Michigan Policast for Monday, November 23, 2020

  In this episode:

  • COVID-19 in Michigan
  • The latest news on the elections
  • John Austin on Michigan and the new economy
  • Political notes
  • Transcript

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COVID-19 in Michigan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The latest news on the elections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Austin on Michigan and the new economy

 

 

 

Political notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transcript

Walt Sorg  00:00

This is the Michigan Policast. We're all about Michigan politics and policy and the National stories impacting our pleasant peninsulas. I'm Walt sorg.

 

Walt Sorg  00:30

Two highly effective COVID-19 vaccines are on their way tomorrow. But tomorrow is more than just a day away.

 

 

 

Debbie Dingell  00:37

We are in the worst weeks of our experience with COVID. Over the last nine months, we are in it right now.

 

Joe Biden  00:43

The country is still in a crisis. And there's a dark winter still ahead. Yesterday, America reached another tragic milestone 250,000 deaths. A quarter of a million people died due to COVID-19. And there are empty chairs and dining room tables just were filled just days and weeks ago. with loved ones family and friends laughed and talked together.

 

Christine Barry  01:09

I'm Christine Barry, while Michigan continually sets new records for COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths. The Republican leaders of the legislature take a field trip to Washington to be cajoled by Donald Trump. While the rest of the legislature continues and extended deer hunting plus Thanksgiving break. The governor joins forces with other Midwest leaders and President Elect Biden to urge people to please take COVID seriously

 

Walt Sorg  01:35

later in the pod. I'll talk with economic development guru john Austin. He's the director of the Michigan Economic center, and he says the Biden effort to restart the economy should start in the Midwest,

 

Joneigh Khaldun  01:46

we are still seeing an exponential rise in cases across the state. Our case rates range from 418 cases per million in the Traverse City region to 934 cases per million in the Grand Rapids region. Test positivity ranges from 9% and the Trevor city region to six teen percent. And the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo regions. Every region in the state is saying alarming case and test positivity rates. Our hospitals are closer and closer to becoming overwhelmed and are on average 79% full, and they're becoming more and more full of COVID-19 patients. Michigan, in fact, has the fourth highest number of COVID patients hospitalized in the country, behind Texas, Illinois, and California.

 

Walt Sorg  02:36

There's no two ways about it. The pandemic is out of control nationwide, the current President's response has been mostly to ignore it, focusing instead on trying to steal the election, whine onTwitter and play golf. We'll have more on that later. with thanksgiving next Thursday. Though kicking off the biggest socializing season of the year. It's an especially dangerous time for all of us.

 

Debbie Dingell  02:58

We know that this pandemic will not be over by the New Year. And while there are truly promising developments like the Pfizer and Medinah vaccines, we know that they will not be ready for widespread distribution to the general population. For months, I was proud of the bipartisan work that we did to extend unemployment benefits to the people of Michigan. Now we have to work together again to ensure people can put food on the table for themselves and their families and pay their heating bills this winter.

 

Christine Barry  03:26

Yes, some of the guidelines about Thanksgiving that were put out are not being received. Well, I think limiting yourself to only a few people in the house at a time or associating only with one other household, which I assume means if you're going to see your parents, you don't also go see you know, your cousins, that kind of thing. I'm sure that a lot of people are feeling saddened and stressed by that. And also angry, which we've already seen people pushing back and saying they'll do what they want for Thanksgiving.

 

Walt Sorg  03:59

And I think it's really unfortunate that we're still not getting the United message out of government at the state and federal level. This division over masks continues to just baffle me. You've got a resolution in the legislature that's been introduced now by some of the more extreme right wing members of the legislature calling for the impeachment of the governor Whitmer, which is absolutely ridiculous. I will say that the Republican leaders of the legislature said that's going nowhere. And that's certainly what they should say because it's absolutely ridiculous. But you've still got members of the legislature on the Republican side showing up per session showing up for committee meetings without wearing masks is that as a result, you've got a pandemic, certainly at the White House where everybody's getting yelled now Donald Jr. seems to have tested positive among others and Rudy Giuliani son is tested positive and it goes on and on and on. And in Lansing. Most of the people that are testing positive in the political world are on the Republican side, the anti mask side. It's just a political move by some people that are very Extreme calling, basically for the removal the governor for doing her job.

 

Christine Barry  05:04

Yeah. And if you read that, the Articles of Impeachment, it was just opinion based, you know, she's she's being mean is basically what it comes down to, and it, it's infringing on our liberty. That's kind of how I took that. But one of the things that really freaks me out about this is Shirkey's response, which says that the energy towards impeachment would be better spent, and other efforts. Quote, I think we have a big job ahead of us to evaluate all that we have observed in this most recent election cycle, unquote. So I don't know what that means. But it does tell me that they're still going to be focused on politics rather than solving problems or governing in a good way.

 

Walt Sorg  05:48

And we're getting a mixed message even from Shirkey on the issue of masks. He says on one side that he is willing to appear in a public service announcement with the governor to encourage mask use. But on the other side, he says that a mandate for mask usage in public places is an illogical mandate. Right now, the best thing to do is inform, inspire, and then give them calls to action where they can actually own it and be part of it, versus feeling like they're being talked down to. And that's a nice theory. But the reality is there are going to be some people who continue to follow the example of Donald Trump and his people. And unless they are told you have to do this or face possible legal consequences. They're simply not going to abide. They just say, you know, personal freedom and this and that. I understand the arguments they're making. I think they're nonsensical, but the arguments are out there. But there comes a time when you just got to say enough is enough. And ironically, even though Shirky is saying this, Governor Whitmer has put together a little coalition with fellow governors in the Midwest, two republicans and four democrats doing a joint PSA and extended PSA for social media saying, hey, mask up and all these governors, by the way have instituted mandatory mask requirements in their states.

 

Gretchen Whitmer  07:03

Hi, everyone. This is Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Governor Andy Beshear, Governor Tony eavers. Governor JB Pritzker, Governor Mike dewine Governor Eric Holcomb governor Tim Walz. As we head into the holiday season and the cold winter months, we wanted to take a moment to talk to our families in our region, about how you can protect your loved ones and our frontline workers, as well as our small business owners from COVID-19 and the pandemic. Right now, cases in hospitalizations are skyrocketing in the Midwest and really all across the country. And as the weather gets colder and more people head inside, it will get worse. But there is good news last week, Pfizer announced that an early analysis showed that their vaccine is 90% effective. This is great news. But it doesn't mean that we can let our guard down and loosen the safety measures that we've made in our daily lives. It's more important now than ever, that we double down on mask worrying and physical distancing. To help more people get through the winter, and protect the brave men and women serving on the frontlines of this crisis are doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, and truck drivers. It's crucial that we keep our infection rate low, so we can distribute the vaccine as quickly as possible. When it's ready. We must remember that when the vaccine is ready, it will take time to distribute. And we need everyone to continue doing their part to protect each other from COVID-19. And with thanksgiving around the corner. Remember, be smart. Follow recommendations from medical experts getting together with your family via zoom to ensure your loved ones stay safe. So the right thing to do. Wear a mask, take it off when you eat or drink, then put it back on. Keep six feet apart as much as you can get your flu shot, and wash your hands regularly. And try not to share utensils. All of these measures are crucial if we want to keep our small businesses and our schools open. when it comes to fighting this virus. We're all on the same team. Let's make sure to stay smart and stay safe this winter. We will get through this together. mask up Kentucky mask up Wisconsin mask up. Illinois, mask up Ohio mask up Indiana mask up Minnesota, mask up Michigan

 

Walt Sorg  09:33

and there's more pressure to coming from Joe Biden increasingly frustrated with the Trump administration's refusal to do anything in the way of transition to the incoming administration is gotten past the point of petulance right now and gotten right down to something that is dangerous for our national security. It's dangerous for our health and it's dangerous for our economy.

