2016, Conservatives, Corporatism, GOP, GOPocrisy — June 14, 2015 at 4:03 pm

If 2016 is your answer to the debacle in Michigan last week, then we are asking the wrong question

by

For the many of us who watch and participate in democracy on a daily basis, this past week was perhaps the most damaging and disheartening week for Michigan in many, many years. Yes, I said years. It is clear that the Republican agenda – their “in your face” agenda – is clearly working for them, even though their agenda is not in concert with the vast majority of people in the state. Their ongoing and relentless pursuit of demoralizing the LGBTQ community and their constant attack on most things considered good and decent is a result of having a majority at all levels of state government. And they have no compunctions about flaunting that on a daily basis.

Since January of 2011 when Rick Snyder and the entire team of Republicans swept into control of our state government, we have seen a constant and steady stream of regressive policies enacted that have now hit every possible segment of our state and every city within our state boundaries. They have embarrassed us from day one of the government takeover in 2011 and will continue to do so without caring for a minute what the long-term devastation they have caused and will continue to cause are doing and will continue do to this once great state. For those who said the GOP would get theirs in the 2014 election, you were right, but not in the way you meant it. They did get theirs and then got even more. How’s that for “we’ll get them in the next election”?

Have you had enough? Be honest with yourself. Have you had enough?

ComebackCreep SnyderI’d like to think you have, but I am not convinced. In fact, too many of you are focused only on the 2016 election where you quite honestly believe the answer lies. You are partially correct, but just partially. With what Chris Savage so aptly labeled the “RFRA for Adoption” law that Governor Snyder signed last week, Republicans are joining legally, at least for now, the concept of church and state. It is now legal in Michigan to conjoin them for personal reasons, as this law allows ANYONE with a religious bent to discriminate against loving and caring parents. It will allow them to deny children homes with potential adoptive and fostering parents at the whim of that agency or individual social worker working for a religious agency. And in Michigan essentially half of ALL of the agencies have a religious affiliation. They can do this without any reason at all except to say it runs afoul of their person religious beliefs. Based on this, they can say no to you and to the needy and deserving child.

Remember them, right? The kids?

You could be a member of the LGBTQ community. You could be Jewish. You could be a mixed race couple.You could be a single parent. You could be Catholic. You could be white, or black, or Asian. Maybe you are obese, or have just had your hair dyed in a way that runs against someone’s particular religious “beliefs”. If you think I’m joking, I am NOT. You see, this law is so broadly written that it does not really need for you to have an excuse to deny a needy child a home and a loving family. Just say no and it’s done. Dead in its tracks. Again, it allows for the legal joining of church and state and it is all done with our tax dollars. Yup, this is sanctioned, and now law, using your tax dollars.

On top of that, this week in the Michigan legislature we saw a law signed by Snyder that allows a home with a truant child and receiving state aid to have that aid cut off if that child doesn’t report to school; an attempt to get that kid’s parent or parents to get that kid to school. So, if there is a household where one bad apple is causing trouble and not attending school, the entire family will be penalized. It’s actually worse than that but you get the picture. Who wants to place a side bet that that truant child will not be any more motivated because of this new, punitive law? How many families will this new law will devastate? How long before the state is forced into rethinking this law as many thousands of children will find themselves not fed, not clothed, and not able to meet the demands of the day?

How about their elimination of the Earned Income Tax Credit? That hurts only 600,000-800,000 families to help pay for the roads, giving that state a whopping $117 million dollars that apparently could not be found elsewhere. Oh, and that $117 million will not do much to “fix” the roads, something we all know is true.

Want more? I have plenty just from last week alone.

This upcoming week we will see a massive push for what is called the “Death Star” bill which will devastate (I am using that word a lot, aren’t I?) local communities in order to make sure that the corporate masters who enslave the modern day worker are paid back for their “donations”, donations made mostly in secret. This bill is endorsed by the current Speaker of the House and will be signed by the very same Governor who is lording over us now. Our laws now allow unlimited donations through PACs and other methods that were once illegal and are now embraced by Big Money businesses who are still enjoying the $1.8 billion YEARLY tax break that was given to them as a small token by the Republicans in charge who are supposed to represent all of us. We all know that is not happening. HB 4052 will be BIG government at its finest and will literally make local authorities like city councils and township commissions basically useless.

