Your Michigan Chamber of Commerce dollars at work

    It was just brought to my attention that the Michigan Chamber of Commerce has announced the keynote speaker for their annual event to be none other than FOX News personality Glenn Beck… You know, that guy who recently made headlines for saying that our President was, “a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”

    I’ve heard previously that the Michigan Chamber was unfriendly to most progressive causes, but I had no idea that they were so far out of touch as to spend thousands of their members’ dollars to bring a man like Beck into the state and give him a platform, especially now, when even his FOX News advertisers are turning on him. (Just ask yourself, “How reprehensible does someone need to be to disgust a FOX News advertiser?)

    I can’t begin to imagine what they must be thinking. Maybe I’ll give them a call and ask. I wonder if members of the Michigan Chamber, like Beck, believe that Obama plans to arm AmeriCorps students and use them as his own private army. Or I wonder if it’s just that they really appreciate his firm stand on issues like healthcare.

    Maybe one of you out there who belongs to the Michigan Chamber could enlighten us… What is it that makes you want to embrace a man like Glenn Beck, when even Clorox and Wal-Mart won’t go near him? Is business in Michigan that good that we can afford to buddy up to individuals that the rest of the civilized world find toxic?

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      37 Comments

      1. Man About Town
        Posted September 10, 2009 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

        Nauseating. Glenn Beck needs to go away forever. I’d like to bum rush the stage at the event, tackle him and stick my dirty boot in his face while calling him a dirty cracker repeatedly. Only then would I actually feel better. I really hope some MSU students put together a protest with signs saying “Kill Whitey” and “No More Fat Rich White Assholes”.

      2. kjc
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 6:46 am | Permalink

        Michelle Cottle on a “moister, flakier leader for today’s angst ridden conservative”:

        “But Beck? Beck is an absolute hysteric, prone to fits of on-air weeping and end-of-the-world blathering more befitting a deranged televangelist than a political pundit. Like many professional bomb throwers, he spews plenty of hateful, divisive bullshit, but the man doesn’t seem to have ideological convictions so much as a nervous condition. You get the sense that this whole Obama presidency has deeply disrupted his mental and emotional balance, rendering him as unstable as a case of aging dynamite.

        In many ways, this makes Beck the ideal standard bearer for modern conservativism. Forget the tough-as-nails swagger and smirking self-regard of Dick Cheney or the naked Machiavellianism of Tom Delay: Today’s Right is increasingly characterized by whiny paranoia, unfocused rage, and panic-striken hyperventilation stemming from a spiraling persecution complex.”

      3. watching laughing
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        Classic,
        Glenn Beck speaker at the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Nuff Said.
        LOL. Freakin La La Land.

        Watching Laughing.

      4. Oliva
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        Outrageous. (I wrote to ask if Color of Change will include this event in the boycott. Trickier than an ad boycott, but maybe something can come of it. Letters to the editor could be helpful too. Would be nice if MSU would refuse to host the event.)

        Thanks, Mark, as always, for bringing this to our attention.

      5. Kevin
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        Does someone have a membership list for the Michigan Chamber? I’m assuming that both the Ann Arbor and Ypsi Chambers of Commerce are members. Can someone confirm?

      6. Oliva
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        Alma’s supposed to be at the event (poor thing). I just talked to her office–they only recently received the program and learned Beck would be the dinner speaker, were surprised and not happy about it. She had agreed to be on the panel many months ago, long before Beck was chosen. (It’s important to have her there, a lone voice among many conservative politicians and health insurance reps and such.)

        (This event comes three days after Beck’s 9/12 Project. Teabaggers gone wild.)

