Progressive Calendar 01.20.07
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2007 00:50:39 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    01.20.07

1. Jean Shinoda Bolen 1.20 9am
2. Palestine          1.20 9:30pm
3. MN Green Party     1.20 9:30am
4. Katrina            1.20 10am
5. NW N4P vigil       1.20 11am
6. Northtown vigil    1.20 1pm

7. SOA                1.21 9:45am
8. AI                 1.21 3pm
9. Reclaim autonomy   1.21 3pm

10. Andy Driscoll - "Truth to Tell" - new public affairs show
11. Joshua Frank  - Obama and the Middle East: the next big bamboozler?
12. Joe Mowrey    - Don't support our troops
13. SteveAnderson - A positive agenda for media reform
14. Bill Moyers   - Life on the plantation  (part 1)

--------1 of 14--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Jean Shinoda Bolen 1.20 9am

>From Sarah Bell Haberman: sarah [at] habermaninc.com

Honoring Women Worldwide is a new membership organization designed to
mobilize women across the globe to honor, recognize and celebrate the
contributions of women, and leverage their leadership capabilities to
positively change our world.

We are having our inaugural event January 20th, 9 a.m.. to noon, at which
Jean Shinoda Bolen, internationally acclaimed psychologist, activist and
author of Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World,
(voted best women's spirituality book in 2005 by Spirituality & Health
magazine) will speak.  I hope you would consider coming and inviting
friends or passing this on to someone who might be interested!  This
morning event at the College of St. Catherine should prove very
interesting and inspiring.  We are also targeting worldwide diversity
representation so that all cultural traditions are represented in our
honoring women and learning about better ways to "save the world".

Thanks for any consideration you can give to the event or letting others
know about Honoring Women Worldwide!  Also, if you know of any physical
place that honors women, in big deeds or everyday ones, I'd like to know
about it.  We are compiling a book of the places to visit that honors us!
(Eventually this organization will have a physical space as well...about
2015)

Please visit our website is www.honoringwomenworldwide.org where there is
more about the big event and the ability to register on line.  Hope you
might be in town and interested in coming!!

Sarah Bell Haberman Haberman & Associates, Inc. Modern Storytellers for
Media + Marketing 119 N. 4th Street, Suite 301 Minneapolis, MN 55401
http://www.ModernStorytellers.com <http://www.ModernStorytellers.com/>
Phone: 612.338.3900 Fax: 612.338.4844


--------2 of 14--------

From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Palestine 1.20 9:30pm

"The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood"

Saturday, January 20, 9:30 a.m. (Refreshments),
10:00 a.m. (Presentation and Discussion)
Southdale Hennepin County Library, 7001 York
Avenue South, Edina.

On October 17th before a C-Span audience in Washington, D.C., Rashid
Khalidi gave a spirited presentation about his new book, "The Iron Cage."
He explores the causes internal to Palestinian society under the British
Mandate and the impact this has had on their national goals after 1948.
Rashid Khalidi holds the Edward Said Chair in Arab Studies at Columbia
University where he heads the Middle East Institute. His talk with a
30-minute question and answer session, will be shown on the large screen.
Discussion follows. Sponsored by: Middle East Peace Now. WAMM is a member.
FFI: Call Florence, 651-696-1642.


--------3 of 14--------

From: Green Party of Minnesota <Info [at] mngreens.org>
Subject: MN Green Party 1.20 9:30am

Green Party of MN Winter Membership Meeting 2007
Saturday, Jan 20, 2007
9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Keewaydin Recreation Center
3000 53rd Street East
Minneapolis, MN 55417
612-370-4956
http://www.minneapolisparks.org/default.asp?PageID=88&parkid=183

9:30 am Registration
10:00 am Welcome, Announcements & Poem
10:30 am Introduction of Each Caucus

11:00 am  Caucus Meetings:
Women's Circle:  Encouraging Women to Run for Office
Lavender Greens
Green Party Animal:  Animal Rights
Blue/Green Caucus
Free Media Greens:  Let's reclaim the media!
Campus Greens
Peace/Nonviolence Caucus:

Noon Workshops:
IRV:  How to implement it in your city
Single Payer Universal Health Care: We can achieve it
Highlights of the Current Legislative Session

12:50 pm LUNCH: Brown bag, nearby restaurants or someone will pick-up
items ordered in AM.
Bring your sleds to enjoy the hills! [It's all downhill from here  -ed]

1:50 pm Workshops
Engaging Communities of Color in the Green Party
Socially Conscious Investing & Living
GDI:  Greens Declaring Independence from corporate parties

3:00 pm Coordinating Committee Elections
3:40 pm Closing:  Civil Rights Works & Folk Songs

Children are welcome & limited childcare will be available.
Questions:  <BeckyKopp [at] mngreens.org>

Green Party of Minnesota 612-871-4585 Info [at] MNGreens.org www.mngreens.org


--------4 of 14--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Katrina 1.20 10am

Saturday, 1/20, 10 to 11:30 am, Red Wing physician Dr David Harris speaks on
"Hurricane Katrina Was Not a Natural Disaster" from several trips to the
Gulf Coast, Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha Ave, Mpls.
www.americas.org


--------5 of 14--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: NW N4P vigil 1.20 11am

The NW Neighbors for Peace weekly demonstrations every Saturday between
11am and noon along Vinewood, near Rockford Rd. (also known as 42nd Avenue
or Cty. Rd. 9) and just east of 494.  This is the entrance to Target,
Rainbow, and other stores.


