(Copyright © 2001 Al Aronowitz)


Subject: Re: COLUMN 55
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2000 20:31:50 -0600
From: Mitch Myers <>
To: "Al Aronowitz" <>   




A Chance Encounter

I was sitting alone in my favorite coffee house the other day, enjoying a nice hot cappuccino and reading a fairly good book when I spied an old acquaintance of mine, Adam Coil, walking through the door. I hadn't seen Adam in several months and immediately called his name, motioning for him to come over and join me at my table. As he smiled and headed across the room towards me, I painfully recalled the last time we had been together. It had been around Christmas time when a few mutual friends and I expressed some very grave concerns to Adam about his then-obvious state of depression. I hadn't called him since that day and felt more than a little bad that I hadn't stayed in touch. Anyway, he sat down and we quickly exchanged the obligatory pleasantries. He seemed to be in excellent spirits and after a fair bit of small talk and a couple more cappuccinos, I carefully brought up his dark mood of the previous winter. "Yeah Adam, we were all kinda worried about you last year." I said cautiously. "None of us could ever remember seeing you so down." Adam stared at me strangely for what felt like quite a long time. It appeared as if he were trying to decide whether or not to tell me something important. Finally, he spoke. "Y'know, I was down. I was so down that I was about ready to pull the plug". "What do you mean?" I asked, almost dreading to hear the answer to my own question. He stared at me again for an even longer period of time. "You know what I mean," he said quietly. "I was going to kill myself. I had been absolutely miserable for months and as much as I tried, I just couldn't get over the break up with my old girlfriend. It had been almost a year and I was still crying like a baby every day. I couldn't bring myself to talk to anyone about it and I called in sick to work so much that I finally lost my job." Adam's frank confession left me somewhat speechless. I mumbled something about me always being there for him and how glad I was that he had found an alternative to suicide. "You seem fine now." I said tentatively. "How'd you manage to get through it?"
This time Adam displayed little ambivalence in telling me his story. He seemed almost smug as he leaned forward to confide in me. "It's a funny thing, actually. I think it was March or maybe April, I can't remember
which. I hadn't left my house in well over a week and couldn't have been more depressed. I was crying so much that my vision was constantly blurry. I couldn't even read or watch the TV. Finally, I just couldn't take it
anymore. It wasn't as if I really wanted to die, I just couldn't stand the pain. I had already bought a gun and was completely prepared to blow my brains out. Still, I was scared. I thought that maybe I should try talking
to someone at least once before I killed myself, so I dialed some toll free crisis intervention number I had scribbled down on a piece of paper after hearing their ad on the radio. Somebody answered the phone and said "Hotline" and I immediately began to spill my guts. I was in the process of explaining how I had become a total shut-in and couldn't stop thinking about my old girlfriend when the guy stopped me in mid-sentence and asked if I was over 18. I told him that I was indeed well over 18 and needed to talk to someone right away. I said that I was in desperate shape and if I couldn't talk to their best available representative immediately I was liable to shoot myself in the head. There was a short pause on the line and then I was transferred directly to some woman. She sounded experienced and very patient, so I began to tell her my problems.

I went on and on about how lonely and miserable I was and how I hadn't even been able to go out on a single date since my break-up. After two or three if I could give her a credit card number. I was totally surprised. I was sure that I had dialed a toll-free hotline and was in the middle of baring my soul to this person when all of a sudden she wants my credit card? I began to get even more upset and was just about to hang up on her. Then I decided, screw it- if this talk doesn't help me right away I'm going to kill myself anyway so who cares how much they try to charge me? I gave the woman my credit card and she immediately starts back in asking me all about myself. I was amazed. She acted like there had been no break in our discussion at all. She was very warm, empathic and surprisingly reassuring. She listened to me as I cried and told me not to worry about a thing. She promised that she was going to make me feel a whole lot better before we finished our talk. Her voice was incredibly soothing and it practically had me hypnotized. I don't know exactly how long it took me to realize that I had inadvertently called a sex-line. Of course by this time I was way too into what she was saying to me to even consider hanging up. So I ...y'know...I finished what I had started." Adam shrugged his shoulders and grinned at me sheepishly. "Damn if I didn't find the will to live after that. As a matter of fact, I've been talking to the same woman once a week ever since and I feel better than I have in ages."

