Progressive Calendar 07.22.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2007 02:59:27 -0700 (PDT)
           P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     07.22.07

1. 24-hr peace vigil 7.23 10am
2. ClimbIt crisis    7.23 7:30pm
3. Local media/CTV   7.23 8pm
4. Orange/stopBush   7.23

5. Fairvote MN       7.24 9am
6. Big talk salon    7.24 6:30pm
7. Impeach           7.24 7pm

8. Fair trade event  7.25 6pm
9. Organic farm      7.25 6pm
10. Child care/MNLeg 7.25 6pm
11. Race/    /wealth 7.25 6:30pm

12. Dr Susan Rosentahl - Hidden injuries of capitalist-bred powerlessness
13. John Pilger        - The invisible government - propaganda triumphant
14. ed                 - how to end war  (poem)

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From: "wamm [at]" <wamm [at]>
Subject: 24-hr peace vigil 7.23 10am

Twenty-four-Hour Vigil and Rally: End the War and Occupation of Iraq -
Bring the Troops Home Now!

Monday, July 23, 10:00 a.m. to Tuesday, July 24, 10:00 a.m. Senator
Coleman's Office, Highway 280 and University Avenue, St. Paul. The People
Want Peace NOW! Not one more death, not one more dollar!! Demonstrate your
commitment to Peace. This is a call to all Minnesota elected officials to
vote to end the funding for war and bring the troops home now. We want to
maintain a large round-the-clock presence at this highly-visible location.
Come for as long or short as you can. FFI: Call Twin Cities Peace
Campaign-Focus on Iraq (TCPC), 612-522-1861 or WAMM, 612-827-5364.

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From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: ClimbIt crisis 7.23 7:30pm

Regular meeting of the Climate Crisis Coalition of the Twin Cities (3CTC).
EVERY 2nd and 4th Monday at 7:30 pm.  The Freight House Dunn Brothers, 201
3rd Ave S, next door to the Milwaukee Road Depot, Downtown Minneapolis.
Stop global warming, save Earth!

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

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: Local media/CTV 7.23 8pm

Yes ­ wešve been given an entire hour on MTNšs Monday Night Live ­ 8:00
PM, Ch. 16 ­ only on Minneapolis Comcast Cable.

A chance for Minneapolis political and media junkies ­ not to mention all
good citizens ­ to tune and chat live with KFAIšs Truth to Tell host Andy
Driscoll and KFAIšs former news director and Fulbright Scholarship
recipient, Ann Alquist, for an houršs conversation about the state of
local media and politics and how one covers the other. Will be fun for us,
but more if viewers call in and talk with us and to us about the topics
under discussion.

Unfortunately, co-host Craig Cox is away that week. We are live from
8pm-9pm on Ch 16, viewers must live in Minneapolis and must have Comcast
cable to see the show. The phone number to the studio is 612-746-0553.
Tune in and join us! Wešll have some fun and fascinating chit-chat.

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From: PRO826 [at]
Subject: Orange/stopBush 7.23

Start Impeachment and End the War - wear orange

A campaign to "Start Impeachment and Stop the War" begins Monday, July
23rd. All those in favor are asked to wear something orange every day...
Wear an orange item of clothing or an orange ribbon or orange wrist
band... Every day.

It has been called the "Downing Street Memo". On July 23, 2002, the head
of British intelligence reported that President George W. Bush and Vice
President Richard B. Cheney were intent on invading Iraq and planned to
"fix the intelligence and facts around the policy"...

Fixing intelligence - i.e. lie to do so. Five years later, an estimated
one million people have died as a direct result of these lies... There's
no end in sight.

Meanwhile, torture has been used - institutionalized. Habeas corpus is
ignored - eviscerated. Illegal spying is common - made routine.

Today, New Orleans lies devastated - along with the U.S. Constitution and
the rule of law. And Bush and Cheney constantly make a mockery of the
Democrats' feeble gestures towards accountability.

Five years after that infamous Downing Street Memo, this coming Monday,
July 23rd, please join me in wearing an orange item of clothing or an
orange ribbon or orange wrist band...

After Monday, wear something orange on Tuesday... and every day. "Start
Impeachment and End the War".

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

From: PRO826 [at]
Subject: Fairvote MN 7.24 9am

Runoff Voting (IRV): A Vote is a Terrible Thing to Waste

The Minnesota Council of Non-Profits (MCN) and Hamline University's
Graduate Department of Management will co-sponsor an educational panel
about Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) on Tuesday, July 24 from 9:00 a.m. to
10:30 a.m. at Hamline University, Law and Graduate Schools Conference
Center, Room 106 1536 Hewitt Ave, St. Paul 55104; parking is free in lots
near the building. The event is free and open to the public.