--------6 of 14--------

From: Lennie <major18 [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Northtown vigil 1.20 1pm

Mounds View peace vigil EVERY SATURDAY from 1-2pm at the at the southeast
corner of the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE in Blaine,
which is the northwest most corner of the Northtown Mall area. This is a
MUCH better location.

We'll have extra signs.  Communities situated near the Northtown Mall
include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden
Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids.

For further information, email major18 [at] comcast.net or call Lennie at
763-717-9168



--------7 of 14--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: SOA 1.21 9:45am

Sunday, 1/21, 9:45 am, adult education class presents Steve Clemens on "Why
I Chose Prison" on his incarceration at Duluth Minimum Security following
"crossing the line" at the School of the Americas,  Twin Cities Friends
Meeting, 1725 Grand Ave, St Paul.  www.tcfm.org



--------8 of 14--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net>
Subject: AI 1.21 3pm

GROUP 37 JANUARY MEETING REMINDER: SUNDAY, JANUARY 21ST - 3 TO 5 P.M.

Join Group 37 for our regular meeting on Sunday, January 21st, from 3:00
to 5:00 p.m.

Our guest presenter this month is Glen Hill. Mr. Hill recently returned
from several years working with development projects in Burma, and will
share his impressions and experiences with us, including some thoughts on
the human rights situation there. His presentation will begin promptly at
3:00.

In our second hour, we will catch up with the work of our various
sub-groups and other Amnesty International news and campaigns.

Everyone is welcome, and refreshments will be provided.

Location: Center for Victims of Torture, 717 E. River Rd. SE, Minneapolis
(corner of E. River Rd. and Oak St.). Park on street or in the small lot
behind the center (the Center is a house set back on a large lawn).

A map and directions are available on-line:
http://www.twincitiesamnesty.org/meetings.html.


--------9 of 14--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Reclaim autonomy 1.21 3pm

IMPACT hosts:
"Reclaiming Autonomy: A Guided Discussion OUT OF Social Control"
Sun., Jan. 21, 3 pm

Mayday Books, 301 Cedar Ave
Below Midwest Mountaineering, corner of Cedar and 3rd
One block north of Cedar and Riverside Aves, Mpls

IMPACT organizer Nathan Maus facilitates a continuation of a conversation
that had begun at IMPACT's November event.  Participation will not be
limited to those present for that discussion.

After a review of some of the ways that our civilization pushes people
onto a path towards powerlessness, we will discuss what we can do to
reverse this process.  We will explore ways to reclaim our personal
sovereignty in a world where people are guided towards consumerism by
powerful institutions.  FREE

While events are FREE, please consider giving a donation to our host,
Mayday Bookstore, which generously provides space to us!

FFI: http://wmom.typepad.com/impact/

IMPACT (Ideas to Mobilize People Against Corporate Tyranny) is a
grassroots group of concerned citizens whose purpose is to raise awareness
about the impact of corporations on our society, promote sustainable
lifestyles, and mobilize ourselves and our communities to take cooperative
action.  We believe another world is possible: a world where people and
the earth are more valued than profits!


--------10 of 14--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com>
Subject: "Truth to Tell" - new Public Affairs show

Friends, Colleagues, et al:
In concert with KFAI Community Radio, I have launched, with co-host Craig
Cox, a new public affairs talk show we¹re calling ³Truth to Tell.² We're
in the pilot stages of a new KFAI initiative to broaden KFAI's audience
and to bring new ears to its outstanding community service work by
programming to the many underserved communities throughout the Twin Cities
and, by extension the world through its online streaming capability. One
of those underserved audiences is the large community of progressive
citizens and peace and justice advocates.

We hope to become part of KFAI's permanent schedule sometime soon by
demonstrating that a huge audience lies in wait wanting to talk and hear
about life-affecting local, regional and state issues without the
inflammatory rhetoric of a KSTP or KQRS and to tackle subjects of public
import even MPR doesn't wish or dare to deal with. Early signs are that we
have something here.

We can only determine if this is true if we can attract listeners through
our shows, the first of which is NOT airing over KFAI's two frequencies,
but can be heard online at <http://www.KFAI.org>. Future programs will air
on KFAI's two frequencies, 90.3 in Minneapolis and 106.7 in St. Paul as
well as streaming online at KFAI.org. We'll also make CDs of our show
available.

As an hour-long weekly series, Truth to Tell will try to get at the core
of issues and ideas in interviews and talk with key newsmakers, authors,
community and policy activists, scholars, consumers, journalists, artists
and policymakers about issues that affect us all every day. Although some
may have global, national or even interplanetary import, we think that
local folks deserve talk about those daily encounters with the things that
matter - to mention just a few: schools and kids, our air and water
quality, our health care options, the role of our media in daily life, and
our city, county and state governments - how they work, how you can change
them, what you think they should pay attention to.

More than anything, we need your feedback on this effort. Listen to the
show and let us (and KFAI) know your thoughts - good and otherwise - so we
can work on improving the "product" to serve the community the best way we
know how - albeit with a strong progressive bent.

Now - about this first program:

"TRUTH TO TELL ON INSTANT RUN-OFF VOTING (IRV)"

Getting a handle on how the new election system Minneapolis voters
installed last November will work and taking measure of its chances for
use in St. Paul and/or the State of Minnesota any time soon.

