November 22, 2010 — A Censure for Justice Elizabeth Ann Weaver

Oh, you have to read this:

I imagine there will be a reply.  Yes, I do.

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November 15, 2010 — “It didn’t come from here”

The Michigan Republicans were IN today and I reached–without any difficulty-Terri Reid.  She is legislative political director for the Michigan GOP.  Specifically, she says “I did Supreme Court for the party.”  And, she says,  she knew nothing about any robocalls by former First Lady Michelle Engler: “I didn’t even know what you were talking about when you left your message.  It didn’t come from this building.”

Nor was she surprised: “A million robocalls go out.”  Maybe, I suggested, it came from the national headquarters.  That’s where one of the calls we posted November 9 traced to.  ”It could have been,” she said.  ”I didn’t know about it.  I don’t know about it.  So, I can’t answer your questions.”

Fair enough.

And it might have been just the calls that came from our of state.  Brian McGillivary of The Traverse City Record Eagle reports that the Michigan GOP in conjunction with the Law Enforcement Alliance of America pushed $4.5 million of untraceable case into the Supreme Court race.  Democrats did something similar, he wrote, to the tune of $2.6 million. Cui bono?  Citizens?

If you take the time to read Mr. McGillivary’s piece you’ll note the importance of the makeup of the court in a lawsuit against Meijer.

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November 12, 2010 — We’ll keep dialing the Republicans (and the Democrats)

Although I have called 517.487.5413 every day this week there has been no response.  Neither Terri  Reid nor Matt Mason has been available at the time I ‘phoned and no message I’ve left has elicited a call back.  I suppose they might be busy with transition-team work.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve also tried to reach Mark Brewer at the Democrats (517.371.5410).  I wanted to ask Mr. Brewer if he had a copy of Michelle Engler’s robocall or whether, indeed, this has gone down the memory hole, something of no consequence or moment.  The Dems’ office was closed yesterday and today in honor, the recording says, of Veterans Day.  The message from Wednesday morning wasn’t returned.

And what does it really matter?  It’s a loose end, that’s all.  Perhaps only housekeeping.  But I do not like loose ends.

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November 11, 2010 — Veterans Day

For all who have served, thank you very much.  For those who gave their all, today is a reminder that your service will not be forgotten.  It matters.

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November 9, 2010 — Still no script from Mrs. Engler, but how about this audio file from Justice Young himself?

Mmm-mmm-mmm.  Just in case you think I’m makin’ it up, try this:

Young calls 1, 2, and 3

The first of these is a lot like the one I received From Michelle Engler.  In the second Young says “None of these ads are true”? …Except for the stuff he admitted saying (and even then he told an untruth about the circumstances).

These calls were shared with me by Jesse Green, who describes himself as an “East Lansing attorney and former journalist who has been following the court elections since the late 1990s.”  Mr. Green is director of communications for the Michigan Association for Justice, an organization that used to be known as the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association.  The work of finding these recordings, he said, was done in his free time, not his work time.

So, I’ll call the Republicans one more time today and see if maybe, just maybe, they’ll share the script for Mrs. Engler.  Heck, they should be proud of their work, fighting against racism.  That’s something all thinking people would endorse in pursuit of justice

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November 6, 2010 – The story is STILL going to come out

Genie out of the bottle and all the other metaphors…once truth begins its exodus to light, there is little chance to stop it.  I’m thinking that will be the case.  Whether it’s now or in 50 years the whole of the story of  Michigan’s Supreme Court will out.

Here’s an analysis from yesterday’s Michigan Messenger, an article by Eartha Jane Melzer.  Yes, yes, I KNOW…it’s supposedly a left-leaning conduit, and perhaps its supporters (you can find them listed at the site, it’s a 501(c)(3), after all) have in mind a liberal agenda, but in this case….

And maybe Ms. Melzer can help me dig out that robocall from Michelle Engler…I’ve been working at it, but so far the Michigan GOP will not return my calls and has not responded to this e-mail request:

At least I wasn’t the only one who heard the robocall.  For about five minutes I thought this might have been a prank and I had helped to perpetrate a hoax.  Nope.  There is confirmation.

But I still want the script from which she read.  My thought regarding this is “What the heck, Mrs. Engler!  You took the time to send this call to me and you WANTED me to hear it.  Why not stand behind it now?  Is there something about this that’s unseemly, Mrs. Engler?  Is it perhaps as unseemly as your work with Freddie Mac in serving on that institution’s board as it steered straight to the brink of ruin during the most recent (and continuing) financial crisis?”

As I thought that I also thought I needed to know a little more about her.  I do not want to be uncharitable.  Here’s a Bloomberg Businessweek profile of Mrs. Engler.  If you click on “board relations” in her profile, you’ll find some interesting connections, including one to Mike Bouchard’s Illumina, Inc. enterprise.  That’s pretty dang fancy work for an otherwise Oakland County Sheriff, but he’s a man of many abilities, much experience, and varied interests.

