Wednesday, September 30, 2009

UK: Labour Party Declares War on Rupert Murdoch

Brown fumes at Murdoch's sabotage of his big moment
Labour declares war on The Sun as it ditches support for party after 12 years
By Andrew Grice, Political Editor
1 October 2009

Gordon Brown struggled to maintain his political fightback yesterday as his allies accused the media magnate Rupert Murdoch of "sabotaging" the Labour conference.

Mr Brown's hopes that his conference speech on Tuesday would provide a springboard for a recovery were dashed a few hours later when The Sun newspaper announced it was withdrawing its support for Labour after 12 years and would endorse the Conservative Party at next year's general election.

Senior Labour figures circled the wagons to protect Mr Brown and declared war on the newspaper. But they were deeply frustrated that the controversy denied the Prime Minister the momentum he hoped for. Among Labour MPs, there was renewed speculation of a third attempt to oust Mr Brown when parliament returns from its summer break on 12 October.

Mr Brown's anger boiled over in a television interview with Sky News, also part of the Murdoch empire. After Adam Boulton, its political editor, suggested that Mr Brown's keynote speech had revealed no political philosophy, the Prime Minister told him: "You are sounding a bit like a political propagandist yourself."

He complained that Mr Boulton seemed to "obsess" about the Labour leadership issue, saying: "You have not given me the chance to talk about the economy." Insisting that he would not stand down before the election, he said: "I have got a job to do and that's the job I am going to do."

As the interview ended, a clearly livid Mr Brown started to storm off while the cameras were still rolling but forgot that he still had a microphone clipped on his jacket and had to sit down.

Labour's strategy to focus on policy differences with the Tories was blown off course by The Sun's deliberate and successful attempt to set the conference agenda.

Mr Brown said: "Obviously, you want newspapers to be for you. We would have liked everybody to be on our side, but the people decide [the election]. I've got an old-fashioned view that you look to newspapers for news not opinions."

Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of the Unite union, won the biggest cheer of the day when he ripped up a copy of yesterday's edition of The Sun at the podium. He told delegates: "We don't need an Australian-American coming to our country with a paper that has never supported any progressive policies from our party, including the minimum wage, telling us how politics should be run in this country."

Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader, told the conference: "I am speaking to you this morning about something The Sun knows absolutely nothing about: equality. The nearest their political analysis gets to women's rights is Page 3's News in Briefs. We are all angry about The Sun this morning but I say to you: don't get bitter, get better."

Pro-Labour adverts attacking the newspaper appeared on Google. Labour denied responsibility and the ads were later taken down.

Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, said: "I don't think the readers want The Sun to set on New Labour. The last thing that Sun readers want is to see their newspaper turned into a Tory fanzine."

Labour advisers insist the newspaper's long-expected conversion to the Tories would have less impact than its decision to come out for Labour in the run-up to the 1997 election. One strategist said: "Forty per cent of people don't read newspapers now, after the growth of the internet and 24-hour news channels."

A jubilant Mr Cameron welcomed the paper's support, but insisted he would not become complacent. "I think they have seen the Government is exhausted and out of ideas and they see a regenerated, refreshed Conservative Party ready to serve," he said.

Mr Brown faced further accusations of dithering over whether he would bow to Sky's campaign for a series of televised election debates with Mr Cameron and the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg. In a BBC interview, the Prime Minister admitted he had made up his mind but refused to say what his decision was. One Cabinet minister said: "I wish he would just get on with it and say yes."

Lord Mandelson said Labour's attitude to debates was "positive" and that it would now begin to consider how they might be organised.

Sky News had some better news for Mr Brown last night. A YouGov poll for the TV channel suggested that Labour has halved the Tories' lead during this week's conference. It shows the Tories on 37 per cent, Labour on 30 per cent, the Liberal Democrats on 21 per cent and other parties on 12 per cent.

The survey found 47 per cent of people believe Mr Brown should be replaced while 38 per cent think he should stay on. Some 64 per cent believe he is doing badly while 32 per cent are happy with his performance.

* Gordon Brown lost his cool in a live television interview yesterday as his leadership was called into question.

The Prime Minister accused Sky News's political editor, Adam Boulton, of appearing to "obsess" about his personality, and complained that he was not being allowed to discuss the economy. As Boulton repeatedly asked whether he would join a televised debate with David Cameron, Mr Brown protested: "You are sounding a bit like a propagandist."

The moment the interview ended, he tried to storm off without realising he was still attached to a microphone.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How Fox News Turned Mark Sanford into a Democrat

" ... Murdoch's Fox News enjoys one of the highest network ratings of all. Millions of Americans eagerly tune in to Fox to hear the latest duplicitous lies, slanders and deceptions. When Fox reported on the strange and adulterous behavior of the Governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford, Fox put a “D” after his name so viewers would think he's a Democrat. These kinds of distortions are standard for Fox. ... " - "Misguided Revolution: Anti-Government Extremists Mistake Their Enemy," by Jon Faulkner

Cal Thomas, a Purveyor of Hate in Religious Disguise

Jay Bookman
September 29, 2009

Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, writing in the Washington Times, today offers an ugly, despicable attack on all Muslim Americans, whom he accuses of “the undermining of this nation from within … through deception, putting on a peaceful face while subtly plotting ways to bring America down.”

As his sole piece of evidence, Thomas cites statements at a public prayer rally of Muslim Americans in Washington, at which a Brooklyn imam lauded American freedom, telling the crowd that “What we’ve done today, you couldn’t do in any Muslim country. If you prayed on the palace lawn there, they’d lock you up.”

But on Facebook, Thomas points out, that same imam has written that “Democracy is not revelation, and democracy does not equal freedom, for in democracy you have apartheid, you have slavery, you have homosexuality, you have lesbianism, you have gambling, you have all of the vices that are against the spirit of truth; so no we don’t want to democratize Islam, we want to Islamize democracy.”

To Thomas, an evangelical Christian, this statement constitutes proof that the imam in particular and Muslim Americans in general are trying to destroy America from the inside, using terrorism as a weapon. Yet the truth is that on an almost daily basis, socially conservative Christian leaders employ almost identical rhetoric as the socially conservative imam.

They too decry the excesses of American freedom that lead to tolerance of gays and other perceived vices — the difference is that in their case, they seek to “Christianize” rather than “Islamize” democracy.

Thomas of course sees nothing dangerous or wrong with that at all. (For the record, neither do I. I disagree with them, but they have every right to say those things and in no way endanger our country by doing so. The same is true of the imam.)

“Are we being infiltrated and surrounded by people who want us dead and our country destroyed?” Thomas asks in his column, raising a question that he lacks the guts to answer. “Try a little experiment: Google “Islam near” and then type in the name of any city or town. When I tried the small town of Bryn Mawr, Pa., outside Philadelphia, 10 Islamic-related sites came up. In larger cities, there are as many, or more. Deception is part of the terrorists’ battle strategy.”

So the presence of Islamic related sites is evidence of a terror conspiracy? What Thomas seeks is the marginalization and rejection of Muslim Americans, the very process that in European countries has made their Muslim communities more prone to radicalization. He seeks to create the very thing he claims to despise.

It’s useful to recall that after the fall of communism, this very same Thomas called for a “cultural war crimes tribunal” in which many of his fellow Americans would be forced to answer for their opinions. At those trials, he wrote, “people from academia, the media, government and the clergy who were wrong in their assessment of communism would be forced to confront their mistakes.”

Sounds just like democracy, doesn’t it?

In 2003, this stalwart defender of democracy again called for a domestic war crimes tribunal, this time to bring to account “scores of false media prophets who predicted disaster should the U.S. military confront and seek to oust the murderous regime of Saddam Hussein.” This was in those short heady “Mission Accomplished” days right after the invasion of Iraq, before most Americans truly understood that we were not being greeted with roses and chocolate.

“The purpose of a cultural war crimes tribunal would be to remind the public of journalism’s many mistakes, as well as the errors of certain politicians and retired generals, and allow it to properly judge their words the next time they feel the urge to prophesy…,” Thomas wrote. “All of the printed and voiced prophecies should be saved in an archive. When these false prophets again appear, they can be reminded of the error of their previous ways and at least be offered an opportunity to recant and repent.”

The mindset of people such as Cal Thomas is far more undemocratic and dangerous than that of most of the Muslim Americans whom he seeks to smear.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pacifica's CIA Problem: Larry Bensky's Hang-Ups

A Veteran KPFA Programmers Censorious On-Air Tactics & Guests Who Fail the Smell Test

On his November 9, 2003 broadcast of "Sunday Salon," Pacifica's Larry Bensky (a veteran of the CIA's Paris Review literary "culture wars" propaganda front) heaped scorn on a caller who asked, innocently enough, if Paperclip Nazis had any influence on the anti-Communist hysteria of the 1950s. KPFA's Bensky ridiculed the caller, apparently unaware that McCarthy travelled with old guard Nazis and fascists in the intelligence community, and the hysteria was their group effort.

The caller really irked Bensky. He fell into a fit of rage - a "snit" - an invaluble, tried-and-true prop in the mass opinion formation business.

The caller attempted to explain himself, stammered, but Bensky hung up, insisting hotly, "nothing is really certain," after all - the mention of Nazis suddenly led him to question the sum of human knowledge - spitting condescensions at the poor caller’s suggestion that the German and East European imports, secretly sponsored by the CIA and the military’s Operations Paperclip, Sunrise, etc., might have influenced the anti-Communist hysteria of the 1950s.

