Sunday, June 30, 2013

Persuasion and Influence: A lame-ass offer - Erin Brockovich

DCATS - Detroit Coalition Against Tar Sands is working to remove petroleum coke piles along the edge of the Detroit River. We believe this video clip is similar to what we will be encountering with Koch Carbon, the owners of the waste byproduct that serves as nasty, dirty fuel which is regulated from being burned, but the EPA has not yet ruled as a hazardous material.
Reference: Persuasion and Influence: A lame-ass offer - Erin Brockovich: This video extract is from the film ‘Erin Brockovich’ which tells the true story of a ballsy single mother almost single-handedly br...

Friday, January 18, 2013

State of the State - OCCUPIED

Wednesday January 16, 2013 Governor Rick Snyder had a date with Michigan Legislators to offer them his take on the State of the State. The people were not going to let that be a peaceful event! Activists came from around the state with a number of messages. We greeted people arriving for the invitation only event and many concerned legislators said "Thank you for being here!" We were welcomed with signs from fellow demonstrators saying:

  • Right To Work is Wrong
  • Michigan is Fracked 
  • Idle No More
  • Snyder is a Liar
Many people attending on the lawn had plenty of additional sentiments. Some carried photos of congress people with a red SHAME stamp across them. The state is in an uproar as it starts 2013, in the wake of over 282 bills passing in the past 30 days of 2012.

It isn't only the laws which are recently passed, many are concerned about the future. The entire lower peninsula of Michigan is "fracking ready" according to current laws. Activists are gathering at events offering media exposure to make sure environmental issues in Michigan are in front of many eyes. We need to wake up to the effects of climate change 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Doug Geiss - NO to Jase Bolger as Speaker of House

Posted tonight by Doug Geiss as why he made a nearly unprecedented vote against Bolger.

"I voted against Representative Jase Bolger becoming the Speaker of the House of Representatives today, the first time in my lifetime that a Speaker received any "No" votes. Dian Slavens joined me in a final 107-2 vote.

Here are my reasons, as will appear in the House Journal:

I cast a no vote for Representative Bolger for the position of Speaker today, because I do not believe he is the correct person to lead the Michigan House of Representative. I could have cast a yes vote for any other member of the majority party, other than Representative Bolger. This is my first and only opportunity to weigh in on the actions taken by Representative Bolger during the 96th Legislature. Based on past actions, I cannot see improved working relations or practices taking place under the leadership of Representative Bolger.

First and foremost, the lack of ethics exhibited by Representative Bolger during the last legislature reflects poorly on the institution of the Michigan House of Representatives. While it was political to orchestrate the party switch of Representative Roy Schmidt, it was abhorrent that the then Speaker also worked to have a false Democratic candidate file to run in the same election, in an attempt to keep a real Democrat from filing to run. This is political gamesmanship unprecedented in Michigan history. Not only did Representative Bolger coordinate this abomination of the electoral process, but he lied about his involvement in the process. This cannot be condoned.

Next, the Representative Bolger orchestrated cuts to Michigan's public schools and taxes on Michigan's seniors, in order to pay for a $1.8 Billion tax cut for Michigan's businesses. While talking about making Michigan more competitive for businesses, Representative Bolger failed to discuss the negative impact of the cuts in school funding on our children and the inability of those living on a fixed income from affording these new taxes. I did not support those actions and am fearful of similar additional burdens on Michigan's families in the 97th Legislature.

Finally, Representative Bolger rammed through legislation in the lame duck session which concluded the 96th session. In particular, the Freedom to Freeload legislation was introduced and passed through our chamber in less than two session days of the House of Representatives. There were no committee hearings for this legislation. There was plenty of time to have them. I personally attended numerous meetings of the House Education Committee and the Insurance Committee during November and December, while many of my colleagues were hunting or on break. If this process was correct for deliberation of the EAA legislation and the Blue Cross/Blue Shield legislation, then why was it not proper for the most onerous changes affecting labor in Michigan's history? The reason is that Representative Bolger knew that a majority of Michigan's residents did not support the Freedom to Freeload legislation and that it would not stand the light of day. This is contrary to the true nature of our legislative process, to talk, discuss and ultimately vote on vital issues to the people of the State of Michigan.

