Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hutaree Militia Largely Exonerated

The "Hutaree militia" was largely exonerated this week after the judge in the case threw out all the conspiracy and terrorism charges against the group. Two members of the group subsequently pled guilty to some weapons charges.

Hutaree leader pleads guilty to weapons charge, calls himself 'patriot'

The case came down to the government trying to entrap the group with audio recordings. The group never hurt anyone, or tried to hurt anyone, or planned to hurt anyone. The jury agreed with the judges' assessment on this.

I suspected as much. Here's what I said in an earlier post.



It appears that the plot of the so-called 'Christian militia' group that is alleged to have plotted to kill police officers was more-or-less created by the government. It is far from clear that anything would have ever happened if the government hadn't provoked them into (allegedly) committing a crime.

Feds infiltrated militia group

Fink Out

Republican Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Fink will not seek reelection. Assistant county prosecutor Scott Pierangeli is likely to be the Republican nominee. He is also a member of the Portage Library Board. It isn't known whom the democrats might nominate.

Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Fink to retire, says he will not seek re-election in November

UPDATE: Pierangeli is in.

Scott Pierangeli announces candidacy for Kalamazoo County prosecutor

Upton Smears Jack (Part 3)

The third mailing from Congressman Fred Upton smearing Jack Hoogendyk focuses on Jack supporting a tax cut for movie production. According to Upton, that means Jack is "rolling out the red carpet for Hollywood fat cats." Once again, Upton fails to mention that the bill in question passed the legislature UNANIMOUSLY.


Reality: Here Upton is attacking Jack for cutting taxes! Here is the Mackinac Center description:
1) 2005 House Bill 5206 (Movie production tax breaks ) by admin on January 1, 2001
Introduced in the House on September 21, 2005, to authorize Single Business Tax (SBT) credit equal to 130 percent of the costs incurred by a motion picture production company that spends at least $250,000 making a movie in Michigan. The company could sell the amount of the credit that exceeds its tax liability, or could carry that forward to a future tax year
This bill was introduced by REPUBLICAN Fulton Sheen (along with Jack, one of the most conservative members of the legislature). It was passed UNANIMOUSLY 103-0.

2005 House Bill 5206: Movie production tax breaks
2005 House Bill 5206: Movie production tax breaks (House Roll Call 576)
House Journal 11/8/05


At least one letter-writer understands the issue.

Upton criticism of Hoogendyk was misleading

I am writing today, to set the record straight on a flier sent out by Congressman Fred Upton accusing his opponent, Jack Hoogendyk, of giving tax breaks to "Hollywood Fat Cats."

Let's look at the real record. Upton cites roll call vote 576 in 2005, House Bill 5206: Tax credits for film production. It passed 103 to 0 in the House on Nov. 8, 2005. Upton then mentions roll call vote 146 of 2008, House Bill 5841: Tax credits for film producers. It passed 108 to 0 in the House on March 12, 2008. Both bills were supported by our own state Rep. John Proos.

Now let's look at the benefits of this legislation. It was reported in February 2011 that a "research study conducted by respected international accounting firm Ernst & Young already shows a positive Return on Investment (ROI) from Michigan's film production tax credit."

Larry Alexander, president and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau said, "When the final report was presented to us last week, we were delighted to learn that this fast growing new industry had already created 3,860 full time equivalent jobs for Michigan residents in 2010, at an average salary of $53,700 per year, and generated an estimated impact on statewide sales of $503 million in 2010 alone ... or $5.94 per dollar of net credit cost."

I want to thank reps. John Proos and Jack Hoogendyk for their vision and leadership in bringing jobs to Michigan.

Michael Emlong

St. Joseph
I'm not a big fan of 'targeted' tax breaks, and neither is Jack. Broad-based tax cuts are much better. But rank-and-file members can't choose their preferred tax policy, they have to vote yes or no on the bills as presented.

Fred Upton has attacked every Republican member of the state house. He should be ashamed of his dishonest attacks. Besides, what's wrong with fat cats?

Upton Smears Jack (Part 2)
Upton Smears Jack
Jack's Response to Upton Mailer

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gun Bills in Michigan

A couple bills to expand gun rights have been introduced in Lansing.

Michigan House Judiciary Committee to Consider Repeal of Handgun Permit-to-Purchase and Registration

One bill, introduced by Paul Opsommer, would finally end Michigan's handgun registration. This is long overdue, as only six states require any form of gun registration, and the other five are all more liberal than Michigan. See the map below.