This briefing will feature a panel of speakers to discuss the issue,
including Secretary of State Mark Ritchie who will speak about the
upcoming state IRV task force. The panel will include David Schultz,
Hamline University Professor and FairVote MN Board Member; Minneapolis
City Councilmember Ralph Remington; Former Congressman and Humphrey
Institute Senior Fellow, Tim Penny; State Representative Carlos Mariani,
District 65B; Minnesota Council of Non-Profits Executive Director, Jon
Pratt, and Jeanne Massey, FairVote Minnesota Executive Director.

A demonstration election sampling pastries and ranking favorite choices
will take place to show how Instant Run-off Voting works.

In May, the board of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits voted to endorse
Instant Runoff Voting in Minnesota. Representing various nonprofit
organizations from across the state, the board reflects the diversity of
interest in furthering democratic reforms.  FairVote Minnesota director,
Jeanne Massey, made a presentation about Instant Runoff Voting to the
Minnesota Council of Nonprofits board in March and is enthusiastic about
the organization's endorsement She says that "IRV is an important voting
reform that will help MCN achieve its aim of engaging and empowering
voters who are typically underrepresented in the current system."

CONTACT:  BethMarie Ward FairVote Minnesota,
_<>_ (
bethmarie [at] 612-210-5657

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From: patty <pattypax [at]>
Subject: Big talk salon 7.24 6:30pm

The salon July 24 will be open discussion.  We've had some interesting
salons lately so hope we can discuss what we have been hearing about.

Pax Salons ( ) are held (unless otherwise
noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943
W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call
651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.

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

From: Impeach <lists [at]>
Subject: Impeach 7.24 7pm

Meet Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. at: Joe's Garage (Restaurant along Loring Park)
1610 Harmon Pl Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 904-1163

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From: Erik J Esse <info [at]>
Subject: Fair trade event 7.25 6pm

Fair Trade Comes Home with the Debut of the Local Fair Trade Label
The Local Fair Trade Network (LFTN) will celebrate the debut of the Local
Fair Trade food label with Local Fair Trade Fair at the Birchwood Cafe,
July 25, 6:00-8:00 PM.

Produce from four local organic farms have been pilot certified to meet
the standards of the Agricultural Justice Project (AJP).  The Local Fair
Trade label is an important step forward for the domestic fair trade
movement's effort to create a food system that is just for farmers,
farmworkers, retail workers and consumers.

We will be joined by Seward Co-op and Peace Coffee staff, Riverbend Farm
owner Greg Reynolds and Brad Conley of Etica Fair Trade Wine.  The public
is invited to sample the Birchwood's delicious specialties featuring
Riverbend Farms produce, sample Etica Fair Trade wines and Peace Coffee's
new blend and hear about the movement towards fair trade in American
agriculture. The Birchwood Café is located at 3311 East 25th Street in

The Local Fair Trade label is an innovative effort to certify social
justice in domestic agriculture.  Over the last twenty years a system of
Fair Trade has been built for imported products like coffee and chocolate.
In this system, farmers in the developing world are guaranteed prices for
their products that will allow them to stay on their land, educate their
children and improve their communities.  The Local Fair Trade label pilot
project works with two co-op grocery stores and four local farms that
practice fairness in their relationships, including sustainable prices for
farmers, establishing long-term trading relationships, treating farm
workers with dignity and respecting their right to organize.  The project
aims to create a model that can be replicated regionally and nationally,
and can demonstrate that food can be produced in the United States without
exploiting farm workers or driving family farms out of business.

The Local Fair Trade Network (LFTN) builds on the foundation created by
the organic food, farm worker and cooperative movements, bringing together
the growers, sellers and eaters of food to cooperatively build a food
system that is just and healthy for everyone. Based in Minneapolis, LFTN
focuses its work on the Upper Midwest and aims to be a model for the
creation of other regional Fair Trade bodies.

LFTN is partnering in the label pilot with the Agricultural Justice
Project (AJP), a non-profit initiative to create fairness and equity in
our food system through the development of social justice standards for
organic and sustainable agriculture.

Contact: Erik Esse, info [at], 612-418-4811

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From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Organic farm 7.25 6pm

July 25: Women's Environmental Institute Organic Farm School with Madeline
Leslie (Dream of Wild Health). 6PM- 8:00PM p.m. at Amazon Bookstore, 4755
Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis MN.

