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My Acceptance Speech for Receiving the Pillar Award

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Yesterday Opednews and I were given the Pillar Award, at the Whistleblower Week annual conference in Washington DC. (More details here.)

by margo Rush

Here's the actual award-- and yes, they spelled my name wrong. 

by rob kall

The award was given "for upholding and protecting our First Amendment rights. 

This was the first time an award was given to media person or organization. 

Here's the acceptance speech I gave, speaking to the whistleblowers meeting    at the Stewart Mott house, right next to the Supreme court. (you can see the roof of the Supreme court behind me, in the photo above.

I want to thank Michael McCray, the whistleblowers here and the people at Opednews who made this possible. 

The myth of Prometheus tells us that he angered the gods by stealing their fire. 

I say that whistleblowers are modern day Prometheans. I say that the fire that Prometheus stole was not some burning twig. 

The fire he stole was not used for burning. The fire he stole was for light-- and what Prometheus did was to crack open the heavens themselves, so ordinary people could see into the workings and machinations of Olympus. 

Whistleblowers crack open the sealed vaults of secrecy that top-down powers use to hold on to  and  concentrate their power and wealth, that they use to keep secret the violations of what is right and just and honest and human. 

When whistleblowers expose those in power for the abuses and betrayals they've committed, they demonstrate a kind of courage and compassion that is rare and so precious. The bravest soldiers jump on a grenade and sacrifice their lives to save ten or twenty soldiers. Whistleblowers sacrifice their lives to save thousand, or even millions of people. 

In recent months I've begun a series of articles and interviews on sociopaths and psychopaths-- predators without consciences who live to self aggrandize their selves, their egos. Preparing for today, I realized that whistleblowers are the diametrical opposites. They are people whose consciences are so big, so inclusive of humanity that they sacrifice themselves, knowing they are putting their lives on the line in so many ways. 

I am proud to receive this honor, but for as long as I've been publishing articles by and about whistleblowers, supporting their efforts and causes, the real pleasure  has been in doing what I could to help the people who are among the greatest, most courageous heroes on the planet. 

I've tried to embrace a bottom-up approach to running Opednews. That means that the readers, the commenters, the writers, the editors all have a say in how things are done. It means that voices bubble up from we-the-people, not just a handful of famous people.  Whistleblowers don't start out famous. They start out as cogs in a huge system.  

At one point during the Bush administration I kept waiting for whistleblowers to blow the whistle on all kinds of things. But it didn't happen. Then, as I got to know the whistleblower community and as news gradually came out, it was revealed that there had been thousands of whistleblowers, but the DOJ not only didn't respond to their reports, it hid them. I didn't think it could get worse. 

But then Obama and Eric Holder came along and we've seen a rise in prosecutions, so Obama has now prosecuted more whistleblowers than all before him, combined. And Obama has partnered with John Roberts, who runs and staffs the FISA spy court that has given NSA carte blanche to literally wipe out what was remaining of our fourth amendment rights to privacy. Obama has funded the militarization of local police forces more than any previous president. 

We live in times where whistleblowers are desperately needed. But these are times when the courage needed to become a whistleblower is extraordinary and the risks are very high. 

There are different kinds of whistleblowers. I've had the honor to get to meet a few, including Daniel Ellsberg,  Jeffrey Wigand, Jesselyn Radack, Coleen Rowley, Wendell Potter, Sibel Edmonds,  and Thomas Drake. 

My role has been to help get the word out-- to be the amplifier for the whistling.  Doing it has seemed like such a natural, sensible thing to do. I couldn't imagine not doing it. Yet I see, on the left and the right, people who claim to be journalists, who claim to support democracy and freedom, attacking the prometheans-- the whistleblowers who crack open the sky and let the light in-- who enable us to see what is going on in the corridors of power. 

The gods punished Prometheus. I think it was for showing them for who they really were and what they really did-- showing their flaws and vulnerabilities. Zeus punished Prometheus by sending an eagle to tear out his liver-- which the Greeks believed to be the seat of emotions-- every day. 

