Auctioning off Michigan

Let’s be clear about what happens to a state when the Tea Party gets a super majority and they take over the state you call home. Because now that Michigan’s shown that it can be done you can bet it will spread to other states as the greedy and unethical see the potential profit in denying the democratic process.

Since Detroit, the largest city in Michigan is now up for auction in the public square we need to pay attention.  It won’t just be Michigan because this is the “privatizing” of whole cities, denying them the representative form of government promised by the constitution, under the guise of “rescuing” them, while selling them off to the highest bidder.

Virtually every city/town in this country is depressed and none so much as the ones who depend on manufacturing.   However, that is no excuse for leaders to deny the democratic process before we can fix the economy.  Through a state legislative super majority, Gov. Rick Snyder has declared himself king and is showing he is a despot through the EFM law revamped to give him virtually unlimited power.

The people of Michigan overturned these expanded executive powers with a statewide ballot as a veto referendum in November but the Tea Party legislature immediately rammed through another one just like it within two weeks and made it effective immediately so the people had no time or opportunity to reject it again.

Under the Michigan constitution, new laws don’t go into effect until 90 days after the session ends which gives the people time and opportunity to appeal or amend these laws when they don’t agree unless a super majority is used to make to make the law immediate-which they are doing on virtually every bill they ram through.

Adding insult to injury, it seems they don’t actually have a super majority in both houses and there is some question over what they’ve done is actually legal.  But that is another story for another time.  Is this loving democracy and respecting the constitution?  Be very afraid of these Tea Party politicians because I see no evidence they have any respect for democracy or the Constitution.

I’ll leave it up to the lawyers to parse constitutional law, but I believe most people will agree Michigan is now only a democracy until Snyder decides to take it away, because he certainly has the power to and isn’t shy about using it.

Let’s think about this for a moment.  The whole country is in economic hardship but what would these Tea Party people say if the president decided to declare whole states “in emergency” and removed power from all of the state’s elected officials and held his own yard sale?  Mississippi and Alabama could be the first on the auction block.  He’d be impeached for abuse of powers at the very least and you can bet they’d be talking secession in Mississippi and Alabama, yet its okay for Snyder to do it to any piece of his state?

The latest EFM appointed by Snyder to “rescue” Detroit evidently had tax liens on his own house in 2010 and 2011 and claims he didn’t even know.  Yes this guy is so sharp with money he knows how to fix all of Detroit’s problems I’m sure.  It’s interesting to call to mind the fact that the House has been so obstructionist on jobs bills that could help resurrect these cities/towns it’s making sure the country stays depressed which gives Snyder an excuse to do this.  Kind of like the Sequester isn’t it?  See how this all ties together?

It’s also interesting to note that according to the census:

  • Detroit is 82% black/10% white.
  • Flint is 56% black/37% white.
  • Benton Harbor is 89% black/7% white.
  • Pontiac is 52% black/34% white.

Of course, Kevyn Orr, the most recent EFM is also African-American.  Was that some attempt to deflect from the appearance that he is denying cities with predominantly black populations the right to equal representation promised under the constitution?  Herman Cain is black too but I doubt if most African-Americans feel he represents their interests.  But it doesn’t matter if he did because he wasn’t elected by the people; he was appointed by King Snyder.  He has announced that so far he will keep the mayor and city council members on the payroll but that has no meaning since they have no power and he can remove them at any time.  His salary is $275,000 while the mayor’s is only $158,559, so that makes sense.

Their justification with Detroit is essentially that the city has shrunk and needs to be downsized.  That’s a pretty slick explanation because that makes every city/town that depended on manufacturing for their economy a potential “emergency.”  My hometown in Missouri is virtually a ghost town–as most are–because of it.  Does that mean every city/town should be taken over by their state’s governor so he can appoint someone to sell off all of their assets, neuter/fire elected officials and give away the whole city to the highest bidder?

Corporations want to rule us and the Tea Party is helping them do that at every level.  According to Mother Jones, Snyder offered Detroit a deal if it would renegotiate union contracts and outsource city work in exchange for not receiving an emergency manager. Evidently they refused so now they’re on the block. That’s what this is about.  It’s about busting unions and privatizing every government function…corporatism run amok over the will of the people.

This isn’t about rescuing a city as they claim.  It’s about confiscating locally owned property and auctioning it off to private entities for pennies on the dollar all while taking money out of the average worker’s pocket which will leave the city more depressed economically.  .

Detroit isn’t the only city in Michigan suffering through Snyder’s “leadership.” Benton Harbor had a piece of beach front property that had been deeded to the city for perpetuity.  They had repeatedly refused to sell it because it was where everyone in the community took their families for a picnic or a day out.  It was the poorest city per capita in Michigan but they had their beach.  The median income of the town’s population was around $10,000 a year. That beach front property was auctioned off to a golf course developer.  Now the people of Benton Harbor can’t even use their own beach because they can’t afford $5,000 for a golf course membership.

Their radio station was put up for sale with license on EBay for $5,000 but was reportedly taken down because it violated FCC regulations.  Evidently these “emergency financial managers” think you can buy and sell government licenses like puppies and either have no understanding of the law or no respect for it. It should be no surprise that none of these cities are any better off economically after the EFM started running them because it’s not about “rescuing” anybody.

Pontiac, Michigan’s Silverdome cost $55.7M to build (approx. $225M in 2012 dollars) and was sold for $583,000 to a Greek-born Canadian real estate developer.

Am I the only one who feels like someone just slapped a “FOR SALE” tag on the USA’s ass?  It won’t just be Michigan, it will be every city and town that has been devastated by crooked bankers and corporations run amok if these radical governors have their way.  The same vulture capitalists who would sell their own mother’s eyeballs for a lobbyist to further their interests will buy up the cities’ assets and use them to their own benefit, leaving these cities and towns completely destitute.  This isn’t democracy and it isn’t what our founding fathers envisioned.

If we have any hope of preserving our democracy then we need to make some noise, enough noise that we can’t be shouted down.  The people of Michigan are fighting hard but they need some help here.  The people of Detroit are protesting loudly and evidently showing civil disobedience by deliberately clogging traffic, holding protests, referendum vetoes and every tool available to them.  They are fighting but they are losing this battle so far, being crushed under the heel of Snyder’s boot.  Will we all stand with them or will we each silently await our turn for the boot?

 First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

References

(CDP), ron Center. “Detroit (city) QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau.” State and County QuickFacts. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2013. <http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/26/2622000.html>.

Conaway, Laura. “About that Michigan story – The Maddow Blog.” The Maddow Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2013. <http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/04/06/11060678-about-that-michigan-story?lite>.

“Detroit Emergency Financial Manager Kevyn Orr Had Tax Liens on His Home – DailyFinance.” DailyFinance – News and Advice for a Lifetime of Financial Decisions. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2013. <http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/03/19/detroit-emergency-manager-kevyn-orr-liens/>.

Kevyn Orr, in first act as Detroit’s emergency financial manager, keeps Bing, council salaries in place. (n.d.). Detroit Free Press. Retrieved March 26, 2013, from www.freep.com

“Martin Niemöller: “First they came for the Socialists…”.” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2013. <http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007392>.

“Michigan’s Hostile Takeover | Mother Jones.” Mother Jones | Smart, Fearless Journalism. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2013. <http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/michigan-emergency-manager-pontiac-detroit>.

Author: Cheryl Creech

What say you, the people?