Monday, April 30, 2007

Mike Rogers: Ties to Hate Group? [UPDATED]

This just in from the MDP...
LANSING – Today Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer called on Attorney General Mike Cox, Secretary of State Terri Land, Rep. Candice Miller, Rep. Mike Rogers, Saul Anuzis and Dick DeVos to publicly condemn the Michigan State University Chapter of Young Americans for Freedom. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a prominent civil rights organization, has now officially listed the MSU YAF as a “hate group” in its recently released 2006 intelligence project. Cox, Land, Miller, Rogers, Anuzis and DeVos all have ties to the hate group’s leader Kyle Bristow and appear in photographs with him on his personal website

Here is the picture in question:

In light of Mike Rogers' recent public support of Ann Coulter, the people of the Neighborhood would like to know more about the Congressman's relationship with Kyle Bristow.

Does Rep. Rogers support YAF's hateful "13 point agenda," which includes the elimination of minority student organizations, the creation of a white council, promoting anti-gay beliefs and hunting down and deporting illegal immigrants in the Lansing area?

What steps (if any) has Mike Rogers taken to end bigotry among Republican youth groups?

For more information about MSU's chapter of YAF, be sure to read the following articles:

State News: Poison at the root, by Mike Ramsey
LSJ: Hate group list to include MSU organization
Pride Source: MSU Group listed as Hate Group by SPLC

UPDATE (4/2/07): Well, at least we know how Michigan Republican Party Chair Saul Anuzis feels about Kyle Bristow:

Saul Anuzis defended the group yesterday on Michigan Talk Radio’s Big Show with Michael Patrick Shiels saying, “This (Kyle Bristow) is exactly the type of young kid we want out there.” Saul Anuzis also said “I’ve known Kyle for years and I can tell you I have never heard him say a racist or bigoted or sexist thing ever.”

That's funny. Kyle Bristow and the YAF actually have a pretty extensive history of racism and bigotry:

-“Homosexuality kills people almost to a degree worse than cigarettes… these (Pro-gay rights) groups are complicit with murder.” –Bristow, Interview with the Spartan Edge that appears on Youtube.

-They have held up protest signs saying “Straight Power” and “End Faggotry.” – Lansing City Pulse, 12-6-06

-Organized a campus-wide “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day.” Lansing City Pulse, 12-6-06

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rogers Votes Against Troops Pullout

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $124 billion war spending bill that orders President Bush to being withdrawing troops from Iraq by the Fall of this year.

The 218-208 vote came as the top U.S. commander in Iraq told lawmakers the country remained gripped by violence but was showing signs of improvement.

The Senate was expected to clear the measure today, sending it to the president's desk in coming days as the first binding congressional challenge to Bush's handling of the conflict now in its fifth year.

"Our troops are mired in a civil war with no clear enemy and no clear strategy for success," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

Michigan's own 8th District Representative voted against this bill. Which means he supports President Bush's Indefinite War in Iraq. A war in which our troops are made to stand in the cross-fire of a civil war.

There really is nothing more for U.S. troops to do in Iraq. Saddam Hussein was defeated, tried, and then hanged. There were no Weapons of Mass Destruction (biological or nuclear). And there was no link between Al Qaeda and Saddam's regime. Now the Sunnis and Shia are fighting amongst themselves with the Kurds doing what they can to stay on the sidelines. For U.S. troops, they can neither win nor lose at this point; they can only try to stay alive.

It's clear, too, that the American people understand this (NY Times, reg. req.).

“Last fall, the American people voted for a new direction in Iraq,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California. “They made it clear that our troops must be given all they need to do their jobs, but that our troops must be brought home responsibly, safely, and soon.”

Evidently, Congressman Mike Rogers still doesn't understand what the American people or the people in Michigan's 8th District want.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mr. Rogers' Senior Staffer Charged with Domestic Assault

From the Lansing State Journal:
Charles "Tony" Baltimore, a senior staff member in Congressman Mike Rogers' Lansing office, was arrested on domestic assault charges, Lansing Police said today.

Baltimore was arrested late Saturday night at a downtown Lansing club after what police described as an "altercation with a female companion".

"The congressman obviously takes this very seriously," Rogers' spokeswoman Sylvia Warner said. "The congressman wants to know, himself, exactly what the situation is."

Mary Kelly, Deputy Court Administrator for the 54A District Court, said Baltimore will appear before Judge Charles Filice on May 7 for a preliminary hearing.

Warner said Rogers would take "appropriate action" as soon as he had all the information about the incident.

