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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Are you in need of Money? Apply for a piece of the $700 billion dollar bailout today.!

Click Here to download an application for a share of the Federal Government's $700 billion dollar Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funding. This is the official document that is being used by the Auto Industry and the Banking Industry to get a share of the money.

By filling out this simple two page application, your name will be placed in the running for use of this money.

Get your fair share of your tax dollars now!

Let your money make money work for you.!


Don't hesitate, apply today!

Because it is YOUR money!

This e-posting is from the Friends of Cushingberry and we approve this message.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Restoring the Revenue: Demanding a full accounting of TARP funds by the Obama Administration to fund Universal Health Care for all American citizens.

After seeing the “concern” of the Republican senators in Washington D.C about the plight of the American Automotive industry, a public accounting of funds should be a top priority of the Obama Administration. What I am talking about is that when firms like AIG, Bank of America, and other Wall Street firms get blank checks from the taxpayers without a paper trail, the Automobile Industry has to get nit-picked for every penny. People, this is their last 30 days of unchecked and un-regulated business conduct that AIG, Bank of America and others like them will be allowed to operate. I am recommending that the Obama Transition Team demand that an accounting of all taxpayer funds given to these companies be made available for public view by February 23rd, 2009.


Just like the IRS doing an audit on an individual taxpayer, these companies should undergo the same scrutiny from the government. We the taxpayers are part owners of these banks and investment companies. This information shall be made available for public viewing in the form of an online statement of accounts. If you have a credit card then you know the drill. Every 30 days you get a bank statement in the mail showing your transactions on your credit card. So why not expand that concept to the companies on Wall Street that have our money?


We have enough Information Technology professionals who have the ability to produce detail and summary reports showing financial transactions. We have capable accountants and finance specialists here in Michigan that can maintain the systems that monitor any and all financial transactions of anyone. We are outraged as citizens of this state when bonuses are being paid to AIG executives and others while people are losing their jobs, health care and homes. The financial genocide that has been inflicted upon us must be stopped with the same zeal that we go after diseases like AIDS, Cancer, ALS, etc.


The banks will be accountable to the people of Michigan because we will demand it. Senators Stabenow, Levin, and Dodd of Connecticut are on the right track when they say that on January 20th, the banks will have to re-invest into America. This re-investment program will force the banks to distribute the TARP funds into Michigan homes, businesses, and schools. I will also push to give District Court Judges the power to modify mortgages and lower interest rates to consumers. I am asking you to support me in efforts to help the Granholm and the Obama Administration to force the banks to re-invest into Michigan businesses with %3 interest rates to stabilize our State economy. This program will allow existing businesses to restructure their debts to make them competitive again. Lower interest on loans and purchases of bonds will allow the creation of programs to create jobs in Michigan.


I will also push for prosecution of the banks who gave fraudulent terms on loans to vulnerable businesses and homeowners. Instead of jail, restitution will be in the form of modified mortgage terms to Michigan residents. I will work closely with Incoming HHS Secretary Shaun Donovan and the vast resources of the United States Department of Justice to restore home ownership in Michigan one home at a time. This will help to reform education one school at a time because if families with jobs occupy homes, the children will need schools and teachers to help them.
In addition to the financial restitution, I am going to ask my colleagues in Washington to lead the charge of allocating a portion of the 700 billion in TARP funds to pay for universal health care coverage for all. The time is now to address the issue of health in Michigan. There are too many of our citizens that are dying from diseases like Diabetes, Cancer, and blatant neglect. The health of the people is a Troubled Asset and shall be treated as such. To let people die for profit is immoral and a disgrace to humanity.

As your State Representative, I am urging you to contact me and your Federal Representatives to voice your concerns. We know that when the Obama administration takes office, they will call the economic situation another great depression. We the people cannot and will not let that happen without a fight. Gov. Granholm and I will be fighting to our last breath to restore the Revenue to our State in the form of reasonable and fair investment of Federal funds into Michigan. We also want you to contact Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama (Click here for Senator Richard Shelby)
and Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee (Click here for Senator Bob Corker) to let them know of your feelings regarding their attitude toward the hard working Union Members and their contribution to America. Take the time to remind them of the contribution of UAW members in the war effort by our Armed Forces.