Of course (he says tongue firmly implanted in cheek), why would a local lawmaker know what a local community needs and wants? How would a local lawmaker have ANY understanding of how a project or an ordinance would affect their community when we have Big Brother state legislatures with an “R” after their name that have many paybacks to, well, to pay back? Make no mistake, these corporate benefactors must be paid back if Republicans want to continue to receive the all-important weekly, monthly, and yearly “paychecks” from these do-gooders of the corporate world.

Yes, we all know you can buy influence. We now know you can buy people, like a Governor, a Senator, or a Representative, not to mention an Attorney General, and a Secretary of State.

This is already way too long, so let me sum this up this way:

For those who chose to criticized me over my support for Proposal 1 (and, yes I am still harboring some ill feelings over that), and for those who told me I was doing a “Republican” thing by selling fear, answer just one simple question: Was I wrong?

I wasn’t. And I wasn’t selling fear, I was telling truth.

Now, we have some simple yet critical decisions to make moving forward. Will we wait until 2016 and hope and pray that finally the voters have had enough and will finally vote Democrat? We do have to work toward that for certain, but can we do nothing between now and then to force change? Can we not make a serious effort to embrace each other and charge, moving forward in civil disobedience? Can we not rally with our friends in the progressive/Democratic/activist movement and make a true and honest effort to get people to the Capitol to rally for change? Can we not stop this lunacy? Can we not make our voices heard so loud that they are forced to hear us and do things differently? Can we not stand behind and with our Democratic lawmakers and make sure we have their backs in every fight moving forward?

We can. We must. We better. Or else.

I don’t have all of the answers, but I do have the will, the fight, and the belief that what is happening in Lansing right now has to be stopped before November 2016. What this and the last legislature have done cannot be easily undone by a single election. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it can, because it cannot. We have an obligation, a mandate, to stop this insanity NOW. How we do that is up to us, but thinking that 2016 is some magic fix is foolish thinking.

Look at what was forced on us just the last two weeks alone and what could happen in the next two weeks and just believe that if we can find the courage – and the bodies – we can stop this. But not unless there are enough of us to do that.

I’m not convinced there are, and I am hoping you all prove me wrong. That is if you even agree with me.

I have had enough and I am hoping you have too. Are you with me? Time will tell.

  • Mike Moore

    You need to understand the deep GOP ties to ALEC and the Koch’s in our State. This article doesn’t even mention it.

    • judyms9

      There is a tightening choke hold on the Great Lakes states for a reason: water. It’s not a coincidence that Snyder, Walker, Kasich, even Pence in close-enough Indiana have been the ones granted the major largesse of the Kochs’ gazillion dollar plan to remake the US in their image. I can only hope that the Canadians will see fit to tell the Kochs to get lost, but our neighbors to the north have been mimicking our politics, so hope is all we’ve got. By the way, the Kochs will take the timber too, and thank you very much. Oil is not their only game.

      • Mike Moore

        Nice to know I’m not the only one that noticed them tightening their grip on the Great Lakes States. They are well aware of global warming and what fresh water will mean in the future.

    • Oginikwe

      Yes. Their Mackinac Center (http://www.mackinac.org/) is a good place to start.

  • willow

    I am totally confused by what you wrote. You think passing proposal A was going to save the day? If not 2016, and I agree, then what? Did you ever say in the article you wrote? We have a Koch funded Governor and legislature. We have unions that won’t hold Democrats accountable or back one another. The media in Michigan is a mouth-piece for the establishment. We have a MDP that has no money, isn’t worth much, and has no bench. We can thank the Obama campaign for dismantling the 50 state strategy and taking away any chance we and the other 37 states held hostage by these crazy bastards might have had. Schauer refused to run a populist campaign, played it safe, and lost. What do you propose we do? People are fed up with the system and know it is rigged, useless, and a waste of time to vote. All of it is right. Again I ask, what do you propose we do? You know they will do whatever they damn well please and no one is going to stop them.

