Ramona's picture

    Help! Michigan has Fallen and it Can't Get Up!


    It shouldn't be news to anyone that Michigan is under siege.  There is a whole contingency out there trying to get the word out, including Chris Savage at Eclectablog, Eric B. at Michigan Liberal, and Rachel Maddow, who calls the takeover of Michigan, "epic" and "The greatest story never told."

    Who's doing the takeover?  None but our own government. Our own elected government.  That's right.  We didn't just get taken over by the dark forces because we let our guard down at the gates.  No, the majority of registered voters in our state apparently all took leave of their senses at the same time and voted them in.  They (as opposed to me and a bunch of other people who tried like hell to keep it from happening) gave complete control of our beautiful state over to a Republican majority.   They own the executive branch, the judicial branch, the senate and, while they might have slightly less than the 2/3rds vote needed to pass bills in the house, they've bypassed that requirement nicely by not allowing a roll call vote and capping it off by pretending not to see all those raised hands on the Democrats' side of the aisle when a show-of-hands vote is cast.

    Now, if this Republican majority somehow took leave of their own teapartisan senses and decided, out of the blue, to be fair minded and actually represent the needs of all people in our state, this might not be a problem.  But you know and I know and that blank wall over there knows, that's pure pipedreamism.  As we've discovered--much to our dismay--horror movies have nothing on the state of the state of Michigan these days.

    We have an enhanced Emergency Manager law in our state that gives Governerd Snyder (Former president of Gateway, Inc.) unprecedented control to take over any municipality showing signs of going under water budgetarily.  He has decreed that he can declare a financial emergency and appoint an emergency financial manager who can then abolish any sign of a duly elected government and take the town over.

     So some good citizens in our fair state started a petition drive to get that unprecedented Emergency Financial Manager law watered down to a point where it was actually an Emergency Financial Manager law again and not a license to steal whole towns.  (Note:  It's not the EFM law that's unprecedented, it's the scope.  Snyder's predecessor, Dem Gov. Jennifer Granholm put the law into effect, apparently not thinking ahead to the day when some pseudo-governor-of-Nottingham might come along and tweak the law just enough to take over entire towns by relegating their chosen leaders to duties such as coffee-pouring and the taking of minutes at meetings the Emergency Financial Manager calls in order to remind them just how useless they are.)

    Those good petition-drive citizens were so successful, they gathered over 200,000 signatures--40,000 more than they actually needed.  Boy, did that make those Republicans mad!  They did something unprecedented, even for them:  They declared the font size on the petitions wrong, wrong, WRONG!   

    Sources: Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility/Stand Up for Democracy

    No, I'm not kidding.  Despite the protestations of the petition printer, who knows his fonts and says unequivocally they're 14 pt and legal, the petitions were thrown out and--surprise!  The EMF issue will not be on November's ballot. 

    Well, we're disappointed and it's in the courts now.  (In the Michigan courts, however, where snowballs' chances in Hell have far better success rates than current Democrats.)

    But all is not doom and gloom in Michigan these days.  Former Republican gubernatorial and presidential candidate Thaddeus (Thad) McCotter, a man not normally known for his ability to give Democrats the giggles, gave us reason to laugh so heartily last week we're still snickering even whilst fighting that damned EFM law.

    A bunch of Thad's guys went out collecting signatures for his House seat re-election and when they came back and told him it was all done, he had no reason to believe they were either incredible boobs on par with those guys in "Dumb and Dumber" or they were bloody saboteurs.  They didn't just try to get away with duplicate signatures, they actually photocopied petitions and used them over and over.  As if no one would notice


    So here's what's happening:

    A formal review by the Bureau of Elections revealed various discrepancies in the petition filing, including duplicate signatures and the appearance of altered petitions.
    McCotter released a statement on Thursday afternoon that read: “I thank the Michigan Secretary of State & Attorney General for commencing the criminal investigation of petitions I requested Tuesday; will assist as they see fit.”
    Gisgie Gendreau, spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s office, said 243 signatures out of 1,833 were valid. “There appears to be some election law violations involved,” Gendreau said earlier this week.
    As a result, the secretary of state’s office informed McCotter, R-Livonia, Friday that he lacked enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. McCotter declared Tuesday morning he is running as a write-in candidate for the 11th District of the House of Representatives.

    The four-time winner of a House seat can't even gather 1,000 legitimate signatures in a district the size of a small country gerrymandered to his distinct advantage?  Oh, jeez!  I can't breathe!

