Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Social Security Town Hall Meeting

Here's the latest information on the Thursday, Social Security Town Hall Meeting at the Holiday Inn at 7 p.m.
The featured presenter at the ICDP Social Security Town Hall Meeting will be Jane Jacobson of the AARP. The second speaker will be Sue Glynn, the regional manager of Sen. Stabenow’s office. We are sponsoring the event in cooperation with the AFL-CIO.

There will be a short video from AARP and general discssions about Social Security. Please tell your friends about the meeting.

Monday, May 30, 2005

A Memorable Memorial Day Editorial

You won't find it yet in the Washington Post or the New York Times and certainly not on Fox News or CNN. You have to come home to the Mid-West to find a meaningful Memorial Day editorial unlike any you've ever seen.

The editotial writer at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune eulogizes the young brave people who have given their all, but scolds the rest of us and asks forgiveness because we did not stop George Bush's unjustified war in Iraq. http://www.startribune.com/stories/1519/5427823.html

Bob Herbert, the columnist for the New York Times, adds his feelings about Memorial Day In America as well under the Bush administration. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/30/opinion/30herbert.html?ex=1118116800&en=f934f0b34f50a31f&ei=5070

Sunday, May 29, 2005

ICDP Represented at Highland Festival Stabenow Event

Isabella Dems had a five member contingent attending the Stabenow breakfast reception for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow on Saturday morning. Sen. Stabenow was decked out in a beautiful Scotch outfit for the occaision and marched the whole length of the parade. A committee of Gratiot Dems organized the breakfast event to give Debbie's campaign a boost.

New Website for Stabenow Campaign

Our U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow now has a new campaign website. Check it out at http://www.stabenowforsenate.com/ We will all be working hard in 2006 to make sure Michigan retains two of the best Senators in Washington.

Another Way To Remember on Memorial Day

As we stop to remember those who have fought in our wars over the centuries it is hard not to reflect upon what is happening in Iraq and why we are there. A new coalition of veterans organizations and peace activists has now organized a new effort to work together with others including Michigan's Rep. John Conyers to get to the bottom of that fateful decision to take us to war against a country that never attacked us. This is the site for the new organization called AfterDowningStreet.org http://www.afterdowningstreet.org

They are proposing a "Resolution of Inquiry." which is the first formal step in the process of impeaching the President. It only takes one member of Congress to introduce a Resolution of Inquiry, which sets into motion, if approved, an investigation to determine whether there is adequate evidence to begin an impeachment.

You may recall that we told you about the Downing Street memo http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-523-1592904-523,00.html
in our e-mail of May 8 and we referred to the memo as the smoking gun that shows that George Bush lied to our country in order to take us to war and that an invasion was being planned and the intelligence would be skewed to justify the war. If ever there was an impeachable offense greater than getting oral sex in the White House, it must be taking our country to war under false pretenses.

Rep. Conyers and 88 other members of Congress have asked the President to respond to questions about the Downing Street memo. You can add your voice to those of other Americans on this Memorial Day weekend by taking a few minutes to add your signature to those of us who want to know what really went on to lead us to war. If you feel like you want evidence before you sign, here is the entire memo http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/downloads/dsmemo.pdf

If you want to know why the press has not been adamantly demanding these answers you can talk to our own Charles and Peggy Novtiski, who attended in St. Louis, the National Conference on Media Reform http://www.freepress.net/index.php

In the meantime you can remember all those who died in needless wars by going to this site and signing the petition now at http://www.johnconyers.com/

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Chuck Baldwin: Freedoms Lost Under G.W. Bush

Chuck Baldwin is about as conservative as you can get. But he's no supporter of the President. He writes weekly essays and sends them to his mailing list. I thought this one was especially good.

Freedoms Lost Under G.W. Bush
By Chuck Baldwin
February 1, 2005

Supporters and apologists for President G.W. Bush will often assail my assertion that the Bush administration has done more to dismantle constitutional protections of our liberties than any president in modern memory. It seems that these people believe that until federal Storm Troopers knock down the doors of their homes and drag them off to the gulags, they have lost no freedoms. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If history is any teacher, it instructs us in the incremental process that elitists use to implement their totalitarian agenda. The first step is to use an incessant, highly orchestrated propaganda. For all practical purposes, the major media in the United States is providing that propaganda. At the national level, there is hardly any investigative journalism going on. Instead, the national press corps has become little more than lazy lackeys for the White House.

