Tag Archives: Michigan

Fourth Muslim group rejects federal grant to fight extremism

jihad-turk

Jihad Turk: Has a vision to serve his community

You know what side they stand for when their Trump Derangement Syndrome tops any desire to fight extremism.

From Sacramento Bee: A California Islamic school wanted to keep an open mind before Donald Trump took office (yeah, riiiiiight). But less than a month into Trump’s presidency, the school rejected $800,000 in federal funds aimed at combatting violent extremism.

The decision made late Friday night by the Bayan Claremont graduate school’s board to turn down the money — an amount that would cover more than half its yearly budget — capped weeks of sleepless nights and debate. Many there felt Trump’s rhetoric singling out Islamic extremism and his travel ban affecting predominantly Muslim countries had gone too far.

It also made the school the fourth organization nationwide under the Trump administration to reject the money for a program created under President Barack Obama known as countering violent extremism, or CVE, which officials say aims to thwart extremist groups’ abilities to recruit would-be terrorists.

Bayan Claremont had received the second-largest grant, among the first 31 federal grants for CVE awarded to organizations, schools and municipalities in the dwindling days of the Obama administration. The school had hoped to use the money to help create a new generation of Muslim community leaders, with $250,000 earmarked for more than a dozen local nonprofits doing social justice work.

But the fledgling school’s founding president, Jihad Turk, said officials ultimately felt accepting the money would do more harm than good.

It’s “a heck of a lot of money, (but) our mission and our vision is to serve the community and to bring our community to a position of excellence,” Turk said. “And if we’re compromised, even if only by perception in terms of our standing in the community, we ultimately can’t achieve that goal,” he said, adding that accepting the funds would be short-sighted.

The school’s internal debate is also emblematic of handwringing among grassroots and nonprofit organizations involved in the program in the last couple weeks.

At Unity Productions Foundation of Potomac Falls, Virginia, officials said they would decline a grant of $396,585 to produce educational films challenging narratives supporting extremist ideologies and violent extremism “due to the changes brought by the new administration,” according to a private message to donors reviewed by The Associated Press.

And in Dearborn, Michigan, Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities said last week it was turning down $500,000 for youth-development and public-health programs because of the “current political climate.” Ka Joog, a leading Somali nonprofit organization in Minneapolis, also turned down $500,000 for its youth programs.

The Homeland Security Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

A U.S. official said the Trump administration has been discussing changing the Obama administration program’s name, established as a presidential strategy in 2011, to an iteration of “countering Islamic extremism.” The official, who has knowledge of the discussions, was not authorized to speak publicly about the proposal and spoke on condition of anonymity.

All told, more than 20 percent of the roughly $10 million awarded by the Homeland Security Department has been rejected (well, sounds like some savings for the tax payers). And other groups have signaled they may follow suit, should the name change.

Turk said school officials already had reservations about the CVE strategy under Obama because they felt there’s no clear or proven pathway to violence for someone with a particular extreme ideology. The group went ahead, despite worries by some activists that the program equated to a government surveillance program, because it believed the previous administration wasn’t hostile to their faith.

But amid what Turk called Trump’s “fixation on the American Muslim community,” it became clear that the president’s actions were more than campaign-trail rhetoric, he said. “It was becoming more and more apparent,” Turk said of Trump, “that he’s actually looking to carry out all the scary stuff he said.”

DCG

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Fiat Chrysler Spends $1 Billion on U.S. Amid Trump Squeeze

maga

Via Bloomberg: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV will invest $1 billion toward making three new Jeep models in the U.S., plus a Ram pickup now built in Mexico, as President-elect Donald Trump pressures the auto industry to hire workers and produce vehicles above the border.

The outlays planned by 2020 include retooling factories in Michigan and Ohio and adding 2,000 jobs, according to a company statement. The Italian-American automaker confirmed the Jeep brand will add the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer sport utility vehicles and a truck model to its lineup. After improvements to a plant in Warren, Michigan, the site will be able to assemble heavy-duty Ram pickups now made in Saltillo, Mexico.

Fiat Chrysler is circulating the plans before any potential criticism of the company by Trump, who last week threatened General Motors Co. with import taxes for importing a version of its Chevrolet Cruze from Mexico. Ford Motor Co. last week canceled a $1.6 billion factory in the country and said it’ll invest $700 million into a Michigan plant.

“The expansion of our Jeep lineup has been and continues to be the key pillar of our strategy,” Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said in the statement. He also highlighted plans to export the SUVs and trucks. “We will finally have the capacity to successfully penetrate markets other than the U.S. which have historically been denied product due to capacity constraints.”

