February 14, 2005: Headlines: COS - Malaysia: Journalism: First Amendment: Freedom of Speech: Publishing: Swans: Gilles d'Aymery says "I can't assure you that the world would be better off if it had legions of Bruce Andersons scattered all over the planet, but without hesitation I can guarantee you America would; and so will you when you read him."

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Malaysia: Special Report: Malaysia RPCV, Journalist, and Publisher Bruce Anderson : February 12, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: RPCV Bruce Anderson (Malaysia) : February 14, 2005: Headlines: COS - Malaysia: Journalism: First Amendment: Freedom of Speech: Publishing: Swans: Gilles d'Aymery says "I can't assure you that the world would be better off if it had legions of Bruce Andersons scattered all over the planet, but without hesitation I can guarantee you America would; and so will you when you read him."

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-21-200.balt.east.verizon.net - on Friday, February 18, 2005 - 9:22 pm: Edit Post

Gilles d'Aymery says "I can't assure you that the world would be better off if it had legions of Bruce Andersons scattered all over the planet, but without hesitation I can guarantee you America would; and so will you when you read him."

Gilles d'Aymery says I can't assure you that the world would be better off if it had legions of Bruce Andersons scattered all over the planet, but without hesitation I can guarantee you America would; and so will you when you read him.

Gilles d'Aymery says "I can't assure you that the world would be better off if it had legions of Bruce Andersons scattered all over the planet, but without hesitation I can guarantee you America would; and so will you when you read him."

AVA Oregon!, RIP
November 4, 2004 - February 3, 2005

by Gilles d'Aymery

(Swans - February 14, 2005) Here's how I concluded my plug on November 15, 2004 on behalf of Bruce Anderson's new weekly paper: "I can't assure you that the world would be better off if it had legions of Bruce Andersons scattered all over the planet, but without hesitation I can guarantee you America would; and so will you when you read him."

Well, you aren't going to read him anymore, at least not in the AVA Oregon!. The paper has headed for the chopping block. Bruce pulled the plug precisely three months after he launched it, when he warned that he had just about that much time to make the paper self-supporting "before [drowning] in Visa-Master's frigid seas." He wrote then, "This paper will either pay its bills fast, or it'll die fast."

It took 14 issues. The bills accumulated. In a small mourning box on the front page of the February 3 edition, Bruce launched this laconic bombshell:

This is the final edition of AVA Oregon. I'm out of money, and out of business. I could borrow but I have no way of paying it back. Start-up costs were quadruple what I'd expected. I think the paper would have caught on in a year or so if I'd had the capital to hold out. I didn't. AVA Oregon had a cadre of writers as good as any in the country. Circulation was slow and steady, but too slow to sustain the enterprise until it became self-supporting. Recent subscribers will get a refund when I've cleared away the accrued financial wreckage. I will remain in Eugene from where I will continue to contribute to and help edit my former paper in California. I will also be working on some writing projects independent of journalism.

He had on three or four occasions indirectly mentioned his financial struggle; the last time two issues ago, on January 20, 2005, when he wrote, "If I weren't in the newspaper biz, and I probably won't be in a few weeks given the ever larger gap between expenditures and income..." before going on with one of his genial hyperbolic rants against the Internet. ("A global swamp of misinformation, with literally every techno-savvy outpatient in the world weighing in on all the subjects, especially current events, that most agitate the mentally fragile. Unless you think the scroll is a major step forward, reading writing on the net is, objectively, a huge steps backwards, and give me papyrus over a machine every time.")

Now, who could have thought that a few weeks meant two...? And how tough these few weeks must have been for Bruce and Ling Anderson -- to come to the realization of the inevitable and throw in the towel...

The cause for pulling the plug is given by Alexander Cockburn, the old friend of the fallen (but not buried). Bruce needed $12,000 dollars to get the paper through to November 2005. Twelve thousand dollars, that's what Antiwar.com raised on the dreaded Internet in three days this past week. CounterPunch may have raised twice as much in their December 2004 fund raising drive... I understand that Bruce got a line of credit somehow but he felt that either the interest was exorbitant or that he could not repay the capital, or both.

What I do not understand is:

a) Why his nephew, Robert Mailer Anderson, who's swimming in tons and tons of money, did not advance him this relatively modest sum, (presuming Bruce ever asked) and,

b) Why he pulled the plug so suddenly without calling upon his readers and friends to help him out, and/or look for partners in his endeavor?

