Open Letter to the Government from an AWOL Soldier

Yesterday I got an email from James Craven. He’s an Indigenous Leader, Radical Pedagogue, and anti-war activist. He sent me a link to a Open Letter to the Government from an AWOL Soldier by James Circello of Iraq Veterans Against The War. I found this writing intense and compelling. So I share it with you here bellow the fold in its entirety. I hope you can find the time to read it and think about this soldier’s point of view.

Special thanks to Stan Goff for all your inspiration and the wisdom you share with such love.

Continue reading “Open Letter to the Government from an AWOL Soldier”

More Truth to Power Sen. Edwards

via AlterNet:

Sen. Edwards campaigning in New Hampsire:

“Real change starts with being honest — the system in Washington is rigged and our government is broken. It’s rigged by greedy corporate powers to protect corporate profits. It’s rigged by the very wealthy to ensure they become even wealthier. At the end of the day, it’s rigged by all those who benefit from the established order of things. For them, more of the same means more money and more power. They’ll do anything they can to keep things just the way they are — not for the country, but for themselves.”

“[The system is] controlled by big corporations, the lobbyists they hire to protect their bottom line and the politicians who curry their favor and carry their water. And it’s perpetuated by a media that too often fawns over the establishment, but fails to seriously cover the challenges we face or the solutions being proposed. This is the game of American politics and in this game, the interests of regular Americans don’t stand a chance.”

It’s a structural argument, and Edwards didn’t pull punches in calling out his fellow Democrats, saying: “We cannot replace a group of corporate Republicans with a group of corporate Democrats, just swapping the Washington insiders of one party for the Washington insiders of the other.” The rhetoric was a clear signal that Edwards is going to beat the drums of reform as a contrast to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the primaries.

I heard part of this quote today on NPR. They did a really bad job describing the details and context of this statement. Both local NRR (WUNC) and national NPR introduced this statement like, ‘Oh now.. haha… here he goes again with his risky “rhetoric”.’ [sarcastic NPR misquote done for comedic outrage effect]

Feh! What he was really doing was speaking truth to power! Good for him!

City of Greensboro Opposes HB1587

Last night the Greensboro City council passed a resolution opposing HB1587. That brings the count of communities opposing HB1587 to seven nine. The others are the City of Wilson, City of Fayetteville, City of Rocky Mount, Town of Carrboro, Town of Chapel Hill, Polk County, City of Monroe, and Rockingham County. There are also several entities that have opposed this bill such as the Rocky Mount Chamber of Commerce and Fayetteville Public Works Commission.

Here is one of my favorite WHEREAS in the resolution from the City of Greensboro:

WHEREAS, the re-combining of telecommunications companies (such as AT&T and the “baby Bells”) continues to result in planned layoffs, the inability to meet the demands of new and re-locating businesses for true high-speed broadband results in such businesses locating elsewhere, and the fact that there are telecommunications designers and equipment manufacturers and suppliers located in North Carolina who will be negatively impacted if local government is not allowed to provide needed communications services mean that North Carolina will stand to lose more jobs by not investing in top-quality broadband infrastructure than it will lose due to government provision of such services.

You can find a copy of the City of Greensboro resolution here. [doc]

Google and Intel letters about HB1587

Check out these two letters. One from Google’s State Policy Council John Burchett [PDF] and one from Intel’s Director of Communications policy Peter K. Pitch [PDF]. Both are to Speaker of the House Joe Hackney, Gov. Easley, and other Committee Representatives. They both speak against HB1587!

Google strongly opposes HB1587 and Intel writes in support of municipal network creation. Its wonderful to see these companies side with North Carolina municipalities.

It also bolsters my theory that the creation of HB1587 was motivated by the desire of Telecommunications companies to save old business models by buying legislation. New business models of the 21st century depend on open networks. Local municipalities can create open networks that support this model.

Why Muni Networks get Built

Local governments don’t spend millions of dollars and go through great hassle to create telecommunications monopolies. Most often they get into the business of providing infrastructure because the private sector won’t do it or can not do it at a high enough level. (DSL sucks and Cable modems are just enough)

The blog The Fiber Optic Files has a good post reminding us why Towns and Cities are creating broadband networks.

