Trump family convention, domestic terrorism, USPS, DoJ, omg. MDP Chair Lavora Barnes is guest

August 31, 2020

Michigan Policast for Monday, August 31, 2020

  In this episode:

  • Republican National Convention
  • Lavora Barnes on the MDP State Convention
  • Trump's abuse of Dept of Justice, USPS
  • US domestic violence and racism
  • Political notes
  • Political Attack Ad of the Week
  • Transcript


Featured image:  A memorial tribute to those who lost their lives to COVID-19.  More info and links in segment five, political notes.

Jump to:

Republican National Convention



Trump, asked about QAnon at the White House last week, said he doesn’t know much about the theory or its followers, but added, “I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate.” ~Source



Lavora Barnes on the MDP State Convention

'The @RealDonaldTrump campaign will do whatever they want, say whatever they want to fit the narrative they want to build' ~@LavoraBarnes @MichiganDems Click To Tweet
'@Govwhitmer helps bring national attention to the full ticket, we can now talk to national donors about help to flip the Supreme Court along with the State House, and it's @GretchenWhitmer who allows us that entry' ~@LavoraBarnes @MichiganDems Click To Tweet

We've got to make sure folks know how to vote in this very, very tough time. Making sure folks understand how to access that vote by mail, that vote by mail and absentee voting are the same thing. And there's nothing nefarious about doing doing either, and that they could check that straight ticket and then flip that ballot over and find Elizabeth Welch and Bridget Mary McCormick and they will be finished.  ~Lavora Barnes, MDP Chair

We are encouraging folks to who haven't already requested a ballot to do that now, so that when the clerk's are start mailing out ballots on September 24, you're one of the first to get a ballot in your home, get it voted in September and return it to the clerk right away. ~Lavora Barnes, MDP Chair

'There are some folks we're going to vote in person in November. And I fully expect that there will be some in person suppression tactics as well. We have to be ready for all of it' ~@LavoraBarnes @MichiganDems Click To Tweet
'I've never seen a sitting president, talk so tough about the state of the nation right now without recognizing that you are the president right now, the State of the Nation sits on your feet' ~@LavoraBarnes @MichiganDems Click To Tweet




Trump's abuse of Dept of Justice, USPS


“She highlighted federal data indicating Michigan had fewer or similar numbers of COVID cases among nursing home residents as Louisiana, Ohio, Georgia and Texas, and that Michigan had fewer nursing home deaths than Illinois, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

“But again, I'm aware of no congressional request for investigation made to those attorneys general,” Nessel wrote. ” ~Source





US domestic violence and racism

Our data suggest that right-wing extremists pose the most significant terrorism threat to the United States, based on annual terrorist events and fatalities. Over the next year, the threat of terrorism in the United States will likely increase based on several factors, such as the November 2020 presidential election and the response to the Covid-19 crisis. These factors are not the cause of terrorism, but they are events and developments likely to fuel anger and be co-opted by a small minority of extremists as a pretext for violence. ~Source








Political notes




Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman, said there was no legal conflict with a Trump campaign lawyer’s involvement in the West operation. “We have no knowledge of anything Kanye West is doing or who is doing it for him,” Mr. Murtaugh said.

Several other people active in the party are connected to Mr. West’s candidacy. One operative, Mark Jacoby, is an executive at a company called Let the Voters Decide, which has been collecting signatures for the West campaign in Ohio, West Virginia and Arkansas. Mr. Jacoby was arrested on voter fraud charges in 2008 while he was doing work for the California Republican Party, and he later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. ~Source


Political Attack Ad of the Week

Runner up: Protect – Lincoln Project

Winner:  Michael Cohen – American Bridge 21st Century




Walt Sorg 00:00
The presenting underwriter of the Michigan Policast is progress Michigan providing a strong, credible voice that holds public officials and government accountable and assists in the promotion of progressive ideas.

Kimberly Guilfoyle 00:15
Ladies and gentlemen, leaders and fighters for freedom and liberty and the American dream, the best is yet to come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Walt Sorg 00:24
All right. Trump Palooza aka the Republican National nominating convention comes to an end, a four day festival of Trump family members Trump employees including even his former caddy, endless grievances rewriting of history name calling occasional shrieking up the possibility of a line of coke for one of his kids in a non platform which basically says anything Trump wants. In other words, it was a typical four days in the world of Trump. This is the Michigan Policast. We're all about Michigan policy and politics and the national currency. impacting our positive potentials. I won't sword.

Christine Barry 01:02
I'm Christine Barry. professional athletes in an unprecedented and unplanned move provide greater focus to America's racial divide even as Trump doubles down on expanding that racial divide. Trump's administration launches a transparently political investigation into COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes only in states with Democratic governors. John James gets caught taking state incentives in exchange for a promise to create jobs. But he never really delivers on that promise.

Walt Sorg 01:33
And later, we'll be joined by the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party Lavora Barnes was just concluded the state party's first online convention and is now preparing to fight republican voter suppression in Michigan. We begin though with a truly strange national political convention, which resembled a cult celebration more than a political conclave. The best summary I've heard of the convention was on another podcast so we're going to steal some audio from that. It's the eminently wonderful love it or Leave it if you're not subscribing to it, you should. It's hosted by former Obama speechwriter and Obama joke writer john love it.

