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Students stage protest against Frist and GOP

17. May 2005 • Matt Hollerbach
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Following the lead of Princeton students, U-M groups have organized a ‘filibuster’ to protest GOP plans to change Senate rules.

Date: Tue, 17 May 2005 16:58:53 -0400
Subject: UM Filibuster Thursday 9 to 9 Steps of Union


  • JOIN US ************

+ Thursday, May 19
+ 9 AM to 9 PM
+ Steps of the Union

Save the Senate’s voice in judicial nominations
Bring signs, reading material, and your voice!

Please email Kristin at or call 517-980-6374 for further questions. Also check out the Princeton Filibuster at:

  1. So you want me to believe the Republicans are worrisome compared to the Democrats.

    But the Democrats and Republicans both are demolishing Palestine as fast as they can.

    They both shovel money to the Israeli military at breakneck speed, year after bloody year.

    So if you still, at long last, have nothing to say about your beloved Democrats’ crushing Palestine, give me one reason to believe you, when you say the Republicans’ position on Congressional procedure offends your sense of democracy?

    If you cared about democracy, I wouldn’t have to be an univited guest on your private ArborUpdate community, reminding you that it’s MOST undemocratic to physically crush Palestine as your party has been doing.

    You would be saying so yourself.
       —Blaine (Palestine Demolished by Dems and Republicans Equally.)    May. 17 '05 - 09:58PM    #
  2. Sorry man, go find a “progressive” blog. Or try some “direct action” against the Ann Arbor City Council.
       —Brandon    May. 17 '05 - 11:27PM    #
  3. Blaine, everybody is an invited guest around here. It’s just that most of them live up to expectations and don’t poop on the rug.

    Considering how put out you seem to feel about ArborUpdate not focusing on your favorite issues, I’m surprised you don’t contribute to Michigan IndyMedia. Over there, you can post whatever you want, and don’t have to wait for us to post something for you to sink your teeth into. If you want to be effective, why don’t you start using the tools available to you?
       —Murph    May. 17 '05 - 11:59PM    #
  4. I’ve posted right on-topic this time, as you asked.

    The topic is the supposedly progressive nature of the Democratic Party versus the “nuclear option” wielded against it by the Republican Party.

    I’m not telling Brandon or Murph to go find another blog.

    I’m just asking, again, why I should come to the rescue of your Democratic Party, when it is still the party of slavery and occupation, as far as 9 million Palestinians, 200 million Arabs, 1.2 billion Muslims, and many, many others are concerned?

    I find the responses so far to be lacking in substance:

    1. “Go find another blog.”

    2. “Go find another blog.”

    I would hope a few readers can stand up like a mensch and answer—
    Why should I, or anyone, come rally for a party which enslaves Palestine with enormous financial, military, and political support to its Israeli slaveholders, who keep it in bondage?

    Am I not asking it in the politest way possible, on the right page?
       —Blaine. (Palestine Enslaved, with Democrats & Republicans both tightening the chains.)    May. 18 '05 - 01:41AM    #
  5. Re Frist, and seeing all the “Bush Vader” hoo-ha at Cannes, have look at my Daily Kos diary “NEW!! “Sith Happens” Bush Vader-Cheney-Frist image!!” at , with its eponymous Photoshopped image captioned “Sith Happens—Subverting the Senate”. I think the image could be of real use in waking up the American public to the problems that George Lucas himself has identified with political life today, though maybe my hopes are too high (heh). Feel free to send the diary/image around to people,
       —David Boyle    May. 18 '05 - 03:31AM    #
  6. Blaine –

    Since you asked, and since i am at work at 11:30pm and am waiting on a call with nothing better to do – i’ll reply.

    The reason is that even for the palestinians the democratic party is usually (not always) better.

    Second of all, despite your obsession with the Palestinian tragedy (and lets face it – the fate of these people is tragic) it is not the central issue in the life of the United States – NOR SHOULD IT BE. The US is a big country with major INTERNAL problems – that are much more important to the 290 MILLION people who live here, then is the fate of the Palestinians – and as an elected government THAT should be the priority of our representatives. It doesn’t mean they don’t have to weigh in on the conflict – just that it can’t be the focus of everything.

    and as you are a laywer I suspect you understnad the role the judiciary can play in regards to the lives of Palestinians – so lets face it – its in your interest too.

