Thursday, March 31, 2005

Defending a soldiers choice to follow their consciences

Defending a soldiers choice to follow their consciences

March 04, 2005

As American opponents of the war and occupation in Iraq, we are cognizant that some 5,500 US soldiers, according to Pentagon figures, have decided to refuse combat for reasons of conscience, and are in grave danger of persecution by the Bush Administration for their bravery. Although they are part of the U.S. "voluntary army", their choices were determined in large part by economic forces and the aggressive and misleading recruiting drives of the Pentagon which even penetrate our high schools. Since signing up, however, they have realized the true nature of the war, and refuse to kill or die for a mistake. We are committed to defending of their choice to follow their consciences instead of the dictates of the State.

These young men and women will live in peril � unless a sanctuary is established in Canada or other countries known for their anti-war sentiment and independence. We respectfully appeal to the people of Canada and their elected officials to fashion a policy of refugee sanctuary for these Americans facing threats and prosecution. We hope that the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board grants protection to Jeremy Hinzman in the case currently before its panel, but also hope to engage our Canadian friends in a collaboration that leads to sanctuary.

We are aware of the public and private economic and diplomatic pressures which may be brought to bear on the sovereign Canadian people and their government by the Bush Administration in its effort to prevent the spread of international opposition and sanctuary. We are deeply thankful for the cross-border solidarity that existed in the Vietnam era, and hope that a similar solidarity once again overcomes the current Administration�s arrogance of power.

Signators (affiliation for identification only)

Tom Hayden, Iraq Project; Ira Arlook; Anthony Arnove, editor; Rev. Ed Bacon, All Saints Church, Pasaddena; Gioconda Belli, poet and author; Medea Benjamin, Global Exchange; Larry Bensky, Pacifica Radio; Norman Birnbaum, author; Rev. Richard Bunce; Leslie Cagan, United for Peace and Justice; Tim Carpenter, Progressive Democrats of America; Jeff Cohen, media critic; Rev. James Conn, United Methodist Urban Ministry; Harvey Cox, professor, Harvard Divinity School; Bernadine Dohrn; Peter Dreier, professor, Occidental College; Daniel Ellsberg; Jodie Evans, Code Pink; Mike Farrell; Chellis Glendenning, author; Robert Gottlieb, professor, Occidental College; Robert Greenwald, filmmaker; Richard Falk, professor, author; Rabbi Steven Jacobs; Mimi Kennedy, actress; Rev. Peter Laarman, Progressive Christians Uniting; Saul Landau, professor, filmmaker; Robert Lifton, Harvard Seminar on Mass Violence; Staughton Lynd, historian, author; Michael McAvoy, dean, New College; Pilar Perez, editor; Sarah Pillsbury, producer; Joan Sekler, filmmaker; Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Shalom Center; Leonard Weinglass, attorney; Gail Zappa; Maurice Zeitlin, professor, UCLA; Howard Zinn, historian, author.

Social Security?

Congress has been raiding Social Security's "surplus" for decades, instead of investing the money. Congress, the Federal Judicial, and the President, ETC., all are part of a completely different system.

If Congress REALLY wants to "Fix" Social Security, they would either join it or let it join them, instead of running a completely separate system, just for them. If Congress and the President were part of Social Security, they would not let it fail.
Until they join it, they have no REAL interest in saving it. What are they really up to?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Delayed heat...

Congressional Republicans are feeling the heat. From MSNBC's "The disassembly of Tom DeLay":

"A key but cautious leader of the Republican leadership put it to me this way in private recently: “Members want us spend our time protecting them. They don’t like having to spend their time protecting us.” Meaning: their idea of fun and productive use of time in the capital is not “DeFending DeLay.”"

I hope they are defending him right up until 2006. Hopefully the corrupted will sink as one.

Can't wash it off...

The slime of corruption is hard to wash off. Tom Delay can't drag congress into a family dispute to hide his corruption. Dave Camp can't deny that he took money from Delay and proposed rules changes so the corrupt Delay would not be investigated.

Campaign for America's future is running ads to tell congress that it is time to wash their hands of the one thing can, Tom Delay.
"Washing Hands"
TV :30

Narrator: Tom DeLay. He'd like to wash his hands of corruption.

He'd like you to forget he's been accused of accepting a gift worth thousands from a foreign agent.

He'd like you to forget that two of his close associates have been indicted for money laundering.

Tom DeLay can't wash his hands of corruption by involving Congress in one family's personal tragedy.

