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The Power of Bellino Disinformation

By Paul Wohlfarth

State Senator Joe Bellino's letter, “My Take: Democrats’ mandates will cost people more for less-reliable energy,” completely misses the mark and is uninformed. Makes you wonder where he gets his information and shows the power of misinformation. Contrary to Joe's assurances green energy is the cheapest form of energy produced. (1) The recent rise of utility costs can be attributed to record increasing storms requiring more storm repairs and increasing the grid strength to withstand these climate changing storms. (2) Everyone has noticed historic flooding, 8 tornadoes in August (3) and Canadian forest fires polluting our Michigan air. Republican control has led to exclusionary local zoning with not enough green energy projects going forward. Many farmers have had their land rights taken away as misinformation from AstroTurf organizations push an anti green energy agenda. (4)Republicans policies have saw fracked natural gas prices spike as (5) Republicans have pushed to export our American natural gas through export pipelines and LNG export terminals. This increase demand has brought higher prices as our liquefied gas is sold on world markets. So goes the energy independence that Republicans espouse. Huge cost increases have already happened under Republican leadership. Utility increases have transferred to rate payers as these record storms destroy a grid built for storms of just ten years ago. Even DTE admits to the need to strengthen the grid for these new climate change storms. Green energy does not require continued mining or fracking for fuels that pollute the planet. A look at Monroe's utility legacy brings the reality of dangerous pollution from stored nuclear waste and toxic coal ash pits along our fresh water Lake Erie. Who will pay the cost to clean up that mess Joe Bellino? Joe gets it wrong about local control. Communities will still be allowed four months to make their best deal. This will keep the misinformation from controlling the process. If the developer and the township fail it will go to MPSC for a final decision using facts. Farmland converted to solar or wind will still allow farming. What Bellino doesn't say is these projects pay ten times what farming will and communities thrive with increased tax revenues. Bellino doesn't get green energy is the cheapest form of energy and will stop farmers from accepting government assistance because of overproduction. If the supply was lower then the price will rise but since farm subsidies create a false market then the taxpayer is on the hook. The Farm Bureau is the epitome of government largess subsidizing a commodity that is being overproduced costing all of us taxpayers in higher taxes. Get these rural communities off government aid. Allow the free market to work!
 

SOURCES:
1) https://www.wtsenergy.com/solar-cheapest-energy-source-in-history-factor/
2) https://www.whitehouse.gov/cea/written-materials/2022/09/01/the-rising-costs-of-extreme-weather-events/
3) https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/michigan/2023/08/26/7-tornadoes-touched-down-in-michigan-heres-when-where/
4) https://www.npr.org/2023/02/18/1154867064/solar-power-misinformation-activists-rural-america
5) https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/09/us/politics/fact-check-republicans-biden-gas.html

Monroe’s Republican Representatives All Oppose United Auto Workers

 by Steven Meyer

Yard signs supporting United Auto Workers (UAW) appeared all over Monroe during this year’s elections with signs for candidates across political ideologies. The public’s support for UAW transcended party lines, but the support from Monroe’s elected leaders was polarized. On the Democratic Side, Monroe’s Representative Reggie Miller (HD-31) delivered strong support for UAW workers in a September 15 official post (1a), “As of 11:59 tonight the UAW has begun their strike. I stand in solidarity with their members and wish them luck as they fight for a fair contract!” Throughout the strike, Miller wore colors on the House floor in solidarity with UAW (2a), shared messages from UAW (2b, 2e), informed how the public could donate to support UAW (2c, 2d), and congratulated UAW when they reached a fair deal (2e).