The point is, I guess, connections and affiliations.

And, as an odd aside, Michelle and John Engler were included in “Washington’s 60 sizzlingest power couples!” in the May 2007 issue of Washington Monthly:

John Engler president, National Association of Manufacturers Michelle Engler board of directors, Freddie Mac.

He was Michiqan’s Republican governor from 1991 to 2003.  Later, he was a government lobbyist for Electronic Data Systems, which received more than $24 million from Freddie Mac for business consulting in 2003.  She was appointed to Freddie Mac’s board in 2001. Through a spokesman, he told us he didn’t know anything about the contract until after he left the company.

Well, that article was published about the time things really started going downhill for the financial markets.  And she may have had something to do with it all.  Certainly it happened on her watch and she was receiving some kind of compensation for her oversight while she was there; she left the board in 2008.  But before she left, she did pretty well. Here’s a look at the Freddie Mac report from 2008 (and you can get earlier filings if you want):

If you want to find it in the report it’s on page 199 of this SEC filing.

If you want to know what all that might have been worth in 2007:

(Same report and the page number is showing.  You can find it for yourself.)  Look at this, too, for 2007 directors’ stock awards:

In fact, once you are in this report, just search on “Engler” and you’ll see all the mentions of her compensation tied to this report.  Heck, she even was reimbursed $466 for bringing her spouse to the 2007 Board meeting.

Public service is a noble enterprise.  Mrs. Engler has been very busy over the years in that regard.  I am so relieved that she had my very best interests at heart in the recent election and that she took the time to warn me about lies about Justice Robert Preston Young, Jr., and insidious connections between the Democrats and the Ku Klux Klan.  I just wish I had a transcription of her message so you could benefit from it, too.

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November 3, 2010 — Another great day

What?  Just because voters decided to re-elect Justice Robert Preston Young, Jr., and to elect Judge Mary Beth Kelly to the Michigan Supreme Court does not make this a bad day.  The day is wonderful.  There was a beautiful dawning this morning, robed in plum and fuchsia.  I expect the day will continue as a gift.

And the truth abides.  At least some of the truth will remain before us…the contempt by Judge Kelly, the language and practice of Justice Young.

Let us be about our business and not grow weary in the doing.

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November 2, 2010 — “The future is unknowable.”

…That’s something the late Russell Amos Kirk often said.  Even when things are at their apparent brightest or  dimmest…the future remains an unknown.  Things will change, and the way they change is rarely up to us.  

This Michigan Supreme Court race has taken up what some of you have said is an unfortunate amount of time/space at this site.  True, I might have been better off to launch a website just for this…but in another sense, this is Delayed Justice, too.  If there is not fairness at the state’s highest court, what chance have all those who hunger and thirst for justice?  What of all the efforts of the police officers and the prosecutors who service justice in their pursuit of clearing murder cases (and other kinds of cases, too, of course)?  What of the hopes of the families of the murdered victims?  That’s why I have undertaken this effort.  Why at this time?  Because now is when those seeking high office are declaiming exactly who they (and the others they are running against) are…rule-of-law judges or empathy judges or….  When you have proof to the contrary there is an obligation to step forward.

I have no idea who will win this day’s election.  The polls for the Supreme Court race have put Judge Mary Beth Kelly in the lead, followed by Justice Robert Preston Young, Jr., followed by Justice Alton Thomas Davis, followed by Judge Denise Langford Morris.  The ultimate poll, of course, is the ballot box.  We’ll just have to wait and see.  I’ll wait without hope, because, as T.S. Eliot wrote in Four Quartets ”For hope would be hope for the wrong thing.”   If Justice Young and Judge Kelly are successful there may be a every good reason in service of an unknown future and truth.  The same goes if they are defeated.  If Justice Young is unelected I would hope and pray that he is lifted up and made a better and stronger man, ablaze for what is just and right.  Oh, he has many gifts and talents, and one of the best things about this country is that you can have a second act, a third act, and a fourth act if you need it.  People are giving and forgiving and once we (yeah, we) see the error of our ways and admit it,  then there is all the hope in the world.  The same holds true for Judge Kelly, that she will grow into who God calls her to be.  I hope and pray the same for myself.  Every day I have prayed for these candidates…all of them.

And for the election, I have prayed that prayer we’ve been told never fails: “Thy will be done.”  Whatever the result, even if I don’t understand, I can trust.  I can choose that.

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October 31, 2010 — What would Edmund Burke do?