Gun Registration by State Map

The other bill, introduced by Mike Green, would reform Michigan's concealed carry law.

Sweeping changes proposed for Michigan concealed handgun law

Here is a list of the changes, along with my comments.


The proposed overhaul of Michigan’s concealed weapons law would:
• Establish a “shall issue” exemption allowing highly trained permit holders to carry guns in pistol-free zones. An extra nine hours of training and 162 more rounds fired at the range would be required beyond current basic requirements. [There shouldn't be any 'two-tiered' system. Just eliminate the ban without any extra requirements.]
• Require firing-range time for basic applicants include 98 rounds, as opposed to 30 now. [More regulation. Bad.]
• Eliminate county gun boards, now comprised of state police, sheriffs, clerks and prosecutors or firearms instructors. [Good. Gun boards are a useless holdover from the 'may issue' days.]
• Shift permit approvals to sheriffs, whose departments already handle background checks. County clerks would still process applications. [Good. This is the best place for permits, as long as government continues to mandate them.]
• Require licenses be approved within 45 days or a temporary license must be issued. [Good.]
• Counties could no longer charge extra money beyond the $105 application fee for taking photos, laminating, and other add-ons. [Good.]
• Applicants who unsuccessfully appeal a denial in court would no longer be forced to pay the county’s court and attorney costs. [Good?]
• Courts could award increased financial penalties to those who successfully appeal. [Good.]
• Renewal notices must be sent three to six months before expiration, to avoid unintentional lapses. [Good.]


This seems to be a mostly good bill, which hopefully can be improved.

Rally for Religious Freedom

Good for Americans who stand up against Obama's anti-freedom mandate.

Group rallies in Bronson Park 'in defense of religious freedom', in protest of contraception mandate

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Urban Defers to Buskirk

Democrat county commissioner Jack Urban will not run for reelection, deferring to fellow democrat David Buskirk, who has been on the board for 20 years. Urban has been on the board since 2006. They were placed in the same district when redistricting reduced the number of county commissioners. Urban hints that he may seek another office, though what that could be isn't clear.

Kalamazoo County Commissioner Jack Urban not seeking reelection

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rogowski Defers to Iden

County commissioner Tim Rogowski will not run for reelection. He was put in the same district as fellow Republican Brandt Iden after redistricting reduced the number of commissioners. Rogowski is considering running for the Texas Township Board.

Kalamazoo County Commissioner Tim Rogowski won't seek reelection

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Upton Smears Jack (Part 2)

Congressman Fred Upton sent out a second mailer smearing Jack Hoogendyk. The second mailer basically repeat the claims of the first one.

One side contrasts two quotes from Jack, the first of which says "I have never voted for a tax increase and never will." The context of the quote is referring to Jack's six years in the legislature, and is true. The second refers to Jack supporting a small tax increase (which was approved by taxpayers) to pay for a new juvenile home while Jack was on the county commission. Context is key.

The other side repeats the same four misleading claims as the first mailing.

The mailer concludes with the line "He will say anything to get elected."

Actually, it appears that Upton will say anything. Rather than defend his own record, it appears that Upton's strategy is to bury Jack in mud. Enough voters won't be able to distinguish between the truth that Upton is a big spender and Upton's false claims that Jack has done the same thing.

This strategy depends on being able to outspend Jack thanks to raising big money from big businesses eager to have a friend as the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. If Club for Growth and other conservative groups spend money on this race, though, Upton's strategy may not work this time.

Jack's website:

Upton Smears Jack
Jack's Response to Upton Mailer

Friday, March 16, 2012

Legalize Stun Guns

The Bay City stun gun case is being argued before the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Sparks fly between Bay County attorneys in Court of Appeals stun gun case

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ann Nieuwenhuis to run for Comstock Supervisor

Kalamazoo County Commissioner Ann Nieuwenhuis will run for Comstock Supervisor following the announcement that democrat incumbent Tim Hudson will not seek reelection.

Kalamazoo County Commissioner Ann Nieuwenhuis to seek Comstock Township supervisor job
Comstock Supervisor Tim Hudson won't seek re-election

Niuwenhuis is a moderate Republican who was first elected in 2008, beating incumbent democrat Leroy Crabtree. She was reelected in 2010.

