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2007 Jan Feb

2007 Jan Feb

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Because People Mater 
 
Progressive News and Views January / February 2007 
Inside this issue:
Editorials.2
Geing Over the American Dream
.3
 Art Exhibit: “Dark Metropolis”
.4
 Aer the (Republicans) Fall
.5
Poetry Out Loud
.6
Poem: “Tears”
.6
Big Media Goes Aer More
.7
Radioactive WMDs
.8
Out Now!
.9
Book Reviews
.10
 Media Clipped
.11
Salute to Arline Prigof 
.11
Peace Action
.12
Pentagon Spies
.13
Ugly Realities in Palestine
14
Calendar
.15
Progressive Media
.16
By Jeanie Keltner 
 Impeachment is not optional. One doesn’t choosewhether or not to enorce the law—unless you are Bush/Cheney. And that is just the problem.Impeachment was inventedin the 17th century to assertthat the king was not above thelaw. Edmund Randolph, the rstUS Attorney General under thenew nation’s new Constitutionargued or the impeachmentpower, observing “Te Executivewill have great opportunity o abusing his power; particularly in time o war when military orce, and in some respectsthe public money will be in his hands.” Indeed, under thecover o the War on errorism Bush/Cheney have grossly abused their power.Te system o checks and balances that protects usagainst a tyrannical executive has broken down. o reas-sert that balance, to restore the Constitution, to ensureaccountability, to prevent the catastrophe o a wider war,impeachment proceedings against Bush/Cheney mustbegin.Te charges? Illegal wiretapping, manipulating intel-ligence and lying to Congress and the American peopleto start an aggressive war, illegal detention and tortureo thousands o innocent people, and gross negligence inthe prosecution o the war and in response to HurricaneKatrina—to start with.A call or impeachment is rst a call or investiga-tion—which is desperately needed. From the momentthat Cheney reused to release crucially importantnational energy policy deliberations or identiy thedeliberators, this most secretive administration in his-tory has ignored, thwarted, stonewalled, and rebuedall congressional demands or inormation. Sen. Patrick Leahy identied 65 such requeststhe White House has rejected orreused to reply to (
Bee
, 11-24-06). Without inormation therecan be no oversight.When soon-to-be SpeakerNancy Pelosi took impeachmento the table she was misreadingthe will o the voters who gavethe Dems their majority.Remember the old joke about the man who boughta donkey the seller swore was controllable simply with voice commands? When the mule reused to obey thenew owner’s order, he brought it back to the seller, whohit the mule with a big stick—and the mule then obeyed.“I thought you said this mule would ollow verbal com-mands,” the new owner said. “He will,” said the seller,“but rst you have to get his attention.”We must agitate or impeachment because impeach-ment is the ery issue that will get their attention. Whose?It will get the media’s attention. Corporate mediais understandably reluctant to cover the many cans o worms that will be opened in an impeachment investiga-tion because o their complicity in keeping these wormshidden in their cans. Ordinary hearings and investiga-tions can be relegated to back pages or late night slots oncable news, but impeachment is headline material.As such, it will get the larger public’s attention. TeNovember election showed that—miraculously—the voting public had broken through administration andmedia lies—the greatest propaganda system in history—to reject Bush/Cheney’s war. But as Nat Hento noted inan article on the 2006 Military Commissions Act—whichtakes away habeas corpus or those the president denesas “enemy combatants”—the general US public seemsunaware or indierent to this administrations unprec-edented attack on our constitutional protections andliberties.
