Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rogers serves as Bush apologist for AG resignation

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton?, has not strayed far from his roots as a Bush apologist, this time defending disgraced U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales following his resignation yesterday.

According to a written statement to the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, Rogers is blaming Democrats for Gonzales lying to Congress.

“America needs a Justice Department focused on the safety and security of our nation, unfortunately the Democrats have made the focus more on personalities and politics, completely missing the important mission of protecting the people we all serve. I hope this change allows us to refocus on that critical mission and our future.”

This is just wrong on so many levels, and it’s amazing that this kind of crap is coming from the mouth – or pen of his press secretary - of a former FBI agent. Even the written statement gets me. When was the last time anyone has actually seen Rogers? Congress has been out of session for the entire month of August to allow Congress to spend time in their district, but Rogers has been pretty scarce. It seems Press Secretary Sylvia Warner is doing all of Roger talking for him, and I’m sure she wrote that statement. Rogers reminds me of the wizard from the Wizard of Oz, and Warner is the gatekeeper. “No body gets to see the wizard (Rogers) not nobody, not no how.”

The P & A carried a brief for office hours for Rogers. “Staff members from the office of U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, will be available to meet with constituents from 9 a.m. to noon Monday at Brighton City Hall, 200 N. First St.” We know Rogers will not be there because he never is, but I wonder if his staff members will be there on the Labor Day holiday.

It seems ironic to me that Gonzales lied to Congress about his role in the firing of eight U.S. attorneys because they did their job and refused to persecute Democrats and stop legitimate criminal probes of Republicans, and Rogers is defending that? The ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Arlen Specter, said to Gonzales, “Your credibility has been breached to the point of being actionable.” When President Clinton was impeached we were told hundreds and hundreds of times by Republicans and Clinton haters that it was not about sex it was about lying. Why is it OK for Gonzales to lie about matters that are truly important to the country and get way with it? Perhaps Rogers can answer that.

It was also Gonzales who explored ways to make it OK for the U.S. to torture people. He also wrote a memo that called the Geneva Convention "quaint.” I’m appalled that a former Army officer like Rogers kept quit about that position. It was also Gonzales that trampled on the Constitution to allow the NSA to spy on U.S. citizens without proper warrants.

There is also controversy swirling around the more than 5 million e-mails that may have been lost or deleted surrounding the U.S. attorney scandal, and many are from another recently resigned Bush crook and crony Karl Rove.

The good news is resignation does not mean they are exempt from subpoena. What’s really amazing to me is that in the most scandal-ridden administration since Watergate Bush has only had one special prosecutor. The only real difference is Ken Starr spent more than four years and $40 million of taxpayer money on a personal witch-hunt against President Clinton, but Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation actually led to a convention in a court of law.

Rogers should be ashamed of himself, but I know better.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Join the vigil in front of Rogers office to mark the countdown to Take A Stand

People who truly support the troops by trying to get them out of harm’s way are gathering for a vigil as we speak with sleeping bags, bongo drums, protest signs and plenty of coffee in front of U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton?, Lansing office as the “Iraq Summer” concludes Tuesday with “Take A Stand” town meeting at noon on the Capitol steps in downtown Lansing.

Many local people will be making their presence known at Rogers only office outside of Washington, D.C., located at 1327 E. Michigan Ave. in Lansing. Since Congress has not been in session for the entire month of August to allow lawmakers to spend time in their district, there is a very slim change Rogers could actually show his face in the three days the vigil will take place. Come and join the following groups in their vigil:

America Votes, Michigan Peace Works, Michigan Peace Team, SEIU, Military Moms for Peace, GLNAWI , Mid-Michigan DFA, UU Church of Greater Lansing and Cristo Rey Parish.

The “Take a Stand Campaign” is a nation-wide organizing drive to demand that members of Congress and the Senate take a stand with the vast majority of Americans who want a safe and responsible redeployment of American Forces from Iraq.

