Leaked: The Internet must go!
How weathly are Americans?
So long! It's been fun.
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
30 August 2009
Ted Kennedy will go down in history as one of the giants of the U.S. Senate and one the most accomplished legislators in American history. He will also be remembered, by those who knew him, as an extremely warm and caring human being whose public service was a brilliant reflection of his love and devotion to his country, his friends and his family.
The Deification of Gentle Ben
William Greider writes for The Nation: "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer can be thought of as the Potemkin village of American democracy. Every evening, it presents a prettified version of political debate--ever so civil and high-minded--that thoroughly blots out the substance of dissenting critics or the untamed opinions of mere citizens. PBS's sanitized version of news was deployed this summer to assist the charm offensive launched by the Federal Reserve and its embattled chairman, Ben Bernanke. The NewsHour staged a "town meeting" in Kansas City at which Bernanke fielded prescreened questions from preselected citizens. As town meetings go, this was strictly polite. As TV goes, it was deadly dull. The citizens were so deferential they seemed sedated. Jim Lehrer was so laconic, several times I thought he had nodded off. "
DHS: No Political Influence in Stimulus Funding Decisions
Christopher Flavella reports for ProPublica: "Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano defended her department’s awarding of stimulus dollars after the Associated Press reported that political consideration influenced decisions over which border checkpoints got stimulus funding. Napolitano said the story “was just wrong and I’ll say that because there was no kind of political issues involved there.” The Department of Homeland Security reportedly keeps an internal priority list of border stations that need repairs or upgrading; according to the AP, stations higher on that list were passed over for stimulus funds in favor of lesser-used facilities because of political lobbying."
Beware Authoritative "Inside Washington" Sources
Robert Reich writes on Robert Reich's Blog: "Washington, DC is an echo chamber in which anyone who sounds authoritative repeats the conventional authoritative wisdom about the 'consensus' of inside opinion, which they've heard from someone else who sounds equally authoritative, who of course has heard it from another authoritative source. Follow the trail to its start and you often find an obscure congressional or White House staffer who has seen some half-assed poll number or briefing memo, but seeking to feel important hypes it to a media personality or lobbyist who, desperate to sound authoritative, pronounces it as truth."
Law, Not Torture, Protects National Security
Joe Conason writes for Truthdig: "Predictably as always, the Republicans in Congress and in the conservative media are berating Attorney General Eric Holder for deciding to investigate the CIA’s use of abusive interrogation methods on terror suspects. They warn that probing this sensitive history will compromise intelligence operations and endanger the nation. They insist that these techniques have, in the words of former Vice President Dick Cheney, saved thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives. They suggest that the attorney general should simply ignore the evidence of illegal conduct and “investigate the terrorists instead,” as if the Justice Department cannot do both."
The Washington Post's Cheney-ite Defense of Torture
Glenn Greenwald writes for Salon.com: "If anyone ever tells you that they don't understand what is meant by "stenography journalism" -- or ever insists that America is plagued by a Liberal Media -- you can show them this article from today's Washington Post and, by itself, it should clear up everything. The article's headline is "How a Detainee Became An Asset -- Sept. 11 Plotter Cooperated After Waterboarding" -- though an equally appropriate headline would be: "The Joys and Virtues of Torture -- how Dick Cheney Kept Us Safe." I defy anyone to identify a single way the article would be different if The Post had let Dick Cheney write it himself. The next time someone laments the economic collapse of the modern American newspaper, one might point out that an industry which pays three separate reporters (Peter Finn, Joby Warrick and Julie Tate) and numerous editors to churn out mindless, inane tripe like this has brought about its own demise."
DOJ May Skirt Court Order on Interrogation Documents
Spencer Ackerman reports for The Washington Independent: "The Obama administration may circumvent the spirit of a judge’s order to disclose hundreds of documents relating to the CIA’s Bush-era interrogation program, delivering instead generic descriptions of the documents and legal arguments for continued nondisclosure."
Jeremy Scahill comments for The Nation: "Blackwater, the private mercenary company owned by Erik Prince, has been thrust back into the spotlight by a series of stunning revelations about its role in covert US programs. Since at least 2002, Blackwater has worked for the CIA in Afghanistan and Pakistan on 'black' contracts. On August 19, The New York Times revealed that the company was, in fact, a central part of a secret CIA assassination program that Dick Cheney allegedly ordered concealed from Congress."
Victory at the Cost of Sanity in Obama's Forever War
William Pfaff writes for Truthdig.com: "The Nation magazine’s Robert Dreyfuss has just published a fascinating account of Washington establishment opinion about the war in Afghanistan. The four speakers at a Brookings Institution discussion were Bruce Riedel, adviser to the president (and believer in the catastrophic international consequences of a loss of the war in Afghanistan); Michael O’Hanlon, an adviser to Gen. David Petraeus; Tony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Kim Kagan, head of the Institute for the Study of War."
Honduras: Lessons From the Coup
John Lamperti writes for Truthout: "The June 28 military coup that overthrew the legitimate government of Honduras was a shock. When the Central American wars of the 1980s finally ended, the region seemed on a path toward electoral democracy at last. The military's ouster of President Zelaya, followed by the suspension of civil liberties and repression of non-violent protests, looks like a return to the bad old days when coups were the rule and real elections the rare exception."
War on Drugs is a War on People
James McEnteer writes for Dissident Voice: "Can theater succeed where diplomacy has failed? In August, artists from Skid Row Los Angeles teamed with Bolivian actors to perform a play about the War on Drugs throughout Bolivia. Drug issues have strained relations between the United States and Bolivia in recent years. And the “war” against drugs has claimed many victims in both countries. The idea of the tour was to see if the drug war play might stimulate ordinary citizens of the two countries to find common ground and create a more constructive dialog than their governments."
