Thursday, January 10, 2008

Rocky's Activism Created by a Tethered Press and Uninvolved Citizenry

by Barbara Bellows-TerraNova, PDA/Utah
Posted by Progressive Democrats of America

Ross C. (Rocky) Anderson left office Monday January 7, 2008 as his second four-year term as mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, expired. He plans to move his activism into the private arena--Rocky joined the PDA advisory board in September 2007--and has plans to start a non-profit organization serving humanity. PDA extends our hearfelt appreciation to former Mayor Anderson for his courageous stand against the Iraq war and occupation and his leadership on impeachment.

Rocky Anderson's last day as mayor of Salt Lake City included his signature, as well as the signatures of Mimi Kennedy, Tim Carpenter, Ralph Nader, Daniel Ellsberg, Harry Belafonte, and other noted activists, on a letter delivered to Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, urging him to investigate the abuse of power by the Bush/Cheney administration.

It was the cherry on the sundae that has been Rocky's double duty as mayor and U.S. citizen/activist. While many in Salt Lake have responded enthusiastically to Rocky's call to protest Mr. Bush's visits to the city, others have been annoyed and have encouraged phone campaigns against the activist mayor.

If these people in Salt Lake are displeased with Rocky Anderson's involvement in protests against the Bush administration and the impeachment movement, they should look to the poor job done by a press that was held back by a few newly-consolidated owners receiving favors from that same administration. Either it was the press-or a public that didn't care to pay attention.

Things would surely have turned out differently if Americans had known, for example, about:

-the dismissal of the 1991 insider-trading investigation by the Security Exchange Commission, whose Chairman was old family friend and Bush Sr. appointee, Richard Breedan, into George Bush's sudden dumping of his Harken Oil stock for $848,000 before informing shareholders about the company's financial losses;

-the lack of an investigation into Cheney's insider-trading when he cashed out his stock options at Halliburton for $20 million before the stockholders were informed of the asbestos-injury lawsuits that came with Cheney's arrangement of the company's buyout of Dresser Industries;

-the fact that the riot that shut down the vote recount in Dade County, Florida, on November 22, 2000, was actually manned by Republican aides and operatives flown down from D.C. in Enron and Halliburton jets, whose success was celebrated at a Thanksgiving banquet where they were serenaded by Wayne Newton;

-the 2003 report by the EPA Inspector General stating that the White House altered the wording of the post-9/11 EPA statement on the air safety in Manhattan to completely change its meaning, resulting in the horrendous, debilitating medical problems, suffering and deaths of the courageous first responders, EMTs, cleanup crew, and other workers and residents of New York City;

-the sell-out of every federal agency's purpose with the appointments of industry lobbyists throughout;

-the Office of Special Plans, where appointees from the militarily aggressive Project of the New American Century (whose University of Chicago professor/mentor, Leo Strauss, taught that it was best to subdue the public with "Noble Lies") cherry-picked through discredited intelligence data to build up a threatening Saddam Hussein;

-the multi-level, vast series of irregularities in the 2004 election, which were immediately exposed in the December hearings in Ohio by Congressman John Conyers, Jr., and the Democratic minority, culminating in the January 6, 2005, objection by Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones and Senator Barbara Boxer to the certification of the election. Conyers' report was inserted into the Congressional Record;

-the largest, record-breaking, donations to the 2005 Bush inauguration by the home-loan industry, whose unregulated business is now wreaking havoc across the world economy;

And that's just off the top of my head. I know. I picked up a book, and another, and another, watched PBS's "Now with Bill Moyers and David Brancaccio", did some Googling, and discovered that the Bush administration was not compassionate, was not conservative, and did not act according to moral values. Surely, this was not the President most Republicans thought they'd elected.

For me, that meant I was moved to begin emailing "Know Bush Facts" and performing Know Bush: Launching Facts That Shock and Awe, A One Person Patriot Act in October 2004 at the main downtown Salt Lake City library.

For Rocky, it meant a call for protest when George W. Bush came to town, giving extremely informative speeches about the specific wrongdoings of the administration, and, ultimately, the detailed development of the legal basis for impeachment of an administration which overstepped both the Constitution and international law and destroyed the moral ground of democracy and human rights the United States once maintained-thus making us all considerably less safe in this world.

If we do not have a free press which informs us, we must have citizens who care enough to pay attention to what our leaders do in our name. If we are unwilling to listen to those citizens who do speak up, then it takes citizens who have greater clout-such as the Mayor of a noted conservative city-to stand up and point out what we desperately need to know.

I, for one, am very grateful to Rocky and am proud that we, as a community, were invited by him to engage in a meaningful response to the kind of power-usurping, questionably elected executive officer that our Founders intended us to stop from ruining our country.

Thank you, sir, for taking it on, and taking the flack. I, for one, will continue to pay attention to your efforts, and I recommend that others do the same. I'm setting up a "Google Alert" today so I can keep up.

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