Gang/Countergang in Michigan
May 2, 2020 (EIRNS)—There is a classic gang/countergang operation taking place in Michigan, which must be exposed before violence is unleashed, causing a major impact nationally.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis has been fraught with mistakes, either through incompetence or political calculation, which intensified the crisis, and provided the fertile ground for unleashing the widespread “personal freedom” insanity. The end-result is a dangerous polarization at the lowest possible level, when what should be being discussed, is how the industrial Midwest should be reconfigured to become the arsenal of production, for the country and for the world, once again.
First, on Whitmer. She and her slate came into office in 2018, after sweeping aside the old-line machine Democrats in Detroit (blacks, trade unions). The current mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan, represents that old-line machine. (More on his response to this crisis below.)
Whitmer is on Joe Biden’s short list to be his Vice Presidential running-mate, and is thus being given national prominence. She delayed asking for a declaration of a Federal emergency for a full week, after all the other hard-hit states had requested and received it. She kept the gambling casinos open for several days, after she had shut down other mass-gathering venues.
Until the last week or so, Michigan has been very slow on testing (with the exception of Detroit; see below). The CDC data from a week ago showed Michigan as the last of the ten most seriously affected states, in terms of the number of tests being conducted. Outside of grandstanding on talk shows, the Governor apparently couldn’t measure up to what the governors of New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, California, etc. were managing to do.
The exception was the City of Detroit. On March 25, Mayor Duggan set up a drive-through testing site at the old Michigan State Fairgrounds. Throughout, he has insisted, “the way we beat this is through testing.” Within a few days of that, Duggan had arranged, through Vice President Pence, to get a shipment of the rapid 15-minute testing kits, and was testing all first responders by April 4. This allowed the city to get police, fire and health care workers back on the job. In the last week, Duggan expanded the testing to all residents and workers in nursing homes, so as to get a complete picture of the spread of the virus there. He has now ordered that all grocery stores must test their employees by May 6 or be shut down. His goal is to test any resident who needs to be tested.
This week, the Governor was complaining about lack of supplies for testing, especially swabs and reagents. At the same time, local papers reported that one of the biggest medical 3-D printing operations in the country is located in Dearborn, with the capacity to produce millions of swabs. The Food and Drug Administration has already approved their swabs, which are being shipped to other states, but the Michigan Health Department hadn’t approved them for Michigan.
There has been widespread coverage of State Representative Karen Whitsett (D-Detroit), who publicly thanked President Trump for saving her life when she contracted COVID-19, because of his hydroxychloroquine recommendation. She has since been censored by the Detroit Democratic caucus for doing that. She has pointed to the partisan insanity of that, and made a more important point: She contrasted Duggan’s successful partnership with Pence and the Trump Administration to get things done, to Governor Whitmer’s and the state Democratic Party’s inaction.
That sets the stage for the gang/countergang battle over the Governor’s stay-at-home orders, which have become national and international news.
The first Lansing protest was originally organized as an automobile caravan, proposed by a Republican State legislator, in opposition to the arbitrariness of Whitmer’s orders. (You could buy lottery tickets, pot, and liquor, but not garden and lawn care supplies.) As was blasted all over the world, the “my personal freedom über alles” crowd jumped in (complete with Confederate flag), and have been fanning the flames ever since.
The April 30 protest at the Capitol was much smaller than the original one, even though it has been given just as much national attention. One local paper reported 100 in attendance, another reported several hundred. Of course, CNN said it was 400 to 700.
The Libertarian tendency here is fanned by Hillsdale College, one of the country’s nastiest hotbeds of Friedrich von Hayek’s Austrian School of liberal laissez-faire economics.
This will now be augmented by the announcement that Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who quit the Republican Party last year to become an independent, will now run for the Libertarian Party nomination. Amash is a hard-core von Hayek supporter (he was always adamant in his opposition to Glass-Steagall), and will certainly enflame that side of the fight. Running in his home state, Amash is likely to siphon votes away from Trump, especially as the “freedom movement” is pushed.