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

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: Child care/MNLeg 7.25 6pm

July 25: Child Care WORKS Early Childhood Community Meeting. Discussion
will cover what happened at the legislature on early care and education
issues this year. 6-8PM at the Sabathani Community Center, Minneapolis. If
you have any questions or are in need of child care, please call
612-455-1055 x12 or email jluce [at]

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

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Race/    /wealth 7.25 6:30pm

Race and wealth: a public conversation to inform the future of our
6:30-8:30pm , Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Hallie Q. Brown -- MLK Center, 270 Kent Street, St Paul

University of Minnesota professor Rose Brewer will speak about race and
wealth - & how public policies create and maintain a racial wealth divide.
The Color of Wealth: The Story Behind the U.S. Racial Wealth Divide,
published in 2006, is a collaborative book created by five outstanding
academics - including Professor Rose Brewer.  What does The Color of
Wealth have to teach about bringing racial justice into public discussions
focusing on the future of our community?  How should community members
focus the attention of elected officials as they debate specific polices,
funding, & programs for LRT and related development on University Avenue?

Free and open to the public.  RSVP is required.  Please contact Unny
Nambudiripad at unny [at] or 612-332-4471 to RSVP.

Unny Nambudiripad Organizer, Alliance for Metropolitan Stability Phone:
612-332-4471 / Fax: 612-338-2194 unny [at] / <> 2525 Franklin Ave
E, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55406

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

Linking Alienation and Dissociation
The Hidden Injuries of Powerlessness
July 21 / 22, 2007

Alienation and dissociation reinforce each other to create a cycle of
social powerlessness. In The Hidden Injuries of Class, a worker ponders
this dilemma.

"The more a person is on the receiving end of orders, the more the
person's got to think he or she is really somewhere else in order to keep
up self-respect. And yet it's at work that you're supposed to 'make
something' of yourself, so if you're not really there, how are you going
to make something of yourself?"

Capitalism alienates the majority from control over the decision-making
process, putting most people "on the receiving end of orders."
Dissociation is a psychological defense against feeling powerless; the
worker goes "somewhere else" to preserve self-respect. However,
dissociation keeps the worker in his alienated condition, "so if you're
not really there, how are you going to make something of yourself?"

Alienation and dissociation re-enforce each other in countless ways.
Workers who must function like cogs in the social machine have dissociated
relationships with the other cogs. There is no direct and conscious
sharing of the creative, productive process. Instead of relating to each
other as fellow producers, directly exchanging what they want and need,
workers relate to each other as dissociated consumers, you pay my boss for
what I made and I pay your boss for what you made.

Consequently, despite living, working, commuting, and shopping together,
most people feel estranged from one another. We talk about what we can't
control (sports, the weather) to avoid discussing what we aren't allowed
to control (our work, the world).

Capitalism alienates humanity from the environment by dissociating the
past and the future from the present. Only the sale is important. Every
year, tons of industrial chemicals, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals enter
the market as commodities with no consideration for what happens after
they are sold. Once used, these products are thrown away, washed away and
excreted from human and animal bodies, entering rivers, streams and lakes,
returning to us in the form of contaminated food and water.

Alienation and dissociation reach their pinnacle in war. When people feel
helpless to stop the madness, they must dissociate from the brutality or
go mad themselves.

People who feel powerless have been compared to some laboratory animals
who resign themselves to unavoidable electrical shocks. Even after their
cage doors are opened, they do not escape. This phenomenon is called
"learned helplessness," where the familiar, no matter how terrible, seems
preferable to the unknown, no matter how promising.

People without hope do feel powerlessness. However, animals have limited
ways to extract themselves from harmful situations, unlike human beings
who are creative and resourceful problem-solvers. And while individuals
have a limited ability to solve problems, there is virtually no limit to
the problems that people can solve together.

To maintain their stranglehold over society, the people-in-power use
divide-and-rule strategies that keep the majority feeling isolated,
fearful, and powerless. Nevertheless, the criminal behavior of the ruling
class compels ordinary people to organize in self-defense.

Cooperation counters the downward cycle of alienation and dissociation.
Cooperation elicits feelings of strength and hope, so people work harder
to find solutions, thereby increasing their chances of success.
Cooperation and hope re-enforce each other to increase social power.

Whether we feel hopeless or hopeful, powerless or powerful depends on
whether we work alone or together. Alone, we can't protect ourselves from
environmental pollution, corrupt corporations, oppressive institutions and
war-mongering governments. As an organized force, we have the power to
change the world.

Dr. Susan Rosenthal has been practicing medicine for more than 30 years
and has written many articles on the relationship between health and human
relationships. She is also the author of Striking Flint: Genora (Johnson)
Dollinger Remembers the 1936-1937 General Motors Sit-Down Strike (1996)
and Market Madness and Mental Illness: The Crisis in Mental Health Care
(1999) and Power and Powerlessness. She is a member of the National
Writers Union, UAW Local 1981. She can be reached through her web site or by email at:
author [at]

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The Invisible Government
by John Pilger
July 20, 2007

In a speech in Chicago, John Pilger describes how propaganda has become
such a potent force in our lives and, in the words of one of its founders,
represents 'an invisible government'.

