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Progressive News and Views September / October 2007
Inside this issue:
Mainstream media: too litle, too late. 7
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Media Spin on Iraq:
We’re Leaving (Sort of)
By Norman Solomon
Posted on “AlterNet” July 26, 2007
n mid-July, a media advisory from “Te NewsHour
with Jim Lehrer” announced a new series of inter-
views on the PBS show that will address “what Iraq
might look like when the US military leaves.”
A few days later, Time magazine published a cover
story titled “Iraq: What will happen when we leave.”
But it turns out, what will happen when we leave is
that we won’t leave.
Urging a course of action that’s now supported by
“the best strategic minds in both parties,” the Time story
calls for “an orderly withdrawal of about half the 160,000
troops currently in Iraq by the middle of 2008. … A
force of 50,000 to 100,000 troops would dig in for a lon-
ger stay to protect America’s most vital interests….”
On Iraq policy, in Washington, the diferences
between Republicans and Democrats—and between the
media’s war boosters and opponents—are ofen signif-
cant. Yet they’re apt to mask the emergence of a general
formula that could gain wide support from the political
and media establishment.
Te formula’s details and timelines are up for grabs.
But there’s not a single “major” candidate for president
willing to call for withdrawal of all US forces—not just
By Dan Bacher
acramento for Democracy, a chapter of Progres-
sive Democrats of America, hosted the local
movie premiere of “War Made Easy: How Presi-
dents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death,” in July
at the Crest Teatre in Sacramento with a large and
Author Norman Solomon, on whose book the
flm is based, was joined by Assemblyman Mark
Leno and Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, sponsor
of Assembly Joint Resolution 36, the bill to bring the
California National Guard home from Iraq, for a live-
ly panel discussion afer the movie. Christine Craf,
Sacramento’s own progressive radio talk show host of
“Talk City,” on 1240 AM moderated the discussion.
Te documentary exposes how corporate media
and US presidents over the past 50 years have been
partners in disinformation campaigns to promote a
series of bloody, costly and unnecessary wars, includ-
ing interventions in Vietnam, Central America, Yugo-
slavia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Adapted from Solomon’s 2005 book, by Loretta
Alper and Jeremy Earp of the Media Education Foun-
dation, the flm chronicles how presidents managed
to sell war using the same Orwellian arguments with
the help of a compliant media. Narrated by actor
and activist Sean Penn, the flm exhumes remarkable
archival footage of ofcial distortion and exaggeration
from Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush, revealing
in stunning detail how the American news media
have disseminated pro-war messages in one adminis-
tration afer another.
Te movie documents in a darkly humorous mat-
ter how presidential administrations claimed again
and again they were seeking only peace, not confict,
while bombing thousands of civilians. Te flm fea-
tures illuminating quotes from presidents about the
US corporate state’s drive for war.
“We still seek no wider war,” President Lyndon
Johnson said as he escalated a war in Vietnam that
resulted in the deaths of 3 million Vietnamese and
more than 50,000 US soldiers.
“Te United States does not start fghts,” said
President Ronald Reagan, who engineered a war of
genocide against the Mayan population of Guatemala
wiping out 636 Mayan villages, along with military
interventions in Nicaragua, El Salvador and other
countries. Tese interventions resulted in thousands
dead, a massive exodus of refugees, and the destruc-
tion of country infrastructures.
“America does not seek confict,” argued George
H.W. Bush, the architect of Operation Desert Storm
and the invasion of Panama. Yet another mass mur-
derer supported by the corporate media.
President Bill Clinton repeatedly bombed Yugo-
slavia and Iraq, killing thousands of Iraqis, mostly
children, through his campaign of economic sanc-
tions against Iraq, and claimed, “I don’t like to use
George W. Bush, who advanced a “preventa-
tive war” by illegally invading Afghanistan and
Iraq, told the world, “Our nation enters this confict
By demonstrating how mainstream news has
promoted endless war, the flm dispels the notion of
a liberal media propagated by right wing pundits.
Solomon said when the news media fnally starts
entertaining the view that the war was based on lies, it
is too late for the millions wounded and killed by the
US military. “News media, down the road, will point
out that there were lies about the Gulf of Tonkin or
about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” said
Solomon in the flm. “But that doesn’t bring back any
of the people who have died. When it comes to life
and death, the truth comes out too late.”
Reaction to the movie was favorable by the audi-
ence and panel members. “Tis flm should be shown
in every high school in America,” Craf said. Hancock
also commented, “Te propaganda techniques to
wage war have been the same throughout our history.
Te question is how we inoculate our children against
the propaganda.” Solomon encouraged screenings
of the flm throughout the country to revive and
strengthen the anti-war movement.
For more information:
Dan Bacher is an outdoor writer, alternative
journalist and satirical songwriter in Sacramento.
“War Made Easy”—How Presidents and Media
Collude to Wage War
See Solomon, page 11
Q & A discussion with author Norman Solomon after
screening of “War Made Easy,”a flm based on his
book. From left to right, AM1240’s Christine Craft,
Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, Assemblyman Mark
Leno and Normon Soloman.
Photo: Dick Wood
Because People Matter September / October 007 www.bpmnews.org
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tend with the misdirection of Big Media shaping
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By Elaine Corn
Beware the news story about health
care reform that does not mention state
Senate Bill 840, the only proposed law
that would provide universal single-
payer health care to all Californians as a
beneft of residence in the state.
For example, a story ran in Te
Sacramento Bee (“Term limit measure
lures health care donors,” 7-16-07) about
health care providers contributing in a
crisscross afair to term limits measures
that would preserve the seats of those
members of the state senate who would
“hurt” the for-proft health care industry
the least. As confusing as the story was, it
did attempt to provide background about
the health care reform plans swirling
through the Capitol building halls. But
the list was incomplete.
Readers saw the governor’s big idea, errone-
ously billed as “universal” and with its mandate
to buy insurance from industry Bigs. Ten
there’s the Nuñez-Perata plan, which sets up
a purchasing pool only for businesses, doesn’t
cover the self-employed, and keeps private insur-
ers in play, making it more like US Senator Ted
Stevens’s bridge in Alaska—the Health Care Bill
Te story fails to mention the one plan that
truly covers everyone, SB 840, Senator Sheila
Kuehl’s cradle-to-grave health care for all Califor-
nians. Rarely do media mention the legs this bill
has grown and the progress it continues to make.
Tis past August, in a rare showing of elected
ofcials representing the will of the people, SB
840 passed both houses, but was vetoed by the
people’s governor. A snide observer might con-
clude this is precisely when Schwarzenegger got
the idea he should come up with his own plan
so he could claim to have invented the
Perhaps SB 840 was omitted from Te
Bee’s story because it takes proft out of
health care, therefore making it pointless
to note contributions to politicians who
do not take money from private insurers, such as
Kuehl. Remembering that this story linked lob-
byist donations to proposed reconfgurations of
term limits, the writer also outlined how a Febru-
ary 2008 ballot measure would tighten term lim-
its, except for Nuñez and Perata. Unfortunately,
he missed a chance to note that Kuehl terms
out next year under current law. Could it be an
accident that she won’t get the special treatment
singled out for Nuñez and Perata so they remain
in their leadership positions? Nuñez would get
six years beyond 2008, Perata four. Kuehl would
have to walk away. And the Health Care Bill to
Nowhere would continue its journey to failed
policy, keeping proft safely entrenched in our
True Health Care Reform: Any News?
Then there’s the Nuñez-
Perata plan, which sets
up a purchasing pool
only for businesses,
doesn’t cover the self-
employed, and keeps
private insurers in play,
making it more like US
Senator Ted Stevens’s
bridge in Alaska—the
Health Care Bill to
BPM is sad to say
farewell to Seth
have appeared in the
paper almost from the
start. His vigorous
“Media Clipped” seg-
ment of the publication
covered topics as wide
ranging as economics,
racism, education and
gun violence. You will
continue to fnd San-
dronsky pieces on Dissident Voice, Counterpunch, and
in the pages of Te News and Review. We appreciated
his careful editing and penetrating analysis and we will
SB 840: health care for all California.
medical futures—and these two in ofce.
Who will carry the SB 840 torch afer 2008?
And who among us will call out to the media
every time health care reform is mentioned
without containing a discussion or sentence
acknowledging that SB 840, the true universal
single-payer proposal, is the answer. We all must
keep SB 840 alive and well. We must all be media
More information: www.onecarenow.org/
Elaine Corn is a freelance journalist with no
www.bpmnews.org September / October 007 BECAUSE PEOPLE MATTER
Keep us alive!
Already a subscriber? Buy a subscription to BPM for
a friend or family member! Or get them to buy one
By Charlene Jones
indy Sheehan, founder of Gold Star
Families for Peace and Camp Casey, led
marchers in July from Arlington National
Cemetery to the ofce of Congressman John
Conyers, chair of the House Judiciary Commit-
tee, to ask him to begin impeachment proceed-
ings against Vice President Dick Cheney and
President George W. Bush. Sheehan’s contingent,
while flled with names familiar to readers, is
but one of a mounting number of less familiar
actions and organizations across the country
committed to addressing Constitutional griev-
ances against the White House. Nonetheless,
corporate media continue to dismiss, as did Rep.
Conyers, the upsurge in American insistence on
accountability by the Bush administration.
Numerous city, county and state measures
have been disregarded, according to Project
Censored, a media analysis center at Sonoma
State University, along with hundreds of letters
to editors of major newspapers, opinion writers
across the country and cover articles by national
publications like Te Nation and Harper’s Maga-
zine. Sheehan also presented Rep. Conyers with
a petition containing more than a million sig-
natures, according to a July broadcast of public
news program “Democracy Now,” with little
mention in mainstream news. In addition, one of
the most popular questions submitted on “You-
tube” for the July presidential candidates’ debate
dealt with impeachment, according to the Los
Angeles National Impeachment Center (LANIC),
and CNN chose to skip it.
Afer Vice President Al Gore called “a
president who breaks the law a threat to the very
structure of our government,” PBS television’s
McLaughlin Group spent a few minutes early
this year on the “I” word but dismissed impeach-
ment mentions as “a growing movement on the
lef trying to get some attention.” On a June air-
ing of CNN’s “Situation Room,” Tom Foreman
commented on Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s (D-OH)
eforts to forward articles of impeachment
against Cheney. “It’s hardly a mass movement,
said Forman, “but the congressman from Cleve-
land is picking up a few new pals.” How about
Nearly two years afer Zogby International
and Ipsos polls in 2005 reported more Americans
wanted Congress to consider impeaching Presi-
dent Bush if he lied about the war in Iraq, than
those who did not, the American Research Group
surveyed the impeachment question again. More
than four in 10 Americans favored impeach-
ment hearings for President Bush and 54 percent
favored impeachment of Vice President Cheney.
As of June, 11 state legislatures had con-
sidered impeachment resolutions, according to
LANIC, with Vermont succeeding in passage and
Maine and Wisconsin still pending. Te list of
state Democratic parties that have passed resolu-
tions urging impeachment of Bush and Cheney
In addition, one of the
most popular questions
submitted on Youtube
for the July presidential
candidates’ debate dealt
according to the Los
Impeachment Center, and
CNN chose to skip it.
has grown to 15. At least 77 cities and towns and
a growing list of labor unions and other organiza-
tions have also passed such declarations. Accord-
ing to “Democracy Now!,” the cosponsor list for
H.R. 333, Dennis Kucinich’s articles of impeach-
ment against Cheney, is now up to 15. While not
a member of Congress who may join the list,
Bruce Fein also called for proceedings to begin.
Fein was deputy attorney general under
President Ronald Reagan and columnist for the
conservative Washington News. For an hour dur-
ing a July PBS broadcast of “Bill Moyers Journal”
he laid out reasoning for all good women and
men to demand inquiry into possible crimes by
Bush and Cheney against the American people.
Fein praised “the great genius of the found-
ing fathers, their revolutionary ideas, with the
chief mission of the state to make you and them
free to pursue their ambitions and faculties. Not
to build empires, not to aggrandize government.
Tat’s the mission for the state, to make them
free, to think, to chart their own destiny. And
the burden is on our government to give really
good explanations as to why they’re taking these
extraordinary measures. And on that score, Bush
has funked on every single occasion. And we
need to get the American people to think. Every
time that there’s an incursion on freedom, they
have to demand why.”