Adam glanced up at the clock on the wall and said, "Wow, look at the time. I have to run. I was just coming in here to get a coffee to go before heading over to my softball game downtown. Listen, it was great running into you. I'll try to call you real soon and we'll get together again and hang out. I really gotta go." Adam Coil threw a few dollars down on the table and was out the door in a flash before I could say another word. I looked blankly around the coffeehouse, sipped at my cold cappuccino, and tried in vain to resume reading my damn book.

Mitch Myers  ##

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Subject: Verse from history-Thanks ABQ
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2000 22:10:33 -0600
From: jo grant <>
To: <>

In olden times, it could be decades before major events were cast in verse.  But The Great 2000 Election Controversy  is so big that a bunch of all-star poets have come out of retirement to quickly set the story to rhyme.

For starters, history buff Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:  

                      Listen, my children, don't dare ignore,
                      The midnight actions of Bush and Gore
                      In early November, the year ought-ought,
                      Hard to believe the mess they wrought.
                      Two billion bucks of campaign bounty
                      All came down to Palm Beach County.
                      What result could have been horrider
                      Than the situation we found in Florider?  

  Britain's Edward Lear's limerick is lighter:

                     There once was a U.S. election
                     That called for some expert detection -
                     How thousands of pollers
                     Could become two-holers
                     Like outhouses of recollection.  

Ditto Ogden Nash
                     I regret to admit that all my
                     knowledge is
                     What I learned at Electoral
                     So tell me please, though I hate to troubya,
                     Will the winner be Al, or will it be Dubya?

Alfred Noyes rhythmically rumbles:

                    And still of an autumn night they say, with the
                    White House on the line,
                    When the campaign's a ghostly galleon and both
                    candidates cry, "'Tis mine!"
                    When the road is a ribbon of ballots,
                    all within easy reach,
                    A highwayman comes riding,
                    Riding, Riding,
                    A highwayman comes riding, and punches two holes in

Dr. Seuss takes a look at election officials:

                    I cannot count them in a box
                    I cannot count them with a fox
                    I cannot count them by computer
                    I will not with a Roto-Rooter
                    I cannot count them card-by-card
                    I will not 'cause it's way too hard
                    I cannot count them on my fingers
                    I will not while suspicion lingers.
                    I'll leave the country in a jam -
                    I can't count ballots, Sam-I-Am.

And finally, Clement Moore adopts a holiday theme:  

                    'Twas the month before Christmas, when all through
                    the courts,
                    All the plaintiffs made stirring bad ballot reports.
                    Which leaves the problem:
                    Perhaps the best way to stop complaints that are
                    raucous is
                    Start over again, with the Iowa caucuses.  ##

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Subject: Defend Democracy, Count Every Vote! Every Vote Must Be Counted!
Date: Wed, 06 Dec 2000 02:02:39 -0500

Defend Democracy, Count Every Vote! Every Vote Must Be Counted!
* Incredible! Miami Hearld study:  Gore Won - Election Hi-Jacked!
* Florida Ballot Spoilage Likelier For Blacks
   By John Mintz and Dan Keating - Washington Post Staff Writers
* Response from Marilyn Clements - Thanks for email, but who is portside? ============================
Incredible! Miami Hearld study:  Gore Won - Election Hi-Jacked!
[Suzanne Crowell forwarded the following story from the Sunday Miami Herald, Dec. 03, 2000]
Gore would have had the edge in glitch-free Florida balloting, based on a Herald analysis


If no one had ever heard of hanging chads, if the butterfly ballot had never flown, if no voter had bungled in the booth, who would have won Florida and the presidency of the United States?

In a race so tight, it may never be known for certain. But a Herald-commissioned analysis of voting patterns in each of the state's 5,885 precincts suggests that Florida likely would have gone to Al Gore -- by a slim 23,000 votes -- rather than George W. Bush, the officially certified victor by the wispy margin of 537...