The title of this talk is Freedom Next Time, which is the title of my
book, and the book is meant as an antidote to the propaganda that is so
often disguised as journalism. So I thought I would talk today about
journalism, about war by journalism, propaganda, and silence, and how that
silence might be broken. Edward Bernays, the so-called father of public
relations, wrote about an invisible government which is the true ruling
power of our country. He was referring to journalism, the media. That was
almost 80 years ago, not long after corporate journalism was invented. It
is a history few journalists talk about or know about, and it began with
the arrival of corporate advertising. As the new corporations began taking
over the press, something called "professional journalism" was invented.
To attract big advertisers, the new corporate press had to appear
respectable, pillars of the establishment - objective, impartial,
balanced. The first schools of journalism were set up, and a mythology of
liberal neutrality was spun around the professional journalist. The right
to freedom of expression was associated with the new media and with the
great corporations, and the whole thing was, as Robert McChesney put it so
well, "entirely bogus".

For what the public did not know was that in order to be professional,
journalists had to ensure that news and opinion were dominated by official
sources, and that has not changed. Go through the New York Times on any
day, and check the sources of the main political stories - domestic and
foreign - you'll find they're dominated by government and other
established interests. That is the essence of professional journalism. I
am not suggesting that independent journalism was or is excluded, but it
is more likely to be an honorable exception. Think of the role Judith
Miller played in the New York Times in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.
Yes, her work became a scandal, but only after it played a powerful role
in promoting an invasion based on lies. Yet, Miller's parroting of
official sources and vested interests was not all that different from the
work of many famous Times reporters, such as the celebrated W.H. Lawrence,
who helped cover up the true effects of the atomic bomb dropped on
Hiroshima in August, 1945. "No Radioactivity in Hiroshima Ruin," was the
headline on his report, and it was false.

Consider how the power of this invisible government has grown. In 1983 the
principle global media was owned by 50 corporations, most of them
American. In 2002 this had fallen to just 9 corporations. Today it is
probably about 5. Rupert Murdoch has predicted that there will be just
three global media giants, and his company will be one of them. This
concentration of power is not exclusive of course to the United States.
The BBC has announced it is expanding its broadcasts to the United States,
because it believes Americans want principled, objective, neutral
journalism for which the BBC is famous. They have launched BBC America.
You may have seen the advertising.

The BBC began in 1922, just before the corporate press began in America.
Its founder was Lord John Reith, who believed that impartiality and
objectivity were the essence of professionalism. In the same year the
British establishment was under siege. The unions had called a general
strike and the Tories were terrified that a revolution was on the way. The
new BBC came to their rescue. In high secrecy, Lord Reith wrote anti-union
speeches for the Tory Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and broadcast them to
the nation, while refusing to allow the labor leaders to put their side
until the strike was over.

So, a pattern was set. Impartiality was a principle certainly: a principle
to be suspended whenever the establishment was under threat. And that
principle has been upheld ever since.

Take the invasion of Iraq. There are two studies of the BBC's reporting.
One shows that the BBC gave just 2 percent of its coverage of Iraq to
antiwar dissent - 2 percent. That is less than the antiwar coverage of
ABC, NBC, and CBS. A second study by the University of Wales shows that in
the buildup to the invasion, 90 percent of the BBC's references to weapons
of mass destruction suggested that Saddam Hussein actually possessed them,
and that by clear implication Bush and Blair were right. We now know that
the BBC and other British media were used by the British secret
intelligence service MI-6. In what they called Operation Mass Appeal, MI-6
agents planted stories about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, such as
weapons hidden in his palaces and in secret underground bunkers. All of
these stories were fake. But that's not the point. The point is that the
work of MI-6 was unnecessary, because professional journalism on its own
would have produced the same result.

Listen to the BBC's man in Washington, Matt Frei, shortly after the
invasion. "There is not doubt," he told viewers in the UK and all over the
world, "That the desire to bring good, to bring American values to the
rest of the world, and especially now in the Middle East, is especially
tied up with American military power." In 2005 the same reporter lauded
the architect of the invasion, Paul Wolfowitz, as someone who "believes
passionately in the power of democracy and grassroots development." That
was before the little incident at the World Bank.

