't see much from the Bishop campaign, save one email, sliming Shuette.  The experts are right: negative campaigns work.  Bishop's fatal mistake was not going negative enough.  One website, set up by one phantom "Trucker" Randy Butler, and promoted by someone with access to the delegate e-mail list, was an obvious attempt to confuse people with "Trucker" Randy Bishop, who would nominate Mike Bishop at the convention.  His website ran negative comments on Ruth Johnson and Mike Bishop.

    Mike Bishop sent out one e-mail criticizing Schuette for his votes, citing the American Conservative Union's records.  It prompted me to spend three hours digging through Schuette's record.  But I doubt one email inspired many others to do the same.  But Schuette pummeled Bishop on the MBT, again and again and again.  It worked.  There is a lesson here.

    For my part, I only began researching the candidates a week before the convention, and it wasn't until very close to the convention when I really began to see the difference between the candidates. Bishop had flaws but was pretty good; Schuette cast many serious votes with a Big Brother mentality that was clearly visible in his campaign literature. He voted to allow police to search without a warrant as long as they believed they were right to. He voted to fund rebel armies with our tax dollars in Angola, Mozambique, and elsewhere. He voted for the death penalty. He ran a campaign of fear, with a murder victim's widow nominating him at the convention. The message was, "we need Bill Schuette to keep our families safe."

    Bill Schuette had nothing whatsoever to offer the Liberty movement, and he won enough of the Tea Party over with tried-and-true rhetoric.  It was a little sad to see.

    But nevertheless, it was still an election based on the issues.   It's a silver lining that Bishop's loss will be seen as the result of one too many compromises.   That will serve to keep all other ambitious Republican legislators aware that their every vote counts.

    And it's really great to have seen just how hard all of the candidates had to work for the Tea Parties' support.  The Tea Parties, and the Campaign For Liberty, are a grassroots revolution that are putting the politicians against an electorate informed like never before.

    The Tea Party event the night before the convention was unprecedented.   The resistance was prepared, they were well informed, and they proved to the party establishment that they are a force to be reckoned with.

    I declare the convention to have been a resounding success.  Thanks to all the organizers, all the delegates, and all of the volunteers, we got what we fought for.  Campaign For Liberty had the best vendor booth at the show, we got to meet hundreds of grassroots leaders across the state, and we had a great time.

    Let's build on this success through Election Day.   A lot of politicians need our vote, and we need to tell them what they must do to earn it.

     {jcomments off}

     

  • Help Stop Acorn Vote Fraud!

    September 25, 2010 Update:  Today Fox News published a report on widespread vote fraud in Houston, TX.  TEA Partiers were instrumental in uncovering this fraud.  Click here to read the original report or scroll to the end of this article to read a copy of it.  (A copy of the Fox News report was posted on this website to allow readers to view it even if the hyperlink is "broken.")

     

    ORIGINAL RETAKEOURGOV ARTICLE

    Many citizens view the November 2010 elections as the most important in our lifetimes.  The out-of-control spending and the expansion of federal government power can only be stopped by electing leaders who truly will support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

    Critical issues such as defunding socialized medicine and preventing amnesty for illegal aliens can only be accomplished if, on November 2nd, Americans vote for a return to divided government, where both political parties share in governing our nation.  Over the past two years we have seen the economic and constitutional devastation of one party rule by liberal Democrats in control of all branches of government.  We need to return to a system of checks and balances afforded by a two party system of government.

    The importance of the November 2nd elections cannot be understated.  Those in control of the levers of power will not roll over and give up their one-party rule.  The liberals and radical leftists in Washington D.C. will not readily cede their power. 

    Because of this, WE THE PEOPLE must do more than just vote if we are to be victorious on November 2. What do I mean by the phrase, “Do more than just vote.”  This means each of us must work as an election challenger on voting day November 2nd to prevent liberals and their ACORN cronies from stealing this critical election.

    Election challengers are appointed to protect against fraud and ensure a fair vote on Election Day.  As an election challenger more will be asked of you than the average voting citizen.  You’ll be asked to take a day of vacation to be at the polls to observe the voting process keeping it free from fraud.  It is a special citizen who will exchange a day of vacation to work at the polls, but then again it is a special citizen who understands that the future of our nation is at stake in this election.

    What does an election challenger do?  Below is a brief description of the duties of an election challenger.  This description has been excerpted from documents authored by the Michigan Secretary of State’s office.  The full twelve page document from the Secretary of State’s office provides a more comprehensive description.

    Don’t let the details of the twelve page document overwhelm you.  Typically just the presence of election challengers at the polls is enough to deter rampant fraud.

    As explained below, election challengers can be appointed by a state-recognized political party, or by an organized group of citizens interested in preserving the purity of elections and in guarding against the abuse of the elective franchise.  In short, the Michigan Republican Party can appoint challengers and TEA Party or other Liberty-minded groups can appoint challengers.  For reasons discussed below, it is easier if  TEA Party members and concerned citizens become appointed as challengers via the Republican Party.

    During RetakeOurGov’s next regular meeting (October 6, 2010) Norm Shinkle from the Michigan Republican Party will provide us with first-hand insight regarding becoming an election challenger.  It is my hope that many, if not all of us, will volunteer for duty on November 2nd.  Note: You don't have to wait until our October 6 meeting to identify yourself as someone who is interested in being an election challenger.  You can sign up today!

    Not only is Mr. Shinkle the point person for coordinating and directing election challengers here in Michigan, but Mr. Shinkle is also a member of the State Board of Canvassers.  As such, he has first hand insight regarding the recent fight to keep the “Fake Tea Party” off the November ballot.  Time permitting; he will share his insight with us.  It should be very informative.

    When you become an election challenger don't forget to vote ahead of time by absentee ballot.

     

    EXCERPTS FROM THE MICHIGAN SECRETARY OF STATE OFFICE

    1. An Election Challenger can be appointed by

    • A state-recognized political party.
    • An organized group of citizens interested in preserving the purity of elections and in guarding against the abuse of the elective franchise.


    2. An Election Challenger is different from a Poll Watcher

    • A challenger has the right to challenge a person’s right to vote and the actions of the precinct board; a poll watcher does not have this authority.
    • An election is an open process that may be observed by any interested person. (However, note that candidates may not remain in the polling place after they have voted because of the possible conflict with the provisions which prohibit campaigning within 100 feet of the polls.) A person who wishes to observe the election process -- who is not a qualified election challenger -- is commonly called a “poll watcher.”

    THE APPOINTMENT OF ELECTION CHALLENGERS

    Political parties may appoint election challengers to serve at partisan and nonpartisan elections. The appointments may be made at any time through the date of the election. A political party is not required to follow an application process to appoint election challengers.

    An incorporated organization, a group interested in the adoption or defeat of a proposal on the ballot or a group interested in preserving the purity of elections and in guarding against the abuse of the elective franchise may appoint election challengers if authorized to do so under an application process. To apply for appointment authorization, the organization or group must file, not less than 20 days nor more than 30 days prior to the election, the two items below with the clerk of the county, city, township or village where the election will be held. 

    1. A statement which sets forth the organization’s or group’s intention to appoint election challengers and the reason why the right to make the appointments is claimed. The statement must be signed under oath (notarized) by the chief presiding officer, secretary or any other officer of the group or organization.
    2. A copy of the identification card which will be carried by the challengers appointed by the group or organization. The identification card must have entry spaces for the challenger’s name, the group’s or organization’s name, the precinct or precincts in which the challenger is authorized to serve and the signature of a recognized officer of the group or organization.