Advocating for formal hearings on the
impeachment, Fein said, “Because there are
political crimes that have been perpetrated in
combination. It hasn’t been one, the other being
in isolation. And the hearings have to be not into
this Republican or Democrat. Tis is something
that needs to set a precedent, whoever occupies
the White House in 2009. You do not want to
have that occupant, whether it’s John McCain
or Hillary Clinton or Rudy Giuliani or John
Edwards, to have this authority to go outside the
law and say, ‘I am the law. I do what I want. No
one else’s view matters.’” Impeachment? Tough
you’d never know, the prospect is more popular
every day. It seems more than a few new pals are
Charlene Jones is an editor with Because
Impeachment Movement? Not on
California Democratic Party Impeachment
Resolution, Adopted April 2007
CALLING FOR FULL
INVESTIGATION INTO ABUSES OF
POWER BY PRESIDENT GEORGE W.
BUSH AND RICHARD B. CHENEY
WHEREAS, George W. Bush and Richard B.
Cheney have acted in a manner contrary to
their trust as President and Vice President,
subversive of the Constitution, to the great
prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and
to the manifest injury of the people of Cali-
fornia and the United States of America, by
intentionally disseminating and propagating
knowingly false and fabricated “evidence”
regarding the threat from Iraq in order to wage
a tragic, bloody war with the loss of thousands
of brave American troops and Iraqi civilians,
WHEREAS, it is clear that since September
11, 2001, President George W. Bush and Vice
President Dick Cheney have abused their
powers of ofce by: 1) using information they
knew to be false as justifcation for the US
invasion of Iraq; 2) condoning and authorizing
the torture of prisoners of war; 3) authorizing
wiretaps on US citizens without obtaining a
warrant; 4) disclosing the name of an under-
cover CIA operative contrary to law in order to
harm her for her husband’s opposition to the
Iraq War; 5) having suspended and denied the
historic Writ of Habeas Corpus by ordering the
indefnite detention of so-called enemy com-
batants without charge and without access to
legal counsel; and 6) overstepping Presidential
authority by signing statements used to ignore
or circumvent portions of over 750 Congres-
sional statutes he brought into law; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the
California Democratic Party supports vigorous
investigation of these charges by the Congress
of the United States, including the full use of
Congressional subpoena power authority to
completely disclose the actions of the Admin-
istration to the American people and to take
necessary action to call the Administration to
account with appropriate remedies and pun-
ishment, including impeachment.
For information, organizing tools and petitions:
Because People Matter September / October 007 www.bpmnews.org
Send calendar items
to Gail Ryall,gryall
the burgers and fries are described as legendary
Biting into this feast, the
frst thing you notice is that
you can taste the beef. Te
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w/cheese is the thing to order.
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By Kari Westerman
Since the beginning of the Bush administra-
tion and the ongoing battle of media ownership
consolidation, independent media has been a
refuge for people with dissenting views. It has
allowed the questioning of power when no others
would dare and has been a reassuring voice to
concerned citizens, who may have thought they
were crazy, in light of what they saw or heard on
“Te alternative media, over a period of years
now has been available as a source of comfort
for people,” said Eric Vega, lifelong Sacramento
resident, Chicano activist and chair of La Raza
Network. However, like many in the community,
Vega feels that unless action is taken to create
a hard-hitting local independent media, the
progressive movement in Sacramento will not
Te success of alternative new broadcasts
like “Democracy Now!” demonstrates a thirst
for independent information and analysis on
a national level, but it leaves reporting of local
news to the corporate media.
According to a study conducted in January
2004 by the Consumer Federation of America,
the frst source people rely on for their local news
is newspapers and the second is television. Ste-
phen Pearcy, Sacramento resident and attorney,
organizes many political events and has wit-
nessed the positives and negatives of local media
“Once KCRA came down and did a live
broadcast about 30 minutes before the start of
an event, and we ended up with several hundred
people, many of whom said they had just heard
about it on TV. What that told me was that there
are a lot of people who would come to these
things if they just knew about them,” said Pearcy,
giving an example of how important the local
media is to a community, if used efectively as a
tool of a social movement.
“Part of the problem with local media is
that a lot of the local groups don’t do their
homework,” said Duane Campbell, professor
at California State
mento and chair of the
of America. Campbell,
with other democratic
pioneers, is organizing
a progressive forum for
Oct. 4, 2007 at CSUS.
One of the focal points
will be media because
media is an important
part of a democracy,
according to Campbell.
Some of the workshops
will be lessons in how
to contact the press,
write press releases and
Without reform of current corporate media
institutions and the advancement of an inclusive
media, the ability to disburse messages of peace
and justice will not exist and the progressive
movement will perpetually preach only to the
“Every time there is a problem someone
tries to create a new media instead of making the
existing one work better,” Campbell said. “It just
gets to a proliferation of low quality alternatives
instead of some very high quality alternatives.”
Faye Kennedy, a Sacramentan who puts
together the weekly online newsletter Te Talking
Drum, said that she feels it is important to take
action rather than whining about a problem.
“It won’t beneft us unless we are involved on
a ground level of defning how things are cov-
ered,” Kennedy said. “I think that all of us are
writers, all of us may not be journalists, but we
have the capacity to share our information with
one another.” Kennedy thinks if the community
agreed to contribute to media reform and worked
to expand a more inclusive outlet of news, the
outcome would be favorable for all.
If communities do not band together, and
concern themselves with the importance of a
vibrant independent media, progressive move-
ments will operate in a vacuum.
If there is no accessible forum in
which to share ideas and learn from
each other, there is no capacity to
move forward. “Te progressive
media can’t be the holder of truth,
but it’s the holder of questions. It
is what questions power, and ques-
tions tradition and all of the mono-
liths of the conservative project
generals,” said Vega.
What can you do to help the enrichment of
Write news stories and post them to
websites like www.sacindymedia.org or submit
them to Because People Matter. Tey don’t have
to be investigative pieces, but can be about local
events or something not getting attention from
Become a member at Access Sacra-
mento and take a basic flmmaking class. Afer
certifcation, borrow their swanky equipment and
produce your own show for the local cable access
channel. Contact: 456-8600 or visit www.access-
If reform is more your style, get involved
with Sacramento Media Group. Meet people who
share concerns and do something about them.
Contact: 443-1792 ex.11 or smg@common-
Use the mainstream media as a tool
by writing letters and link to blogs. Support
alternative publications and websites fnancially!
Without subscribers and monetary support,
independent media could not exist.
Kari Westerman is a member of Sacramento
If communities do not
band together, and
with the importance of
a vibrant independent
movements will operate
in a vacuum.
Why Media Reform Should Be a Priority
Community leaders and activists sound of
Tey took a stand!
Actually many stands. They cleaned
them up and painted them, and put
beautiful new plastic in the windows.
Big thanks to Brian Lambert and Dan
Harriman for their hard work. They’ve
improved BPM’s image—and circulation
at those stands—by at least 100%.
www.bpmnews.org September / October 007 BECAUSE PEOPLE MATTER
to the Movies
the Central America
videos on social
struggles, and so
much more! Call to
see what’s playing
WE ALSO HAVE A
VIDEO LIBRARY YOU
CAN CHECK OUT.
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Place an ad for your business
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ccording to a May 2006 Zogby poll, 42
percent of the public believe the US
its 9/11 Commission
or refused to investigate
critical evidence from the
tragic events of Sept.11.
Laying aside the mystique
surrounding Sept.11, it
was nothing more than
a crime—the worst mass
murder in American his-
tory—but just a crime.
Nevertheless, the Bush
regime and controlled
media called it an “act of war.”
No detectives of the New York City Police
Department taped of this crime scene, took
photographs or samples of chemical residues for
analysis. No investigators gathered evidence and
followed that evidence wherever trails led to fnd
Bill Manning, editor of
Fire Engineering Magazine,
called the three-day, visual
walk-through of evidence
sites a “half-baked farce”
in the January 2002 issue.
Crime scene evidence was
destroyed as rapidly as pos-
sible, and the steel shipped
ing this horrendous crime,
while the nation was
traumatized, Bush admin-
istration ofcials and their
media spokespersons told
the public it was Muslims
with box-cutters who were
responsible. No proof of
this story’s veracity was ever
given. Well over a year later,
the 9/11 Commission was reluctantly formed,
and its report, under Bush crony Philip Zelikow,
simply substantiated the story it began with, and
ignored vast amounts of evidence that did not ft
According to research and sources available
on the websites listed below, some of the most
compelling questions and facts include:
1) It is Standard Operating Procedure to
scramble jetfghters whenever a jetliner goes
of course or radio contact is lost. Between
September 2000 and June 2001, jetfghters were
scrambled 67 times. On Sept. 11, Flight 77 was
in the air for nearly an hour without radio con-
tact before the Pentagon was hit. F-15 and F-16
jetfghters are three to four times faster than a
jetliner’s 600mph. Andrews Air Force Base is
only ten miles from the Pentagon and Langley
Air Force Base, 130 miles
away. Where was the North
Defense Command? Why
were routine interception
procedures for all four
airplanes not followed on
2) Firefghters in New
York City are professionals,
trained to fght all types
of fres in skyscrapers. On
Sept.11, they knew a mere
jet fuel fre could not bring
down steel and concrete structures, since such
fres cannot approach the temperatures needed
to weaken or melt steel. Consequently, they went
into the World Trade Center Towers to rescue
people and knock down the fres. New York
Fire Department Battalion Chief Orio J. Palmer
reached the impact zone of the South Tower on
the 78th foor at 9:48 am
and, according to a record-
ing of his radio transmis-
sion, reported, “Battalion
7, Ladder 15, we’ve got two
isolated pockets of fre. We
should be able to knock
it down with two lines.”
El even minutes later,
the South Tower began to
3) About an hour to
an hour and a half afer
the airplanes hit, each
Twin Tower inexplicably
exploded. Starting at the top
and continuing downward
for all 110 foors, each
Tower was pulverized at a
rate of almost 10 foors per
second, killing everyone in
each building. In about 13 seconds 90,000 tons of
solid concrete in each Tower was turned to a fne
dust in mid-air. Tere were no concrete boulders
in the rubble. Tis dust spread out from the scene
of destruction in a pyroclastic fow, like that fol-
lowing a volcanic eruption, and covered Manhat-
tan. Huge pieces of steel were hurled laterally for
hundreds of feet in all directions. Molten metal
could be seen streaming from the side of the
South Tower as it exploded, and the pile of rubble
itself contained molten steel for weeks aferward.
Tis evidence points to the use of high explo-
sives. Numerous eyewitnesses, including many
emergency personnel, have testifed to explosions
in the Towers. Tese facts are all documented in
photographs, videotaped evidence and video-
taped eyewitness statements.
4) A third skyscraper, WTC Building 7, a
steel-framed 47 story concrete structure as big as
a city block, 300 feet from the closest Tower, was
not hit by an airplane or signifcant debris, and
only a few small fres of unknown origin could be
seen in its hundreds and hundreds of windows.
At 5:20 pm on Sept.11, Building 7 suddenly
imploded into its own footprint. It cascaded to
earth in less than seven seconds in the manner of
a controlled demolition. Te implosion of WTC
Building 7 was not even mentioned in the 9/11
Why should the mass murder known as
“9/11” be treated as an exception for which the
rule of law does not apply? Congress has never
addressed its many anomalies. Te American
public wants and deserves an unbiased, indepen-
dent investigation with the power to subpoena
witnesses. Tis is not an unreasonable request.
Moreover, the real perpetrators may still run
free. Because justice has never been served, a
dark cloud hangs over our nation, and will until
there is an actual investigation into this crime.
Contact your congressional representatives to
let them know you expect to have this grievance
redressed. Demand an investigation and work for
an independent 9/11 truth commission.
See calendar page 15 for meetings of Sacra-
mento 9/11 Truth.
David R. Kimball is active in the 9/11 truth
movement. Stop at his information table at the
Sunday Farmers Market at W and 8th Streets.
Te posters shown with this article are available
Needed: A Real Investigation For the Crime
Known as 9/11
By David R. Kimball
Because justice has
never been served,
a dark cloud hangs
over our nation, and
will until there is an
into this crime.
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By Jeanie Keltner
ince we all know that what passes for lef in
corporate media is anything not extreme
right, and because media helps create real-
ity, it’s heartening to know these days radio dis-
cussion has widened beyond Limbaugh lines.