Across America, over 100 “Iraq Summer” organizers are working to involve thousands of ordinary Americans in an effort to pressure targeted members of Congress to vote to bring a safe end to the war. The summer campaign is culminating with “Take A Stand” town meetings to be held on Tuesday, immediately before congress reconvenes. The Iraq Summer Campaign-Michigan, 8th District the Take a Stand town hall will be held at noon on Tuesday on the Capitol lawn in Lansing.

Feel free to join them.

Iraq Summer is a campaign organized by Americans Against Escalation in Iraq and the Campaign to Defend America, designed to turn public opinion against the war in Iraq into political pressure on members of Congress who stand in the way of a responsible end to the war in Iraq.

For further information call (202) 425-0263 or email michigan7@iraqcampaign.org.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Clueless in Lansing

Now, I realize that this could be a fitting title for all kinds of topics, but this particular post is focused on the Lansing State Journal's Capitol Journal blog.

Last week, there was a head-scratching post by LSJ reporter Derek Wallbank, Who can run with Rogers? One man can. (Let's not be nit-picky and point out that a challenger runs against an incumbent, rather than with him...)

Wallbank muses about possible Rogers challenges from Gretchen Whitmer, Joan Bauer, Mark Meadows, Virg Bernero, Diane Byrum, Barb Byrum and/or First Gentleman Dan Mulhern. His fave, though is the (also possible) candidacy of Sam Singh:
But one high-flyer just had all his obstacles removed. He just stepped down from the state-wide non-profit advocacy group he founded and is serving out his last few months as East Lansing mayor, after publicly declining to run again. I'm talking about Sam Singh, the unquestioned number-one Democratic threat to de-throne Rogers.
Just to be clear, I will happily support the Deomcratic challenger to Rogers, whoever he or she may be.

But before zooming over to file with the Secretary of State's office, a potential candidate should be very clear about the need to raise serious money. This clarity ain't coming from Wallbank, who blithely notes:

There is no doubt that he'd be able to raise the money necessary to give Rogers a run for his money.
Oh, really?

Let's review a few salient points:

1.) As of June 30, 2007, Mike Rogers had $491,383 cash on hand, which places him a little more than halfway between MI-07's Walberg ($240,784) and MI-09's Knollenberg ($600,775), the two districts that the Michigan Democratic Party considers most competitive. (Figures from CQ Politics.com)

2.) Jim Marcinkowski, Rogers' opponent in 2006, raised $552,157 -- the most raised by any Rogers challenger to date -- and he was still outspent by Rogers at $1,863,914. (figures from OpenSecrets.org)

3.) MI-08 is a BIG district: it includes all or part of five different counties, and is covered by three different media markets. Bottom line? Even without a well-funded incumbent, it will take a significant chunk of change to win this district.

Continuing on with his heroic efforts to win the Cognitive Dissonance Award, Wallbank touts the Capitol Journal ratings system, which "mirrors several national systems." (No names mentioned, just in case you were wondering about methodology.) Right now, the Capitol Journal rates MI-08 "Safe Incumbent," defined as

A safe incumbent is one who has either a dominant history in past elections, has no declared major party challenger or has a sizable edge in both fundraising and the polls over their challenger. This person would not lose the election unless a major electoral wave swept them out.

Yet according to Wallbank, "... if Singh runs, it will be time to update the race forecast. Rogers won't be a "safe incumbent" anymore."


If this seems a bit confusing, you should remember that the Lansing State Journal is the paper whose Gannett-lovin' editor Leslie J. Hurst not only spiked the 5 - 1 majority editorial board vote to endorse Jim Marcinkowski in 2006, but threw in her own dollop of nastiness and misinformation in the non-endorsement that eventually ran, precipitating the resignation of an editorial board member.

The Lansing State Journal is the largest newspaper in the district. It's a shame that instead of reporting on politics, they like to play politics...

Monday, August 13, 2007

He's Still Turning!