I know for a fact that Jan Baughman and I would have done everything humanly and financially possible to help him, as we did by repetitively recommending his paper to Swans' readers and contributors, and by sending him articles -- no strings attached and certainly no money exchanged (but for a free six-month subscription and another yearly one that we paid in full) -- from the very first issue on; some of them he published; others he didn't.

In hindsight, I should have put two and two together. He was no longer acknowledging the pieces I sent (even when he published them) or answering simple queries about how things were going (hey, he loathes e-mail, too!). But I'm not a great reader of tealeaves... However, I was a great fan of his paper; would not miss an issue; read it entirely from front to back. He had assembled in short order a pool of excellent writers who wrote about stuff one can't find in the main (and local) media, from George Beres, to Nicholas von Hoffman, the inimitable Bruce Patterson, good ol' Fred Gardner, and of course, among many others, Zack Anderson... That's what a paper is all about -- a friendly companion inhabited by many varied voices that only a first-class editor can pull together.

Damn, it hurts!

Sure, Bruce will contribute more often than not to the Anderson Valley Advertiser; and, if I hear Monsieur le Muckraker himself (Alex Cockburn) correctly, he'll become "a regular columnist for the CounterPunch website" -- talk about irony for someone who can't bear the Internet and the Web! (That said, we have a couple of openings on Swans!) So, he'll be around, but not his paper; and that's a world of difference.

Look around you. We are drowned into conformism, surrounded by the blandest of the bland so-called "news," mostly infomercials, held hostage by commercial interests -- the tyranny of the purse. Local papers in small-town America are practically all corporate owned, often by out of state interests. Open one and you've opened them all, from Bangor, Maine, to San Diego, California; from Key West, Florida, to Bellingham, Washington -- same insipid news, same ads, same pr, same bromide... Journalists have become politically correct robotic bureaucrats regurgitating the party line, the most persistent falsehood of our times, that all you need is money (and profits). As Progressive Review's Sam Smith, one of the few remaining iconoclasts and truly independent journalists, puts it, "Gone is the ground rule that once required social and political change to be covered -- even if the publisher didn't approve of it. Gone is the notion that if you made news, they would come. In an age of corporatist journalism, in which Peter Jennings has become the professional colleague of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, it no longer matters. News is just another item in the multinational product line with little value outside of its contribution to market share and other corporate objectives." (Why Bother? Feral House, 2001.)

Bruce Anderson brought a social conscience to his function, that of a journalist in the mold of an I.F. Stone. He covered the local news, and he commented on the affairs of our age. He kept denouncing the institutional corruption embedded in our governmental agencies (county, state), the pettiness of Chamber of Commerce diktats, the sanctimonious, holier-than-thou Lib-labs, the prison and education scams, and all the tin pot tyrants that build careers bleeding the polity like the leeches they are. Genial, friendly, humorous and generous on a personal level; once he donned his journalistic hat, he emulated Joseph Pulitzer's adage, "A newspaper should have no friends." Evidently, he was an irritant to the powers that be and collected enemies like other do stamps, which translated to fizzling advertising revenue, thus allowing him to be both truly independent...and poor!

I've often thought of an observation by Max Horkheimer that Louis Proyect once sent me: "A revolutionary career does not lead to banquets and honorary titles, interesting research and professorial wages. It leads to misery, disgrace, ingratitude, prison and a voyage into the unknown, illuminated by only an almost superhuman belief."

Bruce was not much into big "isms" but he certainly had an almost superhuman belief in the goodness of the people. His newspapers, both the Anderson Valley Advertiser and the AVA Oregon! reflected this belief. That he was unable to pull off his Oregonian venture is a sad testimony to the age in which we live.

But I am sure he'll be back one way or another; so from one idiot to another I say to him, Bruce, "know that my hands shall greet you when they might."

To conclude on a lighter note... Hey, in a few years I may e-bay one complete set of our 14 issues. Who knows, it may fetch as high as $12,000. Then Mr. Muckraker will be able to write a story about the "Greatest, Shortest-Run Weekly in the USA." When it happens, I promise, Bruce: I'll share the proceeds!

Peace to the cottages!
War on the palaces!

When this story was posted in February 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

The Peace Corps Library Date: February 7 2005 No: 438 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in over 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related reference material in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can use the Main Index to find hundreds of stories about RPCVs who have your same interests, who served in your Country of Service, or who serve in your state.

WWII participants became RPCVs Date: February 13 2005 No: 442 WWII participants became RPCVs
Read about two RPCVs who participated in World War II in very different ways long before there was a Peace Corps. Retired Rear Adm. Francis J. Thomas (RPCV Fiji), a decorated hero of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died Friday, Jan. 21, 2005 at 100. Mary Smeltzer (RPCV Botswana), 89, followed her Japanese students into WWII internment camps. We honor both RPCVs for their service.

