Thursday, August 16, 2007

Michigan connections in the news

As Rodney Dangerfield might say, I got nothing. I'm not inspired to write, but I've been doing a lot of reading, so let me share some links that all have ties to Michigan.

First, from Schools Matter, comes this little tidbit about All Children Matter, founded by Michigan's losing gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos:
What happens when someone like charter school kingin, David Brennan, wants to buy more influence in Ohio elections than state law will allow? You do what Tom Delay did--you simply launder the money through an out-of-state outfit like All Children Matter that turns your cash into campaign contributions for your preferred stable of candidates.
Wisconsin also filed a complaint, contending the group laundered money and failed to register, but the state elections board there refused to authorize an investigation.

Also related to the DeVos family name is this news regarding Alticor (formerly known as Amway):
Alticor Inc. has fired 15 long-term and highly influential Quixtar distributors who filed a class-action lawsuit against the direct sales giant last week.

The ramifications of the dust-up for the Ada-based parent company of Amway could be huge -- especially as the company faces increased regulatory pressure in India and the United Kingdom.

Seventeen distributors are named as plaintiffs in a scathing suit that says Quixtar operates as a pyramid scheme selling merchandise at prices so inflated it cannot be sold to anyone other than distributors.
Did the company really fire them or did some of them resign? Webraw reports that eight distributors posted their letter of resignation online the day before the Quixtar announcement.

The big news this week was Karl Rove's resignation, but did you know there might be a Michigan connection?

What Really Brought Rove Down?
When the Bush administration angered one of its most hard-right officials, he launched an investigation into Karl Rove's politicization of the federal government -- which may be what led to Rove's resignation.
Scott Bloch, director of the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), may have been Rove's ultimate undoing. As you might recall, Bloch embarrassed the Bush administration in 2004 when he removed from his agency's website a notice of long-standing protections for gays and lesbians. Bush officials were forced to contradict Bloch's stance and Rove reportedly referred to Bush's religious-right supporters as "out of control." Shortly after this, Bloch demanded that most career attorneys in his office accept involuntary transfers or lose their jobs. Nearly all of these attorneys had challenged Bloch's decision to remove the nondiscrimination policy statement about gays and lesbians from the Web site and two were openly gay.

So, where's the Michigan connection, and how does this relate to Karl Rove? Read on:
One of the agency locations to which transfers were being made was a new office Bloch was opening in Michigan, even though the agency was dealing with very few cases in that region. However, the region was home to Ave Maria Law School, an institution founded by Thomas S. Monaghan, the Daddy Warbucks of new-right Catholics... Bloch ended the standard competition for law internships in his office and began hiring straight out of Ave Maria. [...]

Bloch may have thought that his brand of anti-union, homophobic loyalty to the Bush-Rove cause of misappropriating the taxpayer-funded apparatus of the federal government for partisan political purposes would win him some major kudos. But it was not to be. Apparently Bloch's Ave Maria-boostering and overtly anti-gay (hating both the sin and the sinner) antics were a bit over the top, as it were, so in 2005, Clay Johnson, the No. 2 at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) called on Bloch to resign, according to columnist Robert Novak. Then, wrote Novak, some mysterious, unnamed, Bush-loving Catholic was dispatched to Bloch to gently suggest the same.

When Bloch refused to tender his resignation, Johnson, according to Novak, set off an investigation of Bloch via a referral to the inspector general of the Office of Personnel Management. Bloch responded in kind, launching an OSC investigation into the administration's politicization of government agencies -- an investigation that landed at Rove's door.
Bloch's investigation led to the discovery of Rove's infamous PowerPoint presentation that "listed Democrats the White House has targeted for defeat in 2008" and to the discovery that Rove deployed officials from various government departments to appear with Republican members of Congress engaged in tough 2006 re-election fights (paid for by taxpayers). How ironic that a Bush appointee, one who was stereotypically loyal, hard-right and religious, might be responsible for Rove's resignation. It's too bad it took so long.

Finally, Romney says he could win Michigan if nominated. I don't think so. Romney is the wealthiest candidate in the race and isn't afraid to spend his own cash to get elected, but that didn't influence Michigan's voters when DeVos spent $35 million of his own kitty. He lost to Jennifer Granholm by a 14 point margin.

I don't think voters will be influenced by the fact his father, George Romney, was once our governor either. The voters bought that line of logic when they elected George Bush the son and look where that got us. Sorry, Mitt, but the Mitten says NO!


Larry said...

For someone who had nothing to say you made a good post.

Of all these, I really don't understand Rove, since Bush has gotten him out of legal jams for years.

I think he is out to swiftboat Hillary or whoever is the nominee and this will give Bush cover.

CEW said...

You did fine for someone with a case of "writer's cramp."

Kathy said...

Larry, I'm suspicious about his motives too. I guess his reputation will always proceed him.

CEW, thanks.