Meet Cynthia McKinney

By, Cheri Roberts-Piper MTR News

In the article The Radical Alternative (Cynthia McKinney), Mumia Abu-Jamal puts forth a serious question, why not Cynthia McKinney?

-Photo by Tommy Sullivan, Project Censored-

Cynthia McKinney takes speaking truth to power to a whole new level. She has time and again stood against and spoken out about the very things we all complain about. She has taken the lashes with a grace the media never allowed you to see.

While speaking at a conference McKinney said,

“Warriors don’t have medals, they have scars. The corporate media has emblazoned for all the world to see…my scars”.

Scars. That’s all the American public knows of Cynthia McKinney.

MTR News had a chance to sit down with this presidential candidate and talk about the many scars on our nation. The woman we met was nothing like the corporate media has portrayed her to be. The woman we met was a warm, vibrant, intelligent, and articulate leader.

Meet Cynthia McKinney.

Video Interview Here

*Cynthia McKinney is running as the 2008 Green Party presidential candidate.

**Coming soon: Cynthia McKinney & Ray McGovern Interview

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Publicizing Truths with Consequence, When Great Minds Think Alike

By, Cheri Roberts-Piper MTR News

This weekend I attended the Publicizing Truths with Consequence media summit in Santa Cruz, CA representing MTR News Network; an event sponsored by Project Censored, 911Truth.org, and Be The Media. Turnout surpassed projected expectations 3 hours into the first day of this three day conference despite a winter storm that produced relentless rain and wind. At it’s high point there were upwards of 250+ people. The organizers adapted to the overflow and hosted a great event.

A pow-wow of sorts to brainstorm and put into action a more effective means of communicating to a public in desperate need of truth and substance. The event brought together an eclectic mix of concerned citizens, activists, and community writers as well as breaking news Bloggers like Brad Friedman of The BRAD BLOG. Award winning investigative journalists David Ray Griffin, Ray McGovern, and Bob Fitrakis mingled the room with Whistleblowers like Barbara Honegger and retired FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley. Doug Abort – a representative for the Kucinich campaign, Congressional candidate Cindy Sheehan, and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney also attended. All speakers, sponsors and organizers made themselves accessible in order to network, creating – maybe for the first time, a chain of media professionals that run from small town USA all the way to the influentials of DC. Speaking truth to power could get a little easier.

Fellow attendees Matt Sullivan, Editor of the Rock Creek Free Press in DC and Lenny Charles of the I.N.N. World Report said it best the first day of the summit.

Matt points out that,

“We control the web, but we are not powerful in the street”.

While Lenny brings it home with,

“It’s time to think outside the browser”.

With a participant list that reads like a virtual who’s who of today’s alternative media, this summit produced an inspired new army of motivated individuals ready to take on the challenge and rise above the corporate media. The theme seemed to be we are the new mainstream media and although workshop style gatherings were a bit disorganized most seemed to understand the theme and the need to find ways to apply it in their everyday lives.

OH-D Congressman Dennis Kucinich rallied the audience via a piped in conference call the first night emphasizing that,

“Independent media is critical” and the “Last best defense our Nation has” reminding us it is our civic duty as citizens of this democracy.

Coleen Rowley, retired FBI Special Agent stressed,

“I have heard every excuse in the book” for not trying.

She concluded that train of thought with a powerful call to action voiced by two little words when she said,

“Do something!”

Breaking off into affinity groups we learned the deeper meaning of communicating by listening and the importance of real news versus mere opinion. We were coached on identifying the propaganda and told by 25 yr CIA Veteran Ray McGovern that,

“We need to sensitize our co-ctizens” and “we have to speak truth to power” and that in order to do that, we need to,

“get them to identify” with our issues “by identifying theirs”.

Other tools were offered by David Mathison of Be The Media – who spoke on building community media, providing resource ideas and tips for doing so.