If, in the spirit of bipartisanship, my colleagues and I are being asked to forgive and forget these transgressions, then so to should my historic no vote for the election of Speaker Bolger be forgiven. This is the cathartic process of stating your opinion for the record, then moving on to new challenges and issues facing the people of the State of Michigan. I look forward to serving the people of Romulus, Taylor and Van Buren Township, and all of Michigan, for the next two years."

Doug Geiss on passage of Right To Work bill on December 11, 2012

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy, Buy One Get One Free

We have been on REWIND for a DECADE since this speech by Arundhati Roy was delivered in 2003. It is time to awaken from the sickness and demand truth and justice for all - as we the people declared at the onset of this nation.

But we declare this now not as imperialist conquerors of a land filled with indigenous people,
oppressing the masses, denouncing the working class and poor. 
It is time for the humble to take their place and inherit the world as they are due.

The spirit which founded the United States of America through the Declaration of Independence, US Constitution and the US Bill of Rights grants the people of the nation the ability to hold our government in check should it be misguided. That time of misguidance has arrived and the mainstream press is not serving the public. The United States and the State of Michigan have declared war upon the people, violating the voice and right of the people whom it claims to serve. We know it not to be in service - it has been oppressing the people, controlling mainstream press, and have overturned the purpose of democracy.

This representative democracy has evolved into an autocratic ruling power. We are calling it to task through requests for information to honor the transparency ensured to the people. The people will stand in audit of the government and we demand justice in the truth to be revealed. We realize that the full depth of truth will be concealed even through what is revealed by the ruling class and those corporate entities which work through it. Our government has been sold out to special interests whom have preyed upon the people.

As stated in the speech, which can be read in its entirety through this link - taking action matters.
It would be naive to imagine that we can directly confront Empire. Our strategy must be to isolate Empire's working parts and disable them one by one. No target is too small. No victory too insignificant.
We must mobilize on EVERY FRONT on EVERY ISSUE. It is all worthwhile to protest and denounce. Use our press, the voice of the people, speaking, writing, recording, sharing. It is a responsibility and duty to ourselves and to each other. As she states in the lecture in closing SEIZE THE TIME.


CRS Annotated US Constitution 2nd Amendment in the Legal Information Institute of Cornell University Law School 
We is a fast-paced 64 minute documentary that covers the world politics of power, war, corporations, deception and exploitation. (Unfortunately Google video service has changed since this site was created, thus  it is broken in many ways.) Below is the video...

Monday, December 31, 2012

Question Authority

Michigan is sitting in the wake of a massive amount of legislation coming through the State House and Senate in the past month. 282 bills have been finding their way before Governor Snyder to approve or veto in one month alone. The Governor has been on top the game, December 28 he signed 58 into law and vetoed 4 that day alone. When someone says they are working toward smaller government then sponsor this much legislation to grow government it is time to take notice.

Did you have a chance to see the legislation as it was coming through? According to our current form of government our representatives - a Senator and a House Representative - would be voting and interacting on these bill on our behalf. Therein lies a problem with our current system. These representatives sometimes operate with an understanding of the interests of their constituents, however most often they believe they know. This belief is what the people must call to question and request brought to public forum.
‎"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blow, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." ~ Frederick Douglass

The prejudices or pre-determined judgement or understanding are too often what guides our law makers. Their influences often may not reflect the interests of their constituents. Corporate agendas, cronyism, blackmail and extortion have become major factors in our government. These are seen as white collar crimes, or perhaps even worse - minor infractions that are corrected with a fine or temporary suspension.


We all have prejudices. These help us navigate the world easier by categorizing people and situations through this progressive sequence:
  1. What we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell - our senses
  2. What we experience - our interaction
  3. What we investigate and become educated - our reasoning 
Instinctively we choose a prejudice based on similar beliefs. Awareness allows us to suspend and change an initial prejudice as we gain more understanding of what we don't know. Some call this enlightenment or mature judgement. It is far different than indulging in group mind control and senseless following.

What Is Influential?

Sometimes we adopt the prejudices of others, granting them authority in our beliefs. This is what happens often with mainstream press, or "reliable sources". We need to remain AWARE and QUESTION how these views align with our morals. If we fall into always trusting a source blindly are we truly contributing to the world around us, or merely following the herd with blind faith.