Fiat Chrysler employs more than 11,800 workers in Mexico at seven manufacturing facilities, which shipped 477,000 vehicles in 2015, according to the company’s website. Its models built south of the border include Ram trucks and vans in Saltillo and Fiat 500 small cars and Dodge Journey SUVs in Toluca.

The company is set to start producing a new version of its Jeep Compass SUV for the U.S. market at the Toluca plant. Its factory in Belvidere, Illinois, which used to assemble the model, is being retooled to make Jeep Cherokees SUVs.

DCG

Two good reasons to avoid the Lifetime movie about the Flint Water Crisis

cher-and-couric

1: It will star crazy libtard Cher.

2: One of the executive producers is the lying libtard Katie Couric, who is currently facing a $12 million defamation lawsuit for her anti-gun documentary.

From Hollywood Reporter: Cher is headed for Lifetime. The iconic singer-actress has been tapped to star in Flint, a TV movie based on the Flint, Mich., water crisis, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

Craig Zadan, Neil Meron and Katie Couric will executive produce, alongside Cher. Bruce Beresford will direct the movie from Sony Pictures Television. Barbara Stepansky will pen the script.

Cher will portray a Flint resident whose family is impacted by the water crisis.

The drama is based on events in Flint about the poor management that led to water poisoning as well as the human elements of the residents who suffered — and whose voices were ignored. The movie was inspired by a February 2016 cover story in Time magazine called “The Toxic Tap,” by Josh Sanburn.  Zadan and Meron’s Sony Pictures TV-based Storyline Entertainment optioned the rights to the story.  This is Cher’s second TV movie role, following HBO’s 1996 If These Walls Could Talk, for which she scored a Golden Globe nomination.

She has been actively involved in helping Flint residents, including donating thousands of bottles of water. “This is a tragedy of staggering proportion and shocking that it’s happening in the middle of our country,” the Oscar winner said at the time.

DCG

#MAGA: Ford cancels Mexico plant, expands U.S. factory and adds 700 jobs

maga

From USA Today: Ford Motor announced Tuesday that it would cancel plans for a $1.6 billion Mexico plant and launch a Michigan expansion in a move that may be viewed as a capitulation to Donald Trump.

Ford CEO Mark Fields said the company would spend $700 million and add 700 jobs to “transform and expand” its Flat Rock, Mich. manufacturing plant to make autonomous and electric vehicles. “Make no mistake about it — Ford is a global automaker but our home is right here in the United States,” Fields said at a press conference.

The move marks a sharp reversal for Ford, which has defended its production in Mexico even as Trump has assailed the company for expanding there. “This is a vote of confidence for President-elect Trump and some of the policies he may be pursuing,” Fields said.

To be sure, Ford acknowledged that it would still move production of the next-generation Focus sedan to Mexico, as previously announced. But it will be built at an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, not at a new facility.

The United Auto Workers hailed the decision. “We’ve seen our jobs go overseas,” UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles said. “It’s evident today that Ford is rewarding us for our hard work.”

Others will view the move as a bid to satisfy Trump, who has cited Ford’s Mexico expansion as a key example of how the North American Free Trade Agreement has weakened American manufacturing.

Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford called Trump this morning to inform the president-elect of the decision, and Fields called incoming Vice President Mike Pence. “Automakers are facing a situation where they have to consider the political consequences” of all their decisions, AutoTrader.com analyst Michelle Krebs said.

Ford’s expansion will convert 700 temporary jobs at the Michigan plant into permanent positions, adding to an existing hourly staff of about 3,600. Fields said the automaker will add about 200 jobs at its plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, to make the Focus but did not say how much it would invest.

The Michigan expansion plans are part of a broader $4.5 billion investment in electric vehicles and hybrids, including 13 new models over the next five years. Those vehicles include a small, electric sport-utility vehicle with 300 miles of battery range, which will be exported overseas, and a “high-volume autonomous vehicle designed for commercial ride-hailing or ride-sharing,” Ford said in a statement.

The company will also manufacture a hybrid version of the F-150 pickup truck by 2020 at the Dearborn, Mich., plant, where the F-series lineup is currently manufactured.

DCG

Fear of Trump Triggers Deep Spending Cuts by SEIU

seiu-obama

SEIU: Say goodbye to your best buddy…

Imagine my distress…

From Bloomberg: In a clear sign that labor unions are bracing for lean times under Donald Trump, the massive Service Employees International Union is planning for a 30 percent budget cut over the next year, according to an internal memo reviewed by Bloomberg Businessweek.

