Category: ALEC

BOOK REVIEW: Barrett H. Strong and Frank X. Murphy Review “Reinventing Detroit”

 

BOOK REVIEW: “Reinventing Detroit”

By H. Barrett Strong[i]

American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Review

Paid for by Koch Industries


 

“Reinventing Detroit; The Politics of Possibility”

Michael Peter Smith and L. Owen Kirkpatrick, Editors

Multiple contributors of 13 individual essays

(Transaction Publishers 2015)

Vol. 11 – Comparative Urban and Community Research

 

  Continue reading

Earth 2 Mackinac Con-ference; Reality Calling

Prof. Michelle Anderson, “New Minimal Cities”:
“The shrinking of local government in high-poverty cities describes a troubling experiment with prosperous people’s government for poor people. All cities cannot be minimal cities in urban economies with low-wage workers and cycles of rising unemployment, unless we have given up on social mobility for individuals and habitability for communities.” (P. 1188 attached)
“Habitability [of city neighborhoods] is first and foremost a commitment to the safety and comfort of a neighborhood’s residents, rather than the city’s fisc per se. It is about the people who live in a community, not just the potential of the soil beneath their feet to generate higher public revenues. It should be obvious that local governments must serve their people; they are caretakers of local health and safety on behalf of their region, state, and society.”
(P.1198)
“Governor Snyder’s authorization for Detroit’s bankruptcy… expressed a habitability commitment. It articulated residents’ interests as separate and distinct from creditors’ interests in the stabilization of city revenues. Yet politics and discretion should not be left undisclosed and unexamined to define what kind of commitment that entails. To do so would invite a creditors’ efficiency metric to masquerade as a citywide habitability commitment, as politics draws public services toward neighborhoods with more economic influence.” (P. 1199)
“Lessons emerge from the shrinking governance in Detroit and the other postindustrial cities of the Rustbelt and Sunbelt. For a start, these cities teach that there is such a thing as a local government that gets too small, weak, and ineffective to provide basic habitability for a high-poverty population.”
(P. 1205)
The Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Detroit News: That’s what we do, destroy working class communities of color:
“Mackinac Island in late spring has for years been the incubator for big ideas and creative deals that have knocked down barriers to Michigan’s progress.”
WITH DRAMATIC RESULTS:
Rasmus-2rasmus-3rasmus-1

rasmus-4   images-19

photo credits: ZNet and Z Magazine

Another ALEC Confidential Memo; “The Plan for Detroit II”

American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Confidential Memo; “The Plan for Detroit II”

Confidential sources recently disclosed the following shocking document pertaining to the Detroit bankruptcy. It appears to be a memo from a representative of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the corporate-funded one stop shop for repressive legislation created by Koch Industries and other equity investors in rightwing gangster enterprises. The memo to leading agents of corporate power in Michigan addresses US Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ eligibility determination in the Detroit bankruptcy case on December 3, 2013.

please download the complete memo: http://www.d-rem.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Smart-ALEC-Memo-2.pdf

Here is the full text of the memo:

From: H. Barrett Strong, III
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

To: Michael McGee, Esq.
Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone

Jase Bolger
Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives

Joseph Lehman
President of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Re: The Plan for Detroit II (CONFIDENTIAL)

Date: December 4, 2013

Little Brothers,

Lucrative wishes for many happy returns of The High Retail Season to you all. Reference is made to my previous memo dated October 1, 2012 (attached), on the eve of the last presidential election product rollout.

This follow-up communication relates to anticipated events throughout the coming year in Detroit under the management of Jones Day for the benefit of our interests as served by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, “One Tough Nerd” who is totally dedicated to the proposition that We Always Win No Matter What and No Matter Who Gets Hurt.

As you know, yesterday’s eligibility finding by bankruptcy judge Steve Rhodes further paves the way for our continued profitable restructuring of Detroit’s assets and community in our pockets, I mean interests.

In no particular order other than ‘Whatever We Say Goes,’ this analysis of our prospects and opportunities for the speculative ‘restructuring’ of Michigan’s largest city follows from the bankruptcy court’s long-awaited, if anticlimactic and basically meaningless ruling:

1. Any concerns about finance, employment, welfare and democratic procedure in favor of the pathetic losers who live in Detroit are not our problem.1 As you know, what we are always concerned with is power. And in Detroit, as elsewhere within our expansive domains, this includes the power to define and structure reality itself, as well as the law. What else are we paying all these lawyers and flacks (cc’d below) for? As repeatedly stated by Detroit’s new Mayor, elevated with millions of our dollars via the ‘turnaround fund,’ “The first rule in any turnaround is face reality.” Before applying the ‘rules’ to the little people, we make the ‘reality.’ There is no alternative.

