Koch-Republican Austerity Is Killing Michigan Democracy And Poisoning Residents


It is curious that Republicans became the party of austerity economics on January 21, 2009 at the same time a new Democratic President began his first term in office. For eight years prior to Barack Obama’s inauguration, Republicans took America’s economy to the brink of collapse with two unfunded and unnecessary wars of aggression against Muslims, gave outrageous unfunded tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, cost millions of Americans their jobs, homes, and retirement savings, and spent like spoiled children with their daddy’s credit card. Indeed, the idea of fiscal responsibility and, to a greater extent, austerity became successful buzzwords for Republicans complaining loudly that the nation was suffering under crushing debt they only noticed the minute a Democrat occupied the White House.

That debt and deficit fear-mongering success led to the election of so-called fiscally responsible and austerity-minded governors in 2010 that promptly used every means at their disposal to enact Draconian spending cuts; not to reduce state debts and deficits, but to fund tax cuts for corporations and the rich. One of the means employed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to impose austerity on the state was appointing “emergency financial managers” to run cities like dictators with unchallengeable power.

Today there are numerous Michigan cities and school districts run by one “state-appointed” Koch acolyte under Michigan’s emergency manager law enacted by governor-turned-dictator Rick Snyder; all under cover of every economy’s death knell – austerity. Of course, it is austerity meant only for government and the population; not the rich or corporations. The idea of imposing harsh cost-saving measures is a nothing more than cover for a democracy-killing fascist coup by Koch Republican Governor Rick Snyder.

Some Americans may recall that Snyder’s dictatorial power-grab under the guise of Republican austerity does much more than abolish democracy by stripping residents of their local voting rights and voices; it gives Snyder’s appointed demi-gods unquestioned power to do any and everything that strikes their fancy including, but not limited to, eliminating a city’s charter, dismissing democratically-elected officials, shuttering schools, and ending services the emergency manager deems too costly such as delivering safe drinking water. It is, according to Snyder, all in the name of good old Republican “fiscal responsibility” and austerity politics; something Snyder traverses the nation to spread to all 50 states.

Snyder launched a national tour, “Making Government Accountable: The Michigan Story,” to ‘sell‘ democracy’s demise in Michigan to the rest of the country. His tour was funded by a “secret” nonprofit that is, naturally, secretly funded by a group of ‘undisclosed’ donors advocating for austerity and small government. As a clue to which undisclosed donors are paying Snyder to promote Michigan’s drive to abolish democracy, it is relatively well known that Snyder is a highly-regarded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) operative (the Kochs fund ALEC).

Snyder’s salesmanship and promotion of how best to hasten democracy’s demise and impose ugly austerity was rewarded when New Jersey’s corrupt Governor Chris Christie recently appointed Snyder’s bankruptcy lawyer and former Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr to “legally advise” Atlantic City on its finances. It was a Christie move that the Detroit Free Press describedas a takeover” similar to Snyder’s coup d’état in the Motor City.

Bad things generally happen when corporate fascist take over government and eliminate democracy, and it is a fact of life many Michigan citizens have learned the hard way; by being poisoned. One city “neglected” to inform its residents for over a year that its water supply was laced with human waste, bacteria, toxins, and cancerous chemicals. Of course, no Republican-imposed abomination story is complete without noting that despite the consequences to residents, there was no media coverage of Flint Michigan’s filthy brown, chemical-laced, and toxin-laden drinking water.

A little over a year ago, Flint’s Snyder-appointed emergency manager imposed some Republican austerity and fiscal responsibility on Flint residents and ordered the city to stop buying water from the Detroit Water Department. Instead, the manager issued an order that Flint residents would drink, cook, and bathe in water drawn directly from the Flint River the Ford Motor Company used as a “a longtime dumping ground.”

The fiscally responsible move meant Flint realized a whopping budgetary savings of $12 million a year it could then contribute to help fund Snyder’s corporate tax cuts while Flint residents started getting very, very sick. Eventual tests on the austerity water source revealed there were high levels of E. coli and fecal bacteria in the water, as well as high levels of a very dangerous carcinogenic chemical cocktail, trihalomethanes; also known as THMs.

For several months the city concealed the presence of THMs because they are known to increase cancer rates, kidney failure, and birth defects. Local residents began to suspect that something ugly was in the “austerity” water when they began breaking out in mysterious rashes, experiencing severe diarrhea, and witnessing their eyelashes and hair falling out. When what was left of Flint’s neutered city council foolishly voted to “do all things necessary” to get Detroit’s safe drinking water back, Snyder’s emergency manager immediately shut them down and labeled their impertinence “incomprehensible.”

The poisoned water, and lack of redress from a Snyder-appointed emergency tyrant, has many city residents not only sick and losing their hair, they are frustrated and now many of them are slightly confused. After being told the idea of returning to a clean, safe water source was “incomprehensible” by Snyder’s emergency manager, two notices were sent out the same day, packaged in the same envelope, to further pollute the poisoned water issue.