 

Joe Biden  09:51

If nothing fundamentally changes between now and beginning of February we're likely to lose up to 400 total of 400 thousand lives, another hundred 50,000 lives. And so it's real, whether it's that it gets to 360, whatever it is, it's real. And there is no excuse not to share the data and let us begin to plan. I think they're witnessing incredible irresponsibility, incredibly damaging messages being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions. And I think it is. Well, I don't know his motive, but I just think it's totally irresponsible.

 

Walt Sorg  10:30

On the Sunday shows, even Chris Christie is now calling out the president to saying okay, you had a chance to put up or shut up, you couldn't put up so shut up. You know, he didn't use those words. Of course, it was much more tactful than that. But he says the time to act is over. And we'll be talking about the process of getting the votes certified. It should come to an end on Monday, we're recording on Sunday. And on Monday, both Michigan and Pennsylvania are scheduled to certify the outcome of the election. If those two states do what the laws of their states require them to do, and their boards of canvassers certified the vote, it's over. It is over because Georgia is over, the only swing state that will still not be certified will be Arizona. And that just adds to Joe Biden's margin, it doesn't give him the 270 he needs to win

 

Christine Barry  11:16

you have people just modeling this bad behavior. I'm not worried about it, if you're worried about it stay six feet away from me. I'm not worried about it, because I already had it. That kind of thing. That was reported last week, there were people in committee and like three republicans sitting really close in this committee did not have their masks on. I think we saw it all over Twitter as well. So it's just as bad behavior,

 

Walt Sorg  11:40

one positive sign I see. And it's by seeing the negatives going down, I kind of follow the comments on all the facebook live feeds that the governor does on this issue. And I know reading the comments section on social media is a short trip to the loony bin, because there's some crazy stuff on there. But I track that and I also track the positive emojis and the negative emojis. And it is overwhelmingly now in favor of the governor, you still got the trolls on there talking about the Governor whittler and all that stuff and what she's being a dictator, and I'm not gonna wear my mask and the election was rigged and all that. But it's going down. It is decreasing. I think people are beginning to understand except for the far extreme of the the Trump wing of the Republican Party, that yeah, this is real. You know, one thing that really baffles me they call it a to call it a hoax. They said this is just something was made up by the democrats to allow more mail and voting or it was made up by the democrats to embarrass Trump or whatever. If this was made up. Why would all the professional sports leagues be doing what they're doing? It's costing them untold millions of dollars? Why would Disney World be shut down, which is costing them? Many, many millions of dollars? if not more? Why are the airlines doing what they're doing? Which is costing them billions of dollars literally in losses? Why are all of these really smart people who are also very greedy people when it comes to profits for going their profits? Because of they say, the COVID virus? If this is a hoax, they're awful, damn gullible?

 

Christine Barry  13:10

Yeah, I think that the people who are truly believing that it's a hoax are getting smaller and smaller in number. But the people who think that it's not a serious, or that they're not at risk, personally, they're still there. And they probably are the ones saying, you know, these places should not be shut down. Because really, COVID is not that bad. In fact, I have a friend over in Minnesota, whose neighbor is just like, it's just no big deal. You know, I'll wear a mask because they want me to, but it's just not a big deal here. As long as you're perceiving it to not be a big deal, you know, you're more likely to be supportive of these big places shutting down and half for it to have such an economic impact. But you know, we've got over a quarter of a million people dead. I mean, come on, how do you not see that that's a big deal, even if you don't have it. That to me is like when people say, I'm not feeling hungry right now, therefore, there's no world hunger. How do you not get this? So it's interesting. And going back to your social media comment. I am seeing more and more on Twitter, push back against the Mike shirkey  and Lee Chatfield, there's a lot less about standing up for our liberty and a lot more about shut up and do your job. People are sick of just ignoring it. And the people who are you know, shouting about Liberty and Justice just don't seem to be there the way that they used to be. And maybe it's because they went to Parler. I don't know what that MeinSpace I don't know what that is.

 

Walt Sorg  14:43

Yeah, I got on Parler just to see what was happening there. And I found it so far. It's basically the Rudy Giuliani I am totally nuts wing of the Republican Party.

 

Christine Barry  14:52

I read somewhere that it was just about collecting data on people. So I don't have any interest in giving my information To Parler, I'm sure that if any,

 

Walt Sorg  15:02

if I made up, I made up a phony biography, I didn't give him my real information.

 

Christine Barry  15:06

And it's owned or financed or something by people close to Cambridge analytics. So I just don't want anything to do with it. But maybe that's where those people are going what I'm, what I'm seeing just anecdotally, Walt is that people are getting sick of this BS. They're sick of dealing with, with people who ignore COVID. They're sick of what's going on with this election. They're just want it to be over, let's just move forward. So that's the kind of stuff that they're saying in response to these GOP press releases and Leigh Chatfield, and Mike Shirky and Beau La-whatever, LaFave, LaFarv, Le'douche,  whatever he is. And that's, that's kind of good to see, I know, it's not any sort of real, you know, statistical sample, or good data for you to extrapolate something from but it's good to see that people are kind of sick of it.

 

Walt Sorg  16:02

Two quick points before we move on to other subjects, because I'm getting tired about talking about this, and I'm getting tired of being locked up, and I'm tired of not seeing my grandchildren and etc, etc. But first of all, there is a segment of the population that believes that herd immunity by just letting people get sick is the way to go. They lost a big one this week, the biggest pandemic right now in Europe is in Sweden, which was the experiment in herd immunity. They tried it in the spring thought they get everybody infected and then get them to have the antibodies in them. So you'd have herd immunity, and it's not working. Right now. Their hospitals are overwhelmed. They're getting infections far greater, at a far greater pace than their neighboring countries. And it's a mess over there. And they have they've completely failed. They're still not totally skinning back on what they said before, but at least now their national leadership is saying wear a mask. That didn't work. They're not admitting it didn't work, but it didn't work.

