Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

President Bush got the welcome a warmonger deserves in Grand Rapids, Michigan

This coverage from the daily Republican rag and big business mouthpieces tells us a lot about what is going on in this country... both the Grand Rapids Press and WOTV continue to shamefully support this oilman's war.

The peace movement mobilizes thousands of people on the spur of the moment, and the Republican Party can't even bring out but a pitiful handful of warmongers that included bankers, the Huntings and the Pews, the Prince family which owns the Blackwater Agency, and Rich and Betsy DeVos along with General Motors' management, along with corporate executives that were brought in from Chicago, Detroit, and New York, along with a crowd of congressional staff of over one hundred from Washington D.C.

The crowd that was in attendance to greet President Bush included six board members of the local John Birch Society as well as members of the World Affairs Council together with Meijer and Bissel Corporation executives.

Only forty-four students from East Grand Rapids High School were allowed to attend because the Republicans were afraid of their own children in this Republican stronghold of East Grand Rapids, Michigan, the home of former Republican Congressman and our only un-elected President appointed by that crook Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford.

Bush, the Republicans, and the Secret Service chose this high school where the sons and daughters of the wealthy--- the bankers, corporate attorneys, and automotive executives go to school... no doubt Lee Iococa who often attends West Michigan Republican shindigs didn't receive an invitation either after Laura Bush read excerpts of his latest book to the President.

Peter Secchia was on hand as was Mike Lloyd the FBI informant turned Editor of the Grand Rapids Press who provided the FBI with much of the information in the dossier on Susan Logie. The group in attendance to hear Bush's words of wisdom were the wealthy and well-heeled while the rest of the people were kept far away.

The Secret Service and FBI even barred the school's teachers from attending Bush's speech because they were worried Bush would receive some loud "boos."

Previously Cheney was sent to deliver a speech to the Party faithful at conservative Calvin College which Cheney intentionally chose because he thought he was safe from protests... and he found out that neither he nor the Republican warmongers were welcome there.

One can't help but wonder what the people who are running this country are thinking when they are pursuing policies of war and destruction that are so unpopular that neither the President nor his Vice-President are welcome in these Republican strongholds.

One thing neither of these media reports mention is that former Republican Grand Rapids Mayor John Logie just months ago, while invited to speak from the pulpit on a Sunday morning at one of the largest churches in Grand Rapids, called for the impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney for lying to the American people about this dirty war in Iraq. Logie was the longest serving mayor of Grand Rapids. Perhaps Logie is just angry that the Secret Service and the FBI have compiled a massive dossier, including wire taps and photo surveillance on the family home, because of the peace activities of his wife, Susan.

Protests against president are peaceful

Saturday, April 21, 2007

By Jim Harger

The Grand Rapids Press

EAST GRAND RAPIDS -- AnneMarie Bessette didn't come to shop when she took her 15-year-old daughter, Coralie, to Gaslight Village.

Mother and daughter were there to join nearly 1,000 protesters who roamed the business district Friday, waving signs and shouting anti-war chants while President Bush delivered a speech half a block away at East Grand Rapids High School.

"I'm trying to educate my children and help them understand international affairs," Bessette said. "I'm trying to help them understand what's happening in our country, and especially the war in Iraq."

It was one of two separate protests held during Bush's brief visit to the Grand Rapids area. A smaller group of about 60 voiced their opposition to Bush and the war in Iraq at South Division Avenue and Fulton Street.

Prior to Bush's arrival at the high school, most of the protesters lined the east side of Lakeside Drive SE in the belief the president's motorcade would pass them. When the motorcade arrived from the other direction at 1 p.m., they streamed west along Wealthy Street SE and posted themselves at the intersection of Bagley Avenue SE.

Gaslight Village took on a carnival atmosphere as protesters drummed out anti-war chants and slogans.

Irene Bach, 83, basked in the sun and watched from a lawn chair that she and her husband, Sol, brought from their home on Breton Road.

"I guess I'm opposed to war, period," she said. "I'm very much for peace."

During the protest in downtown Grand Rapids, Amy Hamb, 38, of Rockford, stared at a 250-foot banner that carried the names and dates of death of more than 3,000 Americans killed during the war.

