US News Section

navajo
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 6:06pm

Bumped by GH. Originally posted 2011-03-10 10:29:06 -0400. For a donation as little as $10, you can help launch this project - and help make a difference. -- GH

I would like to announce a new project to raise NATIONAL awareness of the poverty on our reservations. My friend Aaron Huey is launching an ambitious billboard campaign using his images of Pine Ridge reservation. Aaron is donating his time and talent to organize this project.

I have been documenting the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for the past six years. Recently I have realized how inappropriate it is for this project to end with another book or a gallery show.

More than any project I have done in my career, the ever-evolving Pine Ridge project gives voice to social injustice and a forgotten history. I want my work to empower the Lakota and other tribes who fight for recognition of the past in order to help give them a chance to move forward.

Your involvement will help raise the visibility of these images by taking them straight to the public to the sides of busses, subway tunnels, and billboards. I want people to think about prisoner of war camps in America on their commute to work. I want the message to be so loud that it cannot be ignored.

Honor the Treaties

Illustration by Ernesto Yerena using images by Aaron Huey

Lakota Girl Reaching
Image used to create the illustration above

Transcript:

[American Indian voice: Rick Two Dogs]

You know, history, when you break it down it means "his story," which is really the story of the dominant culture. And we all know historically that the -- I guess the conquerors are the ones that write the history, you know, and it's really never based on the people that were supposedly conquered.

[Text block]

The last chapter in any successful genocide is the one in which the oppressor can remove their hands and say, "My god, what are these people doing to themselves, they are killing each other, they are killing themselves!"

[Aaron Huey:]

When I first got to Pine Ridge, I didn't really get it. All my first assignments were about poverty and violence and gangs and all those stories skimmed the surface. And now, six years later, now that I know the real story, I realize that mainstream American magazines won't print it.

The real story is the history -- a history of broken treaties, of prisoner of war camps, and massacres. It's too hard to look at. It's too dark. It's too layered and too painful to fit in between shampoo ads and car commercials. This project has reached the limits of print media.

I don't want you to give me money today for a book or a gallery show, where everybody drinks wine and looks at beautiful pictures of suffering. I want to take the images I've made over the past six years on Pine Ridge and put them on billboards. I want to put them in subways. I want to put them on the sides of busses. I want to put them in places where people can't ignore them.

I'm here today asking for your participation in a project that will illuminate a hidden history and empower a community. This is a grassroots information campaign. Your involvement, not just your money, is crucial. We will need help distributing these images in your communities.

Several partners have already joined me in this cause, including Ernesto Yerena, an activist and artist from Los Angeles who created visuals for the Alto Arizona campaign. Ernesto is collaborating with me to create a poster series based on my photographs that transcends these depressing statistics.


This collaborative image is the first of many that we will make in February. Also joining us will be Shephard Fairey, the most prolific street artist working in America, widely known for his ongoing Obey propaganda and Obama's Hope campaign. If anybody can raise an issue to icon status, it's him.


My collaborations with Ernesto and Shephard will go up on walls in cities all across America. We will be working hand in hand with Lakota and other indigenous rights organizations to produce this work, sharing resources through a website I have created at honorthetreaties.org.

Remember, this project is not a charity. It's about turning awareness into action.

MORE BACKGROUND:

In 1890 the Supreme Court ruled upon the longest running court case in US History, the Sioux Nation vs. the United States. The court determined that the terms of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty had been violated when the Sioux were resettled onto P.O.W. camps, and 7 million acres of their land were opened up to prospectors and homesteaders. These camps are now called “reservations”.

The grim statistics on Native Reservations today are the equivalent to that of a 3rd world country, revealing the legacy of colonization and treaty violations. Unemployment on the Reservation fluctuates between 80-90%. Many are homeless, and those with homes are packed into rotting buildings with up to 5 families. More than 90% of the population lives below the federal poverty line. The life expectancy for men is 47 years old - roughly the same as Afghanistan and Somalia.

ACTION: For as little as $10 you can help launch this project.