 

Walt Sorg  16:59

The other thing is that this is going to really come crashing in on us right after Christmas. Because thanks to inaction so far by Congress, coupled with Steve Mnuchin, a lot of the remaining social safety net or an economic safety net that is out there for Americans that are suffering economically because of this crisis is going to fall apart. unemployment benefits extensions will end for its estimated 12 million Americans, including hundreds of thousands of Michiganders, the moratorium on evictions is going to come to an end, the administration has decided that it's just going to stop lending money to prop up small businesses. Even though the money is still there, they just decided we're not going to give it out anymore. I honestly believe that there are elements in the Trump administration beginning with the president, who are actively trying to do everything they can to ret, fuck the incoming administration, they want to make things as bad as possible. So the Joe Biden fails strictly out of spite, which is just contrary to what every former president in my lifetime, and probably forever has done, whether it was George W. Bush, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, it doesn't matter. They all worked very hard and very seriously to pave the way for their the person who is exceeding them in office so they could be as successful as possible. brock obama's new book, he writes very eloquently about the process that they went through. When he was in transition back in 2008, the nation was suffering an economic crisis. And he says, despite our many, many differences on policy, George Bush could not have been better in the transition. He did everything he could, for Barack Obama to be successful. this President is doing just the opposite. He's doing everything he possibly can, to one make sure that the incoming president fails. And secondly, to maybe lower his golf handicap a little bit.

 

Christine Barry  18:56

It's clear that the worse off the American people are, the harder the next guy's job is going to be in the worse, he's going to look. Because when he comes in, he's going to have big problems. And then Trump and Republicans, whatever get to sit back and say look at how bad things are under Biden. This reminds me of something I heard once that Republicans to America are like abusive boyfriends are to the women they love. They love you so much. They want to hold on to you forever. I mean, Trump even basically leg humped a flag one time and kissed it.

 

Walt Sorg  19:34

Not more than it was more than once.

 

Christine Barry  19:36

Gross. But he loves America so much, but when she breaks up with him, he throws all of her stuff outside keys her car and calls her a whore. You know, and that's what Trump is doing to America. If you loved America so much, you would do everything you could right now, to make sure she was okay in the future. And while I understand the whole philosophy, of there's only one president at a time is pretty clear. Donald Trump lost by more than five and a half million votes. He is not going to remain president. He started out saying that the elections were going to be rigged. That in itself is a smear on America. And he continues to talk about how the elections are rigged. He's attacking people he's calling by people who serve on the Board of canvassers. Are you kidding me? presidents Don't do this. But he's never been a regular president anyway.

 

Walt Sorg  20:33

So let's move on to the insanity that is the Trump campaign to overturn the vote of the people. And somehow, someway, Michigan is officially the batshit crazy center of the universe right now, on multiple fronts. Christine, what's going on?

 

Christine Barry  20:49

Well, as I said, Donald Trump lost by more than five and a half million votes, and he lost the electoral college 306 to 232. But he continues to promote that conspiracy theory that the election was stolen, it was rigged. And Republican legislators should ignore the certified votes for Joe Biden that are coming out of urban areas like Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta. It's unprecedented. It's unAmerican it borders on felony sedition. And, you know, here's Michigan in the middle of it is starting with, like I mentioned earlier, two republican canvassers in Wayne County, and they refuse to certify Detroit's vote. One of them actually said they would do Wayne County but not Detroit, which I think we all know what that means. And that kind of triggered this huge public outcry that went viral.

 

Ned Staebler  21:40

You talked about not certifying Detroit, even though you know, it's that Lavonia a city, by the way, I know you know, is 95%, white had bigger variances than Detroit, which is 80% black, we understand and you know, added your name, so I'm not gonna try to change your mind. I just want to let you know that the Trumpstink the stain of racism, that you William Hartman and Monica Palmer have just covered yourself in, he's going to follow you throughout history, your grandchildren are going to think of you like Bull Connor or George Wallace, Monica Palmer and William Hartman will forever be known in southeastern Michigan as two racists who did something so unprecedented that they disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of black voters in the city of Detroit, because they were ordered to

 

Christine Barry  22:31

and that's Ned Stabler. He's the Vice President at Detroit's Wayne State University and the grandson of Michigan Democratic Party legend Neil Stabler just calling them out on the lack of solid ground that these people are on to not certify Detroit's votes.

 

Walt Sorg  22:48

You know, we're recording on Sunday right now. And Detroit is certified and they tried to have give back but there's no backsies when it comes to certifying the vote under state law. You know, that's what the law is what you certify it is certified. It's done. It's over and too bad. I don't care what Ronna romney McDaniel says, and I don't care what Laura Cox says that's what the law is, and they can whine all they want. But basically, when you are doing government work, whether it's on the board of canvassers at the county level or the state level, your obligation is to follow state law. First and foremost. As I mentioned, we're recording on Sunday. Tomorrow, the State Board of canvassers is scheduled to meet at one o'clock to certify Michigan's vote and get it over.

 

Debbie Dingell  23:29

The canvassers need to do their job expect that them that they will do their job and certify this result. And right now, I think the most important thing that the White House can be doing is working on a COVID relief package. It is not just Michigan that is heating up. This is happening all across the country. There are people who are unemployed, who are worried about how they're going to put the next meal on the table. There are restaurants that are in limbo, because COVID is out of control. And it's just too dangerous to be open right now. There are a lot of small businesses and individuals that are struggling and worried as we go into this winter, how they're going to keep the heat on. We need a COVID release, they'll more than anything. The people of Michigan, the people of Pennsylvania, the people of Idaho, every person in this country is depending on our federal government to step up here to find some common ground and to get it done.

 

Walt Sorg  24:23

Meanwhile, the top republicans in the legislature took a field trip to DC to visit with Donald Trump at his invitation. They claim that it was just to talk about COVID relief for the state. I'm sure Donald Trump just happened to pick people from Michigan because he loves Michigan and he thought Michigan should really get some help for COVID relief. We all know that that is bull. And in fact, the president actually tweeted after the meeting was over. He basically contradicted Mike Shirky and Lee Chatfield and said yeah, we talked about the election. Who knows what's going to go they put out the statement that it had a whole lot of wiggle room in it saying we are going to make sure all The votes are counted and that the law is followed. There is a lot of loopholes left in that one of the people who's really suspicious of both Shirky and Chatfield motivations, and their sincerity is a friend of the pod and Jeff camera. He is a former republican on the State Board of canvassers. He is also former executive director of the Michigan Republican Party. Here's what he had to say, on MSNBC,

 

Jeff Timmer  25:23

I have very little faith that they'll be able to stand up to this. There hasn't been a Republican in the country that's been able to stand up to Trump's nonsense over these last four years. And I doubt that either of these two can withstand the pressure if it actually comes to a situation where the board deadlocks that the board doesn't certify the court hasn't ruled in time to compel them to certify. And the legislature is looking at the clock ticking. There's a December 8 federal deadline for certification to happen. And if it hasn't happened in Michigan, by that date, there's going to be enormous pressure on the legislature to take some action, the likelihood of either of these two legislative leaders who have been involved in nonsense like the arm protests at the Capitol earlier this year, both of them were directly involved in those instances, if they couldn't stand up to these clowns that showed up at the Capitol in Michigan with with long guns. There's no way they're gonna stand up to somebody like Donald Trump at the White House.