(c) 2000 The Miami Herald and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. ============================
Florida Ballot Spoilage Likelier For Blacks

By John Mintz and Dan Keating

Washington Post Staff Writers

Sunday, December 3, 2000; Page A01 dyn/articles/A15998-2000Dec2.html

Heavily Democratic and African American neighborhoods in Florida lost many more presidential votes than other areas because of outmoded voting machines and rampant confusion about ballots, a precinct-by-precinct analysis by The Washington Post shows. 

As many as one in three ballots in black sections of Jacksonville, for example, did not count in the presidential contest. That was four times as many as in white precincts elsewhere in mostly Republican Duval County.

According to the Post analysis, in Miami-Dade County precincts where fewer than 30 percent of the voters are black, about 3 percent of ballots did not register a vote for president. In precincts where more than 70 percent of the voters are African American, it was nearly 10 percent.

Such patterns have helped fuel questions in the black community about whether the vote was fair on Election Day. A number of African American leaders say faulty ballot machines and long lines at polling places sowed confusion among many black voters and ended up nullifying many of their votes.

Aides to Texas Gov. George W. Bush say the kinds of errors Florida voters made are typical of elections across the nation.

Vice President Gore, by contrast, has placed allegations concerning disqualified black votes at the center of his appeal to hold recounts in Miami-Dade County, and he is making his case with rhetoric reminiscent of civil rights struggles. Democrats say the errors suggest a manual recount of ballots would show that Gore won Florida.

A computer analysis of election returns suggests there were anomalies in the Florida vote, particularly in African American areas. The more black and Democratic a precinct, the more likely it was to suffer high rates of invalidated votes....

Staff writer Thomas B. Edsall contributed to this report.  

© Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner.  We are making such material available in an effort to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. we believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. ============================
Marilyn Clements writes:

Dec 2, 2000
Dear Portside: 

Don't know who you are, but I appreciate the items you put on the e-mail. [portside (the left side in nautical parlance) is a news, discussion and debate service of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. It aims to provide varied material of interest to people on the left.]

I  spent yesterday doing some reflecting about our days in Seattle last year and what has happened in the year since. I was startled to find myself counting up all the signs of change. Yesterday's New York Times had three important stories. One was about the anniversary of "Seattle", a very friendly article! Two extensive front page stories were about the tremendous organizing going on all over Europe around "mad cow disease" and the response to genetically altered foods and the scientist in India who has defied the intellectual property rules of the WTO and created pharmaceutical drugs, all kinds of drugs, but particularly AIDS drugs for 1/50th of the cost of drugs in the U.S. India seems to be standing behind him. Now it will be up to the desperate countries that need these drugs to see if they can defy the WTO rules. The last thing that happened was mail from Nebraska. Nebraska farmers are organizing themselves to do Fair Trade just like the fair trade in coffee. They are organizing cooperatively, the way farmers used to do it during the depression.

Again, thanks for your mailings.
============================ ##

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Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2000 19:00:14 -0500



By Lee Feigon.

(Lee Feigon is a professor of Chinese history at Colby College.)

December 8, 2000

As a sinologist I can't help but think that if the events of election eve had transpired not in the United States but in a place like China, voters and TV viewers would not have been surprised by the results. As confusing as things might appear to Americans, the explanation would have seemed obvious to anyone used to a more authoritarian tradition of leaders: The Bush family rigged the results.

Consider the family's background. George W. Bush's father is not just the former president of the United States but also the one-time head of the CIA.

As secretary of defense in Bush's administration, Dick Cheney was responsible for the National Security Agency, a spook organization more powerful than the Central Intelligence Agency. Jeb Bush, the Republican candidate's brother and governor of Florida, spent years living and working in South America, where elections routinely have been manipulated by American-trained operatives.

Now remember what happened on the evening of the election. Every television network called Florida for Gore about 8 p.m. The Bush camp quickly protested, arguing the returns from absentee ballots and rural counties might yet be different from what the networks had declared. Jeb Bush, we were told, was on the phone with Florida desperately trying to find extra votes.

Many of us wondered: "What was Jeb Bush doing? The votes have already been cast."  

