Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Our Land and Air

On a business trip to Oklahoma our son purchased a T-shirt for me with the title of Woody Guthrie’s hit song “This Land Is Your Land.”  I’ve been waiting for some 7o degree days, so that I can wear it without a coat. 

In my opinion the lyrics to that song does not support the actions of people like Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who has been raising his cattle on federal lands and refusing to pay land fees, because he “doesn’t believe in the federal government.”

He was first ordered by a federal court to remove his cows from federal lands in 1998.  The land belongs to “our” federal government and the Bureau of Land Management is responsible for collecting grazing fees on public land.  Grazing cattle on private land would have cost Bundy about $25 to graze a cow and calf per month.  For 20 years, Bundy had been a government freeloader, who put 500 head of cattle on federal land, and refused to pay the $1.35 per month fee.  That subsidy, eventually amounted to over $1 million dollars.

More recently, three of Cliven Bundy’s sons were among dozens of people occupying the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.  Their protests were on behalf of Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven Hammond, who were convicted of setting fires that they claimed were intended to protect their property.

In 2005, the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision of Kelo vs City of New London ruled the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another private owner to further economic development was permissible.

Donald Trump said: “I happen to agree with it a 100 percent.”  Trump will continue to support what I consider eminent domain abuse because he can make millions, while ordinary citizens lose their property rights.

President Obama outlined actions by the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce dangerous carbon pollution, and build a clean energy economy.  We should continue to transition away from fossil fuel, because it isn’t just about energy, it’s also about pollution that is affecting people’s health.  We’re continuing to subsidize fossil fuel companies to the tune of billions of dollars every year.  We need to invest in renewable energy by making sure that there are benchmarks for all states and all local communities to reach.  Unless they have goals, they’ll continue with the status quo.


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