When you contact these Senators let them know that we all have a lot to lose and everything to gain. On a morality perspective, when someone is suffering somewhere we all are suffering everywhere. You can’t be bible thumping evangelical preaching morality and virtues, while you concurrently have a total disregard for the financial and physical health in our country. The lack of health care in Michigan and America is a moral disgrace and a major component in the out of control deficit. Fighting a useless war in Iraq while your fellow citizen is on their back with an illness is a poor example of government spending. Then ask your elected officials and fellow constituents to take some time and count the domestically made Automobiles in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Panama, Dubai, and Saudi Arabia. Do you see the point being made?


We hope that with your active participation in your Government, we all can make a difference. Just remember that the 1st State that is suffering the most will be the first state to lead the people back from this Great Depression of the 21st century.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Restoring the Revenue III – The Reclassification of Marijuana to a Schedule III Drug

Currently, Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug with no medical value. This allows law enforcement to prosecute people and is the gateway to placing a person in the court system. The effect of this policy is overcrowded prisons and a clogged legal system. This is an important question to the upcoming Obama administration as he will be responsible for hiring the Next National Drug Czar and the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). On December 4th, a new law is in effect to allow people with a medical need to use Marijuana legally without the fear of arrest. On November 4th of this year, the Michigan voters spoke loud and clear as they approved of Medical Marijuana by %63 of the vote. All 83 counties in Michigan voted yes on November 4th.


The current schedule of drugs as defined by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are defined as follows:

Schedule I — drugs with a high abuse risk. These drugs have NO safe, accepted medical use in the United States. Some examples are heroin, marijuana, LSD, PCP, and crack cocaine.

Schedule II — drugs with a high abuse risk, but also have safe and accepted medical uses in the United States. These drugs can cause severe psychological or physical dependence. Schedule II drugs include certain narcotic, stimulant, and depressant drugs. Some examples are morphine, cocaine, oxycodone (Percodan®), methylphenidate (Ritalin®), and dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®).

Schedule III, IV, or V — drugs with an abuse risk less than Schedule II. These drugs also have safe and accepted medical uses in the United States. Schedule III, IV, or V drugs include those containing smaller amounts of certain narcotic and non-narcotic drugs, anti-anxiety drugs, tranquilizers, sedatives, stimulants, and non-narcotic analgesics. Some examples are acetaminophen with codeine (Tylenol® No.3), paregoric, hydrocodone with acetaminophen (Vicodin®), diazepam (Valium®), alprazolam (Xanax®), propoxyphene (Darvon®), and pentazocine (Talwin®).


Reclassifying Marijuana as a Schedule III drug would move Marijuana to the same status as Aspirin and Cough Syrup. An example is that is someone was overdosing on aspirin; they would go to a hospital and given mental health care instead of a ride to jail. County prosecutors and law enforcement personnel routinely complain about the massive amount of paperwork in prosecuting a person with a small amount of Marijuana. The FDA can focus on healthy living and lifestyles for young and old Americans. This agency would be catalyst to promote better health among Americans through exercise and healthy eating practices. The Department of Agriculture in conjunction with the Dept of Community Health would serve as a catalyst to assist Michigan residents in proper growing methods for the medicine. This would create even more job and career opportunities in both departments.


It would also serve to eliminate the costly legal challenges that seek to thwart the will of the people. It would amount to insubordination to the people of the State of Michigan if civil servants and special interest groups initiate law suits to satisfy their narrow minded selfish thoughts.


So many people and so much documentation exist that shows Marijuana has medical benefits for people with debilitating medical conditions such as Leukemia, Aids, Nausea, Glaucoma, Multiple Sclerosis, etc. DEA administrative law judge Francis Young referred to Marijuana a wonder drug with many uses in his commentary during a trial. Furthermore uses like fuel, clothes and the other 25,000 uses are fully documented in video and print. The person that President-Elect Obama appoints to this position cannot overlook these facts regarding the Marijuana plant.


In order for the Department of Community Health to manage the dispensary program, the agency will need to reorganize resources in Information Technology and staff support. Out of the 148 Information Technology positions that the department has allotted, 10 of them will be redirected to manage the program. An increase in staff positions between 415 to 830 employees will be needed to manage the entire program. These figures are based on 3 FTE positions for each of the 83 counties. An extreme scenario will project 10 employees for each county. Their job will be to maintain the process for the dispensary registration.



