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November 12, 2012

Notes from an afternoon with Noam Chomsky, Amy Goodman and Juan Cole

By Rob Kall

The Coalition for Peace Action held a fundraiser, afternoon conference at Princeton, NJ yesterday. Speakers were, in order, Juan Cole, Amy Goodman and Noam Chomsky. I went, took notes and afterwards had a chance to meet and talk briefly with each of them. Here are the notes and some photos from the event.


The Coalition for Peace Action (one of my favorite activist organizations, well worth connecting with if you are in PA or New Jersey) held a fundraiser, afternoon conference at Princeton, NJ yesterday. Speakers were, in order, Juan Cole, Amy Goodman and Noam Chomsky.

I went, took notes and afterwards, had a chance to meet and talk briefly with each of them. 

Here are the notes and some photos from the event. 

The notes were taken on the fly, so quotes may not be precisely accurate. 

Here's a pic I couldn't resist-- and I usually do resist this kind of pic.

(Image by Rob Kall)   Permission   Details   DMCA

photos in this article by rob kall

Before pasting all the notes in here, I want to point out that Amy Goodman talked about Emmett Till. He was beaten up, tortured, his skull bashed, shot in the head, then dumped in the Tallahatchee River, where we was found three days later. 

(The full wikipedia entry on Emmett Louis Till is very moving and something every progressive should read. it brought me to tears. rob)

Amy Goodman noted, in her talk: 

Emmet Till's mother had the coffin brought back from Mississippi to Chicago, and insisted that it be  kept open so people would see the violence and brutality of racism. (see images and video here.)

Amy emphasided, "Mamie Till had a lesson for journalists-- show the pictures"

Today, one of our regular writers emailed me that she'd received news and photos of a massacre in the Republic of the Congo-- that the photos were brutally graphic-- so bad that some of the regular progressive places she'd run them would not cover these. Here's the link to the article.  The images are horrible. I hadn't seen them, but remembering Amy's words, I replied that we'd run them. There's a warning at the top of the article. They are horrible. They might keep you up at night. Maybe more people need to be kept up at night because they've actually seen how horrible it is out there. You don't have to go to the Congo to see horrible. It's happening here in the US. 

I just had to start with that story above. Words make a difference. In this case, Amy Goodman's words touched me and reached Georgianne so she could tell a story about victims in the Congo. You never know when your words, your photos will make a difference. But, if you don't utter or write them, if you don't show the pictures-- then they won't. 

Here are the notes for each speaker.

Juan Cole

Iran-- at nexus of issues having to do with peace and war. 

Washington always seems to have wars planned. Once one fails then they go on to the next one. 

Beltway think tanks were founded by billionaires tired of uppity professors hung up on facts" and reporters call the think tanks because they're so lazy. 

Old proverb:  Boys throw stones at frogs in jest but the frogs die in earnest-=

Kind of a summation of the American relationship with Iran. 

Sanctioning Iran takes a million barrels of oil a day off the market-- helps to keep the price of oil much higher. 

Japanese govt has two tons of plutonium and Japanese private companies have more that can be requisitioned. The Iranians want the Japan option-- a country that can put together a bomb very quickly

Actions on Iran are so deadly that they could spark a war by themselves. 

Roosevelt blocked the Japanese from oil-- that led to war. 

US has turned to Teheran and said they're cutting them off from oil

A US primarily invested in solar and wind will no longer be interested in Iran. 

Big oil's interests are driving both the war and climate change. 

On climate change: 

Every American dumps as much carbon dioxide into the air as two elephants. So we should probably think of ourselves as mahouts. 

What we do in the next 30 years is going to determine the next 100,000 years of the earths history. 

We need a president who is going to say, like Jack Kennedy said-- that we're going to land a man on the moon in eight years-- that we're going to go green in eight years. 

We may be forced to lie down in front of the trucks coming out of the refineries. 

In 90's UN sanctions destroyed the Iraqi middle class, left the slums, who didn't have resources to oppose Saddam regime. 

Sanctions will destroy green opposition movement, leave people impoverished, so they have no political resources/power

Ahmadinejead is a lame duck. 

Israel has 400 atomic bombs. Iran, the last time they fired a missile they had to photoshop a missile. 

Amy Goodman

Everyone in the room is relieved thatObama won. It is now that the work of movements begin. 

Tells FDR story "make  me do it." Barack said, like Roosevelt-- make him do it. 

Ben Jealous, boring after the elections. We have to stay in movement mode"


-promised to close guantanamo

-expanded drone wars-- destroying fabric of society in Pakistan

--refuses to discuss greenhouse emissions

-more whostleblowers prosecuted than under all presidents in history

-more immigrants  deported than any president in history

The president of the US is most powerful person on earth. But there is a force more powerful-- all of you. 

What happens when the community organizer in chief becomes the commander in chief? Who's going to do the community organizing then?

To broaden the discussion. That  is our job in the media. 

Wikileaks-- it's absolutely critical , at a time when governments are cracking down on information, that there be transparency, and that's why Wikileaks is so important. 

When we have information it saves lives. 