        Here are the sponsors of the MI Chamber of Commerce event:

        Headliner Sponsor: Comcast

        Supreme Sponsors: AT&T, Consumers Energy

        Premier Sponsors:
        Altria Client Services, Inc.
        Amway Global
        Bouma Corporation
        DTE Energy
        ITC, Inc.
        Ice Mountain/Nestle Waters
        MGM Grand Detroit

        Conference Supporters:
        Amerisure Mutual Insurance Company
        CN
        Delta Dental Plan of Michigan
        Dow Corning Corporation
        Dykema Gossett PLLC
        Frankenmuth Insurance Company
        Hastings Mutual Insurance Company
        Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Cohn
        Huizenga Group
        Meijer, Inc.
        Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, PLLC
        Spectrum Health and Priority Health
        Two Men And A Truck International

      7. Mr X
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        Can we have a protest sign design competition?

        My idea doesn’t rhyme too well, but I still like it. I think it gets to the heart of the matter.

        “Only a bunch of douches would pay to hear Glenn Beck speak”

      8. Kristin
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        That is short-sighted and inappropriate. I’m sending letters. Alma Wheeler Smith is on a panel, she should kick up a fuss. It typically costs some serious coin to get a peaker of that, um, stature, too. There are a lot of sponsors that could be contacted, though some will be happy to know he’s on the program.

      9. Mr X
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        Or, “Why does the Michigan Chamber of Commerce hate America?”

      10. Kim
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        I hope Alma has the balls to call him out from the stage, if she does in fact attend.

      11. Oliva
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        It sounded like Alma wouldn’t be sticking around for the dinner portion, is on a panel earlier in the day.

      12. Kim
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        Has anyone called the Ann Arbor Chamber? Or the one in Ypsi?

      13. Mike Tompkins
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        A fitting Glenn Beck quote for the anniversary of 9/11:

        “And when I see a 9/11 victim family on television, or whatever, I’m just like, “Oh shut up!” I’m so sick of them because they’re always complaining. And we did our best for them.”

        http://www.examiner.com/x-11367-Athens-Liberal-Examiner~y2009m9d7-Glenn-Becks-past-remarks-about-911-and-Hurricane-Katrina-victims

      14. HauntedChickenCoop
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        Mark – thanks for posting this. Completely outrageous. And really kind of disgusting. I just called the MI Chamber of Commerce and explained I recently heard of this, asked if they were aware of the controversy they were causing, and kindly inquired as to what the process or rationale for selecting him had been. I received a “oh yes, we’re aware” a slight chuckle and an explanation that, “first of all, Beck was chosen a year and a half ago.” Then I was put through to their communications director who I’m waiting for a return call from. Mark – I’d be curious if you’ve gotten through to them/if anyone else has and what the response you received was.

      15. sfc
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        I’m flabbergasted to learn of this, and I appreciate your making us aware. I’m curious to learn who thought this was a good idea?

      16. Smitty
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Just talked with someone at the Ann Arbor Chamber who said they weren’t planning to attend. He said that he wouldn’t say that they were “boycotting” it, though. He just said that no one had planned to go in the first place.

      17. Kim Trello
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        They invited the ghost of Joseph Goebbels, but he had other plans.

      18. dragon
        Posted September 11, 2009 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        Who needs signs of protest when the teabaggers bring theirs?

        God, what a bunch of maroons.

        http://community.livejournal.com/ontd_political/3983339.html#cutid1

      19. Ms. A
        Posted September 12, 2009 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        I don’t know why everyone is soooo surprised! All Chamber of Commerce’s are just another fundraising branch of the Republican Party. They use the same tactics as the Republicans do too…like intimidation. My business owner friend never wanted to have his business join this crappy group. But when he owned a business in Ypsi a few years back he was told directly by the Chamber President, “If you don’t join again, we won’t recommend you to any businesses or “LET YOU” donate goods and services to any city events anymore!”

      20. Oliva
        Posted September 12, 2009 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        HauntedChickenCoop, Thanks for the info. I’m inclined to believe Alma’s aide–that they only recently were informed that Beck was the dinner speaker. A Google search seems to back that up, as reports about Beck as guest carry August dates. Would be nice to know when he really was invited.

        On a separate note, but related–not that we can’t see and feel what Bush’s two terms cost the country in myriad ways, but here, re. key economic indicators:

        [From] Thursday’s annual Census Bureau report on income, poverty and access to health care-the Bureau’s principal report card on the well-being of average Americans. . . .

