Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stand Up and Speak Out

Please join BlueNovember.Org
Saturday, June 2, 2007
1:00 - 3:00 PM
Pine Grove and Sanborn
Port Huron, Michigan

This is a peaceful event. Engaging negatively with passersby and interfering with traffic are prohibited.

Signs will be available, but you may bring your own messages of peace.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day in America

Here's a popular bumper sticker we've all seen: "If you love freedom, thank a vet." Here's an iconoclastic response to it: the last time an American soldier fought to protect or advance the cause of American freedom was the Civil War. In that distant conflict some American soldiers actually put their lives on the line to win freedom for other Americans, who happened to be enslaved African-Americans. Of course, some of the Union troops in the Civil War were indifferent, even hostile, to the rights and freedoms of African-Americans, but we know for sure that there were also Union soldiers--black and white--who believed that it was their moral duty to risk their lives to extend to all Americans the freedoms so evocatively asserted in the Declaration of Independence. Consider the case of Robert Shaw of Massachusetts.

Since then, American wars have been fought to defend American interests, not American freedoms. By saying that, I do not mean to insist that these wars were all cynical exercises. The United States was attacked by Japan in 1941, and I believe a military response was justified. When Germany subsequently declared war on the U.S., it made sense to consider Germany our enemy. A world where Japan controlled the Pacific and Germany did the same in Europe would have been an inhospitable, brutal place, but it is absurd to claim that either of these countries could ever have occupied American soil and subverted American freedoms. Our armed forces in World War II were engaged in a reputable cause, but they were not defending American freedom. Nor were American military forces in Korea, Vietnam, or Iraq (in either Iraq war). They were instruments of American foreign policy.

Today is Memorial Day, and in cemeteries across the country, orators will offer up platitudes and golden phrases about the bravery and sacrifice of the American soldier. There's no doubt that sacrifice and bravery have indeed often characterized our military (as have brutality and selfishness--after all, these are human beings, just like us, no better, no worse). But if you love freedom, thank the ACLU.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Who's "Politically Correct"?

For years American conservatives have insisted that hiring practices at our colleges and universities are controlled by a rigid ideological orthodoxy, labeled by the right as "political correctness." Conservative pundits like David Horowitz publish books and fill their web sites with unsubstantiated claims about left-wing professors offering jobs only to those applicants whose views match their own. How ironic to learn (see, for example, this article in the New York Times) that the most politically correct institution in the land turns out to be the Bush Department of Justice, where Monica Goodling routinely advanced or thwarted the careers of U.S. Attorneys on the basis of their loyalty to the Republican Party.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bush's War on the Middle Class

The Bush administration likes to say that under its care the American economy is humming along, creating jobs and wealth, and spreading prosperity throughout the land. They often point to the booming stock market to support this claim. Middle-class Americans hear these assertions, ponder their mounting debt, and wonder how they got left behind. The truth, of course, as many know, is that Bush's policies have been terrific for the rich and terrible for everyone else. The Democratic Policy Committee, a study group of Democrats in the U.S. Senate, has posted a comprehensive, accessible report on the realities of Bush economics and how this administration has mounted an unprecedented assault on the financial health of the American middle class. This report spells out in frightening detail how the ties between the Bush administration and corporate interests have led to higher costs for everything ordinary Americans depend on, including college tuition, fuel, and health care. The natonal debt has risen out of sight, and our economic future is more insecure than at any time since the presidency of Herbert Hoover.

In every respect, middle-class families are buffeted by policies that diminish their purchasing power and transfer wealth upwards. The rich get richer, corporate profits rise, and the middle class feels the squeeze.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Is Candice Miller a Racist Homophobe?

Here's an interesting bit of Michigan news: the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nationally known organization that monitors threats to civil rights, has identified the Michigan State University chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom as a "hate group." According to the MSU student newspaper, the MSU YAF is the first college organization to be thus identified. Now there's something all we Michiganders can be proud of!

Heidi Beirich, Deputy Director of the Intelligence Project of the SPLC, explains that the YAF is listed as a hate group because of a “13 point agenda” that "calls for the elimination of minority student organizations and the creation of a Caucasian caucus and promotes anti-gay beliefs and hunting down and deporting illegal immigrants."

Our own Representative Candice Miller appears in a photo with MSU YAF chair Kyle Bristow on his web site. The Michigan Democratic Party would like Representative Miller to explain just what she finds so appealing about Bristow. Is it the homophobia? The cheap shots at immigrant families working for a better life? The thinly veiled racism? Or is it all of these?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

What a Mess!

For a chart that precisely, depressingly, graphically displays what a disaster the US occupation of Iraq has been, look at these figures assembled by Think Progress. In every imaginable way, this war has demonstrated monumental incompetence, a failure to plan, a criminal ignorance of political and cultural realities.

It was just four years ago that the strutting little cowboy declared, "Mission Accomplished." Why is this murderous moron still president? Is it the lock-step, mindless loyalty of the Republicans in Congress, whose leader in the House of Representatives, John Boehner, still repeats the White House talking point that American troops in Iraq are waging war against al Qaeda (as quoted here in the New York Times)? When will this lunacy end?