       —David Livshiz    May. 18 '05 - 03:32AM    #
  7. I agree completely, that there are many internal problems “that are much more important to the 290 MILLION people who live here, then is the fate of the Palestinians”.


    What if those 290 million U.S. people (or even the 30,000 people on the U-M campus) were given a chance to publicly campaign, debate, and then vote on this ballot proposition:

    * “Due to 4,000 occupied Palestinians killed by the Israeli armed forces since September 2000, the U.S. should stop paying billions of dollars each year to the Israeli military, and should immediately eliminate all aid to Israel.”

    How do you, and the others reading this, believe the vote would turn out?

    For or against aid to Israel?
       —Blaine. (Palestine Enslaved, with Democrats & Republicans both tightening the chains.)    May. 18 '05 - 03:49AM    #
  8. Very low voter turnout. Too close to call.
       —Dale    May. 18 '05 - 01:34PM    #
  9. This protest is part of a national movement. I am very excited there are people organizing them in Ann Arbor!
       —Rob    May. 18 '05 - 04:14PM    #
  10. Getting back to the topic, I point out that People for the American Way are planning to send out an “immediate response” SMS (text) message to cell phones when the vote comes to the floor. Sign up here to receive the message on your cell phone when the time comes. Bonus: the message you receive will likely have been written by ArborUpdate founder and emeritus contributor Rob Goodspeed.
       —Scott    May. 18 '05 - 04:43PM    #
  11. “I’m just asking, again, why I should come to the rescue of your Democratic Party, when it is still the party of slavery and occupation, as far as 9 million Palestinians, 200 million Arabs, 1.2 billion Muslims, and many, many others are concerned?”

    OK, I’ll try and answer this. The issue at hand hasn’t a thing to do with either Republicans or Democrats. It has to do with checks and balances. I’m hoping that the measure passes, and no Supreme Court Justices are nominated for 3 years….when the Dem’s will hopefully have control of things again and a Dem president can nominate two or three liberal judges to the Supreme Court. Man, that would make my day.

    Blaine, this is a power grab reminiscent of Nixon’s the-ends-justify-the-means presidency. Bush thinks he’s always right, and so do many of the whacko Republicans (not all of them are whackos, mind you), so why should they have to hear input from the minority?

    It doesn’t matter which party is trying to get rid of the filibuster…’s simply wrong, and will lead to more extremism in this country.
       —Todd Leopold    May. 18 '05 - 05:55PM    #
  12. Thanks Todd,

    I can’t disagree with anything you say about those sick right-wing killers who are taking over, as if God, Mom, and apple pie were all on their side.

    It’s just my fatigue with these Democrats who piss away every chance to take a bold stance for the things they pretend to stand for:

    * Civil rights,
    * Human rights,
    * Being (supposedly) anti-war,
    * Day care,
    * Education,
    * Democracy,
    * Transportation,
    * Etc.—you know the list better than I do.

    But instead the Democrats fight to sustain the Vietnam War,
    they spy on Martin Luther King Jr.,
    they “reform” welfare,
    they support military dictatorships over so many places (including, yeah, over Palestine), etc.

    Again, you know the list better than I do.

    Then, having lost all credibility, with their core constituency hacked to pieces over the years (unions, civil rights movements, anti-war movements, etc.),
    —the Democrats are left with no sense of legitimacy, not even enough to fight for anything but their own remaining vestiges of authority.

    They stand for nothing, and no one believes them when they act like they DO stand for anything.

    As the GOP cavemen you describe so well are moving in for the kill, no one even cares to save the Democrats from them.

    And I don’t care either, even knowing what the cavemen are (racist, murderous cavemen.)

    Am I exaggerating, or do you see the grave the Democrats have dug for themselves?

    The only way out, in my humble opinion, is to create whatever mass movement you can to stop the racist beast, and that beast has two heads: a war criminal named Bush and a war criminal named Kerry (and his friends).