        On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush’s two terms. While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked. By contrast, the country’s condition improved on each of those measures during Bill Clinton’s two terms, often substantially. . . .

        So the summary page on the economic experience of average Americans under the past two presidents would look like this:

        Under Clinton, the median income increased 14 per cent. Under Bush it declined 4.2 per cent.

        Under Clinton the total number of Americans in poverty declined 16.9 per cent; under Bush it increased 26.1 per cent.

        Under Clinton the number of children in poverty declined 24.2 per cent; under Bush it increased by 21.4 per cent.

        Under Clinton, the number of Americans without health insurance, remained essentially even (down six-tenths of one per cent); under Bush it increased by 20.6 per cent.
        –http://politics.theatlantic.com/2009/09/closing_the_book_on_the_bush_legacy.php

      21. HauntedChickenCoop
        Posted September 12, 2009 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        Olivia – I like the question at the end: “if tax cuts are truly the best means to stimulate broadly shared prosperity, why did the Bush years yield such disastrous results for American families on these core measures of economic well being?” haha

        Glenn Beck probably has an answer, but I prefer the analogy regarding a friend of mine (who, earlier this summer, was hit by a car while crossing the street). “The country is like someone who has just been in an accident. It takes time to pay the bills and get things back aligned. Everyone has to pay-in something, but you can’t just expect immediate results. A lot of the progress is incremental and takes time.”

        Glenn can say what he will about the impact of Dems’ proposed health reform on the deficit.

      22. dp in exile
        Posted September 12, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        The same chamber that supports radical right wing activist judges in state elections?

        The same chamber who opposes universal health care?

        The same chamber that, at every chance, supports the interests of big business over small business?

        Please…

        The best thing to do would be a mass exodus of small businesses from their rank & file. Unfortunately the chamber offers some value-added services, like discounted access to small group health plans, that keep folks around. The networking breakfasts are nice, and everyone feels good having their business name published in the annual catalog that no one really reads.

        Situation normal =-)

      23. Posted September 12, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        Good work Chamber of Commerce. Now it’s national news.

      24. Posted September 12, 2009 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

        Glenn Beck is a great choice for a speaker. Considering just how openly hostile (in word and/or deed) the state and national Democrat Party leadership have become towards small business interests and priorities, I’m not surprised at the choice.

      25. watching laughing
        Posted September 13, 2009 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        Ms. A,
        I have a friend, who owns a business downtown right now, and a customer called the Ypsilanti Chamber and asked where the business was?
        This business isn’t a member of the Ypsilanti Chamber of Commerce.
        The Ypsilanti Chamber told him, they had no idea of the business; he was asking about?
        The customer was shaking head.

        Watching Laughing.

      26. Oliva
        Posted September 13, 2009 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        Good work, Mark, for helping get the story into the national media, via colorofchange.org (I think that is what happened).

      27. mc-heavy
        Posted September 13, 2009 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        Here’s the email I just sent to the Ypsi Chamber of Commerce:
        I was shocked and appalled to learn today that the Michigan Chamber of Commerce has invited Glen Beck to be a keynote speaker at their annual dinner on September 15. Does the Ypsilanti area Chamber of Commerce support this decision? Glenn Beck is a polarizing figure whose incendiary statements have undermined our presidency during a time of war. Most Fox advertisers have abandoned his program because of his divisive and disrespectful remarks about our president (among others). I am quite surprised that in a moment of crisis, when cool heads are needed to guide our state through its financial difficulties, the Chamber of Commerce shows such poor judgment. Shame on them. And shame on you if you do, in fact, endorse their decision to host an entertainer with such divisive views. The Chamber of Commerce ought to represent all political views in this state, not just those on the far right of the political spectrum.

      28. Posted September 14, 2009 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        Wow:

        The mission of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce is to advance human progress through an economic, political, and social system based on individual freedom, incentive, opportunity and responsibility.

        They are missing “individual freedom” as well as “responsibility” by inviting this clown; unfortunately he isn’t funny at all.