 

Walt Sorg  26:20

Okay, Christian, what do you think of the claims by Chatfield and Shirky that all they talked about was COVID relief, and the President didn't bring up the subject to the election?

 

Christine Barry  26:29

You know what, whatever, let's go all the way back to Trump calls the two people on the Wayne County Board of canvassers and the next thing, you know, they file affidavits that say, I really didn't want to do that I want to rescind my vote. Suddenly, we have invitations to Shirky and Chatfield, neither one of them will tell anybody ahead of time, why they're going in there to talk. They put out things like anytime a president calls he should be proud to go. Well, for Chatfield that's kind of true because Chatfield's been up Trump's ass since the very first time. Trump had a state of the union to give and Chatfield invited him here. So I understand Lee Chatfield is this huge fanboy Shirky, maybe maybe not, I don't know. But they didn't tell us anything. They didn't say, Hey, we're going to go and plead the case for federal aid. We're going to go and talk about this, that or the other thing, and we're going to, you know, they could have even been honest and said, we're going to talk about our elections, but understand that we have confidence in our elections. They didn't do any of that. And in fact, when they confronted some, I think reporters can confronted Shirky in the airport, he started singing some hymn about being persecuted. Like what? And then they come back with the statement. Let me tell you something. Walt, I'll tell you exactly what they did, they went in and they said, President Trump, we need help in Michigan in the fight against COVID and Trump's first thing out of his mouth. Okay, I need you to do me a favor, though, exactly like you did with the Ukraine. I'm sure of it. Here, write it down, write it down. Christian says so.

 

Walt Sorg  28:03

there's a quid pro quo in there someplace. And it didn't help the credibility of either of the legislative leaders that after their meeting at the White House, they went over to Trump's hotel, and we're seen in the bar mask free partying it up drinking $500, a bottle of champagne, which I'm pretty sure that they didn't pay for. Who knows if the president paid for it, if it was on the house, or some lobbyists were paying for it. But it was not a pleasant picture they were seeing over there and had their pictures taken by the Chief of Staff for congressman Kildee. You know, how obvious Can you be? You know, I know Mitch, pretty well, in that regard was the chief of staff. He's no dummy. He knew exactly where they're going afterwards, and he just stocked up. He went over the bar and waited for them is probably what happened. We'll see what the board of canvassers does. I'm especially suspicious of norm schinkel. He's got a long history of being ultra partisan on the board and doing things that just shouldn't be done. One of the affidavits that was filed in Wayne County complaining about the canvas there was filed by his wife who said that the people in the room were mean to her, which I don't think is against the law. Last time I checked, she said a lot of other things, too, and her affidavit, which have nothing to do with the law. And now you've got both the national Chair of the Republican Party who's from Michigan, Ronna McDaniel, who used to be run to Romney, until the rest of the family was too embarrassed by her. And then Laura Cox, who is the state chair, calling on the board of canvassers, to delay certification of the election for 14 days until there can be an audit of Wayne County, which just happens to be against the law.

 

Christine Barry  29:36

right because you cannot audit a county until after it's been certified based on the legalities around releasing information required to conduct the audit.

 

Walt Sorg  29:47

And we will mention again, john James will talk about him a little bit later, but he's also a part of this cabal that is saying that the election was rigged in Wayne County and all those black voters indeed troit, who I claimed to be one of their votes shouldn't count. He's very unhappy about that. Talk about that a little bit later as well. Other democrats aren't, of course, just lying down and taking this they launched a shot across the bow. In a virtual news conference prior to the Board of canvassers meeting, it featured Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, who I think is probably the hardest hitting partition amongst the Democratic members of the delegation along with state senator jeff Irwin from Ann Arbor, and Detroit state representative Tyrone Carter, and none of the minced any words,

 

Debbie Dingell  30:32

We need to get on with our nation's business. They have to end this is an embarrassing spectacle for the state of Michigan. This isn't what we want to be known for. I want to be known for working with everybody protecting our democracy uniting us, and that we're all Americans.

 

Jeff Irwin  30:49

So here we are in the middle of a pandemic outbreak, and here in Lansing. Well, we've got legislators gallivanting off to DC to talk about Trump's plan to steal the election. I want to talk a little bit about what we're not doing in Lansing. We're not talking about meeting the needs of our struggling citizens, we're not talking about fixing unemployment or saving our small businesses. We're not talking about how to reopen our schools, or how to get testing and tracing up to snuff. No, instead, at the behest of the Trump campaign. We're meeting in Lansing during a public health emergency to raise baseless allegations of fraud. On behalf of the Trump campaign,

 

Tyrone Carter  31:25

to me, there's been things that have been done strategically in the past to suppress votes. Now that we get people out to vote, all of a sudden Detroit can't vote can't count. It's disrespectful, that's insulting. And the part that bothers me more than anything. Four years ago, there was no problem. There has never been a problem with accepting the results in the state of Michigan, ever, until this disrupter gets elected.

 

Walt Sorg  31:49

So I don't want to make any predictions on the board of canvassers because by the time a lot of people listen to this podcast, it already will be history. And half of them will say, Boy, you are an idiot, you should read that one wrong. Which is not unusual. People say that after most of our podcasts for some of the predictions that I make. But the reality is Joe Biden's gonna be the next president of the United States. We need to get on with the transition, we need to get on with the business of the nation. One other quick note, before we move on to other issues, I want to talk a little bit about the Georgia election because it certainly could have an impact on the Biden ministration. If democrats can't win both of those seats, we're gonna have gridlock again for two or four more years, Mitch McConnell will see to it. That is Mitch McConnell's brand. Their argument, the republican argument is that if democrats get control of the Senate, all the socialist crap is going to get through and the nation is going to be taken over the commies and it'll never be the same again. It's simply it's that realistic, although it's not being talked about a whole lot. If democrats take both of those seats in Georgia, it'll be 5050 in the Senate, with a tie breaking vote for the vice president united states, Kamala Harris, which is fine, Joe Biden will be able to get some of his core legislation through. But if the legislation goes too far to the left, there's Joe Manchin. There's john tester, there's Mark Warner, moderate democrats who are not going to give in to the agenda of the far left wing of the Democratic Party. They will not be obstacles like Mitch McConnell, but at the same time, they're certainly not going to let the most extreme proposals from the left wing go through, we will not have Medicare for all, we probably won't have a carbon tax, because Joe Manchin is likely to allow that he's from West Virginia for crying out loud. But there'll be a lot of good legislation that we'll still be able to get through. If the republicans take control, nothing's going to happen. It's going to be joe biden's skills at forging bipartisan Coalition's is going to be tested to the enth degree. And he's going to be relying a lot on Mitt Romney and Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski to see if we get anything at all done, at least you'll be able to get as cabinet thanks to them. They have said that they believe that the president should be allowed to have his cabinet unless he appoint somebody who's just too far out of the mainstream and was unqualified, which would be a nice difference from some of the people Trump appointed.