    Challengers have the right to:

    • Examine the voting equipment before the polls open and after the polls close.
    • Observe each person offering to vote. (Challengers may not observe electors voting.)
    • Observe the processing of voters.
    • Bring to the precinct board’s attention the improper handling of a ballot by a voter or an election inspector; that the 100 foot campaign restriction is being violated; or that any other election law or prescribed election procedure is being violated.
    • Inspect the Applications to Vote, Poll Books, registration list and any other materials used to process voters at the polling place. (When exercising this right, challengers may not touch the Applications to Vote, Poll Books, registration list or other materials being used by the precinct board.)
    • Keep notes on the persons offering to vote, the election procedures being carried out and the actions of the precinct board.
    • Remain in the precinct until the precinct board completes its work.

    A challenger has the right to challenge a voter if the challenger has good reason to believe that a person who offers to vote is not qualified to vote in the precinct. For example, the voter 1) is not a true resident of the city or township 2) has not yet attained 18 years of age 3) is not a United States citizen or 4) did not register to vote on or before the “close of registration” for the election at hand.

    FOX NEWS REPORT (written by Ed Barnes, Fox News, September 25, 2010)

    When Catherine Engelbrecht and her friends sat down and started talking politics several years ago, they soon agreed that talking wasn’t enough. They wanted to do more. So when the 2008 election came around, “about 50” of her friends volunteered to work at Houston’s polling places.

    “What we saw shocked us,” she said. “There was no one checking IDs, judges would vote for people that asked for help. It was fraud, and we watched like deer in the headlights.”

    Their shared experience, she says, created “True the Vote,” a citizen-based grassroots organization that began collecting publicly available voting data to prove that what they saw in their day at the polls was, indeed, happening -- and that it was happening everywhere.

    “It was a true Tea Party moment,” she remembers.

    Like most voter watchdog groups, she said, her group started small. They decided to investigate voting fraud in general, not just at the polling places, and at first they weren't even sure what to look for -- and where to look for it.

    “The first thing we started to do was look at houses with more than six voters in them" Engelbrecht said, because those houses were the most likely to have fraudulent registrations attached to them. "Most voting districts had 1,800 if they were Republican and 2,400 of these houses if they were Democratic . . .

    "But we came across one with 24,000, and that was where we started looking."

    It was Houston's poorest and predominantly black district, which has led some to accuse the group of targeting poor black areas. But Engelbrecht rejects that, saying, "It had nothing to do with politics. It was just the numbers.”

    The task was overwhelming. With 1.9 million voters and 886 voting precincts, Houston’s Harris County is the second largest county in the country -- and the key to Texas elections.

    The group called for help and quickly got 30 donated computers and “tens of thousands of hours” of volunteer work. And then the questions started to arise.

    “Vacant lots had several voters registered on them. An eight-bed halfway house had more than 40 voters registered at its address,” Engelbrecht said. “We then decided to look at who was registering the voters."
    Their work paid off. Two weeks ago the Harris County voter registrar took their work and the findings of his own investigation and handed them over to both the Texas secretary of state’s office and the Harris County district attorney.

    Most of the findings focused on a group called Houston Votes, a voter registration group headed by Steve Caddle, who also works for the Service Employees International Union. Among the findings were that only 1,793 of the 25,000 registrations the group submitted appeared to be valid. The other registrations included one of a woman who registered six times in the same day; registrations of non-citizens; so many applications from one Houston Voters collector in one day that it was deemed to be beyond human capability; and 1,597 registrations that named the same person multiple times, often with different signatures.

    Caddle told local newspapers that there “had been mistakes made,” and he said he had fired 30 workers for filing defective voter registration applications. He could not be reached for this article.
    “The integrity of the voting rolls in Harris County, Texas, appears to be under an organized and systematic attack by the group operating under the name Houston Votes,” the Harris voter registrar, Leo Vasquez, charged as he passed on the documentation to the district attorney. A spokesman for the DA's office declined to discuss the case. And a spokesman for Vasquez said that the DA has asked them to refrain from commenting on the case.

    The outcome of the efforts grew in importance the day after Vasquez made his announcement. On the morning of Aug. 27, a three-alarm fire destroyed almost all of Harris County’s voting machines, throwing the upcoming Nov. 2 election into turmoil. While the cause wasn’t determined, the $40 million blaze, according to press reports, means election officials will be focused on creating a whole new voting system in six weeks. Just how they do it will determine how vulnerable the process becomes.

     

  • Restoring Honor

    RetakeOurGov members took these photos at the Restoring Honor Rally in Washington D.C.  on August 28, 2010.  With over 500,000 in attendance, this rally was a huge success.  Patriotic Americans will take our country back and Restore Honor in our government.  A big THANK YOU to Glenn Beck for organizing this event and to all Americans who attended.

    Remember in November...

     

    {besps}restorehonor{/besps}

     {jcomments off}

  • Health Policy Expert Speaks at 666 TEA Party in Hell

    RetakeOurGov was honored to have Dr. David Janda as a speaker during our TEA Party in Hell, MI on the 666th day since President Obama was elected.  Dr. Janda is an orthopedic surgeon and a noted health care policy expert.  He speaks frequently about the perils of government run health programs such as Obama Care.

    Dr. Janda gave an informative Power Point presentation detailing the societal hazards of the recently enacted Obama Care Legislation.  In addition to his presentation, Dr. Janda provided audience members with copies of his book, The Awakening of a Surgeon (ISBN 978-1-58276-663-8).

    A copy of Dr. Janda's presentation is also available as a PDF file for those who do not have Microsoft Power Point software.  Please note that the PDF file will take considerably longer to download as it is about 10 times larger than the Power Point file.

     

  • Fake TEA Party Denied Ballot Access

    WE WON!   WE WON!   WE WON!

    The Fake TEA Party won't be on the ballot in November!  See the actual ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court.

    This is a historic document for all TEA Partiers!  Keep a copy of this document for yourself, your children, and your grandchildren.  This shows what can be accomplished when American Patriots band together for a common cause.

    {jcomments off}

  • Who Were Reagan Democrats?

    Many of have heard the term “Reagan Democrats.”  These were Democrat voters that broke with their party leadership and voted for the ideals and principles of Ronald Wilson Reagan, our 40th President. 

    Why did so many mainstream Democrats break ranks with their liberal leaders?  What was President Reagan’s message?  What were his principles?  How did his vision differ from the vision of the liberal elites in the Democrat Party?

    I certainly could offer you my perspectives on these questions, but I’ve found that it is better if you hear the answers directly from the sources.  The link below takes you to a video clip that contrasts Reagan’s ideas with that of Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, John Conyers, and many other liberal leaders in today’s Democrat Party.  This video demonstrates Reagan’s steadfast belief that it is the American People who make this country great – not the Washington D.C. liberal elites.

    Reagan believed that the individual American citizen would spend and invest his/hers own money far more wisely than an unaccountable Washington D.C. bureaucrat.  Reagan believed that permitting citizens to keep more of their earnings was the key to a growing economy and a prosperous nation.  In contrast, today’s handful of ruling elites believes that they know better how to spend your money than you do.  These elites believe that redistributing your wages to those who haven’t worked quite as hard as you is a wise investment.

    As the elites spend more and more of your money, they necessarily take more and more of your individuality and more and more of your freedom.  The ruling elites know that they must “control” the populace if they are to continue to confiscate and redistribute the fruits of your labor.

    Watch this 2 minute video and tell me who you trust more, the individual American citizens or the Washington D.C. ruling elites.