As invited guests MTR News Network was privileged to conduct many on and off camera interviews from this event, including a one- on – one with Cynthia McKinney, later pairing her with her long time friend and true Patriot Ray McGovern – who we learned is being treated for lymphoma and will be beginning chemo therapy soon. Stay tuned…

Ava Lowery, Old Enough to Vote

By, Cheri Roberts-Piper MTR News

Last week – Seventeen-year-old peace powerhouse Ava Lowery, registered to vote in what will be her first presidential election. Ava has been galvanizing America’s youth for years and the 2008 election just may show how many of our country’s first time voters have been listening. With Ava’s eye and attention on presidential candidates John Edwards and Barak Obama you can be sure her followers are watching as well.

We came to know Ava years ago by her hard hitting, inspiring, and often excruciatingly graphic anti-war videos posted on youtube and other websites across the Internet. Ava’s videos on youtube alone receive many thousands of views from people of all parties and ages and have garnered the attention of media outlets like Mother Jones, Rolling Stone Magazine and CNN.

I asked Ava what she intends her videos to accomplish and who are they targeted at. Her response was simple and to the point,

All of my videos are directed at educating people about the war. What they do with that information is all up to them. Hopefully my videos will cause some voters to think about the Iraq war and how it will be handled by the candidates they support when voting this year.”

Peace Takes Courage
– Ava’s main web presence, received 1.45 million hits last month alone while her newly launched Ava’s Army received more than 80,000 hits in its first month. With numbers like these one has to wonder if this young activist realizes the power she potentially wields on a whole new generation of America’s voters.

CA. Congressional Candidate and Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan – who has known Ava for some time, shared her thoughts with me regarding Ava entering the electorate for the first time,

“If young people followed Ava’s lead in trying to make the world a better place, and if we have young leaders like her, I feel our world will be in great hands. Voting is only a small part of our part in democracy, but our votes have to be informed and intelligent, I am sure Ava will be an active participant in our democracy.”

A Texas father – Steve Mauk, who has a daughter Ava’s age added,

“This election will be the first for my youngest daughter as well and she is eager to understand the platforms of the different candidates instead of just casting a party vote. It is great to see young people like her and Ava caring about our country and its future”.

I asked Ava how her documentary was coming along. She has been immersing herself and her life savings into a one on one approach with Veterans of the Iraq war preserving their thoughts upon returning from Iraq, and comparing those to their thoughts pre-deployment.

I had heard that – although not quite on the shelf, there was some delay in its completion due to dwindling funds. Ava agreed funds were definitely an issue and that she was at a bit of an impasse and needed help,

“Most of the filming for the documentary has been completed but we still have Veterans of the war that would like to be interviewed and to be a part of this film. We don’t have the funds at this time though to conduct those interviews so we are trying to find a way to get the funds needed to finish filming.”

She added,

“I believe this documentary will be an important piece that people should see”.

And when I asked why she felt it was important, her response once again hit home on how mature this young lady really is,

“Why? Because it is Veterans of the Iraq war talking about the war. No political pundits and no main stream media mouth pieces. Just people who have witnessed the war first hand and are speaking from their own experiences. I think most Americans want to support our troops. What better way to support them than to hear what they have to say?”

My final question was about what her own thoughts were as we begin the primaries and lead into the 2008 election and what being able to legally vote means to her. I couldn’t help but smile at her response,

“I’m excited to be able to vote for the first time because for a long time now I’ve been involved in politics without being able to vote. Now I think I can call myself a full fledged political junkie and activist.”

Like she wasn’t already working for democracy full time?

She went on to add,

“If more young people voted, I believe there would be major change in this country. I hope that I will be in a large crowd of first time voters this year.”

Just in the crowd? Somehow this writer thinks it will be Ava Lowery leading the crowd, straight to the polls this November.

Also published on Op Ed News.

*If you would like to help Ava Lowery complete her documentary please go to her website where you will find details on her work and on how you can help.