Check out this trailer I edited for a documentary I am working on with a couple of friends. And if you can spare a dime, throw one in the bucket. It’s a really cool story that explores site specific installation artists and the obstacles they face, and overcome, to make incredible art. This exhibit is a part of Art Prize in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which attracts some of the best artists in the world. Check out this still from one of the installations.
This podcast was recorded on March 6, 2013 and we take on the Republican’s “lead me Seymour” mentality; obstruction/dirty tricks; the emergency financial manager coming to Detroit to take away representation; blogging for Malaysia on the right and we delve into some pop culture and talk about the freak show that is the paparazzi in America.
The RSS Feed for the podcast is in the right column.
If you are concerned at all about Republican overreach, you must go read this post by Eclectablog (Chris Savage) and then click over to the full article in The Nation magazine. If you haven’t bookmarked his blog yet, you should do that right now. Chris is one of the hardest working humans alive, who is fighting for liberals and progressives in Michigan and the country. He is top notch, top shelf and top dog in my book. Here is a snippet from his wonderful piece, but GO….read the whole thing.
What are the qualifications for such a powerful office and the six-figure salary that accompanies it? Not much: PA 4 requires “a minimum of 5 years’ experience and demonstrable expertise in business, financial, or local or state budgetary matters.” Last year the state held a pair of two-day training sessions for EMs, both run primarily by companies that provide outsourcing services to municipalities and school districts. Yet PA 4 made the emergency manager the single most powerful person in the city.
Results were swift. In April the Benton Harbor EM, Joe Harris, decreed: “Absent prior express written authorization and approval by the Emergency Manager”—himself—“no City Board, Commission or Authority shall take any action for or on behalf of the City whatsoever other than: i) Call a meeting to order, ii) Approve of meeting minutes, iii) Adjourn a meeting.” The move in effect abolished Benton Harbor’s elected City Commission and replaced it with an unelected bureaucrat, perhaps the first time this has happened in US history.
From the DNC, just a little reminder of what Mitt Romney said. And he decided to come to Michigan so we could keep the story going, nice work Mitt. Is this a sign of things to come in your campaign?
What is going on in my home State of Michigan is nothing short of outrageous. There really are no adjectives strong enough to describe it, unless you lace them with profanity, which I’m containing myself from doing right now. The national treasure, Rachel Maddow, has thankfully been following this issue and bringing the only national spotlight to this atrocity that I’m aware of. The blogs and Twitter are on fire. When you attack people’s basic rights to representation and put in place a corporate structure for that community – where the assets (land, parks, utilities) are up for auction to the highest bidder, or lowest bidder in some cases, then you are going to cause a backlash. People are rising up and taking action. This will not stand!
Steve Benen of The Washington Monthly has the Rachel Maddow clip from Friday night that has been making the rounds and Steve has plucked some of Rachel’s great reporting from it…(emphasis mine)
We talked a month ago about the remarkable power grab underway in Michigan, where newly-elected Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is now exercising his power to unilaterally fire elected officials, dissolve entire local governments, and impose local dictators “Emergency Managers” without any input from voters. One of the proponents of this new policy called it “financial martial law” — and that was intended to be a defense of the scheme.
I hope readers will take a few minutes to watch this segment, but there was something Rachel said towards the end of the story that stood out for me: “What is new here is that this state has decided that local elections, locally elected officials are a problem that has to be done away with, that democracy is in the way of fixing problems in the United States now, of making things more efficient, particularly in poor places. Not that democracy is the way we fix problems but that democracy is the problem and it therefore needs to be sidestepped for efficiency sake, for our own good. Governor knows best.
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Benton Harbor Michigan is made up of 92% African-Americans and is the first city in Michigan that our new dictator Governor Rick Snyder has targeted for takeover by an “Emergency Financial Manager”. This is scary stuff, people. If you aren’t sitting up in your chair with your jaw on your chest, you haven’t read far enough. Eclectablog has all the details, go look at it. I’m pasting just a piece of his first post on the matter, this is BREAKING NEWS and I’m sure he will keep us updated, bookmark his site.
Today, for the first time, an 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.”
And you thought that you got to pick your elected leaders, think again. I’m thinking of getting in my car and driving to Lansing to storm the castle. And I thought I was going to have a relaxing weekend.
Updated: Rachel Maddow does two stories on our nutty Governor. I love that woman.
