Monthly Archives: April 2011

Michigan Messenger: Detroit pension systems challenge Emergency Manager law

Experts disagree on chances of success

April 21, 2011- Benton Harbor may be the first city in the state to be completely taken over by an Emergency Manager under a new law that grants such appointees nearly unlimited power over local governments, but the first legal challenge has been filed by two Detroit pension boards.

Detroit’s city pension systems — the General Retirement System of the City of Detroit and the Police and Fire Retirement System of the City of Detroit — filed suit against Gov. Rick Snyder and state Treasurer Andy Dillon in federal court this week in an effort to block provisions of the Emergency Manager law that change the city charter and collective bargaining agreements and allow pension fund trustees to be removed.

The retirement systems, which represent about 32,000 current and retired city workers, argue that the new law gives the governor and state treasurer, through the emergency manager, “virtually unchecked power to seize administration and control of the Detroit Retirement Systems and potentially attempt to transfer their assets to any other retirement system.”

Market Watch: New Civil War erupts, led by super rich, GOP

Commentary: ‘Shock Doctrine,’ Reaganomics trigger explosive class war

March 22, 2011- Yes, “there’s class warfare, all right,” warns Warren Buffett. “But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Yes, the rich are making war against us. And yes, they are winning. Why? Because so many are fighting this new American Civil War between the rich and the rest.

Not just the 16 new GOP governors in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, and across America fighting for new powers. Others include: Chamber of Commerce billionaires, Koch brothers, Forbes 400, Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform — which now has 97% of House Republicans and 85% of the GOP Senators signed on his “no new taxes” pledge — the Tea Party and Reaganomics ideologues.

The Progressive: Protesting Sarah Palin and the Tea Party in Madison

April 16, 2011- It was fun to be at the Madison capitol today to protest Sarah Palin and the tea partiers.

There were about 1,500 tea partiers, many bused in by Americans for Prosperity, the rightwing group funded by the Koch brothers.

The tea partiers were surrounded by about 3,000 or more pro-labor supporters, who let their presence be felt with raucous chants and boos and cries of “Shame, shame, shame!”

“Recall Walker,” the protesters chanted over and over again, as well as, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Scott Walker has got to go.”

Another chant was “Tax, tax, tax the rich!”

As with all the historic Madison protests this year, creativity marked the signs of the pro-labor activists.

“I Can See Waulkersha From My Sign,” one of them said, playing off of Palin’s gaffe about Russia, as well as governor Walker’s name and Waukesha County, where highly irregular vote counting occurred during the recent Supreme Court race.

NYT: Op-Ed: The Republican Threat to Voting

April 26, 2011- Less than a year before the 2012 presidential voting begins, Republican legislatures and governors across the country are rewriting voting laws to make it much harder for the young, the poor and African-Americans — groups that typically vote Democratic — to cast a ballot.

Spreading fear of a nonexistent flood of voter fraud, they are demanding that citizens be required to show a government-issued identification before they are allowed to vote. Republicans have been pushing these changes for years, but now more than two-thirds of the states have adopted or are considering such laws. The Advancement Project, an advocacy group of civil rights lawyers, correctly describes the push as “the largest legislative effort to scale back voting rights in a century.”

Anyone who has stood on the long lines at a motor vehicle office knows that it isn’t easy to get such documents. For working people, it could mean giving up a day’s wages.

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