    • JohnC80

      I blame voters, poor white Republicans will always slit their own throats that’s a given, but what about people who knows what was at stake and still decide to stay home? As for the last race Schauer dude was fighting a 3 headed monster of The nerd himself, the nerd’s buddies in these dark money PACs and the media. As for populist Virg Bernero ran as that and the nerd beat him by double digits. Fact of the matter is so call progressives got this idiotic idea not voting sends the Democrats a message(which it doesn’t) and they want to blame everyone but themselves for allowing the inmates from Arkham Asylum to run the state. If you want to know a decent solution its called voting, vote in presidential elections, vote in off cycle ones and vote in those special ones because a good chuck of these freaks get in that way. And hopefully when 2020 comes around we got the Republican grip on the state house weaken and in the next around of redistricting we can get rid the biggest thing that aids Republicans these fucked up district lines.

      • willow

        You can’t compare virge and shauer. When virge ran, Snyder was an unknown. He refused to debate and pretended to be a harmless little nerd when he was anything but. I vote in all elections including school board. Nonetheless, it hasn’t accomplished squat. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Clinton and Obama screwed us big time.

        • JohnC80

          Clinton and Obama? What do they have to do with liberals giving away elections? Shit the Republicans thanked Democrats for not letting Obama campaign for them. This is why some folks are not taking guys like you seriously anymore because it’s people like you that piss these elections away and blame everyone else for your fuck up. Secondly when you allow a certain political party get a hold of something it’s going be hard to remove them. As for the difference between 2010 and 2014 the hard left got the candidate they wanted and you guys didn’t lift a finger for him. Schauer had a progressive agenda he wasn’t screaming about it like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. The problem you guys want folks who scream and yell then someone who can actually put things in place so that liberal agenda can grow.

          This is wrong with modern American politics one side votes out of hate while the other side will enable its enemies because progress isn’t like a microwave dinner.

          • willow

            Talk about screaming, look in a mirror. Benero loses,it’s the lefts fault. Schauer loses, it’s the lefts fault. Hippy punching and attacking the base is what you Democtras do best. You and Rahm Emanual are both a piece of work. You can have your crappy tent, your crappy Gov., and your crappy state. Hope your party of 10 finds someone to show up, and you enjoy your new Sharia law.

            .

          • budahh

            @dkmich & @JohnC80:disqus
            You’re both largely correct in what you’re saying, but neither of you have the complete picture all by yourself. And you’re doing the thing that costs Dems / Lefties winning elections — in fighting — instead of debating to work together better.
            As bad as Republican ideology is, they manage to fight with each other without failing to team up to fight their common enemies, be it liberals, Democrats, Lefties, et.al.

            imho: Both Benero and Schauer lost because the Democrats, liberals and lefties did NOT actively work together to get their candidate elected. Your base stayed home or just couldn’t find enthusiasm to support either one.
            Great ground game (knocked on doors for both) but you never got a hand on the ball. You can’t score that way.

            @dkmich:disqus
            I agree that Proposal A was a Trojan Horse, at best. Wrong legislation — a GOP wet dream all the way and it did nothing to rescind Snyder’s never-should-have-happened tax giveaways to the wealthy.

            The voters aren’t dumb, they notice things like that.

          • JohnC80

            The idiocy on the hard left is amazing Fact is in 2010 you got the candidate you wanted and you guys didn’t support him this is the problem liberals and Democrats whine about things yet when you get a chance to fix it they find some weak ass excuse not to vote. That’s what you guys do enable wingnut takeover and blame everyone else for your dumb fuckary.

          • budahh

            @JohnC80:disqus & @dkmich:disqus
            You’re both largely correct in what you’re saying, but neither of you have the complete picture all by yourself. And you’re doing the thing that costs Dems / Lefties winning elections — in fighting — instead of debating to work together better.
            As bad as Republican ideology is, they manage to fight with each other without failing to team up to fight their common enemies, be it liberals, Democrats, Lefties, et.al.