By Seth Sandronsky 
Tese are tough times or black youth in Sacramento andnationwide. Tey are more likely than other racial groupsto live in poverty, be a murder victim, drop out o highschool, be jobless and enter prison (www.jointcenter.org/publications1/publication-PDFs/Dellums%20PDFs/FinalReport.pd).Locally, there are people working on solutions to thissocial crisis. For example, the Sacramento chapter (ZetaBeta Lambda) o Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. haslaunched the Alpha Academy, a partnership with Con-sumnes River College and the March o Dimes.In a recent Alpha Academy meeting, local AricanAmerican men mentored black youngsters, ages 12 to18, to lead more positive and productive lives. Te adultsemphasized to them the Alpha motto: “We have power;we will excel and we are in control.Tis approach “helps us tomake better decisions,” said Ber-nard Watts, age 12. Ashanti Jack-son, age 13, agreed, appreciatingnewound knowledge on “howto overcome everyday obstacles.”In all, 32 local youth partici-pated with eight mentors, one o whom is ChristopherHicks, Alpha Academy co-director. He and the othermentors worked with the youngsters in small groups,discussing present and past conditions o AricanAmericans.“We learned about Arican builders in the 1600s,”said Myles aylor, age 12. Mike William, age 13, enjoyed“learning history about our ancestors.oward the end o the day, the youth tackled ahypothetical dilemma involving ethics and morals titled“ound money.” Later, these middle and high school stu-dents presented their ndings and the reasons or them.ravis Parker, CRC proessor and track coach, dia-logued with the youngsters during their presentations.He queried them on their opinions, and urged so-spo-ken students to speak up.“We try to ocus the youth on the consequenceso their choices,” added John aylor, Alpha Academy chapter president.o conclude the day’s activities, he led a lessonwhich involved the students listening to musician KoolMoe Dee. As his music played, aylor questioned theyoungsters on the content o the lyrics. Ten he assignedthe youth to produce answersdue back to him, in writing, in amonth.Te intergenerational uniono Sacramento’s Alpha Academy has its roots a century ago atCornell University in upstateNew York. In December 1906, seven students organizedAlpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the rst intercollegiate ra-ternity among Arican American men.Alumni o Alpha Phi Alpha include the Rev. Mar-tin Luther King Jr., Supreme Court Justice TurgoodMarshall, and author and scholar W.E.B. Du Bois. TeSacramento chapter o the national raternity began in1954 under the leadership o Dr. George Stewart, a localdentist.Currently, the Alpha Academy meetings are heldone Saturday a month during a our-hour workshop inthe Learning Resources Center at CRC. Scholarships areavailable to high school students based on community service, academic excellence and nancial need, accord-ing to aylor.For more inormation, call (916) 691-7636.
Seth Sandronsky is a co-editor with Because People Matter.
See Impeach, page 4
Impeachment Is Not Optional
And it will get their attention!
…the general US publicseems unaware or indierentto this administration’sunprecedented attack on ourconstitutional protectionsand liberties.
Sacramentos Alpha Academy 
Mentoring community youth
“We try to ocus the youth onthe consequences o theirchoices.” John Taylor, AlphaAcademy chapter president.
The Alpha Academy is a partnership with Cosumnes River College and the March o Dimes.
Photo: Seth Sandronsky
s m .mahush.g
 
BECAUSE PEOPLE MATTER
 
January / February 2007 www.bpmnews.org
People Maer
 Vlume 16, Numbe 1
Published Bi-Monthly by theSacramento Community for Peace & JusticeP.O. Box 162998, Sacramento,CA 95816(Use addresses below for correspondence)
Ediial Gup:
JacquelineDiaz, JoAnn Fuller, SethSandronsky
Cdinaing Edi fis Issue:
Jacqueline Diaz
Edi-a-Lage:
JeanieKeltner 
Design and Lau:
 Ellen Schwartz andDale Crandall-Bear 
Calenda Edi:
 Chris Bond
 Adveising and BusinessManage:
Edwina White
Disibuin Manage:
 Paulette Cuilla
Subscipin Manage:
 Kate Kennedy
How to ReacH Us:
Subscriptions, letters, punditry:403 21st StreetSacramento, CA 95814444-3203 Ads or other business:446-2844 All email correspondence:<bpmnews@nicetechnology.com>
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is an all-volunteer endeavor to presentalternative, progressive newsand views in Sacramento.We invite and welcomeyour responses. To discussa proposed article, or helpdistribute the paper, inquireabout ad rates, or help out insome other way, call or writeusing the phone number andaddress listed under ”How toReach Us” above.Please reproduce from any of the written contents, but docredit the author and BPM.BPM is printed by Herburger Publications, Inc. 585-5533.
because
Editorial
On the cover 
Local youth in the Alpha Academy at CosumnesRiver College. Photo:Seth Sandronsky
 Jacqueline Diaz, Coordinating Editor for this issue
Free Trial Offer!
Try a ree six-month subscription to BPM. Thereis no obligation to buy anything.We think you will like the alternative newsand views you fnd in this all-volunteer localbimonthly.O course, i you’re already convinced, thenenclose $15 with the coupon and help supportSacramento’s alternative to the corporate-controlled media.