He went on to criticize nameless individuals who have discussed Nazis over Pacifica airwaves (Alex Constantine, for instance - I'm guilty), blamed these lunar mollusks for inventing capricious and arbitrary conspiracy theories that interfered with his own sober, responsible, balanced news reporting. ...

Bensky was unaware that Joseph McCarthy, the eye of the sturm und drang, was a hands-on Nazi collaborator, having freed Germans interred by the Allies at the end of the war. The late Mae Brussell: "Senator Joe McCarthy's two strongest supporters [in his Senate campaign] were Frank Seusenbrenner and Walter Harnisfeger. Both admired Adolf Hitler and made continuous trips to Germany…. Before he went after the Commies in the State Department, he had to release a few of Hitler's elite nazis lingering in the Dachau prison camp…. In 1949, during congressional hearings on the Malmedy Massacre … McCarthy invited himself to take over the entire testimony. He wasn't satisfied until the prison doors flew open. The most detestable and ugly battle of World War II, an assault upon Americans and civilians in Belgium, was ignored. Hitler's precious Generals Fritz Kraemer and Sepp Dietrick, along with Hermann Priess and many others, were free. With that business finished, McCarthy took on Robert Morris as chief counsel for the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee. Morris' earlier training in Navy Intelligence in charge of USSR counter-intelligence and psychological warfare could be utilized well by Senator Joe. Particularly the psychological warfare part. After McCarthy died, Morris moved to Dallas, Texas. He was a judge, and became president of Dallas University…."

One Nazi in particular, Nikolai Poppe, made a massive contribution to the right-wing furor over communism in the States. Poppe was a spy attached to Himmler's SS, assigned to the confiscation of Jewish property, director of the Wansee Institute (a think-tank that conducted studies on the USSR for the SS). In the postwar calm, Poppe went on to become a scholar at the University of Seattle, a well-known author on Tibetan Buddhism, a CIA expert on Mongolia.

Nazi Poppe participated in the most important case in McCarthy's alcohol-soaked career as an anti-communist. "No influence?" Bensky's scornful refutation is met directly by Christopher Simpson in Blowback: America's Recruitment of Nazis and its Effects on the Cold War (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988): "An incident during Poppe's career in the 1950s illustrates the DELICATE INFLUENCE that certain Nazi collaborators have had on domestic politics in the United States. Early in the McCarthy era, Professor Owen Lattimore, the director of the Walter Hines Page School of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University and a longtime advisor on Asian affairs to the State Department, was brought before a congressional investigation committee to face accusations of espionage and running a "communist cell" in the Institute for Pacific Relations. McCarthy, whose allegations were already drawing criticism from Democrats and even a few Republicans, had pledged that HIS ENTIRE ANTI-COMMUNIST CRUSADE WOULD "STAND OR FALL" on the supposed proof he had in the Lattimore case....
During an on-air KPFA listener conference in 1999, Joseph, a black activist, complained to Mary Berry, then Pacifica board chairperson, about Larry Bensky's tactless approach to censorship -- insulting and hanging up on callers, talking over their comments, muttering under his breath and every other conceivable means of giving them the brush-off. Bensky had been fired by the station, but Ms. Berry was considering him for re-hiring. Joseph, however, was adamant in his criticism of the talk-show host and contested Bensky's reinstatement.
KPFA On-Air Appearance of Mary Frances Berry and Lynn Chadwick

Joseph: ...You know, for all the piety that Larry Bensky has about censorship, we feel that when it comes to authentic, legitimate, responsible intellectual criticism or comment or question regarding issues -- especially those issues that affect the black community -- that Larry Bensky has shown an historical pattern, especially on Living Room, of dismissing, summarily preempting, censoring, cutting off, diverting, subverting ethnic points of view he doesn't like no matter how short the question or comment, no matter how civil. And he either shields certain guests from legitimate authentic black criticism or accountability -- or when the guest is even resonant to a certain question from a black perspective, especially a black guest, like Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Bensky will interpose and preempt the guest's answer with his own and abruptly move to the next question.

MFB: Right. I understand.

Joseph: You've been told about this. I said an older black woman called -- I certainly don't know her at all -- when you were on with Nicole Sawaya. And, you know, you unintentionally, I am sure -- you unintentionally sort of plied her off with platitudes about, you know, keep on listening...Many of us Bay Area blacks have to live with these people like Larry Bensky or Michael Krasney, you know, at KQED....And apparently an intelligent, articulate white woman who called and complained about the same sort of thing -- not only with regard to minorities and women -- but also with regard to those views who are more progressive than Larry Bensky's, who he censors or dismisses.
[Listeners notice]
IndyMedia News Section
by Fred Sunday, Sep. 14, 2003 at 12:00 PM

... The other issue not addresed here is the level of denial in the US about what it is that we're doing. It's a whole mentality. The ways to maintain their denial include all sorts of bizarre arguments ... like Larry Bensky's absurd argument this morning to keep people quiet about the voting machine scandal - "Now if you have a candidate polling with a 5 point lead going into the election and he loses with a 3 point loss, he's going to raise high hell . . . . right?" Luckily his guest corrected him....
Larry Bensky Welcomes a Peoples' Temple Death Squad Leader to the Airwaves in "Concerned Liberal" Drag

By Alex Constantine

Media fraud, opinion formation, deliberate abuse of the public airwaves ... these are highly unethical when engaged in by a corporate media outlet, unconscionable in a listener-supported radio station. Yet the officers and board of KPFK-FM allow certain talk show hosts in the station's employ to defraud its listeners on a routine basis.

My complaints and those of other listeners and even Pacifica programmers have fallen on deaf ears, and the abuse continues.

Racial separatist Ron Karenga, promoted as an icon of the left by some KPFK program hosts, is a CIA-FBI cut-out who served time for physical assault and rape, and was involved in the disruption and assassination of Black Panthers. He was a provocateur.

Another of the CIA liars who have been welcomed with open arms at Pacifica was Hugh Fortsyn - an extortionist and collaborator in murder as a lieutenant of Jim Jones in California. How much listener support would KPFK draw if its listeners knew that a CIA death squad leader – disguised as a concerned liberal Christian – was promoted by Larry Bensky, a senior programmer based at KPFA-FM in Berkeley, over THEIR airwaves, repeated over KPFK's transmitter?

On the November 16, 2004 broadcast of "Sunday Salon," an admiring Larry Bensky - shills at Pacifica always seem to fawn over covert operators - shared the microphone with Reverend Hugh Fortsyn, formerly an assistant to Jim Jones at the genocidal Peoples Temple, a CIA mind control operation.

Seductive Poison

Mr. Bensky was highly sympathetic to Rev. Fortsyn's claim that the CIA had no role in Jonestown apart from infiltration and harassment of the church - a blatantly FALSE claim first made by Jones himself to obscure the true sponsor of the Temple, distance himself from the Agency, and con progressives into supporting his activities.

Pacifica's Larry Bensky sneers at any mention of fascism on his program, and most especially despises the "conspiracy theorists" who trace CIA connections to Jonestown, the Kennedy assassination, etc.

Most listeners, of course, have never heard of Hugh Fortsyn, and had no way to guage the disinformation planted on Bensky's "Sunday Salon."

THE CULT THAT DIED, a book on Jonestown penned by George Klineman, Sherman Butler and David Conn (G.P. Putnam, 1980, a book of some but limited insight into intelligence connections at the Temple), offers a graphic profile of the reverend. We find that Fortsyn participated in a murder. The victim was Chris Lewis, an ex-con, heroin addict and a Jones bodyguard who trained agents of the Temple in breaking, entering and fencing stolen goods. (The break-ins were conducted around the Bay area - largely for the purpose of gathering information useful to Jim Jones, although personal belongings were also stolen to disguise the true nature of the crimes.)

Chris Lewis was gunned down by two assailants outside a Peoples' Temple thrift shop on December 10, 1977.

The murder was used to frighten and control Temple parishioners who refused to cooperate with Jones.

Wade and Mabel Medloc, for instance.

Two weeks after Lewis was shot and killed, Marcelline Jones, another assistant to Jim Jones, ordered the Medlocks to move to Jonestown in French Guyana. The Medlocks refused.

"What happened to Chris Lewis will happen to you," Marcelline told her. Rev. Fortsyn repeated the death threat a few days later. "You know what happened to Chris Lewis?" Fortsyn threatened him.

The Medlocks responded by suing the Temple, accusing Jones, Fortsyn and others of attempting to extort $135,000 in real estate from them. In the lawsuit, two members of the Peoples Temple, Jim Crokes and Jim McElvane, were identified as the killers of Chris Lewis.

Police never questioned these two, known to Temple insiders as participants in the Temple death squad, the "Angels of Death."

Rev. Fortsyn is an accomplice in the murder, legally speaking, at the very least, since he obviously had knowledge of it that he has not shared with police. The threats that Reverend Fortsyn made against the Medlocks in a failed effort to exort their wealth would suggest that he knows much more than he admits, that he was, in fact, involved in the deep corruption at Jonestown.

Bensky himself has reviled as lying fools any listeners who have called to share information on CIA involvement in fascism, a connection he finds ludicrous and rejects with extreme unction.

But then fraud is a staple of KPFK programming ....

