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

02 August 2009

Clippings for 2 August 2009

Pay to Play Is Washington's Sport of Kings
Michael Winship comments for Truthout: "This week, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that in the second quarter of this year alone, the pharmaceuticals and health product industries spent $67,959,095 on lobbying, and the insurance industry $39,760,477. Another $25,552,088 was spent by lobbyists for hospitals and nursing homes. That's a total of $133,271,660 in just three months, and that's not even counting the lobbying money spent to fight health care reform by professional associations like the US Chamber of Commerce."

Right-Wing Harassment Strategy Against Dems Detailed in Memo
Lee Fang reports for Think Progress: "This morning, Politico reported that Democratic members of Congress are increasingly being harassed by 'angry, sign-carrying mobs and disruptive behavior" at local town halls. This growing phenomenon is often marked by violence and absurdity. The lobbyist-run groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, which orchestrated the anti-Obama tea parties earlier this year, are now pursuing an aggressive strategy to create an image of mass public opposition to health care and clean energy reform. A leaked memo from Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer with the FreedomWorks website Tea Party Patriots, details how members should be infiltrating town halls and harassing Democratic members of Congress."

Battle over Labor Law Reform Shows True Power of the Right
Abby Scher writes for PublicEye.org: "Some people may enjoy watching the Right thrash around trying to find its way in the Obama Age, but I take the election results and their aftermath as a sign of a country dangerously divided. There really was a stark difference in the major party candidates, and 46 percent voted for the guy who lost. 59,946,378 is a lot of people. This political force isn’t going away."

Bush, Rove Far More Involved in Attorney Firings Than Previously Revealed
Jason Leopold comments for Truthout: "George W. Bush and his former top adviser, Karl Rove, were far more involved in the firings of nine US attorneys in 2006 than they had previously let on, according to internal Bush administration documents and interviews Rove gave to two major newspapers earlier this month."

It’s Time for the U.S. to Declare Victory and Go Home
Truthdig Editor’s note: Col. Timothy R. Reese is a senior U.S. military adviser to the Iraqis in Baghdad, at the flash point of the transition of power. Reese penned the memo below, which challenges the timetable championed by President Obama and Gen. Ray Odierno, the senior American commander in Iraq. Leaked text by way of the New York Times.
Col. Timothy R. Reese reports on Truthdig: "As the old saying goes, “guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Since the signing of the 2009 Security Agreement, we are guests in Iraq, and after six years in Iraq, we now smell bad to the Iraqi nose. Today the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are good enough to keep the Government of Iraq (GOI) from being overthrown by the actions of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the Baathists, and the Shia violent extremists that might have toppled it a year or two ago. Iraq may well collapse into chaos of other causes, but we have made the ISF strong enough for the internal security mission. Perhaps it is one of those infamous paradoxes of counterinsurgency that while the ISF is not good in any objective sense, it is good enough for Iraq in 2009. Despite this foreboding disclaimer about an unstable future for Iraq, the United States has achieved our objectives in Iraq. Prime Minister (PM) Maliki hailed June 30th as a “great victory,” implying the victory was over the US. Leaving aside his childish chest pounding, he was more right than he knew. We too ought to declare victory and bring our combat forces home. Due to our tendency to look after the tactical details and miss the proverbial forest for the trees, this critically important strategic realization is in danger of being missed."

A Faster Iraq Withdrawal
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, and Nate Carlile write in The Progress Report by Think Progress: "Defense Secretary Robert Gates made headlines earlier this week when he said conditions in Iraq have improved to the point that the U.S. 'may accelerate' the withdrawal of American forces, despite increased instability. 'I think there is at least a chance of a modest acceleration' in the drawdown schedule, Gates said while traveling with key members of President Obama's national security team in the Middle East. The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the U.S. and Iraq that President Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki agreed to late last year mandated that U.S. forces turn over responsibility for security inside cities and villages to Iraqi security forces on June 30. Iraqi forces now have the main responsibility for Iraq's internal safety, with U.S. troops acting in an advisory partnership role. Gates said that 'another brigade of about 5,000 troops could leave by the end of December on top of the two brigades, or 10,000 troops, now scheduled to pull out this year.' Gates added that Gen. Ray Odierno, the top commander of all forces in Iraq, agrees, and conditions on the ground have improved "quicker than expected." A day after Gates' remarks, an 'unusually blunt memo' authored by Army Col. Timothy R. Reese was published. Reese argued that 'Iraqi forces are competent enough to hold off Sunni insurgents, Shiite militias and other internal threats to the Iraqi government.' Reese went even further, saying that American military presence in Iraq beyond 2010 will do little to improve the Iraqis' military performance while fueling growing resentment. "As the old saying goes, 'Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days,' Reese wrote, declaring that it is time 'for the U.S. to declare victory and go home.'"

Three Good Reasons to Liquidate Our Empire
Chalmers Johnson writes for TomDispatch.com: "However ambitious President Barack Obama's domestic plans, one unacknowledged issue has the potential to destroy any reform efforts he might launch. Think of it as the 800-pound gorilla in the American living room: our longstanding reliance on imperialism and militarism in our relations with other countries and the vast, potentially ruinous global empire of bases that goes with it. The failure to begin to deal with our bloated military establishment and the profligate use of it in missions for which it is hopelessly inappropriate will, sooner rather than later, condemn the United States to a devastating trio of consequences: imperial overstretch, perpetual war, and insolvency, leading to a likely collapse similar to that of the former Soviet Union."