Jon Lovett 02:07
So ahead of the convention, the party announced that there was no 2020 platform this year other than to reassert the party's strong support for President Donald Trump and his administration. But based on the first two nights I think the republican message is clear. America is the greatest country in the history of the world on the verge of total collapse. It's an extremely free country where we have been silenced and oppressed. We are strong but we are powerless victims. Democrats are responsible for mass incarceration, which is bad, and now they want to empty the prisons, which is also bad democrats only hate Trump and they have no policies. This is in contrast to the republicans who love Trump and have one policy, a policy of loving Trump democrats celebrate criminals like Black Lives Matter protesters who haven't broken any laws while republican celebrate non criminals like that gun couple that was charged with a felony. The best republican is Donald Trump who work tirelessly to free American citizens who are held hostage by dictators who Trump must admit were very nice to him. Trump must admit this on camera and though the segment is pre recorded, it must not be edited out for reading That must remain mysterious. But most important of all, America is not racist. Just take it from these racist.

Walt Sorg 03:06
Wow, you might want to refer to the transcript on our website after that's over a another shuffle equally strong was provided by our lieutenant governor Garlin Gilchrist

Garlin Gilchrist II 03:17
Donald Trump is a liar and a failure. And I think there's been no clearer evidence of these two facts than the failed national response to COVID-19. And all of the fallout as falling upon communities across the state of Michigan and frankly, across the nation. As a result of that failure. his inability to deal with reality is part of how his lack of empathy prevents him from being able to connect with the needs, desires and dreams of the American people.

Walt Sorg 03:48
And that certainly is, though, all across the state of Michigan. Christine, I think it's fair to say there was quite a contrast between the two party conventions on a lot of levels. And I say on the balance, the Democrats won The convention competition pretty decisively, but at the same time the republicans are happy with what they ended up with. What were your thoughts as you watch? Well, I know you watched the first week pretty decisively the second week was a little harder to take

Christine Barry 04:13
the RNC convention, I thought was, was really interesting it not just for what speakers said, but for what speakers were there. You know, we mentioned last week that the Democratic National Convention was interesting because of all the normal people who were there, and we, you know, did air quotes on normal, but just really everyday people. You had Braden Harrington, the boy who stutters, he told his story, you had Laura Packard, who talked about healthcare, just regular people talking about how either Joe Biden or Donald Trump affected them. And that's what happens at all conventions, really. But then you look at the quote unquote, normal people that they had at the republican convention and these were completely different types of People you had Nick Sandman who talked about that was that kid in the MAGA hat who won the settlement, he talked about how the media attacked him because of their anti christian anti conservative agenda. They had a nurse who praised Trump for opening up telehealth opportunities for Medicare and Medicaid recipients and rural communities and said she was there so the media would not take her story and twist it. The McCloskey keys who don't know how to hold their guns gave like a four minute message on how you will not be safe no matter where you live. I don't know about you all, but I know exactly where they live in that big. What is it? $1.5 million home

Walt Sorg 05:41
In a gated community.

Christine Barry 05:43
Yeah, exactly. So they're saying no matter where you live, even if it's as good as my place, you won't be safe. And I'll tell you the irony of that though, is that if you live next to neighbors who waved their guns around like fly swatters like these guys did. You're not safe anyway. But it's not from Black Lives Matters. So it was a completely different tone just from the kind of people they they pulled to tell stories. And I thought that that was interesting. And the other thing that you always see at republican conventions, or in any kind of Republican platform communication type of thing, the messaging is the list of enemies that you have the thugs, the leftist, the Marxist, the anarchist, the liberal leftist, Marxist anarchist. I mean, they get as many words as you can put in there, they're going to say, and we've come a long way, I think from the communists and the gay people in the trial lawyers back in the days of George W. Bush, and now we're thugs and leftists and Marxist anarchists

Walt Sorg 06:45
It was almost as if they were writing a script in advance assuming that Bernie Sanders was going to be the nominee, and they wanted to take paint him as the the second coming of Fidel Castro. And then democrats surprised them by nomination. Joe Biden who's left of center but certainly a little more moderate than Bernie Sanders, and they know they're never bothered to change the script.

Christine Barry 07:07
And it's going to stick with the people who believe that going in. I don't see how it sticks with people who went into the two conventions with an open mind, which I don't know how many of those people there are. But today I saw on Twitter that Biden riots or something is trending, because they're trying to call all of these protests now joe biden's protests because he won't denounce them. He's He's denounced violent protests many, many times. There's, there's nothing here that you can say about Joe Biden, that really sticks to him. If you look at the truth, the reality, but that's not what this was. This was a rally that just was based on so many lies.

Walt Sorg 07:48
The fact checkers went absolutely crazy with it. And for somebody like me who's got a background in television production, I thought there was quite a contrast as well. The Democrats did a pretty good job. Adapting to The new internet age and provided something that was actually fairly good TV, which is what this really is. Now it's a four day infomercial. Whereas most of the republican convention was a series of people walking up to a podium and an empty conference room and giving a speech to an empty room. And most of it pre recorded after the President had derided democrats for using too much pre recorded stuff. But most of the republican speeches were pre recorded as well. The stuff that was live mostly was done in violation of federal law, because they use federal facilities and federal employees to stage all of these events for the convention, whether it was at the White House, whether it involve the Immigration and Naturalization services, whether it involves the Secretary of State giving a speech while he's on a foreign mission in Israel, whether it is Ivanka Trump, who is a federal employee, introducing her father in violation of the Hatch Act, whether it's Kellyanne Conway giving a speech also in violation of the Hatch Act is going down to Fort McHenry to stage another event. It's having fireworks on the National Mall, spelling out the words Trump 2020. It was just a complete difference in approach. And on top of that the democrats respected the fact that we're in the middle of a pandemic, and didn't do anything with their events that endanger the health of those participating. Yet you see Donald Trump giving his acceptance speech in front of 1000 to 1500 people jammed on the White House lawn with no masks, no distancing. They hadn't been a lot of them hadn't been checked before they came onto the grounds. It was just like two different worlds.

