Wednesday, May 7, 2003


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UMass/Amherst Lives Up to its Reputation as ‘Zoo Mass'

Reining in Mass. High Business Costs

The Globe Campaigns
for Higher Taxes

Extreme Feminists at UMass Have 'Hate Men' Rally to Keep Money Flowing to Rape Crisis Centers

Expert Says Canadians Profit Most From NAFTA

National Crisis Affects Mass.

Massachusetts Needs To Preserve Its Industrial Base

Police Chief Scott Disappointed by Beacon Hill Hearing

Shuster's Letter Exposes
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Losing Good Jobs in Massachusetts

Education Secretary Speaks at Harvard

Drugging Of Children By DSS Protested At Statehouse

Sighting: Globe Puts Anti-Bush Editorial on Page One

Finneran Outlines Plan To Stimulate Job Growth

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Ray Flynn Salutes Activists of Mass. 'America First Party'

Says that Powerful Media Is Cause of Corruption in Politics

Former Boston Mayor Raymond L. Flynn

Sidebar: America First Party Seeks to Restore Traditional Values in Government

By Ed Oliver
May 7, 2003

The most serious thing happening to our state today is a lack of political participation from good people and the media's undermining of moral values, said former Boston Mayor Raymond L. Flynn in a recent address to the state's fledgling America First Party.

He saluted the group of about 40 active citizens for their willingness to contribute to the process of building our country, but said most people are not participating in the political process anymore, believing all politicians are corrupt and their vote does not count.

Flynn does not believe that about all politicians, but said he does believe our political system is corrupt.

Jonathan Hil, Mass AFP Chairman

Part of the problem is that the balance of power has shifted significantly to the media over the years, he said, leading to a monopoly on public opinion.

"At one time, the religious, business and other communities all had an independent voice in our city, state and country," said Flynn. "But now all that is wrapped up into one powerful institution in society today -- and that institution is the media.

"Churches at one time interjected the moral component into the debate about many, many issues. Whether it's about homosexuality, abortion, just wages, the death penalty or any of those issues."

Flynn, who is a former Mayor of Boston and Ambassador to the Vatican, said people might not choose to be guided by the moral voice of religious leaders, but nevertheless, it is important to be able to hear that viewpoint.

When he was a legislative leader at the State House for many years, church leaders would come there and speak almost in unison, saying, "This is our position. You legislature and governor make up your mind whether to accept it or not, but here is what we think. That was a very fair and constructive and important contribution that they made. You know something? It often had the impact of rejecting that legislative proposal."

When Flynn was growing up, he would hear people say that if the Archbishop of Boston stood at the pulpit and said birth control was wrong or abortion was wrong, there wouldn't be a politician in the community that could possibly go against him.

"Right now, you can get a religious leader [on a Saturday] saying 'Today is Saturday,' and the Boston Globe would come out and say 'No it's not; Today is Tuesday,' and the politician would be intimidated, would be afraid and would say, 'Oh, it must be Tuesday because the Boston Globe told us it was Tuesday,' not because of the fact that it might be the right, moral way to vote."

The shift in power to the media is having an enormous impact, he believes. "There is a monopoly in this country and I think it is the greatest challenge and the greatest threat to our country. It is the monopoly of public opinion that is taking place. We somehow have to go out and compete with that monopoly that is out there."

According to the former Mayor, there is a handful of people that own and control the way we get our information, so the average person does not even hear other points of view.

"Where do people get their information now? They get their information from CNN or Time Warner or Newsweek. You know what? The same person owns them all.

"The most popular television program where most people get their news is NBC's Meet the Press. It is the most popular program in the world in terms of formulating public opinion. That is owned by General Electric. It owns about 150 radio stations; it owns all kinds of businesses. Look what's happening here in Boston. You have the Boston Globe, which is owned by the New York Times. They own the Red Sox; they own other businesses and radio stations.

"If you want to run for political office in this town, you have to go down to the Boston Globe and say, 'Here I am, I want to run for office, how should I vote? That basically is what is happening. That is the biggest challenge, my friends."

People believe something must be true because they read it in the newspaper, but Flynn is pretty much convinced it is not true if it was in the newspaper.

Internet Is Replacing Newspapers

Mayor Flynn is starting to understand the importance of the Internet in terms of public opinion and believes it might be the only way of getting information out there. He said that in his position as president of American Catholic Alliance, he writes Internet articles for Catholic Online, which he described as a well-funded website based in California that receives a lot of traffic, but has not been able to make an impact electorally.

"A speech like this as the former president of the United States Conference of Mayors, an author, a writer, to be given an opportunity to speak at either the Democratic or Republican Party, and talk like we're talking, would be unheard of. We're talking about a small number of people controlling the political debate in this country today."

Flynn said people have to get out there and reinvent the wheel as far as politics is concerned. Politics has changed. Today it is about money and organization and special interests. You have to be able to compete financially and organizationally.

