In This Issue

Direct Action for Single Payer
Vote for Independent KPFA
Samantha Jane Dorsett
Butch Voices Conference
The Persecution of Caster Semenya
Learning Lessons
Bart Bored Oversight
Afghan Women Resist Occupation and Fundamentalism
Out of Time

   I Am Barack Obama's Political Prisoner Now
   Buffy Ste. Marie remembers Wounded Knee
   Debbie Peagler Freed after 26 Years
   SF 8 update


Queers Report from Palestine

With activists Judy Greenspan and Dunya Alwan

Thursday, October 1, 7:00 p.m.Humanist Hall

390 27th St., Oakland (between Telegraph and Broadway)

Judy was part of the Viva Palestina convoy, which carried humanitarian aid and international solidarity activists from Egypt to Gaza in August.

Dunya is the cofounder and primary organizer of the groundbreaking Birthright Unplugged/Replugged programs, which work respectively with anti-racist Jewish internationals and Palestinian refugee youth to challenge the Zionist narrative.

Sponsored by Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!)

$5-25 donation requested, no one turned away for lack of funds  
For info or 510-434-1304


Why is single-payer off the table?
We all know!  Because 30 cents of every health care dollar goes to insurance companies

It’s Time to Stand Up For What We Really Want

Take Action for Real Health Care Reform: Target the Insurance Companies

Direct Action Organizing Meeting
Tuesday, September 29, 7:00 p.m.
North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Avenue at MLK
For info call 510-434-1304 or e-mail (see article p. 3)


Direct Action for Single Payer

It is no news that the brownshirts of summer who disrupted town hall meetings were organized by the health insurance industry through fox news, the freedom works foundation and other democratic institutions. The “public option” is on the rails, with Obama offering, in his big health care speech September 8, that if someone would come up with a better alternative, he would consider it. That doesn’t go for single payer, however.

No one has really explained the details of the “public option.” It is at once described as being a last resort insurer, for all those that the health insurance companies exclude, and as “competition” for insurance companies, that will keep them honest. Obviously, a system that permits insurance companies to cherry pick healthy customers while the public system will be left to pick up the tab for everyone else, will have no problem competing.

California has a “public option” for workers’ compensation. Unlike Washington state, in which 99 percent of workers are covered by the non-profit government run program, California has a system of private insurers. The State Compensation Insurance Fund was created in 1913 as a “public option,” to provide an insurer of last resort. The results? Washington state has one of the lowest cost, highest benefit systems in the country. California’s system has produced record profits for insurance companies. From 2004 through 2006 insurance company profits were $27.7 billion, while the total benefits paid out to injured workers (including medical benefits, temporary and permanent disability benefits) were 19.8 billion.  In 2006, total premiums collected for workers compensation were $16.6 billion, and benefits to workers amounted to only $6.2 billion, less than 40 percent of the premiums. (All figures from the Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau, the industry rate setting organization).

As Deborah Burger, the co-president of the California Nurses Association put it, “the biggest problem with [Obama’s] approach, however, is not the public option, it’s the private option. Private insurers are the principal cause of skyrocketing healthcare costs and the disgraceful denials of care for people with insurance.”

Some single payer advocates are pushing for a viable public option in the national health care reform legislation. They are also supporting the Kucinich amendment, which would permit states to establish single payer plans.

The government has already given almost a trillion dollars to the insurance companies as a “bailout.” Insurance companies thanked us by paying for a movement to disrupt community meetings and oppose health care reform. It is time that we stop donating 1/3 of every health care dollar to these same insurance companies that deny us care and deny us coverage.  We need single payer health care and the insurance companies need to get out of our way. Health care is a right, and we need a direct action movement to win it.

A number of groups and individuals, including LAGAI, are calling an organizing meeting for  Tuesday, September 29, 7 p.m. North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave. at MLK, Berkeley. Please join us. For more information, call (510)434-1304, or e-mail

Vote for Independent KPFA

by Kate with a lot of help from Anthony Fest

Okay, so we just got through with the longest presidential election season in history, and are doubtless only weeks away from the beginning of the 2010 congressional elections.  I’m sure that a community radio station Local Station Board election is exactly what you feel like focusing on right now.  I mean, it’s hardly even electoral politics, right?  If you wanted to get involved in boring local politics, you’d be running for BART board or volunteering on someone’s campaign for EBMUD.  But I am sorry to tell you that if you’re a KPFA member, you need to vote in the LSB election, which is happening now.  The future of community radio in Northern California could depend on it.

The LSB was created in the aftermath of the 1999 lockout of KPFA staff by parent Pacifica Foundation, and the subsequent mobilization by the community.  Pretty quickly, it became traditional for factions to coalesce and run for elections as slates.  The first few years were dominated by a progressive group called People’s Radio.  In the last two elections, a slate called Concerned Listeners has won the majority – in the last election, through some fairly devious tactics such as illegal use of station email lists for campaigning and manipulation of the voter eligibility criteria for unpaid staff (can you say “Florida”?).  Concerned Listeners is generally allied closely with station management, and for the last two years, that has meant General Manager Lemlem Rijio and Program Director Sasha Lilley.

Rijio was appointed interim general manager in 2006 by Greg Guma, at that time the executive director of Pacifica. Guma says he and Rijio had agreed then that she would hold the job no longer than nine months.  Late in 2006, Rijio appointed Sasha Lilley, producer of the noon public affairs show Against the Grain, as interim program director. In September 2008, Guma’s successor, Nicole Sawaya, elevated Rijio to permanent-status general manager.  Sawaya made that appointment on her last day on the job at Pacifica, after having been presented with a petition signed by a large number of staff and volunteers expressing dissatisfaction with Riijo.

As Rijio and Lilley have now been in office more than two years, it’s appropriate to look at what they have and haven’t done.

Certainly, they’ve excelled at instigating conflict and controversy. In January 2007, Rijio cancelled the program Youth Radio, after one episode of the program aired a song containing FCC-prohibited words that the program producers had neglected to edit out. The blue language certainly needed a firm response, given the possibility of the station being hit with a huge fine. But it was hardly sufficient reason to permanently eliminate a program, particularly one tailored for the next generation of listeners.