1 See, e.g., http://www.detroitstateofemergency.org/ “Tens of thousands of people in our city face circumstances far below what might be considered normal. As the winter sets in, they will suffer hunger, homelessness, joblessness, illness without medical relief, and a total lack of support for themselves and their children.” Stop whining and get a life!

 

2. Now that Judge Rhodes has dutifully said what everyone always knew he would, and our media assets (copied below) are frantically bloviating about it, we are in a position to move forward at Detroit’s expense to take full advantage of our position and our power. We are deceiving ourselves and others when we pretend to have answers to the problems, which agitate Detroit’s people. Furthermore, we have about 46% of the world’s wealth but only 1% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the African-American people of Detroit and other major cities in Michigan we placed under emergency management. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment.Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships, which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our interests. To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate political and economic objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and benefaction.

In the face of this situation we would be better off to dispense now with a number of the concepts which have underlined our thinking with regard to Detroit. We should dispense with the aspiration to ‘be liked’ or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded inter-racial altruism. We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers’ keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague — and for Detroit — unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.2

2 With no apologies whatsoever to the architect of US cold war foreign policy George Kennan (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Memo_PPS23_by_George_Kennan)

 

3. The acceleration of Detroit’s third world-ization process will now commence in earnest. Emergency Manager Orr is meeting today with the team advising Jones Day regarding monetizing the water and sewerage department. Stripping Detroit of its retirement systems’ assets, real property, cultural institutions, tax income streams and opportunities for economic development and international trade will follow in rapid order and for the benefit of our interests. We’re paying consultants (copied below) over $60 million to make it happen.

 

4. In the not-too-distant future, you may be slightly annoyed by discussions of alleged ‘alternatives’ to our restructuring program; the ‘Demos report’ on Detroit’s bankruptcy;3 a ‘tale of two cities’ cheating neighborhoods for the sole benefit of white people downtown; the foreclosure crisis and predatory municipal interest rate ‘swaps;’ alternative, equitable, community-based economic development; alleged voting ‘rights;’ mafia capitalism; racial justice, regional suburban reconciliation and other quaintly trivial matters about loss of ‘local control’ over Detroiters’ sad, heartbreaking ‘community.’ We’re the debtor-in- possession now, and we’ll make our own reality.4 (as well as lots of money!)

3 http://www.demos.org/publication/detroit-bankruptcy

4 “Corporate welfare for billionaires combined with brutal austerity for working people and the poor” Oh, please!

 

5. One word of caution: Under no circumstances (not even after several drinks with the Mayor-elect in the ‘Detroit Future City’ cabaret and bordello) should you ever acknowledge that any of this is a specific set of policy choices on behalf of rich Wall Street financial interests, that has absolutely nothing to do with ‘fixing’ Detroit or benefiting (poor, miserable) Detroiters. We have the ‘law’ behind us now – a carefully read, thoroughly paid for statement by a Judge who sees things our way. We’re the same power brokers who have been calling the shots for the last forty years of Detroit’s decline, and this bankruptcy is just another way we have of taking home all the goods. (As noted above) There is no alternative!

 

6. Rhodes is already squirming about having to approve the debtor-in-possession financing deal Jones Day negotiated for the benefit of Bank of America and UBS, at a trial scheduled for December 17. Good thing he’s so pliable under that smarmy ‘I feel your retirement pain’ surface.If the bankruptcy court approves: 1) The big British finance bank Barclays will loan Detroit $350 million; 2) Detroit will immediately pay the even bigger (Jones Day client) Bank of America and the other Wall Street ‘counterparties’ on interest rate ‘swaps’ $230-250 million; and 3) Barclays will then move to the head of the bankruptcy line, with a “senior secured superpriority Chapter 9 debtor financing” … “Quality of Life Note” (LOL! Don’t you just love that? “Quality of Life” in Detroit because Wall Street banks –get $250 mil and the whole city’s in hock! I love this job!) This is secured by a first-priority lien on every asset Detroit (i.e., Jones Day) sells that is worth more than $10 million. In other words, our power to take the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department, as well as anything else we can get our hands on. It is imperative that everybody keeps their traps shut, I mean ‘maintains alignment,’ until after we get this deal approved. Omerta.

 

PRIVILEGE AND CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE
This message is intended only for the use of the entities to which it is addressed. It may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law as confidential communications. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, or copying of this communication or other use of a transmission received in error is strictly prohibited by some shit we will have Jones Day make up on the fly. Any resemblance to reality, democracy, justice, freedom or equality is purely coincidental.