There are so many political ads on television and most of them are not very pleasant. Many viewers are disgusted with the personal attacks and conflicting claims. They can’t all be right and it’s possible that none is. The Michigan Truth Squad is likely overwhelmed and these things sometimes take time to suss out.  So far no reaction by the Squad to the Dems’ ad about the language of Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert Preston Young, Jr.  Of course, Justice Young admitted to reporters that he did say what has been said he said, so even if the ad is truly unpleasant and repugnant, it has substance.  There is at least one problem with the ad, though.  Is there no one in the Democratic Party who can summon any grammar skills?  They use the phrase “Thats who” when identifying Justice Elizabeth Ann Weaver (Michigan Supreme Court, retired) as the person who exposed Justice Young’s bad behavior.  Where’s the apostrophe indicating a contractio of “That is who!”?   “Thats who”?  No, “That’s who”.  Golly.  Well, I make mistakes as well, serving as I do as my own editor.  But I fix ‘em when I find ‘em.  The Dems should have caught and fixed that early on.

Now, I think the Republicans have made their own mistake, too.  When I got home on Friday there was a message on an answering machine that purported to be from Michelle Engler, Michigan’s former First Lady.  After identifying herself, the speaker went on to say all the ads about Bob Young’s language are lies.  Further, they were put out by the Democrats in conjunction with the KKK.  Wow!   My first thought was that somebody in her working circle went to my website and saw that I had made a film about the Klan.  I did, and you can watch the trailer at this website.  I’d even be happy to sell a copy if you like.  (The film won the 2005 State History award from the Historical Society of Michigan and has appeared on Public Television.)  I assure you it was not in praise of the Klan, an enterprise that is still all too alive and well.  Was she referring to that?  And, dang it, the message was erased before I had the sense to take it down verbatim.  If there’s somebody out there who has the message, will you please transcribe it, double check it, and send it to me:  Thank you.

I’ve wondered, too, that while many newspapers have followed the story of the racial and sexual language the Justice used, others have not.  Heck, theChicago Trib picked up the AP stories as did the Freep, The Detroit News and countless small papers, but the story has appeared nowhere (as far as I’ve been able to check) on the west side of the state (where I live).  The Grand Rapids Press, for example, certainly knew about it.  I sent the blog postings to the editorial page editor suggesting he might want to at least investigate the matter before endorsing, as I expected the paper would, Justice Young and Judge Mary Beth Kelly.  Zip.  Papers have a right and duty to decide what they’ll publish, what’s news, what’s manufactured news, what downright scurrilous, what’s partisan prating, what’s fluff, what’s nothing.  Seems they’ve made a decision about all this.  In a larger sense, it’s unfortunate that all this comes at election time.  It is the time, however, when voters are paying some attention to the High Court.  This work is not simply about an election, it’s about what’s gone on at the Court.  There is more to be done in telling the story.

As for assertions that I am a Democratic operative.  Sorry, no.  I describe myself as a conservative mostly Republican.  I’ve never joined a  political party and paid dues, but my votes have mostly tended to that side.  I’m pretty sure that party is not eager to have me, but thought is thought.  Edmund Burke in pursuing the excesses of Warren Hastings was, I believe, not well loved by his own party (and abjured by others).  Any vindication has come long after.  I’m no Edmund Burke, but I can try to hew to the same principles.  With him I certainly know that  ”Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.”  An honest revelation–however unpleasant–goes a long way against corruption.

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October 30, 2010 — A call for investigation at the Court

Justice Elizabeth A. Weaver (Michigan Supreme Court, retired) was in Detroit yesterday.  By an odd happenstance, so was I. I was there to do a taping at anInsideOut Literary Arts Project event honoring Detroit Poet Laureate Naomi Long Madgett.  That was Thursday night.  Friday morning and early afternoon we were conducting interviews with some outstanding poets who agreed to speak about Naomi’s long and generous career as a poet, publisher, and advocate for the arts.  

We grabbed a quick lunch and then headed to the Southfield Westin where Justice Weaver would speak at a presser–a press conference–organized by the Gerald Thurswell law firm.  Justice Weaver spoke as did Bishop John Sheard of the Church of God in Christ, Southwest Michigan.  Bishop Sheard is in charge of 90 churches in the state, 40 of them in Detroit; others are as far west as Allegan County.  Here is the presser.

The Free Press reported the story this morning.  The Free Press reporter there brought out in a question one of the two most notable things from Justice Weaver at the presser: that the Court does not need to do much in secret, despite Former Chief Justice Cliff Taylor’s assertion that “These discussions between judges have to be inviolately secret. Otherwise the system can’t work.”  Only in rare instances, says Justice Weaver. For the rest, fling open the doors: it IS the public’s business.

The second most remarkable assertion is the call for an open investigation of the Court, the Supreme Court Administrator’s Office, the Judicial Tenure Commission, the Attorney Grievance Commission.  

Here’s a request to the new Governor, either Mr. Snyder or Mr. Bernaro: Please do it.

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