Monthly Archives: January 2013

Low Information And White Elephants

Cross posted from RightMichigan.Com

Troy had the right idea, and the right Mayor.

Once upon a time.

Mayor Janice Daniels in December of 2011 led the opposition in the Troy City Council for an $8.5 million train depot for good reason.  Her opposition to a project that would be built with free money was framed with an understanding that nothing is truly free.  Even after the project was stripped down a month later, and re-presented for a couple million less, she held her ground, and looked at the bigger picture.  Ongoing expenses make the continuing use of the pusher-man’s product not nearly as euphoric as when it was offered for free.

The Troy City Council didn’t get it, and the vote for the effort was shifted. Even in the face of the citizen commentary that was recorded as 11-7 in opposition to the transit center.  As RightMichigan.com poster Rougman pointed out at the time, its $5,500/sq ft cost was stripped down to $3,100/sq ft (a travesty for its cheapness) and the gold plated accoutrements would have to be withheld.

By shaving off 400 square feet the project’s cost has been lowered significantly. That was some expensive square footage there–roughly coming in at $5,500 per square foot. The smaller and redrawn project will cost a mere $3,100 per square foot which I find absolutely alarming…what kind of slum are these bureaucrats trying to push over on us? No gold toilet seats? No granite counter tops?”

Indeed.

He also pointed out that part of the upkeep would go away in a special fashion:

Holding fast to principle, the council also dispensed itself with the estimated $30,000 of annual maintenance that would have been its portion of upkeep. Voila! No cleaning needed!

Legacy expenses are often hidden with the high maintenance ‘gift’ know as light rail.  so maybe we just don’t bathe the beast.

An accompanying cost that most will not recall was mentioned by another RightMichigan regular,  CS, who faithfully noted a chronicle of the suckling pigs squealing:

“I would think you’d want a city government that is a good steward of tax dollars and uses them wisely; after all, that’s what an entity should be doing with its resources…. right?

This past April, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority approved a three-year $1.5 million state tax credit for Magna in support of plans to invest $765,000 in its Troy facility for a new division, which was estimated to create 200 new jobs.

Oh that’s nice.  The state paid twice for the investment that the company made?

The state pays, the fed pays, we pay. Twice, three times, SOLD!  Follow these entire projects through, and it would be amazing we don’t discover the veritable crony (corporatist) capitalist sneaking into our driveways at night siphoning the gas from our tanks to top off their own.  They have expenses you see.  The cost of running business presumably too big to fail requires continuing infusions of taxpayer largesse.

So if you don’t mind, its time to break out the credit card again.  The Pontiac-Detroit-Chicago route is now seeing an additional burden to state taxpayers of $25 million. 

Added to the $8 million Michigan provides for its other two Amtrak lines, the state’s tab for passenger rail service will jump to about $33 million.

Tim Hoeffner, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation’s rail office, said the state has little choice but to absorb the added cost if it wants to meet a growing demand for passenger train service in the lower half of the state.

Noted futher, we “knew about it.”  It was part of the plan. And our governor and legislature added to the cost of it a few years from now as well.  When the 135 miles of ‘white elephant’ the state was gifted with through a federal grant, we find ourselves with yet another increase in costs to maintain a high speed qualified rail. High speed, because apparently we cannot spend those state funds fast enough.   Because the discretionary ‘needs’ of the many in Southeast Michigan, to get to Chicago, outweighs the financial hardships of the few elsewhere in the state.

And costs will continue to climb as there is more demand.  And as the Troy Multi-modal boondoggle is completed, the wet paper towel that is our government’s fiscal policy is dampened further.

Troy’s former (now deposed by recall) mayor, Janice Daniels had it right all along.  The courage to stand up against short term gifts, that bring a legacy of  maintenance, versus a decision to not bathe the revered beast that will foul the finances for some time was worthy of note.

The low information voters had their day in the recall, but now they must bear the cost of nuts served in gilded bowls.

Students to Gather for Largest Pro-Life Conference in America on Saturday

sfla_logoWHO: Students for Life of America
WHAT: Students for Life of America National Conference
WHEN: 9:30am – 9:00pm, Saturday, January 26
WHERE: North Bethesda Marriott, 5701 Marinelli Rd., Bethesda, MD 20852

The annual Students for Life of America (SFLA) conference is the largest pro-life conference in the nation, with more than 2,000 student activist leaders registered to attend. Students will hear from the country’s leading pro-life bioethicists, doctors, attorneys, scholars, authors, and even former abortion facility workers. Featured speakers include: Star Parker, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life who is receiving the Defender of Life Award, and Tyler and Catelynn from MTV’s “16 and Pregnant.”