Left-Wing Journalists Attack Those Who Question Bush's Role in 911
September 11 Opinions

Bev Conover writes, "Gangway for the self-appointed gatekeepers of the left who are on a crusade to spin, smear, attack, and label as loony anyone who won't accept the official line that the events leading up to and surrounding September 11 are nothing more than a series of coincidences and intelligence failures. This cabal of lily-livered leftists, ensconced in their ivory towers, have decreed we are bad kiddies for even suggesting that the Bush administration was complicit in or took advantage of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the baddest of all is Michael C. Ruppert, who publishes From the Wilderness." Conover cites Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive, Norman Solomon of the Institute for
Public Accuracy; David Corn of The Nation, Michael Alber of Z Magazin, Steve Rendall of FAIR, Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates; Larry Bensky of Pacifica Radio, and Noam Chomsky of MIT. Why are these folks attacking those who want the truth? ...
Neo-con Pacifica
By Joseph Wanzala

Thus (see below) we have a leading KPFA/Pacifica voices (inadvertently) furthering a neo-conservative agenda. Larry Bensky recently interviewed Gerald Posner and Amy Goodman interviewed two authors (Peter Lance and Richard Miniter) whose books both pushed the 'Saudi Arabia did it' thesis though the emphasis was more on the supposed failure of the US intelligence agencies to do their job. These sort of developments show how problematic it is for Pacifica and progressives in general to marginalize so-called 'conspiracy theory' researchers and instead develop a preference for 'safe'
journalists like Posner and Lance. What good is Pacifica if middle-of-the-road watering holes like 'Salon' can make more incisive contributions to one of the most critical questions facing progressives than anything one might hear on Democracy Now? I think it is clear that the overbearing concern of many leading Pacifica commentators - including Bernstein, Bensky and Goodman not to be seen as 'marginal conspiratologist' is having the effect of leading Pacifica into the intellectual arms of the neo-cons. There is now a community of investigative researchers who have raised critical questions about 9-11 and the criminal nature of state power in general but who have been declared 'beyond the pale' by the left establishment. Therefore the general thrust of their work is rejected. Since no other progressive journalists seem to be doing their own original work on this question - they turn to
establishment/mainstream journalists safe in the knowledge that they will not be attacked for putting out the wrong message. I think this is a very dangerous trend and I hope that we can begin to see a change in attitude from progressives to the extent that (they/we) recognize the dangers in the trend I have laid out above and which is discussed further below.
Shiu Hung: "Bensky will continue to shovel out his lineup of so-called experts to further marginalise the 9/11 skeptic position and needlessly continue to prop up the official story as the gospel truth. His show, Sunday Salon has recently featured Gerald Posner with his new book: Why America Slept? And Chip "John Foster" Berlet¹s ridiculous comments concerning US air defense¹s stand down on 9/11. According to Berlet, the Stand down was because the Pentagon didn¹t want to bother the East Coast Corridor suburbanite¹s with loud jet noises. Practically every expert guest Bensky had on since 9/11 repeats the official lies and disinformation...."

9-11 Coverup At Pacifica Radio!

Hear Larry Bensky of KPFA attack 9/11 skeptics with ad-hominem smears, 27
Apr 03 (audio):

Pacifica's Larry Bensky gives airtime to RAND Corporation shill

On October 13, 2002, the day after the nightclub bombing in Bali which killed nearly 200, KPFA's Sunday Salon hosted "international terrorism expert" Rohan Gunaratna in an hour-long interview with commentator Larry Bensky. Gunaratna expounded on themes that were consistent with his other media appearances, insisting categorically that only al Qaeda could have been behind the bombing, and -- echoing a kind of pseudo-critique that has become a staple of what one might charitably call an "antiwar-lite" Left establishment -- argued that Bush's focus on Iraq is objectionable simply because it threatens to interfere with escalating the "War on Terrorism" (this "critical" viewpoint, by the way, can also be found in a number of recent publications by the Council on Foreign Relations). Another common theme typical in Gunaratna's media appearances is his claim that the spread of terrorism can be blamed on such outmoded conceits as "tight limits on how intelligence and police officials can gather evidence against suspects, a strong civil liberties tradition and easy access to education and welfare provision". One thing of note about Gunaratna's appearance on Pacifica Network's KPFA is that Bensky chose not to open up the lines for call-ins,so there was no opportunity for the KPFA audience to challenge him.

-- Alex Constantine

Sunday, September 27, 2009

L.A.: The Struggle for KPFK, 2009 - Turning Back Ian Masters and Creeping "Intelligence Community" Encroachment/Board Election Endorsements

Dear friends and political acquaintances:

Michael Novick is a good guy in this fight. Please read his important commentary pasted in below. Please forward to those who may benefit from his perspective and especially to those who are voting in the KPFK Local Station Board elections by the deadline of Oct 15.

Mike is a very well respected individual in the activist community. I've known him for over 20 years. He really knows what's going on, especially in regard to the deception employed in the LA Pacifica community about what's happening at Pacifica radio and the degree with which this deception has pulled the wool over many Pacifica listener-sponsors eyes (and ears) not only in LA but especially in other signal areas who would normally recognize such operations.

I believe many of the Pacifica listeners and activists outside of LA are basing their understanding of Grace Aaron's agenda (with husband & KPFK Local Station Board candidate Ken Aaron) and those of whom are behind her, on very limited information and a narrow analysis of Pacifica's history.

Ian Masters KPFK program, Background Briefing, is the key to understanding what is in store for the entire Pacifica chain of stations (KPFk - Los Angeles, KPFA - Berkeley, WBAI - New York, KPFT - Houston, WPFW - Washington, DC). Their intention is to make Ian Masters a Pacifica syndicated national Pacifica star, sort of following the model when Amy Goodman's Democracy Now was launched during a similar putsch in '95--'97 at Pacifica's stations by the same political forces in LA, Berkeley & Wash DC. However, Ian Masters' program is a very sophisticated and clever propaganda outlet for the US national security state in its effort to reinforce US military and intelligence policy. In other words, deception reigns on Background Briefing and has been key to the continued manipulation and containment of Los Angeles political intelligentsia, especially in the entertainment community (a primary target of intelligence community influence).

Within this effort, spearheading Masters' program to Pacifica National is their parallel objective of forcing on all of the stations more uniform content and in order to do that they will remove many of the important programs that have existed on a single Pacifica station, some for decades. Two of those targeted for removal I believe are: Radio Intifada at KPFK and Taking Aim at WBAI in New York.

Additionally, this political operation is dedicated to transforming Pacifica into largely a non-profit corporation and foundation-funded outlet, thereby avoiding any shred of accountability to it's listener-sponsors who should be the only source of the network's income. These foundations have a liberal and even "progressive" veneers but are in actuality adjuncts for US propaganda operations, military and economic destabilization operations and phony or limited (hang out) investigative journalism through NPR and PBS, among other sources.

The other critical objective of this political operation behind Grace Aaron is the reversal of the democratization of the local boards (listener-elected) and a return of Pacifica's governance structure to an appointed local board model.

Thank you very much for your interest and commitment to protecting Pacifica from those who seek to transform the network into another vapid and useless voice for the (phony) Democratic Party.

Jonathan Markowitz
Tuesday, September 22, 2009 12:09 AM
Subject: Endorsements in the election for KPFK Local Station Board
From: "Michael Novick"
To: "laamn"

Michael Novick
Sept 22, 2009

The war of words in the Local Station Board (LSB) elections for KPFK and other Pacifica radio stations is heating up. An open letter from Jim Lafferty, host of The Lawyers Guild (as well as a staffer at the National Lawyers Guild chapter in L.A. and a former interim station manager at KPFK) and a vicious counter-attack from Ian Masters, host of a double-serving of "insider analysis" by intelligence community honchos and academics, Background Briefing and Live from the Left Coast, are the latest salvos in a struggle over the direction of the station and the network that are some of the most valuable assets of the so-called left or progressive movement. As in any election, there is no possibility of bridging the gap -- decisive and exclusionarychoices must be made by everyone, no matter how much we may hate the in-fighting, name-calling, and finger-pointing that passes for debate when the left forms up its circular firing squad.

And in fact, in this election, the choice is clear. One side, the side of current LSB member and acting Executive Director of Pacifica Grace Aaron, of her husband Ken, a candidate for LSB, of Ian Masters and other staffers and hosts, is committed to purges, bannings and to 'rule or ruin' Pacifica as an adjunct of the Democratic Party under the mantle of 'fiscal responsibility'. The other side, supporting a platform of a few key principles including loyalty to the Pacifica mission, has backed a list of grassroots activists from various communities around the KPFK listening area who have signed on to the following points of unity:

* Implementing the core values of the Pacifica Mission: voices by and for people not commonly heard in the mainstream media

* Greater autonomy and local decision-making for our radio station

* Fiscal transparency and responsibility: people, not corporate underwriters, supporting people's radio

* Local, diverse, multilingual, and young voices from and for our communities

* Spanish language programming to bring progressive messages to Spanish language communities

* Effective, participatory governance that is accountable to listener-sponsors and responsive to the diverse needs and interests of the Southern California listening community

I have endorsed these principles, although I am not running for anything myself. I have worked -- both in the context of KPFK/Pacifica and in the broader social and political movements of southern California -- with a number of the candidates who have endorsed those principles as the basis of their campaign and as their commitment of accountability to the listeners. At, you can see the list with the "official" voting order. I am making personal endorsements here, and giving my personal knowledge and experience of many of these candidates. (A word about my own qualifications to make such endorsements -- in addition to being a participant in almost every major coalition effort in Los Angeles since I arrived here in 1982, I was elected at a KPFK town hall meeting as a listener member of the News Director search committee some years ago, participated in efforts to rewrite the Pacifica bylaws, and was an elected listener member and elected chair of the KPFK interim Program Council.)