It should be the job, the responsibility of the real media to be the amplifiers for whistleblowers, to serve to get their revelations and light out to the world and to defend and protect them when the "gods"-- the powers-that-be-- do what they can to punish them, as the myths have described for millennia. Today, the eagles that rip out the liver of whistleblowers are often the mainstream media-- the servers of the propaganda and messages the top-down powers of the state and the corporatocracy wish to deliver. It was Heracles who killed the eagle, freeing Prometheus. I believe it will be  people like Glenn Greenwald, Julian Assange and the many bloggers and alternative media who serve the role of Heracles-- to take down sniping eagles torturing whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, Daniel Ellsberg, Karen Silkwood, Mordechai Vanunu, Jeffrey Wigand, Jesselyn Radack, Coleen Rowley, Robert MacClean, Wendell Potter, Sibel Edmonds, Thomas Drake-- to name a few. 

One cog in a massive system can crack the sky and shine light that changes the world. That is what YOU do. I am so grateful for your trust that enabled me to do the small things I have done with an extraordinary team at Opednews to help you. Thank you. 

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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Well deserved, Rob!  I just hope they get you... by Sue Wilson on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 2:07:10 PM
TWC's Leadership Michael B. Smith, M.Ed. President... by Lance Ciepiela on Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 8:28:12 PM
Good speech. I'm glad you and OpEdNews were honore... by Joan Brunwasser on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 2:10:05 PM
Joan, I had invited you to share in coming to DC t... by Rob Kall on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 2:29:39 PM
Bob, you are a man to admire, and I do indeed. I l... by kenneth sibbett on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 2:28:23 PM
One more step in shaking the squirrels out of the ... by Kevin Tully on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 3:07:19 PM
Congratulations Rob! Well deserved ...... by Larry R Graves on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 3:47:14 PM
this award means  a lot. Hope  we all so... by Mark Sashine on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 3:52:05 PM
You know how much I admire you, and that I promote... by Susan Lee Schwartz on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 3:53:31 PM
You deserved this award, even though they spelt yo... by Burl Hall on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 6:05:08 PM
As I have said elsewhere, you and the OpEdNews com... by K V Ramani on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 8:52:21 PM
Congrats to Rob, Joan, Jim and the OEN staff. Cong... by Jack Flanders on Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013 at 10:08:17 PM
What you do hear with so many wise writers has tau... by Michael Dewey on Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 7:46:59 AM
Opednews is filling the role that the mainstream m... by Scott Baker on Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 9:39:15 AM
Congratualtions. Thanks for your time and efforts.... by Mohammad Ala on Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 9:55:39 AM
Congratualtions. Thanks for your time and efforts... by Mohammad Ala on Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 9:55:39 AM
Congratulations Rob!  OpEdNews is one of the ... by KitCarson on Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 11:51:36 AM
Hey Rob,Great job my friend!  Look how far yo... by Cathy Lynn Pagano on Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 2:55:31 PM
Not many of us get to fulfill heartfelt, irrepress... by Robert S. Becker on Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 3:59:38 PM
Wow!  Great speech, Rob!Congratulations on yo... by Derryl Hermanutz on Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 5:03:34 PM
Wow!  Great speech, Rob!Congratulations on yo... by Derryl Hermanutz on Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 5:04:18 PM
Congratulations!... by PCM on Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 5:50:03 PM
to Rob and everyone at OpEd News. What a wonderful... by intotheabyss on Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 at 7:21:19 PM
 OPED did not work for me and is not for ever... by Theresa Paulfranz on Thursday, Aug 1, 2013 at 11:21:34 AM
If you have to change your name, it might as well ... by Paul from Potomac on Thursday, Aug 1, 2013 at 11:26:08 AM
Congratulations Rob! You certainly deserve it!... by Susan O'Connell on Sunday, Aug 4, 2013 at 4:32:32 PM