“The National Students for Life of America Conference will equip anti-abortion activists with the training they will need to achieve our vision of abolishing abortion in our lifetime. Today, we declare that we are the pro-life generation; we’ve survived Roe while one third of our brothers and sisters did not. For those whom we have lost and for those coming after us, we WILL courageously abolish abortion in our lifetime.” said Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America and author of the new book “Courageous: Students Abolishing Abortion in this Lifetime.”

“Those of us who were born during the time of the big hair bands of the 80s and grunge rock of the 90s have watched the ultrasounds of our siblings, googled “abortion” and seen the bloody images, and sat with friends as they cried about their abortions. We know what abortion really is. Our parents’ generation got it wrong and we are determined to set it right.”

The SFLA National Conference provides a full day of education, training, and networking for students and national pro-life leaders focused on how they can make a difference on their high school and college campuses across America. Pro-life students will have the opportunity to share their stories face-to-face and learn from the experience of many seasoned pro-life activists from across the country.

Republic Services Files ULP Charge Against Teamsters

Republic Services Files Unfair Labor Practices Charge against International Brotherhood of Teamsters

When It Comes to Trusting Local Unions, Teamsters Say One Thing but Do Another

Republic Services of Southeast Michigan, serving approximately 265,000 homes in Metro-Detroit and more than 4,600 Detroit area industrial customers reported yesterday that it had filed an Unfair Labor Practices Charge against the Washington, DC-based International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

According to the Charge filed on December 21, 2012, with the National Labor Relations Board, “the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) engaged in bad faith bargaining for forcing Local 247 to withdraw a tentative agreement regarding the ability of employees to refuse to cross picket lines that Local 247 itself had proposed to the Company to withdraw in return for the Company withdrawing its proposal to eliminate a maintenance of benefits provision.”

The IBT’s action in forcing Detroit-based Local 247 to withdraw a provision already agreed upon with Republic Services stands in stark contrast to the operating procedures the International Brotherhood of Teamsters promotes on its very own website.

“Unlike other labor unions, the Teamsters Union is structured to promote strong local unions, and strong local leaders. Since the locals negotiate most Teamsters contracts and provide most of the services to the members, they keep most of the dues money.” Source:  http://www.teamster.org/content/teamsters-structure

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters also forced Local 247 to conduct “regressive bargaining.” From the Charge, “Even if the International is now requiring local unions to do its bidding over the wishes of their membership, such a reason is not sufficient just cause under the NLRA to justify such regressive bargaining. By requiring Local 247 to engage in regressive bargaining, the IBT has bargained in bad faith in violation of Section 8(b)(3) of the NRLA.”

The National Labor Relations Act prohibits the use of “regressive bargaining” which one union, the National Air Traffic Controllers, has defined as “Regressive bargaining occurs when a proposal is advanced by a party to a negotiation stating one thing, then at a later time that party advances another proposal which can be construed to be somewhat less than what was offered previously. http://nwp.natca.net/Documents/LR_Stuff/LR_Chronicles_PDFs/LR_Chronicles__34.pdf

As Simple As Nineteen Words

Barack Obama now starts year five.

Never in my life would I have imagined a presidential inauguration that contained reference to those with specific sexual proclivities as a class worthy of ‘equal rights’.

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law”

Uhh..

First, one needs to ask how does the law treat them differently? Once we get beyond that, should we then not make the same claims to those who practice medicine, drinking to excess, mountain climbing, or more closely related, Lawyering?

A list quite endless, it would seem, of activities human beings partake in. Any particular one ought not be identified as worthy of respect only because it has drawn scorn in the past for its danger to families, society, and the personal health of the participants of that activity.

To my friends in the “gay” community:

You have the same rights we all do. As consenting adults might find, activities behind closed doors can indeed be private. Whatever deviance from the natural act of reproduction you wish to commit, it is hardly any of my business.

If ultimately, the goal is to have your sexual pursuits seen on par with the fight of blacks in this country, realize there are those of us who actually know the difference. You are not fighting a righteous battle, nor a Jim Crow situation, but one that is simply to gain a sense of ‘normalcy’ and salve the guilt you feel for the acts you consummate.

I and others who believe as I do, do not hate you, nor do we wish you harm. We pray for your mental health, for the minimization of harm that comes from your choices; as we might to those who drink in excess.

We hope however, that your goals of inner peace do not come at the cost to our own families in health, and upbringing.

Our president has started his second term pandering to those who have issues that need good counsel. He has ‘enabled’ further bad decisions, and unhealthy lifestyle choices that official statistics bear out.

