As much as I hoped it wouldn’t be the case last November. It appears that Governor Rick Snyder is nothing more than a velvet-gloved austerity whore hell bent on engineering an IMF-style dismantling of Michigan’s government and economy. It’s time for true liberals and conservatives to wake up and unite against the systematic destruction of Michigan’s economy, resources, Constitution and rule of law.
Let's begin with a scathing audio critique of Michigan's Emergency Financial Manager law by the Black Agenda Report's Glenn Ford:
Then let's take a satirical break with Stephen Colbert:
Colbert is funny . . . and correct. Michigan's Emergency Financial Manager Law is a giant F#!k 'Em to any citizens in Michigan who are too poor, ignorant, backwoods, or dark complected to government themselves.
How many of you Michiganders now which that you had voted for that Bernero guy?
Rick Snyder is not a Republican. He is not a nerd. . . . He is a fascist. And if his plan is implemented, the merging of corporate and state power – the essence of Mussolini-style fascism – will be complete. And no Michigander will be immune from the onslaught.
No law should ever be immune from voter repeal. And when a government crosses the line where an emergency manager can unilaterally eliminate collective bargaining, binding arbitration and other legally negotiated and voted upon legislation and regulations, that government crosses the line from democracy into despotism. The Snyder plan could potentially do all of the above now that it is in place.
I don’t often agree with the Reverend Jesse Jackson, but in regard to his op-ed in last month's Chicago Sun-Times, I am in full agreement:
This appointed dictator claims breathtaking powers. He can sell public assets, dismiss pension boards and take control of public pension funds and revoke labor contracts. What triggers this takeover? The law is remarkably vague. The governor may act if a payroll is missed, if there are complaints of late bill payment, if pensions are underfunded, if there is a significant budget deficit, a term that goes undefined.
This takeover is a recipe for the worst abuses of oppression, cronyism and corruption. And here, too, Benton Harbor is the example. One of the few citizen treasures in Benton Harbor is the Jean Klock Park, a half-mile of sandy dunes on the edge of Lake Michigan. It was bequeathed to the children of Benton Harbor by the Klock family in 1917 in memory of their daughter.
But developers backed by Whirlpool now want to appropriate a large portion of the park to turn it into a Harbor Shores golf resort with a 350-room hotel, two marinas, a 60,000-foot indoor water park (for members only), and a fancy golf course open to all who can afford a $5,000 entry fee and be approved by the club. The town’s citizens have resisted this development, which is under litigation.
But the new czar’s first act was to take over the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, most likely as a way to proceed with the development and sidestep the lawsuits. Why be suspicious? Because the law that the new czar is operating under was introduced by Republican state Rep. Al Pscholka, former staff aide to U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, an heir to the Whirlpool fortune.
They’ve shut down the jobs, and taken over the schools. Now they want to shut down the democracy and turn the public parks into a rich man’s playground. But in Benton Harbor, as in Selma and Montgomery, they forget even the poorest people have a sense of dignity. Dr. King wrote, “the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” In Benton Harbor, it is time for the good people to make themselves heard.
Make no mistake, multi-national corporations and their economic hitmen – who have assassinated budgets, governments and entire populations around the globe with debt, default and austerity – have now turned their sights on the American Republic.
Benton Harbor is Michigan’s ‘canary in the coal mine’ for what historian Webster Tarpley calls the “austerity psychosis” that has gripped politicians in both Washington D.C. and state capitols around the country.
What is now happening in Benton Harbor, is already happening in Detroit and could soon be happening in Flint, Muskegon, and Saginaw. And soon after that, could even come to Grand Rapids, Lansing and beyond if the dollar and property values continue to sink.
And any of you out there who are thinking to yourself that “Benton Harlem” is getting what they deserve – the economic hitmen will come after your pensions, healthcare, property and even our military veteran’s death benefits after they steal everything from your darker-complected neighbors.
What do you think will happen to the Huron and Manistee National Forests, the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, or the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore if Michigan is led into a slash-and-burn budget hellhole by the 'Austerity Psychotics' in Lansing and elsewhere?
Now is not the time for Michiganders, or Americans for that matter, to allow our politicians to divide and conquer our economic and political futures along liberal and conservative lines. The Snyder cabal in Lansing is operating straight out of the Economic Hitman playbook. A playbook that has left a trail of economic, political and social carnage throughout the third world.
We the People of Michigan cannot allow that same program to be unleashed on us just as we are beginning to climb out of the state’s worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.
It’s time to wake up and get off the couch and join the recall effort. Which side of history will you be on?