    Reagan's Principles

     

  • Business Leaders Fear Obamanomics

    Steve Wynn is a successful entrepreneur and businessman who is feeling the fallout of President Obama’s economic policies.  Listen to this interview as Mr. Wynn describes the impact of Obamanomics on American business.  You might not have any sympathy for a man of Mr. Wynn’s means; however, you should have sympathy for the all of the employees that Mr. Wynn won’t be able to hire due the high cost of doing business imposed by our Federal government.  In order to create jobs we need a pro-growth policy from the White House.

    President Obama often tells the public about the number of jobs he has “saved” with his stimulus package.  Many economists criticize this statistic as there is no way of measuring how many jobs have been “saved.”  I wonder if President Obama is keeping track of the number of jobs that were never “created” due to his economic policies.  Perhaps business leaders such as Mr. Wynn could start a tally sheet for us.

  • Announcement: Conservative Book Review

    So much to read, but so little time...

    There are many good books on the market that discuss the conservative philosophy.  Unfortunately, many conservatives often do not have the time to read these books.  Conservatives are busy raising their families, earning a living, and fighting back against those that would redistribute the fruits of their labor.

    Understanding that conservatives are busy leading their own lives, RetakeOurGov has instituted a new category on our website.  This new category is called Book Reviews.  We will now post brief summaries of books we believe are important to the conservative cause.  These summaries will expose you, the mainstream American citizen, to key concepts that will help you battle the left in the arena of ideas.

    These time-saving short summaries provide you with the most important ideas brought forth by the author.  Of course, these summaries will not provide the full richness and context that can only come from a full reading of these selected works.  To gain a comprehensive understanding of the author's point of view requires you to invest the time to read the book from cover to cover.

    It is our hope that these summaries expose you to some of the best conservative ideas in a time-efficient manner.  Further, it is our hope that these summaries entice you to read some of these original works.

    If you have already read some of these books we encourage you to share your findings with others by posting your comments here on our website.  We have included space below each book review for you to add your comments.  Our book reviews can be accessed by going to our main menu and holding your mouse pointer over Resources.  A new drop down menu will appear showing Book Review as a menu choice.

  • Learn How to Defend Capitalism

    Liberals and progressives frequently rail against the “evils” of a free-market.  They claim that capitalism is inherently flawed because of “greed.”  They make these statements in an attempt to make you feel guilty that the fruits of your labor are somehow unjust and unfair.

    The leftists hope that this guilt-trip persuades you to accept their confiscatory tax policies.  After all, they would have you believe that you did not earn you wages fair and square.  In the mind of the liberals, everybody’s standard of living should be equal.  If outcomes are not equal then foul play must have been involved.  A liberal believes that your higher standard of living was not a result of your hard work and sweat equity.  They believe your success was a result of your “greed” and your “unfairness” toward others.  In the mind of a liberal, it is only fair that tax policy be used to counterbalance your greed and unfair play.

    Leftists of all stripes have been successful at spreading their propaganda against capitalism by using this “greed” and “unfairness” argument.  Their arguments can play well with the average citizen, especially when the conservative does a less than stellar job of articulating the societal benefits of free-market capitalism.

    An effective spokesperson for the conservative point of view must be well versed in the debate between capitalism versus socialism (or liberalism).  To this end the following video clip expertly shows why capitalism is superior to other economic structures.  While no economic structure is without flaws, capitalism has shown itself to be superior to all other forms of “isms” such as liberalism, socialism, communism, and Marxism.

    This video clip shows the left-leaning talk show host, Phil Donahue interviewing his guest.  For our younger readers, The Phil Donahue Show is somewhat equivalent to the Oprah Winfrey Show, albeit 30 years or so ago.  Mr. Donahue is questioning noted economist Milton Friedman about the “evils” of capitalism.  Watch how succinctly Mr. Friedman dismantles Mr. Donahue’s arguments that capitalism is based upon “greed and unfairness.”  Listen closely and you too will learn how to effectively articulate the benefits of a truly free market economy.  Become an effective spokesperson for the free market and you can help reverse America’s leftward slide.


    {flv}friedman{/flv}

  • A Democrat with Buyer's Remorse

    At RetakeOurGov the majority of members identify themselves as conservatives.  However, not all describe themselves this way.  I have spoken with a handful who describe themselves as conservative Democrats.  These citizens have voted Democrat for their entire life but now do not like the big-spending Obama Administration and their lack of policies regarding economic growth.  Some don't like Obama's pro-abortion policies, especially the federal funding of abortions.

    Whatever the reasons, there are Democrats who do not feel comfortable in their own party because it has been overrun by radical leftists and progressives.  The TEA Party movement welcomes these disaffected Democrats as they too are part of mainstream American social and fiscal values.  In fact, there is strong agreement between TEA Partiers and disaffected Democrats when it comes to out-of-control spending; both groups are against Obama's big spending policies, and both groups were against Bush's big spending policies. 

    Below is an audio clip from the July 8 edition of the Rush Limbaugh show.  You'll hear in this 90 second clip a caller explain how he has voted Democrat all his life, but now will vote Republican.  Essentially the liberals and progressivea have hijacked the Democrat Party, making mainstream Americans no longer welcome.

    You gotta believe that there are many more in America that feel the same way as this caller.  Let us welcome them to America's mainstream conservative movement - the TEA Party Movement!  Forward a link to this article to your independent friends and let them know they do not have to accept liberalism.

    {loadposition RushDemocrat}

  • Rick Snyder (R) or Rick Snyder (RINO)?

    Rick Snyder is running in the August 3rd primary to be the Republican nominee for the Governor of Michigan.  Mr. Snyder is a businessman from Ann Arbor with no prior political experience. His lack of political experience is a big draw for many voters that are upset with the entire political class in Lansing.

    I’ve looked at Mr. Snyder, but his lack of a voting record makes it difficult to know his position on issues.  All candidates for political office are trained to tell the electorate as little as they can about their policy positions, they don’t want to be pinned down.  They want to appear to be all things to all people.  I’m not just saying this about Mr. Snyder; I’m saying this about all politicians and politician wannabes.

    Where on the political spectrum is Mr. Snyder’s political philosophy?  Is he closer to John McCain and Lindsey Graham, or is he closer to Ronald Reagan?

    The following audio clip may help you decide for yourself.  This clip is from the Thayrone X show on WAAM (AM 1600) broadcasting from the People’s Republic of Ann Arbor.  WAAM radio broadcasts conservative talk radio programs throughout the day.  Among others, WAAM broadcasts Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham, and Glenn Beck.  Since they boosted their signal I am able to listen to Thayrone on my drive home.  Beats having to listen to Mitch Albom.

    Thayrone is a local conservative talk radio host.  His show, On the Edge, is on the air weekdays from 4 to 6 pm.  His July 20 show had a segment where a caller voiced concern that Mr. Snyder is a Republican In Name Only.  Listen to this six minute audio clip and draw your own conclusions.

    {loadposition ThayroneSnyder}

     

  • RetakeOurGov Endorses Joe Hune

    RetakeOurGov is endorsing Joe Hune in the Republican Primary for Michigan's 22nd State Senate District.  Joe's commitment to reign in the growth of state government is clearly in sync with TEA Party ideals.  Joe demonstrates the passion and conviction of his mainstream conservative beliefs that is often lacking in other Republican leaders, especially at a federal level.  While there is no doubt about Joe's conservatiism, his reasoned approach can easily attract independents and disaffected Democrats.  The primary election is held on August 3, 2010.

    Read the press release.

