Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Another attempt to limit freedom of choice

From the Michigan chapter of the ACLU: The Michigan Right to Life folk are hoping to create another hurdle for women attempting to exercise their constitutionally protected right to decide whether to bear children.

This time it’s House Bills 5879-5883 and Senate Bills 1177-1181: “Battered Women Endangerment.“ If passed, the new law would require the medical practitioner to perform yet another screening where the patient would be asked to sign more documents maintaining that she is not being coerced or intimidated into having an abortion. Well-established medical ethical procedures and codes of professional behavior require physicians to ensure their patients have an opportunity to make intelligent decisions. This requires that all patients receive factual information on the risks and benefits of a given medical procedure, and that with the relevant information, the patient has the legal right to withhold or withdraw her consent to an abortion at any time prior to the performance of the procedure

The sponsors of the bills, their hearts beating with newly-discovered sympathy, are suddenly concerned about victims of domestic violence being coerced by their partners into having abortions. The woman would be required to wait an additional 24-hours before having the abortion, thus giving her time to (apparently) stand up to her abuser and state that she, by God, is having this baby! (Can’t you hear the music now? “What a difference a daaaay maaaaakes, twenty-foooour little hoooours.”)

No woman should be coerced into having, or not having, an abortion. The sponsors of the bills, of course, see the various road blocks they have set up not as coercion, but protection. Not protection for the mother (“She deserves to be pregnant if she was catting around, or got herself raped!“); but protection for the dear, sweet, innocent little “pre-born” human who is about to be aborted. Of course what happened to the fetus during gestation or what will happen to the baby after it is born is of no concern for these folk.

This curious and sudden concern expressed in the House bills comes after the legislature has neglected to increase funding for domestic violence shelters for 15 years, and after years of reductions of state funds for health care for women and children, and repeated efforts to eliminate funds for programs that would prevent unintended pregnancies.

This is just the latest in the cynical attempts by the Right to Life control women while at the same time trying to sound like they are just working to protect them. Can you say “hypocritical?”

Call Bill Caul and tell him to vote against HB 5879-5883. His numbers are: Fax: 517-373-5491
Phone: 517-373-1789. Call Alan Cropsey By Phone: (517) 373-3760. Toll Free 866-305-2133.Fax: (517) 373-8661

While you’re at it, ask them how many programs they have sponsored or voted for that provide pre-natal care to poor mothers, or shelters for victims of domestic violence; resources to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and resources for post-natal care for mothers and infants; adequate medical care for children, and publicly funded programs food and shelter for the infants and families of the poor.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bush pleases Camp and DeVos, declares "I forbid" medical progress, economic growth

According to Wikipedia, the word veto is a Latin word that means, literally, “I forbid.”

Dick DeVos’s buddy, George W. Bush, has just issued his first veto, and - surprise - he uses his first veto to forbid common sense (and to neglect those less fortunate than him).

Of course, this comes in spite of Governor Granholm’s letters to Bill Frist-Flop, Give-‘Em-Hell Harry Reid, and Mr. 37% himself. To Bush she declared:

"If our nation is serious about improving both the cost and quality of health care, we must tap the full power of modern science to combat life-threatening illnesses in an ethically responsible manner," Granholm wrote. "The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act enables our nations researchers to do just that."

Improving health are? Combating illnesses? Ethical responsibility? No wonder Dubya gave it the “I Forbid” treatment.

Meanwhile, Mark Brewer reminds me of why I am proud to be a Michigan Democrat.

“As many Americans today are stricken with terrible illnesses like cancer, Parkinson’s, diabetes, and spinal cord injuries, it is imperative that medical researchers are able to do whatever they can to help cure Americans of these dreaded diseases,” said Brewer. “Republicans like Dick DeVos and President Bush are taking reactionary political positions that are anti-science and are threatening the well-being of hundreds of thousands of Americans.”

On June 26th, 2006, the Detroit News reported that DeVos “opposes embryonic stem cell research.”
DeVos has also given $100,000 dollars to Right to Life, an organization that works to prevent embryonic stem cell research. [Source: Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation: IRS 990 Forms, 1999-2004]

“Governor Granholm has been a leader on restoring the necessary federal funding for embryonic stem cell research while Dick DeVos’ continues to engage in political gamesmanship on the issue. Whether it is outsourcing jobs or now preventing scientific research that could cure cancer, Dick DeVos is more interested in supporting Bush’s failed policies than providing real help for the people of Michigan,” continued Brewer. “We need more leaders to be like Governor Granholm and take action to keep scientific progress alive.

Given all the good this would do, you’d think someone like Dave Camp would join with fifty of his fellow Republicans in supporting this bill, right? Well, See for yourself. (Or I can just save you the time by saying that you won’t be surprised.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

What will Dave Camp Put on the Auction Block Next?