Andy Driscoll and Craig Cox talk with founding president of
FairVoteMinnesota, Tony Solgård and Jeanne Massey, director of the Better
Ballot Campaign that secured IRV's 2-1 victory at the polls.

The second half features our regular media roundtable with a rotating
panel of local journalists and editors commenting on and analyzing the
week's hot topics in policy and politics. Joining Andy and Craig are
Minneapolis free-lance writer, columnist and schools advocate Lynnell
Mickelsen and writer/editor/commentator/issues list manager David Brauer,
who dips his toe in advocacy every so often.

Future panels will include strong representation from local dailies,
ethnic and neighborhood papers and broadcasters as well.

Truth to Tell's music consultant is local composer and troubadour, Larry
Long, and his music as well as that of other local artists will carry us
through our breaks.

NEXT: "TRUTH TO TELL ON SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE" SUNDAY, JAN 28, 2007 -
3:00 PM Airing on KFAI and streaming online at KFAI.org

Andy Driscoll and Craig Cox interview Minnesota's own Kip Sullivan,
longtime advocate for single-payer health care and author of "The Health
Care Mess..." - a recently updated argument for creating what is
essentially a Medicare-for-all system of insuring all citizens.

Listeners may call in with questions and comments for Kip.

Media Roundtable panelists Lynnell Mickelsen and David Brauer return and
will be joined by another local journalist to be announced.

Tune in and let us know your thoughts about this program and all Truth to
Tell shows.

Thanks for taking this all in. Look forward to serving you.


--------11 of 14--------

Obama and the Middle East
The Next Big Bamboozler?
by Joshua Frank
www.dissidentvoice.org
January 17, 2007

 So I guess we know what the buzz is going to be for the next, ah, year or
so. It looks like Barack Obama, the rookie Senator from Illinois, is going
to run for president. He has received a plethora of accolades from key
primary states in recent weeks for his (alleged) tenacity and willingness
to shoot it straight -- not unlike the great bamboozler before him, Bill
Clinton, who seemed to fool most everyone into believing his words
actually meant something.

The gift Obama has is unique but potentially dangerous. A taste of his
personal appeal: "Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up
by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand
solutions," he said in a video on his website. "And that's what we have to
change first."

What are the problems the Senator plans on tackling? Certainly not the big
one: U.S. policy in the Middle East. While assuring us that he supports
the troops in Iraq, he's made it quite clear he won't bring them home, and
instead has pressured the White House to come up with a plan on the matter
of their own. How Obama, or anyone, could possibly believe that the
Bushites could come up with a worthwhile strategy for Iraq is beyond me.

On Iran Obama also serves the status-quo with the kind of hawkish zeal we
are used to seeing in most Republicans. He's admitted he may favor
surgical missile strikes on Iran and Pakistan if that's what it takes to
fight the war on terror. And Obama even boasts that Bush hasn't taken a
hard enough line on the foreign menaces.

How about Israel? Well, according to Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada,
Obama may be to the right of the Democratic mainstream when it comes to
the occupation of Palestine. As Abunimah told Philip Weiss of The New York
Observer, Obama is a "master triangulator" who knows that "pissing off the
(pro-Israel) lobby is not the way to the top." Oh, and I almost forgot,
Obama even embraced Israel's brutal bombings of Lebanon last summer -- the
type of complicity we're sure to see continue if he's successful in his
political evolution.

Beyond that, Obama voted in favor of the pork-swollen Pentagon budget last
year, with its beefy handouts to Halliburton and the rest tax and waste
crooks. So I'll stop right there and ask, just what in the heck is the big
stinkin' deal about Barack Obama? Aside from not being Hillary Clinton,
Obama has little to offer the antiwar movement or proponents of an
alternative U.S. strategy for the Middle East.

Unfortunately we aren't likely to hear much of this as the campaign 2008
comes to a head. What we'll have instead is the standard horse race where
the pundits place their bets without wagering the consequences of either
candidate's victory.

Barack Obama may indeed talk big about "change" and "priorities", but
that's all it is: talk. The main concern this year and next will be Iraq
and the Middle East. If Obama can't offer up an alternative solution to
the mess we've helped create in the region, he doesn't deserve our
support.

Joshua Frank is Co-Editor of Dissident Voice, and the author of Left Out!
How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush. He edits BrickBurner.org, the
official blog of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at:
joshua [at] dissidentvoice.org


--------12 of 14--------

Don't Support Our Troops
by Joe Mowrey
www.dissidentvoice.org
January 17, 2007

The slogan "Support Our Troops" has come to symbolize gas-guzzling SUV's
with magnetic yellow ribbons on the back and American flag decals in the
window. In an effort to guard themselves against accusations they are
unpatriotic, Progressives have co-opted that phrase and added the words
"Bring Them Home Now." The intention of this new slogan is to claim the
troops as our own, not just pawns of the right wing. We support them by
wanting to end the war and bring them home. Implicit in this support is
the notion that they deserve our unflagging gratitude and enthusiasm
because they are not responsible for their situation. They are only
following orders. It is up to us to see to it that they are extricated
from the desperate circumstances our politicians have created for them.
Both uses of this sound bite ignore the despotic nature of the military
industrial complex in this country. Both are wrong.

I manage the data base and produce the graphics for the Iraq/Afghanistan
Memorial Installation, a 450-foot-long (and growing) series of 3 by 6 foot
vinyl banners displaying the names, pictures and obituaries of the U.S.
military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Installation is a
project of the Santa Fe Chapter of Veterans for Peace. I have spent
hundreds of hours staring at the faces and reading biographies of the
nearly 3400 (as of the writing of this article) young men and women who
have been killed in these two wars of aggression. Though I am not a
veteran and have not lost a loved one to war, I carry a deep sense of the
tragedy these lost lives represent. But I do not "Support Our Troops."