Khallid Al-Alim, a current member of the LSB despite efforts to keep him off, is a parent activist in the Coalition for Educational Justice whom I have worked with as a former member of CEJ myself and as a 'chapter chair' (shop steward) in United Teachers Los Angeles. Khallid's name is printed on the ballot -- but you must vote for him as a write-in, because his nominating petition was ruled invalid. I urge you to vote for Khallid (as a write-in on the bottom of your ballot) and ranked number one to insure him the strongest possibility of getting elected under the circumstances that some people may unwittingly vote for by marking the line by his name and thereby waste their vote. Khallid is a survivor/resister of police brutality
by the LAPD which resulted in a police-prosecutorial frame-up; based on that first-hand experience, he has also worked with me in the Jericho Amnesty Coalition to Free All Political Prisoners, defending Mumia, Leonard Peltier, the San Francisco 8 and other victims of injustice and political incarceration.

Lawrence Reyes of the Puerto Rican Alliance, a listener-member of many LSB committees, another ally in the Jericho Amnesty Coalition to Free All Political Prisoners, was singled out for particular vituperation by Ian Masters, probably because Lawrence has been one of the most outspoken and principled internationalist opponents of imperialism, war and colonialism. He, too, is a parent of a LAUSD student, a social worker and union member, a community cultural activist who has brought artists, dancers, exhibits and speakers to Los Angeles to educate the community about the Puerto Rican people and their struggle against US colonialism. Lawrence has fought long and hard for the interests of the listeners, for the needs and voices of the communities of poor, oppressed, working and struggling people in Los Angeles and southern CA to be heard on the air and in the governance of the station and the network.

KPFK and Pacifica have been built with the blood, sweat and contributions of volunteers and listeners like Lawrence, and the station and foundation must not be hijacked by a cabal of well-funded Democratic Party partisans to serve their own narrow interests. Lawrence's experience and commitment means he would be a bulwark on the Board against any abandonment of Pacifica's mission, and a spark plug for maintaining the relevance and connection of the station and its programming to a new generation of young people, in the growing demographic groups of
southern California.

Chuck Anderson is stalwart in the struggle for peace, civil liberties and justice. Like me a grandfather, he retains a connection to younger people just coming in to such struggles. Based in Orange County, he is tireless in his efforts to reach out and organize, to connect with the Palestinian and other Arab and Muslim communities, to oppose the USA PATRIOT Act and other manifestations of a police state, and to struggle for democracy within Pacifica, as well as grassroots community activist access to the airwaves.

John Parker may be the best known of the candidates endorsing the principles noted above. He is a leader of the International Action Center, and has been involved for many years in struggles for social and economic justice, against racism and US wars of occupation and aggression, in the effort to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and other political prisoners, and in fighting for the interests of working people. He would bring valuable skills in coalition building to the station board.

Ruby Medrano has a long history of activism and grassroots community work, particularly in East Los Angeles, going back to work with the United Farm Workers. She has many years experience with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. She has also been a leader and activist in the Democratic Party, which honestly is not my cup of tea, but unlike the Aaron slate, she is not trying to turn the station and network into the voice of the Democratic Party, and is willing to work in coalition with others to ensure that KPFK and Pacifica remain committed to free speech and a broad airing of diverse views and debate.

Cuco (Refugio Ceballos) is a danzante with the Danza Azteca Cuautemoc, those tireless multi-generational cultural/political/spiritual workers whose commitment to resistance, internationalism, healing and decolonization inspires and amazes marchers and on-lookers alike at protests around the southland. Cuco is a member of the community board and a teacher at Tia Chucha's in the north Valley, and he was also involved in community efforts to roll back the horrible budget cuts at LAUSD and to create a liberation school effort when LAUSD slashed summer school classes earlier this year. His commitment to educating and making space for young people is unquestionable.

Tej Grewall is an intellectually-curious young woman of Indian descent who does street level radio journalism as a volunteer, working with the "People Without Borders" collective at KPFK and also serving as a listener-member of the LSB's Outreach Committee helping build the audience and the station's connection to new, younger listeners like herself. She has been on Dedon Kamathi's "Freedom Now" and out on the streets participating in and covering protests for educational justice or against genocide in Africa.

Luis Garcia is a former member of the "Local Advisory Board" under KPFK's and Pacifica's former system of governance. He has been a strong advocate for Spanish-language community-based programming on KPFK. I worked with Luis, who is a former probation officer and a "pragmatic prison abolitionist" and member of Families to Amend California's Three Strikes (FACTS) in the Criminal Justice Consortium years ago, and more recently in CURB, Californians United for a Responsible Budget, in the effort to slash spending on the prison-industrial complex and release non-violent offenders from brutal and corrupt prisons into community diversion and reintegration programs.

Ian Johnston (c) is a current member of the LSB and participant in LSB and PNB committees who has long roots in the Venice community and has been an activist against CIA criminality and the use by the Bush regime of 9-11 to carry out war and repression. He is a former volunteer board operator and sometime programmer/producer of "Another World View is Possible." He is running for re-election to the Board as a strong advocate for listener access to the airwaves and the board meetings, and against making the station and network a sounding board for partisan, state or "intelligence community" operatives.

Three other candidates who have endorsed the same principles as the ones I have mentioned here are Fred Klunder, Dutch Merrick, and Sandi Stiassni, but I have no first-hand knowledge or shared political practice with them aside from hearing them speak on-air or in person. I join in endorsing them based on their commitment to the principles and their endorsement by people I know and trust from common work over a long period, such as Leslie Radford, Sherna Gluck, Bernie Eisenberg, and the candidates with whom I have stronger connections.

This election is vital -- that sounds like a cliche, but in this case I believe it to be true. My analysis, which I believe has been proven out over a number of years, is that "corporate liberal" forces affiliated with the national Democratic Party had taken over and were prepared to bankrupt and destroy Pacifica a decade ago. That was made possible because too many on the "white left" did not respond when the Pacifica purges began with attacks on revolutionary-minded, grassroots community oriented programming by people of color, such as Dedon Kamathi, Family Tree with Kamal Hassan, Jan Robinson Flint and other Black programmers, Ron Wilkins' Continent to Continent, Miya Iwataki of East Wind, American Indian Airwaves, homeless radio producer Michael Taylor, who drew the attention of L.A. to Mumia Abu-Jamal when few on the west coast were aware of his existence, and others. That failure to act paved the way for the complete takeover and makeover, so that by the time they came after Amy Goodman, Dennis Bernstein and Larry Bensky, it was almost too late to act. I am
convinced that the Democratic Party forces that had control at that time, via a self-perpetuating board of Pacifica financing itself and national operations out of revenues from commercialization of the stations' "sideband" frequencies, would have bankrupted the foundation and stations through endless lawsuits -- except for the
fact that Bush stole the 2000 election. At that point, needing to keep Pacifica alive for their own purposes, they backed down, settled the lawsuit, created a joint interim Board that adopted restrictively-'democratic' bylaws, and grudgingly agreed to allow a certain number of grassroots community voices of people of color back on the air. Now, with the Democratic Party enjoying control of the White House, the Congress and Senate, these same forces are prepared to break the social contract and coalition that has sustained KPFK and Pacifica as free-speech community oriented media outlets. They want to rule or ruin, with all power and access in their own hands.

They plan to seek foundation funding and underwriters, big ticket donors and thereby free themselves from concern about or accountability to the listeners. They are following the same strategy of purging programmers and staffers of color who do not toe their line, such as Bernard White in NY and Jerry Quickley in L.A. If you want the station and the network to survive in any meaningful form, let alone to thrive as a breath of fresh air politically, culturally and artistically, you must vote for the list of candidates I have named. Otherwise, KPFK will be doomed to increasing irrelevance, its audience shrinking and aging, its airwaves alienating rather than inviting the new generation of young people in struggle for a better, freer future, for liberation and decolonization.

-- Michael Novick, editor "Turning the Tide: Journal of Anti-Racist Action, Research & Education" Anti-Racist Action-Los Angeles/People Against Racist Terror (ARA-LA/PART) 310-495-0299

Study Details Mainstream Media's Biased Reporting on ACORN

Summary: Our analysis of the narrative framing of the ACORN stories demonstrates that -- despite long-standing charges from conservatives that the news media are determinedly liberal and ignore conservative ideas -- the news media agenda is easily permeated by a persistent media campaign, even when there is little or no truth to the story.

ISS - Institute for Southern Studies
Facing South

ACORN, a community-based advocacy group for low- and moderate-income families, has been in the news in recent weeks thanks to an undercover video in which two employees in the organization's Baltimore office appear to offer unethical advice on home loans, tax evasion and disguising identities of underaged sex workers to two conservative activists posing as a pimp and prostitute. The organization has fired the workers and hired a former Massachusetts attorney general to conduct an internal review. It's also suing the filmmakers for illegal taping under Maryland law.

The media scrutiny of the 500,000-member group continues today, with reports that a leading Senate Republican, Charles Grassley of Iowa, has called on the Internal Revenue Service to look at how ACORN has transferred charitable and government funds meant for the poor to political and profit-making arms of the group. Those transactions occurred before a change in the group's leadership last year.

This is not the first time ACORN has found itself in the media spotlight: The organization first became a high-profile story during last year's presidential campaign when Republican candidates and other conservatives attacked the group and tried to link it to Barack Obama, with GOP presidential candidate John McCain charging hyperbollically in an October debate that the group was "maybe destroying the fabric of democracy."

Now a new study documents serious problems with the way major media outlets have handled the ACORN story.

