The GOP assault on America

Contributed by Michael Gass

The GOP has begun their assault on America. On some issues, such as busting unions, it is a coordinated assault. Numerous states under GOP rule are trying to bust unions (see Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio). On other issues, the attacks aren’t as coordinated, but, the intent is clear. In Michigan, the attack on America has taken a very dangerous tact – give “emergency power” to the government so that the GOP can accomplish their agenda.

State officials estimate that dozens of local governments and school districts will soon be unable to pay their bills and the Treasury dept. is on record supporting a bill — passed by the House last week — which would recast Emergency Financial Managers as Emergency Managers and give them unprecedented new power to fire elected officials, dissolve labor contracts and reorganize or dissolve cities and school districts.”

Imagine that, by merely declaring an “emergency”, you can dissolve labor contracts, dissolve entire cities, fire anyone that was elected that objects, AND dissolve a public school district. You can, with one declaration, achieve numerous goals in your agenda. And, the agenda of the GOP is clear – bust unions, privatize as much as possible, and balance your budgets on the backs of the working class.

In Wisconsin, Gov. Walker’s bill not only busts unions, but, gives him the power to sell government property to corporations under a no-bid system.

Notwithstanding ss. 13.48 (14) (am) and 16.705 (1), the department may sell any state−owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state. Notwithstanding ss. 196.49 and 196.80, no approval or certification of the public service commission is necessary for a public utility to purchase, or contract for the operation of, such a plant, and any such purchase is considered to be in the public interest and to comply with the criteria for certification of a project under s. 196.49 (3) (b).

This provision in the bill is a boon for private energy corporations, such as the Koch brothers. It’s a guaranteed profit source with a consumer base who will have no other options then to pay that company for their energy needs.

And then this bill comes out and opens the door to the privatization of the state’s power plants.

Adding to this interesting political snarl is the fact that the guy Walker put in charge of the office that will oversee these potential power plant sales — though some people worry they will be more of giveaways than sales — is Jeff Plale. Remember him? He is one of the two Democratic senators who at the very last minute defected from the Democratic ranks to vote against state employee contracts last fall.

Around a month later, Walker handed the former South Milwaukee Democratic legislator the $90,000 post as the administrator of the Department of Administration’s Division of Facilities. And now he is busy defending the administration’s move to sell off the state’s power plants as no big deal.

Sound fishy? A lot of people think so.

“Here you have a situation where extremely wealthy interests help propel Walker into office, and one of the first things he does is to privatize electricity in this state and to do so with the removal of public oversights and checks and no bidding,” says Lisa Graves with the Center for Media and Democracy. “There should be red flags going up all over the place.”

At RortyBomb, Mike Konczal writes that “the attempt to break labor is part of the same continuous motion as saying that the crony, corporatist selling of state utilities to the Koch brothers and other energy interests is the new ‘public interest.'”

Education has been another area of government-run services that corporations have been trying to get state governments to allow to be privatized. Teachers have now become the next “welfare queens” to be attacked by the GOP. If a person wanted to know what the poverty level for an area they were looking to move to was, there were two professions to look at – law enforcement and teachers. Both professions usually have salaries right above the poverty level for the area – unions not withstanding.

GOP Governors are lining up to turn America over to corporations. How they do this may be different, but, the goal is the same – bust unions, privatize as much as possible. The GOP is demonizing whomever they must in order to do this, whether it be teachers or not.

Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina stated that she dreamed of the day businessmen ran our government. Her first two cabinet picks?

Gov-elect Nikki Haley unveiled her first two Cabinet picks, both of immense interest to the business community and both with Lowcountry ties. Upstate-based BMW executive Bobby Hitt, who was born in the Holy City and worked at the former News and Courier, was named to run the Commerce Department. Also, Haley tapped Mount Pleasant resident and labor attorney Catherine Templeton to lead the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Haley said Templeton would play a lead role in fighting union-organizing efforts in South Carolina.

The GOP is waging war against America. The GOP is working to privatize as much as possible, bust unions, and put the onus of budget cuts on the backs of working America. The attack is coordinated, to whatever degree, and, it isn’t going away. If the GOP doesn’t succeed this year, they will try again next election cycle, or, the cycle after that. All it takes for these politicians beholden to corporate interests is to be elected. Once elected, they are pushing the most draconian of measures to ensure their agenda is met.

But, make no mistake, their agenda is funded by corporate interests. If you don’t believe that, just watch as Gov. Scott begs for more money from the Koch brothers.

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