When did the truth become an unspeakably radical position? At a time when
what we need most is frank and honest discussion about the imperialist
role the United States plays in the nightmare of global violence and
militarization, what we see instead is an effort on the part of the
antiwar movement to play politics with language. Rather than having the
courage to reject platitudes, we attempt to stake out some imagined middle
ground of justice and the rule of law. We pretend to ignore inconvenient
facts for fear we might be labeled anti-American. We frame the truth in a
way that may serve our ends even though the means is not as noble as we
might hope. Expediency supplants integrity.

What if the principal and many of the teachers at your local high school
claim a neighboring school is hiding a cache of weapons? The school
administrators can't produce any evidence this is true. But just in case,
the students are being armed and trained and will be sent to attack the
other school, burn it to the ground and kill many of the families in the
surrounding neighborhood. Would you give those kids a pat on the back, a
tearful hug and send them off to commit this mayhem? Or would you
encourage them to question the school administrators, demand proof of
their claims, call in police and other legal authorities to investigate
the alleged threat represented by the other school?

If in the end you were unable to convince the students they were being
lied to, that there was no real danger, would you go ahead and "support
the troops" just because you felt the need to demonstrate your loyalty to
their school and neighborhood? Would you send them cookies at the
holidays, warm socks, perhaps a video game or two they could use to
distract themselves during their off hours? Would you laud them as heroes
on their return home? It's not really their fault, after all. They've been
lied to. The fact that they are killing and maiming innocent people is a
secondary consideration. First, we need to assure them we support them in
this terrible time.

These are difficult and complex moral considerations. When does support
become facilitation? When does care and concern lend itself to the
commission of crimes against the populations of other countries? When does
loyalty supplant responsibility? Though I have my own answers to these
questions, I can't answer for others. But I do believe they are questions
that need to be asked.

The Bush administration made outlandish claims about Iraq and the imminent
threat posed by Saddam Hussein. They insisted that the government of
Afghanistan was harboring those responsible for the attacks of 9/11.
Incredibly, in the next breath, they convinced many people that Iraq was
responsible for those same attacks. All this was done without presenting
even the slightest legitimate evidence for these claims. Being the good
patriotic citizens that many of us are, we willingly sent our children off
to kill and be killed, to murder thousands of civilians in Afghanistan and
hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq for no other reason than that a
handful of politicians and media pundits told us to do so. And all the
while we continue to chant the myopic slogan, "Support Our Troops."

Following the horrific devastation that resulted from World War II the
collective nations of the world adopted the Nuremberg Principles and the
Geneva Conventions. As absurd as the notion may be that we can establish
"rules" for war, none the less, we as a global community determined
standards for military engagement between nations. Since that time, the
United States has continually violated these standards. We have openly
attacked and secretly undermined sovereign governments in our efforts to
achieve global hegemony. We have installed and maintained brutal
dictatorships whenever and wherever it served our purposes. We have used
our military to conduct state-sponsored terrorism in order to change
political landscapes to advance our imperialist agenda.

Our military is engaged in war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes
against peace in both Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the more than
100 other countries where we maintain a military presence. We instigated
wars of aggression against two nations whose governments did not attack
us, nor did they pose any threat to us. Our forces have destroyed untold
billions of dollars worth of civilian infrastructure and killed hundreds
of thousands of innocent men, women and children. As American citizens our
jingoistic support of the military in such endeavors has enabled this
abusive behavior.

Nuremberg Principle IV states: "The fact that a person acted pursuant to
order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from
responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in
fact possible to him." The politicians and corporate moguls who
orchestrate the United States' imperialist ventures bear the bulk of
responsibility for the crimes being committed. But soldiers who engage in
the implementation of these policies are also culpable, from the most
senior officers to the lowest ranking enlisted personnel. As a result of a
political system that is controlled by corporate interests we no longer
can rely on our elected officials to abide by the rule of law. The burden
then must fall to members of our military establishment to disobey illegal
and immoral orders.

The invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan are wars of
aggression that violate the law and defy common sense. We have turned our
children into war criminals. We ourselves, as American citizens, are
accessories before and after the fact. A moral choice is available, to us
and to members of our military. Ehren Watada is only one example of many
soldiers who are making such choices. He is the highest ranking officer
yet to refuse service in Iraq, rightfully claiming the war and the
occupation violate the Constitution, international law and Army
regulations. He and others like him are the ones who truly deserve our
support. They are the real heroes of our misbegotten wars.

It does not matter what lies were told to take us into these wars. We are
the aggressors. We are the rogue nation. When politicians and pundits on
the left and the right claim they were deceived by George Bush or Colin
Powell or some other neoconservative ideologue, we should respond with the
obvious facts. Hundreds of thousands, indeed millions of people in this
country and around the world were not fooled by these lies. None of us who
opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan believed that either of these
countries posed a threat to the United States. None of us believed there
was any justification for dropping bombs on innocent civilians. None of us
condoned these illegal and immoral actions.

The truth is painful, and stating it is far from politically correct. We
as a nation have allowed our military to become a criminal element that is
rampaging around the globe inflicting death and destruction on innocent
populations. If we claim to be a civilized society, we must practice the
same behavior we purport to expect of others. There is no rational
argument in favor of wars of aggression, collective punishment, torture
and abuse of human rights. Those paradigms are ineffective, morally
indefensible and should be rejected by us unconditionally.