[Onscreen:, paid for by the Campaign for America's Future.]

But Congress can certainly wash its hands of Tom DeLay.

Go to Campaign for America's Future's page on Congressional corruption. See the ad here. Donate money if you can.

Remember Dave Camp and Congressional Republicans are corrupted.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Time to stand and fight...

Simon Rosenberg of the New Democrat Network talks to New Deal Magazine, a new progressive magazine. Here's the main gist of it:

My basic counsel is that this is a time for people to stand and fight and not cut and run. The Bush Administration has taken the country to a dangerous place and we need soldiers in this battle. The sort of battle were in is one that will require people who can relate arguments as well as turn out voters.
Simon is one of the new message makers of the progressive world, he was even a dark horse canidate for the DNC chair. If Dr. Dean is smart, he will bring in and listen to Simon.

One of Simon's main points is the Hispanic vote. Nationwide, Republicans gained 14% of their vote over 2000. In states where the New Democrat Network ran their spanish language campaign, Democrats gained 5% of the vote over 2000.

We had a legacy with Hispanics, but not a strategy. So NDN tried to craft a winning national strategy for Democrats in 2004. If you look at the numbers, Bush gained around 14 points nationally with Hispanics, and it’s very troublesome for Democrats if that trend continues. If we continue to hold the same number of Hispanics, somewhere in the 40’s, we simply can’t become a majority party again. What I’m very proud of is, in the 4 states we ran our campaign we actually gained 5 percentage points amongst Hispanics. There is a simple lesson to learned from this election: if we don’t communicate with Hispanics and aren’t culturally sensitive in a serious way, we’re going to lose ground. If we do communicate in a serious, culturally sensitive way we can gain ground.

?entiende, isabella dems?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Where's the Bush...

President Bush has not said a word about the recent school shooting in Minnesota. 10 people were gunned down in Red Lake MN by a 16 year old boy. To have not said something is shameful, regardless of their race. From the Washington Post:

'I don't feel he cares about the American Indian people,' said Westbrook, as she collected donations of gas cards and money to enable fellow Red Lake members to make the 260-mile journey to the reservation. 'Why hasn't he made any statements about what happened with this shooting?'

Via DNC: Kicking Ass

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Reaction to the Party of Pander...

The DNC shows us what the country thinks of playing politics with Terry Schiavo:

There can be no doubt that extreme Republicans have used the Terry Schiavo case to score political points. While they parade in front of cameras, millions of Americans are questioning how far Tom DeLay and Bill Frist are willing to go when it comes to interfering in difficult family matters.

The outrage is palpable and widespread. DNC Research has compiled some quotes from editorial pages across the country denouncing the GOP's politicizing of one family's tragedy. Here are just a few:

USA Today: "Shameful Political Grandstanding." "It is shameful political grandstanding. It also is an appalling precedent for political interference in the most painful decisions any family can face." [USA Today Editorial, 3/22/05]

Chicago Tribune: Congress's Actions "Improper and Overtly Political Intrusion." "Washington's improper and overtly political intrusion is only the most recent attempt by outsiders to hijack the Schiavo case. … In our constitutional system, the job of applying the law—and resolving Terri Schiavo's fate—belongs to the Florida courts. They have done that job to the best of their ability, and Congress and the president have no grounds to try to overrule them." [Chicago Tribune Editorial, 3/22/05]

New York Post: "Political Opportunism." "[T]he idea of Congress convening a weekend session to push through a potentially precedent-setting law for one single individual, with little regard to the long-term consequences, is profoundly troubling. Political opportunism? No question about it." [New York Post Editorial, 3/22/05]

The Charleston Gazette: GOP Is "Playing Politics With This Family's Trauma." "The congressional action is disturbing in this case for two reasons. First, it deprives the state of Florida of its jurisdiction. These sorts of questions have always been the province of states. Second, members of Congress are clearly playing politics with this family's trauma." [Charleston Gazette editorial, 3/22/05]

The Charlotte Observer: "Members of Congress, In Particular, Should Be Ashamed." "There may be no right medical or ethical answer in the case of Terri Schiavo, but there is a right way for politicians to behave. They should make the law governing such difficult situations and then let it work. The refusal of some elected officials to do so is politically opportunistic meddling at its worst. Members of Congress, in particular, should be ashamed. This is plainly a matter for state law and the courts." [Charlotte Observer Editorial, 3/22/05]

New York Times: Bush and Congress "Have Done Real Damage" to "American Democracy." "The new law tramples on the principle that this is "a nation of laws, not of men," and it guts the power of the states. When the commotion over this one tragic woman is over, Congress and the president will have done real damage to the founders' careful plan for American democracy." [New York Times Editorial, 3/22/05]

Monday, March 21, 2005

Party of pander...