The Secret History of Hurricane Katrina
James Rideway writes for Mother Jones: "Confronted with images of corpses floating in the blackened floodwaters or baking in the sun on abandoned highways, there aren't too many people left who see what happened following Hurricane Katrina as a purely "natural" disaster. The dominant narratives that have emerged, in the four years since the storm, are of a gross human tragedy, compounded by social inequities and government ineptitude—a crisis subsequently exploited in every way possible for political and financial gain."
Recommended Audio: Media Matters - Robert McChesney interviews Chris Hedges
Pulitzer Prize winner, Christopher Hedges, whose weekly Truthdig column is published every Monday, is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and a Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University. He spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. Hedges, who has reported from more than 50 countries, worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times. His book, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle is his latest publication.
Kennedy's Impossible Dream? I Don't Think So
Joan Walsh writes for Salon.com: "In all the crazy arguments about Sen. Ted Kennedy's life and legacy, one thread stands out: The idea that his memorial could create a so-called "Wellstone effect" – named for the right-wing hysteria over alleged liberal excess at the progressive senator's 2002 funeral. In this fantasy of liberal misbehavior, mainly peddled by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, rowdy lefty partisans would stun the country with ideological attacks on Kennedy's loyal GOP friends, and turn voters against President Obama as well as Kennedy's key cause, health care reform."
Health Industry Donates Heavily to Blue Dog Democrats' Campaigns
Halimah Abdullah reports for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer: "As the Obama administration and Democrats wrangled over health care overhaul efforts during the first half of the year, the Democratic Party's Blue Dog political-action committee was receiving more than half of its $1.1 million in campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical, health care and health insurance industries, according to watchdog organizations."
Opponents of Health Reform: Stupid, Greedy or Just Gullible?
Steve D. writes on the Booman Tribune (as reported on AlterNet): "The right is very stupid, or very greedy, or very gullible on the issue of health care. Clearly, for executives of insurance companies, greed is the predominant factor. Small-business owners (and many large ones) who oppose universal health care with a public option are simply stupid, since our current system of providing health insurance for workers through the private sector costs them far more than their competitors in other countries, and put us at a competitive disadvatage."
Reverse Nazism and the War on Universal Healthcare
Patricia J. Williams comments for The Nation: "The spinmeisters of the right have done quite a job with what used to be straightforward English etymology. Thanks to Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, 'integration' was inverted to mean 'takeover' and 'colorblindness' is code for abandoning the advances of the civil rights movement, which itself is synonymous with an 'industry' of exclusion. It's no surprise, then, that whenever a piece of progressive legislation comes to the table, the same manipulations come into play from right-wing pundits who shamelessly profess their desire to see the Obama presidency fail. Thus it is that America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 is being turned upside down as the neat equivalent of Germany's Bankrupting Forced Death Act of 1939. "
Recommended Audio: Fiore Cartoon - Patriot or Tryant
Source: Mother Jones. In his latest cartoon, satirist Mark Fiore takes on two types of Americans: Those who want guns, and those who want health care reform. Which is the most patriotic? Watch below to find out:
Roundup Researcher: "If I know something, I will not shut my mouth."
Grain: Seeds of Information reports: "In April 2009 Andrés Carrasco, an Argentinian embryologist, gave an interview to the leading Buenos Aires newspaper Página 12, in which he described the alarming results of a research project he is leading into the impact of the herbicide glyphosate on the foetuses of amphibians. Dr Carrasco, who works in the Ministry of Science’s Conicet (National Council of Scientific and Technical Investigations), said that their results suggested that the herbicide could cause brain, intestinal and heart defects in the foetuses. Glyphosate is the herbicide used in the cultivation of Monsanto’s genetically modified soya, which now covers some 18 million hectares, about half of Argentina’s arable land."
Business Groups Target Climate Bill
Jim Snyder reports for The Hill: "Advocates for manufacturers and small businesses are launching a multimillion-dollar ad campaign against climate change legislation in states represented by senators likely to determine the bill's fate."
New Impetus for Bill Banning Anti-Gay Bias at Work
The Associate Press reports: "Momentum is building for Congress to pass the first major civil rights act protecting gays and transsexuals, supporters say, and one of the stars in the debate is a barrier-breaking transgender staffer on Capitol Hill. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, would prohibit workplace discrimination -- including decisions about hiring, firing and wages -- based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It would exempt religious organizations, the military and businesses with less than 15 workers."
Secret Camps and Guillotines? Groups Make Birthers Look Sane
Steven Thomma reposts for McClatchy Newspapers: "Is the federal government building secret camps to lock up people who criticize President Barack Obama? Will it truck off young people to camps to brainwash them into liking Obama's agenda? Are government officials planning to replicate the French Revolution's Reign of Terror, using the guillotine to silence their domestic enemies? No. The charges, of course, are not true."
Recommended Audio: What's the Right Response to Hate Speech in the Media?
In this edition of the Your Call with Rose Aguilar on KALW-FM in San Francisco, featuring Shock Jocks author Rory O’Connor, we try to define the line between appropriate and inappropriate statements on the airwaves. What exactly qualifies as hate speech? And when hateful words go viral online, do broadcast regulations still matter?
Fox Nation: A Website of Division, Not Debate
Ellen writes for Newshounds: "Fox Nation boasts that it's a community 'committed to the core principles of tolerance, open debate civil discourse --and fair and balanced coverage of the news,' yet we have repeatedly documented their deliberate efforts otherwise. Today's front page is another good example. One of the top stories 'asks' "Why is Obama changing the 9/11 anniversary?" Clicking through to the story brings a paragraph of diatribe of inflammatory invective with no balance, not even a word about what Obama is trying to do or why. Add a sentence accusing Obama of being a racist and it could have been written by Glenn Beck."