The facts themselves are clear. The needed response is also clear and
indisputable. "Bring Them Home Now." That slogan should stand alone as the
mantra for the antiwar movement. We must demand the immediate withdrawal
of forces from Afghanistan and Iraq as well as anywhere else they are
functioning in an imperial capacity or in violation of accepted standards
of morality. Our government must end financial and military support for
any and all countries that do not abide by the Nuremberg Principles and
the Geneva Conventions.

When our military is no longer committing war crimes, when we are in
compliance with basic standards of human rights and social justice, then
we can break out the bumper stickers and ribbons that say "Support Our
Troops." We can support their physical and emotional rehabilitation. We
can support their return to their families and reintegration into their
communities. We can properly fund veterans benefits and educational and
employment opportunities for veterans. We can become a model of
egalitarian compassion in the world instead of a bloodthirsty juggernaut
spewing death and destruction in the wake of its imperialist ambitions.
Until then, every American, as well as our military, are guilty of crimes
against peace.

Joe Mowrey is a peace and social justice activist living in Santa Fe, New
Mexico. He is an advocate of Palestinian rights and has made two trips to
the West Bank. He can be reached at: jmowrey [at] ix.netcom.com


--------13 of 14--------

A Positive Agenda For Media Reform
by Steve Anderson
www.dissidentvoice.org
January 17, 2007

On the 2005 National Conference for Media Reform, I noted that media
reformers were preparing for what they called "the perfect storm." By "the
perfect storm," they were referring to when the FCC and Congress would
make crucial decisions about the future of the media, specifically in
relation to the Internet. It was expected that the huge telecommunications
lobby would aggressively push to sway these decisions to their favor,
whilst the public (rallied by media reform groups and independent media)
would be evermore informed and engaged in media issues. This amounts to
what Robert McChesney called "a moment of danger and a moment of
spectacular opportunity."

The perfect storm is now upon us and it was evident with the explosive
atmosphere of the 2007 National Conference for Media Reform that took
place in Memphis, Tennessee on January 12-14. Media activists, educators,
journalists, policymakers and concerned citizens from many countries, and
nearly every state in the US attended the National Conference for Media
Reform, an event that aimed to move media issues to the forefront of
public discourse in the United States.

                 Extensive growth and Celebration

Conference organizers estimate that 3,500 citizens attended the conference
this year, up from 2,500 in 2005 and 1,700 in 2003. It is also estimated
that as many as 3,000 more people watched the major speakers at the
conference through real time online streaming video, and many thousands
more watched video coverage uploaded to Youtube. No doubt the numbers can
partly be attributed to the impressive line up of speakers including; Rev.
Jesse Jackson, Bill Moyers, Phil Donahue, Amy Goodman, Danny Glover, John
Stauber, Helen Thomas, Geena Davis, Jane Fonda, Robert W. McChesney, and
many more.

The media reform movement was recently further popularized by the
fashionable issue of net neutrality; where telecommunications companies
sought to change the Internet into a tiered system allowing certain well
financed websites to receive preferential treatment over others. This
galvanized many citizens who had previously not been involved in media
issues, creating one of the most successful grassroots campaigns in recent
U.S. history.

Many conference speakers celebrated the recent success in securing net
neutrality for two years, while encouraging reformers to stay vigilant on
the issue. As Bill Moyers of PBS put it: "What happened to radio, happened
to television, and then it happened to cable. If we are not diligent, then
it will happen to the Internet, [creating] a media plantation for the 21st
century dominated by the same corporate and ideological forces that have
controlled the media for the last 50 years. This is the great gift of the
digital revolution, and you must never let them take it away from you."
Moyers also took the opportunity to put his detractors on notices,
announcing that he would be hosting a new show on PBS in the coming
months.

Further celebration surrounded the growth of key independent media outlets
such as LinkTV, DemocracyNow, and the up and coming TheREALnews. Touted as
the "largest public media collaboration in the US," Democracy Now
broadcasts on 500 stations including Pacifica, NPR, community, and college
radio stations; on public access, PBS, satellite television, and online.
The combination of outlets that air Democracy Now easily surpass the
audience of many of the so called "mainstream media". TheREALnews is a new
independent video news organization that is expected to start airing
regular news casts this March.

Countering these success stories was the acknowledgment of the demise of
the Independent Press Association (IPA), which advocated, provided
resources for and distributed independent magazines. IPA's failure has
hurt many independent magazines and is a leading reason why some magazines
have shut down recently, including, most significantly Clamor Magazine.

             Moving forward with a positive agenda

One of the major themes of the conference was that the media reform
movement must, and will move away from defending against media
deregulation, towards articulating and advocating for policy that will
advance media democracy. In the words of Robert McChesney, president and
co-founder of Free Press, "After years of fighting to prevent further
consolidation of media ownership and the dumbing down of our airwaves, the
movement is ready to pursue reforms that will transform American media."

At a celebration on Thursday night, the SavetheInternet.com Coalition
(founded by Free Press, the conference organizer) unveiled the "Internet
Freedom Declaration of 2007," which sets forth its plan not just for
winning Net Neutrality in the next Congress, but establishing faster,
universal and affordable broadband for everyone. The declaration calls for
"World Class Quality through Competition," "An Open and Neutral Network,"
and "Universal Affordable Access."  The declaration is a big step in media
reform, changing the terms of debate from defending against further media
deregulation, to demanding a truly public media infrastructure.

