Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Michigan: Malfeasance, Malarkey and Motivation

By now, I'm sure the gentle reader has heard the tragic news that Michigan is no longer a free state. Through an act of great malfeasance, the lame duck state legislature passed the Right to Woe law. Within hours, the feckless Governor Rick Snyder signed this odorous piece of legislation into law.

It's not a law that the people wanted. This is evident by the fact that many of the reprobates who did this vile deed had lost their election in November after the voters rejected their malevolence. It is also evidenced by the fact that Michigan's Right to Woe law is written verbatim from ALEC's playbook.

But the madness didn't end there.

Shortly after the legislature did their nefarious deed, this video appeared and went viral among the RWNJ community:

Holy mayhem!

Of course, the likely suspects, aka the paid propagandists like Charlie Sykes and James Wigderson ran with it. I really got a chuckle from Wigderson's bluster about the video:
I’m looking forward to reading on leftwing blogs a) it never happened, b) Americans for Prosperity deserved it, and c) the Koch brothers faked the whole thing to make unions look bad.
But as one might expect, there is a problem with this scenario. A couple of problems really.

As the blogger emptywheel adroitly points out:
All this, in spite of the fact that witnesses say the Americans for Prosperity people were trying to provoke union members to violence, and witnesses reportedly saw AFP people loosening the ropes on the tents so they would come down. And in spite of the fact the place was crawling with cops (shipped in from around the state) who didn’t do see anything amiss. (Cops are as we speak arresting people engaging in civil disobedience at the Romney Building, where the Governor’s office is.)
And we know all too well that the state police has not been hesitant to abuse their authority and use force even when it's not needed. If there was something criminal happening, does anyone thing that the police would idly stand by?

They also have another problem - eye witnesses:

At the same time this is going on, some putz from Faux News was going around trying to agitate union protesters. He finally got someone to go after him. Funny thing is, even with all the police around, he never reported it and they never responded to it.

It's pretty safe to say we can chalk this one up in the same category as Sean Kedzie and Kyle Wood - playing the false victim. I can't wait for Christian Schneider to tell us he interviewed and verified everything before taking his post down and trying to bury it.

And as for the faux Faux News story, well, I'm also waiting to see if they show Lansing's palm trees:

The ALEC zombies think that they have it all sewed up in Michigan. They even added a fiscal note to the bill to keep the new legislature from overturning the law next year.

But things aren't as airtight as they'd like to think.

One, the Michigan law exempts police and firefighters. That's the same mistake that Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans made and which got Act 10 overturned.

Secondly, even though the legislature might have their hands tied, the people don't. They will have to ride it out for a year, but they can do for themselves what the government can't (emphasis mine):
However, labor unions believe they have found a way to challenge these bills at the ballot box, even if they would be allowed to remain in place for a while in the interim. As first reported by NBC News, an analysis by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan shows that labor would have recourse to put the right to work laws up for a citizen initiative. Republicans thought they short-circuited this by including an appropriation of funds in the legislation. By virtue of a state law, this means that the legislation cannot be challenged at the ballot box, they contended. However, the CRC of Michigan analysis shows that this is only true for one type of initiative. Here’s the full language of the analysis.
There are four methods whereby a proposal can be placed on the statewide ballot in Michigan: (1) statutory initiative, (2) voter referendum, (3) legislative referendum, and (4) constitutional amendment.

STATUTORY INITIATIVE is defined by Section 9 of Article 2 of the Michigan Constitution as the power which the people reserve to themselves “to propose laws and to enact and reject laws.” The power of initiative extends to any law the Legislature may enact and is invoked by filing petitions containing signatures of registered voters equal in number to at least eight percent of the total votes cast in the last election for governor. The Legislature is required to enact, without modification, or reject any proposed initiative within 40 session days. An initiative not enacted by the Legislature is placed on the statewide ballot at the next general election. A law that is initiated or adopted by the people is not subject to gubernatorial veto and one adopted by voters cannot subsequently be amended or repealed except by the voters or by a three-fourths vote of the Legislature.

VOTER REFERENDUM is defined by Section 9 of Article 2 of the Michigan Constitution as the power “to approve and reject laws enacted by the legislature.” Referendum must be invoked, within 90 days of final adjournment of the legislative session during which the law in question was enacted, by filing petitions containing signatures of registered voters equal in number to at least five percent of the total votes cast for governor in the last general election. The effect of invoking a referendum is to suspend the law in question until voters approve or reject it at the next general election

LEGISLATIVE REFERENDUM is authorized by Section 34 of Article 4 of the Michigan Constitution, which provides that “[a]ny bill passed by the legislature and approved by the governor, except a bill appropriating money, may provide that it will not become law unless approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon.”

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT is authorized by Sections 1 and 2 of Article 12 of the Michigan Constitution and may be proposed either by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature or by filing petitions containing signatures of registered voters equal in number to at least ten percent of the total votes cast for governor in the last general election.

The question of CONSTITUTIONAL REVISION is required by Section 3 of Article XII of the Michigan Constitution to appear on the ballot automatically every 16 years after 1978.
Only the legislative referendum is short-circuited by the appropriation of funds. Labor could use the voter referendum or the statutory initiative to put right to work on the ballot, for example. This will take more signatures than the legislative referendum, but that just represents an organizing opportunity.
I hope that the good people of Michigan don't make the same mistake we made. Instead of marching in circles or yelling a building, they need to get all boots on the ground now to start collecting signatures.

The corporate special interests might have one this round in Michigan, like they did in Wisconsin, but they have in no way won the war.

POSTSCRIPT: I keep seeing comparisons between Michigan and Wisconsin and how similar they are. Does this mean that Snyder has a secret router and a legal defense fund too?


  1. Snyder does NOT have a legal defense fund...yet. Given the fact that Synder was the CEO of Gateway prior to being elected Governor of Michigan, he may have a secret router, but that's just mere speculation at this point.

  2. I am pretty sure that when Wiggy gets a chance to falsely accuse working men and women in a union of a crime, he gets the same tingly feeling he got when his parents gave him his first farrah fawcett poster

  3. Bad move, Fox. Backfire.

    God Bless Michigan.

  4. Just out of curiosity, what should we have gathered signatures for?