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Tomgram: In Memoriam: Jonathan Schell (1943-2014)

  • Today, I’m returning us to the young Jonathan Schell, the boy who, knowing so little but so terribly open, landed in Vietnam in 1966 and during that nightmarish war that seemed never to end, later at the New Yorker, and finally at the Nation magazine, as well as in his many books, helped shape our thinking and our world.
  • Then here is an interview that historian Chris Appy did with him for his remarkable 2003 oral history of the Vietnam War from all sides, Patriots.  It catches the sensibility both of the youthful Jonathan Schell and of the man I later came to know.

Tom Engelhardt and Chris Appy, TomDispatch.com

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books/1378054553l/77538.jpg March 30, 2014 | Part 1: The Widening Lens ~ Jonathan Schell and the Fate of the Earth, Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com

“Up to a few months ago, Ben Suc was a prosperous village of some thirty-five hundred people.”  That is the initial line of The Village of Ben Suc, his first book, a copy of which I recently reread on a plane trip, knowing that he was soon to die. That book, that specific copy, had a history of its own.  It was a Knopf first edition, published in 1967 in the midst of the Vietnam War, after the then-shocking text had appeared in the New Yorker magazine. An on-the-spot account of an American operation, the largest of the Vietnam War to that moment, it followed American troops as they helicoptered into a village controlled by the enemy about 30 miles from the capital, Saigon.  All its inhabitants, other than those killed in the process, were removed from their homes and sent to a makeshift refugee camp elsewhere.  The U.S. military then set Ben Suc afire, brought in bulldozers to reduce it to rubble, and finally called in the U.S. Air Force to bomb that rubble to smithereens -- as though, as the final line of his book put it, “having once decided to destroy it, we were now bent on annihilating every possible indication that the village of Ben Suc had ever existed.”

books/1348993573l/299791.jpg Tom Engelhardt created and runs the Tomdispatch.com website, a project of The Nation Institute where he is a Fellow. He is the author of a highly praised history of American triumphalism in the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture, and of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing, as well as a collection of his Tomdispatch interviews, Mission Unaccomplished. Each spring he is a Teaching Fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Part 2: “The More We ‘Won,’ The More We Lost”, Chris AppyTomDispatch.com

An Interview with Jonathan Schell on America’s Vietnam Debacle
The following interview from Chris Appy’s 2003 book
Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered From All Sides is used with the kind permission of his publisher, Viking Penguin, and is posted at TomDispatch.com as a memorial to Jonathan Schell, who died on March 25th, and to his work, which will long outlast him.

Chris Appy is the author of Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered From All Sides.

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NPR’s Education Coverage Funded By Pro-Privatization Billionaires

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  • Both NPR's State Impact and Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst are funded by the Walton Family Foundation, which has been funneling over $100 million a year to various right-wing efforts to break teachers unions and privatize public education—and that includes both NPR and StudentsFirst.
  • After pledging transparency, PBS hides details of new deal with billionaire owner of NewsHour

S.H.A.M.E. 

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/npr-walmart.pngMay 9, 2013 | Remember Ally Bank's conflicted funding of NPR financial news program Planet Money? Well, turns out NPR is much more compromised than we ever imagined. Even its coverage of education issues is rife with biased reporting and undisclosed conflicts of interest that tie NPR to some of the most powerful pro-school privatization interests in the country.

Yasha Levine reports for NSFWCORP:

Consider a new NPR local news project called State Impact, which NPR describes as a "local-national collaboration between NPR and station groups in eight states that reports on state government actions and their impact on citizens and communities."

In January, State Impact published an interview with Greg Harris, the Ohio director of Michelle Rhee's pro-charter school astroturf group StudentsFirst to promote a "report card" that the group released rating Ohio's state education policies. . . .

Yasha Levine is an investigative journalist and a founding editor of The eXiled Online. She is currently a roving reporter at Glenn Greenwald's Pando Daily.