Your involvement will help raise the visibility of these images by taking them straight to the public—to the sides of busses, subway tunnels, and billboards. I want people to think about prisoner of war camps in America on their commute to work. I want the message to be so loud that it cannot be ignored.


Mock-up of a highway billboard installation:


Mock-up of a wall installation using 24x 26" posters:

Mock-up of a subway platform installation:

CREATIVE PARTNERS: Helping me to turn my photos into powerful illustrations are Ernesto Yerena, an artist and activist who created visuals for the Alto Arizona campaign, and Shepard Fairey, the most prolific street artist in America, known for his street art (OBEY) and the Obama HOPE campaign image. These collaborations with Ernesto and Shepard will go up on buildings and bus stops all over the country. I hope to also involve some of you with distribution of imagery and possibly even in the role of “wheat pasting” in your towns. Shepard’s image will be uploaded in April.

FINANCIAL GOALS + BUDGET: $17,250 will provide funding for a nationwide guerilla poster campaign. $30k, will allow for substantially more visibility, taking the photo essay to subway platforms in NYC and to billboards around South Dakota and Washington DC, where policy makers have the power to make real change on Reservations. Expenses: 35-40% to printing posters and billboards, 40-50% for ad space, 5-10% Shipping and Travel, and 1% for website setup.

OUTLETS FOR ACTION: Through this campaign a website is forming at honorthetreaties.org I hope to build this site up to become a point of reference for those who want to know more about the history and the (broken) treaties of the Sioux and other tribes. There will be direct links to assist grassroots Native non-profits in places like Pine Ridge.
Our first partner is Owe Aku.

PLEASE TAKE A FEW MINUTES to watch my TED talk on this subject, the video is posted below.

Transcript

Honor The Treaties


Raising the NATIONAL awareness in metropolitan areas like New York City and Washington DC will help us influence policy makers to help our American Indian tribes and reservations.

This is an excellent campaign.

AWARENESS WILL BRING ACTION



FOR FUTURE REFERENCE:

Contact info for the SENATE INDIAN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
to honor the treaties:

Senator Dorgan

Senator Barrasso

Senator Akaka

Senator Cantwell

Senator Coburn

Senator Crapo

Senator Franken

Senator Inouye

Senator Johanns

Senator Johnson

Senator McCain

Senator Murkowski

Senator Tester

Senator Udall

Cross Posted at Native American Netroots

An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Cedwyn for providing the video transcript this morning
TiaRachel for video embed assistance
rfall for helping with new coding issues with DK4 stylesheets




luaptifer
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 - 10:12am

The crowds that attend demonstrations on behalf of alleged Wikileaks-contributor Bradley Manning seemed to grow in their numbers with each new report from outside the military brig at Quantico, in Virginia.

The video taken over the weekend (below) is of controntation between what appeared to be as many Virginia State Police as protestors. The conflict culminated in arrests after sit-ins by members of the crowd led to police removal of famed Pentagon Papers leaker, Daneil Ellsberg, and Colonel Ann Wright.

The sit-in was staged after the protestors were denied access to the base of the World War II memorial of Iwo Jima, to lay flowers commemorating the 'uncommon valor' of Bradley Manning.

Connecticut Man1
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 11:45am

Please share this with your politicians IF they have ever used the words "austerity" or "entitlements":

Poll: Public opposes most spending cuts

thehill.com

A majority of the public opposes most spending cuts, especially cutbacks to education and popular entitlement programs, according to a new poll released Wednesday. The Gallup poll showed that over 60 percent oppose cuts to Medicare, Social Security and education funding.

Especially important if they have ever used those right wing framing words, austerity and entitlemnts, in the same sentence. That should narrow it down to about 98% of the politicians in office today.

