Sunday, July 31, 2005

Minimum Wage

One of the reasons we have chosen the minimum wage issue as one of two to emphasize at the Isabella County Fair is the gross injustice of so many of our citizens who have no or little hope for a better future while the wealthy and extremely wealthy are enjoying huge tax cuts and breaks.

The unfairness of the system that rewards the rich at the expense of the poor simply calls out for justice and most Michigan voters agree. It is unfortunate that many small business people inaccurately claim they will be hurt competitively by such a move. They simply don't understand that ALL businesses that compete with them will also have to abide by the same rules and also have to pass those costs on to their customers.

Past increases in the minimum wage have not led to the economic disasters that Republican propagandists have predicted and they will not now as any honest economist will acknowledge. Burgers may have to go up a quarter, so that some people may have less of a struggle to make ends meet. Republicans simply don't care about the least among us and State Democrats feel it is an issue that deserves our full support.

The minimum wage issue is now and will continue to be an important one both statewide and nationally. The 2006 election could very well be the turnaround election Democrats are hoping for, but we will have to work hard to make that happen. The minimum wage issue will be an important factor next year.

The Detroit News today has a major article with sidebars about the issue. You can read the Detroit News stories on the minimum wage here.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Time for Answers is Now

No American president should ever take our country to war unless it is absolutely necessary. President George W. Bush told the Congress and the American people that the war in Iraq was necessary because America faced an immediate threat from weapons of mass destruction and that there was a link between Saddam Hussein and the organization that killed thousands of Americans on 9/11.

We now know that those lies were not based on false intelligence, but on a deliberate effort to deceive both Congress and the American people. An honest reading of the Downing Street Memo, the minutes of a meeting between Prime Minister Tony Blair and key British intelligence and cabinet officials before the war began, makes it clear the Bush administration had made its mind up to go to war regardless of the facts. Read it for yourself at

All Americans-- Democrats, Republicans and others need to know the truth about the war. Any president who willfully led us into war under false pretenses is guilty of high crimes and should be impeached.

Any White House staff person who revealed the name of a CIA secret agent, and we know someone did, should be tried in a court of law without hope of a presidential pardon, for the crime of treason

Last week Democratic members of the House of Representatives introduced a resolution of inquiry asking the Congress to investigate the facts surrounding the Downing Street memo. You can add your support of the resolution by writing Congressman Camp or by going to this website:

What are we waiting for? The inquiry into the Downing Street Memo should start now. The truth shall set you free.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

A Busy Saturday

For area Democrats, it was a smorgasbord of political events on Saturday afternoon, a visit from U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and a town hall meeting to discuss the Downing Street Minutes.

Our Senator who knows the Republicans are painting a large bullseye on her back as she prepares to run for re-election for a second term next year, stuck mainly to domestic issues, noting the progress she has still managed to make on a number of issues despite a Republican dominated Congress.

The DSM town hall meeting managed to capture some of the regional overflow from the Stabenow gathering and pulled an interesting variety of folks from a four county area in Mid-Michigan. After watching a video that summarized the Conyers basement hearings on the Downing Street Memo, folks shared their thoughts about the shaky state of the union and agreed more needed to be done to change our nation.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Which Iraq is the Real One?

If you believe the Bush administration the war in Iraq is about bringing democracy to a former dictatorship and everything is going well. A new constitution is about to change everything over there. Most of the American press is buying it.

But you may have to travel to Europe to find the truth. The war in Iraq that 1,770 Americans have sacrificed their lives for and that we are taking 100's of billions from our economy is not leading to democracy at all. The new Iraq constitution sets women's rights back another 50 years, worse than under Saddam Hussein and the new prime minister of Iraq we helped to install is busy meeting with the fundamentalist leaders of Iran that the Bush administration still claims is a terrorist supporting country. The new Constitution for Iraq is based on "Islamic principles," but not the kind of benign seperation of church and state we supposedly have here. If you can stand to read more on this subject you can begin here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Mt. Pleasant Meeting on Saturday to Address Rovegate and DSM

On Saturday, July 23, in more than 300 meetings across the country, concerned citizens will be gathering in house parties and town hall meetings to discuss the DSM (the Downing Street Memos) and the lies, treason, high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush administration that have led us into an illegal and unjustified war. Rep. John Conyers and several like-minded organizations are behind the effort to keep these issues at the forefront of public discourse. Your presence at a meeting this weekend will signal the Bush administration that we are not buying the lies he and his henchman, Karl Rove have been feeding the American public.

