(Thanks to Huntn for pointing out this edition of the Rachel Maddow Show to me.) On Friday, 3/10, Rachel Maddow did one of her most terrific, and terrifying, programs ever. She spent the first half of it putting together all of the events of the past few weeks and drawing a very clear picture of how precarious our freedoms are. Here, in a nutshell, are the pieces of the puzzle: The Republican-controlled governor and legislature of Wisconsin have just succeeded in removing almost all bargaining rights from public unions. In Boise, Idaho, the state government has also stripped union rights from teachers. Ohio faces the same fate as it considers nullifying the power of public unions. In Indianapolis, they not only stripped the unions of power, but they are shifting public school resources into private hands. Michigan had the largest protests ever over union busting and the state declaring it has new, draconian powers. Also in Michigan, the governor is trying to raise $1.7b by taxing low income residents, senior citizens, and donations to schools...not to solve the debt, but get this...to give corporations a $1.8b tax break. It is a naked transfer of wealth from old people and the poor to businesses. In Florida they are doing something similar, cutting $1.75b out of the budget in order to give businesses a $1.6b tax cut. Maddow tells us that obviously none of these Republicans ran on these policies, because they knew that they would be losers. Look at the graphic below of how Wisconsin residents feel about two of their senators. These guys were just elected, yet according to these polls, they are more than likely to be recalled. Also look at the graphic of support for unions. The Republican actions of the last few weeks are not popular positions. But who cares when you have Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS running union-bashing commercials? (Crossroads won't tell anyone who's financing the commercials.) Who cares when you have the Koch brothers financing you? (Their wealth each ties for #18 on Fortune's 400, and their combined wealth would make them #4.) So how, Maddow asks, do you win the next election when you are carrying out such an obviously unpopular, anti-democratic, transfer-the-wealth-to-the-rich game plan? Obviously...change the game. In Florida a few years back, ex-cons got the right to vote back after they got out of prison. Now, the governor has rescinded that right and is making them wait five years before they can even ask to vote. Wisconsin Republicans came close to passing a law saying that a student's ID card was not sufficient identification for him or her to vote. A similar bill has been introduced in New Hampshire. It states that students can vote there only if they or their parents had previous residence in NH. Another bill would end same day election registration. In Texas, restrictive voter ID law under consideration has exemptions for the elderly and concealed carry gun owners. All in all, Republican governors in 32 states are considering requirements that would make it harder to register and/or vote. Note that these bills tend to affect students, the poor and minorities the most...just the sort of people who tend to vote Democratic. (Surprise!) Note also that Texas carved out a specific exception for the elderly and gun owners, who tend to vote Republican. And especially note how this is all happening now, at the same time. You'd almost think there was some sort of plan. Well, apparently there is. The American Legislative Exchange Council is providing Republican governors with suggested legislation that would make it harder for people to vote. And just who is the ALEC? The Koch brothers. Meanwhile, in Michigan, pending legislation would allow the governor, at his discretion in the case of fiscal problems, dismiss the elected officials of any city government and place his own appointee (possibly a corporate CEO) in place instead, effectively nullifying local elections. And in Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Corbett has appointed a contributor and coal company CEO to his cabinet and given him unilateral power to override any action of any other state agency. So. "We the People"? 5P? "We the People"?? This kind of stuff was unthinkable only a decade ago. If this is allowed to stand, we're facing a future that looks more like one of those foreign mock "democracies" than the United States we all grew up in. For the corporate/conservative types, there are only a few more obstacles to success. They've already floated the idea of controlling our internet, and they've got people in a position to silence MSNBC, and maybe all the other legitimate news media as well. That's how democracies die, in favor of another, darker, more authoritarian form of government. And that's why people are finally standing up for themselves and for our country. Because we realize that we're approaching the endgame.