Michigan Greens Point Out Disconnects in Obama’s “State of the Union” Agenda

Green Party of Michigan
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www.MIGreens.org

** News Release **
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February 2, 2010

For More Information, Contact:
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Linda Cree, North Country Greens
CreeLinda@yahoo.com
(906) 942-7076

Douglas Campbell, SCC
(248) 542-5216

John Anthony La Pietra, Media Committee/GPMI
jalp@triton.net
(269) 781-9478

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The Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) has deep concerns about much of the agenda President Obama laid out in last week’s “State of the Union” speech.

“As usual, President Barack Obama delivered a polished presentation, but I am forced to wonder if his speechwriters aren’t a little disconnected from reality,” notes Douglas Campbell, a registered professional engineer in Ferndale, Michigan and a member of GPMI’s State Central Committee. “The Democratic Party has had control of the House, the Senate and the White House for more than a year now, yet little or nothing resembling a ‘democratic’ agenda has been enacted.

“Budget-busting bank bailouts and war funding appropriations have sailed through this Democratic-controlled Congress,” Campbell adds. “But instead of withdrawing American troops, contractors and mercenaries from the Middle East, the military operations are being escalated. Guantanamo remains open for business; there is no health-care-funding reform act; and nothing enacted during George Duhbbyah Bush’s two terms has been repealed.”

“Obama claimed there would be no freeze on Social Security and Medicare, but there already is a freeze this year on both of those programs,” says Linda Cree, an active Green Party member in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. “Not only that, last year, for the first time in 30 years, Social Security recipients did not receive a cost of living adjustment because the government felt there hadn’t been enough inflation to warrant one. That translates to a two-year freeze already.”

Robert Wicke of Detroit, editor of the “Green House News” (greenhouseonline.org), points out, “Obama promised to freeze all the discretionary spending that is not military, while the expenditures of the Department of Defense and the other agencies where military expenses are kept is free to expand. Let me make sure we get this right: what the President’s plans would do is shrink the very expenditures that we particularly need in an economic downturn, in order to feed the monster that has been steadily bankrupting the country.”

“Thirty percent of US casualties in Afghanistan have come on Obama’s watch,” agrees John Anthony La Pietra of Marshall, who takes a “Stand for Peace” at the town’s famous Brooks Fountain most Saturdays. “People went to the polls in 2006 and voted in Democrats to end the wars, and then elected Obama in 2008 hoping to put an end to military aggression in the Middle East. Instead, we see conflict in the region is widening.”

“As to health-care reform,” says Art Myatt, chair of GPMI’s Platform Committee, “it was ironic that the President called for other ideas — when he kept the one most Americans seem to want, universal single-payer health care which would mean expanding Medicare to everyone, off the table from the beginning.”

Another area of disagreement with Obama is his proposed energy agenda. “His call for a ‘new generation’ of nuclear power plants, for offshore drilling, and for ‘clean coal’ is dooming our nation to keep making the same mistakes,” Cree says. “Many people hoped Obama would lead us down a new path of sustainable, earth-gentle power production such as wind and solar. His State of the Union speech made it clear, however, that taxpayers will continue subsidizing nuclear, coal, and oil in a substantial way.”

Greens do agree that new regulations for financial institutions are needed. “But we should all be aware that the regulations are needed because, under Clinton and Bush, the protections put in place by the New Deal were systematically destroyed,” says GPMI Treasurer Lou Novak. “Without those protections, we very nearly had another Great Depression. Now we’ll have to see if this Congress will replace those protections with anything truly effective.”

“Obama is pushing a conservative, corporate agenda,” Cree concludes. “My hope is that people will see how the two major parties work together to keep needed change from happening when it comes to helping people, protecting our environment, having healthier food, and so on — and that they’ll begin voting for Greens every chance they get. Then we’ll see what genuine hope, reform, and commitment can do.”

GPMI plans to have similar commentary on Jennifer Granholm’s final “State of the State” speech — which will be delivered tomorrow evening to an audience sealed off from the people. Authorities at the Capitol have announced that, unlike in recent years, they plan to bar the hundreds of expected protesters — including some Greens — from entering the building even to use a restroom.

Michigan Greens will be planning how to win seats for next year’s speech — by winning some seats in this fall’s elections — at a state party meeting February 27-28 in Lapeer. GPMI will nominate candidates at a statewide convention in Lansing May 15-16. And local Greens can nominate candidates within their counties at caucuses until August 3.

For more information on the issues, values, and candidates of the Green Party of Michigan, please visit the party’s homepage:

http://www.MIGreens.org

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Green Party of Michigan
548 South Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
http://www.migreens.org
734-663-3555

GPMI was formed in 1987 to address environmental issues in Michigan politics. Greens are organized in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each state Green Party sets its own goals and creates its own structure, but US Greens agree on Ten Key Values:

Ecological Wisdom
Grassroots Democracy
Social Justice
Non-Violence
Community Economics
Decentralization
Feminism
Respect for Diversity
Personal/Global Responsibility
Future Focus/Sustainability

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