Everyone's innocent until proven guilty, and let's just hope that Mr. Rogers can show some real leadership in the handling of this situation.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Rogers sides with CEOs over Shareholders

Yesterday, the House passed the "Shareholder Vote on Executive Compensation Act" by a vote of 269-134.

For a little background on this bill...

Also referred to as the “say on pay” bill, it would require that public companies ensure that shareholders have an annual nonbinding advisory vote on their company’s executive compensation plans; and an additional nonbinding advisory vote if the company awards a new golden parachute package while simultaneously negotiating the purchase or sale of the company. H.R. 1257 has the support of many shareholder and workers rights groups, and investors, including the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and the International Corporate Governance Network.
Seems pretty straightforward. The bill gives the shareholders of a company power to set the salary of a company's CEO.

Most working class Americans would agree that executive pay has gotten a little out of hand in recent years:

In 2006, the average CEO of a Standard & Poor's 500 company received $14.78 million in total compensation, according to a preliminary analysis by The Corporate Library.
Somehow I doubt there are many folks living in the 8th district who are pulling down $14.78 million a year. However, I'm sure there are plenty of residents living in the 8th district who are counting on healthy growth in their 401(k) accounts to have a comfortable retirement.

Currently, boards of directors are responsible for setting CEO pay...
Too often, directors award compensation packages that go well beyond what is required to attract and retain executives and reward even poorly performing CEOs. These executive pay excesses come at the expense of shareholders as well as the company and its employees.

Excessive CEO pay takes dollars out of the pockets of shareholders—including the retirement savings of America’s working families. Moreover, a poorly designed executive compensation package can reward decisions that are not in the long-term interests of a company, its shareholders and employees.
This bill would've given power back to shareholders, but Mike Rogers sided with the wealthy CEOs, and voted AGAINST H.R. 1257.

Mike Rogers says he works for you, but time and time again, he's shown us who he really works for.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Congressman Rogers Equates Ann Coulter With...

As LiberalLucy posted the other day, Congressman Mike Rogers didn’t shy away from saying Ann Coulter should be paid to speak by the Livingston Economic Club this coming October.

My argument again, sometimes that they're going to get speakers there that are not in line with where everybody is at but that, and offer some controversial ideas, and I don't think we should shy away from that. Just like when Michigan State University brings in some very, very controversial speakers who certainly aren't, certainly that I don't agree with, and I imagine a lot of the people in the area don't agree with. But I still believe it's important for them to come to an environment like that, and offer their ideas and offer their - I mean that's one of the things that made us great, we've never been really afraid to hear things we don't like.
[Emphasis added.]

It's one thing to hear things you don't like. It's quite another to have your Congressman support a bigot and an idiot like Ann Coulter.

Congressman Rogers didn’t name the”very very controversial” speaker or speakers he doesn’t agree with and that he imagines a lot of people don’t agree with. It's his way of both equivocating and trying to smear Michigan State University's choice of speakers. But since he didn’t name the objectionable speakers, I thought I would take a look at just who has spoken (and will speak) at MSU to see who he find objectionable.

This past year at MSU had at the Wharton Center;
  • Historian David McCullough
  • Richard Monette, the Artistic Director of Canada’s Stratford Festival
  • Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa
  • Azar Nafisi author of “Reading Lolita in Tehran”
In a previous year they invited Kweisi Mfume, president and chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), to give a speech in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Oh, and this year’s undergraduate commencement speakers are

Jaime Escalante, a mathematics teacher whose life inspired the movie “Stand and Deliver,” and Julie Gerberding, who played a major role in leading the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s response to the anthrax bioterrorism events of 2001.

Three of the speakers at the this year’s individual college ceremonies include,
  • MSU Undergraduate Convocation. Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser, will address the undergraduate candidates for degrees.
  • College of Human Medicine. Andrew Schechtman, associate and field coordinator for Doctors without Borders, and 1999 Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
  • MSU College of Law. Kwame M. Kilpatrick, mayor of Detroit, a 1999 graduate of the law school, will present the commencement address.
We can’t forget that yesterday, Minutemen Project co-founder Chris Simcox spoke at the request of the Young Americans for Freedom and the MSU College Republicans. As controversial as the Minutemen are, and as much as I disagree with their take on immigration and their misguided ideas for securing the border, they are not as offensive and ignorant as Ann Coulter or MSU's very own Young Americans for Freedom.