Progressive talk radio is up against formi-
dable opposition. Its ratings are great for the
stage of growth it’s in; it has
an audience. Although listen-
ers may support progressive
talk, advertisers are a diferent
story. A leaked 2006 ABC
radio network memo named
90 companies asking to be
excluded from advertising
on Air America, including
Walmart, General Electric, ExxonMobil, Bank
of America, VISA, Allstate and McDonalds,
according to Extra!, January/February 2007, the
magazine of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting.
Hardly surprising since the progressive critique
most ofen comes back to the negative practices
of corporations and global capitalism.
For a brief time, our area had two AM
stations competing for our lefy ears. Te Air
America station ended when the parent organiza-
tion underwent fnancial crisis and, though Air
America was reconstituted, our local Air America
station was not resurrected. Te FM dial has
for years had KVMR,
KDVS and Access
Voice” as independent
resources. And hap-
pily, on AM our area
still has Sacramento’s frst progressive station, the
increasingly lively “Talk City,” KSAC 1240AM.
I am farther lef than many KSAC hosts, but
still I enjoy their commentary
and the useful info they put
out. Talk radio is like the
letters to the editor section
of the paper. Even when I
feel least congruent with the
host, say Ed Schultz (9–12
am), I enjoy hearing what
callers have to say. It’s always
interesting and most ofen afrming to hear the
voices of the “people”—all of us who capture the
microphone only rarely, but who have informed
opinions and many good ideas.
Tough she’s obstreperous and sometimes
rude, I love Brooklyn-tough Randi Rhodes
(noon–3 pm). She’s so well informed, so passion-
ate, and so aware of the comic paradoxes of our
tragic political situation that I tune in for a while
almost every day. And dynamic Christine Craf
(3–6 pm) has been an immeasurable practical
asset to progressive activism in our area, always
willing to discuss and announce upcoming
events, open to on-air discussion with visiting
speakers, and ready to courageously stand up for
people and causes, however popular they may or
may not be.
On Saturdays, I try to catch upbeat Peter
Brixie’s “Ask-a-Lawyer” (9–11 am), a brilliant
idea Brixie started on Access Sacramento. In
these days of the $500/hour lawyer, his program
helpfully navigates the important terrain where
law afects ordinary individuals—landlord-ten-
ant disputes, malpractice, custody—performing
a true social service to us all. I also love hear-
ing Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Mike Papantonio
aggressively take on corporate crooks, polluters,
hypocritical preachers and ugly politicians (Sat.
noon–3 pm, Sun. 5–7 pm). Tere’s also travel
and gardening, religion from a progressive point
of view, Sam Seder and Arianna Hufngton, the
Young Turks, Steve Earle, Chuck D and “Radio
Parallax.” Tank you for being there, TALK
For a complete schedule: www.10talkcity.
com and www.fair.org for documentation of
corporate media’s right-wing bias.
By W. Randy Haynes
ournalist Bill Moyers, in his 2007 speech at
the National Conference for Media Reform,
called on people to “organize a campaign to
persuade your local public television station to
start airing ‘Democracy Now.’ ” Well, that was
afer he stopped gushing over Amy Goodman,
award-winning journalist and host of the news
Heeding Moyers’ call to action, Sacramento
Progressive Alliance, the local afliate of United
for Peace & Justice, voted to actively encourage
Sacramento’s PBS television station, KVIE, to add
“Democracy Now! Te War & Peace Report” to
its broadcast schedule. Powerless at times when
facing the world’s problems, this efort can fur-
ther progressive change in Sacramento by work-
ing together to give “Democracy Now!” a wider
Goodman speaks for a large segment of the
population who believes progressive views have
been mufed and/or censored from the demo-
cratic dialogue. By putting progressive shows on
cable public access stations, the sub-stations of
satellite TV and late night time slots, liberal per-
spectives are seen unfairly, and as “alternative,”
meaning that most of America automatically
tunes out. As a consequence, America and its
democracy are poorer in numerous ways.
Information is the bedrock of any democ-
racy. A full spectrum of thought is required for
it to function properly, but that isn’t what most
Americans get. Twenty percent of all Americans
identify as liberal, according to the New York
Times (6-26-07). When it comes to most issues, a
large plurality agrees with progressive solutions.
Yet, when one watches mainstream news, only
centrist and conservative viewpoints are given,
with very few exceptions. Liberals are cut out
of the mainstream national debate. From war,
health care and civil liberties, to election fraud
and eroding democracy, it’s easy to see how the
nation has been damaged by this omission in the
Viewers must be thankful to the dedicated
people on public access stations, LINK TV, and
FSTV; in no way does this local efort to bring
“Democracy Now!” to KVIE intend to diminish
their vital work. Information and news program-
ming like Goodman’s would never have been
heard without them. But they aren’t enough. Te
lef can no longer accept marginalization. Full
inclusion at the table of ideas is not something
that will be ofered; it will have to be demanded.
It’s impossible to imagine conservatives allowing
their views to be shunted to inferior venues and
Ron Cooper, executive director of Access
Sacramento, used the phrase, “friends of Amy,”
when speaking about the Moyers’ request and
there is not a more ftting icon for progressive
America than Goodman. Contact KVIE and let
them know they are not meeting their stated pur-
pose of refecting “the community back to itself ”
when it comes to news. Goodman’s “Democracy
Now!” is too vital to Sacramento’s progressive
community be marginalized.
Email KVIE: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Sacramento Friends of Amy:
email@example.com or 956-0680.
W. Randy Haynes is a member of the Uni-
tarian Universalist Society of Sacramento and
Veterans for Peace, and a Board Member of Sac-
ramento Progressive Alliance. He is the author of
Cajun Snuf, the frst book of the Adam Stephen
mystery series. Murder by the Sacred Tree, his
second novel, takes place in Sacramento and will
soon be released.
Talk City widens the dialogue
Talk radio is like
the letters to the
editor section of
Saving our democracy one show at a time
In this 2005 photo, Amy Goodman and
Ron Cooper, Executive Director of Access
Sacramento, remind us that Access
Sacramento airs “Democracy Now!”every
weekday at 5am, 6pm and midnight.
Photo: William Bronston
www.bpmnews.org September / October 007 BECAUSE PEOPLE MATTER 7
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or nonproft group: Business
card size ads only $40 (or
$30 if run in multiple issues).
Call 446-2844 for more info.
Too little, too late
By William A. Dorman
ne thing that ofen confuses ordinary
Americans about mainstream journal-
ism is that they do, in fact, know about
so many foreign policy misadventures of their
government. Knowing about the Administration’s
use of phony intelligence before the Iraq war
or its outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, they
believe we have a “free” press. However, we learn
of bad behavior only as history, long afer the
moment for political outrage and possible action
Whether it’s learning about the CIA’s respon-
sibility for overthrowing popular governments in
Iran and Guatemala, or Chile, when it comes to
foreign afairs, citizens who depend, say, on CBS
or Te New York Times have to make do with a
repeatedly delayed learning curve. Te war with
Iraq has been no exception. By the time the press
informed us we’d been lied to about the reasons
for invading Iraq, we were already focused on a
new phase, occupation, which led to its own rev-
elations that in turn came to be overshadowed by
a ferocious civil war.
To paraphrase Marshall McLuhan, we’re
always looking at present and future American
foreign policy behavior through the media’s
rear view mirror. And even then, objects in the
journalistic mirror aren’t presented nearly clearly
enough to spark challenges to entrenched power.
Yes, more than a year afer the invasion, Te
New York Times (5- 26-04) came to apologize for
its deferential reporting leading up to the 2003
Iraq war, and, yes, Te Times, some four years
afer the invasion (7-8-07), fnally called for an
orderly withdrawal of the US from Iraq, and, yes,
Te Washington Post recently (7-14-07) reported
in irrefutable detail how Cheney has used and
abused power in unprecedented ways, breathtak-
ing in their wrong-headedness. But look at how
long these positions and revelations were in com-
ing, and consider how short they still stop of say-
ing what needs to be said. Good journalism has
to be timely. It has to make connections, point
out patterns, provide context and, beyond any-
thing else, identify and clearly label villainy—and
call for accountability.
It’s hardly reassuring to refect that here we
are some thirty months into Bush’s second term,
long afer the extent of the Iraq disaster has
become apparent, not to mention warrantless
wiretapping, fring US attorneys and muzzling
the Surgeon General, and not one major news-
paper has called for his resignation or impeach-
ment. By comparison, 17 months into Clinton’s
second term, 25 US newspapers including the
Wall Street Journal, had called for his impeach-
ment/resignation, and by the following October,
it was more than 115. It would appear that lying
about fellatio harms the interests of the nation
more than one might casually assume. More
likely it’s the case that the press has no problem
taking afer a politico’s sex life. Questioning a
president’s claims on WMDs is a diferent matter
Afer the fact press coverage that refuses to
label disastrous policymaking clearly for
what it is afects popular opinion, which
then, importantly, afects members of
Congress. Given the lack of political
courage in Congress to challenge the use
of military force, the performance of the
mainstream press takes on huge impor-
tance. Had the press done a better job in
the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq,
Democrats might have thought more
than twice about voting for the October
2002 Joint Resolution authorizing use of
force, particularly given that the public
at the time widely favored diplomacy
over force. Once that particular train lef
the station, it was virtually impossible to
block Bush’s invasion.
Why the press behaves as it does in
the foreign policy arena is not a simple
matter, but the crux of the problem lies
not in a vast right wing conspiracy, but
in the mix of nationalism, militarism
and corporate capitalism. When it comes
to foreign policy, the defning dimension
in popular opinion (and therefore Con-
gressional action) is nationalism. If an
administration can convince people and
elected elites that a policy is consistent
with the national mythology, the corpo-
rate news and entertainment media is
not going to risk the ire of its custom-
ers, witness ABC dropping Bill Maher’s
“Politically Incorrect” for his controver-
sial comment afer 9/11.
If the base audience favors a
militaristic “my country right or wrong”
mythology, mainstream journalism isn’t
going to get in the way of the parade.
Put another way, journalism simply
is no match for mindless nationalism,
journalistic careerism, and bottom-line
A friend of long experience as for-
eign editor at major news organizations
has said, “Te average editor in the aver-
age newsroom, worried about appearing
political, bends not toward the right, but
away from the lef, overcompensating
for their natural proclivities [to speak
the uncomfortable truth about government lies].
It’s a false system, as if they feel always under
attack by the same claptrap voices that charge fair
judges with being “activist” judges.” He goes on to
say, “Tey have abrogated power to the O’Reilly’s
of the world, which may be the reason that Jon
Stewart and Steven Colbert speak to power so
efectively. Tey fll the obvious void.”
Some observers would have us believe that
the Iraq disaster has been so obviously a policy
wreck of historic dimension that mainstream
journalism has fnally learned lessons about of-
cial duplicity and imperial policymaking that it
should have mastered much earlier. Given recent
Bush Administration declarations about the US
reserving the right to strike within Pakistan and
Iran, we may get to test the proposition sooner
rather than later.
capitol city radio
on The Voice 88.7 & 89.9
www. ac c E s s s ac r aME nt o. o r G
“Real Representative Radio”
Good journalism has to
be timely. It has to make
connections, point out
patterns, provide context
and, beyond anything
else, identify and clearly
label villainy—and call
Feb. 15 2003: “Elected Presidents’ Day”demonstration in San Francisco. Real
journalists also criticize bad government!
William A. Dorman recently retired from a 40-year career at CSUS
teaching government and media studies. He has published and lectured
widely in this country and abroad, and is co-author with Mansour Farhang
of US Press and Iran: Foreign Policy and the Journalism of Deference
(U.C. Press, 1987).
Because People Matter September / October 007 www.bpmnews.org
By Travis Silcox
oesn’t everyone secretly, or not so secretly, want
to make a movie? I’m just like the rest of the
world, except as a teacher of flm studies at Sac-
ramento City College, I work with students every year to
analyze flms and learn about the movie-making process.
Wasn’t it about time to try my hand at it?
Access Sacramento, the local community media
station, gave me my opportunity to write and produce
a ten-minute flm by means of its annual screenwriting
contest, “A Place Called Sacramento.” In its eighth year,
all the short flms feature Sacramento in some way and
winners of this year’s contest will show
their work on Oct. 7 at the Crest Teatre.