  • Obama the Reneger - Video

    An example of how effective a YouTube video can be at reminding the public of just some of the broken promises of President Obama.  Remember how the news media portrayed Obama as a new kind of politician.  Obama was touted to be open and honest.  As you'll see in the video, Obama's routine is nothing new, we have seen this many times before.  While we can't vote him out of office in 2010, we can express our displeasure by voting out his Congressional Democrat allies.  He and his allies in Congress hope you forget about these broken promises.  We will not forget.  You can be certain that we will Remember in November!

    {youtube}QdKmc9aBELM|600|450|1{/youtube}

  • Your Most Important Vote

    Average citizens have joined the TEA Party movement to push back against an ever intrusive federal government.  TEA Partiers believe that our ever expanding federal government robs individual citizens of their freedom as well as the fruits of their labor.  

     

    Those in the movement are certainly disgusted by the reckless spending policies of the Obama administration; however, they were none too happy with the spending policies of the prior administration.  From this standpoint I guess you could say that the TEA Party movement is bi-partisan.

     

    The TEA Party movement is optimistic that, come November, the free-spending Democrats will lose their legislative majorities. This is needed to check Obama’s power, and push back against big government liberal policies that currently plague our society.  While the TEA Party is fighting against the liberal Democrats, we are not 100% convinced that the Republicans will necessarily hold true to their stated platform of individual liberty and freedom.  Only time will tell…

     

    TEA Partiers are against big-spending liberal Democrats and we are against big-spending RINO (Republican In Name Only) Republicans.  Within the movement there is concern that Republicans may campaign as fiscal conservatives but then govern as big spending liberals.  TEA Partiers want a truly Conservative Party, not a Democrat-lite Party.

     

    To help insure against the Republican Party turning into the Democrat-lite Party many in the TEA Party Movement have decided to run for precinct delegate within the Republican Party.  It is our intention to hold Republicans as well as Democrats “feet to the fire.”

     

    The elected position of Republican Precinct Delegate represents Republican voters in a given voting precinct.  (Note, the Democrat Party also has elections for precinct delegate to represent their voters in a given precinct).  Delegates choose the leaders of their Party as well as vote on party policies.  Delegates have the power to choose RINOs or to choose constitutional conservatives to lead the Republican Party.  You can bet that TEA Partiers will vote for principled conservative leaders to lead the party.

     

    If you are a Republican voter and you desire constitutional conservatives guiding the party then you are urged to vote for precinct delegates that are affiliated with the TEA Party movement.  This is not to say that all non-TEA Party delegates are RINOs.  What is being said is that TEA Partiers are citizen activists that are fighting on the front lines for constitutionally limited government.  We want what is best for our country and we are willing to fight for it.  We are asking for your vote on August 3, 2010. 

     

    Here are some people that I know who are affiliated with the TEA Party movement and are running for precinct delegate.  (Candidates are from Livingston County unless otherwise noted).

     

    Joellen Pisarczyk from Brighton Township Precinct 1

    Margaret Pisarczyk from Brighton Township Precinct 1

    Rose Drouillard from Brighton Township Precinct 9

    Paula M. Seiter from Hamburg Township Precinct 7

    James D. Marshall from Hartland Township Precinct 1

    Laura Manko from Hartland Township Precinct 3

    Janet Houston* from Hartland Township Precinct 3

    Wes Nakagiri from Hartland Township Precinct 3

    Marcia J. Dicks from Tyrone Township Precinct 1

    Timothy Allan Dicks from Tyrone Township Precinct 1
       
     Maria M. Siebertz from Tyrone Township Precinct 1
       
     Wendy Hause from Unadilla Township Precinct 1

     Kevin Buck* from Oceola Township Precinct 4

     Glenn Nelson from Genoa Township Precinct 1

     Robin Blitchok from Argentine Township Precinct 1  (Genesee County)

     Dennis Brennan from Putnam Township Precinct 1

     Marlene Palicz from Walled Lake (Oakland County)
      

     

     Notes: 

    --   Janet Houston is running as a write-in candidate.  Her name will not appear on the ballot.

    -- Kevin Buck is running as a write-in candidate.  His name will not appear on the ballot.

    - All precincts have multiple delegate openings.  In fact, some have as many as six delegate openings.  Therefore you can vote for more than one candidate in each precinct.

     

    Please cast your votes for these candidates as they are working hard on behalf of all Americans to defend the principles of Constitutionally Limited Government.

     

    We encourage you to print this article and take it with you to the polls on August 3.

     

    Biographies:

      

    We have received biographies from some of the candidates.  We have posted these below.  RetakeOurGov will post other biographies as they become available.

     

    Margaret Pisarczyk

     

    ·     Political Science major at U of M. Supports conservative economic, life & constitutional values.

    ·     She's been very involved in active internship for conservative gubernatorial campaign since Sept. 2009. Attended the Mackinaw gubernatorial conference last fall & has worked enthusiastically in  campaign Communications, as well as Field Representative and Event activities.

    ·     Active member of College Republicans & served as Publicity Chair '09/'10.

    ·     Raised money & supplies for troops in Iraq.

    ·     Attended Tea Party gathering on the Diag at U of M this spring.

    ·     Collected signatures to place conservative candidate on ballot for U.S. Congress from Michigan's 7th district.

     

     

    Joellen Pisarczyk

    ·     Career background & Master's degree in Human Resource Management for 2 large corporations with previous experience in field of Education.

    ·     Embraced Tea Party movement to network with fellow conservatives concerned about excessive government control, spending and erosion of our Constitution.

    ·     Have increased my political activities since the campaign of George W. Bush and have set aside time in my life to become informed & actively involved in local and national issues.

    ·     Collected signatures in support of ballot initiatives to derail Obama Healthcare Reform dictates.

    ·     Special concerns for Job creation & retention, Business Tax Reform, Budget control,  Education & Eldercare policy at state & local level.

  • How To Choose a Supreme Court Justice

    In Michigan, the voters decide who sits on the highest court in the state.  How does a citizen decide who to vote for when it comes to selecting a Michigan Supreme Court Justice?  This is a tough decision as many voters do not know the background and the judicial philosophy of the candidates on the ballot. 

    In fact, about 30% of citizens that cast a vote in the November elections decide not to vote in the non-partisan section of the ballot.  In other words, many citizens skip voting for Supreme Court Justices as they have concluded that there are no differences between judicial candidates.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  The race for Supreme Court Justice is as important as the race for Governor.

    Why the importance?  This election cycle the balance of power in the court is such that the “rule of law” is in danger of being replaced by the “rule of empathy.”  The liberal wing of the Michigan Supreme Court is dangerously close to obtaining a solid majority.  These liberal activists have a judicial philosophy whereby they are not bound by the constitution.  Rather, they are guided by their empathy for their special interest groups and their liberal causes. 

    If the liberal wing takes control of the court the rights of all Michigan citizens could be in jeopardy.  The liberal wing cares only about the liberal agenda, not the rule of law.  We could expect the liberals to interfere with key elements of Michigan law such as:

    • Retaining the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
    • Treating all citizens the same.  No special preferences shall be given to citizens based upon their race or gender.
    • Keeping welfare benefits and voting rights from illegal aliens.

    It is critically important that the liberal wing be prevented from gaining control of Michigan’s highest court.  The position of RetakeOurGov is that judges should be guided by the rule of law, and that all citizens must be held to the same rules and regulations.  Judges should not allow their empathy for one group of citizens to affect their rulings.  We want judges to provide all citizens with equal justice under the law, not social justice for some according to liberal doctrine.

    Who should you vote for in November?  Please review the following presentation for specific guidance and recommendations.  Further, please forward this article to your friends and family so they know who to support in the upcoming elections.