The second step is to lay the foundation for totalitarianism by passing legislation that may later be used against the citizenry. And that is exactly what the Bush administration has very successfully accomplished. It very adroitly succeeded where the Clinton administration failed.

For example, most conservatives would be surprised to learn that the Patriot Act and Department of Homeland Security was the brainchild of one William Jefferson Clinton. However, a recalcitrant Republican Congress denied Clinton the opportunity to implement these plans. Of course, with the Republican, G.W. Bush, serving as President, that same Republican Congress was all too eager to pass these bills into law.

The third step is to demonize and marginalize anyone and everyone who opposes the government's plans and ambitions. Such opponents are characterized as "unpatriotic," "obstructionist," "uncompassionate," or even "ungodly." Once again, the Bush minions have very skillfully done just that. Anyone who dares to oppose or even question Bush must be regarded as enemies of America or even as enemies of God.

Of course, the last step is to begin using the power and force of government to physically silence or remove those who are determined to require such treatment. And, as Germany's National Socialists proved, by the time this happens, there is no one around who is capable of coming to the assistance of such people.

For those who are willing to objectively analyze Bush's actions and policies, the truth is clearly seen: this President has systematically put in place laws, policies, and bureaucracies that can, are, and will continue to strip the American citizenry of the constitutional protections of their liberties.

Following are examples of freedoms which President Bush and his fellow Republicans in Congress have already expunged (as reported by the Associated Press):

* FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION: Government may monitor religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity to assist terror investigations.

* FREEDOM OF INFORMATION: Government has closed once-public immigration hearings, has secretly detained hundreds of people without charges, and has encouraged bureaucrats to resist public records questions.

* FREEDOM OF SPEECH: Government may prosecute librarians or keepers of any other records if they tell anyone that the government subpoenaed information related to a terror investigation.

* RIGHT TO LEGAL REPRESENTATION: Government may monitor federal prison jailhouse conversations between attorneys and clients, and deny lawyers to Americans accused of crimes.

* FREEDOM FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES: Government may search and seize Americans' papers and effects without probable cause to assist terror investigation.

* RIGHT TO A SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL: Government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial.

* RIGHT TO LIBERTY: Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them.

These rights have already been lost! Whether individual Americans have been personally subjected to the resultant tyranny or not doesn't change the fact that they have already lost these freedoms! This fact, alone, should be enough for any studious lover-of-liberty to be outraged!

That good men are compliant and unconcerned regarding G.W. Bush's propensity to trample constitutional freedoms bespeaks a great ignorance or a great apathy, or both!

© Chuck Baldwin


Chuck Baldwin's commentaries are copyrighted and may be republished, reposted, or emailed providing the person or organization doing so does not charge for subscriptions or advertising and that the column is copied intact and that full credit is given and that Chuck's web site address is included.

Editors or Publishers of publications charging for subscriptions or advertising who want to run these columns must contact Chuck Baldwin for permission. Radio or television Talk Show Hosts interested in scheduling an interview with Chuck should contact chuck@chuckbaldwinlive.com.

Please visit Chuck's web site at http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com. When responding, please include your name, city and state. And, unless otherwise requested, all respondents will be added to the Chuck Wagon address list.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Garage Sale on Saturday June 25

The First Annual Isabella County Democratic Party Garage and Bake Sale is not just another fundraiser. It’s an opportunity to get exposure for the party and to win more friends. Liz Busch, an old hand at garage sales, has volunteered to coordinate the effort, but she has asked for our help. It’s all coming together on June 25 but Liz still needs a bit more help. In addition to more donations we also need some people to do the following.

1. Bring a truck or van – to pick up stuff
2. Helpers – to lift stuff onto trucks
3. Sale day assistance – to sort, mark, assist customers
4. Folks to bake cookies, cupcakes, etc.
5. Folks to talk politics and hand out literature
6. Folks to help the day before the sale and to help clean-up when the sale is ended.

Here is what we need for the sale:

Items to donate – clothes, old small appliances (working) , furniture, knick knacks, old tools, old computers, old anything, really.

Shopping Bags – Paper or Plastic

Old yard sale supplies – stickers, etc.

Coolers and ice – we will be selling bottled water and pop

Sign up to help by calling or e-mailing Liz Busch at 989-400-6813 or liz_busch@hotmail.com Let Liz know what you can do for your party.