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After pledging transparency, PBS hides details of new deal with billionaire owner of NewsHour, David Sirota, Pando Daily 

  • The major difference this time is that this new story of secrecy isn’t about who funds the journalism on the NewsHour. It is about who actually owns the NewsHour.
  • Officials refuse to provide evidence of guarantees for editorial independence.
  • Revealing the secret corruption inside PBS’s news division
  • What DC Won't See Tonight on Public TV

Rumor, gossip, nonsense: How the news became a nightmare

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  • The road to Fox News and the commercialization of information begins with the amazing history of mass media.
  • Enough is Enough: No Comcast / Time-Warner merger!

Andrew Pettegree, Salon

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bad_tv_news-620x412.jpgExcerpted from "The Invention of News: How the World Came to Know About Itself" by Andrew Pettegree

Saturday, Mar 29, 2014 | In 1704 the English writer Daniel Defoe embarked on the publication of a political journal: the Weekly Review of the Affairs of France. This was not yet the Defoe made famous by his great novel Robinson Crusoe; he would discover his vocation as a novelist only late in life. Up to this point Defoe had tried his hand at many things, and often failed. The Review (as it soon became) was the latest of many attempts to find a way to make money. This time it worked. Within a few months Defoe’s publication had found its new form, as a serial issued two or three times a week, consisting largely of a single essay on an item of topical interest.

Defoe was lucky. He had launched the Review at a time when the reading public was expanding rapidly, along with a market for current affairs. Naturally Defoe made the most of it. When, in an essay in 1712, he turned his mind to this buoyant market for news publishing, he did not hold back. The present 

full13/9780300179088.jpg times, wrote Defoe, had seen a media explosion. He recalled a time, even in his own lifetime, when there had been no such torrent of newspapers, state papers and political writing. The rage for news was transforming society, and Defoe was happy to be in the thick of it.

Andrew Pettegree is a British historian and one of the leading experts on Europe during the Reformation. He currently holds a professorship at St Andrews University.

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Related:

Enough is Enough: No Comcast / Time-Warner merger!, Delara Derakhshani, Consumers Union

  • Enough of cable bills higher than heating or electric bills. Enough of companies demanding you buy channels you don’t want, and blocking programs you actually want to watch. Enough of rotten customer service, spotty cable, sluggish Internet.
  • It’s time we take a stand against huge corporations becoming behemoths, wiping out the competition and sticking it to those of us who have little choice to go elsewhere.
  • What’s the Right Path Forward on Net Neutrality?
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An Interview with Bill Moyers

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  • "I'm angry at what's happening to our country and angry with myself that I can't do more," says the TV legend.
  • "It’s the people who are doing the nonviolent organizing at the grassroots that make me think there’s still hope."
  • Say No to Internet Censorship

Peter Dreier, the Progressive

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March, 2014 | We are this close to losing democracy to the mercenary class.

Last October, Bill Moyers announced that he was retiring and that his weekly show, Moyers & Company, would end January 3. Three weeks later, in response to an outpouring of e-mails, letters, and Facebook comments urging him to reconsider, Moyers recanted. He will continue to host the show. His only pushback was to recast the show from an hour to a half-hour format.

Moyers, who turns eighty in June, has been one of the most prolific and influential figures in American journalism. Born in 1934 to dirt-poor farmers, Moyers left Marshall, Texas, in 1954 to attend college. At the University of Texas, he majored in journalism while working full time as assistant news editor for KTBC-TV for $100 a week. He graduated in 1956 and then studied theology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Peter Dreier teaches politics at Occidental College. His latest book is “The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame” (Nation Books, 2012).

Bill Moyers is an American journalist and liberal public commentator. He served as White House Press Secretary in the Johnson administration from 1965 to 1967. He also worked as a network TV news commentator for ten years.

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Say No to Internet Censorship, Open Media

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  • Fill out this form to send world leaders our letter. They need to Say No to Internet Censorship before it's too late.
  • Court Backs Internet Censorship: Open The Internet Now!

Say No to Internet Censorship

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  • Fill out this form to send world leaders our letter. They need to Say No to Internet Censorship before it's too late.
  • Court Backs Internet Censorship: Open The Internet Now!

Open Media

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March 16, 2014 | Leaders from 12 countries are about to lock into place binding Internet censorship rules through an agreement called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). 

