Emergency Financial Manager Fires Entire Government of Benton Harbor, MI.

As you probably know, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently signed legislation passed by the Republican-dominated House and Senate that gives State-appointed Emergency Financial Managers (EFMs) historically broad and sweeping powers. These new powers allow the EFM to cancel or modify contracts (including with unions) and even to fire the municipality’s government.

Today, for the first time, a EFM did just that. According to a press release from the Michigan AFL-CIO, Joseph L. Harris, EFM for Benton Harbor, Michigan issued “an order prohibiting all action by all city boards, commissions, authorities and other entities, except as authorized by the emergency manager.”

thought this wouldn’t really happen, didn’t you?  the gop does not care about your rights - for them it’s fascism or nothing.  michigan, if this doesn’t motivate you to move, then nothing will.

(h/t yourleftistnightmare, vruz, excessandyy, themattsmith)

All politics is local. And global. And personal.

Sometimes I just feel like fighting until I disappear.

I’d give just about anything to shift my focus to something bigger than the “liberal” ostrich farm that I’ve discovered here. It’s getting harder and harder to tolerate a night spent being social out on the town when I feel like I’m one of only a handful of people around here that give enough of a shit about what’s happening outside our milquetoast Leftist back-patting bubble to make the personal sacrifices required of each of us to actually fix it.

Fuck Rick Snyder and the entirety of the modern (un-)American GOP, as well as the well-meaning but utterly ineffective modern Democratic party. We are long overdue for some specific deliverables and accountability in prioritizing the needs of the most disenfranchised and vulnerable in our quite obviously terminally ill society. We deserve far better than having to vote for the “least worst” of only two candidates beholden to money instead of the collective voice of their individual constituents.

The Era of Selfishness is over.

These willfully ignorant, hypocritical, greedy children deserve to lose all of their toys and and get sent to their rooms for a long timeout. I hope there are more than a few other adults that are willing to join me in peacefully removing them from power.

One final cat on no rights at work. After this we want some ORGANIZING cats. Cats in the streets. Cats door knocking. Cats making data lists. Cats sitting on the VAN. Cats getting petitions signed. This battle is FAR from over. Don’t think the American labor movement is dead because a few billionaires can push through a toxic law.

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Gov. Rick Snyder and the Death of Mainstream GOP Politics

Conservative Republicans in Michigan have fired the opening salvo in a zero sum war with its own party identity. To be fair, the GOP and labor unions have never been great friends, but by signing right-to-work legislation into law, the Republican party has effectively and willfully purged many of its more moderate members.

There had been a sense among more moderate Republicans that even though party leaders may have to take a hard right position during a campaign to win a primary battle, once in office, a more mature and center-right leadership style would ultimately prevail as it had in elections past. Americans expect their elected leaders to govern in the best interest of the people regardless of party affiliation. That expectation has been shattered in Michigan

Effective government is governing in a way that is both responsive and responsible. By fast tracking this highly contentious legislation, and then taking the next step of signing it into law during a lame-duck session, the GOP has committed the equivalent of a political mortal sin. Despite a large vocal opposition, in the face of obvious momentum in favor of organized labor, and in direct contrast to previous statements made by the Governor, Rick Synder signed this unpopular legislation into law. The visible effects of this action on the Republican party in Michigan will likely be delayed by the political process, but the fallout will likely spread to other states within America’s industrial core. Should other Republican governors in the Midwest follow his lead and push through their own anti-labor legislation the GOP will seal its fate middle America.

The key thing that the Republican party has failed to recognize from the elections of 2008 is that political extremism succeeds in creating only one thing - Opposition.
That opposition taking shape in the form of a large, vocal, and politically active generation of young Americans.

The 2012 elections should be seen as only the first attempt by the “Millennial/Echo-Boom” generation to voice its discontent with zero-sum politics. For more than a decade, political leaders on both sides of the aisle have engaged in a war of political ideals, with one party grabbing the metaphorical steering wheel of America and jerking it from one side of the road to the other. That said, only recently has one party begun to force its agenda, even in the face of a large, vocal opposition, in defiance of that party’s political reality. These recent power grabs by the GOP are only serving to galvanize the opposition and alienate moderates within the Republican party.

Following the the 2010 midterm elections, the high turnout of young and minority voters in 2008 was seen by many in the GOP leadership as a fluke. In the lead up to the 2012 elections, the propagation of this false narrative (largely a result of the echo-chamber that has become conservative media) led to conservative outrage at public poll results they believed contained a “liberal bias.” Therefore, it came as a shock to most Republicans to see the reality of large democratic turnout among two massive, but historically inactive groups - young and minority voters. What should be even more disturbing to the GOP is that this turnout occurred even in states where the GOP invested heavily in wide-spread voter suppression.

So, what should have been the clear GOP takeaway from the 2012 elections?
Indifference should never be taken as consent.

Apparently, the GOP has yet to come to terms with the reality that modeling a policy agenda around political extremism weakens the party as a whole. The future of the Republican party in America is dependent upon building a strong coalition that is capable of reaching across the aisle. Typically, that starts with building consensus around broad-based ideals. Unfortunately for the fracturing GOP, building a winning coalition is also going to be dependent upon addressing political realities. With this latest action in Michigan however, the GOP has proven (yet again) that moderation is a concept they have yet to fully grasp.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's Budget Repair Proposal May Have No Repeal Option for Voters

Whether you think it’s a dirty trick or a smart move, a House bill to implement Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal to eliminate tax credits and exemptions contains a $100 appropriation – enough to make the plan immune from a voter referendum.