Connecticut Man1
Sunday, January 23, 2011 - 4:29pm

Michael Whitney at FDL is running the twitter feed from Jane Hamsher, right now, who was being harrased by the military at Quantico along with David House, They were there with the required visitor's pass to meet with the the alleged leaker of #cablegate, Bradley Manning, to Wikileaks in order to deliver a petition concerning Manning's treatment:

BREAKING: Military Harassing David House, Jane Hamsher for Visiting Bradley Manning

Jane Hamsher is with David House who is trying to visit Pvt. Bradley Manning at Quantico today while carrying a petition with 42,000 signatures requesting humane treatment for Manning. The military isn’t making it easy at all and detained Jane and David for two hours. We’re publishing her tweets as well as David House’s tweets here as a post in case you haven’t been able to follow them on Twitter (@JaneHamsher and @DavidMHouse

UPDATE: At 2:50pm the military released Jane and David, and told David he could go off base and come back on to visit Bradley. But visiting hours end at 3pm, so Bradley won’t get a visit. We’ll have more soon.

Welcome to Bananastan, USA. Where the real media of the day get detained by the military and their car towed away and the fake media will probably file a report blaming them for being angry Bloggers.

Update below the fold...

FDL has a statement up of their version of what wenbt down including this quote:

House and Hamsher were stopped and detained by military police who provided no explanation of detainment aside from a statement from one MP that his orders to detain had “come from the top.”

Go on and read the rest.

luaptifer
Friday, January 14, 2011 - 12:01pm

Remember when Frank Schaeffer sounded the alarm with a campaign to StopDomesticTerror.com ?

I do. And I remember composing my thoughts for the story that forced me to question whether my rhetorical approach was too strong:

StopDomesticTerror.com - Murdered MDs? Presidential assassination? Hangings? Military coups? What's next?

Wholesale Body Bags?

I don't have any more questions, do you?  

 

Go now, to join StopDomesticTerror.com, and help advance efforts to stop the right-wing advocacy of incendiary terroristic tactics.

[ed note - CM1] Originally posted on 2011-01-10 19:08:46 -0500. Bumped with a fresh time stamp and a tiny edit to move one sentence above the fold.

MichaelCollins
Monday, January 10, 2011 - 6:33am

Michael Collins

The attempted assassination of Representative Gabrielle Giffords raises the bar for political lies and hate to a new level.  Previously, incendiary political lies stopped just short violent imagery.  Sarah Palin's Take Back 20 campaign presented a violent threat in the form of rifle site crosshairs placed over the congressional districts of 20 Democratic supporters of health care reform.

Ironically, Giffords sent Palin a clear message to end the violent allusion in the ads.  In this brief video, she warns:

"… we're on Sarah Palin's targeted list but the thing is that the way she's had it depicted has the cross hairs of a gun site over our district.  When people do that, they've got to realize that there [are] consequences to that action." Rep. Giffords

The appeal had no effect.  It took the events of Saturday, January 8 at a shopping mall in Tucson, Arizona to finally get Palin to pull down her crosshairs studded map marking 20 Democrats for defeat as punishment for support of health care reform.

Political Assassinations and Assaults

Months before the JFK assassination, right wing zealots in Dallas  demonstrated against the dangers posed by the Kennedy administration.  The pseudo mug shot (image below) accused Kennedy of treason.  It appeared on the streets of Dallas, Texas prior to the assassination.  The soon to be murdered president was accused of turning the Constitution over to a Communist United Nations; failing to register Communists; invading a "sovereign state" with U.S. troops (e.g., supporting court orders for the racial integration of schools); appointing "Anti-Christians" to government positions; and lying about his "previous marriage and divorce."


The charge of "treason" plus the inflammatory content of the specific lies tarred Kennedy as a criminal and a danger to the country.  The net outcome was to dehumanize the president.  The mainstream media of the 1960's did not run these inflammatory charges.

The level of personal attacks on President Obama echoes the extreme hatred directed at Kennedy.  There are reasons that warrant a vigorous challenge to the current president on issues, tactics, and strategies.  When the challenges come in the form of hate filled lies  that the president is secretly a Muslim or that he's part of a new world order based on Marxism, the lies have the effect of inflaming the uninformed and bigoted.

In the 1960's, the charges against JFK were published in extremist newsletters and offered at meetings by fringe political groups.  Today, the inflammatory charges against President Obama and other Democrats are a part of the mainstream media via Fox Broadcasting and Fox News.