            JohnC80
            “…. you guys want folks who scream and yell then someone who can …”
            Politics is theater… the ranting works for the stupid messages of the GOP… a certain amount of the theatrics is necessary to counter that, but the Left / Dems just don’t seem to get it.

            What i posted to dkmich applies, too.

    • judyms9

      That Death Star legislation is part of the larger scheme to destroy the remaining power of Democrats in cities and local communities. Lansing power will be exercised in mostly Dem areas where progressive ordinances are often passed. (Grand Rapids is safe from interference.) Futility will set in and tough prospective candidates needed on the Dem bench will continue to wander off. Dems are mostly working people who will never have the money to fill Dem coffers again. Local Dem office holders are on their knees before Lansing hoping to get some of the revenue sharing funds owed them.

      Yes, there are emerging Dem leaders in Lansing, but emerging takes time. Tony is right that street presence is needed if for no other reason than to draw in the media and communities so they can see what’s happening TO them while they are distracted by their daily struggles to get by. All the “hell, no’s” can’t come from elected officials.
      Finally, Tony is right that the needs of children seem to have been lost in the equation involving religious beliefs. If a kid is to grow up with “family values,” he’s got to have a committed and nurturing family, and it matters not how that family is constituted because it’s the belonging to it that counts.

      • willow

        Of course the kids are lost in all of this. These people have zero respect for humanity. They think they own you, me, and the planet. So why isn’t the national Democratic Party doing anything about any of this?

        • WitsEnd66

          It is what happens when the GOP convinces voters that what we need running government is “business” people, CEO types. Remember when people who had liberal arts degrees or degrees in sociology because they wanted to make the world a better place via public service? Then the powers that be told everyone that liberal arts and sociology degrees were worthless if you wanted a good job. Soooooo, now we have government consisting of the business types who care not about humanity but about the bottom line and profits. Case in point: It isn’t that the GOP doesn’t believe in the existence of global climate change, they just don’t want to let go of the profits from the things killing the planet.

          I’ve had enough for the last 4 years seeing that people my age are finding themselves having to refight battles over the same issues we dealt with and thought we had resolved in the sixties. All the activist Dems that I know have had enough but how do we get people to get a move on when those who should get involved are so busy working multiple jobs to survive thanks to the wage stagnation. We are all looking for leadership and ideas, now.

          • Robert Atallo

            I am so sick of hearing “we need to run the state more like a business.” No, we need to run it more like a state.

  • Zerzaust

    My disgust with the hard right-wingers in Lansing is at the point where my wife and will likely move to Germany when we retire. She is German, so it’ll be easy for us to make this transition. I pity those who will be left in my home state under the tutelage of power-hungry fanatics. Good luck!

    • judyms9

      From what I’ve read the radical right has been gaining ground in Germany as well, mostly because of Middle Eastern immigration and the effects of the economic troubles lingering since 2008. It’s happening elsewhere in Europe (and even Australia) as well.

      • Oginikwe

        Yes. There is no escape anymore.

  • MikeM

    Posted as well over on LDM: Great rant Tony. The last weeks have been a painful, hateful run by Lansing Republicans. There is more to come as they strip more power from the people and workers, local govt and leaders. The party of ‘small gov’t’ is doing the bidding of its masters by concentrating political and financial power into their oligarchical black hole in Lansing. And as Tony rails, with the damage to come (that will take decades to undo) no way can we wait until 2016…especially as just what did waiting and hoping get us in 2014? Tony calls for the citizens to bond together, to as one be mad as hell, to crush the Capitol with our rallies, indeed it may be time for civil disobedience. We need to be loud and proud so that ‘they’ cannot NOT put us on the six o’clock news. We need to be on Rachel Maddow’s show regularly. There are Lansing Democrats powerlessly suffering with us, and they need to know, see and feel us behind them. Michigan are you ready to fight?