Leaked documents reveal that the TPP will make the Internet more censored, expensive, and policed.1

Experts say, “kids could be sent to jail for downloading” and whole families could be kicked off the Internet.2

sign-btn.png Send TPP decision makers these three demands now by filling out the form on this page before it's too late.

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This looks like our last chance to speak out against the huge damage the TPP will do to free expression online. 

sign-btn.pngPlease send this crucial message by filling out this form now.

Notes:

Footnotes

[1] Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Source: WikiLeaks.

[2] What’s actually in the TPP? Source: Public Knowledge

Related:

 

Court Backs Internet Censorship: Open The Internet Now! Roots Action

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  • A federal appeals court just sided with Verizon and against you, against us, against the Internet.
  •  
  • If this ruling stands, the Internet as we know it will die.

 

 

Enough is Enough: No Comcast / Time-Warner merger!

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  • Enough of cable bills higher than heating or electric bills. Enough of companies demanding you buy channels you don’t want, and blocking programs you actually want to watch. Enough of rotten customer service, spotty cable, sluggish Internet.
  • It’s time we take a stand against huge corporations becoming behemoths, wiping out the competition and sticking it to those of us who have little choice to go elsewhere.
  • What’s the Right Path Forward on Net Neutrality?

Delara Derakhshani, Consumers Union

I%20Want%20You.jpg If you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

angry-consumer.jpg March 13, 2014 | If Comcast is allowed to swallow up Time Warner Cable, it will control two-thirds of the nation’s cable customers, and nearly 40 percent of broadband users. That’s a recipe for disaster.

The Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice can stop this merger if they’re convinced it’s a bad deal for consumers. Let’s convince them.

Add your name to our petition and we’ll make sure these decision-makers know that consumers say 'Enough'. After you act, tell us about your cable nightmare so we can show that lack of competition has real consequences!

Take%20Action%20button%20with%20arrows.jpg The FCC and Dept. of Justice can stop this merger. Tell them 'enough is enough!'

Delara Derakhshani, Consumers Union, Policy and Action from Consumer Reports

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Related:

net-neutrality_0.jpg What’s the Right Path Forward on Net Neutrality?, John Light, Moyers & Company

February 4, 2014 | The recent DC circuit court decision that killed net neutrality put the Federal Communications Commission — and its newly appointed head, Tom Wheeler — in the position of needing to figure out what they can do to maintain their authority to ensure an open Internet. If they don’t, the Web as we know it could dramatically change. Journalists and advocates point to a future in which Internet service providers (ISPs) could give users faster access to some sites and slower access to others. So if, for example, Hulu paid Comcast to allow viewers a faster connection, and competitors such as Netflix did not, Comcast subscribers might decide Netflix, with its slower streaming services, was not worth their money.

 

 

After pledging transparency, PBS hides details of new deal with billionaire owner of NewsHour

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  • The major difference this time is that this new story of secrecy isn’t about who funds the journalism on the NewsHour. It is about who actually owns the NewsHour.
  • Officials refuse to provide evidence of guarantees for editorial independence.
  • Revealing the secret corruption inside PBS’s news division
  • What DC Won't See Tonight on Public TV

David Sirota, Pando Daily

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March 7, 2014 |  Last month, in response to Pando’s revelations that anti-pension mogul John Arnold secretly was financing PBS’s “Pension Peril” series, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting issued a scathing report demanding immediate reform. Criticizing “the lack of transparency” at PBS, CPB’s ombudsman Joel Kaplan declared that public broadcasting outlets must let the public access details of their financial dealings.

So how’s that new commitment to transparency going?

Here’s how: Once again, a PBS flagship station is in the process of negotiating a deal with a politically active mogul. Once again, the deal involves the NewsHour — the same iconic PBS program that stealthily promoted Arnold’s anti-pension programming. And once again, PBS is refusing to disclose the deal’s financial details to the public.

David Sirota is a staff writer for Pando Daily, television commentator and nationally syndicated weekly newspaper columnist and has written for the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Wired, Vice, The Nation and Salon.com. He covers the intersection of politics, technology and popular culture.

