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

22 March 2009

Clippings for 25 March 2009

William Rivers Pitt writes for Truthout: "Six years ago, the United States of America began the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Since then, 4,259 American soldiers have been killed and tens of thousands more have been wounded. There is no accurate accounting of Iraqi dead and wounded, because as we were told, we do not do body counts. Because the Bush administration left its Iraq expenditures off the budget, and because of the tremendous amount of war-profiteering, graft and theft that has been involved, we do not know exactly how much we have spent. For the record, 2,192 days later, this is how we got here."

Recommended Audio: Keith Olberman: Enough!
Keith Olbermann, MSNBC, comments: "Finally tonight, as promised, a Special Comment on the latest atrocity from the banks. The vast, engorged, gluttonous multi-national corporations. Whose sneezes can be fatal to our jobs. Whose mistakes can turn us into the homeless. Whose accounting errors can be so panoramic that they can make our economy tremble and force us to hand them billions after billions in a blackmail scheme that has come to be known as 'bailout.'"

How the Fed Failed to Tell Obama About the Bonuses
David Cho and Michael D. Shear report for The Washington Post: "Federal Reserve officials knew for months about bonuses at American International Group but failed to tell the Obama administration, according to government and company officials, exposing problems in a relationship that is vital to addressing the financial crisis."

Major Media Outlets Yet to Report IG Testimony Implicating Bush Administration in AIG Bonuses
Eric Boehlert and Jamison Foser write for Media Matters: "Despite jumping on -- and in some cases advancing -- false Republican claims that congressional Democrats are responsible for AIG executive bonuses, major media outlets have yet to report that Neil Barofsky, a Bush-appointed special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), confirmed in March 19 congressional testimony that the Bush administration Treasury Department knew about the AIG bonus contracts and did not insist on their abrogation as a condition of AIG's receiving bailout money through a stock purchase agreement signed by AIG and the Bush Treasury Department."

The Secret War Against American Workers: The Unemployement Story No One Notices
Robert S. Eshelman writes for TomDispatch.com: "If a deepening recession weighs down and threatens businesses, some of those businesses are undoubtedly also making convenient use of the times to do things they might have wanted to do, but were unable to do in better conditions. In some cases, under the guise of 'recession' pressure, they may be waging a secret war against their own workers, using even the most innocuous transgressions of work-place rules as the trigger for firings - and so, of course, putting the fear of god into those who remain."

If You're a Little Guy, a Contract Means Nothing
Marie Cocco writes for Truthdig: "With due deference to George Orwell, all contracts are equal. But some contracts are more equal than others. Contracts entered into by the hotshots at American International Group for $165 million in bonuses, signed just months before their web of financial cunning unraveled, are inviolate. Contracts entered into by shop-floor workers at auto plants must be renegotiated, so that the taxpayers who bail out the industry don’t coddle supposedly overpaid union members."

Welcome to Double-Standard America

David Sirota writes for Salon: "United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard likes to say that Washington policymakers 'treat the people who take a shower after work much differently than they treat the people who shower before they go to work.' In the 21st century Gilded Age, the blue-collar shower-after-work crowd is given the tough, while the white-collar shower-before-work gang gets the love, and never before this week was that doctrine made so clear."

Why Merit Pay Lowers Teaching Quality
Jerome Popp writes for Truthout: "The Obama administration proposes merit pay for teachers, because of the belief that rewarding good teachers improves education. That this idea is proposed by people who supposedly understand politics is disappointing, because it reveals their lack of knowledge about institutional politics."

Gays, Lesbians More Likely to Be Poor than Straights: Study Undermines the 'Myth' of Gay Affluence
Chris Johnson reports for the Washington Blade: "A new report from a think-tank on sexual orientation reveals how poverty is affecting gay people in the United States. The report, released Friday by the Williams Institute at the University of California in Los Angeles, found that lesbian couples are more likely to be living in poverty than other couples. The analysis found that 7 percent of lesbian couples are living below the poverty line, compared to 4 percent of gay male couples and 5 percent of opposite-sex couples. The study also found that after 'adjusting for a range of family characteristics that help explain poverty,' same-sex couples are 'significantly' more likely to be poor than opposite-sex married couples."

Why Brands Can't Be Trusted
Roy O'Connor writes for the Media Channel: "When Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently called the Internet a “cesspool” of false information, he also claimed that corporate brands such as his own are necessary filters needed to help us sort through the muck. 'Brands are the solution, not the problem,' Schmidt said. 'Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.'”

Indentured Servants, Circa 2009
Barbara Koeppel writes for ConsortiumNews.com: "Feeding on this and last years' gigantic job losses and fear of more to come, anti-immigrant anger is exploding across the U.S. Thus, Nativists like Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio are nudged to over-the-top nastiness: Just a month ago, he proudly paraded his villains (aka illegals) through the streets of Phoenix before deporting them."

