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 August 2009

Clippings for 6 August 2009

Who Are the Real Brown Shirts?
Joan Walsh comments on Salon.com: "Who'd have imagined that our first black president would turn out to be a Nazi? Just when you think political discourse can't any uglier, Rush Limbaugh is comparing President Obama to Hitler and calling all Democrats Nazis, while the frothing right-wingers turning Democrats' town halls into "town hells" routinely refer to Obama and his supporters as "brownshirts." Right-wing blogger Steve Gilbert has transformed Obama's healthcare reform logo into a Nazi symbol by cleverly adding a swastika; meanwhile, some Republicans insist Democrats are lying about "town hell" rowdies carrying signs with swastikas, but they're the ones with a problem telling the truth."

We Need More Protests to Make Reform Possible
Peter Dreier writes for The Nation: "Why is there so little protest in response to these hard economic times? One of the rare examples of civil disobedience occurred in late July, when more than 100 people, mobilized by the community organizing group ACORN, gathered outside a foreclosed home in Oakland and attempted to take it back on behalf of its owner. The owner, Tosha Alberty, said she is the victim of a predatory loan. She claims she had tried to work with her lender to modify the loan, but the lender refused. Alberty was at work on July 20 when sheriff's deputies showed up and evicted her family from the house, she said. A few days later, the ACORN group sat on the steps behind the padlocked gate and refused to move. Six of them were arrested for trespassing."

Nominations Roadblock
In an editoral The Washington Post writes: "IT HAS BEEN almost six months since President Obama nominated Indiana law professor Dawn E. Johnsen to head the Justice Department's influential Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). Almost five months have passed since the Senate Judiciary Committee gave her a favorable vote and sent the nomination to the full Senate. Yet with just days left before the August recess, there has yet to be a floor vote. This is unconscionable."

Keeping Track of the Empires Crimes
William Blum writes for Dissident Voice: "If you catch the CIA with its hand in the cookie jar and the Agency admits the obvious — what your eyes can plainly see — that its hand is indeed in the cookie jar, it means one of two things: a) the CIA’s hand is in several other cookie jars at the same time which you don’t know about and they hope that by confessing to the one instance they can keep the others covered up; or b) its hand is not really in the cookie jar — it’s an illusion to throw you off the right scent — but they want you to believe it."

Our Suicide Bombers: Thoughts on Western Jihad

John Feffer writes for Tom's Dispatch: "The actor Will Smith is no one's image of a suicide bomber. With his boyish face, he has often played comic roles. Even as the last man on earth in I Am Legend, he retains a wise-cracking, ironic demeanor. And yet, surrounded by a horde of hyperactive vampires at the end of that film, Smith clasps a live grenade to his chest and throws himself at the enemy in a final burst of heroic sacrifice. Wait a second: surely that wasn't a suicide bombing. Will Smith wasn't reciting suras from the Koran. He wasn't sporting one of those rising sun headbands that the Japanese kamikaze wore for their suicide missions. He wasn't playing a religious fanatic or a political extremist. Will Smith was the hero of the film. So how could he be a suicide bomber? After all, he's one of us, isn't he?"

Military Lawyer Claims US Paid Guantanamo Prosecution Witnesses
Daphne Eviatar reports for The Washington Independent: "In a startling accusation, defense lawyers in the case of an adolescent arrested and brought to Guantanamo Bay six years ago claim the Justice Department may bring a criminal case against the young man based on testimony from witnesses paid by the U.S. government for their cooperation. Mohammed Jawad was as young as 12 when he was arrested by Afghan police in 2002 and accused of throwing a grenade at U.S. soldiers. Although he confessed to the crime after Afghan officials threatened to kill him and his family, his statements were later ruled inadmissible by two U.S. judges because they were coerced

Militarizing the Homeland
Dahr Jamail and Jason Coppola comments for Truthout: "The process of brainwashing and desensitization by the military begins affecting children in the US from a very early age. It is not insignificant that little boys wear camouflage and run around playing with toy guns whenever they get an opportunity."