One notice was printed in black-and-white and stated quite bluntly that, “Our water system recently violated a drinking water standard.” There was no information on how much or what toxins were in the water, what kind of bacteria was making residents sick, or the types of carcinogens the people had ingested over the previous year; likely because explaining the danger borne of austerity and fiscal responsibility was as incomprehensible as it would have been costly to print more than nine words in black ink on white paper. However, in the same envelope there was a “flashy colored” glossy notice with a celebratory message that said, “We are pleased to report that City of Flint water is safe and meets U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. You can be confident that the water provided to you today meets all safety standards.”

One recipient commented that, “I can only surmise that the point was to confuse us all.” No, the point was to silence residents’ complaints of severe diarrhea, hair loss, and mysterious rashes that a fancy-colored notice meant they could no longer attribute their sicknesses to the poisoned river water; water, by the way, that Flint residents are still drinking, cooking, and bathing in because if there is one thing a Snyder-appointed tyrant is not going to countenance is incomprehensible impertinence of resident’s demanding a clean and safe water source.

There are several other abominable consequences Michigan residents are suffering due to Republican austerity and fiscal responsibility, and although they are clear and present dangers to residents’ health and well-being, the death of democracy means they have no recourse or ability to make necessary changes. Michigan residents did, in fact, overwhelmingly vote to repeal Snyder’s emergency financial manager act, but within two months during a lame-duck session Snyder pushed a stronger act that was “referendum-proof” in yet another assault on democracy.

Since then, Snyder’s little hand-picked tyrants have unilaterally shut down entire school districts, closed down entire fire departments, outsourced and privatized police departments, and sold off public parks and city buildings. All in the name of Republican austerity and fiscal responsibility to fund tax cuts for the rich and hasten Koch-imposed privatization on Michigan. It is a portent of what the Koch brothers envision for America when they complete their fascist coup d’état that is much closer than Americans are ready to admit but know that without a robust and democratic intervention is in the offing.

28 Replies to “Koch-Republican Austerity Is Killing Michigan Democracy And Poisoning Residents”

  1. You know what? I don’t care. Snyder, Brownback, Scott, Christie, LePage…..we’re all re elected by the voters there. They knew what they were doing to their states, and chose to keep them in office. This is what they voted for, so this must be what they want. They have nobody but themselves to blame for casting or not casting a vote for these Republicans.

    Not voting is just as much as handing them a vote as the actual vote is. I wash my hands of them.

  2. Well, I live in Michigan and I did NOT vote for Snyder. I voted for Mark Schauer.
    I vote Blue. I always vote Blue. Straight Blue.
    There. I said it.

  3. The Kochs will be brought down. Americas’ Isis will be overthrown when we band together to rid them. Will happen.

  4. A total of 1,575,167 registered voters voted in the 2010 Michigan primaries. Analysts believe a large portion of Democrats crossed party lines to vote for Snyder.

    In the general election. Democrat Bernero lost to Republican Snyder, garnering 39.9% of the vote to Snyder’s 58.11%.

  5. “I don’t care, they brought it on themselves” is a disgusting thing to say. If we’re going to blame people for their problems and not do a damn thing to help, we might as well be Koch-beholden, Fox News-watching Republicans who glare at food stamp recipients for daring to buy a bottle of soda with “our” tax money. Also, do terms like “gerrymandering” and “voter disenfranchisement” mean anything? Isn’t Snyder imposing unelected managers onto cities like Flint proof that he’s running roughshod over local control and how citizens vote? No. We need to do what we can to help, and let Snyder know the world outside of Michigan is watching.

  6. Its not a believe its a fact. Over 35% of union households voted for the thugs. Now they weren’t voting their economic interest so why did they vote the way they did? Hmm….. I wonder why

  7. They ARE America’s ISIS! No one wants to see that sort of uprising from below. We need a solid political revolution in these states directing the return of democracy NOT the theocracy and autocracy these people have imposed.Flint has the highest crime rate (real or created by false arrests is not clear) where young people particularly could be channeled into focusing on these dictators, not one another. We need FOCUS here, not more chaos! They can be removed, but it will take enormously hard work to accomplish that, and it had better be bloodless because the governor has the capacity to declare martial law. Really = beware of your wishes. This is dire and cannot be made worse through thoughtless advocacy of still more.

  8. I’m a Michigan Democrat and not only did I vote against Snyder…I screamed at anyone who would listen to vote against him too. Alas, he was voted back in by an overwhelming margin. I couldn’t believe it, even after that slight-of-hand he pulled with the “Right to Work” issue. Come on people.. wake up!!!

  9. They will probably blame President Obama for their troubles. You can’t fix stupid and apparently the majority of people living in red states are not very intelligent. They keep voting against their own interests.

  10. It’s become an established pattern that the only time Republicans are concerned with the national debt is whenever a Democrat is in the white house. How many more times is the country going to impose the GOP’s trickle down lie?

    While I agree that the people in the states governed by GOP majorities & subsequently destroyed by GOP policies did vote these clowns into office, therefore, they deserve what they get, these elections were rigged. Since it’s no secret that once in power the GOP systematically change the laws to favor them, lock in their majorities & make them accountable to no one.