 

Christine Barry  34:10

It would be I'll believe what Susan Collins says when I see it, but they feel sort of very strongly worded note. Yes, she because she feels very strongly about it. One of the things about the American Senate is that because America is such a huge country, and we have so many different types of regions, you know, the heartland, if you will, is all spread out. And this is a place where you see the big red states, but there's only a few people there. And then you have the urban centers. It means that there are places where moderate or, you know, semi conservative democrats are the only kind of Democrats who are ever going to be elected there. And they're genuine in their positions because they're from those places. You're right, there's no there's not going to be any big swinging to the left as long as the Senate is 5050. Because there are people who just will be able to look at this and say, Look, my state can't bear this kind of legislation right now. And they won't support it. And the next person who gets elected, also won't support it, because they don't see that legislation as being the state, I guess what I'm trying to say. So I agree with you.

 

Walt Sorg  35:21

Anybody who sees it sees john tester, or Joe Manchin is a radical lefty, is drinking something really weird, or is taking advantage of legalized marijuana someplace because it just ain't so john test I like both of them quite a bit, even though I disagree with them on some policy, but the fact remains that they are very solid centrists, which I kind of am as well I call myself a pragmatic progressive. I go by and totally to the extreme positions of the AOC wing, the Bernie Sanders wing, but at the same time, I understand why they're saying it and they can continue to fight for it. But I don't think that's where the nation is at right now.

 

Walt Sorg  35:56

Well, let's get off the the the politics in the health care, don't talk about something is kind of important too. And that's the economy. You know, there's a lot of people still unemployed not just in Michigan, but all across the nation. And for the second time coming into national office, Joe Biden's got to deal with a national economic downturn. The first time it was a result of the the Great Recession the the bubble that burst as a result of all the shenanigans on Wall Street. This time, it is the economic bubble bursting, because of the combined incompetence of the Trump administration and the spread of COVID-19. across the country. With high unemployment nationally, in Michigan, the state is positioned for a strong comeback, though, if the incoming administration follows through on his campaign points for the new economy. That is at the heart of an op ed in Newsweek this week, which is co authored by our guests this week, john Austin, our friend, john is director of the Michigan Economic center. JOHN, in your article for Newsweek, you and your partner make the argument that for Joe Biden to bring the country together, it really needs to start in the Midwest, the premise being really that the Midwest has been kind of overlooked by the two parties, as they focus on the coasts.

 

John Austin  37:04

Yeah, and Midwest and also in rural America writ large. We, some of us, were hoping that we'd see a, you know, a blue wave and odor reduction. But among voters across the world, what we got was a close shave, meaning there's still a lot of people who were responding to his what, you know, populist demagoguery about, you know, bring it back. I mean, in the past, it's somehow immigrants are the folks who are keeping you from getting what you're owed. And, you know, the reality is that it is people who are in economically struggling and left behind rural America and in our, our city communities, our industrial communities, like Michigan, haven't turned to that have seen diminished populations and the kids leave and have seen not development of new good jobs to replace the ones we lost. And in many those communities like, you know, Battle Creek and and sagging on the Flint's, and it's white working class folks in and around those places in our state, where you know, understandably frustrated, anxious, angry about their own lives and eager to blame somebody else. And, you know, Trump don't Stokes that it's not the answer or their economic future for them and their kids. But it keep voting even more for him in those parts of the country. They came out in droves in Trump country, which is both, you know, rural America, communities and their interesting piece, my partner on this piece, Paul stickler, who's from Des Moines, Iowa, who was worked for DuPont for many years as a business guy. He sent me the, the, the Iowa, the Des Moines Register had a editorial saying it was the communities that are behind in rural Iowa, that were sending, you know, the Trump voters were voting even more aggressively, places that were doing better off and I would turn in economic corner. They were, you know, they went blue. But I still was carried by Trump. But in Michigan, you know, communities that hadn't turned an economic corner went for Trump big time. And only nine counties in Michigan, voted for Joe Biden. And they were, you know, large turnout of an anti Trump vote around the African American communities, but white working class folks and places that are struggling, keep voting for Trump, and so we don't deliver some economic opportunity for them and their kids, you know, revitalize their communities that are, you know, once thriving, that are now kind of degraded, they're going to keep voting wait. So we've got to get busy with an agenda for rural America and the communities that have been in a long term kind of economic decline.

 

Walt Sorg  39:56

I see echoes of a couple of recent campaigns in your article First, the mistake, I think Hillary Clinton made more than any other in her campaign. It wasn't avoiding Wisconsin and Michigan, although that certainly hurt. But as when she talked about, basically, we're gonna get rid of coal. without explaining what that really meant. It wasn't meaning we're going to turn our back on the coal miners, it means we are going to transition to the 21st century forms of energy, and you're not going to be left behind. In fact, we're going to train you, we're going to help you make that transition. But you kind of skipped that part went straight to the end product.

 

John Austin  40:28

Yeah, and it's a challenging, ask to try to reach people and help them understand look, and it's difficult to tell them this, those those industries of the past and the jobs, the jobs that pay well aren't coming back, whether it's in or, you know, some of the traditional manufacturing we had. And Bill Clinton did this, you know, better than anybody he could tell, look, got it. It's advance into an information age and your old job that didn't require any education and feel about pay well, just is gone. But this is why we need to develop, you know, new jobs, good paying jobs, and all these emerging sectors are so much more work on the pays well, and clean energy and, and manufacturing, if you have the skills to program the robot, and then healthcare and it and, and clean water solution for the world, Michigan and the Midwest can lead in those arenas. But it's not bringing back the past. And Hillary did not do a good job of saying, here's my agenda for growing new good paint jobs for you. In Michigan, in coal country. Here's how we're going to read develop rural communities. And that would speak to the upside positive affirmative agenda for folks versus telling them, you know, get over it can't bring back days of your talk, Trump went ahead and promised to bring back Coal and Steel. And, you know, demonstrably, and I've written some pieces on this. Our manufacturing employment in Michigan and in other communities around the Midwest is lower than it was we've lost jobs in manufacturing, his whole promises that he's brought back, I just follow. And some people see it, but many don't, because they keep responding to his rhetoric. So we need real delivery. And I'm hopeful Biden, I mean, he put out a pretty clear and aggressive economic growth plan with a heavy emphasis on let's lead the world and in clean energy solutions, and the opposite can go already are many more than poljot. I grew up in West Virginia. There are not that many coal miners left. It's it's mountaintop removal with one person, you know, running a giant piece of earthmoving equipment, another person scooping it up and a giant truck as big as this house. And another person, you know, hauling it away. While you know old company owners count the money. I mean, that's it. So that's just not coming back.

 

Walt Sorg  42:47

Well, it's the same thing with the auto industry. When I came to Lansing many years ago to go to college, we had 25,000 people building cars at General Motors, plants, they're turning out the same number of cars today with 7000 people.