Fox Broadcasting has been the number one or two in network over the past few years.  The Fox News cable operation, which feeds some local Fox affiliates, is a consistent ratings leader among the cable networks.  Lies viewed in print by a few hundred thousand in the 1960's are dwarfed by nonstop lies told on the Fox network to tens of millions every single day.

Fox News hired former Alaska governor Sarah Palin as commentator in January 2010.  She made her debut on the O'Reilly show and is a frequent guest of other talking heads on Fox News.  While at Fox, Palin began a campaign to get rid of 20 Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Sarah Palin's Targets


From Sara Palin's Take Back 20 web site.Via Townhall.com (Screenshot)

The Palin site is no longer operating.

Sara Palin's web site featured the image above for the Take Back 20 campaign.  The crosshairs are those that Rep. Giffords referenced in the video above.  USA Today covered the campaign roll out on September 27, 2010.

"In a website launched on Thursday, the six-month anniversary of the health care law, Palin puts a bull's-eye on 20 House districts under a headline that reads, "We've diagnosed the problem…Help us prescribe the solution."

"Included among Palin's Democratic targets: North Dakota's at-large Rep. Earl Pomeroy, Southeast Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Virginia Rep. Tom Perriello." USA Today, Sept 24

The link to Palin's Take Back 20 web page is no longer operating.

Palin's active use of violent imagery and violent rhetorical phrases like targeting goes a step further than  the defamers of JFK and President Obama.  The images of a rifle site crosshairs are paired with the phrase, "We've diagnosed the problem.  Help us provide the solution."   While defeat in the upcoming elections was the goal, the entire approach to the campaign carried with it a violent violent double entendre.

Townhall.com, a major right wing web site, ran an article endorsing Palin's campaign.  Sarah Palin's "Take Back 20" presented one of Palin's campaign images, a map of the United States (screenshot).  The map shows crosshairs, bulls eye images, over each of the 20 congressional districts,  targets to be defeated in the 2010 congressional elections.  This included Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona.

In the article, commentator Jillian Bandes said that, "Twenty House Dems from districts that McCain carried in 2008 voted for the health care bill, and Sarah Palin has a target on every single one," including Representative Gabrielle Giffords district in  Arizona.  Bandes continued, "The targets were released on the six month anniversary of Obamacare."  She concluded that, Palin's "site should go a long way towards knocking off the politicians who put their party affiliation ahead of their constituent's demands." (Author's emphasis)

Violent Imagery with Dead Seniors as the Predicate

Unlike the charges against the two presidents, Kennedy and Obama, Palin's core factual claim was accurate.  The 20 House Democrats up for election in 2010 had each voted for health care reform.  However, the charges that preceded Palin's Take back 20 campaign were the same type of vile lies  presented in the charges against Kennedy and Obama.

The newly formed Tea Party, financed by right wing lobbyists, claimed that the Obama reforms would introduce "death panels." Some reform opponents claimed that these fictitious panels would decide whether seniors would live or die at a certain point in their later years.  This was, of course, an absurd lie.  Nevertheless, the foundation for irrational hate and fear was established.  The composite form of the message was:

The 20 targeted House members voted for a health care bill that created "death panels" to kill seniors simply due to their age.  The votes were cast in support of a Muslim president bent on creating a Marxist world government.

Turning Hate into Action

We don't know the story behind accused assassin Jared Lee Loughner.  Nor can we  assign a certain role for the culture of political hate created over the last few years, including  Palin's Take Back 20 campaign.  One of those closest to the assassination attempt on Giffords plus the other assaults and murders  spoke out clearly.  The Sheriff of Pima County, Clarence Dupnik, said:

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government, the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous," Dupnik said. "Unfortunately, Arizona has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry." CNN

Ironically, Gabrielle Giffords made the strongest connection between Palin's violent images and real world consequences when she warned Palin of the consequences of her web site images and rhetoric.

