First of all, there is the devastating earthquake and tsunami that have devoured parts of Japan and sent ripples all across the Pacific, some ripples big enough to swamp entire islands. That in itself is bad news, very bad news. But it is a natural disaster, and natural disasters do happen, though they seem to be happening more often of late -- beginning with the Indonesian tsunami in 2004. 2010 brought us killer earthquakes in places like Haiti and Chile, a volcanic eruption in Iceland from a volcano that had been dormant for 200 years, and in October, a deadly trio of earthquake, tsunami and volcanic eruption that rocked Indonesia over a 24 hour period. I’m not talking now about weather related disasters that might be attributed, at least in part, to anthropological global climate weirding -- such as Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar back in 2008, or more recently, the deadly flooding of Pakistan, the wild fires in Russia and Australia, or the blizzards and flooding here in our own U S of A. Nor am I referring to man-made disasters such as the BP oil spill. I'm talking about geological disasters, those that can only be attributed to a restless Mother Gaia. These disasters do happen. Unfortunate, and while tragic, not in our power to prevent. No paradigm shift.
Until . . . a chance remark on Facebook sent me back into research mode. It turns out that we cannot blame Mother Gaia for all the seismic activity after all. It seems there is a link between anthropogenic climate weirding and geological disasters. As glaciers melt and sea levels rise, the pressure points on our earth change -- which may contribute to shifts in tectonic plates and the rise of magma to the surface. The bottom line -- generations yet unborn are likely to endure more natural disasters of all kinds and human activity is more to blame than I ever imagined possible.
But the bad news tsunami was not over. A bill has just passed both houses of legislature in Michigan.
In an outrageous power grab, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and the Republican-dominated state Senate passed, and sent back to the House, legislation today that allows Snyder to declare a local city to be in a financial emergency and appoint an emergency manager. That manager can, without anyone else’s approval, cancel contracts, including collective bargaining agreements, force consolidation of schools, townships, cities and counties and, unbelievably, unilaterally remove local elected officials.
. . . Unbelievably, the bill even allows Snyder to appoint a corporation as the emergency manager. . . Even more outrageous is the fact that Snyder’s budget creates the crisis by eliminating most of the state financial aid from local schools and local governments that many of them will be in dire straits. So, then, as [Rachel] Maddow points out, the governor who created the crisis can declare an emergency and decide what’s best for an entire town. No one can question it because the emergency manager can suspend the elected officials and even remove the town’s incorporation all together.
The state Senate passed the bill by a 26-12 margin today. The legislation now returns to the House, which already had passed it, to approve minor changes made by the Senate.
To recap, the governor has the power to withdraw state funds from town budgets, leaving towns in financial crisis. The governor may then declare the town in financial emergency and single-handedly appoint a crisis manager for the town. The crisis manager, be it person or firm, will be given the power to cancel existing contracts and agreements, award new contracts in any way he sees fit, and dismiss duly elected officials.
Are we still living in America, or have we traveled through some warped time machine to pre-WWII Germany with Hitler rising? Is there any bigger threat to democracy than the power to dismiss duly elected officials??
As global warming, peak everything, and financial melt-down begin to affect our lives in direct and measurable ways, we will face one crisis after another. It is how we face these crises that will determine whether we live out our lives in honor and grace or whether we descend into some kind of nightmarish replay of history's worst moments. So I ask myself, is this how America is going to meet the challenges that are now inevitable??? My only hope is that this move in Michigan is sooooo egregious that these new American fascists will be seen for what they are.
And if there is anyone out there who still thinks we are not going to be challenged again and again by the changes that have already been set in motion, try spending a few hours researching it yourself -- this site contains a wealth of information -- factual, real stuff, not the 'stay positive' wishful thinking that ignores reality. Then go buy yourself a pitch fork. You might want to try your hand at growing your own food . . . and you might need it when the zombies come.