Honduran Coup Over?
Greg Grandin writes for CounterPunch: "Bloomberg is reporting that Honduran coup leader, Roberto Micheletti has accepted the Arias plan, which means -- if true -- that Manuel Zelaya will be, with conditions, as president. Though Micheletti is still begging for time, saying he needs Arias’s help in convincing his co-coup leaders to agree. The terms are unclear about what is covered in the Arias’ amnesty, but it is doubtful there will be any investigation or prosecution of the human-rights violations that have taken place, including nine, perhaps ten murders, all against Zelaya supporters, over the last month.

Restoring Democracy in Honduras
Mark Weisbort writes in the Guardian UK: "The mediation effort that US secretary of state Hillary Clinton arranged to try to resolve the crisis in Honduras, which began when a military coup removed Honduran President Mel Zelaya more than four weeks ago, has failed. It is now time – some would say overdue – for the Latin American governments to play their proper role."

Recommended Audio: Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya Speaks from Nicaraguan Border on Who’s Behind the Coup, His Attempts to Return Home, the Role of the United States and More
In a Democracy Now! national broadcast exclusive, ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya joins us from the Nicaragua-Honduras border for a wide-ranging interview on his attempts to return home, who’s behind the coup, the role of the United States, and much more. “I think the United States is going to lose a great deal of influence in Latin America if it does not turn the coup d’├ętat around,” Zeleya says. “It will not be able to put forth its idea about democracy. It won’t be credible before anyone.” On his message to the Honduran people, Zelaya says they should “maintain their resistance against those who want to take their rights away…so that no one will be able to disrespect them, which is what the coup regime is doing today.”

The Real Battle for the Federal Judiciary
Eric R. Haren comments on Law.com: "After President Barack Obama wins confirmation of his first Supreme Court nominee, the Court will still lean conservative. And it will still decide only a handful of cases each year. The lower courts, in contrast, will have the final word in more than 99 percent of federal cases. These courts are up for grabs, and Obama's impact on them could be sweeping. Indeed, Obama may be able to completely reshape a conservative-dominated judiciary to one largely controlled by Democratic appointees -- even in a single term."

Schwarzenegger Cuts 100% of Funding for Domestic Violence Centers
Tonie Scott reports for the Oroville Mercury-Register: "Butte County domestic violence victims will face a sharp reduction in the services provided to them by Catalyst Domestic Services, as a result of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's blue pencil cuts to the state budget."

Why Isn't Single-Payer "Uniquely American"
Timothy Noah writes for Slate: "On July 30, single-payer advocates staged a rally on Capitol Hill to demand why Congress wasn't even considering enacting a single-payer health system. The usual answer you hear from Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and others is that the United States requires a solution to its health care crisis that's 'uniquely American.'"

Health Care Tyranny by 13 Obstructionists
David Sirota writes for Truthdig: "For those still clinging to quaint notions of the American ideal, these have been a faith-shaking 10 years. Just as evolutionary science once got in the way of creationists’ catechism, so has politics now undermined patriots’ naive belief that the United States is a functioning democracy."

Senate Dems Blame Media for August Health Deadline
J. Taylor Rushing reports for The Hill: "Senate Democratic leaders on Thursday blamed Capitol Hill media for setting an August deadline for health reform and Republicans for blocking the bill's progress. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Conference Secretary Patty Murray (D-Wash.) also acknowledged that critics will 'pour it on' during the coming August recess and they plan to respond in kind."

Single-Payer System Cuts Barriers to Care

Beth Cardosi comments in The Sun News: "I'm a physician in South Carolina. I have firsthand experience regarding our broken, wasteful health care system. On a daily basis I care for the uninsured who have no jobs (often because of layoffs or illness) and have no money or access to health care providers. These people often come to the emergency departments with minor issues that could be handled simply as an outpatient if there were a place for them to be treated, or they are seen with life-threatening illnesses because they couldn't receive the proper treatment for their chronic illness (i.e. high blood pressure and diabetes) or couldn't receive preventive care and now have untreatable cancer. These people show up where the care is the most expensive because they won't get turned away."

Are Liberal Netroots Groups Helping Obama Fail?
Jeff Cohen comments for Truthout: "I've started deleting them as spam. I'm not talking about the enlarge-your-penis emails or 'You've Won the Lottery' notices. I'm talking about the increasingly urgent emails coming for weeks from liberal netroots groups calling for a 'public option' for health care - a government insurance plan citizens could choose to PAY FOR instead of private insurance. Never has so much passion been so misdirected."

Harvey Milk among Medal of Honor Honorees
Carla Marinucci reports for the San Francisco Chronicle: "President Obama said Thursday he will bestow the nation's highest civilian honor on slain San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, making him the first openly gay civil rights leader to receive the award and drawing praise from activists who have criticized Obama for shortchanging their cause."