On the Republican side, Monroe’s Representatives were either conspicuously silent about UAW’s negotiations or viciously opposed. Despite one of the first three plant strikes occurring in Wayne, a few miles from House District-28, Jamie Thompson never posted anything about it. Throughout the 6.5-week strike, Thompson, James DeSana (HD-29), William Bruck (HD-30), and Joe Bellino (SD-16) never posted anything about UAW on any of their Official or Campaign websites, E-Newsletters, or social media pages (3).
When right-wing radio hosts managed to get two of them to talk about it, they had nothing but negative things to say about UAW. On October 12 one host asked DeSana if UAW was close to an agreement (4). DeSana replied awkwardly with false predictions, “Well, I think obviously they’re not closer... I do support – uh, the concept of our auto workers – uh, getting away from this two-gauge – uh, two-phase – uh, pay rate... I don’t think they’re going to get a defined benefit pension back... The effect on our economy could be quite severe, especially the Michigan economy.” On October 6, Joe Bellino also told radio listeners that UAW was bad for the economy (5), “it does hurt the economy in southeast Michigan... all the small people outside the big three will be shut down too. So, that’s bad for local economies.”

Republicans’ false attacks that UAW, “hurt the economy” ignores the economy that most directly impacts working people: fair wages for fair work. Any effect of the strike on the broader economy was strategically minimized by UAW, and far outweighed by the economic benefits won for workers. Moreover, the benefits won by UAW are now expanding economically to non-union workers in related fields (6). Republicans tax cuts for the rich, deregulations, and “trickle down” policies never lead to fair wages for working people.
Tim Walberg was more open about his hatred of UAW. On September 15, Walberg expressed a sadistically elitist resentment towards auto workers being paid fairly (7), “UAW auto workers – um, upwards of 160,000 a year that they could make if this contract goes the way that Swain wants – or Fain wants [UAW President, Shawn Fain]... down south, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky that are making 60 to 80 thousand a year and feeling just fine about that... There is no auto worker that is starving because of their pay.” 

Don’t assume Walberg would treat anyone who is in fact starving with anything but callous disregard though, because his career has been spent trying to destroy all SNAP programs (8). The proposed income of 160,000 that Walberg thought was too much for even the highest-skilled autoworkers to earn - is less than Walberg’s own Congressional base salary of 174,000 per year. Those other incomes of 60 to 80 thousand, which Walberg thought auto workers should be satisfied with, is less money than Walberg even makes each year from his pension from the Michigan State Legislature, which was $87,262 in 2022 and increases about 4% every year (9). Remember, every penny of Walberg’s salary and pension for 31 years has come from the backs of Michigan taxpayers, you, and me. So, as voters, let’s take some inspiration from the success of UAW’s organizing and strategy, and have ourselves a meeting about government layoffs.
 

SOURCES:

1) State Representative Reggie Miller, Post on Government Official Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/RepMiller31

  1. September 15, 2023 - “As of 11:59 tonight the UAW has begun their strike. I stand in solidarity with their members and wish them luck as they fight for a fair contract!”, next to image: “BREAKING NEWS UAW ON STRIKE”

 

2) Reggie Miller for State Representative, Campaign Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/VoteReggieMiller

  1. September 19, 2023 - “Today many of my colleagues and I wore red in solidarity with the striking UAW autoworkers as they fight for a fair contract”

  2. September 22, 2023 – Miller posted an arm flex emoji with a shared post from UAW International Union, Official Page: “#UAW Local 174 GM Belleville (Region 1A) is standing up for economic justice. #standUPUAW” – which included a photo of UAW strike picketers.

  3. September 22, 2023 – Miller shared post from City of Romulus Mayor, Robert A. McCraight of information and a photo of a donation box and list of items to help UAW members and their families during the strike.

  4. October 6, 2023 – Miller shared post from Young Democrats of Michigan with links and an image of UAW strike locations in Michigan where people can donate to help UAW members.

  5. October 26, 2023 - Miller posted “Congratulations to the Ford members of UAW on reaching a tentative agreement!” along with a shared post from UAW International Union, Official Page, featuring a video of Shawn Fain and Chuck Browning describing the tentative agreement with Ford.