He has once again betrayed this country .. and it only took a few words

Rants And Obsession

wrapClearly the Traverse City Record Eagle editors have “Gillman on the mind”.

Nearly a full month out from the last commission meeting attended, their editorial writers attack once more.

The Editorial: “Gillman’s rant shows his true colors” begins as a few others do; laced with hate, and front loaded with hyperbole:

“Former Grand Traverse County Commissioner Jason Gillman has always had an interesting take on public policy issues. Often factually wrong, or lacking perspective or just plain biased, but interesting.

As if using the word “interesting” alongside their claims of factual incorrectness or my perceived personal shortcomings allows them to escape the obvious slight to character from the start.  Certainly framing one as a crazy uncle, or blathering idiot, makes it easier to libel freely with barrels of ink in the following paragraphs.

The next paragraph in fact gives them the start of a ‘two-fer’.  Because a simple derogatory attack on one [former] public servant might seem targeted, they get to label both myself and those who agreed on a specific issue in simplistic pejorative terms that could only be logically attributed to an ongoing bias against all who are attacked:

“One of his last acts before (thankfully) leaving the board at the end of the year was to rally his weak-willed colleagues to reject Planned Parenthood’s application for a $12,000 grant from the Grand Traverse Band to pay for abstinence-based sex education in area schools.”

Oh my. And yet another chance to breath a sigh of relief in my departure from the board.

Of course what would the severe bias of the R-E editorialist be without a gratuitous assumption of what ‘conservatives’ think:

For a lot of conservatives, teaching abstinence is the Holy Grail of sex education. They say that educating kids about their bodies and telling them how to avoid getting pregnant or catch a sexually transmitted disease, the staples of Planned Parenthood’s message, just encourages kids to have sex.

So why reject a grant to teach abstinence? Because, in the world according to Gillman (and a majority of the county board, apparently) Planned Parenthood is evil incarnate.

Other than the fact they essentially are, (though during the interview which lasted all of 3 minutes, the term ‘evil incarnate’ was never used) there was no reason for the board to put its stamp of approval on the grant request that could be made elsewhere.  The actual quote; “The organization is designed to kill babies.  The nicer side of it is only there to mask its evil intent, and that is to kill babies” was pretty straight forward.

The organization WAS and IS designed to kill babies. Specific babies in fact.  Defective or particular races deemed ‘defective’ by its founder Margaret Sanger to be precise.  Her words are fairly clear, and remind us of the evil intent of PP’s design:

“Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying … demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism … [Philanthropists] encourage the healthier and more normal sections of the world to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste. Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant … We are paying for, and even submitting to, the dictates of an ever-increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born at all.”
– Margaret Sanger. The Pivot of Civilization , 1922. Chapter on “The Cruelty of Charity,” pages 116, 122, and 189. Swarthmore College Library
edition.

Sanger’s words should be enough to raise the hair on the nape of the neck of anyone who still carries their soul. And her lifetime of litanies continues:

“The third group [of society] are those irresponsible and reckless ones having little regard for the consequences of their acts, or whose religious scruples prevent their exercising control over their numbers. Many of this group are diseased, feeble-minded, and are of the pauper element dependent upon the normal and fit members of society for their support. There is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.”
– Margaret Sanger. Speech quoted in Birth Control: What It Is, How It Works, What It Will Do. The Proceedings of the First American Birth Control Conference . Held at the Hotel Plaza, New York City, November 11-12, 1921. Published by the Birth Control Review , Gothic Press, pages 172
and 174.

But wait! There is More!

“[Our objective is] unlimited sexual gratification without the burden of unwanted children … [Women must have the right] to live … to love … to be lazy … to be an unmarried mother … to create … to destroy … The marriage bed is the most degenerative influence in the social order … The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”
– Margaret Sanger (editor). The Woman Rebel , Volume I, Number 1. Reprinted in Woman and the New Race . New York: Brentanos Publishers, 1922.

And the Record Eagle has a problem with my voice calling out evil where I see it? THEY continue with their mission of [attempted] character assassination

“Gillman said he couldn’t support providing any type of aid to Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan, regardless of the program, because “The organization is designed to kill babies.”

“The nicer side of it is only there to mask its evil intent. That is to kill babies.”  ..”

Bingo. See Sanger quotes above.

“Never mind that Planned Parenthood’s actual mission is about sex education (which would mean fewer abortions). And never mind that Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan doesn’t perform abortions.

Jason knows better — that they’re evil and are willing to help preach abstinence just to cover up their actual intent.