Sadly we don't always get time to evaluate and then we react through the prejudices that prevail. Group mind, hysteria, mindless indulgence - are these signs of an evolved society?


I've told people for a while that "normal hasn't ever changed anything". Evolution never happened through normal behavior. Critical thought comes from people that society has cast aside in various ways. Inventors see things differently than they are known to be. The questions of our youth - WHY and WHAT IF - need to be enshrined as worthwhile and valid. It is from those questions that deviation from the norm happens.

Changing Our Influences

The alternative press has been around forever, representing a point of view outside the mainstream. Those of us that read and share these works represent a very important audience. Our support is what enables more to be produced. Certain stories that we would like covered by larger publications simply won't be for a variety of reasons, one of which is profit. Revenues are also needed for alternative press. Contributions are also needed in the form of story content, photos, publicity and distribution. 

Becoming influential in these times of change can be easier than in the past. Technology has enabled voice for the masses and online social networks can bring distribution to a wider audience. But it doesn't stop with online - we have to be present as feet on the street, talking with those we meet.

Standing In Change 

When we protest and take the lead in creating newsworthy content it is important to do so responsibly. Knowing the issues and how to broadcast to gain following and unity matters. Raising our voices together as an educated group matters. Many of our representatives in government overlook protests until it becomes apparent that a large number of their constituents are asking to be heard and change to be made. When we become the influence over our representatives then we have government working for the people - however the partnering of mainstream press to government and corporate interests is in-ground in the substance of our society. Normal is sitting down to watch network television stations broadcasting their version of news. Normal is delivery of a newspaper to your doorstep, or grabbing the nationally known press tabloids.

Support Alternative News 

When will we embrace and engage in our stories? Can you share this article now, perhaps bring it up in conversation tomorrow or the next day? If you've got a comment to leave, write it please. If you need to meet with me to discuss, I will likely be at an Occupy Detroit General Assembly which are held weekly on Saturdays at noon. The location usually is 1515 Broadway, Detroit - a block away from Grand Circus Park.

Thank you for reading and sharing,
Stephen Boyle

Here are a few articles well worth noting. Feel free to offer additional links through comments.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Solidarity Protest with General Motors Hunger Strikers

The President of the Association of Injured and Ex-Workers of General Motors Colombia (ASOTRECOL), Jorge Parra, sewed his mouth shut on November 20th and is on hunger strike. Jorge, alongside local unions, community organizations, and religious leaders, demands that GM Detroit negotiate with ASOTRECOL. Jorge’s fellow workers continue their 15-month-long tent occupation outside the U.S. embassy in Bogotá, Colombia.
Jorge Parra from ASOTRECOL - November 20, 2012
Photo: Frank Hammer

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is considering awarding General Motors th
e “Award for Corporate Excellence,” citing GM’s “exemplary labor practices” and its overall “corporate social responsibility.” In 2006 the Bush administration granted the award to Colmotores, the GM plant located in Bogotá, Colombia--the same plant responsible for destroying the lives of the ASOTRECOL workers.


  • GM Colombia (Colmotores), the most profitable GM plant in Latin America, fired over 200 workers who suffered work-related injuries and diseases, including spinal fractures and cancer.
  • GM bought off government inspectors, doctors, lawyers, and judges to hide evidence of poor working conditions and worker injuries. They falsified documents and destroyed patients’ medical histories.
  • GM refuses to recognize the workers’ occupational injuries and provide the fired workers with adequate medical compensation and pensions. Taking into account lost wages, pensions, and medical care, labor lawyers estimate a just settlement to be $24 million. In August 2012 Colmotores offered just $5,000 in total compensation to 12 workers. One spinal surgery alone costs over $50,000.


  • GM Detroit must negotiate directly with ASOTRECOL.
  • Recognize workers’ injuries as occupational and provide adequate medical car.
  • Pay pensions for disabled workers and rehire those still able to work
  • Compensate workers for economic damage, including lost wages and homes
  •   Recognize ASOTRECOL as a GM union
  • U.S. enforcement of the Labor Action Plan, which outlines basic protections for workers within the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement


ASOTRECOL workers and their families lack adequate food, shelter, and medical care. Send a donation check to “Wellspring UCC” with “Colombia relief” on the memo line. Mailing address: Wellspring UCC, Box 508, Centreville VA 20122.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mayor Bing Fails to Show at Special City Council Session He Called

Monday November 26th City Council was called upon to meet with Mayor Dave Bing, at the Mayor's request. However at 12:03 pm the Mayor pulled air time with WXYZ tv to announce a close friend was sick and required a visit during the appointed time for the meeting, Mayor Bing sent Kirk Lews, Chief of Staff to act as Deputy Mayor before City Council regarding a requested re-vote on the Miller Canfield contract.