Friendly Fire on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Ben Smith writes for Politico: "A report due out later today from the Palm Center, a California think tank working to end the ban on gays in the military, blames Washington gay rights activists and their allies in Congress for dropping the ball on repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The center has made the case for pressing President Obama for an executive order ending the ban on gays in the military, arguing that those facts on the ground -- gays openly serving -- would be irreversible, and could be followed later by Congressional action. But other gay rights advocates, led by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Human Rights Campaign, and members of Congress like Rep. Patrick Murphy have argued that a legislative repeal should be the primary goal, as an executive order could be reversed by a new president."

How Lou Dobbs Scared Rush Limbaugh off the Birther Story
Eric Boehlert writes for Media Matters: "It's true that Dobbs irresponsibly mainstreamed radical right-fringe players by championing their half-baked claims that Barack Obama isn't a natural born citizen and is ineligible to serve as president of the United States. Dobbs, at least indirectly, lent the birther movement some fleeting credence as he dragged its misbegotten detective work into the spotlight. And it's still vitally important to monitor Dobbs and call out CNN management for its dreadful hypocrisy on the birther issue (i.e. The story is 'dead' but it's OK for Dobbs to keep flogging it on national TV)."

GE's Silencing of Olbermann and MSNBC's Sleazy Use of Richard Wolffe
Glenn Greenwald comments for Salon.com: "The New York Times this morning has a remarkable story, and incredibly, the article's author, Brian Stelter, doesn't even acknowledge, let alone examine, what makes the story so significant. In essence, the chairman of General Electric (which owns MSNBC), Jeffrey Immelt, and the chairman of News Corporation (which owns Fox News), Rupert Murdoch, were brought into a room at a 'summit meeting' for CEOs in May, where Charlie Rose tried to engineer an end to the 'feud' between MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Fox's Bill O'Reilly. According to the NYT, both CEOs agreed that the dispute was bad for the interests of the corporate parents, and thus agreed to order their news employees to cease attacking each other's news organizations and employees."

NAACP-Forgery Group, Bonner & Associates, Has A Decades-Long History Of Astroturf Tactics
From Daily Censored: "A DC-based consulting firm has been exposed for forging letters in opposition to the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The letters, replete with letterhead and made-up identities, purported to be from Virginian minority organizations including the NAACP. Rep. Tom Periello (D-VA) received multiple letters pressuring him to vote against clean energy reform. According to the Charlottesville Daily Progress, Periello staffers discovered that the letters were actually forged by Bonner & Associates. Going through past correspondence regarding ACES, staffers found at least six forged letters purporting to be from Cruciendo Juntos, a nonprofit hispanic group, and the NAACP. ThinkProgress has acquired the forged letters. See them here. Bonner & Associates has a long history of shady tactics and big business corporate associations..."

Taboo News and Corporate Media
Peter Phillips writes for Daily Censored: "The corporate media in the United States are ignoring valid news stories, based on university quality research. It appears that certain topics are simply forbidden inside the mainstream corporate media today. To openly cover these news stories would stir up questions regarding 'inconvenient truths' that many in the US power structure want to avoid."

Fake News Has Got to Go
Erica Hertz Southerland writes for SavetheNews.org: "Have you heard? The economic crisis is solved. The health care reform bill passed and everyone is satisfied with it. There is no more violent crime anywhere. All the wars in the world have stopped, and our politicians are finally acting in our best interest. Everyone everywhere is happy; there is no news left to report. Or at least I assume that’s why news stations are airing advertisements disguised as news segments instead of real news."

Big Radio's Attacks on Me Aren't Surprising
Dionne Warwick writes for the Huffington Post: "I was surprised when Radio One's Cathy Hughes added my name to the list of African American artists and civil rights activists she's attacked in her vicious campaign against fairly compensating musicians for their work. Then again, since smearing African American leaders to protect her profits has become Ms. Hughes siren song, maybe I shouldn't be surprised at all. "

Leap of Faith: Inside the movement to build an audience of citizens
Megan Barber writes for the Columbia Journalism Review: "Smiling—beaming—in the back of the classroom during the press-conference-in-reverse is Alan Miller, a former Los Angeles Times reporter—he won a 2003 Pulitzer for his series on the defective Marine Corps’ Harrier attack jet—who is also responsible for today’s class. In early 2008, Miller founded the News Literacy Project, a program that mobilizes journalists both practicing and retired to share their profession with young people—to get them excited about journalism, and to help them navigate through the sea of news and sort the good from the bad. 'I spoke about journalism to my daughter’s sixth-grade class,' Miller explains, 'and was really surprised by what they didn’t know about the basics of journalism.' Positive student feedback from that talk convinced Miller of the need to teach students what standard history and civics classes generally don’t: how to be savvy consumers of news."

Broadband -- So What? Here's What (pdf download)
Doug Adams, Knight Center of Digital Excellence writes that while President Barack Obama and Congress have made it clear how important broadband is to our nation by putting billions of dollars in stimulus funding behind broadband initiatives, there still seems to be a perception gap among many non-adopter citizens. In short, there is a lack of understanding of the value broadband connectivity can bring to their lives.

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