Are you curious about who Dave Camp has been serving (the answer is NOT his constituents)? This site spells it out, chapter and verse:

We are heading into the last 100 days before the election, so time is running out to take back Camp’s seat from the corporations and give it back to the people.

Ballot Proposals: Good news and bad news

First the bad news: the “Stop Over Spending” proposal appears headed for the ballot - at least according to Matt Ferguson of Ferguson, who was there while the petitions were being delivered, observes:

No word yet on whether Grover Norquist will actually be moving to Michigan to help with the SOS campaign effort. If he does, he may have a hard go of it - everyone from the Guv to the Chamber to Tim Skubick is against this stupid idea.

As for the good news: The right of women to control their own bodies is safe for the time being.

A group that wants to make abortion illegal in Michigan did not collect enough signatures to qualify its issue for the November ballot.

Michigan Citizens for Life needed to turn in at least 317,757 signatures of valid state voters to elections officials by Monday. The group likely collected fewer than 300,000 signatures, organizers said.

The group wants to change the state constitution to legally define a person as existing from the moment of conception. If successful, the initiative could have sparked a legal challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

In other news: a proposal to abolish the State Senate also failed to qualify for ballot status.

For a list of possible ballot issues and their status (as of June 12), check out this PDF file from the Michigan Secretary of State’s office. There could be as many as nine ballot proposals on the ballot. Wow. That’s about as many as we saw in 2000, 2002, and 2004 combined.

Speaking of which: Remember the failed school voucher scheme of 2000? Remember who sponsored it? Yup, Dick and Betsy DeVos. Be sure to check out this article also on MichLib regarding the DeVos’s support for vouchers.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fourth of July thoughts on patriotism, Part 2

I recently read part of the Declaration of Independence and saw some stunning comparisons between King George III and Dick DeVos's close ally, George W. Bush.

Cheeck out these highlights:

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.


He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.


He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.


For imposing Taxes* on us without our Consent:


For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:


He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

*'Deficits' may be a better word for it.

When reading the above excerpts, did the NSA spy program, Guantanamo, FEMA, Roberts, and Alito - and Dave Camp's blind support for this administration - come to mind?

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.

Does the US Senate GOP's stonewalling - and the Michigan Legislative GOP's flip-flop - or the minimum wage come to mind? Or what about the GOP’s refusal to offer a plan for Iraq? And don’t get me started on the environment, healthcare, etc.

The declaration ends with some choice words for Bush and his buddy Dick DeVos:

A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Ouch. To the rest of us, Happy 230th birthday, America!

If Only They Could See What Others See on This Fourth of July

O wad some Power the giftie gie us,
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad from many a blunder free us,

You can't help contemplate Robert Burns famous poem when thinking about the Bush administration and its disconnect from the rest of us and the world. If only the Bushies could see what the rest of us and the world sees, then perhaps there could be some changes made.

Now comes word that reinforces what most of us now know about where George Bush has lead us. A new poll in a London newspaper confirms how folks over there view not just the Bush administration, but America and Americans. Our former best friends now believe America has been lost to greed and big business.
"a majority of the Britons questions described Americans as uncaring, divided by class, awash in violent crime, vulgar, preoccupied with money, ignorant of the outside world, racially divided, uncultured and in the most overwhelming result (90 percent of respondents) dominated by big business."

But the Bushies have no capacity for introspection or to see themselves as others see them. This tragedy of an administration will see this as merely another public relations problem. A small band of determined terrorists with the aid of an incompetent administration has changed our status in the world.

Now it is up to us, a small band of activists in each and every county in America to take back what we have lost to our new King George. They did it 230 years ago with flintlocks. We must do it now in the ballot box.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Fourth of July thoughts on patriotism, Part 1

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else." -Teddy Roosevelt

One of the newspapers in my community features a column called “Community Views.” In it, six people are asked a certain question, and a brief response is printed.

In honor of the upcoming holiday, this week’s question asked how respondents show patriotism. A couple of people said they fly the flag. One noted that he served in the Navy. Then one person declared that her way of showing patriotism was by “not bashing the president.”

This wasn’t the first time I’d heard someone claim that it’s our patriotic duty to support our president and not ‘bash’ or ‘whine about’ him. But this one got me thinking.

First, many of George W. Bush’s predecessors have stated that dissent, even in a time of war, is an important cornerstone of our country. Note, for example, the above quote from early 20th-century patriot Teddy Roosevelt.

And then consider the words of Senator Trent Lott during Clinton’s presidency in 1999: “You can support our troops without supporting our president.”

And yet, when someone stands up for American values by speaking out against this president’s immoral war, they are often criticized and labeled unpatriotic - or worse. Look at how Valerie Plame was victimized after her husband called Bush out on weapons of mass destruction.

It’s amazing how the power of incumbency can cause politicians to flip-flop, isn’t it?

Oh well. Happy Fourth of July!