Mike Thompson Watch


A Citizen Gets to Meet Mike Thompson
by Paul Encimer
(April 4, 2007)

Our local Congressional representative Mike Thompson had a super successful fundraiser at the Arcata Community
Center - maybe as many as 300 people paid 20 bucks or more for a vegetarian (!) pasta dinner (you got two "glass of wine cards" however - which I exchanged for plastic glasses of a nice rough red - despite a sense of being morally compromised).

A local band provided rock around the clock while people lined up and chowed down. Mike was dishing out pasta in the middle of the serving line thus offering darshan to everyone who ate dinner. I had a handwritten note on one of our paper tombstones (we had several extensive cemetaries set up at strategic points around the center, made up pf jundreds of leftover paper tombstones ised during the recent Big March ) The note was from one of our peace movement women - Sage - to be handed to Mike. I was in the chow line with Robin Donald, my nonviolent crime partner (we had occupied MT's Eureka office, getting arrested after 20 hours) because a supporter had donated us the two tickets it took to get in. We tried to say something to MT “on line” but it was noisy and he said he couldn’t hear us.

We found some seats as down front as we could get, right behind State Senator Chesboro.who was probably the only one who could hear my occasional chants of “Woolsey Woolsey” [Representative Woolsey of an adjacent district who is pushing immediate withdrawal from Iraq] . Mike Thompson’s speech was good politics all the way, thanking all the right people – chef, wife, etc. Talked about his earlier Congresses as places where ideas go to die. He congratulated his audience for putting the Democrats in the majority and providing the momentum to the end the war movement in Congress.

I so desparately had wanted to ask him why he didn’t join the Out of Iraq Caucus for godsake but was on my best behavior. After all, me and Robin had been the not-named Times-Standard roast of the day for wasting the time of the good staff members of MT. Shame on us, said the editorial writer. (Oddly enough our Congressional office vigil group got plaudits as the
antiwar movement keeping the demos feet to the fire in the same toast and roast editorial.)

MT trotted out the debt of 9 billion and waved it dutifully at us. He couldn’t be asked about his vote for the recent backrupcy law that nailed American debtors to the wall. He did a riff on Global warming with an Al Gore joke. He had a lipservice attack on oil company profits which he vaguely wished could be diverted to alternative energies.

The war got him lots of applause. The war, he said emphatically,was misguided, the worst public policy in American history. We all screamed and applauded as he stated we had no business, absolutely none in Iraq. (Don’t tell the Iraq Study Group he said that.) He emphasized the Congress’ role as a coequal branch and asserted that the Democratic led Congress was taking the important first step to change our course.

I think the model here is Choose your own adventure. If Bush vetoes the supplemental with the timeline in, gridlock could be the result. Expenses like Personnel, Materials wouldn't be so stressed if we hadn't sent a surge worth of new troops. General Schoomaker has explained that in Procurement terms it takes money 18 months or more to get through the pipeline. That's 1).
Then there's 2) we should be out way before then and 3) an Immediate Ceasefire wouldn't use up anymore stuff, would staunch the bloodletting and allow negotiations to be put in place while we are leaving!!!.

After his speech, I asked MT if he was up for a town meeting in midApril. He said tersely “Not with you guys.” Later, I tried to give him a Greenfuse with my article “It’s Thompson’s War Now” under the front page fold. It was the same story : “I don’t want anything from you guys.” (He did meet the next morning with the board of Arcata's Peace and Justice Center, members of which several were responsible for creating the tombstone graveyards surrounding the hall.)

We had a large contingent outside - 2or 3 dozen of us with our banners, starting an hour or more in advance of the event. The people going by were either very supportive – stopping by, making eye contact etc – or just saw us as part of the protest scenary. Nobody was antagonistic that I heard of. Sitting among this group in the hall underlined its basic friendliness to the antiwar contingent. Members of his rock band were people I had often exchanged political conversation with and they were happy to do their bit for the cause! No one seemed visibly upset by the contradictions that so bedevil some of us who saw the Demo supplemental bill as a fraud.Give Mike credit for relentlessly emphasizing the postive side of his Iraq politics and ignoring its negative aspects reflective of his association in the Blue Dog Dixiecrat caucus.

I missed actions tracking Mike Thompson on Monday in the Humboldt Bay but our Occupation project continued outside in the morning and tracked Mike to two other locations. We’ll start again Monday morning, at the Eureka - and Ft.
Bragg - offices.I’m working on my liefesize carboard Mike Thompson to put in the hot seat and grill (ie roast) during our upcoming Town Meeting April 22. visit the town hall meeting soon to be held in YOUR community. Cast your vote then
- for Mike Tocsin, our Progressive leader, or Mike Toxin, Mr. Methyl Bromide.

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