Christine Barry 09:40
Well, that's part of Donald Trump's story to America is that the pandemic is not a big deal. So he can't have a lot of people wearing masks or social distancing around him in front of his TV show, because that conflicts with a story I think, and I imagine the people who are there probably I truly believe that they're fine. COVID is just a flu, it's no big deal.

Walt Sorg 10:05
the thing that will drive Donald Trump more nutsy than anything else, is the Joe Biden got higher TV ratings for his acceptance speech, which was 2022 minutes as opposed to the Donald Trump. Let's spend the evening listening to me lean on a podium speech, which by the way, it was generally considered a really horrible job. He kind of phoned it in if he seemed kind of Sleepy during the whole thing. And what cracked me up is I got a fundraising email from the Trump campaign after it was over in which they say this. President Trump just finished an incredible speech, perhaps the best convention speech ever. And I almost died laughing right on the spot. Oh, he delivered a unifying message and reminded us that he will always put America first. What more can you say?

Christine Barry 10:49
his speeches are always going to be the best speech ever. He outdoes himself every time.

Walt Sorg 10:56
He is the greatest speaker in the history of the presidency. And gotta remember to he's done more for African Americans than any president except for possibly the late great Abraham Lincoln. Yeah, a more practical note, the President also the polling indicates he did not get a post-convention bounce. Biden got a small bounce. The ratings for both conventions were down because there was no drama because they were basically prepackaged events. The ratings were down. It's although it's hard to measure because in the streaming age, a lot of people watched it on the internet, rather than watching it on the broadcast or cable networks. But still, the numbers show that more people watched joe biden's convention than watch Donald Trump's convention. But in terms of memorable moments, what are you gonna remember from the two conventions? Certainly both Obama speeches, possibly joe biden's speech and certainly Braden and his incredible presentation. From the Republican side, the two things I'm going to remember are Kimberly Guilfoyle shrieking which is what we started with. And her boyfriend Donald Trump Jr. Looking like he started a line of coke before he gave a speech.

Christine Barry 12:00
Yeah, I think that on the Democratic side, honestly, one of the things that really touched me was the national anthem, people from all over the country joining in this collaborative national anthem. It's one of those things that I just get sentimental about not the anthem itself. But seeing all of these people come together and singing it, I just like that stuff. And then on the other side, it was trace Atkins, and I wasn't a bad performance. It was just a normal performance. On the Democratic side, for me, that was that was just one of the highlights. On the Republican side. I watched Eric Trump, and I felt so sad for him at the end of his speech, saying, Dad, I love you. I don't know why that made me so sad for him, because I'm sure that he does love his dad and is proud of his dad. But saying it on TV like that was weird. And I'm wondering if That's the only time that Trump was paying attention. I don't know.

Christine Barry 13:08
Michigan Democrats have just wrapped up their state convention. The most important decision is confirming the nomination of Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack for reelection in Grand Rapids attorney Elizabeth Welch for an open seat on the court. It was another COVID inspired first in politics. The first ever state democratic party convention conducted completely online. A major new challenge for the state's party chair lavora Barnes,

Walt Sorg 13:36
and we are joined by one of the busiest people in Michigan politics right now the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party lavora, Barnes lavori are just coming off your state convention, you're coming off to national conventions. Congratulations on your first online convention, where you got all the votes in and nobody showed up. It was it was a challenge to figure out how to do both of these conventions virtually but we figured it out. We do. We used a terrific platform, we feel good about the number of folks who participated. And it was a great event. Now, of course, you didn't have the competition, this time for the major state offices, the ones that people pay the most attention to. But there was a very important nomination. And that was for the two people running for the Supreme Court. And that is, this is a special challenge for it, because it's a non partisan race.

Lavora Barnes 14:22
It is it's part of the reason we did and endorsement in that race earlier this year, so that those candidates and we could start talking about them as the democratically endorsed candidates. And that of course, I'm talking about our Chief Justice, Bridget Mary McCormick and the terrific Elizabeth Welch, who are going Elizabeth is going to join this court and flip it for us. We're gonna make a huge difference for Michigan flipping this court, but the first step in doing that was as nominating her this weekend and that went beautifully. Well.

Walt Sorg 14:48
One of the advantages of having an online convention is it minimizes the risk of having any discord is the party as unified as your online convention would make it seem

Lavora Barnes 14:59
it we feel Good. I'm gonna tell you when I'm talking to our Democrats, we are unified in the notion that we have to win Michigan not only for Gary Peters and Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, but we have to win up and down the ticket. We've got to flip the Supreme Court. We've got to make sure folks know how to vote in this very, very tough time. Making sure folks understand how to access that vote by mail, that vote by mail and absentee voting are the same thing. And there's nothing nefarious about doing doing either, and that they could check that straight ticket and then flip that ballot over and find Elizabeth Welch and Bridget Mary McCormick and they will be finished.