I just finished posting The Worm Turns and got up for that all-important coffee refill. I sat back down at my computer to find that today's Lansing State Journal is showcasing Mr. Rogers' latest Maybe/MaybeNot pronouncement with this headline:

This article contains such gems as

We've got to figure out, have we made any headway at all on the political front, that I don't know," he said. "But I think, militarily, they have been able to turn the corner."


Rogers has generally supported the war effort, but has been critical of the Bush administration over the past year. He called President Bush's surge in troops a mistake, but did not vote against it.

My personal fave:

Asked whether he still believed the decision to invade Iraq was correct, Rogers said there was no point in looking backward.

So here's the question for Mr. Rogers: do you sleep well at night because you (A) have no spine, (B) have no conscience, or (C) all of the above?

The Worm Turns

You may have seen the reprint of Bob Alexander's Lansing State Journal op-ed that was posted here last week (if you haven't, do check it out). It's a calm, reasonable op-ed that provides a much-needed reminder of Rogers' flip-flop on Iraq.

Five years ago Rogers returned from a Middle East trip and surprisingly announced that he no longer favored a military attack on Iraq.

Rogers said information from Israeli and Saudi intelligence officers and others caused him to reassess his position.

Rogers' objections to military action then are still true:George Bush hasn't made a case for military action.

He was not sure a military action is in the best interests of the United States. We ought to pursue inspections.

He was not convinced that Iraq has the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction.

What will happen after a fall of the Hussein government .. how it will it affect stability in the Middle East?

Mike definitely drank the Bush Kool-Aid on this one.

But he wasn't alone:Political Wire started off this morning's news roundup with a flashback of Dick Cheney's 1994 C-SPAN interview, in which Cheney said that a U.S. invasion of Iraq would result in a quagmire.

He [Cheney] even asks, "How many additional dead Americans is Saddam Hussein worth?" and answers himself saying, "Not very many."

So what happened? How did cautious, realistic views of U.S. involvement in Iraq morph into a 21st century equivalent of the Salem Witch Trials?

There's an antidote for this particularly noxious Kool-Aid: it's called the 2008 elections. Unfortunately, it will come too late for more than 3,000 U.S. service members who lost their lives in this war.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It's not just me...

As some of you know, I'm a transplanted New Englander. Moving to Michigan a little over two years ago brought a lot of changes to my life. Some of them have been pretty nice, like people who smile and say "good morning" even though they don't know you, and streets with actual signage and left turn lanes. Gorgeous beaches, incredible bakeries, deer wandering through the yard and college football teams that actually win also make the list.

Some of the changes haven't been so good, though: I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen my U.S. Representative in person. This includes parades --not the best venue for constituent Q&A. Coming from a tradition of Town Meeting and having served as a local elected official, this is definitely not what I'm used to.

It's not just Mike Rogers who carefully doles out appearances. Every few months, his office proudly informs the local paper that the staff "will be available" to meet with Livingston County constituents. His spokeswoman is more like a text-woman, since her answers to local reporters seem to be exclusively in written form.

I thought it was just me (a/k/a The Cranky Yankee), but when I read Marilyn Charger's letter in today's Press & Argus I knew I wasn't alone.

Since President George W. Bush reminds us frequently this is a democracy, and a democracy is defined as government by the people through their elected representatives, this is my chance to see the situation in Washington as seen by my congressman. Phone calls to his Lansing and his Washington offices revealed he has no public meetings scheduled for the month of August nor anytime soon — or far.

I could schedule a private meeting or meet with his aide. I've met with his aide several times. I want a public meeting where others can hear his answers to my questions and I can hear his answers to other people's questions. I want to hear, along with him, the concerns and priorities of others. Am I asking too much for the $165,200 per year he makes?

Amen, Marilyn!

Friday, August 10, 2007

From the LSJ: Bob Alexander on Mike Rogers and Iraq

This op-ed was in today's Lansing State Journal from East Lansing activist Bob Alexander.

Reprinted with his permission -

Bob Alexander: Rogers should resume his oppositon to war

Congressman Mike Rogers has mistakenly supported the Iraq war, but did you know that Rogers opposed an invasion for six weeks back in 2002?

