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Behind Michigan's "Financial Martial Law": Corporations and Right-Wing Billionaires

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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-24-11 01:29 PM
Original message
Behind Michigan's "Financial Martial Law": Corporations and Right-Wing Billionaires
Edited on Thu Mar-24-11 01:38 PM by ElsewheresDaughter
The think tank that inspired Gov. Rick Snyder's controversial bill is bankrolled by some of the same donors that funded Wisconsin's attack on unions.

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/michigan-snyder...



Last week, Michigan's Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a fiercely contested bill giving unelected "emergency financial managers" unprecedented power to shred union contracts, privatize city services, and consolidate or dissolve local governments, all in the name of saving struggling cities and school districts. Dubbed "financial martial law" by one approving state GOP lawmaker and "disaster capitalism" by critics, Snyder and his bill have become a target for Wisconsin-like protests. Several thousand demonstrators marched on the Michigan Capitol in the days before Snyder signed the bill. But gone unmentioned is a little-known Michigan think tank that for years has been pushing for the most controversial provisions in Snyder's billand that's bankrolled by some of the same right-wing millionaires and billionaires that backed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his anti-union legislation.

Since 2005, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has urged reforms to Michigan law giving more power and protection to emergency financial managers, state-appointed officials who parachute into ailing cities or school districts and employ drastic measures to fix budgets on the brink of collapse. In January, the free-market-loving center published four recommendations, including granting emergency managers the power to override elected officials (such as a mayor or school board member) and toss out union contracts. All four ended up in Snyder's legislation.

(snip)

The Mackinac Center does not disclose its donors. But a review of tax records shows that the group's funders include the charitable foundations of the nation's largest corporations and a host of wealthy conservative and libertarian benefactors. Between 2002 and 2009, the Mackinac Center's donors included the Charles G. Koch Foundation ($69,151), founded by the chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, who, with his brother, David, is a major backer of conservative causes; the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation ($80,000), the charity tied to the son of the co-founder of Amway, the multibillion-dollar direct marketing company; the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, established by the parents of Blackwater founder Erik Prince, who serves as the foundation's vice president ($195,000); and the Walton Family Foundation ($100,000), established by Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and his wife, Helen.

Michael LaFaive, director of the Mackinac Center's fiscal policy initiative, says the Center is never influenced by its donors: "We are happy to take checks from people who don't agree with us, but they're not the ones sending us money."

Political action committees and non-profit groups linked to some of these same donors also helped fund Scott Walker's gubernatorial campaign and his push to eliminate collective bargaining rights for most public-sector unions. Koch Industries' PAC gave $43,000 to Walker's 2010 campaign, while Wal-Mart's PAC chipped in $15,000. Dick DeVos and his daughter, Elisabeth, also individually donated to Walker's campaign
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FiveGoodMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-24-11 01:32 PM
Response to Original message
1. K&R
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babydollhead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-24-11 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. kick
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-24-11 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
3. And the war on workers continues to escalate. Do they want an Egypt here?
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louis-t Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-24-11 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
4. Bookmarked. I've been looking for proof.
I now have it.
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Bozita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-24-11 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
5. The Koch brothers, Amway's DeVos family, and the Walton heirs - Now, THAT's a real trifecta!
Throw in the Blackwater founder's family.

Meet the American oligarchs.
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-24-11 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. They should all be candidates
for a date with Madame Guillotine.
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FiveGoodMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-24-11 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. The only solution that will work!
IF we can implement it.

It should be obvious by now that those on "the other side of the aisle" don't give a rat's ass about what we think or about what the constitution says.

They will never come around.

They will never do the right thing.

Pleading, begging, compromising will accomplish nothing.

Nothing.

So what are we going to do?
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