Walt Sorg 15:32
And of course, you want people to do all of that in September

Lavora Barnes 15:35
I do I want them to do it. As soon as they can get their hands on the ballot. We are encouraging folks to who haven't already requested a ballot to do that now, so that when the clerk's are start mailing out ballots on September 24, you're one of the first to get a ballot in your home, get it voted in September and return it to the clerk right away.

Walt Sorg 15:53
You have an advantage in Michigan when it comes to the voter suppression that's going on just because you've got a secretary of state that is focused on getting the vote out and getting as many people voting as possible. But as you look nationally, are you concerned about the how effective the voter suppression tactics might be in turning the November election into a year long event?

Lavora Barnes 16:13
This really does show folks that how important who we elect is I can't imagine what we would be doing right now in Michigan, if we had not elected Jocelyn Benson as our as our Secretary of State, or Dana Nessel is our attorney general, these two women are focused on protecting the vote or making sure that voter suppression tactics are stopped. And that misinformation is corrected. And they're doing a terrific job of it and other states were good democrats aren't aren't doing the sort of work. I know, candidates and state parties are struggling to get the word out to block the suppression tactics to make sure folks understand that misinformation is just that. I don't know if you heard while there was that robo call that happened. That's happening all over the country, right. But here in Michigan, our Secretary of State and Attorney General jumped on immediately. I'm not sure that's happening in other states.

Walt Sorg 17:00
But that is a part of the republican tactics to repeat in 2020. What happened in 2016, which was basically depress the vote in Detroit.

Lavora Barnes 17:07
Yeah, that's exactly that's exactly the game plan. We've been talking about it since 2017. I think our voters have wizened up to it, which is why so many of them recorded that robo call and send it into so that we knew it was happening almost immediately when it started. Yes, this is part of their playbook. If they can't win fairly, they will try ways to win unfairly and they have counted on their ability to suppress the vote. We don't know what other tactics they're going to use. There are some folks we're going to vote in person in November. And I fully expect that there will be some in person suppression tactics as well. We have to be ready for all of it. That's why we've got this terrific Voter Protection team on board. We've been building this team since 2018 2019. We've been ready. And it's gotten to be big. We have the biggest Voter Protection team we've ever had. And we got 13 staff right now.

Walt Sorg 17:53
The President has hinted at the idea of sending in troops or sending in law enforcement to obviously Democratic Party. And try to suppress the vote that way is the party in a position where it can counter that.

Lavora Barnes 18:05
We're having conversations nationally about that the Biden campaign is on alert for that sort of activity. There are attorneys, good attorneys, good smart attorneys all over the country who are preparing for for just such an eventuality. And I'll say, well, they're not all Democrats. And there are lots of good republicans out there who recognize that that step would be an unAmerican step that we can't allow to happen. So we've got a good group of folks working nationally, so that we're ready to respond. If that happens.

Walt Sorg 18:34
You talk about having people from the other side or independents join in with me on this. I am really fascinated by the reality that for the first time, I could remember it. I go back a long, long ways. You have got literally hundreds of people that were directly associated with all of the previous Republican nominees for president supporting the Democrat.

Lavora Barnes 18:55
Yeah, it's a it's a testament to where we are as a country, and how Important this election is and what a chaos presidency this President has had since he walked into office, people understand the importance of of getting a legitimate president into that office. And that's Joe Biden, along with his vice president Kamala Harris, we have to do this for the sake of this country, for the sake of the state and frankly, for the sake of the world, and people understand that is bigger than just Democrat and Republican right now. This is about the future of our country.

Walt Sorg 19:23
Another part of the undercard for the Michigan Democratic Party is the possibility of flipping maybe a couple more seats in Congress over on the west side of the state. What is the state party doing towards that end for john hoadley and for Hillary sculpin?

Lavora Barnes 19:38
We've already built what we're calling a ground game, but that's no we're virtual, so no one is physically on the ground. But we are working aggressively in those areas to help talk to voters help turnout voters for those two races, they are high priority for us, along with Gretchen Driskell here near where I live. And then of course, the two folks we need to protect who are Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens. They are high on our priority list. They get all of the attention we can lavish on them from our field campaign. Our team is excited to help support them and help push them over the finish line. I think we've got a great shot at picking up like you said, I think two seats in Congress. And maybe in that third one, if we have the right kind of night.

Walt Sorg 20:16
Let's look back on the two national conventions briefly. It was the conventional wisdom was going to the conventions of the Joe Biden wanted to make the issue in this campaign, Donald Trump, and it seems like Donald Trump oblige you by making the whole republican convention about him.

Lavora Barnes 20:31
He that he definitely did. You know, our convention i thought was sort of beautiful representation of what America looks like as you as you watch this, One of my favorites was that roll call that they did the way they figured out to do that roll call all across the states and territory so that folks could see the wide swath of America that we are, there's so many people who participated in that convention are from varying backgrounds and different and had had not only things to say about Trump, obviously that happened, but also we're making the case for Joe Biden, and then Joe Biden did that terrific speech where he knocked it out of the park and made the case for himself did a terrific job. Quite a contrast to the 70 minutes of I don't even know what that came out of Donald Trump that was all over the place. There was hate there was anger, there were lies plenty of lies. The entire convention was built around a set of lies about what kind of president he has been and what kind of president he thinks he might be in the future. I've never seen a sitting president, talk so tough about the state of the nation right now without recognizing that you are the president right now, my friend, the State of the Nation sits on your feet. And so it was it was, it was hard to watch, frankly, Walt, it's hard to watch.

