Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Obama Rap

This is a great video tribute to President Barack Obama featuring Monica. - RTR

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Support health care reform NOW!!!

Don't let it get shouted down.

Tomorrow, Thursday, August 13, 2009 @ 3:30 p.m.

Congressman Mark Schauer’s 7th District Office

800 West Ganson St.

Jackson, MI 49202

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Interview: Peace Activist Leslie Cagan

Leslie Cagan was a co-founder and the national director of United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), America's largest peace coalition, since 2002. While she plans to stay active in the peace movement, Leslie (pictured at right) is stepping out of her national role with UFPJ. The organization has the tall order of filling her shoes and is searching for a new national director.

On the first night of the 4th General Assembly of the UFPJ in Chicago last Friday, I had camped out at a front row table hoping to get some good shots of the opening night speakers. A very nice woman, her partner, and her mother sat next to me. Then author/activist/policy analyst Phyllis Bennis and others joined the table. Later, author/activist/policy analyst Tom Hayden sat next to me. It turns out, the nice lady sitting next to me was Leslie, UFPJ national director, who I had never met before. She, Bennis, and Hayden were some of the speakers for the evening.

Showing true love and appreciation, a number of people shared hugs with Leslie. Throughout she verbalized the notion that she was not "retiring," explaining she was moving on to new challenges. Later, the capacity crowd gave Leslie a warm standing ovation in recognition of her significant contributions to UFPJ.

On last day of the assembly, I caught up with Leslie to get her views on the new challenges facing the peace movement in 2009, including the prospect of working with a new administration in the White House. The interview is posted below.
-- Rico Thomas Rico

[Cross posted from blog]

Standing Ovation for Leslie Cagan


Interview with Leslie Cagan,
Out-Going National Director of UFPJ

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh, Canada

After hearing of the shoe-throwing incident in Iraq on the Sunday radio news, the very next news story announced that 3 Canadian soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Six Canadian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan over the last 10 days. A total of 103 Canadians have died there over 7 years.

The very night before, Christine Jones, the co-chair of the Canadian Peace Alliance (CPA), had addressed the American peace community in Chicago at the United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) General Assembly. Jones came with the news that the Prime Minister from Canada's current minority government is advocating that Canada spend $490 billion -- nearly a half of TRILLION dollars -- on defense spending over the next 20 years.

This proposal, Jones said, comes from the same government "mouthpieces" that say housing, education, and universal health care are unaffordable. Jones told the audience that "The reality is that (social spending) is utterly affordable. In fact, it is more than affordable. The problem is that our government -- all of our governments -- are being undemocratic with how they are choosing to spending our money."

I guess we do speak the same language -- and suffer similar injustices.

Our neighbor to the north talked passionately about the common peace issues shared by both Canadian and American communities. Furthermore, Jones explained that in 2010 Canada will host two major economic conferences, including the G-8, and the Olympics. She was very gracious in inviting UFPJ activists to come visit Canada in 2010.

Oh, Canada, look out.

-- Rico Thomas Rico

Christine Jones,
Co-Chair of the Canadian Peace Alliance,
Addresses the UFPJ General Assembly

The Shoes Heard 'Round the World

Driving back home on Sunday I was blissfully isolated with big city radio programming, which is much more interesting and diverse than what I'm used to. Going out of range of the compelling sounds, the real world came back into focus as I had no other good radio choices other than NPR news. That's when I got first word that an Iraqi journalist threw not one, but two shoes at President George W. Bush. Undoubtedly, this incredible moment will forever represent the full and final repudiation of Bush's foreign policy legacy. Unfortunately, it may fully represent the world's attitude toward America's world-wide military bullying.

Now the bookends of Bush's presidency will be, first, the egging of his limo in Washington, D.C., during the 2001 inauguration after having stolen his first election. (If you did not see this episode, that's because the corporate establishment press did not cover it.) The second bookend will be the recent incident in the highly secured Green Zone in Iraq.