“Because the far right will control all three branches of the federal government, we will face serious threats to the ability of working people to join together in unions,” SEIU President Mary Kay Henry wrote in an internal memo dated Dec. 14. “These threats require us to make tough decisions that allow us to resist these attacks and to fight forward despite dramatically reduced resources.” After citing the need to “dramatically re-think” how to implement the union’s strategy, Henry’s all-staff letter announces that SEIU “must plan for a 30% reduction” in the international union’s budget by Jan. 1, 2018, including a 10 percent cut effective at the start of 2017.

SEIU, which represents nearly 2 million government, health-care, and building-services workers and wields an annual budget of $300 million, is the nation’s second-largest union and arguably the most politically significant. In the past few years, SEIU has mounted organized labor’s most effective political intervention with the “Fight for $15,” a campaign that’s dragged Democrats—from city council members to presidential candidates—further left on the minimum wage. At the same time, it cultivated close ties with President Obama, played a key role in passing Obamacare, and worked hard to elect Hillary Clinton.

Asked about what the memo could mean for its current campaigns, SEIU didn’t offer specifics. “As we prepare to fight-back against the forthcoming attacks on working people and our communities under an extremist-run government, we know we must realign our resources and streamline our investments to buttress and broaden our movement to restore economic and democratic opportunity for all families,” said spokeswoman Sahar Wali. “As part of this process, we are currently looking at possible ways to improve our budgets.”

SEIU, like most of its peers, was already in a state of slow-motion crisis before Trump’s victory. Things will only get worse after inauguration, when organized labor will find itself without a friend in the White House. Unions will instead be up against unified Republican control of the federal government and of half the nation’s state governments, where labor organizers have already suffered some severe blows.

In Michigan, for example, Republicans in 2012 passed a private sector “Right to Work” law that let workers decline to fund the unions representing them, a public sector law doing the same for government employees, and a third law stripping University of Michigan graduate student researchers and home-health aides of their collective-bargaining rights. Afterwards, SEIU’s Michigan health-care local lost most of its membership.

With Republican dominance in Washington, the threats to SEIU will get more grave: Everything from slashing health-care spending to passing a federal law extending “Right to Work” to all private-sector employees could be on the table. One of the most widely expected scenarios is that a Trump appointee will provide the decisive fifth vote on the Supreme Court’s labor cases. The court already ruled in 2014 that making government-funded home health aides pay union fees violated the First Amendment, and a future case could apply the same logic to all government employees, effectively making the whole public sector “Right to Work.” SEIU was bracing for such a ruling earlier this year, in a case called Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, but got an unexpected reprieve when Justice Antonin Scalia’s death left the court tied, four to four. With several similar cases brought by union opponents already making their way through lower courts, it may not last for long.

The Dec. 14 internal memo from SEIU’s president doesn’t specify which threats necessitate planning for a 30 percent cut or how particular programs could be affected. It does reference the next congressional and presidential election cycles, saying the union needs to “focus our resources and energy on the fights that position us to retake power in 2018, 2020 and beyond,” as well as position itself “to take on the forthcoming attacks, absorb the short-term losses and strengthen ourselves to win big in the future.”

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

Dog Swims Over 6 Miles to Reunite With Family After Falling Off Boat in Lake Michigan

Grab a hanky…

Edward and Kristin Casas photo

Edward and Kristin Casas photo

From ABC News: A dog that recently fell overboard in the middle of Lake Michigan apparently swam over six miles back to shore and walked over 12 miles more to a campground where she was reunited with her family the following day.

Edward Casas, 56, told ABC News today that he had been boating with his wife, 49-year-old Kristin Casas, on Sunday, when they encountered a mechanical problem.

Edward said he believes their son’s 10-month-old puppy, Rylee, must have fallen overboard while he was down in the engine room figuring out the issue and his wife was on top of the boat steering.

“Our hearts just sank,” he said. “We were gone for maybe 10 minutes, and then we couldn’t find her anywhere on the boat and she was nowhere to be seen in the water.” Edward said he immediately made a “‘mayday dog overboard’ call over the radio.”

One of several fishermen who responded to the call connected Edward to his wife, Lynn Fiedor, who runs a volunteer group in the area called the Lost Dog Search Team.