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It is a new year. We have a new Congress, anew Deense Secretary, new agendas, someresh aces in the political landscape andthe chance or a resh start at deeating oldproblems—and thereare many o them.In this issue o 
BPM 
,many writers shareideas or approach-ing some o these oldproblems—the warin Iraq, classism, civilrights, human rights, civil liberties, social jus-tice—by oering new inormation, highlight-ing opportunities or activism or calling orsome personal reection.Also in this issue are quotes rom Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. in honor o Black His-tory Month. Tese quotes should serve as areminder o King’s mission, vision and aware-ness o the awed US economic and politi-cal system. King’s goals were not bound torace relations alone, but were instead keenly inormed by the relationships and intersec-tions between race and class, culture andpolicy in the US and abroad.Overall, King’s vision required uncon- ventional thinking, a willingness to embracechange and ensuredthat the guidingorce at the head o progressive actionremain the goal o peace and well-beingor others. It is notan easy vision toachieve, but ideal to consider.So let’s consider where the US is headed.Right now, it doesn’t seem too peaceul. In hisarticle, “Out Now” (centerold), Je Kravitzconsiders the US role in Iraq, while Dorothy and Richard Wake (page 5) take a look at thechanging political climate post-Novemberelections. Sacramento Media Group’s Char-lene Jones gives the 411 on the threat to “NetNeutrality” in the new congressional year(page 7) as Dan Bacher shows just how out o hand US government spying has gotten herein Sacramento (page 13).But it is not just about legislative politicsor scandal. Our ocus really remains on thepeople aected. Paolo Bassi discusses accessto aordable home ownership (page 3); SethSandronsky shows how one area programis reaching out to black youth (page 1) andMaggie Coulter and Brigitte Jaensch describesome tough realities about what is happen-ing to people in the current Iraq war (pages8-9) and Israeli/Palestinian conict (page14). Read these articles, and consider howwe can move in a better direction. Answerthe question: How can we support and osterpositive action in our community, in the USor abroad?In this new year, let something inormyou. Let something inspire you. Let some-thing enrage or propel you towards positiveaction. Be encouraged by truth and the prom-ise o our young people. Te theme or thisissue is “A Dierent World is Possible”, butthis is only true i we can imagine it to be soand work or the changes required.
I still remember the aernoon over 15 years ago(!) when the rst subscription to the new versiono 
Because People Matter 
appeared in my mail-box. We, the new editors—a small group o olksrom dierent peace and justice groups—wereso gratied. None o us haddone a newspaper beore andwe had been up most o thenight putting out our rstissue. But with that check in hand, we had that i youbuild it they will come eel-ing. We had hoped the new
BPM 
would ll a need inSacramento, and we took that rst quick responseas a sign.Now, a decade and a hal later, with many thousands o hours o work by hundreds o longand short term unpaid volunteers, you’d haveto say 
BPM 
has become a (minor) institution inSacramento and the surrounding areas.I like to say 
BPM 
is the non-Fox news, and
BPM 
has always challenged the ocial lies anddistortions that dominate corporate media. Tus
BPM 
readers through the years have had muchneeded ino about NAFA and school privatiza-tion and Aghanistan and Iraq, or peak oil, theliving wage, Palestine, the Zapatistas, Venezuela,9/11, Social Security, abortion rights, genetically engineered ood, local union campaigns, anddepleted uranium—to name just a ew rom along list.I’d also like to say that no matter how awulsome o the news we have printed is, it has,unortunately, always turned out to be true. Ournews, in general, is the bad news and the goodnews is that the bad news is getting out and peo-ple are acting to change things. A dierent worldis possible! o this end,
BPM 
has worked hard toadvance the eorts and issues o local progressiveactivist groups.Tat’s why I eel condent in asking or yoursupport.