    There is a potential dark side to this, in that the guy who wants to win McCotter's seat on the Republican side is an avowed Tea Party Libertarian and might just win (and it could be that McCotter could survive a write-in), but give us Democrats a few minutes to engage in a few guffaws here.  Please. Lord knows it's a rare happening in these parts.

    (For the record, the front-running Democrat vying for McCotter's 11th District seat is Canton physician Syed Taj. Nice man. Read about him here.)

    **I'm going to end this some time soon, I promise, but I can't stop without mentioning Pete Hoekstra's latest attention-getter:  He's running for Senate once again against Debbie Stabenow and he apparently got the word (probably from Donald Trump) that the Obama birther issue must not die.

    Watch video here at C&L

    Pete the Perennial Politician is pushing for a National Birther Office, where all future presidential candidates must go to prove without a shadow of a doubt that they're actual U.S CITIZENS!!  (Good thing Pete doesn't want to run for president.  He was born in THE NETHERLANDS!!)

    And so it goes in Michigan, Pure Michigan.  Pity about that underside.


    ***Addendum:  Heard from Chris Savage at Eclectablog and he tells me it's not exactly a done deal that the repeal of the Emergency Manager act won't be on November's ballot.  It's in the courts right now, so stay tuned.  Also, I should have remembered that they took the word "Financial" out of "Emergency Financial Manager" so now they're just "Emergency Managers".  (Better to give them even more powers, which they obviously need in order to take over completely.)

    Thank you, Chris.


    (Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices.)



    Oh, Ramona, Ramona, sometimes I weep in sorrow at what has happened in our beautiful water wonderland of a state.

    You know, I was born and raised in Flint, MI, currently one of the most dangerous cities in the entire country (and one of those cities under EFM rule, too). All those times I walked around in downtown Flint I never once feared for my life and believe me, I gave the bad guys plenty of chances to do me harm. wink

    But right now the teaparty political climate in Michigan is like a big giant block of impenetrable stupid. I feel nearly useless. I feel almost hopeless.

    And scared.

    Truly scared.


    Flower, I realized one day that I've been avoiding writing about Michigan's problems, partly because they're so overwhelming, partly because Chris over at Eclectablog does it so much better, but mainly because the things that are going on are--yes--scaring me to death.

    I've never seen anything like it in our state or any other state, except maybe mid-century Mississippi.  If it wasn't so devastating, it would seem pretty amazing.  A complete takeover in such a short period of time.  Unbelievable.


      Who's doing the takeover? None but our own government.  Our own elected government.  That's right.  We didn't just get taken over by the dark forces because we let our guard down at the gates.  No, the majority of registered voters in our state apparently all took leave of their senses at the same time and voted them in.

    Snyder's predecessor, Dem Gov. Jennifer Granholm put the law into effect, apparently not thinking ahead to the day when some pseudo-governor-of-Nottingham might come along and tweak the law just enough to take over ...


    I am not speaking for Ramona, she is most capable of doing that for herself, but I will suggest that perhaps "the majority of registered voters" is off the mark a little.

    The majority of registered voters didn't even vote in 2010.

    There was a 44% turnout. So, basically, about a quarter of the registered voters decided it for the rest of the state.

    If you want to envision what electing Mitt Romney will do for the United States of America, study the current situation in Michigan. It will be like deja vu all over again.

    I was not speaking for Ramona either, I was quoting her. I do believe that  Romney Presidency would be bad, I have never suggested differently. 


    You're right, Flower, I should have said "the majority of actual voters".  Thanks.

    And yes, I agree about Romney or any other Republican who gains a foothold.  They've got powerful forces behind them and if they are in office it'll be like kids in a candy store with no grown-ups in sight.

    Well Michigan as a whole was never a bastion of progressive thought. Most of the liberal voices were in the cities especially Detroit which now as a population 1/3 of it's peak in the 1950s.

    The populations of Flint and Dearborn have also declined as well.

    Giving the rural and suburban areas a much bigger voting block.


    I think I will do a diary on this as it has also effected other areas, such as Ohio and Penna.

    Actually the entire upper peninsula (1st District) has been represented by Democrats steadily from 1933 until 2011, when Bart Stupak gave up his seat.  Now we have a Republican (Dan Banishek), but the district includes wealthy areas like Traverse City, Charlevoix, Petoskey and Bay Harbor now.  I imagine it'll stay Republican, since the outlying areas lean that way now.  Between the NRA, the fundies, the monied, and the Tea Party bunch, we probably don't stand a chance.

    But you're right; it's Detroit and surroundings that keep the Democrats going.  I don't know how long that's going to last, either.