 

John Austin  42:59

Exactly any of that, that that GM factory facility up in Lansing is one of the you know, the relatively few giant complexes with lots of people going in to work, but it's much more automated and yeah employs fewer people than days of yore I was

 

Walt Sorg  43:15

in most of the many college degrees, you get a job there.

 

John Austin  43:18

Yeah, I mean, I, you know, Buick city, I used to have an office when I was working in Flint next to Buick city, which is a mile long, complex. It's totally gone. And you'll Flint had 70,000 edits a day, people working directly for General Motors, now it's down to, you know, five or 7000. That's a hard thing to, to feel as a community if you grew up there. And if you, you know, you remember, you're proud of it. Remember the kind of the working class opia that it was for Rick shiny moment. But the answer for Flint is not to say we're going to bring those jobs back and say, hey, let's help you get a new job and get the skills in these emerging sectors, including we're going to be making more medical products and ventilators and, you know, there's there's a lot more money to be made, if you're making a body part machine or a part that is like we make machine parts for the auto industry. It goes and replaces your hip. And you know, the skills to do that. And the businesses that are growing are in those kinds of arenas.

 

Walt Sorg  44:16

It also, of course, was an echo of the campaign of Gretchen Whitmer. Back in the pre COVID days, it seems almost quaint now to be campaigning on fix the damn roads, given what we're facing now. But basically, hers was a campaign about infrastructure expanded to include education, talking about real bread and butter issues, especially with our infrastructure in the Midwest and in the northeast, where you're talking about infrastructure that's 50 to 100 years old, the interstate highway system basically was built in the 50s and early 60s. And that's

 

John Austin  44:46

we name and point out in this article about what's an agenda that can really lift the economy and rebuild the communities of the heartland writ large, rural American, particularly the industrial Midwest. Yeah. We have the Most battered oldest, whether it's water sewer roads, is, and if we had a real meaningful federal, you know, infrastructure investment program, we would would benefit the most in our part of the country. And we put them more people to work and redeveloping. Now we've got extend broadband, and communications to everyone. And there's work to do to do that, and good jobs that require technical degree. We also do know, I mean, we proposing we need a GI bill for work, we need to guarantee them a technical higher education degree that allows them to take these good jobs and in communications, and robotics and programming and coding and all the things that are growing. And that's something we should do, because we have more adults, you know, hard working people out there. With just a high school education in our state and Pennsylvania and nearby states, you can't get and keep a good paying job these days with just a high school education, we know that there's been amazing accelerating automation in our manufacturing environment, the COVID dynamic is going to drive that further meaning more routine jobs and pre production and warehousing other things are going to be automated. So we've got Aaron T, folks, look, we'll get you the skill and we'll pay for it, we will benefit disproportionately by a real GI bill for work, which worked once you know coming after World War Two, our in our economy, people getting a higher education degree or credential allowed them to find a place and make a place in a changing economy, we need to do that again.

 

Walt Sorg  46:36

On the plus side, though, the foundation is already there in Michigan, and a lot of ways we are still the center of r&d development for advanced manufacturing in the world, mostly because of the auto industry. We have two world class research universities, where as most states are lucky to have one, we've got Pfizer, which all of a sudden has become pretty important in this country. But that kind of development is going on as well. So the the and we've got a community college system that quite honestly can build an awful lot of that intellectual advancement that we need to build our economy. So it's there the will is to make the investment to leverage these resources.

 

John Austin  47:15

Yeah, we really don't appreciate because we sort of know ourselves as you know, the car capital and the auto industry, and that we have the innovation horsepower in our companies, in our entrepreneurs in our universities and colleges, to be the leader in the development and production and creation of new jobs in all the fast growing sectors. You know, the a cereal industry with reinvented in the auto industry, you know, our autos morphing into a new mobility industry, as you know, you're gonna have autonomous vehicles and robot delivery vehicles running up and down the street. There's one here in Ann Arbor where I am there training a robot delivery vehicle to deliver the packages and the food we can make and develop all these coming technologies and Clean Energy Solutions, clean water solutions, it and medical, you know we have huge opportunities, they're looking at Grand Rapids, done used to be you know, auto and furniture, auto parts and furniture making nothing built like a health medical industrial complex, you know, almost from scratch. We can do these things if we leverage, you know, the, the resource we have. And you know, certainly the feds could help you know, we're proposing in the piece, let's steer our our federal r&d dollars into university of innovation institutes as we did under Obama at an energy and manufacturing, we got one of those in Michigan, both of those, and the innovations around the next clean energy technologies and the next manufacturing technologies, develop them here. And all these other arenas, new mobility, new food systems, and we get the spin out, we get the new startups, we get the new good paying jobs and growing sectors where there's multi trillion dollar world markets in our companies. They play on a global basis, we can enter the economic action again, we focus our innovation abilities and our resources behind percolating new businesses, new dubs in the arenas that are growing just as we did 100 years ago, we were the Silicon Valley in Michigan, on with Cleveland, and all the big industries where we're grown here. You know, you mentioned Pfizer, you know Pfizer, but Upjohn, uptime, uptime was started when they invented the digestible pill. And, you know, they they lost a lot of employment in Kalamazoo uptime. Pfizer bought it and inviter closed, most of it down. They had Stryker, they had a smart economic development strategy. They kept some of the biosigns talent in Kalamazoo to create new businesses. They did the Kalamazoo promise, again, paying for higher education, which got people moving back into Kalamazoo. develop their downtown for now attractive, idle, livable, walkable Bell's brewery. And Kalamazoo is thriving again, and has been migration of people and families. And it's what Tom has devoted blue. Again, when other similarly situated old industrial towns, you know, like Battle Creek down the street, and x and others went even stronger for Trump, we haven't haven't found a new route of economic activity to replace. Awesome. anchors are the timidity.

 

Walt Sorg  50:28

And one final benefit of all of this, of course, is a lot of what you're talking about is also environmentally responsible. In some cases, making the environment better is at the heart of the economic policy involved. But for others, it's just kind of like a fringe benefit.

 

John Austin  50:42

Yeah, and it also is important because it sends that kind of a message, particularly to young people who want to, you know, they want to solve the world's problems and climate change and sustainability, when Grand Rapids is, you know, again, civic, business leadership, political leadership there, or Mayor Rick Hartwell was in them, we're gonna become the most sustainable city. And they became the greenest midsize city, the leader there made commitments to reduce the carbon footprint, reduce their water use, help people for public transportation, get them out of cars, Who woulda thunk in Michigan, you know, Park capital. And so that is redounded to their benefit. They're, they're sending a message that we are on the cutting edge of, of, you know, sustainable technologies. They're big employers like Herman Miller and Steelcase are globally ringing the bell among the most sustainable ringing their supply chains or have their carbon footprint of that send the message and look, guess what Kent County went blue this time, because it's now a more vibrant, more forward leaning more optimistic community who'd have thunk, no stodgy old, you know, Republican, West Michigan would see places like that are evolving to be, you know, looking ahead, not then responsive to these siren calls of, you know, bring back the past and it's somehow immigrants that are causing your troubles. You know, when people feel like they got a future. They feel pretty good. Yeah, as you said, they can just think of good roads, you know, good schools. I'm going to go for that.