BPM 
gets around town through a net-work o dedicated volunteers who take awkwardbundles to your neighborhood caé, library, orstore. We want this wonderul crew to keep work-ing, but we also want to try to reach out morewidely in our growing area through a new com-mercial distributor.We need some new subscriptions (coupon onpage 2) to help us expand our circle o inuence.I you’re a subscriber already, then send
BPM 
toa riend or relative—eitherto support or bedevil them.But you don’t have to sub-scribe; you can continue topick up
BPM 
at your usualplace—and, to say thanksor all those ree papers, justsend a contribution to 40321st St, Sacramento, 95814.Every bit helps!Te election showed that many people haveawakened rom their propaganda-induced igno-rance. In the ace o the most powerul mind con-trol system in history, we progressives have donean amazing thing: we’ve brought a traumatizedand ear-mongered country to reject not only this war, but to question military responses ingeneral. Progressive media (see
BPM 
s back page)has been a big part o this turn-around. So pleasehelp us grow.Te Chinese book o wisdom, the I Ching,says: “Many people ail on the verge o succeed-ing. So attend to the ending as you do to thebeginning.” Many o us may be eeling worndown by six years o determined opposition tothis unresponsive, despotic, dangerous Bushregime. Even so, now it’s time or everybody totake a deep breath and move at least one morestep orward rom wherever they are right now.oward justice. oward peace.
In MemoriamRuth Holbrook
As we prepared to go to press, thestaf o 
Because People Matter
wassaddened to learn o the death o Ruth Holbrook, a tireless activistor our community, labor, peaceand justice. Ruth died on Decem-ber 1, ater a 3
1/2
year battle withbreast cancer. A memorial servicewill be held on Saturday, Jan 20,1pm. Central Labor Council, 2840El Centro Rd, Sacramento.For more inormation, please callGeorge McAdow, 456-9282.
 A New Year for Change
“In this new year, let somethinginorm you. Let somethinginspire you. Let somethingenrage or propel you towardspositive action.”
HELP BPM expand its circle o infuence
By Jeanie Keltner, editor-at-large
“BPM has alwayschallenged the ociallies and distortions thatdominate corporatemedia.”
A web site at last!
www.bpmnews.org is finally up, with the September-October, 2006, November-December, 2006, and as soon as we go to press, January-February 2007 issues of 
Because People Matter 
.
Back issues will be added as your intrepid production staff of one has the time. Check thewebsite for deadlines and submission guidelines, links to local event calendars, and more.
Other things you can do:
Call Congress: 800-828-0498, 800-459-1887or 800-614-2803.Wear a peace button (get them at the Sunday Farmers Market at W and 8th in Sacramento).Put a peace sign in your window.Pick up two or three
BPM 
s next time andgive them to riends or volunteer to help distrib-ute (call 422 1787 or more ino).Get on Peace Action’s email list to be notiedo speakers and marches—and then come out!
 
www.bpmnews.org January / February 2007 BECAUSE PEOPLE MATTER
 
SacramentoProgressiveEventsCalendar onthe Web
Labor, Peace,Environment, HumanRights, Solidarity…Send calendar itemsto Gail Ryall,<gryall@cwnet.com>.
..
By Jeanie Keltner 
W
hat a great idea! Kudos to Joe Moore, the ounderand director, and Allen Warren, the New Fazedeveloper, who propose a truly imaginative way torevitalize the Del Paso Blvd. area: the Caliornia Central Valley Museum o Working Class Art and Culture. Tat’s a mouthulto say, and there will be another mouthul when the museumopens in 2008 because the museum will eature the Edible Gal-lery. Tis gallery will showcase the produce and cheeses romsmall-scale local armers and armers’ markets as they appear inthe ood traditions o the 50 or so dierent races and ethnicitiesthat Moore has identied in the Central Valley. Te museumwill also eature special events and programs as well as unctionas a research center, complete with a research library onsite.Te arts and traditions o the Central Valley’s wildly diversi-ed population, including the rst inhabitants, rarely make itinto the museums—and yet they are the living culture that hasshaped the unique quality o our area. Tis museum aims tohighlight the culture, contributions and diversity o the work-ing class to Central Valley lie. Paintings, baskets, photographs,costumes, books, “traditions rom home countries,” and the richmusical landscape o the valley—blues, country, zydeco, olk dance, border ballads—all will nd a home in this treasure troveo peoples’ creativity—a resource or students, scholars, and thegeneral public. We’ll be waiting or the opening!