Titled "Manipulating the Public Agenda: Why ACORN Was in the News, and What the News Got Wrong," the independent study of coverage by 15 major news organizations was authored by Peter Dreier, a professor of politics at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and Christopher Martin, a journalism professor at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

They trace the latest uproar over ACORN to the White House firing of David Iglesias, the U.S. Attorney in New Mexico, for failing to help GOP election prospects by prosecuting alleged instances of voter fraud by the group. At the time ACORN was involved in a major voter-registration drive in the state.

Dreier and Martin note that after the House Judiciary Committee released over 5,000 pages of documents last month detailing the central role former Bush senior advisor Karl Rove played in Iglesia's termination, nearly every major news organization reported on the documents' release:

...[B]ut none of them -- including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal -- mention that Rove was specifically focused on attacking ACORN for its voter registration efforts in New Mexico and other states, even though ACORN is mentioned frequently as a Republican target in the investigative documents.

The study points out that while ACORN has long been involved in efforts to improve housing, wages, access to credit and public education, the focus of most news stories about ACORN -- what the authors call the "story frame" -- was voter fraud:

The "voter fraud" frame appeared in 55% of the 647 news stories about the community organization in 15 mainstream news organizations during 2007 and 2008.

But at the same time, many media outlets failed to distinguish allegations of voter registration problems from actual voting irregularities, and between allegations of wrongdoing and actual wrongdoing.

For instance, 80.3% of the stories about ACORN's alleged involvement in voter fraud failed to mention that ACORN was reporting registration irregularities to authorities, as required under law, while 85.1% of the stories about ACORN's alleged involvement in voter fraud failed to note that ACORN took action when it became aware of the problems. And 95.8% of the stories failed to provide deeper context -- "especially efforts by Republican Party officials to use allegations of 'voter fraud' to dampen voting by low-income and minority Americans."

Interestingly, the study found that local newspapers were more likely to verify facts with county election boards and thus were less susceptible to the politicized "voter fraud" frame than national news outlets.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ad in Harvard Student Paper Causes Outrage

Jeff Greer
September 09, 2009

The Harvard Crimson finds itself at the center of controversy this week after publishing an ad in Tuesday's newspaper that questioned the existence of the Holocaust, the Crimson reports. The ad, which was submitted by the founder of the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust, Bradley Smith, will not run the rest of the week, as was previously scheduled.

The ad asked readers to "provide, with proof, the name of one person killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz." It prompted an overwhelming outpouring of outrage, from campus group leaders to individual undergrads. A joint letter signed by 30 undergraduates said, "Some of us are the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors and were deeply hurt by the implication that those stories passed on to us of our past—of lives lost and families destroyed—were all lies concocted by a vast Jewish conspiracy."

In a statement on the Crimson's website, Crimson President Maxwell Child blamed the advertisement's publishing on oversight and miscommunication.

“Unfortunately, with three weeks of vacation between submission and publication, that decision fell through the cracks," Child writes. “While running the ad was not our intent, we accept responsibility for our failure to carry out the planned cancellation."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pat Buchanan's Race Baiting

By Tanya Acker

I spend a fair amount of time sparring with those who fall along various points on the right-wing spectrum, so I should not have been surprised by the interesting constellation of venom in Mr. Buchanan's recent essay, Populist Right Rising. In it, Mr. Buchanan posits an end to the "Age of Obama," that epoch having been abbreviated by a resurgence of white, right-wing rage. It is a rage that has been much on display of late during the town halls taking place across the country, and it is a rage with which, according to Mr. Buchanan, much of America empathizes.

As evidence of that empathy, Mr. Buchanan relies upon a Pew poll, in which he claims 61% of those polled believe the town hall protestors are "behaving properly." This alleged identification with the town hall protestors (who have taken to bringing firearms to presidential events and accusing the advocates of health care reform of genocidal tendencies) is apparently premised, according to Mr. Buchanan, on the notion that the protestors "look and talk just like them." The American public is therefore doing nothing more than showing its loyalty to its own, much as it did during the 1968 Democratic Convention when "the country sided with the Chicago cops" who confronted the antiwar protestors and "gave them a good thrashing." ...

Mr. Buchanan's fluency in the techniques of partisan race baiting is so well known that it deserves no comment here. ... Mr. Buchanan goes on to say that the GOP was not hurt when "by four to one, its senators voted against "Ms. Affirmative Action" (that would be Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in case you were wondering). Such a spiteful reference to the High Court's newest Justice is probably among the more banal of Mr. Buchanan's race-baiting tactics. ...

Full story:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hal Turner Trial Update

Trial Over Blogger's Alleged Death Threats Against Chicago Judges Moved to Brooklyn
By Mark Fass
New York Law Journal
September 23, 2009

The trial of a New Jersey man who allegedly threatened on his Web site to assault and murder three judges on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has been moved to Brooklyn federal court.

Defendant Hal Turner, a popular blogger known for posting vitriolic diatribes against gun control, immigration and abortion rights, published several entries advocating the deaths of Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, the prolific Judge Richard Posner and Senior Judge William Bauer, for their decision upholding the dismissals of several cases challenging handgun bans in and around Chicago.

"Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed. Their blood will replenish the tree of liberty," Mr. Turner wrote on June 2. "These Judges deserve to [be] made such an example of as to send a message to the entire judiciary: Obey the Constitution or die."

Mr. Turner also posted the judges' photographs, phone numbers and work address, as well as a map of their courthouse that specifically pointed out three "anti-truck bomb barriers."

Mr. Turner faces a maximum of 10 years if convicted of "threaten[ing] to assault, kidnap, or murder, a [federal judge] with intent to impede, intimidate, or interfere with [the judge] or with intent to retaliate against [the judge] on account of the performance of official duties," in violation of 18 USC §115(a)(1)(B).

The chief justice of the Northern District of Illinois assigned the case to District Court Judge Donald Walter, a visiting judge who normally sits in Shreveport, La.

Judge Walter then granted the defense's request for a change of venue, transferring the case to Brooklyn.

In agreeing to move the case, the judge cited the February 2005 murders of Chicago federal Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow's mother and husband.

"Although the motion (for a change of venue) makes no reference to the recent tragedy in which the husband and mother of a member of the District Court for Northern Illinois were slain, the court takes notice of it and the widespread media coverage devoted to it," he said. "Memories are not so short as to erase the event from the public mind."

Mr. Turner also cited those murders in his June 2 post, but for a different proposition.

"Apparently," Mr. Turner wrote, "the 7th U.S. Circuit court didn't get the hint after those killings. It appears another lesson is needed."

Judge Walter will now come to Brooklyn as a visiting judge to hear the case.

The trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 30.

The Chicago prosecutors assigned to the case, William Hogan and William Ridgeway, will try it.

Mr. Turner also faces similar charges in Connecticut state court, for urging his blog's readers to "take up arms" against the state legislature.

Changes of venue are uncommon in federal court; several Eastern District officials yesterday said that they could not recall a case being transferred either in or out of Brooklyn.

But Mr. Turner's attorney, Michael Orozco of Bailey Orozco in Newark, said the decision to move the present case was an obvious one.

"You have a New Jersey defendant whose actions were only done in New Jersey who is being charged in Chicago with threatening Chicago judges," Mr. Orozco said. "The chief judge recused every single judge. There's no way they can have any judges there hear this thing fairly."

Mr. Orozco said that he was not worried about trying the case in the "melting pot of New York."

"Mr. Turner is not a hate-filled man," Mr. Orozco said, "regardless of what content people want to bring out that he has said in the blogs."

Glenn Beck: No Stranger to Right-Wing Radicalism

by David Neiwert
2009-09-21 11:44 Media Literacy/Bias|Newswire
Crooks and Liars

The centerpiece of Glenn Beck's incessant attacks on "White House czars" like Van Jones, as well as his attacks on ACORN, is his claim that this is all about rooting out the deep-seated radicalism within the Obama White House -- and ultimately, the deep-seated radicalism of Obama himself. He's been quite explicit about this.

But what about Glenn Beck himself? Beck has shown a powerful affinity for right-wing radicals dating back at least to his days at CNN's Headline News, when he declared his sympathy for the John Birch Society (in its campaign to stop the non-existent "NAFTA Superhighway") and warned that Al Gore's real purpose behind his "global warming campaign" was to install a global government. (Back then, it was Gore, not Obama, who was just like Hitler.)

It's only intensified since he left CNN for Fox. Given the freedom to let his fetid imagination run amok, has quickly amassed a massive record of mainstreaming ideas and talking points from the genuinely radical right of American politics. (The accompanying video gives you a 17-minute compendium of Beck's extremist rhetoric.)

We noticed this back when it first surfaced amid a raft of other Beck wingnuttia. This week, Alexander Zaitchik in Salon published a devastating rundown of perhaps the foundation of Beck's radicalism: His ardent adoption of the ideology espoused by W. Cleon Skousen, one of the most radical of the old "Church-Birch Connection" gang of LDS elders who spread Bircherirsm throughout Mormon-land. (I remember seeing The Naked Communist on the bookshelf of many of the Mormon homes I grew up around in southern Idaho, including several in my family.) Salty City Sinner noticed the Skousen connection back in March too.

Skousen, as Zaitchik explains, was so far out on the fringe he even made the Birchers nervous:

W. Cleon Skousen was not a historian so much as a player in the history of the American far right; less a scholar of the republic than a threat to it. At least, that was the judgment of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, which maintained a file on Skousen for years that eventually totaled some 2,000 pages. Before he died in 2006 at the age of 92, Skousen's own Mormon church publicly distanced itself from the foundation that Skousen founded and that has published previous editions of "The 5,000 Year Leap."