None of this is unusual. BBC news routinely describes the invasion as a
miscalculation. Not Illegal, not unprovoked, not based on lies, but a

The words "mistake" and "blunder" are common BBC news currency, along with
"failure" - which at least suggests that if the deliberate, calculated,
unprovoked, illegal assault on defenseless Iraq had succeeded, that would
have been just fine. Whenever I hear these words I remember Edward
Herman's marvelous essay about normalizing the unthinkable. For that's
what media cliched language does and is designed to do - it normalizes the
unthinkable; of the degradation of war, of severed limbs, of maimed
children, all of which I've seen. One of my favorite stories about the
Cold War concerns a group of Russian journalists who were touring the
United States. On the final day of their visit, they were asked by the
host for their impressions. "I have to tell you," said the spokesman,
"that we were astonished to find after reading all the newspapers and
watching TV day after day that all the opinions on all the vital issues
are the same. To get that result in our country we send journalists to the
gulag. We even tear out their fingernails. Here you don't have to do any
of that. What is the secret?"

What is the secret? It is a question seldom asked in newsrooms, in media
colleges, in journalism journals, and yet the answer to that question is
critical to the lives of millions of people. On August 24 last year the
New York Times declared this in an editorial: "If we had known then what
we know now the invasion if Iraq would have been stopped by a popular
outcry." This amazing admission was saying, in effect, that journalists
had betrayed the public by not doing their job and by accepting and
amplifying and echoing the lies of Bush and his gang, instead of
challenging them and exposing them. What the Times didn't say was that had
that paper and the rest of the media exposed the lies, up to a million
people might be alive today. That's the belief now of a number of senior
establishment journalists. Few of them - they've spoken to me about it -
few of them will say it in public.

Ironically, I began to understand how censorship worked in so-called free
societies when I reported from totalitarian societies. During the 1970s I
filmed secretly in Czechoslovakia, then a Stalinist dictatorship. I
interviewed members of the dissident group Charter 77, including the
novelist Zdener Urbanek, and this is what he told me. "In dictatorships we
are more fortunate that you in the West in one respect. We believe nothing
of what we read in the newspapers and nothing of what we watch on
television, because we know its propaganda and lies. I like you in the
West. We've learned to look behind the propaganda and to read between the
lines, and like you, we know that the real truth is always subversive."

Vandana Shiva has called this subjugated knowledge. The great Irish
muckraker Claud Cockburn got it right when he wrote, "Never believe
anything until it's officially denied."

One of the oldest cliches of war is that truth is the first casualty. No
it's not. Journalism is the first casualty. When the Vietnam War was over,
the magazine Encounter published an article by Robert Elegant, a
distinguished correspondent who had covered the war. "For the first time
in modern history," he wrote, the outcome of a war was determined not on
the battlefield, but on the printed page, and above all on the television
screen." He held journalists responsible for losing the war by opposing it
in their reporting. Robert Elegant's view became the received wisdom in
Washington and it still is. In Iraq the Pentagon invented the embedded
journalist because it believed that critical reporting had lost Vietnam.

The very opposite was true. On my first day as a young reporter in Saigon,
I called at the bureaus of the main newspapers and TV companies. I noticed
that some of them had a pinboard on the wall on which were gruesome
photographs, mostly of bodies of Vietnamese and of American soldiers
holding up severed ears and testicles. In one office was a photograph of a
man being tortured; above the torturers head was a stick-on comic balloon
with the words, "that'll teach you to talk to the press." None of these
pictures were ever published or even put on the wire. I asked why. I was
told that the public would never accept them. Anyway, to publish them
would not be objective or impartial. At first, I accepted the apparent
logic of this. I too had grown up on stories of the good war against
Germany and Japan, that ethical bath that cleansed the Anglo-American
world of all evil. But the longer I stayed in Vietnam, the more I realized
that our atrocities were not isolated, nor were they aberrations, but the
war itself was an atrocity. That was the big story, and it was seldom
news. Yes, the tactics and effectiveness of the military were questioned
by some very fine reporters. But the word "invasion" was never used. The
anodyne word used was "involved." America was involved in Vietnam. The
fiction of a well-intentioned, blundering giant, stuck in an Asian
quagmire, was repeated incessantly. It was left to whistleblowers back
home to tell the subversive truth, those like Daniel Ellsberg and Seymour
Hersh, with his scoop of the My-Lai massacre. There were 649 reporters in
Vietnam on March 16, 1968 - the day that the My-Lai massacre happened -
and not one of them reported it.