    Any thoughts?
       —Blaine (Palestine Demolished by Dems and Republicans Equally.)    May. 18 '05 - 06:31PM    #
  13. Blaine, the Democrats are certainly in a sorry state. But, like Todd points out, this particular issue isn’t really about Democrats vs. Republicans—it’s about where you stand on how our democratic process ought to work. I, for one, think the filibuster is a good thing and the Republican tactic of trying to remove this blockade for the short-term gain of getting a small number of judicial nominees rammed through is a reckless, anti-republican (small r) approach to governing. I don’t like the Dems much, but they’re standing up on the right side of this particular issue, and deserve our support for it, IMO. This doesn’t excuse their many failings, of course…
       —Scott    May. 18 '05 - 06:44PM    #
  14. Hi Scott,

    I never liked filibusters, because I always associate them with rear-guard blocking actions against civil rights legislation.

    Here are a few examples you probably know about:

    But, filibuster or no filibuster, money talks. With no mass movement to stop them, the GOP cavemen will keep writing checks and buying more power.

    Either you could save up, so you could write big checks too (that’s a LOT of overtime at McDonald’s), or you could build a mass movement for what you think is most important.

    I think fighting racism is most important.

    To me, that means stopping the destruction of Iraq, which most liberals understand but won’t mobilize around.

    It means stopping the destruction of Palestine, since the topic is so Verboten (that tells you it’s more important than it might seem).

    It means stopping the destruction of Africa (read about the Congo in 1960, when the U.S. and Belgium got Lumumba kidnapped and killed; then read about the Congo today, for starters.) (Then read about the CIA-South African war on Angola, starting in 1975.)

    Again, liberals would agree, but they would see no “imperative” to fix the situation which they did so much to create in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s and ‘80’s.

    So that’s my view.

    In today’s context, your arguments are right, but you see why my focus is somewhere else.
       —Blaine (Palestine Demolished by Dems and Republicans Equally.)    May. 18 '05 - 07:17PM    #
  15. Blaine, I’m with you in only liking the Democrats perhaps 2% more than the Republicans – my own support for the filibuster is basically the same as Todd’s and Scott’s. It ain’t the Democrats I’m trying to save here, but the institution of the filibuster. My views are, unfortunately, likely to always be in a minority (and I expect you can sympathize with the feeling), so I’ll stick up for any weapon of the embattled minority I can.

    Speaking of embattled, of course, I expect you expect me to talk about Palestine. And, yes, were I presented with an opportunity to vote, at any level, on withdrawing military aid from Israel, I’d give that a big fat “yea”. (As with withdrawing military aid, and our military, from almost every other place in the world – as you mention, Palestine is hardly the only American foreign policy horror story.)

    Present me with a petition for a ballot item to withdraw military aid from Israel, and I’ll sign it. Give me a ballot item to withdraw military aid from Israel (without a bunch of extra stuff loaded into it), and I’ll vote yes. As you may have noticed, though, I’ve got plenty of causes of my own to pour hideous amounts of time to, so that’s all I can offer. You’ll hopefully excuse me for my cynicism towards the Federal government, but I’ll continue to devote my active energies towards matters at the local level, where I might possibly make a difference.
       —Murph    May. 18 '05 - 08:21PM    #
  16. I would like to second Murph’s thoughts on the Israel matter. You have my vote, too.
       —Todd Leopold    May. 18 '05 - 08:38PM    #
  17. Thanks Murph,

    Can’t argue with your (and my) sympathy for the embattled minority hanging onto their last pitiful procedural safeguards.

    I just wish they could stand up on their hind legs and show some conviction about their peace and justice convictions.

    Then they wouldn’t be an embattled minority.

    They’d be totally in the game, on the air, and dominating the campuses.

    I hope some students from SAFE or Coke Coalition are reading this.

    I think it would be an excellent idea to have a campus referendum on divestment from Israel.

    For one thing, if you make it safe to talk about Palestine, then the easier topics (aid to the Colombian and Haitian militaries, for example) get even easier to talk about.

    And all that energy gets you a 1960’s-style anti-war movement sweeping the campuses again.

    As you’ve noticed, I have an allergic reaction to muzzling that kind of energy—I think it all feeds into more energy, and it makes a movement come alive.

    I hate to think Bush will be declaring war on Iran, and drafting the Class of 2009 before we see a big campus anti-war movement again.