Information Technology needs are software to maintain the registry and hardware maintenance. Programs like Microsoft Access, SQL Server, etc are readily available to use and the application is relatively simple to create and maintain at a cost of $20,000 a year. Revenue from dispensary registration fees, annual quality control inspection visits from department personnel, and sales would make the program pay for itself every year.

The State of Michigan Drug Czar duties would be redirected to include the benefits of using Marijuana as a medicine. As an employee of the people, the czar will be the State’s leading advocate for rescheduling Marijuana as a Schedule III drug. We pray that President-Elect Obama elects a realist to the position of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). And we hope the Director-Elect of Health and Human Services former Senator Tom Daschle does the right thing and promote a progressive and smart person to be the chief of the Food and Drug Administration. Some qualified candidates include Dr. Jocelyn Elders, Dr. Ben Carson among others who are clearly qualified to handle the job. At the State level, Rep Cushingberry will be advocating that the State Drug Czar recognizes the vote of the citizens of the State in the affirmative for Medical Marijuana.

I believe that Government is; of the people, by the people, for the people, to maintain and sustain the needs of the people. And as your representative in Lansing, I will always be your activist for the benefit of my constituents.

Restoring the Revenue: Justice in sharing federal TARP money – Can the big 3 tough it out until January 20th 2009?

It is evident that the Bush administration is preparing for retirement. The President and Mrs. Bush have backed up the van to the back door of the White House. So the question is can the Big 3 tough it out until January 20th 2009? Can the members of the auto industry hang on until the “new hire” for the position of President of the United States starts work? With one executive order an entire industry will be re-started. The innovation and creativity that made the Big 3 what they were will be back. Engineers and visionaries will be free to explore new ideas and methods for better automobiles. Contract work from the Department of Defense, State and Local agencies will be increased to restore the revenue to the people.


Auto companies will realize that they will have to use fuel sources other than Gasoline to power vehicles. Natural technologies will be developed by scientists and grow by farmers for all Government owned vehicles. The Department of Agriculture will have additional help from Federal matching funds for the development of alternative fuel sources. Celloustic Ethanol and Industrial Hemp will be the fuels of choice because; we want to start with just two over a 10 year period. $2 million dollars in Federal TARP funds would match the amount that the State grows per year in metric tons.

The hearings being conducted by the United States Senate and House in December 2008 will lay the groundwork for a new business plan for the States to create their own fuel sources for government vehicles with restricted funds. Michigan’s agriculture industry will benefit with minimal funding by utilizing the land that is currently funded not to produce by the Federal Government. The quality of life will rise for the people because farms that produce income will spend the dollars in the community. The cities will benefit when they have to pay for their fuel with restricted funds. The revenues from the fuel will be given back to the cities in the form of recreation centers, rapid repair of utility services, and increased Bulk Day services in Detroit to twice a month for example.


This will cause the Cities to hire more workers who live in the neighborhoods where they work. That would take care of the housing crisis caused by the greedy Wall Street speculators for the last 8 years. We the people will have better oversight over the financial industry because; on January 20th 2009 at 12:01pm a new day will take hold. When Barack Obama takes the oath of office, he will deliver on his promise of helping the manufacturing industry. He said that that help is on the way and he plans to deliver. The financial industry will be providing reports daily to the people in the form of:

1. Increased federal monitoring of funds.
2. An online version of the federal budget for public viewing.


These next 4 years, the Obama Administration will cure the disease of “Paralysis of Analysis” as described by Us Rep. Al Green (D) Texas-09) in a House Banking Committee hearing. This quote from Dr. Martin Luther King clearly describes the lack of analysis before making a decision. This practice will end with better management of federal funds. The Obama Administration will tactically use technology to closely monitor spending and revenue. As your representative I will sponsor legislation to manage this at a State level to the total benefit of the auto industry. This will also guarantee a living wage to everyone who wants to work. If you don’t have the skills, training will be provided from the revenue generated from re-directed funds from the fuel industry. With the additional revenue from the increase in sales of automobiles, everyone will benefit.