    The 1st district was represented by Phil Ruppe (R) in the late 60s-early 70s.  But his party was more or less sane back then.

    Michigan lost a Representative seat due to declining population. There has also been re-districting done by a Republican heavy committee that will now favor guess who. Efforts to change the way the redistricting is done seems to be falling on deaf ears. Dems are toast for ten years.

    My county has been re-districted to Dave Camp. I used to be in Benishek's. I was thrown from the frying pan into the fire. I wasn't even given the opportunity to jump.

    I have attempted to make this point several times; but you enhance the message by documenting what is happening in Michigan.


    Eric Holder finds himself in a fine mess indeed



    At least Eric has been writing letters.

    Recall when the Bush Civil Rights Department were sending out racist jokes?

    I do not know the answer to this.

    But I do know that the '65 Civil Rights Act was a monumental point in our history and the pigs are attempting to erase that legislation.

    When Ike appeared in Little Rock he was soooooooo very pissed off and said:

    Do you not realize how this makes America look in the eyes of the world?

    And yet here we are.

    Municipalities have no vote due to martial law initiated by State Governors.

    That reprobate in Florida sends notices to 160,000 people that they cannot vote until they prove who they are? The burden of proof is the basis of all jurisprudence.

    I do have one idea for the dems.

    Get every single minority voter to apply immediately for a gun permit.

    You see in all of the ALEC legislation, if you have a gun permit you can vote.

    Now the putative voter is not required to procure a gun, just a gun permit.


    This is a game that has nothing to do with Truth, Justice or the American Way.

    This is a game where the winners win everything!

    The crazies are running Florida too.  We have the most corrupt state government in the country. Over 350 federal indictments since 1999 for corruption. I don't know how many has been sent to jail...lots. That is about 3 indictments a month. 

    A federal judge ruled against the fine for turning voter registrations in after 24 hours by a third party this past week.  The idea was to stop voter drives. That case had been in federal court for months. The judge left the rest of the ID restrictions and shortened early voting stand. There is going to be long lines in minority neighborhoods in Sarasota County because they decided to save $100,000.00 by closing all but three polling places in New Town a large minority neighborhood.  That was announced this week. OFA will have a lot of work to do getting those voters to the polls and get the word out that they can request to vote by mail.  

    At least for now they have stopped purging voters from the rolls because Holder wrote a letter.  He plans to make a federal case by the end of next week. The counties boards of elections in Florida had a meeting with Scott a couple weeks ago and told him that the lists they were given to send letters to voters to tell them they had to prove they were citizens or be purged was flawed.  I understand the meeting got a little ugly because state law says voter corrections has to be completed 90 days before an election and the counties had all ready did their due diligence with corrections. Florida's primary is in August. The few that was sent out in Tampa the voters that responded were natural born citizens.  One guy came in with his passport and was born in New York and he was real unhappy. After that the board of elections there stopped sending out letters.  Dade and Palm counties refused to purge anyone.  I heard on the radio that many snow birds are calling Florida to make sure they are not on the purge list because of the national coverage. 

    You are right the tea baggers are stupid.  They are making all these restrictive laws and waiting to see what they can get away with. It has been a joke around town that all the Latinos and African Americans should change their registration to republican in the state to confuse republicans in office that wants to purge. 

    Scott wants to make welcome announcement to be played over and over again on the PA system at the Tampa airport during the republican convention.  I guess he is trying to drum up support from the tea baggers.  His polling is in the toilette. Florida is hard to poll because of all the snow birds who travel back and forth but Scott numbers don't bounce up in the summer time.    

    Thanks for that Trkng.  Pretty overwhelming there, too.  Voter laws should be so hard-bound there's no room for discussion, but as usual they can find ways to either get around them or just choose to ignore them.  (Whatever happened to the investigations into the no-paper-trail Diebold voting machines?  Haven't seen much about that recently.)

    This is a national effort by the Right to keep the Republicans in power so their agendas can be met.  They'll privatize the entire country if they get their way.  We can try to stop them by exposing their methods, but often we're just preaching to the choir.  It's voter efforts that will make the changes.  More like-minded people have to be convinced that their vote counts.

    It's all in the numbers, whether we're gathering to protest or entering the voting booths.



    Just saw this.  Looks like Florida may win this thing.  After all, they're only looking out for the citizens' best interests.  lol


    Well Florida is kind of strange. It was never really a "slave state" as it did not have plantations and all like those to the north. Only in the northern part of the state was there any real racist/white supremacy action. From Tampa south you had the typical Florida crackers both white and black and these people lived quite literally off the land for years.