  • TEA Party Power - Liberals Attempt to Imitate

    We in the TEA Party Movement know we have been effective when the liberal elites and the liberal media take pot shots at us.  Recall they have referred to TEA Partiers as an "angry mob" and as "racists."  Now the liberals and progressives are going to attempt to imitate our highly successful movement.  Read about it in the Washington Post.  The radical left's desire to imitate ordinary, everyday American citizens is quite a honor. 

  • A Summary of Dick Morris' new book, "2010 Take Back America."

    Targeting Vulnerable Incumbents & Harnessing the Internet:

    Lessons from Dick Morris

    We want to recommend to you the new Dick Morris book, 2010 Take Back America, A Battle Plan. In this book, Dick Morris sets forth the best targets to take back the Senate and the House from the Democrats, and he actually gives a battle plan. He also discusses the importance of harnessing the Internet for political campaigns.

    RetakeOurGov has built a database of targets based, in part, on the assessments made by Morris. We have updated his targets, though, because his book is already a little bit out of date. For example, it doesn’t reflect the most recent resignations or primary election results.

    We are also comparing his suggested targets to assessments made by others of the likelihood of defeating various incumbents. These include sources such as the Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato, among others. We’re doing this so our PAC can assess which Senate and House races we may become involved in. Of course, as Michiganders, Michigan races are important to us, but we still want a broader focus.

    In addition, we are looking at vulnerabilities, especially of incumbents. How did they vote on key issues such as ObamaCare, the bailouts and other recent legislation? Are they vulnerable because they are freshmen members of Congress so that they are less entrenched and perhaps less powerful?

    We’re not just focusing on freshmen, though. We’re also looking at those we call The Titans—you know, those who have been there for many, many terms—the ones who really need to go. The ones who have steadily built this mess we’re in over the course, sometimes, of decades. We’re looking at going after them, too.

    We are also looking at prior election results, especially how the various congressional districts voted in prior presidential elections. A Democrat member of Congress, who was elected at the same time that voters in his district highly favored McCain or Bush, is arguably an anomaly and is vulnerable. He or she should be ripe to be booted out. Republicans, however, aren’t safe either. Their records will also be scrutinized.

    So, as RetakeOurGov compiles all this information, we’ll be picking and prioritizing the races where we may deploy funds to oppose incumbents or to support their challengers. Sometimes that means we will cut a check to send it to a candidate, even if it’s a modest one. Other times, it means we will make independent expenditures to defeat our targets. Independent expenditures such as running radio or newspaper ads, creating YouTube videos, and the like. Radio ads like the one we are running against against Gary Peters (D).

     

    {loadposition MorrisSummary}

    (click on small triangle above to hear the radio ad)

    In terms of strategy, Morris details quite a few. Some are worth pointing out.

    Morris spends a fair bit of time discussing how, in the upcoming elections, we have to make it all about Obama. One of his key points, however, is that we can’t be limited by ideology. And here, we think he’s on to something.

    The key is to attack Obama, and thereby his minions who seek re-election to Congress, on his fundamental failures—Obama’s failure to lead, his failure to follow through on promises, his monumental failure to listen to the People who simply do not want much of his agenda—and, thereby, also attack the incumbent congressmen & women who ignore their own constituencies.

    Remember, Obama was elected on a platform, but he hasn’t followed through on many key aspects of it. Now, as people who want to see the Constitution upheld and a return to the limited government our Founding Fathers intended, we might be glad Obama hasn’t been able to achieve some of his goals. But the fact that Obama hasn’t is a failure crying out to be told.

    Consider these:

    Obama promised to get us out of Iraq, but . . .we’re still there.

    Obama promised not to raise taxes on the middle class, but . . . he has.

    Obama promised to cut taxes for 95% of all Americans, but . . . he hasn’t.

    Obama promised to preserve Medicare, but . . . he cut it by $500 billion—that’s Billion, with a B!

    Obama said he’d bring down the deficit, but he has more than tripled it—and he is going for more.

    The list goes on and on and on—and Morris provides many examples of such broken promises that you can use.

    Morris doesn’t just provide a litany of such facts, though. He even suggests scripts for television and radio ads and gives permission to use them. These could easily be used to create YouTube videos. And we encourage like-minded Americans to do so.

    He also provides scripts for ads about specific issues, such as unemployment, spending, the deficit, and health care. But Morris urges that it’s not enough to just refer to these issues generally.

    And this is very important: He argues that we need to hang the details around a candidate’s neck. In other words, the attacks have to be specific, not just that “so-and-so voted for ObamaCare.” Instead, we have to point out that Medicare has been cut and medical devices now face a tax; that we will be fined for not having insurance and that our premiums are going to go up; that doctors may prefer to retire rather than have their professional medical judgments on behalf of their patients second-guessed or controlled by unelected, unaccountable Washington bureaucrats who probably don’t even have medical degrees!

    Now, we in the Tea Party Movement or those of us already involved in campaigns, we are all rather knowledgeable about these issues and many of the specifics. But the average person out there is not paying as much attention yet. They hear about “health care reform” and sort of assume that’s a good idea. But when they hear they will be fined if they do not buy what the government says they must, they are appalled. So, we have to get the word out on such specific details.

    Morris finally points to Obama’s failings as Commander-in Chief, in the conflict with the Taliban in Afghanistan, especially. For example, Obama waffles and flip-flops—to the detriment of our military men and women on the ground. He sets a withdrawal date as he signs an order for troop deployment. Obama makes decisions suggesting he is weak and malleable, and more concerned about political matters than Victory. So, as strategy, it’s a matter of exposing the deficits in Obama’s character, strength and decisiveness, or lack thereof, and tying those personal deficits to his Congressional puppets who are seeking re-election. Because, by sending them back to Congress, we’ll just be furthering Obama’s policies and his ways of doing the Country’s business.

    Now, the last part of Dick Morris’s book he calls The Electronic Precinct. Here, he’s advocating that we all act as our own publishers, that we act as our own campaign managers supporting our own favorite candidates. That means don’t just do the old-fashioned campaign techniques, like calling your friends and family or sending written notes—all of which are very nice things to do—but, use your email, your FaceBook page, your Twitter account, create YouTube videos, and use anything else out there in the social media realm of the Internet, because it is such a very powerful tool.

    Morris traces the rise of the use of the Internet in political campaigns—from Howard Dean’s very successful fundraising, to the Swift Boat Veterans campaign against Kerry, to the rise of MoveOn.org, actblue.com and other PACs, especially those on the Left, all the way to the last presidential campaign.

    As an aside here, we want each and every one of you to visit www.actblue.com. This is the internet fundraising machine of the Progressive Left. Actblue is a PAC, like RetakeOurGov—but they are raising millions upon millions of dollars for their leftist agenda. This is what we’re fighting against—and you will be more scared once you’ve spent a little time surfing that site. Now, let’s get back to the internet stuff.

    Make no mistake about it. Obama defeated Hillary Clinton in the primary because he harnessed the power of the Internet to mobilize citizens to volunteer, to vote, and most importantly, to contribute financially, especially raising very enormous sums from many, many small contributors. After beating Hillary in the primary, Obama then went on to do the same thing to defeat McCain.

    In other words, the Internet nominated Obama and then elected him. As Morris notes, a close examination of political races shows that victories usually come not because the loser lacked political viability, but because he or she could not raise any more money. To get your name out there and your message out there, a candidate simply must have funds for ads and campaign materials and get out the vote drives.

    Yes, there are examples of candidates who ran low-budget campaigns and won—but they are the exception. We cannot rely on that happening.