By Paolo Bassi
he much lauded “American Dream”has become part o and reinorces thedominant capitalist ideology imposed by corporate and political US elites. Tis poweruldream has cleverly seduced Americans or nearly a century. It encourages working and middle classAmericans to work hard and better themselvessocially by joining the propertied classes. In theUS, having the security o a house, something very basic to a decent lie, hasbeen turned into a lie-con-suming aspiration.Te American Dream hasalso been used to reduce class-awareness and class-basedpolitics amongst US workers.Te idea that owning a houseand tending the lawn onweekends vaults working classamilies into the middle classis antasy. Te denition o working class is basedon a lack o independent sources o income andhaving little or no independence at work. So thenotion that home-owning workers will suddenly start living meaningul, more secure lives is anillusion plastered over real class division. In act,the debt o home-ownership oen shackles work-ers even more.Tere is little doubt that long-term, homeownership is nancially advantageous due to taxbenets, rising values, and no rent in old age.However, this argument is in danger i property  values keep rising and people are unable to pay their mortgage over one working lie. And ashome buyers are nancing bigger price tags,inter-generational mortgages o 50 or more yearsmay become the norm, as in Japan.Beyond being awed and unquestioned, theAmerican Dream is slipping out o reach or mil-lions o workers due to alling real wages, the losso well-paid jobs, and the recent property boom.In the last 10 years property prices have more thandoubled, only slowing down marginally in 2006.In the Sacramento region only about 20% o theworking population can even qualiy or a medianpriced home. Working class Americans have beenpriced out o the market. Te ability to live in secu-rity and raise a amily, relatively easy 30 years ago,is becoming a privilege o the wealthy.But the property boomhas beneted some. Existingproperty owners eel wealthierand have access to cash throughrenancing. Home builders,mortgage companies, realty agents and loan brokers all ben-eted rom encouraging peopleto enter the market at its peak.Te ederal governmentalso recklessly encouraged theproperty boom. Since almost two-thirds o the USeconomy is domestic spending, Washington haspartially masked manuacturing job losses by uel-ing a consumer boom made possible by re-nanc-ing and equity loans. Tis policy created recordpersonal debt levels, which, coupled with inter-est-only mortgages, have become major economicliabilitiesBeside the obvious unaordability o decenthousing, there are other troubling long-term politi-cal and economic eects o the recent boom. First,many who purchased using “exotic” mortgagesare losing their homes now that loan terms havechanged, leading many middle and working classamilies into bankruptcy.More broadly, i we regard housing as a rightin a meaningul democracy, then pricing out mostpeople will lead to social insecurity and instabil-ity. However, unaordable housing is only parto a larger pattern o increasing insecurity orAmericans.Economic globalization in the last twodecades has slashed worker living standards inevery ree market economy. Even as better o workers and the middle classes hang on withbleeding ngers, Americans should recognizethat Tird Worldization is well underway in theUS. Tose who doubt this only need look at cor-porations like WalMart, which, while registeringrecord prots, burden workers with low wages,and greater health and pension costs.According to the cold logic o global capital-ism, without a valid business or political reason,there is simply no reason to saeguard workers’living standards anywhere or anytime.Unaordable housing means that wealthy individuals and property corporations canaccumulate more rental properties, extend theirpower and increase the wealth gap. Tis wealthgap is now the same as it was in the late 1920s.Te property-based wealth gap is also exacer-bated by the tax write-o o mortgage interest.Te more expensive the home, the greater thesubsidy, while new homeowners are burdenedwith high property taxes.Another eect o prohibitive home pricesis increasing racial and class segregation as thewealthy gentriy and close the doors on the poor,immigrants and minorities. Te idea o equalcitizenship becomes meaningless with hal thepopulation tucked out o sight.Tere’s only one conclusion. Te AmericanDream is deunct and damages the interests o working people. Let’s discard the myth that homeownership is a passport to the middle class. Anew political approach to housing based onreality, not dreams, is needed—one that regardshousing as a right central to a decent lie.
Paolo Bassi is an attorney and ree-lancewriter based in Sacramento.
 Working Class Art & Culture
New museum in the works
Getting Over the American Dream”
Class and housing in America
The idea that owninga house and tendingthe lawn on weekendsvaults working classamilies into themiddle class is antasy.
PhotosTop: Ronnie Stewart, let, executive director, Bay Area BluesSociety, and Sacramento bluesman Guitar Mac, perorm atthe reception announcing plans or the Caliornia CentralValley Museum o Working Class Art and Culture.Bottom: the architect’s concept o the museum/residential/restaurant complex planned or Del Paso Blvd. at El Camino.
photos: Ellen Schwartz

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