    Until the growth period when the northerners began to come down and settle in Collier County and Dade and Broward Counties. This was where the majority of the population was for a very long time and they were very centrist.

    Beginning in the 1970s though the growth in that part was mostly Cuban exiles and Haitian and Central Florida got the northern influx. In the last 20 years it has been a lot of very well off retirees just north of Orlando and Tampa.

    Now that area has the biggest voting block out numbering the southern part. Especially since the high tech that brought a lot of people to the Miami and Naples are dried up.

    The Cubans are very reactionary as well as the retirees up in north central Florida.

    And they are now the biggest voting block in the state.

    What I cannot figure out though is what is attracting people to the state as the latest figures show more people moving in even though the economy is circling the drain and nearly ever county has 1000 or more homes in foreclosure and increasing.

    Is yard work and fast food service that attractive ?


    Richard, they're attempting to erase everything we've ever accomplished to make like better for everyone.  They're getting away with it, too, as much as we like to think our bleatings are working.

    Someone asked me the other day why the liberals are so bad at making a case for what is obviously so right.  I had no answer.  I honestly don't know.

    Some say we're too wimpy, some say we're too aggressive, some say we don't articulate our case well enough, and some say we're too pedantic and high-falutin'.

    Then others say we don't know what we want, and even if we did,  it wouldn't be what the country wants.

    One reason might be that we're poor and they're not.  Other than that, I got nothin'

    Believe me, Ramona, I feel your pain here in Wisconsin. Some of the details are different, but the nature of the assault is very similar. Scott Walker cannot yet appoint Viceroys to take over Imperial Governance of our cities yet, but I'm certain he's checking out possibilities.

    Too busy at present to respond at length with the Recall coming up on Tuesday. But keep the faith. No telling what will happen here with all the millions of dollars at Walker's disposal and the potential for black box voting fraud and voter suppression and dirty tricks, etc. But people are awakening. The grass roots is more actively engaged here than I have EVER seen it. Something's gotta' give. It might not be pretty, but it ain't gonna look like this kind of oppression and submission forever. I promise.

    We are the 99 percent. OWS.

    Sleepin, we in Michigan are watching your recall efforts in Wisconsin with our hearts in our throats.  If you lose the recall, the effects will resound here.  It'll give Snyder and his bunch confidence that they can win, too, and they'll step up the effort to take over completely.  It'll also put more money in their war chest.  The Mackinac Center Koch-heads love these fights and they have endless battle supplies.

    If you win, while Snyder won't be demoralized (publicly, at least), we'll be energized.  Your win will be our recruitment tool.  It's tough waking up a populace who really prefer to sleep their troubles away.  They're more apt to see a chance at success and give us a hand if they can see some successes elsewhere. 

    That's, unfortunately, the way it is.


               Hopefully, for all who read your post, they will start paying closer attention to what's happening in their own backyard.  Contrary to what most believe, corruption and public official malfeasance does not 'trickle down', it has its' roots in local governance and 'grows' onwards and upwards to state and then federal processes.  

             I firmly believe we need to pay closer attention to our own local and state politicos legislative actions.  If we want to secure better government, it is necessary for the citizenry to be proactive and provide better oversight to ensure the fiscal and legislative health of our own local and state government's practices.


    I think so, too, Auntie.  State and local politics are sometimes forgotten when there are so many bigger issues to address, but it all starts there.  If we had all worked harder at building bigger voter bases in our states we might not have had a Walker, a Snyder, a Scott, a Kasich, a Brewer, a Christie. . .or a Palin.

    Like that.

    Voter bases is not where the problem has been, IMHO. After all, we had the GOP and these far right whackos on the mat when we gathered in Grant Park to celebrate Election Night 2008. We could have finished 'em off right there with what felt at the time like the start of a populist uprising. We could have quite rightly hung around the necks of the Republicans this recession and the failure of Reaganomics, the two wars (especially Iraq), the excesses of the Executive and the Security State including Guantanamo and secret drone warfare and "renditions," etc., Dick Cheney and the neo-cons, and all other manner of contemptible political and economic and social psychoses that we have suffered for these last few decades. These piss-ants should have been finished for generations to come, such is the degree they had so completely discredited themselves in the 25 years since Reagan.

    But we didn't do that. We got Barack Obama and more of the DLC instead. And I think it was no accident the powers-that-be allowed the GOP to come roaring back with a vengeance. Just follow the money.

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