Monday, November 27, 2006

What now? A Christmas list

Here is a short wish list for my community here in St. Clair County, across this country, and around the globe. Please comment, agree, disagree, and add your two cents or "nickel's worth" as Handsome Bill Brown says.

My list:

1. Out of Iraq right now. No more dinking around. We screwed up royally. Leave the Iraqis all the trucks, machinery, and whatever else might help them rebuild and get out.

2. Paper ballots across America for every election from now on. No machines, no Diebold.

3. Take bold steps to save our environment. Let's have a war on polluters. No bloodshed, just make them pay every cent necessary to clean up their old messes and stop making new ones.

4. Put kids and schools first. And stop the majority of testing.

5. Value American workers. Raise the minimum wage to ten bucks an hour.

6. Create national health care. Health care in this country is not working. Let's start from scratch and change direction here. We can do it.

7. Impeach Bush and Cheney. If you don't agree, then you are soft on crime.

Happy holidays to you and yours.
May your holiday stockings be filled with
peace on earth and a
renewed respect for our Constitution.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Levin Statement at the Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Iraq


Last week, the American people delivered a clear — indeed, a dramatic — message to the Administration, to the Congress, and to the Iraqi government that “stay the course” is not a strategy for success in Iraq. It was a message heard around the world.

The American people don’t accept the president’s recent assessment that, “absolutely, we’re winning” in Iraq. Nor should we.

The American people have said, forcefully, that they are impatient with Iraqi leaders who will not make the political compromises required to blunt the sectarian violence and unite the Iraqi people. They are impatient with Iraqi government leaders who have not disbanded the militias and death squads that are a plague on Iraqi society. And they have lost patience with the Iraqi leaders who won’t condemn Sunni-Shia enmity, tribal rivalries, and ethnic hatred.

America has given the Iraqi people the opportunity to build a new nation at the cost of nearly 3,000 American lives and over 20,000 wounded. But the American people do not want our valiant troops to get caught in a crossfire between Iraqis, if the Iraqis insist on squandering that opportunity through civil war and sectarian strife.

We were assured by the president over a year ago that, “As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.” Even though the Pentagon claims that almost 90 percent of the Iraqi Security Forces are now trained and equipped, our troop level remains about the same. We were momentarily hopeful when the Iraqi leaders signed a four-point agreement on October 2 to end the sectarian violence. That turned out to be another false hope.
Recently, Ambassador Khalilzad announced that Iraqi officials had agreed to a timeline for reaching benchmarks to confront the sectarian militias, to implement a reconciliation program, to share oil revenues, and to recommend changes to the constitution. Prime Minister Maliki repudiated that timeline the next day, providing additional evidence that the Iraqi political leaders do not understand that there is a limit to the blood and treasure that Americans are willing to spend, given the unwillingness of the Iraqis themselves to put their political house in order.

Our uniformed military leaders have repeatedly told us that there’s no military solution to the violence in Iraq and that a political agreement between the Iraqi sectarian factions themselves is the only way to end the violence. Just last month, at his October 25th press conference, President Bush said that, “In the end, the Iraqi people and their government will have to make the difficult decisions necessary to solve these problems.” In the end? We are three and one-half years into a conflict which has already lasted longer than the Korean conflict and almost as long as World War II. We should put the responsibility for Iraq’s future squarely where it belongs: on the Iraqis. We cannot save the Iraqis from themselves.

The only way for Iraqi leaders to squarely face that reality is for President Bush to tell them that the United States will begin a phased redeployment of our forces within four to six months. That is not precipitous. It is a responsible way to change the dynamic in Iraq, to stop the march down the path to full-blown civil war on which the Iraqis are now embarked. Yes, some U.S. troops would need to remain in Iraq for the limited missions of counterterrorism and training of Iraqi security forces and to provide logistical support and force protection. And, yes, we should also convene an international conference to support a political settlement and to provide resources for Iraq’s reconstruction.

We are grateful to our witnesses for their service to our nation. We are especially grateful and united in support of the brave troops who are serving us in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives

