Saturday, April 21, 2007

Senator Levin and Funding for the War

A thoughtful article by Ray McGovern appeared in the Detroit Free Press yesterday. It was concerned with Cheney’s public assurances that Senator Levin will continue to push for funding the war in Iraq even if Harry Reid and other Democrats keep telling him that the only way to stop the war is to cut funding. You can read the article here.

Levin is a good man as well as a true patriot who loves his country and cares deeply about the men and women who protect us. As McGovern points out, he also is a major recipient of campaign funds from Israel and various Jewish organizations. McGovern does not accuse Levin of any ethical conflict, but wonders if he might on some level be influenced by Israel’s desire to keep a US military presence in Iraq.

I sent an email to Levin via his website, which means some low-level assistant might, just might, see it. But I am curious about what his reaction might be to the article. My email note is below.

“Would Senator Levin care to comment on this opinion piece in the Detroit Free Press, published April 20? The title is “Levin give Cheney reason to smirk.” The web address is http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070420/OPINION02/70420055

I should let you know that I am a “blogger” with posts at Michigan Liberal and the Isabella County Democratic Party (ICDP) Dispatch.”

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Post Office Says “Bye, Bye” to Free Speech Unless We Stop Them by April 23

(also posted on Michiganliberal.com)

Time Warner, Hearst, and other large media conglomerates have colluded, oops, joined with the Post Office to end free speech as of July 15. Does this sound like I'm imitating Chicken Little? Read on.

This July, the Post Office is once again raising its rates. However, this time large corporations like Time Warner and Hearst have bought, sorry, "persuaded" the Post Office Regulatory Commission to tweak the rate plan for magazines, journals, newsletters, etc., juuussst a little.

So as of July, the big guys (Time, Newsweek, People, etc.) will pay 10% more in postage. On the other hand, small publications-for example, every political journal in the country-will pay up to 30% more. An editor for The Nation, the progressive journal that has been around since the 1800s, calculates the increase at $500,000 for that journal alone.

The major media corporations already have a lock on newspapers, radio and television stations; this rate hike will mean they will effectively put an end to those persnickety voices that have kept government on its toes for the past 200 years. We desperately need them. You can read more about this at www.commondreams.org

Because the Post Office is a publicly supported, private monopoly (talk about hybrids!), there is not much to be done about this except protest. How?

Please go here and sign the letter to the Postal Board (it will be sent to Camp, Stabenow, and Levin as well) protesting the new rate system and demanding a congressional hearing before any radical changes are made. The deadline for comments is April 23, so don't delay.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Smoke Out the Secret Hold!

A progressive group called the Sunlight Foundation is working to make campaign finances more transparent by mandating electronic filing of Senate finance campaign reports. After seven years of languishing in Republican-controlled committees, Senators Feinstein and Feingold managed to pass the legislation and bring it to the floor for voting (S223). Success looked assured.

Then it was discovered that some Senator had put a secret hold on it that prevented a vote. As the Sunlight spokesperson wrote, “What irony to have a transparency bill blocked by a secret hold.” She goes on to write, “Secret holds are so looked down on these days that earlier this year, the Senate itself banned the practice, although the bill containing that provision has yet to become law.“ Last year, a coalition of citizens and bloggers helped discover the identity of a Senator who used a secret hold on a bill he didn’t like (it was, in fact, a “he”).

The Sunlight Foundation has organized a list of Senators by state as well as their contact information at: http://www.sunlightfoundation.com/node/2428. Lets find out who the culprit is this time and smoke him, or her, out. It’s time to bring the murky world of campaign finances into the light.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Step It Up–Global Warming Awareness Week

Where? Island Park, Mount Pleasant
When? Saturday, April 14. 1:00-4:00
What? This first-of-its-kind event in Mount Pleasant will be mirrored in similar events across the country. Come listen to speakers talking about the effects of global warming (yep, it’s really happening and we’re causing it, even though Exxon would have us believe otherwise), get to know activists from the region who are fighting the battles to keep corporations from continuing to poison the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat.

Food, talk, new friends, families enjoying a (hopefully) warm spring day. What better way to celebrate while finding out what we can do to save the planet for our children. And we all get cool badges.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Listen to the Grassroots Town Hall for Presidential Candidates

The first-ever presidential town hall event is over, but everything that was said has been recorded and even put in the transcripts. The theme was how each candidate would end the war in Iraq. You can listen to questions asked by activists (and not pundits) and how the candidates answered (or ducked the questions) here. Air America radio is back on the air and will be streaming the event for the next few days as well.