Then the votes the Bush people had predicted suddenly began to appear. By 2 a.m., the networks were calling the election for Bush. In a twist that many Chinese might be able to appreciate, this result was also not to remain in place for long. If clever operatives had fiddled with the election returns they would want the predictions to change back and forth a few times so it would look like the problem had been caused by the experts at the networks not by someone playing with the results? The focus on uncounted and difficult to use ballots in Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward Counties would be the perfect smokescreen to keep the attention off chicanery elsewhere in the state. Couldn't this explain why the Bush side didn't want to accept Vice President Al Gore's offer of a statewide recount, even when it appeared in their interest to do so?

 "Nah," I think. "These kind of things don't happen in America."

But the sinologist voice in the back of my head keeps working. If this were China I would look for indications that the family had used their spook connections to manipulate other events. Didn't someone do a pretty good job covering up George W. Bush's absenteeism from his National Guard duty? For years the record of his drunk-driving conviction remained suppressed. He even got out of the rehab program everyone convicted of drunk driving in the state of Maine was supposed to attend.

There's also that supposedly determinative first presidential debate. Shortly before this debate, videotapes of George W.'s preparation sessions suddenly arrived in the office of Gore's debate coach. Rather than run the risk of appearing tainted, the coach removed himself from Gore's debate preparations. Gore's performance suffered. The story was that a disaffected worker in the Bush camp probably sent the tapes, but the person still hasn't been found.

All this doesn't add up to a hill of beans. This isn't China. Only someone like me would even think about how after the elder George Bush lived in China in the 1970s, he restarted a previously dead-end political career. Even I won't make anything of the fact that not long after that his once good for nothing elder son made a fortune, got elected governor and then became a candidate for the presidency. It's a good thing we don't live in some country where all this would be looked on with suspicion.  ##

* * *


From: Keith Hunter []
Sent: Tuesday, January 09, 2001 10:01 PM
Subject: Request for Senate Inquiry of Gale Norton

Re:  Request for Senate Inquiry of Gale Norton
To the United States Senate and Interested American People:

I am writing in regards to the upcoming confirmation hearings of Gale Norton for the Cabinet position of Secretary of the Department of Interior (DOI) of the United States.  I have deliberated long and hard, and had many discussions with those close to me, regarding what I am releasing due to concerns of retaliation from Gale Norton and members of the Republican Party in the State of Colorado.  I am on parole from the State of Colorado and the content of this information concerns my experiences and knowledge of Gale Norton derived from the time I was incarcerated in the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC).  Myself and others endured severe repercussions from the State of Colorado when the substance of what I am about to divulge was originally released and contested in state and federal courts and political processes, and due to this experience the reality of retaliatory actions by Gale Norton and her political allies are not unfounded.

My experience with Gale Norton began when she was first elected as the Attorney General for the State of Colorado.  At the time I was a plaintiff and a class representative in a United States District Court case, Nolasco v. Romer, which had been filed in the United States District Court in Colorado by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU National Prison Project from Washington DC.  I was also a law clerk in the Legal Access Program operating under the Ramos Consent Decree, a previous class action settlement in prison conditions in Colorado in the U. S. District Court Colorado, as well as being an Inmate Representative pursuant to the Marioneaux Consent Decree also from the U. S. District Court Colorado.  In 1992 the Colorado Supreme Court determined that I was qualified to testify as an expert witness in Colorado prison and parole board regulations.

It is my belief that the actions and policies of Gale Norton's tenure and reign of the Colorado Attorney General's Office and that office's relationship to the issues litigated and settlement processes on behalf of the State of Colorado are germane to the consideration of her confirmation as Secretary of the Department of Interior.  Based upon my observation and experience of Gale Norton's operation of the Attorney General's Office of the State of Colorado, I believe it imperative that her confirmation to this highly responsible position of trust and duties be denied.  This letter is intended to be demonstrative but not exhaustive and these incidents (as well as similar incidents) are recorded in public and agency records and in files of cases which I had first hand participation in, was personally aware of, and/or witnessed.  I am willing to assist in any manner in to faciliate gathering this documentation of what I am submitting for your review.  

Human Rights Issues

Gale Norton's Office denied that it is cruel and unusual punishment to handcuff prisoners naked to the bars of their cells and use stun guns to testicles for "behavior modification".  Gale Norton's office refused to comply with discovery orders and withheld documentation which showed this practice existed and it was only after obtaining confidential documents and releasing this information to the Aspen Times which printed this information was the sadistic practice ended.  Gale Norton's Office was totally and completely aware of this practice and publicly and in court denied that it existed and/or in the alternative that it was constitutionally protected activities for the State of Colorado.  Although this practice of police brutality was documented by the State of Colorado's own documents there were never any suspensions or other disciplinary or criminal actions taken by Gale Norton's Office.