My desire is to make flms that
speak to our social condition and give
people a glimpse of how our world could
be more just, thoughtful and fulflling.
I sure don’t want to make Hollywood
flms for a target audience of 11 to 17-
year-old boys and give them the same
old recycled crap—violence, homopho-
bia, racism, misogyny and the status
my little flm,
“Entering the Booth,” and the
whole process was empower-
ing, challenging and fun! But,
to quote George Bush, and you
need to read this with his fake
Texas whine, “It’s hard work.”
My screenplay was based
on oral histories I conducted
with 35 people living in mid-
town Sacramento. I chose three
couples I thought would be
most compelling to audiences
who are unfamiliar with our
wonderful midtown vibe, peo-
ple who could communicate
the essence of our diverse, pro-
gressive neighborhood. Next,
By JoAnn Fuller
efore the general election in 2006, the Sacramento
Media Group met with local television station
managers to discuss their plans for election cover-
age—a critical part of a broadcaster’s mandated obliga-
tion to serve the public interest—and encouraged them
to meet the national TV election coverage broadcasting
guidelines developed by the bipartisan Presidential Advi-
sory Committee on Public Interest Obligations of Digital
Television Broadcasters. SMG then monitored the sta-
tions’ news programs and evaluated their performance in
providing informative coverage of the candidates, their
positions and ballot measure issues.
Te monitoring study showed only one Sacramento
station, Channel 3, met the recommended minimum
standard of fve minutes per night of election-related
coverage during the month before Election Day. During
the fall, the fve local stations received an estimated total
of $32 million in revenues from election-related political
advertising. Advertising rates ranged as high as $10,000
for a single spot. Yet it appeared most stations spent a
small fraction of their earnings to inform voters about
Te content of the news was also a disappoint-
ment. Based on the monitoring, the race for governor
received the most coverage, even though the race was
not competitive during the fnal month, according to the
“California Election Survey” of the Rasmussen Reports,
October 2006. Only 13.8 percent of the coverage focused
on congressional races and a mere 1.6 percent on state
legislative races. Viewers were six times more likely to
see a campaign ad than an election news story.
Unfortunately, two of fve local stations, Channels
10 and 19, refused to meet with SMG representatives or
provide summaries of their plans for election coverage.
Tis was particularly noteworthy given that in 2006 all
California stations were to apply for re-license by the
Federal Communications Commission, which requires
stations to invite public comment on their activities. Yet
these two stations denied community members from
SMG an opportunity to exchange views. Nor did SMG
receive any written response regarding the stations’ plans
for election programming. Neither station gave any rea-
son for denying the requests.
Te 2006 election report, as well as the frst SMG
election report from 2004, summarizing advocacy and
monitoring activities with all fve local television stations
that broadcast to the greater Sacramento region are avail-
able at www.commoncause.org/CA. SMG will continue
to encourage local broadcasters to broaden eforts to
meet public interest obligations and monitor program-
ming. SMG also asks community members, media
professionals and reform activists to join their work to
make available more substantive, locally produced pub-
lic afairs programming. An informed electorate and a
vibrant democracy depend on it.
Contact SMG: firstname.lastname@example.org or call
443-1792 ex. 11.
JoAnn Fuller is a member of Sacramento Media
Group and an editor with Because People Matter.
TV Stations Get Report Card
Local stations rated on election coverage
I had to come up with a “story” that would incorporate
these oral histories.
Te result was “Entering the Booth,” a trip into a
fctional radio program that highlights people’s personal
stories. Listeners to National Public Radio may fnd a
resemblance to a radio program they hear broadcast.
Tink of “Antiques Roadshow” coming to Sacramento,
but instead of featuring antiques we have real people
recounting their real lives for a national audience.
Te backbone of my crew was a group of former City
College students who told me, if I wrote a screenplay and
was chosen, they would help me flm it. Our cinematog-
rapher and director was Rachel Bryant, currently study-
ing flm at the University of California, Davis. Other
former students worked as assistant producer, make-up
artist, still photographer and production assistant. Te
rest of the crew was experienced but developing skills
by working on projects such as this one, and they were
Some things I learned to do that I’d never done
before included: obtain a flm
permit from the Sacramento Film
Commission, secure a liability bond
to shoot on location, conduct audi-
tions with experienced local actors,
get extra gigabytes of RAM for my
computer—and fgure out what
the heck that means—teach myself
an editing program, plus cajole
friends, students and family to give
up weekends and evenings to work
on, what must have looked like, a
When everyone showed up
on time, technology worked with
you, not against you, and the cast
See Movie Magic, page 9 Rachel Bryant, flm director, readies her shot.
Photo: Dick Wood
Making a Movie
Viewers were six times more
likely to see a campaign ad
than an election news story.
Producer Travis Silcox prepares actors Joe Concannon and David Philipp as
crew member Ellen Dillinger readies the clapper.
Photo: Dick Wood
David Philipp and Joe Conannon relax before flming as “Entering the Booth”
director, producer and crew set up.
Photo: Dick Wood
Another take with Lyvonne and Robert Sewell (seated on the right). Director
Rachel Bryant (with camera) is assisted by Angela Ortner
Photo: Dick Wood
www.bpmnews.org September / October 007 BECAUSE PEOPLE MATTER 9
By Ian Kesseler
I know people’s perceptions of the media just by
reactions I get when I tell them I’m studying journal-
ism. I’m about to move away to study journalism at San
Francisco State University, so I’ve had
this conversation a lot lately. Some
ofer a hopeful smile and an encourag-
ing word about this new generation
of media meddlers dabbling in online
journalism; how bloggers remind
us what a free press really is. Others
give me a sideways glance, sometimes
a little sneer, and remind me how
corrupt and slanted journalism has
become. I understand both perspec-
tives, but either way the conversation
always comes back to ethics.
I guess that shouldn’t surprise me
afer all the hits journalism has taken
in recent years with fabulists, plagia-
rists and guys like Armstrong Wil-
liams. Remember him? He took a large sum of cash from
the government to promote a presidential policy in a for-
mat designed to look like mainstream news coverage. Of
course they sneer. Unfortunately for Williams and other
journalists, all that money can’t buy back trust.
As an editor for the Sacramento City College
newspaper Te Express, I spent a lot of time adapting
to change. I learned a new writing style, worked with
photographers switching from flm to digital formats,
found a way to take print copy to the Web. One thing
that hasn’t change, despite evidence
to the contrary, is journalistic eth-
ics. Sure, it seems fewer writers
are sticking to them, but it’s not
because these principles are chang-
ing with everything else in the
industry. In fact, it’s the one thing
that never needs to change.
We know the payola puf pieces
written by Williams are still the
exception but the basic American
journalistic principle of fair and
comprehensive coverage may have
eroded with the freedom the Inter-
net ofers. Newsrooms today are
forced to compete with anyone who
has a keyboard and Internet access,
writers who don’t answer to editors, writing about what-
ever suits them, ofen without sources or consequences.
Blogs on both sides of the political spectrum are havens
for strongly slanted journalism. Although the passion
bloggers have for their subjects is vital to exercising
First Amendment rights, it’s easy to see the damage they
may cause the credibility of journalists playing by the
My desire is to make flms
that speak to our social
condition and give people
a glimpse of how our
world could be more just,
thoughtful and fulflling.
I look forward to
yet to bring to the
I’m keeping the
best part of my
Journalism Ethics in the Digital Age
“Quentin Sacramento” is the mascot for PCS. He has done films such
as “The Good, The Bad, and the Sushi,”“Butch Cassidy and the Sunfish
Kid,” and “Gone with the Swim,” and “The Maltese Scallop.”
A Place Called Sacramento
By Ron Cooper
For the eighth year, Access Sacramento celebrates its
one-of-a-kind scriptwriting and short flm production
project for local writers and producers. PCS challenged
to create ten-minute
scripts about the
people, places and
events that make
community such a
distinctive place to
live. A panel of local
all entries and 10 were
selected for volunteer
Access Sacramento announced the chosen flmmak-
ers at its May “Cast & Crew Call.” From a community
pool of talent, production teams were formed and ten
flms were produced during the summer months. To
assist in the writing and production of the scripts, a
series of workshops are held at the Coloma Center
throughout the spring, providing professional training
in PCS scriptwriting, production planning, acting for
the camera, low budget production and post-production
techniques. Afer months of hard work and great fun, the
flmmakers and Access Sacramento invite the public to
see the completed flms, one day only, Sunday, October 7
at the Crest Teater, 1013 K St., starting at 1pm. Tickets
to the festival are $10 a person, open seating.
In the seven years of PCS, 69 short flms have been
created. To view flms completed for the 2004, 2005 and
2006 PCS flm festivals, go to the website, www.access-
Access Sacramento is a nonproft organization dedi-
cated to using community media to build better commu-
nications between individuals and groups in Sacramento
County. With television studio, radio and television pro-
duction equipment, media lab, mobile production truck,
and other gear, Access Sacramento trains and manages
volunteers and shares their work on cable radio and tele-
vision channels 17 & 18.
Ron Cooper is Executive Director of Access
rules. Don’t believe me? What’s the frst phrase that pops
into your head when I mention “Te Drudge Report?”
As I look forward, I’ve also been looking back. Te
classroom didn’t teach me only how to write like a jour-
nalist, it taught me to work like one, too—to report the
facts as fairly and objectively as possible. It taught me to
do my homework before making accusations and that a
story that doesn’t represent all sides of the argument isn’t
one worth telling. Tat’s as basic to journalism as clear
sentence construction. When an inexperienced writer or
blogger forgets the importance of responsible reporting,
it adds to the frustration of the public, and to the sneers
As newspapers continue to merge into one giant
media conglomerate and the people’s faith in the main-
stream media continues to crumble, fnding a job that
keeps me ethically grounded and happy will become
more difcult. I look forward to making changes tech-
nology has yet to bring to the newsroom, but I’m keeping
the best part of my community college education, ethics.
If I can do anything in my career to promote those ide-
als, I’ll be able to hold my head high when I tell someone
I’m a journalist. If I can do that, maybe I’ll get a diferent
response when someone fnds out what I do.
Ian Kessler is former editor in chief of Te Express,
Sacramento City College.
Actors and crew making movie magic happen.
Photo: Dick Wood
Movie Magic from page 7
and crew enjoyed themselves, it was pure pleasure.
My hope is that more Sacramentans, with alternative
visions of what flm can provide and provoke, will take
up the pen and the camera. Cinema has the power to be
transformative. While Hollywood uses it to stupefy the
population, flm can be a tool to liberate, question and
broaden. I know I’m not alone in seeing the potential of
local cinema. Many of the other flms in “A Place Called
Sacramento” this year take on topics both surprising
and intriguing. Come see the fruits of our eforts and be
inspired to make a movie of your own. For more infor-
mation about “A Place Called Sacramento” premiere, go
Travis Silcox teaches English and flm studies at
Sacramento City College.
Emmy and Joe Gunterman listen to direction from Travis Silcox as director Rachel
Bryant and sound engineer Chris Terry prepare.
Photo: Dick Wood
10 Because People Matter September / October 007 www.bpmnews.org
Some of the
Places You Can
Dose Coffee Shop
Galleria (29th & K)
Hart Senior Center
Luna’s Cafe & Juice Bar
Mercy Hospital, 40th/J
Pancake Circus, 21st/
Franklin Blvd, Watt
Ave., 29th St.
Queen of Tarts
Library (Main & many
Sargent Coffee House
(Alhambra & M)
Starbucks (B'wy & 35th)
Time Tested Books
Tower Theater (inside)
Tupelo (Elvas & 57th)
(35th St. near B'way)
Espresso Cafe Roma
Davis Natural Food
7465 Rush River Dr
US Post Offce
Where would you like to
Let Paulette Cuilla know,
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Registered Representative for securities and
Investment Advisory Representative, Protected
Investors of America.
First West Coast
By Michael R. Gorman
crime, thought a thing of the past in
Sacramento, shocked this capital city
of California on July 1, 2007. Satender
Singh was assaulted in a hate motivated crime
while picnicking with friends at Lake Natoma.
It was reported the attackers spoke Russian and
English and shouted “sodomite” and other anti-
gay invectives prior to killing Singh. Tey spewed
racist threats at Satender’s Fijian and East Indian
friends, while calling themselves God’s people.
But it was the man they observed to be gay whom
they targeted for violence.