We don't need political assassinations to justify ending the climate of vile lies that has dominated the political landscape over the past two decades.  Then again, we didn't need anti-abortion advocates killing doctors to demand that extremists end the charges that doctors performing abortions are "baby killers."  We certainly didn't need presidential candidate, Senator John McCain of Arizona, singing "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" when a calamitous attack on that country was a possibility.

The purveyors of mass delusions tied to violent imagery and hate filled rhetoric are circling the wagons to defend their inalienable right to lie and inflame those on the edge of reality.  Nothing much will change from the top.  All the while, critical issues of war and peace and economic survival will remain perpetually on the back burner while the culture of violence erupts repeatedly.  This represents an unacceptable and tragic distraction that points to our rapid demise unless leaders listen to the people of this country, who most assuredly, have had enough.

END

You may reproduce this article in part or completely with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

The Money Party

Connecticut Man1
Monday, December 20, 2010 - 2:03pm

Because, I am certain they will tell you, it'll be good for you if they slash Social Security and eliminate Medicare and Medicaid::

House GOP: Cut Gov't Spending By 20 Percent Despite Economic Impact

tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com

The GOP plan to cut federal spending to 2008 levels appeals to the conservative base, because it predates big spending items like the stimulus bill. But it would constitute a severe reduction in spending, below levels proposed by President Obama and even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

What? You think they will take that budget axe the military budgets or to Halliburtons and Blackwater/Xe's welfare checks?

This should not even be a debate:

Barbara Lee, Bobby Scott Introduce Bill For 99ers

www.huffingtonpost.com

WASHINGTON — Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Bobby Scott (Va.) introduced legislation Friday that would provide additional assistance to "99ers" — people who've exhausted 99 weeks of unemployment benefits without finding work.

But you know that there are idiots, refer to that first open thread story, that would love nothing more than kicking these people to support certain other people's interests:

End Corporate Domination: More Than Advocacy We Must Resist

www.commondreams.org

On December 16, 2009, I stood in the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building with about a dozen single payer supporters. We were holding signs and standing vigil on the eve of the first time in U.S. history that a single payer bill would make it to the floor of either body in Congress.

Below the Open Thread fold is a Not Safe For Work Youtube featuring an "every man" informed type responding to questions about the bailouts for the rich. And maybe some dancing...

Change the accent and (maybe) take away some of the cussing and that could be the voice of the average informed person anywhere in the world. Choice quotes if your Youtube can not work at this time...

Irish every-man: "Greed, greed and more fokin' greed" ...snip... "Wankin' fokin' bankers"
-----------

Reporter: "so I'm sensing a wee bit of discontent?"

Irish every-man: "You are indeed, sir."
-----------

Reporter: "you know Micheal Flatley is fom Chicago but that's another story."

Irish every-man: "FOK OFF"

No dancing around the issues with him.

luaptifer
Monday, December 13, 2010 - 6:12pm

Also, see NWC Calls for Correction of Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act

Senate Passes Bill That Destroys Existing Whistleblower Rights  (source)

Take Action!

The Senate passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 372) on Friday, December, 10th, by unanimous consent. As the National Whistleblowers Center has repeatedly stated S. 372 is a bad deal for whistleblowers. There are two poison pills in the bill that fundamentally undermine the small advances in the bill. There is still time to fix the bill.

 

TAKE ACTION! Stop the repeal of existing whistleblower rights

 

For the first time ever, federal employees will not be protected for blowing the whistle on a violation of law. The excuse given to justify this dangerous rollback is that it only excludes minor violations of law. The fact is there is no such thing as a minor violation of law. Either it is violation of the law or it is not. Federal managers should not be allowed to decide what laws they can violate.

In fact, this provision overturns one of few Federal Court decisions in 30 years that ordered corrective action for a whistleblower. The provision also runs counter to every major study on how to detect fraud, including the most recent study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. These studies have found that the best way to detect fraud is to protect whistleblowers who report even suspicious activity because it is often the suspicious activity that leads to the discovery of major fraud.
 
 
The second major rollback in the Senate bill is the increased power given to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). Instead of reforming the broken MSPB, for the first time in history the Senate has given the Board the ability to summarily dismiss a whistleblowers case without ever having a hearing. The House resisted efforts in 1978 to give the MSPB this tremendous authority and should continue to do so today.
 
