Martial Law Now a Reality in Michigan

The week of April 10-16 saw the layoff of every public school teacher in Detroit, and the initial fruition of the highly-contested bill that allows emergency financial managers to have unconditional control over a city in a financial emergency. The city of Benton Harbor, Michigan, declared to be in a financial emergency by Governor Rick Snyder, now knows that, according the Snyder, the voter's voice doesn't really matter anymore.

Map of Benton Harbor, MIJoseph Harris, the city's new Emergency Financial Manager (EFM), dismantled the entire government, only allowing city boards and commissions to call a meeting to order, approve of meeting minutes and adjourn a meeting.

The law that allows Harris to "exercise any power or authority of any office, employee, department, board, commission, or similar entity of the City, whether elected or appointed," was passed in March after the urging of Governor Snyder, and despite thousands of protesters who came to the Lansing capitol throughout February and March.

The Michigan AFL-CIO released a press release in response to Benton Harbor: "This is sad news for democracy in Michigan. It comes after the announcement of Robert Bobb in Detroit ordering layoff of every single public school teacher in the Detroit Public School system," says Mark Gaffney, President of Michigan AFL-CIO. "With the stripping of all power of duly elected officials in Benton harbor and the attack on Detroit school teachers, we can now see the true nature of the Emergency Manager system."

Earlier in the week, TMP Muckraker reported that the Detroit Public Schools' EFM, Robert Bobb, sent 5,466 unionized teachers layoff notices "in anticipation of a workforce reduction to match the district's declining student enrollment." The notices are a part of the Detroit Teachers Federation collective-bargaining contract. TPM also reported that "Non-Renewal notices have also been sent to 248 administrators, and the layoffs would go into effect by July 29."



Go Michigan! Hello from the "THE BELLY OF THE BEAST!!!" This is a declaration of solidarity from Wisconsin. It is absurd what is going on in this country. I think it is important to understand that this is not new to the world. It is new to us at least those who came to be after Eisenhower's "New Deal". Also note that he was considered a hardcore republican. (I am not). Time & money have soured political parties as people have forgotten about the Civil & Labor movements, what happened & why. Political parties aside. We have spent a long time arguing amongst ourselves about unions, welfare, race, to name a few. It is clear now to us that we have everything in common. What I see is the most noticeable symptom of an economic ideology of the late Milton Friedman, a professor at the University of Chicago. This is Chile prior to September 11, 1973. Most importantly the working class needs to stick together, white & black, Union & non. Unions did not drive out GM & all the others despite what they led many to believe. We need media reform which Lisa Graves (Go Lisa!!!) is actively pursuing. We need to quit voting against ourselves!!! In the meantime don't panic, know that you have Cheeseheads across the pond in SOLIDARITY!!! Make alot of noise people!!! Organize!!! Don't let it die!!!

Janice, my new media outlet, Watchdog Progressive, is following the developments in Michigan politics. Feel free to provide information as the major news outlets are simply not reporting on these events. Thank you. WP Editor Watchdog Progressive

This is not democracy. Wake up America and fight back... start fighting in Benton Harbor to save this park. Our government was founded to be for the people, not the corporations and the mega rich. Thanks to Rachel Maddow for making this national news. Where are the other news stations on such an important story? Come on Americans - when this happens in your backyard how will you feel? Let's ban together to stop the insanity in Michigan.

Rachel Maddow had information about Benton Harbor on last night's show. The disparity between Benton Harbor and its "twin city" St. Joseph, is extreme. Benton Harbor is 92.4 percent African American with an annual median household income of just over $10,000. 42.6 percent of the population is below the poverty line. St. Joseph, lying just south of Benton Harbor, is 90.3 percent white with an annual median household income of $37,032. Plans to take over Benton Harbor's park and turn it into a luxury subdivision/golf course is also in the works. Visit [ here] to watch Maddow's show.

I watched The Rachel Maddow Show stunned by this new type of eminent domain. Typically in the South, Blacks have lost their land through some nuances in laws or because the property owners were illiterate. Here in NC we have a Partition Law which allows a "co-owner" to have a shared property sold on the Courthouse steps in a bidding process. Ratio of mortgage payments by each co-owner has little to no bearing on the division of the spoils. It seems relevant that the party with the most money (vis-a-vis St. Joseph) comes out ahead with no justice for the other party who has little (Benton Harbor. This is another way to transfer wealth. With the current makeup of the SCOTUS, there is little chance of SCOTUS declaring the act by the Governor to be unConstitutional. This sort of activity has been the near-end game of some in our society for the past 60 or so years. None of this could have been initiated 10 or more years ago without much outrage.

Don't let them divide you in both cities. One is less fortunate than the other but both of them are having their rights removed and have big financial problems. The citizens of both cities (their majors and trustees) should go to the Justice Department and demand their rights as Americans to pick their own local government. This is not the Dark Ages of kings and lords. It is obvious that the governor and representative are stealing your land for their own profit. The city park is an economic plus now. The citizens might try to get the doons protected. Most the sand doons have been removed for building, etc. Development may not be helpful depending on those who do it. Apparently these guys are crooks. They built bad homes on the lake where I used to live promising "upper income" would come to the area. Guess what? By the time it was finished along with the "re-development plan for the village" by three contractors, they were in debt $3 million with anything to show for it. Many businesses left town saying they didn't like the plan and did not approve of it. The condos on the lake went bankrupt. It is not near a rail line to the city so the young wouldn't buy there. The old didn't like it since it was designed poorly for them, etc. You bet the local bank with the developer were involved in fraud. Anyone go to jail? Nope. It is Illinois after all. The Republicans are trying to privatize and steal everything we have for themselves and their cronies. To say this is legal by either party is treason.

If i didn't know any better i'd say this looks like a dictatorship. If 1 person can change the laws and strip all elected officials of their power then that says it doesn't matter who you voted for. Does this sound like america? How can one person take a state and hand it over to a special interest group? Our democracy is broken. Republicans and their morally corrupt ways have taken control and no one seems to be making an effort to challange them.

As we are learning about the republican party, they cry to the Christians claiming they are one of them and as they put on the good talk they are turning out to be the beast themselves! The end times? we need to look at this with a very clear view...

As Maddow also reported on her show, Representative Al Pscholka, who's district includes Benton Harbor, sponsored the Emergency Financial Manager bill. Pscholka was the former vice president of a development company responsible for building Harbor Shores and was on the Board of Directors for a nonprofit involved in the Harbor Shores development. More information [ here].