27 August 2009
Robert Scheer writes for Truthdig.com: "The light has gone out, and with it that infectious warm laugh and intensely progressive commitment of the best of the Kennedys. Not, at this point, to take anything away from the memory of his siblings—Bobby, whom I also got to know, was pretty terrific in his last years—but Sen. Ted Kennedy was the real deal."
Recommended Video: The Dream Lives On: A Tribute to Senator Ted Kennedy
Facts and Understanding Are Often in Conflict: Living in a Culture of Delusion Leads to Denial, Ignorance and Worse
Danny Schechter comments for The Media Channel: "What do we have a right to know? In this web-based age, where we can Google almost everything, you’d think we would be better informed than we are. We have Freedom of Information acts and a President who has promised transparency, offering some details on what he’s doing on an easy to access website. And yet, there is much more that we still don’t know, and maybe never will.
Town Hall Democracy or Mob Hysteria? Rethinking the Importance of the Public Sphere
Henry A. Giroux writes for Truthout: "The bitter debate that is unfolding over Obama's health care plan has garnered a great deal of media attention. The images are both familiar and disturbing - members of Congress are shouted down, taunted, hanged in effigy and, in some instances, received death threats. In some cases, mob scenes have produced violence and resulted in a number of arrests. Increasingly, people are showing up with guns at these meetings, revealing an intimate connection between an embrace of violence, politics and an unbridled hatred of both the public sphere and the conditions for real exchange, debate and dialogue over important social issues."
Town Halls and the Resurgence of the Radical Right: How the GOP Is Fueling Extremist Paranoia
James Ridgeway writes for Mother Jones: "Across the nation this summer, unknown numbers of people are hunkering down and arming up for what they believe is an imminent battle for the soul of America. Town halls and tea parties provide just a small glimpse of the rage, fear, and paranoia fomenting on front porches and in Internet chat rooms, in the conservative heartland and beyond. While the details may vary, the visions in such forums share a common theme: In one way or another, a fight to the death is coming, and coming soon."
Recommended Audio: Media Matters -Glenn Greenwald, author of Great American Hypocrites
This week on Media Matters Bob McChesney talks with Glenn Greenwald. Glenn Greenwald was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of two New York Times Bestselling books: "How Would a Patriot Act?" (May, 2006), a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, and "A Tragic Legacy" (June, 2007), which examines the Bush legacy. His most recent book, "Great American Hypocrites", examines the manipulative electoral tactics used by the GOP and propagated by the establishment press.
The Deadly Choice at Memorial
Sheri Fink reports for ProPublica on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina: "The smell of death was overpowering the moment a relief worker cracked open one of the hospital chapel’s wooden doors. Inside, more than a dozen bodies lay motionless on low cots and on the ground, shrouded in white sheets. Here, a wisp of gray hair peeked out. There, a knee was flung akimbo. A pallid hand reached across a blue gown."
The Secret Government
Christopher Hayes writes for The Nation:
It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the United States is to survive, long-standing American concepts of "fair play" must be reconsidered."Though these words echo his famous endorsement of working "the dark side" in order to triumph in the "war on terror," they were not, in fact, written by Dick Cheney. They come from the Doolittle Report, which was commissioned by President Eisenhower in 1954 to craft an intelligence strategy for winning the cold war. From a strategic perspective, the threat posed by global communism, headquartered in a massive, nuclear-armed superpower with almost 6 million men under arms, and Al Qaeda, a networked, globally distributed group of thousands of nonstate actors, could not be more different. But the national security state's understanding of each as an existential threat was, and continues to be, nearly identical. The enemy is ingenious, relentless and unencumbered by the procedural and moral niceties that hamstring the bureaucrats of a liberal democracy. Victory--indeed, survival--requires us to become more like them. "
Memos Suggest Legal Cherry-Picking in Justifying Torture
Daphne Eviatar reports for The Washington Independent: "On the same day that the government produced the 2004 CIA Inspector General's report on interrogations, it also turned over seven more memos and letters from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. The memos released on Monday were the Justice Department's legal justifications for continuing to use those controversial interrogation techniques, despite a new law passed by Congress and an intervening landmark Supreme Court ruling that governs U.S. detentions overseas."
July, August for Deadliest Month for US Troops in Eight-Year War in Afghanistan
Amir Shah reports for The Associated Press: "A U.S. service member died Thursday in a militant attack involving a roadside bomb and gunfire, a death that pushed August into a tie with July as the deadliest months of the eight-year war. The death brings to 44 the number of U.S. troops who have died in Afghanistan this month. But with four days left in the month, August is likely to set a new record."
Inside the Great American Bubble Machine
Matt Taibbi writes in Rolling Stone: "The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. In fact, the history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled dry American empire, reads like a Who's Who of Goldman Sachs graduates."
GOP: Having It Both Ways on Stimulus
Christopher Flavelle reports for ProPublica: "The Associated Press continues its impressive stimulus coverage with a report on Republicans who opposed the stimulus—then lobbied for stimulus funding. “Billions of dollars worth of Defense Department stimulus money is paying for repairs and construction at military installations in areas represented by lawmakers who said ‘no’ to the legislation,” the AP reports. Republicans respond that they can oppose wasteful spending over all and also back worthy projects."
Forging a Green Economic Recovery at Home
Edwin D. Hill writes for The Huffington Post: "Around the time President Obama was kicking off trade talks with Chinese leaders late last month, more than 100 workers in Lexington, Ky., found out they were about to become the latest victims of our existing unfair and unbalanced trade policies. General Electric Co. announced on July 23 that it was shutting down its Kentucky Glass Plant in July 2010, the last G.E. plant in the United States to make glass covering, known as envelopes, for household incandescent bulbs."