Tuesday, November 14th, Michael Moore

To My Conservative Brothers and Sisters,

I know you are dismayed and disheartened at the results of last week's election. You're worried that the country is heading toward a very bad place you don't want it to go. Your 12-year Republican Revolution has ended with so much yet to do, so many promises left unfulfilled. You are in a funk, and I understand.
Well, cheer up, my friends! Do not despair. I have good news for you. I, and the millions of others who are now in charge with our Democratic Congress, have a pledge we would like to make to you, a list of promises that we offer you because we value you as our fellow Americans. You deserve to know what we plan to do with our newfound power -- and, to be specific, what we will do to you and for you.
Thus, here is our Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives:
Dear Conservatives and Republicans,
I, and my fellow signatories, hereby make these promises to you:
1. We will always respect you for your conservative beliefs. We will never, ever, call you "unpatriotic" simply because you disagree with us. In fact, we encourage you to dissent and disagree with us.
2. We will let you marry whomever you want, even when some of us consider your behavior to be "different" or "immoral." Who you marry is none of our business. Love and be in love -- it's a wonderful gift.
3. We will not spend your grandchildren's money on our personal whims or to enrich our friends. It's your checkbook, too, and we will balance it for you.
4. When we soon bring our sons and daughters home from Iraq, we will bring your sons and daughters home, too. They deserve to live. We promise never to send your kids off to war based on either a mistake or a lie.
5. When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you, too, will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay. And when stem cell research delivers treatments and cures for diseases that affect you and your loved ones, we'll make sure those advances are available to you and your family, too.
6. Even though you have opposed environmental regulation, when we clean up our air and water, we, the Democratic majority, will let you, too, breathe the cleaner air and drink the purer water.
7. Should a mass murderer ever kill 3,000 people on our soil, we will devote every single resource to tracking him down and bringing him to justice. Immediately. We will protect you.
8. We will never stick our nose in your bedroom or your womb. What you do there as consenting adults is your business. We will continue to count your age from the moment you were born, not the moment you were conceived.
9. We will not take away your hunting guns. If you need an automatic weapon or a handgun to kill a bird or a deer, then you really aren't much of a hunter and you should, perhaps, pick up another sport. We will make our streets and schools as free as we can from these weapons and we will protect your children just as we would protect ours.
10. When we raise the minimum wage, we will pay you -- and your employees -- that new wage, too. When women are finally paid what men make, we will pay conservative women that wage, too.
11. We will respect your religious beliefs, even when you don't put those beliefs into practice. In fact, we will actively seek to promote your most radical religious beliefs ("Blessed are the poor," "Blessed are the peacemakers," "Love your enemies," "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God," and "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."). We will let people in other countries know that God doesn't just bless America, he blesses everyone. We will discourage religious intolerance and fanaticism -- starting with the fanaticism here at home, thus setting a good example for the rest of the world.
12. We will not tolerate politicians who are corrupt and who are bought and paid for by the rich. We will go after any elected leader who puts him or herself ahead of the people. And we promise you we will go after the corrupt politicians on our side FIRST. If we fail to do this, we need you to call us on it. Simply because we are in power does not give us the right to turn our heads the other way when our party goes astray. Please perform this important duty as the loyal opposition.
I promise all of the above to you because this is your country, too. You are every bit as American as we are. We are all in this together. We sink or swim as one. Thank you for your years of service to this country and for giving us the opportunity to see if we can make things a bit better for our 300 million fellow Americans -- and for the rest of the world.
Michael Moore here to sign the pledge)
P.S. Please feel free to pass this on.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Join BlueNovember.Org
Thursday Afternoon
November 16, 2006
4:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M.
Sanborn and Pine Grove
Port Huron, Michigan
This is a nonviolent, non-confrontational event.

We do not interfere with traffic, nor do
we engage in hostile interactions with passers by.
Signs will be available, but you may bring your own.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Out of the ashes

On November 7 voters across the country called for the renaissance of the Common Good. Clearly, people chose to turn against the Republican party who:

misled us into an unjust war, a war that is a framework for greed, graft, and corruption; a war that has been a gold mine for profiteers, like Blackwater, Caci, Halliburton, Kellog, Brown and Root, and others; a war that, according to 16 Untied States intelligence agencies, emboldens the terrorists.

gave tax breaks to the wealthiest among us, people who, instead, should be paying their fair share of our commonwealth.

refused to move our country forward on issues like education, science, and health care.

failed to protect our land, air, and water.

failed to help millions of citizens devastated by the Katrina disaster.

failed to protectthe vote, instead they protected the manufacturers of unreliable electronic voting machines.

led an all out assault on the U.S. Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, our U.S. statutory laws, all of which have been the foundation of what is good about this country.

So now it is a new day, but it feels like more than that. It feels like the proverbial opportunity of a lifetime. We all must recognize this chance. There is no time to rest. Too much is at stake. We must heed the call of our Forefathers. Listen. Pay attention. Accept the opportunity to do what is right.

I know this is true. The midterm election of 2006 is a calling forth of our democratic ideals from under the suffocating weight of lies, corruption, tyranny, and greed. It is the rebirth of the quest for the Common Good. It is the renaissance of neighbors joining hands and working together again for each other and for the country we love.

As ordinary citizens, let us give wings to this phoenix by following through on every level. We want the best possible lives for our neighbors and for ourselves, but we can't have that until our sons and daughters are home from Iraq. Bringing our troops home will be the first gust of wind beneath the wings of our phoenix, and I can't wait to see her fly.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Tuesday, November 7, 2006