Five years ago Rogers returned from a Middle East trip and surprisingly announced that he no longer favored a military attack on Iraq (Ann Arbor News, Sept. 6, 2002). Rogers said information from Israeli and Saudi intelligence officers and others caused him to reassess his position.

Rogers' objections to military action then are still true:

George Bush hasn't made a case for military action.

He was not sure a military action is in the best interests of the United States. We ought to pursue inspections.

He was not convinced that Iraq has the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction.

What will happen after a fall of the Hussein government .. how it will affect stability in the Middle East?

Recently I urged Rogers to resume his correct 2002 anti-war position at an Iraq Summer Project press conference. Iraq Summer is a national coalition lobbying Rogers and 39 Republican lawmakers to vote to withdraw our troops. In Michigan, Iraq Summer also focuses on Congressmen Vern Ehlers, Fred Upton, Thad McCotter and Joe Knollenberg.

Since December, Rogers has been the Michigan Republican most critical of Bush. He has offered alternative proposals. But Rogers continues to vote for Bush's war.

Last February, Rogers stated,"We've made some devastating mistakes in Iraq" and opposed stationing most of the additional troops in Baghdad. Despite this criticism, Rogers voted for the surge. Republican Upton, though, voted against it.

On May 10, Rogers did not vote on partial Iraq war funding. Rogers did not co-sponsor the June 5 Republican enactment of the Iraq Study Commission report. Ehlers, Upton and Peter Hoekstra did.

On July 13, Rogers voted against withdrawal and twice claimed, "We have several problems in Iraq - an Iranian problem, an al-Qaida problem and a sectarian violence problem. What we need is ... (a) strategy ... if the surge, which I did not favor, does not work."

The biggest problem that Rogers does not recognize is our troops are occupying Iraq. Every month our brave troops remain exacerbates the problems of Iranians, al-Qaida, sectarian violence - and our $12 billion a month cost. Rogers refuses to admit that he knew the U.S. should not invade Iraq, and since 2002 he has voted for the Bush Iraq fiasco.

Our solution is withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Only after our troops leave will the Iraqis themselves, surrounding Muslim countries, the United Nations and the European Union negotiate the political and economic agreements that will greatly lessen the Iranian, al-Qaida and sectarian problems Rogers has emphasized.

The Iraq Summer Project calls for a large rally at noon, Aug. 28 at the State Capitol to urge withdrawal from Iraq - and for Rogers to announce his renewed opposition to the war. Peace supporters should call Rogers (702-8000) and urge him to vote for withdrawal. After you call Rogers, please call Iraq Summer - (202) 425-0811. Let us act now.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Turn up the heat on Rogers for his support for the failed Iraq occupation

Concerned citizens, volunteers and political activists will join with Americans Against Escalation in Iraq and Military Moms for Peace to welcome home U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, one of most ardent supporters of President Bush’s failed polices in the Iraq occupation/civil war, following the August recess of the U.S. Congress with a rally Wednesday at Rogers’ Lansing office.

Activists hope to turn up the heat to help Rogers see the error in continuously voting to continue Bush’s failed Iraq policies and to make excuses for its failure in an unjustified and useless occupation that that has killed more Livingston County soldiers and Marines than the entire 16-year history of the war in Vietnam.

Over the last several weeks Americans Against Escalation in Iraq's "Iraq Summer" campaign has rolled out the welcome mat in preparation for Rogers' arrival by signing up hundreds of Rogers' constituents as volunteers, holding rallies in front of his office and planting lawn signs and going door-to-door throughout the 8th Congressional District. Outraged at the fact that the Iraqi government is going on vacation while major milestones in the plans for moving Iraq forward remain unmet, the volunteers will be greeting Rogers in their vacation attire: Hawaiian shirts and sunglasses at his Lansing office at noon Wednesday Aug. 8. The office is located at 1327 E. Michigan Ave. in the City of Lansing, and for those that use one of the driving directions programs the zip code is 48823. Don’t forget your vacation gear.

