2004 Archive of Blog posts
We're in the last few days of Spirit of America's participation in The Motley Fool charity drive. We have until close of business Monday, January 3rd, 2005 for donors and friends to donate through Foolanthropy .
Scroll down on that page and click "Donate to Spirit of America."The "race" for the extra $10,000 which TMF will donate to the charity that receives the most donations through Foolanthropy is //*very tight*//! So call your friends, long lost relatives and check for change under the seat cushions--it can really make a difference.We have truly been honored to be involved with Foolanthropy. The staff at The Motley Fool have been fantastic, and we encourage you to check out their site.Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve!
[&soaimg 455]Spirit of America will produce news coverage of Iraq's January 30 elections for broadcast in the United States. The news content will be largely based on a grassroots news and blogger reporting network established in Iraq by Friends of Democracy, DC an Iraqi organization that SoA is supporting. The newscast will have a companion election news Web site.Iraq's elections are an historic event. Major networks and newspapers are likely to provide limited coverage that focuses on the expected violence and bad news.
This partial story undermines the Iraqis that are struggling to build a free and democratic nation. It also discourages the Americans, whose continued support is essential to Iraq's success.[&soaimg 461]Our goal is to ensure that Americans get a full picture of Iraq's elections. This will not be a sugar-coated accounting - just a complete and accurate one that goes beyond the typical if it bleeds, it leads coverage of events in Iraq. Ideally, with sufficient advance publicity, this newscast will be viewed as the source people go to for coverage of Iraq's elections. Throughout the broadcast, we will highlight, in Public Service Announcement format, the reconstruction and democratization projects in Iraq that viewers can support.*PROGRAMMING*The newscast will be similar to coverage of the U.S. Presidential election except that the foundation will be grassroots, ground-level reporting from Iraq. Based in Washington, DC a host/anchor will cover breaking news and lead discussion among a rotating expert panel with photos, reports and video coming in from Iraq via Friends of Democracy and other sources throughout the broadcast. There will also be in-depth, one-on-one interviews with key guests. And, bloggers will play a central role (see below). As much emphasis will be placed on context and analysis (e.g., what the election means to Iraq, the Middle East and the world) as on specific events and election results. The newscast will be very interactive, with correspondents, bloggers and others in Iraq via telephone, the Internet and, where possible, video.
*ROLE OF BLOGGERS*We expect this effort to be a powerful example of how blogging (aka Internet publishing) can be integrated into broadcast (and vice versa). Blogs and blogging will have a role never played before in a television broadcast. This has two elements? DC Iraqi bloggers and U.S. bloggers. Iraqi bloggers will serve as a central source of news, photographs and reporting coming out of Iraq (see below).We will have 5 or 6 leading U.S. bloggers in studio participating in the newscast. Some of this will be on camera with the anchor and other guests. Some will be off camera with the bloggers in the background of the main newscast (picture the bloggers as the background newsroom).
The U.S. Bloggers will:* Read, analyze, blog on and report on news coming in from Iraq (with the assistance of translators as needed).* Do "live blogging" of the newscast? DC what's being discussed by the anchor and guests, what's be overlooked* Participate in on-camera discussions with the anchor and other guests.* Conduct (and blog) off-camera interviews of newscast guests, asking questions that weren't asked on camera. Additionally, we will seek bloggers in other countries to comment and blog on coverage of the elections in their local/national media.
*NEWS SOURCES*The primary source of reports, photographs and video will be through an election information network in Iraq established by Friends of Democracy. The Friends of Democracy election network will have three main components:
There may be some sort of prize associated with this as well.Other information sources for the broadcast will include:* Email and call-ins from other sources in Iraq (e.g., US and Coalition military and civilian personnel).* Footage and reports from other media in Iraq (we will seek re-broadcast rights to content from local television in Iraq, e.g., Al Iraqiya, Al Sharqiya, Al Feyha)*DISTRIBUTION*At a minimum, the broadcast will be streamed over the Internet and highlights will be available as downloadable and emailable files. We will also seek regular broadcast carriage on DirecTV and Cable TV as FreeView programming.
Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.Spirit of America offices are mostly closed for the holidays from December 24th to January 3rd.This means you may not get a response to your email until after January 3rd.
Through the very generous support of our donors, we are proud to be able to offer tool sets for more graduates coming through the Marine/Seabee sponsored ICAP program which trains Iraqi men ages 14-25 to help rebuild their country.