Seems like a good time for a refresher course because industry lobbyists are doing their best to frame the argument in the media.

They say it’s about fair competition. What they clearly want is to protect their monopolies throughout NC cities.

You should know:

* Wilson asked the current cable provider to build an all fiber optic network in Wilson. They said ‘no’. Now they don’t want us to do it either.
* The service offered by the incumbent is old technology. Wilson business and industry deserve the best communication tools available; just like they’d get anywhere in the world.
* Taxpayers aren’t paying for this. Subscribers will pay for the network.
* No one will be forced to buy services from the city.

Government is not perfect. I do not have blind faith in any government. Running a network will be hard. But when local elections are decided by hundreds of votes individuals can have a say. We have a good form of democracy in many of our Towns and Cities. Thus when our local government does something we can steer it to act as a socially responsible body. In other words make sure government helps all people not just Wall Street. If I have to pick a partner for the future of my community and family I’ll pick my local government before large private companies. In the case of providing broadband, so should you.

Town of Carrboro Charter Printed in The Citizen

In this weeks Carrboro Citizen you’ll find the Charter of the Town of Carrboro. You may wonder who besides a politician or bureaucrat would enjoy reading this document? Well me for one.

Why? Because within this ancient legalese lies answers to why things happen in Carrboro. Time and time again here on OP people ask why a Town does this or that. Most, but not all, answers to these questions can be found in this document. Barring interpretation and enforcement of-course.

Now I may not sit down and read the whole thing at once. But I will digest this document in small chunks. Plus I’ll use it as a reference. Its so much easier to read a big paper folded long ways like a city bus rider than a 8 1/2 x 11 PDF IMHO.

I am particularly impressed by The Carrboro Citizen’s willingness to use so much valuable space in their paper. In my mind its a important duty of media to educate the public. Now that The Citizen has set the stage I hope they refer to this document often as they explain and editorialize. May they find many creative ways to help people learn about local government.

So I’ll end this post with a question. What would our local democracy be like if everyone in Carrboro knew this document inside and out?

Cross posted from OrangePolitics

Buying the War

Bill Moyers has a great new piece called Buying the War. All the video is online here. I’ve only gotten through chapter one but I can already tell how very important this documentary is. History will be kind to the view that the main stream media was hoodwinked by the Bush administration. What an awful break down of the freedom of the press. At the cost of so many lives… What will media owners do to make sure this doesn’t happen again? Sadly profit may blind people and prevent safety measures from being developed or even talked about.

This is such an amazing comeback considering the details of Moyer’s rousting from PBS by right wing hatchet men at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. His now famous speech at the National Conference on Media Reform is amazing! Its called Take Public Broadcasting Back.

Welcome back Mr. Moyers! We’re so happy you’ve returned!

Thanks to Anton for blogging this. It reminded me to look for the vid online. 🙂

Help start Bill Hop NC

Another legislation tracking website called Bill Hop is focusing on state bill activity. They’re trying to get one going for North Carolina. [ nc.billhop.com ] Check out their about info:

BillHop is a network of sites (for each statehouse and Congress) that allows people to track and comment on legislation while connecting with others with common interests. All content on the BillHop website is contributed by its registered users. Some users are progressive, while others are conservative. Some may be wonks in specific fields of interest. Others are just novice armchair politicos. It is hoped that this amalgamation of perspectives and experience levels will result in a body of information that accurately reflects reality, and an experience everyone can benefit from.

Here is their help pitch:

Help Start BillHop in North Carolina

We’re starting a new site for North Carolina and are looking for sponsors. Sponsors are individuals who are committed to contributing to the site and spreading the word among their cohorts. We will reward those founding members with frontpage recognition of their own projects, organizations, or blogs.

If you are interested, it’s a two step process:
1) Register as a member; and
2) Sign-Up to sponsor this site.
Once we have 7 sponsors, BillHop – North Carolina will open and the fun will begin.

I wish I had more time to work on this.