    Finances drive out the losers and coronate the winners. It is for this reason that Dick Morris, as do so many others who are getting involved in these important mid-term elections, advocates the need for us to open our wallets. We have got to compete financially with the Left’s ability to raise enormous funds.

    In this vein we also want to mention another book: Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation, by Jason Mattera. This is written by a young guy and he covers a lot about Obama’s use of the internet to reach out to the young voters. He also talks about opening our wallets. He says “Donate that money!” “Get your wallets out and put your money where your future is.” And he’s right about that.

    I want to end with a couple of thoughts, one of which involves my own personal story.

    From the time I was pretty young until quite recently, I was rather adamant that we don’t need campaign finance reform so much as we need individuals to support only those candidate who are their own representatives and to otherwise stay out of other races. In fact, I always thought that it was rather unethical for candidates to take money from people they don’t represent.

    But, my views have changed. I’ve done a complete 180-degree turn. Our country and our lives are just too important not to be more broadly involved. I cannot sit by and just let all these politicians vote for legislation such as ObamaCare. So, and this is before RetakeOurGov organized as a PAC, I’ve actually given modest contributions directly to candidates who do not represent me. I wouldn’t have done that a year ago. But, it is now my way of standing up—just as when I use my physical presence at a tea party or rally.

    When we go to a tea party or rally, we use our bodies, our physical presence, to Stand with other like-minded people to demonstrate our solidarity of purpose. Well, I cannot fly all across the country to use my physical presence in other congressional districts. But, I can send a check, even if it’s small. And, doing so accomplishes the same thing as attending a rally.

    It shows:

    I am here, I exist.

    I am listening,

    I am watching, and

    I’m putting some skin in the game, because it is that important.

    Just like my presence at a tea party or a rally, contributing financially sends the implicit message that I can and will contribute elsewhere if the candidate, once elected, fails to deliver.

    And, this brings me to my final point. RetakeOurGov, as a PAC, is your conduit to stand up and be counted by the conservative, constitutionally minded candidates you want to support, financially.

    It is our hope that if you have made up your mind who to support in various Congressional races, that you write out your check to your favored candidates but send it to RetakeOurGov to be bundled with others. Your voice will be amplified by being in solidarity with others financially. And, if you have deeper pockets and have already given the maximum to support your candidate, you can contribute to RetakeOurGov, as well, so we can oppose the incumbent in that race or support a challenger with our independent expenditures.

    If you cannot afford to contribute financially, we hope you contact the campaign of your favored candidate to volunteer to contribute your time, because it is just as important that we also have boots on the ground.

    Together, we can do this. We can change Congress before they do further damage to our country. Together, we can bring back some sanity to our Country’s governance. Together, we can retake our government!

     

     

  • A Closer Look at Poverty in America

    Economist examines how Washington D.C. bureaucrats and politicians define poverty in America.  Have our ruling elites defined this term accurately?

  • Campaign to Fire Gary Peters

    Gary Peters (D) is the Congressman from Michigan’s 9th Congressional District.  His voting record clearly shows a passionate support of European-style socialist entitlement programs.  These programs and their inherently high levels of taxation are robbing our children of the American dream.  Every citizen who is concerned about the economic health of our nation should be interested in seeing Gary Peters voted out of office on November 2, 2010.  This includes citizens that live in this district and those that do not.

    Special offerLimited edition t-shirt disclosing Peters unwavering support of Pelosi, while supplies last..

  • Pelosi Plays With Peters T-Shirt

    {jcomments off}Are you someone who is unconcerned with being politically correct?  Do you call "em as you see 'em?"  If you fit this description then RetakeOurGov has a bit of political memorabilia just for you...

    Congressman Gary Peters (D) from Michigan's 9th District is one of Nancy Pelosi's puppets.  She pulls the strings and he dances for her. 

  • 545 People vs 300,000,000 Citizens

    Below is an email that you may have seen before but it certainly bears repeating.  It does a great job of explaining how our country ended up in the mess it is in.

    "When Injustice becomes law, Resistance becomes DUTY!"  T. Jefferson 

    What the hell happened?
    545 people vs. 300 million people
    This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be - read it!!
    The article below is completely neutral ...not anti Republican or Democrat.
    Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel has hit the nail
    directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must
    assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day.
    It's a short but good read.  Worth the time.  Worth remembering!

  • Another Washington power grab by President Obama and the EPA

    Stop another Washington power grab by President Obama and the EPA

    Your senators need to hear from you today!

    In a move that makes Al Gore happy but will cripple our economy, President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency is doing an end-run around Congress and the Constitution by classifying and regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.

    CO2 is not a pollutant - it is plant food. It's what makes plants grow. It is odorless, tasteless and completely non-toxic in the levels that are found in our atmosphere.

    This is the EPA's Plan B to force a radical environmental agenda on America because the votes aren't there in Congress to pass cap-and-trade legislation.

Latest Events

Mon Sep 08 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
RetakeOurGov Monthly Meeting-New Date
Mon Oct 13 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
RetakeOurGov Monthly Meeting-New Date