We've been working with Chief St. Martin on this project, and he was able to better help us identify specific needs for the tool sets this time around. Hundreds of donors throughout America answered Spirit of America's call to provide tools for the ICAP program. After the first 300 tool kits were given to ICAP graduates and we asked for more support to provide additional toolkits, *within 24 hours donors contributed over $60,000.* Now that is what we call a rapid response! Through your support we will be able to ship the needed tools as soon as shipping resumes after the first of the year.
With Spirit of America, what you see is what you get. Our and are exactly what we say they are. We have no hidden agenda. Our intention is do all we can with the support of the American people so that freedom and peace prevail. We are more open about our finances than any other organization. We publish our financials for every month showing our project expenses down to the check level. You can see them here
We have more than 12,000 donors who in have contributed more than $7 million in cash and measurable donated goods. We don't ask our donors who they work for, therefore we generally don't know. Our largest cash donation in 2004 was $50,000 from an Internet entrepreneur. Our largest donations of goods - in the $1mm range have been medical supplies and equipment from InMed and Triad Hospitals. We do not share or publish the personal information people give us including names of our donors unless they give us explicit permission and except as required by law (e.g., for tax filing purposes). That is our
Our relationship with Cyber Century Forum
Cyber Century Forum, a nonprofit organization, provided the nonprofit, 501c3 status we needed to get Spirit of America off the ground. This allowed us to immediately begin operations without the expense and delay of forming a new, independent nonprofit. From August 2003 through November 2004 we operated as an independent project under the auspices of Cyber Century Forum. Spirit of America kept separate accounting and separate bank accounts. Our finances were never mingled except that for Federal tax reporting purposes in 2003, Cyber Century Forum reported our combined finances. Since Spirit of America was not, at the time, an independent entity, we did not file separate tax returns. We never received direct financial support (i.e., money) from CCF although CCF did provide some administrative services and did the accounting work in filing the combined 2003 tax return. You can find Cyber Century Forum's tax returns from 1998 to 2003 at the bottom of
Special Industry Relationships
Cyber Century Forum's 2003 tax return notes a $109k investment in Schlumberger. CCF has held 2,000 shares of Schlumberger as an investment since 1998. Some have noted this and asked if the oil industry (or any other industry) exerts some special influence over our operations. The short answer is no.
Regarding CCF's investment Spirit of America was not involved with CCF in 1998; their investment in Schlumberger at that time pre-dates our existence by five years.
No US Government Ties
We do not seek or receive any funding from any government entity. We would not accept it if it were offered. Our organization is based on the voluntary support of the American people. Spirit of America is genuine people power at work. We are not a political, lobbying or policy organization.I ([ Jim Hake http://www.spiritofamerica.net/site/who/jimhake ]) do not receive government money, either. I have never been employed by any government entity or agency. I did have an internship with Science Applications in 1977 and Science Applications did government work at the time, although I was not involved with it. And, from 1982-87 I was employed by Rational Software (since acquired by IBM). Rational sold its products to U.S. defense contractors, among others.The only money I've received from the government is a tax refund. I volunteer my time to Spirit of America. I'm able to do so because I've been blessed with good financial fortune, which came on the heels of a lot of hard work. I don't intend to take a salary from Spirit of America but its possible I'll change my mind some day.*No Political Agenda*It has been suggested that Spirit of America reflects someone's political agenda. This is silly, too. It doesn't. We are a non-political, non-partisan organization. We don't positions on political or public policy issues.Speaking personally, my work to advance the Internet in the 1990s was endorsed by then Vice President Al Gore, Speaker Newt Gingrich and Colin Powell, among many others. I am a registered Independent. I've never made a political contribution. You can search on this at [ Open Secrets http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/index.asp ] which publishes all political donations (hint: search on Hake, James in California) because, by law, they are a matter of public record. I vote for President based on who I believe will do the best job leading our country. As for the rest of Spirit of America staff, I don't know what their political affiliations are or if they make political contributions. I have never asked. That is their business and I respect their privacy. If they were to use Spirit of America to promote their political views, after one warning they would be fired.We receive enthusiastic support from people all over the political spectrum - support from Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Libertarians. Our supporters voted for Bush, Kerry, and Howard Dean. I know this because some of our donors have told me. To read the views of two who opposed the US policy in Iraq see [ Dan Gillmor http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/8797929.htm ] and [ Mitch Ratcliffe http://www.correspondences.org/archives/000689.html ].Our work is nonpartisan. Anyone who wants to help the people of Iraq and Afghanistan or those who call to the American people to achieve freedom, democracy and peace should feel comfortable supporting our projects. Our goal is to provide a rare common ground for those who believe in our mission and share our objectives. Dan Henninger of the Wall Street Journal [ talked about this http://www.spiritofamerica.net/site/blog/161 ] on PBS last April. It is far more important than partisan politics. Jim Hake