Social Security Town Hall Meeting

Plans for the ICDP Social Security Town Hall Meeting are falling nicely into place thanks to the hard work of ICDP Chair Alan Kilar and the AFL-CIO. We will all be gathering at the Holiday Inn next Thursday night, June 2 at 7 p.m. Alan has lined up speakers from The American Association of Retired Persons(AARP) and from Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s office. The presentations including a short movie will be followed by a town hall discussion that will raise and answer questions about Social Security. We are inviting everyone to come and will ask you all for help in distributing fliers. etc. Call the neighbors, tell everybody. It is next Thursday night at the Holiday Inn on Pickard in Mount Pleasant.

Wellstone Movie is Tonight (Friday, May 27) at 7 p.m.!!

You’ve heard a lot about Wellstone, the movie that documents the life of Paul Wellstone. Now it is time to see how a Democrat can run straight up as a Democrat and win a statewide election. It is lso a great time to get together with other local Democrats if you are not already heading out of town. Punch and cookies and a great movie are on tap tonight. Bring the kids too. It all starts at 7 p.m. at the Community Room at the Crossings on Broadway at 5402 E. Broadway. Check our previous Wellstone post for the Mapquest map link.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Is it Revolutionary to Buy Gas at Citgo?

Perhaps you've seen this little spot on Common Dreams that suggests that one way to put your money where your political feelings are is to buy your gas at Citgo to support a leader who uses oil money to help the poor. http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0516-25.htm

Here in Mt. Pleasant we have a Citgo station on Pickard right across the street from the Morning Sun offices. Might have to pay a penny more a gallon than Meijer. I am not so sure that Cohen understands how gasoline is distributed in Michigan though. It all comes from the same place, just different additives and colorings are added, at least that is what I heard working in Alma when the refinery was still open there. There were two refineries in Michigan then.

I filled up out at the Rez this morning at 2.08 per gallon and this afternoon it was up to 2.16 everywhere.

Beyond Lakoff -- Progressives Growing Up?

Many of you remember when Dr. Charles Novitski introduced us to the wonderful world of progressive framing and gave us hope for overcoming Republican lies and distortions with well-framed truths.

But are we missing something? Does George Lakoff have all the answers or is there more we need to do and consider? Author Frances Moore Lappe in an insightful piece http://www.gnn.tv/articles/article.php?id=1010
suggests the connections between people (community) also plays a signifcant role in how we view the world and progressives need to take into consideration more than just the strict/ nurturant parenting models.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Subsidizing Wal-Mart contd...

Steve Gilliard, coincidently, talks about the WalMart subsidy. He is refering to a study done in Wisconsin.

The News Blog:

One thing stands out with the chart: Target has 80 employees eligible for the state's Badger Care program, KMart has 102 people. WalMart has 809. 10 employees for every one of Target's, eight for every one of KMart. The next largest company has under 200 employees using state aid.
Here is the chart. Here is the article. WalMart gets a $2M subsidy, a year. How much is it here in Michigan?

RSVP for the Alma Stabenow Breakfast Reception

Yesterday we announced the breakfast reception for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow that is taking place on Saturday morning in Alma. See the full details in our May 24 posting. Our friends to the south need some help getting a head count for Saturday. For those of you who haven't RSVP'd yet please e-mail Nancy Gallagher at nancygallagher@charterinternet.com
OR call the Senator's office at 517-336-8500 (Jennifer Nathan)

Not to rain on the Social Security parade...

Kos over at Daily Kos directs us to this article by Bill Scher.

We discussed this at the last meeting.

Bill Scher:

In one fell swoop, Democrats should declare the following:

• The Social Security debate has ended, as the public has rejected partial privatization and is not demanding any hasty changes to the system.

• In turn, Democrats will no longer participate in congressional hearings on Social Security, and will not debate Social Security with Republicans in the media, at least until Republicans drop privatization.

• Instead, Democrats will begin addressing the real crisis of Medicare and skyrocketing health care costs, by putting on the table a few comprehensive reform plans, leading their own hearings to foster public debate and discussion about them, and culminating with a single plan for the party to run on in the 2006 congressional elections.