  • Zerzaust

    Reply to Judyms9: Is there fanaticism in Germany? Sure, as in every country. We need to distinguish between wack jobs protesting on the streets and politicians with real power. There is a small, vocal group in Germany who would like, for example, to ship the Muslims back to where they came. My sister-in-law and her husband attended a counter rally to protest hate and 30,000 people attended with them. The far right in Germany could only dream of assembling 30,000 for one of their gatherings. In Germany, by and large, the politicians of the various parties work together. Sure they snipe at each other, but the good of the nation comes first. In Lansing – and to an extent in D.C. – we have a group of legislators (that means real power to make laws that affect you, Judy) are actively following an agenda which I find extreme and detrimental.

    • judyms9

      This is encouraging to hear, and I suspect the right wingers in Germany get the media attention the same a couple of busloads of box lunch Tea Partiers did here.
      The sad thing is that our wingers are already revising history, trying to put happy faces on the devastation they cause moments after it happens. Think of Snyder’s lame comments about keeping bigoted faith-based adoption contracts in place to ensure more children can be placed–as though any of those social service agencies would go out of business. Those agencies will still be going strong long after state services have been sacrificed at that religious altar of small government.

  • Tony Trupiano

    I will be following this up with a few other pieces this week. I am reading these posts and getting my e-mails and messages on social media and it looks like I have caused a bit of buzz-storm, and that is a good thing, but I warn those who believe that doing things like not voting and not doing rallies have no solutions so continue to sit on the sidelines bitching while the rest of us get busy. It’s time and I will not allow this to happen any longer with the swift arm of real Progressivism cocked and ready to render real and lasting change. There’s a shitstorm coming and I plan to be in the front of the line. More on Tuesday.

    • budahh

      Tony: I think the “shitstorm” has been going on for a while, already. But you’re likely correct in that it’s likely to get even worse if people don’t get actively involved and working to better things.

  • Celia Ann Wenkel

    Where and when? Thursday in Lansing? 12:00?

  • bryan

    Tony, I disagreed with you (and Chris Savage) on Proposal 1 — but I agree with all that you describe here. And I believe, as I think you believe, that this would have been happening regardless of whether Prop 1 passed or failed. The kind of “attack legislation” that we have been seeing this month is consistent with what we have seen since 2011, only increasing in intensity.

    I agree that the time to act is now — that we cannot wait for the next scheduled election.

    And I would point out that there is action that can, and should, be taken now. Real action that uses the tools we already have to overcome the dominance of the current legislative majority and their like-minded governor. Special rules available to Michigan voters under the Michigan Constitution that give voters both first and final say in what our laws will say and do.

    Now is the time.

  • Glenn Ikens

    As for Republicans blurring the line between church and state, get ready for more religiously affiliated schools taking our tax dollars. In Livingston County we already have a parochial school flipping to become a public charter (Light of the World in Pinckney) and another under the auspices of Hillsdale College (Livingston Classical Academy) attempting to open its doors to “inculcate” students in the Judeo-Christian tradition and proper patriotism. We are on the precipice of pervasive state-funded religious education via our charter schools. At this point, the ideological minority is dictating policy with impunity.

    • judyms9

      So far it appears the Christian faiths are unified in their campaign against a secular government, but if they get too far into scarfing up public funding we will see the religious fissures begin, especially when Imams, Buddhist monks Scientologists, Wiccans, et. al., step up and demand their spiritual/ideological mills be funded. Judeo-Christian groups will not be happy. We should all be thinking about starting our own churches. I think I can get a few family and neighbors to sit in the living room, have a few moments of silent prayer, and move on to the reminiscing and joke telling.

      • Glenn Ikens

        Your humor is appreciated, Judy. It is so true. The union of government and church in our educational system is troubling on several fronts. First, it compromises our constitution. Second, it presents obvious opportunity for the abuses of power our separation of church and state is designed to preclude. Third, and just as importantly, it balkanizes our educational system into narrow religious camps that will only lead to less community cooperation and understanding. We are supposed to be the UNITED States of America. If the radically religious, the radically libertarian, and the radical free marketeers get their way, we can drop the UNITED.

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