Our Blogger Challenge ended at midnight on Wednesday. Nearly 200 bloggers joined the effort and, as I type, raised $90,247. Incredible!!! There was a great flurry of activity in the final hours and, in amazing come-from-behind effort, Iraq the Model, jumped into the lead. Iraq the Model has raised $17,140 . The leading team is the Northern Alliance of Blogs. The Alliance has raised $12,135. Thanks to the bloggers we now have more than 11,000 contributors. A 10% increase in 2 weeks.We are still accepting checks and will have a final total and rankings next week. Thank you to all the bloggers that participated. It is an enormous contribution. Woooohoooooo!! We even had two foreign teams (that I know of) - from Canada and Spain. Please click here to see all the bloggers that joined the effort and thank them, too:challenge
*Here is an excerpt of a message sent to SoA supporters.*There won't be another week like the last one. Extraordinary. We completed our 5 city tour, meeting with many of you. Our Blogger Challenge raised $89,375 as of midnight Wednesday night. Last week we had a 1/2 hour meeting with President Bush in the Oval Office. Today, I spent an hour with General Tommy Franks at his office in Tampa. Tomorrow (Friday), Spirit of America will be featured on Dayside with Linda Vester on Fox sometime between 1pm-2pm Eastern. More info on all of this below.*PRESIDENT BUSH*Last Thursday, I met with President Bush for 1/2 hour in the Oval Office along with SoA's Kerry Dupont, Omar and Mohammed from Iraq the Model and Friends of Democracy. The meeting came as a surprise. We received a call in our taxi while we were headed back to our hotel asking if we could be at the White House in 25 minutes. I'm told those close to the President thought it would be good for him to hear from ordinary Iraqis and to hear about Spirit of America. Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secy of Defense, and a staff member from the National Security Council were also there. I found the President to be focused, interested, intelligent and committed. He also has a good sense of humor, which he employed liberally. Let me assure you, Spirit of America is not, and never will be, a political or policy organization. We view the work we are doing as something that people of every political persuasion should support. We're not going to blow it by playing politics. Nonetheless, we have one President. He is the Commander in Chief of the servicemen and women we are helping in Iraq and Afghanistan. We should want his support and now I'm glad we now have it.The first part of the meeting focused on Omar and Mohammed's views of Iraq. Then we talked about Spirit of America. After hearing about what we are doing, the President turned to Omar and Mohammed and said, You see gentlemen, that is the beauty of America. I never met this man before but he's out there helping to win this war on terror just as much as ‘Wolfie' here. I would have expected President Bush to have kind words for what we are doing. I wasn't sure if he would see the strategic importance of what we are doing but I'm very happy he does. He went on to talk about the importance of private-sector, grass roots activities ?DC people helping people, saying that's what I believe in. Of course, that's what Spirit of America is about. For you dog lovers, as we left, we met Barney ?DC the President's dog ?DC and learned that Barney is getting a sister named Beasley. GENERAL TOMMY FRANKSUnlike the serendipitous meeting with Pres. Bush, the meeting with Tommy Franks had been in the works for a while. I'm happy to say that he also understands the value of what we're doing. This is best relayed by paraphrasing what he said. Gen Franks makes an important distinction between terrorists and terrorism. He said the military can deal with terrorists pretty well with a 9mm bullet. But terrorism was a whole different, more complex thing. He said he thought that Spirit of America and the America people had a better opportunity to deal with/reduce/defeat (I forget the exact word) terrorism than the U.S. Government bureaucracy. Of course, the commitment of the U.S. Government is essential. His point, I believe, was to highlight the importance of the American people and the particular approach of Spirit of America.I hope General Franks will be able to be involved in some of our activities moving forward. Either way, we have a great new friend.SPIRIT OF AMERICA ON FOX NEWS We'll be on Dayside with Linda Vester on Fox News tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 16) sometime between 1pm and 2pm Eastern (10am-11am Pacific).From all of us, our best wishes for a wonderful holiday season.The Spirit of America teamJim HakePeggy FindleyKerry DupontAnise KirkpatrickMichele RedmondMike FrankDonovan JanusRhesa Rozendaal… and many other volunteers!
- DaySide will feature Spirit of America tomorrow
- Rally-March for Iraq in January?
- SoA Road Show Wrap Up
- NYC event with Iraq the Model bloggers a success
- Report on NYC lunchtime event
- Nov. 22 Message to Donors
- We're making "Fools" of ourselves..and you can help!
- Friends of Democracy update
- Nov. 10 Message to Donors
- Oct. 29 Message to SoA donors