Sacramento community leaders decried the
death as a consequence of escalating anti-gay
hatred by militant members of Slavic Christian
Churches in the area, encouraged by American
fundamentalists who sponsor many Slavic immi-
grants to the country and are on hand to blame
the gay community.
How do good
people respond to
hatred? Tat was
the question posed
at the First West
Summit in late
July at midtown
Trinity Cathedral. Te
event, planned to address rising homophobia,
originated with gay activist Nate Feldman, who
has documented the rise of anti-gay protests with
his video camera and a “YouTube” account. Cer-
tain Feldman was an alarmist and protests would
whither under the heat of recent gay rights victo-
ries, few had listened. On the day that would have
been Singh’s 26th birthday, the summit faced
hatred turned deadly. People were listening.
Attendance at the meeting was a picture of
diversity with the Druid who gave the open-
ing address to the translated speech by a Slavic
Christian pastor doing his best to edge out of a
homophobic paradigm. Representatives from the
gay-supportive Asian Pacifc League, Slavic Com-
munity Services, La Raza, NAACP, Sacramento
Grove of the Oak, Spiritual Life Center, Pagans,
Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, atheists, politicians,
street activists and others of all backgrounds
came together to speak of peaceful co-existence
in, what Time magazine called, the nation’s most
As Sacramento goes, summit participants
were aware, so goes the nation. With this death
and the consequential summit, Sacramento
became ground zero. Singh was the canary in
the mine, the Druid summarized. Our model of
response must be the natural forest where diver-
sity is the very foundation of health and growth,
and homogeneity means death.
For more information: www.satendar.com
Michael Gorman is a Sacramento poet and
By JoAnn Fuller
Tanks to a group of dedicated citizens, Sac-
ramento will soon be able to log on to free Inter-
net service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at
a speed fast enough to be useful. Te Sacramento
City Council negotiated a contract with a WiFi
Internet Service Provider providing just that.
Within two years, people should be able to use
the Internet wherever they are within the city
limits. Tose using computers inside a building
may need a special device to boost the signal, but
those are inexpensive and easily installed.
Tis means individuals who couldn’t access
the general information, employment opportuni-
ties or cheaper shopping ofered online because
of service costs, now will be able to log on free
of charge. Families with children can ask about
their child’s homework, researchers can travel
the world for the latest information, and small
businesses can expand their customer base with
virtually no expense.
How did all this happen? Te Sacramento
Media Group, along
with Ruth Blank of the
nity Regional Founda-
tion, Ron Cooper of
Ann Lucas of the Non-
proft Resource Center
and we at California
spearheaded a coali-
tion of 60 nonprofts
to lobby the City
Council to help bridge
the digital divide that
prevents some community members and families
from accessing Internet services. Plans are also
going forward to obtain refurbished computers
and other equipment, and training to those who
Tis success in Sacramento comes as Free
Press, a media reform advocacy group, issued a
report titled “Shooting the Messenger,” that docu-
ments how the US has fallen behind in Internet
use. Once in the lead, the country is now ranked
15th in deployment and adoption of afordable
broadband services. In addition, the service
most pay for is painfully slow and expensive. For
example, Japanese connections are a dozen times
faster than those ofered in the US and access is
What happened to the US Internet lead?
Paul Krugman in Te New York Times (7-3-07)
explains it simply as bad policy. Te US is falling
behind because other countries used judicious
regulation to promote competition. At the most,
customers in the US have a choice between a
cable monopoly and phone monopoly for Inter-
net service. Te price is high, the service is poor,
but there’s nowhere else to go.
If you are interested in community media
issues and media reform, contact Sacramento
Media Group: email@example.com or
443-1792 ex. 11; www.freepress.net>
JoAnn Fuller is Associate Director of Califor-
nia Common Cause and an editor with Because
On the day that would
have been Singh’s 26th
birthday, the summit
faced hatred turned
deadly. Now people were
Success! Free Internet for Sacramentans!
A community paper
Within two years,
people should be
able to use the
they are within the
www.bpmnews.org September / October 007 BECAUSE PEOPLE MATTER 11
HeLP BPM Get tHe
BPM needs help dropping stacks
of BPMs at locations around town.
Call Paulette at (916)422-1787.
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DERELÌCTÌON OF DUTY, WAR CRÌMES and TREASON,
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“combat” troops—from Iraq, or willing to call for
a complete halt to US bombing of that country.
Tose candidates know that powerful elites
in this country just don’t want to give up the
leverage of an ongoing US military presence in
Iraq, with its enormous reserves of oil and geopo-
litical value. It’s a good bet that American media
and political powerhouses would fx the wagon
of any presidential campaign that truly advocated
an end to the US war in—and on—Iraq.
Te disconnect between public opinion and
elite opinion has led to reverse perceptions of
a crisis of democracy. As war continues, some
are appalled at the absence of democracy while
others are frightened by the potential of it. From
the grassroots, the scarcity of democracy is
transparent and outrageous. For elites, unleashed
democracy could jeopardize the priorities of the
Converging powerful forces in Washing-
ton—eager to at least superfcially bridge the gap
between grassroots and elite priorities—are likely
to come up with a game plan for withdrawing
from Iraq without withdrawing from Iraq.
Scratch the surface of current media scenari-
os for a US pullout from Iraq, and you’re lef with
little more than speculation—fueled by giant dol-
lops of political manipulation. In fact, strategic
leaks and un-attributed claims about US plans for
withdrawal have emerged periodically to release
some steam from domestic antiwar pressures.
Nearly three years ago—with discontent
over the war threatening to undermine Presi-
dent Bush’s prospects for a second term—the
White House ally Robert Novak foated a rosy
scenario in his nationally syndicated column
that appeared on Sept. 20, 2004. “Inside the Bush
administration policy-making apparatus, there
is strong feeling that US troops must leave Iraq
next year,” he wrote. “Tis determination is not
predicated on success in implanting Iraqi democ-
racy and internal stability. Rather, the ofcials are
saying: Ready or not, here we go.”
Novak’s column went on to tell readers:
“Well-placed sources in the administration are
confdent Bush’s decision will be to get out.”
Tose well-placed sources were, of course,
unnamed. And for good measure, Novak fol-
lowed up a month before the November 2004
election with a piece that recycled the gist of his
Sept. 20 column and chortled: “Nobody from the
administration has ofcially rejected my column.”
Tis is all relevant history today as news
media are spinning out umpteen scenarios for
US withdrawal from Iraq. Te game involves
dangling illusionary references to “withdrawal”
in front of the public.
But realities on the ground—and in the
air—are quite diferent. A recent news dispatch
from an air base in Iraq, by Charles J. Hanley
of the Associated Press, provided a rare look at
the high-tech escalation underway. “Away from
the headlines and debate over the ‘surge’ in US
ground troops,” AP reported on July 14, “the Air
Force has quietly built up its hardware inside
Iraq, sharply stepped up bombing and laid a
foundation for a sustained air campaign in sup-
port of American and Iraqi forces.
In contrast to the spun speculation so
popular with US media outlets like Time and
the PBS “NewsHour,” the AP article cited key
information: “Squadrons of attack planes have
been added to the in-country feet. Te air recon-
naissance arm has almost doubled since last year.
Te powerful B1-B bomber has been recalled to
action over Iraq.”
Tis kind of development fts a historic pat-
tern—one that had horrifc consequences during
the war in Vietnam and, unless stopped, will
persist for many years to come in Iraq.
Assessing the distant mirror of the Vietnam
War, the narration of the new documentary
“War Made Easy” (based on my book of the
same name) spells out a classic White House
maneuver: “Even when calls for withdrawal have
eventually become too loud to ignore, ofcials
have put forward strategies for ending war that
have had the efect of prolonging it—in some
cases, as with the Nixon administration’s strategy
of Vietnamization, actually escalating war in the
name of ending it.”
Between mid-1969 and mid-1972, American
troop levels dropped sharply in Vietnam—while
the deadly ferocity of American bombing spiked
Te presence of large numbers of US troops
in Iraq during the next years is a likelihood
fogged up by fanciful media stories asserting—
without tangible evidence—that American troops
will “pull out” and the US military will “leave”
Iraq. Te spin routinely glides past such matters
as the hugely militarized US embassy in Bagh-
dad, the numerous permanent-mode US bases
in Iraq, and the vast array of private—and ofen
paramilitary—contractors at work there courtesy
of US taxpayers. And there’s the rarely mentioned
prize of massive oil reserves that top ofcials in
Washington keep their eyes on.
Te matter of US bases in Iraq is a prime
example of how events on Capitol Hill have scant
efects on war machinery in the context of out-
of-control presidential power. “Te House voted
overwhelmingly on Wednesday to bar permanent
United States military bases in Iraq,” the New
York Times reported on July
26. But the war makers in the
nation’s capital still hold the
whip that keeps lashing the
dogs of war.
As the insightful analyst
Phyllis Bennis points out: “Te
bill states an important prin-
ciple opposing the ‘establish-
ment’ of new bases in Iraq and
‘not to exercise United States
control of the oil resources of
Iraq.’ But it is limited in several
ways. It prohibits only those
bases which are acknowledged
to be for the purpose of per-
manently stationing US troops
in Iraq; therefore any base
constructed for temporarily
stationing troops, or rotating
troops, or anything less than
an ofcially permanent deploy-
ment, would still be accepted.
Further, the bill says nothing
about the need to decommis-
sion the existing US bases
already built in Iraq; it only
prohibits ‘establishing’ military
installations, implying only
new ones would be prohibited.”
Despite all the talk about
how members of Congress
have been turning against the
war, few are clearly advocating
a genuine end to US military
intervention in Iraq. Media
outlets will keep telling us that
the US government is develop-
ing serious plans to “leave”
Iraq. But we would be foolish
to believe those tall tales. Te
Solomon from page 1
antiwar movement has an enormous amount of
grassroots work to do—changing the political
terrain of the United States from the bottom
up—before the calculus of political opportunism
in Washington determines that it would be more
expedient to end the US occupation of Iraq than
to keep it going under one guise or another.
Norman Solomon is author of War Made
Easy, How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spin-
ning Us to Death.
1 Because People Matter September / October 007 www.bpmnews.org
sister city, San Juan de
by purchasing organic
grown in the rich
volcanic soil on the
island of Omotepe,
Thanks to the efforts of
Sister Island Association
in Washington, we are
able to bring you this
wonderful medium roast
Your purchase helps the
farmers on the island
and helps support
relationship with San
Juan de Oriente.
All profts go directly
back to the Nicaraguan
$9.00 a pound.
Available in Sacramento
at: The Book Collector,
1008 24th St.
Progressive Talk Show
Channel 17 with Jeanie
Monday, 8pm, Tuesday
noon, Wednesday, 4am.
Now in Davis, Channel
15, Tuesday, 7pm.
Sacramento Area Peace Action
Sacramento Area Peace Action is an all-volunteer organization that
works to educate and mobilize the public to promote a non-interven-
tionist and non-nuclear US foreign policy and to promote peace through
international and domestic economic, social, and political justice. Join us!
Send your check to: sacramento area peace action (sapa) 909 12th street, #118, sacramento,
ca 95814. or call us! 448-7157, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web: www.sacpeace.org
JOIN SACRAMENTO AREA PEACE ACTION
Annual dues are $30/individual; $52/family; $15/low income.
City _______________________________________ Zip _______________
____Here is my additional contribution of $_______.
____Please send me the newsletter only, $10/yr.
Resources on Palestine:
Institute for Middle East Understanding:
Washington Report on Middle East Afairs:
Rafah Today: www.rafahtoday.org.
National Council of Arab Americans:
Tis September, Congress will have yet
another opportunity to stop funding the disas-
trous war against Iraq. As of Aug. 1, this war
has killed over 3650 US soldiers and an esti-
mated 700,000 Iraqi men, women and children,
wounded tens of thousands, driven hundreds of
US soldiers to kill themselves and thousands to
desert, forced nearly 5 million Iraqis from their
homes, and wasted over $448 billion.