Beck not only avidly endorsed The 5,000-Year Leap on his program -- it was one of three texts he told everyone who watched his show to read as part of "The 912 Project," since the very phrase "912" came from Skousen (whose book details the "9 Principles" and the "12 Values" Beck employs). He also wrote the foreword to is newest edition, in which he told readers it was "divinely inspired" -- something repeated in his blurb for the book:

"I beg you to read this book filled with words of wisdom which I can only describe as divinely inspired. You will find answers to questions plaguing America, and more importantly you will find hope. I know I have!"

Beck also promoted The 5,000 Year Leap on the 912 Project Blog, and listed his "12 Values" on the Fox News site. Lawdy, when the first "912 Project" aired, it was truly a sight to behold.

The result, of course, was that Skousen's book shot up the bestseller charts:

On Friday, after several days in the top 10, "The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World, Principles of Freedom 101" leaped to No. 1 on's list of Bestsellers in Books.

"Everyone should read this book," the conservative talk show host said as he passed out copies during a recent broadcast. On his radio program Friday evening, Beck touted the book's climb to No. 1.

Skousen published "The 5000 Year Leap" in 1981, nearly 25 years after he published "The Naked Communist," a national bestseller that has sold more than 1 million copies.

Just how far out on the far right was Skousen. As Zaitchik explains, some of movement conservatism's leading poohbahs fled screaming from him:

"The Naked Capitalist" does not seem like a text that would be part of the required reading list on any reputable college campus, but some BYU professors taught it out of allegiance to Skousen. Terrified, the editors of Dialogue: The Journal of Mormon Thought invited "Tragedy and Hope" author Carroll Quigley to comment on Skousen's interpretation of his work. They also asked a highly respected BYU history professor named Louis C. Midgley to review Skousen's latest pamphlet. Their judgment was not kind. In the Autumn/Winter 1971 issue of Dialogue, the two men accused Skousen of "inventing fantastic ideas and making inferences that go far beyond the bounds of honest commentary." Skousen not only saw things that weren't in Quigley's book, they declared, he also missed what actually was there -- namely, a critique of ultra-far-right conspiracists like Willard Cleon Skousen.

"Skousen's personal position," wrote a dismayed Quigley, "seems to me perilously close to the 'exclusive uniformity' which I see in Nazism and in the Radical Right in this country. In fact, his position has echoes of the original Nazi 25-point plan."

Hey, it may be that Glenn Beck is uncovering true radicals within the Obama White House -- though all we've seen so far is a McCarthyite smear job of Van Jones and his fellow "czars" and some videotaped corruption within a community-volunteer organization that has no official or other connection to the White House.

But what about the far-right radicals lurking in Glenn Beck's own closet? It might be time to take a longer and deeper look.

article originally published at Crooks and Liars.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Glenn Beck's Remaining Advertisers in England Under Attack

By James Moore
September 22, 2009

Although Glenn Beck's show has been deserted by 62 of America's corporate titans, the likes of Tesco, Diageo and Kellogg's UK continue to advertise during the programme when it is screened on the Sky TV platform in Britain.

He is the baby-faced television assassin who makes even his colleagues at the notoriously right-wing Fox News Channel look like simpering liberals. But while Glenn Beck's show has been deserted by 62 of America's corporate titans, the likes of Tesco, Diageo and Kellogg's UK continue to advertise during the programme when it is screened on the Sky TV platform in Britain.

Beck has sparked controversy in the US by accusing Barack Obama of racism and claiming that the President has "a deep-seated hatred for white people". His incendiary comments have been blamed for adding an ugly undertone to US political debate and prompted the pressure group Color of Change to call for an advertising boycott of his show.

So far, the call has been heeded by blue-chip companies including Wal-Mart, which owns Asda in the UK, the telecoms giant AT&T, Campbell's soups, Bank of America and Capital One. More are expected to follow suit this week.

Last night, James Rucker, the executive director of Color of Change, urged British companies to follow the lead of their American counterparts.

He said: "What we would hope to see in the UK as we see here is companies exercising some sense of corporate responsibility. We are all for freedom of speech and ideas but what Beck is doing is using advertisers' dollars to present distortions that are often racially divisive as fact on what is a mainstream news channel."

In response, Tesco, which has also faced controversy in the US over labour practices at its Fresh&Easy chain, said: "We are clear that the placing of our advertising is not a statement of support or otherwise for the programming content on the channel. In common with many other businesses, Tesco buys advertising space, often as a package, across a range of channels and time slots."

Kellogg's UK said it would review its advertising on Glenn Beck. Diageo, which uses the show to advertise Guinness, did not return calls.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Media Magnate among the Backers of Michael Moore's Anti-Capitalism Screed

Re Moore backer John Malone (and TCI, Liberty Media, Fox News, Cato Institute, etc.), see: "Media Mafia (Part Five): The CIA/Mafia's Rupert Murdoch, Jim Cownie, et al"

Overture's John Malone is a master of the tax-free deal, a champion of unfettered free markets and completely disdains government and most federal regulations. And, yeah, Moore is OK with that.

'Capitalism: A Love Story' won't be a 'Sicko'
By Joe Flint
LA Times
September 17, 2009

He's been labeled a monopolist. Al Gore called him "Darth Vader." He's a master of the tax-free deal, a champion of unfettered free markets, completely disdains government and most federal regulations and has expressed a fondness for Rush Limbaugh. Earlier this summer he was slapped with a $1.4-million fine by the Justice Department for illegal stock purchases.

Sounds like the perfect target for a scathing Michael Moore documentary, no? It might be, if it weren't for the fact that he's also Moore's latest financial backer -- cable magnate John Malone.

That's right, Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" is being co-financed and distributed domestically by Overture Films, which is a unit of Malone's Liberty Media. Moore, who has been railing against Big Media during press junkets promoting the movie, is, in fact, in bed with the Goldman Sachs of the media world.

Liberty, which also owns satellite broadcaster DirecTV, has a stake in satellite radio operator Sirius XM, a big chunk of Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp., the Atlanta Braves and a piece of the Denver Nuggets. Malone, considered the father of the modern-day cable industry, himself has a piece of cable programming giant Discovery Communications, on whose board he sits.

Obviously, there is a little something ironic about Moore's cinematic screed against capitalism being backed in part by one of the country's richest and most avowed capitalists. Then again, Moore is nothing if not a paradox. Although he still has close ties to Michigan and has positioned himself as the voice of the common man, Moore is also a shrewd negotiator when it comes to his vested financial interests. On his last film, "Sicko," he received half of the documentary's gross profits, as detailed in a Los Angeles Times story in 2007.

While Moore relishes the spotlight, Malone keeps a relatively modest profile. Although he's amassed a fortune, he's not flashy. Malone has been known to go home for lunch with his wife and once told the New Yorker that while his children will not go wanting in this world, he plans to leave the bulk of his estate to charity.

Moore, through a spokesman, isn't making any apologies for having one of Malone's companies as a backer of his film.

"The movie is about how people make their money -- and specifically criticizes the beast, our out-of-control economic system . . . and for those folks who make their money in ways that don't exploit or hurt others -- then they should be giving a lot more back in tax dollars to help support a more just and fair society," Moore said. "People like John Malone, myself and others who have been blessed, we all ought to be in a 70% tax bracket with the money being used to provide such important services as a real universal and affordable single-payer healthcare system."

Although it's unknown whether Malone would agree with Moore's belief that the wealthy "should be giving a lot more back in tax dollars to help support a more just and fair society," it's reasonable to believe that the cable pioneer hopes the filmmaker's movie will do well enough at the box office to make a decent return on Overture's investment.,0,5524743.story

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Glenn Beck's Mentor

Also see: "Mitt Romney's Mentor was Mormon Bircher Cleon Skousen"

Meet the man who changed Glenn Beck's life ...

Cleon Skousen was a right-wing crank whom even conservatives despised. Then Beck discovered him

By Alexander Zaitchik
Sep. 16, 2009
[Thanks to VictorSRMoore for the lead]

On Saturday, I spent the afternoon with America's new breed of angry conservative. Up to 75,000 protesters had gathered in Washington on Sept. 12, the day after the eighth anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, sporting the now familiar tea-bagger accoutrements of "Don't Tread on Me" T-shirts, Revolutionary War outfits and Obama-the-Joker placards. The male-skewing, nearly all-white throng had come to denounce the president and what they believe is his communist-fascist agenda.

Even if the turnout wasn't the 2 million that some conservatives tried, briefly, to claim, it was still enough to fill the streets near the Capitol. It was also ample testament to the strength of a certain strain of right-wing populist rage and the talking head who has harnessed it. The masses were summoned by Glenn Beck, Fox News host and organizer of the 912 Project, the civic initiative he pulled together six months ago to restore America to the sense of purpose and unity it had felt the day after the towers fell.

In reality, however, the so-called 912ers were summoned to D.C. by the man who changed Beck's life, and that helps explain why the movement is not the nonpartisan lovefest that Beck first sold on air with his trademark tears. Beck has created a massive meet-up for the disaffected, paranoid Palin-ite "death panel" wing of the GOP, those ideologues most susceptible to conspiracy theories and prone to latch on to eccentric distortions of fact in the name of opposing "socialism." In that, they are true disciples of the late W. Cleon Skousen, Beck's favorite writer and the author of the bible of the 9/12 movement, "The 5,000 Year Leap." A once-famous anti-communist "historian," Skousen was too extreme even for the conservative activists of the Goldwater era, but Glenn Beck has now rescued him from the remainder pile of history, and introduced him to a receptive new audience.