Republican lawmakers are pandering to their theocratic base. While Dave Camp was voting to usurp the rights of family, no one bothered to look that Preznit G. Dub signed a law that allowed doctors and hospitals decide on your right to die.

Of course, this week in the Michigan State Congress, our elected leaders are debating a bill to allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed on public property. A call to Rep. Bill Caul found he's does not support this bill. Paul from Sen. Cropsey basically gave me a mealy-mouthed answer of "these bills have a lot of changes", "he wants to make sure that it's neither too strong or too weak". So Cropsey's flip him and let your voice be heard.

Also, don't forget Dave Camp is corrupted and stands behind criminals.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Citizen blogger part 4...

billmon is classic. There was a time when he have long posts about national affairs, but then closed The Whiskey Bar down. He resurfaced in an interview bashing all of our beloved bloggers. He has since re-opened the Whiskey Bar, but mostly to do excellant historical comparisons to contemporary quotes, alway's with chilling effect.

Here is the most recent comparison of the right's attack on academia to China's Cultural Revolution:

It is refreshing that conservative students are increasingly fighting back against academic intolerance. Some conservative students at the University of Texas have begun compiling a "Professor Watch List" to warn students about professors who use their classes for liberal indoctrination.

Phyllis Schlafly
Confronting The Campus Radicals
January 12, 2004

Large numbers of revolutionary young people . . . have become courageous and daring path breakers. Through the media of big-character posters and great debates, they argue things out, expose and criticize thoroughly, and launch resolute attacks on the open and hidden representatives of the bourgeoisie.

Central Committee of the
Communist Party of China

Resolutions of the Eleventh Plenum
August 1966


Last spring I organized college students to investigate the voter-registration records of university professors at more than a dozen institutions of higher learning. I had them target the social sciences. The students used primary registration to determine party affiliation, although admittedly, it's not always an exact match.

David Horowitz
Closed doors, closed minds
June 20, 2002

The "working groups" organized sessions to expose and to criticize teachers and divided all teachers into four categories: good, fair, those with serious errors, and anti-Party, anti-socialist rightists.

Youqin Wang
Student Attacks Against Teachers:
The Revolution of 1966

July 1996

There are plenty more comparisons here.

The DCCC agrees...

DailyKos tells us that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee plans on making corruption an issue in 2006.

So keep saying it, Rep. Dave Camp is on the side of corruption.

Have we contacted any local media to say that?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

What $225 buys nowadays...

Tom Delay is known as "the hammer". He has also been called "the most corrupt man in the house". A litnany of his ethical violations are at, dubbed his "dirty dozen".

You may remember Tom Delay as the Majority Leader who bribed Nick Smith (R-Mi7) .

Of course this is the same, Tom Delay, that when he admonished several times by the Ethics Committee, just changed it's members to his friends.

$245 dollars bought Tom Delay a proposal for a rule change by Rep. Dave Camp and Rep. Lamar Smith (TX).

If an ethics complaint is deadlocked in the committee, it used to be automatically investigated after 45 days. Now, it goes away. Pretty convienent with a committee that is evenly split, 5 D's, 5 R's. Here's the New York Times:
An aide to Representative David Dreier, the California Republican who is chairman of the Rules Committee, said that the proposals were submitted by Republican lawmakers and that Mr. Dreier deemed them worthy of study by House Republicans. The aide referred questions to Representatives Lamar Smith of Texas and Dave Camp of Michigan, the authors, but neither could be reached for comment.

Another proposal would prevent action by the committee on a complaint unless the chairman and senior member of the minority party, or the committee itself, agreed that an investigation was warranted. Under the current system, if the panel does not act within 45 days, an investigation is automatically begun.

Critics of the plan said the proposal could thwart many ethics inquiries because the panel, which is evenly divided between the parties, can deadlock. In their summary of the rule change, the authors said it would preserve a lawmaker's "presumption of innocence."

What I want to know is why Rep. Dave Camp is so cheap? Rep. Camp recieved $225 from Tom Delay's PAC. (Lamar Smith only $20) This is a naked attempt by Republicans to shield and protect their Majority Leader Delay.

