TruthToTell ENCORE, Monday, Jan 28–9AM: DOMESTIC DRONES: Watching First, Killing Second?; TruthToTell, Monday, Jan 21–9AM: OBAMA & MLK: Dream Fulfilled? Or Dashed?


Tune in this coming Monday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on KFAI, (90.3 FM in Minneapolis, and 106.7 FM in St. Paul) to catch our upcoming program:

Monday, January 28, 2013




1. We had serious difficulty booking the proper guests in time to air our show on Women in Construction. That show will air with an excellent array of guests on February 25th.

2. A humorous event regarding my posting of a photo with no source links but, it appeared to me, clearly within the realm of believability after doing this show on Drones a couple of weeks ago, elicited an extraordinary reaction - starting with Art Hughes, my friend and colleague (editor of "Bring Me the News"), pointing out that the photo of three drones flying in formation over the Inaugural masses on the 21st of January was, in fact, a doctored photo published by the satirical newsreader, The Onion. I thought it funny, but believable because of what we learned in this week's show about domestic surveillance drones in rapid deployment across the US, but I conceded that photo's "inauthenticity." (For a NOVA Special on DRONES, see here: Watch now: Rise of the Drones | NOVA | PBS Video)

Subsequently, a rather ignorant City Pages blogger decided to make a big deal of my error and published a string of my comments under "Radio Host Duped by The Onion" and going on to name me and my show. In fact, it was wonderful publicity - and we are welcoming many new followers of our Facebook pages, but it also elicited a rash of absolutely vituperous hazing from rightwing namecallers, who continue even now heap their venomous commentary on this writer. Needless to say, they've also gone after those on my pages who challenged them, so they then deserve to be removed. Still, the ignorance that persists in the wider community about the subject of drones and their domestic deployment, primarily for surveillance at the moment, but possibly for deadly confrontation in our cities and other US venues, is as dangerous as any drone itself, and so tomorrow, we re-run our January 7th program as a reminder of the days to come.

Few readers and listeners are unaware that the United States is and has been sending unmanned aircraft with the rather insidious moniker – drones – over a wide swath of countries and territories overseas and targeting specific individuals with their deadly missiles. Another of these occurred Thursday or Friday of this week (Jan 3rd or 4th) inside Pakistan – again. Others occur regularly inside Afghanistan and Yemen. With good reason, howls of anguish and protest have pierced the global cyberspace and diplomatic community over the “collateral damage” –deaths and maiming of civilian innocents caught within the area of the blasts designed to destroy some single US-designated combatant the government calls a terrorist.

Hundreds of women and children have died in the wake of these targeted assassinations. At least three of those targets have been American citizens, tracked down and killed without a shred of the due process American citizens are supposed to receive in the wake of charges that they have committed crimes. This, of course, is an egregious affront to Constitutional guarantees – in other words, illegal actions – administered by this newly re-elected President, who, despite other commendable domestic actions, has adopted a dictator-like cavalier attitude toward due process when it comes to political dissent and national security issues.

This leads us to the next step in drone development: one that could, any day now, start hovering over your house, your home right here in the good USofA. 

 <<Hover drone

It is now estimated that some 30,000 drones have been ordered or made available to local law enforcement agencies through grants by US justice officials, only we can’t know about these, either, because the Department of Justice – read Obama Administration – refuses to inform a still-unaware public that the government may now believe it can spy on your town, your city, you neighborhood or your home with secrecy and impunity.The Justice Department's own Inspector General's Year End Report (Top Management and Performance Challenges in the Department) warns about the "challenges" such machines make for a department whose job it is to protect civil rights and privacy, not dispense with it. Where it could go from there few people want to even think about – and that would be their use as weapons, not just spy machines. (Naomi Wolf insists it’s simply a matter of time.) And drones need not be flyovers, but hovering little camera-bearing robots peeking into windows and backyards and playgrounds – as they did over the Humphrey Dome at the last Vikings-Packers game in Minneapolis Sunday, Dec. 31.

Why does anyone find this necessary? All the former police officers and executive we’ve talked with are as fearful of this tool in the hands of local police agencies and the FBI as any one of us might be.How should we respond to the secrecy surrounding the development of this surveillance machine for domestic use? How should we view the potential for the maximum intrusion into our long-revered privacy these robotics represent? Who’s looking into this extraordinary interruption of American life as we’ve known it? Who’s challenging it?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with various advocates at the national and regional levels as an alert to citizens to take action toward curbing the use of drones – domestic surveillance types, especially.