In the countdown to the new administration, I believe that if the big three has been suffering for this amount of time, then a few more days would hurt with the feeling that a change will be coming. The rationale behind scrutinizing the auto industry while giving a blank check to the finance industry will be a moot point. GM and Chrysler have good lawyers that can file Chapter 11 and get the filing dismissed on January 20th 2009 in an executive order from the new President.


We are looking forward to the Obama Administration to have smart people in charge to manage the oversight of the TARP funds. Federal Regulators armed with the latest accounting tools will have every penny and transaction accounted for with an electronic paper trail. We are also looking forward to increase funding in the energy area to accommodate the technology of the Chevrolet Volt and other Hybrid cars.

Just hold on everyone, a change is coming. January 20th is less than 60 days away. Think for the future, contact your elected officials by e-mail, fax, YouTube, or any method allowed by law. You can contact me at georgecushingberry@house.mi.gov or call the office at 517 373-2276. Lastly you can visit my website at www.friendsofcushingberry.com and make a donation.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Restoring the Revenue Part II - How Barack Obama and Warren Buffet could regulate the Markets to re-invest into America.

When the renowned Warren Buffet speaks about the perils of Credit Default Swaps, people listen. Mr. Buffet supports a federal bailout of the financial institutions to save America whereas others in the financial and governmental arena do not support the bailout of the big 3 automakers. He will be coming “clean” on how he manages his investments, now that he and his Wall Street investor friends are losing their investments at an accelerated rate. The corporate jets are in jeopardy and now they will have to fly commercial with “the public”.


Downsizing is tough for people who have been living large and in charge when Fuel prices were over $3.50 a gallon and, were making millions off of other people’s misery. This is nothing new to UAW members who have been experiencing this recession/depression, long before the December 2007 declaration by Wall Street of the start of the official recession. Click here to read the “Buffet Story” from the New York Times article of November 25, 2008.


The advantage of bailing out the big three will have a ripple effect in the affected communities. People who work for the Auto Industry are the true middle class. UAW members were the ones doing the spending on things such as electronics, recreational vehicles, and tend to spend their money among the citizens of their respective neighborhoods. The total number of people tied to the Auto Industry is about 10 times the numbers working in the finance area. Autoworkers and suppliers tend to be larger participants in local community activities such as bowling, golf, and spending with neighborhood businesses.


Bailing out the financial industry because of the greed and mismanagement is bewildering to the Middle Class citizen. Mr. Buffet’s concern of the credit default swaps and derivatives in the market is commendable and genuine. One of his primary investments Berkshire Hathaway has lost over %36 in value since October 1st of 2008. He is losing about 1/3 of his total assets in the falling stock market and is a big supporter of the federal bailout of the financial industry. Berkshire Hathaway is an investment portfolio of companies like, Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, and General Electric. And when Joe and Jane UAW member lose their home in a foreclosure proceeding, Wall Street investors refer to that as a natural course of business. And sometimes the investor’s investments increase in value because the investor was betting that the price of a stock or an investment will fall in price.


The mismanagement and greed has another friend in the un-regulated business practices of Wall Street. The friend comes in a form of a Security Item called Derivates where investors were creating items called futures that are backed by hard objects like homeowner mortgages, corn, rice, gasoline, natural gas, and other physical assets. The investor is hoping (betting) that the price will change upwards or in some cases downward (short position) in a measured amount of time. Usually it is about 3 months. An investor purchases one of these derivates without ever owning the asset that backs it. When the price goes up, the investor skims the profit. If the price goes down, then the investor loses their money. The investor has their bet “insured” by a company like AIG and Goldman Sachs. AIG and Goldman Sach’s job is to pay off the investment in case something goes wrong. This was fine until the adjustable rate mortgages started to default and the financial pyramid came tumbling down.


Mr. Buffet was a willing participant in this process and was a major player in this market. He was also wise to see that the derivative market was a tool for financial mass destruction. He realized that in the wrong hands an unsupervised a rouge investor could manipulate prices by using world events to create a false demand by altering the supply chain. With the help of a few press releases and access to supply lines, investors can control the supply of commodities (electric, fuel, etc) with the click of a mouse.