There is no indication which democrat will run for Comstock Supervisor. It is also unknown who will run for the county commission seat Niuewenhuis is vacating. The seat was made more Republican in redistricting. Hopefully, it will go to a more conservative candidate.

End the Fed

End the Fed
by Congressman Ron Paul

In this slim volume, Congressman Ron Paul lays out the basics of his opposition to the Federal Reserve and his beliefs about monetary policy. Paul is an adherent of the Austrian school of economics, led by the brilliant economists Mises, Hayek, and Rothbard.

The Austrian theory of the business cycle holds that government expansion of the money supply misleads investors into believing there is more capital available than there really is, hence leading to a boom of new projects which later have to be abandoned, causing a bust. Austrians successfully predicted both the Great Depression and the housing bubble/2008 financial crisis, which many other economists failed to foresee. Paul argues convincingly that the Fed is immoral, unconstitutional, and detrimental to average Americans.

Some of the most interesting parts of the book deal with Paul's early years and interactions with Fed chairmen Greenspan and Bernanke. This book doesn't go terribly deep into economics, but it is a good introduction to the issue of the Federal Reserve.

Jack's Response to Upton Mailer

Jack Hoogendyk has sent a response to the Upton mailing that I deconstructed here.


Fellow Patriots,

I am sure by now you received that beautiful mailer from Congressman Fred Upton with my handsome face all over it. While I appreciate him mentioning my name nine times in his mailer, I must point out that he offered some mis-characterizations and outright falsehoods in his mailer.

He mentions that I voted for a “billion dollar stimulus.” He is talking about the 21st Century Jobs Fund. The only problem is, I voted against that package. I even submitted for the record a statement that said we should give immediate tax relief to working families and businesses, not give the money to an appointed board to decide where to spend it.

He says I gave special tax breaks to Hollywood fat cats. What he is talking about is tax breaks to bring the film industry to Michigan and create jobs for thousands of people. An Ernst & Young audit showed that the $85 million in tax cuts in 2010 produced $500 million in new economic activity and over 3,800 new jobs!

He says I voted six times for revenue enhancements. Yes, I voted to withhold income tax from the Detroit casino winnings of non-residents who come to Michigan. Michigan residents pay taxes on their casino winnings, why shouldn’t non-residents?

He says I voted for higher taxes on gasoline. I actually voted to extend a tax on gas at a lower rate of ¾ of one cent per gallon to pay for environmental cleanup of leaky underground tanks. Is Mr. Upton opposed to environmental cleanup?

One thing is obvious, five months from Election Day. Mr. Upton is worried about me. He is already attacking my well-known conservative record. But, try as he may, he cannot disparage my record in Lansing of over 70 votes against tax increases on the individuals and businesses of Michigan and 300 plus votes for tax relief and tax reductions.

I hope Mr. Upton will be willing to have face-to-face debates soon so we can honestly discuss the issues that really matter to Michigan voters; the massive size of government, the unbridled power of Congress and the unchecked spending of your tax dollars in Washington.

I need your help to build a winning campaign and expose the truth about Fred Upton and his 25 years of voting for big government, big spending and taxes. He can’t remake his own record, so he is going to spend his campaign war chest to try to pull me into the mud. I will not let this happen. My conservative record is part of my DNA. Please make a contribution to support my campaign today and make sure we can run a winning campaign on the issues and the truth. Please go to and make your contribution now. Thank you.

Jack Hoogendyk

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Upton Smears Jack

UPDATE: Jack's Response to Upton Mailer

Congressman Fred Upton must be worried about being challenged by Jack Hoogendyk. He sent out a mailing smearing Jack's supposed record of "Higher Taxes and Increased Spending" (repeating this phrase three times). The piece is a two page, color, glossy piece complete with dramatic headlines and black-and-white, sinister-looking photos of Jack.

The piece attacks four items from Jack's record. It repeats the claims twice in detail and summarizes them yet again. These criticisms must be very important to Congressman Upton for him to emphasize them such. Lest you think that he is just making them up, there are citations in tiny print to various votes. Of course, 99.99% of people who get this mailing won't look up the citations, and it isn't easy to do so even if you want to. But I did! Let's look at them...