Recommended Video: Matt Taibbi on Health Care Reform - Sick and Wrong
Recommended reading: Health Care Reform: The Big Sellout in Rolling Stone Issue 1086. How Washington is screwing up health care reform — and why it may take a revolt to fix it.
Waxman Gears Up for Health Care Showdown
Bill Boyarsky writes for Truthdig.com: "By the time Congress returns from its recess and takes another whack at the health insurance mess, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., will have started revealing the deceit that protects health business profiteers. Waxman has already begun by demanding that major insurance companies reveal how much they pay top executives and board members and, most important, the size of their profits from selling policies."
This Isn't Reform, It's Robbery
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig.com: "Capitalists, as my friend Father Michael Doyle says, should never be allowed near a health care system. They hold sick children hostage as they force parents to bankrupt themselves in the desperate scramble to pay for medical care. The sick do not have a choice. Medical care is not a consumable good. We can choose to buy a used car or a new car, shop at a boutique or a thrift store, but there is no choice between illness and health. And any debate about health care must acknowledge that the for-profit health care industry is the problem and must be destroyed. This is an industry that hires doctors and analysts to deny care to patients in order to increase profits. It is an industry that causes half of all bankruptcies. And the 20,000 Americans who died last year because they did not receive adequate care condemn these corporations as complicit in murder."
Polluting the Debate
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, Nate Carlile, Zaid Jilani, and Brad Johnson write for The Progress Report: "Just as "death panels" and "swastikas" poison the debate over President Obama's health care reform agenda in town hall meetings across America, oil and coal interests are polluting Obama's effort to pass clean energy reform. Through a variety of front groups, companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, Peabody Coal, and Koch Industries are fueling misinformation about global warming and fear about clean energy solutions. Lobbyists and public relations firms have established websites and Twitter feeds while crisscrossing the nation on "clean coal" and "energy citizens" tours. The oil industry's "American Energy Express" bus tour has now joined the coal industry's "Factuality" bus tour, going to state fairs and political events. A "Hot Air" balloon tour attacking "global warming alarmism" is being run by Koch's Americans for Prosperity, the polluter-funded group behind 'tea party' protests and 'hands off my health care' rallies. When the groups can't find enough radical right-wing activists to support their message, they resort to deception and intimidation. The coal industry forged letters to Congress opposing the American Clean Energy and Security Act, and oil company employees are being bused to rallies that attack the legislation as a job-killing menace. Conservative oil- and coal-powered millionaires are willing to go to any lengths to convince Americans that pollution standards are instead energy taxes, using methods as dirty as their fossil fuels."
Why Women Need Health Care Reform
Sharon Lerner writes for The Nation: "To be sure, no group is doing well under our network of private insurers, which is more holes than net. But women fare particularly badly in terms of health, being more likely than men to leave a prescription unfilled; forgo seeing a needed specialist; and skip a medical test, treatment or follow-up. Financially, women are worse off, too, in large part because they earn less money. Despite the fact that they skimp on their care to cut costs, three in five women are still unable to pay their medical bills. All of which makes it surprising that men and women support health reform in almost equal numbers (38 versus 40 percent consider it a top priority, according to a recent Kaiser poll). Odder and ickier still is the sight of Sarah Palin, Betsy McCaughey and other women leading, or sometimes blindly following, the wacko town hall movement against reform."
The Unfinished Agenda on Women's Equality Day
Carol Peasley writes for The Huffington Post: "Eighty-nine years ago today the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, finally giving women full voting rights. Thanks to Congresswoman Bella Abzug, since the early 1970s we have commemorated the anniversary as Women's Equality Day. It is indeed a day to step back and reflect on how far -- or not far -- women have come in achieving political equality over these nearly 90 years."
White House Takes Small Steps on Gay Rights
Kevin Bogardus reports for The Hill: "After a rocky start that led to complaints among the president’s supporters, the Obama administration has begun to take more concrete steps on gay rights issues. The Justice Department clarified a legal brief defending the Defense of Marriage Act last week, a statute that defines marriage as between a man and a woman, asking for the law to be repealed. In addition, the hire of a prominent gay rights adviser on President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign at the department’s civil rights office was reported. And the president himself awarded prominent gay activists Medals of Freedom, even saying one of them was a role model for his daughters, earlier this month."
Yahoo Wins US Court Ruling Over Webcasting Fees
Jonathan Stemple reports for Reuters: "A federal appeals court in New York ruled that a Yahoo Inc Internet radio service is not required to pay fees to copyright holders of songs it plays, a defeat for Sony Corp's BMG Music. In a case closely watched by the recording industry, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2007 jury verdict that Launchcast, a webcasting service run by Yahoo's Launch Media Inc unit, did not give listeners enough control to be an "interactive service" that would require the fees."
FCC Approves Sweeping Probe into Wireless Industry
The Wall Street Journal reports: "The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved a public inquiry designed to pave the way for further regulation of cell phone and mobile Internet providers. The commission also launched a widespread investigation into "innovation" in the wireless industry. A separate item on Thursday's agenda examines the state of competition in the wireless sector."
Files Prove Pentagon is Profiling Reporters
Stars and Stripes reports: "Contrary to the insistence of Pentagon officials this week that they are not rating the work of reporters covering U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Stars and Stripes has obtained documents that prove that reporters’ coverage is being graded as “positive,” “neutral” or “negative.” Moreover, the documents — recent confidential profiles of the work of individual reporters prepared by a Pentagon contractor — indicate that the ratings are intended to help Pentagon image-makers manipulate the types of stories that reporters produce while they are embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan."