Cc (corporate feeding chain order):

Jones Day Detroit Team (David Heiman, Corinne Ball, Bruce Bennett, Kevyn Orr, Heather Lennox, Jeffrey Ellman, Greg Shumaker, plus paralegals)

Miller Canfield Detroit Team
Pepper Hamilton Detroit Team

Other Detroit Contractors Team (Miller Buckfire, Conway MacKenzie, Ernst & Young, Milliman, Inc., Manhattan Institute, Plante Moran, Aon Hewitt, Kessler and Assocs., Christie’s Appraisals, Duffey Petrosky, Abernathy MacGregor Group, Stevenson Keppelman Associates, RR Donnelley, Turnaround Bendover & Coff)

Stephen Henderson, Nancy Kaffer, Detroit Free Press

Nolan Finley, Daniel Howes, Detroit News

please download the complete memo: http://www.d-rem.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Smart-ALEC-Memo-2.pdf

 

ALEC Confidential Memo; “The Plan for Detroit”

American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
Confidential Memo; “The Plan for Detroit”

Confidential sources recently disclosed the following shocking document. It appears to be a memo from a representative of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the corporate-funded one stop shop for repressive legislation created by Koch Industries and other equity investors in rightwing gangster enterprises. The memo to leading agents of corporate power in Michigan is publicly disclosed here for the first time. It baldly reveals the scope and breadth of Republican/bipartisan business strategies for taking over the City of Detroit, in the interest of Big Money special interests.

please download the complete memo: http://www.d-rem.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Smart-ALEC-Memo.pdf

Here is the full text of the memo:

From: H. Barrett Strong, III
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

To: Michael McGee, Esq.
Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone

Jase Bolger
Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives

Joseph Lehman
President of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Re: The Plan for Detroit (CONFIDENTIAL)

Date: October 1, 2012

Little Brothers,

Anticipating the end of the current 2012 election campaign a month from now, in which it appears our interests will be fully protected, no matter what the official result of the voting, I write to candidly review recent progress since the mid-term election of Rick Snyder and his Republican colleagues throughout the upper Midwest in 2010.

This next period of time, as we discussed during our recent conversations at Harbor Shores,1 will focus primarily on our mutual ongoing efforts with regard to restructuring of strategic forces and investments in Michigan’s largest city.

1 Thanks to former Dickinson Wright counsel Geoffrey Fields, whose simultaneous representation of both the City of Benton Harbor, and the Harbor Shores luxury condominium and golf course development, so brilliantly enabled the repurposing and realignment of Jean Klock Park’s publicly accessible lakeside sand dunes for more progressive purposes; this new bipartisan concept of ‘Co-incidence of Interests’ should serve as a model for Mike McGee and Miller Canfield’s role in the realignment of Detroit’s Belle Isle Park. Where our interests are involved “conflict” of interest is out of the question; realignment and restructuring enable synergy and win-win public/ private partnerships. (WWPPP)

Emergency Management Legislation
Michigan’s Public Act 4 is a leading edge MF2 (Milt Friedman)-style model for increasing and maintaining our interests. Inconvenient legislative powers of local government, as well as union bargaining ‘rights’ and potential eminent domain ‘reform’ are all on the agenda for even more powerfully achieving our objectives. Property and human ‘rights’ defenses previously available to potential Detroit plaintiffs and political opponents are ineffective under PA 4’s “Emergency Manager” powers, so they are having difficulty opposing our efforts. Heckuva job of drafting this ultimate weapon of class domination, and then going above-and-beyond to negotiate its implementation on behalf of the city Mike!

2. http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/song_13367491?utm_campaign=opengraph&utm_content=song &utm_medium=link&utm_source=facebook

As with ‘virtually’ all aspects of local government under the “slow emergency manager” structure being implemented in Detroit, our agents are currently pursuing strategic alignments for adding value to our investors’ overall assets. Victory at the November 6 poll is ‘virtually’3 assured, even if our voter suppression efforts fail to prevent the people of Michigan from voting “no” on Proposition 1, because state attorney general Schuette is a reliable operative for our interests, and has done what is in his power (See “Courts” below), to resurrect a ‘zombie’ version of previous PA 72 MF legislation.

3 You will recall we were discussing over drinks in Harbor Shores the importance of “virtual” government concepts derived from the PA 4 Emergency Manager powers: outsourcing, privatizing, contracting, creating independent “authorities,” consulting and other opportunities modeled on the Cobo Hall, Detroit Water & Sewerage Department, Detroit Public Schools and other ‘customer service’ takeover operations. The significance of these reforms can hardly be overstated. Others can “own” whatever they want or plead for; since we legally control it, we will nevertheless use it for our interests. The reforms Governor Snyder is achieving with your faithful support are transforming the very idea of government accountability; institutionalizing legal and political authority of MF-in-genius Emergency Managers; and State-sponsored “turnaround” officials controlling local governments like Detroit through the ‘slow emergency manager’ powers of the Detroit Consent Order. These projects collectively demonstrate a new, increased power to achieve our objectives and develop our interests

‘Detroit Works’
This longstanding vehicle for realigning Detroit’s resources and our interests is still working to become fully operational. Mayor Bing has been no more effective in this “signature” program of his than in any other aspect of his term. Nevertheless, nonprofit agency leadership has developed the potential to transform “Detroit Works” into a ‘virtual’ planning and development process. The main benefit is expected to be controlling the focus and agenda of major media ‘news’ coverage.

City Council
They’re irrelevant.


State Legislature
They’re our b*%$#itches; as long as they can debate antiunion bills that won’t pass; keep getting paid by Maroun’s bridge monopoly; and ban the word “vagina.”

Courts
They’re our other b*%$#itches.

Water Department
This is a long-prized and aggressively–sought (for more than 140 years!) financial, political, environmental and public health – state and regional – asset. It is now being intensively incorporated under our control, using an early model federal court-ordered ‘virtual’ takeover strategy that is being pursued diligently by DWSD “consultant” EMA, Inc. They recently recommended 80% staff reductions in the agency, now that we control it more directly and are ‘virtually’ in a position to allocate its multibillion dollar revenue stream into our pockets, er … in our “interests.”

Rapid Transit
This is “FUBAR.” “Mayor” Bing’s administration has again been ineffective. Suburban regional domination of the existing highway-based transportation grid is lucrative, but also becoming more expensive, for our interests. This will require significant resources in the coming year to continue progress as we have since the 2010 election victory of our right wing over our other wing party.

Schools
The risk of further tactical confrontations like last month’s Chicago schools strike is a potentially significant future cost. Schools – like mass media and political races generally – will continue to be a critical front of exploitation in our interests, telling people what to think about Detroit, restructuring the public conversation for strategic use of the educational and informational resources we control, and most important: producing obedient students, workers, soldiers and if necessary prisoners.

Labor Costs
This is progressing considerably more rapidly than transit, but our litigation and productivity costs are also rapidly rising as our expenses for wages and benefits greatly decrease. Our interests clearly entail putting as much pressure as possible on workers’ political and bargaining representatives. We will be hard-pressed to exceed the impact and audacity of our recent ‘Vote No on Proposition 2’ political advertising, which blames labor unions for child sex abuse! (Nice touch, Joe and all the folks at Mackinac Center … Much better than Jase’s phony-Democrat-candidate-for-the-state-legislature fiasco. Aren’t the real Democrats flexible enough for you?)

Privatization
This is another critical policy our forces will continue to use to enlarge our interests. (See discussion of the word “virtual” in the Benton Harbor Shores footnotes above) As we toasted in the 19th hole of the Harbor Shores links, we can turn virgin sand dunes into speculative real estate and get paid for it! Under a Democrat Governor! We are gangster good!


Deregulation
That tried-and-untrue Larry, Moe and Curly (labor, privatization and deregulation) recipe for neoliberal domination (“There Is NO Alternative!”) is rapidly transforming Detroit, and even Michigan as a whole into a ‘virtual’ modern third world colony-style resource for our interests. Congratulations, gentlemen. As Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker enthused when he though he was talking to Rich Koch (but it was that scumbag left wing blogger imitating Him): ‘This is our time!’

Opposition Research
We have been able to achieve so much so fast primarily because of the lack of effective, coherent opposition to our interests. As noted above, Detroit City Council is deeply divided, lacks any workable alternative policy approach, and remains ‘virtually’ irrelevant. The potential to generate solid opposition in the community after the summer 2010 US Social Forum in Detroit, or even the “Occupy” movement in 2011, has been neutralized through strategic employment of nonprofit foundation assets, and/or not actualized by those identifiable opponents of our interests. As noted above, we are pursuing the MF Emergency Manager policy partly because, in addition to offering fabulous business opportunities, it is hard to oppose politically, as demonstrated by the rapid deployment of the Detroit ‘slow emergency manager’ strategy under the statutory “Consent Agreement” options.

CONCLUSION AND NEXT STEPS
Detroit is and will remain well in hand, unless our interests face the unlikely event of effective labor/community solidarity in opposition, employing direct action and counter- organizing and reality–based information tactics. Expected intense economic depression in the next calendar year should afford us additional opportunities for implementing solutions to the ongoing crisis of authority problem that is solved by employing MF emergency manager statutes, to assert control over community social capital and invest it in our interests.

Achieving ‘virtual’ governance of the City of Detroit under the ‘slow emergency manager’ structure in the context of comprehensive austerity programs for those not invested in our enterprises, and moving forward with eminent domain ‘reform’ under the state constitution will be forthcoming major steps toward unprecedented new alignment of our interests with Detroit’s resources and future.

PRIVILEGE AND CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE
This message is intended only for the use of the entities to which it is addressed. It may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law as confidential communications. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, or copying of this communication or other use of a transmission received in error is strictly prohibited by some shit we will make up on the fly. Any resemblance to reality, democracy, justice, freedom or equality is purely coincidental.

please download the complete memo: http://www.d-rem.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Smart-ALEC-Memo.pdf