Most people would hardly find Ann Coulter as controversial as Mario Vargas Llosa, Azar Nafisi, David McCullough, Condoleeza Rice, or Jaime Escalante, or a Nobel Prize winner like Andrew Schechtman.

But to Congressman Rogers, MSU's speakers are sometimes as disagreeable to him as Ann Coulter is to most of the residents of the 8th District of Michigan. That he could find objectionable some of the people noted above seems ridiculous to me. What that tells me is that he betrays a rather low opinion of MSU on his part and that his character judgment leaves a lot to be desired.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Rogers Votes Against D.C. Voting Rights

"Taxation without representation" is generally considered a bad thing. As anyone who went to grade school knows, this was the slogan adopted by the Thirteen Colonies between 1763 and 1775 to describe the American colonists' primary grievence with Great Britain.

And yet, the citizens of Washington D.C. have never had a vote in Congress.

Last month, Democrats in the House tried to correct this injustice with H.R.1433, but a last-minute procedural move by Republicans stalled the legislation.

Today, the House finally passed the DC Voting Rights Act by a vote of 241 to 177. Unfortunately, Rep. Mike Rogers voted NO on this bill.

Here are some selected quotes (with YouTube video links) from members of the House about this important piece of legislation:

“For the many that have come to the nation’s capital seeking freedom for 206 years, among them my great-grandfather, Richard Holmes, a slave who ran away from a Virginia plantation in the 1850’s, and settled our family here. I appeal to your conscience, and ask for your vote, so that finally there also will be a vote here for your fellow Americans here who have paid for this precious right many times over in blood and treasure.” (Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.)

“The fact that approximately 600,000 US citizens live under taxation without representation within the United States today is repugnant to the very notion of democracy. How can the United States deny democracy in its capital while promoting democracy abroad?” (Rep. Michael Arcuri, NY-25)

“I take some personal pleasure in today’s proceedings because when I was born my father was a Member of Congress, he was on the Appropriations Committee and he chaired the District of Columbia Committee. At that time there was no mayor, there was no home rule, he was a strong supporter for the District to attain both. He would never have imagined all those many, many years ago that it would take this long to get a full vote on the House floor for the District of Columbia.” (Speaker Nancy Pelosi)

As Rob Getzschman explained in an excellent op-ed from the Christian Science Monitor yesterday, this issue is emphatically nonpartisan:

If spreading democracy is the imperative of the last remaining superpower, then the mandate for the US is to honor D.C. vot ing rights. To tolerate the status quo smacks of hypocrisy to foreign governments. As a senior Hong Kong official told Rep. Tom Davis (R) of Virginia in 2005, "Give your nation's capital the right to vote and then come talk to us about democracy in Hong Kong."

Sadly, partisan maneuvering belies the political nature of the D.C. voting rights issue. Yeas and nays fall along party lines due to the district's Democratic majority, and opponents see the enfranchisement of 580,000 US citizens as a "power grab" for the Democrats. The issue, however, is emphatically nonpartisan. Voting rights are rooted in the Constitution, not the partisan makeup of a region.

Rep. Rogers had the chance to make the correcct, moral decision today, and enfranchise nearly 600,000 American citizens, but he chose not to.

Unlike the citizens of Washington D.C., residents in Michigan's 8th district already have representation in Congress. Unfortunately, at least for the time being, Mike Rogers is our representative.

Rogers on Coulter: "I don't think we ought to shy away from that"

Last night, one of Michigan's most out-of-touch Congresscritters, Mike Rogers spoke with Lansing's 1320 WILS host Jack Ebling host of the show Ebling and You. While on the show, Rogers was asked about Ann Coulter's appearance before the Livingston Economic Club in October.

You can listen to the audio clip
For those who can't listen, I've provided a transcription below.

Here's where Rogers refuses to really see the problem. First Amendment Rights protecting Free Speech are extremely sacred and holy. Everyone should be able to say what they want to say. But the line is crossed when business and community economic forums are paying $30,000 to have someone spew hatred and preach intolerance and violence.

$30,000 doesn't equal Free Speech.

Hate, intolerance and violence, bought and paid for by the Livingston Economic Club, as they choose to spend the equivalent of a year's salary on Coulter, who among many, many other terrible things she's said also said this about journalists - defenders of the First Amendment -
"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."
From his comments on last night's show, one must assume that Mike Rogers fully supports Ann Coulter's message of hate, destruction, and intolerance. Leading the organization that he proudly help to found, Mike Rogers doesn't think we should "shy away" from paying and bringing Coulter and others like her.