Walt Sorg 21:41
The fact checkers have been going nuts this week with all the material that the convention gave them on the Republican side. And there's every indication is going to continue right through November. How do you deal with a series of campaigns where basically, the truth is optional.

Lavora Barnes 21:57
I've never dealt with anything like this before. You know, when When we talk about our candidates, if we ever made a mistake, let alone had a candidate with an outright lie. Like we would be in panic mode. Like we were trying to fix it as quickly as possible, we would walk it back this campaign really your right does not seem to care whether what they say is true or not. They will say whatever they want to fit the narrative they want to build. And all we can do is continue to push the truth out every time we hear the falsehoods and that means we do it when we all get on the television. We do it in the social media, and everybody needs to do it. I watched some msnbc last night and they did a terrific job of interrupting to push back on the places where there were clear lies or misinformation. Therefore, it is our responsibility as well. We cannot just let this man and this campaign tell her lies without some someone responding with the truth.

Walt Sorg 22:48
Okay, one last question regarding the leader of the party in the state. All the polling shows that the governor's approval rating is above or above even the vote that she got when she was elected. How does her National visibility now in the national prominence she's playing, how does it play for you in Michigan in terms of using her as a weapon?

Lavora Barnes 23:07
Oh, she's a terrific weapon for us. We we will ask the governor to participate in every event we've got going on so that she can help us talk about the importance of electing Joe Biden, Kamala Harris talked about the importance of returning Gary Peters and talking about the State House. I know she's very focused on helping us get the State House flipped. And she's going to be helping those candidates run fundraisers and helping them reach out to voters. She's going to work hard, all the way through Election Day, just like all of us to help us do this. And her national profile helps us bring national attention, not just to the top of the ticket here, which everyone has been paying attention to, but to the full ticket, we can now talk to national donors about help us with the supreme court because this is a big deal. We can flip the Supreme Court help us with the State House, and it's the governor who allows us that entry and she's she's been doing it and she's doing a terrific job.

Walt Sorg 23:51
Now, one more I've been thinking about a little bit that is if the selection for president goes to the House of Representatives, which is a possibility every state can It's one vote. Right now Michigan wouldn't have a vote effectively because we've got a seven, seven delegation. You flip one seat in either direction, and that changes a vote for president in the United States.

Lavora Barnes 24:09
Indeed it does. It's a big deal. Wow. I didn't even think I hadn't even thought about that one. Well, but you're right. That is a big deal. We got to get it flipped. We've got to get it done.

Walt Sorg 24:17
LeVar Burton, always a pleasure to talk with you. Thanks for joining us.

Lavora Barnes 24:20
My pleasure. Good to see you and hear you again.

Walt Sorg 24:23
As a postscript to my conversation with lavora Barnes I'm hoping for an update of the greatest state Supreme Court viral ad ever launched in Michigan or maybe anywhere. Eight years ago then Supreme Court candidate Bridget McCormick Sister Mary got a bunch of her friends together to do a West Wing sketch in support of the campaign. Now Mary McCormack is one of the stars of the West Wing. She played the National Security Advisor. The friends who did the video with her included Brad Whitford, Joshua Malina, Janelle Maloney, Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, Lily Tomlin and of course the best President of the United States in history, Martin Sheen

Political Ad 25:00
If people fail to realize that the straight ticket vote doesn't count in non partisan races, if they just casually vote the party line, then their interest will continue to go on represented.

Political Ad 25:11
Josh is convinced that it's something more than a crisis. He's upgraded it to a calamity, a catastrophe

Political Ad 25:16
I'm telling you, it's an apocalypse.

Political Ad 25:18
It's an apocalypse now. What say you CJ? Shall we have calmer heads prevail?

Political Ad 25:23
Mr. President, as you know, the men and women who sit on the state Supreme Court's ruling issues that affect literally millions of Americans, nothing big, you know, niche issues like civil rights,

Political Ad 25:32
the environment, workplace protections, Border Protection, this isn't even about which side of those issues you're on. We should do something because that because we can

Walt Sorg 25:41
You can see the full four minute video on our website.

Christine Barry 25:44
That was brilliant. And I also want to remind people that we have had both Chief Justice Bridget McCormack and Grand Rapids attorney Elizabeth Welch on our shows as guests and I will link to those shows as well.

Christine Barry 26:01
The Trump administration is using all of the federal government to support the re election of Donald Trump. In addition to the gross abuses at the convention, the politicizing of the Justice Department continues to grow the latest and investigation into nursing home deaths during the pandemic in four states. Conveniently, though, the four states being investigated all have democrats as governors, something that quickly caught the eye of Michigan's Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Dana Nessel 26:30
How do you with a straight face make this demand only of democratic governors when you know that you have Republican governors who have done the exact same thing, and you're not making you're not making the request of them? They're not even trying anymore to appear as though they are not partisan in this effort. It's not It's not the Florida's that the DOJ is going after is not Texas. It's not Georgia, but you don't see you don't see them going after it. Any of these other governors, who I arguably their policies were far more dangerous to their states far or interest to their state residents.