US Militarism Makes Us Less Secure
William Pfaff writes for Truthdig.com: "A once-fashionable subject in America’s think tanks was futurology, supposed to be a fruitful method for foreseeing the future (or “possible futures” as it was put at the time). It worked by projecting what were thought to be plausible developments in the situation of a given subject by way of a narrative that would lead to a series of “branching points,” expected eventually to lead the analyst to unforeseen conclusions about what could happen."

Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder

Jeremy Scahill reports in The Nation: "A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company's owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince 'views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,' and that Prince's companies 'encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.'"

Recommended Audio: Blackwater or Murder, Inc?
Jeremy Scahill of The Nation talks to Countdown's Keith Olbermann about his explosive story on Blackwater's murder and arms smuggling. Scahill, the leading expert on the military contractor, explains the background on Blackwater's arms smuggling, and notes that this new evidence "begs for a really serious investigation." Between the illegal weapons, the use of explosive ammunition not used by the military, and most chilling of all, the idea that Blackwater operatives killed civilians as practice, the picture of the military contractor gets darker by the day. Yet, as Scahill notes, "Who deployed Blackwater? Who continues to pay Blackwater?"

Holder Ponders Limited Torture Probe
Jason Leopold comments for Truthout: "If recent news reports are accurate, some form of that day of reckoning may soon be upon us as now-Attorney General Holder weighs the possibility of appointing a federal prosecutor to probe the Bush administration's use of torture during the interrogation of detainees captured in the "war on terror." But those same news reports, quoting unnamed sources, say that if Holder decides in the coming weeks to authorize a criminal investigation, it would be limited to the "few bad apples" at the CIA who exceeded interrogation limits set by Justice Department attorneys, in memos that authorized brutal acts of torture against suspected terrorists."

President Carter: Many Children Were Tortured Under Bush
Ralph Lopez writes for ThePeoplesVoice.org: "While Congress says it is gearing up to investigate what is old news, that CIA and Special Ops forces are killing al-Qaeda leaders, a decision of far different gravity is being contemplated by Attorney General Eric Holder. The new insistence of Congress on its oversight role, conspicuously absent throughout eight years of Bush, is suddenly rearing its head in the form of questioning a policy which has been in place with no controversy for years. The US has been hunting and killing al-Qaeda leaders outside of official war zones since 2004, when The New York Times reported that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had signed an order authorizing Special Forces to kill al-Qaeda where they found them."

Torturing Children: Bush's Legacy and Democracy's Failure
Henry A. Giroux comments for Truthout: "Nowhere is there a more disturbing, if not horrifying, example of the relationship between a culture of cruelty and the politics of irresponsibility than in the resounding silence that surrounds the torture of children under the presidency of George W. Bush - and the equal moral and political failure of the Obama administration to address and rectify the conditions that made it possible. But if we are to draw out the dark and hidden parameters of such crimes, they must be made visible so men and women can once again refuse to orphan the law, justice, and morality."

Feds Return to Run Detention Centers
Suzanne Gamboa and Eileen Sullivan report for the Associated Press: "The Homeland Security Department intends to put federal employees in charge of monitoring the treatment of detainees in the country's largest immigration detention facilities, two years after the government turned that job over to a private company. The Obama administration plans to place 23 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials at the largest detention facilities to supervise how the detention centers are managed, according to people briefed on the plan."

So Much for the Promised Land
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig.com: "LeAlan Jones, the 30-year-old Green Party candidate for Barack Obama’s old Senate seat in Illinois, is as angry at injustice as he is at the African-American intellectual and political class that accommodates it. He does not buy Obama’s “post-racial” ideology or have much patience with African-American leaders who, hungry for prestige, power and money, have, in his eyes, forgotten the people they are supposed to represent. They have confused a personal ability to be heard and earn a comfortable living with justice."

Death, Dishonesty and the GOP
Terrance Heath writes for the Campaign for America's Future: "In an effort to defeat universal health care, conservatives are engaging in a campaign of lies that will ultimately cause more families to suffer needlessly at a most painful time. As someone who worked for years with end-of-life care issues, and spent years working in the HIV/AIDS community, I cannot let it pass."