This will be perhaps the only time we will be able to hear all the candidates without their spinmeisters, so take advantage of the opportunity while you can.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Virtual Town Hall with Presidential Candidates

Moveon.org is sponsoring a virtual town hall for all the Democratic presidential candidates on Tuesday, April 10, 7:15 p.m. All you need to participate is a fast Internet connection and a phone.

At last week’s meeting of the ICDP, we were told that the schedule for the coming presidential primaries is in disarray, and it is likely that they will be clumped together so that they fall on the same day or within a very few days of each other. Until now, with staggered primaries the candidates have been able to move their volunteers and paid professionals from state to state as needed. If the primaries come together, the candidate with the most money to pay the greatest number of people wins. The “people’s party” will finally become the party of the rich who are able to donate their millions to the candidate of their choice.

Moveon.org is one of the grassroots organizations that are trying to return the party to the rest of us. This is the first attempt to hold a national “town hall” where all the candidates will respond to questions from, well, from us. This means we can hear what their ideas are, and what they want to accomplish directly from them and not from the 30-second sound bites assembled by spin doctors.

You will have to sign up for the town hall (no charge). To do this, go here.
If you have a speaker phone or speakers for your computer, you are encouraged to turn this into a house party–it will be more fun with other people. So take advantage of this historic event.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Stabenow can redeem herself, maybe...

Shortly before the election in 2006, Senator Stabenow voted for the Military Commissions Act. This was the legislation that, among other things, suspended habeas corpus, insulated torturers from prosecution, and basically shredded one of the most ancient laws of the Western world: the right to a fair trial.

Her excuse for voting for this despicable law was that although it was not perfect, it was a necessary law (even though most of her Democratic colleagues voted against it). She attempted to justify her vote by stating that there would be new laws that would rectify the injustices (my word, not hers) that this law created.

Now she has the opportunity to make amends for her lapse in judgment. A new piece of legislation has been proposed: Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007 (S. 576). Contact her about this and remind her that she has said she would support legislation like this. Her contact information is:
Senator Debbie Stabenow
133 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4822
e-mail: senator@stabenow.senate.gov

You can read the full bill here. While you're at it, contact Dave Camp to support the House version: H.R. 1415. Of course, he won’t support it, but it never hurts for him to know that people are watching his rubber-stamping ways.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Mark Brewer is Guest Speaker at ICDP Annual Dinner


Michigan Democratic Party State Chair Mark Brewer will be the guest speaker at the ICDP Annual Dinner on Friday, April 20. Brewer, one of the most dynamic speakers in Michigan will give Democrats his views of Michigan politics.

The annual dinner this year is at the Riverwood Resort on Bloomfield Road. Cocktail hour begins at 5 p.m. Dinner is at 6 p.m. Come and join Democrats from all over the region who will be attending this annual fund raiser and major party social event of the year. We hope to see many new faces and some we haven't seen for a year.

You must RSVP by April 10th if you plan to attend the ICDP dinner. Riverwood Resort has asked for a head count by April 10th. They will not make extra meals, so if you plan to eat a hot, delicious dinner, RSVP right now. Contact Peggy Novitski: pegnovitski@yahoo.com or 989-772-4273. Thank you in advance.

Democracy Matters - Our New TV Show is On The Air

The first episode of our new panel discussion show, Democracy Matters, is now on the air. The new show which will air twice monthly or more is designed to be our local answer to the Tim Skubick show, Off the Record. Instead of his heavily biased, so-called objective show, we know where we are coming from -- an effort to produce real discussion and analysis about today's political arena with a bias for searching out the truth, not just political propaganda.

We have even created another blog for the new TV show to keep the discussion ongoing. Check out the Democracy Matters web site, where you will also be able to catch video streaming of our archived shows after they have completed their run in out 3-county area.

The second show will be taped this week and aired as the MAC3-TV schedule permits. The new show is produced by Democratic Party activist John Barker and a team of volunteers. Guest for the first show, a discussion of American media and why alternatives are needed is Jan Howard, executive director of the Mid-Michigan Area Cable Consortium.

Cable subscribers should check the MAC3-TV schedule here.

Democracy Matters will be posting future shows on Google Video along with other ICDP-TV productions. Check the ICDP-Dispatch for links to Google Video as well.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

ICDP-TV Presents Gov. Granholm Speech at MDP Convention

Gov. Jennifer Granholm gave a rousing speech at the state party convention and ICDP-TV crews were there. The Governor's speech is now being aired on Charter public access Channel 3 in Clare, Gratiot and Isabella Counties. Check out the MAC3-TV schedule for times of next airings.

For those of you who do not get cable TV just go to the Google Video link by clicking on the headline above or to your left under ICDP-TV Links.