Amy Goodman - Breaking the Sound Barrier - 18 November 2009
UCSB Campbell Hall - Sponsors: KCSB/SB Channels


APB188667A.JPG
APB188667A.JPG
174.29 KB
PB188656.JPG
PB188656.JPG
122.61 KB
PB188659.JPG
PB188659.JPG
148.56 KB
PB188661.JPG
PB188661.JPG
236.47 KB
PB188663.JPG
PB188663.JPG
167.20 KB
PB188665.JPG
PB188665.JPG
159.60 KB
PB188666.JPG
PB188666.JPG
363.26 KB
PB188667.JPG
PB188667.JPG
173.63 KB

Amy Goodman at UCSB - 18 November 2009

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now Radio covered a lot of ground speaking for almost two hours at UCSB on Wednesday. Some were horror stories; some were stories of inspiring courage. All of it was meant to encourage citizens to rise up and use their power for a better world.

Perhaps the most important point that she made: The election of Obama opened the door. But the people have to make their demands. Obama's aides have to be able to point out the window at the crowd and say, "If you don't do what they want they will storm the Bastille." This is not the time to relax. This is the time to organize. Whether it is health care, green jobs, climate change or economic justice.

She very recently lost her mother to cancer, which had brought her directly in confrontation with the dysfunctional health care non-system in the US. The problem is not just the insurance companies. Serious mistakes were made with her mother because doctors don't spend enough time with patients, and there is a lack of proper pain management. At one point, one doctor was ordering she swallow solid food for a test while another doctor had forbid any solid food.

Kiefer Sutherland is the star of the TV program "24" which glorifies brutality in the name of security. In real life his grandfather Tommy Douglas created the Canadian health care system in 1962 after receiving free care himself. The US AMA organized a strike in Canada to protest universal health care there. Fortunately, their efforts failed.

Obama went to Copenhagen to try to bring the Olympics to Chicago. A more important meeting is about to happen in Copenhagen that may determine the fate of the planet. "Why is he not going there for the climate talks as he did for the Olympics?" Goodman asked.

One disturbing story she told was of a man named John Jacob who posed as an activist John Towery to infiltrate and spy on activities in Olympia, Washington.

Another involved the recent G20 protests in Pittsburgh. Elliot Madison was arrested for using Twitter to alert other protestors of where the police were issuing orders to disperse.

Rather ironic, since the US intervened to force Twitter to help the protestors in Iran under similar circumstances.

And Goodman and her Democracy Now colleagues Sherif Abdul Kaduz and Nicole Salazar were arrested simply for covering the Republican Convention. The NBC reporter was mystified how this happened. It happened because Goodman actually was down on the ground covering what the people were saying rather than sitting up in the NBC skybox.

"Democracy is a messy thing. Our job is to cover it all," she said.

But she was also able to provide cases of creative and heroic action that is in the tradition of bringing progress in the past.

Tim DeChristopher wondered why only oil and gas companies bid on public auctions for public resources. This seemed to go against standard market principles of fair pricing. So, he went and bid on an auction. He bid the price up to $1.8 million for 22,000 acres of such land. The auction was stopped and he was arrested. But he saved the land! Without damaging a bulldozer or spiking a tree.

Former Bureau of Land Management director Patrick Shea became his lawyer, making the case of the necessity of this action.

On the 20th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster caused by Union Carbide, a press conference was held to apologize for the lives destroyed. The BBC covered this apology in which it was announced that Union Carbide would liquidate itself in order to pay back the suffering people of Bhopal. The story was immediately picked up and covered around the world. Except that the alleged spokesperson was in fact a member of the action group "Yes Men".

Union Carbide was forced to hold a real press conference in which they announced there was no apology and they planned to give no compensation. Not good for their image.

The talk was a book tour for Goodman's latest book "Breaking the Sound Barrier" which is full of these and many other stories, both horrifying and inspiring.

She wanted to end the talk with an image of the media as a huge kitchen table we sit around and discuss the issues of the day. Goodman is one of the few left in the media who gets that this is how democracy has to work. That it is the only way to a better future.


Photos and Site Courtesy of Robert Bernstein
Robert's Action Page
Robert's Home Page
---