 

Walt Sorg  52:18

JOHN Austin, always a pleasure. Thanks for joining us on the podcast.

 

John Austin  52:21

My pleasure. Walt

 

Christine Barry  52:22

that was a great interview. I always love having john on. He just cuts right through it explains everything clearly.

 

Walt Sorg  52:29

He deals with Facts, what a concept.

 

Christine Barry  52:33

Okay, a couple of quick notes. First of all, the state is increasingly broke just like every other state. Governor Whitmer is pleading with Washington to get some help, but the legislature's Republican leaders aren't on board with saving Michigan,

 

Debbie Dingell  52:45

Democratic leader in the Senate, Jim Ananich. House Democratic Leader Chris Greig and I sent a letter to Senator Mitch McConnell, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Chuck Schumer, Representative Kevin McCarthy, urging them all to take swift action to pass a COVID-19 relief bill that meets the scale of this crisis. I did ask the Republican leader in both the Senate and House to sign on to this letter as well. But they declined.

 

Walt Sorg  53:13

You know, there's an awful lot of this my party before the country stuff going on both in the state in the country, I think it's appropriate to point out that it is not universal within the Republican Party to have our Republican members of Congress from Michigan have spoken out very strongly on both the election and the need to get on with the transition. And props go out to Paul Mitchell, who is stepping down from Congress at the end of this year, probably to run for governor in a couple of years. And the always reelected Fred Upton over in the southwest corner of the state who was interviewed on CNN,

 

Fred Upton  53:47

the voters have spoken. I mean, here in Michigan, it was 154,000 vote margin by President Elect Biden, no one is come up with any evidence of fraud or abuse. All 83 counties now have certified their own election results. Those will be officially tabulated or they should be tomorrow. We expect that that process move forward and let the voters not the politician speak a 14 day delay doesn't help any. And frankly, we have to get back to governing. As you know, with the GSA not officially certifying the election. It's really thrown a lot of sand in the gears of allowing for the transition to take place. You know,

 

Christine Barry  54:32

one of the things I will say going back to Shirky and Chatfield and not supporting the governor in her plea for help from from Congress. They did spend a similar letter to Congress when they went to Washington to party with Trump. And I say party with Trump because you didn't see these pictures in that beautiful place where they were drinking all that champagne we talked about earlier. They did send a similar letter, but they wouldn't sign on to Governor Whitmer, his letter and I think that this whole Why won't she work with us narrative is their guiding principle of everything they do. Ultimately, they want to come back to the point of the governor simply won't work with us. And if that means they do really stupid things that everybody should be able to see through, like, not signing her letter, but sending their own and they say basically the same things, then that's what they'll do. It's nuts.

 

Walt Sorg  55:23

other issues, briefly, we need to touch on the Flint Water case, which goes on and on and on and on, apparently now has is just about over, the state has reached a settlement with the city, and some codefendants, for a total of $641.2 million for the city of Flint. And that's going to help an awful lot in repairing some of the damage, at least that was done by the horrific poisoning of the water system in Flint. This is going to know what six years, seven years something like that. But it long, less this may be over. And we could put it behind us. Although for the people of Flint, the lingering effects are going to go on for years and years, there's nothing you can do about lead poisoning. And there's a lot of kids in Flint, especially who are going to be suffering for the rest of their lives because of this horrific, horrific poisoning of their water system.

 

Christine Barry  56:14

Yeah, I agree. And I don't think that 641 plus million dollars is nearly enough when you consider the totality of the damage that's been done. But what I did like about this agreement was that it carved out money for different things and and specifically identified areas of support that the people of Flint would need. I appreciate that, because it's it looks at the whole picture, it's a more holistic view. But again, because there's been so much damage to Flint, I really think the package has to be bigger than 640 $1 million. This whole city was poisoned for a long time. But at least we're moving forward. And we'll have a video in the show notes that does spell out some of these things that the money is going to specifically. So I encourage people to take a look at that and see how this settlement went.

 

Walt Sorg  57:07

And we can't have a podcast without our good friend, john James, the unsuccessful two elections in a row candidate for United States Senate, he still refuses to concede, you know what's going on?

 

Christine Barry  57:19

Well, it's it's not really a surprise, considering what President Trump is doing. And people pointing at Detroit and saying, you know, shenanigans or whatever, john James won't concede because he believes that truth takes time. It's difficult to get to, and therefore we need to audit the election before it's certified, which as we mentioned, can't be done. But he just got gives us vague statement about freedom and liberty and the bedrock of our democracy. Ultimately, he's just not going to concede if there's some way that he could be made, Senator, that's what he's going to go for. And frankly, I think that's part of why the republicans are going at Detroit so hard as well. You know, Michigan as a state isn't required for Joe Biden to be sworn in. But if you can do something to Detroit, you may be able to deliver john James some more votes. And you know,

 

Walt Sorg  58:20

if you don't count Detroit, john James won the election. Yeah,

 

Christine Barry  58:22

yeah. But we do count Detroit because they're Michiganders, so you don't get to just pluck them out the way that you do when, like, Trump wants to pluck them out to talk about the election numbers. He wanted to pluck them out to talk about COVID numbers. You know, is there any respect at all for Detroit from these republicans? I there just isn't. But the thing is, john James has finally taken a position on something Walt, and  we got to give it to him there. I didn't think I would ever say the day

 

Walt Sorg  58:51

long for the days when Bill Milligan is governor. The reason he won a couple of his elections was because that he took the trade very seriously and built a strong partnership with the mayor of Detroit, who was somebody who disagree with politically on a lot of things, but he realized the importance of the city to the state of Michigan. We need to go over to Ann Arbor, a little bit to one of the democrats over in Ann Arbor has done something that looks bad, although it's not illegal. It doesn't violate legislative rules, but still looks bad. It's senator Rebecca Warren.

 

Christine Barry  59:22

Yeah, that's kind of weird. She's lobbying lawmakers who are not in Michigan. So these are out of state lawmakers. It's totally in line with her stand on making the popular vote, like doing away with the electoral college, I guess is the best way to say it. So that

 

Walt Sorg  59:39

yes, the National Popular Vote organization. Yes.

 

Christine Barry  59:41

And so this is totally in line with with how she views this. This isn't anything that is dubious, based on you know, it's not hypocritical in any way. But it's weird because she's getting paid to do a job for an organization that requires her to contact people out of state or that That's at least part of it. And and she's lobbying and communicating with these people, but she's a full time legislator. And you know what? Well, that growing movement in Michigan of having a part time legislature, this is the kind of thing that people use to support that. Because if she's got time to do this job, then she doesn't need to have full time to do. Yeah, her legislative work.