End Congressional Ambiguity. End the
Symptomatic of its uncertainty about end-
ing the war on Iraq, in July the House passed
both HR 2929 (no permanent bases and no US
control of Iraqi oil) and HR 2956, which calls for
a unspecifed troop reduction, while it leaves an
indeterminate number of troops in Iraq indef-
nitely. One has to wonder why we need what
could be thousands of troops in Iraq if we aren’t
having permanent bases and we don’t want their
oil. HR 2956 says nothing about getting the US-
fnanced military contractors out of Iraq and it
keeps the ‘redeployed’ US troops in the region,
where they could be readily used to attack or re-
occupy Iraq, intensify the war on Afghanistan, or
invade Iran. Should these two bills be passed by
the Senate, they would most certainly be vetoed
However, ending the war does not require a
2/3 majority to override Bush’s veto—it requires
a simple majority in the House to vote NO on
Bush’s request for more funding. Doing so will
not imperil the troops, but not doing so will con-
demn many more to die or be severely wounded.
Send a Clear & Complete Message
Our demand to end the Iraq war and occu-
pation must also be a call to end the war on
and occupation of Afghanistan. Ending these
wars means bringing all the troops and military
contractors home and closing all the bases. A US
military presence in either Iraq or Afghanistan
will never fx anything; what we must do is pay to
repair the damage our government has done to
the infrastructure, people, culture, and environ-
ment of these two nations.
And our cry to end the war must also be one
to scrap our brutal policy towards the Middle
East that has been a complete disaster for the
people of this region and is bad for the people in
our country. Te wars on and occupations of Iraq
and Afghanistan are symptoms of a miserable
foreign policy that cannot bring military victory
but only an environment flled with depleted
uranium, an unpayable national debt, and incon-
solable shame for the war crimes committed in
Keep the Pressure up on Congress
Any progress Congress makes towards end-
ing this war is only because of public pressure. At
least once a week, fax or call Reps. Doris Matsui,
Mike Tompson, Dan Lungren, or John Doo-
little, and Senators Boxer and Feinstein. And get
your friends, family, neighbors, friends and co-
workers to call. Add a message to your answering
machine that reminds people to call Congress.
Tell these electeds, who are supposed to be
working for you, to: VOTE NO on any more
funding that continues the war, and VOTE
YES to bring all the troops home and military
contractors home from Iraq and Afghanistan
now, close all the bases, and change our foreign
policy to one based on respecting, not destroying,
human life and the environment. Call (202)224-
3121. If you can, fax: Matsui: (202)225-0566;
Tompson: (202) 225-4335; Lungren: (202)
226-1298; Doolittle: (202)225-5444; Boxer: (916)
448-2563; Feinstein: (202) 228-3954.
Pack your bags and go to DC
People from all over the country are mobiliz-
ing to get Congress to respond to the American
people and end the war on Iraq. Actions are
planned for nearly the whole month in Wash-
ington, DC (see BOX) as well as local eforts. If
you can go to Washington, do it. Housing info is
available at: www.codepinkalert.org/housing. If
you can’t go to DC, participate in local events and
help send others. For more information, contact
Sac Area Peace Action: 916-448-7157.
Participate in local actions:
Vigils every Tuesday, Wednesday & 1st & 3rd
Saturdays: check sacpeace.org
The People’s Rally to End the War, Sept.
7, 3-6pm, Capitol West Steps. All groups that are
against the war are invited to form contingents
and march to the rally. FMI: 916-455-6312;
California’s Calling Congress to End the
War: Sept 10-13: Join people in every California
district in calling Congress this week. See sac-
peace.org for other local actions this week.
End the War Now demonstration in San Fran-
cisco, Oct 27; for info on buses & carpools from
Davis & Sacramento: 916-448-7157
We Can Make Congress Really end the Wars on Iraq and
Afghanistan in September—if they get the message.
Go to Washington, DC & Stop the war
Actions organized by a broad spectrum of national peace & justice groups.
Ongoing lobbying with Code Pink: stay at their DC house: www.codepinkalert.org
Sept. 14-21, 2007: Days of Decision, in DC & across the country: www.declarationofpeace.org
Sat. Sept. 15, 2007: DC March & Rally: www.Sept1.org
Sun. Sept. 16: National Training Session for the other Days of Action, www. Sept1.org
Mon. Sept.17: Peoples March Inside Congress, www.codepinkalert.org
Tues. Sept. 18: Congressional Challenge Day, www.grassrootsamericaus.org
Wed. Sept. 19: Direct Action, www,answer.pephost.org
Turs. Sept. 20: Veterans lobbying day, www.ivaw.org
Fri. Sept. 21: National Moratorium Day, www.iraqmoratorium.org.
Sept 22-29, 2007: Encampment in DC, www.troopsoutnow.org
Thursday, Oct. 4, 7–9pm, Richard Beck-
er with the ANSWER Coalition, recently
returned from the major anti-war eforts
in Washington, DC during September, will
address the next steps to ending US war pol-
icy. 909 12th St, Sacramento, 916-448-7157.
Wednesday, Oct. 17, 7–9pm, Dissent:
Voices of Conscience. Colonel Ann Wright
resigned from the US Foreign Service in
March 2003 over several disagreements with
the Bush Administration including their
decision to attack Iraq, the lack of efort in
resolving the Israel-Palestine situation, and
unnecessary curtailment of civil liberties.
Wright’s newly published book will be avail-
able at the talk. Time Tested Books, 1114
21st St, Sacramento. 916-448-7157; sypeace-
Discharges • DEP • Discrimination
Gay • AWOL/UA • Harassment
Hazing• Conscientious Objection
Call for information from a network of
nonproft, nongovernmental organizations.
The service is free. The call is confdential.
The GI Rights Hotline
800 394 9544
www.bpmnews.org September / October 007 BECAUSE PEOPLE MATTER 1
on the Web
Keep up to date
on peace activism
Outreach for a
11:30am to 1:30pm.
L Street at 11th.
We bring petitions,
literature and banners.
You bring yourselves.
Cafe nearby for coffee
after the vigil.
By Paolo Bassi
Te notion that our rulers stumble into war
because they are stupid, misguided or relying on
faulty intelligence may make war more palatable,
but it is utter naiveté. War, despite its costs and
risks, is highly proftable for the corporate and
fnancial elites who don’t bear the costs or risks
anyway. Te cost of war is not problematic when
people are indoctrinated enough to keep giving
their money and blood. And yet, war abroad is
always war on the poor at home.
Te main victims of the war in Iraq are,
of course, the Iraqi people. Teir country has
been violently occupied and almost completely
destroyed, and according to Lancet, the Brit-
ish medical journal, more than 655,000 Iraqis
have died—and thousands more since that 2006
study. But these are not fgures you’ll hear on the
Iraq’s publicly owned assets are being priva-
tized, its economy forced into the global corpo-
rate system. Yet there is general silence in the
US media over this privatization and who now
controls Iraq’s oil revenues.
Back home the ultimate price is paid by our
mostly working class soldiers. Besides the thou-
sands killed, many more are wounded, and some
will never work again—let alone fght. Tese
soldiers and their families will be paying each day
for Bush’s war. Other than independent docu-
mentaries, try fnding mainstream reports on
soldiers’ lives afer war. Te brutal efects of war,
both material and psychological are ignored.
While ordinary Americans sufer, the war-
mongers get richer—their children sitting out the
war at schools which charge more per year than
a soldier’s death benefts. Soldiers pay with their
lives and limbs, but we all pay with our collective
tax wealth. In addition to the $400+ billion given
to the military each year, the Iraq war has cost
almost $500 billion to date. Heartbreakingly, this
same amount spent on schools, universal health
care, scholarships, infrastructure, alternative
energy development or environmental protection
would have had a massive positive economic and
social efect for generations.
As the military industrial complex prospers,
ordinary people are being driven into poverty,
poverty masked by debt fnancing. With each
war the social fabric becomes weaker. Since there
is no limit to the neo-con’s dream of complete
domination of global capitalism, more wars are
coming along with further poverty and debt.
Rich man’s war; poor man’s blood.
Corporate media is structurally and ideo-
logically incapable of truthfully discussing the
causes or costs of the Iraq war. Te interests of
the media, corporations and the fnancial and
political elites have merged as never before in
American history. In efect the media has become
the fourth branch of government and the conduit
for the war industry. It is a simple, efcient rela-
tionship. Te war industry makes war while the
media sells war through sophisticated manipula-
tion and suppression.
To allow alternative views on which class
starts wars, who fghts them, who pays and who
profts would be contradictory to corporate inter-
ests. To attack or even question the ofcial views
on war would be to discredit the national myths
and the fear by which people are controlled. Dis-
sident reporters are shunted aside.
Since the corporate media cannot and will
not allow meaningful alternative views on the
war, we must turn to alternative sources. To
understand the connection between war and cor-
porate profts, all it takes is the strength to break
By Brigitte Jaensch
Why don’t US media report Israel/Palestine
news candidly? Is it too much hassle from entities
that want to dictate what is reported?
For 25 years the notoriously hardball Com-
mittee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting
in America (CAMERA) has been nitpicking
content, even word-choice, in reports about the
region. For example, in March the New York
Review of Books published an article about the
Israeli occupation’s destruction of the Palestinian
healthcare system. Although written by a US phy-
sician who had worked in the occupied Palestin-
ian territories, CAMERA reportedly got an Israeli
ofcial to write a letter to the paper challenging
the American’s frsthand knowledge.
Talking heads appear on news programs to
give their interpretation of what’s happening.
Ofen from neo-con think tanks like the Ameri-
can Enterprise Institute, the Washington Institute
for Near East Policy and the Saban Center, when
the Middle East is the topic, neo-con means
Te day afer the San Francisco Chronicle
published an article marking Israel’s 40th year as
occupier, two Bay Area Jewish community rela-
tions councils sent out an action alert requesting
recipients “condemn, reproach and denounce”
the article. Teir e-mailed alert listed points to
make and language to use in letters or e-mails to
the paper and noted that 120 such councils moni-
tor local media nationwide.
Public Broadcasting in Boston was a fairly
reliable source for news about the region until it
got hit with phone calls, letters, pickets, threats
to cancel pledges and more, calling the station’s
reporting anti-Israel. Now WGBH’s reporting
is noticeably pro-Israel, receiving CAMERA’s
commendation on Nov. 26, 2002 about reporter
Aaron Schachter’s reporting on Israel. If CAM-
ERA fnds something to commend, it cannot be a
Te local public television station Channel 6
had misgivings about a program, a slick cobbling
together of Arab and Muslim bashing, distorted
history, plus fear and hate mongering. Te sta-
tion assembled a group to preview the program,
whose unanimous recommendation was, don’t
show it. Ten a small local contingent applied
pressure. It enlisted Te Sacramento Bee, which
fueled the controversy with the headline, “Local
Muslim opposed broadcast.” Te Bee’s article
didn’t mention others had opposed broadcast,
such as KVIE directors and management, a rabbi
and college professor. Te result, Channel 6 aired
the program three times during prime time.
Years afer he had sold CNN, Ted Turner
called former Israeli prime minister Ariel
Sharon’s military acts “terrorism.” According to
British newspaper Te Guardian (6-18-02), the
Israeli government ordered CNN to leave their
country. Instead, CNN brass scurried to Israel to
apologize. It complied with all Israeli demands
including that CNN fre its Palestinian reporters.
Cheryl Feldman Halpern, pro-Israel activist
and a hefy Republican donor, according to the
Washington Post (7-15-05), was appointed by
the Bush Administration to the Corporation for
Public Broadcasting, the oversight board for the
Public Broadcasting Service. WGBH, KVIE and
other stations certainly hear her now.
Although usually not reported, whenever
US media do cover Israeli military aggression on
Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian
territories, it is termed “retaliation.” Dishonest?
Absolutely. But there is less hassle that way.
For more information:
“Tose aren’t Stones, they’re Rocks” by Seth
Ackerman, posted by Fairness and Accuracy in
Israel-Palestine On Record: How Te New
York Times Misreports Confict in the Middle
East, by Howard Friel and Richard Falk. Tis is
a sequel to their 2004 book about Te New York
Times, titled Te Record of the Paper.
Brigitte Jaensch is a civil and human rights
Causes and Costs of the War
Big media’s not interested
the spell of the ofcial noise machine and look
Paolo Bassi is a member of Sacramento
Infuencing Israel/Palestine Reporting
Dick Cheney Says Fuck Off
I roll a cigarette
to kill the killer
and I fnd it ineffectual
so I make a bomb
out of my fesh
and plant it in the war machine
which rumbles forward
in its deaf rumor,
down rail tracks
with a hundred cars
full of war materiel.