February 12, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: February 12 2005 No: 443 February 12, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
Peter McPherson keeping busy in DC 12 Feb
Martha Ryan wins Award for pre-natal program 12 Feb
John Perkins reveals dark side of U.S. aid 10 Feb
Kathleen DeBold involved in lesbian activism 10 Feb
Jim Doyle to fix Wisconsin deficit without raising taxes 10 Feb
Chris Dodd proposes Class Action Fairness Act 10 Feb
RPCVs create Tsunami Assistance Project for India 9 Feb
Donna Shalala talks about her Peace Corps days 8 Feb
Senator Frist proposes Global Health Corps 8 Feb
Bush's budget to end Perkins loan forgiveness for PCVs 8 Feb
Tom Petri's Direct Loan Reward Act to save $18 billion 8 Feb
Izaak Edvalson helps educate a Doctor 7 Feb
Carol Bellamy condemns Female genital mutilation 7 Feb
Carl Pope criticizes Bush environmental priorities 7 Feb
Mike Tidwell defends wind farms 6 Feb
Kinky Friedman for real? Voters may not care 5 Feb
Bruce Anderson's Newspaper folds amid money woes 5 Feb

Bush's FY06 Budget for the Peace Corps Date: February 7 2005 No: 436 Bush's FY06 Budget for the Peace Corps
The White House is proposing $345 Million for the Peace Corps for FY06 - a $27.7 Million (8.7%) increase that would allow at least two new posts and maintain the existing number of volunteers at approximately 7,700. Bush's 2002 proposal to double the Peace Corps to 14,000 volunteers appears to have been forgotten. The proposed budget still needs to be approved by Congress.
RPCVs mobilize support for Countries of Service Date: January 30 2005 No: 405 RPCVs mobilize support for Countries of Service
RPCV Groups mobilize to support their Countries of Service. Over 200 RPCVS have already applied to the Crisis Corps to provide Tsunami Recovery aid, RPCVs have written a letter urging President Bush and Congress to aid Democracy in Ukraine, and RPCVs are writing NBC about a recent episode of the "West Wing" and asking them to get their facts right about Turkey.
RPCVs contend for Academy Awards  Date: January 31 2005 No: 416 RPCVs contend for Academy Awards
Bolivia RPCV Taylor Hackford's film "Ray" is up for awards in six categories including best picture, best actor and best director. "Autism Is a World" co-produced by Sierra Leone RPCV Douglas Biklen and nominated for best Documentary Short Subject, seeks to increase awareness of developmental disabilities. Colombian film "El Rey," previously in the running for the foreign-language award, includes the urban legend that PCVs teamed up with El Rey to bring cocaine to U.S. soil.
Ask Not Date: January 18 2005 No: 388 Ask Not
As our country prepares for the inauguration of a President, we remember one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century and how his words inspired us. "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
Coleman: Peace Corps mission and expansion Date: January 8 2005 No: 373 Coleman: Peace Corps mission and expansion
Senator Norm Coleman, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee that oversees the Peace Corps, says in an op-ed, A chance to show the world America at its best: "Even as that worthy agency mobilizes a "Crisis Corps" of former Peace Corps volunteers to assist with tsunami relief, I believe an opportunity exists to rededicate ourselves to the mission of the Peace Corps and its expansion to touch more and more lives."
RPCVs active in new session of Congress Date: January 8 2005 No: 374 RPCVs active in new session of Congress
In the new session of Congress that begins this week, RPCV Congressman Tom Petri has a proposal to bolster Social Security, Sam Farr supported the objection to the Electoral College count, James Walsh has asked for a waiver to continue heading a powerful Appropriations subcommittee, Chris Shays will no longer be vice chairman of the Budget Committee, and Mike Honda spoke on the floor honoring late Congressman Robert Matsui.
RPCVs and Peace Corps provide aid  Date: January 4 2005 No: 366 Latest: RPCVs and Peace Corps provide aid
Peace Corps made an appeal last week to all Thailand RPCV's to consider serving again through the Crisis Corps and more than 30 RPCVs have responded so far. RPCVs: Read what an RPCV-led NGO is doing about the crisis an how one RPCV is headed for Sri Lanka to help a nation he grew to love. Question: Is Crisis Corps going to send RPCVs to India, Indonesia and nine other countries that need help?

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Story Source: Swans

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Malaysia; Journalism; First Amendment; Freedom of Speech; Publishing



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