It's one thing to let a person speak, it's a completely different thing to pay thousands and thousands of dollars for that hate speech.

Shame on you, Mr. Rogers. You surely aren't representing me or any of the thousands of others that live in your district.

Interview Transcript
Ebling: In your district, Ann Coutler is going to be making an appearance in Howell, and she's been a lighting rod for controversy and I'm curious what your view is on that.

Rogers: "Well I think it's uh, through Cleary University. I think that divergence of Opinions are really important. I think that, ah they ought to have the opportunity to say some things, even if we all disagree with some of the things we say, they ought to have the right to say it. And I think it fosters a healthier, uh debate on the issues, versus this, this notion that we've got to - if they don't say the things we exactly like and exactly agree on, we don't want to hear from them.

Ebling -I guess she's getting a $30, 000 appearance, or speaking fee, and I know what Ann Coulter makes, uh or at least part of what she makes and it'd be really nice if she could turn out and give that back to Livingston County.

Rogers - Ha well, I'd be for that! I'm sure that Cleary University would love to have some of that back as well! It's a - my understanding is it's an economic forum, uh that was started a few years ago. And one of the reasons was, and actually I started the first year, I helped get that started, was to bring in a variety of speakers who could cover issues and topics of the day, to try and get Livingston County kind of on the upswing of,uh of uh, you know, what's going on in the world, and to have this kind of a network and an economic-type club, like the Detroit club, like the Grand Rapids club, and I thought you know, that time when people approached me about the club, you know, Livingston County is ready for that, that would be a great thing, the business community there is pretty strong and wouldn't it be great to have that kind of opportunity. My argument again, sometimes that they're going to get speakers there that are not in line with where everybody is at but that, and offer some controversial ideas, and I don't think we should shy away from that. Just like when Michigan State University brings in some very, very controversial speakers who certainly aren't, certainly that I don't agree with, and I imagine a lot of the people in the area don't agree with. But I still believe it's important for them to come to an environment like that, and offer their ideas and offer their - I mean that's one of the things that made us great, we've never been really afraid to hear things we don't like.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Rogers Q1 Fundraising Performance

According to the FEC, Mike Rogers started with $352,543 and ended up with $393,097 at the end of this quarter. Rogers was left with $728,566 after 2004, so he has less cash on hand now than he did after the previous election cycle.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Rogers Supports Ann Coulter

No. We are not making this up. You can't make up silly stuff like this.

Our Congressman, Republican Mike Rogers, is a supporter of Ann Coulter. A person deemed too extreme by National Review. From the Livingston Economic Club,

Ann Coulter - Monday, October 1, 2007 - Johnson Center
This event kicks off Cleary University Founders Week Celebration. Ann Coulter is the author of five New York Times bestsellers — Godless (June 2006), How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must) (October 2004); Treason: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism (June 2003); Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right (June 2002); and High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton (August 1998).

The Livingston Economic Club Founding partners are pleased to welcome new members to our advisory board, as well as to accept individual speaker sponsorships.

And who is listed among the Founding partners that are pleased to welcome Ann Coulter?

You guessed it. Republican Congressman Mike "Mr. Grin" Rogers.

Founding partners include:


Just to be clear, Congressman, do you support a person who says things like the following?

"God says, 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours.'"

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."

"They’re [Democrats] always accusing us of repressing their speech. I say let’s do it. Let’s repress them. Frankly, I’m not a big fan of the First Amendment"

"I think [women] should be armed but should not [be allowed to] vote. No, they all have to give up their vote, not just, you know, the lady clapping and me. The problem with women voting — and your Communists will back me up on this — is that, you know, women have no capacity to understand how money is earned. They have a lot of ideas on how to spend it. And when they take these polls, it’s always more money on education, more money on child care, more money on day care.”

"I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo.”

“I would like evolution to join the roster of other discredited religions, like the Cargo Cult of the South Pacific. Practitioners of Cargo Cult believed that manufactured products were created by ancestral spirits, and if they imitated what they had seen the white man do, they could cause airplanes to appear out of the sky, bringing valuable cargo like radios and TVs. So they constructed ”airport towers“ out of bamboo and ”headphones“ out of coconuts and waited for the airplanes to come with the cargo. It may sound silly, but in defense of the Cargo Cult, they did not wait as long for evidence supporting their theory as the Darwinists have waited for evidence supporting theirs.”

"It turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,' so I'm kind of at an impasse -- I can't really talk about Edwards."