1. Upton Claim: "Voted for Granholm's billion dollar stimulus - to allow a government board to handout tax dollars to individual businesses and projects"

Reality: This refers to House Bill 5047 to create a "21st Century Jobs Fund". Here is a description from the Mackinac Center:
Introduced by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R) on July 6, 2005, to establish a government “Jobs for Michigan Investment Fund” to provide grants, loans, and various subsidies to public entities and private businesses engaged in the research, development, marketing and commercialization of various “competitive edge” technologies identified by the state. A "Strategic Economic Investment Board” composed of government officials and representatives of the types of organizations likely to receive funding under the program would allocate the money. The money for the grants, loans and subsidies would come from the sale or “securitization” of the revenue stream from the 1998 tobacco company lawsuit, proposed by House Bill 5048. This is a House response to Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s $2 billion "Jobs for Michigan" debt proposal, and the Senate’s similar $1 billion debt proposal. See also House Bill 5005, another subsidy proposal that would rely on selling the tobacco revenue stream.
This bill was introduced by REPUBLICAN Bill Huizinga, then a state representative and now the Congressman for the neighboring 2nd district. The vote on this bill was 103-1, with all but one Republican voting for it. These include Rep. John Proos, former Upton staffer and presumed to be Upton's preferred successor.

2005 House Bill 5047: Create "21st Century Jobs Fund"
2005 House Bill 5047: Create "21st Century Jobs Fund" (House Roll Call 467)
JOURNAL OF THE House of Representatives
93rd Legislature REGULAR SESSION OF 2005

2. Upton Claim: "Voted to give special tax breaks to Hollywood fat cats while Michigan families and small businesses had to pay full tax rates"

Reality: Here Upton is attacking Jack for cutting taxes! Here is the Mackinac Center description:
1) 2005 House Bill 5206 (Movie production tax breaks ) by admin on January 1, 2001
Introduced in the House on September 21, 2005, to authorize Single Business Tax (SBT) credit equal to 130 percent of the costs incurred by a motion picture production company that spends at least $250,000 making a movie in Michigan. The company could sell the amount of the credit that exceeds its tax liability, or could carry that forward to a future tax year
This bill was introduced by REPUBLICAN Fulton Sheen (along with Jack, one of the most conservative members of the legislature). It was passed UNANIMOUSLY 103-0.

2005 House Bill 5206: Movie production tax breaks
2005 House Bill 5206: Movie production tax breaks (House Roll Call 576)
House Journal 11/8/05

3. Upton Claim: "Voted six times for Governor Granholm's revenue enhancements and for higher taxes on gasoline"

Reality: This refers to six votes from the 2003-4 session. Each of the amendments in question was supported by the vast majority of Republicans in the state house.

Rollcall 109: Passed 101-5.
Rollcall 110: Passed 101-4.
Rollcall 111: Passed 103-2.
Rollcall 113: Passed 101-4.
Rollcall 302: Passed 97-7.
Rollcall 303: Passed 106-0.
Rollcall 705: Passed 87-13.

The last one did not raise taxes, contrary to Upton's claim, but extended an existing tax.

4. Upton Claim: "Voted twice for higher property taxes and for higher motel taxes"

Reality: The reference goes the the subscription-only site MIRS. This story was almost certainly fed to MIRS by Upton's campaign. It refers to Jack's time on the Kalamazoo County Commission, 2000-2002. Notably, the supposed "tax increase" did not actually increase taxes, it extended an existing tax that would otherwise have expired.
And Hoogendyk voted twice -- once in October 2001 and once in December 2002 -- to override a triggered rollback of property taxes, which meant residents didn't get a tax cut they were supposed to under the Headlee amendment.


Hoogendyk told MIRS he also recalls voting as a county commissioner for a slight tax increase on the hotel/motel tax to fund the construction of juvenile home, which
he thought was an "important project."
The juvenile home was supported unanimously by the County Commission and was endorsed by both the Kalamazoo Republican and democrat parties. Is Upton against it?

Will Jack Hoogendyk's votes to increase spending and raise taxes be issues in his race against U.S. Rep. Fred Upton? (video)

Notably, Upton never actually says that he disagrees with any of Jack's votes. I doubt that Upton would have voted the other way on any of them. It is incredibly dishonest of him to attack Jack's record in this fashion.

Fred Upton: 64% Conservative in 2011
Fred Upton's Ten Worst Votes

"Stimulus" - Club for Growth Ad

Fred Upton: 64% Conservative in 2011

Surprisingly, Congressman Fred Upton's conservative rating from the American Conservative Union plummeted to 64% in 2011. Here are the bills on which Upton voted the wrong way, according to ACU. Time to nominate Jack!