Democrats need to be ahead of the curve in discussing solutions to health care problems. Idea that can be done on the local level, like a tax on big box stores that don't give health care. How much money does our community spend to keep the employee's of Wal-Mart at a subsistance level? Our community does not need or have the funds to be subsidize Wal-Mart or their ilk.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Social Security Forum at Holiday Inn on June 2

The regular meeting of the ICDP on June 2 (the first Thursday of the month) will be cancelled or postponed so that all can attend that evening a Social Security forum at the Holiday Inn.

Speakers from Sen. Stabenow's office, the AARP and perhaps elsewhere are expected. We are hoping to have more details shortly. At this point we know it will be n Thursday, June 2 in the evening at the Mt. Pleasant Holiday Inn. We will pass along more details when we get them.

Highland Festival Reception for Sen. Debbie Stabenow on Saturday

Some of our Democratic friends in Gratiot County are hosting a reception for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and have invited all of us to join them.

Place: Alma College, Van Dusen Commons*

Time: 9:00 am-10:30am- Senator will arrive at 9:15 and leave at 10:15-
Donation: $25 per person or $35 per family**- children encouraged!--they can walk with her in the parade if they like.

Host Committee-- Vicki Chessin & Duane Powell; Jeff Holmes& Ginna Holmes; Joanne Gilbert & Mike Bishop; Tim Lambrecht and Anne Lambrecht; Linda Luneack; Nancy Gallagher& Dave Walsh; Michael Stack & Leyla Moossavi

**Of course, you may donate more as able- but we think it is very important to demonstrate that there are Democrats and Dem leaning independents in central Michigan-so we set a reasonable amount to encourage attendance

Everyone welcome! - And please stay for the festival parade, art/crafts fair and numerous Scottish/Celtic events, games, animals and the requisite beer tent! -You will be surprised at the number of people in little old Alma-thousands visit Festival weekend- there is an admission cost to the field events, but the art fair and parade, of course, are free- (but bring your checkbook-they have great stuff!)

*VanDusen commons-take first Alma exit, go straight through the intersection, south about 2miles to Superior Street- turn right on Superior, go west a few blocks, turn right on Harvard(the first street past the college chapel)-VanDusen is in the first building on the right- if parking is tight, there is plenty of parking 2 blocks west on Superior St at the Presbyterian church

[UPDATE BY Bob per John B's comments]:
It would be nice if folks would RSVP if they plan to attend the Stabenow breakfast on Saturday at Alma College- so the organizers can get a rough estimate for food purposes--
Please email nancygallagher@charterinternet.com
OR call the Senator's office at 517-336-8500 (Jennifer Nathan)

Wellstone Premiere on Friday

The documentary film "Wellstone" will make its ICDP premiere on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Community Room at The Crossings on Broadway at 5402 East Broadway in Mt. Pleasant. Come join Democrats in the area

Click here for a map of the location.

Yes, it's free, sponsored by the ICDP. The film is a great reminder of what a great Democrat looks like and how a real Democrat can win support. Lots to think about and talk about here.

Michigan Politics blog...

I found a great blog about state business...I will probably be linking to this for more home grown issues.

Based on my previous post about bills and laws in michigan, here's the hot list...one that calls out items we should (IMO) track:

HR 4752 'Terri's Law'
This particular bill allows for an informal request to be granted by the court to block the 'power of attorney' for the ending of life support (or a feeding tube) if the 'guardian' is the 'spouse' and is either: A) Engaged in divorce proceedings or B) Engaged in a publicly acknowledged adulterous relationship...

Introduced by:
032 Acciavatti Daniel R 517-373-8931 danielacciavatti@house.mi.gov
041 Gosselin Robert R 517-373-1783 robertgosselin@house.mi.gov
100 Hansen Goeff R 517-373-7317 goeffhansen@house.mi.gov
093 Hummel Scott R 517-373-1778 scotthummel@house.mi.gov
056 Kehrl Herb D 517-373-2617 herbkehrl@house.mi.gov
075 Kooiman Jerry R 517-373-2668 jerrykooiman@house.mi.gov
002 Lemmons Jr. LaMar D 517-373-0106 lamarlemmonsjr@house.mi.gov
003 Lemmons III LaMar D 517-373-1776 lamarlemmonsiii@house.mi.gov
098 Moolenaar John R 517-373-1791 johnmoolenaar@house.mi.gov
078 Nitz Neal R 517-373-1796 nealnitz@house.mi.gov
103 Sheltrown Joel D 517-373-3817 joelsheltrown@house.mi.gov
040 Taub Shelley R 517-373-8670 shelleytaub@house.mi.gov
089 Vander Veen Barb R 517-373-0838 repbarbvanderveen@house.mi.gov

What is this?? Why are the Lemmons' and Sheltrown's and Kehrl's of the legislature supporting this? I say email and call them demanding to know why they've sponsored something to undermine the power of attorney of spouses!"