Anyone who has followed Beck will recognize the book's title. Beck has been furiously promoting "The 5,000 Year Leap" for the past year, a push that peaked in March when he launched the 912 Project. That month, a new edition of "The 5,000 Year Leap," complete with a laudatory new foreword by none other than Glenn Beck, came out of nowhere to hit No. 1 on Amazon. It remained in the top 15 all summer, holding the No. 1 spot in the government category for months. The book tops Beck's 912 Project "required reading" list, and is routinely sold at 912 Project meetings where guest speakers often use it as their primary source material. At one 912 meet-up I attended in Florida, copies were stacked high on a table against the back wall, available for the 912 nice price of $15. "Don't bother trying to get it at the library," one 912er told me. "The wait list is 40 deep."

What has Beck been pushing on his legions? "Leap," first published in 1981, is a heavily illustrated and factually challenged attempt to explain American history through an unspoken lens of Mormon theology. As such, it is an early entry in the ongoing attempt by the religious right to rewrite history. Fundamentalists want to define the United States as a Christian nation rather than a secular republic, and recast the Founding Fathers as devout Christians guided by the Bible rather than deists inspired by French and English philosophers. "Leap" argues that the U.S. Constitution is a godly document above all else, based on natural law, and owes more to the Old and New Testaments than to the secular and radical spirit of the Enlightenment. It lists 28 fundamental beliefs -- based on the sayings and writings of Moses, Jesus, Cicero, John Locke, Montesquieu and Adam Smith -- that Skousen says have resulted in more God-directed progress than was achieved in the previous 5,000 years of every other civilization combined. The book reads exactly like what it was until Glenn Beck dragged it out of Mormon obscurity: a textbook full of aggressively selective quotations intended for conservative religious schools like Utah's George Wythe University, where it has been part of the core freshman curriculum for decades (and where Beck spoke at this year's annual fundraiser).

But more interesting than the contents of "The 5,000 Year Leap," and more revealing for what it says about 912ers and the Glenn Beck Nation, is the book's author. W. Cleon Skousen was not a historian so much as a player in the history of the American far right; less a scholar of the republic than a threat to it. At least, that was the judgment of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, which maintained a file on Skousen for years that eventually totaled some 2,000 pages. Before he died in 2006 at the age of 92, Skousen's own Mormon church publicly distanced itself from the foundation that Skousen founded and that has published previous editions of "The 5,000 Year Leap."

As Beck knows, to focus solely on "The 5,000 Year Leap" is to sell the author short. When he died in 2006 at the age of 92, Skousen had authored more than a dozen books and pamphlets on the Red Menace, New World Order conspiracy, Christian child rearing, and Mormon end-times prophecy. It is a body of work that does much to explain Glenn Beck's bizarre conspiratorial mash-up of recent months, which decries a new darkness at noon and finds strange symbols carefully coded in the retired lobby art of Rockefeller Center. It also suggests that the modern base of the Republican Party is headed to a very strange place.
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Willard Cleon Skousen was born in 1913 to American parents in a small Mormon frontier town in Alberta, Canada. When he was 10 his family moved to California, where he remained until he shipped off to England and Ireland for Mormon missionary work. In 1935, after graduating from a California junior college, the 23-year-old Skousen moved to Washington, where he worked briefly for a New Deal farm agency. He then began a 15-year career with the FBI, also earning a law degree from George Washington University in 1940. His posts at the FBI were largely administrative and clerical in nature, first in Washington and later in Kansas.

After retiring from the FBI in 1951, Skousen joined the faculty of Brigham Young University, the Latter-day Saints university in Utah. He then enjoyed a tumultuous four years as chief of police in Salt Lake City. During his tenure he gained a reputation for cutting crime and ruthlessly enforcing Mormon morals. But Skousen was too earnest by half. The city's ultraconservative mayor, J. Bracken Lee, fired him in 1960 for excessive zeal in raiding private clubs where the Mormon elite enjoyed their cards. "Skousen conducted his office as Chief of Police in exactly the same manner in which the Communists operate their government," Lee wrote to a friend explaining his firing of Skousen. "The man is a master of half-truths. In at least three instances I have proven him to be a liar. He is a very dangerous man [and] one of the greatest spenders of public funds of anyone who ever served in any capacity in Salt Lake City government."

During his stint as police chief, Skousen began laying the groundwork for his future career as a professional anti-communist. He published a bestselling expose-slash-history called "The Naked Communist." In the late '50s, America's far right began to bubble with organizations peddling stories about the true state of the Red Menace. Groups like the Church League of America and the John Birch Society organized to channel, feed and satisfy Cold War paranoia. Members of these groups were the original postwar "domestic right-wing extremist threat." Then as now, they were very much on the government's radar.

After his firing from the police force, Skousen became a star on the profitable far-right speakers circuit. He worked for both the Bircher-operated American Opinion Speakers Bureau and Fred Schwarz's Christian Anti-Communism Crusade. The two groups competed in describing ever more terrifying threats posed by America's enemies, foreign and domestic. As the scenarios became more and more outlandish, the feds grew concerned. In an internal memo, the FBI described Skousen's friend and employer Fred Schwarz as "an opportunist," the likes of which "are largely responsible for misinforming people and stirring them up emotionally ... Schwartz [sic] and others like him can only do the country and the anticommunist work of the Bureau harm."

How did Skousen become an expert on communism? He claimed, as his apologists still do, that his years with the FBI exposed him to inside information. He also boasted that he worked closely with J. Edgar Hoover. But both claims are open to question. Skousen's work at the Bureau was largely administrative, according to Ernie Lazar, an independent researcher of the far right who has examined Skousen's nearly 2,000-page FBI file. "Skousen never worked in [the domestic intelligence division] and he never had significant exposure to data concerning communist matters," says Lazar.

Skousen also trumpeted the insight he says he gained researching "The Naked Communist." But this research was as shaky as his résumé. Among the theories Skousen charged a healthy fee to discuss was the alleged treason of FDR advisor Harry Hopkins. According to Skousen, Hopkins gave the Soviets "50 suitcases" worth of info on the Manhattan Project, along with nearly half of the nation's supply of enriched uranium. This he told thousands of audiences across the country, sometimes giving five speeches a day.

When Skousen's books started popping up in the nation's high-school classrooms, panicked school board officials wrote the FBI asking if Skousen was reliable. The Bureau's answer was an exasperated and resounding "no." One 1962 FBI memo notes, "During the past year or so, Skousen has affiliated himself with the extreme right-wing 'professional communists' who are promoting their own anticommunism for obvious financial purposes." Skousen's "The Naked Communist," said the Bureau official, is "another example of why a sound, scholarly textbook on communism is urgently and badly needed."

Two years on the circuit made Skousen a nationally known figure. Aligned with the Birchers and Schwarz, he also founded his own Utah-based far-right organization, the All-American Society. Here's how Time magazine described the outfit in a December 1961 feature on what it called the "rightwing ultras":

The All-American Society, founded in Salt Lake City, has as its guiding light one of the busiest speakers in the rightist movement: W. Cleon Skousen, a balding, bespectacled onetime FBI man who hit the anti-Communist circuit in earnest in 1960 after being fired from his job as Salt Lake City's police chief ("He operated the police department like a Gestapo," says Salt Lake City's conservative Mayor J. Bracken Lee). Skousen freely quotes the Bible, constantly plugs his book, The Naked Communist, [and] presses for a full congressional investigation of the State Department.

By 1963, Skousen's extremism was costing him. No conservative organization with any mainstream credibility wanted anything to do with him. Members of the ultraconservative American Security Council kicked him out because they felt he had "gone off the deep end." One ASC member who shared this opinion was William C. Mott, the judge advocate general of the U.S. Navy. Mott found Skousen "money mad ... totally unqualified and interested solely in furthering his own personal ends."

When Skousen aligned himself with Robert Welch's charge that Dwight Eisenhower was a "dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy," the last of Skousen's dwindling corporate clients dumped him. The National Association of Manufacturers released a statement condemning the Birchers and distancing itself from "any individual or party" that subscribed to their views. Skousen, author of a pamphlet titled "The Communist Attack on the John Birch Society," was the nation's most prominent Birch defender.

Skousen laid low for much of the '60s. But he reemerged at the end of the decade peddling a new and improved conspiracy that merged left with right: the global capitalist mega-plot of the "dynastic rich." Families like the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds, Skousen now believed, used left forces -- from Ho Chi Minh to the American civil rights movement -- to serve their own power.

In 1969, a 1,300-page book started appearing in faculty mailboxes at Brigham Young, where Skousen was back teaching part-time. The book, written by a Georgetown University historian named Carroll Quigley, was called "Tragedy and Hope." Inside each copy, Skousen inserted handwritten notes urging his colleagues to read the book and embrace its truth. "Tragedy and Hope," Skousen believed, exposed the details of what would come to be known as the New World Order (NWO). Quigley's book so moved Skousen that in 1970 he self-published a breathless 144-page review essay called "The Naked Capitalist." Nearly 40 years later, it remains a foundational document of America's NWO conspiracy and survivalist scene (which includes Skousen's nephew Joel).

In "The Naked Communist," Skousen had argued that the communists wanted power for their own reasons. In "The Naked Capitalist," Skousen argued that those reasons were really the reasons of the dynastic rich, who used front groups to do their dirty work and hide their tracks. The purpose of liberal internationalist groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations, argued Skousen, was to push "U.S. foreign policy toward the establishment of a world-wide collectivist society." Skousen claimed the Anglo-American banking establishment had a long history of such activity going back to the Bolshevik Revolution. He substantiated this claim by citing the work of a former Czarist army officer named Arsene de Goulevitch. Among Goulevitch's own sources is Boris Brasol, a pro-Nazi Russian émigré who provided Henry Ford with the first English translation of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion."