Dave Camp needs to be reminded that no one is above the law. We need to remind him and voters that Dave Camp felt that ethic rules needed to be laxed in the House. We need to remind him that he stood on the side of a man that breaks laws to fund Texas campaigns , that tried to bribe a Michigan Congressman, that used Federal Homeland Security resources to keep Texas Dem's from thwarting his gerry mandering plan, that used money earmarked for a children's charity to pay for a golf tournament.

Dave Camp stood on the side of corruption.

And we need to keep saying that.

Delay delay...

I am working on a post where I will prove that Congressman Dave Camp is corrupted with Congressman Tom Delay. But for now, just go check out Daily Delay.

Leave a few comments if you have you own Delay story to discuss...

Saturday, March 12, 2005

People not Policy...

John Barker chimes in to remind us that Social Security is about people not policy:

We sometimes forget that Social Security isn't just about government policy it is about people.

In this moving little piece from Christina Kasica we are reminded that what is important about Social Security is how it affects the lives of real people.
"Elevated" from comments.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Even the presidents hand picked...

Don't like the idea of private accounts for social security? Even the President's hand picked "bamboozlepalooza" ringers aren't for privatization. Bush even goes on to warn the people that the problem with government bonds is his deficit. Check it out:

THE PRESIDENT: Let me ask you something about the Thrift Savings Plan. This is a Thrift Savings Plan that has a mix of stocks and bonds?

MS. WEBSTER: Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Now, how hard was that to learn how to do that?

MS. WEBSTER: And I chose the safe plan, government bonds. (Laughter.)

Sure, but...

THE PRESIDENT: That's all right. Well, not so safe, unless we fix the deficit. But other than that -- (laughter). We're fixing the deficit. (Applause.)

Well, at least the President told the truth. (via dKos, Atrios, and ThinkProgress)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

We, one...

Well, admist all of the lamenting over the truly deplorable bankruptcy bill, a beacon of hope breaks through.

Deep in committee, Democrats showed that they can stand together and defeat horrible legislation. Bush's "Clear Skies" Initiative, a bill that does exactly the opposite and was written by and for corporations, was killed in committee.

LiberalOasis says, "Spread the word!"

This is what happens when we speak as one. When we stand as one. We win. We, one.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Citizen bloggers part 3...

Here's one that I almost forgot about. How could I forget our own Juan Cole from the University of Michigan?

Informed Comment
is the most in depth and informed blog focusing on issues in the Middle East, Iraq especially. Juan Cole is a professor of history at U of M. He speaks arabic, and has many local sources in the region. He has the best information about Iraq, bar none.

Check out this insight about the situation in Lebanon:

Hizbullah's call for a huge pro-Syrian demonstration in Beirut was answered by hundreds of thousands of protesters on Tuesday. The largely Shiite crowds were huge compared to the smaller anti-Syrian demonstrations held for the past week.

The anti-Syrian protesters had mostly been Christians, with some Druze and Sunnis. But Lebanon is probably only now 20 percent Maronite Christian (the most anti-Syrian group), and may be as much as 40 percent Shiite.

The simplistic master narrative constructed by the partisans of President George W. Bush held that the January 30 elections were a huge success, and signalled a turn to democracy in the Middle East. Then the anti-Syrian demonstrations were interpreted as a yearning for democracy inspired by the Iraqi elections.

This interpretation is a gross misunderstanding of the situation in the Middle East. Bush is not pushing with any real force for democratization of Saudi Arabia (an absolute monarchy) or Pakistan (where the elected parliament demands in vain that General Pervez Musharraf take off his uniform if he wants to be president), or Tunisia (where Zayn Ben Ali has just won his 4th unopposed term as president), etc. Democratization is being pushed only for regimes that Bush dislikes, such as Syria or Iran. The gestures that Mubarak of Egypt made (officially recognized parties may put up candidates to run against him, but not popular political forces like the Muslim Brotherhood) are empty.
There's more where that came from...

Citizen bloggers part 2...

Our next installment of citizen bloggers comes from Steve Gilliard.

Steve has great insight into the progressive cause, and is not afraid to speak his mind, even when it isn't easy. On this blog you will find longer posts about a pletora of topics, ranging from World politics to roasted chicken recipes. Watch for the reoccurring themes of British soccer and critiques of an advice columnist.

Steve also gives his take on blogs, specifically on possible regulation of political speech on blogs.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

An exclusive interview with Chairman Dean...

Well, maybe not so exclusive, but you can ask new DNC Chair Howard Dean your own question.