    But it’s coming. I see you, Scott, Todd, and most of the Coke Coalition bringing that anti-war movement to life.

    As you’ve noticed, since Sept. 11th, Arab and Muslim students are very cautious about getting active.

    But I’m looking to you, and the Coke Coalition, and the Greens, to change that.

    Starting in September, I hope, while the weather’s good for marching.
       —Blaine (Palestine Demolished by Dems and Republicans Equally.)    May. 18 '05 - 08:44PM    #
  18. (As a side note, Blaine, I have to congratulate you on being the first person to game the “New Comments” sidebar. I’m surprised nobody started inserting pseudo-titles there earlier.)
       —Murph    May. 18 '05 - 08:55PM    #
  19. Thanks, Murph,

    Actually, I went the longest time before even knowing there WAS a “New Comments” sidebar.

    Ever since the January 20th & Coke Coalition both got going, plus the big divestment effort at MSA, I feel like the campus will be waking up in September.

    Then maybe others can take over gaming the sidebar.
       —Blaine (Palestine Demolished by Dems and Republicans Equally.)    May. 18 '05 - 09:29PM    #
  20. I, um, “fixed” the gaming-the-comments thing. I think.
       —Scott <strong>(This is a test)</strong>    May. 18 '05 - 09:52PM    #
  21. Or not. Curses… Maybe Blaine can’t figure it out… (Is that a challenge?). :)
       —Scott    May. 18 '05 - 09:53PM    #
  22. It’s OK, Scott,

    I have a feeling that, along with other issues, the issue of Palestine, and divestment, won’t be shut out of the main stories in the middle of the page.

    No need for me to game the comments in that case.
       —Blaine (Palestine Demolished by Dems and Republicans Equally.)    May. 18 '05 - 09:59PM    #
  23. Ok. It’s fixed. No censorship, but the actual post title will be in bold and anything you stick in your “name” field between parens, marked bold, whatever, will still just show up as plain text … So no confusion about which comment goes with which post.
       —Scott    May. 18 '05 - 10:06PM    #
  24. That sounds fair.
       —Blaine (Palestine Demolished by Dems and Republicans Equally.)    May. 18 '05 - 10:14PM    #
  25. Re Frist, and seeing all the “Bush Vader” hoo-ha at Cannes, have look at my Daily Kos diary “NEW!! “Sith Happens” Bush Vader-Cheney-Frist image!!” at , with its eponymous Photoshopped image captioned “Sith Happens—Subverting the Senate”. I think the image could be of real use in waking up the American public to the problems that George Lucas himself has identified with political life today, though maybe my hopes are too high (heh). Feel free to send the diary/image around to people.


    Gee sorry to interrupt the Palestine commentary! I thought this thread was about Frist! :D
       —David Boyle    May. 18 '05 - 10:26PM    #
  26. Sorry David,

    My fault. I’ll avoid further comment in this thread.
       —Blaine (Palestine Demolished by Dems and Republicans Equally.)    May. 18 '05 - 10:39PM    #
  27. Blaine:

    I have to disagree completely: you posted no where near on-topic.

    You know, it’s getting kind of annoying to see your posts all the time. You don’t say anything new/substantive.

    But, hey, post all you want. With every rhetorical propaganda comment you make, the less credible you become.
       —Jared Goldberg    May. 19 '05 - 12:57AM    #
  28. In response to the previous post, which was directed personally at me:

    I thank the others, who gave me the respect of listening without insulting me.

    I ask their pardon for my posting again on this thread, and wish them luck with their demonstration.

    I’m going to give you the respect of making no personal remarks here.

    You are right that I seem to be saying the same things.

    And I believe you when you say it irritates you.

    But the same things keep happening to Palestine, and to its innocent people, who one day will be out
    of any illegal settler’s reach.

    One day, the Israel Defense Force will be an unmourned relic of the past, like its cousins the Freikorps or the Luftwaffe.

    No more American burglars will be allowed to immigrate automatically onto stolen Palestinian property, and to kill its inhabitants with impunity.