So why does the opinion of a wealthy person like Mr. Buffet matter to anyone in the middle class? A middle class person is defined as a married couple or anyone making in a range from $30,000 to $100,000 a year. Warren Buffet is a financial consultant and a supporter of President-Elect Obama’s plan for change in America. Rep. Cushingberry sees the relationship between Wall Street and the homeowners and businesses on 7 mile road. Rep Cushingberry knows that the average UAW employee spends their money in the community much quicker than employees of Wall Street firms. The money spent by these union members gets turned over at least 5 to 7 times in the community they live in. UAW members tend to be common people who are actively involved in their community’s growth by participating in PTA meetings, softball tournaments, and other activities that directly impact the people.


Rep Cushingberry knows that the UAW members were the first ones who gave concessions to the big 3 long before the current credit crisis on Wall Street. He finds it appalling that the investors on Wall Street say that Union members make too much money. This is after new UAW members make %50 less than their counterparts working the same job. And the new UAW worker has to pay more for their health care coverage out of their gross pay. And to ask these workers to give even more concessions is an insult, especially when the derivates market is a $531 trillion dollar albatross that is bringing down the economic wealth of the United States.


If you want to support me in my efforts to reform the financial planning of State Government, please give me a call at my office or email me at gcushingberry@house.mi.gov. I would love to hear from you on this. If you have a Gmail account, then log in and comment on my blog.

Restoring the Revenue: Michigan Department of Corrections Budget Savings

Mama Cushingberry once said to me that "you should be careful for nothing". I pondered what she said to me and then I thought about it. Mom was talking about preventive maintenance and boy Mom was right again! After all Moms' are always right and have a lot of insights. And in these times of financial uncertainty ruling life's events, new and creative ways must be developed to restore the revenue to needed State Services. In the Department of Corrections, there are many opportunities to streamline and redirect revenue that is currently being spent on existing programs and policies. Specific policy changes in the Department will generate at least one billion dollars in savings over the next 5 years. One of my visions is when the revenue returns, I want to plan for how long the revenue will last and, how strong the revenue will be. And to do that I am proposing a 10 year master plan to accomplish this.

One of the effective methods that I propose is to start reducing the number of prisons. What will you do with the existing prisoners? Where will they stay? Wont your create prison overcrowding by tearing down and closing prisons? The answers to these questions are not that complex. The main customer of the Department of Corrections is the County Prosecutors who send the prisoners and, the prisoners themselves. Reducing the number of prisoners is an attainable goal. And to accomplish this, you have to look at each one of the prisoners on a case by case basis.

The main requirement is to remove the non-violent, low level, mentally ill, and the seriously ill from the Corrections process. Currently %82 costs are related to maintaining food, clothing and shelter for each of these inmates. These functions truly belong in the Department of Community Health because mental illness is a disease that needs treatment. Too often our Jails are used to house people who are mentally ill where in all reality these people need to be in supervised medical treatment facilities. The closing of Mental Hospitals was a mistake because when these facilities were open, the crime rate went down. Some of the people committing crime are true mental patients who do not need to be in the general population without medical intervention. State supplied medicine is cheaper and more cost effective than housing a prisoner in the Dept of Corrections system.

The second criterion that I would use is to remove all low level drug offenders from the system. Crimes like Marijuana possession and Possession with intent to deliver (a big charge to keep a person in jail) would be reviewed and the prisoner purged from the Correction's system. I would also push for this at the county level because most of the arrests are made by County and Local Police agencies. County Prosecutors would be given broad leeway and encouraged to plead these cases to low misdemeanors or civil infractions. Other alternative measures such as community service jobs such as cleaning bathrooms at State Parks and teaching at public schools as a sub-teacher.

A prisoner would be given a time adjustment for teaching subjects such as Math and Science count for a paid lunch at $15.00 per day. Otherwise 500 hours of community service is much cheaper than keeping these people in jail at $25,000 per year. Additionally, with the adoption of Proposal 1 allowing the sick and dying to receive Medical Marijuana under a doctor's prescription will further reduce the burden on the State of Michigan

These changes in the Department of Corrections would save the taxpayers $250 million dollars a year in prison costs to the taxpayers. We could move the cost savings to Dept of Community Health for proper treatment of mental health patients and still have a surplus.

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