Yes. Actually I do, and the fact that they arrange abortion trips from the office here, discredits any discussion otherwise.  And frankly when one considers the Planned Parenthood admissions of killing nearly a MILLION unborn children nationwide in the last three years through brutal abortive procedures, my sharp tongue is rather dull as compared to the tools which they employ.

And the argument that the “local PP offices don’t perform abortions and ought not be considered” in the debate, easily falls flat.  Imagine the Record Eagle editors, or anyone in our community, remaining quiet upon an announcement of a Ku-Klux-Klan office opening in our region that purports to be a social club only.

In reality, the local Planned Parenthood office is an extension of the Planned Parenthood organization, and no less.  Its claim of no abortive procedures is masked as I had indicated by the trips out of town our young women must make to carry out their counseled missions. They even refer to it:

“More disappointing is that most of the sheep-like county board went along with him, even though it has passed along Planned Parenthood applications since at least 2009.”

Yet the county board is “sheep-like”.  Bravo.

But just to make sure there is no question that I am fully disqualified from logical and upright opinion, the editorialist harkens back to the day when another opinion was challenged.  Ultimately, THIS is where the obsession began, as the local homosexual interests were incensed that someone DARE speak politically incorrect, and have an opinion in opposition of their own:

“This is the same Jason Gillman who, in January of 2010, likened homosexuals to pedophiles and called same-sex relationships “a perversion.”

He also Tweeted a vulgar comment about the elimination of the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, blogged about his opposition to Traverse City’s anti-discrimination ordinance and told the Record-Eagle that “Homosexuality is a perversion … but I don’t care what people do in their own bedroom.”

“I’m not hateful, but I have a right to my opinion,” Gillman said.”

The vulgar “tweet” which they refer to? Jan 25 2011, “Butt sex in Military is ok now.. Yay.. #SOTU Sorry.. just don’t want to know. thank you”

Over sensitive much?  In fact, what is more offensive, the act or a brief snipe about the act?

The Editorial closes with its final swipe:

“And, apparently, his own facts. It is well documented that pedophilia, a term for an adult’s intense sexual interest in prepubescent children, is not linked to homosexuality.

Many people have conservative or liberal views about sex education or homosexuality but most don’t bend the facts or feel obligated to broadcast their beliefs to anyone within earshot.

At least taxpayers won’t have to pay to hear Gillman spout off anymore.

A couple of things.   Up until 1974 homosexuality was a mental illness.  And of course their obsession with my views is understandable. Freud had concluded that paranoia and homosexuality were inseparable. It behooves them to make comment. Until 1974, and after a number of protests by those in the gay community, there was little or no suggestion within the psychiatric community that homosexuality might be conceptualized as anything other than a mental illness that needed to be treated.  And, of course, homosexuality was listed as a mental illness in DSM-II.

Though I will vigorously defend myself and my comments, I will not, and have not pursued the end of the ‘perversion’, and refer only to its existense as a choice that adults make.  The use of the subject of homosexuality by the Record Eagle is NOW an attempt to discredit my position on Planned Parenthood, though it had never affected my term of service, nor did it find room in any of the deliberative process.

My “spouting” has ceased on the board with no affect to their championed downtrodden of the gay community.

I end this reply to an unfortunate diatribe with a couple of definitions.  Their appropriate place can be implied easily.

rant [rant] verb
1. to speak or declaim extravagantly or violently; talk in a wild or vehement way; rave: The demagogue ranted for hours.

ob·ses·sion [uh?b-sesh-uh?n] noun
1. the domination of one’s thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.

I doubt that the editorialist responsible for today’s might feel any call to reveal whom they are, for it is far easier to attack from hidden places.  I wonder however, if the newspaper of record in seeing its continuing circulation declines recognizes the cancer behind that curtain and what might make it more vibrant and productive.

Perhaps a new organization might appear.  One we could call “Planned Publishing”

FairTax Sees Record Number Of Cosponsors

mifairtax(Sterling Heights, MI – January 15)

The Fair Tax Act of 2013 was re-introduced on January 3rd to the U.S. House and garnered a record number of legislators to Cosponsor upon introduction.  The 53 original Cosponsors included some previous Cosponsors and some new members. Two from Michigan, the 7th District’s Rep. Tim Walberg re-signed as a Cosponsor and the 1st District’s Rep. Dan Benishek became a Cosponsor for the first time.
The FairTax would have the 16th Amendment (which authorizes an income tax) abolished and replace the income based taxes and payroll deductions with a simple, transparent consumption (sales) tax on amounts over someone’s household Poverty level.