Our Financial Supporters

John R.  Fenton, MI

Kevin N.  Pinckney, MI

Linda W.  Brighton, MI

Margo A.  Olivet, MI

Jeffrey L.  Troy, MI

James B.  Saginaw, MI

Margaret P.  Jackson, MI

Kathleen D.  Bloomfield Hills, MI

Bob J.  Hartland, MI

Robert J.  Northville, MI

Sandra B.  Highland, MI

Betty G.  Brighton, MI

Bob F.  Macomb Township, MI

Tomas  K.  Grandville, MI

Bob H.  Fenton, MI

Kevin C.  Rochester Hills, MI

Lillian S.  Bridgeport, MI

Jan H.  Fenton, MI

Tracy L.  Brighton, MI

Jill V.  Highland, MI

Judith C.  Flint, MI

Larry P.  Plymouth, MI

James A.  Waterford, MI

Daniel W.  Kalamazoo, MI

Richard and Phyllis I.  Georgetown, TX

Shari D.  Frankenmuth, MI

Angus W.  Bloomfield Hills, MI

Dan W.  Brighton, MI

Robin H.  West Bloomfield, MI

Alfred H.  Howell, MI

Dave B.  White Lake, MI

Mac L.  Hartland, MI

Randal C.  Milford, MI

Richard G.  Howell, MI

Roger C.  Bloomfield Hills, MI

Donna N.  Hartland, MI

Joseph R.  Chelsea, MI

Lana T.  Brighton, MI

Dan A.  Howell, MI

John C.  Gregory, MI

Patrick C.  South Lyon, MI

Stephen R.  Chesterfield, MI

Edward F.  Plymouth, MI

Wendy H.  Gregory, MI

Peggy M.  White Lake, MI

Deborah M.  Howell, MI

George B.  Howell, MI

Shannon W.  Howell, MI

Jack P.  Commerce Twp, MI

Steve P.  Northville, MI

Susan O.  White Lake, MI

Dennis M.  Bloomfield Hills, MI

Marsha S.  Fenton, MI

Mary Lou H.  Livonia, MI

James K.  Dearborn, MI

Ronald B.  Sterling Heights, MI

Darleen P.  Plymouth, MI

Lou F.  Novi, MI

Margie W.  Farmington Hills, MI

Ronald M.  Grosse Pointe Park, MI

Ben D.  Milford, MI

Dierck O.  Northville, MI

Anna J.  West Bloomfield, MI

Clinton D.  Howell, MI

Karen C.  Farmington Hills, MI

Laura M.  Hartland, MI

Charles R.  Ypsilanti, MI

Lelton N.  Highland, MI

Charles M.  Brighton, MI

Shelly M.  Pinckney, MI

Marlene L.  Hartland, MI

John M.  Essexville, MI

Sarah B.  Hartland, MI

Joe H.  Hamburg, MI

Doug K.  Fenton, MI

Jim H.  Hartland, MI

John W.  White Lake, MI

Matthew O.  West Bloomfield, MI

Daniel H.  Milford, MI

Joella T.  Highland, MI

Merle R.  Walled Lake, MI

Linda O.  Fenton, MI

Leonard L.  Whitmore Lake, MI

Scott P.  Wixom, MI

Wendy S.  Brighton, MI

Janice L.  Fenton, MI

Joseph L.  Wyandotte, MI

Glenda M.  Holly, MI

Cathy R.  Saranac, MI

Robert B.  Clarkston, MI

Kay S.  Dewitt, MI

Mike K.  Commerce Twp, MI

Rick M.  Grosse Pointe Farms, MI

Jim S.  Bloomfield Hills, MI

Mark N.  Warren, MI

Marvin N.  Pinckney, MI

Brian F.  Webberville, MI

Matt B.  Farmington Hills , MI

Joyce K.  Westland, MI

Deborah P.  White Lake, MI

Marilyn O.  Commerce Township, MI

Laura Q.  Fenton, MI

James M.  Fenton, MI

Tanya K.  Fenton, MI

Tom S.  White Lake, MI

George W.  Whitmore Lake, MI

Gary and Kathleen K.  Ironwod, MI

Lill & Jim  M.  W. Bloomfield, MI

Don B.  Highland, MI

Brad S.  Rochester Hills, MI

Vickie K.  Farmington Hills, MI

W. Charles G.  Onsted, MI

Luigi M.  Hartland, MI

Charles K.  Highland, MI

Richard B.  Northville Twp, MI

James L.  Pinckney, MI

Gary K.  Redford, MI

Gary M.  Brighton, MI

Janice D.  Troy, MI

Jennifer D.  Howell, MI

Eric S.  Tampa, FL

Thomas C.  Rochester Hills, MI

Tim V.  Wayne, MI

Gloria H.  Troy, MI

John S.  Boyne City, MI

Stella .  Davisburg, MI

Terry G.  Saginaw, MI

Christine S.  Hartland, MI

Cynthia D.  Fowlerville, MI

Jason H.  Fenton, MI

Richard S.  Battle Creek, MI

Renee G.  Fenton, MI

Michael S.  Hell, MI

Donn W.  Farmington Hills, MI

John G.  Fowlerville, MI

Joseph F.  Lansing, MI

Roy V.  South Lyon, MI

Tom R.  Fairhaven, MI

Edmund K.  Northville, MI

Sue M.  Pinckney, MI

Marlene B.  Pinckney, MI

Russell G.  Brighton, MI

Craig O.  Holly, MI

B.H. A.  Troy, MI

Jeff M.  Howell, MI

Stacia L.  Waterford, MI

Jim M.  Pinckney, MI

Sandy W.  Lake Orion, MI

Joanne T.  Carleton, MI

David D.  Fenton, MI

Kim J.  Garden City, MI

Gregg C.  South Lyon, MI

Robert J.  Hartland, MI

Terry S.  Trenton, MI

Mary M.  Brighton, MI

Dave D.  Linden, MI

Fred D.  Fowlerville, MI

Cheryl W.  Washington, MI

Glenn N.  Howell, MI

James M.  Highland, MI

Gerri D.  Fenton, MI

Myron Z.  West Bloomfield, MI

Shawn M.  Pinckney, MI

Jim H.  Wixom, MI

Mark K.  Shelby Twp, MI

Donald T.  Dexter, MI

Geri C.  Royal Oak, MI

Bill H.  Mt. Clemens, MI

Daniel K.  West Bloomfield, MI

Norman S.  Williamston, MI

Roger K.  Saginaw, MI

Kevin S.  Farmington, MI

Larry V.  Whitmore Lake, MI

Douglas W.  Commerce Township, MI

Judy M.  Hell, MI

Dianna B.  Stockbridge, MI

Jenny C.  Brighton, MI

Joelle A.  Highland, MI

Joellen P.  Milford, MI

Rick W.  Grand Blanc, MI

T. L.  Livionia, MI

Jerry W.  Brighton, MI

Sharon L.  Plymouth, MI

Dianne C.  Bay City, MI

Joanie P.  Howell, MI

Sharon M.  Brighton, MI

Laura B.  Hartland, MI

Steven B.  Livonia, MI

Bobby N.  Colorado Springs, CO

Kathryn C.  Farmington Hills, MI

Mike P.  Dimondale, MI

David S.  Hartland, MI

Jeff S.  Lansing, MI

Maribeth S.  Plymouth, MI

Elsa E.  Pinckney, MI

Tom K.  Auburn Hills, MI

Diane H.  Fenton, MI

Ron W.  Plymouth, MI

Suzanne P.  Downers Grove, IL

Marilyn D.  Howell, MI

Amy S.  Howell, MI

Janie M.  Macomb Twp, MI

Ruth J.  Davisburg, MI

Robin B.  Linden, MI

Carol W.  Fenton, MI

Gregory H.  Howell, MI

John G.  Rochester, MI

Ralph T.  Plymouth, MI

Charles H.  Hartland, MI

Dave R.  Howell, MI

Jane H.  Howell, MI

Dick B.  Bloomfield, MI

James B.  Saginaw, MI

John B.  Fowlerville, MI

Ken M.  Pinckney, MI

Ray M.  Howell, MI

Judson E.  Milford, MI

Robert C.  Farmington Hills, MI

Nancy M.  Tampa, FL

Darlene L.  Charlotte, MI

Thelma G.  Berrien Springs, MI

John N.  Ann Arbor, MI

Christine C.  Howell, MI

Delores W.  Augusta, MI

Lynn R.  Fenton, MI

Donna R.  Burton , MI

Maria S.  Fenton, MI

Sarah L.  Commerce Twp, MI

GREG E.  PLYMOUTH, MI

Deborah O.  West Bloomfield, MI

Jon W.  Augusta, MI

Robert M.  Birmingham, MI

Arlene C.  Brighton, MI

Fadwa G.  Royal Oak, MI

Gail G.  Royal Oak, MI

A. Jean W.  Addison Twp, MI

Diana A.  Bloomfield Hills, MI

Mark W.  Howell, MI

Ron S.  Fowlerville, MI

Dustin B.  Onsted, MI

Glenn H.  Lansing, MI

Harry H.  Novi, MI

JAMES E.  Bellaire, MI

Bob G.  Howell, MI

Mark P.  Howell, MI

Shelly S.  Wixom, MI

Christine S.  Hartland, MI

Dave R.  Grand Blanc, MI

Karen B.  Fenton, MI

Larry G.  Hartland, MI