Even before the declaration, On January 8th, Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-S.D.)
and Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) sponsored the Internet Freedom
Preservation Act of 2007, which would protect net neutrality. This is the
type of legislation Free Press has and continues to lobby for.

                        Reformers energized

In addition to recent media reform success and the burgeoning positive
agenda, conference attendees were also energized by continued dismal
behaviour of the corporate media in recent years. Robert McChesney
summarized the situation well in his address:

[W]e need to battle the ever-increasing commercialization of our media. We
need to fight thinly disguised payola fuelling homogenized corporate music
that leaves no room for local and independent artists; we need to fight
video news releases masquerading as news, with PR agents pushing agendas
that squeeze out real news coverage and local community concerns; we need
to fight product placements turning news and entertainment shows alike
into undisclosed commercials; and we need to fight rapacious advertisers
preying on the unsuspecting minds of our young children.

Put more concisely by DemocracyNow host Amy Goodman, we have to stop a
media system that produces "the lies that cost lives."

As the conclusion of the conference one thing is certain: attendees remain
engaged and energized in the struggle for a democratic media system.

Steve Anderson is the managing editor of COA News and founder of The
Center For Information Awareness.


--------14 of 14--------

Life on the Plantation     (part 1)
By Bill Moyers
t r u t h o u t | Address

Friday 12 January 2007

Address to the National Conference for Media, Memphis, Tennessee - as
prepared for delivery.

It has long been said (ostensibly by Benjamin Franklin, but we can't
be sure) that "democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have
for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."

My fellow lambs:

It's good to be in Memphis and find you well-armed with passion for
democracy, readiness for action, and courage for the next round in the
fight for a free and independent press.

I salute the conviction that brought you here. I cherish the spirit
that fills this hall and the camaraderie we share today. All too often the
greatest obstacle to reform is the reform movement itself. Factions rise,
fences are built, jealousies mount - and the cause all believe in is lost
in the shattered fragments of what was once a clear and compelling vision.

Reformers, in fact, too often remind me of Baptists. I speak as a Baptist.
I know Baptists.

One of my favorite stories is of the fellow who was about to jump off a
bridge when another fellow runs up to him, crying: "Stop. Stop. Stop.
Don't do it."

The man on the bridge looks down and asks, "Why not?"

"Well, there's much to live for."

"Like what?"

"Well, your faith. Are you religious?"

"Yes."

"Me, too. Christian or Buddhist?"

"Christian."

"Me, too. Are you Catholic or Protestant?"

"Protestant."

"Me, too. Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist?"

"Baptist."

"Me, too. Are you original Baptist Church of God or Reformed Baptist
Church of God?"

"Reformed Baptist Church of God."

"Me, too. Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God Reformation of 1820, or
Reformed Baptist Church of God Reformation of 1912?"

"1912."

Whereupon the second fellow turned red in the face, shouted, "Die, you
heretic scum," and pushed him off the bridge."

That sounds like reformers, doesn't it?

By avoiding contentious factionalism, you have created a strong movement.
I will confess to you that I was skeptical when Bob McChesney and John
Nichols first raised the issue of media consolidation a few years ago. I
was sympathetic but skeptical. The challenge of actually doing something
about this issue - beyond simply bemoaning its impact on democracy - was
daunting. How could we hope to come up with an effective response to an
inexorable force?

It seemed inexorable because over the previous two decades a series of
mega-media mergers had swept the country, each deal even bigger than the
last. The lobby representing the broadcast, cable, and newspaper industry
is extremely powerful, with an iron grip on lawmakers and regulators
alike. Both parties bowed to their will when the Republican Congress
passed and President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
That monstrous assault on democracy, with malignant consequences for
journalism, was nothing but a welfare giveaway to the largest, richest and
most powerful media conglomerates in the world - Goliaths whose handful of
owners controlled, commodified and monetized everyone, and everything, in
sight.

Call it the "plantation mentality" in its modern incarnation. Here in
Memphis they know all about that mentality. Even in 1968, the Civil Rights
movement was still battling the plantation mentality based on race,
gender, and power that permeated Southern culture long before and even
after the groundbreaking legislation of the mid-1960s. When Martin Luther
King came to Memphis to join the strike of garbage workers in 1968, the
cry from every striker's heart - "I am a man" - voiced the long-suppressed
outrage of a people whose rights were still being trampled by an ownership
class that had arranged the world for its own benefit. The plantation
mentality was a phenomenon deeply insulated in the American experience
early on, and has it permeated and corrupted our course as a nation. The
journalist of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine, had envisioned this
new republic as "a community of occupations," prospering "by the aid which
each receives from the other, and from the whole." But that vision was
repeatedly betrayed, so that less than a century after Thomas Paine's
death, Theodore Roosevelt, bolting a Republican party whose bosses had
stolen the nomination from him, declared:

"It is not to be wondered at that our opponents have been very bitter, for
the lineup in this crisis is one that cuts deep to the foundations of
government. Our democracy is now put to a vital test, for the conflict is
between human rights on the one side and on the other, special privilege
asserted as a property right."