Full story…

Related:

Revealing the secret corruption inside PBS’s news division, David Sirota, Pando Daily

  • Millions of unsuspecting viewers (are) wholly unaware that the PBS “reporting” they are watching is not objective news, but instead an ideological advertisement funded by a billionaire trying to manipulate public policy.
  • The Wolf of Sesame Street
  • A Word from Our Sponsor
  • PBS Censors  "Citizen Koch" documentary

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spies-of-mississippi.png What DC Won't See Tonight on Public TV, Peter Hart, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

  • "Spies of Mississippi," won't be airing (Feb 10) on WETA, the public television station serving the nation's capital. 
  • A shadowy government entity (Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission) exercising questionable powers in the name of a vaguely defined goal? It's not hard to draw a parallel between the commission and today’s government activity in the name of homeland security.
  • Revealing the secret corruption inside PBS’s news division
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Speak Out For Net Neutrality If You Ever Hope To Speak Out Again

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  • The FCC is ASKING for your public comments on this. They WANT to hear from you. We have sympathetic commissioners on the FCC who have already twice tried to promulgate open internet rules, and we just need to encourage them to exercise the power that the DC appeals court admits that they have. 
  • A Free and Open Internet: The Latest from the Frontlines
  • Net Neutrality Isn't Dead - Just Yet!

The Pen, Peoples' E-mail Network

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net-neutrality_0.jpgFebruary 28, 2014 | Dear Friends and Activists, 

Our participants asked us to jump on the net neutrality issue and jump we did, with over 8,000 submissions already logged on the FCC docket for public comment on this, but we have not yet heard from you on this as of the start of this alert. 

Without net neutrality political censorship of your voices becomes a real threat. So if you hope to speak out ever again and have meaningful impact this is a must participate action. 

/calltoact.gif Net Neutrality Action Page.

We just did a big interview for OpEdNews.com about all this, which was their top featured story yesterday, which you can read at this link: Net Neutrality Interview. 

The FCC is ASKING for your public comments on this. They WANT to hear from you. We have sympathetic commissioners on the FCC who have already twice tried to promulgate open internet rules, and we just need to encourage them to exercise the power that the DC appeals court admits that they have. Do you want to win? If so, please submit the net neutrality action page

calltoact.gifNet Neutrality Action Page 

We have also had some requests to set up a "white label" action page on this without links to any other issue, for those who have right wing uncles who might not like all our other policy positions. And this one time, in the spirit OF neutrality, we have done so. Here is an action page you can safely forward to you right wing friends without rocking their boat in any other way: White Label Action Page On Net Neutrality

We are not ashamed of our strident call for the prosecution of Cheney era war criminals, in fact we made a whole length feature dramatic movie about it, The Last War Crime. And the ONLY thing that will for sure make such prosecutions impossible is for progressives themselves to fall silent. 

Speaking which, have you seen the amazing new trailer we recently posted? Check it out, and see if it doesn't motivate you to want to see the complete, finished film, at Trailer and Screener Requests

And we are about to commence production on Citizens United, The Movie, where we will dramatize the issues of corporate personhood and accountability. Read the synopsis and the first 6 pages of the new script here, and we'll have cameras rolling again in no time: Citizens United, The Movie page

Related:

A Free and Open Internet: The Latest from the Frontlines, Michael Winship, Common Dreams

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  • An FCC fact sheet (is) well worth reading on how Internet growth and investment have “flourished” under the rules of net neutrality. See it here.
  • Comcast takeover of Time Warner Cable 'will throttle choice on the web' 

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Net neutrality isn’t dead - just yet, Michael Winship, BillMoyers.com 

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  • A new ruling could put Web users at the mercy of the cable companies. Now's the time for us to stand up and fight
  • You can start by contacting the FCC chairman’s office and demanding that he and his colleagues stand resolute and forthright in favor of net neutrality, an Internet open to all.
  • Court Backs Internet Censorship: Open The Internet Now!
  • One Frightening Chart Shows What You Might Pay For Internet Once Net Neutrality Is Gone

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