Recommended Audio: Insurance Companies Make Me Sick
What does United Health Group CEO Stephen Hemsley have to lose if Congress passes real healthcare reform this year? Well, for starters, his nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in unexercised stock options might lose a few pennies on the dollar.

The Hidden Truth Behind Drug Company Profits
Johann Hari comments for The Independent UK: "This is the story of one of the great unspoken scandals of our times. Today, the people across the world who most need life-saving medicine are being prevented from producing it. Here's the latest example: factories across the poor world are desperate to start producing their own cheaper Tamiflu to protect their populations - but they are being sternly told not to. Why? So rich drug companies can protect their patents - and profits. There is an alternative to this sick system, but we are choosing to ignore it."

Congress' Own Health Care Benefits: Membership Has Its Privileges
Mark Z. Barabak and Faye Fiore write in The Los Angeles Times: "Lawmakers can choose among several plans and get special treatment at federal medical facilities. In 2008, taxpayers spent about $15 billion to insure 8.5 million federal workers and their dependents."

Thirteen in Congress Control Health Care Debate

David Sirota comments in the San Francisco Chronicle: "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."

If We Want Health Care We Have to Fight for It
Christopher Hayes comments for The Nation: "I come from a family of organizers (my dad and my brother), so I'm intimately familiar with just how much work good organizing is. I also have a lot of guilt about the fact I'm not one. As hard as writing can sometimes be, it's orders of magnitudes easier (not to mention confers a lot more recognition and praise) than the unglamorous job of calling through lists, finding suitable meeting places, negotiating personalities, motivating busy and harried volunteers, etc... "

What's so Great About Private Health Insurance?
Michael Hiltzik comments in The Los Angeles Times: "Throughout the heroic struggle in Congress to provide a 'public option' in health insurance, one question never seems to get answered: Why are we so intent on protecting the private option? The 'public option,' as followers of the debate know, is a government-sponsored health plan that would be available as an alternative to, and in competition with, the for-profit health insurance industry, otherwise known as the private option."

Free Press? Venezuela Beats the US
Mark Weisbrot comments for The Guardian UK: "There is a much more oppositional media in Venezuela than in the US, and a much greater range of debate in the major media. This can be seen simply by looking at the most important media in both countries. In the US, for example, not even the most aggressive rightwing commentators such as Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity would present the idea that the president should be lynched. But Globovision, one of the largest-audience TV networks, had a show where a guest did just that."

The Big Phone Companies Hypocrisy
Kate Aishton writes for Free Press: "Exclusive deals by the largest phone companies are generating controversy in the communications world, and they should have you worried, too. In TV, the big cable companies use their power to strike exclusive deals for cable TV channels to keep new pay TV services offered by other companies from getting off the ground. Since AT&T and Verizon are hoping to offer those new pay TV services through their UVerse and FiOS networks, they say that these exclusive deals need tight government regulation to promote competition and protect consumers."

Internet Protect Fight Starts in Washington -- Don't Just Sit There
Art Brodsky writes in The Huffington Post: "The Huffington Post exists because the Internet exists as a way for you, yes you, to read what you want without interference from the Internet Service Provider you're using to get you here. The Internet exists today so that the video on the HuffPo site runs the same as the video on, say, the Talking Points Memo site, or Bill O'Reilly's site. This all works at the moment out of the goodness of the hearts of those ISPs -- the telephone, cable and wireless companies. There is no legal requirement that they do so over high-speed, broadband networks. Now there is the glimmer that situation might change for the better."

Mr. President, Help Save the News
Megan Tady writes for In These Times: "In late July, former CBS news anchor Dan Rather sent murmurs through the journalism world when he called on President Obama to form a White House commission on public media and journalism. His plea couldn’t be more timely. As news outlets crash and burn and “investigative journalism” becomes a historical relic for the next generation to read about on Wikipedia, Rather said media reform must become a national priority because 'a democracy and free people cannot thrive without a fiercely independent press.'”

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