During the phase immediately before the trial was set before the US District Court in Colorado on the Nolasco case the CDOC, in consultation with Gale Norton's Office, opened the Limon Correctional Facility which was statutorily mandated to be operated as a Level III facility.  However, to avoid contempt of court proceedings pending before the US District Court for non-compliance with the Ramos Consent Decree, the CDOC opened Limon prematurely and operated this facility in violation of statutory staffing requirements and as a Level IV facility.  Gale Norton's Office defended these actions of statutory violations of the CDOC and the result was a total lockdown of the facility following an incident provoked by the DOC which was then attempted to be depicted as a racial riot by the CDOC and AG office public relations.  During the following six months five prisoners died in that prison.

Functioning in my capacity as an individual, Inmate Representative, and Law Clerk I filed a petition into the Colorado Supreme Court requesting application of a new statute created for Conflict and Dispute Resolution.  The very day I filed this action the CDOC was actively engaged in the literal beatings of numerous prisoners, at least one of which suffered a paralyzed face as a result of being brutalized in his cell.  The Director of Legal Affairs, working for the Attorney General Gale Norton, instructed the contract attorney I was working for to fire me from my job for the "unauthorized" filing of a petition seeking redress from the courts.  This contract attorney refused to fire me based upon the position that the right to petition the courts for redress of grievances was a constitutionally protected right and that it was illegal for the State of Colorado to censor prisoner petitions to the court seeking relief.  This attorney was immediately fired by the Gale Norton's Attorney General's Office.

This attorney was further instructed that to obtain her contract payment that she had to obtain a list of all names and confidential legal assistance case details of all prisoners that were accessing the Legal Access Program.  I was instructed to supply such information and when I refused to comply due to attorney client/privileges being breached between the Attorney General's Office and inmates accessing the law library this attorney's payment was withheld and she had to file a civil action against the State of Colorado to receive her payment.  I was scheduled to testify in this case since it was my refusal to submit a list of names and confidential materials which triggered this retaliation by Gale Norton's Office.  On the day I was being interviewed in pre-trial preparations two weeks before the trial was to begin Gale Norton's Office settled the case.  A whistleblowers audit four years following this sequence of events made the findings that the State of Colorado had knowingly violated statutory requirements for security ratings and staffing levels.  Gale Norton's Office was fully participatory in and actively engaged in a cover-up to prevent public knowledge, judicial review, and/or knowledgeable and possible corrective legislative action.

The Secretary of the DOI is responsible for law enforcement activities of federal agencies such as the BLM, National Park Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).  Censorship and retaliation against licensed attorneys, obstructing access to constitutionally protected avenues of redress, and documented instances of police brutality which were never prosecuted or investigated by her office, is not appropriate for appointment to head the DOI.  

Health Care Delivery

Gale Norton's Office denied that it was deliberately indifferent for a prisoner who had major back surgery, who was then moved back to prison from the state hospital four days after surgery and denied any and all antibiotics and other medications which had been prescribed by state hospital doctors, who then suffered to the extent that it required a Federal Court Order to have the prisoner taken to the doctor, which then state hospital doctor stated that had it not been for the court order the prisoner would have died from blood poisoning.

Gale Norton's Office denied it was a constitutional right for adequate health care delivery of medical and dental services from a delivery system which was staffed and implemented for 540 individuals which had grown to serve over 1200 with no increase in space, equipment, or medical staffing.  Waiting lists of over one year were common for routine and emergency dental care, instances of broken bones being X-rayed by dental X-ray machines, and a marked increase in rates of TB exposures were documented from state records.  Gale Norton's Office not only denied this violated constitutional and state obligations and/or medical standards, but obstructed justice and corrective action by refusing to comply with discovery orders and defended DOC employees destroying and hiding evidence to prevent solutions to this grossly inadequate health care issue.

