Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Please read this important message from Oregonians for Farm & Food Rights regarding proposed canola production in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Attend the hearing on Jan. 23 or submit your written comment to the Oregon Department of Agriculture by Jan. 25. 

Last fall, many of you testified against allowing canola production in the Willamette Valley. Thank you! Unfortunately, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) hasn't heard our message so we need your help again.  Even though only six farmers spoke in support of canola at last fall’s hearing, and 34 farmers said they would be directly harmed by canola, the ODA is still moving forward to allow canola production in the Williamette Valley. 

Please attend the public hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 23rd, 9 am at the Salem Fairgrounds, in Salem, Oregon, at Cascade Hall. Bring a friend.  Bring a farmer! Submit your testimony and support your farmers.  We need to stand up to the ODA and let them know the public is watching.
The Willamette Valley is one of the world’s last five great seed-growing regions.  An unprecedented coalition of farmers – vegetable seed, wheat, clover, grass seed,  organic farmers, fresh produce growers, and even sugar beet seed farmers – have banded together to try to stop the harmful introduction of this crop in their region.  Our farmers truly need your help.  Our food system needs your help.
If you are unable to attend the hearing, please send in a written comment by Jan. 25 at 5pm. Written comments can be mailed to: Canola Hearings Officer, Department of Agriculture, 635 Capitol Street NE, Salem, OR 97301 or sent via email to: canola-rulemaking@oda.state.or.us.
Learn more about the impact canola would have in the Williamette Valley atwww.farmandfoodrights.org. Scroll down the homepage for a map and directions to the public hearing on Jan. 23.


If only six farmers spoke in support of canola at last fall’s hearing, and 34 farmers said they would be directly harmed by canola why are you still allowing the production of Canola in the Valley?  Our country is supposed to be a Democracy and it is our taxes that keep you working.  You are paid to represent the majority of the people in your region, and it is clear that the majority does NOT want Canola production next to the local farmers in one of the world’s last five great seed-growing regions that grow vegetable seed, wheat, clover, grass seed,  organic farmers, fresh produce growers, and even sugar beet seed farmers.

I ask of you to save the economy in the Willamette by not allowing the contamination of Canola.
I ask you to represent the people and not the corporations and dollar.

Big Problems at the Sun London

This is an example of good journalism:  (sarcasm noted) Yet the tabloid keeps going and going and going...
A Sun reporter, understood to be Anthony France, has become the 22nd journalist from the News International tabloid to be arrested as part of Scotland Yard's investigation into inappropriate payments to public officials between 2004 and 2011.
The Metropolitan police said that a journalist, a 39-year-old man, was arrested on Thursday morning in Hertfordshire by detectives from Operation Elveden, on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and suspected conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office. He has been taken to a station in north London.
The journalist is the Sun reporter France, according to a News International source.
Two serving police officers were also arrested at 6am on Thursday, bringing the number of individuals detained as part of Operation Elveden to 56.

Major papers' longform meltdown : Columbia Journalism Review

No one equates story-length with quality. Let’s start with that concession.
But still. Story-length is hardly meaningless when you consider what it takes to explain complex problems, like say, the financial crisis, to the broader public. Or when you consider what it takes to lay out the evidence needed to properly support a story that makes explosive allegations against a powerful institution. It takes space.
Put another way, there’s a reason David Barstow’s landmark expose of bribery and high-level cover-ups at WalMart ran to more than 7,000 words.
So, all in all, it’s more than instructive to check in on longform newspaper writing, and the start of a new year isn’t a bad time to do it.
And it’s pretty to shocking to see what’s become of the time-honored form since the newspaper industry’s great unraveling started a decade ago.
The Los Angeles Times, for instance, published 256 stories longer than 2,000 words last year, compared to 1,776 in 2003—a drop of 86 percent, according to searches of the Factiva database. The Washington Post published 1,378 stories over 2,000 words last year, about half as many as 2003 when it published 2,755. The Wall Street Journal, which pioneered the longform narrative in American newspapers, published 35 percent fewer stories over 2,000 words last year from a decade ago, 468 from 721.

