Justin Bieber's law troubles could get him kicked out of the U.S. (Robyn Beck / Getty Images)
An unknown Detroiter is requiring the Obama White House to wrestle — if ever so briefly — with the idea of kicking Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber out of the country.
“J.A. from Detroit” a week ago started a White House online petition to deport Bieber and revoke his green card that has now generated more than 125,000 signatures, crossing the threshold of 100,000 needed for presidential consideration. The Insider interprets this as forcing at least one White House staffer to explore the issue and perhaps listen to a few of his songs before likely recommending that Barack Obama take no action.
“We the people of the United States feel that we are being wrongly represented in the world of pop culture,” the petition begins. “...He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nation’s youth” (referring to Bieber’s jailing on charges of drunk driving in Florida). “We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society.”
J.A. and others apparently want to risk all of the spirit of goodwill between the United States and Canada — as embodied by the 20-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. But if the petition results in the Bieb’s eviction, don’t be surprised if Canada accuses America of illegal dumping.
Another Republican wants Calley's job
The number of would-be Republican convention challengers for Lt. Gov. Brian Calley could double. Lapeer attorney Todd Courser has been emailing supporters with a survey about whether he should run.
It is an interesting development given that fellow tea party advocate Wes Nakagiri announced months ago he’ll battle to replace Calley as the junior partner in Gov. Rick Snyder’s virtually certain re-election bid. A year ago, Courser came close to wresting party leadership away from Bobby Schostak.
It appears the possible dual threats to Calley have sparked suspicions of GOP infighting over delegate selection for the summer 2014 convention. Courser and tea partiers are leery of efforts — real or imagined — from the party mainliners to weed out potential delegates who wouldn’t support Calley.
“If those who are in leadership in the party are using their official position to recruit pro-Calley and suppress anti-Calley, isn’t that the party leadership getting involved in primaries?” Courser wondered this week in a Facebook post. “Isn’t this the party picking winners and losers in elections that are supposed to open and fair for all Republicans?”
Granholm to run pro-Clinton PAC
Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm has agreed to co-chair a pro-Hillary Clinton political action committee and thinks Michigan will be crucial in the 2016 presidential race.
The former Obama administration secretary of state hasn’t entered the race yet, so Granholm is not talking in detail about Clinton — though she headlined an event last fall in Texas for another pro-Clinton group. She also backed Clinton’s unsuccessful run for president in 2008.
“Any candidate who runs in 2016 and doesn’t talk about creating good jobs in America will deservedly be crushed,” Granholm said this week.
On a Michigan issue, Granholm said she's optimistic about Detroit's bankruptcy ending soon — especially since former Wayne County colleague Mike Duggan is mayor.
"Obviously we all want it to end soon, and I am very optimistic given Mayor Duggan's election and the sense that once the debt situation is resolved, Detroit can soar — so much land, inexpensive place to live and work, hungry for business and residents. It's an exciting time,” Granholm said.
Nixon offers no opinion on raising minimum wage
State Budget Director John Nixon is regarded as one of the state’s leading economic thinkers, often offering his advice to lawmakers on public policy that could affect the state’s tax revenue and employment rolls.
But when asked this week by a reporter whether he thinks an increase in the state’s $7.40-an-hour minimum wage would help or harm the economy, Nixon suddenly had no opinion.
That’s not too surprising, given that he’s a political appointee of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who also has shied away from engaging in a debate with Democrats on the issue.
“I’m not going to wander into an area I haven’t thought about,” Nixon said Tuesday after testifying before a House committee.
GOP attacking Schauer over campaign funds
It’s safe to say Michigan Republicans are going to try to remind voters as often as possible this year that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer intends to use taxpayer money to partially fund his August primary — despite not having an opponent.
Schauer’s campaign has said the former Battle Creek congressman is seeking up to $990,000 in public funding for the primary to help cover the “every day expenses” of running for governor. The law requires Schauer to cap spending before the Aug. 5 primary at $2 million.
Schauer also appears to be using the request to portray himself as the financial underdog against Michigan’s millionaire governor, Rick Snyder, who spent $6 million of his own money getting elected in 2010. Snyder started the year with $4 million in his campaign warchest, while Schauer plans to report about $1 million in cash-on-hand.
With Friday’s deadline for 2013 campaign fundraising reports nearing, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak held a press call Wednesday to denounce Schauer’s use of public funds.
“Our taxpayers deserve a candidate who will not abuse the law to support a weak campaign,” Schostak said.
Schauer’s use of public funds for an opponent-less primary has precedent. Republican Gov. John Engler did it in 1994 and Democratic Gov. Jim Blanchard tapped into public funds in the 1900 primary before losing re-election to Engler, according to state Bureau of Elections records.
Schostak acknowledged what Schauer is doing is perfectly legal and said the state party has no intention of filing a campaign complaint.
“We’re just pointing out its an abuse, an unnecessary abuse, of the law,” Schostak said.
Visas for immigrants idea draws conservative ire
Gov. Rick Snyder got another reminder this week that immigration remains a touchy issue among some conservatives.
Nationally syndicated conservative talk show Laura Ingraham spent the first part of her Tuesday radio show calling the governor’s proposal to get 50,000 special work visas over five years for immigrants to work and live in Detroit “the craziest thing I’ve ever heard of,” according to a clip of the show provided by Media Matters for America, a liberal media watchdog group in Washington, D.C.
Ingraham is known for inveighing against proposals that favor “illegal immigrants,” also known as undocumented workers. But Snyder’s idea involves visas that would be awarded to legal immigrants with advanced degrees or who show exceptional ability in certain fields.
Of course, requesting that the Obama administration reserve a quarter of the country’s 40,000 annual EB-2 visas for Detroit alone may sound like a long shot. But since the Democratic administration has promised to aid the bankrupt city as much as possible with existing federal money and resources — but not a bailout — its chances of success may be more than slim.
The idea still prompted Ingraham to question whether, if the proposal is approved, the immigrant workers would stay in Detroit: “Is there gonna be, you know, is there gonna be finally a border enforced in our country? Except it’s going to be around Detroit?”
While it didn’t play well in Ingraham Land, Snyder’s proposal resonated in Detroit, where Mayor Mike Duggan and the Democratic-controlled City Council back the idea.
Contributors: Chad Livengood, Richard Burr, David Shepardson and Gary Heinlein