Americans Against Escalation in Iraq is a national campaign comprised of a variety groups from across the political spectrum that are committed to opposing the Bush plan to escalate the war in Iraq and to work for the responsible redeployment of American forces. It’s a loose coalition of various groups, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), MoveOn.org Political Action, VoteVets.org, Center for American Progress Action Fund, USAction, Win Without War, Campaign for America’s Future, the United States Student Association, Working Assets, Americans United for Change and Campus Progress Action.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Who Does Mike Rogers Really Work For: Part XXVIII

Golly, where to begin?

Well, we could start with a quick overview of some of Mr. Rogers' recent votes:

NO on allowing lower-cost drug imports from Canada, Europe and Australia.

Moving right along, let's take a peek at some sources of Mr. Rogers' money:

According to OpenSecrets.org, the Number One source of Mr. Rogers's donations (21.8% ) is the health care industry, followed by finance/insurance/real estate (16.8%).


What else has Mr. Rogers been doing inside the Beltway? Oh, he voted

(Thanks to Pohlitics for this terrific post)

So much for supporting the troops. Then again, this is the same person who voted to cut veterans' health care by $13.5 billion over 5 years, and said no to extending health care benefits to active duty National Guard & Reservists and their families. Sorry, Mr. Rogers -- those heartwarming stories about the troops you've chatted with on your overseas trips aren't a substitute for responsible legislation.

Who does Mr. Rogers really work for? After a peek at his busy week in Washington, we know it ain't for us.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Mike Rogers Votes Against Rest for U.S. Troops Serving in Iraq

This is a pretty simple premise, so we'll cut to the chase. Here's the background on H.R.3159:
  • Prohibits units and members of the regular Armed Forces from being deployed for Operations Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom (including participation in the NATO International Security Assistance Force (Afghanistan)) unless the period between deployments is equal to or longer than the period of the previous deployment
  • Expresses the sense of Congress that the optimal minimum period between such deployments should be equal to or longer than twice the period of the previous deployment.
  • Prohibits units and members of the reserves from being deployed for such Operations (including such NATO participation) if the unit or member has been deployed within three preceding years.
  • Expresses the sense of Congress that units and members of the reserves should not be mobilized continuously for more than one year, and that the optimal minimum period between such deployments should be five years.
  • Authorizes the: (1) President to waive such limitations after certifying to Congress that the deployment is necessary to meet an operational emergency posing a threat to vital national security interests; or (2) chief of staff of the military department concerned (including the Coast Guard) to waive such limitations with respect to a member who has voluntarily requested mobilization.
In other words, this would give the men and women who have served in Iraq a period to rest in-between deployments.

Here's what Speaker Pelosi had to say about this legislation:
Today, in our fifth year of war in Iraq, the readiness of our forces has declined precipitously as the result of lengthy deployments. Our soldiers are serving their third and fourth tours of duty in Iraq, a war without end. This is unacceptable, especially at a time when the most recent National Intelligence Estimate shows that al Qaeda is gaining strength and the threat of terrorism against the United States is growing.

The New Direction Congress will always ensure that our brave men and women in uniform have the tools and training they need to do their jobs and return safely home. This legislation will strengthen our military by giving our troops the chance to recover from their deployments, retrain, and re-equip before redeploying.
Regardless of how you feel about the War in Iraq, it's hard to argue with that logic. And heck, there's even a window in there for the President to waive these limitations (which, knowing him, he would do anyway).

Nevertheless, this simple logic has once again escaped the good Congressman from the 8th district, who voted against H.R. 3159 today.

They say there's no rest for the weary, and thanks to Mike Rogers, that statement still applies to our American troops who have bravely served in the war he voted for.

It's a Date!

Looking for something to do on a Friday night? Try Dinner and a Movie in Brighton tomorrow night, co-hosted by Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, who are making this a very hot and uncomfortable summer for Mike Rogers, and the Livingston County Democrats, who make Mr. Rogers uncomfortable year-round.

WHEN: Friday, August 3rd at 7:00 p.m.