Gale Norton's Office denied that it was deliberately indifferent for a State Hospital Doctor to prescribe treatment based the doctor's reliance upon state documents of medical services provided by the DOC which were knowingly not being provided by the DOC and ultimately Gale Norton's Office.  Gale Norton's Office admitted said equipment existed but not accessible due to not being staffed, but no notification or other arrangements were made to return the prisoner to the State Hospital where treatment could have been made available for a degenerative crippling arthritic condition.  The Doctor at the State Hospital testified that had he known the DOC was not able to provide the care prescribed the patient would have been provided the necessary care at the State Hospital.

Notwithstanding this information, Gale Norton's Office persisted in denial of the medical treatment needed and maintained the position that the patient had no right to access adequate medical care although that care was funded by statute from legislative intent that such care be provided demonstrated by the purchase of said medical equipment and funding for trained medical staff to operate such treatment methods.

An internal "whistleblower" audit three years following this incident showed the State of Colorado was deliberately operating in violation of statutory staffing requirements with no accountability for non-compliance with statutory staffing levels. Although Gale Norton's Office was totally aware of this situation prior to the audit, absolutely no action was taken by her office and in fact her office vigorously defended against all attempts to enforce adequate staffing and adequate health care delivery.

The Secretary of the Department of Interior is responsible for oversight of the BIA, which include delivery of Indian Health Services, and as such Gale Norton's demonstrated positions regarding adequate health care delivery is an endangerment to the health and lives of Indian People who depend upon IHS for health care services.  

Environmental Issues

Gale Norton's Office denied that the State of Colorado had any legal obligation to cease practices of dumping raw untreated sewage into Rifle Creek from the Rifle Correctional Center into the Colorado Division of Wildlife's Rifle Creek Wildlife Refuge.   In a separate incident, Gale Norton's Office denied that the State of Colorado had any legal obligation to cease practices of dumping raw sewage and open pit dumping of toxic materials onto the drainage of the Arkansas River from the Buena Vista Correctional Facility.  Gale Norton's Office's position was that the State of Colorado had no compliance obligations to any local, state, or federal laws based such laws being inapplicable to state owned properties and/or facilities.

Although it was proven by independent local community citizens of the State of Colorado that the sewage discharges were in fact routine, and that the State of Colorado had failed to operate sewage treatment facilities with licensed qualified technicians, no actions were taken by Gale Norton's Office to correct these situations and in fact her office obstructed at every opportunity any and all investigations which could have led to the Colorado General Assembly having factual evidence to base legislative funding to correct the environmental damages being done by the State of Colorado.

As part of the duties of the Secretary of Interior, advising Congress of facts and information pertinent to Congressional actions is required.  Gale Norton has proven, in many instances, where she used her position of trust as Attorney General of Colorado to obstruct investigations and fact findings which were critical to the Colorado General Assembly being able to make responsible and fully informed decisions.  Based upon her office's practices and actions,  Gale Norton's obstruction of information in regards to environmental damages is a detriment not only to the environment, but to the abilities of elected representatives to be able to make timely, knowledgeable, and relevant decisions in the law making process.

Native American Freedom of Religion and Sacred Site Protection

In 1991 the Colorado General Assembly unanimously passed legislation granting "freedom of religion" to Native American prisoners.  The internal opposition from state employees to the use of traditional spiritual practices was immense, and period of negotiations between representatives of the Native American Spiritual Community and the State of Colorado began.

Gale Norton's Office totally refused to investigate or take action on numerous documented instances of racial and religious discrimination by State of Colorado employees.  Gale Norton's Office obstructed investigations into the "disappearance" of a legislative appropriation which was to go toward establishing the affirmative obligation of the State of Colorado encountered by passing of this state statute, later reflected by the United States Congress Act in regards to the Restoration of Native American Religious Freedom and Protection Act.  Gale Norton's Office defended the bulldozing of a sweat lodge by the State of Colorado.

As Secretary of Interior among Gale Norton's duties will be the oversight of the BIA as well as Public Lands which contain Sacred Site designation for American Indian Tribes.  Gale Norton has demonstrated her indifference to Native American Religious Freedom and her defense of racial and religious discrimination practices by governmental employees.  Gale Norton's appointment to this position is a detriment to the rights to freedom of religion, protection from racial discrimination, and protection of sacred sites. 


