GOPocrisy, Privatization — May 27, 2016 at 12:44 pm

Michigan AG Bill Schuette on the wrong side of the issues again (and again)


Michigan Attorney General has a long history of being on the wrong side of issues that matter most to the citizens of our state, something I have documented extensively here at Eclectablog (HERE and HERE, for example.) This week, he’s back in the news with more of his hypocrisy and wrong-headedness.

First, Schuette issued a press release saying that he’s going after the people running the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans where scandalous treatment of aged veterans made news last year:

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today encouraged people who have resided in the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans during the last several years, or who may have otherwise been witness to patient mistreatment, to come forward with information that could help his ongoing investigation into the treatment of patients in the facility.

Schuette confirmed that his Health Care Fraud Division has been conducting an investigation into allegations of improper care at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans since February 23, 2016. This followed the February 18, 2016 Michigan Auditor General report that indicated the facility was allegedly not properly taking care of the veterans residing in the home.

This move represents a big turn around for Schuette. Back in 2011, Anthony Spallone, a Vietnam veteran and resident of the facility, filed a lawsuit on behalf of veteran residents of the home, aimed at stopping further privatization of the home’s health care staff. In his complaint, Spallone detailed a wide array of abuses of the Home’s residents by staff hired by the for-profit company to which some services had already been privatized. Back then, Schuette supported the private company over the complaints of their victims. You can read the legal brief he submitted HERE.

In his defense of the company reaping a profit from our tax dollars, Schuette claimed that residents could simply leave “any time”, despite the fact that this was actually impossible for many residents due to their physical condition. “Residency at the Home is completely voluntary, and the residents are free to leave at any time they wish,” wrote Schuette. “The fact that some residents may not be physically or mentally able to leave without assistance, does not change the voluntary nature of their residency at GRHV.”

Two years later in 2013, the Michigan Democrats called on Schuette to open an investigation into the GRHV after the privatization scheme had been expanded and the complaint continued to pile. He completely ignored them.

The problems with privatizing the nursing staff at the facility were not only predictable, they were predicted. Even after the scathing Michigan Auditor General report that was released in February, the abuses have continued. This week a nurse at the facility was arrested for arrested for stealing credit cards and cash from residents.

Now that he has decided to run for governor and it’s clear that the privatization scheme has proven to be a colossal failure that has resulted in further harm to the Home’s residents, Schuette has done a complete one-eighty. It’s pure political expediency at its most ludicrous.

By the way, Schuette says that people like me who are calling him out on his hypocrisy are “negative and trying to take political potshots”. Nah, dude. We’re just trying to make sure that a corporatist hypocrite like you never gets a chance to be the governor of our state. Eight years of that is plenty, kthxbai.

In other news, Schuette has sided with the transphobic bigots in our country and is asking the federal government rescind its guidance on making public schools safe and inviting for all students, including transgender students:

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is calling the Obama administration’s directive that U.S. schools allow transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity “federal overreach.”

Schuette wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Secretary of Education John King on Thursday, May 26, requesting the Obama Administration immediately retract its “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students” that was sent to schools that are recipients of federal funding subject to the requirements of Title IX.

Bill Schuette calls a directive regarding transgender bathrooms in schools “federal overreach” and he is reviewing all options related to the issue, according to a spokeswoman.

“This top-down attempt to control local decision-making failed to involve all parents, who must be involved in decisions involving their children at school,” Schuette said in a prepared statement “Here in Michigan and across our country, we must not exclude parents.”

Andrea Bitely, spokeswoman for Schuette’s office, said “The Attorney General is reviewing all options” when asked if Schuette was considering joining 11 other states in a federal lawsuit over the directive.

Bill Schuette issues weekly press releases about going into classrooms to read to school kids. However, his concern for the safety and well-being of those students appears to end at staging photo ops to gain good will. Trans kids face outrageously high levels of bullying, physical and mental abuse, and violence. Yet Bill Schuette is on a campaign to ensure they remain ostracized and under constant threat.

Progress Michigan Executive Director Lonnie Scott issued this statement:

Bill Schuette is sending a strong message to everyone in Michigan that he is more concerned about waging another right-wing crusade against progress than protecting students. Michigan Republicans like Bill Schuette have fought equality at every turn rather than working to solve Michigan’s real problems. Schuette is standing on the side of bullies and abusers who want to demonize and ostracize transgender students because of fear and ignorance. All students deserve respect, safety and equal treatment.

Our Attorney General has the wrong priorities. He waited until the national television cameras were rolling to take action on the Flint Water Crisis and reluctantly begun looking into abuse of veterans at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, but he’s wasted no time using his power to punish young people for the simple act of being who they are. Michigan does not need a hate-filled crusader policing our kids bathrooms. The last time I checked, the Attorney General is supposed to protect Michigan citizens – not monitor school bathrooms. Bill Schuette needs to end this political crusade and get to work protecting Michigan’s citizens.

Co-sign that. 100%.