"Those are the dead?" whispered Hamb as she stood at a nearby bus stop. "I didn't realize. You hear about one or two West Michigan deaths, but those are the number dead from this war. I never got that," she said.

Plenty of cars beeped in recognition of the signs instructing "Honk if you want peace."

The handmade messages even included a nod to former President Reagan's words about the Berlin Wall: "Mr. President, tear down this war."

Donna Harris left her downtown residence to see the crowd gathering on the corner. She walked past the signs and moved in closer to examine the banner listing the names of the U.S. war dead. A furrow creased her brow.

"Oh my God, there are 43-year-old women on here. This really makes you face our dead," Harris said. "When I was younger, you used to be able to tell the president something and he would listen. That is not happening," said the 64-year-old woman, who described herself as an artist.

©2007 Grand Rapids Press
© 2007 Michigan Live. All Rights Reserved.


Bush in EGR: 'progress toward liberty'

Updated: April 20, 2007 04:28 PM CDT

EAST GRAND RAPIDS -- Less than 30 minutes after landing at Ford International Airport, President George W. Bush delivered a major policy speech about the Global War on Terror at East Grand Rapids High School.

The president was introduced by Dixie Anderson of the World Affairs Council, and the audience of about 500 included Reps. Vern Ehlers, Pete Hoekstra, Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land and longtime supporter Peter Secchia, plus 44 students from East Grand Rapids High School.

In prepared remarks lasting nearly 40 minutes, the president talked about the surge of both US troops and violence over the past few months.

President Bush said that sectarian murders have dropped by half in Baghdad since the U.S.-Iraqi military buildup began in February, rejecting a Democratic leader's claim that the war is lost.

"These operations are having an important effect on this young democracy," Bush said in a speech on terrorism, his second in two days. "They're showing Iraqi citizens across the country that there will be no sanctuary for killers anywhere in a free Iraq."

Bush said he continues to believe that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is committed to peace and reconciliation. At the same time, he said the U.S. military commitment in Iraq is not-open ended.

"Iraqis must not give in to al-Qaida if they want a peaceful society," he said.

Bush spoke at a high school to about 500 students and members of the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan. He urged Americans not to be swayed by the violence inflicted by suicide bombers. He said Wednesday's carnage, in which four large bombs exploded in mostly Shiite areas of Baghdad and killed 230 people, had all the "hallmarks of an al-Qaida attack."

It was the deadliest day in the city since the mid-February start of the U.S.-Iraqi campaign to reduce violence in the capital and Anbar Province, a stronghold for Sunni insurgents.

"Anbar province is still not safe," Bush said.

Pushing back against Democrats, Bush said that not all the troops that he ordered in January in a military buildup have arrived. It's too early to assume defeat, he said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says the war in Iraq is "lost" and can only be won through political and economic diplomatic means. He said the surge is not accomplishing anything. Republicans have pounced on Reid for his comments, accusing him of turning his back on the troops and hurting military morale in Iraq.

Bush declined to take the gloves off.

"I respect the Democratic leadership," he said. "We have fundamental disagreements about whether or not helping this young democracy is, you know -- the consequences of failure or success, let's put it this way."

In past addresses, Bush has worked to paint a rose-colored picture of progress in Iraq. This time, he showed maps and photographs of destruction and acknowledged that tough challenges remain.

In recent days, Defense Secretary Robert Gates pressed al-Maliki to do more, and do it faster, to end sectarian strife. Navy Adm. William Fallon, chief of the U.S. Central Command, said Baghdad security has improved a bit but he, too, said Iraqis need to find a way to bring minority Sunnis, who ruled during Saddam Hussein's regime, fully into the government led by majority Shiites.

President Bush then was "happy to answer questions on any subject," and did so for nearly 30 minutes. The first question was how he dealt with Democratic control of the purse strings in Congress. The president answered he believed the troops would get the money they needed.

He expanded the answer to include how the sectarian violence began, how that impacted his decisions, and how it's taking time to train Iraqi troops to do what needs to be done.

The next question concerned his relationship with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the UK's plan to withdraw troops from certain regions of Iraq. "Tony Blair knows what I know," Bush said. "We are in a global war on terror. We are sometimes in different theaters, but we're fighting the global war."

