This is so great, on so many levels. More about it here.
On Thursday, Michigan’s Public Act 36 comes into effect and Detroit Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr becomes Emergency Manager (EM), granting him an expansion of his authority over the city, including the ability to unilaterally override collective bargaining agreements. However, a group of activists which includes PoliticsNation host Rev. Al Sharpton is working to strip him of those powers entirely. Sharpton’s organization, the National Action Network, has filed a federal lawsuit contending that the Emergency Management system is unlawful.
King Ricky Snyder's response to protests over stomping all over democracy by undermining voters?
“The old law went away, but we put in a new law that really was responsive to the issues that came up during that process,. And if you look at it, I’m also the elected official. I was elected by the people of Michigan. So there is an elected official in charge of that process, and I think that’s critically important.... It's not about excluding people, it's about teamwork... solving problems together..."
Said the elected official who gets to remain in power as he pulls the plug on other elected officials' power.
Teamwork my ass.
We've covered this story often, including this from earlier this month: MI Dictator, er, Gov. Snyder declares financial emergency in Detroit, will appoint emergency manager to take over.
There is an L.A. Times op-ed today by Nelson Lichtenstein about "Obamacare's other plus." It's a good read, so please link over.
If it is done right, the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) may well promise uninsured Americans a lot more than cheap, reliable medical care. It can also open the door to the democratic empowerment of millions of poor people, who are often alienated from much of the nation's civic life, by strengthening the organizations that give them a voice. [...]
But confusion, fear and ignorance among millions of potential beneficiaries can still doom the reform... Obamacare's success depends on maximum possible participation.
Lichtenstein then warns of an Affordable Care Act implosion if that doesn't happen.
And here comes the part where it becomes obvious why those on the right resent Obamacare so much. I mean other than their hatred of President Obama, not-rich people, and not-white people:
And here is where Obamacare's peril turns into a promise of enormous social and political benefit. As the poor, alienated and fearful realize that tangible benefits can be won through their neighborhood clinic, civic group or local trade union, and are drawn into civic life and grass-roots action, these organizations that are essential to the health reform's implementation will be strengthened as agents ofcivic engagement and citizen mobilization.
This is not a case of creating more voters who will support Obama because of Obamacare. This is a 21st century example of Alexis de Tocqueville's 19th century observation that the health of American democracy depends on the vibrancy of numerous voluntary organizations.
Which must be one of the reasons we are still hearing that Paul Ryan thinks he can get Obamacare repealed.
Let's recap what exactly the
king dictator governor of Michigan has been up to.
King Ricky’s appalling financial martial law was, and apparently will continue to be, the legislation that allows one person (the emergency manager) to dictate all kinds of things without any input from voters. It renders local officials and voters powerless. For example:
Then there's the GOP’s ongoing goal of crushing unions as a way of denying Democrats their political funding which would lead to eventual single party rule.
Governor Rick Snyder said that union busting is “pro-workers! It’s a good thing! This is a positive thing for unions!” Then the union busting “Right-to-work for work for less” measure was signed it into law. It’s important to remember that Michigan’s “Right to Work” law contains verbatim language from ALEC model bill.
But back to Financial Martial Law. It's ba-a-ack. Bloomberg:
His decision may inflame opponents, as the administration of a white Republican seizes control of a place that is predominantly black and Democratic. [...]
Detroit... would be the sixth Michigan city put under state control [...]
Opponents say state takeovers disenfranchise voters by stripping elected officials of their power over municipalities or school districts, and may protect bondholders at the expense of employees, services and taxpayers... Some have said a takeover is racist because, along with Detroit, cities where almost half of Michigan’s black residents live would be under state control. Managers are already in charge in Allen Park, Benton Harbor, Ecorse, Flint and Pontiac.
Take a look at this segment of The Rachel Maddow Show from January 2012:
Please watch the whole video, especially the part at about 11:43.
The bad news: Union membership is on the decline. In fact, a record low 11.3 percent of all U.S. workers were union members, down from 11.8 percent in 2011, the government said.
The good news: California is seeing union gains. Why? Latino workers.
Latino immigrants are more willing to join unions in a tough economic environment, according to organizers.
The L.A. Times is reporting that California added more than 100,000 union member last year, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and 18.4% of the state’s workers are represented by a union.
Corporations maximize profits at the expense of the people who do all the work, so low-wage workers are interested in organizing in order to give themselves opportunity, job security, and to become a part of the now-shrinking middle class.
As David Johnson (from the video), organizing director of the California Nurses Assn., said, "There has to be a broader vision set forth so that people see unions and the labor movement as an answer to the corporate domination and the Wall Street greed that has devastated our country."
Labor's more optimistic proponents say that California could serve as a blueprint for unions across the country as they seek to stem membership declines. [...]
Workers fed up with years of stagnant wages may be motivated to join a union for financial reasons. Last year, union members made $943 a week, on average, while non-union members made $742, according to the BLS. [...]
Organizers say they were successful because they harnessed frustration with growing nationwide inequality to engage members during the recession. [...]
But demographic shifts can be only positive for unions in the next few years, said Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at UC Berkeley. Labor has built new alliances and is going into a new, proactive phase, he said.
"Reports of labor's death have been greatly exaggerated," he said.
And remember why Republicans want to do away with them: They are one of the few lucrative sources of Democratic fundraising.
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