Obama's FCC to Enforce 'Net Neutrality'
Kevin Bogardus and Kom Hart report for The Hill: "The Obama administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to keep the Internet free of increased user fees based on heavy Web traffic and slow downloads. Julius Genachowski, the FCC chairman, told The Hill that his agency will support “net neutrality” and go after anyone who violates its tenets."
23 August 2009
Johann Hari comments for The Independent UK: "Something strange has happened in America in the nine months since Barack Obama was elected. It has best been summarised by the comedian Bill Maher: 'The Democrats have moved to the right, and the Republicans have moved to a mental hospital.' The election of Obama 'a black man with an anti-conservative message -as a successor to George W. Bush has scrambled the core American right's view of their country. In their gut, they saw the US as a white-skinned, right-wing nation forever shaped like Sarah Palin. When this image was repudiated by a majority of Americans in a massive landslide, it simply didn't compute."
The Politics of the Jackboot
E.J. Dione writes for Truthdig.com: "Try a thought experiment: What would conservatives have said if a group of loud, scruffy leftists had brought guns to the public events of Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush? How would our friends on the right have reacted to someone at a Reagan or a Bush speech carrying a sign that read: 'It’s time to water the tree of liberty'? That would be a reference to Thomas Jefferson’s declaration that the tree “must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
American Majority Agrees: Afghan War's Not Worth Fighting
John Nichols reports for The Nation: "With record numbers of US troops being killed in Afghanistan, with Pentagon expenditures for the war skyrocketing and with little or no evidence that the US occupation is making the country more stable, safe, free or humane, a majority of Americans now say the war is not worth fighting. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed for a a new Washington Post-ABC News poll now say the human and economic cost of the war is too great."
CIA's Use Of Contractors Draws Fresh Scrutiny
Kevin Whitelaw reports for National Public Radio: "News that the CIA worked with a private contractor on a secret assassination program is the latest evidence of how much the agency has outsourced a range of its activities, including covert missions."
Blackwater: CIA Assassins?
Jeremy Scahill writes for The Nation: "In April 2002, the CIA paid Blackwater more than $5 million to deploy a small team of men inside Afghanistan during the early stages of US operations in the country. A month later, Erik Prince, the company's owner and a former Navy SEAL, flew to Afghanistan as part of the original twenty-man Blackwater contingent. Blackwater worked for the CIA at its station in Kabul as well as in Shkin, along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where they operated out of a mud fortress known as the Alamo. It was the beginning of a long relationship between Blackwater, Prince and the CIA. Now the New York Times is reporting that in 2004 the CIA hired Blackwater 'as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda.' According to the Times, 'it is unclear whether the CIA had planned to use the contractors to capture or kill Qaeda operatives, or just to help with training and surveillance.'"
Blackwater Disclosure Adds to CIA Worries: News of 'Targeted Killing' Program Precedes Interrogation Report, Possible Probe
R. Jeffrey Smith and Joby Warrick report for the Washington Post: "The disclosure Wednesday of the CIA's decision five years ago to let a private security contractor help manage its sensitive effort to kill senior al-Qaeda members drew congressional criticism Thursday on the eve of key decisions by the Obama administration that current and former intelligence officials fear could compound the spy agency's political troubles.
What Rebound? Foreclosures Rise as Jobs and Income Drop
Kevin G. Hall reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "Delinquency and foreclosure rates for U.S. mortgages continued to rise in the second quarter, with loans to the most qualified borrowers going bust at an unnerving clip, especially in hard-hit states such as Florida and California."
Recommended Audio: Truthdig Podcast - Chris Hedges on Healthcare, War and the New Racism
Chris Hedges talks about the illusion of health care reform, the war in Afghanistan and what he calls the “new racism” in the age of Obama.
The Policy-Speak Disaster for Health Care
George Lakoff comments for Truthout: "Barack Obama ran the best-organized and best-framed presidential campaign in history. How is it possible that the same people who did so well in the campaign have done so badly on health care?"
Why the Gang of Six Is Deciding Health Care for Three Hundred Million of Us
Robert Reich comments on Robert Reich's Blog: "Last night, the so-called 'gang of six' - three Republican and three Democratic senators on the Senate Finance Committee - met by conference call and, according to Senator Max Baucus, the committee's chair, reaffirmed their commitment 'toward a bipartisan health-care reform bill' (read: less coverage and no public insurance option). The Washington Post reports that the senators shared tales from their home states, where some have been besieged by protesters angry about a potential government takeover of the nation's health care system."
In a Reasoned Debate, Single Payer Will Come Out On Top
By Laura S. Boylan, M.D., and Joanne Landy, M.P.H., write: "One can only feel sorrow and dismay at the bullying and hate-mongering that is taking place at health care forums around the country. Massive job losses, the devaluation and foreclosures of people’s homes, and precipitous declines in lifetime savings produce widespread fears of further loss. In an era of insecurity, mainstream Democratic Party proposals for reforming the health system have played into such fears."
This piece was originally posted at the Web site of Physicians for a National Health Program (http://www.pnhp.org) and was reposted on Truthdig.com.
Kevin Drum writes for Mother Jones: "Miller-McCune glosses some recent research about the exorbitant rates the uninsured are forced to pay for medical care:
For example, one doctor billed $4,500 for an office visit when Medicare would have paid just $134. Another doctor billed $14,400 for removal of a gallbladder when Medicare would have paid $656. And a hip replacement cost $40,000 when Medicare would have paid $1,558Dying for Affordable Healthcare -- the uninsured speak
In a week of claim and counter-claim about the merits of healthcare provision in the US and UK, Ed Pilkington, The Guardian UK, travelled to Quindaro, Kansas, to see how the poorest survive and reports: "In the furious debate gripping America over the future of its health system, one voice has been lost amid the shouting. It is that of a distinguished gynaecologist, aged 67, called Dr Joseph Manley. For 35 years Manley had a thriving health clinic in Kansas. He lived in the most affluent neighbourhood of Kansas City and treated himself to a new Porsche every year. But this is not a story about doctors' remuneration and their lavish lifestyles."