I also realize that what I offer here may be judged by the fact that I myself was in prison.  I daily live with the prejudice that comes from many in regards to how prisons and crime are viewed in this society.  I have presented nothing in this release that cannot be verified by existing documents and credible witnesses outside of the prison system.

To those who would hold my being incarcerated as a reason to not further investigate Gale Norton's confirmation as Secretary of the Department of Interior I can state that being in prison allowed me to see things from a unique perspective, one in which it became more profound as to remembering that we all have a very important role as members of a larger community, the community not only of People, but our community of belonging to the Earth.  Being denied access to hear a baby laugh, to hear a puppy bark, or to even see the sky to hear a bird or to feel the wind for months at a time brings an appreciation that would not be as significant to those that had never experienced the loss of such things as many take for granted.  And for many, access to the political process to affect change and to influence the course of our collective community is something that is also taken for granted.  But because we take these things for granted does not mean we can ignore our duty and obligations as members of our collective community to prevent more harm from being done when we know by our silence these potential harms are possibly enhanced and/or allowed to occur.

 We have come to a place where we no longer imprison our potentials as national and world community by accepting our helplessness about the conditions of human beings and the treatment we accept towards our lands and waters.  We are obligated to change our destructive behaviors towards each other as human beings and our relationship to the land, water, and air.  Our survival and future as community depends upon our present decisions and choices before us all, and at this point in time you as the elected Senators are being called upon to make such a decision as is before you with Gale Norton, and ultimately with the members of the community called the United States.

Gale Norton supports and defends governmental abuses towards human beings, land and water.  Somewhere this has to end, and it partially ends in the political  process of our law makers being fully informed on issues before congressional and legislative bodies, a process in which Gale Norton has repeatedly sabotaged and obstructed in her job as Attorney General.   And this destruction of human dignity and the earth we depend upon partially ends when the retaliation and fear tactics of people such as Gale Norton is challenged and made known.

I am willing to stand up and do my part as a member of our community to provide that our future generations have a safe home to live in, both in terms of  environmental and human rights and dignity.   And I ask you, the elected Senators and members of our national community, to do the same and give serious consideration to the relationship between what I have presented to you the candidate for the position of the Secretary of the Department of Interior, a position entailing law enforcement, medical care. protection of lands and waters, and obligations to honor American Indian traditions, practices, and sacred sites.  The denial and obstruction of any of these aspects is an obstruction and denial of these rights to all rights and beliefs.

Tonight I hold my two year old Makah Indian grand-daughter in my lap as I contemplate sending this document.  I think of my new life I have been given, and the many blessings that have come that once I could only dream of and pray for and at times gave up hope believing would come.  I contemplate how much I have come to love my freedom and my new life and how real the potential for retaliation is from Gale Norton and her political allies.  And I think of how my heart will be broken if I am returned to prison for the words I release here and question my responsibilities towards the people who love me and are concerned of what may occur.  But is there freedom without truth?  And is true freedom lost or given away when people such as Gale Norton are able to incarcerate truth with retaliation?

As I hold this innocent child in my arms and hear her sweet "grandpa" being said to me, I know she trusts me. She trusts me to protect her from things that are "hot" and from falling and hurting herself.  She trusts me to teach her words and how to relate to people and the world around her.  And although she doesn't say it, I know she trusts me to do what I can to give to her and her children a home and future of hope, of realized potentials, and a world that is not scarred with continued destruction of human rights and environment. And although she doesn't say it, she is trusting in you too as are all our children trusting in us all to do what is right, what is honorable, and what is needed to be done.

I respectfully ask the United States Senate and the American People to now do your part to prevent Gale Norton's patterns of destruction from becoming a national practice such as she demonstrated as the Attorney General of the State of Colorado.  Our people, our land, our waters, and our collective ways of life deserve the best this country has to offer.  It is an honor to be able to participate in our national political process and I thank you for the consideration of what I have presented.


Keith Hunter
P.O Box 482
Neah Bay, WA  98357
360-645-3161  ##

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The Blacklisted Journalist can be contacted at P.O.Box 964, Elizabeth, NJ 07208-0964
The Blacklisted Journalist's E-Mail Address: