By Elizabeth DiNovella on December 08, 2012

The Republicans in the Michigan legislature are working hard to pass regressive bills before the lame-duck session ends and Democrats gain five seats in the house in 2013.

The GOP's "right-to-work" legislation, which makes the payment of union dues voluntary in the private sector, could land on Governor Rick Snyder's desk early next week.

The state senate bill went further and applies this to public sector workers, too, but exempts police and fire fighter unions.

"Republicans who got defeated up and down the ballot are using this lame-duck legislature to try and jam through legislation that flies in the face of what the voters wanted," said Bob McCann, the spokesman for the state's Senate Democratic Caucus. "It's a disgusting process and a disgusting result."

You know what else is disgusting? Going after reproductive rights.

Michigan's state senate also passed three bills that would prohibit all insurance coverage for abortion, with the small exception of the threat to the life of the mother.

And remember HB 5711? The bill that got Representatives Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum barred from speaking by the house leadership for saying "vagina?" That bill is back, too, and the senate is expected to pass it next Tuesday.

The bill itself is huge -- 50 pages -- and could essentially shut down abortion clinics in the state with onerous physical plant regulations while also eliminating the use of medication in abortion.

For those of us in Wisconsin, this two-step is a little too familiar. The GOP says jobs are a priority while it goes after workers' and women's rights.

As my friend and Wisconsin's NARAL director Jenni Dye tweeted Thursday night: "First they came for the labor unions, then they came for my uterus. Or vice versa."

If you liked this story by Elizabeth DiNovella, the Culture Editor of The Progressive magazine, check out her story "Scott Walker Still Has a Koch Habit."

Follow Elizabeth DiNovella @lizdinovella on Twitter.

Now's a great time to subscribe to The Progressive magazine. You'll get a FREE copy of our 2013 "Hidden History of the United States" calendar when you subscribe for just $14.97 for the whole year. That's 75% off the newsstand price, and the calendar is yours for free. Just click here.

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A plea to United States citizens to work for peace

An Indian journalist globally renowned as an advocate for the poor, Palagummi Sainath detailed the detrimental...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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