In both Vietnam and Iraq, deliberate policies and strategies have bordered
on genocide. In Vietnam, the forced dispossession of millions of people
and the creation of free fire zones; In Iraq, an American-enforced embargo
that ran through the 1990s like a medieval siege, and killed, according to
the United Nations Children's fund, half a million children under the age
of five. In both Vietnam and Iraq, banned weapons were used against
civilians as deliberate experiments. Agent Orange changed the genetic and
environmental order in Vietnam. The military called this Operation Hades.
When Congress found out, it was renamed the friendlier Operation Ranch
Hand, and nothing changed. That's pretty much how Congress has reacted to
the war in Iraq. The Democrats have damned it, rebranded it, and extended
it. The Hollywood movies that followed the Vietnam War were an extension
of the journalism, of normalizing the unthinkable. Yes, some of the movies
were critical of the military's tactics, but all of them were careful to
concentrate on the angst of the invaders. The first of these movies is now
considered a classic. It's The Deerhunter, whose message was that America
had suffered, America was stricken, American boys had done their best
against oriental barbarians. The message was all the more pernicious,
because the Deerhunter was brilliantly made and acted. I have to admit
it's the only movie that has made me shout out loud in a Cinema in
protest. Oliver Stone's acclaimed movie Platoon was said to be antiwar,
and it did show glimpses of the Vietnamese as human beings, but it also
promoted above all the American invader as victim.

I wasn't going to mention The Green Berets when I set down to write this,
until I read the other day that John Wayne was the most influential movie
who ever lived. I saw the Green Berets starring John Wayne on a Saturday
night in 1968 in Montgomery Alabama. (I was down there to interview the
then-infamous governor George Wallace). I had just come back from Vietnam,
and I couldn't believe how absurd this movie was. So I laughed out loud,
and I laughed and laughed. And it wasn't long before the atmosphere around
me grew very cold. My companion, who had been a Freedom Rider in the
South, said, "Let's get the hell out of here and run like hell."

We were chased all the way back to our hotel, but I doubt if any of our
pursuers were aware that John Wayne, their hero, had lied so he wouldn't
have to fight in World War II. And yet the phony role model of Wayne sent
thousands of Americans to their deaths in Vietnam, with the notable
exceptions of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Last year, in his acceptance of the Nobel Prize for Literature, the
playwright Harold Pinter made an epoch speech. He asked why, and I quote
him, "The systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless
suppression of independent thought in Stalinist Russia were well known in
the West, while American state crimes were merely superficially recorded,
left alone, documented." And yet across the world the extinction and
suffering of countless human beings could be attributed to rampant
American power. "But," said Pinter, "You wouldn't know it. It never
happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't
happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest." Pinter's words were
more than the surreal. The BBC ignored the speech of Britain's most famous

I've made a number of documentaries about Cambodia. The first was Year
Zero: the Silent Death of Cambodia. It describes the American bombing that
provided the catalyst for the rise of Pol Pot. What Nixon and Kissinger
had started, Pol Pot completed - CIA files alone leave no doubt of that. I
offered Year Zero to PBS and took it to Washington. The PBS executives who
saw it were shocked. They whispered among themselves. They asked me to
wait outside. One of them finally emerged and said, "John, we admire your
film. But we are disturbed that it says the United States prepared the way
for Pol Pot."

I said, "Do you dispute the evidence?" I had quoted a number of CIA
documents. "Oh, no," he replied. "But we've decided to call in a
journalistic adjudicator."

Now the term "journalist adjudicator" might have been invented by George
Orwell. In fact they managed to find one of only three journalists who had
been invited to Cambodia by Pol Pot. And of course he turned his thumbs
down on the film, and I never heard from PBS again. Year Zero was
broadcast in some 60 countries and became one of the most watched
documentaries in the world. It was never shown in the United States. Of
the five films I have made on Cambodia, one of them was shown by WNET, the
PBS station in New York. I believe it was shown at about one in the
morning. On the basis of this single showing, when most people are asleep,
it was awarded an Emmy. What marvelous irony. It was worthy of a prize but
not an audience.

Harold Pinter's subversive truth, I believe, was that he made the
connection between imperialism and fascism, and described a battle for
history that's almost never reported. This is the great silence of the
media age. And this is the secret heart of propaganda today. A propaganda
so vast in scope that I'm always astonished that so many Americans know
and understand as much as they do.  We are talking about a system, of
course, not personalities. And yet, a great many people today think that
the problem is George W. Bush and his gang. And yes, the Bush gang are
extreme. But my experience is that they are no more than an extreme
version of what has gone on before. In my lifetime, more wars have been
started by liberal Democrats than by Republicans. Ignoring this truth is a
guarantee that the propaganda system and the war-making system will
continue. We've had a branch of the Democratic party running Britain for
the last 10 years. Blair, apparently a liberal, has taken Britain to war
more times than any prime minister in the modern era. Yes, his current pal
is George Bush, but his first love was Bill Clinton, the most violent
president of the late 20th century. Blair's successor, Gordon Brown is
also a devotee of Clinton and Bush. The other day, Brown said, "The days
of Britain having to apologize for the British Empire are over. We should