Recommended Audio: Audio slideshow - Free health care in Kansas City
From the Guardian UK: Rare free treatment centre in US acts as a safety net where the uninsured can go for treatment.
Health Care Battle Tarnishes Grassley's Bipartisan Reputation
Mike Lillis reports for The Washington Independent: "Senate Democrats negotiating health care reforms with Sen. Charles Grassley are finding out the hard way that the Iowa Republican, while boasting a reputation for reaching across the aisle, appears hard set on supporting GOP leadership above bipartisan compromise. Not only is Grassley threatening to vote against the bill — even a bill he supports — if it doesn’t gain enough GOP backing, but his home-state recess tour has found him echoing false GOP accusations that the Democrats’ plans would empower the government to ration services and euthanize seniors."
ACTION ALERT: Whole Foods Market Faces Boycott Over Opposition to Public Option and Single Payer
From the Organic Consumers Organization: Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey set off a firestorm of controversy in a recent Wall Street Journal article, arguing against health care reform and the so-called "public option." Mackey contends that the United States can fix our healthcare crisis not by reining in insurance companies and improving access to comprehensive healthcare and affordable organic food, but by patronizing his overpriced WFM and further deregulating the insurance industry. In fact, Mackey believes that healthcare is not a human right, but a commodity that only the wealthy should have. Tens of thousands of organic consumers and health care advocates have responded by calling for a boycott of Whole Foods Markets.
Over fifteen thousand OCA members have contacted WFM in recent months, urging the nation's largest retailer of organic products to increase organic food access, implement comprehensive testing for GMOs in their private label products and eliminate dangerous chemicals from their body care products. WFM responded by bowing to OCA pressure and has promised to sell significantly more organics in 2010. We having an impact!
Tell Whole Foods to support their stated mission of promoting organics, health, justice, and sustainability
The Invasion of Genetically-Engineered Eucalyptus
Jim Hightower writes: "Here’s a great idea: Let's bring into our country a genetically-engineered, non-native tree that is known to be wildly invasive, explosively flammable, and insatiably thirsty for ground water. Then let's clone thousands of these living firecrackers and plant them in forested regions across seven Southern states, allowing them to grow, flower, produce seeds, and spread into native environments."
Please click here to take action against ArborGen's plan to plant 260,000 franken-trees.
Luckily, several scrappy grassroots groups have mobilized to bring common sense and public pressure to bear on USDA. For updates and action items, visit www.nogetrees.org.
(Nuclear) Energy Bill Moves to the Senate
Atheo News reports: "Nuclear industry advocates are encouraged by what they are hearing in Senate Environment and Public Works committee hearings this week. A panel which included Obama Energy Secretary Dr. Chu was questioned by Senators in a hearing which shed light on the likely direction federal efforts at combating global warming will take if legislation is passed."
FACT CHECK: The Right-Wing Smear Campaign Against Mark Lloyd
Amanda Terkel writes for Think Progress: "Since the FCC appointed Mark Lloyd as the agency’s Chief Diversity Officer/Associate General Counsel on July 29, conservatives have made him their new target in the ongoing campaign to baselessly warn about the reemergence of the Fairness Doctrine."
Timothy Karr reports for the Huffington Post: "If you haven't been paying attention to the rise of Astroturf in Washington, in the media and at your local town hall meeting, now's the time to tune in. Astroturf front groups have been everywhere this summer -- spreading misinformation about health care reform, carbon emission caps and financial regulation. Astroturf shills, notably FreedomWorks' Dick Armey and Americans for Prosperity's Tim Phillips, surface wherever and whenever reform policies threaten the corporate or political status quo."
Recommended Audio: The Power of Online Politics
Ari Melber, the Nation's Net Movement correspondent, shares his insights from the Netroots Nation conference on the direction Internet-based organizing is taking. Melber notes three new developments: reverse fundraising, where donors raise money for a primary challenger to a congressperson they don't like; donor strikes, where donors tell the politicians that they won't fundraise for them unless they vote a certain way; and the sort of ambush interviews practiced by the blog FireDogLake, where politicians are caught on video having to explain their positions on an issue.
20 August 2009
Rem Reider writes for the American Journalism Review: Chico Marx once famously asked, "Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" America has become a country filled with people who stubbornly continue to believe what they want to believe, regardless of the facts. Take the so-called birthers, who refuse to accept that President Obama is an American citizen, despite ample evidence showing that he is."
America the Delusional
Tim Rutten comments for The Los Angeles Times: "At least a dozen people openly displaying everything from an AR-15 assault rifle to 9-millimeter Beretta sidearms were in the crowd outside the hall where Obama spoke in Arizona on Monday. The state is one of those that have a so-called open-carry law, which allows people into public places with loaded weapons. Their appearance at recent rallies is supposed to signal their implacable opposition to the 'tyranny' of health care reform. In Hagerstown, Maryland, last week, a man appeared at a town hall meeting hosted by Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland) with a sign that read 'Death to Obama' and 'Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids.'"
Mike Huckabee's right-wing cocoon and "liberal bloggers"
Glenn Greenwald comments for Salon.com: "Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee defended himself Tuesday against accusations from liberal bloggers that he has been "bashing America" during his ongoing visit to Israel. . . ."
Recommended Audio: Democracy Now - "All Roads Lead to Rove": Fmr. New Mexico US Attorney David Iglesias on New Evidence Linking Bush Admin to Firings
Documents released by Congress this week offer powerful new evidence that Karl Rove and other senior Bush administration figures took the lead in the firing of nine US attorneys in 2006. We speak to former New Mexico US attorney David Iglesias, who was fired after refusing Republican pressure to take on allegations of voter fraud and pursue cases against Democrats to help a Republican lawmaker’s re-election campaign.
