Thursday, July 04, 2013

Paul Clements Takes On Fred Upton In Southwest Michigan


A couple days ago, we took a look a one of the best-- albeit ignored-- Democratic targets in America, southwest Michigan's 6th district. I spoke with the Democratic candidate taking on Fred Upton and I was really impressed with the lens with which he looked at politics. DWT endorsed him and you can contribute to his campaign here. Here's the guest post he did for us:

Guest Post by Paul Clements

Corporate power is the biggest threat to American democracy. Let’s be clear: American prosperity is built on business. The overwhelming majority of businesses are ethical and good. But there is a small slice, including many of the richest corporations, that hire armies of lobbyists to write tax laws and banking and environmental regulations in their favor. This is not because of evil people; it’s the result of our present setup, and the consequences are grave.

The nub of the problem is a legal structure and ideology that endorse profit seeking by any means as the right path for corporate leadership. If X pursues profit efficiently but Y does not, Y will be driven out of business. Add this to a political system, even before Citizens United, where money translates into political voice, and where politicians must raise enormous funds to survive, and the consequences are clear. You get Apple arguing shamelessly that they had to flee their tax obligations from building up intellectual property (moving ownership to a shell company in Ireland) because the law allowed it. You get Exxon paying quasi-scientists to say the science of climate change is pretty unclear.

Michigan’s sixth Congressional district, where I am campaigning, offers a case in point. Our long serving Republican Congressman, Fred Upton, now chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has become a tool for the kinds of corporate interests that are antithetical to the common good. Receiving significant contributions from oil and gas industries, he sponsors legislation to remove the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gasses. For this and other attacks on the environment, the LA Times names him the Number 1 Enemy of the Earth.

To support strong business we need leading technologies, excellent education, a healthy population, and good infrastructure, preferably mixed with rich culture and a thriving democracy. (Here democracy is means as well as end.) For these we need a smart government that can set goals and carry out programs efficiently to achieve them, all on a basis of evidence.

But real democracy should support each citizen’s substantive liberty, their capacity for meaningful participation. Healthy democracy depends on good education, a living wage for all, the absence of gross polarities in income, and limits on the capacity of the wealthy to dominate politics. Strong business is an important means to real democracy, but just that-- a means to an end.

Through a long lens American history can be interpreted as the sometimes stumbling yet ever increasing inclusiveness of our democracy. But from this perspective the threat of corporate power becomes clearest. In the medium term it subverts and drives out participatory democracy and increases economic inequality. In the long term, given the reality of climate change, it endangers the very planet upon which humanity depends.

Take a look at my ideas and help me turn red to blue in Michigan:

Below is a resolution on climate change Clements submitted to the Michigan Sixth District Democratic Party Issues and Resolutions Committee, the Executive Committee and the wider Party.

Resolution on Climate Change

WHEREAS, our nation and world face rapid climate change due to unsustainable levels of greenhouse gas emissions causing increasing global temperatures, extreme weather events, drought, and dangerously rising sea levels; and

WHEREAS, power plants in the United States produce nearly a third of all our greenhouse gas emissions; and

WHEREAS, the scientific community estimates the United States needs to reduce carbon emissions by nearly eighty-five percent by 2050; and

WHEREAS, storms such as Superstorm Sandy are strengthened by the effects of climate change and will continue to devastate our communities,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the 6th Congressional District Democratic Committee supports President Barack Obama’s measures to confront climate change, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, specifically from power plants, encouraging development of renewable energy, and providing American leadership to secure an international agreement with national targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions consistent with limiting global warming to two degrees centigrade; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the 6th Congressional District Democratic encourages the Representative of Michigan’s 6th Congressional District Democratic President Obama’s efforts to confront climate change; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the 6th Congressional District Democratic encourages all of Michigan’s federal delegation in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate to support President Obama’s efforts to confront climate change; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution be widely publicized to the media, a copy sent to all County Democratic Party Chairs in the 6th Congressional District Democratic sent to the Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson and the Michigan Democratic Party Executive Committee members, and a copy sent to all Michigan Democratic Party Caucus and Committee Chairs; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the 6th Congressional District Democratic encourages other organizations regardless of partisan status to educate their constituents and act to confront climate change.

Submitted by Paul Clements
Candidate for Congress

Labels: , , , ,


At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is about time to speak truth to power. Fred Upton will only speak when spoken to by his lobbyists. The 6th District needs a change!!
Pat Winston, Paw Paw

At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a good thing but we need to have regulations that are in place that have been voted on by the people and a means to limiting the corporate lobbyists so that the people can have a real say in what goes on and allow the people to actually run the government with majority votes

At 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a sad fact that Upton's new St Joseph MI office was reminded that the flag out front was not at half mast this morning, 9/11/14. It remained at full height for the day. This office just recently moved to the new location and may not have access to the halyard crank.
I think / hope that a US congressman or his staff would consider this detail on a day of such significance.


Post a Comment

<< Home