 

3) Research note: Between the dates of the UAW Strike: September 15, 2023 – October 30, 2023, on the Official Government Facebook Pages, the Campaign Facebook Pages, the Michigan GOP House and Michgian GOP Senate web sites, and official e-newsletters, all contain zero mentions at all about the UAW Strike from: Jamie Thompson (HD-28 – one post on Facebook about the pause on a Ford plant development which Thompson blamed on renewable energy, but didn’t connect the topic at all to anything to do with UAW), William Bruck (HD-30 - only 3 posts on social media on anything at all during that period and nothing on official House pages, submitted an anti-renewable energy column to two local papers under his name during the strike with no mention of the strike), James DeSana (HD-29 - no content on official House web pages, and 8 posts on Facebook promoting Homeschooling and anti-abortion topics, etc. nothing about UAW), Joe Bellino (SD-16 – nothing on any pages or e-newsletters about UAW)

 

4) October 12, 2023 – Steve Gruber Show: “Rep. James DeSana, UAW is expanding its strike”: 

https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-t73uc-14ccf75

Host, Scott Bertram: “I did want to ask – first of all, we find out overnight that the UAW is – uh, making its strike larger. Increasing the size. 87-hundred workers at Ford’s largest and most profitable plant now out on strike. Uh, that’s just in the overnight hours. What do you make on the UAW’s latest move? Are they any closer, as far as you can tell, to an agreement? And what impact is it having on the economy here in Michigan?”

 

James DeSana: “Well, I think obviously they’re not closer. That’s why they’re escalating. Um, I do support – uh, the concept of our auto workers – uh, getting away from this two-gauge – uh, two-phase – uh, pay rate. Um, I think that – I always thought that was a bad thing. And, um, I think that’s already gone. The offer that’s been made on that, they’re going to get a large increase in their wages. I don’t think they’re going to get a defined benefit pension back. I just don’t think the automakers can survive in this environment – um, with all of these foreign automakers that are in The United States making cars and selling cars, I don’t think the US automakers will be able to survive with that type of an expense on them. Um, I think that the fact – I obviously I hope the strike gets settled soon. The effect on our economy could be quite severe, especially the Michigan economy.”

 

5) October 6, 2023 – WRFH/Radio Free Hillsdale 101.7 FM, “State Sen. Joe Bellino”: https://www.podchaser.com/podcasts/wrfhradio-free-hillsdale-1017-245258/episodes/state-sen-joe-bellino-188257253

Host, Chloe Noller: “I’m here with Senator Bellino here on Radio Free Hillsdale, 101.7 FM. Senator Bellino, last month the United Auto Workers went on strike. What are your thoughts on this strike? What are your concerns for the economy of Michigan? What are you thinking about this?”

 

Joe Bellino: “Well, you know, it’s out of our hands, obviously - but, it does hurt the economy in southeast Michigan all the way over past Hillsdale because a lot of small independent people are making parts for cars. If you go up there toward Jonesville you see those plants, and those are all making car plants [sic]. So, - and they shut down more plants – uh, all the small people outside the big three will be shut down too. So, that’s bad for local economies – Correct.

 

6) November 22, 2023 – Reuters Article: “Automakers with non-union workforce race to bump pay after UAW's record deals” - https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/automakers-with-non-union-workforce-race-bump-pay-after-uaws-record-deals-2023-11-21/

 

7) September 15, 2023 – WKHM - Jackson’s News Talk – Radio Call-In

Audio Source: https://www.wkhm.com/episode/congressman-tim-walberg-98/

Walberg: “Workers – workers in Michigan that got a 20% pay increase. In fact, I think we can say for the most part, none. And a 40% pay increase – I mean, that would produce as we’ve seen some of the numbers that would make UAW auto workers – um, upwards of 160,000 a year that they could make if this contract goes the way that Swain wants – or Fain wants to get through. And then you have the auto companies Toyota, etcetera – BMW down south, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky that are making 60 to 80 thousand a year and feeling just fine about that.”

 

(later) Walberg: “There is no auto worker that is starving because of their pay. And you gotta add Greg, as well there are revenue sharing bonuses that they get each year, which are pretty-pretty strong. You and I don’t get those.”

 

8) March 14, 2023 – USA Today article: “23 Republicans want to make it harder to get SNAP benefits. Here's how.” Walberg was among this list - https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2023/03/14/snap-benefits-food-stamps-eligibility/11466782002/


9) Tim Walberg’s Annual House Financial Disclosure Report for 2022 (Filed: June 29, 2023): https://disclosures-clerk.house.gov/public_disc/financial-pdfs/2022/10052292.pdf

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