Kyle Olson


Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is waging an increasingly high-profile battle against an elderly barber, and he appears to be winning in both the courts of law and public opinion.

Karl Manke, a 77-year-old from Owosso, reopened his shop after he was turned down for unemployment.

Amid the legal threats from Whitmer’s administration, he recently responded, “What, are they going to give me? Life? I’ve got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. I could care less.”

“As long as I have two hands and I’m capable of cutting hair, that’s my occupation,” Manke said. “That’s what I do. That’s what I’m going to continue to do.”

Manke addressed supporters outside his shop on Monday.

“I’d gone six weeks without a paycheck with no money coming in. I’ve been in this business 59 years…I’m 77. I’ve always worked,” he said.

“I’ve never looked for handouts. I don’t even know what they are. I had somebody call me and say why don’t you get on food stamps. I don’t want to get on food stamps. I want to work.”

“I came into this last Monday alone, thinking I’m going to swing in the wind alone,” he said. “I cannot believe the support that I’ve got,” he added to cheers, with some responding, “You are not alone!”

“It’s overwhelming,” he added, getting choked up.

Another day, Manke made it clear he was going to defy Whitmer’s orders.

He told radio host Steve Gruber he will only leave his shop “if they drag me out in the street or Jesus comes.”

Manke’s levity is a striking contrast to Whitmer’s attempts to appear tough.

When asked specifically about Manke defying her edicts, Whitmer responded, “I expect people to follow the law. These executive orders are not a suggestion. They’re not optional. They’re not helpful hints.”

Despite failing to obtain a restraining order against the barber on Monday, Whitmer’s administration is continuing to pursue him in court.

The AG said:

The Attorney General’s court action, filed on behalf of MDHHS, seeks to enforce the MDHHS Director’s Public Health Order that deemed Mr. Manke’s business an imminent danger to public health in light of the COVID 19 pandemic and directs him to immediately cease operations at his barbershop. The State is seeking to schedule a hearing as soon as possible.

The AG asserted Manke’s open business presents “clear public health dangers.”

After the close of business on Tuesday, Whitmer’s administration stripped Manke of his operating license, his attorney said.

“Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has suspended Karl’s license,” attorney David Kallman told radio host Steve Gruber.

“Not thinking about it, they’ve actually done it without a hearing, without any due process,” he added, saying the action took place some time after 5:00 p.m.

“It’s an unbelievable abuse of power,” Kallman said, arguing there’s no legal basis for the action.

“This is pure retribution by the governor’s office and by the AG. This is so petty and vindictive, it’s beyond the pale,” he told Gruber.

According Kallman, the AG claimed one of the reasons for the license suspension was because Manke was violating the temporary restraining order–which was never granted.

Author: Kyle Olson

Source: Breitbart: Gretchen Whitmer Targets 77-Year-Old Barber’s Livelihood, Strips Operating License ‘Without a Hearing’

Working Michiganders displaced by the coronavirus pandemic are confronting a new frustration: A failing unemployment computer system.

“My encouragement for folks is, keep attempting to get that application in,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) told reporters on Thursday.

“But, know that we understand the incredible strain on the system, the incredible number of people that have been impacted, and we are going to work to make sure people get the unemployment that they need to get through this crisis.”

One resident, Kathy Mooradian, told the Detroit Free Press she has been trying to file a claim “for days,” that she ran out of patience, and that “our governor doesn’t give a hoot about any of us.”

“We understand the frustrations and we appreciate the patience people have shown,” Jason Moon, a spokesman for the state Labor Department said, according to the paper. “We are experiencing an unprecedented historical demand on the system.”

Mooradian, meanwhile, was more direct, demanding Whitmer “fix the damn 800-number,” a play on the governor’s promise as a candidate to “fix the damn roads.”

The Michigander said the unemployment system “cannot complete my call, is too busy sometimes it answers and I get to press 1, then it just hangs up.”

She added, “This has happened over 100 times.”

On Tuesday, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (DLEO) posted an alert on Twitter acknowledging the failure of the Unemployment Insurance Agency.

“At this time, the MiWAM online unemployment system is not available,” DLEO wrote Tuesday morning. “Technical teams are working resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”

MLive reported:

There have been numerous reports over the past two weeks that the system has been very slow and almost impossible to access, the result of a huge jump in laid-off workers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Michigan had 129,298 new unemployment claims filed for the week ending March 21, up from 5,338 filed the week prior.

The state Unemployment Insurance Agency created a schedule for residents to file claims by the last name’s first letter, but that didn’t seem to alleviate the problem.

“Everybody’s telling you there’s money out there, and you’re already heightened with frustration and worry,” South Lyon resident Paul Bedich told the Free Press.

“They tell you there’s a path, you go down the path and you find the path is a loop.”

Author: Kyle Olson

Source: Breitbart: Michiganders Blast Gretchen Whitmer over Unemployment System Failure: ‘Governor Doesn’t Give a Hoot About Any of Us’

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