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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Starving the cities into submission! Nicole at Political Ruminations is all over this story too and goes deeper into what is happening on the ground in Michigan. As someone who lives near one of those struggling towns in Michigan, we are anticipating an attack on our mostly black population of Muskegon Heights, who have also had financial problems in recent years. With no tax base, it is difficult for a struggling town to pay it’s bills, especially when the Governor is trying to push them over the cliff. From Political Ruminations…
Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Snyder is training hundreds, yes, hundreds, of emergency managers, and he has pulled financial support from many Michigan municipalities.
Lansing, Michigan mayor, Virg Bernero, on the Maddow Show:
…….they‘ve cut revenue sharing for cities. So they‘re really cutting support for cities. In essence, shoot you in the foot and blaming you for limping.
We‘re struggling to survive in this economy, and the state is doing nothing to help us. In fact, they‘re hindering us. And the only thing they‘re doing then is threatening us with this privatization, this corporatization with a czar who‘s going to be appointed who is not going to work with the local authorities.
What does this mean? Can we expect that hundreds of localities will lose their right to govern themselves and become mere departments/cogs in the corporate wheel?
That’s exactly what seems to be indicated. And, make no mistake, that is Snyder’s intention. See, if communities become simply departments in his corporation, he can hire, fire, allocate, dissolve, at will. His will. His rules. His corporation. And Michigan……Michigan will become the first state to be corporatized.
Isn’t this tactic very similar to what wingnut Governors are doing all across the country, cut taxes for the rich and corporations, thus deepening the states budget deficit and starving cities of much-needed revenues and then sticking it to the poor, disadvantaged, women, children and students. Governor Snyder is just taking it a little further and taking over these poor cities and selling them off to his corporate buddies and fellow millionaires. In a different post, Nicole at Political Ruminations explains the law in Michigan in more detail…
The EFM law gives Snyder the power to hand pick emergency financial managers (or emergency financial “corporate persons“), who then have the authority to take the following actions:
- Consolidate or dissolve local governments and dismiss the officials elected by the people.
- Consolidate or dissolve school districts, close schools, and dismiss elected school board members.
- Sell off public property. Public. Property. Parks, buildings, licenses, permits, and so forth. All of it.
- Privatize government services, with all that entails.
- Shred all contracts agreed to by local governments and schools, including union contracts.
What country are we living in exactly. Is that the America you learned about in civics class? Is that the American you really want to live in? Stand up with us people, we can’t let this happen. Other governors are attempting to do the same thing, taking the lead from Michigan’s megalomaniac Governor.
Eclectablog has also been all over this story and is a blog you need to bookmark if you are concerned about this issue. They have garnered the attention of Rachel Maddow and helped to shine the little bit of light that is exposing this issue. From Eclectablog…
I’ll give Rick Snyder credit. The dude displays a whole lotta chutzpah. He’s going to be the Grand Marshal at the Benton Harbor Grand Floral Festival next month.Gov. Rick Snyder plans to take part in the 2011 Grand Floral Parade on May 7 as its grand marshal. Blossomtime Executive Director Sabrina LaSota said the governor’s office has confirmed his plans to appear.The governor is always invited to be the parade’s grand marshal, though it has been years since a governor has taken part in Southwest Michigan’s annual salute to the fruit industry.Lt. Gov. Jim Cherry served as grand marshal in 2004, and Gov. John Engler was here in 1994, LaSota said.The parade begins at 1 p.m. that Saturday at Pearl and Main streets in St. Joseph, then goes along Main Street in Benton Harbor and ends at 6th and Main streets in Benton Harbor.
Gee, I wonder if there will be a protest?
I’m just sayin’…
I have a feeling there is going to be a camera crew on hand to capture all the boos and tomato throwing, I’m just saying’…