Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

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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...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Shame on John Conyers

Some interesting thoughts have come from a variety of different viewpoints concerning the arrests of Cindy Sheehan and others at John Conyers’ office.

I join with those who say: Shame on John Conyers for using the police instead of dialogue and discussion. Shame on John Conyers’ most loyal supporter, Al Fishman of Detroit, for supporting what Conyers did. Shame on those who use red-baiting, and have tried to make this an issue involving racism, which it is not; it is an attempt by the “center” and “moderate” forces in the Democratic Party to smear Cindy Sheehan and focus debate in this country away from the real issues in a way that will permit the Democrats in the 2008 elections to evade any discussion of having to put forward solutions to our problems--- ending the war in Iraq and single-payer, universal health care, to name two.

Nobody twisted John Conyers’ arm to be Chair of the House Judiciary Committee… He wanted the position; he got it… apparently because he agreed to play on Pelosi’s team. He takes the heat that goes with the position. To think that he should be treated with kid gloves is ridiculous.

The fact of the matter is this: It was John Conyers who started all of this talk about impeachment in the first place in case Al Fishman and others have forgotten. It was John Conyers who got people all worked up that Bush and Cheney should be impeached. It was Conyers who stated, and I heard him with my own ears, “The only way to stop this gang of criminals (Bush-Cheney-Rove) is through impeachment.”

Well, what has changed now? If what Conyers stated prior was in fact grounds for impeachment, the case for impeachment is definitely stronger today.

And, if what has been published about Bush’s intent to turn our country into a fascist state by creating dirty deeds and blaming it on terrorists is true… then the case for impeachment is even stronger… personally, I wouldn’t have published this unsubstantiated piece of fear-mongering, but, many have; and it seems many believe Bush is capable of this kind of dirty deed; which, if even being considered by Bush and Cheney is a highly impeachable offense.

Obviously, Conyers was only talking impeachment because to talk this way was politically expedient at the time. Now that people all across this country have been convinced by his arguments that Bush and Cheney should be impeached, Nancy Pelosi says “no” and he withdraws; in the process telling everyone, “Just vote for more Democrats like me and Nancy Pelosi and put a Democrat in the Whitehouse.”

Apparently Conyers went on the road all across America as some kind of cute, cheap little political stunt in order to bring people out to vote for Democrats; people who voted because they really believed Conyers was sincere about his intent to initiate impeachment proceedings. Now we find it was all a hoax and a cheap little gimmick used to trick people into voting for Democrats. Naturally, people now feel offended in being used in this way.

Just what we need, another Democrat like John Conyers or Nancy Pelosi in the Whitehouse. John Conyers previously said, “Give us a House and Senate majority and I will move forward with impeachment as the Chair of the Judiciary Committee in the House.” Conyers, an attorney of some renown, didn’t move forward with what he said was an air-tight case for impeachment. What has happened to Conyers’ H.R. 676… single-payer, universal health care; it now has fewer supporters than previously. Why? Will voting for more Democrats like himself and Pelosi plus one of the candidates now running for President get us closer to having H.R. 676 come into law? How can it when all the presidential hopefuls in the double-digits are all opposed to H.R. 676 and are offering up their own schemes that will leave the insurance and pharmaceutical companies in control? And, the rest of the Democrats are leery to sign on because they know their political futures will be tied to supporting whatever scheme the Democratic President will be pushing… they sure don’t want to be accused of “waffling” by their own constituents who just might start occupying their offices in an attempt to hold them to support for single-payer.

If Conyers has been sincere in his liberal and progressive statements, I would think Conyers would welcome Cindy Sheehan being elected to Congress over Nancy Pelosi… Sheehan’s only stated purpose is helping Conyers accomplish that which he states he is for. Cindy Sheehan’s election would strengthen democracy and Conyers’ own positions. Obviously, a Republican has no chance in the district no matter how close the race would be between Pelosi and Sheehan because Pelosi has done such an excellent job pushing a progressive agenda over the years, albeit a progressive agenda which has only framed the issues without the kind of progressive solutions advocated by Sheehan; so, the argument can’t be used that this would give the Republicans a chance of winning this Congressional seat.

I think people have a right to vote for candidates of their choice who reflect their stand on issues best, and I am glad to see Cindy Sheehan taking both John Conyers and Nancy Pelosi to task.

I won’t believe much of what John Conyers ever says about anything ever again. I figured he was one of the few Democrats who could be trusted; and trusted to be compassionate and understanding with people… it would have been different if someone was threatening him or his staff with physical harm… there has been no suggestion that anything other than words were exchanged. In fact those people could have sat in his office until the proverbial “hell freezes over” and no one would have been hurt.

If Conyers is the progressive or liberal he claims to be, he would have served them all meals and told them to make themselves at home and to stay as long as they like.

There is something drastically wrong when someone like Al Fishman has to question “who” someone is, as if you have to be “someone” in order to have a say in this country… isn’t just the fact of being a person, with a thought and a concern you want to share with an elected official, enough?

I have seen much of Conyers’ campaign contributions and where they come from… he doesn’t come into politics with such open and clean hands himself… and, Al Fishman knows this, perhaps better than anyone else.

Just because Conyers himself won a tight race years ago doesn’t give him any “right” to continue to hold public office without a challenge. So what if a more progressive candidate was to challenge him and win? This is about issues; not anyone’s “claim” to an office. I would think Fishman and his peace organizations would welcome someone like a Cindy Sheehan replacing Conyers… after all, Conyers must be getting ready to retire by now… after what he has pulled, this would probably be a good time for him to give retirement consideration.

I really resent people trying to silence others through this kind of sleazy campaign pretending that something else is involved when everyone knows it is not.

I also resent Al Fishman and others trying to make us believe holding hearings to investigate everything to death is a substitute for real solutions to our country’s problems. If we are to believe the polls (and for the polls to be wrong there would have to be one heck of a margin of error) most Americans seem to believe the Democrats are not doing what they expected of them at the time they cast their votes for them on Election Day.

I don’t know anything about Cindy Sheehan other than she is voicing her concerns as a grieving mother whose son has been killed in Bush’s senseless war based upon lies and deceit which the Democratic Party has just about unanimously signed onto; initially, in providing Bush the opportunity to go to war--- then with continued funding for this carnage which sinks us deeper and deeper into a quagmire by the day as the Democrats have yet to explain how they propose to get us out.

I give Cindy Sheehan a whole heck of a lot of credit for coming forward as she has.

Shame on John Conyers; arresting progressive activists like Cindy Sheehan with very legitimate grievances and concerns is no solution to any problem.