City Council found there were numerous improprieties in the manner of the Mayor calling this meeting.
  1. According to Mayor Bing's liaison to City Council Adam Hollier notice was posted in 3 locations around Coleman A Young Municipal Center after 5pm on November 21st. This provides insufficient notice during the holiday weekend with offices closed Thursday and Friday. In effect notice would be seen when arriving at work Monday. Open Meetings Act requires notice posted 18 hours in advance.
  2. Mayor Bing sent an appointee as Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis to the meeting with all nine elected City Council officials present. As an elected official he should have been present personally as the person who called the meeting.
  3. The issues to be discussed were voted on November 20th and results are final.

Issues to have been Discussed

Miller Canfield Contract Supplanting Corporation Counsel

A Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone, P.L.C. contract to manage legal matters for the Reform Agenda of the Financial Stability Agreement was DENIED on November 20th. This was the first Miller Canfield contract presented to City Council after over nine months of council and the public demanding contract to be presented. 

Jones, reso. autho. Contract No. 2870456 – 100% City Funding – The engagement is to provide legal advice and litigation representation pertaining to implementing the City’s ongoing restructuring as contemplated in the Financial Stability Agreement among the City, the Michigan Department of Treasury, and the Review Team for the City of Detroit (“FSA). – Miller Canfield Paddock & Stone PLC, 150 West Jefferson, Suite 2500, Detroit, MI 48226 – Contract Period: August 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014 – Contract Amount Not to Exceed: $300,000.00.    (Hourly Rate has been changed from $350.00 per hour to $275.00 per hour)  (Contract period has been changed start date changed from January 1, 2012 to August 1, 2012, end date changed from December 31, 2015 to June 30, 2014.)    MAYOR’S OFFICE
This agenda item was discussed on November 14th at the Internal Operations Standing Committee. Program Management Director Kriss Andrews was present to answer questions regarding the contract.

The approval of the Miller Canfield contract was a key milestone on the Milestone Agreement, due by November 30th. City Council members have claimed the Mayor is using extortion to push through an agenda. Today's rush meeting would certainly be defined as coercion, even with the multiple failures that it met.

The city is facing a law firm considered a formidable opponent, that has 109 lawyers on the Super Lawyers list. Miller Canfield worked with Governor Rick Snyder to put tooth into the 2011 Emergency Manager Law, Public Act 4 - enabling it to alter corporate structure of municipalities and alter union contracts without negotiation. On March 21, 2011 Governor Snyder issued a Special Letter to Michigan Legislators with his plans on use of the newly passed Emergency Manager Law. Within these plans the dismantling of city and county services is explained as the path toward creating metropolitan governments which would assume those services. Bills in the Senate and House were introduced November 8, 2011 to establish the Metropolitan Area Metropolitan Authority (MAMA) Act.The problem with this approach is how effective a broad reach would be in addressing specific needs within local communities. Local communities can push local issues forward that may not be present across an entire metropolitan area - servicing those needs is a matter of regional oversight, not outright control of local government.

Emergency Managers have been being trained through Turnaround Management Association. Kriss Andrews is one of their Certified Turnaround Professional (CTP) graduates. Jack Martin found favor through his track record as indicated by Mlive when he was appointed Emergency Manager over Highland Park Public Schools.

Pension Obligations

One additional item on the schedule, total of two items for the meeting.
Cockrel, Jr. reso. autho. To amend the FY 2012-13 Budget to address costs in excess of budget for FY 2011-12 UAAL pension obligations.
I believe this came forward from a document Free Detroit unearthed from a June 2012 study done by Foster McCollum White & Associates titled "17 point draft plan to re-align Detroit's fiscal and operational structure". This document is well worth reading, and points from the document will be in our next post. It details the dismantling of departments, reallocation of funds and more in a quick 8 page guide. The document can also be downloaded from the Public Documents library at Free Detroit No Consent.