Behind the Mask: Center for Immigration Studies Hardly 'Independent'
Heide Beirich reporsts for the South Poverty Law Center: "Last October, as America was being roiled by the subprime mortgage meltdown that led to the current financial crisis, the executive director of one of the most influential immigration think tanks in the nation was in a joking mood. Shortly after the failure of Washington Mutual Bank, Mark Krikorian found a press release issued months earlier by the bank that celebrated its inclusion on a list of "Business Diversity Elites" compiled by Hispanic Business magazine. Krikorian posted the release at the conservative National Review Online, where he writes from time to time, along with his own sneering headline: 'Cause and Effect?'"

Mexico's Drug War Bloodbath
Silja J.A. Talvi, AlterNet.org: "A minute is all the time that it takes for an employee in one of almost 7,000 gun shops dotting the U.S./Mexico border to accept a wad of cash from an eager customer, fill out a triplicate sales slip, and slide a nice, new Taurus .45 caliber pistol across the counter. Or two, or three, or twenty, as the case may be. Add those handguns to the countless tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of pistols, sniper and assault rifles, semi-automatic machine guns, shield-piercing bullets, grenades, plastic explosives, as well as anti-tank weapons outfitted with self-propelling rockets passing illegally through the hands of drug cartel foot soldiers and assassins. Throw in the array of weapons favored by DEA and CIA agents, Mexican federal police and military units, and other 'drug warriors,' of one sort or another. These are all people who are ready, willing, and able to use violence to get what they want."

Return of the Sovereigns: Resurgence of Far-Right Movement Reported
Casey Sanchez reports for the South Poverty Law Center: "In the middle of the morning rush hour last July 8, a dapper, 49-year-old gentleman by the name of Angel Cruz tapped his walking cane against the pavement as he serenely orchestrated the armed takeover of a strip mall branch of the Bank of America in a Miami suburb. Wearing counterfeit U.S. Treasury badges, 30 of Cruz's followers, including 10 armed guards, blocked the bank's main entrance, parking lot and drive-through lanes. They were fiercely loyal to their fashionable leader, and with good reason: As employees of Cruz's company, The United Cities, they'd been guaranteed lucrative jobs for 30 years and promised new cars while their mortgage, credit card and utility bills were to be paid off in full by their employer. Cruz paid for this largesse — or, rather, purported to pay — with fake bank drafts and fistfuls of "United States Private Dollars," a counterfeit currency he churned out in his Orlando, Fla., home."

The Year in Hate
David Holthouse reports for the South Poverty Law Center on the rise in hate groups across the U.S.: "From white power skinheads decrying "President Obongo" at a racist gathering in rural Missouri, to neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen hurling epithets at Latino immigrants from courthouse steps in Oklahoma, to anti-Semitic black separatists calling for death to Jews on bustling street corners in several East Coast cities, hate group activity in the U.S. was disturbing and widespread throughout 2008, as the number of hate groups operating in America continued to rise. Last year, 926 hate groups were active in the U.S., up more than 4% from 888 in 2007. That's more than a 50% increase since 2000, when there were 602 groups."

Recommended Reading: YES! Magazine's Food Issue
Imagine a food system that delivers fresh, organic food to everybody. Can't be done? YES! Magazine says it can, and it must, especially in a time of economic and climatic peril. Their Spring issue (Food for Everyone) brings together the best ideas for a new food system, and tells the inspiring stories of people who are bringing that system to life. YES! Magazine is a long-time favorite here at the Organic Consumers Association, and we're delighted to offer you the chance to get this new Food issue as part of a special introductory offer for Organic Bytes readers: Subscribe to YES! right now and get four beautiful, ad-free issues-for just $10 (regular price $24).

Is Access to Clean Water a Basic Human Right?
Yigal Schleifer reports for The Christian Science Monitor: "With fresh water resources becoming scarcer worldwide due to population growth and climate change, a growing movement is working to make access to clean water a basic universal human right. But it's a contentious issue, experts say. Especially difficult is how to safely mesh public-sector interests with public ownership of resources - and determine the legal and economic ramifications of enshrining the right to water by law."

Leading Climate Scientist: "Democratic Process Isn't Working"
David Adam reports for The Guardian UK: "Protest and direct action could be the only way to tackle soaring carbon emissions, a leading climate scientist has said. James Hansen, a climate modeler with NASA, told the Guardian today that corporate lobbying has undermined democratic attempts to curb carbon pollution. 'The democratic process doesn't quite seem to be working,' he said."

Shut Out at the Polls
The Washington Post: "None of the fears that preceded last year's historic election were realized. There was no widespread fraudulent voting, electronic machines overall performed well and the vote was not too close to call. Nonetheless, the election was marred because millions of Americans were not able to cast ballots for candidates of their choice. At fault is the antiquated way voters are registered. Congress must work with the states to fix the problems that end up disenfranchising far too many citizens."

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