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

17 September 2009

Clippings for 17 September 2009

The New Illiteracy in American Life: Democracy and Politics in the Age of the Spectacle
Henry A. Giroux writes for Truthout: "C. Wright Mills argued 50 years ago that one important measure of the demise of vibrant democracy and the corresponding impoverishment of political life can be found in the increasing inability of a society to translate private troubles to broader public issues. This is an issue that both characterizes and threatens any viable notion of democracy in the United States in the current historical moment."

Stop Begging Obama and Get Mad
Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig: "The right-wing accusations against Barack Obama are true. He is a socialist, although he practices socialism for corporations. He is squandering the country’s future with deficits that can never be repaid. He has retained and even bolstered our surveillance state to spy on Americans. He is forcing us to buy into a health care system that will enrich corporations and expand the abuse of our for-profit medical care. He will not stanch unemployment. He will not end our wars. He will not rebuild the nation. He is a tool of the corporate state."

Ku Klux Klowns
William Rivers Pitt writes for Truthout: "How many white, middle-aged, overweight, pissed-off right-wingers does it take to unscrew a light bulb? Depends on who you ask. Organizers for this past weekend's anti-Obama protest in Washington, DC, were slinging around crowd-size estimates of two million people before the curtain was thankfully drawn on the thing, despite the fact that the number was actually in the vicinity of 30,000."

Shots from the Tea Party
Stephanie Mencimer writes for Mother Jones: "The problem with people who march in protest of big government and taxes is that they never seem to acknowledge just how much they depend on the very government those tax dollars support. Case in point: I spent several hours Saturday attending the big “9/12” march in DC, brought to you by the same people who organized the Tax Day “tea parties” and rowdy health care town hall meetings. Tens of thousands of conservatives and libertarians fanned out across Pennsylvania Avenue and the Capitol lawn, decrying the federal stimulus package, the bailout of Wall Street, and the “czaring” or America."

Colbert Goes There - The Only Media Figure In America To Call Out Corporate Control Of Government
dday writes on Crooks and Liars: " The Colbert Report last night (Tuesday 15 September) featured one of the most subversive and brutally honest half-hours of television in recent memory. It's a sad commentary that it takes a comedy program to provide more news and information on one of the most critical subjects in American politics that anywhere else in our broken media and political landscape, but I'll take this argument wherever I can get it. Colbert spent two full segments of his show focusing on the Citizens United Supreme Court case, which could - and probably will - lead to deregulating the entire campaign finance process, allowing corporations to give unlimited money to any candidate of their choosing. This severe step backwards with enormous implications has been barely discussed in any traditional media setting, but Colbert went after it vigorously, discussing the consequences and even the flawed legal rationale, a true third rail of American politics, corporate personhood."

Obama vs. the Lobbyists
Andy Kroll writes for TomDispatch.com: "At the end of this summer of discontent, of death panels and unplugging poor Grandma, of birthers and astroturfers and rifle-toting picketers, the halcyon early days of the Obama administration feel increasingly like hazy, gilt-edged memories. The president's sprawling legislative agenda - a health-care overhaul, financial regulation reform, slashing wasteful military spending, and climate change legislation legislation - is slowly grinding its way through the halls of Congress. Barack Obama's sheen, his administration's unflagging confidence, and all the bipartisan, post-racial aspirations have been replaced by the hard realities of Washington politicking. And with the media's lens more tightly focused than ever on Washington's every move and utterance 24/7, anything said a few months back feels like a lifetime ago."

Cheney and Rumsfeld's "Close Friend" Throws Out Suit Against Alleged Abu Ghraib Torturers
Jeremy Scahill reports on the Rebel Reports: "On September 11, the US appeals court for the District of Columbia announced in a 2-1 decision that it was throwing out a lawsuit against CACI International and L-3 Communications Titan unit, which are being sued by Iraqi civilians for their alleged role in the torture and abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison. The companies provided interrogators at the prison at the height of the abuses there. The suit alleges that employees of the companies conspired with US. Army reservist Charles Graner, who was convicted of prisoner abuse on January 14, 2005 and is currently serving 10 years at Fort Leavenworth, and others to torture prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Several of the plaintiffs are Iraqis whose torture was depicted in graphic photos revealed over the past several years."

