Friday, March 11, 2011

And now Michigan...

Before we dig into more news about the GOP erosion of democracy across the northern tier of the mid-west, we note with great sympathy the destruction in Japan caused by a severe (8.9) earthquake, centered in northeast Japan and the resultant enormously destructive tsunami that sent flooding walls of water throughout the region and waves expected as far away as Hawaii and the west coast of the United States.  There are also concerns about the overheating of  Japanese nuclear reactors.  Let us hope that the nuclear situation can be stabilized as soon as possible and the country’s rebuilding begun.  We extend our deepest concern to our Japanese friends.
We understand that this morning Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law the union breaking law and when he signed the bill which all polls tell us is unpopular with a majority of Wisconsin’s voters, he used some astonishing, up-is-down Orwellian language.  (h/t to TPM) [Here]    
What we're doing here, I think, is progressive.  It's innovative. It's reform that leads the country, and we're showing there's a better way by sharing in that sacrifice with all of us in government.
Progressive?  And who, pray tell, is sharing what sacrifice?  It seems to me that Walker and the brothers Koch are getting precisely what they want, viz. a disabled union movement in Wisconsin.  They have also signaled the beginning of a totalitarian movement in other states that are, in their own ways, even more disturbing than what happened in Wisconsin. 
The rights-stripping actually started with the conservative GOP’s war against women.  As a NYT’s editorial wrote: [Here]
Republicans in the House of Representatives are mounting an assault on women’s health and freedom that would deny millions of women access to affordable contraception and life-saving cancer screenings and cut nutritional support for millions of newborn babies in struggling families.  And that is just the beginning...
In individual states the GOP have their own unique methods of demeaning women and abolishing abortions.  (Reminder: Abortions are still legal in the United States and will be until Roe v. Wade is overturned.)  It’s astonishing to me that in some states sonograms are being used as a tool in this process of a demeaning subjugation.  (Why doesn’t the medical profession stand up and shout “NO!” to Gov. Perry in Texas?)
Beyond attacking women’s reproductive rights, some states have taken the lead from Wisconsin’s focus on state and local deficits to grab power.  The most outrageous power grab (to date) is in Michigan with their new governor Rick Snyder who has proposed appointing Emergency Fiscal Managers (EFMs) to govern local municipalities which might be in fiscal difficulties.  These EFMs can overrule any local officials and, in effect, become local fiscal dictators.  They can throw out union contracts and even change their pension plans.  If the municipality owns a utility, these EFM’s can decide to sell it to whomever the EFM decides is best. 
There are four EFMs already in place in Michigan, one of whom runs the entire Detroit school system.  With falling property values eroding local tax bases, many union members fear that some towns might jump at the chance for a EFM to break their union employee contracts and thus save some money. 
Whichever way you slice it, this is not democracy, but pure tyranny.  Doesn’t it sound like a chapter from Klein’s The Shock Doctrine?
Why hasn’t the msm picked this up?  Yes, I know the videos of the Madison, Wisconsin protests have been riveting but isn’t the Michigan story incredible?  Rachel Maddow is one of the few journalists who have been on this story. [Here]   I wonder why?
The problem with ignoring the EFMs in Michigan is that there is no such thing as just a little tyranny.  Before you know it, it has swallowed everything and everyone.
Which state is next?....

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