"I'll bet you that there is a significant number of like-minded people like you out there all across America. We have reached the time where we can't sit back and wait for somebody else to do it for us."

Join Any Party; Become Involved

Flynn said his message is not meant to start up or be part of any specific political organization.

"My message is we have to get people more actively involved in governments and in their communities. If it's the America First party, that's fine. If it is the church, that's fine. If it's coaching little league, that's fine.

"But you have to get more involved in the affairs of our government and winning elections because that is what gets power. That is what people understand in society today.

"These fat cats in New York or Boston at the Democratic and the Republican national conventions will exclude people like you and I. We will not have a seat at the table. The only way you have a seat at the table is when you start winning elections and start showing people that you have political clout. It takes an awful lot of work. People have sat on their hands for the longest period of time."

Regarding the church, Flynn said a lot of orthodox, conservative, traditional Catholics have sat on their hands for a long time and allowed other people to make decisions for them.

Now the Boston Globe and Herald are already talking about where the Catholic Church should go from here, said Flynn.

"Not only are they handicapping who the next leader of the Catholic Church in the archdiocese of Boston ought to be, they are now almost dictating what that new archbishop ought to do in terms of church policy.

"You read those articles. You'll see no Ray Neary, no Dr. Mildred Jefferson, no Phil Moran, no Professor Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard Law School or Ray Flynn, former US Ambassador to the Vatican and highest vote getter in Boston. You won't see any of those names in those articles."

Flynn said his hometown newspaper, the Globe, does not want to hear his viewpoint because it differs from their editorial position.

"They are afraid that if people read my comments about certain things, they might agree with me and disagree with the media. It is not so much the distortions or taking comments out of context. They just simply ignore you."

Flynn said the media ignores him and other people so you will think theirs is the only opinion about politics, religion, business, community and society.

"You are not hearing the entire story. You are hearing their opinion, their point of view. That's where people get their information. They are saying, 'Gee I read this story in the paper. I read it in the Herald, I read it in the Globe, I read it in the New York Times.' The rest of TV just follows suit."

Flynn said television news follows the lead of the front page of the Globe. If the Globe has it in the paper that morning, the TV news will lead with it.

He said that people have to understand that power has shifted significantly. "The power is not in our hands unless we exercise it and we organize it. It is a real uphill fight. The power is in the media; it is in public opinion. It is where people get their information and formulate their opinions."

Along with the church, one of the institutions that was highly regarded and respected but no longer has the voice it once had is the business community, said Flynn.

When he was running for mayor, there was an establishment in Boston called "The Vault" comprised of influential downtown businesses.

"When they spoke, the city listened. The press listened. They received a significant amount of attention. Now, there is no voice at all in the business community. The business community has no power. That power has shifted from them into the hands of the press. The press owns much of the businesses."

Similarly, many other independent voices have been silenced and their power shifted to the press. Now the Catholic Church's voice in Boston and the rest of the country is being diminished and trivialized so that you have just one voice, that of the media, he said.

"It is a very dangerous situation. If the moral voice is not going to be heard, then who is going to make that point for us?"

In order to reach the many good and sincere people who are not getting the information they need to help advance this country, the stability of the family and the church, the former Mayor and Ambassador suggested people can at least write letters to the editor, go on the Internet, contact people individually, use cable access stations and call radio talk shows.


America First Party Seeks to Restore Traditional Values in Government

By Ed Oliver
May 7, 2003

The America First Party evolved a year ago from the conservative wing of the Reform Party and has parties in 26 states with organizing committees in 13 others.

Massachusetts AFP Chairman Jonathan Hill says conservative candidates with traditional values do not get the practical support they need from the major parties and would do better in a party that shares their values.

He says there are many political trends threatening the very existence of our country. One trend is the willingness of legislators to violate the law at all levels of government. This is occurring partly because we are in a state of moral decline. "But it is my belief that there are many people in this country who still share our values and would respond to this movement if they had information about it," he says.

Among its positions, the grassroots organization takes an uncompromising stand against abortion, the glorification of homosexuality, cloning/genetic manipulation, affirmative action and is for restoring parental, Second Amendment and property rights.

In its literature it says, "[We are] actively reaching out to Americans who are disappointed with both major parties. Whether it is because of the leftwing, feminist, and anti-family direction that the Democratic Party has taken, or the lack of concern of the Republican Party for average working families, both parties are increasingly out of touch with the values and needs of ordinary Americans. Both are jeopardizing our standard of living through unfair trade policies and through the influence of powerful special interests. The America First Party is tired of the betrayal of both Republican and Democratic Parties."

The AFP is seeking to increase membership rolls by 1000-2000 in Massachusetts this year. That is because with minimal media support, the second-best method for publicizing candidates is to go door-to-door, they say.

The Party estimates that to run a candidate for a State Representative position, it would require 50 to 100 active volunteers. A successful candidate for Congress would require 100 to 200 activists.

More information and state contact info can be found at

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