US Justice Department Wants Surveillance Methods Extended
Jeremy Pelofsky reports for Reuters: "The Obama administration has asked the U.S. Congress to extend three surveillance techniques for intelligence agencies tracking suspected militants that expire this year, according to a letter to lawmakers. Approved after the September 11 attacks in 2001 at the request of the Bush administration, techniques such as roving wiretaps and accessing all kinds of personal records drew criticism from civil liberties groups and some lawmakers who said they were unconstitutional and violated privacy rights."

One Year of Bankster Bailouts and Meltdown Madness
John Nichols writes for The Nation: "But this is the anniversary of the collapse of the house of cards that was Lehman Brothers. One year ago today, the economic time bomb that George Bush and Dick Cheney had spent two terms constructing – on a platform of deregulations furnished by Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich – blew up. The explosion created the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression. And it sent unemployment rates soaring to the highest levels in a quarter century"

A Factory Like a City
David Bacon writes for Truthout: "Last month, Toyota announced it would close the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) plant in Fremont, California, after General Motors announced it was withdrawing from the partnership under which the plant has operated for over two decades. The plant employs 4,500 workers directly, and the jobs of another 30,000 throughout Northern California are dependent on its continued operation. Taking families into account, the threatened closure will eliminate the income of over 100,000 people."

Michael Moore's Smash and Grab
Mark Weisbrot writes for Guardian UK: "When I first met Michael Moore more than 20 years ago he was showing a half-finished documentary to a few dozen people in a classroom in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was funny and poignant and had a powerful message. He had taken a second mortgage on his house – equipment for filmmaking was a lot more expensive back then – and raised some money from like-minded locals for a long-shot venture. We all loved what he showed us but thought he would be lucky if a few thousand people got to see it."

Recommended Audio: As Obama Escalates War in Afghanistan, US Peace Activists Call for Near-Term Withdrawal of Foreign Troops
Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!: "The coming weeks hold critical significance for the US occupation of Afghanistan. The Senate is expected to vote on the Obama administration's $128 billion request to fund war operations in Afghanistan and Iraq for the coming fiscal year. Next week, the Obama administration will unveil a report on whether US benchmarks for success in Afghanistan are being achieved. It's widely believed President Obama will receive a military request to escalate the Afghan war with thousands of additional troops. The apparent congressional unease over a troop escalation comes near Friday's eight-year anniversary of the vote authorizing the attack on Afghanistan. We speak to Norman Solomon of the Institute for Public Accuracy on his recent trip to Afghanistan and CODEPINK's Medea Benjamin."

Democracy and Action in Afghanistan
James Foley writes for In These Times: "As gunshots rang out from the mountain tops of the Dewegal Valley in eastern Afghanistan, men voted under the shade of trees next to their village's mosque. Heads turned upward whenever a heavy shell or particularly loud burst echoed, but the voters appeared in no hurry to leave. This was supposed to be their election, after all."

Homeland Security Marked by Waste, Lack of Oversight
G. W. Schultz reports for the Center for Investigative Reporting: "
Soon after hijackers obliterated the World Trade Center towers eight years ago, Marin County received more than $100,000 in surveillance equipment to keep its water treatment system safe from a terrorist attack. But four years after the funds were awarded, state authorities found more than $67,000 worth of the gear still boxed in its original packaging. It had never been used."

The F-22 Lives On
Andy Kroll writes for Mother Jones: "You've got to hand it to defense contractor Lockheed Martin and its F-22 Raptor fighter jet: The much maligned, headline-grabbing plane will not go away.  The latest news on the F-22 beat is that the Senate is trying to sidestep a decade-old law to allow Lockheed to develop and export a version of the F-22 to be sold outside the US. On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to insert language in its 2010 defense spending bill allowing the DOD to "conduct or participate in studies, research, design and other activities to define and develop an export version of the F-22A." Earlier last week, the same committee agreed to end F-22 production for domestic use at 187 planes after a protracted battle between the Obama administration and lawmakers in Congress on whether to extend the production run of F-22s or not. Lockheed also lobbied hard for continuing F-22 production by citing the number of jobs the plane created nationwide."

Jimmy Carter Tackles anti-Obama Racism
Devona Walker writes for The Loop: "Former President Jimmy Carter recently called America out for its current race-driven insanity. The far right has, as expected, been crying bloody murder."
"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American," Carter told NBC Nightly News. "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shares the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans."