Cleary University can bring whoever they want to speak for their Founders Week Celebration. I don't care. I don't send my money or my children to that institution. But I do do care whether my Congressman supports such an ill-informed, homophobic, idiot.

So what do you say, Congressman?

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Rogers effectiveness and influence plunges

According to, Mike Rogers influence in Congress fell considerably after rankings by the private, non-partisan company that specialize in facilitating civic participation were released.

Rogers fell from the 37th most powerful in 2006 to 274th. rated each current Member of Congress on various criteria that demonstrated power and the ability to be effective in Congress in 2007. This resulted in a Power Score that ranked members for overall power in each chamber of Congress in their Pre-Season Power Rankings. said general factors affecting his low score were “Average tenure and committee position, but did not advance any legislation in 2007.”

Veteran journalist puts alleged anti-war vandalism into proper perspective

Livingston County Daily Press & Argus News Editor Mike Malott put the overheated rhetoric coming from the Mike Rogers camp over the alleged anti-war vandalism at his district office in Lansing last month into proper perspective in an opinion column today.

Malott, a veteran community journalist, compared the overreaction coming from Rogers’s staffers to a situation NBA fans and referees are very familiar with called “flopping.” Flopping is what causes a huge, powerful man - like former Detroit Piston Ben Wallace for instance - to go flying like he was shot out of a cannon when a ball-handler gently bumps him as Wallace tries and get a charging call from the referee, yet he can’t be moved by a Mack truck when he blocks out under the boards to get a rebound.

Malott points out that’s exactly what we are getting from Rogers people. As was splashed across every newspaper and TV station in the state, the vandalism on March 18-19 saw the door locks glued shut, the building was spray-painted, a "Support Our Troops" sign attached to the front of the building was splattered with blood-red paint and a hand-painted sign was also plastered to an entryway window that said “Rogers There is Blood on Your Hands.”

Yet if I did not know the true extent of the damage and you went just by the quotes by the staffers if would not take much imagination to believe some anti-war protestor had actually blown up the office like it was an abortion clinic or something.

Spin Doctor Sylvia Warner said the vandalism appeared to be related to the Iraq war, and is the "worst" the office has experienced. "The aggressive destruction of federal property and vandalism was a callous attempt to intimidate Congressman Rogers and his staff," said Chief of Staff Andy Keiser.

Mallott correctly observed, “I've heard of very little damage coming from war protests so far. And the damage at Rogers' office pales in comparison to the destruction that came out of protests in previous conflicts.”

We won’t even begin to talk about the death, maimed and destruction this fiasco has caused to both Americans and Iraqis.

Anyone alive during Vietnam remembers the demonstrations at Kent State University in Ohio, which ended with the deaths of four students. Two days earlier, it began when protesters torched an old ROTC building.
When firefighters arrived, the demonstrators blocked access to the building, pelted them with rocks and bottles, stole fire hoses and then cut holes in them to assure that the building would burn to the ground, which, of course, it did. That's vandalism on a grand scale.

Despite the President and his supporters trying their level best to spin any opposition to the occupation and civil war in Iraq as anti-troop, the simple fact is no anti-war protestor has said anything bad about the troops.

Malott makes the point that “During Vietnam, individual soldiers were subjected to protests. Pickets would show up when soldiers departed and when they returned home. Soldiers, coming back from the battle zone, were met with insults.”

We have all heard the stories about returning veterans being spat on when they came home, but at least some people are casting doubt on that actually happening, with the possible exception of some isolated incidents. I grew up in that era, and I seem to recall looking at guys in uniform with a lot of awe. I never, ever saw troops being disrespected.

I enlisted in the Navy when we still had a presence in Vietnam, and I was in boot camp when Saigon fell. Again, I don’t ever recall any protests aimed at the actual troops, and in fact many returning veterans joined those very same protestors in opposition to the war in Vietnam.

A case may be made that the returning troops were greeted with indifference, but they would come home after serving their 13 months in country, meaning the vets were returning in a trickle one at a time instead of as a noticeable unit.

The one thing that is similar to Iraq and Vietnam is that the only real sacrifices and those really benign touched and affected by both conflicts are just the veteran and their families. In neither case is the public asked to make a sacrifice.

But back to the vandalism. The security camera photo of the alleged vandal has been out there for at least the past two weeks, but the photo has not received nearly the same publicity as the initial vandalism. Why aren’t Keiser and Warner making as much noise about the fact these people are still out there as they did about the vandalism?

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Investigator James Thornburg at (517) 483-4611.