These two dangerous rollbacks in existing whistleblower protections can be fixed in the House and sent back to the Senate. We cannot allow another generation of whistleblowers to suffer. Urge the House to continue to stand up for real whistleblower protections and fix the Senate bill before passing it.
 
Whistleblowers were promised enhanced protections. We will not stand by silently and watch Congress destroy existing whistleblowers rights so that they can say they passed something for whistleblowers. Please help us protect whistleblowers by taking action and then passing this alert on to your friends and family.
Connecticut Man1
Thursday, December 9, 2010 - 6:48pm

For now...

It is sad that they don't even have enough of a spine to talk about this. Not rationally nor irrationally, as is their tendency these days, they would rather just muzzle any debates on the world that has long since passed them by.

"With the failed cloture vote to end the filibuster of the Defense Authorization bill -- which in essence killed a vote on repealing "don't ask, don't tell," Joe Lieberman has announced that he will introduce a free standing bill to repeal the policy"

Barbara Morill also says to "stay tuned" because it will be coming before the end of the sessions.

Unenergy
Saturday, December 4, 2010 - 11:24pm

Re-Posted from Dailykos with permission from StrandedWind

I don't even recall who it was, but someone tweeted about the Knight Foundation News Challenge, and I favorited it for later inspection.

I finally got around to looking at it a few days before it ended and I was kicking myself - last year they gave grants between $75,000 and $400,000 for people who had ideas. Good ideas, mind you, but just ideas ... and we've actually got Progressive Congress News up and running.

So ... step over the fold and help me drag home a great big score for the Progressive community.

You can see the actual Progressive Congress News application for the Progressive Congress News utilizes existing online tools, as well as internally-developed software, to create an aggregated news feed for Congressional staff, activists, and politically-engaged citizens.

Designed as a means of filtering the dizzying array of daily media, we aim to deliver only relevant, reliable and, most importantly, useful policy news. Information overload wastes our time and attention; this is especially true for typically overwhelmed Congressional staffers. Too often, this leads to "echo chambers" which make it difficult to get unbiased news and analysis. Progressive Congress News delivers much needed policy content, without the fluff. The project also allows experienced citizen journalists to affect the information flowing to Congressional staff.

The core of our system is a team of two dozen editors and curators who monitor & parse online sources for reputable, insightful content in ten policy areas:
Energy
Environment
Economy
Education
Immigration
LGBT issues
Transportation
Labor and
National Security.
Using ProgressivePST's perl based Twitter software, this content is posted via public Twitter accounts, accessible to all. Each policy area has a separate account, so users get only the news relevant to their interests and needs. These feeds are used to generate digital daily "newspapers " through the Paper.li tool.

In addition to the curated policy news feeds, NetVibes custom dashboards have been purposed as "news rooms" with modules for news, opinion, "buzz" and opposition views. Finally, each day's content is reviewed for top stories and email blasts are sent to subscribers every morning via SalsaLabs.

We've recently completed an agreement with VisibleVote, a mobile application which provides an easy means for subscribers to track their representatives' votes and legislative progress. This agreement puts our news feeds for the ten policy domains into the hands of their 200,000 mobile subscribers. The range of methods used for dissemination of Progressive Congress News offers users the ability to get as much or as little information as they prefer, and well as opportunity for engagement.

The daily email blasts are filtered down to only the most important stories of the day, and are specifically tailored for busy Congressional staff. The PCN news rooms display the sources of all news, views, opposition and buzz, as well as listing all of those involved in the news selection process. This transparent newsroom reacts quickly to emerging stories and invites participation of anyone with a Twitter account.

Through contacts with Congressional chiefs of staff and communications directors, as well as online surveys of all subscribers, we continually solicit feedback to improve our content and process.

This system was built between 4/2010 and 11/2010 with no budget. We're seeking funds to solidify and expand the operation.