Why is Glenn Beck Collecting Black Scalps?
Devona Walker writes for The Loop: "After a full-on assault, for more than a year now, Glenn Beck has finally gotten the goods on the community organizing group ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.) Conservative activist James O’Keepe walked into ACORN’s Baltimore office posing as a pimp with a prostitute in tow and got some tax-evading advice from an ACORN staff member. In the video below, O’Keefe claimed he wanted to buy a house and was trying to figure out a way of accounting for his 'ho’s' income. The employee told the woman to list her occupation as 'performance artist.'”

Druge Has Lost His Touch
Ethan Poter writes for the Columbia Journalism Review: "If you visited the Drudge Report on July 1, you’d be forgiven for thinking that nothing had changed. A BILLION THANKS FOR MAKING JUNE 2009—TOP JUNE IN DRUDGE REPORT’S 14 YEAR HISTORY!? PAGE HIT 675,406,735 VIEWS FROM 129,922,878 VISITS … TRAFFIC ROSE 21% FOR MONTH OVER YEAR AGO blared the headline on the right of the home page. Matt Drudge’s Web site appeared to be chugging along, sinking its teeth into the news cycle just like it used to."

We Can't Afford Health Care? You Lie!
Tom H. Hastings comments for Truthout: "We see the spectacle of the US Congress unable to manage decent health care reform that will actually enable the American citizenry to join the rest of the industrialized world in having health care for all. The problems, it is clear, come from those who are lying."

Baucus Releases Health Care Blueprint With No Public Option
David Lightman reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus unveiled on Wednesday an $856 billion plan to overhaul the nation's health care system that includes taxes on high-end insurance policies and incentives to create health care co-ops around the nation, but not the public option that President Barack Obama has sought."

Conrad Praises Baucus Bill which Contains Co-ops He Proposed after Meeting with UnitedHealth Group
Zaid Jilani writes for Think Progress: "After months of legislative deliberation aimed at forging a bipartisan health care bill that began by ejecting single-payer advocates from his hearing room, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) unveiled his committee’s health care bill today with zero Republican support. Baucus’s bill — which former Cigna executive Wendell Potter has referred to as “an absolute gift” to the health insurance industry — includes no public option, an individual insurance mandate, and the creation of health care co-ops."

CBO: Public Option Would Reduce Premiums Across the Board
Jonathan Walker writes for The Campaign For America's Future: "The CBO recently published a new letter on health care reform. They were asked to evaluate the impact of the weak (level playing field) public option in the Senate HELP committee's bill. Their conclusion was that the competitive pressure from the public option 'would probably lower private premiums in the insurance exchanges to a small degree,' and with a public plan in the exchange, 'the costs and premiums of competing private plans would, on average, be slightly lower than if no public plan was available.' By reducing the cost of buying private insurance on the exchange, a public plan 'would tend to lower federal subsidy payments through the exchanges.'"

Pentagon Study Proposes Overhaul of Defense Base Act to Cover Care for Injured Contractors
T. Christian Miller reports for ProPublica: "Congress could save as much as $250 million a year through a sweeping overhaul of the controversial US system to care for civilian contractors injured in war zones, according to a new Pentagon study."

Doctors Warm of Global Health Catastrophe Unless Climate Change is Fixed
The Telegraph (UK) reports: "But taking steps to cut the world's carbon emissions, such as eating less meat and switching to cleaner energy, will have benefits for people's health, an editorial published in both the Lancet and British Medical Journal (BMJ) said."

Census Count of Same-Sex Couples to Stir Policy Fights
Carol Morello reports for the Washington Post: "When the U.S. Census Bureau counts same-sex married couples next year, demographers expect hundreds of thousands to report they are spouses -- even though legal same-sex weddings in the United States number in the tens of thousands. Gay advocates say they plan to use A Census that Reflects America's Population, as the Census Bureau calls its plan to report same-sex marriage statistics, to push for legislative and policy initiatives, while groups opposed to same-sex marriage weigh a counteroffensive."

Mainstream Media Missing the Point of Participatory Journalism
Alfred Hermida writes for MediaShift (PBS):"The ability of anyone to play an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and sharing news and information is seen as one of the big shifts in journalism over the past 10 years. But a growing body of research suggests that the advent of participatory journalism, or user-generated content (UGC), has done little to change the way the media works. At the recent Future of Journalism conference at Cardiff University, academics presented a series of studies that further illustrated how the mainstream media is trying to tame the phenomenon.

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