Today, a hundred years after Teddy Roosevelt's death, those words ring
just as true. America is socially divided and politically benighted.
Inequality and poverty grow steadily, along with risk and debt. Many
working families cannot make ends meet with two people working, let alone
if one stays home to care for children or aging parents. Young people
without privilege and wealth struggle to get a footing. Seniors enjoy less
and less security for a lifetime's work. We are racially segregated in
every meaningful sense except the letter of the law. And survivors of
segregation and immigration toil for pennies on the dollar compared to
those they serve.

None of this is accidental. Nobel laureate economist Robert Solow - not
someone known for extreme political statements - characterizes what is
happening as nothing less than elite plunder: "the redistribution of
wealth in favor of the wealthy and of power in favor of the powerful."
Indeed, nearly all of the wealth America created over the past 25 years
has been captured by the top 20 percent of households, and most of the
gains went to the wealthiest. The top one percent of households captured
more than 50 percent of all gains in financial wealth. These households
hold more than twice the share their predecessors held on the eve of the
American Revolution. Of the early American democratic creeds, the
anti-Federalist warning that government naturally works to "fortify the
conspiracies of the rich" has proved especially prophetic. So it is this
that we confront today.

America confronts a choice between two fundamentally different economic
visions. As Norton Garfinkle writes in his new book The American Dream vs.
The Gospel of Wealth, the historic vision of the American Dream is that
continuing economic growth and political stability can be achieved by
supporting income growth and the economic security of middle-class
families, without restricting the ability of successful businessmen to
gain wealth. The counter-belief is that providing maximum financial
rewards to the most successful is the way to maintain high economic
growth. The choice cannot be avoided: What kind of economy do we seek, and
what kind of nation do we wish to be? Do we want to be a country in which
the "rich get richer and the poor get poorer?" Or do we want to be a
country committed to an economy that provides for the common good, offers
upward mobility, supports a middle-class standard of living, and provides
generous opportunity for all? In Garfinkle's words, "When the richest
nation in the world has to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars to pay
its bill, when its middle-class citizens sit on a mountain of debt to
maintain their living standards, when the nation's economy has difficulty
producing secure jobs or enough jobs of any kind, something is amiss."

You bet something is amiss. And it goes to the core of why we are here in
Memphis for this conference. We are talking about a force - the media -
that cuts deep to the foundation of democracy. When Teddy Roosevelt
dissected the "real masters of the reactionary forces" in his time, he
concluded that they "directly or indirectly control the majority of the
great daily newspapers that are against us." Those newspapers - the
dominant media of the day - "choked" (his word) the channels of
information ordinary people needed to understand what was being done to
them.

And today? Two basic pillars of American society - shared economic
prosperity and a public sector capable of serving the common good - are
crumbling. The third basic pillar of American democracy - an independent
press- is under sustained attack, and the channels of information are
choked.

A few huge corporations now dominate the media landscape in America.
Almost all the networks carried by most cable systems are owned by one of
the major media conglomerates. Two thirds of today's newspaper markets are
monopolies. As ownership gets more and more concentrated, fewer and fewer
independent sources of information have survived in the marketplace. And
those few significant alternatives that do survive, such as PBS and NPR,
are under growing financial and political pressure to reduce critical news
content and shift their focus in a "mainstream" direction, which means
being more attentive to the establishment than to the bleak realities of
powerlessness that shape the lives of ordinary people.

What does today's media system mean for the notion of the "informed
public" cherished by democratic theory? Quite literally, it means that
virtually everything the average person sees or hears outside of her own
personal communications is determined by the interests of private,
unaccountable executives and investors whose primary goal is increasing
profits and raising the company's share price. More insidiously, this
small group of elites determines what ordinary people do not see or hear.
In-depth news coverage of anything, let alone of the problems people face
day-to-day, is as scarce as sex, violence, and voyeurism are pervasive.
Successful business model or not, by democratic standards, this is
censorship of knowledge by monopolization of the means of information. In
its current form - which Barry Diller happily describes as oligopoly -
media growth has one clear consequence: there is more information and
easier access to it, but it's more narrow in content and perspective, so
that what we see from the couch is overwhelmingly a view from the top.

The pioneering communications scholar Murray Edelman wrote that "Opinions
about public policy do not spring immaculately or automatically into
people's minds; they are always placed there by the interpretations of
those who can most consistently get their claims and manufactured cues
publicized widely." For years the media marketplace for "opinions about
public policy" has been dominated by a highly disciplined, thoroughly
networked ideological "noise machine," to use David Brock's term.
Permeated with slogans concocted by big corporations, their lobbyists, and
their think-tank subsidiaries, public discourse has effectively changed
how American values are perceived. Day after day, the ideals of fairness
and liberty and mutual responsibility have been stripped of their
essential dignity and meaning in people's lives. Day after day, the
egalitarian creed of our Declaration of Independence is trampled underfoot
by hired experts and sloganeers who speak of the "death tax," the
"ownership society," the "culture of life," the "liberal assault" on God
and family, "compassionate conservatism," "weak on terrorism," the "end of
history," the "clash of civilizations," "no child left behind." They have
even managed to turn the escalation of a failed war into a "surge" - as if
it were a current of electricity charging through a wire, instead of blood
spurting from a soldier's ruptured veins. We have all the Orwellian
filigree of a public sphere in which language conceals reality and the
pursuit of personal gain and partisan power is wrapped in rhetoric that
turns truth to lies and lies to truth.