        If we can not attend the protest we should call the chamber of commerce with complaints.

      29. Left Cross
        Posted September 14, 2009 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        Oh no, the wealthy elites of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce are supporting a man who is doing wealthy elites a favor! Alert the other wealthy elites who own the news media!

        Seriously, business and scum go hand in hand. Get used to it or get rid of it.

      30. Left Cross
        Posted September 14, 2009 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        a2karen: “Individual freedom” is for property owners (rich people). “Responsibility” is what poor and working people have to their owners (rich people). I’d say they’re playing their cards just as they always have.

      31. Kevin
        Posted September 14, 2009 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        Calling the local Chambers would be good. But it would be better to contact their members directly, letting them know that you don’t plan to patronize them until they drop out of the organization. Believe me, that would get a real response.

      32. Steph's Dad
        Posted September 14, 2009 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        Looking over the A2 Chamber’s member list (http://www.annarborchamber.org/membership/directory/), I’m thinking the following might be good people to call:

        • Bidlack Creative Group
        • FOURSIGHT Creative Group, Inc.
        • Hile Design LLC
        • Ideation, Inc.
        • Perich Advertising and Design
        • Phire Branding Company

        Creative firms such as these are more likely to appreciate our point of view than, say, auto dealerships and banks.

      33. dp in exile
        Posted September 14, 2009 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        I have long thought that the company I work for is wasting money being a member of the Ypsilanti Chamber of Commerce. I confirmed with my insurance rep that the Ann Arbor Chamber, not the Ypsilanti Chamber, is the local organization that offers small group Blue Cross discounts. I confirmed that my company gets its discounts from a different membership organization. This post has inspired me not to renew our membership. I cannot identify any benefit to being a member given the politics that member dues support.

        Looking over the program for the Beck headlined event, I noticed Ypsilanti’s State House Representative, Alma Wheeler-Smith, is on the morning panel. I imagine the only reason she was allowed on the panel is because she is running for Governor and could be an alternative to the anointed one (John Cherry) for chamber members looking to meddle in Democrat politics. That she is associated with this event isn’t terribly surprising given it is hard for me to quantify what she has done to benefit our district in nearly six years (outside par-for-the-course constituent services). What is surprising is that she would be affiliated with an event where Beck was the headline speaker.

      34. Oliva
        Posted September 14, 2009 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        We already mentioned Alma’s involvement, and people have spoken to her office about it. We were told that she tries to attend a couple such events each year because it’s important to have her representation there. I’m thankful she’s going (though also relieved for her that she’s not staying for the dinner portion). We do need an alternative voice there. She’s on a panel about jobs and the economy earlier in the day, giving a voice to organized labor and other crucial matters.

      35. dp in exile
        Posted September 14, 2009 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        I guess I would rather Rep. Wheeler-Smith lend her complete voice and efforts to reforming insurance pricing standards & further small group reforms.

        Maybe work on reforming the prison industrial complex.

        Perhaps begin organizing for C0n-Con.

        Isn’t Speaker Dillon being on the panel sufficient? Especially as regards the Chamber of Commerce of all organizations. This organization has a 100 year track record of existing primarily to stick it to the constituencies you mention. Your post suggests that Rep. Wheeler-Smith’s presence will somehow enlighten membership to the plight of working people and I highly doubt this will be the case.

      36. Posted September 14, 2009 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

        The Daily Kos is on the story now too.

        They say the Michigan chamber has removed their contact page from their website, so I guess all the calls are beginning to get to them.

      37. Posted September 14, 2009 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

        And they’re looking for someone to videotape it:

        Somehow, some way we need to get a video camera into that event and get video of Beck’s speech. It is almost guaranteed to be incendiary and for him to say something controversial. The Michigan Republicans and Chamber Members are probably desperate tp prevent any video of his speech from hitting Youtube. So, we need an enterprising activist or a member of the Cjamber who will be there to sneak some video.

        We cannot count on the media publicizing this. We have to do it ourselves.

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