Christine Barry 27:10
Well, she's got a point. And she spelled that point out in June as well, when the Republican members of the Michigan delegation to Congress had sent her that letter to ask her to look into what was going on with the nursing home and see if there was any misconduct there. And she wrote back and said, No, you're only doing this to Democrats. If you want to do it to everybody, then I'll look into it. It's clear that this is this has been a political tool that the republicans have been using, there's a lot more detail and information that people need to understand. It's this isn't just a matter of Democrats saying COVID patients have to go to nursing homes. There was a lot of stuff going on here that led to this. It's really a breakdown in infrastructure. I think, well, I don't know how you feel about it, but

Walt Sorg 28:00
It's also knowledge to how many times have you said in a situation if I knew then what I know now, and certainly with the COVID-19, that's a part of the problem as well. There were things they didn't know then that they know now that resulted in decisions that probably could have been made better by everyone, not just Democratic governors, but Republican governors. It's kind of a sidebar at all of those. There is now a movement in Ohio by Republicans to recall the governor, Republican Mike dewine. Because he basically did in Ohio initially, what Gretchen Whitmer did in Michigan, which was act fast and act decisively. Now, he did back off a little bit as a result of political pressure and as a result, Ohio his numbers have been skyrocketing again, but still there are Republican members of his legislature that are trying to get him bounced from office which I find ironic and pretty sad. Meanwhile, the political abuse that is the slow down of the mail continues to frustrate Congress because there's not a lot they can do about it. Trump mega donor and Postmaster General lose to joy has been steadfast in congressional hearings claiming he knew nothing had nothing to do with the decisions they were made before he got there and somebody else made him but he wasn't sure who it was. But it is slowing down the middle of reach at the point of jeopardizing whether mainland ballots get counted in November. And more importantly, at shaking public confidence in the post office and whether or not the ballots will show up. The attitude of Democrats was summed up during one of those hearings by southfields, Brenda Lawrence, who before she was elected to Congress spent 30 years working for the post office.

Brenda Lawrence 29:30
Some of them my colleagues have said this is a theater. Why are you here? You're here because the citizens of the United States rely on the postal service to deliver our seniors, our veterans. One thing is clear. You have been a major supporter of the president is documented. I don't resent you for that. You have that right. But when you are getting messages daily in tweets that the pulse services we don't make a deal they don't get the money. The money means that you won't have universal mail in. I want you to know that you have an oath of office and I expect you and the American people expect for you to uphold it.

Christine Barry 30:14
And rasheeda Talib went after the joy for major conflicts of interest, specifically involving one of the post offices biggest customers, Amazon,

Rashida Tlaib 30:23
it is very clear that you have vested interest in seeing the president remain in office. And your financial interest in Amazon demonstrates a clear conflict of interest that would be gravely concerning even if you weren't in the process of dismantling the postal service, which you are. I like to remind you that unlike in the private sector, Mr. DeJoy where you serve your own self interest, your job as Postmaster General is not to serve your own profit schemes on the taxpayers dime. You are to serve the United States Postal Service its workers and the American people.

Christine Barry 30:54
And did you happen to see Katie Porter's questioning of the DeJoy? It was good. She started out asking him questions about his general knowledge of the post office, which for the most part, he really couldn't answer. He didn't have a good base knowledge there. And then he went on to admit that he couldn't tell the committee. This is like you said earlier, he couldn't tell the committee who ordered decommissioning of the equipment. He couldn't tell the committee really anything. And he denied that he ordered operational changes. He denied any responsibility for what happened when he got there. He said he took responsibility for what happened after he got there, which then they went on to point out, well, the everything has significantly slowed down since you got there. And he said, Well, that's because of things that happened before I got here. So he's like the perfect Trump guy, I guess. But Katey Porter's questioning was was on point and there were so many, so many good lines of questioning and statements. And we have I put together a playlist that we'll put on the website for this

Walt Sorg 31:58
Meanwhile, as I discussed with Laura burns earlier in the pod. Michigan is in pretty good shape because of the Secretary of State is taking countermeasures on all of this, including mailing out postcards to everybody who hasn't already signed up for absentee ballot to make sure they know they could sign up for an absentee ballot. And I think there's going to be just a boatload of publicity between now and when the ballots go out in late September, that you need to get your ballot in early, just in case to make sure it gets counted. But even so we're going to get a late count in Michigan because they can't start working on those ballots until Election Day, and there is going to be such a huge number, I would guess that 70 75% of all the votes in Michigan will be conducted by mail, which means we're going to get a very light count. We won't know who won Michigan officially probably for a couple of days.

Walt Sorg 32:48
With the national conventions out of the way, the issues that will dominate the next two months would become pretty clear. Democrats will focus on the 182,000 and growing number of Americans who have died Thanks to the Trump administration's bungling of the COVID-19 epidemic, Trump is back to his race baiting tactics of four years ago. Back then it was murdering Mexican rapists. Now it's Ms. 13 black people polluting the suburbs and radical thugs taking over our streets. The reality is that most of the domestic violence according to the FBI, comes from right wing terrorists, the proud boys militias, and too often people wearing magga hats. There's a double standard being practiced as Trump rails against what's happening in the streets. When it comes to peaceful protests. Well, he's got real keen on those. His thoughts are pretty much the same as they were four years ago. That's when Colin Kaepernick first took a knee.

Donald Trump 33:43
Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners? When somebody disrespects our flag? To say get that son of a bitch off the field right now out he's fired. He's fired!

Walt Sorg 33:58
Now Trump's sports targets are the NBA players who decided that for one day there was something more important than dunking a basketball.

