I rarely watch TV, for it's an addictive substance with enormously toxic effects, but it's noteworthy in my mind that I can't tell the difference today in tone and presentation between TV news, advertising, movies, and video games.  I believe in helping other people, in preserving the earth's ecosystems, and in maintaining a strong middle class - am I conservative, radical, or liberal? - and I'm sure I'm not alone in these beliefs.  Similarly, I suspect I'm not alone in finding the "War on Iraq" TV graphics and swelling martial music on the evening news not at all different from "Mortal Kombat III".  Except that one is make-believe, and the other a systematic and intentional framework of lies, half-truths, and propaganda.  Here are some web resources where you can find out what's really happening in the U.S.

DemocracyNow!: Listen to an hour of Amy Goodman.  It will change your life.

ConsortiumNews: It's hard to know what to say about this web site, except that it's, well, perfect.  I'm embarrassed that I haven't investigated it more deeply than I have....yet.

Greg Palast: Palast is an American journalist whose reports appear in Britain, as they seem too honest to appear in America.  The web site is not updated often, and mostly contains information which can be found in his *INCREDIBLE* book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.  But if you want to know what really happened in Florida in 2000, or what America is doing to subvert democracy in Venezuela today , check out this web site.  To get a taste, read his unbelievable article about Rep. Cynthia McKinney.

Buzzflash : Buzzflash is a collection of links to other noteworthy web content.  The site supports itself by featuring and selling quite excellent topical books, which I recommend supporting (I bought David Cay Johnston's book on the American tax system, Perfectly Legal, from Buzzflash, and it was excellent).  Buzzflash also includes really excellent interviews with the authors of many of the books it features, and great commentary from Maureen Farrell.

Alternet: Alternet is a portal for liberal commentary, and provides useful links for national columnists (Molly Ivins, Jim Hightower, Arianna Huffington, Robert Scheer, and Norman Solomon among them).  It also includes links to the incomparable Annalee Newitz, who writes an incredible column about technical issues called Techspoitation.  She's an intellectual goddess!  (an English PhD who knows Linux! - what more need be said?!)

TomPaine.com: Similar to AlterNet, but somewhat more, ah, wonky.  TomPaine.com has featured great articles from VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity), for instance, and includes a valuable section entitled, "Wonky But Worth It".

The Nation: You should be a subscriber to this weekly magazine, which includes writing from Jonathan Schell, Eric Alterman, and William Greider, among others.  But the web site includes valuable blogs (especially David Corn's - also check out his web site), and some articles which don't make it into the magazine.

In These Times: A magazine which is something of a cross between The Nation and Harper's.  I have especially enjoyed a number of articles they've published by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.