Michigan Under Siege

In November, 2010, the siege on Michigan started with the election of a new Governor, Rick Snyder, who pretended to run as a nerdy Moderate but was, in fact, a despot in the making.  He hid from any attempt to pigeonhole him during the campaign and kept it light by recruiting his own kids to talk about his nerdiness, making him look like a great Dad, a great guy and just the kind of happy leader our sad state would need to get things done.

We're now under a quasi-dictatorship led by the maliciously inscrutable Snyder, and the first steps toward a total takeover of a vulnerable state have already begun.  He and his administration, along with the Republican-majority legislature, aided and abetted by ALEC and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, have been working hard to kill the unions, force public employees to bend to their will, and  hobble, if not destroy, public education.  

They're not above rubbing salt in the wounds by taking over cities and towns that might be considered Democratic strongholds.  He and his cohorts--the Republican-majority legislature--have found the perfect solution (as long as the courts uphold it) by adapting the Emergency Financial Manager law so that they can deem any municipality in economic danger, thereby taking control away from duly elected officials.  This is not hyperbole.  They have already done it.
The Mackinac Center in Michigan pretends to be an unbiased think tank but here's the real skinny.  (They're solidly connected with ALEC, the Koch brothers and the DeVos bunch.   They were heavily behind the push to make Michigan a Right-to-Work state and they got it done.)

This is a war, and until it's over I'll use my blog, this page, and any other venue within shouting distance to highlight the vicious power grab by the Republicans in my state.  Comments are open.

Susan Demas' essential, Progressive-leaning news source

  "The indispensable Michigan politics source", "The essential Michigan blog" - Rachel Maddow

Democracy Tree -Watchdog Commentary on MI government


Democracy Tree - Michigan Related Resource and Media Library

A growing list of  must-read websites talking about the issues in Michigan:

Michigan Messenger
Mothering Justice (Paid sick leave for Michigan Workers.)
Progress Michigan timeline for Flint water crisis
Sugar Law Center Emergency Manager info (They're building a lawsuit to end this insanity.)

Update, March 29, 2016:  How the takeover of Michigan happened.  (Follow the Money)

Note:  I've stopped updating with individual articles, for the most part, but I'll leave these here as historical archives.  Please click on any of the links above for up-to-date information.

Update 12/8/12:  Republican-controlled legislature rams through a Right-to-Work law; Snyder says he'll sign it.  Ten things to know about what happened.  Read it here.

Update 11/07/12:  Michigan voters vote no on all Proposals, including collective bargaining, but repeal the Financial Manager law:  Read it here.

Update 2/28/12:  Michigan workers fight financial managers; plan constitutional amendment to protect union rights:  Read it here.

Update 2/15/12:  After reading a round-up of articles and information on the Emergency Manager at Eclectablog today, I asked about the lawsuit progress and whether or not the Federal government can stop this thing. Chris Savage wrote this:
There's really only one lawsuit that's in progress and that's the one that is being prosecuted by the Sugar Law Center. You can read all my reporting on that HERE (posts are in reverse chronological order.)

The Executive Summary of the situation is that they are charging the lawsuit as violating the state Constitution and have a very good set of arguments from my non-lawyer perspective. Governor Snyder has asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on it immediately rather than let it go through the normal judicial process where evidence is given and arguments are made. So far, the Supreme Court has told him to stuff it but they are still weighing on whether they will jump in or not. There's really no compelling reason for them to do so and Sugar Law is requesting that they be given the same process that any other court case is afforded so that they can lay out their case appropriately.

This isn't really an issue with regard to the U.S. Constitution. States create municipalities (cities, townships & villages) through their state constitutions. In fact, the state has the authority to basically make a municipality go away if they choose to, as I understand it. They are constructions of the state and exist at the pleasure of the state. This is, again as I understand it as a non-lawyer, why you will not see this case go to the U.S. Supreme Court. It's simply not a federal issue.

What is a federal issue are potential violations of the Voting Rights Act. Though it is not written explicitly to do so, the implementation of Public Act 4 has had a disparate impact on the ability of minorities in our state to elect local representatives and to be represented at the local level by officials they themselves elect. Because of this Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department is looking into it. I don't know where that stands or what the likely outcome is, frankly. I do know that Congressman John Conyers, Jr. has been vocal about this and has spoken to AG Holder about it directly. Perhaps it's time I give Congressman Conyers a call about this...

Truly our best bet is to repeal the law entirely. That's why I'm gratified to see that Brandon Jessup's group Michigan Forward has over 200,000 signatures.

It's going to be an interesting election year in Michigan, that's for sure. 
Update 2/7/12:  Poorest families hit 1000 times harder than rich by Michigan tax changes.  it's here.

UPDATE 12/9/11:  Last night Rachel Maddow said, "I still believe the story of Michigan's Emergency Manager law -- of what's being done to democracy in the name of fixing Detroit and Flint and Pontiac and Inkster and Benton Harbor -- I still believe that this could be the most important and under-covered story of the year. I know my colleague Ed Schultz feels the same way."

Kudos galore to Chris Savage at Eclectablog for his constant and amazing coverage of this scandal.  Without his untiring efforts this never would have come to Maddow's attention.  She credits him for it, too.  Read about it here.

(NOTE:  Type "Michigan" on Search This Blog in left sidebar on my home page for my own blog articles on Michigan)



  1. Protesters at U-M Commencement, Where Gov. Ricky spoke. Protesting education cuts in order to please his big donors. And he has the nerve to give students the "be all you can be" speech.

    Should have been "That's all, folks".


  2. The Benton Harbor City Commission has put out a letter stating the EFM is illegal and unconstitutional. Is he? Stay tuned.


  3. Got this from Michigan Liberal. Mysterious letter to Mich GOP leaders telling them NOT to vote for tax. Running scared?


  4. May 22, 2011. 6,000 protesters gather at Lansing's capitol and Michigan newspapers ignore it. This is getting serious. Is the press intimidated, in on the takeover, or just bloody incompetent?


  5. I wish you would update now with the election approaching. I live in the SW area of the state and cannot get MI TV. Somehow the convoluted network system here only allows what is called Michiana news. This is really only Indiana news with some local weather and news of this corner of Michigan. Finding any details about who is running for MI governor is difficult to find.

  6. Hi Paula, thanks for visiting. I really should update this page more often, but I'd like to suggest that you follow Eclectablog, Progress Michigan, Bridge Magazine, and some of the others I've listed above to keep up on this year's election news. Bridge Magazine is maybe not as progressive as the others, but I trust their ethics and integrity. Thanks again, Ramona.

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