    I don’t understand why people continue to believe that the GOP is fiscally responsible when nothing could be further from the truth. What’s it going to take before the people in the US wake up & see that US democracy is hanging by a thread?

  11. I too live in Michigan, I didn’t vote for Snyder. None of my family voted for him. Michigan didn’t want emergency managers, remember? Snyder decided different and made it so voters would have no say in the future. Something really wrong with that.

  12. I would imagine that Snyder’s little dictator tyrants have targeted specific Michigan cities that DIDN’T vote for Snyder and his sycophants.

    Sorta like Chris Christie punishing that Dem mayor who refused to endorse his re-election. Target his city’s citizens with a “traffic study” BridgeGate.

    Only in Michigan, the situation is more deadly.

  13. Perhaps it is past time to double check how the votes have been counted.

    Failing that- Michigan is yet another example of Conservative’s TRUE agenda- screw over everyone who isn’t rich, to enrich the rich even more.

    Compassionate Conservatism’s True Colors.

  14. But yet, if I share this on my wall, those that I know that support the GOP will belittle the source, try to find as much as they can to belittle Democrats and then scream about out of control spending and regulations. It’s a no win situation. I seriously feel the need to truck them over to Flint MI and dare them to drink the water. Better yet, truck old Rick Snyder and his city tyrants down to Flint by gunpoint and force them to drink it.

  15. Then let them scream. Like any other spoiled brat they will get tired and inevitably fall asleep.

    We all know how predictable the mindset of the infantile Conservatives are- play on it.

  16. And there are plenty of people who will vote straight red no matter what.

    In certain parts of the country, Stalin could run for office and win as long as he ran as a Republican.

  17. My maternal-grandparents who lived in Dearborn are rolling in their graves in West Lawn cemetary in Troy.
    My granddad was a life long democrat who fought for the union in 1941 at Ford’s Rouge plant where he worked from 1919 – 1963.
    I’m a Royal Oaker and lived in Dearborn.

  18. Everyone blames the democrats for Detroit, however it was the REPUBLICAN outsourcing of jobs that really killed it.

    Michigan, especially in Detroit, was a very proud union state for decades and HAD millions of union auto manufacturing jobs. The 60’s Detroit riots, the ’73 oil crisis and the ’79 oil crisis didn’t help but it was the republicans who drove the deepest nail.

  19. Thats what I said, the corporate Kochs ARE Americas Isis and when we band together to end them ECONOMICALLY, we win. Yes, it will take time and commitment. Its the only way to rid the evil. If a bagger gov. declares martial law, thats the gopbags issue.

  20. Here in Michigan we have our own Koch billionaires, the DeVoe family in Grand Rapids. Dick Devoe tried to get elected as governor about 8 years ago, but he lost. The Devoe family have thrown millions to back republicans to the state house and senate as well as the governor. Democrats here hate them. They want to privatize everything here. Michigan used to not tax monthly pension, once Snyder got elected, his republican congress decided to take away our tax exemptions and give the money to businesses to lower their taxes. I wouldn’t have minded so much to have to start paying state taxes if they would have put the extra money towards fixing our crumbling pot holed roads, instead of giving it to rich businesses. I hate seeing what this great state has become.

  21. Don’t forget about the MASSIVE piles of petcoke from Kochsucker refining of tar sands oil that accumulated on the Detroit waterfront. It is described as “the dirtiest residue from the dirtiest oil on earth.” Local residents have seen numerous black clouds of petcoke dust. It turns houses black and causes respiratory problems (go figure). Imagine how much has gone into the river. They were forced to remove the petcoke piles because the company never bothered to get a permit. Where did they get moved to? Every place they start refining the tar sands oil you can expect to start seeing this problem – in the Midwest and the Gulf Coast.

  22. I have said that ever since these damn voting machines. They have no paper backups. And ANY computer can be HACKED!! And I will bet you anything that they ARE BEING CONTROLED by the powers that be!! It is just about time for a REVOLUTION of the PEOPLE to regain control of our GREAT NATION from the likes of The COCK BROS.- ALEC- Adelson- and these SELF PROCLAIMED CHRISTIANS!!! Cause they DAMN SURE AREN’T CHRISTIAN THAT I WAS RAISED TO BE!!!

  23. I am also a Michigander, and I didn’t vote for any of these monsters either. I always vote every election, and I vote straight Democrat. None of those crooked, sadistic idiots got into power by my hand. And if these crooks don’t like a law, they take it upon themselves to pass laws that suit them, not the people, even if we vote the thing down.

  24. You are absolutely correct, they are like blood brothers of the Kochs, nearly as bad, but they are destroying just Michigan as they have no power beyond there. We need to rein those heathens in too.

  25. Get a petition going to impeach and/or recall Snyder.

    There are only a few states left that allow recall powers and these are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.

    Eighteen out of 50 states.

    Slowly but surely the people will have no voice in whether bad politicians can stay in office… Take advantage of this in Michigan while you can, before Snyder thinks to take away that right.

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