I thought Dick Cheney promised we would be greeted as liberators? Is this anyway to treat liberators???

Well, what most Americans lack is the perspective of the citizens of Iraq. Because, again, the corporate establishment doesn't allow it. So we generally don't know that Iraqis -- and a vast swath of world citizens for that matter -- despise America's policy of gun-tote diplomacy. Democracy is not a pleasant principle when it is delivered at the point of a gun.

Of course, it does not score America popularity points as we carry through on our principle mission of stealing the Iraqi oil supply. If you still believe otherwise -- including the false premises of WMDs or Iraq complicity in 9/11 -- you probably watch way too much FOX news and probably deserve to get a couple of shoes thrown at you.

This shoe-throwing incident should not be a surprise. The surprise is that it didn't happen earlier. Shoes could rightfully have been tossed by Bush's Katrina victims, torture victims, renditioned victims, domestic spy victims, economic crash name the rest.

The shoe toss incident reminded me of the poignant speech given by Iraqi journalist, entrepreneur, and activist Salim Talib to the General Assembly of the United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) on Saturday night, December 13, 2008. Talib's speech is provided below. I hope Americans now make an effort to seek out the views and voices of Iraqis like Talib. In this way, we can begin a reconciliation process, including new demands to bring our troops home. Now.

-- Rico Thomas Rico

[This was cross posted at and]

Iraq Journalist Salam Talib
UFPJ General Assembly
13 December 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

George W. Bush Presidential Library

Below is my rendition of the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

-- Rico Thomas Rico
George W. Bush Presidential Library

Thursday, November 13, 2008

MMDFA XCom Says NO to Lieberman!

Thursday, November 13, 2008 – Mason, Michigan:

The Executive Committee of Mid-Michigan Democracy for America – one of the Greater Lansing Area’s most dynamic progressive action organizations – announces that they are taking a strong stand against the U.S. Senate’s 57+-member Democratic caucus giving one of the 17 Senate committee chairmanships to the caucus’ most wayward member, Independent Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman. While our group takes no position on whether Sen. Lieberman should remain a member of the caucus, we feel strongly that Senate chairmanships should not be awarded to a legislator that bucks both party and principle.

Sen. Lieberman has bucked principle in his past tenures as Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. In 2002, when President Bush nominated the former Judges and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association – Michael “Brownie” Brown – to the position of Deputy Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Sen. Lieberman held a confirmation hearing that lasted only 42 minutes! The fact that an appointment of such tremendous importance to the American people was given to a person who was not competent for the position warranted no more attention from Sen. Lieberman is a serious lapse of professional judgment. Furthermore, since Sen. Lieberman regained the chairmanship of that committee in 2007 he has held not one, not a single investigation into the various shenanigans, failures, and yes, crimes of the Bush administration.

Sen. Lieberman has bucked the Democrats not just by being a lousy Senate committee chairman. He has also attacked the judgment and patriotism of President-elect Obama and was the most prominent Democratic critic of former President Clinton, yet has praised and campaigned with both President Bush and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain. He campaigned against the Democratic Senate candidates in both Minnesota and Maine this year. And in his 2006 re-election campaign he lied about wanting to bring the troops home from Iraq, then after being re-elected turned around and vilified the elected officials, candidates, and other Americans who held that position.

Finally, the fact that the Democratic party fails to stand up for itself against turncoats like Lieberman sends a signal to the American people that they are not fighters. It is hard for people to believe that a party that won’t fight for itself will stand up and fight for them against enemies either foreign or domestic. We urge our Michigan Senators Levin and Stabenow to stand up against granting Senator Lieberman a chairmanship. And we urge our Mid-Michigan members and fellow progressives to contact our senators before the Nov. 18th chairmanship vote and tell them how we feel:

The Hon. Carl Levin
269 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Hon. Debbie Stabenow
133 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510


Ted Kilvington
Chairman, Mid-Michigan Democracy for America