"The Naked Capitalist" does not seem like a text that would be part of the required reading list on any reputable college campus, but some BYU professors taught it out of allegiance to Skousen. Terrified, the editors of Dialogue: The Journal of Mormon Thought invited "Tragedy and Hope" author Carroll Quigley to comment on Skousen's interpretation of his work. They also asked a highly respected BYU history professor named Louis C. Midgley to review Skousen's latest pamphlet. Their judgment was not kind. In the Autumn/Winter 1971 issue of Dialogue, the two men accused Skousen of "inventing fantastic ideas and making inferences that go far beyond the bounds of honest commentary." Skousen not only saw things that weren't in Quigley's book, they declared, he also missed what actually was there -- namely, a critique of ultra-far-right conspiracists like Willard Cleon Skousen.

"Skousen's personal position," wrote a dismayed Quigley, "seems to me perilously close to the 'exclusive uniformity' which I see in Nazism and in the Radical Right in this country. In fact, his position has echoes of the original Nazi 25-point plan."

Skousen was unbowed. In 1971, he founded the Freeman Institute, a research organization devoted to the study of the super-conspiracy directed by the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds. (The institute later changed its name to the National Center for Constitutional Studies, which has offices in Malta, Idaho, and continues to publish Skousen's books, including Glenn Beck's favorite work of history, "The 5,000 Year Leap.")

By the end of the 1970s, the death of Skousen's biggest allies within the Mormon church hierarchy cleared the way for an official disavowal of his work. In 1979, LDS church president Spencer W. Kimball issued an order to every Mormon clergyman in the U.S. stating "no announcements should be made in Church meetings of Freemen Institute lectures or events that are not under the sponsorship of the Church. [This] is to make certain that neither Church facilities nor Church meetings are used to advertise such events and to avoid any implication that the Church endorses what is said during such lectures."

Skousen may have been too extreme for the Quorum of the Twelve in Salt Lake City, but he soon found rehabilitation on the intellectual margins of Reagan's Washington. In 1980, Skousen was appointed to the newly founded Council for National Policy, a think tank that brought together leading religious conservatives and served as the unofficial brain trust of the new administration. At the Council, Skousen distinguished himself by becoming an early proponent of privatizing Social Security. He also formed relationships with other evangelical church leaders and aligned the LDS church with an increasingly religious GOP.

"Skousen worked to change Mormonism from a new and unique American-born faith into an evangelical form of fundamentalist Christianity," says Rob Lauer, a leader of the Reform Mormonism movement. "By arguing that biblical principles were the basis of the U.S. government, he was among those most responsible for the LDS church becoming part of the religious right political establishment over the past 25 years."

In 1981, Skousen published "The 5,000 Year Leap," the book for which, thanks to Beck, he is now best known. But it wasn't that Skousen book that made the biggest headline in the 1980s. Toward the end of Reagan's second term, Skousen became the center of a minor controversy when state legislators in California approved the official use of another of his books, the 1982 history text "The Making of America." Besides bursting with factual errors, Skousen's book characterized African-American children as "pickaninnies" and described American slave owners as the "worst victims" of the slavery system. Quoting the historian Fred Albert Shannon, "The Making of America" explained that "[slave] gangs in transit were usually a cheerful lot, though the presence of a number of the more vicious type sometimes made it necessary for them all to go in chains."

Skousen spent the 1990s in semi-retirement. He spoke occasionally around the country and welcomed visiting politicians to his Salt Lake City home on Berkeley Street. His death in January 2006 was little noticed outside Mormon circles. If LDS members debated his legacy, it was in mostly hushed tones. But by then, he was already poised for a posthumous revival.
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Glenn Beck's first public reference to anything Skousen seems to have occurred in 2003. In his memoir-cum-manifesto, "The Real America," was a chapter titled "The Enemy Within." It consisted of a list titled "Communist Goals of 1963." The list was originally published in Skousen's 1958 book "The Naked Communist," and was submitted to the Congressional Record by Florida Rep. Albert Herlong Jr., whom Beck identifies as the author. Beck asked readers of "The Real America" to ponder Skousen's list, then "check off" those goals already achieved by America's new enemies within. Replacing communists in Beck's view: "liberals, special-interest groups, [and] the ACLU."

It would be another few years before Beck really started boosting for Skousen's books. Apparently, around about 2007, a friend of Beck's sent him "The 5,000 Year Leap." In the column linked here, Canadian newspaper columnist Nigel Hannaford says the friend was a Toronto lawyer. Paul Skousen, Skousen's son, endorsed the outlines of the tale to Salon by e-mail, without giving dates: "As I understand it, Glenn Beck was given a copy of FYL by a friend in Canada. When Beck read it, suddenly the effusive and disembodied principles of freedom that he had been trying to dig up and put together all came together and he could make sense of them. He was so excited about the clarity it brought that he began mentioning it on his show."

Whatever the circumstances, Beck really began touting Skousen in the latter half of 2007. The first brief mention of Skousen in the online archives of Beck's radio show is Sept. 24, 2007. Less than two months later, Beck interviewed conservative pundit David Horowitz on his radio program. He asked him, "Have you ever read any Skousen? Have you read -- do you remember 'The Naked Communist'? I went back and reread that, it was printed in the 1950s. I reread that recently. You look at all the things the communists wanted to accomplish. It's all been done." Horowitz agreed.

The very next week, Bill Bennett appeared on Beck's radio program and received the same question. "Are you familiar with Skousen?" asked Beck. When Bennett replied yes, Beck gushed. "He's fantastic," he said. "I went back and I read 'The Naked Communist' and at the end of that Skousen predicted [that] someday soon you won't be able to find the truth in schools or in libraries or anywhere else because it won't be in print anymore. So you must collect those books. It's an idea I read from Cleon Skousen from his book in the 1950s, 'The Naked Communist,' and where he talked about someday the history of this country's going to be lost because it's going to be hijacked by intellectuals and communists and everything else. And I think we're there."

Beck continued to mention the book during 2008, but his Skousen obsession really kicked in as the 912 concept began to take shape. Even before Obama's inauguration, Beck had a game plan for a movement with Skousen at the center. On his Dec. 18, 2008, radio show, one month before Obama took office, Beck introduced his audience to the idea of a "September twelfth person."

"The first thing you could do," he said, "is get 'The 5,000 Year Leap.' Over my book or anything else, get 'The 5,000 Year Leap.' You can probably find it in the book section of, but read that. It is the principle. Please, No. 1 thing: Inform yourself about who we are and what the other systems are all about. 'The 5,000 Year Leap' is the first part of that. Because it will help you understand American free enterprise … Make that dedication of becoming a Sept. 12 person and I will help you do it next year."

By then, the Skousen family was ready to respond to the Beck-inspired demand. "We as a family," Paul Skousen told Salon, "were preparing to publish another edition, so I contacted his office with the request that Glenn write a foreword. He was gracious and kind and did just that. That is the version we're now publishing.

According to James Pratt of PowerThink Publishing, publishers of the new 30th anniversary edition of "Leap," which has the Beck foreword, it was intended to replace the version that the Beck show was already touting via links on its Web site. Pratt claimed in an e-mail to Salon that the previous version was not authorized by the family. "It was presumed by Mr. Beck and staff that copyright authority was in effect with that edition, and as an author I must say, I had also assumed the same thing ... I was more than a little surprised this was going on, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of copies."

PowerThink secured the agreement of the Skousen family to create the current edition of "The 5,000 Year Leap," which was first published on March 1, 2009. Pratt says that a federal lawsuit "is in process, to secure the copyright authority in an 'authoritative' way" to stop anyone but PowerThink from publishing the book.

In March, with the new book available, Beck invited Skousen's nephew Mark onto his Fox show, where the two men discussed splitting up the United States. (Mark would later say that between commercials, Beck told him that a friend had sent him "Leap" and that the book "changed his life.") A week later, Beck issued his famously maudlin announcement introducing the 912 Project. The teary-eyed performance was accompanied by a clarion call for all 912ers to buy " Leap." "I beg you to read this book filled with words of wisdom which I can only describe as divinely inspired," wrote Beck in his introduction to a recent edition. The result has been a publishing earthquake: More than 250,000 copies have been sold in the first half of 2009. James Pratt, the book's publisher, says Beck "has done more to bring the work of Dr. Skousen to light than any other individual in America today."

"The 5,000 Year Leap" is not the only Skousen title to find new life on the 912 circuit. The president of the National Center for Constitutional Studies, Dr. Earl Taylor Jr., is currently touring the country offering daylong seminars to 912 chapters based on Skousen's "Making of America." For $25, participants will receive a bagged lunch and stories about America's religious Founders and their happy slaves. An ad for Taylor's "Making of America" seminar, currently featured on the Web site of the Tampa 912 Project, claims that Skousen's book is "considered a great masterpiece to Constitutional students [and is] the 'granddaddy' of all books on the United States Constitution."

Like so much declaimed by W. Cleon Skousen and his 21st century acolyte Glenn Beck, this last statement is fantasy. But it is also a profitable and popular one. In coming to terms with a movement that has an ever more tenuous relationship with accepted fact, we relearn that perennial lesson grasped even by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. Fantasies can have serious consequences.

-- By Alexander Zaitchik