Read More....
Major papers' longform meltdown : Columbia Journalism Review

Monday, January 21, 2013

Transparency Isn't Treason: NY Times Journalist questions charge

PFC Bradley Manning. Photograph: AFP/Brendan Smialowski/Getty

Susan Brannon
20 January 2013
I agree with the New York Times editor Margaret Sullivan and the Los Angeles Times editorial regarding the charges against Bradley Manning.  Our Press freedom is at stake, those how would be our sources is at stake and journalists who help keep our governments accountable to its citizens through investigative reporting are at stake.  In the end, our freedom is at stake.  With these types of open ended interpretations of our laws, then anyone could be viewed as "aiding our enemy" with the call for treason. If a journalists finds important information that the public has the right to know, and a high level government official does not like the "news" then what was written can be twisted and viewed in a way that could lead to "aiding the enemy". 

Manning did not have evidence of contact with "hostile nations or terrorists"...in fact, how that that phrase be viewed? Am I as a journalist, who has entered into Gaza, Jenin, Ramallah considered having contact with "hostile nations"?  I was reporting the news plain and simple.  I went into Jenin after 40 days of incursion and bombing of tons of homes to report what had happened.  Yes, I admit I did speak to some Palestinians, and that is not a crime.  I interviewed people who were eye witnesses to what happened while all news agencies were blocked form entering.  Actually, I snuck inside during near the end of the 40 day incursion, bullet proof vest and all.  Could our American government now say that I may have both "aided the enemy and had contact with hostile nations?  The contact depending on which side is the "right" side, actually.  I had contact on both sides, I spoke with the IDF, Mozan, those on the ground.  Umm, what enemy did I aid?  I wonder.

Last week in Fort Meade, MD, government prosecutors said that if PFC Bradley Manning had released documents to the New York Times instead of WikiLeaks, they would still charge him with indirectly ‘aiding the enemy,’ which carries a life sentence.
This would be unprecedented: never before has a soldier been sent to jail for ‘aiding the enemy’ as a result of giving information to a news outlet. Government prosecutors argue that Manning needn’t have intended to aid the enemy; merely that he knew Al Qaeda could use the information is enough. This would turn all government whistle-blowing into treason: a grave threat to both potential sources and American journalism.
Following this contention in court, the Los Angeles Times called on the government to drop the ‘aiding the enemy’ charge, writing in an editorial, “That charge strikes us as excessive in the absence of evidence that Manning consciously colluded with hostile nations or terrorists.”
Since then, even higher-profile media members have condemned the military’s pernicious claim and the precedent it would set. In an email in which she explained she couldn’t speak on behalf of her newspaper but could comment as a lifelong journalist and a former newspaper editor, New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan said,
“The implications for press freedom in the Bradley Manning prosecution trouble me, as does the federal government’s unprecedented targeting, in recent years, of whistleblowers and those who leak to the press.  The issues certainly aren’t black and white, but if the public expects the press to do its crucial job in our democracy, people ought to be more worried than they apparently are.  And I agree with the Los Angeles Times editorial that the “aiding the enemy” charge, which could result in a life sentence, is excessive.”
New York Times columnist and former executive editor Bill Keller said, “I think the treatment of Manning feels heavy-handed and out of proportion to actual harm done.”
In Michael Calderone’s story for the Huffington Post, “Manning Case Raises Troubling Questions For Journalists,” about the implications of this argument, the Washington Post’s Dana Priest said, “they don’t want other people to get the idea that they should be doing this,” and that it’ll have a “chilling effect on sources.”
Glenn Greenwald wrote for the Guardian, “[the government’s argument] can be – and almost certainly will be – just as easily applied to the vast majority of leaks on which investigative journalism has always relied.”
Mainstream news outlets, Greenwald said,
“might want to take a serious interest in this fact and marshal opposition to what is being done to Bradley Manning: if not out of concern for the injustices to which he is being subjected, then out of self-interest, to ensure that their reporters and their past and future whistle-blowing sources cannot be similarly persecuted.”
So why does the government continue to prosecute this way? Keller said, “It’s been clear from the outset that the government decided to make a lesson of Bradley Manning,” and that “the extreme conditions of his early confinement and the aiding-the-enemy charges suggest a deep animus toward Bradley.”
As the government works to discourage future leakers and to tighten security, it also classifies exponentially more documents every day. This harms the very people Bradley Manning wanted to inform in the first place: the American people.