So it is that "limited government" has little to do with the Constitution
or local autonomy any more; now it means corporate domination and the
shifting of risk from government and business to struggling families and
workers. "Family values" now means imposing a sectarian definition on
everyone else. "Religious freedom" now means majoritarianism and public
benefits for organized religion without any public burdens. And
"patriotism" now means blind support for failed leaders. It's what happens
when an interlocking media system filters, through commercial values or
ideology, the information and moral viewpoints that people consume in
their daily lives.

By no stretch of the imagination can we say the dominant institutions of
today's media are guardians of democracy. Despite the profusion of new
information "platforms" on cable, on the Internet, on radio, blogs,
podcasts, YouTube and MySpace, among others, the resources for solid
original journalistic work, both investigative and interpretive, are
contracting rather than expanding. I'm old fashioned in this, a hangover
from my days as a cub reporter and later a publisher. I agree with Michael
Schudson, one of our leading scholars of communication, who writes in the
current Columbia Journalism Review that "while all media matter, some
matter more than others, and for the sake of democracy, print still counts
most, especially print that devotes resources to gathering news. Network
TV matters, cable TV matters, but when it comes to original investigation
and reporting, newspapers are overwhelmingly the most important media."
But newspapers are purposely dumbing down, driven down - says Schudson -
by "Wall Street, whose collective devotion to an informed citizenry is
nil, and seems determined to eviscerate newspapers." Meanwhile, despite
some initial promise following the shock of 9/11, television has returned
to its tabloid ways, chasing celebrity and murders - preferably both at
the same time - while wallowing in triviality, banality and a
self-referential view.

Worrying about the loss of real news is not a romantic cliche of
journalism. It has been verified by history: from the days of royal
absolutism to the present, the control of information and knowledge has
been the first line of defense for failed regimes facing democratic
unrest.

The suppression of parliamentary dissent during Charles I's "eleven years'
tyranny" in England (1629-1640) rested largely on government censorship
operating through strict licensing laws for the publication of books. The
Federalists' infamous Sedition Act of 1798 likewise sought to quell
Republican insurgency by making it a crime to publish "false, scandalous,
and malicious writing" about the government or its officials.

In those days, our governing bodies tried to squelch journalistic freedom
with the blunt instruments of the law - padlocks for the presses and jail
cells for outspoken editors and writers. Over time, with spectacular
wartime exceptions, the courts and the Constitution have struck those
weapons out of their hands. But now they've found new methods, in the name
of "national security" and even broader claims of "executive privilege."
The number of documents stamped "Top Secret," "Secret" or "Confidential"
has accelerated dramatically since 2001, including many formerly
accessible documents which are now reclassified as secret. Vice President
Cheney's office refuses to disclose, in fact, what it is classifying: even
their secrecy is being kept a secret.

Beyond what is officially labeled "Secret" or "Privileged" information,
there hovers on the plantation a culture of selective official news
implementation, working through favored media insiders, to advance
political agendas by leak and innuendo and spin, by outright propaganda
mechanisms such as the misnamed "Public Information" offices that churn
out blizzards of factually selective releases on a daily basis, and even
by directly paying pundits and journalists to write on subjects of "mutual
interest." They needn't have wasted the money. As we saw in the run-up to
the invasion of Iraq, the plantation mentality that governs Washington
turned the press corps into sitting ducks for the war party, for
government and neo-conservative propaganda and manipulation. There were
notable exceptions - Knight Ridder's bureau, for example - but on the
whole, all high-ranking officials had to do was say it, and the press
repeated it, until it became gospel. The height of myopia came with the
admission by a prominent beltway anchor that his responsibility is to
provide officials a forum to be heard. Not surprisingly, the watchdog
group FAIR found that during the three weeks leading up to the invasion,
only three percent of US sources on the evening news of ABC, CBS, NBC,
CNN, FOX, and PBS expressed skeptical opinions of the impending war. Not
surprisingly, two years after 9/11, almost seventy percent of the public
still thought it likely that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the
terrorist attacks of that day. An Indiana school teacher told the
Washington Post, "From what we've heard from the media, it seems like what
they feel is that Saddam and the whole Al Qaeda thing are connected." Much
to the advantage of the Bush administration, a large majority of the
public shared this erroneous view during the buildup to the war - a
propaganda feat that Saddam himself would have envied. It is absolutely
stunning - frightening - how the major media organizations were willing,
even solicitous hand puppets of a state propaganda campaign, cheered on by
the partisan ideological press, to go to war.

There are many other ways the plantation mentality keeps Americans from
reality. Take the staggering growth of money-in-politics. Compared to the
magnitude of the problem, what the average person knows about how money
determines policy is negligible. In fact, in the abstract, the polls tell
us, most people generally assume that money controls our political system.
But people will rarely act on something they understand only in the
abstract. It took a constant stream of images - water hoses, dogs and
churches ablaze - for the public at large to finally understand what was
happening to Black people in the South. It took repeated scenes of
destruction in Vietnam before the majority of Americans saw how we were
destroying the country to save it. And it took repeated crime-scene images
to maintain public support for many policing and sentencing policies.
Likewise, people have to see how money-in-politics actually works, and
concretely grasp the consequences for their pocket books and their lives,
before they will act. Media organizations supply a lot of news and
commentary, but almost nothing that would reveal who really wags the
system, and how. When I watch one of those faux debates on a Washington
public affairs show, with one politician saying this is a bad bill, and
the other politician saying this is a good bill, I yearn to see the
smiling, nodding beltway anchor suddenly interrupt and insist: "Good bill
or bad bill, this is a bought bill. Whose financial interest are you
serving here?"

- end part 1 -


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