Leaked: The Internet must go!

Hey! Are you on the internet right now? Of course you are! Then you should definitely check out this amazing video about what the internet companies are planning. This move could hurt both consumers and content creators--but of course would be a huge windfall for internet providers.

How weathly are Americans?

The disparity in wealth between the richest one percent of Americans and the bottom 80 percent has grown exponentially over the last thirty years — but the video, posted by user politizane and relying on data from a popular Mother Jones post, focuses on the difference between the ideal disparity that Americans would like to see and the reality.

Tax the Rich

So long! It's been fun.

Dear listeners,

In July 2011 I started a new job teaching Italian at Kansas State University. In some ways this was a return to my roots, as I taught English as a Foreign Language for 17 years in Italy. Now I am teaching English speakers Italian. I've come full circle.

This coming full circle also means the end of an attempt on my part to start a new career in my 50s. Sadly, as much as I tried to bring community radio to Manhattan, I was not successful. So I have decided to dedicate my energy and time to my first love, being an educator.

The archive of my shows will remain active - there's a lot of great content in the shows. So I hope you continue to listen and enjoy them.

Once again thank you for your support and encouragement over the five years the show was on the air. I know many feel that my program needs to be on the air and I agree with you that a diversity of voices is sorely lacking in the local media. But alas, it is not I who will bring that diversity. It will have to be someone else.

Christopher E. Renner

07 March 2007

Your Civil Rights

Originally read on 22 February 2007
by Christopher E. Renner

It has been an interesting week for those of us who value our civil rights as outlined in the U. S. Constitution and in particular the Bill of Rights. President Bush and his cronies continue to do everything in their power to eliminate those rights, from the right to a fair trail to our right of privacy.

Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced legislation last week that seeks to eliminate online privacy by requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to maintain detailed records on each of their subscribers’ online activities. The bill would give Attorney General Alberto Gonzales broad discretion to determine what records ISPs must keep and for how long. In addition, it would require "sexually explicit" websites to post warning labels or face criminal sanctions.

Marvin Johnson, Legislative Counsel for the ACLU Washington Legislative Office said:

"Legislation like this is like swatting a fly with a bazooka. Such sweeping measures do little to stop online crime; instead, they overwhelm law enforcement agents with mountains of raw data and have a chilling effect on ISP subscribers’ First Amendment rights. There is no limit to the amount of information Attorney General Gonzales can require ISPs to keep, from instant messages to private emails to web searches, and he can require that they be kept forever. This represents an incredible invasion into our privacy and freedom to use the Internet without the government reading over our shoulders."

And that’s not all. In May 2006, USA Today revealed that since shortly after 9/11 at least two major phone companies - AT&T and Verizon - have been voluntarily granting the National Security Administration direct, mass access to their customers' calling records, and that the NSA had compiled a giant database of those records. This program extends to all Americans, not just those suspected of terrorist or criminal activity. In short, phone companies are voluntarily turning over millions of customer records to the National Security Agency.

Acting without a court order or the knowledge or consent of their customers, phone companies are providing the government with potentially intimate details about who you know and who you talk to - details that are stored in giant databases, and perhaps mined by the NSA's supercomputers to scan through each of our associations and interests for "suspicious" signs, whatever that may be.

The goal of this program, according to media reports, is to "create a database of every call ever made within the nation's borders." This information can easily be linked to determine your identity, your friends, and your interests.

I don’t know about any of you, but I lived in Europe before the fall of Stalinism, or “hard” communism in Eastern Europe. The tactics described above are the same tactics that were used by those governments to spy on their citizens, arrest them for such illegal activities as voicing their own opinions and “speaking against the state.” Is it just me, or have we completely lost all sense of the reason why our nation exists -- it’s called democracy people and once it is lost, it is very hard to get it back. The Bush administration’s desire to spy on the American people is illegal and un-American, and immoral. It is time it stopped!

Moreover, this past week it was revealed that both AT&T and Version are attempting to obstruct discussion of their collaboration with the government by appealing to the Securities and Exchange Commission for permission to block the proposed shareholder resolutions.

As owners of publicly traded corporations, shareholders have a right to vote on issues they feel are vital to preserve their company’s reputation and protect the long-term value of investments and maintain customer privacy. AT&T and Verizon customers, board members and shareholders must be aware of all the issues inherent in assisting the government with its spying. So the “free market” isn’t really free after all.

Closer to home, conservatives in the Kansas Senate gained approval of Senate Bill 169 which will require all Kansans to show photo-identification to vote as well as proof of citizenship to register to vote.

SB 169 was introduced by Senator Tim Huelskamp, R- Fowler in southwest Kansas, an area that the South Poverty Law Center has reported for several years as having KKK activities and known to openly discriminate against the Hispanic population living there.

SB 169 is nothing more than an effort to impose a poll tax on the citizens of the state and to disenfranchise poorer Kansans from the election process because the conservative agenda is to further the gap between right and poor and to allow no means for the economic disadvantaged to petition their government to alleviate their suffering.

It cost $12.00 to get a copy of your birth certificate in Kansas and the cost of a passport is now up to $97.00. For many of our listeners these are probably not expenses that seem exorbitant. However, if you are living on the Kansas Minimum Wage, or the current Federal Minimum Wage, they are.

If you earn $5.25 and work 40 hours per week, 52 weeks of the year your total annual income would be only $10,712. If you are a typical low wage earner - a single mother - $12.00 represents about three hours of work. It represents feeding you family for a day. $97.00 represents going without health care.

Why do we need SB 169?

SB 169 is yet another example of the conservative’s agenda to limit the civil rights of all citizens by placing one obstacle after another in the pathway to full participation in the democratic process. It makes a problem where there isn’t a problem and will without a doubt make things more difficult at the polling place, slow down the process, and cause people to be denied their right to vote. But after all, isn’t that what the conservative want?

And if that wasn’t enough to think about, this past week also showed how low Kansas State University will go to promote homophobia. In the lead up to the “big game” against KU, t-shirts appeared sporting the registered trade mark of the power cat and the following quote “KU = gay.”

Now according to the “values” espoused by Kansas State University, such blatant prejudice isn’t one of the Core Community Values this institution of higher learning is supposed to be instilling in its students. Moreover, since the power cat is a registered trade mark, didn’t someone in the University have to approve the use of the KSU symbol to promote this irrational prejudice and bigotry? So why did the university allow this? By equating all KU students as homosexuals, just what did KSU gain? Other than once again demonstrating for the rest of the world that we lack basic civility, respect for others, and knowledge of the complex world we live in. The t-shirts were an insult to KSU and the state of Kansas. But I doubt if anything will be done to address this most recent example of institutional promotion of homophobia unless people complain to university officials and in the press.

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