In times of war, drivers guide, introduce-- they're like reporters. (She's discussing the Reuters driver killed in iraq who Wikileaks exposed the military as having killed)

We call that trickle up journalism-- Sherif-- who reported for Democracy now in Tahrir square, was soon being interviewed by all the biggest networks. 

In times of national calamity, (her voice breaks up, almost tearful-- like the east coast is going through-- it's the public workers who we depend upon. 

AFSCME  American Federation of State City, Municipal Employees

King was marching with local AFSCME workers when he was shot. 

Immigration is the modern day civil rights movement. 

A media personality-- it's hard to call them journalists" referring to MSM TV person at 2008 Republican convention shortly after she was arrested then released.

MSM reporter commenting about Occupy Wall Street;

If they had a spokesperson we'd have him in front of the camera.  (and of course this is how MSM maintains top-down thinking.)

Amy spoke a bit earlier how when Democracy Now's satellite truck they rented pulled up, she had them park, against the police's wishes, right next to where the protesters were in a more remote, designated protest area.

The word occupy occupied the language-- not only in english. 

Egyptians in Egypt were calling in to the local pizzerias to feed the occupiers at Zucotti Square. Wisconsonites were calling in for the pies. 

Our job as journalists is to go to where the silence is and let people speak for themselves. 

The way the authorities are getting around posse comitatus is by militarizing the police. 

The media should be the sanctuary of dissent. 

Deomcracy is a messy thing and we shouldn't have to get a record to put something on the record. 

We have to insist that the media give voice to the movements in this country because that is what will save us. 

Amy talks about Emmett Till, as mentioned above. 

Activism at every level is important-- being engaged. People are more engaged than the media reflects. 

Norm Stamper-=- former police chief Seattle

speaks out against militarization of police

Ken Sarowiwa risked and gave his life for change. Why don't we see thousands of activists risking their lives?

Obama-- he responds to pressure. 

It is up to you to press hard in every way you know how on all of these issues. 

Santa cruz massacre 11/12, Ken sarowiwa 11/10

media he reads

activism successes

activism historians. 

Noam Chomsky

NDAA case-- was a plaintiff in it. 

Disposition matrix   a few data collection databases, combined are supposed to decide who to dispose of. 

Iran: three questions should immediately come to mind, talking about Iran being a threat. 

Who thinks so?  -- the west

What's the threat?

If there is a threat, what should we be doing about it. 

The pressure for democracy in the Arab world is terrifying for American leaders. 

Objectivity is what people say within the beltway. 

Going outside the realm objectivity to the realm of reality-- that's a dangerous step

when we invade and destroy the countries, that's stabilizing. That all makes sense on the principle that we own the world-- the kind of policy that flows from overwhelming power. 

While the US maintains the policy that we own the world, the capacity to implement the policy is declining. 

Discusses idea of establishing a middle east nuclear free weapon zone-- Israel won't participate. MSM have refused to even mention it. 

There are other Nuclear free weapons zones in the world. 

Diego Garcia military base-- Obama expanded it enormously-- it has nuclear subs-- as long as it's there Africa can't implement a nuclear free weapons zone. 

"Can't know unless the media". show-- "

Israel had a choice-- security or expansion-- israeli cabinet decided on expansion.

One of the easiest problems to deal with middle east-- 1976 resolution--  

One thing stands in the way-- the United states.

Simple solution for Iran-- nuclear weapons free zone-- must have large scale popular movement must act to compel the government and that can't happen if media is not covering it. 

Reverend Bob Moore asking first question and other questions.

Look in Arms control Today, professional Arms Control journals.

Conference in Helsinki

Will the economy be reformed without direct action or revolution?

If you're a real, dedicated revolutionary, you're a reformist.

If you look at people who are really interested in revolution

You have to try in every possible way to bring about the changes that we think ought to be made by means that are available. Going back to occupy-- it was a tremendous achievement. But there's a gap. The 99% have to participate".

If you look at popular movements, they have had successes, but they are always partial successes. 

After MLK's I have a dream speech, he did not stop then. He moved right on. He kept trying to organize a movement of the poor. ]

I"m sure you've looked at the maps-- the red a blue--  after the election. The first thing that comes to mind is the Civil war

What they did was criminalize black life-- a form of slavery that actually lasted until the second world war. 

Parties were sectional-- one reason we've never had class based political parties.

Terrorist primary weapon is fear-- 

We can take long steps to eliminating terror. One very simple step is to stop participating in it. 

People talk about the war on terror started by George W Bush in 2001. That's ridiculous. It was started by Ronald Reagan. 

100s of thousand killed in central america, over a million killed in S. africa, the worst terrorist atrocities in the middle east were run by the united states. Worst terrorist act in the middle east was a truck bombing in Lebanon that killed about 85 people, hundreds injured. 

That doesn't enter the story of terrorism because it was organized by the CIA.

A major way to stop terrorism is to stop participating in it. The global assassination campaign. If anyone else was doing it we'd call it state terrorism. 

Submitters Bio:

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

more detailed bio: 

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 Opednews.com-- 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. 

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

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To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. 

For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..  and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. 

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