COLEEN ROWLEY – Former Minneapolis office FBI agent and 9-11 whistleblower; Peace advocate, blogger, Huffington Post contributor

CATHERINE CRUMP – Attorney, Speech, Privacy and Technology Program, American Civil Liberties Union, New York, NY

MATT EHLING – President, Lead Producer, Public Record Media, St. Paul; Plaintiff, Public Record Media v. U.S. Department of Justice; CEO, ETS Productions

JT HAINES – Attorney in Private Practice representing plaintiff, Public Record Media v. U.S. Department of Justice

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Monday, January 21, 2013



We now have four years of the very first Black presidency behind us.

Despite the insane vilification of Barack Obama and the extraordinary overreach of the country’s rightwing politicians and media, the most extraordinary, lowdown, miserable NRA ad going after the President’s children, and the wild portrayals of Fox News mouthpieces whose hypocrisy fairly oozes from their on-camera personas and dependence on a forgetful viewership over time, a few million folks on the other end of the political spectrum did, in fact, reluctantly mark their ballots for his reelection.

Why? And how would Martin Luther King be assessing this first four years of the first African American to occupy that end of Pennsylvania Avenue? Does Mr. Obama embody the Dream Dr. King talked about. Or the Black pride he encouraged (“Walk with your head high! Be a man!”) in other settings outside of Washington, DC?

The enthusiasm with which many progressives (most of them white, of course) greeted the nation’s first nominee of color and helped send to the White House began to fade quickly as Mr. Obama, little by little, day by day, displayed a baffling willingness to maintain the policies of his predecessor, Republican George W. Bush. This was immediately true in the initial days of his inheriting the financial mess dumped on his administration in the waning days of the previous Congress and the fiscal disaster that proved to be the worst recession since the Great Depression. Mr. Obama’s Wall-Street-based donors, soon to be in charge of his Treasury Department, the Fed and the Council of Economic Adviser recommended – and he bought into – a multi-billion-dollar bailout, not of the ravaged and savaged homeowners entering history’s worst foreclosure crisis and underwater drag on housing values, but of already super-wealthy investment bankers who eventually were caught making more billions by betting against their own investors.

Then came Guantanamo, which Mr. Obama had promised n his campaign to close and which festers still as a sore on the nation’s conscience. Then Iraq and Afghanistan and, in direct contravention of his campaign promises, signed the first renewal and recently, the second  of National Defense Authorization Act which legalizes government wiretaps without a warrant and crushes dissent in the streets and sends drones over foreign and domestic territories to either spy on or kill so-called targets the President unilaterally deems a threat, including American citizens who die without a shred of due process – a charge, a trial and a conviction.

BUT…this is the President who muscled through the Affordable Health Care Act. And wound down the War in Iraq (eventually), and strengthened some of our environmental protections and brought the children of undocumented workers into a state of innocence – if not amnesty.

Mr. Obama and his youthful, attractive family, his winning smile and incredibly confident, articulate voice, along with his squeaky clean image, has maintained a certain level of comfort among a slim majority of Americans. Yet, the political machinery behind his reelection was deceptively competent and engineered such an awesome victory that the self-deceived right and its billionaire PACs were completely blindsided when the President completely swamped Mitt Romney in the Electoral College.

So. On this day when the inspiring ghost of Martin Luther King is heard once again in terms that echo still today and almost singing,

“…But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition…I have dream today…I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal’…”

…how would Dr. King look upon this Presidency today? What changes in the plight of people of color might he have expected? Would he be justified? King hated the Vietnam Conflict and other wars that pitted Black Americans against other cultures of color. How would he feel about the Mideast, Afghanistan, Israel, the drone wars? How would he view Mr. Obama’s almost blank slate in addressing racial inequality and white privilege, the urban public education achievement gap, and the burgeoning prison populations everywhere, top heavy with Black, Latino and American Indian males?

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and MICHELLE ALIMORADI bring in two observers of the political scene as well as the racial inequality index of our communities.


BRETT BUCKNER – former Executive Director, Color the Vote; Candidate, Minneapolis 5th Ward City Council; former President, Minneapolis NAACP.

DOUG ROSSINOW, PhD – Associate Professor of History, Metropolitan State University