Scalia Says There’s Nothing Unconstitutional about Executing the Innocent.
Ian Millhiser reports for Think Progress: "Almost two decades ago, Troy Anthony Davis was convicted of murder and sentenced to die. Since then, seven of the witnesses against him have recanted their testimony, and some have even implicated Sylvester “Redd” Coles, a witness who testified that Davis was the shooter. In light of the very real evidence that Davis could be innocent of the crime that placed him on death row, the Supreme Court today invoked a rarely used procedure giving Davis an opportunity to challenge his conviction."
We Have the Moral High Ground
Cindy Sheehan writes for the San Francisco Bay View: "I remember back in the good ol’ days of 2005 and 2006 when being against the wars was not only politically correct, but it was very popular. I remember receiving dozens of awards, uncountable accolades and was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. "
Afghan Civilians Soured on US Security Contractors
David Zucchino reports for The Chicago Tribune: "The shooting deaths of Raheb Dost, 24, and Romal, 22, who used just one name, by four gunmen with the company once known as Blackwater have turned an entire neighborhood against the American presence here. Enraged by the deaths of civilians in military airstrikes, many Afghans are demanding more accountability from security contractors who routinely block traffic and bark orders to motorists and pedestrians."
Afghan Women on the Campaign Trail
Ben Arnoldy writes for the Christian Science Monitor: "When Farzana Barekzai and her small band of female campaigners knock at the home of Ahmadin Pahlawan, he greets them and points to a poster of President Hamid Karzai above the door to assure them: His vote isn't changing."
MoJo Forum: Does Fiji Water Legitimize a Dictatorship?
The Fiji Phenomenon: It's a Human Rights and Environmental Nightmare, So Why Is It the #1 Imported Bottled Water in the US?
Among water brands, Fiji Water is the green elite's top drop. Its sleek square-sided bottle design is synonymous with ecochic, and it's beloved by Mary J. Blige, Paris Hilton, and even President Obama. But as Anna Lenzer reports in a must-read Mother Jones story (link below), the water giant has a dark side:
Nowhere in Fiji Water's glossy marketing materials...will you find the fact that its signature bottle is made from Chinese plastic in a diesel-fueled plant and hauled thousands of miles to its ecoconscious consumers. And, of course, you won't find mention of the military junta for which Fiji Water is a major source of global recognition and legitimacy.
The Mother Jones exposé struck a nerve with its readers (check out the comments on Lenzer's story) and showcased the dilemmas of a "green" business. We invite you to continue and broaden the conversation below, in this week's live online forum. The question: "Does America's favorite imported water legitimize a dictatorship?"Fiji Water: Spin the Bottle
Ana Lenzer reports for Mother Jones: "The Internet Café in the Fijian capital, Suva, was usually open all night long. Dimly lit, with rows of sleek, modern terminals, the place was packed at all hours with teenage boys playing boisterous rounds of video games. But one day soon after I arrived, the staff told me they now had to shut down by 5 p.m. Police orders, they shrugged: The country's military junta had declared martial law a few days before, and things were a bit tense."
William Greider writes for The Nation: "After his brilliant beginning, the president suddenly looks weak and unreliable. That will be the common interpretation around Washington of the president's abrupt retreat on substantive heathcare reform. Give Barack Obama a hard shove, they will say, rough him up a bit and he folds. A few weeks back, the president was touting a "public option" health plan as an essential element in reform. Now he says, take it or leave it. Whatever Congress does, he's okay with that."
FACT CHECK: Health Overhaul Myths Taking Root
Calvin Woodward reports for the Huffington Post: "The judgment is harsh in a new poll that finds Americans worried about the government taking over health insurance, cutting off treatment to the elderly and giving coverage to illegal immigrants. Harsh, but not based on facts."
Six Lobbyists Per Lawmaker Work on Health Overhaul
Jonathan D. Salant and Lizzie O'Leary report for Bloomberg News: "If there is any doubt that President Barack Obama's plan to overhaul U.S. health care is the hottest topic in Congress, just ask the 3,300 lobbyists who have lined up to work on the issue. That's six lobbyists for each of the 535 members of the House and Senate, according to Senate records, and three times the number of people registered to lobby on defense."
Stop Corporate Terrorism
The Progressive Populist comments: "For sheer, unmitigated gall, it's hard to beat the conservatives who are mounting a last-ditch campaign to derail meaningful health care reform. First, the health insurance and pharmaceutical companies bribed Congress members with millions of dollars in campaign contributions to keep expansion of Medicare - the most efficient way to provide affordable health coverage to every American - 'off the table.'"
"Democratic" Fox News Guest Attacks Obama's Health Care Reform With A Slew Of Falsehoods, All Unchallenged
Brian and Ellen write for News Hounds: "On Tuesday's (8/18.09) Your World, Neil Cavuto interviewed nurse Anna Barone about the Obama health plan. Barone was introduced as a “registered Democrat.” But Cavuto forgot to mention that she has been involved in a number of conservative causes, most recently firedavidletterman.com, which gave her a previous appearance on Fox News. Sure enough, “Democrat” Barone was soon touting anti-Obama, anti-health care reform talking points, wrongly claiming the health care reform bill 'caters to non-citizens,' that it will cost young people $4,000 and other falsehoods that went unchallenged by Cavuto." With video.
Town Hall Protests: Astroturf 2.0
Ben Buchwalter and Nikki Gloudeman report for Mother Jones: "This summer, town hall meetings to discuss health care reform have turned into battlegrounds—with fist fights, belligerent protestors, and at least one lawmaker reporting a death threat. Some Democrats have blamed the chaos on astroturf operations: fake grassroots groups funded by special interests. But are the forces whipping up the anti-health care frenzy really astroturf—or a new form of corporate-funded campaigning?"
