Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fighting for democracy and the environment...

... every single day.

I'm tired. If I'm not posting a lot of new content out here, it is because I am once again engaged in an almost endless (and probably useless) letter-writing campaign to save Net Neutrality, Utah's gorgeous White River Canyon; berating my congressman (blue dog) for obstructing the impeachment investigation of Dick Cheney, and basically hurling myself against the brick wall of neocon government. Bruised and sore, I have little else to say when I come out here.

So, I guess I'll just share a few of my recent responses to my non-responsive government.

My recent letter to the head of the FCC, concerning Net Neutrality:

Now that our media has become 'corporate,' and covers nothing but Paris Hilton morning, noon and night, we have been driven to the Internet; not only for real news, but a chance to speak out and discuss that fading concept... democracy.

Remember democracy? Remember the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said "Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost?" Or perhaps James Madison, who said "The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty." Or perhaps Abraham Lincoln: "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts."

We don't get 'real facts' on television news these days. It's not as much what they say, as what they refuse to cover. We are subjected to an endless stream of mindless 'entertainment' and propaganda. Why? Because television news is 'owned' by someone who has a vested interest in controlling what we think.

Nor do we get anything close to a democratic discussion via television. We get exactly what Rupert Murdoch and others like him want to us know: no more, no less. And no one asks us what we want. No one asks us what we think.

There was a day when we managed to do OK for ourselves without the Internet. But in our current climate of rampant corruption, and the storming of our Capitol by corporate lobbyists, the Internet is the last place for the people to find out the real news, and discuss the current state of our nation and democracy. And as such a place of freedom and open discussion, I fully expected it would be next in the target sight of big corporations. How not? I've read Machiavelli.

Net Neutrality is essential to free speech, equal opportunity and economic innovation in America. Since the FCC removed this basic protection in 2005, the top executives of phone and cable companies have stated their intention to become the Internet's gatekeepers and to discriminate against Web sites that don't pay their added tolls. What a surprise, since this has already been implemented by the postal service (with no input by us, the 'people' I might add.)

This kind of corporate approach to controlling our mail is already putting a crunch on independent newspapers and magazines -- all to the benefit of the big corporations like Times Warner. By the way... how did Times Warner suddenly become so powerful that they were able to influence the operations of our postal service? Obviously our democracy is indeed on its last gasp.

This fundamental change to the Internet would end the open discussion of democracy as we know it. It would damage my ability to connect with others, share information and participate in our 21st century democracy and economy. The FCC must ensure that broadband providers do not block, interfere with or discriminate against any lawful Internet traffic based on its ownership, source or destination.

My letter to the BLM expressing my 'concerns' about oil drilling in the White River Canyon:

My God! I've hiked in those canyons... how dare you? That is GOD'S country, not another oil slick-in-waiting.

We entrust BLM to take care of our land! It is your responsibility to provide the highest level of protection for the White River Canyon area - not allow it to be trashed. We got rid of Pombo, and you're still at it. Appalling.

During its 1996-1999 wilderness inventory of this area, BLM found that over 16,000 acres of this area met all the requirements for protection as designated Wilderness. But I guess that was in the days when the BLM actually cared for the land - and protected it for future generations.

Your recent decision to allow 60 wells to be drilled within this area could sacrifice its wilderness values to oil and gas development, like so many other special places in the West that are irreplaceable. We need to get off of fossil fuel anyway -- and here you are, destroying what is left of our wild beauty so that another filthy rich oil company can get even richer. I am sick of this. BLM must reverse its course on this planning effort and commit to protecting the magnificent resources present in the White River Canyon area. This is OUR LAND. WE THE PEOPLE.

Do I sound angry enough? You have no idea.... no idea. You'd put an oil well or perhaps a coal mine in the Grand Canyon if you thought you could get away with it.

BLM needs to make the following corrections to its analysis before moving forward with this planning effort:

* BLM should prepare a comprehensive environmental impact statement (EIS). Without doing so, BLM will continue to fail to fully analyze the impacts of these gas wells on the many values present in the White River Canyon area.

* BLM must take into account the many new gas wells, roads, pipelines, and compressor stations recently constructed to the north, east, and west of the White River wilderness inventory area. BLM must study the combined and cumulative impacts of this existing development and the proposed new development.

* BLM must take a hard look at the proposed project's impacts to the area's outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive recreation and its abundant natural quiet and overall naturalness of the area. The agency must then consider how best to protect these important public values.

The natural resources present in the White River Canyon are irreplaceable. And they belong to the people. Last I checked, that was us... not the oil companies or Bushies.

BLM's decision to discount its own findings about the wilderness character of the area and instead sacrifice yet another area for a small amount of oil and gas is a mistake and flat out WRONG. BLM must complete a full EIS, analyze the full impacts drilling will cause in this area, and fully protect the valuable wilderness qualities of this important area.

My comments when I signed yet another petition to impeach Cheney - comments going to my blue dog, no doubt:

I'm tired of asking. There is 'partisan' and there is LAW. We are a nation that purports to hold law and our Constitution above all else. PROVE IT.

Don't ever throw 'partisan' at me as an excuse for failing to defend my Constitution and my democracy from a tyrant - yes, we all know what he is - because I have already left the Democratic Party over this after a lifetime of 'party loyalty,' and I will side with a former Reagan administration official, a general -- anyone who is serious about saving my country, before I will bow to the cowering political weakness of any party.

I don't care how many lobbyists are demanding that you do nothing. I'm demanding that you defend us, defend the Constitution, defend the rule of law. Over 50% of Americans agree with me... at least that many, and the number is growing by the day, as we overcome the bias of the corporate media. If Democrats expect to 'sweep' into office in 2008, they damn well better do something to show they deserve that honor.

And yes, sorry I can't hide it any more, but I'm mad as hell. I don't quit a political party after a lifetime over nothing... only when that party betrays me, betrays our troops overseas, and betrays my country. I keep hearing that the 'blue dogs' are obstructing. If you aren't going to hunt, then get out of the way. Democracy, coming through... like a freight train.

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