Like Blair, like Clinton, like Bush, Brown believes in the liberal truth
that the battle for history has been won; that the millions who died in
British-imposed famines in British imperial India will be forgotten - like
the millions who have died in the American Empire will be forgotten. And
like Blair, his successor is confident that professional journalism is on
his side. For most journalists, whether they realize it or not, are
groomed to be tribunes of an ideology that regards itself as
non-ideological, that presents itself as the natural center, the very
fulcrum of modern life. This may very well be the most powerful and
dangerous ideology we have ever known because it is open-ended. This is
liberalism. I'm not denying the virtues of liberalism - far from it. We
are all beneficiaries of them. But if we deny its dangers, its open-ended
project, and the all-consuming power of its propaganda, then we deny our
right to true democracy, because liberalism and true democracy are not the
same. Liberalism began as a preserve of the elite in the 19th century, and
true democracy is never handed down by elites. It is always fought for and
struggled for.

A senior member of the antiwar coalition, United For Peace and Justice,
said recently, and I quote her, "The Democrats are using the politics of
reality." Her liberal historical reference point was Vietnam. She said
that President Johnson began withdrawing troops from Vietnam after a
Democratic Congress began to vote against the war. That's not what
happened. The troops were withdrawn from Vietnam after four long years.
And during that time the United States killed more people in Vietnam,
Cambodia and Laos with bombs than were killed in all the preceding years.
And that's what's happening in Iraq. The bombing has doubled since last
year, and this is not being reported. And who began this bombing? Bill
Clinton began it. During the 1990s Clinton rained bombs on Iraq in what
were euphemistically called the "no fly zones." At the same time he
imposed a medieval siege called economic sanctions, killing as I've
mentioned, perhaps a million people, including a documented 500,000
children. Almost none of this carnage was reported in the so-called
mainstream media. Last year a study published by the Johns Hopkins School
of Public Health found that since the invasion of Iraq 655,000 Iraqis had
died as a direct result of the invasion. Official documents show that the
Blair government knew this figure to be credible. In February, Les
Roberts, the author of the report, said the figure was equal to the figure
for deaths in the Fordham University study of the Rwandan genocide. The
media response to Robert's shocking revelation was silence. What may well
be the greatest episode of organized killing for a generation, in Harold
Pinter's words, "Did not happen. It didn't matter."

Many people who regard themselves on the left supported Bush's attack on
Afghanistan. That the CIA had supported Osama Bin Laden was ignored, that
the Clinton administration had secretly backed the Taliban, even giving
them high-level briefings at the CIA, is virtually unknown in the United
States. The Taliban were secret partners with the oil giant Unocal in
building an oil pipeline across Afghanistan. And when a Clinton official
was reminded that the Taliban persecuted women, he said, "We can live with
that." There is compelling evidence that Bush decided to attack the
Taliban not as a result of 9-11, but two months earlier, in July of 2001.
This is virtually unknown in the United States - publicly. Like the scale
of civilian casualties in Afghanistan. To my knowledge only one mainstream
reporter, Jonathan Steele of the Guardian in London, has investigated
civilian casualties in Afghanistan, and his estimate is 20,000 dead
civilians, and that was three years ago.

The enduring tragedy of Palestine is due in great part to the silence and
compliance of the so-called liberal left. Hamas is described repeatedly as
sworn to the destruction of Israel. The New York Times, the Associated
Press, the Boston Globe - take your pick. They all use this line as a
standard disclaimer, and it is false. That Hamas has called for a ten-year
ceasefire is almost never reported. Even more important, that Hamas has
undergone an historic ideological shift in the last few years, which
amounts to a recognition of what it calls the reality of Israel, is
virtually unknown; and that Israel is sworn to the destruction of
Palestine is unspeakable.

There is a pioneering study by Glasgow University on the reporting of
Palestine. They interviewed young people who watch TV news in Britain.
More than 90 percent thought the illegal settlers were Palestinian. The
more they watched, the less they knew - Danny Schecter's famous phrase.

The current most dangerous silence is over nuclear weapons and the return
of the Cold War. The Russians understand clearly that the so-called
American defense shield in Eastern Europe is designed to subjugate and
humiliate them. Yet the front pages here talk about Putin starting a new
Cold War, and there is silence about the development of an entirely new
American nuclear system called Reliable Weapons Replacement (RRW), which
is designed to blur the distinction between conventional war and nuclear
war - a long-held ambition.