I roll hair
in my fngers
while thinking of the boy soldiers
the pleasant girls
fngering their orders
in calm desert sun.
(jumping from camel spiders
wisping on furred stems
through the tent-fap)
in the cradle of civilization,
the crops are all torn
by the men in suits
as they look back at the people
in their shaving mirror,
mouthing unnatural acts
telling us all to fuck off
as the war slides deadly
through the middle of my town.
I roll a cigarette
of pure vegetables
for the bum: what does he know
that I don’t? That those who stand for war
will always make war
and bring civilization
to the whore-house
thinking to fuck is to love and to kill
is to institute democratic principles
while I blow up
and I kill
and I die
a little differently
today, but keep dying
when I see the news:
today a boy and a girl from
down the road a piece
were shredded by a roadside bomb
and no-one understands
how the whole thing
got to be so fucked up
while the killer wears a silk shirt,
in a fne oak room
and issues orders
giving a speech in which he says
to the mother of the boy killed
by the roadside bomb
and to you and I
-- the rotten bastard.
I roll a sacred smoke
from leaves of wisdom
and puff on it
in order to die
By Crawdad Nelson, Sacramento poet and
1 Because People Matter September / October 007 www.bpmnews.org
keeps us going!
Have you sent in
PEACE & JUSTICE
and a proud sponsor of
“Because People Matter”
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for Peace &
Time Tested Books
is now buying
Political posters, handbills & pamphlets
Books on history, labor, & politcs
Records of blues, jazz, rock, punk, world, R&B, & spoken word.
And, of course, we are selling books & records, too!
We are located at 1114 21st Street, Sacramento.
Our hours are 11 – 5:30 M-Sat. (but please call for appt. if selling).
By Sharon Frederick
In one of his frst major speeches, the 28-year
old lawyer Abraham Lincoln warned his fellow
citizens that their government could be broken
and destroyed if it became so disconnected and
unresponsive that it lost “the attachment of the
Today we might call it alienation, as Al
Gore does in his new book, “Te Assault on
Reason.” He steps back from the present to gain
the perspective of history and analyze the causes
of today’s alienation: the fact that “reason, logic
and truth seem to play a sharply diminished
role in the way America now makes important
decisions.” He begins by reminding us that our
Why We’re Facing an “Assault on Reason”
The Assault on Reason, by Al Gore. Hardcover: 308 pages, Penguin Press HC (2007)
“When the people
are not informed,
they cannot hold
it is incompetent,
corrupt or both.”
informed, they cannot hold government account-
able when it is incompetent, corrupt or both.”
Instead, the modern science of mass per-
suasion takes over to sell us breakfast cereals,
automobiles and political ideas simultaneously.
In Gore’s words, “Reason was displaced not only
by the substitution of broadcast for print, but also
by the science of PR as the principal language
by which communication occurs in the public
forum—for both commercial and political pur-
poses.” How else to explain that almost half of the
American people still think Saddam Hussein was
connected to the Sept. 11 attacks on the US?
Gore examines how the public sphere, dur-
ing the Bush-Cheney years, has deteriorated into
the politics of wealth and fear, distortion of truth,
diminished rights of individuals, and consolida-
tion of power in the name of national security.
He outlines a few immediate steps that could
be taken to shore up “this period of vulnerability
for American democracy.” However, Gore ulti-
mately pins his hopes on the power of the Inter-
net, which he calls “the most interactive medium
of history and the one with the greatest potential
for connecting individuals to one another and
to a universe of knowledge.” He urges eforts to
make certain the Internet stays open and acces-
sible to all citizens by fghting any proposal
to introduce a “tiered Internet” advocated by
corporate operators such as AT&T and Verizon,
who want to impose new fees on companies and
content providers. Such a step would seriously
limit the potential of the Internet by giving the
“big guys” a dominant role in yet another medi-
um. If we can keep the Internet free and open,
concludes Gore, the Web has the capacity to be
“the greatest source of hope for reestablishing an
open communications environment in which the
conversation of democracy can fourish.”
Sharon Frederick is a member of Sacramento
Media Group and a freelance writer.
Te Marxist School of Sacramento
P.O.Box 160564 Sacramento, CA 95816
September / October 2007 Activities
Point of View Speaker Series
Lectures are held in Sierra 2 Ctr, Garden Room, 2791 24th St., 7–9pm
Tursday, September 20: Historian and novelist Alexander Saxton
discussing his book Religion and the Human Prospect -- and the current
debate about religion in the high science hierarchy.
Tursday, October 18: Kevin Wehr. “Bicycle Messengers and Fast
Capitalism – why old technologies persist within advanced IT-based
economies.” See http://www.fastcapitalism.com/ issue 2.1.
Discussions are held in Sierra 2 Ctr, Rm. 11, 2791 24th St., 7–9pm.
Tuesday, Sept. 11: Book discussion, Te Communist Manifesto, by
Karl Marx. Discussion led by Ellen Schwartz. See www.marxists.org/
Tuesday, Sept. 25: Book discussion: A Peoples’ History of the United
States, by Howard Zinn. Chapter 1. Discussion led by Roy Dahlberg.
Ask at Time Tested Books (447-5696) for a copy (any edition).
Tuesday, Oct. 9: Book discussion: A Peoples’ History …, by Howard
Zinn. Chapter 2. Discussion led by Roy Dahlberg.
Tuesday, Oct. 23: Book discussion: A Peoples’ History …, by Howard
Zinn. Chapter 3. Discussion led by Seth Sandronsky.
Capital Reading Group
Extended discussion of Vol. 1 of Capital, by Karl Marx. will resume Sept.
5, starting with Chapter 10, “Te Working Day.” We meet 7-9pm, 1st
and 3rd Wednesday of each month, at SMUD Customer Service Center,
6301 “S” St. Check with the Security Guard for meeting location (they
have it under “Marxist School”). Preferred edition is the translation by
Ben Fowkes, Vintage Books, Aug. 1977. We will read together and dis-
cuss at each class.
INFO: www.marxistschool.org; email@example.com; 799-1354. All
activities are free and open to the public.
democracy was born
in a world dominated
by print media.
Te print revolu-
tion led to an explo-
sion of knowledge
throughout the world
and, ultimately, to
the so-called Age of
Reason. If individuals
were well informed
and could participate
in free and open dis-
cussion, then perhaps
ordinary citizens had
the power to govern
being governed by
the few who were
wealthy and privi-
leged. “To an extent
America’s representative democracy depends “on
the particular characteristics of the marketplace
of ideas as it operated during the age of print.”
Today’s crisis in democracy, argues Gore,
stems from problems based in the “dramatic and
fundamental change in the way we communicate
among ourselves,” particularly since the early
1960s when television became the dominant
source of information. TV did not simply substi-
tute one medium for a comparable one because
information media are so very diferent from
In fact, recent research shows television is a
medium that can tap into primitive areas of the
brain that control basic emotions, most notably
fear, sometimes overwhelming the reasoning
parts of our brain. Gore contends, “Te simula-
tion of reality accomplished in the television
medium is so astonishingly vivid and compelling
compared with the representations of real-
ity conveyed by printed words that it signifes
much more than an incremental change in the
way people consume information...[it] has the
capacity to trigger instinctual responses similar
to those triggered by reality itself, and without
being modulated by logic, reason, and refective
thought.” Television allows no interactivity, no
opinion page or other public forum. Instead of
the marketplace of ideas, we sit passively and
listen to a one-way conversation.
Add to that the high capital investment
required to operate television, and the number of
individuals who own stations and develop pro-
gramming is severely limited. Fewer companies,
thanks to the Reagan era and its abandonment
of media regulation, own more and more TV
stations. As corporate owners demand news divi-
sions become proft centers, whose purpose is to
get high ratings and sell advertising, the distinc-
tion between news and entertainment disappears.
“Te subjugation of news by entertainment
seriously harms our democracy,” warns Gore.
“It leads to dysfunctional journalism that fails to
inform the people. And when the people are not
www.bpmnews.org September / October 007 BECAUSE PEOPLE MATTER 1
September / October Calendar
Send calendar items for the November / December
2007 issue to firstname.lastname@example.org by
October 10, with “calendar item” in the subject line.
Make it short, and in this order, please: Day, Date.
Name of event. Description (1-2 lines). Time. Location.
Price. INFO: phone#; e-mail.
For online calendars of progressive events, go to www.
sacleft.org and www.sacpeace.org.
MONDAYS: Sacramento Poetry Center hosts
poetry readings. 7:30pm. 1719 25th Street. www.
1st MONDAYS: Organic Sacramento: Counter
ongoing threats to our food. 6:30pm. INFO:
1St. MONDAYS: Sacramento Media Group.
6–8pm. Coloma Community Center, 4623 t Street.
INFO: 443-1792, email@example.com.
3rd MONDAYS: Capitol Outreach for a Moratorium
on the Death Penalty. 12 noon–1pm, 11th & L
Street. INFO: 455-1796.
3rd MONDAYS: SAPA Peace and Sustainability
Committee. 6–8pm. INFO: Peace Action, 448-
3rd MONDAYS: Sacto 9/11 truth:Questioning the
“War on terror.” 6–8pm. Denny’s 3rd & J St. INFO:
third MONDAYS: Lesbian Cancer Support Group.
6:30 Bring partners or support people with you.
Open discussions with everyone. INFO: Roxanne
tUESDAYS: Call for Peace Vigil. 4–6pm. 16th and
J St. INFO 448-7157.
2nd tUESDAYS: Gray Panthers. 1–3pm. Hart
Senior Ctr., 27th & J St. INFO: Joan, 332-5980.
2nd tUESDAYS: Peace Network (speakers and
discussion), 6:30pm. Luna’s Cafe, 1414 16th Street.
INFO: Sac Area Peace Action 448-7157.
4th tUESDAYS: Peace and Justice Films. 7pm.
Peace Action, 909 12th Street. INFO:448-7157.
4th tUESDAYS: (Odd numbered months) Amnesty
Int’l. 7pm. Sacramento Friends Meeting House,
890-57th St. INFO: 489-2419.
1st WEDNESDAYS: Peace & Freedom Party. 7pm.
3rd WEDNESDAYS: CAAC Goes to the Movies.
7:15pm. INFO: 446-3304.
tHURSDAYS: Daddy’s Here (Father Enhancement
Program). Men’s support group; info on custody,
divorce, raising children. 7–8:30pm. Free! Ctr for
Families, 2251 Florin Rd, Ste 102. INFO: terry @
fathersandfamilies.com. 568-3237x 205.
1st FRIDAYS: Community Contra Dance. 8–11pm;
7:30pm beginners lessons. Clunie Auditorium,
McKinley Pk, Alhambra & F. INFO: 530-274-
2nd FRIDAYS: Dances of Universal Peace.
7:30–9:30pm. Sacramento Friends Meeting House
890 57th St. $5–$10 donation requested. INFO:
4th FRIDAYS: Dances at Christ Unity Church,
9249 Folsom Blvd. All Welcome $5–$10 dona-
tion requested. INFO: Christine 457-5855, www.
1st SAtURDAYS: Health Care for All. 10am. Hart
Senior Ctr, 27th & J. For universal access to health
care. INFO: 424-5316.
1st SAtURDAYS: Sacramento Area Peace Action
Vigil. 11:30am–1:30pm. Arden and Heritage
(entrance to Arden Mall). INFO: 448-7157
2nd & 4th SAtURDAYS: Community Contra Dance.
8–11pm; 7:30 lessons. Coloma Center 4623 t
Street. INFO: 395-3483.
3rd SAtURDAYS: Sacramento Area Peace Action
Vigil. 11:30am–1:30pm. Marconi & Fulton. INFO:
3RD SAtURDAYs: Underground Poetry Series,
open mic plus featured poets. 7–9pm Under-
ground Books, 2814 35th Street (at Broadway),
Sacramento. $3. INFO: 737-3333
1st SUNDAYS: Zapatista Solidarity Coalition.
10am–noon. 909 12th St. INFO: 443-3424.
1st SUNDAYS: PoemSpirits. 6pm. Refreshments
and open mic. Free. UUSS, 2425 Sierra Blvd. INFO:
481-3312; 451-1372. Will resume in Oct. 2007.
2nd SUNDAYS: Atheists & Other Freethinkers.
2:30pm. Sierra 2 Center, Room 10, 2791 24th St.
