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Lost in the Shuffle: Last Weekend's Impeachment Rallies

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Message Irv Thomas
Well, it appears that the 'fix' was in, for last weekend's nationwide impeachment rallies scheduled around the country. There were said to be more than fifty of them. But a late Sunday night news search on Google, using the two words together: 'impeachment' and 'rally,' turned up all of 196 hits. By noon Monday, it had risen to 200, only FIVE of which were actual media coverage of any such events.

Isn't it rather amazing, that a serious national concern, for half the populace of the country just prior to the election, suddenly vanishes from view - abandoned by the entire media establishment - within the course of a month's time. You might well wonder: What Goes Here?

I, myself, started wondering about that, two days before the scheduled rallies, when a rather strange thing happened with an email message I was posting, to some half a hundred folks on my personal mailing list. It wasn't anything radical, I just sent an early notice that retiring Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, from Georgia, had seen to it that a Bill of Impeachment was placed before the 109th Congress, in full defiance of the directive that had come down from above (as it were).

Nancy Pelosi had said that impeachment was "off the table." To paraphrase the words of poet Edwin Markham, "she drew a circle that shut impeachment out, but Cynthia drew HER circle to take it in." Cynthia, as it happened, spoke up for all of the people that Nancy had decided to shut out, incidental to impeachment, itself. (Besides fully half the country, this included the folks from Nancy's own district in San Francisco, who had put her into office in the first place and later registered their verdict on the very topic of impeachment).

But let me get back to this email message. It was a short one, merely notifying my friends of the development, together with a few links to informative sites should they choose to pursue it further. Oh, I made note of the happy fact that there is actually "a congressional Democrat with honor and guts, after all," but that was as close as it came to anything rabble-rousing.

I sent it out on Friday afternoon, around 1:30. Along about evening, I realized that I hadn't received a single response to it, nor even the copy I ordinarily send myself. Something strange was going on.

Just to make sure my email hadn't gone out on me, I sent a test message to myself and it came right through. Then I followed it with a re-sending of the old message to myself, and once again, it DID NOT come through! Whoah, something decidedly strange was going on.

In the course of the next 24 hours, I tested the situation in various ways until there was no doubt left that this particular message was being blocked, every time I put it out there. So then I really got down to digging into it.

I put 'Comcast' together with 'blocking emails' into Google, and it brought up 1180 hits! Exploring a few of them, I found out that my ISP server has a deplorable record of blackballing certain web sites they apparently regard as unfit for service. But they don't stop at that. Any message carrying the site's URL is summarily killed, with no report back to the originating sender. Witness a pair of typical reports:

"We didn't know it, but for the past week, anyone using Comcast has been unable to receive any Email with '' in the body of the Email." (David Swanson, 7/16/05)

"Columnist Deanna Spingola discovered that her own Internet service, Comcast, arbitrarily blocks her newsletters and alerts from" (Jim Kouri, 11/22/06)

Notice that both of those are alternative activist and media sites. Comcast appears to be playing a political game, quite outside the province of its presumed purpose. For another example, the Bradblog web site made it known last year that similarly unwarranted sanctions had cut the traffic on Cindy Sheehan's activist site.

Returning, now, to my own problem, I put the email through a new run of tests, and it finally proved out that the indicated URL for the Atlantic Free Press was killing my service (you'll note that I carefully avoid specifying the actual address, here). So we have a situation of invasive tampering with my right to 'speak to' whom I choose, in a circumstance that has nothing to do with terrorism, national security, or any illegal activity. This is exactly where the fear-chased Bush administration has taken us. And I hasten to point out that they have done so by venturing into clearly illegal activity on their own part, which merits the full and consequent response of impeachment.

On a direct inquiry to the Comcast trouble-shooting response team, I received a total denial that this is being done, with assurance that it would be posted to my account record if it had been. So what I am left with is the experience of what happened, but no avenue available for explanation or redress.

Very much the same as the inexplicable media blackout that put the impeachment rallies around the country, last weekend, into the category of a non-happening. In both instances, we are being denied the ready access to areas of our concern; and in both instances, this denial-of-service emphasizes the urgent need of getting impeachment BACK ON THE TABLE.

We have got to rid ourselves of the cancer that continues to ravage the body politic, the body economic, and the body patriotic of this once great land. Give us our due, Nancy, in a court of proper consequence. Give us what was promised, when you had not the power yet to give it. We're the ones who gave you that power. Don't sell us out!
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Irv Thomas, ratrace escapee and cultural outsider for 35 years, editor of Black Bart Brigade during counter-culture days, hides out in Seattle. Presently putting out a sporadic pre-formatted email newsletter called Irv's Scrapbook, which can be had (more...)
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