Fiedor told ABC News today that when she learned Rylee was training to be a search-and-rescue dog and that she was a Belgian Malinois — a working breed known for its intelligence and athleticism — she “had no doubt in her mind” the pup would “find her way back to shore.”

“From there, it was just a matter of getting the word out as much as I could so that everyone in the area would be looking for this dog when she got to shore,” Fiedor said. She explained that she called the local sheriff’s office, park rangers, Coast Guard and even posted an alert to her group’s Facebook page.

Though no one had reported seeing Rylee Sunday evening, Fiedor said hope came in the form of a call the following morning.

“A lady said she had seen the dog going into the Platte River Campground,” Fiedor said. “It was amazing. She literally swam over six miles and walked over 12 miles more through the woods.

Fiedor immediately alerted Edward and Kristin about the sighting, and the couple was able to drive to the campground area thanks to a local harbormaster who let them borrow his truck.

Fiedor then explained to the couple the best ways to attract lost dogs and had the couple mark their scent around the truck before lying down with Rylee’s food and toys.

Just a little while after Edward started squeaking one of Rylee’s favorite toys while laying on the ground, the pup emerged from woods and joyfully greeted at them, Fiedor said.

Edward told ABC News there “was a lot of sobbing and a lot of hugging.”

Edward and Kristin Casas photo

Edward and Kristin Casas photo

“Let me tell you, I’m not the kind of guy that cries but oh did this make me cry,” he said. “I am so proud of this dog and so proud of and grateful for Lynn [Fiedor].”

Kristin told ABC News today, “Lynn is truly an angel walking on Earth with us — heart of gold, tenacity, relentless, loving and determined. … Just like Rylee!”

The couple added that their 18-year-old son away at college, Colin Casas, technically owns Rylee and that he was also relieved after hearing the good news.

DCG

Surge in Syrian refugees expected in Michigan

They should fit in quite well in Dearbornistan.

michigan muslim sign

From Detroit Free Press: With less than five months to go, the Obama administration remains far behind its target of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees by Sept. 30, but officials are expecting to draw closer to that goal in the coming months with a spike in resettlements in Michigan and across the U.S.

Officials at refugee-assistance agencies in Michigan and elsewhere say the pace of resettlements has lagged expectations, though Obama administration officials made clear that security concerns raised last November by Gov. Rick Snyder and others after the Paris attacks have not slowed their efforts.

Instead, officials say it took months for the U.S. State Department and Department of Homeland Security to adequately staff interview centers at camps in the Middle East to handle what is no more than a portion of the estimated 4.8 million Syrians displaced by the conflict there and in Iraq.

“The United States remains committed to the president’s plan (to resettle 10,000 Syrians by Sept. 30),” State Department spokeswoman Julia Mason confirmed for the Free Press last week. “We expect Syrian refugee arrivals to the U.S. to increase steadily throughout the fiscal year.”

If a surge is coming, Michigan is likely to be involved: Since the fiscal year began last October, 211 Syrians have been resettled in the state, more than anywhere else in the country — for a total of 386 resettlements between Jan. 1, 2015, and April 30 of this year. And that’s no surprise, considering southeastern Michigan has the largest Arab-American community in the U.S. with cultural and societal ties to the Middle East and deep experience with refugee resettlements.

dearbornistan

But the numbers of those coming could dwarf what has been seen to date. According to the State Department, a total of 1,736 Syrians have been resettled in the U.S. since October, meaning it would take on average more than 1,650 resettlements a month through Sept. 30 to hit the 10,000 mark.

If Michigan — which has resettled about 12% of the Syrians accepted into the U.S. since the refugee crisis began last year — continues its trend, the state could welcome hundreds more in the near future, even as questions about immigration lurk as part of a fractious general election debate.

Relatively speaking, the number of Syrian refugees to be settled in Michigan — even after a surge — would be minuscule, considering the state’s population of about 10 million.

And while there have been some notable resettlements — Refaai Hamo, a Syrian refugee who lost much of his family and resettled in Troy won the attention of President Barack Obama after his story was featured on a website — dozens more go unnoticed. In the last five years, more than 11,000 Iraqis have been resettled in Michigan — second only to California — with little notice.

The U.S. commitment to resettle Syrian refugees is also a small one compared with some other nations, like Germany, which has said it would resettle about 800,000 refugees — though the U.S. number could grow in the years to come.

Still, resettlement agencies in Michigan are bracing for the uptick in refugees, not only from Syria but elsewhere, with only about one-quarter of their total approved number of potential refugees — 4,761 — having been processed so far this year.

Read the whole story here.

DCG