State, national Republican officials hide behind wall of silence
The public's right to know appears to be a prime target of the Republican Party both in Washington, D.C., and here in Alaska. First, Attorney General Ashcroft shot the Freedom of Information Act full of holes. Then, Gov. Frank Murkowski issued a gag order on all his commissioners.
Now, U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and Congressman Don Young are trying to prevent public oversight of Tongass National Forest timber sales. Apparently the public's right to know and oversight of federal timber sales is of less concern to our elected officials than the demands of special interest groups.
In case our representatives have forgotten, these timber sales do not pay for themselves. They have to be subsidized by us taxpayers. If these timber sales are as harmless as our representatives would have us believe, what are the Republicans trying to hide?
Legislature defies constitution, public by meeting in private
The original intent of our open meeting law is clearly stated in the Alaska Statutes:
"The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them; the people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know; the people's right to remain informed shall be protected so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created."
In 1994, the Alaska Legislature voted to exempt themselves from those powerful words quoted above. Does this mean the public no longer wishes to control "the instrument we created" or that we have "yielded our sovereignty" to the agencies that are supposed to serve us?
By exempting themselves from provisions of the open meeting statutes, our legislators made a conscious decision to restrict what the public should know. What is the Legislature hiding behind their closed doors? Have partisan politics or special interest lobbyists somehow seduced our legislators into believing they are better than the citizens who elect them?
Our right to be fully informed should not be infringed upon. The public should pry those caucus doors open, so our business can be
conducted in the light of day. Once reopened, we should never let the doors be closed again!
Anti-war group crosses the line between protest and treason
A recent ad in the Homer News sponsored by Kindness Without Borders entitled "Not In Our Names" lists a group of local residents that protest America's involvement in any military action in Iraq.
Further study reveals that "Not In Our Names" is not only the title of the ad, but the plural of an anti-war group called Not In Our Name, which is based in New York. This group advocates "resistance" to the Bush administration and "solidarity" with the people of Iraq. (Go to the Rueters Web site and pull up an article entitled "Iraqis Call Shuttle Disaster God's Vengeance" dated Feb. 1, 2003, to see how much the average Iraqi loves Americans.) They mock citizens rallying around "their country and their sons and daughters in uniform in times of war," and they send representatives to Iraq to apologize for American actions.
Perhaps worst of all is this group's attempts to convince active duty and reserve members of the United States Armed Forces to lay down their arms, to refuse to obey lawful orders and to refuse to participate in any military action that may take place in Iraq.
This act alone goes beyond the exercise of free speech. To encourage United States soldiers to commit illegal acts in the face of war with those whom you claim solidarity is treacherous and seditious.
There is a difference between dissent and resistance, between pacifism and insurgency, between loyalty and providing aid and comfort to the enemy. The American Dictionary defines treason as "violation of allegiance to sovereign or state."
Go to the Web site at www.notinourname.net and see these things for yourself. Then decide if there are indeed traitors among us.
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