Economists generally agree that a sales tax is better for the economy and job creation than income taxes. The FairTax (a sales tax) removes most taxes from the wholesale price of American produced goods and services which makes American products more competitive and will bring jobs back to the U.S.A.

The Fair Tax Act is assigned to the Committee on Ways and Means which Michigan’s 4th District Rep. Dave Camp is Chairman.

School Boards Encouraged to Protect Teachers, Taxpayers – Stand-Up To Union Pressure

Teacher Union Bosses Pressuring School Boards into Renegotiating Contracts in Rush Effort to Deny Teachers the Freedom to Work

LANSING, MI, January 11, 2012 –The Foundation for Michigan Freedom today issued a a memo to school board members (it references a Thrun Law Firm memo) across the state encouraging them to stand strong in the face of special interest pressure and rushed attempts to deny local teachers the freedom to work. Foundation for Michigan Freedom President Greg McNeilly says:

“Teacher union bosses are already pressuring school boards into extending employee contracts, even those not near expiration, to deny school employees the Freedom to Work and further tie the hands of current and future school boards in their work to improve local schools and to be good stewards of taxpayer resources. There is no doubt these special interest leaders aim to put their paychecks and their political coffers ahead of their own members and, more importantly, our school children.”

According to its recent filings with the IRS, the Michigan Education Association in 2012 spent only 11% of dues collected from teachers on member representation (over 8 percent less than it spent in 2011) while 61% of dues were spent on union staff benefits and overhead, a nearly 12 percent increase over the previous year.

Freedom-to-work reforms enacted in Lansing last month are expected to go into effect on March 28th and give Michigan teachers more choices and control over their own lives by restoring workplace fairness and equality. Because contracts negotiated before March 28 can deny local teachers the freedom to choose whether or not to support a labor union and its political activities, teacher union bosses have begun pressuring local districts into renegotiating contracts, denying their teachers workplace freedom and taking advantage of taxpayers in order to pad their political coffers.

McNeilly continues:

“Every Michigan teacher should be able to choose for her or himself if they want to join and pay wages to a union organization. What’s more, school boards will have better leverage in their respective negotiations with local bargaining units by supporting taxpayers and their great local teachers and waiting to renew or extend contracts after March 27.”

Indeed.

The Foundation for Michigan Freedom is a statewide non-partisan educational organization providing informational programs, research and analysis concerning fiscal policy, economic freedom, and the elimination of coercive and compulsory policies.

Mackinac Center Analysis: High Cigarette Taxes Increases Smuggling

More than 29 percent of Michigan’s total cigarette consumption in 2011 was smuggled into the state, according to Center analysts

mac-logoMIDLAND — The Mackinac Center for Public Policy today released its latest estimates for cigarette smuggling rates in 47 of the 48 contiguous states, including Michigan, which saw its overall rate increase 12.7 percent — from just over 26 percent to almost 29.3 percent. Michigan has the 10th highest smuggling rate in the nation.

“People don’t realize the degree to which government induces illegal and dangerous activity with bad policy,” said Michael LaFaive, director of the Mackinac Center’s Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative. “In this case, individuals cross borders for personal smokes and an organized, criminal class brings in contraband cigarettes by the van full.”

This is the third set of smuggling rate estimates published by Mackinac Center analysts. The first two studies were published in 2008 and 2010, and contained detailed histories of smuggling in Michigan and other states.

As cigarette excise tax rates have increased around the country, so too has rampant smuggling. The top smuggling rates in the nation — according to the Mackinac Center’s new study — include New York (60.9 percent); Arizona (54.4 percent); New Mexico (53 percent); Washington State (48.5 percent); and Rhode Island (39.8 percent).

“Cigarette smuggling is far from new but the degree to which illegal smokes are crossing from lower tax jurisdictions to higher ones is,” explained Todd Nesbit, adjunct scholar with the Mackinac Center and co-author of the Center’s analyses. “Our estimate for New York, for example, (almost 61 percent) is at an all-time high for any state we have examined and up 70.2 percent since just 2006.”

The authors have cautioned lawmakers repeatedly that smuggling is not the only unintended consequence of imposing higher cigarette taxes. High rates also induce violence against people, police and property (including theft and truck hijackings) and the production of adulterated and dangerous products.

“With high taxes on cigarettes, states are creating a ‘prohibition by price,’ and with all of the same consequences of real Prohibition,” said LaFaive.

An essay detailing the authors’ 2011 findings can be found at www.mackinac.org/18128.

A chart detailing smuggling rates and ranks is posted at http://www.mackinac.org/media/images/2013/LaFaive_Smuggling_Chart.jpg