WHAT: A screening of Robert Greenwald's "Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers." The suggested donation is $10 per person or $15 for a couple, and $5 for students. Attendees are asked to bring a covered dish for the potluck dinner. The movie will be screened following the potluck. Anyone needing transportation may call party headquarters, 810-229-4212.

WHERE: The LCDP Brighton office, 10321 East Grand River, Suite 600 (on Grand River just east of Old U.S. 23)

A 30-year veteran of Hollywood, Robert Greenwald has won acclaim for his documentaries, including " Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" and "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices."

Earlier this year, Greenwald was invited to testify before the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, where he discussed the role of private contractors in the torture and abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Greenwald had intended to show four minutes of the film, but Republican committee members insisted that the clip not be shown.


Although the film was designed primarily to be shown in grassroots screenings rather than in movie theaters, reviewers have praised it. The New York Times said that Greenwald had compiled "... a horrifying catalog of greed, corruption and incompetence among private contractors in Iraq," and called the film's revelations "shocking."

The Los Angeles Times wrote:

Like Greenwald's previous films, ' Iraq for Sale' is made from a progressive political point of view but spends considerable time talking to regular people who likely voted Republican. And this time he's focused on one of those issues that might unite viewers across all political spectra: unconscionable war profiteering coupled with catastrophic decisions by major American companies.

TV Guide awarded it three and a half stars (out of four) while calling it "carefully researched" and "crucial to fully understanding the Iraqi/American enterprise."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Mike Rogers Votes Against Healthcare for Poor Kids

Today the House voted to re-authorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). Here's a little more background on the legislation from Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA):
This is legislation that will renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which currently provides health insurance to six million who otherwise would be without it. It would also expand this coverage to include an additional six million children that aren’t covered under the current law. It also makes needed improvements to Medicare to protect the health of seniors and the disabled. And it’s all paid for so we aren’t adding to the national debt.
Rep. Capps goes on to point out that this legislation has historically had strong bipartisan support. Forty three governors have publicly supported reauthorization of S-CHIP, along with diverse advocacy groups including the American Medical Association, AARP, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and the Children’s Defense Fund. In fact, during his 2004 reelection campaign, President Bush routinely voiced his support for the program.

Well -- shock of all shocks -- the "Decider" has flip-flopped on this issue. As Rep. Capps explains...
Unfortunately, the President has changed his tune. His proposal for SCHIP would actually reduce coverage for the six million children currently covered by SCHIP and leave the uninsured 12 million still uninsured. He has threatened to veto the bill and yesterday’s shenanigans on the House floor show that what Republicans are after is conflict, not progress on meeting our country’s challenges. The President and congressional Republicans seem to think that if they hold their breath and stomp the ground long enough they’ll get their way.
When George Bush says jump, Mike Rogers says "how high?", because today Mr. Rogers fell in line with the rest of his Republican colleagues and voted against the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act.

So, what does this mean? According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, it means millions of poor kids won't have adequate healthcare coverage (from CBO via OpenCongress):
Congressional Budget Office estimates show that 4.1 million children who otherwise would be uninsured would have health care coverage by 2012 under the bipartisan children’s health legislation the Senate Finance Committee unveiled July 13. ...3.5 million of these 4.1 million children — 85 percent of them — are children with incomes below the current eligibility limits that states have set.
How could Mike Rogers vote against this legislation in good conscience?

Well, keep in mind that Republicans are trying to frame this bill as, "gigantic step in the direction of what should be called Hillary-care - national socialized medicine."

Yep, "socialized medicine." The boogieman. Hillary-care. Ooooh.

First of all, S-CHIP ≠ National Healthcare. End of story. But let's put that aside and forget for a moment that:
The bottom line as far as Mike Rogers is concerned is that a vote in favor of S-SCHIP would've been a vote against George Bush, as well as the healthcare industry that has been lining his pockets for years.

Mike Rogers = Bad Medicine for the 8th district

For the record, the bill passed anyway by a vote of 222-196.