1. Legal Services Corporation. HR 1 (Roll Call 54)
The House defeated an amendment to the 2011 appropriations bill that would have struck all funding for the Legal Services Corporation from the budget bill. ACU has always opposed this wasteful program which has been used primarily to expand the welfare state and was found by a GAO study to be rife with waste, fraud and abuse and supported this amendment. The amendment failed February 16, 2011 by a vote of 171-259.

7. Davis-Bacon Wage Rate Requirements. HR 1 (Roll Call 144)
The House defeated an amendment to the 2011 appropriations bill barring the use of funds to enforce the Davis-Bacon Act. This requires federal projects to pay workers the “prevailing” wage, usually union rage rates which are often well above the local market rate. This adds billions of dollars in cost to federal programs and adds to the deficit. ACU opposes this federal mandate and supports this amendment. The amendment failed on February 19, 2011 by a vote of 189-233.

11. Conservative Budget. H Con Res 34 (Roll Call 275)
The House defeated a conservative alternative to the budget that would freeze total discretionary spending at 2008 levels beginning in 2013 and balanced the budget within ten years. The bill cut mandatory spending by $1.9 trillion over 10 years. The bill assumed the repeal of the Obama health care bill and a gradual increase in the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare. ACU supports this alternative as a reasonable attempt to eliminate our annual deficits. The amendment failed on April 15, 2011 by a vote of 119-136. 172 Democrats voted “Present” even though they opposed the bill and their votes are rated in opposition.

16. Foreign Agricultural Service. HR 2112 (Roll Call 432)
The House rejected an amendment to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill to eliminate the Foreign Agricultural Service. This agency uses taxpayer money to fund 98 offices around the world to help find export opportunities for large corporations. ACU opposes this wasteful spending when our national debt stands at $15 trillion and supported this amendment. The amendment was defeated on June 15, 2011 by a vote of 99-324.

20. Vehicle Subsidies. HR 2354 (Roll Call 580)
The House rejected an amendment to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill that would eliminate funding for the Advanced Manufacturing Loan Program and apply the funds saved to the federal deficit. This program gives taxpayer money to manufacturers who work on vehicle programs favored by the government. ACU opposes government programs that pick winners and losers in the marketplace and supported this amendment. The amendment failed on July 14, 2011 by a vote of 114-309.

21. Spending increase. HR 2354 (Roll Call 586)
The House passed an amendment to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill increasing spending on renewable energy and energy efficiency programs by $10 million. These programs had received massive increases in the 2009 budget and the Obama stimulus program. ACU opposes these attempts to reverse modest spending cuts and opposed this amendment. Nevertheless, the House passed the amendment on July 15, 2011 by a vote of 212-210.

23. Endangered Species Act. HR 2584 (Roll Call 652)
The House rejected an amendment to eliminate a provision in the Interior Appropriations Bill that would place a moratorium on new listings under the Endangered Species Act. ACU supports a moratorium on a program that has been used as a vehicle to stop development and harass private property owners and opposed this amendment. The amendment failed on July 28, 2011 by a vote of 181-240.

24. Debt Limit Increase. S 365. (Roll Call 690)
The House passed a bill that allowed a debt increase of up to $2.5 trillion with no spending reductions required in Fiscal Year 2012. The bill also set up a “supercommittee” of twelve members of Congress who were to meet in secret to negotiate a deficit reduction of $1.2 trillion over 10 years. The bill also requires a ”sequestration” or automatic reduction of $1.2 trillion in spending over 10 years if no other agreement is reached by 2013. ACU opposes automatic debt limit increases with no congressional action required and opposed this bill. The bill passed on August 1, 2011 by a vote of 269-161.

25. “Catch-All Appropriations. HR 2055 (Roll Call 941)
The House passed a year-end appropriations bill, known as the “Omnibus” bill that funded $915 billion dollars in one 2,300 page bill for Fiscal Year 2012 The bill avoided limits imposed in the debt-limit negotiations by labeling additional spending as “emergency spending” so the total spending for the year is an increase over Fiscal Year 2011. ACU opposes these massive bills that are written in secret and passed with no amendments allowed. Nevertheless the bill passed the House on December 16, 2011 by a vote of 296-121.

Previous: Fred Upton's Conservative Ratings