In 2001, the state Supreme Court ruled that legislation with a state expenditure – even just $1 – can’t be repealed by voters.

so just to make sure that everyone is up to speed - this  bill:

  • takes away tax breaks for the elderly and poor
  • gives tax breaks to corporations
  • allows the governor to declare financial emergency and dissolve city governments
  • including the dissolution of any contracts including collective bargaining
  • the bill may not be repealed by the citizens of michigan due to a loophole regarding appropriations

this may well be a worse situation than what we are dealing with in wisconin.  please share this. people need to know.

Why We Need Rage Against The Machine Right Now

by Brett Warner
Originally published on Ology March 11, 2011

As I write this, a small revolution is building in my state capital. A rapidly building mass of people are gathering in Lansing to protest the unfathomable, unconstitutional passage of HB4214, Governor Pig—excuse me, Rick Snyder’s new “budgetary” bill that would give self-promoted Emergency Managers the power to take control over any city or town that the governor deems in “financial turmoil”, with the ability to dissolve any contracts and forcibly removed any democratically elected local official. Elsewhere, Madison, Wisconsin is expecting to house the largest non-violent protest the Midwest has ever seen next week, furious over the Republican Party’s vile, desperate rabbit hole attempt to crush public workers’ union rights and cripple the Democratic Party’s working class base. Normal, everyday people—Democratic and Republican—are being driven into the streets with signs, screams, and scathing anger in states all across the union while the mainstream media sits by clueless or careless.

Yet amidst all the political furor and class warfare, I find myself—just a humble music writer—turning to a twenty-year old rock ‘n’ roll band from Los Angeles, California who haven’t recorded any new music in almost twelve years for emotional guidance and catharsis.

Yes, that’s right—where the hell are Rage Against The Machine when we need them most??

Their 1992 debut, self-titled album is one of the most fiery, passionate, and influential releases of ‘90s, a still unmatched hybrid of militant hip-hop, heavy metal power, and political middle finger in the air, progressive anti-capitalist sentiment. Rage Against The Machine weren’t a band who dabbled in politics—the movement informed the music, and that music was loud, angry, and in touch with the plight of downtrodden Americans everywhere. RATM—vocalist Zack de la Rocha, guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford, and drummer Brad Wilk—didn’t care about MTV or radio acceptance, their “singles” were just as brutal and confrontational as the deep album cuts. More importantly than all of their stylistic innovations, revolutionary electric guitar textures, and memorable hard rock tunes, Rage was the rumbling soundtrack for a then-sleeping giant—a workers revolt. They consistently fought and fought and played and played and then… just stopped. The band broke up in late 2000, with de la Rocha wandering off in creative exile and the other guys forming Audioslave with a washed up Chris Cornell.

Though the group has regularly reconvened for a handful of festival shows over the past few years, word of a new album is a wide rumor at best. And so, one of rock’s most vitally important bands remains… just kind of a memory, of a pre-George W. Bush time when being angry and political was more of a novelty than a necessity.

Well, it’s a necessity now. There is an open war on the middle and working classes of this country and I’d really like to see the people we’ve been far too busy paying attention to—namely our musicians, celebrities, and other talentless wastes of space that now have an opportunity to get people riled up and involved—giving a voice to the voiceless the way that Rage Against The Machine always used to. I know that blasting a hard rock band is no substitute for active involvement (I’ve tried to do plenty of both), but I can’t help but wish they were out there right now, playing these rallies in Madison and Lansing, getting people focused, organized, and energized. 

If your Republican state legislature is one of those attempting to strip the working and middle classes of their democratic rights and you’re within driving distance, I urge you to drive to your capital building right away with “Killing In The Name” or “Take The Power Back” roaring out of your car stereo. Otherwise, do your small part by calling or e-mailing your governor and telling them why you won’t do what they tell you.

You can rage against Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan at (517) 335-7858 or Rick.Snyder@michigan.gov.

Wisconsin Recall and Budget News (03/16/2010)
MI Gov.Snyder siezes authority to nullify local democratically-elected government #1u ~

Republican Michigan governor Rick Snyder, along with the state’s Republican house and senate, have passed a controversial bill that allows the governor to dissolve the elected governments of Michigan’s towns and cities, replacing them with unaccountable “emergency financial managers” who can eliminate services, merge or eliminate school boards, and lay off or renegotiate unionized public employees without recourse. Republican senator Jack Brandenburg — who supported the measure — calls it “financial martial law.”

Martial Law: Coming Soon to Michigan

The Gannett Company

Never heard of them?  Neither had I until I started searching through newspaper sites of major cities in states with GOP pushed Budget Repair Bills.  What I noticed was that all of the sites had the same layout.  Then I saw the name.

Accoring to the New York Times:

Gannett Co., Inc. (Gannett) is an international media and marketing solutions company. The Company publishes 83 daily United States newspapers, including USA TODAY, the daily print newspaper, and more than 650 magazines and other non-dailies, including USA WEEKEND. The Company also operates 23 TV stations in 19 the United States markets and Captivate, which operates video screens in office elevators in urban markets. Gannett’s subsidiary Newsquest is the United Kingdom’s regional newspaper company with 17 daily paid-for titles, more than 200 weekly newspapers, magazines and trade publications, and a network of Websites. The Company operates in three segments: publishing, digital and broadcasting. In July 2009, Newsquest sold one of its commercial printing businesses, Southernprint Limited. In February 2009, the Company purchased a minority interest in Homefinder, a national online marketplace connecting homebuyers, sellers and real estate professionals.

The local markets of interest owned by Gannet Include (interactive map here):

News related to state polical battles is being filtered through this multi-national, multi-billion dollar company.  Might they have a stake in supporting Republicans?  Might there be some financial motivation behind not giving the extereme “budget cutting” measures front page press?  Seems likely to me.