Republicans control the Michigan state legislature. It was the perfect opportunity to push through laws limiting union power and labor rights for public-sector workers. So, they did. Michigan is now the 24th state out of 50 designated as a "right-to-work" state.
For critics, this act translates into a "right-to-fire-and-treat-workers-anyway-we-want" law. Critics will also know that Republicans and their fat cat constituents are no doubt all smiles with today's action in the House of Representatives, a push they began last week in the Senate.
The BBC quoted Republican state senator John Proos in a story: "As they say in sports, the atmosphere in the locker room gets a lot better when the team's winning." Republicans like to talk about teams. Proos means his team: Republicans, corporations, the wealthy, the privileged, the well-connected -- the people for whom the words plenty and cornucopia were coined.
As for everyday people, police say 12,000 protesters showed up at the state capitol, despite freezing temperatures. Inside, people chanted, "Shame on you." One protester, Valerie Constance, a member of the American Federation of Teachers, said, "I do think this is a very sad day in Michigan history."
John Proos, who backed the bill, say he's certain public anger will fade away, especially when people see all the new jobs brought to Michigan. Opponents of the bill say the change will lead to lower wages.
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Let's try this a second time, being a bit more direct, and reading between the lines:
The New Feudalism took another giant step forward in Michigan as Republicans reigned in union power at the behest of their wealthy sponsors and corporate masters amid stiff protests of everyday people turned out in freezing weather.
The changes mean the beginning of the end for workers' labor rights and livable wages there, and the resumption of increased profits and wealth production for those not doing the work.
Those with the power and money say the public will calm down in a while, especially after they get cold or bored, and after they see all the new minimum-wage jobs that backers expect to see trickle in now.
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A third time, let's go again:
Republican money and power wins again, and workers are taking it in the shorts once more. Forget labor rights soon in Michigan, and in the U.S., as the country's already about halfway in its rush toward appeasing the top 1% and away from worker protections and fair employment practices.
Republicans and their wealthy, well-connected sponsors are pleased with the outcome, and are sure everyday people will soon give up protesting, both from the freezing weather, and from seeing they'll never be able to stop the flow of their money up to the top.
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Feeling lucky? A fourth time:
Everyday people can't seem to get it into their stubborn heads who it is that really matters in this country: the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and their loyal Republican servants.
The people won't be smart enough to band together to defeat the 1% nor create a government that works for regular people, so they'll get what they deserve -- whatever scraps we have laying around.
They might be angry now, but this will blow over. It always does. Then, they'll go back to huddling in their cars and refrigerator boxes, damn glad to get four dollars a day in pay, before they pay their -- and our -- taxes. that is.
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We could go on this ride again for a fifth time, whittling it down even further. It would be short. This is it, the whole thing:
Everyday people cut their own throats again today in another part of the country, having voted Republican earlier. The rich keep laughing like hell.
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For Republicans, it's been a good gig, fooling the regular people with lies, propaganda, and concerned speeches, getting people sidetracked with emotional and religious issues and "hot button" legislation in every election cycle.
Then, Republicans are free to cavort with the only people that matter to them, the rich and the privileged, the well-connected and corporate. The unspoken motto to their club is Why would any everyday person vote Republican, ever?
Republicans snigger and snicker at anyone stupid enough to vote for them -- but, only behind closed doors, and only when they're sure no one is looking. There's no time here to work for regular folks, but there's plenty of time to pile on contempt for them.
How the party of Lincoln has faded and fallen into dishonor, debauchery, and deceit. How troubling that people of goodwill are so gullible and so easily fooled. The everyday people have been getting what they deserve, for the past 25 years and more -- they just don't know it yet.
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A lot of people watch the movie, It's a Wonderful Life at this time of year. Some people still root for Jimmy Stewart and the Savings and Loan. To many more people, that concept is surely squirrelly, but quaint.
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And, you know, adding insult to injury, how much time do you think this story will get on the evening news, on the morning shows, on those weekend programs that chew so much leaden, hot air?
If it gets any time at all, and pretends to be at all factual, the story will get a once-over: a few facts, a couple sound bites, some soothing Republican know-it-all-isms after some exciting protest footage -- then, that's it.
No historical background or perspective will be offered, or what the change really means for Michigan or for the United States. No one will bring up the reality of what these changes have meant before when they've rolled through.
It's like the tax cuts for the job creators. You pick a meme and stick with it, no matter what, come hell, high water, or complete lack of supporting fact. Keep pounding the message in, and, right or wrong, the message will stick. The message will take.
Sure: The job creators have swamped America with jobs after a decade and more of stunningly generous tax cuts -- and in a time of perpetual war. Now, all those brand new jobs will rush into Michigan at an alarming rate, too, thanks to that right-to-work change.
Of course they will. After all, this is the season of belief in mystical, magical things.
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You know, if this story gets any play at all, it'll be carved down to bare bones then pitched out to us from media rooftops like valuable scraps, like they're doing us some sort of big favor -- tossing us a few soup bones to stew over, in our slowly-warming pots.
That is, while we still have a pot left to cook in.
Here are all the things the media knows to be FAR more important to focus on tonight, rather than all that Michigan stuff, whatever THAT was about:
He dialed a wrong number, then married her! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-20653283
The Ikea monkey, about to be claimed! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20682192
No! The Ikea monkey, going to sanctuary! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20673941
Magnetic tongue stud warning! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20679904
180,000 light bulbs in Christmas display! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20669944
Modern-day Noah's Ark in Maryland! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20649021
Life's good! Some people can still afford to pay $94,000 and $460,000 for a bottle of whisky! http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/12/09/166841260/this-is-the-worlds-most-expensive-whisky
First African city "honored" with a Monopoly game edition! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-20681168
... and here are some of the things they should be telling us on the news, too, but won't be:
Antibiotic overuse in cattle means trouble for human health: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/12/10/176739/drug-overuse-in-cattle-imperils.html
U.S. students getting their butts kicked: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/us-students-continue-to-trail-asian-students-in-math-reading-science/2012/12/10/4c95be68-40b9-11e2-ae43-cf491b837f7b_story.html?hpid=z4
In addition to all the other vulture capitalism horror stories, Hostess used pension funds to operate their business: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/hostess-maneuver-deprived-pension-051400720.html
Surprise! (not); looks like BP lied, big time: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/08/bp-oil-spill-flow-rate-emails_n_2260275.html?utm_hp_ref=green
Republicans unsure if they want to protect women: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/12/07/1304951/republican-leadership-split-on-whether-to-protect-native-american-women/
Scratching the surface -- the depth of banking thievery again revealed: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20683421
More on Arctic ice loss and climate change: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/dec/05/climate-change-scientists-arctic-ice-loss
EPA gives energy and mining companies the green light to pollute underground water supplies: http://www.propublica.org/article/poisoning-the-well-how-the-feds-let-industry-pollute-the-nations-undergroun
And so on. You know how the drill goes.