How will your project improve the delivery of news and information to geographic communities?:

Our reach is U.S. national. We can do some interesting things in conjunction with VisibleVote but we have no specific geographic offering at this time and are not applying for the community aspect of the grant.


What unmet need does your proposal answer?:

Congressional staff and voters are purposefully flooded by corporate lobbyists. We provide a front end filter to Congressional staff, ensuring they see what is needed and no more. This effort is similar to a clip service, but the collection is done in an open, public fashion.

We have output capabilities to Twitter, Facebook, VisibleVote, and the Progressive blogosphere. Information going to voters can be as small as a single tweet, or as large as a multi-part series on a particular topic. Accountability is enforced by the open, collaborative environment; fact and opinion must be clearly separated. Content is coherent; what Congressional staff see is also clearly visible to citizens engaged in the system, we already facilitate the transmission of policy related information out from Congress to citizens, and we anticipate the quality and pace of this will dramatically improve as we master the VisibleVote system.

Unlike monolithic broadcast style media there are many places in this system where an interested citizen can inquire, offer tips, or if their writing meets journalistic standards, have their work seen side by side with traditional media and think tank publications. Communities of practice are already beginning to arise for some of the policy areas. Topics currently dominated by corporate funded think tanks will be explored and understood by 'citizen analysts', the natural successor of the citizen journalist, restoring citizen influence of policy decision making.


How is your idea new?:

The blogosphere exploded in 2004 and citizen journalists changed the world. This openness is good, but there was no entity that covered the full breadth of policy and the system, such as it is, lacks coherent process management capabilities. This project will establish a viable, fact based news aggregator/disseminator and 1) provide citizen journalists parity in access to policy makers and 2) create a central access point for citizens interested in how news and information influence governmental policy. The advent of social media systems, Twitter in particular, positioned our group of systems integrators and policy oriented bloggers to rapidly and cheaply build an operation that would have cost a small fortune to create just a few years ago.


What will you have changed by the end of the project?:

Voters and Congress, informed by a system that respects their time and protects their ability to focus, will develop an increasingly strong connection, reducing corporate influence over our government and enforcing accountability on other media outlets due to the competition provided.


Why are you the right person or team to complete this project?:

The Progressive Congress News editorial team, now 25 strong and in production, should grow 50% by the beginning of 2011 and provide full daily coverage of all select policy areas. We have existing operations in the blogosphere, on Twitter, Facebook, and Visible Vote - our output channels are already operational to a varying degree in each area.

Our systems integration background has allowed us to pull together Twitter, paper.li, NetVibes, and code of our own to build a complex system with very limited resources. These same skills gain us access to the designers of VisibleVote, paper.li, social CRM vendor SmallAct, analytics vendor Twitalyzer, and open source tool builder and fellow Knight grant applicant Ed Borasky.

We have access to both 501c3 and 501c4 status via Progressive Congress. We have no formal advisory structure, but our 'tribal elders' include Darcy Burner from Progressive Congress, Alan Rosenblatt from the Center for American Progress, retired AP editor Larry Thorson, and national media project manager Larry Bruce.

Among the PCN editors we have news and media professionals, engineers and scientists, attorneys and teachers. The sort of people drawn to this environment own small businesses or work in general or project management roles at larger employers. Collectively we have a mature team with a history of taking on completing projects.


What terms best describe your project?:

"Objective News, Progressive Views" We run a diverse policy focused media operation that serves the needs of Congressional staff and engaged voters. We're integrators, recyclers, scroungers, having built the system we have today with literally no budget. We've taken cast off equipment, loans of hosting services and free systems, and brought together a committed group of professionals and vounteers in order to run it. We appear to be the first to build such a system using message passing on a microblogging system as the foundation. We'd like to expand and solidify our offering, doing more with mobile services and transparency.

So ... how can you help? First of all, get over there and comment our application. You create a userid, pick a name, and you're free to wade right in and say how great we are.

The second thing is ... matching funds. We have a lot of "in kind" - people doing work, giving us access to systems and mailing lists and such, but we have no cash. Progressive Congress is our fiscal sponsor for this non-profit project and you can donate <= right there.

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