"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
-- Arthur Schopenhauer, quoted in a 2004 mailing from This Week magazine.
The immediate inspiration for this page set: a shared viewing of the MoveOn DVD about Iraq in December 2003, as part of a nationwide effort to understand what has been happening, and what to do. The next phase in Cache Valley's own grassroots connection began with this group of 20 or so people, all educated and intelligent, all sufficiently upset from perusing alternative sources to the pablum media to be willing to come out on a Sunday evening to see what might be done to correct the political situation that our nation has slipped into.
The goal: locally-based knowledge about what we, those of us who still care, can do next to help create more effective action.
One good start is providing better information than what the dominant media allow most Americans. This webpage can pass on some currently available alternative sources that have been particularly useful from personal experience, with a brief commentary on what might be found there, and then serve as a clearinghouse to add those wisely suggested by others.
These opening comments are followed with guided internet links. I will try to keep up with organizing them, as time and arthritic hands permit. [The use of "I" or "we", without other credit, implies Terence Yorks and my wife.]
The guides for links has a left column with a descriptive, clickable version of the URL, and the right for commentary. The latter can be credited or not, at the suggester’s option.
Posting messages of any upcoming events will be limited to those intended to be fully public, because of the openness of the internet and the possibilities for harassment.
The primary inspiration for this effort is the samizdat network, which resisted Soviet misrule. Small groups of people throughout the nation got together around the traditional samovars (lovely devices that heated water for tea or coffee) to exchange information, with communication deepened by mimeographed pass-alongs of material not sanctioned by the official presses. Often, sarcastic humor provided a stabilizing center, a stealthily targeted alternative to despair; it has been said that the one thing that a destructive officialdom can least stand is being laughed at.
The internet gives us advantages that past activists could only dream about.
A related goal is to develop an ongoing set of directly linked essays, a variant on the "blog" idea, concentrating on how the present and future could be seen and dealt with. As important as they are on so many levels, the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan are but symptoms of deeper problems.
Select, Annotated Internet Links
MoveOn An obvious beginning for grassroot level action to become a bit visible, although I consider this a very secondary information source. Anyone who attended the gatherings that precipitated this page already knows about them. Register to Vote Nothing can change without those who care about change going to the polls and voting. Even in Utah, your vote is counted and noted by those who have power. Register at this site, or by calling 1-800-995-VOTE, or by stopping by the Driver's License Divison, 1055 S. Grand, Logan (behind Macey's) Alternet Publishes articles that do not appear on traditional or commercial news sites. Salon.com Currently unique among websites in that it has seemed worth paying for, especially when they provide specific links to timely headlines and commentary in the international press. Jim Hightower Nobody that I've encountered recently hits harder or more accurately than Jim Hightower. His monthly newsletter is both belly-laugh funny and invaluable for a different perspective ($12/year). That this communique and his books could be published at all is among the best reflections of continuing freedom in this country. They name names and provide numbers about the (mostly) corporate corruption that pervades politics and daily life. I cannot recommend them (the books, not the crooks) too highly. He also does a radio commentary (currently running on KRCL, 90.9 FM, at about 12 noon). Center for American Progress Promoting a progressive future for the United States. Vote No War An educational campaign against war and racism, and in support of grassroots democracy, using teach-ins, cnferences, local and regional events. KRCL Community Radio Listening to KRCL, 90.9 FM from Salt Lake City, whenever you can get it, is another spotty source, but one I would rather not live without. It is on in the background whenever their music is remotely tolerable, since I am not willing very often to listen just to electronic talk. Their music is incredibly eclectic, so if you don’t like what you first encounter, keep trying. It’s very much worth figuring out when the good times are. Their volunteer djs can and do speak freely; their words, some of the particular programs, and the music contain useful news more regularly than any other US broadcast source. Another aspect of their value is that the music often provides an antidote to depression from thinking about what our government has/is doing, including being able to sing along with tuneful and bitingly funny protests. The New Yorker This weekly magazine is probably the closest-to-bedrock, serious information source for me, where one’s bullshit detector can usually be turned to its lowest level. George Packer’s 24 November article, “War after the war”, for just one example, provides frightening depth about the mess King George and the boys have gotten us into. Having lived for a while in nearby Kuwait four years before the first Gulf War, I can testify from personal experience to how true his analyses feel in both their human and physical context. High Country News For environmental news and links, we pay, and have for many years, for the weekly print version of High Country News for their regional focus and accurate reporting. Orion Online The web counterpart to the physically beautiful, deeply thoughtful, monthly Orion. Grist Magazine Grist has a daily email service that is great from an environmental news perspective, and has some of the funniest headline writers around. They describe themselves, "Gloom and doom with a sense of humor... a beacon in the smog." Headwaters News Mountain West area headlines having government and/or environmental consequences, with succinct daily updates, linked to complete local newspaper summaries. Mark Fiore cartoons Animated, sonically augmented, pointedly funny; among those picked up regularly by Salon. Manchester Guardian
Traditionally a fiercely independent press, and a reminder that the English below their current leadership remember that they are part of an international community. Quickly updated.
For those unfamiliar with the British viewpoint, a possibly useful warning: American commentary tends to give the impression the world will be ending next week. For the Brits, the end is likely sometime between tea and tomorrow.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Information activists -- beginning in 1910 -- about international American involvement and alternatives to war. Currently [Jan 04] posted is a report about the WMD issue in Iraq. Education for Peace in Iraq Center "With a small and highly experienced staff team, EPIC is the only Iraq-focused organization of its kind in Washington, DC. EPIC works in coalition with other organizations to bring pressure on media and politicians to consider the humanitarian and human rights consequences of U.S. policy abroad." [the site's own description] Center for Public Integrity A muckraking journalist's organization. True Majority Ben Cohen, of Ben&Jerry's, web attempt to fix what's wrong in Washington, with animation. BushFlash.com Animated, generally sarcastic commmentary. "Loyalty to the country always, loyalty to the government when it deserves it." RootingOutEvil.org "Open Concept's Socially Progressive Online Action Alerts"; put together 25,000 "virtual weapons inspectors" who found proof of American WMDs. Pointed bumper stickers and such from one of MoveOn's founders. Yorksite A personal page set, updated irregularly. There are quite a few links for approaches to planetary sustainability, located on the "web trolls" page (albeit not well organized or commented upon yet). The "quotes" page may provide some amusement, and possible inducement to pursue its sources further.
Page created, and introduction written, by Terence Yorks
Latest Update - 1 March 2004