One of the ten Michigan gatherings will be taking place right here in Mount Pleasant. The location is the community room at The Crossings on Broadway, 5402 East Broadway. The meeting will begin at 3:30 p.m. with a video about what it all means to America and our future. A round table discussion will follow. Light refreshments will be served. You can sign up and get more information about the Mount Pleasant meeting at or at This event is not sponsored by the ICDP although many Democrats from the area are expected to attend. The meeting begins at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and will last for about an hour and a half.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Republican Nonsense on Business Taxes

Republican leaders in the Michigan legislature are pushing for further tax cuts for businesses blaming "high" Michigan taxes for the state's economic woes. But at a time when state officials are forced to plan for further cuts in vital state services, Republican protestations are ringing hollow because they are simply not true.

Michigan business taxes are not the problem because Michigan business taxes are not high. In fact, Michigan businesses taxes are among the lowest in the US. Yes, you read that right. Forty of the 50 states have higher business taxes than Michigan. Yet, the Republicans would have you believe that making their corporate and fat cat buddies richer will solve Michigan's problems.

It's the Republican nonsense that began under Gov. John Engler that caused Michigan's problems. leaving the state with a huge deficit while enriching the fat cats. Schools, health care, roads, mental health don't matter -- the fat cats want their's first and everybody else be damned.

How do we know it's pure Republican BS? For a less emotional and more academic discussion of Michigan's taxes, check out this article

Friday, July 15, 2005

I like Eric Baerren...

He get's down to the bottom line in this editorial.

From The Morning Sun:
Even if it was an accidental exposure, it was an unforgivable mistake. The defense that he was simply steering a reporter from a bum story doesn't wash when it comes to clumsy handling of classified material. Anyone who's had a security clearance knows that guilt before innocence is the rule, and that ignorance of the rules, or what is even classified, is grounds for dismissal and other punishment. Heck, the president - a guy who prides himself on saying what he means, and meaning what he says - promised to fire anyone involved two years ago.
Karl Rove, and possibly other administration officials, leaked the a CIA operative's name for partisan reasons, which put our national security at risk. That's all that is important.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

More info on Steve Meador and "The Long Shadow"

It always amazes me that the more efforts there are to censor something, the more likely people will want to see it or hear it. We are hoping to get word shortly that a copy of Steve Meador's film has been found. In the meantime one of our researchers has some additional information. Thanks to Bob Lee we have some additional biographical information on Steve Meador, the MSU grad student who created the film, "The Long Shadow" about the dioxin mess in Midland and Dow's efforts to alleviate its responsibilities for the contamination of 22 miles along the Titabawasee River in Midland and Saginaw Counties.

“STEPHEN MEADOR has a master’s in environmental engineering and worked for the NationalOceanic and Atmospheric Administration for 10 years as a commissioned officer. He served on three research ships that traveled all over the world, including Antarctica. He also was involved in hazmat response in New York Harbor. After graduation, he hopes to work for public radio or television, or be a freelance science and environmental magazine writer.”

He also wrote an article on ecoterrorists, which was published in the Winter 2002 issue of ej, and begins on page 28 of the issue. The link to the periodical is shown below.

And here is what another source says about the film that Dow doesn't want us to see --

The Long Shadow by Stephen Meador
This 90-minute, 2003 documentary by Stephen Meador examines the controversy surrounding Dow's contamination of its hometown region, in mid-Michigan, with high levels of dioxin contamination.

"For more than a century, the Dow Chemical Company has brought jobs and prosperity to the people of Michigan. The creator of household brand names like Saran Wrap and Styrofoam, Dow's Midland plant has also manufactured more controversial products such as mustard gas, napalm, and Agent Orange. With its corporate headquarters located only a few miles away, Dow employs more than 6000 people in the Midland area. While the residents of Midland have reaped the benefits of Dow' presence and good corporate citizenship for decades, the people downstream from the plant who live along the Tittabawassee River have lately seen only the costs.