Health Care Homework for the L.A. Times: How Does the Canadian Medical System Actually Work?
Trudy Liberman writes for the Columbia Journalism Review: "By now, it’s pretty clear that the U.S. is not going to adopt health reform that in any way resembles the systems in Canada, Germany, Great Britain, or any other country that gives all its citizens health care as a matter of right. But that hasn’t stopped reporters from mischaracterizing the nature of other countries’ national health systems, like the Los Angeles Times did a few days ago."
Network TV Morning Health News Segments May Be Harmful to Your Health
Gary Scwhitzer reports for HealthNewsReview.org: "By reviewing health news coverage every day, we are able to see big pictures of clear patterns unfolding that the casual day-to-day news consumer may miss. One picture is quite clear. The morning health news segments on ABC, CBS and NBC do the following regularly:
- Unquestioningly promote new drugs and new technologies
- Feed the “worried well” by raising unrealistic expectations of unproven technologies that may produce more harm than good
- Fail to ask tough questions
- Make any discussion of health care reform that much more difficult
Wendy Norris writes for RH Reality Check: "In just five short years, the primary movers and shakers in the absolutist anti-abortion/anti-choice movement seeking to promote the 'personhood' of zygotes (the single cell that forms after a sperm fertilizes an egg) have amassed nearly $58 million in tax-deductible contributions for their cause. Even the lead up to one of the worst economic periods in U.S. history has barely registered a blip in the group's collective money-drawing power according to an examination of IRS and state campaign finance records conducted for RH Reality Check."
Iraq's Gays Face Rising Persecution
Liz Sly reports for The Los Angeles Times: "In January, a video began circulating on cellphones in Baghdad showing men dancing provocatively with one another at a party. At the time, many Iraqis considered the video a sign of how much life in Iraq had normalized, an indication of new freedoms. But activists and some gays in Baghdad say the video instead served as a trigger for a systematic campaign of persecution and killings of gays by Iraqi security forces and Shiite militias."
Gay Men Targeted in Iraq, Report Says
Ernesto Londoño reports for the Washington Post: "Human Rights Watch will urge in a report to be released Monday that the Iraqi government do more to protect gay men, saying militiamen have killed and tortured scores in recent months as part of a social cleansing campaign."
Recommended Audio: Mother Jones Podcast - NetRoots Nation Dispatch With Kevin Drum
Kevin Drum is a political blogger based in California. This weekend he's in Pittsburgh speaking about the economy at NetRoots Nation, a progressive blogger confab originally started by the DailyKos site. Laura McClure spoke with him about the NetRoots blogger male-to-female ratio, what happened when Arlen Specter mentioned the healthcare "death panels" to a Pittsburgh audience, and how Obama is perceived by the NetRoots liberals.
Saving Journalism: Howard Kurtz is Worng; Dan Rather is Right
Josh Silver writes for the Huffington Post: "On Monday, Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post and CNN criticized veteran newsman Dan Rather for his recent call for a White House commission on the future of journalism and public media. It was a misguided criticism of Mr. Rather, who has called for the commission as a way to bring attention to the crisis facing American newsrooms (20,000 newspaper jobs lost in the past 18 months alone), and to create the political will necessary to get our elected leaders to address the problem."
More Paranoia About Net Neutrality Attempts to Scare Conservatives
Phillip Dampier writes for Stop the Cap!: "The astroturfers remain hard at work trying to convince conservatives the best way to oppose Obama Administration telecommunications policies would be to adopt industry-friendly views opposing Net Neutrality. The latest to buy in is The American Spectator, publishing a piece this morning titled, 'The Great Regrouping.' In it, The Prowler casts Net Neutrality as part of the Obama Administration’s plot to impose government controls on the Internet, representing a 'grave threat … to free speech and conservatives’ ability to organize and mobilize politically.'”
Eight More Companies Stop Advertising on Glenn Beck
Amanda Trekel reports for Think Progress: "Eight more companies — including Allergan, Ally Bank, Best Buy, Broadview Security, CVS, Re-Bath, Travelocity, and Wal-Mart — have agreed to stop advertising on Glenn Beck’s Fox News show. Their announcements are in response to a ColorOfChange campaign after Beck said that President Obama is a “racist” with 'a deep-seated hatred for white people.' A total of 20 companies have now pulled their advertising. 'We support vigorous debate, especially around policy issues that affect millions of Americans, but we expect it to be informed, inclusive and respectful, in keeping with our company’s core values and commitment to diversity,' explained Carolyn Castel, Vice President of Corporate Communications for CVS Caremark."
Rush Limbaugh Shows His True Bigotry by Making Gay Joke About Barney Frank: "He Spends Most Of His Time Living Around Uranus"
Rush Limbaugh has made what appears to be a joke mocking Barney Frank's sexuality in response to Frank's tough stance with a town hall protester Tuesday night. Tuesday, Frank asked a protester who had compared President Obama to Hitler, "On what planet do you spend most of your time?"
17 August 2009
We close out this week's show by hearing Laura Flanders moderate a media panel including Hendrik Hertzberg, Senior Editor and Staff Writer for The New Yorker, along with Editor and Publisher of The Nation Katrina Vanden Heuvel, and Nancy Giles, contributor for CBS News Sunday Morning as they discuss the issues in the news including health care, the mainstream media reaction to the Henry Louis Gates' arrest and its aftermath with Glenn Beck commenting on Obama's "racism" and desire for "reparations," Rush Limbaugh accusing him of trying to ruin a white police officer, and Michele Malkin calling him a "racial opportunist," and the media's blackout on information about foreign issues.