In the meantime, Iran is being softened up, with the liberal media playing
almost the same role it played before the Iraq invasion. And as for the
Democrats, look at how Barak Obama has become the voice of the Council on
Foreign Relations, one of the propaganda organs of the old liberal
Washington establishment. Obama writes that while he wants the troops
home, "We must not rule out military force against long-standing
adversaries such as Iran and Syria." Listen to this from the liberal
Obama: "At moment of great peril in the past century our leaders ensured
that America, by deed and by example, led and lifted the world, that we
stood and fought for the freedom sought by billions of people beyond their

That is the nub of the propaganda, the brainwashing if you like, that
seeps into the lives of every American, and many of us who are not
Americans. From right to left, secular to God-fearing, what so few people
know is that in the last half century, United States adminstrations have
overthrown 50 governments - many of them democracies. In the process,
thirty countries have been attacked and bombed, with the loss of countless
lives. Bush bashing is all very well - and is justified - but the moment
we begin to accept the siren call of the Democrat's drivel about standing
up and fighting for freedom sought by billions, the battle for history is
lost, and we ourselves are silenced.

So what should we do? That question often asked in meetings I have
addressed, even meetings as informed as those in this conference, is
itself interesting. It's my experience that people in the so-called third
world rarely ask the question, because they know what to do. And some have
paid with their freedom and their lives, but they knew what to do. It's a
question that many on the democratic left - small "d" - have yet to

Real information, subversive information, remains the most potent power of
all - and I believe that we must not fall into the trap of believing that
the media speaks for the public. That wasn't true in Stalinist
Czechoslovakia and it isn't true of the United States.

In all the years I've been a journalist, I've never known public
consciousness to have risen as fast as it's rising today. Yes, its
direction and shape is unclear, partly because people are now deeply
suspicious of political alternatives, and because the Democratic Party has
succeeded in seducing and dividing the electoral left. And yet this
growing critical public awareness is all the more remarkable when you
consider the sheer scale of indoctrination, the mythology of a superior
way of life, and the current manufactured state of fear.

Why did the New York Times come clean in that editorial last year? Not
because it opposes Bush's wars - look at the coverage of Iran. That
editorial was a rare acknowledgement that the public was beginning to see
the concealed role of the media, and that people were beginning to read
between the lines.

If Iran is attacked, the reaction and the upheaval cannot be predicted.
The national security and homeland security presidential directive gives
Bush power over all facets of government in an emergency. It is not
unlikely the constitution will be suspended - the laws to round up
hundreds of thousands of so-called terrorists and enemy combatants are
already on the books. I believe that these dangers are understood by the
public, who have come along way since 9-11, and a long way since the
propaganda that linked Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda. That's why they voted
for the Democrats last November, only to be betrayed. But they need truth,
and journalists ought to be agents of truth, not the courtiers of power.

I believe a fifth estate is possible, the product of a people's movement,
that monitors, deconstructs, and counters the corporate media. In every
university, in every media college, in every news room, teachers of
journalism, journalists themselves need to ask themselves about the part
they now play in the bloodshed in the name of a bogus objectivity. Such a
movement within the media could herald a perestroika of a kind that we
have never known. This is all possible. Silences can be broken. In Britain
the National Union of Journalists has undergone a radical change, and has
called for a boycott of Israel. The web site has
single-handedly called the BBC to account. In the United States
wonderfully free rebellious spirits populate the web - I can't mention
them all here - from Tom Feeley's International Clearing House, to Mike
Albert's ZNet, to Counterpunch online, and the splendid work of FAIR. The
best reporting of Iraq appears on the web - Dahr Jamail's courageous
journalism; and citizen reporters like Joe Wilding, who reported the siege
of Fallujah from inside the city.

In Venezuela, Greg Wilpert's investigations turned back much of the
virulent propaganda now aimed at Hugo Chvez. Make no mistake, it's the
threat of freedom of speech for the majority in Venezuela that lies behind
the campaign in the west on behalf of the corrupt RCTV. The challenge for
the rest of us is to lift this subjugated knowledge from out of the
underground and take it to ordinary people.

We need to make haste. Liberal Democracy is moving toward a form of
corporate dictatorship. This is an historic shift, and the media must not
be allowed to be its facade, but itself made into a popular, burning
issue, and subjected to direct action. That great whistleblower Tom Paine
warned that if the majority of the people were denied the truth and the
ideas of truth, it was time to storm what he called the Bastille of words.
That time is now.

Speech delivered at the Chicago Socialism 2007 Conference on Saturday June
16 2007

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

 how to end war. big
 toilet. billionaires in. plop.
 swish. bye bye brown birds.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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