I guess the Mackinaw Center For Public Policy has nothing better to do than to invade people’s professional and personal life. The Raw Story has the story of this conservative “think tank”…cough, spit, vomit, that has just filed a Freedom of Information request to find out if those left-wing professors at those “labor-centric” universities were sending emails from “government” issued email addresses on school time. They’re coming for your privacy, be afraid, be very afraid. With complete control of Michigan’s legislature and governorship, these right-wing assholes are on an all out crusade to cleanse the state of all those damn hippies. I can just imagine what our wing-nut nerd of a governor will do if they find something, just close all the public universities or some stupid shit like that. I’m only half joking, too.
Now, I attended Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business and trust me people, it was not “labor-centric” at all. In fact, it was very “business-centric”. I can’t speak to the other two schools targeted by them, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, but I can imagine that those business programs are also “business-centric”. I’ve taken a few MBA classes at yet another Michigan university and it was not pro labor either. I didn’t have a single economics professor, and I took about 6 econ classes, that was liberal at all. In fact, I usually had arguments with them whenever they trashed on liberals. And I had a professor for a General Business Law class, which I’m sure falls into that extreme liberal category, who had been one of Ronald Reagan’s speechwriters in the early 1980′s. We used to re-argue the 1984 election, he would always bad mouth Walter Mondale and I would stand up to him. It was all in good fun, we ended up being pretty good friends by the end of the class and he gave me an A. But trust me, the business program I was in for my first bachelors degree was not “labor-centric” at all.
And then of course there is the whole issue of invading people’s privacy, whether it is there work email or personal, neither should be accessible to the public, unless it is subpoenaed. What the hell, they’re going on a fishing expedition at the tax payers expense. From The Raw Story…
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a think tank backed by some big-name conservatives, has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to professors at labor-centric schools, asking to see any emails containing certain key words, Talking Points Memo reports. The subjects mostly relate to the Wisconsin union protests: “Scott Walker,” “Wisconsin,” “Madison,” and “any other emails dealing with the collective bargaining situation in Wisconsin.” There’s one other, outlying subject the think tank would like to see emails about — the FOIA request also seeks emails that mention “Maddow.”
As in, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.
Is it any wonder they are targeting Rachel Maddow, about the only great journalist on television (just a little exaggeration). Rachel must really scare these people on the right, because she is so damn good at exposing them and has such a great staff.
“Some days my job is weirder than others,” Maddow told TPM in response to her name being among the topics of interest to the Mackinac Center.
Michigan’s Trojan Horse Governor Raises Taxes On Seniors and The Poor While Cutting Corporate Taxes By 86%!
In my State of Michigan, we (not me) elected a guy named Rick Snyder as governor last November. He ran as a “tough nerd” with almost all of his advertising throughout the campaign having that theme, a folksy, nerdy guy…he featured his daughter prominently in his ads talking about her daddy and how nice and nerdy he is. It was all warm and fuzzy, painting him as a common sense moderate. The mask has come off the nerd, he is pure evil, through and through.
He surely will never be re-elected, he pulled the old bait and switch on the moderates and independents in this state and may actually be recalled if he continues on the path he has started down. It’s one thing to be conservative, it’s quite another to show such disregard for the struggling people in your state while giving tax cuts to corporations that have mostly been sending jobs overseas, which Snyder has a lot of experience at as the head of Gateway.
Think Progress has a great post up with details on how this evil nerd has begun destroying our state with his idiotic Republican ideas. From Think Progress…
Following suit, Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) has proposed ending his state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, cutting a $600 per child tax credit, and reducing credits for seniors, while also cutting funding for school districts by eight to ten percent. At the same time, as the Michigan League for Human Services found, the state’s business taxes would be reduced by nearly $2 billion, or 86 percent, under Snyder’s plan:
Business taxes would be cut by 86 percent from an estimated $2.1 billion in FY 2011 to $292.7 million in FY 2013, the first full year of the proposed tax changes…Taxes on individuals from the state income tax would rise by $1.7 billion or nearly 31 percent, from an estimated $5.75 billion in FY 2011 to $7.5 billion in FY 2013, the first full year of the tax changes.
Michigan already has a regressive tax system, which Snyder’s proposal will only make worse. Currently, someone in the poorest 20 percent of Michigan taxpayers pays a tax rate of 8.9 percent, while someone in the richest one percent pays 5.3 percent.
In addition to trying to make an unfair tax system even more problematic for Michigan’s low-income residents, Snyder has also asked that the state be given the power to dismiss local government and appoint emergency “town managers” who could break contracts and “strip powers from elected officials.”
Kudos to Think Progress for the great information and many thanks to Rachel Maddow and her staff for shining a light on Michigan’s evil governor. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And the reason I keep calling him evil is because I can’t think of any word that is more descriptive, that IS the word to describe him and his actions. Others that come close, deceitful, sadistic, uncaring, blind, stupid, crazy…etc. etc. etc.