Carol  V.  Lansing, MI

Joanne D.  Highland, MI

Patricia B.  Northville, MI

Gary and Jane G.  Grand Rapids, MI

Marcia D.  Fenton, MI

Rockie A.  Eastpointe, MI

Erick A.  Lake Orion, MI

Tony D.  Waterford, MI

Valerie K.  Farmington, MI

Jay T.  Clarkston, MI

Dustin G.  New Hudson, MI

Fred B.  Commerce Township, MI

William B.  Howell, MI

Kenneth B.  Howell, MI

Edward S.  Brighton, MI

Constance M.  Pinckney, MI

Conrad F.  Brighton, MI

Ronda H.  Brighton, MI

Robert M.  Coldwater, MI

Terry N.  Howell, MI

Rich F.  Brighton, MI

Jerry C.  Farmington Hills, MI

Elizabeth and Donald G.  Harrison Twp, MI

Mary Ann Z.  Fenton, MI

Sheila  K.  Oak Park, MI

Jeanene V.  Howell, MI

Paul H.  Fenton, MI

John C.  Brighton, MI

Joyce S.  Sterling Heights, MI

Steve K.  Chesterfield Twp, MI

Andrea O.  Howell, MI

David S.  Fenton, MI

Greg K.  West Bloomfield, MI

Thomas M.  Orchard Lake, MI

Virginia B.  South Lyon, MI

Carlos A.  Highland, MI

Janet H.  Hartland, MI

Rose D.  Brighton, MI

Prudence A.  Fenton, MI

Jennifer W.  Colorado Springs, CO

Peter D.  Brighton, MI

Doug S.  Fenton, MI

Kathleen F.  Macomb Township, MI

Marge M.  Howell, MI

Laura B.  Caro, MI

Sylvia C.  Brighton, MI

Thomas W.  St. Clair Shores, MI

Sue S.  Lake Orion, MI

Ray P.  Highland, MI

Joan J.  Howell, MI

Art L.  Hartland, MI

Deborah M.  Port Huron, MI

Diane D.  Birmingham, MI

Nancy H.  Fenton, MI

Barb M.  Brighton, MI

Mark W.  Clarkston, MI

Steven P.  Dexter, MI

Rose P.  Waterford, MI

Mike W.  Farmington Hills, MI

Paul W.  Fenton, MI

Margaret C.  Midland, MI

Louis F.  Gregory, MI

Marion H.  Fenton, MI

Wayne B.  Brown City, MI

Norbert Z.  Fenton, MI

Kristine E.  Bloomfield Hills, MI

Mike H.  Fenton, MI

D. H.  Fenton, MI

G.R. D.  Howell, MI

Bonita C.  Eastpointe, MI

Jill M.  Highland, MI

Walter  C.  Sturgis, MI

Phil W.  Howell, MI

Loren B.  Clio, MI

Connie R.  Fenton, MI

Kim P.  Hartland, MI

Jennifer H.  Pinckney, MI

Patricia P.  Troy, MI

Diane P.  Howell, MI

Lizz J.  Brighton, MI

Milton and Jean G.  Clinton Twp, MI

David D.  Fenton, MI

Mary H.  Howell, MI

Lou Ann L.  Howell, MI

Julius S.  Fenton, MI

Jennifer H.  Saline, MI

Tomas  K.  Grandville, MI

William H.  Howell, MI

James R.  Brighton, MI

Scott B.  Grass Lake, MI

Werner W.  Shelby Twp, MI

Bill S.  Saginaw, MI

David G.  West Bloomfield, MI

Cherie M.  Fenton, MI

Tim H.  St. Clair Shores, MI

Erik N.  Warren, MI

James M.  Hartland, MI

Linda H.  Holland, MI

Debra C.  Bay City, MI

Dennis B.  Pinckney, MI

Susan M.  Highland, MI

William G.  Howell, MI

Sharon B.  Rochester Hills, MI

Matt d.  Essexville, MI

Roger K.  Fowlerville, MI

Cornelius K.  Charlotte, NC

Dennis O.  Fenton, MI

Mike I.  Commerce Twp, MI

Gordie S.  Lapeer, MI

Patrick C.  Troy, MI

Barbara F.  Brighton, MI

Scott S.  Brighton, MI

Shelia W.  Howell, MI

John H.  Hartland, MI

Robert D.  Hartland, MI

Otto G.  Ann Arbor, MI

John & Jolene C.  Howell, MI

Anna N.  Howell, MI

Susan H.  Hartland, MI

Mike S.  Durand, MI

Diane C.  White Lake, MI

Janice F.  Brighton, MI

Dennis H.  Brownstown, MI

Nancy K.  Sheridan, MI

Linda W.  Clarkston, MI

Jim & Lill M.  W. Bloomfield, MI

Jack M.  Brighton, MI

Mary K.  Garden City, MI

Betty M.  Hartland, MI

Geraldine L.  Commerce Township, MI

Joseph K.  Farmington hills, MI

Kurt P.  Hartland, MI

Alex C.  Brighton, MI

Judi B.  South Lyon, MI

Bonnie F.  Vassar, MI

Darwin H.  Perry, MI

Stewart O.  Fenton, MI

John D.  New York, NY

Mark D.  White Lake, MI

Catherine Z.  Saginaw, MI

Robert H.  Rochester, MI

Dan S.  Brighton, MI

Catherine G.  Jackson, MI

David L.  Auburn Hills, MI

Frank S.  Howell, MI

Irv K.  Brighton, MI

Bill M.  Fenton, MI

Sharon D.  Bloomfield, MI

Amy C.  Frankenmuth, MI

Jim L.  Saginaw, MI

Pam R.  Howell, MI

Anne R.  Howell, MI

Margaret M.  White Lake, MI

Dennis B.  Brighton, MI

Roger C.  Romulus, MI

Nancy E.  Portage, MI

Elaine P.  Wixom, MI

April D.  Brighton, MI

Keith N.  Sterling Heights, MI

Tom L.  Milford, MI

Dan E.  Pinckney, MI

Penelope S.  Fenton, MI

David S.  Hartland, MI

Lisa P.  Washington, MI

Orville R.  Hartland, MI

Diane W.  White Lake, MI

Margaret P.  Vassar, MI

Mariah S.  Howell, MI

Patricia O.  Fenton, MI

Jeannine S.  Boyne City, MI

Richard S.  Hartland, MI

Julie D.  Linden, MI

David K.  Fenton, MI

Louise B.  Clarkston, MI

Ralph B.  Troy, MI

Paula S.  Brighton, MI

Cheryl O.  Chelsea, MI

Elaine S.  Brighton, MI

Marlene P.  Walled Lake, MI

Liz M.  Bloomfield Hills, MI

Wes N.  Hartland, MI

William P.  Novi, MI

Robert H.   Rochester  MI

Nascar Michigan 400

RetakeOurGov Sponsors
NASCAR Vehicle

RetakeOurGov at Nascar Michigan 400

 Another milestone for RetakeOurGov as we become the first TEA Party group to sponsor a vehicle at a premiere NASCAR event. See our video and slideshow from Michigan International Speedway

Why did we form a PAC?

Many citizens have the desire to help the TEA party movement, but not the time to help.  A PAC provides these citizens with an opportunity to contribute to the movement. Read FAQ's on PAC

Leverage Your Influence

Contributing to a PAC amplifies your voice by combining your funds with the funds of other like-minded individuals.  Contributions to RetakeOurGov PAC amplify your voice by directly opposing tax and spend career politicians while simultaneously growing the strength of the TEA Party movement.  Read more

Paid for by RetakeOurGov with regulated funds, Wes Nakagiri, Treasurer, P.O. Box 37, Hartland, MI.  Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.  Contributions or gifts to RetakeOurGov are not tax deductible for Federal Income Tax purposes.

Would you like to make a contribution now?  Do you have a question(s) about the process?  Call us using Google Voice. Click on phone icon below and you'll be connected to our Treasurer.  (There is no charge, however, mobile phones users will incur air time usage)

Instructions: Click on icon above.  Enter your name.  Enter the phone number of your phone, that is, the one you are using to call us with. Your phone will ring shortly after clicking on "connect." Please dial "1" after answering your phone to be connected to our Treasurer.

Copyright © 2010 - 2013 RetakeOurGov.com. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.