As concerned workers come together across Michigan in protest, partisan politicians are poised to make one of the strongholds for America's blue-collar worker rights into a so-called "Right to Work" (RTW) state -- in accordance with the ALEC blueprint to change to state laws at the behest of some of the biggest corporations in the world.
Today in Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder and his GOP controlled lame-duck legislature pulled a fast one, introducing and then ramming through the House and the Senate so-called "right to work" legislation. The bill was introduced at 11 a.m., passed the House at 5 p.m. by a narrow margin and the Senate at around 6:00 p.m. When the process is complete and the bill is signed, Michigan will become the 24th right to work state.
Corporate lobbyists and right-wing legislators of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) will be gathering in Washington, DC today for ALEC's annual States and Nation Policy Summit. Today also marks the release of an in-depth report on the failure of ALEC's economic recommendations for the states. The report claims that "states that were rated higher on ALEC's Economic Outlook Ranking in 2007," the first year the ranking was published, "have actually been doing worse economically in the years since, while the less a state conformed with ALEC policies the better off it was."
After an electoral shellacking and exit polls that show the vast majority of Americans are on Barack Obama's side when it comes to the major issues of the day, Paul Ryan is headed back to Congress convinced that he espouses "very popular ideas" and calling the 2012 results "a very close election."
With this mind-set Ryan is prepping to turn the "fiscal cliff" austerity debate to the advantage of the Social Security bashers and Medicare slashers.
One of the most significant developments for American progressives this election season was the election of Mark Pocan, who won Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District seat with 68 percent of the vote. The popular and populist Pocan is likely to hold the seat, which was once held by Progressive Party champion Robert M. La Follette, for many years to come. Pocan represented the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) area in the state legislature and CMD worked with him on our ALEC Exposed project.
On September 6th, the Detroit News reported that Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney took a look at the latest polls and decided to pull down ads in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Romney-friendly SuperPACs did the same. The campaign and its allies are looking to move the money to swing states where the polling is more favorable.
A Wisconsin judge has struck down as unconstitutional sections of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's controversial collective bargaining law, Act 10, at least as applied to municipal and school district employees, who are the majority of public workers in the state. Act 10 prompted months of protests after it was introduced in 2011, and inspired a hard-fought recall effort that Walker survived in June of this year.
A left-leaning group, Patriot Majority, has launched a $500,000 ad campaign trying to make an election issue out of conservative mega-donors David and Charles Koch, suggesting the brothers are spending big "to buy this year's elections and advance their agenda," with the goal of electing "politicians who will pass laws that benefit special interests but hurt the middle class."
Twenty-six U.S. companies paid their CEOs more than they paid the federal government in taxes in 2011, according to a new study from The Institute for Policy Studies.