UPDATE: Thanks to Nicole at Political Ruminations for keeping up with the scheduled protests in Michigan.
1. Pro-Union Protests – Monday, March 14, 2011 10:00 am – till… ?? Saginaw, Michigan
2. AARP RALLY – Tuesday, March 15, 2011 11:00 am to 1:00 pm Lansing, Michigan at Michigan Capitol building, on the east steps, at the corner of Michigan Ave. & Capitol Ave.
3. WORKING FAMILIES PROTEST – Wednesday, March 16 12:00pm – 6:00pm Lansing, MI, at Michigan’s Capitol building – MICHAEL MOORE WILL BE IN ATTENDANCE! Go here to read Michael’s Letter to the people of Michigan.
UPDATE 2: Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly has a great post up on this subject, check it out if you haven’t already.
I’m not even being hyperbolic here, either. They really aren’t trying to hide it very much either, it’s all right out in the open. And apparently they’ve brainwashed their followers enough that they don’t even know what is happening to them. One day they will wake up screaming when they realize that they screwed themselves by supporting those assholes….or not. Democracy Now has a great interview with Naomi Klein, you may have seen her in a Rachel Maddow clip I posted the other day. I think I’m going to have to buy her book “The Shock Doctrine” and give it a read. From her interview with Democracy Now on my great state of Michigan…(emphasis is mine)
AMY GOODMAN: Well, let me ask you about Michigan.
NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: And then we’re going to go to a break.
NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: About a thousand people rallied in Michigan—
NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN:—reminiscent of Wisconsin. Talk about the proposal there.
NAOMI KLEIN: Well, I just found out about this last night, and like I said, there’s so much going on that these extraordinary measures are just getting lost in the shuffle. But in Michigan, there is a bill that’s already passed the House. It’s on the verge of passing the Senate. And I’ll just read you some excerpts from it. It says that in the case of an economic crisis, that the governor has the authority to authorize the emergency manager—this is somebody who would be appointed—to reject, modify or terminate the terms of an existing contract or collective bargaining agreement, authorize the emergency manager for a municipal government—OK, so we’re not—we’re talking about towns, municipalities across the state—to disincorporate. So, an appointed official with the ability to dissolve an elected body, when they want to.
AMY GOODMAN: A municipal government.
NAOMI KLEIN: A municipal government. And it says specifically, “or dissolve the municipal government.” So we’ve seen this happening with school boards, saying, “OK, this is a failing school board. We’re taking over. We’re dissolving it. We’re canceling the contracts.” You know, what this reminds me of is New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, when the teachers were fired en masse and then it became a laboratory for charter schools. You know, people in New Orleans—and you know this, Amy—warned us. They said, “What’s happening to us is going to happen to you.” And I included in the book a quote saying, “Every city has their Lower Ninth Ward.” And what we’re seeing with the pretext of the flood is going to be used with the pretext of an economic crisis. And this is precisely what’s happening. So it starts with the school boards, and then it’s whole towns, whole cities, that could be subject to just being dissolved because there’s an economic crisis breaking collective bargaining agreements. It also specifies that—this bill specifies that an emergency manager can be an individual or a firm. Or a firm. So, the person who would be put in charge of this so-called failing town or municipality could actually be a corporation.
AMY GOODMAN: Whose government they dissolve, a company takes over.
NAOMI KLEIN: A company takes over. So, they have created, if this passes, the possibility for privatization of a whole town by fiat. And this is actually a trend in the contracting out of public services, where you do now have whole towns, like Sandy Springs in Georgia, run by private companies. It’s very lucrative. Why not? You start with just the water contract or the electricity contract, but eventually, why not privatize the whole town? So—
AMY GOODMAN: And what happens then? Where does democracy fit into that picture?
NAOMI KLEIN: Well, this is an assault on democracy. It’s a frontal assault on democracy. It’s a kind of a corporate coup d’état at the municipal level.
We are fired up in Michigan and we won’t let it stand. Many protests are being planned with even the AARP planning one here in Michigan because of the raw deal seniors got in Governor Rick Snyder’s budget. Wisconsin has gotten most of the attention in the last couple of months, but the awesome Rachel Maddow and her staff are doing great work in exposing what is going on in Michigan and other states as well. My hope is that this Republican overreach all across the country will knock some sense into Democrats and Independents and we will sweep those assholes back out in 2012 and 2014.
Shot by Extreme Liberal in Pentwater – Michigan