 

Walt Sorg  1:00:22

Well, there's a lot of legislators that have jobs. There's nothing in state law that precludes them from doing that. I misspoke. By the way earlier, I called her Senator Warren. She's a former senator who's now presentative. She is term limited. She'll be leaving the house at the end of December, because of term limits and can't go back to the Senate because she was already termed out of there as well. So it's a short term thing. And over the years, I've been a lot of legislators that have outside businesses, especially the people that are in professional services, lawyers, especially, but being a lobbyist, even though it is for a nonpartisan group, basically, that is doing a public service type work rather than lobbying for a special interest. I don't find it especially offensive. It's just by attaching the title lobbyist, to a member of the Michigan legislature. It does look bad, but again, no, it looks bad. It's not

 

Christine Barry  1:01:10

about the fact that it looks bad is kind of what I was getting at. This is the kind of thing even you know, other people have jobs. Yes. But when you see one of your full time legislators, lobbying legislators outside of the state, it's the kind of thing that you can use against somebody. And and that's what I think it does. I think it It encourages these people who want a part time legislature to, you know, look at this and say, See, we don't need a full time legislature. She's doing legislative work in other states, which is not true. But it's it's one of those things well, and be because I am so opposed to part time legislature. That's where my mind went when I saw this. I wish she wouldn't do it. But yeah, it's not illegal doesn't violate rules. The law against lobbying while you're a legislator only applies to lobbying in Michigan, I believe. So it works out for her I guess.

 

Walt Sorg  1:02:02

Okay, a couple of other quick notes we'll mention before we wrap things up. But we'll have a lot more of this on the Show page online, Michiganpolicast.com. First was the really remarkable return of Rachel Maddow on her msnbc program, she revealed that the reason she was gone is because her life partner, Susan macola, almost died from COVID. And she got a very first hand example of just how serious this is on a personal level. It was really very powerful. The opening monologue when she finally returned after a couple of weeks, she continues to do her program from her. I think it's our living room right now. And she's got a lousy internet connection because she looks horrible. The lighting is self manufactured, you didn't bring in the msnbc people to do it. So it looks about as crummy as the lighting that I've got for my, my podcasts too. But it's worth listening to because it's quite eloquent. It's not political at all. It is just personal. It shows the power of what people can do. On television for the public good. I would compare it to the monologue that Jimmy Kimmel did when his son almost died right after birth from a pre existing condition and the things he had to say about eliminating coverage for pre existing conditions for people who are less fortunate to him. Now Jimmy Kimmel can afford whatever he needs for medical care, but most people can't. I thought it was really great. And then there's a really good column in Bloomberg. It was written by a professor at Columbia University School of International Public Affairs. His name is Rohit agarwalla, is the former director of long term planning and sustainability for the city of New York. It calls for amending the US Constitution, to protect us from future Donald Trump's. And the basic premise of it is, is that for 250 years, we've relied on the good faith of the President of the United States, not to do things not to abuse the powers that are given to them in section in Article two of the Constitution. And until now that it has worked, but under Donald Trump, it just completely fell apart. And we're going to make sure it doesn't happen again, conflict of interest abuse of the pardoning power, which quite honestly, a lot of presidents have done in the past Republicans and Democrats, abuses of the use of the Justice Department to for political vendettas. And it goes on and on and on and on the reality that the Trump administration absolutely refused to recognize the authority of Congress to conduct oversight and ignored all subpoenas. And to this day continues to ignore subpoenas and there's no legal consequences because ultimately, the enforcement of those subpoenas falls on the Attorney General is appointed by the President. And if you got an attorney general like Bill Barr, it's not going to get enforce it is things like what's going on right now with the General Services Administration where you've got an administrator they're blatantly violating federal law to stop the transition. The law is very clear. When there's an apparent winner you start the transition. We have an apparent winner, but she refused to sign the bank It's a really good column to read. Bloomberg is behind a paywall, but I think he get four or five free articles a month so and they've got a subscription, special going on right now too. So if you need to pay, it's not very expensive.

 

Christine Barry  1:05:12

Yeah, I mean, I was able to just click on it and and pull it right up. Like you said, you get three or four articles for free. It's interesting, because the argument is, or the the comment that it starts out with the headline, minus Democrats should amend the Constitution is very difficult to amend the Constitution. So it would take a while. But you're right. And I think in the second year, I don't even think it took to the second year of the Trump administration, before people started saying we're gonna have to create a whole bunch of new laws to make sure that nobody ever does this again. And then it just kept getting worse and worse. So there are a lot of things to fix.

 

Walt Sorg  1:05:48

You know, financial disclosure is a part of it. You've got the whole Trump family profiting from the presidency. And they have through the entire course of it. You've got Jared Kushner, getting loan guarantees to bail him out of stupid real estate deals, Ivanka getting all sorts of licenses for merchandising in China. God only knows what Kool Aid Qusay have been doing with the real estate business and trying to make private deals for after the whole thing is over. Plus, you're gonna have a situation I think, probably I guess it's a close, you know, talk about this a little bit. And that is what Donald Trump is really up to. And I think a lot of his shenanigans right now, in addition to being petty retribution for having lost the election, it's all about making money. He is continuing this Sham legal argument, so that he can continue skinning money out of the people that follow Him and believe in him. He has sent out something like 300 emails since the election begging for money for his legal defense fund. Yet the fine print says that the money's not going to The Legal Defense Fund unless you give more than I think it's six or $8,000. The money is going to go right into his campaign fund to pay off debts and to fund his future political activities. And you know, just based on the way he has operated his presidency, that anybody that has spent on politics by Trump affiliated organization is going to end up being spent at Trump properties. And millions and millions and millions of dollars will go right into Donald Trump's pocket, from the good hardworking Americans that are conned into basically continuing to provide financial support. I don't blame them. I blame him. Shame on him for continuing to delude and confuse and pluck money from the people that believe in him.

 

Christine Barry  1:07:29

And I would like to take a moment to congratulate Riley Beggin. on joining the detroit news. She has been a friend of the podcast for a long time. She was with bridge before she went to Detroit News and did a great job there. We know she'll be doing a great job for the detroit news. And we're really glad to see that she is still covering the Capitol and taking care of us and getting information out to us, this time through the detroit news. Congratulations Riley.

 

Walt Sorg  1:08:01

By teaming up with Craig Mauger at the Detroit News. It gives the news a very powerful pair of journalists that are government state government on our behalf and God Bless 'em both and Godspeed.

 

Christine Barry  1:08:11

And that is it for another exciting episode of the Michigan podcast. We will be back after Thanksgiving stuffed with Turkey and having overdosed on zoom calls. Stuck you with information complete with all the fixings head on over to MichiganPolicast.com where we will celebrate Thanksgiving with links, pictures, tweets and so on.

 

Walt Sorg  1:08:32

And it's low calorie and gluten free, which is really important to your feedback is welcome email us at mipolicast@gmail.com. Or you can troll us on our Facebook page or Twitter. If you're good to us, we'll send you a picture of me with my hair dyed dripping down my face.

 

Walt Sorg  1:08:49

The Michigan Podcast is a production of Michigan citizens for a better tomorrow.

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