Donald Trump 34:07
I don't know much about the NBA protest. I know their ratings have been very bad because I think people are a little tired of the NBA, frankly, but I don't know too much about the protests. But I know their ratings have been very bad. And that's true. That's unfortunate, and they become like a political organization. And that's not a good thing. I don't think that's a good thing for sports or for the country.

Walt Sorg 34:26
But when it comes to less peaceful protests involving his people, Trump has encouragement. Doc Rivers is the coach of the NBA is Los Angeles Clippers pointed out in explaining his team's decision to refuse to play in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake shot in the back seven times by Kenosha police.

Doc Rivers 34:45
You know it's funny, we protests and they send Riot guards, right. They sent people in riot outfits. They go to Michigan with guns and they're spinning on cops. Nothing happens.

Walt Sorg 35:02
And it's the same way to with the tragedy over the weekend in both Kenosha and Portland, Oregon, where you've had three people now that have been killed by vigilantes, murderers, whatever you want to call them, certainly not by people that belong there, you know, in a 17 year old kid shows up from out of state with an AR 15 and proceeds to start shooting somebody. The President doesn't say anything about that violence. He gets all upset about the peaceful protesters for the most part. And if they're in Washington, DC, he wants to bring out the troops so you can walk over to church. It's really sad.

Christine Barry 35:38
And, you know, his mom was there with him. I would suggest to you all that taking a gun like that to a protest is an aggressive act in itself. And so people are saying, well, he he's exercising his second amendment right to defend himself. Like, yeah, but he provoked it.

Walt Sorg 35:59
He wasn't defending himself that's the thing he drove up from Illinois, knowing that there was going to be trouble. And he was asking he was he was asking for trouble basically, into the President is going to Kenosha, he wants to stir up more violence, because he sees that's his way to reelection is to have the nation divided. yet you've got Joe Biden, on the other hand, giving a speech about how we've got to all come together. And it's quite a contrast.

Christine Barry 36:26
And another issue that I saw this morning, you know, unfortunately, there was another death and I don't know the victim's name, but he is a Trump supporter. He was one of the guys who decided to join the Trump rally and drive through the Portland protests. He was killed. He had a patriot prayer hat on and the Patriot prayer is an anti Well, it's an alt right groups are really far right group. So many people now are calling for the insurrection act. than saying, you know, a patriot is dead now it's time for Trump to step in and put down these protesters and so on. And these are the same people who are like, Don't tread on me. It's it's a complete difference, not only in how Trump treats the two different sides, but on how the two different sides answer and we've been talking about this really ever since we asked, you know, how come the NRA isn't protecting the rights of black people to carry guns, only white people? How come they're not up in arms when a black person is killed for carrying a gun? It's that hypocrisy and it's at every level. Even Tucker Carlson. It was saying is there any wonder why this 17 year old kid decided that he had to go and take a gun to protect the businesses of that area? It's it's just disgusting.

Walt Sorg 37:49
Well, Mark Meadows Lee, president's chief of staff pretty much echoed those remarks on the Sunday shows which was equal was even worse, actually than Tucker Carlson. Although Tucker Carlson's pretty repulsive Probably the best way to wrap up this segment is just to go to a Michigan native and University of Michigan alum, Chris Weber, who's been very outspoken on all of this.

Chris Webber 38:09
We know nothing is going to change. We get it. Martin Luther King got shot and risked his life, Medgar Evers if we've seen this and all of our heroes, constantly taken down, we understand is not gonna end. But that does not mean young man that you don't do anything. Don't listen to these people telling you don't do anything because it's not going to end right away. You were starting something for the next generation and the next generation to take over. Do you have to be smart? Yes. Do you have to make sure that you have a plan? Yes. Do you have to be articulate about that plan? Yes. All of those things, but that's what you're going to do. They're professionals. They know how to be the best of themselves. And so I applaud it. I applaud it because it is the young people. It is the young people leading the way.

Walt Sorg 38:52
And I applaud them. One final note on this, Christine. Kudos to the Detroit Lions who really sharp it all. Before the basketball team said we're not going to play the Detroit Lions said we're not going to practice today. They were the first professional sports team to take a formal action amongst the players in response to the terrible shooting up in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Christine Barry 39:15
Well done. Alright, time for this week's political notes. Republican Senate candidate john James is catching heat over a promise he made. James the shipping company was given multi million dollar tax breaks by the state in return for a promise to add jobs. Well, it turns out he actually reduced the number of jobs at his company.

Walt Sorg 39:38
Did he give the money back?

Christine Barry 39:40
No, he did not. And so in short, while between what was promised in terms of jobs to what was delivered, there was a net swing of about 150 jobs. And it's interesting because john James' story is he's a job creator. He hates handouts, and he hates socialism. And yet here he is taking a handout to create jobs that he did not create. His story is he's a successful guy. I appreciate everything he accomplished in the service. But it's just like the Army Ranger thing. There's an illusion there. It's not real, and he's not going to go to the Senate and deliver for anybody. And again, it's like, like I said before, when he came out with that ad about, you know, his rules of engagement, he's going to fight for every vote. He's going to tell the truth about everything. He's already broken all of his rules of engagement.

Walt Sorg 40:35
We've got a couple of examples of why people hate politics exhibit one, the effort Levora Barnes mentioned earlier into discouraging some voters from voting by mail. We've got robo calls going out in several states, including Michigan, basically telling voters in selected areas read that black areas that if they vote by absentee, that information will be used to do all sorts of things to them that are very nasty, better. Not vote by absentee ballot. It's been going on in Michigan is going on in Pennsylvania, among other states. So nobody's, of course taking credit for it. But it is being done. Dana Nessel is on the case in Michigan along with Jocelyn Benson speaking out against it, but also investigating it to see where it came from.