"In January 2002, the public learned that soils within the Tittabawassee River floodplain were contaminated with high levels of dioxins. Some samples measured 80 times higher than the state standard for residential areas. Dioxins are an unwanted byproduct of incineration and some chemical processes, and are known to cause numerous health problems, including cancer. Floodplain residents were devastated to learn their backyards might be poisoned, but even more disheartened to learn that government agencies charged with protecting their health were also part of the problem. Agency administrators had the violated the public's trust by delaying notification and further investigation, censoring documents, and creating an atmosphere where agency staffers feared losing their jobs if they communicated with the public.

"Environmentalists have long criticized agency administrators for being too sympathetic to Dow interests. Regulatory enforcement has been sporadic at best, and sweetheart deals between Dow and the State date back at least 20 years. When sampling confirmed the dioxin had come from Dow plant operations, many were not surprised to learn that a bailout for Dow was being secretly negotiated in late 2002 during the waning days of a business-friendly administration. Only the actions of outraged citizens and conscientious agency staffers, who fought against the decisions of their superiors, thwarted the bailout. "The Long Shadow details the dioxin controversy in 2002, from public notification by agency whistleblowers in January to the failed bailout in December. The story highlights the plight of three floodplain families concerned about their health, their property values, and the corporate and government forces that acted against them. The story is told through contemporary videography, historical photos, and interviews with floodplain residents, environmental advocates, key government officials, and state lawmakers. The Long Shadow exemplifies the need for citizens to be fully engaged in the democratic process, and the danger in assuming that government officials are always acting in the best interest of the public they are charged to serve and protect."

That just makes you want to see the film, now, doesn't it? We'll let you know as soon as we have a copy and see if we can get a place to show it.

Friday, July 08, 2005

How Does “Dioxin Dave” rate on the environment?

It looks like Congressman Dave Camp sides with polluters over people. His score with the League of Conservation Voters is only 5% out of 100%. By comparison our two US Senators rate an 84% from the LCV. The Public Research Interest Group that rates Congress on how much our national elected officials care about consumers and the environment a PIRG “Zero” joining more than 50 other Congressman who always vote with the rich and corporations over regular voters.

Can Dow Buy Off Everybody to Keep Quiet About River Contamination?

Would you keep quiet and just keep doing what Dow Chemical wants you to do if you knew they were trying to pass the buck for cleaning up their mess in Midland? It looks like our 4th District Congressman Dave Camp will not only look the other way, but actively support Bush administration efforts to let not only Dow off the hook, but all polluters. You have to hand it to “Dioxin Dave,” he doesn’t come cheap. Dow has coughed up more than $250,000 in campaign contributions since Dow helped put him in office way back in 1990. Want to keep your coal fired power plants from having to spend too much and more pollution controls? DTE and Consumers have also rewarded “Dioxin Dave” too. Check out who has given the largest bucks to keep our anti-environmental Congressman in office.

Tracking Down "The Long Shadow."

Michelle Riddick from the citizens group, Lone Tree Council returned my phone call today and promised to track down one of the few remaining copies of Steve Meador's DVD that Dow doesn't want us to see. Here is the link to the Tittabawassee River Watch web site I mentioned last night:

Michelle tells me she would welcome the opportunity to talk to us about the Dow dioxin problem. Here is also the link to how Dow works to hide the truth:

Eric Baerren...

Wow. This is a great article...go and read it your self (if didn't already over your morning coffee).

The news editor of The Morning Sun:

We haven't quite arrived to open worship of the president, but there are lots of people who've forgiven our current president's failings on the basis of his faith. He's a good Christian man, and wouldn't lead us astray. As long as he's got the faith of a true believer, there's no sense questioning whether he's an incompetent boob who's sending the entire country over Niagra Falls in a barrel constructed of balsa wood.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Who is the Real Dave Camp?

Can we find the real Dave Camp tonight?
The ICDP will give it a try with a fascinating panel discussion about our 4th District Congressman tonight at 7 p.m. at the County Office Building Room 225. Come and get cool with ice cold refreshments in an air-conditioned building and join some of the warmest nicest people in the county to socialize, chat and dissect a Congressman. It should be fun.

Special Guests Tonight - Mike Huckleberry, the last person to run against Dave Camp is coming over from Montcalm County to join our other panelists to talk about Dave Camp. The new Political Organizing Director from the Michigan Democratic Party will also be joining us for a very special announcement after the panel discussion.