    Am I “less credible” now?
       —Blaine. (Palestine Enslaved, with Democrats & Republicans both tightening the chains.)    May. 19 '05 - 02:28AM    #
  29. Blaine-

    Your posts are rather disturbing.

    Forget your empty propaganda- you are posting in the wrong place. You may believe anything having to do with the federal government, or Democrats and Republicans, etc, is a matter relating to the Middle East because of U.S. aid. Fine. But don’t use that as justification to turn any discussion topic into an Israel-Palestinian debate, because it’s simply not fair to the others who want to honestly discuss the post at hand. Otherwise, by your logic, you can turn any post whatsoever into your struggle against Israel. Take for example a post announcing the naked mile. According to your reasoning, you could post something along the lines of “How can these students possibly run along publicly funded streets, of which the money comes from the (insert your favorite epithet here) U.S. government.”

    Show some respect to others on this post by sticking to the matter at hand, and not hijacking every issue into that which matters most to you. Israel is the most important issue to me as well, but I’ll reserve my comments that pertain to Israel for posts that directly relate to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    For that reason I choose not to respond to your misleading claims and offensive, false comparisons about Israel.
       —Sol    May. 19 '05 - 06:04PM    #
  30. Again, good luck to today’s demonstration, advertised on this thread.

    In response to the person who just complained, on this thread, about “misleading claims and offensive, false comparisons about Israel”:

    I already said that I want to show some respect to those people on this thread who showed ME some respect, by avoiding any more postings here.

    So kindly post whatever you find to be “misleading claims and offensive, false comparisons about Israel” at whatever you believe is the right spot.

    I will try my best to respond, at the thread you find most appropriate, assuming that my brilliant arguments will cause you to slap your forehead and hand Palestine back to the Palestinians.
       —Blaine (Palestine Demolished by Dems and Republicans Equally.)    May. 19 '05 - 07:26PM    #
  31. It’s the Blaine v. Zion Show!
       —js    May. 20 '05 - 05:27AM    #
  32. Blaine –

    The reason there isn’t a question on the ballot – is because you wont get the signatures. Go ahead try – you wont get them. First, becuase the issue is MUCH more complex then you present it, and second, because american support for israel runs fairly deep.

    Moreover, Blaine, you can have referndum after referendum but the bottom line is this: YOU don’t get to make foreign policy for the United Sates. Neither do a group of students at UofM, the University, or even the State. Foreign policy is something that is left to the executive – and in the last 10 yeras, the USSC has CLEARY stated (including in Garimendi a year ago) that its an exclusively federal power. You want divestment – go get 51 senators to support you, or 200+ members of the house. Its going to be tough.

    And Blaine, the UofM GC is aware of these cases and will not want to face another black eye. Unlike affirmative action which was a 5-4 decision, this is a 9-0 against the U.

    You want to help Safe/Palestinians – why don’t you do something constructive and help. Help the PA reform their education systems, donate money to build institutions that will undermine Hamas/IJ, or for that matter, use your skills as a lawyer and help them develop an honest to goodness rule of law. Becasue if any of these thigns happen – the occupation would vanish – poof.
       —David    May. 20 '05 - 05:18PM    #
  33. I apologize for being on the wrong thread again!

    But I do want to reply to David.

    All his points about the difficulty of getting a divestment referendum on the ballot are correct.

    But I hope that in September, students will go ahead anyway, and push for a campus-wide referendum on divesting from Israel.

    At least a referendum on divesting from the Israeli military.

    It worked at Harvard, when a campus-wide referendum on divestment from South Africa succeeded.

    It narrowly succeeded at Oberlin a year ago—a referendum to divest from the Israeli military.

    (Then it narrowly failed this year).

    As long as we have any free speech left in this country, you will see demands for divestment from Israel increase.

    I have no doubt about that: as long as we are allowed to speak.

    There are many “legal”-sounding arguments for shutting up criticism of Israel, for making divestment talk Verboten entirely.

    I believe in talking divestment day and night, until free speech is ended in this country.

    Zionists are always driving in the direction of limiting speech as it gets too close to criticizing the gravy train to Israel.

    That is their only hope.

    I hope they don’t succeed.
       —Blaine (Palestine Demolished by Dems and Republicans Equally.)    May. 20 '05 - 05:40PM    #