Christine Barry 41:19
And, you know, let's be, let's be clear about what those robo calls are saying that the your mail in ballot could be used to find you for what, like outstanding warrants and all these different things. I mean, there's the underlying assumption by the people that making these robo calls are responsible for that script, that the people who are in those areas are black people who are criminals, and that is the assumption behind this script.

Walt Sorg 41:49
Exhibit two is the petition drive, led by state senate majority leader Mike Shirkey, amongst others to repeal the governor's emergency powers. They're kind of ratcheting up the sleaze. Specifically with the firm they hired to collect signatures for their petition drive. The owner of the firm has a criminal record for falsifying voter registration and a history of bait and switch tactics and paid petition drives around the country. name's Mark Jacoby. He is paying his circulators 350 each for each valid signature to repeal the emergency powers of Governor act of 1945. He was arrested in 2009 in California for registration, fraud and perjury, and to a lesser charge of registering to vote at the address where he didn't live more troublesome for Michigan is his circulators basically, are lying about what's in the petition to get they'll say anything to get people to sign it because they just need their numbers. They've allegedly collected about 200,000 signatures so far they need 340,000 valid signatures, given the typical validity rate of signatures collected by page circulators. In reality, they need 450 to 500,000 signatures if you had 180 days. To collect them, they'll probably be tight, but they'll probably be a court battle over those signatures as well, because there will be a lot of bad ones. They already know that they've got signatures from Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on some of these petitions. They just have to find them all.

Christine Barry 43:13
Well, Governor Whitmer is increasingly a national presence among Democrats. Whitmer was paired with New Jersey senator Cory Booker as the leadoff rebuttal witness during the republican convention, teeing off on the Trump economic record, noting that the Obama Biden administration had left them with a six year economic boom,

Gretchen Whitmer 43:32
they handled their successors and economy and a country in the midst of a historic recovery. The longest streak of job growth in history raising wages and 16 million jobs created since the depths of the recession. But since that time, just three and a half years ago, Donald Trump has driven our economy into the ground because enemy has lost more than 6 million jobs since Donald Trump took the wheel. including more than 250,000 factory jobs and more than 100,000 small businesses closed for good.

Walt Sorg 44:09
And that brings us to the political attack ad of the week. Runner Up honors go to a repeat honoree, the Lincoln project, those are the republicans that are fighting against Trump. They've got a new commercial called protect,

Donald Trump 44:23
preserve, protect and defend.

The Lincoln Project 44:25
It's the greatest responsibility of a president to help keep Americans safe to protect our families. Donald Trump has failed this solemn duty. Over 170,000 Americans have died in the past few months from COVID-19. Millions are infected and there is no plan no plan to contain the virus, no plan to make it safe for businesses to reopen no plan to reopen schools. In this time of national crisis. Donald Trump did what he always does, he lied. he bragged he blamed, never led because Donald Trump is not a leader. This time it's personal. Donald Trump's ignorance and incompetence is threatening your family's safety. It's not about Republicans or Democrats. It's about protecting our families, preserve, protect and defend. He failed. You must go on November 3 vote to protect your family. The Lincoln project is responsible for the content of this advertising.

Walt Sorg 45:22
Our winner though Christine is a real doozy. It's a first person statement from someone who really knows Donald Trump really well. His former lawyer Cooley Law School alumnus, Michael Cohen.

Michael Cohen 45:36
For more than a decade, I was President Trump's right hand man, fixer and confidant. I was complicit in helping conceal the real Donald Trump. I was part of creating an illusion. Later this week, he's going to stand up and blatantly lied to you. I'm here to tell you, he can't be trusted and you shouldn't believe a word he utters? So when you watch the president this week, remember this. If he says something is huge, it's probably small. If he says something will work, it probably won't. And if he says he cares about you and your family, he certainly does not. He's going to tell you that if you reelect him, the economy will bounce back that only he can get us out of this economic crisis. Maybe for those like him. But if you think he cares about working class Americans, you're dead wrong. The President is going to talk to you about law and order. That's laughable. Virtually everyone who worked for his campaign has been convicted of a crime or is under indictment, myself included. So when the President gets in front of the cameras this week, remember that he thinks we're all gullible? A bunch of fools was part of it, and I fell for it. You don't have to like me. But please listen to me.

Political Ad 47:09
That's pretty hard hitting

Walt Sorg 47:11
pretty powerful. I don't know how effective it's going to be. But it certainly says a lot when somebody who's your lawyer for 10 years says you're a crook.

Christine Barry 47:22
After two weeks of non stop zoom politics, we are done with the conventions and on to the final stretch. absentee ballots will go out in about four weeks and the voting can begin. And on that note, we are done for this week. For more information on today's subjects head on over to our website, Michigan Policast comm we've got links to stories and videos that we've talked about in this podcast. Also from the conventions, we have tweets, we have pictures, we have a few fun political ads.

Walt Sorg 47:52
just rock and roll all the way on the website. You can email us at or reach out through the Michigan podcast page on Facebook. On Twitter, we'll be back on Labor Day.

Walt Sorg 48:04
The Michigan Policast is a production of Michigan Citizens for a Better Tomorrow.

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