|Progressive Calendar 01.20.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|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 - ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments
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