Iran was the next topic of discussion, and how to deal with "their belligerent behavior." The president said the Iranians have defied the world community to "what I believe is to develop a nuclear weapon."

He said the country cannot give in to nuclear blackmail. Our objective, he said, "is to rally the world" to Iran's actions and garner support against their plans.

"Iran is a proud country with great traditions, but their government is" making bad choices.

A woman asked about the Iraq Study Group and the Baker-Hamilton recommendations. The president said he agreed with many of their recommendations, but he was bound "by conditions on the ground" in his reactions and decisions on conduct of the war. He said, plainly, he disagreed with some of their diplomatic recommendations, saying it would be counter-productive for face-to-face meetings with the Syrians until they change some of their behaviors.

In a reference to Nancy Pelosi's recent visit to Syria, the president said Syrian president Bashir Assad uses those visits to tell the world he's important. But, the president said, Assad has not lived up to any agreement with the international community.

"I don't know," Bush said when asked about al-Maliki's understanding of American patience. "We must make decisions based on principles and not on the latest opinion polls," he said to applause. "I believe in the universality of liberty...I firmly believe in the power of freedom."

A question about the US support of Saudi Arabia and other autocratic governments may be fomenting anger against the US. "It's not like I believe Jeffersonian democracy will be blooming in the desert," he said. "I do have a good relationship with King Abdullah and it gives me the chance to share my thoughts with him privately."

"There is progress being made," he added, "toward more liberty." Bush cited future elections in Egypt as being more open. "It takes a while. And the fundamental question is, will we be involved in the Middle East" in ways that affect their societies and the world at large.

"I will tell you," President Bush said, "I worry about us becoming isolationist and protectionist."

"We are all interconnected in this world."

The president wrapped up his session at 2:25 p.m.

After the speech, Bush made an unscheduled stop at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, where the former president was buried in January. He laid a bouquet of white roses on a stone wall that marks Ford's grave and paused there for a few moments.


GRAND RAPIDS -- Officials at East Grand Rapids High School have been working all week to get ready for Friday's presidential visit, but a big difference you might notice now are the road closures.

Bagley Avenue will be closed from 9 a.m. Friday until 4 p.m. Lake Drive between Breton and Lovett will be shut down from 12:45 until 2:30, and Wealthy Street in Gaslight Village will be closed as the president arrives and departs from the school.

The president is expected to speak just after 1:00 Friday afternoon. The White House says he'll deliver a major policy speech on the war on terror. Although the school says the appearance is not a political statement, it's causing some issues among the students at East.

It's a scenario that plays out in just about every city and town the President visits: supporters versus protesters. Grand Rapids is no different. Both sides are planning to make their voices heard.

East Grand Rapids student Tim Vanderploeg is making sure he looks his best for the big day Friday. The high school senior was one of 44 lucky students picked in a random drawing to attend the President's speech.

Thursday, Vanderploeg, a staunch Bush supporter, said the excitement was almost overwhelming. "It's going to be hard to sleep knowing I'm going to see the leader of the free world tomorrow."

But not all students share his enthusiasm or support for the President. "There's been a little bit of tension," he admitted.

Katie Lorenz is also a senior at East. "The school right now is very tense, everyone is on edge," she said. "People are arguing in the hallways."

She and a group of students plan to join one of several protests at nearby John Collins Park. "We're planning to march as far as we can to the high school."

Lorenz is willing to leave school to take a stand for her cause. "It doesn't matter if you're Republican or Democrat, all we want is peace."

Former CIA advisor turned activist Ray McGovern will be part of what's anticipated to be the largest protest at the park. "We all feel a moral obligation to speak out," said McGovern.

Local Republicans anticipated a reaction to Bush's visit. "We respect their right to protest," said Kent County Republican Committee member Sam Moore.

The Committee said they will not hold a counter-demonstration-they believe the power of the presidency will speak for itself.

"I would anticipate he's going to renew his call that he will veto any legislation that sets a time table for withdrawal in Iraq," said Moore. "He wants the commanders on the ground to decide that, and that's the way it should be."

The note administrators sent home with students mentions conduct of the students as well. "We trust that the students of East Grand Rapids will conduct themselves in a manner that is responsible and respectful."

24 Hour News 8 will have more details about the President's visit Friday.