You can then return on Friday March 11th to to see your question's answer!

If you post your question as a comment, we will list all of the questions from Isabella County Democrats on the Dispatch. Ask away!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Citizen bloggers...

There has been alot of discussion about this new thing called "blogs". Some people have heard that it's a new tool for citizens to express their views. Most people see it as a way to journal their own thoughts and ramblings. The media says that bloggers are only interested in muck-raking and scalp taking.

We here at the Dispatch want to introduce you to the different bloggers that are out there. We want to focus less on the pundits, and more on those trying to build a community and spreading the progressive message.

So with our first blogger, we would like to introduce MyDD stands for my Due Diligence. It was started by Jerome Armstrong (and we believe Chris Bowers), but it has morphed into a community blog where members can add their diary entries and comments. MyDD is part of a "tempest-in-a-teapot" for Jerome's work with the Dean campaign. Even though while he worked for Dean, MyDD was shut down to not cause interest conflicts, it still is being brought up to discredit Jerome and Dean for "paying bloggers".

Here is a recent Chris Bowers post on the issue of bloggers.

Go check it out!

An online hammer from the DNC...

The Democratic National Committee has added some great tools to their quiver. On the web page, you can now sign up to be an e-captain. This gives you a great tool to hammer out the progressive message in this world of the Republican Noise Machine. Stories about our causes can easily be distrubuted to your family and friends with a click of a button.

I even added my Republican family members!

Make sure to also check out their blog, aptly named, Kicking Ass. Boo ya!

Meet your new UN Ambassador...

John Bolton was tapped today to become the US Ambassador to the United Nations. It sounds like more of the same from this Republican administraion (via ThinkProgress):
One high-level co-worker called Bolton “an anti-diplomat who tries to intimidate those who disagree with his views.”
Intimidation is Diplomacy for this group.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Senator Carl Levin in Mt P...

Senator Levin addressed a crowded Max and Emily's Restaurant on Saturday morning. The front room of Max and Emily's was packed with local democrats and independants. The senator discussed many issues, but the main focus was on Social Security, the Iraq War.

Senator Levin was very confident about Social Security. He started the discussion with an article from the 80's about social security being out of money and needing a billion dollar loan.

"That was a crisis," explained the senator.

He said that Democrats stood together on Social Security. With continued help from the grassroots, we can even change some Republican minds on Social Security. The Senator mentioned that Dave Camp, our Representative in the US House, was uncommited on a position on Social Security.

The Senator did not have good news about Iraq. He stated that despite the Bush administration saying that 120,000 Iraqi security forces are trained, our own Generals, including General Abizaid, believe the number closer to 40,000. He reiterated the importance of the US changing it's position from that of occupier, to invited peace-keepers.

What a great turn-out we had, the senator expressed his gratitude to the supporters of the Isabella County Democratic Party. Good job guys!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Open Thread...

Support our troops...

Democrats support the troops, Republicans play the troops. The much bally-hooed increase in benefits for the families of casualities was never budgeted.

From ThinkProgress:

Turns out the Defense Department never included the “death benefit” boost in its ‘06 budget. Now, says, the Army is being forced to go to Congress itself, “asking for an extra $348 million to keep the administration’s word.” As DefenseTech’s Noah Shachtman explains…

…maybe the death benefit lack this year was just a simple oversight on the Pentagon’s part. Maybe the Defense Department’s PR machine spun a little faster than its financial wheels could turn. But given the cynical games the Pentagon has been playing with soldiers’ paychecks – holding them hostage, essentially, as a back-door way to inflate military spending – I’m inclined to believe the worst.

Sounds like our troops need to have another chat with Sec. Rumsfeld.

These aren't just young boys, as if that were OK, we are talking about our mothers, fathers, brothers, men and women of all ages fighting our wars of aggression. Our family members signed up to defend our nation in a time of attack. They are sent with little to no armor, to a land where they haven't been trained in language or culture. They are made to fight a war on the cheap. All the while back home their famlies are on welfare, and their job was shipped over seas. The least we owe our soldiers is a fufillment of our promises.


After I was done posting I went to read Molly Ivins commenting on the bankruptcy bill:

If you don't like that feature of the bankruptcy bill, try this one: You may have read of the hardship on the families of those who have been called to fight in Iraq, including, of course, severe financial stress leading to many bankruptcies. Democrats in the Senate tried to put an amendment on this bill exempting military personnel, and the Republicans voted it down.
Like I said, Republicans play the troops.