SUNDAYS: Sacto Food Not Bombs. 1:30pm. Come
help distribute food at 9th and J Streets.
Elk Grove Peace & Justice Forum
Veterans for Peace, on “Questions
not often asked about the Iraq War”
Monday, Sept. 10, 2007; 7:00pm
Elk Grove United Methodist Church
8986 Elk Grove Blvd., Elk Grove.
And before the forum:
Just before the forum starts, from 5–6pm on
Sept. 10, join us at a vigil with signs about
the war, on the Elk Grove Blvd. side of the
Church. Signs will relate to ending the war
and stopping the funding.
When the war in Iraq is discussed there are
often questions which are not asked or the
answers given by official spokespersons are
often not complete or may be unsatisfactory.
Some of these questions are:
1. What are problems of returning vets
including healthcare and mental health
2. What are problems of interaction between
Iraqi civilians and U. S. Forces?
3. What are problems with coalition mer-
cenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan?
4. What are problems being encountered
Bring your own questions! INFO: 916-689-
6943 or 916-685-3612.
thursday, September 6
“Climate Change, Despair, and Empowerment
Roadshow” with Kelly Tudhope, from Australia.
Multimedia presentations to help understand our
role in a climate changed world. 7 pm. Trinity
Cathedral, Great Hall, 2620 Capitol Ave. Sac.
$5 donation. Drinks/snacks. INFO: Therapists for
Social Responsibility 916-447-5706.
Friday, September 7
The People’s Rally to End the War. 3–6pm. West
Steps, State Capitol, Capitol & 10th St, Sacra-
mento. See ad this page.
Saturday, September 8
Art Book Fair. Publishers from around the country
will bring in their newest art books, plus classics
on art. Children’s readings, lectures for the whole
family. 10:30am–4pm. Crocker Art Museum, 216
O Street. Free. INFO: 916-264-5423
Saturday, September 8
San Francisco Mime Troupe. Music starts at
3:30pm, show 4pm. Southside Park, 6th &T
Saturday, September 8
Lecture. “9/11: Who Did It, Why, and How We Can
Prevent the Next Such Mass Murder,” by Don Paul,
author of several 9/11 related books. 7pm. 909
12th St., Conf. Room. $3 to $10 sliding scale, no
one turned away. INFO: Dave 372-8433.
tuesday, September 11
Protest the so-called “War on Terror,” remem-
brance of 9/11 victims (including emergency
workers who were told that the air at “ground
zero” was “safe”) and call for a real investigation
that follows the evidence. 4–6pm. 16th & J, Sac
INFO: 916-448-7157 or 916-372-8433, www.
truthaction.org or www.sacpeace.org.
thursday, September 13
Film. “9/11 Ripple Effect”. Backed by expert
examination of video evidence, combined with
eyewitness accounts. 7pm. Yolo County Library’s
Blanchard Room, 315 E. 14th St, Davis. Free.
Saturday September 15th
End It in September!
Rally in Rancho Cordova. Join the 300 residents
who signed the end the war petition and call for
Rep. Lungren to end his support for the Iraq War!
Noon–1pm, Rancho Cordova City Hall, 2729
Prospect Dr., Rancho Cordova. INFO: 916-452
Sponsored by Peace in the Precincts, Grand-
mothers for Peace, Sacramento Progressive
Monday, September 17
Sacramento 911 Truth: Questioning the War on
Terror, monthly meeting. 6–8pm. Denny’s meet-
ing room, 3rd/J Sts, INFO: sac911truth@gmail.
thursday, September 20
Film. “War Made Easy, How Presidents and Pun-
dits Keep Spinning Us to Death”. An insightful
analysis of how governments bent on war-mak-
ing have relied on a vast arsenal of propaganda
techniques to overcome resistance at home and
disapproval abroad. 7pm. Yolo County Library’s
Blanchard Room, 315 E. 14th St, Davis. Free.
Saturday, September 29
Poetry event. “The Show” poetry series, last Satur-
day of every month. Comedian Jay Lamont (BET’s
Comicview, Showtime At The Apollo). Plus, poets
Noah ‘Supanova’ Hayes from the Sacramento
Slam Team and Prof. Andy Jones from U.C. Davis
. 7–9 p.m. Wo’se Community Center, 2863 35th
St. $5. INFO: Info: Terry Moore at 208-POET,
Sunday, September 30
Benefit concert. Family Promise of Sacramento,
a project to help homeless families presents
a special evening of contemporary folk, jazz,
spiritual and interfaith world music by beloved
singers and songwriters Jim and Jean Strathdee.
$10 requested ticket donation. 6pm, Fremont
Presbyterian Church, 5770 Carlson Drive.
INFO: www.sacfamilypromise.org or Chris Allan
at 916-457-4525, firstname.lastname@example.org.
thursday, october 4
First Sacramento Progressive Forum, dialogue on
current issues facing progressive movements and
their allies in our region. The Progressive Forum
seeks to bring together scholars, students, social
justice and union activists, and policy makers. We
seek to move beyond fragmented movements
each competing with each other to find ways
to cooperate and support each other’s work.
9am–4pm. CSUS University Union. Free. INFO:
thursday, october 4
Richard Becker with the ANSWER Coalition, re-
cently returned from the major anti-war efforts
in Wash. D.C. during September, will address the
next steps to ending U.S. war policy. 7–9pm. 909
12th St, Sacramento, 916-448-7157
Saturday, oct 6
Women Take Back the Night: Yesterday, Today,
& Tomorrow. Capitol west steps. Info: 916-448-
Sunday, october 7
Sacramento’s Sixth Annual Freethought Day
Gala. A celebration of reason, freethought and
church-state separation, featuring speakers,
entertainment, education expo, and children’s
activities. Sponsored by Sacramento’s Atheists
and Other Freethinkers and the Humanist As-
sociation of the Greater Sacramento Area, the
event is free and open to the public. 12–5 pm,
Waterfront Park, Front & L Streets, Old Sacra-
mento. INFO: www.freethoughtday.org, chair@
Wednesday, october 10
Film. “9/11 Dust and Deceit at the World Trade
Center”. This is the disturbing story of the envi-
ronmental disaster of September 11, 2001. The
effects of the cover up as told through the voices
of victims, experts and officials. 7pm. Yolo County
Library’s Blanchard Room, 315 E. 14th St, Davis.
Free. INFO: 530-757-1633.
thursday, october 11
Sacramento 9/11 Truth Demonstration. Call or
check web for exact time. 11th and L Streets,
facing State Capitol North entrance. INFO: www.
Sunday october 14
GLOBAL WARMING: Messages from the Ice
Speaker: Author, teacher Robert Christopherson
1pm. Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacra-
mento, 2425 Sierra Boulevard, Sacramento. Free
INFO: C. Bailey, BeckerBailey@aol.com. 916-
Wednesday, october 17
Film. “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib”. An inside look at
Abu Ghraib includes interviews with some of the
American soldiers charged with committing the
notorious abuses which sparked the insurgency
in Fallujah. 7pm. Yolo County Library’s Blanchard
Room, 315 E. 14th St, Davis. Free. INFO: 530-
Wednesday, october 17
Book Talk. “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.”
Colonel Ann Wright resigned from the U.S.
Foreign Service in March 2003 over several
disagreements with the Bush Admin. 7–9pm.
Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St, Sacramento.
Saturday, october 27
Poetry event. “The Show” poetry series, last
Saturday of every month. International Slam
Champion Talaam Acey comes to town from Bal-
timore. (www.talaamacey.com). 7–9 p.m. Wo’se
Community Center, 2863 35th St. $5. INFO:
Info: Terry Moore at 208-POET, fromtheheart1@
Beyond the Proscenium Productions
(BPP) presents Hecuba & Dido: Love
Gone Wrong by Ann Tracy, a mash-up
of both modern and ancient history and
popular culture exploring the devasta-
tion of war, sex, class, and gender.
This world premiere plays Thursdays,
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm from
October 27 to November 24, at the
Space, 2509 R St, Sacramento. There
will be one Sunday matinee at 2 pm
on November 25th. Tickets are $15
general and $12 for seniors, students
and SARTA members. To reserve tickets
please call 916-456-1600 or email
email@example.com. More infor-
mation can be found at the BPP website:
New Works by Janice Nakashima at
Axis Gallery, 1517 - 19th St., September
1–30. Gallery open Saturday and Sunday,
The People’s Rally
to End The War
Friday, Sept. 7th, 3pm to 6pm
West Steps of the Capitol
March with Sac Area Peace Action to the rally; meet 2:30pm at 909 12th St. All groups
that are against the war are invited to form contingents and march to the rally.
Endorsed by: A.N.S.W.E.R (Act Now to End the War and Stop Racism), California
Faculty Association, Chico Peace and Justice Center, Code Pink Women for
Peace, Grandmothers for Peace, Peace and Freedom Party, Physicians for Social
Responsibility, Sacramento Area Peace Action, Sacramento Coalition to End the
War, Sacramento for Democracy, Scientists for Indigenous People, Teach Peace,
Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom and more…
For info call: 455-6312 or 799-9786.
U.S. POSTAGE PAID
PERMIT NO. 2668
Sacramento and Central Valley INDyMEDIA: www.sacindymedia.org.
Places to watch Sacramento Soap-
Access Sacramento TV, Cable Chan-
nels 17 and 18 Mon 8pm, Tues noon,
In Davis: Channel 15, Tues 7pm.
Places to watch or hear Democracy
Access Sacramento TV, Cable Channels
17 and 18, Weekdays 6pm, 12mid-
Dish Network Satellite TV, Channel
9415, Free Speech TV, M-F: 9am,
4pm, 9pm, 5am, Pacific time.
Link TV, Channel 9410, Monday–Friday,
KVMR 89.5 FM Mon-Thu 7pm
KDVS 90.3 FM Mon-Fri noon
KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley, M-F 9am
Places to watch Media Edge:
Access Sacramento TV, Cable Channels
17 and 18 Sundays 8–10pm
Davis, Channel 15, Sundays, 8–10pm.
Nevada County, Channel 11, Mondays,
10:30pm –12:30am. West Sacramento,
Channel 21, Mondays, 9–11pm.
other Progressive radio Stations
▼ KVMR 89.5 FM
▼ the Voice, 88.7 Cable FM; and stream-
ing audio on www.Accesssacramento.
org; SAP Comcast Channels 17 & 18
▼ KYDS 91.5 FM
▼ KDVS 90.3 FM
▼ KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley
▼ KSAC 1240 AM (TalkCity Radio Sac-
ramento). Progressive talk radio all
day long with Christine Craft, Randi
Rhodes and others.
▼ KZFR 90.1 FM Chico
People Powered Radio! managed and
operated by volunteers, provides mostly
locally produced and community ori-
Progressive online television
Five corporations control all parts of
mainstream media. In this new media
monopoly, news has been replaced with
a new invention called “infotainment.”
GoLeft.tv is a progressive political T.V.
news source that fills that gap between
the media’s dumbed down infotainment
and real news reporting.
We are incredibly excited to announce
the launch of GoLeft.tv”, said GoLeft.
tv founding partner and GoLeft.tv
Consumer Advocate Michael Lynch, an
attorney with the premier national liti-
gation law firm Levin, Papantonio. “Ann
Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity,
Michael Savage, Bill O’Reilly, Michael
Medved and the rest of right-wing,
conservative media, beware!”
Progressive Viewpoints on Local Cable TV
Sacramento - Ch. 17 Sundays
Davis - Ch. 15 8 - 10 PM
(Monday nights in W. Sacramento & Nevada Co.)
New Participatory Project:
Help Sen. Durbin Write a New Internet Bill
US Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has opened up the legislative process to
citizen participation for a new “national broadband strategy” bill that would cover
network neutrality policy, broadband Internet availability and spectrum policy.
He has been blogging and asking for suggestions at the new www.OpenLeft.com
website and his ofce has encouraged the Center for Media Democracy to set up a
parallel project on Congresspedia where CMD is collecting all the arguments, data
and research needed to draf and evaluate the legislation when Sen. Durbin posts
You don’t need to be an expert to join this efort—simply go to the project
homepage and check it out. If you’d like to pitch in, leave a note on the project’s
discussion page or email the Congresspedia managing editor at Ckenny@Con-
See also www.prwatch.org and www.prwatch.org/node/09.