Now, back to real business...

Juan Cole brings reality crashing back:

Car bombs and other attacks killed at least 49 Iraqis on Monday and left at least 130 wounded, according to AP. Four American troops have also been killed in the past two days.
We can't forget about Iraq.

So the deal is done...

A deal has been made to stop the Republican leadership from blowing up the filibuster. Many on the right are disappointed, and some on the left are, as well. But, as a minority, you take what you can, and Steve Gilliard tells us what is most important:

This stopped James Dobson.

A lot of you are glossing over the point about how dangerous this man is to the Republic. He's a theocrat and a dominionist. He wants to deny basic religious rights to anyone who isn't a Christian, and the craven lust for power of Bill Frist has allowed this man unprecidented access to the levers of government.

Remember, this was not a Democratic capitulation, this was Republicans breaking ranks to join a united Democratic Caucus. It's nice to see (and say) that, eh?

Monday, May 23, 2005

Harry Reid's TV address...

Harry Reid will broadcast a special address about what the Republican's in the senate are trying to do with the "nucular option" of blowing up the filibuster.

via The Carpetbagger Report:

Tonight, however, Reid will take his communications strategy to a new level. Reid’s office just sent out an alert explaining that Reid will discuss the Dem position tonight in a nationally televised address.

On the eve of the historic vote in the United States Senate, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid will address the nation about the importance of the critical check in our democracy’s system of checks and balances – a Senator’s right to filibuster.

The majority of Americans agree that our Constitutional checks and balances must be preserved, and the independence of our judiciary must be protected. Senators Democrats have worked hard to reach out to their Republican colleagues and to look for compromise to protect the Senate from this abuse of power. With a little more than 24 hours until the historic vote, Senator Reid will discuss the real consequences of this historic vote to the strength of this country and to the daily lives of all Americans. The Alliance for Justice is sponsoring this important address to the nation.

I didn’t see this one coming. When was the last time a Senate Minority Leader delivered an address to the country like this?

It’s scheduled to be a 90-second speech broadcast on CNN at 9pm (Eastern), and on Fox News at 7:50pm (Eastern). Of course, the real advantage of this kind of ahead-of-the-curve tactic is that it’s likely to be aired repeatedly as part of the news cycle.

The filibuster is one of the only ways that the minority has to check the Bush Republican agenda.

Make sure and tell your friends to watch...

Friday, May 06, 2005

what's ailing america...

The Big Picture: Smart Money? Hardly: "The saying used to be, 'What's good for GM is good for America.'

That needs to be edited for the 21st century.

Today, its: 'What's ailing GM is what's ailing America' Consider that GM has sagged under the exhorbitant costs of a broken health care system. The bill is an additional $1500 - 2000 in health care expenses added on to the cost of each auto. That's as they compete with the Japanese -- particularly Toyota and Honda -- the world's most efficient manufacturers of automobiles.

That's like racing Jesse Owens while carrying a 50 pound pack on your back. That's a hopeless task.

Until GM gets the health care monkee off its back, they cannot compete effectively in the domestic automobile market."

The way I read it, GM is suffering because they promised to take care of the people who worked for them. Now, they are feeling it.

That's how I feel. (no insurance for baby #2, been swimming in about $7K of debt, hospital bill = $7K)

Of course my congressman only cares about Paris Hilton and her country club types.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Social Security Needs More Contributors Not Less!

Social Security Needs More Contributors Not Less! We have a large and growing "Underground Economy" that is not paying into Social Security. There is an entire Social Class that is not allowed to join the American Dream. They work hard every day to provide cheap food, clothing and others goods and services. They are payed "under the table" and are not paying into Social Security. They are payed far less than other Americans are payed for the same jobs, but when they complain they are picked up and deported.
If we include them into the Social Security System, they will be able to pay the short comings of the system for many generations to come than the current system. We will also go a long way to right the wrongs of the way they have been treated for generations, so that we can have cheap goods and services.
Who am I talking about? The millions of Immigrants that come here every year for a better life, only to find themselves in a new kind of Slavery.